The Sage’s Atonement An alternative universe sequel to “From Questions to Answers” by Velvethope and “What May Yet To Come” By MudbloodMatt Story by MudbloodMatt. Based on Characters created by J.K. Rowling Additional inspiration from a story by Robert Harris and John Cotton.
Prologue: One More Hour (Somewhere in America)
Drake stood for an hour outside a pier across from an empty warehouse. His gray eyes surveyed his surroundings as he ran a hand through his brown hair. His gut told him to wait for Auror reinforcements. But another instinct told him that if the person he had just seen enter the warehouse was indeed the correct person, he was one of the most wanted men in the American Wizard community, and time was of the essence. He could not understand why the signal he sent up minutes before got no reply. He could no longer wait; he had to act. Besides, he reasoned, thetip was from someone reliable, someone he could trust.
Drake approached the large steel door, reaching for the handle as he pulled out his wand; he stopped once he realized the door was already open. He didn’t want to draw attention to his presence. As he entered a large room, Drake assessed that this part of the warehouse must have been where the offices were situated; he could see a stairwell that led to the second floor. There was no sound, except for a faint jangling of chains in the distance. The place hadn’t been used for several years; the salt from the ocean, in addition to the rusted steel, left a stagnant, dry odor. Drake quietly took the stairs and made his way to the upper level.
As he started to move to the upper floor, he quickly realized that this warehouse was larger than he had assumed. He entered a hall that seemed to extend for sixty feet, with a door on either side every fifteen feet. As soon as he moved into the hall he heard the voices. He crossed the hall trying to open each door; most were locked. Upon reaching the hall’s end, he found the door to his right-hand side opened to what must have been a supply closet or janitor’s room. The door facing him was closed, but the voices at the other end compelled him to move closer, trying to find out what the voices were going to reveal. Drake had a strange feeling, a sense that if he opened the door at the end of the hall he would leave himself vulnerable. He was about to close the door to the supply closet when he noticed an adjacent door within the room. This adjacent door, ten feet away, ran parallel to the door that would reveal Drake’s criminal prey.
He entered and cracked opened the door to find a stack of wooden crates to his left, blocking the view of his rivals. The crates themselves were empty, but gaps between the crates allowed him a partial view of the next room. He noticed that this room had a tall ceiling, with steel chains hanging in equal rows that rattled and clang, swaying in the breeze from an open window. Within moments, he recognized the voice of the man he had been pursuing for months. Drake edged further in the room.
“So the preparations have been made?”
“Yes, Master; the botanists have been working with the plant.”
Drake took a risk and glanced at his adversary, a tall man with brown hair streaked with gray, in robes of brown and black. The other man was much shorter, beefy, with thin, patchy, dark brown hair and small black eyes.
“Good, all is going as I envisioned it would, as fate would decree it should.”
“But Master, how will you take on the two most powerful Aurors in Britain? Why not just find the ring?”
“Because, Sebastian, the legacy of my family requires I bring justice to my ancestors. It has been sixteen years of searching since the day I discovered that my cousin was killed at their hands. Once I revealed the generational blood connection between my family and the Potter family, I knew that fate had called me. That ring confirms the oath made between our two families, an oath that was broken by the Potters centuries ago. Having that ring isn’t enough. The murder of the last Potters will insure the true power of that ring, and confirm its rightful heir. Soon, I shall have the needed power to control the American Cabinet of Magic, and the wizarding underworld. Everything.”
Drake’s heart skipped. My God, he’s going after Harry and Ginny Potter, he thought with a shudder. Drake knew he was no match alone with this adversary, but no other Aurors had arrived. It was not a matter of looking for glory of capture. He had to warn Antonia; he had to leave and warn his superiors.
“But how can you defeat them, what weapon will you use?”
“Ah, I have an insider in the British Ministry who passed along records. The Ministry has been so helpful, so gracious in writing such detailed records.”
Drake could see their faces through a gap between two stacked crates. He noticed the man pulling out of his pocket a silver necklace with a blood red ruby on a pendent.
“I know that Harry and Ginny Potter are ‘soul mates’ or ‘anima socius’ in the Latin tongue. The power of Eros is potent, but all things have their opposite, their negative. I have found a jewel that will turn their power against them.” He slid the necklace back into his pocket.
“But Master, the risks….”
“Sebastian,” the man sighed, “is your mind that impenetrable?”
Suddenly the man raised his hand, as though sensing something.
“Silence… we have a visitor,” the man said, gleefully mocking. “Come out; come out where ever you are, Drake Meyer.”
Drake froze as he turned towards the door. He suddenly felt disorientated, as if his mind was sinking. His adversary used his wand as though he was a puppeteer, waving it at a crate above Drake, causing it to sway and shake. Drake hardly had a moment to react when the crate started to fall. Drake leapt aside, hitting the floor as he lost the grip of his wand, and it rolled away.
Drake’s wand skidded away out of reach and flew into his rival’s hand. Drake spun to face him as the man handed the wand to his assistant, Sebastian. Drake hardly had a second to grasp how vulnerable he was.
Drake was writhing and screaming until the curse was lifted. Unexpectedly, the chains from the ceiling came to life and reached for Drake while he tried to gather himself. The chains wrapped around his legs and arms, biting into his wrist as he was lifted into the air. One of his wrists felt raw as the chain cut into it.
“Ah, that’s a more proper way to interrogate someone,” the man said with glee. His assistant stood quietly with a look of fear or revulsion, or the mingling of both emotions, on his face.
“Let me guess how much you overheard.”
“Enough,” Drake spat.
The Cruciatus Curse was used again while Drake hung suspended, violently shaking like some grotesque puppet.
“It’s such a shame it has to end like this; I have so enjoyed the chase with you over the last year or so.”
Drake’s eyes darted between the windows and the door. Surely a squad of Aurors willappear, Drake assured himself.
“Ah,” said the man, laughing. “You expect some reinforcements, don’t you?”
Drake defiantly glared at him.
“You don’t seem to realize, Mr. Meyer: you are our invited guest.”
Drake looked stunned as his words sank in. Why didn’t I confirm the source of that message, Drake thought. How could I have been so careless?
“This building is now invisible to the Cabinet’s eye. Your quaint signal was never seen. I am sorry to say that by the time they trace where you are, you will be beyond help,” he remarked with mock sadness.
“Bastard,” Drake retorted.
“Sticks and stones, Mr. Meyer. I could show mercy, just answer my questions; we don’t need to make this untidy. It’s all so sordid, the violence.”
Drake said nothing. The man plucked Drake’s wand from Sebastian’s hand
“Ah, twelve inches, maple, made with a Dragon heart string,” the man commented. “Pity, but you won’t need this anymore.” The man replied casually as he snapped the wand in two, a few sparks appeared from the broken ends. “Quite sloppy for a professional Auror,” The man replied smirking, “The famous Harry Potter briefly trained you, did he not?”
Drake gave no trace of a reaction, although he suspected that the man was looking for evidence of how afraid Drake was; he wasn’t going to give the man such satisfaction. He wasn’t going to plead. Drake was determined to go out with some dignity.
“Do your worst,” Drake said.
“So much for the training technique of Potter. Then again, your kind has such limited imaginations… But you might be able to tell him so, sooner than you think… in the hereafter or whatever you believe.”
Drake looked defiant.
“You have nothing to say? Let’s see what we can do about that. Rupturndo voce,” the man shouted as purple flame hit Drake’s mid-side. It felt as though a giant knife stabbed him in the stomach. Drake writhed wildly, certain that an organ was ruptured; he could feel blood and bile rise up in his throat. Droplets of blood collected in his mouth.
“Now, that must have hurt, Mr. Meyer. Are we willing to show some manners?”
“Yes,” laughed Sebastian. “You should show some respect to your future ruler.”
Drake’s outrage grew. He knew he was dying. By instinct and reflex he spat blood into the man’s face, who flinched as he wiped his cheek.
The pain was beyond anything he had ever felt. Drake was in extremis as his limbs shook wildly, his stomach in convulsions before the curse was lifted. Drake’s screams and shrieks were so great it felt as though his throat was going to tear.
“That especially hurt, wouldn’t you agree? The combination of those two spells heightens the senses, heightens the nerve endings.”
Drake whimpered as his body relaxed, swaying with the chains.
“Have you ever seen the reaction of a person when the muscle is separated from the bone? I am always fascinated by the reactions of people before they die, the dilation of the pupil’s, the blood rushing from the face, the clammy flesh, the twitching muscles, the thump, thump, thump of the racing heart. There’s something so, what should I say… symphonic in it, a certain operatic cadence in the sound of death.”
Drake’s head drooped.
“Perhaps, I should set a similar example to my handiwork with Fairbanks.”
Drake looked at him as sweat collected on his face. Drake remembered seeing what was left of the Auror Fairbanks after he took over the assignment to investigate and hunt his rival.
“Ah, yes…., how nice, you remember,” the man said, smiling, “All those lacerations on the face and body, such a mess. I think, however, that I shall leave you intact, for the sake of your dear cousin Antonia. I shall have to send her a personal message, won’t I?”
“You’re insane,” Drake slurred.
“Sanity, insanity, it’s all relative, isn’t it? You and I are not that different. We both enjoy the chase; we both can inflict harm to achieve our goals.”
“I am nothing like you,” Drake spat back. “I don’t kill the people I hunt.”
“Really….” The man replied cruelly. “So why did you become an Auror?” Drake gave no answer. “For the ‘greater good’? You enjoy the power as much as I do; the control over those you overpower. To right the wronged? Oh, I see,” The man snickered. “Let me guess. Nobility, such a wasted concept.”
“Go to Hell,” Drake spat.
The man responded, swishing his hand to and fro. “Heaven, Hell…it’s all so pointless.” Then the man leaned toward Drake with a callous smile. “Let me give you one final lesson, to broaden your limited mind. I have studied all of the great Wizard’s and I have come to one conclusion: there is no God, no good, no evil; there is only power and those too weak to pursue it.”
“Master, the time,” Sebastian interrupted, “We must go.”
“Oh yes. Very well,” the man replied, irritated with being brought back to reality; he was clearly relishing the moment. “Any last words to pass on, Mr. Meyer?”
“You’ll pay dearly for this, Fagan,” Drake retorted.
Fagan and Sebastian both laughed; it was the last thing Drake heard.
Drake was gone before the green light had finished enveloping his body.