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The captains and the kings depart: Part 1 - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The captains and the kings depart: Part 1

The captains and the kings depart



GMW Wemyss



Scots lovage, blinks, eyebright, pale Persicaria; harebell, wild mignonette, and stonecrop; bugle, mountain avens, field gentian, and all the heathers; the Scots pine and the sessile oak; the salmon and the sea-trout in the allts and the burns, kelpies in the lochs, the deer on the hillside, red stag and hind, roe buck and his mate, all after their several kinds, and the fleet unicorn; the horse-of-the-woods, capercailzie with the outraged stare of peppery retired colonels, and the lekking black grouse and the lapwing; the windcuffer on the moors beneath, where glen and strath debouched in wider lands, and in the mountains above was the golden eagle, and the crossbill in the pine-tops, far above the bowtruckle’s boughs; badger and pine-marten and wildcat, and the occasional bugbear deep in the high wood, and the redcaps in mouldering ruins that had once known the clash of clan with clan; the ptarmigan upon the high plateaux and the hen harrier and the short-eared owl at prey upon the river waders, lapwing and plover alike, curlew, redshank, and sandpiper, and once or twice in a year the high, distant glimpse of a far-ranging Hebridean Black, driven far inland by gales; the tarns gleaming like dull opals in the mountain light, and the rowans reflected in the still, solemn waters; the high, high-windowed, darkly-panelled rooms swathed in tartan and bathed in a dim religious light (Kirk of Scotland, in the main) – for the Scots Aurors enjoyed barracks that made Craigiehall look like a Nissen hut, and even the Other Ranks dwelt in an atmosphere of tweed and brass and pipe-smoke and fly-rods – with the trout and the venison in the mess larder and the cook-sergeant turning out Cullen skink and saddle of venison and cranachan as a matter of course; and the singlemalt sipped in the long, long gloaming as a single piper piped the day done, and the plangent notes of the Last Post drifting into the Caledonian skies at close of day: the whole pine-resinous, pipe-resonant Highlandry of Scottish Command faded as the mist, and fell away, as the train sped southwards.


Jamie, Harry reflected, should Jamie in fact persist in his occasional bouts of wishing to be an Auror when he left Hogwarts, would not know this as Harry had known it.  If he joined the Scots Aurors, or the Isles Aurors, that would be his regimental home for most of his life, and if ever he came to know other regiments it would be at the highest levels of command – should he attain that level.  As he might well do, at that: Jamie was clever enough, and sound enough.  And he’d make a fine Auror in any case, perhaps a better than his father had made; certainly, thanks in part to his Uncle George, he would go into it with a thorough grounding even in disciplines – such as Potions, which had ever bulked large in George’s life (and Fred’s, once on a long-lost time, but it was best not to think of that) – in which Harry had been sadly lacking, what time he had first done on that new uniform, longer ago than he cared to think.


Yet, dear Christ, those had been heady days.  All to play for and a world to make anew.  And he and Ron and Nev had been keenly alive in that blissful dawn, acutely aware that every blunder might set a precedent, yes, but as aware that every success, every happy inspiration or grateful accident also bade fair to establish a tradition on which to build.  And Ron had left the regimental path of the Royal Corps of Aurors for a staff appointment that allowed him to supply the lads with dangerous japes and cunning devices whilst assisting George in developing those same, and running the Wheezes as cover to his acting as Q, and that was right and proper, for George was Ron’s family more even than the Aurors were and had been.  And Nev had given manfully of himself in those first years, years that had seen the Aurors restored to their ancient role and tradition of the Wizarding military, and the DMLE made proper policemen, until he’d attained his captaincy and achieved the post-War peace – and then, with three pips and a row of gongs that began with the Order of Merlin and the GGC and ran through to the Hogwarts Victory Medal, with the clasp that signified he’d been Mentioned in Despatches, he’d taken his leave, with his wry, patient smile, and donned academic tweeds and an academic gown, and returned to Hogwarts and Domdaniel like a bird to its nest.  And that was right and proper, for, with his Gran gone at last and his parents released finally to their long peace, school and university were Nev’s family, more than ever had been the Aurors.


There’d been damned few of them on strength in those first years, even with all the old, old men (and women, as well) brought back from retirement or the Muggle world to initiate them in the ancient mysteries: bright-eyed Witches and Wizards with handkerchiefs in their sleeves and white hair, who swore in Arabic or chaffed in the slung crab-bat of the Raj, and who had learnt the trade from Wizards and Witches more ancient still, in a line that stretched back as far as the battle honours on the colours, and in as fine a thread: and the battle honours went back through centuries to Mons Graupius and Badon and Camlann, and before.  No power on earth could prevail against the British regimental tradition, and none suggested it might: but the Royal Corps of Aurors – newly dowered with that proud title in the first hours after Tom Riddle’s defeat, what time Kingsley had taken Ron and Harry and Nev to meet their Sovereign Lady in that blue and cream room where she had commissioned them directly and ordered them gazetted as subalterns of Aurors – was in those first years not quite the size of one of its later regiments.


And so the new intake, each with his or her own regimental home and family, to be sure, had nonetheless enjoyed an experience no later generation of Aurors should know.  They had worked closely with the newly remade MLE, at a time when aid to the civil power was a daily and hourly necessity and even the segregation of their functions had not yet wholly relieved MLE Wizards of soldiering or Aurors of policing.  They had worked with the Unspeakables and Hit Wizards in a fashion that was now a memory of days before the latter had taken on purely Int Corps and MI functions.  And most of all had they, without losing their regimental identities, experienced in rotation the life and traditions of other regiments, in ways their sons and daughters never should, even if they willed it.

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noeon From: noeon Date: May 16th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
This opening scene of Harry's reflections(and its beautifully detailled setting)captures the singularity of his role and that of his cohort, the bearing of burdens unimagined by previous generations and thankfully not passed on to the next.
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