A/N: This story started off as a question that I thought of after trying to think of a good prompt. I came up with this: What if Draco Malfoy defied his father and lived according to his own ideals, rather than his father's? This question created the character Arturus Azkaba XXXVIII a foil of sorts for Draco. However, this lead to an entire storyline created for Arturus. I intend to use this, my first story, to improve my writing abilities. Constructive criticism is appreciated, no flames please. On with the show.
DISCLAIMER: I do not, nor do I claim to, have ownership to the Harry Potter series. The Harry Potter series and characters are owned by J.K. Rowling. There is no financial gain made from this work. This is for entertainment purposes only.
Though, Arturus XXXVIII is mine. So I have that going for me, which is nice.
Arturus Azkaba XXXVIII
"Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom." - Clarence Darrow
The very word would send chills down the strongest of wizards' spines. And not without good reason.
Azkaban was built by Arturus Azkaba I in 987 AD and was completed in 1000 AD. Arturus Azkaba I was one of the darkest wizards of all time, second only to Morgana herself. He had built Azkaban Fortress as a base of operations for his planned takeover of Magical England.
Azkaban is also famous for housing the dementors, Azkaba's personal guard. They were created by an ancient spell now lost to time, which took the caster's magic and created life from it. The dementors were a product of Azkaba's magic, making them, quite literally, dark magic incarnate.
Azkaba gathered followers, and, along with the dementors, used them to attack and expropriate much of Magical England. The dementors were used to suck the souls of opposition and terrorize the masses. No one knew how to stop the dementors, so Azkaba's control strengthened.
However, Godric Gryffindor, famous for the construction of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, created a way to defend oneself against the dementors. Gryffindor invented the Patronus Charm, a shield made of happy memories that the dementors would feed on instead of the person. With the Patronus Charm, the dementors were rendered powerless and Azkaba's forces were quickly expelled from the lands.
Azkaba and his followers were cornered close to modern day Middlesbrough, near the coast of the North Sea, approximately 60 kilometers from Azkaban Island. A battle ensued that lasted for three days. At the end of the three day period, Azkaba was killed by Godric Gryffindor himself. Azkaba's followers were captured and peace was restored.
However, Azkaba had left behind a legacy. Shortly before his death, Azkaba married Artemis Abbé, a French noblewoman, in order to secure his line. She gave birth to a son, Arturus Azkaba II. Artemis wished to make sure her son stayed in power over Azkaban after her husband's death. Gryffindor wanted to use the fortress as a prison for Azkaba's followers. Artemis and Gryffindor reached an agreement: Azkaban would be used as a prison under the wardenship of the Azkaba line.
To this day, Azkaban has been used by the Magical Government as a prison under the Azkaba head.
Arturus Azkaba XXXVIII closed the book with indifference. He had already heard the story of his heritage a thousand times before. His father had drilled it into him from day one.
Arturus Azkaba the Thirty-Eighth was still a young child, only ten-years-old. He had long, brown hair that came down to the bottom of his shoulder blades. He had light blue eyes, a trait of the Azkaba family. He was quite pale and sickly looking, probably owing to the fact that he had grown up in Azkaban Prison itself.
He placed the tattered, ancient tome back on the shelf, standing on the tips of his toes to get it there. Arturus had often visited the Azkaban Library as a source of entertainment, and consequently gained knowledge of many different aspects of the magical world. Arturus often went to the library whenever he wanted information, which was often.
Arturus had always been curious. His natural need for inquiry had gotten him in trouble with his father, who wanted his son to follow in his footsteps without question. It was not Arturus' constant escapades to the library for knowledge that bothered him. It was the questions he asked because of his knowledge. Arturus' father did not want Arturus to think different from anything he taught him. Though Arturus did not much like his father's attitude towards his investigative nature, he knew he would eventually have to give up his curiosity in exchange for the mantle of Head Warden.
Arturus climbed off of the leather chair with relative ease, though his feet did not reach the floor. He left the small reading room, created by walls of bookshelves and the back wall of the library. He walked out the open doorway, created by bookshelves, and turned left down a hall lined with more bookshelves. The Azkaban Library's layout was complex and confusing, but Arturus had it memorized.
Forward, right, forward, left, left, forward...
Finally, Arturus reached the doorway of the library. The moment he stepped outside, a cold chill overtook him. It stunned him, but only for a moment. He had lived his entire life in Azkaban; he was used to the cold. Reluctant though he was to leave the warm library (which had been charmed to remain that way), he had to be back in his father's office soon.
Arturus turned to his left and walked down the long stone hall in silence. To his left was a stone wall, but to his right was cell after cell. Each cell contained a prisoner, and each prisoner mumbled and screamed. Despite the macabre scenes playing out to his right, he walked on. He had lived here his whole life; he was used to the screams.
The air turned noticeably colder (not that it was warm before), and a sense of dread filled the air. An enormous cloaked dementor floated by, it's sickly hand hanging from it's robes. It filled the air with fear, and the screams increased with fervor. Arturus paid it no heed; he was used to the dementors.
He finally reached the end of the hallway. He walked under the archway at the end of the hall and onto the staircase that led up to the next hundred floors. However, Arturus did not travel all the flights. He marched up seven flights of stairs to the Fiftieth floor, where his father's office was.
His pace increased slightly as he walked down the hall to his father's office. It was located near the end of the hall so as to distance it from the screams of the inmates. Arturus felt a cold chill run down his spine again, though no dementors appeared. The sense of dread came as well, but no cloaked beast came. Arturus' father was much more frightening to him than a dementor.
Arturus was shaken out of his fearful stupor when he realized he had arrived at the door. He took a deep breath and, gathering up his courage, knocked on the large bolted door. A grunt came from the other side, signaling that he was able to come in.
Arturus entered the office with his head down, staring holes into the stone floor. The sound of a quill scratching on parchment filled the room, with the crackle of the fireplace providing a seemingly warm ambiance. However, the fire did little to warm the small room, nor did it provide any comfort.
"You disappoint me, Arturus," a sleek, deep voice sounded, "I cannot live with disappointment." Arturus could hear the sneer in his voice, and grimaced.
"My apologies, father," he said in a small voice, "I- lost track of time." The voice snorted.
"Well, do not let it happen again," his father said. Arturus let out a sigh of relief; he was getting off.
"Of course, father," he said, and sat down in a chair opposite the wooden desk where his father was. He looked up to face him.
Arturus Azkaba the Thirty-Seventh was an imposing man, with shoulder-length black hair and a French cut beard. He wore a large, fur, gray overcoat, presumably to keep out the cold. His features were rugged and defined, his body was well-built and robust. At the moment, he had on a pair of reading glasses.
"Supper is nearly ready," his father said, not looking up from his paper.
"Great," Arturus said without a drop of emotion in his voice. He let his eyes wander the dark office. The décor was sparse, and the only other items in the room besides the desk and fireplace were a hat stand and numerous filing cabinets. The office seemed very meager for a rich family like the Azkabas, but Arturus supposed his father didn't enjoy spending money.
The constant scratching of the quill and the crackle of the fire seemed to lull Arturus into a haze. His eyelids drooped, and his head fell forward. But just before he was whisked away to the land of dreams, a loud ringing filled the air. It sounded similar to a dinner bell.
"Ah," said his father, putting down the quill and taking off his glasses, "Supper."
The dining hall was grandiose in elegence, and was probably intended to be used for just as grandiose dinner events. It featured an enormous Chippendale table (some 7 and a half meters long), with two black ironwood chairs on either end. The room itself, like everywhere else in Azkaban, was cold, hard stone.
Arturus' father sat at the head of the table, eating with refined vigor. Arturus sat on the other side of the table, eating his own meal. They ate together in uncomfortable, but regular silence. It took some time, before Arturus' father broke the quiet.
"So," he began, wiping his mouth with a cloth, "do you know what today is?" Arturus looked up from his meal, slightly perturbed by the odd question.
"September 1st," he answered offhandedly. Before he could take another bite of his meal, however, his father inquired again.
"And what is the significance of this day?" Arturus sighed. He knew exactly where this conversation was headed.
"The beginning of the school year at Hogwarts." Arturus replied. His father struck at once.
"Correct. And in one year's time, you shall be attending, as well. Do you have an idea about which house you wish to be sorted in?" Though the sentence was a question, Arturus was not fooled. The answer had been predetermined since his birth.
"Slytherin," Arturus intoned. His voice betrayed no emotion, despite his growing anger. His father pressed on.
"I trust you will not disappoint me while you are at Hogwarts?"
"Of course, father."
"And you will perform to the best of your ability in all your classes?"
"And you will-"
"You know, father, if you intend to do this every supper, you may want to find new questions to ask!" Arturus said a bit louder, losing his usually calm composure. His father's eyes darted up from his plate to his son. Arturus swallowed, but maintained his defiant stare. His father cleared his throat in the most menacing matter possible.
"Tell me, Arturus, when did it become acceptable to shout over mealtimes?" he said, malice dripping in his voice.
"Since it became routine to ask me the same questions every mealtime," Arturus replied, voice quivering with anger. Arturus' father brought the cloth up to his mouth again.
"And who, pray tell," his father began, "came to this decision about when and whom it is acceptable to shout at?" Arturus gulped, but remained firm. He refused to be pushed around like this.
"I did," he said. His father's eyes narrowed.
"And when did you, Arturus, become the authority in this household?" Arturus' eyes widened slightly, his composure failed.
"I- uh, I-" he stammered.
"As I thought," his father said triumphantly, "You would do well to learn some respect if you wish to succeed."
"Succeed in what? In making you happy?" Arturus near shouted. His voice echoed through the room.
"In fulfilling your duties as my heir, Arturus. Your destiny."
"My destiny? Or what you want?" His father's eyes narrowed.
"What does that mean?"
"It means that my 'destiny' is just what you want for me!"
"I want what is best for you!"
"It isn't what's best for me, it's what you think is best for me!"
"I know what is best for you!"
"Well, maybe I wish to make my own decisions!" His father scoffed.
"You are a child!"
"And that's all I'll ever be if you never let me do anything for myself!"
"I want to make sure you live up to your name!"
"No, you want to make sure I meet your expectations!"
"I'm your father!"
"You must respect me! My authority is final!"
"Why?" His father's eyes bulged and immediately Arturus realized his mistake. Questioning his father's authority was treasonous. Before his father had even gotten out of his chair, Arturus bolted out of the dining room.
"Boy!" his father shouted, but Arturus paid him no heed. Heavy footsteps echoed behind him, but Arturus dared not look back. He may have been smaller than his father, but he was certainly faster. He sprinted to the end of the hall, towards the staircase.
He was running so fast he nearly ran straight into the wall of the stairwell. Stopping himself just in time, he ran as fast as he could up the flights. He heard heavy panting and footfalls behind him, but he continued on relentlessly. Eventually, he heard the panting and movements fade behind him, but he continued to run. He ran up, up, up until he reached the top floor, floor 100. The Maximum Security floor.
Arturus ran down the hall, until, at last, he collapsed from exhaustion. He was panting heavily, and his forehead was dripping with sweat. He managed to lift himself onto all fours and looked around. Though this was the Maximum Security Floor, the dementors were mysteriously absent.
"You and your father sure do love to shout, eh?" a voice said. Arturus whipped around to where the voice had come from. He found a dark, dreary cell which reeked of filth and excrement before him. The sole occupant of the cell was only visible as an outline. The voice sounded male, but that was all Arturus could tell of the man.
"How did you-" Arturus began, but was cut off by the prisoner.
"Your dining room echoes," the man said simply. Arturus felt red creep up into his cheeks.
"Oh," he said, feeling embarrassed. Then, something hit Arturus like a ton of bricks.
"You're- you're sane," he said, though the words sounded foreign to his lips. The man's head cocked to one side.
"And?" the man asked.
"No one's ever sane here," Arturus said, as though it was the simplest thing in the world.
"Well, you seem to have been here awhile. You're sane," said the man. Arturus pondered that for a moment. Now that he thought about it, why hadn't this place gotten to him?
"Perhaps I'm just used to it," Arturus said quietly. He looked up at the mysteriously sane man.
"Perhaps," the man said. Arturus looked down at the stone floor in silence, wishing to escape the prisoner's unscrupulous gaze.
"You want my advice, kid?" he said, causing Arturus to scoff.
"Not particularly, considering where you are," Arturus said. The man chuckled good-naturedly, something incredibly uncommon for Azkaban.
"Fair enough. Just listen, kid," the man said. Arturus looked up from the floor to the prisoner's outline.
"Sure," he said. The prisoner cleared his throat and adjusted his position on the floor.
"I went through exactly the same thing with my parents. Everything was all about them and what they thought was best. But, when I entered the world outside, I realized just how wrong they were. I made my own way in the world, forged my own beliefs. You wanna know something, kid? It didn't matter what they thought. It doesn't matter what your father thinks. It's what you think. It's about what's right, not what your father says," the man finished, staring at the small boy in front of him. Arturus stared at the man quizzically.
"You always give life advice to kids you don't know?" he asked. The man chuckled.
"I just wish I had someone tell me these things when I was your age. Would have saved me a lot of pain," he said, his voice tinged with the smallest bit of regret. Arturus stared at the prisoner, his inquisitorial nature getting to him.
"Who are you?" Arturus blurted out. Before the man had even opened his mouth, however, another voice boomed.
"Arturus!" his father shouted, rage fueling his steps. Before Arturus could even react his father was upon him. He grabbed him by the scruff of his collar and hoisted him up to his feet.
"If you ever do that again I swear I-" his father began, but stopped just as quickly as he had started. He had caught sight of the prisoner Arturus had been conversing with, sitting nonchalantly on the floor.
"Did you have something to say, Prisoner 390?" his father said in a low, menacing tone.
"No, not at all, Warden." the prisoner growled. His father turned up his nose, grabbed Arturus' arm, and stormed off with his son in tow.
Though Arturus could hear his father's voice going off loudly next to him, it registered as little more than background noise. He was still turning over the man's words in his mind. He supposed his father may have been wrong about certain things, but about what? What did the man mean when he said 'it's about what's right'? Was he hinting at something? Something beyond just his familial spat?
One thing was for sure, though. Arturus' destiny was his, and his alone.
Arturus would forge his own path.
So, there you go. First chapter of my first story under my belt. Hope you enjoyed.
Please leave a review, no flames, you know the drill.