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Why seek ye the living among the dead?: An Evelake Easter tale, pt 2 of 2 - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Why seek ye the living among the dead?: An Evelake Easter tale, pt 2 of 2

_____________________________________

 

Harry and his generation had striven in their youth to secure the blessings of peace upon their children.  Not being fools, Harry and his immediate circle had also known that peace was a fragile thing, and that their children in particular were targets for the disaffected; and so their children knew well enough how to protect themselves and how to send a Patronus for aid.  This was a fortunate thing; it had been more fortunate still had they been armoured with knowledge enough to recognise more recondite dangers.

 

Hugo, Rose, Lorcan and Lysander, Freddie, Louis, and Dom, with Hubert Henry Ackerley, were concentrating primarily upon slipping into the church with a due show of quiet reverence.  Even after they were in their pew, they were not attending to the service as much as might be.  Hubert Henry was – as was Hugo – considering the sore lack of an organ and the villainous acoustics of the place, whilst the cultivated Rose was mentally bemoaning the evident vandalism that had removed the rood screen, marred the fan vaulting, and otherwise brutally wrecked the churchly æsthetic of the place.  (Rose had made a model Modern High Churchwoman had she been so inclined, wholly absorbed in æsthetics and wholly unmindful of theology and even orthodoxy.)  As for Freddie, Louis, Dom, and the Twins, they were too much and too hilariously diverted by the grotesques to be mindful of what was afoot.

 

It was quite five minutes before the party began to sense danger.  It had just struck Rose that the vandalism that had befallen the church fabric was more than merely Cromwellian, and that every symbol of Christianity had been removed or defaced, when Hugo sat up sharply beside her, even as Hubert Henry said, ‘Alternative Service Book or not, that’s not right at all.’  The nave had begun to fill with smoke that was not incense, even had incense been imaginable at a rural Good Friday service in the Church of England.  The grotesques that were the only undamaged carvings in the church seemed to come alive, crawlingly, and arrange themselves to form a staring, foliate, spewing death’s head.  And in a rent in the billowing smoke, the figure in the pulpit stood clear, a worrisomely hirsute man in rusty and unclerical black, saying, with a queer triumph, ‘And so, my children, we celebrate today the death of God, and the worthiness of the Lamb slain for us to eat.’

 

Freddie, Dom, Louis, and the Twins immediately took up a defensive position, a laager around Hubert Henry, even as Rose’s Patronal owl sped off to ‘whoever is nearest to help’ and Hugo’s silvery otterhound was despatched to Aveline House and thence to whomever else might aid them.  The next strokes of those sibling wands were stunners, directed towards the figure in the pulpit, whilst the others of the party launched a volley of spellfire against the congregation.  The smoke roiled and thickened, turning blood-red.

 

It was at that juncture, when it seemed that all Hell was quite literally breaking loose, that all Heaven broke its chains.

 

The great, heavy doors burst open, and a huge black dog with white markings that alone distinguished it from a Grim charged into the church and sprang for the throat of the celebrant.  At the same time, the baying of hounds without was heard, and a tall figure, as vast, it seemed in the smoke now writhing in the airs from out of doors, as Rubeus Hagrid, strode in and began laying about him with a strong right arm and a heavy staff.  And lastly – yet all in but a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – all was changed, and the crack of several Apparatings resounded like trumpets.

 

Within the space of a minute, the young people were outside, panting in the cleaner air beneath a still dark sky.  The church was once more half-unroofed and ruinous to all eyes, and the DMV that had once been Gothsbeer had sunk once more into ruin.  Above them, the weathered remnant of the preaching cross stood, protective, and around them were Old Mr Crockern and his Wisht-Hounds; Harry, Draco, Albus, Scorpius, Jamie, and Dr Vickers; and a large dog, clearly not of Mr Crockern’s pack, who yet held the celebrant of these rites by the throat.  In the distance, they could hear the irregular pops of unhurried Apparating as Ron and Hermione, Sluggers and Aunt Andy and Teddy, all began to arrive carelessly, already chuckling over ‘alarums and excursions’ (which Harry, for one, would be giving them a daily rocket for, for months.  Old Aurors are notoriously impatient with dilatory responses to emergencies).

 

‘Bugger,’ said Lorcan, or it may have been Lysander.  ‘Where’s Acker-sprog?’

 

Harry’s fires turned to ice on the instant.  ‘Albus; Scorpius.  Go and tell that languid walking-party to stay where they are and take up defensive positions, and stop faffing about.  Jamie: search the interior.  Grandfather Crockern, be so good as to ward us and set a watch.  Draco – you’ve my back.  And you.’  He looked at the hairy celebrant with cold fury, and drew the Elder Wand.  ‘Where is the lad?’

 

‘He’s ours!  Our meat, the lamb of our feast!  He is the sacrifice to our God!’

 

‘Rector, this may be blasphemous in context and on consecrated ground, you may wish to turn away.  I shall count three, and then we shall see just what sort of Crucio the Elder Wand can power.  One.  Two.’

 

At that moment, a vast figure rose from behind the churchyard yew: man-shaped, yet horned, taller than the church’s ruinous tower, a silhouette, impalpable, not black as we know blackness, but simply the Void.  Its voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, and from impossibly far away.  (Draco maintained, ever after, that he had not whimpered like a small girl, but there were too many witnesses for that to pass unchallenged, as Harry was to point out on the Monday.)

 

‘Touch not my servant.’

 

‘Sod,’ said Harry, crisply, ‘off.’

 

‘The child dies if you do.’

 

‘Does he indeed.’  Harry’s voice dripped contempt and disbelief; yet he stayed his wand.  (Jamie was searching within the church, and reinforcements were to hand: Harry was never unmindful of the strategic environment.)

 

The figure laughed.  ‘And this is what you send against me, Crockern?  Wizards and Wizardlings, and your dogs, and an old s … alt.  You who were once a god.’

 

‘Cerne.  You’re a bit out of your lands, and your reckoning.  And on my lands.  And I never pretended to be a god, although God knows the stiff-necked locals here-’round never listened, for all my protests.  No more are you one.’

 

‘I am worshipped.  I am a god.  My servants make me so.  My pack are not dogs.’

 

‘Not much of a god,’ said Old Crockern, ‘if you want servants to make you one.’

 

‘Tell your hound to let my priest be.’

 

‘Not my hound, matter of that.’

 

‘Come, Crockern, do not fence with me, if you value the child.  Call off your hell-hound.’

 

The dog that was so like a Grim dropped the celebrant, and rose, transforming into a Dominican priest.  ‘Not a hell-hound, my dear fellow.  Domini canes, rather – although it’s rather doggy Latin, I admit.’

 

‘An Animagus, and a priest.  You shall die horribly.’

 

Mors janua vitæ, you know: for me to live is Christ, to die, is gain.  Now: where is the child?’

 

‘You may prevent my followers from feasting, priest; you cannot prevent me.  His flesh is of no moment: I shall feast forever on his fear, and his stolen days.  You can do nothing to prevent me.’

 

‘But I can,’ said a new voice.  Jamie had emerged from the church, accompanied by a stout and translucent figure: the Fat Friar of Hufflepuff.  ‘Not, with respect, a job for a Dominican.  Come, come, Cernunnos or whoever you are.  Tinners’ churches may display the Three Hares and the Green Man – but those grotesques?  Very poor taste, and very indifferently executed.  Differences in date are rather obvious, you know, and the new, tin effigy easily spotted.  But perhaps introductions are in order.  Mr Crockern you evidently know.  These two priests are, I regret, unfamiliar to me, but you can see their quality.  What you clearly don’t know is that the Wizards here include Mr Draco Malfoy – yes, yes, one of those Malfoys – and, er, Sir Harry Potter, Master of the Hallows.’

 

There was an utter silence.  Not even the wind sounded.

 

‘And, as it happens, his son here, the eldest, young James, was clever enough to summon me.  I am no priest nor great man, mind, merely a humble brother who follows St Francis.  (You really do want to drop the whole “Lord of Wild Things” rubbish, you know, if I may say so, as a Franciscan.)  But, as it happens, I am quite likely the one fellow in England who can assist Sir Harry in dealing with this little difficulty.’

 

‘You!  A fat friar too feeble to meet your god in your heaven!’

 

‘Brother Thomas of Bungay: I really ought to have said.  And the fault I am expiating does happen to involve a most un-Hufflepuff failure of loyalty and hard work, just as it involved Brother Roger Bacon and a certain brazen head.  When it comes to getting lads imprisoned in metal out of metal, I rather think I know more of the subject than anyone in England.’

 

There was a resounding crash from within the church, and, obedient to Jamie’s wand, a tin roof-boss, a miniature of Hubert Henry of which only the stoic eyes were alive, levitated towards them.  The former celebrant licked his lips avidly, with a very long and very red tongue.

 

‘Sir Harry?’  Brother Thomas was quite as calm as Hubert Henry appeared, remarkably, to be.  Of course, both had utter faith in Harry.  ‘If you would simply cast with intent whilst I say the words?’

 

Harry didn’t wait: raw power was always rather his stock in trade.  There was a flash that blinded them all, and when it cleared, Hubert Henry stood blinking before them, hale and whole, cleaning his specs.  ‘Or,’ murmured the Fat Friar, ‘we can always simply do it that way.’

 

The former celebrant, with lupine speed, seized this moment to spring towards and upon Hubert Henry.  With Reductos flashing from the Elder Wand, Draco’s hawthorn that had in its way also once helped to defeat Tom Riddle, Jamie’s ash, and Grandfather Crockern’s staff, he was atomised into a red mist, mid-leap.

 

‘Rather gory end,’ said the Rector, ‘even for – I take it he was a Werewolf?’

 

‘St Rumon was accused of being one,’ said Fr Brooke-Bollen.  ‘He wasn’t, although I cannot see that it would have mattered, it’s hardly a moral failing, simply a misfortune.  Although I suppose that, in the days before Wolfsbane, it was rather an impediment in one’s ministry.  No doubt that’s why they seized upon this site and church – and, really, my dear Rector, if your communion must schedule ancient churches redundant, can you not at least see if we want them?’

 

‘Ha!  If you’re expecting common sense from the halfwits now presiding over the ruins of the C of E, let alone that wet, redbrick, Socialist mong in Exeter –’

 

‘Do you mind!’  Jamie wasn’t having it, just then.  ‘May I remind you that we’ve still a vengeful demon to deal with?’

 

‘Well, as it is Good Friday,’ said Fr Brooke-Bullen, apologetically, ‘I’m afraid I didn’t bring a monstrance along for Benediction –’

 

‘Bit smaller, isn’t he,’ said Draco, thoughtfully.  ‘And silent with it.’  It was with a start that they realised that Cerne had been silent and immobile whilst Hubert Henry had been rescued twice over.

 

‘Of course,’ said Old Crockern, with a slight smile.  ‘He himself has said it, and it’s greatly to his discredit, I may add, it’s his having followers that gives him airs – and power.  He’s diminished already.  Execute the rest of the pack, and he’s put paid to.’

 

Harry shook his head.  ‘Some may be salvageable.’

 

‘Christ,’ said Draco, ‘he’s gone all Dumbledore.’

 

‘More pertinently,’ said Harry, ignoring him, ‘it means delay, which is bad, and paperwork, which is unthinkable.’  With which he turned the Elder Wand upon Cerne and, without a word, blasted him into the nothingness from which he had come.

 

No one quite dared say anything.

 

‘And now – all right there, Hubert Henry?  Good lad – I think I shall have a word with the, ah, belated and casual rescue party,’ said Harry, grimly.

 

Draco and Jamie spoke as one: ‘I think that’s our cue to leave –.’

 

And as they did so, with Scorpius and Albus hastening to join them in Apparating far, far away from where Harry was ‘having a word’ with his friends, his old preceptor, his godson, and his godson’s Gran, they could just hear him starting in: ‘Right, you lot!  What in buggery do you mean by responding to a distress call in this manner, I’d like to know?  SILENCE IN RANKS!  Have you any idea –’

 

One may put a Field-Auror Marshal on the Retired List, but one cannot stop him being at every point a Field-Auror Marshal, it seems.

______________________________________

 

‘And so you see – even you lot surely must see – that even for those of us who are not Field-Auror Marshal Sir Harry Potter, twice Victor over Voldie and Master of the Elder Wand and of Death and the Hallows –’

 

Vickers ­–’ growled Harry, warningly.

 

‘– there was, really, ultimately, sub specie æternitatis, nothing to fear.’

 

Draco stared at the Rector, and shook his head.  ‘Father Brooke-Bollen, are you certain you don’t care for at least some cheese with your Bath Olivers?’

 

Harry interjected, before the Dominican could answer, with grim humour.  ‘You may as well.  It’s Cerney Pepper Goat’s Cheese.’

______________________________________

 

Resurrexit.  Happy Easter to you lot.

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8 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
goddessriss From: goddessriss Date: April 5th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely. The best Easter Egg I've had this year. I do so love this little 'verse you've created. Good stuff, my dear.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: April 6th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)

The Evelake 'verse is rather growing on me, I confess.

You're very kind to encourage my foolery thus. Thank you. Mind, if this is the best Easter treat you've had this year, Cadbury are slipping since the Yanks bought 'em.
noeon From: noeon Date: April 6th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Recondita armonia and Dis-sonance

Oh but the ending was cheese-y. *beams*

Thank you! That was a great romp and as eldritch and antiquarian as one could have wished, as well as modern and militant. Fr Brooke-Bullen is a welcome addition to the *cough* fold. Or pack?

I do have some egg hunting to do. There are buried treasures that have not yielded to casual research.

As usual, poor Draco. How uncharitable of the witnesses to make it obvious they'd witnessed. And the unhurried responders may well wish for a larger doghouse.

Cerne is a great villain and oh Rose, brooding on the rood of time. Expecto further comments.

Resurrexit vere! Alleluia!

Edited at 2010-04-06 01:25 am (UTC)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: April 6th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC) (Link)

My ego's in Arcadia.

You're very kind. Better so than I deserve. And I don't, you know, craft these elegant references you kindly find in my foolery, they simply appear as I transcribe the odder eruptions of my subconscious.

I am finding the new generation useful, I must say.
noeon From: noeon Date: April 9th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)

A fine pasture indeed

Differences in date are rather obvious, you know, and the new, tin effigy easily spotted.

The running thread of debunking and untangling of neomythologisms is lovely. Brazen heads vs cooler heads and Bungay takes the day. And the point of Anglo-Catholic revivals vs traditional Anglican practice and English Catholic tradition has not fallen on deaf ears, just amused ones.

Despite all of the newfangledness, the truly old wells up in between the artifice of the new. (re: subconscious, I don't think these things are as good if one doesn't let the story tell itself out of the half-realized available parts, with a nod to JRRT and his dislike of clunky allegory). The narrative will out. The role of the reader is that of the ardent beachcomber, blessed less with elegance than with a dogged, sunburnt cataloguing compulsion.

I will concede defeat with Hubert Henry Ackerly (and all of the oaken names) and why he should be the Lamb. I will also admit to having too much fun with curvilinear churchyards. Grazie mille.

And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: April 6th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Ach, lieber Gott im Himmel, and I do mean that in the religious sense. :D

First of all, Evelake and Easter? Two of my favourite things combined? You have made me ridiculously happy at the moment. And I especially love how you interweave mythology into your stories. It's such a delight to sift through and find the little nods to legends and histories that you've included.

Vickers, again, I LOVE. I still desperately want him to be my rector, even though I suspect I would probably spend quite a bit of time arguing with him. Which actually would be quite fun, actually. *G* I also adore your Fr Brooke-Bollen, and the way you weave together the Anglican and Catholic faiths here just makes me beam. (Also making the Fat Friar Thomas Bungay is a Stroke Of Genius, can I just say? I also had to LOL at the reference to Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. You just made my English lit major heart go \0/.)

Back to Fr Brooke-Bollen, for a moment. Domini canes? HAH. Lovely double pun. Also, is Bollen a nod to Boleyn? I'm hoping yes as it'd be an interesting nod to Henry VIII's break with Rome. Also, I'm related to them, so, family pride. *g* I absolutely love his and the Fat Friar's discussion on evil. I'm suddenly feeling the urge to pick up Aquinas again. *eyes bookshelf*

Hugo's interlude with the three girls tickled me to death. Such a boy, and terribly charming at that. And the reference to Rose as a possible 'model Modern High Churchwoman' made me laugh. And Old Crockern being related to Harry? Awesome. I know I've told you this before, but I really, really do love it when you bring old gods to life.

The inclusion of the St Rumon werewolf controversy was awesome (Alternative Service Book or not, that’s not right at all at his appearance had me snickering, I have to say), and I loved the parallels between the Easter story and Hubert Henry as a sacrificial Lamb.

Cernunnos/Cerne as the devil/god of the Underworld! (Is there also a connection to Cerne Abbas? I was just reading about the chalk carving there last Friday--I'm fascinated with hill figures lately, particularly the Uffington White Horse. Anyway. The similarities in names struck me when I was reading.)

I had to look up Three Hares (I know the Green Man quite well, but the Hares were new to me) and imagine my delight on discovering them to be a rabbity version of the Trinity knot which I adore. The layers of symbolism there are fantastic, both pagan and Christian.

‘Christ,’ said Draco, ‘he’s gone all Dumbledore.’ The amount of laughter this line induced cannot adequately be put into words. \0/

Such a fantastic way to spend an evening. Thank you so much--I utterly adore your additions to the Evelake universe. Please never stop; they delight me every time. I know I'm going to be back here with this fic when I wake up in the morning, picking through for the gems I might have missed in this first reading. \0/

Happy Easter, my dear. You've given us an absolutely delightful gift.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: April 6th, 2010 08:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, very much indeed.

I but wish I cd take all the credit: this nonsense simply bubbles up from the unquiet substrates of what I loosely call my mind. Someday dear Peter Ackroyd is going to have words with me abt this habit, I know: probably whilst discussing the Rude Giant of Cerne Abbas, as you say. You and I shall have much to discuss, ad interim, w/r/t chalk and 'osses.

Lots of Bollens in Ilchester, and likely nearly related to Anne Boleyn and her sister who was by all accounts Rather More So. (Funny thing, lineage; followed a link from a Torygraph piece the other day and found that Jas Blount-now-Blunt (horrid little man) and I, whom I already knew to be rather nearly akin as these things go, are quite nearly related to that singing chap you lot inflicted on the world, Justin Sodding Timberlake, and my first reaction was, 'But that's not even my fandom!' The fecundity of Edward 3d is a damn nuisance.)
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: April 7th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you, very much indeed.

Your mind is a wonderful and delightful place indeed then. And isn't that the best way to write? Just to let what's percolating about there spill its way across paper? Or pixels, in this regard. Keep letting it all bubble up; the things you come up with utterly delight me.

I've just looked up Peter Ackroyd--I hadn't encountered him before but I do think I'm definitely going to have to track down some of his work now (fiction and non-fiction--those biographies on Eliot and Poe are calling me, and I'm an absolute sucker for magical realism).

I would love to pick your brain as well on chalk and horses. *G* I've only just begun to study them, but I find them utterly fascinating, both the ones that are obviously antique and the ones that might date back only a few centuries. (For some reason they remind me of the Green Knowe books I read as a child, even though I can't remember if there was a chalk carving in them. I think perhaps it's just the sense of time and place that connects them for me.)

Oh, dear. You're related to Justin Timberlake? I am so very, very sorry. (Although James Blunt might be worse. That's a philosophical question to ponder.) Edward might have had the decency to keep his trousers done up a bit, really. :) (Not that I can say much...there are a few Plantagenets floating around one branch of my family tree and God knows they're a mad lot. /0\ Which probably explains a lot about certain of my family members. Hm.)
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