Author Topic: Epilogue  (Read 8727 times)

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Offline Daen

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Epilogue
« on: November 21, 2022, 12:48:19 AM »
It was a cold morning, on the English moor. There was a faint pop of displaced air as Brinks zipped into place, within sight of a wizarding residence. He’d done his research, and this was the right place.

He felt like an old man. A fifteen-hundred-year-old man to be more accurate. The burns from the trap hadn’t fully healed yet, since he couldn’t exactly go to a wizarding hospital. Trying not to be too conspicuous, he limped his way down the hill towards the house. Two children were tossing a ball back and forth in the front yard. One was obviously magical, as the ball kept on disappearing just before it hit her, only to reappear right behind her. They stared at him, probably more for his limp than for anything else, as he made his way up to the door. It wasn’t an old house from the looks of it, but like most wizard homes, it was probably bigger on the inside than out here. He knocked on the door.

A middle-aged woman answered the door, carrying a toddler in her arms. “Yes?”

“Hi, I’m looking for Mrs. Bregman?” He asked, wishing he had a British accent for once. The people in London hadn’t minded much, but out here in the country, it was probably more unusual.

“That’s me,” she said easily.

“I’m sorry to just drop in like this, but I couldn’t trust this to the mail, and of course you don’t have a phone. May I have a word with you? I’m Alex Brinks, by the way, from across the pond.” He extended a hand.

Bregman’s eyes went wide, and she took a step back for just a moment. Then she blinked a few times, and shook his hand with her free arm. “Girls? Could you look after your brother for a while? I need to speak with… Mr. Brinks here.”

Not sure what her confusion had been about, Brinks stepped aside as the two kids from outside collected the toddler and took him out onto the grass with them. Bregman then extended a hand inside her house. “Do come in, Mr. Brinks. I am curious about what has brought you here.”

“It’s… a long story,” he said slowly, “about a mutual friend of ours. Do you remember Tupper?”

“Of course. I haven’t seen him since I was a girl of course, but I always remember him fondly.” She paused. “Has something happened to him?”

Brinks nodded, feeling even worse than his burns usually allowed.

Mrs. Bregman gave him a long, considering look. “Have a seat, then. I’ll put some tea on, and you can tell me all about it.”

Brinks had learned how to be detailed from Tupper, and he used all of those skills during his description. The whole story took more than an hour, and by then Mr. Bregman had returned. He arranged dinner for the kids, while his wife and Brinks continued their private chat. He didn’t seem at all concerned at this, which suggested that Mrs. Bregman could keep a secret.

Brinks covered almost all of it, from the heist in the Ministry, to ending up in Camelot, to Tupper’s last heroic act, to Brinks coming here. The only thing he left out was the specifics about Dumbledore’s mark being on the pendulum. She’d been a student of his, and Brinks needed her to stay impartial. By the time he leaned back, with the tea long since finished, she let out an enraptured breath. “Well, that is quite a story, Mr. Brinks.”

“One without a shred of proof,” he admitted grimly. “Any artifacts I could have brought back with me would have aged just like anything else in that cave.”

She shrugged. “What I don’t understand is what took you so long. It’s been twenty years since the Battle of Hogwarts! If you went into the past just after it had happened, where have you been?”

Brinks grimaced. “I didn’t get the potion measurements right, so I kinda skipped the last few decades. I had to find where you ended up moving to, and what your married name is, and I had to do it quietly, given what Tupper and I discovered back then.”

He sighed. “I went to the mountains after I got back, outside Winchester. There's no sign of Camelot anywhere, and there are no rooms like the one we found. They moved the pendulum at some point, and destroyed all evidence it had been there.”

“Who, though?” Bregman asked him.

“That's the big question,” he admitted. “It could be any of hundreds of important people throughout history. I had a chance to think more about the pendulum, based on what Tupper told me. Arthur and Merlin talked about it like it was some kind of fountain, or generator, that produced magic. But magic can't just be created. I think the pendulum is more like a funnel: it concentrates magic. It takes it from a large number of people, and pours it into a few.”

Her eyes widened upon hearing that. “If that’s true, then it didn't just create magical creatures—”

"But Nomajs as well," Brinks nodded. "Uh, Muggles I mean. It saps magic from them, and gives it to magicians like you and me. Elves, goblins and other races too, but only so that they can do what Merlin wanted them to."

Bregman leaned back, apparently disturbed. “I take it you came to me because of my father’s line of work?”

“That, and the fact that Tupper was your friend too. I think it’s what he would want me to do. You’re the only human he ever liked; you know. Well, one of the only ones,” he added. It was still weird for Tupper to have died not hating him.

“Well, you were right to come to me. Going to the Ministry would be a waste of time, and could get you into serious trouble. Minister Granger is a competent administrator, but she wouldn't act on this without proof. Nor would the Head Auror. I knew both of them at school, but I haven’t spoken to either in a long time. I can help you get the word out, though. I take it that’s what you were going to ask?”

Brinks let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. “Yes! But does this mean you believe me? You’re going to help me, even without any proof?”

She smiled softly. “Of course I am. Tupper asked me to, and I trust his judgement.”

Brinks gaped at her, but she apparently didn’t have time for his astonishment. Taking his hand, she led him out the front door. “There’s something you need to see, Mr. Brinks.”

She pulled out a wand and waved it, and the ground in front of them split open. From the seam, a storeroom sprang up, and the ground sealed up underneath it. She waved the wand again to unlock the door, and then put the wand away. “Try not to touch anything,” she instructed as she opened it and went inside.

He saw stacks of boxes, filled with parchment rolls and paper, as far as the impressively large inside of this place went. They were all on shelves, labeled by year, and from what he could see, they’d been piling up for longer than she’d been alive! This must have been her father’s archive. It made sense that he’d have a room like this, and she would have brought it along when she got married and moved here.

“Ah, here it is," she said from a few feet ahead, pulling out a dusty box and wiping her hand across it. “When I was a girl, my father took me on a dig on the other side of the country. We found some tablets there, and he let me keep them. It wasn’t exactly legal, as they are Muggle property, but he never really cared about that. What I found out later, is that they were cut and carved by Cornish Aeolas!”

The name tickled a memory in the back of Brinks’ mind, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. “They’re spirits, you know,” Bregman went on serenely. “They flit in and out of our dimension, leaving traces for people to follow. Their language is very beautiful, but hard to read. When I learned how, I read this.” She handed one of the tablets to him.

Brinks felt his eyes go wide. The shape and color were different, but this was the same kind of stone! Tupper had stolen these from London, or Londinium back in the past! He must have buried them at the dig for his friend to find! “Uh, can you translate for me? I don’t know how to read it.”

She traced her finger, from the right to the left. “It reads, ‘Luna, help Brinks. Tupper.’ That’s all there is.”

He’d known. He’d known all along that he might fail, and left this as a backup. He was trusting his legacy to Brinks, despite what all of Brinks’ people had done to house-elves, to all magical creatures, for centuries. Feeling his legs crumple a little, Brinks caught himself against one of the shelves, and Bregman snagged the tablet before it could be endangered. She pulled a sturdy box out from under one of the shelves, and he sat heavily on it.

He looked up at Luna, who just had a contented smile on her face. Brinks didn’t know if the Cornish Aeola was a real thing or not, or if she was just reading his mind and interpreting it as a message from her friend. It didn’t really matter either way.

“Thank you, Luna.”

“Oh, don’t thank me. Not until this is over, anyway. I’ll need to interview you in depth, and record the whole conversation. Once I send the word out over the Quibbler, you’ll have to disappear entirely. There’s no reason to think Minister Granger doesn’t already know about the pendulum, and what it does. If so, she’ll want you silenced. It’s ironic,” she added sadly. “As a girl, she wanted to fight for elf rights.”

“Time changes people,” he said in the same tone. “Not always for the worse, though. Tupper trusted me with this task, and that’s something he never would have done when we first met. But I’m not going into hiding when you publish this. I’m going to find the pendulum, and take it apart. There’s no guarantee the wizarding world will do the right thing, so I’m not going to give them the choice.”

Luna smiled, and put a hand to his cheek briefly. “You’re very brave. How will you find it, though?”

“Tupper told me how,” he said simply. "You should know though, when I take it apart, or stop it from swinging at least, everything will change. Everyday people will start to have magic again, for the first time since Merlin stole it from them. Our powers will be weaker, too. I just want you to be prepared for that."

"I know," she said simply. "Some people rely on spells and charms to live their ordinary lives. I’ll put a warning in the article, so that they’ll know to be ready. But there are billions of Muggles out there, and this could help all of them! It's worth it."

The interview was difficult, but Brinks was glad when it was done. He'd crossed the line, and the moment that article was published, everyone would know it. Luna invited him to dinner before he started on this task, and he got the chance to know her husband and children. They were wonderful people, just like her, from what he could tell. Exactly the kind of people Tupper would have liked.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2022, 07:21:50 AM by Daen »