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Diablo's Fable: A Death Eater's Story
Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:23 AM
*EDIT* Any artist that would like to make a "book cover" for this story, I would like you to make it. Please feel free to PM your idea to me, or just post it in the Fanart section. If I like it, I will display and credit your work right here.
DIABLO'S FABLE: A DEATH EATER'S STORY
A tall rather lanky young man with dirty blonde hair and pale brown eyes, though he always kept them hidden behind dark tinted glasses, was sitting in a rickety old rowboat across from an older fisherman that was moving the oars. The young man was eying a tattered old photograph; it was of an old fortress. The fortress in the picture looked very impressive and well kept, it was architectural genius.
"Thar she be," said the fisherman pointing to a misty isle in the distance. The young man patted the old photo against his handed anxiously.
The old boat docked on the seaweed blanketed island and the fortress came into view; it looked nothing like the one in the picture. The island fortress was falling apart, a wall that bordered the fortress crumbled through, leaving a large gap between sentry towers. The young man looked from the battered building to the fisherman, "You sure this the right place?"
"Indeed it is," he responded.
The young man hopped over the side of the dingy, his boots sunk slowly into the soft ground. He strolled up to the heavily guarded fort, the fisherman pushed the boat from the shore and disappeared in the mist. Giant iron gates creaked open as he approached.
The tall rather lanky young man with dirty blonde hair entered the wizard prison, Azkaban. The man walked into the prison's atrium disgusted at the filthy state of it. Plants were brown and wilted, mounds of dirt covered the floor, rats dragged other rats' rotting carcasses away, the atrium was dimly lit by broken lanterns that flickered from the ceiling. The man heard the prison was a horrible place for it's occupants, but the prison looked horrible for anyone to be there.
The man took a step towards the receptionist's desk, a loud crunch came from under his foot. He looked down to see what he had stepped on. The floor now seemed to be moving, thousands of cockroaches lined the floor, the man looked away in disgust. The tall lanky man continued on his short voyage to the receptionist's desk ignoring the soft crunching of the cockroaches being mashed under his boots, coming to a stop at the desk.
The man stood patiently waiting for the receptionist, reading the latest issue of Witch Weekly, to acknowledge him. The plump middle-aged witch licked her finger to turn the page. The man cleared his throat. The witch rolled her eyes as she looked up to him. "Yes?" she asked in an insincere tone.
"I'm Henry Johnson, the new guard, I was told I would get my assignment from the receptionist," the man responded.
The plump receptionist closed her magazine and placed it on her desk which was as dirty and unorganized as the rest of the room, and reached into a drawer in her desk. "Ah yes, the new guy," the witch rolled her eyes as she said it, pulling a badge from the desk, "Here's your security clearance, don't lose it you won't get another, you are stationed in , oh lucky you, Death Row." The plump receptionist picked up her magazine and went on with her reading.
Henry turned around and began to walk away, but he had no clue as to where he was headed, he once again went to the receptionist's desk.
"Back so soon." said the witch behind the desk not looking up from her magazine.
"Yeah, sorry to trouble you, but how do I get where I'm going?" Henry asked timidly.
The plump witch again placed her magazine down on her filthy desk, and pointed to metal door in the corner of the atrium. "Through that door is a long corridor, don't pay any attention to the prisoners. At the end of the hall is a door that leads to a stairwell. Take the stairs all the way to bottom, there will be a door and beyond that is the holding cells for Lifers and Death Row inmates, the worst of the worst."
Henry thought about what he had gotten himself into. He had just come of age, and though very bright, being the under achiever that he was, he dropped out of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With his lack of an educational degree, this guard job at the wizard prison was the only one he could get, but what seemed a dead end job from the beginning was starting to look even grimmer.
"Uh, thank you," he mumbled.
"Don't mention it, rook," the receptionist said sarcastically, she muttered something under her breath..
Henry stepped through the cockroaches crawling all over the swarming floor until he came to the rusty red door, it reminded him of the door's on submarines that he learned about in Muggle Studies. He took hold of the circular handle with a firm grip, he was glad he wore his dragon skin gloves because jagged flakes of rust flew off as his hands rubbed over the handle. An annoying screeching sound, resembling the sound of scratching a blackboard, bombarded his ears as he forced the circular handle to turn, ending with a loud CLUNK!
He pushed the door open, it let out the same screech as the heavy metal door rotated on it's hinges. Henry stepped through the opening between the rooms and returned the door to it's original closed state. The long passage way the receptionist spoke of was an understatement. Henry couldn't see the end of the seeming endless narrow corridor sided by rows of prison cells. The corridor was even worse than the atrium, it was completely dark except for a single candle for people to use to lead the way down the hallway in which pale arms reached from the walls. The floor was caked with dirt and trash, shards of broken glass were scattered everywhere.
A soft squealing sound came from the cell nearest Henry, he shined the candle towards it. The squealing stopped, a slender pasty man with blood dripping from lips held a limp bloody rat in his hands, he saw Henry looking and turned, worried Henry would try to steal it and ripped away a chunk of the rat with his teeth. Henry was sick, his stomach turned he began his journey to the other end of the hall.
Shards of glass cracked under the weight of him as he walked, the hall got narrower, darker, and gloomier the further he went. A few of the prisoners hid from the light of the candle, by crawling under their beds, some just cradled themselves deliriously appearing to be unaware of his presence, others tried to claw at him, drooling as if he was the tastiest food they've seen.
The end of the passage was near, Henry could make out another rusty red, metal door in the distance between two fellow guards. The door was only thirty feet away when a skinny, hairy old man with completely white eyes , grasped him and pulled him against the cell, Henry dropped the candle, it extinguished, darkness covered the corridor.
Henry's face pressed in between the bars, he was breathing fast, his heart was racing. A horrible raspy warm breath hit his face and burned his nostrils. "You haunt the Evil Appendage," a shrill cold voice uttered softly in the darkness.
Sparks fell and the darkness lifted for a moment the grasp on Henry's robes diminished and he pulled out his wand and shouted, "Lumos!"
The guards that had been standing at the door were now beside him the wands aimed at the tiny hairy old man who was now curled into a ball shaking harshly, "I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile," one of the guards said.
Henry patted his robes and picked up the candle lying next to his foot, "You mean this man is blind he grabbed me from out of nowhere."
"Yeah, said he was psychic and burned out his retinas, said his vision clouded his Inner Eye. Can I see some identification?"
Henry flashed his security badge, "Henry Johnson, I'm the new guard," he said.
The guard snatched Henry's badge from his hand and gleamed upon it. "Hey Rich, they got the kid working Death Row." A shocked look struck the face of the other guard. "Sending a rookie to the dungeon on his first day, well I guess they need someone there I haven't seen Eugene in about week."
The two guards led the way to the door , the prisoners hid themselves from sight as they walked by. Rich, the guard opened the door with a heave, it squeaked and screeched even more horrendously than the first door. "There you go." he said.
"Good luck kid" said the other guard as Henry stepped in to the stairwell, "You're going to need it." The door slammed shut behind him sealing with the sound of the lock clicking back into its place.
Torches lined the walls of the stairwell, more illuminating than the corridor but still horribly gloomy. The stair steps were short, thin, and steep, covered in trash, dirt, insects, rodent carcasses and what looked like solid chunks of vomit.
Henry walked over to the staircase to start his descent the stairs seemed to go on forever. He couldn't see the bottom, his foot kicked a rat skeleton into the pit of the stairwell, he listened for the bones to crack, but no sound arose.
He marched down the stairs trying to avoid stepping in anything, stepping over the gaps where stairs were missing. The boards creaked constantly as he stepped from plank to plank. Flight by flight he walked down the endless cycle of stairs, it was enough to drive a man insane, like a cruel joke, he wondered if hell was like this. He reached the landing between the next flight of stairs, a decaying human body lied in the corner, he thought about turning around and just leaving the job, he didn't want a repetitive cycle within a repetitive cycle, it was ludicrous. He was lost in a stairwell, he opened the door on the landing to see some one in there knew a way out, screams of pain shot from the door, Henry shut the door hastily.
He had no idea where he was, he went to the flight of stairs he just came down, but the top looked just as far away as the bottom. He decided since he came this far it was stupid not to keep going and turn back.
He strolled over to the next flight of stairs and stepped down. The board buckled under the pressure of his weight, it stayed, Henry let a sigh of relief. He stepped down to the next stair, this one was not as stable, it gave way. Henry fell forward and rolled down the stairs and landed with a hard smack on the landing.
"Well at least you're nice and sturdy, got to love oak," Henry coughed. He gave the landing a pat. It let out a creak and fell through. Henry broke through four more before landing on a concrete slab protruding from the ground with a thud. He opened his eyes, he was lying next to a pile of skeletons, he jumped to his feet in shock, he tried to play it off even though no one was around to see it.
He looked around for the staircase, but it only went up, he was at the bottom, he looked to walls for a door. A large iron door in the worst condition he had ever seen, the other doors looked like jewels compared to this one. He remembered the warning of the guards and how things got more horrible as he got further and further into the this hell hole, he feared what he would find on the other side of the door.
He grasped the handle it crumbled under his grip, he tried to turn the corroded handle but stubbornly it did not budge, it appeared the handle was rusted solid to the door. Henry rubbed his palms together anxiously and once again placed a firm grip on the worn wheel. He inhaled deeply. His muscles flexed and strained as he attempted to turn the handle again, he exhaled. A loud popping sound came from the handle, and Henry toppled, the handle broke free from the door.
Henry picked himself off the ground yet again. He tried to reattach the handle to the door, but it was a clean break. He threw the handle into the pile of bones, a clang echoed in the room.
Henry pulled his wand from his robes, tapped the lock and muttered, "Alohomora!" The door rattled and the lock shrieked a horrible cry as it tried to turn, but the door great iron door remained closed and locked.
Henry leaned his back to the cold metal door, he let out a sigh of disappointment as he slid down to the ground. He was trapped, he had destroyed the stairs on his way down and he couldn't get to his post. He banged his head softly against the iron, a soft thud was followed by a mellow scratching of metal on metal.
Henry rose to his feet and turned to the rusted door and pushed against it. The door's rust filed off as it moved ever so slightly if at all. Henry backed away, as a child he watched police shows on the television in which they kicked the door in, he charged the door and rose his foot ready to strike.
Henry's foot struck the door, but the door was an impenetrable barrier, an immovable object, and stayed absolutely still. Henry took his foot away from the door with a whimpering laugh. He teetered and he landed against the door, his head cushioned in his forearms. He banged his fist against the door repeatedly, "Why won't you open?!" he shouted furiously.
The lock turned easily and the door swung open, Henry found himself once again on the ground, only this time he didn't have to dust himself off when he got back on his feet. The Death Row block of the prison was surprisingly the nicest place he'd seen in all that he'd seen of Azkaban. It was clean, well lit, you could see the green marble that was the floor, and the cells that lined three walls, were just as well kept.
Henry looked around the room amazed at the difference between here and the rest of the prison, he saw a man sitting at the security desk across the room. He started to walk over, the door shut behind him, this side of the door was silver and well polished. His boot clicked on the floor as he strolled up to the desk.
A short, fat, balding old wizard was splayed out on the surface of the security desk sleeping, he wheezed as he snored. Henry prodded the old man with his wand, he awoke with a flailing jump off the desktop. He had pulled his wand and aimed it directly at Henry's chest, his eye's wide open and bloodshot. "Who are you? What are you doing here? How did you get in here?" the old man questioned Henry rapidly.
Henry squinted his eye's to read the man's security tag: it read Eugene Farnsworth. "Well, Eugene is it? My name is Henry Johnson, I'm the new guard I was stationed in this cell block," Henry reached into his pocket.
"Easy, no sudden movements, laddie," Eugene shot, his wand trembling in his hands. Henry wondered how this man could be a prison guard if he couldn't even handle a wand.
Henry pulled his security tags from his pocket and handed them over to the old guard. Eugene scrutinized the tags with extreme detail. After about two minutes of inspection Eugene turned the tags back over to Henry, "Still doesn't explain how you got in here only the executioner and I now how."
"I don't know, the door just opened by itself."
"Well you work here now so I might as well tell you," the old man's unsteady hands ceased a quill and a scrap of parchment, and scribbled on it. "Can't let them know just incase they try to escape," Eugene shifted his head towards the caged prisoners as he placed the tattered piece of parchment in Henry's open palm. Henry looked at the note it simply stated: Ask door to open.
Eugene ignited the paper and it was engulfed in flames, it was reduced to ashes in a matter of seconds. "You remind me of when I first started working here, what did you say name was, Harvey?"
"Henry," Henry corrected him.
"That's right, Howard," Henry tried to correct him again but Eugene continued to ramble, "Well, Herman, if you have any questions about the job don't hesitate to ask."
"There's one thing I want to know why is the worst place in Azkaban the best place in Azkaban?"
"Glad you asked, Sonny. Well after You-Know-Who was defeated again by The-Boy-Who-Lived the Minister of Magic at the time, Arthur Weasley, set out to punish all of the Dark Lord's supporters. In other words the dementors that used to protect the fortress were banished and I was sent here to guard it. One by one my colleagues left and more and more of you youngster degenerates came and turned what was a nice facility into what you see out there. So I locked myself down here to prevent that from happening in here. People up stairs knew that was horrible, so I started telling stories of the gruesomeness of Death Row. One thing the older inmates like Old Pete back there, he was transferred down here for going cannibal on a roommate, miss about the dementors is that they kept the prison livable, unbearable, but livable."
Henry looked to Eugene with a cocked brow, "You've people that would prefer sanitation over reliving a constant nightmare?"
Eugene gave a toothless smile, "I'm surprised you kids nowadays even know about the dementors."
"I found the library at school to be the best place to get my education," Henry replied.
Eugene limped back to his chair and took a seat, "I don't blame you, Hank, after all Hogwarts did lose some of the best teachers during that fiasco, not to mention Albus Dumbledore. That must have been what, fifteen years ago."
"Twenty!" a cold hollow voice shouted from across the room.
Henry looked to find the source of the voice but saw nothing but shadows, "What was that?"
Eugene let another toothless grin come across his face, "That, my dear rookie, was the pride and joy of the penitentiary, the Devil's Hand, Jack Diablo."
"Who is Jack Diablo?" Henry asked and a soft muffled laughter emerged from the cells.
"No, I guess you wouldn't have read much about him, I don't think anybody really knows his story besides him, even those who did are either in the prison some where or dead. The Ministry tries to keep him hush-hush." Eugene leaned back on his chair made of oak, put his feet on the desk and his hands behind his shinny balding head.
Henry stared at the elderly wizard with an enigmatic glare, "What is it, exactly that we do?"
Eugene let out a relaxing sigh, "The easiest job ever, the most boring, but by far the easiest, we just sit here and do nothing."
Henry's face held a perplexed expression, "What about food and stuff, if you never leave the desk how do you know they're still in there?"
"Hmm, I've never thought about that, but they've got nowhere to go, they can't leave they don't know how and I'm hard as a rock, as for food the House Elves send it to them, but there is the rare occasion where one of these barbarians receives a letter, first check it for foreign objects, if its clean, you toss it through the bars, never hand anything to them. You see those lines on the floor outlining the cells?"
"Yeah," Henry said nodding.
"Don't cross those and you'll be fine."
"Okay, let's say I have to pass out the letters how do I know who to give it to?"
"Right," Eugene said with a drawl, "Listen up, cell one has Jaiprete Muhammad Altar, he's the guy that bombed the Ministry of Magic a couple years ago. In cell two is the only woman in Azkaban, Amy Belle, she's half Veela, quite the looker," Eugene prodded Henry with his elbow, "But you better watch yourself around her, she led 437 men to their death, lets think with the big head. Cell four holds Big Jim Tulanski, he's a giant, so you won't get much out of him, he killed five students and a teacher during the Hogwarts debacle. In cell five is Old Pete, well you know what he did."
"What about cell three?"
"I thought I told you, Jack Diablo."
"And what did he do?"
"You don't listen much do you? I don't really know?"
"Well he had to be booked for something."
"Good point." Eugene opened a drawer of the desk and pulled out a large file, he blew the dust from the folder, "Let's see here, Diablo, Diablo," he muttered to himself as he filed through the profiles, "Here we are Diablo, Jack sentenced life for crimes against humanity and treason, Death Eater, Hogwarts Invasion, murder of Albus Dumbledore and six hundred thirty seven other people. I hear Death Eaters blame him for You-Know-Who's second fall to Harry Potter, well that's Jack Diablo in a nutshell."
"Wait a minute, how could some Death Eater kill the man You-Know-Who never could?"
"Kid I'm just an old man trying to make a living, I'm not the human encyclopedia, I don't the man's life story, hell, no one does but him."
"Alright!" Henry shouted back. He began pacing between the desk and the door, Eugene eyes followed him.
"Kid you alright if I leave, I'll be back tomorrow morning, I haven't left here in weeks I good use a break."
Henry winced, "You can't leave," he said hastily.
"And why's that?"
"Well I kind of broke the stairs on my way down."
Eugene let out a he-he-he laugh, "You really are new here. You know that slap of concrete out there on the ground?"
"Well that's the top of a pillar, just tap it with your wand a say Assendium and it takes you to the top," Eugene pulled himself out of the chair and hobbled over to the door, it opened. "See you tomorrow Hank," Eugene stepped though the portal and the iron door sealed behind him.
The room was now completely silent except for the constant ticking of a clock on the wall behind the security desk. Another clicking sound seemed to be synchronized with the clock, Henry marched towards the isle of inmates.
Henry stopped in-between cells one and five. He first looked to his left, cell one. Jaiprete Muhammad Altar, was very sitting in the corner of his cell, legs crossed, his eyes wide and glaring. Henry eyed him curiously, Altar still stared ahead entranced. Altar was a scary man, he wore a turban in the darkest shade of black held closed by a jeweled scarab on his forehead. His beard, nappy and gnarly, swept the floor. His eyes pure white appeared empty. Altar didn't look like all the other thugs and goons Henry had seen before, Altar looked rather weak, but he looked like someone you wouldn't want to get involved with.
A menacing cackle came from behind him, Henry whipped around and faced the cell five. An odd hunched back man smiled a sly grin exposing the three crooked yellow teeth he had. Old Pete was the strangest man Henry had ever seen, he was bald except for small scattered patches of hair, his hands only bared seven fingers, three on the left four on the right, one of his eyes were missing leaving an empty hole in his head, and he only had his one leg thee other was replaced by a splintering wooden peg that was shorter than his leg giving his hump an even bigger look and a horrible limp.
The decrepit old man hobbled up to the parallel bars separating him from Henry, "Yer looking' perdy boy, delicious," the deformed man licked his chapped lips with a tongue spotted with green. "Lookin' good nough to eat," he wheezed. Old Pete began to pant and breath heavily in a crazed manor, drool dribbling from his skewed jaw.
Henry graciously pulled his wand from his robes and pointed it directly at Old Pete's chest, "And you're looking greasy enough to fry, now back away from me quick and quiet and maybe I'll just walk away." The odd old man huddled in fear at the seat of Henry's wand, he whimpered in cowardice as he limp to the back corner of his cell and curled into a ball behind his cot. Henry returned his wand to his robe pocket. Henry caught a glimpse of Altar as he furthered down the isle of cells, his eyes seemed to be following him cautiously.
Henry proceeded on his quest to the end when a loud grunt and gigantic arms thrashed against the iron bars that stood between him and cell four. Cell four was different than the others; it was twice as wide and thrice as tall. But the cell had to be altered in order to hold Big Jim, he was at least thirty feet tall and ten feet wide. He had an egg-shaped head completely hairless, folds of skin over lapping on his disgruntled forehead. Henry didn't know if Big Jim was upset or if he just always looked angry.
Henry stepped back from Big Jim's cell slowly, he didn't want to shock the enormous beast. A smell so enticing tempted his nostrils, and magnificent music filled his ears, he spun around to find the source. His eyes fell upon the most beautiful women he had ever seen, her silky hair was long and flowing like a river and her body was curved like the river's bend, she had a definite glow. Henry didn't know whether it was her looks or her smell or something else, but something was attracting him to her like a magnet, he marched towards her entranced by her essence. Henry continued to marc towards Amy Belle coming closer and closer to the line that bordered cell three. The corners of the Veela's mouth rose ever so slightly as Henry progressed, she walked to him as he did her. Henry's foot crossed the line.
A cold hollow voice came from nowhere and brought Henry back from his trance, "You better watch yourself, kid. You keep thinking with the wrong head you're going to end up dead."
Henry turned on his heel. Cell three's was dimly lighted, it's walls were lined with countless stacks of books. Jack Diablo sat in a leather upholstered armchair facing the cell's back wall, Henry only the back of his head.
"Why would you help me?" Henry asked as he stepped closer to cell three.
"Because if that nymph got hold of your wand, I'd be dead too, " a rustle of a turning page blended with a hiss coming from the Veela.
Henry stood outside the cell staring in, "Don't have many friends do you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, people from back in the day like Eugene don't like you, Aurors must of hated you, even Death Eaters and your fellow inmates despise you."
"That's not true," Diablo said smugly, "Big Jim's a fellow Death Eater and inmate and we get along just peachy. Am I right Big Jim?"
Big Jim let out a grunt in agreement. "He understands why I did what I did. Plus I read the ignorant oaf stories to fall asleep to; he's quite fond of The Little Engine That Could. It's probably because his subconscious is subliminally telling him he is inferior, and does action to show he can."
"So why did you do whatever it was that you did?"
"I believe that is for me to know you to not." Diablo went back to his reading.
Henry looked to the stacks of books lining the walls, Henry noticed a few stacks were written and different languages. "You're quite intellectual for a grunt."
"A grunt!" roared as if he had been insulted. "I was the second link in the chain of command. And skill in battle is nothing compared to strategy, the mind is the most powerful weapon you have. In Greek Mythology it was Athena's wit and her mind for tactics that allowed her to constantly thwart her brother Ares, the NO WAY of war, on the battle field. As it was my keen head that conquered Hogwarts effortlessly."
"You murder all those people and you brag about it?"
"You don't know me, therefore do not judge me. I do not brag of deaths, I boast of my capture of the school, might I add that there was only one casualty in the cession of the school, it was the Ministry's foolish siege and invasion of the school during my absence that lost lives. Lives lost in a foolish quest for power. Now if you'll excuse me, I've just gotten this new book."
Henry didn't know why, but he was intrigued by the Death Eater's story. He wanted to know more, but Diablo kept him on a need-to-know basis, and Henry felt Diablo didn't want him to know anything about. Henry headed back towards the security desk, Old Pete cowered when Henry came into sight, Altar still sat staring with eyes that seemed to follow him.
Henry watched the prisoners for hours; Old Pete kept limping up to the bars and every time Henry would look at him he would whimper and hobble back to he shadows wheezing loudly. Altar seemed to never move, even when the food came he just sat there staring. Amy Belle gestured to Henry to come to her cell, waving and smiling every so often, singing soft hymns that beckoned him, but Henry stayed rooted at the desk. Big Jim mostly just rolled around in his cells scratching himself. Jack Diablo sat in his leather armchair reading, Henry could hear the soft rustle of the pages turning when it was quiet enough. Henry's eyelids dropped lower and lower with every tick of the clock.
Henry woke up several hours later with a toothless grin staring him in the face. "Job got to you, eh?"
"Yeah, you were right about the boredom of the job," Henry yawned.
Eugene gave his he-he-he laugh, "Go home kid, get some rest."
"I think I got enough during my shift."
Eugene gave another laugh as Henry left the chair and stretched out. Henry began drifting towards the door when Eugene shouted to him, "Howard, you can't tell anybody what's really in here, you got it?"
"Got it." he replied as the iron door, clean and polished on one side, dirty and rusted on the other, swung open.
Henry stepped through into the small square room with the concrete slab sticking out of the ground. The iron door slammed shut and the lock turned and stopped with a CLUNK!
Henry took a stance on top of the large slab of concrete, "Er, A-assendium!"
The stab of concrete began to vibrate harshly, Henry almost lost his footing. The pillar forced itself from the ground with a loud crunch and sprung upwards, landings, doors and flights of stairs flew past as the slab rose. It was a matter of seconds before he came to a stop at the landing at ground level. Henry hopped the gap between the slab of concrete and the landing. Henry's inertia carried him into the wall with a soft thud.
Henry stepped to the rusty door, hands outstretched to turn the lock. Before Henry could place a finger on the circular handle it twisted and the door swung open, "Welcome back, Rook, how was the dungeon? Bet you've seen some things."
Henry doing as Eugene asked came up with a story, "Oh yeah, it's horrible down there. They have people down there that eat their own fecal matter." That wasn't a lie Old Pete followed his diner with corn filled pudding.
"Not something we haven't seen," Rich replied unimpressed.
"But with a fork and knife, shocking," Henry marched on down the hall, his mind thinking about his wit, when an inmate jumped out him causing Henry to leap back in shock. It was the same skinny, hairy man with completely white eyes.
"A reflection only reveals itself after you reveal yourself to the mirror," the shrill cold misty voice spoke. The blind man stumbled away from the bars.
"What does that mean?" Henry asked suspiciously.
The old man's head wandered quickly from left to right and back again, "Who are you? Who's there," the man's arms reached out and the clawed the air.
"I'm Henry Johnson, you said I haunted the evil appendix or something and you just told me that you have to look in a mirror to see a reflection."
"I've never heard of you," he muttered back and felt his way to his cot.
Henry had a bewildered look on his face. How could someone who attacked him only half a day earlier have forgotten about him. This thought carried him across the disgusting corridor and to the door.
The iron door squeaked open and Henry stepped through. On the other side Henry caught a glimpse of the plump receptionist from behind her magazine. The expression on her face told Henry she had been surprised to see him alive or least not maimed. "Good to see you again," Henry said cynically.
The witch mumbled something back but Henry couldn't make it out. He proceeded to the door ignoring the crunches coming from under his boots.
Henry was relieved by the sunlight and pale blue sky, the refreshing smell of the sea, and the feeling of freedom of being out of that prison. He marched forward and the great iron gates swung open as he approached.
Henry found the old fisherman waiting for him on the shore. "How did you know I'd be here?" Henry called out to him.
"I didn't. Ol' 'Gene, he told me ter wait fer a young bloke ter take back."
"Remind me to thank him tomorrow."
"Might I suggest ya take yer things here with ya tomarrra, an' stay in da crew's quarters, I don' run a ferry ya see."
Henry boarded the rickety old rowboat. The old fisherman grabbed an oar and pushed the boat from the shore. In a few minutes Henry could no longer see the misty isle that held the crumbling fortress of Azkaban.
Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:30 AM
Heavy unsynchronized breaths were emitted from under a mound of sheets and blankets. The blankets erupted fiercely from the mound they lied on. Henry sprang up to a sitting position drenched in a cold sweat. The canvas cot he was lying on teetered under the sudden shift and Henry found himself on the floor. He groaned as he pushed himself up.
Henry stumbled sleepily to the wash basin. He filled his hands with cold water and splashed it over his face, "It was only a dream," he said to his reflection as he fanned his hands, "Only a dream."
Henry wiped the sleep from his eyes and walked to his closet. His still moist hands turned the engraved brass knob and pulled the door open easily. Henry reached in absentmindedly for a robe but his hand came back with nothing. Henry pulled the door open more and saw that the closet contained no robes. Inside the closet was a long passage, that seemed to change colors in the distance, lined with bars.
Henry's curiosity had gotten the better of him and he stepped into the strange yet familiar unknown that lied behind the closet's door. The long passage reminded Henry of that disgusting hall between the atrium and stairwell but clean and neat, he supposed it had to have looked this nice at some point in time.
Henry peered into the first cell, he was bewildered by the sight. Where the prisoner should have been, stood a full body mirror. Henry glared into the mirror, but his reflection didn't appear. An image of his one year old self showed in the pane, it waved to him and pointed down the corridor. "You want me to go," Henry mimicked the image of himself at one year of age. The baby simply nodded.
I must be losing my mind Henry thought as he ambled to the next cell, where he found another mirror behind the bars, only this time it showed his two year old self. Just as the last image had done, this one waved and pointed to the next cell.
Henry followed his young selves' orders, he continued to proceed down the corridor which was becoming more dark and dreary the deeper he went. The corridor began to look more and more disgusting and shabbier, like that hallway in Azkaban.
The ceiling crumbled over his head, tiny pebbles of rock bombarded his head every so often as he came to a stop at the last cell, it contained the mirror that showed the image of his current self. The image did as all the others and waved to Henry, only this one didn't point to the next cell, it couldn't, but to the one on the other side of the hall.
"But what about that door," Henry pointed to an iron door that was embedded in the wall at the end of the corridor. The reflection simply shook his head and pointed across the hall.
Henry turned on the ball of his heel, expecting to see another mirror. Henry was at a loss of words from what he'd seen. He saw himself, not in a mirror, but an actual person. This Henry that was in the cell was eyeless, leaving two holes in his head where they should have been, he wandered the cell aimlessly lost muttering, "Where am I? How do I find my way?" repeatedly to no one or so the Henry outside the cell thought.
There was another person in the cell, a man sitting in an armchair, his back facing Henry reading a map that covered the back wall of the cell.
"Why don't you tell him what he wants to know?" Henry shouted to the man in the chair. The man rose from the chair and walked to the bars, his head hidden in the shadows. "I said why won't you tell him, me, what we want to know?" Henry shouted.
The man emerged from the shadows, Henry was mystified. The man was faceless, no eyes, no nose, no mouth, not even a shape, only a pair of ears were on the empty head.
Henry wanted to run but the walls seemed to be closing in on him. He began to pant and breath heavily, he needed to find an exit. He ran to the iron door embedded in the wall, he tried to pull it open but it wouldn't budge. The walls were closing in on him, he backed against the door,. The adjacent wall pressed against him, he couldn't breath, he closed his eyes. In a last effort to escape he pushed the wall with all his might and to his surprise he could no longer feel the wall compressing him.
Henry opened his eyes, a plaster wall stood a short distance ahead. He noticed he was lying down and sat up so quickly the cot he was lying on teetered and he landed on the ground. He moaned sorely as he pushed himself off the cold damp ground.
Once back on his feet, he gave a sigh of relieve and ambled sleepily across the room to the wash basin, something about this seemed very familiar. He dipped his hands slowly into the basin, he cupped them and filled them with the cool water that lied within. He splashed the brisk water over his face, he grabbed a towel off of the rack nearby and patted his face dry. He looked to his reflection in the mirror above the basin, "It was only a dream. Only a dream," he told it.
Henry rubbed his eyes tiredly and walked over to the oak door that held the closet behind it. He turned the engraved the brass doorknob smoothly, and opened the door far enough to reach a hand in. A few moments later his hand returned with his black work robes.
After he clothed himself, Henry was wide awake. He snatched his wand from the bed side table summoned all his belongings and placed them neatly within a traveling case. After everything was in its proper place Henry stowed his wand in a pocket inside his robes, grabbed his case, and exited the cheap motel room and headed for the facility's lobby.
The lobby wasn't far from Henry's room, a little bell chimed as he walked in. "Good morning Mr. Johnson." said a man behind the desk.
"Morning Bates. You know we've known each other for five years you can call me by my first name," Henry replied.
"Sorry Henry, job requirement," Bates responded. "I hope you didn't mind the cot, Mum had to sell a few things to keep us in business, we don't get much business out here."
"It wasn't a problem," Henry groaned as he stretched out.
"Rough night?" Bates asked.
"You could say that."
"Yeah, I can remember when I first got out of school."
"That was two years ago why wouldn't you remember?"
"Ha Ha," Bates said sarcastically, "Yeah, a different party everyday, never remembering what I did the night before, those were the days."
"Yeah, but then Dad died and I had to come help Mum with the business. It hasn't been that bad though, I get a free room anytime I want if you know what I mean? Huh? Huh?"
"See you haven't changed."
"And neither have you, so what brings you up here so early?"
"Checking out. I got a job."
Bates eyed Henry's travel case with concern, "A job? You're throwing away the best years of your life, not to mention I hate to see our only reliable source of income go, but hey, such is life."
Henry gave a fake laugh, "So, How much do I owe you?" Henry pulled out a satchel of money.
"Let's see, two days rent, room service, service charge, and motel post come to fifty galleons." Henry cocked an eyebrow at Bates. "Okay, okay, I'll throw in a family discount, thirty galleons."
Henry handed the gold over rather slowly, "Maybe if you didn't charge people so much they might actually rent a room."
Bates gave another sarcastic laugh. Henry gave a departing wave and exited the lobby, the door chimed once again.
It was cold, wet, and dark outside, fog blanketed the small town on the northern shores of Scotland. Henry pulled his dark tinted glass from the inner pocket of his robes, unfolded them with ease and placed them slowly over eyes. He propped up the collar of robes and walked down the cobblestone street.
Henry thought this would have been a perfect place to grow up. A small old fashioned town with cobblestone streets, oil burning streetlamps, and a peat swamp where most of the town worked. It would have been nice to grow up here.
Henry continued to the small harbor at the other side of the town, where the old fisherman awaited to take him back to Azkaban. Henry thought of his childhood, growing up in the orphanage, or a different foster family every other year. He wondered whether he would be any different if he had had parents in his adolescence. Henry fingers rolled over a pocket knife with a serpent shaped, it was his grandfather's. Henry lived with his grandfather, his parents were deceased, until he was five, when his grandfather passed away. Henry pocketed the knife.
"Ready ter go then?" said a harsh voice. Henry couldn't see the old fisherman through the fog, his dark glasses didn't help either.
"Yeah," Henry replied unsurely.
"Well I can' wait fer yeh all day, ge' in da boat," the old fisherman shouted. Henry could hear the surf rolling on the shores.
"I can't find it!"
"It's right in front o' yeh!"
Henry proceeded forward cautiously, his arms waving ahead of him. He hit something, not with his hand but with his shin, he walked into the rear of the boat and fell into it.
"Good, now we can go." The boat jolted suddenly and Henry tumbled in the boat because of the sudden movement. The boat rocked calmly over the waves as the fisherman climbed into the dingy.
The old fisherman rowed the boat in silence over the breaking of the waves. "Why yeh take da job a' Azkaban, sonny?" the fisherman asked.
Henry stared awkwardly at him, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Now don' gimme none o' that. Yeh young on's taday think yer so smart an' edgimacated but yeh don' know nothin'. Yeh think yer walkin' a new path when some on' already been dat way an' mapped da road. Yeh think a squib like me don' know 'bout da wizards? I see why a senile ol' man like ol' Gene be workin' dere, but a young lad like yerself?"
Henry stops his act of ignorance, "I left school early."
"Is dat righ'. Yeh know da Weasley twins lef' school early an' now they're millionaires. School don' get yeh a job, it jus' gets yeh in ter trouble, yeh can ask Jack Diablo bout dat."
"How do you know Jack Diablo and do mean by that?"
"Everybody knew Jack Diablo back in my day, he killed Dumbledore, dat was big news."
"But do mean about school getting Diablo into trouble?"
"I says too much."
The trip back to the isle that held the wizard prison was filled with awkward silence, Henry's mind racing with questions.
The dingy again rested on the seaweed covered shores of Azkaban. Henry waved back to the old fisherman as he pushed off into the sea. Henry marched back up to the decrepit fortress, travel case in hand, the great iron gates split as he approached.
Once again in the disgusting place that was the atrium of the prison. The roach carpet that blanketed the dirty floor, scattered as he stepped forward. Henry stood at the plump receptionist's desk, this time she didn't try to ignore him, "What do you want now?" she snapped at him.
Henry flinched. "I-I-just wanted to know where the staff's quarters are," Henry stuttered.
"Oh," she snarled, "Right through there." The stout receptionist pointed her chubby finger to an iron door opposite the one leading to the dark and dreary corridor.
"Thank you, I guess," Henry replied and walked off over to the door. This door opened easier than the others, possibly because of its constant use Henry thought.
The staff's quarters' didn't seemed much different than the rest of the prison, its was filthy, yet cleaner than other parts of the prison, bunks, three beds high, if you could call plywood and canvas a bed, lined the walls like cells. A shabby looking man was a sleep in the bunk nearest the door, Henry went to place his things in the bunk next to him when the man blurted, "That bunk is taken, kid."
Henry looked to the man oddly, he was still asleep, or at least looked it. Henry moved to the next bunk and set his things on the bed. "That bunk is taken, too."
"Okay, which bunk I not taken, then?" Henry retorted.
"Last column on the left, all the way at the end, bottom bunk," yawned the sleeping man.
Henry continued down the row of poorly constructed bunks until he reached the end. Henry dropped his case in the bunk. Henry sighed and rolled into his bunk. He stretched out and put his hands behind his head like pillows, the bed wasn't as uncomfortable he thought. This isn't that bad Henry thought as he laid there. There was a loud creak and the bed fell through and landed with a thump, "I hate this place!" Henry shouted.
"Stupid rookie," Henry heard the sleeping man chuckle. Henry crawled out of his collapsed bunk, anger pulsing through him. Henry marched back towards the sleeping man pulling his grandfather's serpent handled knife from his pocket. He quietly pulled out the blade and clenched the handle firmly in his fist.
Henry hovered over the sleeping man's bunk. The sleeping man rolled over, "What do you wan-" a gush of blood splashed Henry in the face, blood was dripping from the serpent knife and Henry hand. The sleeping was lying limp blood spilling off his bunk, Henry stood over the body in a trance.
Henry shook his head and crawled out of his broken bunk. He stood up and dusted himself off. Henry pondered his last thought as he passed the sleeping man and returned to the atrium. He crossed the hall and entered the dark and dreary corridor. The blind man whimpered as Henry walked by. He passed through the iron door that Rich guarded and descended into the depths on the elevator like pillar. He asked the door to open and entered the glorious room that held the worst of the worst.
"Hal! You're back! It's about time too, I had some beans and prune juice for dinner and I've got me buns shut tighter than a pickle jar," Eugene hopped out of the chair and hustled bowlegged over to the door, "See you tomorrow, Hans." The door slammed shut behind him.
"Was absolutely necessary for him to tell me that?" Henry muttered to himself. Henry took a seat at the security and twiddled his wand in between his fingers.
"Hey Kid," a cold hollow voice shouted from the shadows, "Why didn't you do it?"
"What you really wanted to do?" Diablo asked slyly.
A panic arose in Henry, he was in a state of unease, a cold sweat erupted from his pores. "What you talking about?" Henry replied hastily.
"Well, obviously you didn't want to be a prison guard your whole life."
Henry let out a sigh of relief, "I guess I never saw the point of getting an education to work at some dead-end job at the Ministry or Gringotts or someplace like that."
"So you didn't get an education to get a dead-end job here?"
"Anywhere else I would be just another faceless unimportant workaholic. But here, I have control. Everyone in this room's lives are in my hands."
"Ah, the NO WAY complex."
"No, a NO WAY is an all knowing higher power, I am but a man and I always have something to learn."
"Nice answer, but why did you sigh?"
"I didn't sigh," Henry said confused.
"After I asked you why you didn't do what you really wanted to do you sighed. Why?"
"I thought you were talking about something else."
"Like how you wanted to kill that man."
Henry's wand fell to the marble floor and rolled under the desk. Henry's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. He began to walk towards Diablo's cell. "How did you know about-"
"A man can map a trail if he's already walked it. I did the same thing, of course I was in a Death Eater camp, but the plot was still the same, murder stuck in my head but it never happened. I'd do it now in a heartbeat. But that's different story."
"Why don't you tell the whole story. If I'm reliving your life I want to know what happens."
"Do you really? Let me tell you a little story. Three boys were told by a wizard that on their thirtieth birthday at noon they would die. The first boy said, "I will train for twenty years and kill whatever comes to kill me." and so he trained with the greatest warriors for twenty years. The second boy said, "When that day comes I will hide where nothing could kill me." The third boy said, "I will do nothing and nothing shall harm me." On the said day the first man stood in a field with sword in hand. He tripped over a rock and killed himself with own sword. The second hid in a cave and was killed by a falling stalactite. The third man on his thirtieth birthday was killed by his own family in fear of what would kill him would kill them. In the end the wizard was right, all three died on their thirtieth birthday at noon. But if the wizard never told them when they would die would they have died on their thirtieth birthday at noon. You see all three of those men lived their lives to prepare for death instead of just living their lives. You still got a choice, knowledge or a lack there of. Just remember sometimes ignorance is bliss."
"But knowledge is power, so tell me."
"You can't make the decision now, temptation has clouded your judgment, if you still want to know tomorrow, I'll tell you."
"Well then maybe something else? No, forget it."
"No, go on."
"I had this crazy dream, but you probably knew that."
"No, I never had a dream I keep my emotions balanced and my mind clear. I'm curious go on with this dream."
"Well I'm walk down this hallway much like a cell block. But behind the bars was this mirror with a reflection of me as a baby telling me to move down the hall, the same thing with the other cells only I'm getting older and hall starts falling apart, until I come to a wall with a door that stops at a mirror that reflects me now. In the cell opposite it, there's me but blind and lost and there's you reading this giant map but you won't tell me where I am or where I should go. I start to try to open the door at the end of the hall and the walls close in on me. Then I woke up."
"Hmmm. I'm no psychoanalyst, but from what I can tell. The hallway symbolizes your life, the hall falling apart as you progress shows the regression of you quality of life. The mirrors behind the bars reflect your trapped feeling your whole life, while the reflections are telling you to move on with your life. The blind you symbolizes you not knowing where are you are, lost in life. The image of me reading the map shows that you believe I can help you find your way me not talking shows I can't. Now the door leads to the rest of your life but you can't get to it until you pass now. Now the walls closing in I believe is saying you should go on with your life, they push you towards the door not map."
"Wait, if you never had this dream, and then I can't be reliving your life."
"Who ever said you were reliving my life? You are just having the same decisions on life, life decisions if you will, as I. Many roads lead to the same destination. You and I are two sides of the same coin. You hide your intelligence to fit in while I show it off to stand out, you are the captor and I am the captive, you are yin and I am yang."
"Why don't you tell me map my path so I know which choices to make?"
"Because if you know the path you'll follow it and thus you couldn't make a choice. By giving you this time to choose between a new life and the life you're destined to live, I'm do you a favor or am I just following the path, who knows? I say you shouldn't know, your dream says you shouldnt know, but the decision is yours."
"So you're saying follow the fates or defy them. But if I don't follow this metaphorical path I how would I know I wasn't destined to do that. In which I would be following my fates and be on this metaphorical path anyway. So why don't you just tell me about this path?"
"Because it's not your time to know."
"You're going to tell me any way, so why not now? It's illogical!"
"No kid, you're being illogical." Diablo rose from his chair and began to walk towards the bars, his face hidden in the shadows, "Kid, I've been here twenty years, and twenty years is a long time. You learn a lot in twenty years, I've learned that the third drawer of that desk sticks. I've learned the third bar from the right of Big Jim's door is loose. I've learned that that piece of marble right outside my cell can be pulled up. But most importantly I learned that floor sloops down into my cell, and if I can get a inexperienced guard to drop his wand and distract him long enough with a improvised story, his wand would eventually make its way down to right about here."
The was a soft PINK as the wooden wand tapped against the iron bars. Diablo bent over and picked up Henry's wand. "Alohomora!" the cell's door flew open, "Tell me kid, have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moon light?"
A shot of blue sparks erupted from the end of the wand. The sparks lightened the room, and just before Henry was hit by the spell he saw Diablo's face. He indeed looked like the cliché devil with a thin goatee and moustache, but his eyes glowed with blood red pigment, but what scared Henry the most was except for the eyes and goatee, He and Diablo were identical. Henry blacked out.
Posted 15 June 2004 - 07:13 AM
"Wake up, Kid!" A cold, hollow voice shouted. A splash of water hit Henry in the face. He flinched and opened his eyes, his vision was blurred. Henry rubbed his eyes with his palms, his vision slowly came back into focus.
Henry felt dizzy and his vision was striped, he was inside of one of the cells. Diablo came into view, he was wearing Henry's clothes and was clean shaven. "You have a nice sense of taste kid," Diablo unfolded Henry's dark glasses and placed them over his eyes. "But I do miss my distinct look," Diablo said rubbing his newly shaven chin, "I hope you enjoy it."
Henry felt his chin, his fingers brushed against a thin goatee. He looked down and saw he was wearing prison robes. "Trading places? Wow, haven't seen that one before," Henry replied sarcastically.
Diablo let out a cold laugh, "You know you're a real master of psychology. Do you really think that I would ruin my moment in time for a unique yet very risqué escape? No, I've learned from the mistakes of others, I have no need for theatrics like Voldemort, and I keep my emotions in check unlike Albus Dumbledore. This student has far surpassed his masters." Diablo turned on his heel.
"Yeah, but if you're so much better, why didn't you kill Voldemort yourself?"
Diablo turned back. "Have you ever heard of the Wizard of Oz. No? Well the Wizard of Oz was the mightiest, most feared, most powerful person in all the land of Oz. But he really wasn't, the wizard was really just an illusion and a light show, a machine, worked by a man behind a curtain; pulling levers and pushing buttons. Now, was Voldemort the man or the machine?"
"Well the name Voldemort struck fear into others, in that way he was the machine. But if the Death Eaters are the machine, the man who controlled them is the man behind the curtain, in that way he is the man," Henry answered.
"Did he really control the Death Eaters?"
"He was the Dark Lord, he created the Death Eaters, of course he controlled them."
"Come on Kid, in this day and age no one lives their lives by morals, standards, or beliefs. You're forgetting the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules. Voldemort didn't care about Mudbloods or half-breeds anymore, all that was on his mind was Harry Potter. It's human nature to look after your interests, and what do you think interested the Death Eaters more, money or the cause."
"Well, money is the route of all evil."
Diablo laughed. "That's why I like you, Kid, you're witty. You remind me of a young me, young, cocky, and stupid. Yes, yes, Voldemort was wrong in thinking fear was the most persuasive tool, greed is. Voldemort had his loyal circle, of course, but they've been taken care of."
Diablo tapped the security desk with Henry's wand and a drawer shot open. Diablo reached into the drawer and pulled out an odd looking armband. Diablo rolled up his sleeve and clasped the contraption on and fitted the wand into it. He let the sleeve drape back down over it. And with a flick of his hand the wand shot out into his palm. "Still works. Such a useful little devise for Muggle machinery." Diablo reached back in and pulled out two silver balls, he swirled them in his hand then pocketed them. Diablo tapped the drawer and it slid back into it's proper place.
Diablo glanced at the clock, "Time is the only thing keeping me from my freedom and the dawn of a new era."
"You're forgetting one thing. What happens when I talk?"
"Go ahead and talk, who's Eugene going to believe the man in or outside of the cage. But eventually Eugene will discover that you are in fact Henry Johnson and Jack Diablo is at large. But who will believe a senile old man and a rookie punk, besides no one even knows who Jack Diablo is, and its kind of hard to catch a man that doesn't exist. Of course, I could have just erased your memory."
"Yeah, why didn't you?"
"It's the memories that make the man. And besides if you didn't recollect this experience how could you ask the question I told you I'd answer?"
"What question? You never said you'd answer any of my questions. And the ones you have answered were answered in riddles. You've told me nothing."
"Nothing is a paradox."
"Nothing is a paradox. Something that contradicts itself. There can never be nothing because nothing is something."
"Oh Jack, I just love it when you talk so smart, it's so sexy. Why don't let me out so I can show you how sexy it is?" Amy Belle whispered seductively.
"Finally subdued by my irresistible charm after fifteen years together? Must be my bad-boy vibe. But you just don't do anything for me, you have the looks but you lack depth, and besides you'd try to kill me as soon as you had the chance. If I'm dead I can't pawn off the kid as me and escape."
"Yeah Jack, he looks just like you," Amy Belle replied slyly.
Jack Diablo sensed Belle's tone, "He looks just like I did, the hair, the eyes, the robes, the mark, it's all there."
"Oh yeah, he's the spitting image of you."
"Well, then we agree," Diablo said as he walked back to the security desk.
"Eh, Jack, you smell delicious," Old Pete panted heavily, "I'd love to shake the hand of a legend, a dead mans last wish." Old Pete hobbled up to the bars and reach his four fingered hand through.
"As a last request," Diablo said with a wily grin on his face.
Diablo grasped Old Pete's hand. Old Pete's eye widened and Diablo was being pulled against bars, Old Pete let out shouts of glee. Diablo pulled back away from the bars, Old Pete wheezed, "You taste delicious too."
"I truly hope it was worth it for you Pete, because you will never live again," Diablo flicked his wrist and the wand shot into his palm.
"No, Jack don't," Old Pete limped back toward the corner behind his cot, his hump weaved up and down as he moved.
"May your soul be pitied in the afterlife, Purgatorium!"
Old Pete fell over with one last limp, his splintered peg rolled away from the still body.
"Pete get up! Get up! You killed him, you really killed him. Why?!" Henry shouted. "I got to see the legendary Jack Diablo work his magic, what does this make, six hundred thirty eight?"
"I assure you I'm responsible for more deaths than that, but Pete isn't dead, he deserved a fate far worse than death. Imagine having a boggart in your mind, reliving a constant nightmare in your head, without being able to escape it. Imagine the most horrible pain tickling your every nerve. Imagine a sight that would make you want to rip out your eyes, a smell so atrocious youd never want to breath, a glorious meal that tastes so awful you'd cut off your tongue. Imagine experiencing this without knowing its happening, a world of misery in a world of nothing. You see Kid, your mind is your strongest weapon, but it's a !@#$ when it backfires. Old Pete's not dead, he only wishes he was. Living is Hell when Heaven is in the afterlife."
"You're the Devil, the Devil Jack, the goddamn Devil!"
"Then it's not just a clever nickname is it?"
"Just one thing."
"How can you have a world of nothing if nothing is a paradox?"
Diablo laughed coldly, "You don't cease to amaze me Kid. Let me guess you were a Gryffindor weren't you?"
"How did you know?"
"Only a courageous man would have said something like that to me, I respect you for it, but I always disliked Gryffindors, they always seemed too cocky, makes me wonder why I wasn't one."
"Slytherins never did like us too much."
Diablo laughed again, "A common misperception, I'm bronze and blue through and through."
"You are surprised? When we met what was I doing? Reading. My cell is lined with books, and I've read them all at least three times. The more you know the more you want to know. You've said it yourself, knowledge is power. I've always excelled in my work I learned N.E.W.T. level material in my fourth year, by my sixth I read every book in the school library, including the restricted section. It really helped me standout in my classes, especially Defense Against the Dark Arts, now that I knew what the Dark Arts were."
"I guess it helped you become the man you are today too."
"No, I became the man I am today through the most important lessons, the lessons of life," Diablo sighed, "Do you know what a fable is?"
"It's a story."
"It's not just a story, Kid. It's a story that intends to enforce a useful truth, or teach a lesson. A man by the name of Aesop used to tell them to young children to teach them morals, the world needs another Aesop."
The familiar squeak of the door filled the room. "You in here, Harley?"
"Over here Eugene," Diablo shouted over his shoulder.
"Thought you were AWOL, you wouldn't be the first guard to leave. What are you doing down there?"
"Diablo was acting oddly, I decided to investigate."
"That wouldn't be the first time either," Eugene glared at Diablo, "You look different Haley. Did you do something with your hair? It looks darker."
Though Diablo hid it well, Henry saw a look of panic in his face. "It must be the lighting," Diablo replied and clenched his hand.
"Must be. Have a good night, Harris. See you in the morning."
Diablo released his fist, "Indeed," and he proceeded towards the open door. "Oh by the way, I hit Old Pete with a sleeping spell when I came down here, he jumped out at me and I panicked, so he'll be out for a while, rookie jitters."
Eugene gave his he-he-he laugh, "I know what you mean Hampton, I had those myself back in the day."
"The Devil has more demons than all others," Altar whispered softly as Diablo walked by, Diablo pretended not to notice.
"Hey, Kid!" Henry shouted when Diablo reached the doorway.
"Yes?" Diablo spoke as he turned.
"What's your fable?"
A sheepish grin crawled over Diablo's face. "Follow the Yellow Brick Road."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
The sound of the Iron door shutting drowned Henry's voice.
"What was that about Jack?" Eugene asked.
"A question I need answered, Eugene, a question I want answered," Henry replied. "Follow the Yellow Brick Road? What the hell is the Yellow Brick Road?"
"That's from The Wizard of Oz. Did you know that The Wizard of Oz is a political parable of the Populist Movement over in America back in the late nineteenth century?"
"No, Eugene, I did not know that."
"Really? I could swear you were the one to tell me that." Eugene took his post at the security desk and hid behind the day's copy of the Daily Prophet.
Henry's eyes followed his finger as it rolled over the titles of the books lining Diablo's cell. The first column he found nothing, the second column he found nothing, the same was for the rest of the stacks of books, The Wizard of Oz was nowhere to be found. Henry let out a sigh and dropped into the leather armchair, a book on the chair's arm fell into his lap, it was none other than The Wizard of Oz. "Hide something in the most obvious place, like a book in a library. Not Jack Diablo."
"Are you coming down with something Jack, you sound different?" Eugene asked.
"No, Eugene, it's because I'm Henry Johnson."
"Very funny Jack." Henry heard the crinkle of Eugene turning a page in the newspaper.
Henry picked up the book. "The answer to my question is in this book," he muttered to himself and patted the book in his palm. Henry flipped through the pages, "They're blank, the answer to my question are in empty pages." Henry threw the book against the wall, when landed the cover flipped up. Henry noticed some writing on the inside cover. He picked it back up, It read:
This book tells the story of a young man, warm and full of life who is corrupted by the tempting power of evil. Read this fable and learn from the mistakes of this man's life.
A little blotch of ink emerged from the next page. The blotch was becoming larger and larger revealing a picture, soon the whole page was blanketed with the picture. Henry thought the picture was becoming larger than the page, he was coming closer and closer to it. Henry felt as though he was being sucked into the picture. Henry turned around, he didn't see bars, he didn't see Eugene. "I don't think I'm in Azkaban anymore.
A tall rather lanky young man with dark hair and pale blue eyes was walking towards Henry down a congested hall filled with rows of cubicles.
"John! Hey John! Get over here!" a really ancient looking man shouted. He seemed to be talking to a man in a pinstriped cloak and green bowler.
The tall, lanky young man walked over to him. "Call me Jack, Phaeus," he said in a warm full voice.
"I'll call you what I darn well please when you become Head Auror you can tell me different, and I thought I told you to shave, you look like a darn goat," Phaeus replied.
"Are you done?"
"No, uh, John I got someone I'd like you to meet, John meet Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge."
The man in the pinstriped cloak extended his hand, Jack shook it. "Cory here has told me much about you, Mr. Diablo, he says you're the greatest Auror prospect since a young Alaster Moody, I hope to see great work from you. I'll see you two at the meeting, right now I have an appointment with the French Ambassador, excuse me." Fudge walked back the way Jack came.
"Oh, Phaeus, you put up a good front but now I know deep down you love me, oh Phaeus, hold me."
"Ha, ha! Very funny, John," Phaeus said sarcastically, "We both know you're going places, I just want everyone to know it was this old man that trained you."
"All right, Phaeus I'll see you in the meeting. Hey have you seen Schmity?"
"Schmity! That putts, he passed the test, my name will be ruined if people find out I trained him, that boy will get somebody killed."
"The way you talk about him, do love Schmity more than me, Phaeus?"
"Get the hell out of here John!"
Jack walked down the hall chuckling to himself, he turned the corner and entered a long board room with a large table in the middle, many Aurors were already sitting there chatting.
"Hey Jack, where the hell have you been?" a short chubby man with shaggy blonde hair.
"I was just talking with old Phaeus, Schmity."
"Phaeus! How is the old hard butt?"
"Same as always," Jack took a seat at the table, "Schmity, do you know what this meeting is about?"
"I heard that Fudge is in a panic after the attack in the Department of Mysteries, I hear he is going to change everyone's assignments to You-Know-Who and his inner circle of Death Eaters."
"Yeah, there's no need to chase Sirius Black anymore."
"I heard he was a framed lounge singer anyway, Jack, but that's not the point. We just became Aurors and we're going to be assigned the biggest bounties ever. Guess how much just Lestrange is worth."
"I don't know Schmity, why don't you tell me?"
"One hundred thousand Galleons, I catch one of these guys I'm never working again."
"But you don't work now," Jack muttered under his breath.
"You say something Jack?"
"No, I had something in my throat."
The last few Aurors entered the room and took seats at the table. Phaeus and Fudge along with two others, one a tall thin man with sweeping silver hair and beard, his long crooked nose held half-moon spectacles, the other a broad, square jawed witch with a monocle, followed shortly after.
"All right listen up, I'm sure you all know Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, the Head of our department Amelia Bones, and Albus Dumbledore," shouted Phaeus over the soft chatter of the room, "After recent events the company has taken a new policy with this You-Know-Who business. Minister."
"Thank you Cory, the Ministry of Magic is not going to take this lying down, we've declared a war with this radical threat, everyone will be reassigned to someone in You-Know-Who's circle."
Schmity and Jack exchanged looks out of the corner of their eyes.
"What, months of tracking and hard work are going to thrown away, it's going to a criminal Christmas with all of us following the same people," an Auror shouted.
"All other cases will be handed down to the Hit Wizards. Of course some of you will be placed on special assignment to track the vampire, werewolf, troll, and giant populations and check their connections with the Death Eaters," Amelia Bones interjected.
"All though my esteemed advisor Albus Dumbledore suggested against it but we also have a secret volunteer mission," Fudge added.
Chatter filled the room, Schmity jumped on top of the table, "Oh captain, my captain, what objectives does this secret mission pertain?" the room quieted down.
"If I told you it wouldn't be a secret then, would it?"
"The Ministry's number of spies is running thin, they would like for a young unknown Auror to infiltrate the Death Eaters as one of them and leak information back to the Ministry," Dumbledore said calmly.
"You must be kidding. A rookie couldn't pull that off, they belong behind desks searching newspaper clippings for sightings," another Auror shouted.
Schmity got into a shouting match with the Auror, Jack just sat there with a thoughtful look on his face, "I'll do it!" he said smoothly.
The room fell quiet. Schmity turned to Jack with an ecstatic look on his face, "Proved you wrong, Dawlish."
"Jack, I don't think you should do this," Dumbledore proclaimed.
"Why not Albus, you and I both know Jack could do it," Phaeus stated.
"Yes Professor, why not?" Jack asked intrigued.
"It's not that I don't believe in your abilities Jack, you're just not ready for something like this."
"But don't you know it's our duty as rebellious youngsters to prove our mentors wrong," a sheepish grin shown on Jack's face, "I have to do this, Professor."
"I'm more afraid you'll prove me right," Dumbledore sighed and walked out of the room."
Posted 15 June 2004 - 08:44 AM
I loved that! You have a real talent for bringing humor to what could otherwise be an unbearably morose situation. The references to the Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum are wonderful. It's intriguing that Jack Diablo seems to love this "fable" above all others. That fact says a lot about the character.
"I don't think I'm in Azkaban anymore."
Did I notice a reference to Walt Whitman as well? (Oh Captain, my captain...) More and more I'm seeing that you are a very well read person. It shows in your prose and in your planning. Diablo's escape was nothing shy of pure genius and Henry's repartee was perfect. I like that he didn't just buckle under the stress of being swapped out with Jack, but seems to have taken this as an adventure and a chance to learn something. I'm expecting great things from Henry.
My fan fictions
Born of Evil: The Story of Aurielle Lestrange, His Mother's Blood & My Newest Fiction Forget Voldemort: Let's ROCK!
Note: Thanks to the lovely girl in my avatar, my daughter Cameron, who very kindly posed as my character Aurielle for me.
Posted 23 September 2004 - 11:12 PM
And Jade and thanks so much for the compliments, I guess my antisocial maleness kept me from responding.
His sheepish grim faded from Jack Diablo's face at Dumbledores words. His smile wasn't the only thing fading however. Henry glared at the scene intensively but his vision was becoming fuzzy and blurred, colors were changing, objects seemed to be growing and shrinking. Henry knew he was standing still but felt as if he were flying, or falling, he couldn't decide. Dizziness came over him and his stomach turned.
Henry closed his eyes thinking, hoping it would make it all go away, but it only made his plight worse. His stomach groaned as it winded, the burning sensation of acid climbed his throat, the mellow taste of his lunch coated the back of mouth. He opened eyes as he heaved, though he felt as if he was vomiting even though he wasn't.
Henry may not have been sick, but someone was. Henry looked around, he wasn't in the boardroom anymore, but in a dark, dodgy looking alleyway. The buildings that lined it were shabby and rundown, their windows were either barred or boarded. This alleyway appeared to be a place you didn't want to be in the daytime let alone at night.
Henry heard a gagging sound behind him, he turned quickly. A drunk man was keeled over on all fours on the walk heaving into the gutter. The man's eyes drooped, mucus dripped from his nose, and old vomit crusted around his lips. The soft patter of rain drops striking his face washed some of it away little by little but the drunk was still in a deeply disgusting state.
The pale glow of a streetlamp shone from the other end of the alleyway. Henry headed towards the light. As he strolled down the dark and dreary passage he came across a large and very impressively structured set of marble stairs that were guarded by two very demonic appearing stone gargoyles upon the staircase's lower corners. The building the steps led up to was just as impressive, although the design was flawed as there was no door into the small castle built completely of stone atop of the stairs.
Across from the staircase was a side alley, it was dirty and blanketed with trash. Dumpsters seemed to line the walls of the alley, except for a small building on the right, it had just a few tin trashcans and a wooden barrel collecting the rain from the downspout. Another drunk was passed out against the dumpsters.
Henry continued to walk towards the pale light at the far end of the alleyway accidentally stepping on a drunk, but his foot went through him as ghost's would. Henry didn't find this to be unexpected but he was still shocked by it.
Henry arrived at the alleyway's end to find the guiding light he had been following didn't shine from a streetlamp but radiated from a flickering neon sign for a back alley pub. The pub was shady. The building had no windows and a giant slab of iron for a door with a sliding trap for a peephole. It seemed quite the exclusive club, the kind of exclusive to keep the authorities out.
Another drunk sat next to the door of the pub clutching a flask of something. His body lay under a cloak as though it were a blanket, Henry supposed this was to keep him dry from the rain. His head leaned forward and the brim of his tattered fedora hid his face.
A loud CLANK came from the door. Moments later a man in a scruffy tee-shirt and torn jeans stumbled out of the pub. the door shut quickly behind him. The man sitting next to the pub's fedora rose slightly but dipped again soon after. The stumbling man continued out of the alley and onto the street.
Henry thought at least half an hour had passed before the door opened again. Only this time a drunk didn't stumble from the pub but was thrown from it. The drunk laid face down in the dark alley. "And don't come back unless you've got real money," the muscular bald man that threw the drunk from the pub shouted and slammed the door shut.
The man in the fedora rose swiftly to his feet revealing a very serious looking Jack Diablo. Jack draped his cloak over his shoulders and staggered over to the man lying facedown in front of the pub. "Let me help you up, buddy," Jack grabbed the man under an arm hiking up the man's sleeve revealing a mark on his arm. Jack hoisted the man to his feet, but he quickly stumbled and fell again. Jack lifted the man again, "What's your name, buddy?"
"Al-alcohol," the man muttered.
Jack chuckled softly, "Okay, Al, looks like you could use a quick pick me up. Take a swig of this." Jack tossed the man the flask he was carrying.
The man popped the top off and drained the flask, Jack's sheepish grin crawled across his face. "What's your name?"
"Tim Willman," the drunk man answered quickly and clearly.
"What do you do, Tim?"
"I'm a curse breaker for Gringotts Bank."
"Walk with me Tim," Jack headed towards the short staircase, "Aren't you a Death Eater?"
"Where is Voldemort?"
"I don't know, only a select few even see the Dark Lord."
"Who are these select few'?"
"I don't know."
As Jack and Tim approached the minute staircase Henry could Jack was becoming frustrated. "How did you get involved with the Death Eaters?"
"I met with a group of them, they blinded me a took me to a secret camp, that is where I joined their ranks."
"Where is this camp?"
A flash of red light shot down the alley way hitting Tim in the chest, Jack ducked in the side alley across from the stairs. Jack sat down against the wall as he did outside the pub, as a homeless beggar would.
Henry heard the trampling of feet and turned to watch two women running towards him. "Got one," one of them said, "I told you that guy was a reliable source."
"But there were two of them," the other one said, "See if he ran down that side alley."
The first witch stepped over to the alley's entrance and glanced down it, "Nothing down there but trash and a couple of drunks," the witch turned around a stared at the small castle. "Tina, isn't that-?"
"It sure is," Tina responded.
"Shouldn't we try to-"
"Forget about, even the greatest Aurors couldn't break into that place. Besides that kind of thing isn't even an Auror's job, especially with today's circumstances. Let's just take this disgrace back to the Ministry and start with the paperwork."
"All right," the first witch said reluctantly, "Portus!" A spark from the witch's wand struck an empty bottle lying on the ground. The two witch grasped the bottle and forced unconscious Tim to do so as well, a few moments later they were sucked into thin air and vanished.
Moments after the witch disappeared Jack's fedora rose again, scanning the area to make sure the coast was clear. He stood and again draped the cloak over his shoulders, though it didn't stay there long. BANG! The cloak dropped to the cold wet ground as Jack repeatedly kicked in a tin trashcan, his eyes glowing red in the darkness. The drunk that slept against the dumpsters awoke from the noise, he eyed Jack confused and then laid back down.
Henry believed Jack would have continued to kick the can forever hadn't it shot off down the alley on one of Jack's wild kicks. Jack's heavy breathing was slowing, he seemed to be calming down. Jack glared at the stone castle across the alley. "Why, darn it? Why?"
Jack strolled to the marble steps, the gargoyles seemed to watch him, he marched up each stair one by one. Henry was puzzled, why was Jack walking at a solid wall? Henry didn't understand why the Aurors wanted to but couldn't get in there, or why Jack was even trying, but he still followed. Jack stopped when his face nearly smacked the stone of the wall and uttered, "Usquequaque diabolus nunquam suus pignus."
The wall shook violently for a short while, a small hole appeared in the center of the wall, it grew wider and taller, soon a archway stood where there once was solid rock. Henry was perplexed; if even the greatest Aurors could not break through this magnificent building's walls, how could a newly appointed Auror know the secret of how to walk in.
"There's no place like home," Jack sighed as his steps echoed under the hollow archway. The corridor on the other side was brilliant in a deranged way, Henry perceived. The walls were lined with torches with dancing white flames burning from what looked like unicorn horns. Trophies of odd and magnificent beasts hung over magnificent carved oak doors between the torches. All the doors were open revealing people in odd suits planting, growing, and harvesting many strange plants, Jack didn't pay any attention to the happenings of these rooms and marched down the corridor.
The corridor came to a fork, a great statue stood before the section of wall between the splitting halls. The statue was of two more demonic gargoyles holding a giant silver ring that touched both the ceiling and the blood red marble floor. With a closer look Henry discover that the silver ring wasn't just a ring, but a snake devouring it's tail. Jack stood in front of the entwined serpent and stared at it thoughtfully. He rubbed the fuzz on his chin, "Hmm-Why this?" he asked himself.
Jack lifted his foot from the marble and stepped through the hole in the circular snake. Henry rubbed his eyes, Jack was nowhere to be seen, there was nothing but wall on the other side of the statue. Henry stuck his head through the silver serpent.
Henry saw a whole new room, a dark, terribly thin man with untamed dreadlocks sat in an armchair in the corner reading the Daily Prophet. Another man sat behind an extravagant desk facing the back wall, this reminded Henry much of his first meeting with Jack Diablo, only now Jack stood just in front of him.
"Is dat you Jacky, boy?" asked the thin man lowering his paper.
The chair behind the desk swiveled and now faced Jack. A tall, very intimidating man rose from behind the desk. The man looked a little like Jack, only he had a broader duller face, weathered in his old age, and his hair was a dark gray and slicked back, patches of dark black scattered about. With such powerful magic about, it puzzled Henry why this man wore a suit of the darkest black. "Jack," the man said with a raspy voice, grinning slightly. "You're visiting so much now, it's almost like you were my son."
"Some father you were," Jack said coldly.
"Some son you were Jack. You killed my wife, my one true love, the thing I cared most about, and I hated you for it. Hell, I still hate you for it. I would have smothered you while slept had it not been your mother's dying request that I made sure nothing harmed her precious gift'. She passed away holding the thing that killed her in arms, you." The old man looked at Jack in the deepest disgust.
"I didn't kill her," Jack replied calmly.
"Look at the cause of her untimely death, a birth complication. Your birth, Jack."
"Well if we're going to look at causes let's take the problem to it's roots, Father. There would have been no complication if there was no birth, no birth means no fetus, no fetus means no conception, no conception means no you. I may have been the bullet but you were the man that pulled the trigger."
Jack's father stood shaking with fury. "Stop your lies, boy."
"Lies? You of all people should know the devil deceits in half-truths."
The man in dreadlocks stood and folded his newspaper under his arm, "I t'ink I will leave you two to your fadda-son chat," he said as he walked to where Jack stood.
"Very well, Bobby," Jack's father barked
As Bobby made his way through the circular silver serpent Henry heard him whisper, "Good to see you again, boy," to Jack. He patted Jack on the back and vanished through the wall.
"Why have you graced me with your ever so wonderful presence once again, Jack? You finally give up on your Auror aspiration?" Jack's father asked smugly.
"No, and in fact that is why I am here. I need another lead."
"That's out of the question. I can't do it."
"You can't or you won't?"
"Both. This makes three in eight weeks. Three Death Eaters caught because of me in eight weeks, that's going to raise suspicions, Jack. It makes me look like a Ministry rat, and us and them only got along because we don't like the Ministry."
"An enemy of my enemy is my ally," Jack muttered.
"Exactly, Jack, if they see me as an enemy, my business will be hurt."
"If you want to be the new age Al Capone be my guest, but I need a lead!" Jack shouted at his father.
"All I can say is go to Little Hangleton."
"Why? What's in Little Hangleton?"
"A rat." A sly grin crawled onto Jack's father's face. "End of discussion. Is there anything else you want, Jack?" his father asked hastily.
"Why the Ouroboros as a family crest?" Jack asked.
"Why not? The snake devouring itself is a symbol of evil, Jörmungandr was deadly even to the gods. It is even known as a sign of the Diablo," Jacks father hissed.
"But that is only two interpretations, one relatively new, most believe it is a sign of the cycle of the universe, creation from destruction, life from death, and concepts of such as completion, perfection and totality, the endless round of existence."
"Ah yes, "It had no need of eyes, for there was nothing outside it to be seen; nor of ears, for there was nothing outside to be heard. There was no surrounding air to be breathed, nor was it in need of any organ by which to supply itself with food or to get rid of it when digested. Nothing went out from or came into it anywhere, for there was nothing. Of design it was made thus, its own waste providing its own food, acting and being acted upon entirely with and by itself, because its designer considered that a being which was sufficient unto itself would be far more excellent than one which depended upon anything." Timaeus, 33 -The Construction of the World. It looks to no one, while others look to it. Much like the family motto."
"Usquequaque diabolus nunquam suus pignus," Jack whispered.
"Always the devil and never his pawn. It is the way of we Diablos, and always will be," Jack's father growled.
"darn the motto."
"Resent it all you want, Jack, you inevitably will follow the motto. I wouldn't be surprised if you became Minister of Magic soon, you always were a conqueror, not a follower. Remember when you just a wee lad, just starting school?' Jack's father asked.
"How could I forget? Some of your finest parental expertise at work," Jack retorted sarcastically.
"It taught you an important lesson though, didn't it? You came home bruised and bloody and told me of some bully that showed you how to extort, another lesson learned from this experience. But after he used to collect from all the other children, he collected from you. But not only did you get your butt kicked, but you took the fall for the bully because the other children accused you of the crime, he pawned you.
"Then you came to me crying about it. What was I to do? You are strong, you are a Diablo, but most of all you are my son."
"Since when?" Jack interrupted.
His father ignored him, "I couldn't let you grow up soft, so what did I do?"
"You told me "Boy, you better stop crying and get double that money back or your butt is going to be crying in the street because your butt is going to start paying rent to stay in my house"," Jack imitated his father.
"darn right, and what did you, Jack? You went back to school the next day and beat the life out that bully, I heard that kid wears a mask always because of what you did to him. But I expected as much from you, but you did impress me in how you weren't in trouble for it, or any of your other incidents, for that matter. It is almost as if the only way you can be caught is if you turn yourself in. I envy that."
"When you do your job right, people won't know if you've done your job at all," Jack replied.
"I suppose, but I'm sure you used magic in there, somewhere."
"I didn't even know about magic until my eleventh birthday thanks to you. Just because you're a Squib doesn't mean you could keep me from being a wizard, you probably hate me because I'm everything you wish you were," Jack shouted.
"Get the hell out of my home," Jack's father screamed pointing to the door.
"Why, because you can't handle the truth?" Jack asked but his father turned his back to him and was walking back to his desk. Jack followed suit and turned to the giant silver snake and stepped up to it. He turned his had said, "You must accept that as much as you wish I were you, I will never be you." Jack stepped through the ring.
On the other side the dark, skinny man with dreadlocks stood waiting. "Jacky boy," he spoke.
"Bobby," Jack acknowledged him.
"How ya been boy, I ain't seen you since you was dis tall," Bobby gestured a height with his hand.
"Ever since I discovered my free will. A person's ability to think for their self is the first step towards mutiny and rebellion," Jack droned.
"Well I don' know bout dat but I can see you and your fadda had another heart to heart talk," Bobby replied with thick sarcasm.
"Yeah," Jack whispered, "A real father-son bonding moment."
Bobby rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers, two chairs popped out of nowhere. "Sit, let me tell you something. Da squabbles you and your fadda have ain't nothin' on da ones between he and your grandfadda. Da Diablos weren't always Muggle dealers, you know? Your great-grandfadda started a wizard pharmacy. He was well respected within the wizarding community, he believed in goodness in man, a belief that wouldn't live up to it's self. When your grandfadda took over, da business was struggling, and your fadda being a Squib went to da Muggle schools and came back wit all dese "untraditional" ideas to keep da business going. Your grandfadda didn't like your fadda because he was a Squib but he hated Muggles. And he truly despised his Squib son selling da finest wizard herbs and potions to Muggles, but he loved da income. Now da t'ings they sold are legal on both markets but International Wizarding Law prohibits da selling or trading of items of wizarding origin to Muggles. Your fadda made sure the family business wasn't in any way connected to da Muggle pushing, your fadda ran da illegal operations and your grandfadda was just da face of da company, he kept da Ministry at bay. When he died so did da pharmacy and da beautiful estate became the slums it is today, quite accessible for da junkies," Bobby rambled as he dug around in his pockets.
"So wizard father hates Squib son because he corrupted his business. Squib father hates wizard son because he doesn't want any part of his father's corrupted business. Insightful, yes, and I even almost felt sorry for him, but then I remembered his father still treated him like a son," Jack yelled at Bobby.
Bobby just stared at him with a grin, "You rationalize t'ings too much, boy, you need to stop t'inking so darn much and relax."
"Relax, Bobby? How am I supposed to relax when I'm involved in the largest manhunt in history, having my leads captured, getting nagged at by my department, and have the anti-father anti-helping me. Now with all that plus who knows what else, how am I supposed to relax, Bobby?"
Bobby pulled a small glass jar out his pocket; it was filled with some yellow herb. "Just one hit of dis and all your troubles go away just long enough to relax. Take my pipe too, Jacky boy, smokin' it gets da fastest effect." Bobby handed the small jar to Jack along with a intricate little ebony pipe. "I will leave you to your date with nirvana." Bobby ambled back through the Ouroboros.
Jack sat in his chair glaring into the bottle, which he was turning slowly in his hand, fiddling with Bobby's pipe in the other. "I always said I'd never touch the stuff. But what harm could one hit do?"
Jack pulled the cork stopper out of the bottle's neck and poured a little of the yellow herb into the pipe. Once again Henry's vision blurred and twisted but the image of Jack filling the pipe stayed clear in focus, every thing around changed, but Jack didn't.
Everything stopped, Henry noticed he was in a office building, Jack was still sitting in a chair packing the pipe. Once Jack was finished he didn't put the pipe to his lips, he glared at it again, then placed it on his desk and picked something else up.
THWOCK! Something just zipped past Henry's face, he turned to see what it was. It was a dart. Behind Henry was a dartboard, though it was covered with a strange picture of a snake-like man. The dart had hit him square in one of his cat like pupils. THWOCK! Another dart screamed past Henry's head and struck the snake man in his other eye.
Henry turned back to Jack. Jack sat in his chair tapping the tail of the last dart against his temple. His eyes were closed, he opened them and the tapping stopped he again looked to the pipe. He threw the last dart. THWOCK! It hit the snake man right between the eyes, Henry saw it out of the corner of his eye.
Jack reached for the pipe. He gently pressed it to his lips, tapped it with wand, and in haled. He rolled his head over the back of his chair, he would have been staring at the ceiling had his eyes been open. Yellow smoke was lightly billowing from the bowl of the pipe. Jack blew a golden smoke ring, it looked like a angel's halo.
"Mellow Yellow? Jack, I didn't know you smoked," a hard old voice queried.
"I don't," Jack replied hoarsely.
Cory Phaeus's barking laugh filled the cubical, "I know what you're talking about, Jack. I was the same way on my first case. Donavan McCane, I tracked him down for nearly six months, ah the good old days, back before they had me stuck behind a desk training you rookies." Jack took a deep breath. "What's getting to you?"
"What's not getting to me, Phaeus, what's not getting to me?," Jack sighed. He forced his head back up and spun his chair around to face Phaeus. "No one's even spotted anybody from the assumed Death Eater inner circle nor You-Know-Who. My pool of resources is darn near dry. I'm losing my leads because I have a stalker from inside the department," Jack looked at Phaeus accusingly.
"It's not me," Phaeus responded to the look.
"I know it's not you personally, but I suspect you gave the order."
"I'll have you know all the Aurors are working independently. If someone is tailing you, they're probably using you to collect bounties. Rather catch a bunch of tuna than a single whale, people these days are selfish and nearsighted." Phaeus shook his head and sighed. "You want some help while I'm here?"
"Yeah, get me a portkey to Little Hangleton," Jack said softly.
"Little Hangleton? Are you going to see the walking dead people? Now's not the time for you have a vacation, Jack," Phaeus uttered with a grin.
"Walking dead people? Vacation? What are you talking about, Phaeus?'
"Read," Phaeus threw a magazine at Jack. It was the Quibbler.
LITTLE HANGLETON: CORPSE CONVENTION?
Local witches and wizards of the Little Hangleton area have repeatedly reported sightings of deceased famed witches and wizards at Little Hangleton's appropriately name Hanged Man Pub over the last two weeks. Ken Starks, a local wizard has told Quibbler's own, Lyle Hearst, that he had seen Merlin and Circe dancing a jig to the sounds of a Muggle device called a jukebox. Lisa Bently, a witch from a neighboring village, says she stopped in the Hanged Man for a drink and saw the entire 1836 Welsh Quidditch team playing a game of poker in the pub. Trivial fact: the deaths of the 1836 Welsh Quidditch team set new standards on beaters clubs after their fatal game against Russia. But the oddest occurrence was that of Robert Lome claiming to have seen Sirius Black playing a drinking game with the man he killed fifteen years prior to his own death, Peter Petigrew. While the witches and wizards found this quite odd to see the living dead walking around, the Muggles didn't tend to notice, referring to the 1836 Welsh Quidditch team poker game as a monthly tournament, Merlin and Circe as tourists, Black as some drifter, and Petigrew as some Michael Jackson impersonator saying he wore a shiny glove on one hand-
"There is something here. Something, I can feel it," Jack muttered to himself. He leaned forward over the open magazine on his desk and clasped his hands together and pressed them to his lips as he looked over the article. "No, that's not it. C'mon Jack, think," Jack sputtered. Phaeus looked at him oddly. "Jacky boy, you're t'inking too much," Jack imitated Bobby and reached for the pipe off his desk, but Phaeus grabbed before he could get to it.
"Here take these," Phaeus pulled two silver orbs from his pocket and dropped them on Jack's desk.
"I'm not in the mood for a game of marbles, Phaeus," Jack said as he looked over the silver balls.
"They're not marbles, Jack, they're stress balls. You spin them in the palm of your hand and it's supposed to relax you. Never worked for me though, I tried using them while training Schmity, I got angry, they were in my hand, I threw them at Schmity. I got him good this one time, right in the forehead," Phaeus chuckled with a grin. "Take care of yourself Jack." Phaeus left the cubicle.
Jack gave him a gesture with his head and went back to the magazine. He rested his head on one hand and twirled the balls in the other as he glared at the paper. THUD! Jack spun around to see Phaeus face up on the floor outside his cubicle; Bobby's pipe protruding from his mouth. Jack grinned.
"Wow, either I'm getting to old or this some really good stuff, Jack," Phaeus choked as yellow smoke billowed from his lips.
Jack helped him off the floor, "The best." Phaeus wobbled when he got to his feet. "Are you all right?"
"Come now, Jack, what have I taught you? Never reveal your weaknesses," Phaeus barked as he stumbled dizzily away, tripping over his feet.
"You be careful, Phaeus," Jack shouted after him. He grinned his sheepish grin and turned to return to his desk. He sat in his twirling the stress balls reading and rereading the article.
"Petigrew, Black, Voldemort? No." Jack rubbed his temples. "Think Jack, how does the Quibbler link to Voldemort? Quibbler? Quibbler!" Jack opened a drawer to his desk and pulled out another copy of the Quibbler, but this issue was different the cover read: HARRY POTTER SPEAKS OUT AT LAST: THE TRUTH ABOUT HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED AND THE NIGHT I SAW HIM RETURN.
Jack skimmed the magazine, he came to a stop and his eyes widened. "Potter, Petigrew, Voldemort. Black is killed by Death Eaters, the presumed Inner circle, while aiding Dumbledore, so let's say he's innocent and Petigrew is the culprit of the Potter leak. Potter claims Petigrew is Voldemort's right hand man, literally, and that's replaced with a shiny magical one. It all fits, Potter, Quibbler, Petigrew, his hand, Voldemort, Little Hangleton. There it is- There it will be."
Jack stood up so fast his fell over backwards. He grabbed a few things off his desk and marched out into the hall between the row of cubicles and continued down the isle. He reached the end of the row and turned into the final cubicle. It was Schmity's.
Jack clamped his hands Schmity's shoulders, "Wake up, kid!" Jack said forcefully. Schmity's head jolted upward, Jack's hands still clamped on his shoulders.
"What's up, Jack?" Schmity groaned.
"We need to talk."
Jack lowered his head to Schmity's ear, "I know it's you, and you better stop. I have something real big, and you're not going to screw this up for me. Schmity you're my best friend, but if you get between me and my mark again, if they don't kill you, I will," he whispered. Jack's blue eyes burned red at his last
"Jack, er, I don't know what you're talking about?" Schmity replied nervously.
"Yes you do." Jack released his grip on Schmity's shoulders and left the cubicle. Henry hesitated to follow. Schmity was confounded, Henry tried to think how he would respond if his best friend told him he would kill him. Henry left the awestruck Schmity to find Jack in the corridor.
Jack was on the other end of the row talking to Phaeus, Henry couldn't make out what they were talking about, but Jack was shaking his head. As Henry approached, Jack nodded to Phaeus and stepped back into his cubicle and returned moments later in a suit much like the one his father wore. "I still don't see why you don't just Apparate or use the Portkey you requested," Phaeus barked at Jack as he emerged from his cubicle.
"That was before I knew the magnitude of the situation. Before I saw the big picture. The Ministry isnt the only organization checking magical occurrences, Phaeus. I'm not going to allow an Apparition or the slightest shift in local magical activity to jeopardize this lead, I've lost too many all ready. This may turn out to be a wild goose chase, but I just might find a needle in the haystack. I bid you good day, Phaeus."
As Jack turned the corner Henry noticed Schmity watching the conversation and scribbling something on a scrap of parchment. Henry wondered why Schmity would be tracking Jack, after the notorious Jack Diablo, The Devil's Hand, told him to his face he would kill him. But then Henry thought, this wasn't the Devil's Hand Jack Diablo he had met in Azkaban. The one that knew every detail to everything around him. The one that went over things until he thought they were right. No this wasn't him, he would have noticed Schmity lurking. This Jack Diablo was softer, more careless.
Henry followed Jack out of the hollowed halls of the Ministry of Magic on to the busy streets of London. A raised hand and a whistle called forth a taxi. Henry slid inside after Jack.
"Where to?" the driver asked instantly.
"Little Hangleton," Jack answered.
"You do know that's darn near on the other side of the country?" he questioned further.
Jack pulled a bulky money clip full fifty pound notes from his jacket pocket and showed it to the driver, "Get me there before night fall and it's yours." Jack returned the wad of cash to his pocket.
"Yes sir." The driver sped away.
Henry blinked. Were his eyes playing tricks on him? Everything was flying by so fast, the scenery in the windows was nothing but a blur. The driver was moving so quickly it appeared he was just twitching, vibrating. The noise coming from the radio nothing but a low scattered hums. Jack was laying back against the corner where the bench seat met the door perfectly relaxed. His eyes were closed, he was almost motionless, except for Phaeus's stress balls twirling so rapidly in his hand all Henry saw was a mess of Jack's flesh tone and the silver of the balls.
Minutes passed, the balls began to slow, they were becoming more distinct. The radio buzzing became high pitched speedy ramblings. The blurs in the windows were becoming rapidly passing trees. More and more things were returning to their normal pace, the rhythmic weaving of the driver, the spinning of Jack's stress balls, the passing scenery, the music of the cab's radio, all returning to their regularity.
The taxi slowly rolled to a stop, "You want to be dropped off anywhere special?" the driver asked looking back at Jack.
Jack eyes flew open, they drifted to the windows, "No, right here is fine." He opened the door he had been leaning against and stepped out. The driver rolled down his window and faked a cough. Jack looked him and sighed. His hand dipped into his pocket, emerging with the money clip. He pulled the notes from it and hung them in the face of the driver. "You drove me here expecting me to hand you this money, what I want to know is if you would have driven me, a long trip away from your major source of income, had you not seen it."
"No, I wouldn't have," the driver mumbled.
"So you're saying you would do an obscure task for one quick score, even if the task is so out of the ordinary than your main objective."
"Yeah, whatever, now give me the money," the driver demanded.
"I don't like that attitude. What if I refuse to pay?"
"I'll come collect," the driver said threateningly as his door popped open.
Jack reached into his jacket, "What if I said I'd kill you if you didn't drive off right now and forget about it."
The door stopped opening and the driver looked Jack directly in the eyes, "I'd say you were bluffing," the door opened and the driver stepped out.
Jack smiled and removed his hand from his jacket and placed the money in the drivers hand, the driver was taken aback, "You would have risked dieing rather than cutting your loses and living, why? I'm sorry about all the questions and rouses, I'm a psychology major at the university."
"Oh, okay, I understand" the driver responded like he found enlightenment. "I guess because money talks, money can get you anything, who ever said money can't buy love or happiness had to be poor."
"Thank you," Jack uttered.
The driver sat back down in his seat, "No," he flipped through the wad of cash, "Thank you." And he sped off down the road.
Henry was puzzled why Jack queried the driver over his greed. Hadn't he been the one to say greed was so influential, maybe he had to prove it to himself then. Maybe Jack had hope in mankind in his younger days. Henry had been the same, hoping people were better than they are, but hopes and dreams are just that
Henry looked around, something in the distance struck his eye. It was an old manor resting atop a hill on the other side of the village. Something about the house seemed odd to Henry.
Henry studied the mansion but couldn't put a finger on what was so strange about it. He turned to find Jack looking at the sign of an Inn. Jack wandered across the street. He walked into The Hanged Man pub.
Henry stepped in shortly after. When Henry entered, Jack was taking a seat at the bar. A few people in the pub surveyed Jack with their eyes as they carried on with their conversations. The bartender ambled over to Jack and wiped the bar with his towel as Henry took a seat next to Jack. "I've never seen you around here before," the bartender murmured.
"That's because I've never been here before," Jack replied honestly.
The bartender placed a coaster in front of Jack, "So what'll it be?"
"A glass of water will suffice. I never drink on the job," Jack answered.
"On the job? What kind of work are you in?" the bartender asked interestedly as he filled a glass with water.
"I'm with the government. I'm here to serve a Mr. Peter Petigrew with some papers, I heard he was in the area. Do you know him?" Jack interrogated the barkeep.
"Nope, no Petigrews around here," the bartender set the glass of water on the coaster, "Anything else I can do you for?"
"Yes, can you tell me where I can rent a room for the night, Im dead tired?" Jack asked already knowing the answer.
"Oh, sure. Head down to the end of the street towards the Riddle House, the Village Inn will be right on your left, you can't miss it."
"Excuse me, but did you say Riddle House?" queried Jacked. "That's the house on the hill?"
"Yeah, that's the Riddle House. Strange things happened in that house, about half a century ago all the Riddles died in there. It was odd though, they all died at the same time in the same place for the same reason, but no one knows how or why. And just two years ago Frank Bryce, the Riddles' old gardener died in that house the same way the Riddles did," the bartender rambled.
"Interesting story," Jack sipped some water. "I know a Tom Riddle, maybe they were related." He rose from his stool and reached into his pants' pocket and pulled out another fold of money. He threw a note on the bar and turned halfway to the door before, "Are you sure you don't know Petigrew? Maybe you've seen him? He's kind of short, wide, balding, shiny glove on his right hand," he asked gesturing Petigrew's description with his hands.
"Come to think of it, I have seen a guy like that. He comes in every once in a while, not to often about once every two weeks. Usually really late too, when the pubs near empty. Kept asking for Fire Whisky, Ive never heard of the brand."
"Thanks. Keep the change," Jack walked out of the pub, Henry right behind him, the footsteps in unison.
Out on the street, Henry pondered why Jack was good at what he did. Jack worked the bartender much like he worked myself, Henry thought, he planted a seed of information we made it a flower. Jack was a puppet master and people were his marionettes.
Henry watched a balding rat run past Jack up to the Riddle House, as Jack stood near the Inn's door, he gazed up at the Riddle House. "The more things are different the more they are the same," he whispered to himself and disappeared behind the Inn door.
Posted 30 April 2005 - 06:33 PM
"Mr. Cifer, this is the first time I've seen you since you checked in. Have you been feeling well?" the motherly old women behind the Inn's registry counter asked Jack.
"Yes Ms. Evans, indeed I have been feeling a bit under the weather. I must have caught a bug back in London, but I believe this cozy small town warmth and comfort has done well for me."
"A bug isn't going to keep you locked up in your room for three days, Mr. Cifer," Ms. Evans replied.
"Please, Ms. Evans, there is no need for such formality, call me Lou," Jack answered smoothly, "And you're right, but with a little bug, a little phone call, and a little work for my agency, you get three days in complete solitude."
Ms. Evans nodded. She seemed to have bought Jack's deception, but Henry knew better, for he had watched Jack for those three days. For three days Jack sat by the window overlooking the Riddle House with the curtains drawn with only a crack to peek out of. Jack sat there even in the darkness of night, never turning on the lights, glaring at the Riddle estate taking notes, charting, and mapping.
With lack of interest Henry paid more attention to this shabby little rat that showed up every now and then. The rat scurried around the room, most likely searching for food, but the rat never came within five feet of Jack and it seemed to watch him attentively.
A thought came across Henry's mind; he had been here for three days. Three days Jack Diablo was free. Three days since he opened this fable. Three days cell number three sat empty in Azkaban. Or had it been? Three days in Jack's memories could be three seconds in the real world. Relativity.
"If you weren't feeling well, you should have told me, I would have brought you some of my grandmother's special soup, Lou."
"Oh, Ms. Evans, you are too kind. But if you'll excuse me, I need to see a man about a house," Jack divulged calmly.
"Oh really? Planning on staying in our little town for a while?" Ms. Evans questioned.
"I can only hope, Ms. Evans," Jack uttered as he pushed the Inn's door ajar. "I can only hope." Jack stepped on to the vacant streets of Little Hangleton.
The sun was setting. The sky was radiating a pale orange glow from behind the hill the Riddle House rested upon. Henry was mesmerized by the beautiful sight. The intricate weaving of the colors reflecting from the clouds was magnificent. Henry wondered why Jack was hesitant to go after what he had desired for the last three days, the Riddle House. Was Jack hesitant with admiration of the beauty of nature too?
Henry searched for Jack behind him. Jack had not been admiring the magnificent scene of the setting sun, for just as Henry spotted him, Jack again entered the Hanged Man Pub down the street. Henry pondered whether Jack was detached or just practical. But then he wondered if he was even that, why would a practical man move further apart from what he was trying to achieve? Was Jack really that self-centered to not notice anything but things that affected him. But if that were true why did he miss the mistake he made on his own hair?
Henry reached forward and watched his hand pass through the door of the Hanged Man Pub. Henry thought the physics of memories were very odd. Why was there the concept of gravity, where he was firmly planted to the ground, but at the same time he could walk through walls? Henry never really was one to question why, so he just ignored it.
In the pub Henry scanned the setting and found Jack sitting at the same stool at the bar waiting to be tended. Henry took a seat next to Jack as the white haired bartender ambled over rubbing a glass down with a shammy. "Back again Mr.-"
"Cifer. Lou Cifer."
"Lou Cifer? That sounds familiar, aren't you famous?"
"Sorry, not me. But you may meet that other one someday."
"It would be nice to meet someone famous in my lifetime, -"
"It wouldn't be in your lifetime," Jack mumbled under his breath.
"So what can I get you?"
"What do you know of the man who owns the Riddle House?"
"Not much, he doesn't live there, I think he said he bought it for tax reasons. Why do you ask?"
"I've become quite attached to your humble town and it looks like a nice piece of real estate."
"You can cut the act."
The bartender cocked an eyebrow, set his glass and shammy down, and motioned for Jack to come closer, "I know you don't want to buy the Riddle House. I know you want something that's in there. I don't know what, and I prefer it that way. But, I also know you want a legitimate reason to get in that house, I don't know why, nor do I want to. All we want is to keep our quiet, peaceful village quiet and peaceful. So, I'm going to tell you there is a key to the house in the old shack behind it. What ever you're looking for, Mr. Cifer, get it and then get out of Little Hangleton."
Jack moved his head back, "Why would you tell a stranger like me a secret like that?"
The barkeep picked up his glass and shammy started rubbing them again, "Because you and I have something in common, Mr. Cifer."
"And what is that?"
"We're both big tippers."
"Indeed we are," Jack said pulling his money clip from his pocket. "Quid pro quo," Jack uttered as he stood from his stool and tossed a note onto the bar. "Just one question: how did you know?"
"I'm a small town bartender, Mr. Cifer."
"Ah, a failed Freud. Incompetence masking cunning, a clever disguise. Just one more thing." Jack turned his head to look at a small hole in the wall; "Does this down have a rat problem?"
"We're in no need of a Pied Piper if that is what your asking," the bartender retorted.
"Thank you for time." Jack stood and walked out of the bar. As the door to the Hanged Man Pub squeaked shut behind him he watched a rat, the same rat Henry thought, scurry past him up the street towards the Riddle House. "That man is clearly in denial," Jack whispered to himself and followed the rat up to the Inn.
"Back so soon," Ms. Evans chimed as Jack came through the door.
"Yes. My appointment has been delayed. I think will rest until then." Jack ambled up the stairs to his room. Leaving the door open behind him, he marched across the room and pulled a silvery cloak from his bag. Henry was amazed as Jack draped it over him and disappeared. Moments later the door clicked shut, Henry hurried along after and passed through the wall without realizing.
When he made his way down stairs he watched the door open. Ms. Evans got up from her perch behind the desk, "Must be windy out today." She stuck her head out the door, "Hmm, not a breeze. That's odd." She closed the door and resumed her position behind the desk and began to flip through a magazine. She reminded Henry of the receptionist at Azkaban, but more pleasant.
Outside Henry was lost. Jack was invisible, how do you find an invisible man? Henry looked around in every direction until his eyes rested on the Riddle House. He knew exactly where Jack was, or at least where he was going.
As Henry approached the Riddle House gates he saw Jack, or Jack's hand rather. The end of an arm was floating just outside of the Old Riddle Estate. "Any minute now," Henry heard Jack's voice faintly say as the hand vanished.
Henry eyed the great iron gates of the Riddle House. They weren't locked and slightly ajar, just enough for a person to squeeze through. Henry had inferred throughout Jack's detective work that there was some big Death Eater operation here, but if that were true, why would they leave the gates open?
"I still don't understand why they make us do guard duty, Lenny? No one ever comes here. And look at this town full of Muggles, we could have a lot of fun," said a voice. Moments later the gates shuttered open a little further.
"I don't know Carl, you don't want to !@#$ off the boss," uttered another voice. Henry assumed this was Lenny.
"Whatever, Lenny. Let's just go do our shift." The gates rattled again, "Bruce, Ted, you're off."
"About time," sighed Bruce or Ted and the gates shook thrice more.
Jack must have gone in. Henry followed the shifting of the overgrown grass behind heavy foliage. Jack made several of these stops behind trees and tangled mounds of brush and bush, sometimes holding his position for minutes. Strategy, Henry thought, though Henry wondered why he continued his guerilla tactics even though he was invisible. They can see the invisible. You can never be too careful.
With a quick swish Jack headed for the shack behind the mansion. The wooden planks squeaked under Jack's footsteps. Jack peeled the rusty key from its hook beside the door and sprinted towards the house's back door, which was overgrown with ivy.
Jack slowly slid the key into its hole; it clicked quietly as the lock grasped the wedges of the key. He turned the knob and tried the push the door but it was jammed. He pushed his shoulder into it and it budged open just a little bit.
"Hold it right there!" someone, shouted behind them and the invisibility cloak was ripped off of Jack. Henry watched as Jack turned around with hands raised to see a short, fat, balding man with a shiny hand eyeing him with a conniving grin. "Right on time. My Lord likes a punctual man."
"Nice to see you're still alive and well, Petigrew. Too bad it wont last," Jack made a quick move for his breast pocket but three more wands poked him in the sides and Jack raised his hands back in the air. Petigrew walked up to Jack and reached into his breast pocket and pulled out his wand.
Petigrew pushed Jack into the house, "Let's go." He led Jack to the stairs, holding him up with his own wand. "Keep walking and your hands where I can see them."
Atop the landing Petigrew led Jack to a door at the end of the hall. "Stay here. You two watch him," Petigrew said pointing to Death Eaters on the other side of the hall; then stuck his head in the door. "My Lord, he is here."
"Good. Very Good. Bring him in Wormtail," screeched a high-pitch voice from behind the door. Petigrew grabbed Jack's shoulder and ushered him into the room. In the room Henry was taken aback by a man in an armchair near the fireplace. Henry recognized him from the picture of the snake-man that Jack used as a dartboard.
"Welcome Jack. I've been expecting you," rasped the snake-man.
"You've been expecting me?"
A giant snake coiled up next to the man snapped and hissed at Jack, Petigrew jumped back startled as he made his way behind his masters chair. The man in the chair reached his arm over the rest and stroked the snake with pale, long, thin fingers.
"Sh, Nagini, don't be rude to our quest." the man removed his hand from the snake and placed them back in his lap. "Yes Jack, I've been expecting you, waiting for you. For three days I've waited. I was beginning to worry you wouldn't show. However, you're here now, and right on time. You're punctual. I like that. Though I am curious why you are here. If you would please, enlighten me, Jack."
"How do you know my name?" Jack asked abruptly.
"Come now Jack, are we not civilized? You answer my questions then I'll answer yours. That's how polite conversation works. So Jack, Why have you graced my presence on this glorious day?"
As Jack and the snake-man conversed Henry notice Jack's eyes carefully surveying the room, The window, the door, the fireplace, the snake-man, Petigrew, Jack's eyes never quit moving.
"I'm here to stop you. Stop you and your sadistic followers from harming people.
The man in the chair shrilly laughed. "Do you know what I am Jack?"
"The angry kid that always got picked last in gym class," Jack retorted.
"No, I'm a murderer Jack. You're an Auror, you know how to stop a murderer, don't you Jack?"
"Lock them up and never let them see daylight again."
The snake-man gave another shrill laugh. "Jack, if you send a murderer to prison they'll kill the other prisoners. Then the guards until there's no one left. They'll escape and continue to murder the innocent. The only way to keep a murderer from murdering is to murder that murderer, but in doing so you become a murder. The entire world turns in a circle, when day ends another begins. You see Jack; the brightest days have the darkest shadows. Your greatest intent could only be accomplished by the most terrible means. It's quite a vicious cycle, Jack, and you just don't seem vicious enough to make that revolution."
"If you knew I was coming to stop you-"
The man in the chair cut Jack off, "If I thought you were here to "stop" me, you never would have made it past the front gate."
"Still, why trap me? Why am I still alive? You're not exactly known as Voldemort the merciful."
Voldemort. This man is Voldemort, Henry thought. This man was the world's largest threat. Sure his appearance was shocking, but how is this meek man the most powerful dark wizard the world has seen?
"Because, Jack, you're like an oasis in a mighty desert. You don't destroy something you need."
"You are right. Need implies necessity. You are expendable. I don't need you, rather, I want you."
"You want me?"
"Yes, Jack, I want you the same way you want me. We both want me to further my career. Though, through different means I must say. You wanted to capture me because you don't settle for small game, much like myself. By capturing me you make a name for yourself as the man who brought down the greatest wizard in a millennia. However, your career reaches its pinnacle right there, Jack. There would never be a bounty like me in your career ever again and your career would die a slow painful death in your mind because you had to settle. Not the greatness you had expected is it Jack?"
"No, but greatness just the same."
"But I can give you the greatness you desire and deserve. If people don't respect you, they will fear you. That's why you are really here, you really want to join me, not fight me."
"But what's in it for you? Why do you want me?"
"Jack, I want you to build me an elite army of Death Eaters. These sniveling piles of incompetence are of no use to me. You will train my men to the peak of perfection. You will be the general of my most prestigious legion."
"But I'm an Auror, I could betray you in a heartbeat. I'm still green nonetheless. Everything I have I've had given to me. I'm the last person you'd want to train your Death Eaters."
"That's exactly why I want you. There is no greater ally like mine enemy. You're an Auror, you have unparalleled skills, you're intelligent. You know what makes people tick like I do; you're a natural leader. You're well disciplined. You're loyal. You're rich, so I know you're not greedy. You're young, so you aren't locked into the weaknesses of orthodoxy and tradition. You are what I want. There is no one else that can do for me what you can do for me."
Both Henry and Voldemort surveyed Jack's face, which revealed he was he conflicted in thought.
"Ambitious too, I can tell by that wide look in your eyes you want a seat on my throne of power."
Jack shook himself from his daze. "Enough of your mind games, Voldemort. I won't betray the Ministry by trusting in your lies."
"Lies!? You have the gall to insult me to my face? I've killed men for less than that! I respect that. However, I am the one man you should trust. It's the Ministry that lies to you, Jack, not I."
"More slander? Now you're insulting me."
"Jack, how do you think I know who you are? How did I know you were coming? Your precious Ministry sold you out. They handed you to me out of fear and self preservation."
"I know your game, I play mind games too. You tell me how the Ministry has done me wrong, and then you use what I know to dismantle it, so you are unopposed in your conquest. Loyal you said, darn right I'm loyal. Loyal to those who are loyal to me."
"Jack, your faith in people disappoint me."
"And your belief that I'm gullible disappoints me."
"You need proof, Jack? I will give all the proof in the world. Wormtail bring the Ministry swine."
"Master, I don't think I should leave you alone with him," Wormtail whispered in his lord's ear.
"Are you questioning my orders?" Voldemort asked sinisterly.
Wormtail cowered back, "No. I would never my lord."
"Then bring the Ministry swine to me!"
Wormtail scuttled to the door and slowly passed through it, clearly reluctant to leave.
After Wormtail left Voldemort chimed, "You see the incompetence I have to put with."
It wasn't long before Wormtail returned a short, chubby, blonde man. Schmity walked in very smug. Jack's eyes flared to that familiar red. When Schmity spotted Jack he tried to duck back out of the room quickly, but Wormtail held him in.
"What the hell is he doing here- alive?" Schmity asked flabbergasted.
Schmity made an advance towards Voldemort, but the giant snake next to him, Nagini he had called it, powerful jaws snapped at him. The snake had caught Schmity off guard and caused him to jump back and trip over Petigrew bringing them both to the ground. With one swift move Jack kicked the door shut as a wand shot out of his sleeve.
"Expelliarmus!" Wormtail shouted as the wand he clutched transformed into a rubber chicken. Voldemort's eyebrow cocked as he watched Jack completely ignore Petigrew scurry to hide in the corner and completely focus his furious red gaze on Schmity. Voldemort fixed his controlling gaze on Schmity who was crawling on his elbows away from Jack. He was walking slowly afterward with his wand pointed directly at Schmity's heart.
"Jack, -er-, listen. I can explain!" Schmity bellowed in fear.
Jack didn't respond. He just kept marching toward Schmity; wand aimed and eyes glazed and flaming red.
"Jack, it's not what you think. I took your portkey here and there were twenty-some Death Eaters waiting for me. Everything went gray and when I came to what could I do, I was putty in their hands. Yes I joined them and did it willingly, but because being under the Imperius Curse is like a loss of humanity. I just have too much integrity to be a prisoner like that," Schmity uttered hastily.
"But you have enough integrity to sell out your best friend. If it weren't for me Schmity you'd be nothing. You sold your soul to the devil for a bust. They know my entire life story because you decided you would follow me and tell them everything they wanted to know," Jack snapped.
A look of confusion blanketed Schmity's face. "What? I didn't them a darn thing about you. And for your information, Jack, following you was just following orders. Phaeus told me to follow you, he told me to take your portkey."
"Phaeus? You must be delusional. That's a crock of dragon !@#$ and you know it."
"Come on, Jack. Your Mr. Righteous, you have to solve the all the world's problems. You're a good guy Jack, and that's your problem, you're too good. And no good deed goes unpunished. The Ministry couldn't let you catch him, they need him. They need chaos to instill order. They need him to make them look good. He's the scapegoat for all the Ministry's problems. The Ministry is corrupt Jack, you know it, and I know it. If he wasn't there to take the blame the public would know it too. And the Ministry can't afford a revolt, especially now. You see Jack, you and I are just pawns in the world's chess match." Schmity's words were angry and defensive. He seemed to be more upset than afraid now. Relief washed over Schmity's face as Jack lowered his wand. Schmity rose to his feet still eyeing Jack cautiously.
Jack's eyes flared at Schmity's words. "I'm a Diablo. Usquequaque diablus nunquan suus pignus. In every chess match any pawn can become a queen by crossing to the other side. If that is what must be done so be it."
A sly grin crept across Voldemort's and he rose from his armchair. He began to walk towards Jack and Schmity. "Now that you know the truth, allow me to dispose of your true enemy: your friends"
Jack raised is hand to Voldemort, halting him. "No! Not you, nor any of your men will do anything to this man."
"As you wish," uttered an astonished Voldemort.
Schmity's face lit up with the news he wasn't going to die and grasped Jack in a tight hug. "Thank you Jack, you're a true friend. I knew you wouldn't let them kill me."
"No Schmity, I won't let them kill you. You're my responsibility. I told you if you got between me and my mark again I'd kill you and what did you do? Ignore my warning." Jack's wand rose from his waist to point directly between Schmity's eyes. "And the thing about me is, I have this incurable intolerance to ignorance. I'll see you in Hell Schmity."
"No! Jack, no!" Schmity pleaded.
"Avada Kedavra!" Jack shouted and Schmity's body fell limply to the floor. Jack pointed his wand at Wormtail now. "You! Take him away."
"Y-yes, of course," he muttered as stumbled over to Schmity's lifeless body. Jack went to the window, Henry assumed to take Schmity out view. Maybe for the Devil's Hand murder was nothing, but for Jack Diablo, killing your best friend had to be a traumatizing event.
Wormtail was struggling trying to pick up the body. Falling over trapped under Schmity's deadweight a few times. He gave up on it and ended up dragging him from the room by one of his stubby legs.
"My, my, how the world turns. You can't go back now Jack, you have Ministry blood on your hands," Voldemort quipped.
"The Ministry is dead to me. I'll need to test the waters; start small. Give me twenty-five men. I can't promise they'll all survive," Jack said emotionlessly.
Voldemort gave another shrill laugh and said, "Jack, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful partnership."
Jack turned around slowly. His face looked as lifeless as Schmity's had. It was meek and pale. His eyes back to their blue color. Jack swallowed hard. "I'll see myself out." Jack walked over to the door and exited as Wormtail returned to his master. Jack failed to notice Wormtail. Wormtail eyed Jack with unease as he left.
Henry was about to follow when Wormtail said, "Are you sure this is wise Master? He is not like the others."
"Exactly. He somewhat reminds me of my younger self. He is young, stupid, and willing, not like me at all. But that man has a raw genius and power. He could take on the world. I could be dead right now do to his genius and your incompetence, but I'm not because he's blinded by fury, blinded by power, and blinded by ambition. Now he's my hand of fate."
"But if he finds out his friend was acting under the Imperius Curse he could become dangerous to you."
"Then he will learn that this Phaeus handed him to me. I assure you he is no danger. If he fights against me he will lose. If he fights with me he can't win."
"But what if- never mind."
"No, it's nothing master."
"What if tries to replace you and take your place. He is ambitious."
"Well a fox isn't a fox until it's caught in the hen house. But if he does try to steal my chickens he will be dealt with. He may have crossed the chessboard but he's still a pawn."
Henry left the room to find Jack listening intently on the other side of the door holding his hand to the wall. He started to ramble down the corridor still rubbing his hand along the wall, stumbling into a table and falling to the floor.
"Hey, are you alright?" a Death Eater in the hall asked. He hurried over to help Jack up.
"No." Jack reached his arms out and grabbed the Death Eater by his arm and looked away from him. "I've gone blind."
Posted 01 May 2005 - 09:41 AM
I just read this whole thing last night. What a ride. I even missed the beginning of CSI:NY to finish. I was afraid that if I quit, I'd lose the plot.
What a philosophical piece. I'm very intrigued by where you're going with this. I often find myself wondering what is dream and what is reality. This is like the stuff my Squib reads.
Lou Cifer--love it! Before you wrote that Lou was his first name, I was thinking cipher. That was a cool link too.
And Ms. Evans. Why that name? I guess I'll have to wait and see...
Posted 01 May 2005 - 04:37 PM
About the Evans name, I just thought it fit the motherly old Inn keeper nicely. She was not meant to be related to Lily.
Posted 05 August 2005 - 07:56 PM
Posted 22 August 2005 - 05:21 PM
NOTE: You may notice that I started typing Bobby's dialouge with his accent but then stopped using it later on. I just find it hard to edit myself to write like he talks, so I stopped.
But now here is a nice long, but long overdue update
Henry blinked and found himself on a dodgy street watching two heavily cloaked men turn down an alley. Henry followed. He was being led down the same alley as before, past the bar outside of the Diablo mansion. The two cloaked men stopped. Henry used this pause to quickly catch up with them.
"We're here, sir," one of the cloaked figures stated.
"Good. Now, there should be a tavern on the right," said the other. Henry recognized him as Jack, not only by his voice, but also by his goatee, which was the thing visible under his hood.
The other cloaked figure looked to the neon lights of the shady pub. "Yeah. –Er–"
"There should be a stoop with gargoyles near the base halfway down the alley. Take me there," Jack interrupted.
"Sir, if you don't mind my asking, why are we here?" the cloaked man questioned.
"I do mind your asking. Now do as I tell you," Jack growled.
The cloaked man quietly pulled his wand from his robes and aimed it at the unaware Jack as they walked. They stopped abruptly. "Do you know where are? That's the Diablo's den. What the hell are we doing here?" inquired the cloaked man.
"Take me to the top of the stares."
"What? Are you crazy? No one gets in there. I heard the last people to try to break in were eaten by the walls!" raved the cloaked man.
"I've never heard that story before. Perhaps, I should send you in first then." Jack clutched the cloaked man's shoulder and thrust him into the wall. The cloaked man screamed with utmost horror. Jack let him go laughing. "Relax. Your fear is of something stupid and foolish."
"You are crazy. That house was about to eat me! I could feel it sucking me in."
"Sanity is a matter of opinion and perspective. I could say that you are crazy because your fear being devoured by a house, which it won't. Although, I don't know if they changed the security measure or how they would have."
"Whatever. You still ain't getting in."
"Watch me. Usquequaque diabolus nunquam suus pignus."
Henry watched the archway into the Diablo mansion unfold once again. The cloaked man was stunned. "How in Merlin's beard-wall-you-door-" he muttered sporadically pointing to the door and Jack. "This can't be the Diablo place then. You can't get in the Diablo place. You just can't; it's impossible."
"Maybe you cannot, but this is the Diablo place I assure you."
"So you're telling me the key to Diablo's door is mumbling jibberish. Next thing you're going to say is you can steal all the gold in Gringotts saying open sesame' to the vaults and walk out of Azkaban if you ask the doors to open. Or-"
"Enough. I'm here to address a most serious matter and I'd prefer that we didn't stall any longer. Take me to the Ouroboros statue at the end of the hall," commanded Jack.
Jack shook his head slightly. "The statue of the snake swallowing its own tail at the end of the hall."
The cloaked man mocked Jack with an exaggerated impression of his barking; obviously knowing he couldn't see him, before escorting him down the long corridor. They wandered past the open doors leading to the strange exotic plants, but no one was in there this time. "Did you see all that? This place is a gold mine."
"You didn't see anything. Keep walking," Jack barked.
"No ones around. I could just-No one will ever know."
"If you even so much has touch one leaf on those plants you're dead. Why does everyone around me have a death wish? You don't have to die. Nobody has to die. Schmity didn't have to die!"
"Who the hell is Schmity?"
Jack quickly grasped the cloaked man's collar and dropped him to the floor. Kneeled over him, Jack banged the cloaked man repeatedly against the cold marble floor. "He didn't have to die!" Jack released his grip on the cloaked man and put his hands over his face. "What have I done? What has happened to me?" A tear rolled down Jack's hand a dropped onto the face of the cloaked man below.
A harsh laughter came from the end of the hall. Jack's father and Bobby emerged from the self-devouring silver serpent. They quickly noticed the two cloaked men quarreling amongst their halls and ran at them with wands at the ready.
The cloaked man pushed Jack off him and rose to his unstable feet. His body swaying slightly; his loose grip on his wand pointed at Jack. "I don't care if the Dark Lord says you're untouchable. I should kill you, you crazy bipolar blind !@#$."
Jack rose to his knees and snatched the end of the cloaked man's wand. After a moment of tug'o'war Jack had the wand's tip pointed to the middle of his forehead. "Do it! Kill me! Deliver me from myself!"
"Let it go man, or I'll-"
"Do it! Utter those magic words and serve me the fate I deserve!"
"Avada Kedavra!" rang through the hall. A blast of green light struck the cloaked man in the back and he fell limply to the floor. Jack's father and Bobby approached them. "Who are you, Mark'?"
"Apparently still alive," Jack answered defiantly.
"Not for long. Now, who are you and how the hell did you get into my house, Mark'?"
"How do you know I bare the Mark'?"
"Loose lips sink ships. Your partner in crime here," Jack's father kicked the cloaked man's feeble body, "mentioned He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and also said you were untouchable. That must make you a mighty important Mark', wouldn't you say? Who are you, Mark'?"
"I am but a living man wishing to die. Grant mercy upon me and give me my wish."
"Show your face. Remove your hood and die with dignity."
"I have no dignity."
"I said remove your hood!" Jack's father clutched Jack's hood and thrust it back upon his shoulders.
"Jacky, boy?" Bobby questioned, flabbergasted.
Jack's father grasped Jack's face in disbelief. His arm flew to Jack's left arm and yanked up his sleeve and gazed heavily upon the Dark Mark that lied across Jack's forearm. A wily smile crawled across Jack's father's face. Jack's father embraced Jack in his arms as Bobby motioned some invisible guards to dispose of the cloaked man's body.
"Usquequaque diabolus nunquam suus pignus. Moving up in the world, eh, Jack? First an Auror, now a Death Eater. Choosing the lesser of to evils, eh?" Jack's father let out a hollow chuckle. "Hell, pretty soon you'll be running the family business."
"You're not going to kill me? I chose sides against the family," Jack pleaded rather depressed.
"Jack, you chose sides against the family when you became an Auror. Which, might I add, is far more offense than this, so why would I kill you now? But bringing a Mark' in here, Jack, what the hell is the matter with you? But who cares? We're finally starting to bond."
"Bond? I being a murderer is your idea of bonding?"
"Murderer? Jack, I didn't know. I'm so proud. Bobby, is it Father's Day, or April Fools'? You must have offed someone really important for Him to fall in love with you."
"Bless ya, Jacky boy," Bobby uttered.
"No, I killed Schmity."
Jack's father patted him on the back. "Good for you, Jack. He was a weasel and a leech; a bottom feeder living off you. The man of knowledge must not only be able to love his enemies, but also hate his friends. But with friends like yours, who needs enemies, eh? He didn't deserve to live."
"I don't deserve to live. I came to ask a favor of Bobby and then I'm turning myself in. Make right my wrong."
"You have become Death, Jack, the destroyer of worlds. You deserve to live more than any other. Other men fight death to live. You fight life to die. Men who live life not to die do not deserve the life they waste. You've done nothing wrong; you just fail to realize it. And that is your problem, Jack. Through all your education; through all knowledge of philosophy; you still possess a twisted sense of morality. Jack, there is no difference between the good and the ungood. They are the same because you can't have one without the other. It's your belief in morality that keeps you from knowing the difference between sin and shame."
"Oh really? And you do?" Jack questioned his father.
"Of course, Jack. It's a sin to stick it in and a shame to pull it out." Jack's father let out a guffaw and nudged Jack with his elbow.
"I'm immoral because of a sex joke?"
"No, Jack. I'm saying you are immoral because you don't know the difference between a sin and a shame. One death is a sin, but a million; now that's a shame."
"And what depraved logic did you conclude this from?"
"One death is a tragedy; a million is just a statistic. One death is a name, a family; it's emotional, but a million; that's just too bad. You can't relate to a number."
"You telling me the wrong of one death is solved by more death?"
"Let me tell you a joke. [THE FOLLOWING JOKE HAS BEEN EDITED OUT BY ME BECAUSE IT IS TOO OFFENSIVE I FEEL TO MAINTAIN A PG-13 RATING] Do you know what that joke says?"
"Apart from you being a bigot?" Jack retorted.
Jack's father continued, "It says the man cared more about two distinct people than six million, Jack. There is no morality. Success is truly the only judge of right and wrong."
"I'm supposed to find reason in your bigotry? Besides Hitler lost."
"Exactly. He lost, thus making him wrong. If he had succeeded he would have been right. Modern morality is a byproduct of religion, and religion is the opium of the masses. It is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. Fear is the mother of morality. It is this concept of morality that keeps people worrying about what happens when they die; rather than when they live. If they are more worried about their afterlife; then they don't deserve the present life. Besides, in Heaven all the interesting people are missing."
Jack pinched his goatee between his thumb and index finger. "You may have made some valid points, but a dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. Just as a man isn't considered a good man because he is a good talker."
"darn boy, if you didn't look like me; I would swear your mother had an affair."
"Bite me. I didn't come here for another one of our dear father-son chats. I've been without a father for twenty-two years. I don't need you to masquerade like you are one now."
"Then why the hell are you here, you ungrateful piece of dragon dung? Every time you come here it's to try and hit me up for money; connections."
"You are so conceited. I came to talk to Bobby."
"Bobby?" Jack's father glanced to Bobby, who had seemed not to notice watching the paintings on the walls. "What the hell for?"
"Personal? You can tell Bobby, but you can't tell your father?"
"Bobby is just more empathetic than you. God, you are vain."
"I'm the conceited one? I'm vain? Take a look in the darn mirror Jack, and tell me what you see."
"I'd see nothing you antipathetic imbecile."
Jack's father pulled his wand on Jack, a vein bulging in him temple.
"Damian, leave me wit' da boy."
Jack's father forced himself to calm. "Fine. Bobby, you deal with this ingrate." Jack's father marched off down the corridor back through the Ouroboros.
"And he tells me it is my morals that should be questioned," Jack said darkly when his father had vanished.
Bobby shook his head at Jack. "Jacky, boy, yo' fadda is right on dis one. All dat we are is what we t'ink. If ya act wit' an evil thought, pain follows. If you act wit' a good thought, happiness follows. You're blinded by your guilt and before ya see with your eyes; your mind must see dat good is evil and evil is good. Not by wrath does one kill but by laughter."
"All right, no more beating around the bush. Can you help me?"
"Can I help ya what?"
"Help me see again, Bobby."
"Jacky boy, I all ready told ya. It's all in your head."
"Then fix my head. Use your old magic if you must. Just fix my eyes."
"Okay, I know a guy, a friend of mine, he owes me a favor. He might be able to help ya, but ya need to fix it yourself, Jacky boy. Take off your blinders and stop thinking so darn linearly. Stop being a darn puppet. Stop letting the strings pull ya; ya have the talent, the mind, ya be pulling em."
"Bobby, I'm not heartless. I can't think like he does." Jack pointed in the direction of the Ouroboros.
"And there's your problem. You're letting the wrong organ guide you, boy. You're thinking with this," Bobby poked Jack in the chest, "Instead of this." Bobby slapped Jack on the side of the head.
"Oh, that's my problem?"
"You asked me for help; don't you forget that, boy. You asked me to help you see again, but how can I help you see when you could never see in the first place?" Bobby shook his head. "You are so like he was."
"Who? My father?"
"No, Jacky boy, my friend that's going to help you. He too couldn't see until he blinded himself. Do you belief in predetermination, Jack boy?"
"Predetermination. Destiny. Everything that happens, happens because it was meant to happen."
"Are you implying that I was supposed to kill Schmity and should be guilt free?"
"I never said that, but it is good to see you're opening your mind. No, Jacky boy, my friend is a Seer. He too is blind; hell he blinded himself. Said something about his vision clouding his Inner Eye, but he can see."
"Wow, he can gaze into the future, but how is that going to help me?"
"No, boy, he sees. He can read the words on a page."
"In Braille," Jack remarked in a cynical way.
"In print, smart butt. He can admire the beauty of a woman, the colors of a rainbow, the magnificence of a sunset, everything your eyes could see and more."
"What does he have magic eyes?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes. He sees through magic, Jacky boy. The wise blind wizard wasn't stereotyped for no reason."
"Yeah, and this guy's the reason?" Jack retorted sarcastically.
"Stop being so darn insecure and trust my better judgement."
"How can I be secure if I'm to be cured by a fool who trusts in divination?"
"How can you be secure in a fool who doesn't. A fool who Sees knows more than a savant who cannot," called a voice from down the hall. Henry turned to see whom the voice belonged to and saw the blind prisoner that grabbed him in that long dark corridor in Azkaban.
"And who the hell are you?"
"I am nobody," rang the Seer.
"Okay, Odysseus, what the hell are you doing here?"
The Seer drifted closer, "I saw Booby wished to call me here to help you in the future, but-"
"But, you just contradicted yourself: you came here because Bobby is going to ask you to come here in the future. You just altered your future' by coming here before you were meant to."
"Did I? How would you know the future hasn't happened yet?"
"The future never happens; we are living in the present."
"The past, the present, the future, it's all the same. They're all recurring. It is all just a matter of when you experience them. Now, I believe you wished to know why I am here."
"Yes, I did and you told me."
"Oh? Did I?"
"I grow weary of your crypticness old man."
"Crypticness? Things are only cryptic to you because you blinded yourself from the truth."
Jack face twitched. "I seem to be getting that talk a lot lately. Who put you up to this? My father? Bobby?"
"If you think that someone put me up for anything, and you truly fail to realize failing, then you are far more blind than I thought."
"Shouldn't you have Seen' it?"
"I see the future, I don't much practice reading minds."
"But wouldn't you've Seen' this conversation?"
"I am merely a prophet. I See what I need to See. I don't See all things."
"Bobby, this is the fool that is supposedly going to cure me?"
Bobby dipped his head slightly, "Jacky boy, you need to ask yourself one question."
"What? Do I feel lucky?"
"No fool. You need to ask yourself: If I truly believe this man to be a fraud, why would I still expect him to cure me?" uttered the Seer.
"Exactly, Jacky boy, you're always so quick to criticize the shortcomings of others, but fail to see your own," Bobby added.
"What else is new Bobby? What else is new? I'll tell you what's new. Apparently I was wrong about my father, wrong about Schmity, wrong about this crackpot, and wrong about right and wrong. What haven't I been wrong about."
"You're incorrect again, my boy," piped the Seer.
"Once again, what is new?"
"There is no right or wrong. Right and wrong are only interpretations. Interpretations made by people. People separate themselves into the ruled and the ruling, and it is these ruling people that dictate right and wrong. Right and wrong is always fluctuating and never definite."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what the hell does that have to do with me being blind?"
"Everything. Why does a man not see things? Because he is himself standing in the way; he conceals things."
"Enough of this I am my own worst enemy' stuff and fix my eyes."
"But, boy, you are indeed your own worst enemy. You cannot see because you condemn yourself for taking your friends life. His life needed ending; you should commend yourself."
"You say that again and you'll be a mute, blind Seer. He didn't need to die."
"You should never threat to do something you will never come through on. He may not have needed to die, but you were right in killing him. Schmity was a problem, Jack, and his death solved it. Death solves all problems, Jack, no man; no problem."
Jack's eyes flashed red and his wand flew to the Seer's throat. "The only problem with Schmity is that he is dead." Jack's eyes faded back to their pale blue color and his wand swayed as if trying to stay locked on a moving target, although the Seer stood still.
A sly grin crept across the Seer's face, "Good Jack, I good feel your eyes gaze upon me when all that energy flowed through you; your rage blinding you from your guilt. You just maybe able to see clearly after all."
"Then fix my eyes."
"Not now. Not today. In three days time; when the moon is full."
"Full moon, lose all concept of morality, and kill savagely until I no longer feel guilty for my murders? What the hell are you going to do? Turn me into a werewolf? I'd rather be blind."
"And you call your father a bigot? I happen to know a few good people that just so happen to be werewolves. Nice people if you get to know them. They make really good customers," Bobby interjected.
"Good customers don't make good people. I need to see; not be a barbarian."
The Seer sighed. "Jack, you truly are a man of necessity. You need power, vision, wisdom. You received power in the past. You don't need to become a barbarian, Jack. You all ready are one. You cannot become what you are not all ready. You need to see in the present, and the wisdom will come in the future. You're in denial now Jack, but you will adopt this philosophy you do not yet understand. The greatest leaders were and are all hypocrites, and my boy, are destined to become a great leader."
Henry and Bobby good feel the rage building up within Jack. Bobby checked his watch, "Look at the time."
"That's funny Bobby; funny."
"I must run; important business to discuss with your father, Jack."
"I too must take my leave, but before I do, Jack, I must know that you are willing to sacrifice your flesh for your eyes," chimed the Seer.
"-Flesh for my eyes? What do you mean?"
"Your body must be marked with the Rune of Adonis Alvis before you learn to see on planes not viewed by others."
"What the hell is the Rune of Adonis Alvis?"
"I cannot answer for I do not yet know."
"How do you not know? You telling me you're going to brand me with some ancient rune and you don't know what it is? What it does? What it even looks like? How do even know about it?"
"I have foreseen its use. That is why I must make my leave and discover it in the three days until I return. Now, I must make haste."
Before Jack could retort Bobby interjected, "Well that settles things, or rather things will be settled in three days. Until that time, Jack, we must depart. Fare thee well Jack. I trust you know your way around well enough you don't need assistance."
Henry saw the Seer was all ready to the door mutter something about Azkaban and laughing to himself. Bobby had taken off toward the giant silver snake devouring itself and disappeared through it.
"So much for that fear and respect bit," Jack mumbled as he rubbed his left arm.
Jack spent the next three days wandering the labyrinth that was the halls of the Diablo mansion. He wandered into a vacant room that just had a dusty, ancient mirror on its far wall on the third day. Jack rubbed his hand along the wall until he stumbled across the ancient mirror. Jack sighed and clasped his hands together and shook them slightly. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall did Schmity have to die after all?" Jack asked the mirror.
To Henry's surprise Jack's reflection in the mirror responded, "I do find the mirror on the wall' speech quite distasteful. Fairy tales and fables corrupt the mind. Yes, Schmity had to die."
"No, I do not lie. I am you. I would never lie to myself. Though you lie to yourself. We both know we did not go to Voldemort to capture him. We grew tired of taking orders at the Ministry. Oh, how we hate to a pawn. The Seer was wrong; Schmity was not the problem, but the solution. Tearing the life from his undeserving body tore our shackles from the Ministry walls. However, Schmity was a nothing; it would have been better if it was Phaeus."
The mirror continued, "Yes, we suspected Phaeus was Schmity's puppet master for some time now. Yes we knew Big Brother was watching us; we even told him. Perhaps that is why he didn't show up himself and try to steal the glory. Maybe he knew we would never actually capture him, and that is what they wanted. We knew that that inefficient bureaucracy they call a ministry was corrupt long before Schmity told us."
The mirror rambled on, "We never really like Schmity. He was a carpetbagger riding our coattails. We're glad he's dead really, be we have our minds so well trained to throw off the truly powerful Legilimense that it shows remorse instead of the indifference that we really feel. Our mind is a great tool indeed, but he knows."
"He doesn't. He can't."
"Why do you fear me, Jack? We both know he knows. We heard him. We both know he intended for us to hear it. He is a very proud man. He has claimed us as a most prized trophy. He wanted us to know it. Show us our place. But we shall claim his army as a trophy of our own."
"I will not serve him. I'm turning myself into Azkaban, as soon as my vision returns."
"We both know we are not going to ever planned on going to Azkaban. The Seer heard our thoughts of Azkaban as he left and laughed. He knew we wouldn't go. Yes, the Seer knew. He knows too much; he's become a liability. Perhaps we should dispose of him when the time arrives."
"No. He is valuable. He should used to my advantage," said Jack.
"We are right. He is valuable indeed. Perhaps we shall let him live. But used he will not be; he would know. If he knew he would be used, but do willingly. The Seer is to us, what we are to Voldemort: the most dangerous follower. The follower whose defection would destroy the whole party; that is to say the best follower. Used, hmm-ever feel like you were experiencing Déjà vu."
Jack's wand shot out and pointed blindly to the door where Bobby stood. "Talking to yourself again, Jacky boy?"
"There is no better company than my own."
"It is a wonderful mirror isn't it? Or a very a terrible one? I don't know which, but I do know it is refreshingly honest; perhaps too honest."
"Yes, but it takes you out of that river in Egypt."
"Yes, Bobby, denial."
Bobby let out a guffaw. "Bad jokes must run in your blood line. Your grandfather had a particularly bad one about a warlock, a witch, and a werewolf. Never mind that, but speaking of Egypt, my friend is back with the Rune of Adonis Alvis."
"He's back? Take me to him."
"You never were a patient one. Well, let's go." Bobby grabbed Jack by the shoulder and pulled him along.
"Yes, Jacky boy."
"Can I trust him?"
"I trust him, but can you trust my trust to trust him?"
"If you trust him, Bobby, I trust him. What do you know about this rune?"
"Nothing. I don't know much about runes. Let alone why someone would tattoo the to their body. Runes should be left in stones. I really understood the way of the Neogi. I guess a few marks are better than the altercations some wizards have made to their bodies. I once saw a witch that no longer had a face, though that could have been an accident."
Bobby jerked Jack to follow him as they rounded a corner. "What if this rune leaves me without a face? Or an arm and a leg? Or my head?"
"I'd be more worried about your eyes, boy."
"My eyes? What's going to happen to my eyes? He's not going to carve the rune into my eyes is he?"
"Jacky boy, relax. I was just messing with your head. I'm sure you'll be fine. Here we are," Bobby uttered as he opened a large oak door. "Inside that room lies your first step in a journey of a thousand. Now I must go."
"What? You're leaving?"
"Jacky boy, our journey's lie upon different paths. They may cross, but they lead to different destinations."
"Yeah, and where is yours leading you?"
"Anywhere but here, I don't care to see what happens as it is happening."
"Living life in retrospect is not very wise."
"Wise is the fool who does not speak and foolish is the wise man that speaks to often."
"Do you wish to see, or wish to bicker," shouted the Seer from in the room. "Come in Jack, leave Bobby be. We have much work to be done."
Bobby gave Jack a push through the door and shut it behind him.
"Remove your robes; your shirt," bellowed the Seer.
"Your robes must be off to administer the rune to your naked flesh."
Jack unlinked a clasp on his chest and his cloak dropped to the floor. He continued to undo his collar. Henry thought Jack's attire made him look like a priest. When Jack was shirtless the Seer spoke, "Have a seat." The Seer flicked his wand and a stool shot from its end into the back of Jack's legs where he collapsed onto it.
"About this rune?" Jack questioned.
"What about it?"
"What is it going to do to me?"
"What you need it to do for you."
"But what do I need it to do?"
"When you feel it flow through your body you will know." The Seer rubbed his wand along Jack's collarbone and a curved black line followed. Jack wailed in pain and jumped up from the stool knocking over the Seer.
"Merlin's beard that hurt! Does inking a rune take the Cruciatus Curse?"
"No," said the Seer picking himself off the ground, "but powerful magic does not come without cost. If it is pain you fear I have a most painless way to ink' you as you put it. If you so desire."
"Or sit through that torture? I'll take the pain free variety, thank you."
"As you wish. Stupefy!" A burst of red light shot out at Jack.
"No, wai-" Before Jack could finish the red light hit him the chest. Everything went black to Henry, but came back to normal moments later. Jack was sitting limply on the stool rubbing the side of his head wincing.
"Ow, my head. I thought you said this was going to be painless." Jack started rubbing his eyes.
"Well, you took a nasty spill while you were out."
Jack shot up and threw the Seer against the wall hand held him there by his throat with his wand vaguely pointed at him. "I still can't see."
"And? The rune does not grant the gift of sight. It just makes you a sieve for magic. Can you feel it, Jack, that raw energy flowing through you."
Jack released the Seer's throat and retracted his wand. Henry saw the rune in its entirety for the first time. Its intricate weaving of lines that blanketed Jack's back, chest, and shoulders looked like a torn poncho draped around him to Henry.
"But why? I'm no Squib. My talent with magic was never in question."
"No, your talent was never in question. You have quite the mind for magic; quite the mind all around. A mind that likes to think and think too much. That is your failing."
"I'm blind because I think?"
"Precisely, your mind is your greatest weapon, but it's a !@#$ when it backfires. Why does a man not see things? Because he himself is standing in the way.' You play more mind games in your own head then every one else's combined. These tricks you play on yourself are both a blessing and a curse. Why are you so paranoid of Legilimens that even after your thorough training in Occlumency, you still cloak your true thoughts?"
"I believe you are to fix my eyes, not my mind."
"Of course, of course, but it is your depraved mind that is working against you."
"Depraved? I thought there were no morals."
"Not in the way you acknowledge them, no."
"Whatever. I'm in no need of a shrink. Fix my eyes."
"You're not? Have you ever given any thought as to what it is that has crippled you?"
"Crippled me? I'm blind, not in a wheel chair."
"But surely you feel maimed since the incident."
"What kind of question is that? I was blinded."
"My guilt for killing Schmity? My paranoia of other people in my head? A curse? I don't care about the problem. I care about the solution."
"What is a solution, but the understanding of a problem."
"What is this? An intervention."
"Perhaps. You are rather like a clockwork orange. Your mind has been conditioned by you, or more likely by an outside source, to respond negatively to any thought, any feeling of evil according to your morality, or rather the morality of the outside source that conditioned your mind. It is this conditioning that prevents you from exercising your free will. It is this conditioning that has blinded you. You recognize the murder of Schmity to be evil, so to justify this you blinded yourself. A repercussion not quite worthy of the Code of Hammurabi, but a hefty penalty indeed."
"You mean to say my loss of sight is self inflicted because my mind has been brainwashed."
"Is it truly your mind? You may be using it, but it works for someone else. You are much like a dog with a shock collar in a way. Free to roam, but if you cross certain boundaries your master has quite the retaliations. Your mind is not truly yours, and that is why you are cursed."
"And how would I shed this curse?"
"This curse' is just another mind game you play on yourself. We could have tried to recondition your mind, but it is too far lost. You must be the only person constantly using aversion therapy against yourself. I doubt you would have been more than willing to have an outsider crawl in your head once again."
"So what are we doing?"
"The devolution of magic in you. A use of powerful, untapped magic without thought, but rather with primal instinct, raw power, raw emotion."
"I'm to become a human Dementer, incapable of using my mind and relying on human nature. No thank you."
"Oh, you will use your mind, but it will be guided by a force much greater than thought."
"The rune, my boy, the rune. All that magic straining through you just waiting to be beckoned to your will. You will will this magic so you can see through it."
"Will it? How could I will it without thought?"
"Now you've come to the right question? The answer is simple. Instinctive human nature unbound by thought. Emotion. As you know violent outbursts of emotion are catalysts for volatile magical reactions. The rune gives you the magic to see; given you are in a constant state of emotional extremity."
"Constant state of emotional extremity? Your plan was to make me an uncontrollable, unbalanced, delusional lunatic?"
"But of course. What other way is there to deceive your mind? All things become rational when you are irrational. However, uncontrollable, I think not. Your emotions will guide the magic, the magic will guide your thoughts, and your thoughts will guide your emotions."
"What emotion? Happiness, like the Patronus Charm."
"Any emotion that holds strong in you, but happiness? You have hate, you have anger, but you do not think to use them?"
"Yes, do away with the curse with what has cursed me. How ironic, yet so fitting."
"Yes, I know how you savor the flavor of defiance."
The sheepish grin that was once on Jack's face had vanished, "How would you know? As matter of fact, you seem to know a little too much about me."
"Funny it took you until now to notice. Ever feel like you were experiencing déjà vu?"
Jack's jaw dropped and stumbled backwards. He toppled over the stool behind him. "It was you. You did this to me!"
"Impressive. Yes, you were a boy out of Hogwarts and I was just another pawn at the Ministry. Not quite the neuromancer I am today, perhaps that is why you've been so able to resist your conditioning. Rudimentary Ministry procedure. You never should have been able to even point your wand with intent to kill."
"You did this to me!" Jack shot over to the Seer and once again took him by the throat.
"Good Jack. Yes, release your anger," the Seer coughed, his face turning purple.
A sudden unexpected burst of maniacal laughter erupted from Jack. He released the Seer from his grip who rubbed his throat intently. Jack gazed at his hands and then at the rune on his torso. He laughed even more hysterically tracing his fingers along its lines. Jack stopped laughing at the sight of his reflection in the glass door of a cabinet. Jack's eyes were blazing red again. Jack pulled an eyelid away with his finger. He pointed the finger at his face in the glass and then continued to laugh maniacally. He curled his fingers into a fist and shattered the glass. He laughed harder still as he watched blood stream from his hand. Bobby opened the door moments later.
"Jacky boy, what in the hell is going in here?" Bobby chimed after opening the door.
"Haven't you heard of the healing power of laughter?"
"You're insane," Bobby gasped at the sight of the blood gushing from Jack's hand.
"Funny, I thought I was a Scorpio," Jack continued laughing.
"Only the insane laugh out of spite," barked the Seer.
"What was it you said Bobby? Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter. Insane? I'm experiencing sanity for the first time and it feels great."
"Bobby leave us. Jack and I still have much work to do," uttered the Seer. Without hesitation Bobby left the room and shut the door with one last cautious glance at the unstable Jack.
Jack stood staring at the Seer wand in hand, blood dripping from its tip. "Why would the creator destroy his creation?"
"Why would a creator still keep a failed creation? Why not build a new one, a better one? A means like this to redeem one's self does not come along everyday. You are the monkey off my back."
"However, you have become the monkey on my back. You know too much about me. I cannot have a loose end like that."
"Quit your stalling and do what you must. Kill me."
"Kill you? No, you are too valuable for that. But if you no longer wish to wait, Obliviate!"
A beam of light struck the Seer and he stood there with an expressionless stupor. "Hello," he said dully.
"You must find these people and take them to this location in Normandy," Jack ordered handing the Seer a folded piece of parchment.
"I am your master, you are my servant, and I order you to do so."
"Oh, then right away, Sir," piped the Seer.
"I do hope that Memory Charm has not affected your skills, or I will have to kill you," Jack called to the Seer who was opening the large oak door.
"Of course, Sir," the Seer chimed back as he left the room.
When the Seer had vanished, Jack tapped his hand with his wand to stop the bleeding, and then he began to dress himself. Jack rolled back a sleeve and attached the contraption that held his wand. He walked out the room as he clasped his cloak shut around him and then threw his hood over his head.
On the other side of the door a man stood waiting. "Mr. Diablo, sir, I have been ordered to escort you from the building."
"Ordered by who?"
"By Mr. Diablo, sir."
"I see, take me to him at once."
"Sorry, sir. My orders were to escort you out of the premises, by force if necessary."
"If you do not wish to die you will follow my orders."
"I only follow the boss's orders," the escort muttered as he pulled out his wand and pointed it at Jack, "Now make your make your way to the exit slow and steady."
The escort pushed a reluctant Jack. Jack did not move. The escort moved to push Jack again, but Jack grabbed the escort's wand hand and broke it backwards with a loud crunch until the wand pointed back at its holder. A red glow came from under Jack's hood. The escort gave a blood-curdling scream.
"Avada Kedavra!" Jack barked and a flash of green flew from the escort's wand into himself. The escort fell to the ground quickly. His broken hand flopped limply and his wand rolled across the marble floor into Jack's feet. Jack bent over to pick the wand. He placed it inside his cloak, "Do any others wish to die?" Jack appeared to shout to no one, but Henry knew there were many invisible guards lining the hallways. None showed themselves.
Jack's cloaked mass rambled easily through the halls until he came across the giant self-devouring silver snake that served as a portal to his father's office. He stepped through it.
"Couldn't find the door?" asked his father from behind his desk.
"I couldn't leave without saying good-bye."
"Well then good-bye. Don't come around here no more. I don't need you spilling blood on my imported marble floors. You are officially disowned. You are not worthy of the name Diablo."
"I was growing impartial to the name anyway," Jack muttered as he turned to exit.
"Don't come back here, or you will be killed. These are no longer neutral grounds."
Jack turned back to face his father and marched up to him. He took hold of his father's collar and lifted him with a jerk that torn Jack's hood from his head. "If I do come back here I won't be the one that is killed," Jack howled his red eyes flaming. Jack's father looked at his son with a fearful gaze. Jack threw his father back into his chair. "Fare well, Bobby," said Jack and he vanished through the portal.
Posted 07 July 2006 - 05:24 AM
Henry quickly followed Jack out of the Diablo mansion into the alley. Henry could tell Jack was about to Apparate when he let out an agonizing groan and clutched his left arm. "darn that burns," he muttered to himself. Jack's red eyes flared. With a loud pop Jack vanished and the scene changed around Henry.
Henry once again stood outside the gates of the Riddle House. Jack creaked open the rusty iron gates and walked through. "Password?" someone hissed.
"I would lower your wand before someone loses an eye," Jack barked at the invisible sentry and strolled along up the hill towards the house. He kicked open the door and marched up the stairs. Jack stormed down the landing into the room where he first met the snake-man. "You rang?" Jack asked quite hostile.
The snake-man flinched where he stood in the corner of the room being robed by his bald servant. "What is this I hear of you taking my troops to France?" bellowed the snake-man.
"How can you expect me to train them in country when the whole of Britain is searching for you and your followers? Are you that weak that you need a mere twenty-five soldiers nearer to you?"
"It is not them I wish to be closer, Jack."
"You don't trust me?"
"Jack, Jack, Jack, it's not that I don't trust you, but rather that you can't be trusted – yet. I still don't know where your loyalties lie, and until you've earned my trust I would prefer you to remain in country. Have I made myself clear?"
"Crystal. However, what of the men? I've all ready dispatched them to Normandy," Jack retorted cynically.
"It has been taken care of. I had them sent to this locality," the snake-man snapped his long, thing fingers and the bald servant ushered over to Jack and handed him a piece of folded parchment, which Jack read hastily. Jack tapped the paper with his wand and it turned to ash. "Surely you must be joking that is so close to-"
"It is no joke. Also, to make sure there are no more mishaps Wormtail, here, will accompany you at your camp."
"As you wish, milord."
The bald attendant was astonished by this recent announcement. He dropped the snake-man's cloak. "My Lord, I cannot follow this lowly pleb. Who will be here to service you in my absence?"
"Silence, I will not tolerate your disobedience Wormtail. You will do as you are told!"
"But my Lord-"
"I said silence!" barked the snake-man. Wormtail fell to the floor twitching in agonizing pain. "I shall deal with your insolence later." The snake-man shifted his glance from Wormtail to Jack, "Now, let us not waste anymore time with your attempt at diplomacy, Jack. Your recruits are waiting. I will send Wormtail along shortly."
"Of course, my Lord," Jack uttered with false sincerity and marched out of the room. Henry was slow to follow.
"Wormtail, do not let him out of your sight. He has changed."
Wormtail coughed, "You're telling me. Did you see his eyes?"
"It is not the aesthetics that worry me. I could not sense his presence here. His mind is a sieve, he is not read so easily anymore. I fear he has become – tainted. You know your tasks. Leave me."
Once again the setting changed around Henry. He now stood grouped among a mass of two-dozen or so cloaked figures following the Seer through some heavy foliage. "Where are you taking us old man?" barked one of the cloaked ones.
"I do as the master tells me," replied the Seer.
"The master? The Dark Lord asked you to bring us here?" questioned another clearing the brush in front of him.
"I do as the master tells me."
The trees were becoming thicker. Less light was striking the forest floor through the dense woods. Strange noises echoed in the woods' blackened hollow. A slight murmur was coming from the huddled mass of Death Eaters as they followed the Seer into a misty clearing where another lone Death Eater standing at attention to a rather nervous looking Wormtail. "F-file into ranks," Wormtail stammered. One Death Eater walked over and stood next to the one that stood waiting.
"Wait just a darn minute," one of the huddled Death Eaters exclaimed. "We've been following this blind fool for hours, saying I do as the masters tells me', and now this guy starts ordering us around, and from the looks of this fat, bald ball of flesh, he isnt the master. We want some answers." The crowd of Death Eaters shouted in agreement.
"I'll have you know you insolent swine, I am the Dark Lord's personal assistant. I am merely here per his request to assist in your proper training. So I suggest you fall into ranks," Wormtail retorted. All but three of the Death Eaters filed into a line next to the lone Death Eater standing in front of Wormtail. "You three will fall in line and prepare to serve the general as he sees fit, as the Dark Lord sees fit."
"Well I don't see any Dark Lord, and I serve no one, but the Dark Lord himself," uttered the reluctant Death Eater as a blast of green light struck him in the chest.
The Death Eater at the end of the line stood with his wand raised. He removed his mask and threw it to the ground. Jack Diablo stood eyeing down the two remaining rebellious Death Eaters, "Any one else refuse to serve me?" Jack said with a challenging tone. The two Death Eaters shook their heads and quickly hurried into line.
"That is all I will require of your services for now Mr. Petigrew," Jack announced as he paced down the front of the line of Death Eaters. Jack marched slowly up the line scrutinizing the remaining Death Eaters. One flinched after Jack had passed and Jack stopped in his tracks and ambled casually up to the Death at fault. "Scared?" Jack asked menacingly.
"Bravery is stupidity graced with luck and Lady Fortune isn't gracing this camp with her presence. So what is your major malfunction?"
"I need to use the water closet, Sir."
"Water closet? Look around you. Do you see any water closets in this camp?"
"Then you have problem, don't you?"
"darn right, yes, Sir. Do you know why you have a problem?"
"Because I've got to go real bad?"
"No. You have a problem because you've displayed a sign of weakness. And weakness is just not acceptable," Jack explained as he raised his wand. The Death Eater quivered and let out a whimper. "Now look what you've done. You went and !@#$ed yourself." Jack put away his wand.
A chuckle erupted from the Death Eater on the soiled one's left. Jack stepped back away from the soiled Death Eater and ambled over to one that laughed. "You find this funny? You think your comrade !@#$ing himself is humorous? Is this a joke to you?"
"Oh? I found it drop dead hilarious." A burst of green light flew from Jack's wand and struck the Death Eater. "See, I have a sense of humor too." The line remained silent. "Well perhaps if you don't think I'm funny you'll take me seriously."
Jack marched to the middle of the line and back a few paces to take the whole into view. "As of this moment I am God to you. I am your judge, jury, and executioner. If the Dark Lord is the Devil than I am the hand he uses to rule Hell. But the hand that punishes is the same as the one that rewards." Jack snapped his fingers and the blind seer walked out of the shadows carrying a chest. Jack opened it slowly, revealing it was completely full of Galleons emitting a soft glow. Henry looked through the masks of the Death Eaters, their eyes were as wide as saucers, the glimmer of gold shone in their eyes. "We all have just causes for joining the ranks of the Dark Lord, but we can all use a little incentive for staying the path. It is a simple equation: If you grab the gold, youll follow my law. If you don't, more spoils for those who choose follow my law."
Jack snapped his fingers again and twenty four more chests behind him popped open. "There are twenty-five chests full of Galleons here. An endless supply of gold lies deeper in my law. There will be excruciating pain and unbearable anguish, but by God you will be the best darn soldiers the world will ever know. Now, if you wish, the gold is yours."
Henry watched all but three of the remaining Death Eaters slowly march over to the chests of gold. They all looked at one another before reaching in. One by one each of the Death Eaters sifted the gold greedily through their fingers. Jack watched with a wily grin and then turned to the three others. "What's the matter, you three don't want to follow my yellow brick road?"
"No, Sir. I can't speak for the other two, but how do I know that this isn't some trick, that that gold isn't cursed?" The Death Eater in the center questioned. The two on the ends nodded in agreement.
"Trust. If you can trust me, I can trust you. However, if you can't trust me, I can't trust you, and if I can't trust you, that leaves me with loose ends. I don't like loose ends," Jack barked and pulled out his wand.
The Death Eaters followed suit quickly and pointed their wands at Jack. "What are you going to do, kill all three of us? Well, you're coming with us. I don't believe for a second that you're as good as you say you are," the middle Death Eater remarked.
Jack slowly put away his wand. "I will do nothing of the sort."
Eruptions of green light filled the clearing, illuminating the darkness in the trees. When the green haze settled, Henry gazed around and saw every Death Eater near a chest with their wand pointed in the direction of the three rogue Death Eaters, who were no longer standing.
Jack turned slowly and began to leisurely clap his hands, "Welcome to our Amalgamation. You lucky-" Jack paused and eyed the remaining Death Eaters, "twenty are the first seen fit to serve the Dark Lord in what will be his finest legion. Your training will be excruciating. You will have aches and pains, but darn it, you will get good.
"I'd like to make a few things clear about this Amalgamation. We are amalgamated here, all of us are one of us, one of us is all of us. Here, we are Death Eaters no more, we are not people, we have no family, we have no friends, we do not even exist. We do not exist! This Amalgamation does not exist! We have no name. We do not have neat little codenames and call-signs. We do not have numbers. We do not have labels. Labels incriminate. If we incriminate one of us, we incriminate all of us. In doing so makes we make us a liability to our Amalgamation. All threats against the Amalgamation will be neutralized. The Amalgamation must purge itself of all potential threats to the Amalgamation. If a piece of the Amalgamation is stranded in the call of duty it is its responsibility to eliminate itself as a threat, we do not allow ourselves to be captured alive, or the Amalgamation will makes sure we are not captured alive. The Amalgamation is more important than any one member of the Amalgamation. The needs of the Amalgamation outweigh the needs of we, the individuals. We do not question the integrity of the Amalgamation."
"Sir," barked one of the Death Eaters, "How will we tell members of the Amalgamation from other Death Eaters?"
"A fair question. You have all been marked. Look at your comrades and you will see the mark of those trained by me. Do not mention this mark! Ever! Do not mention the Amalgamation ever! The only exception is in the presence of this camp and only when I am in the presence of this camp. For I am God and you all will follow my orders without question like they were the darn Ten Commandments. You will do what I say when I say. If I tell you to jump you do not ask how high, your feet will leave the ground before the P rolls off my tongue or you are dead before the others hit the ground. There is no tolerance for failure here, there is no mercy. The failure of one means failure of all and there is only one penalty for failure: death. So let's keep about shall we.
"After your time with me you will be gods among mortals; ready to smite all heathens and nonbelievers. As for your initial training you will learn cleanliness is next to godliness. You all will wear robes whiter than the purest snow that you will keep whiter than the purest snow and in the most pristine of conditions." Jack snapped his fingers, "Hand them their robes, Jeeves."
The Seer slowly marched to each Death Eater and handed him his robes, each was hesitant and reluctant to change in front of the others. "You can't be bashful in the big house boys," uttered the Seer. One was smart enough to magic their robes on. The later ones followed the this one's lead.
After the Amalgamated donned their white robes Jack had them form ranks again. "Now for your first task. Dispose of your fallen comrades. You have two hours."
"Two hours? That is quite unnecessary Sir, we will have them disposed of in a moment," One of the Amalgamated interjected, raising his wand."
"No. No, magic. Magic is easily detected and traced. One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. You do this the muggle way. Jeeves," The Seer tossed Jack a shovel. Jack stabbed the spade into the damp, soft earth. "You have one hour fifty-nine minutes. Remember cleanliness is next to godliness, and youll learn soon enough dirt is next to death."
The Amalgamated each picked up a shovel and began carefully digging and moving the fresh, upturned earth. Jack turned and erected a enormous tent with his wand. Jack gestured to the door with his hands and a bow, "After you Mr. Petigrew. Jeeves." Wormtail ambled easily into the tent as The Seer moved in close to Jack.
The Seer leaned into Jack ear and whispered, "Jeeves, Sir?"
"I find it most wise to conceal who and what you really are."
"Indeed, Sir, indeed." The Seer followed Jack into the tent.
The inside of the tent was arranged much like Jack's father's office. Wormtail stood waiting in front of the desk. Jack slowly crept around it and slouched into the chair. He gazed up at Wormtail. "You seem confused Mr. Petigrew."
"You could say that. What the hell is it that you are trying to do?"
"Making them stronger. I have instilled a herd mentality. In order to insure the survival of the herd the strong will purge the weak from the herd. Thus making the herd stronger and more efficient, a better machine, a better herd. It is this fear of being purged that will keep them disciplined, because they won't fear retribution from authority, but rather from their own comrades, their brethren, the herd."
"That's not what I'm talking about, Jack. You are here to train them to be soldiers in the Dark Lord's army. The Dark Lord's battle is in the world of magic, not the world of muggles. You parade them around to do manual labor like a muggle, how is this beneficial to the Dark Lord's cause. You're turning them into the things we wish to purge from the global herd."
"Mr. Petigrew, that is why we are weak. We are dependant on our use of magic to get by and it is a weakness. It is a way muggles are indeed superior to us, the fact they can live, survive, strive without magic. And that's my point, we think we are so superior with our magic, our enemies will think that only our magic could be used to thwart them. While our enemies play checkers, we play chess. It's all strategy, Mr. Petigrew, and I am not creating a revolution with silk gloves."
"Who said anything about you starting a revolution?" Wormtail asked suspiciously.
"Indeed, who did? It's just a figure of speech. I am creating precedence in the training methods of sorcerous soldiers. Skill may win you a battle, but tactics, strategy wins the war. Like you said we are fighting the Dark Lord's war, and in war it is necessary to compromise. Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve. That is why I will lead the finest legion the Dark Lord will ever know. They will do my means to achieve the Dark Lord's ends."
"Of course. Now I must depart. I must make my report to the Dark Lord in person. I will return in the morning." With a quick shrug Wormtail turned, threw the canvas door out of his way, and walked out of the tent. Jack turned to the Seer. The Seer peered back. The two sat staring at each other for a long while until finally the Seer broke the silence. "He is gone. We can speak freely."
"Aren't you the cautious one?"
"I do not trust him. I advise you do the same. He maybe harmful to what you are trying to accomplish."
"And what is that?" The Seer sat silent. "Besides, Petigrew is a little nothing."
"Jack, even a little dog can !@#$ on a big building. You of all people should know not to doubt my warnings."
"Well, if you have to warn me, doesn't that mean I'm screwed all ready?" The Seer did not respond. "I thought so. Are they finished?"
"In a manner of speaking. They passed your test."
"Oh? How many causalities?"
"You sound disappointed. I thought I was to be the cold, heartless one?"
"Well just one took the proper action, when the time for action occurred."
"Which one is he?"
"You should be asking: who is she?."
"Brilliant. She was the first to fall into ranks, she was the one who used magic to change robes, and the last go for the gold. She is a clever one. She maybe the only competent one here."
"Don't you find that odd. He hands you twenty-five of his most bumbling fools, yet one is an overachiever. I do not trust her, and if I were you I wouldn't get close to that one."
"You're a very warm person, you know that?" Jack stood and strolled over to the canvas door.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to inspect, motivate, and bond with the troops if you must ask."
"Jack listen to me, stay away from her."
Jack flipped the hanging door out of his way and marched out of the tent. Henry quickly followed suit, taking one last glance at the Seer who slowly shook his head.
Jack walked out towards the mass of Death Eaters who were patting the dirt with the flats of the shovels. "Looks good, but may I ask what happened here." Jack pointed to a Death Eater in white robes face down in the mud.
"He got sloppy, so we terminated him. He was a risk to the Amalgamation, Sir," piped one of the Death Eaters.
"Really, and who was the mastermind behind this logic?" Jack asked hostilely. The Death Eaters, fearing they made a mistake, pointed to a petit Death Eater still at work burying the dead. "How emasculating it must be for the rest of you, to find that the only seemingly competent one among you is a woman. Also, might I add those robes aren't very flattering to your figure, but that's good. It gives you a sense of ambiguity."
The female Death Eater dropped her shovel and looked over at Jack, "How did you know?"
"It doesn't matter how I know you're a woman, it's matters I know you're sloppy. You were seen, and you didn't complete the task. You left the others standing, why? They had committed treason by failing to eliminate the threat and thus became threats themselves. It's you're lucky day gentlemen, I'm feeling generous, so I won't take the action your comrade here, should have. You," Jack pointed to the female Death Eater, "go to my quarters. The rest of you, dispose of this one, and then you can start building your barracks, no magic." Jack flicked his wand and a set of tools, hammers, saws, and hardware appeared in a pile on the ground. Jack walked with the female Death Eater back to his tent. Jack pulled aside the canvas door and ushered her inside.
Jack ambled past her and took a seat behind his desk, the Seer looked at the female Death Eater, then turned his head to give a piercing stare to Jack. Jack shrugged. The female Death Eater chimed, "What is it you want me to do?"
"Not what you're thinking. Have a seat." Jack gestured to the open chair next to the Seer.
"Then why am I here?"
"I was going to ask you the same question?" Jack rebutted.
"Indeed, why would someone like yourself be in this camp. What's your motive," the Seer asked very blunt.
"Jeeves, that's quite an accusation. Where's your manners? You're in the presence of lady. But, if you don't mind me asking, why are you here?"
"I was serving under Bellatrix Lestrange, when she told me I was to attend training here under someone new. She said the order came from the Dark Lord himself. Apparently I wasnt effective to the movement in my former post. Thats why Im here"
"Take off your mask." The female Death Eater slowly pealed the mask from her face threw it on Jack's desk. Her face was revealed and Henry did not find her to be stunning, but he did not find her unattractive in the least. Henry thought he hid it well, but he noticed a miniscule flicker of surprise in Jack's face. "Lestrange, eh? What was she like?"
"Is this confidential?"
"It won't leave this tent."
"She was psychotic, brilliant, but psychotic. A sadistic savage, far beyond a fundamentalist to the Dark Lord, she murdered so many people in our camp just for thinking -- about anything other than serving the Dark Lord and his cause."
"Of course, ideas are far more dangerous than spells and potions. We would not let our enemies have spells and potions, why should we let them have ideas?"
"You consider us enemies?" rang the female Death Eaters.
"What is an enemy, but a misguided ally."
"So I'm misguided?"
"Who isn't? Look at how you think of your last general. I'm afraid to ask what you think of me."
"But you are asking?"
"It's hard to tell. You could be a genius, or a complete fool. You're muggle antics are worthless, but revolutionary. Your passion for unity is inspiring, it is as if you're trying to recreate the musketeers. The discipline or death routine is old, but nevertheless effective. It sends the message you're not afraid to break a few eggs to make an omelet. There's just one thing, why hand out gold?"
"It's simple: knowledge is power and bliss is ignorance."
"Don't you mean ignorance is bliss?"
"No, knowledge is power and bliss is ignorance. If you are content you have no reason to challenge your leadership, so the masters keep their underlings in a blissful state in their lowness to keep them ignorant and oblivious, thus keeping the masters' power over them. Aspirers cause unrest, no aspiration, no unrest. But there are a few strong willed, that must be handled with different means." Jack put his elbows on his desk and placed the tips of his fingers together. "Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest. They are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues. The gold was a means to make the followers content. Other leaders use fear, I use fortune. A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights. Give them gold and they are willing to be exploited. Though, they have already been exploited through their greed."
"Oh really? Why tell this to a lowly follower, one youve already exploited?"
"Because I'm making you my lieutenant."
The female Death Eater's face showed she was happily surprised.
"Jack, do you think that is a wise decision?" the Seer bellowed quickly. The woman Death Eater's glowing face faded.
"Why not, Jeeves? She's clearly the most capable of the current batch. She's the perfect medium between me and them because she is one of them, they'll relate to her better than me. Congratulations, lieutenant-What's your name?"
"Is this a trick, Sir?"
"No, no trick. You are different then the others and I would like to get to know you on a personal basis."
"The woman who ruined life for the rest of humanity," interjected the Seer, "What a clever name."
Pandora stared daggers at the Seer, "I'm under the impression you don't like me very much, and let me inform you the feeling is mutual. Now, if you'll excuse me, duty calls." She snatched her mask off of Jack's desk and stormed out of the tent.
"Real nice, Jeeves, real nice."
"Don't open that box, Jack," the Seer warned.
"Why not? Fruit is much more enjoyable when its forbidden."
"Some fruit is rotten. She was under Lestrange and fruit doesn't fall far from the tree."
"Enough with the metaphors. Don't worry about me. I can handle myself. She's a very intelligent girl and very easy on the eyes, in my case a girl like that is hard to find. Ever since Hogwarts, girls have been shallow, narcissistic, and materialistic. I'm not saying I didn't like them, but it was all meaningless. Being with them was keeping up with the Jones, but this girl has the potential to be something special."
"Do what you will, Jack, but remember I told you so."
"I told you I have her under control."
"Do you have Him under control?"
"Him. The Dark Lord will be here in the morning. I would prepare them for his arrival."
Posted 22 October 2006 - 12:44 PM
This really is a great story, it took me quite a while to read all the chapters but it was enjoyable and I never got tired of reading. You have a really good writing style.
Post more as soon as you can!
This town is colder now
I think it's sick of us
I've got my heart set
on anything but you
Stop and stare
I've become what I can't be
you start to wonder
why you're here not there
Posted 02 December 2006 - 01:00 AM
Jack sat at his desk swirling his silver stress balls. A chess board was lying in front of him, the pieces arranged in a crafted chaos, and on the other side sat the Seer. Jack pick up a pawn and moved it. "It just doesn't make sense. Why would he come for an inspection after the first day? Petigrew, that rat, he must have skewed this completely out of proportion. Besides, the troops have reacted positively to the training, they're accepting it as a disciplined art. Sure, they're still rough around the edges, but they will be a keen swarm of death. They'll need no inspection."
The Seer moved one of his knights after scrutinizing the board. "Perhaps, he hasn't come to inspect the troops."
Jack quickly slid his bishop to take the Seer's knight. "Why else would he come here? We're not exactly in a safe location for a man of his repute."
"But it's safe for you?" The Seer repositioned his rook.
"The Ministry thinks I'm on an undercover operation in some secret location in attempt to infiltrate the Death Eaters and bring down the Dark Lord." Jack moved another pawn.
"You're not?" The Seer moved his queen. "Checkmate."
Jack looked at the board and slammed his stress balls into his desk. "You're cheating. You knew where I was going to move and you abused your gift."
"Jack, you can't change the future, the past, or the present. They are the same, a constant. Jack, time is the motor of the world, a finely crafted motor, if you change one of the gears, you the motor wont run."
"Well if I must stop the motor of the world, just call me John Galt."
"Who is John Galt?"
"Nothing. Nevermind. It's just power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. You, my friend, have been corrupted by your power and your power corrupts the game of chess."
A hissing came from the canvas flap of a door, "Nothing can corrupt the game of chess, Jack, it's the sport of king's." Lord Voldemort entered the well accommodating tent. Jack quickly rose to his feet. "Who is this outsider who sits before me?" Voldemort harshly barked at Jack.
"You have your servants. I have mine," Jack retorted harsher.
"Jack, I should kill him for being an unknown variable in my equation. I should kill you for bringing him into it. "
"I would trust him with my life. I all ready have. If you kill him, I'll kill you. Is that simple enough algebra for you?"
Voldemort gave shrill laugh, but Jack stood glaring; his eyes burning red. "Jack, in a camp full of Death Eaters, I'd love to see you try."
"Jeeves, go check on the troops, make sure they're keeping busy. I dont wish to be disturbed," Jack ordered of the Seer. The Seer slowly rose to his feet and casually ambled past the canvas door. "I take it you have must you wish to discuss with me, my Lord," Jack growled.
"Indeed, Jack, I do. First, I suggest you change your tone, I don't deal well with hostility."
"But I thought hostilities were the key elements of your negotiations?"
Voldemort chuckled. "Shall we parlay over a game of chess?"
"If you wish, my Lord." Jack began resetting the board.
"Muggle chess?" Voldemort questioned as he sat in front of Jack's desk.
"I prefer the hands-on approach to things."
"I find that almost admirable. Somehow I always knew you were the kind of man that got his hands dirty."
Jack shifted a game piece, "It's your move."
Voldemort surveyed the board. "You're lucky I'm feeling generous today, Jack. Otherwise you wouldn't be alive to lose to me." Voldemort made his move.
"If you believed me to be a threat, wouldn't I be dead all ready? You would never kill me because of what I do here." Jack shifted another piece. "Your move."
Voldemort again slowly read the board. "Jack, you overestimate your worth to me. You're not irreplaceable. You're only ranked higher than most of my other expendable puppets." He finished his turn.
"I have not appraised my value to you. I'm merely stating a fact, that you will not be the death of me. I know exactly when I'm going to die." Jack quickly moved another token. "Your move."
Voldemort kept his slow, steady vigil of the board taking his time before making his move. "And when is this, Jack?" Voldemort questioned as he took one of Jack's pieces.
"Never." Jack quickly responded by taking one of Voldemort's.
"That's a bold statement, Jack. Do you have the means to back it up." Voldemort continued reading the board.
"If you wish to try my fate with a duel, I will not back down from any challenge, in solitude or in front of your men, need not they be men of honor. I know my fate, my fall will be the fault of mine alone. The only thing I fear is that I would strip Harry Potter of his reputation. How well do you know your fate?" Jack voiced coolly.
"Jack, if you think these ramblings will disrupt my game. You are sadly mistaken. I would not need a duel to know the outcome of such a contest, this chess match will suffice. I was merely asking if you have taken the proper precautions towards your proclaimed immortality." Voldemort made his move.
Jack hastily countered the move, "Precautions? I'm untouchable. On one hand the Ministry of Magic has honored me with executive privilege, and I shall use and abuse this privilege: any means necessary has a very loose definition. On the other I have a soon-to-be well-trained, loyal army at my disposal."
Voldemort's ever-vigil study of the board ceased. He lifted his head slowly and surveyed Jack. "Loyalty bought is not loyalty earned. Loyalty not earned in not true loyalty." Voldemort head dropped and continued to study the board.
"So that's what this visit is about, then?"
Voldemort's eyes briefly left the chessboard to look Jack in the eyes, "Partially."
"Oh? And what would the other parts concern?"
Voldemort slowly shifted a piece across the board, "We'll discuss it when the time comes. For now the subject of discussion is loyalty."
"What is there to discuss? You have your motivational methods as I have mine. Your name strikes fear into the faces of others, the Diablo name has them seeing galleons. You may rule with reverence. I govern with greed."
"And what are you going to do when the well runs dry?" Voldemort shifted another piece.
"Maybe you forget how deep my pockets run?" Jack rebutted Voldemort's move with one of his own.
"Deep they may be, but how many hands can they hold?" Voldemort calmly glided another piece across the board.
"Enough to bare the burden of my army," Jack cooed as he slid his piece to capture Voldemort's.
"Your army?" Voldemort queried shifting his eyes from the board to Jack and then back again. "What about my army?"
"Excuse me, milord, your army," Jack forced from his lips.
"You misunderstood me, Jack. I'm not talking about your little band of miscreants. I'm talking about my army, the Death Eaters, in its entirety," Voldemort moved another piece. "Check."
"What?" Jack stared at the board rather flustered. "You want my gold?" Jack made his move.
"Who spoke of want? Am I not entitled to it? I was to believe we are amalgamated in our efforts and cause here, Jack. If you think about it Jack, really Im doing your work for you, Im in a greater position to distribute compensation to my soldiers, correct?" Voldemort countered. "Check."
Jack moved his king to safety. "You and I both know you have know intention of redistributing your wealth amongst the proletariat."
Voldemort lifted his head and glared into Jack's fiery red eyes. Voldemort's face was no longer void of emotion, now it was raging with fury. "And you and I know motivation and loyalty are not your motives behind the gold!"
"I beg to differ. Undoubting loyalty was and is my sole reason for the gold!" Jack said defiantly.
"Dragon's dung, Jack. I know there is some deeper scheme flowing through your head. You as well as I-"
"You as well as I," Jack interrupted, "know you've been probing my thoughts ever since we've been in contact. I have no need for Occlumency, and as you well know I have nothing to hide. You as well as I know had you sensed any threat of treason on my behalf this little game of ours never would have begun. Perhaps your own devices have gotten the better of you, perhaps the fear you masterfully instill into others, now masterfully instills fear of others in you."
"Jack you are but a learner," Voldemort gracefully slid his piece over the board, "and that is why I am the master. Checkmate."
Jack didn't even bother to look at the makings of his loss and recklessly flicked his king off of its balanced perch. He stared deep into the snake-like eyes of the Dark Lord.
"Jack, fear is but a tool, and I wield it like a master smith. It is a sophisticated art form, its truly beautiful; my command over it. Your flaunting of gold is pathetic, clumsy, and imprecise. I believe you live by the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules. Now I have the gold, and I dictate gold, much like loyalty, must be earned. About my gold, I expect it will be handed over post haste."
"If you want my gold, you will have to take it," Jack pulled a key from his cloak and slammed it onto his desk, "That is the key to my personal stores inside the house of Diablo, grandfather never did trust goblins around gold, youre welcome to retrieve it. Ill never set foot in that house again." Jack whistled a peculiar melody and the Seer entered the tent with a bow. "Jeeves, inform the troops, that the Dark Lord himself, has come for an inspection. No, a test of character rather." The Seer bowed once more and exited. "As for the gold in this camp, all of it is mine as all of it is theirs, and you will have to take it from them if you wish to take it from me."
A weary smile crept across the Dark Lord's face. "Is that all then? Simple enough a Death Eater knows its place: beneath me. They serve me, no one else, not even themselves. Greed is a rather tricky vice, Jack. It can give a person a sense of self-worth, a delusion they possess value which they do not. How can I expect to have a powerful, loyal army of expendable soldiers in my name if they all have delusions of grandeur and self-righteousness? I cannot. They would hide behind my banner using it for their own gain instead of fulfilling their dutiful service to me, unwilling to sacrifice to the cause, my cause, because the deem themselves significant to the movement, to me. This is why I can't allow gold to corrupt my beloved corps.
"Do you know why you lost our little chess match, Jack? It is because you are both rash and reckless; you do not think before you act. You do not take into account the repercussions and counteractions brought forth by your own dealings. You fail to recognize the larger scheme of cause and effect taking place. From my own moves I deduced exactly what moves you would make before you made them. And I must say your play simply lacked tact, constant assault, full of rage and fury, signifying nothing. I expected more from you, Jack, your game is as subtle as a giant hiding behind a pebble. You'd be wise to keep a cool head," Voldemort hissed as the Seer reemerged in the tent.
Jack stood annoyed, Henry clearly could see Jack was growing weary of the presence of the Dark Lord. Perhaps Jack was just a sour loser when it came to chess, thought Henry. "Indeed, I shall be mindful of your advice, but alas we shouldn't keep the expendable puppets waiting, my Lord, it would not be good for morale."
Now it was Voldemort who appeared annoyed. "If I must." The Dark Lord rose from his seat. Jack walked past to lead his master out of the tent, but the Dark Lord's long, thin fingers forcibly curled around Jack's arm holding him back. "Do not think you are free of me yet. There is still more I wish to discuss after your charitable donation. Now allow me to demonstrate true loyalty."
Henry tailed after the Seer, Jack, and Lord Voldemort after they all ducked under the canvas flap serving as a doorway to Jack's office like tent. Henry saw the three ahead of him were marching toward the framework of a large, long barn-like structure. The small faction of Death Eaters stood in front of it in a row awaiting their inspection. One Death Eater walked out ahead as Jack approached. "Sir, all personnel present accounted for; awaiting inspection."
"Very, good lieutenant. Fall in," Jack said with a wave of his beckoning Pandora away.
"Lieutenant?" Voldemort whispered coldly and intrigued. Jack seemed not to have noticed.
Jack marched up and down the line turning his head up to the structure. "Doesn't look like you've made much progress," Jack flicked his wand and the bones of the corps' shelter collapsed upon themselves. Not a single protest erupted from the row of Death Eaters, though Henry could tell they were all fighting a deep urge to cause immense pain to Jack. "Pity, I sense a foul change in the weather this evening." Henry could hear a low rumble of thunder in the distance.
"Enough, Jack, shall we get on with this then?" barked the Voldemort displaying his growing impatience.
"Of course, my Lord," Jack uttered quite humbly, that sly grin that Henry knew of Jack's face had returned. Jack bowed his attention to the Dark Lord and then addressed the row of Death Eaters. Luck has bid us both fair and foul this eve. We have been entreated with the Dark Lord's presence; a rare gift indeed. However, the circumstances by which we are graced with his company are dreary at best. He believes our loyalty to be in question. I am absolutely sure that every last one of us would gladly give our lives, but he mercilessly spared us of such a tribute, such a payment."
Though no of them moved or said a thing, Henry could feel most of them churning inside, screaming silently. Henry was sure they new the fortune of their knew fortunes. Suddenly Jack was rolling on the ground convulsing and yelling in agony. Henry noticed the Death Eaters' grips tighten on their wands. Voldemort walked up beside Jacks still twitching body, "Jack, I said to get this over with. It is not wise to keep me waiting. My time is too precious to waste on your longed winded speeches. All of you," Voldemort turned to face his Death Eaters, "Your gold, now!"
The Death Eaters did not resist, presenting the Dark Lord with the twenty-five chests full of galleons quickly, quietly, calmly, or at least it appeared so. Henry knew better. Henry looked back to Jack who was now clutching his ribs as he mustered himself to his feet, his sly grin growing ever larger though stricken by a harsh cough. "You have your gold, anything else you wish to attrite from your humble servants?" Jack said in bizarre way. Henry found tones of plight in Jack's words, yet they head an air of mockery, of goading.
"Perhaps, Jack," Voldemort spat and Jack was again on the ground thrashing in horrific pain. Henry swore he heard cackles of manic laughter hidden in Jack's ghastly screams of pain. "Perhaps you should not let what primal thoughts you have betray you." Voldemort walked down to the other end of the row leaving Jack keeled over on the ground. "Lieutenant, I think you would be most fitting to help me teach a most valuable lesson. Kill yourself," he ordered.
Without hesitation, her wand was climbing the air towards her head, but before she could reach her chest she was struck with numerous spells of various shades and hues. She and her wand went soaring into the shrubbery. "Impressive, Jack. Most Impressive. We have must left to discuss indeed. You," Voldemort pointed his wand to the Seer, who has stood motionless and detached during the previous chain of events, "Bring him back to his chambers I am not finished with him yet."
The Seer bowed to the command. Voldemort flicked his wand and the chests of galleons disappeared. He turned on his heels and stormed off back to Jack's tent, his cloak billowing behind him. The Seer floated over to Jack and pried him off the ground. Jack leaned his weight on the shoulders of the Seer who was now helping Jack limp back to his tent. Jack turned his head over his shoulder and barked a hollow command, "Back to work." The Death Eaters left their organized line formation and silently went back to their construction. Henry once more witnessed that sly grin, though painfully, creep across Jack's mouth.
Jack hobbled into his tent under the guidance of the Seer. Voldemort sat behind Jack's desk, his long, thin, white fingers rapping softly on the shiny redwood top. "I believe I told you not to keep me waiting once before. I will not warn you again."
Jack, freeing himself from the Seer's clutches, hobbled slightly. "Patience is a virtue."
Voldemort scowled and Jack was once more on the ground writhing with pain. "Slave. Gather the Lieutenant; bring her here." The Seer once again bowed expressionless and filtered out of the room. "You dare to mock me, Jack?" Jack let out a wounded laugh. "It is a poor fool who must laugh at his own jokes."
Jack forced himself into a chair, "It is a poor fool who doesn't tell jokes. I said you would not be the death of me. You do not laugh and that is why I laugh."
"I've had enough of your folly Jack. However, I may have been mistaken about your methods. You seem to have tamed these beasts. Perchance, your leadership is not a farce. They appear to be very well disciplined, now. No, only one." The Seer ushered the Lieutenant into the tent and then ducked outside. "Pandora, I believe I requested you to end your stay on this plane of existence." The Lieutenant's wand immediately began to turn on herself. "Stop," bellowed the Dark Lord holding up his palm, "You did not hesitate to do so and I am intrigued to know why you stand here before me."
The Lieutenant dropped to one knee, "Forgive me, my Lord, but the task you had bestowed upon me could not occur amongst the corps. My death would have weakened the corps and our Amalgamation cannot allow itself to be weakened. That, my Lord, is why I was not allowed to fulfill my duty to you."
"Return to your corps, Lieutenant. Tell them I am pleased."
"Right away, my Lord," Pandora stood and marched out of the tent. Jack's cheeky smile faded.
"My word is law, Jack."
"I do not doubt it, my Lord. I'm sure had you not told my Lieutenant to cease her attempted suicide, she would have continued to try to end herself and the amalgamated corps would have continued to thwart her efforts to ensure the corps' survival unless you told them to stop. But, thankfully you graciously put an end to that vicious cycle and the impediment it would have placed on their progress before it began," Jack appeased.
"Indeed, Jack their progress is well achieved. Your motivation through bribery has produced results I had not foreseen. I shall not restrict your measures so long as they produce these results."
Jack's head inclined, "So you're giving back the gold?"
"No, Jack, that gold is mine. Gold, like loyalty must be earned. However, your feats here will not go without reward. I am giving you double your men."
"You're giving me another twenty-five?" Jack said with rising spirits.
"Fifty, my dear boy."
"Fifty? After one day? And after questioning my leadership?" Jack asked in a manner that was more of an accusation.
"Are you questioning mine? I would hate to have to terminate your use to me, Jack. I need more than a handful of soldiers. I need them well disciplined. I need them quickly. You have proven you can provide this to me, though at an expense, but I'd willingly sacrifice the life one if it results in four of those," chanted Voldemort pointing to the Death Eaters through the walls of the tent.
"Why, is there do you have need for such an army?" Jack groaned, shifting painfully in his chair.
"That is not a discussion to be held at this time. All you need to know is that I need a number of capable unknowns." Jack simply stared at his master. "Your Lieutenant, Pandora, she is quite the capable sort. A wise choice to make her your second in command."
"Then why attempt to kill her?"
"Leverage. I must say I had to display the full workings of the feudal system. They may serve you, but you serve me, therefore they serve me. I was sure your feelings on the matter would affect the outcome of the situation; alas you had no influence on the mater directly. I was, in a way, marking my territory; letting them know first hand who really is God to them and more importantly to you."
"My deepest apologies, my Lord, but I fear I may be an atheist," Jack said with his sly grin hindered with pain.
The Dark Lord rose behind Jack's desk, "I will send Wormtail with your men in the morning. Jack, you will learn before long, that your cruel attempts of humor are wasted." The Dark Lord marched to the exited and pushed aside the canvas door. "Comedy is not my genre." With that the Dark Lord disappeared.
Henry watched Jack loosen his collar, like a dog trying to free itself from an invisible leash. He grunted out of the chair and shuffled back to his seat behind his desk. Jack clawed at his silver stress balls and clutched them from his desk. He twisted them in his palms anxiously. He began to slowly open a drawer to his desk, but before Henry could look inside at its contents, the Seer walked in and Jack shut the drawer hastily.
"He does not seem too pleased of you at the moment, Jack. You may wish to lose more graciously, when it comes to chess," the Seer rambled.
"A long time ago, when the lands were roamed by clans of families, one warrior fell off of his horse and broke his leg while on a hunting trip. His clan kept telling him what an unlucky man he was to have broken his leg. Soon after, all the other warriors from his clan were killed in a battle with a rival clan, and his tribe kept telling him what a lucky man he was to have broken his leg. Sometimes lose is necessary for gain," Jack sighed.
"Then perhaps you may wish to let others win more graciously."
"I do what needs to be done. I put on a little song and dance, tell Him what he wants to hear, show Him what he wants to see. Get Him to do what I need him to do. He needs to know he's superior, dominant, the alpha male, I let him win at chess. He needs to know I am not capable of a thought beyond his, I play perfectly into his strategy, quickly, wildly, making mistakes. He needs to know I will submit to him, even if full of unrest, I reluctantly give him my gold. He needs to know I am ambitious, I test his leadership. He needs to know I have a weakness, I show him an attachment."
"He needs to know you fear him," the Seer added. Jack stopped swirling his stress balls.
"The cornered mouse's fear of its imminent death will drive it to confront the cat."
"Some could mistake that for courage, sir," the Seer chimed.
"Then let us hope people aren't so irrational to believe such a thing as courage exists." Jack rose from his seat, "Now, excuse me, there are needs I must fill."
Jack limped his way across the room and out of the tent. He made his way back to the Death Eaters who were now reconstructing their shelter. As Jack approached they continued their work, but their body language gave Henry a sense of despair.
"I'm afraid I cannot allow this feeble attempt at a barracks to stand in my camp," Jack barked. He flicked is wand and the rubble of the Death Eaters construction disappeared. The Death Eaters heads dipped. "Not when we're expecting company." With another flick of his wand a small, windowless housing materialized where the rubble once stood. "You give and you shall receive. I suggest you sleep well tonight, training resumes in the morning." Jack turned and walked back to his tent, no longer limping.
The Death Eaters stared into their barracks. Despite it's small exterior its single corridor seemed to go on forever, lined with bunks and footlockers. The Death Eaters stormed their new quarters and quickly claimed their stead within the hall.
Henry found his way back to Jack's tent. Jack had put his feet up on his desk. "Loyalty bought is not loyalty earned. Loyalty not earned is not true loyalty," Jack mimicked the Dark Lord. "What are earnings besides justified payment? It is a funny thing, loyalty, don't you thing, Jeeves."
"Indeed. A man will be loyal to an idea, a movement, a man, something greater than he. However, mutual loyalty cannot exist between two parties. For why would a rational man sacrifice himself for something less than he?"
Posted 24 July 2007 - 12:35 AM
A yellow smoky haze filled Jack's quarters as the mellow beams of the sun rising leaked through the seams of the canvas tent. Jack sat at his desk, swirling his silver stress balls loosely. He was reclined, feet overlapping resting on the desk in front of him. Yellow smoke rings havered from his lips along with the humming of the theme of Beethoven's Ninth. Jack's right hand waved his right hand as though he were conducting the symphony.
The Seer lay sleeping on a cot near the canvas flap that served as the door to the tent. His snoring played percussion to Jack's musical musings.
"It would appear the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree."
The music ceased. Jack's head slowly rolled towards the direction of the door to find Peter Petigrew standing there with a smug look on his face. "We all have our vices. We all need our vices, however this is one my father and I do not share. Where are my men?"
"Moscow," Petigrew said with a tone of arrogance.
Jack slammed his fists hard into his desktop causing the ornaments dressing it to bounce. His stress balls left dents in the varnished red wood. The thunderous had awoken the Seer. "Why are my soldiers in Moscow?"
"The Dark Lord wishes you to handle some negotiations, hostile negotiations with our Russian counterparts. It seems our comrades aren't too happy with their end of the deal. It's your job to make them happy." Petigrew glanced around the tent. Henry noticed he was averting eye contact with Jack.
"Negotiate? I wasn't aware the Dark Lord made negotiations," Jack retorted coldly.
"Why not send you?"
"I don't ask questions, neither should you. I do as I'm told, as should you," Petigrew barked harshly.
"Master, I believe this request of your services will be a fine display of your diplomacy and leadership of the men. It's also a good chance to break in the new boys," The Seer piped in, now sitting up on his cot.
"I didn't ask your opinion, Jeeves." Jack eyes shifted slowly from the Seer to Petigrew. "Fine, I'll take care of your Ruskin problem, but I want one hundred more men in this camp tomorrow morning and I mean in this camp. Jeeves, watch over this fat twit like white on rice on paper plate with a glass of milk in snow storm. If he's still here by my departure I want his carcass as a doormat. I want my soldiers, make sure he delivers."
Jack opened the drawer to his desk, reached in, and quickly thrust an object into the inner breast pocket of his robes. He rose slowly from his leather seat and strolled over to Petigrew. Jack looked him dead in the eye as he grasped his collar and lifted him off the ground. Petigrew's face grew red as gasped for breath.
"If you pull this dragon dung again I will personally see to it that you view living as Hell. You will beg me to kill you just to end your suffering." Jack released his iron grip on Petigrew's throat and tossed him to ground at his feet. Jack planted a foot into his chest as walked over him to exit his tent.
"Lieutenant!" Jack barked as he ambled to soldiers' barracks.
"Sir?" she questioned as she ran up to meet him.
Jack halted and Pandora met him at attention. "Lieutenant, you're in charge until my return. There are to be no individuals in Amalgamation. Take them on a run or something, in formation. If they can't keep up, fall out of rank, trip, fall, if they slip up once dispose of them. Do I make myself clear?"
"Crystal. Trim the fat, boss?"
"Exactly. Herd the sheep, leave the weak to the wolves."
"Sir, if you don't mind my asking, what are you trying to accomplish with this army?" Pandora questioned.
"Magic, simply magic. I do believe I gave you an order, Lieutenant."
"Right away, Sir."
"Russia of all places. I don't care if they did tear down the wall, they're still all commies to me," Jack muttered to himself as he trotted through mounds of snow, steam billowing from his lips. He stared down to an old, beaten wharf where fifty hooded figures stood huddled nearby outside. "Morons."
Jack strolled stealthily up to the crowd of Death Eaters.
"How long do we have to stand in this darn blizzard?" One of the Death Eaters asked.
"Where the hell is this guy asked another?" chimed another.
Jack ambled up to the group and calmly stated, "Deliverance can be heard in the sounds of silence."
"Who the hell are you?" asked another voice from the crowd.
A flash of green flew from Jack's wand and the Death Eater keeled into the snow.
"I don't like to repeat myself, when I say shut up it's in your best interest to do so. I'm the hand that tugs your leash, you'll do what I say when I say."
"And why should we listen to you?" piped another.
There was another brief flash of green light and shortly after another Death Eater was on the ground. "Do I not speak clearly enough for you? Silence is golden."
Jack reached into one of the pockets of his cloak. Seconds later, Jack's hand emerged tossing a fist full of Galleons into the air. The coins glistened in the air. They rang as they crashed and rolled along the ground. "Did you all hear that? That was silence. Was is not beautiful? You," Jack pointed out a Death Eater near him, "Did you think that was beautiful? - What are you, a mute? Afraid you're going to die for offsetting my silence? Is that it? Are you afraid of death? Are you afraid to die? Answer me!"
"Yes. Yes, I'm afraid to die."
Once more there was a flash of green light and the Death Eater faced his fear.
"Are you afraid to die now?" Jack barked at the corpse. "Anyone else afraid to die?" Jack surveyed the crowd waving his wand as he scanned over it. No one moved. "Good. Now, I'll be going into this building to take care of the business we've all been sent to the precious motherland to handle. The task I'm bestowing onto you automatons masquerading as relatively competent drones is to make sure no one other than myself walks back out through that door. If a single Russki dances his fur hat out that door he better be dead before his kicking feet shuffle past the threshold." Jack raised his hand, snapped his fingers, pointed towards the door, and walked through it.
"Who is this guy?" asked a Death Eater.
Another Death Eater reached down and picked up a Galleon from the snow blanketed ground. "I don't know, but if he going to keep showing us more of this," the Death Eater rolled the gold through his fingers, "I like him all ready."
Henry followed Jack into the desolate warehouse. Jack stood alone in front of a couple dozen Russian witches and wizards. A flamboyantly overweight man with a round spectacles sat at a table in the middle of the room. "Boris, who this guy? You, who you? Where fat rat face man and Dark Lord?"
"Who I am is of no importance. We both know who I represent. However, I regret to inform you, the Dark doesn't deal with barbaric russkis personally. He sent me on this foolish endeavor to negotiate with the trifling likes of you."
The fat Russian at the table leaned forward. "That is bad news. Bad news for you to show up alone. Boris, kill messenger. Show we mean business." The Russian gave a cold, shallow laugh.
A very burly tall man at the fat one's shoulder took a step towards Jack reaching into his breast pocket. There was a flash of green and the tall burly man was splayed over table.
"I don't think Boris finds this to be a laughing matter," Jack barked.
The fat Russian leaned back and halted his laughter. "I like you. You funny."
"I'm funny. You think I'm funny? How am I funny? Funny like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? Tell me is this funny?" Jack walked up to the table and grabbed the fat Russian by the back of his head. Jack started to pound his face repeatedly into the table. Blood ran from the fat Russian's nose onto the table. "I thought I was funny, I don't hear you laughing now." A few more Russians closed in on Jack who, without taking his eyes off the fat man he was assaulting, quickly dispatched of them. "You Russians certainly have a quirky sense of humor. Hey, Yakov Smirnoff tell me a joke, make me laugh."
Jack wrenched the fat Russian's bloody face off the mahogany table. He spit the blood flowing over his face onto the table. "You drink vodka, in Russia vodka drink YOU!."
Jack let go of the Russian and stepped back. "You call that a Russian joke. I'll tell you a Russian joke: Diplomatic Immunity. I don't hear you laughing. I guess you don't find me funny after all. You know what I don't find funny: your display of hospitality. I come baring gifts," Jack summoned a bottle of vodka to the table, "And you insult me by having you henchman try to kill me. You could at least have sent an army to die in my wake."
"You broke mine nose," the fat Russian gurgled.
"Really? Let me fix that." Jack reached across the table and snapped the Russian nose back into place with a loud crack. The fat Russian screamed in agony. Jack sat down and summoned up two glasses and began pouring the vodka. "So I'm to understand you don't like your deal with our mutual friend."
"No," wheezed the fat Russian. He downed his glass. The other Russians began slowly surrounding the table.
"What is your name?" Jack said calmly.
"Top you off there, Vlad?" Jack filled the empty glass. "Tell me, what's the deal? What are you running? Protection? Spice? Acquisitions? Cleaning?"
"Man of many trades. I suppose you're the brains behind the operations, right Vlad?"
"So you take yourself to be an intelligent man?"
"Sure," Vlad mumbled and downed his drink.
"Another?" Vladimir nodded and Jack poured him another glass. "Can't be too bright. You've !@#$ed off a very dangerous man."
"He !@#$ off very dangerous man. He take fifteen percent mine money, give me nothing. He want mine cooperation, he pay me. You tell boss I want mine money." Vlad finished off his drink again and relaxed in his chair.
"Where's my manners?" Jack snapped his fingers and a number of glasses appeared on the table. "Don't be so stand-offish. I'm sure there's enough to go around. Come take a drink." Jack motioned to the curtain of Russian surrounding him. They quietly obliged and grabbed a piece of glassware. "How about a toast?"
"To new deal."
"Took the words right out of my mouth, Vlad. To a new deal." Jack raised his glass. All of the Russians around the table followed suit. They all downed their drinks except for Jack who tossed it over his shoulder. The glasses came down on the table with a synchronized thud. "That was fun wasn't it?" Jack patted the Russian standing to his right on the shoulder.
Henry watched on as Jack kept pouring more drinks again and again for his Russian comrades, never drinking his own. They all embraced around the table drinking, laughing, singing solemn Russian songs as if the violent exchange between them all had never taken place. They treated each other as they were parted friends with much catching up to do. Empty bottles began to line the table. Jokes were jested, stories told, Henry thought Vladimir told an exceptionally funny anecdote about how he used to swipe firewhisky for he and his schoolmates from his Potions Professor's private stores only later to meet his Professor at a pub and discover the Professor had used the bewitched glass of firewhisky to hold dragon's urine. They traded tales of old battle wounds, showed each scars, trophies from their conquests, all the while Jack sat back not saying much, just letting the corners of his mouth creep into his usual sly grin as the Russians began to sway more and more drolly with each drink.
"How about a game, Comrade," bellowed Vladimir despite being arm's length away from Jack.
"I'm not particularly one for Russian Roulette," Jack answered coolly.
"The silly Muggle game?" Vladimir chortled. "Okay, Comrade, you pick game."
"What Simon Says?" Vladimir asked. The others were puzzled as well.
"It's real simple, easy to catch on. Let me give you an example: I would say, Simon says sit down.' Now because this guy didn't sit down, he gets eliminated." There was a flash of green and a Russian close to Jack fell to the ground. "Or I say stand," there was another flash of green and another Russian fell to the floor, "He gets eliminated because I didnt say Simon says. Do you understand, Vlad?"
Vlad just laughed. "They stand on floor, in Russia floor stand on them. Cut them off, they're too drunk to even stand. Yes, Comrade, we play your Simon Says."
Jack stood up slowly and began to pace around the table. He flicked his wand and number of stools popped up around the table. "Sit," he barked. A few of the Russian guard took a seat. They were quickly stroke with strobes of green light and slumped over onto the pavement.
Vladimir laughed even harder, murmur to himself, "lightweights."
"Simon says you are to continue your blockade and maintain He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's Eastern Front until Europe is seized and you are told otherwise. Simon says you will continue paying the Dark Lord his fifteen percent cut. Simon says you will pay me five percent."
Vladimir's jovial state had faded. He was no longer laughing and his expression was grim. "I don't like this game. I want mine money. No more games funny man."
"Ah, ah, ah, the game's not over yet."
"To hell with game. To hell with new deal."
"You don't like the new deal? I think it works splendidly, but if you feel otherwise you can leave. I must finish the game."
Vladimir rose to and drunkenly staggered around the table towards the door. Jack had sat down in Vladimir's seat and watched as the fat Russian took far too many steps than necessary to reach the door. Just has Vladimir's hand was about to grasp the handle Jack growled, "I didn't say Simon says," and he pulled something metallic from his cloak.
The other Russians that remained as quickly as they could formed a barrier of themselves around their leader; their wands all pointing at Jack. Vladimir turned to face Jack and began to laugh. "You threaten me with Muggle toy. I thought you no play Russian Roulette?"
"It is not a game that much interests me, no," snarled Jack holding out a shimmering silver revolver.
"What do you plan to do with your Muggle toy besides leave yourself defenseless to our spells?"
"It is you who is defenseless to my magic, Vlad. There is a flaw in your shield." There's a loud bang, the line of Russians between Jack and Vladimir let out yelps of pain as they slowly fell to ground. Vladimir's head flew backwards as blood painted the door behind him. "Flesh doesn't stop bullets."
Jack quickly flipped the table in front of him using it as a shield as beams of light began to bombard in his direction. Jack moved hastily around the room once again brandishing his wand and it was not long before all but one of the Russians were dead. Jack quickly advanced on his prey. The Russian cowered in fear. "Please-please," was all the Russian kept saying.
Jack stowed his wand, "Do you understand English?" The Russian nodded. "Good. Then you shall take the place of your former leader and do as I had instructed him. Failure to cooperate will be penalized. There is only one penalty-" Jack pulled out the revolver again and shot the Russian in the foot. "Consider that a warning."
Jack stowed the gun into the folds of his cloak and walked over the dead bodies towards the door. He exited with much haste. He walked briskly back over to the crowd of Death Eaters whose wands we're raised, looking peculiarly stunned to see him.
"Sir, what happened in there?" someone from the crowd asked.
"Negotiations," Jack briefly stated.
"That didn't look like negotiating to me, more like a war."
"I don't negotiate." Jack marched on passed them and snapped his fingers the followed instinctively. "Quickly, we are behind schedule."
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