It went on, and on, and on.
Draco wasn't exactly sure why he had come. He knew that there was nothing to be found in this vast and empty landscape. Nothing could survive here without extreme enforcements, magical or otherwise.
Maybe it was just because he knew now that this was where the Chosen One had been kept for so long. That this was where is had all begun.
Antarctica was like a blank canvas. Ice, light, and snow.
Draco, however, was quite comfortable, despite the fact that he knew it must be below negative forty-five degrees Celsius. His enchanted bubble of magic kept him nice and warm, shimmering around him like a transparent layer of mist. Just one of many tricks he had learned recently.
Draco Malfoy was not taking this quest lightly.
Once the sole heir to the Malfoy family had moved his gold to a far less prestigious vault and exchanged some of it for muggle currency (the horror), he had disappeared to London for a time. Draco had rented himself a nice muggle room (the horror) in a muggle hotel (the utter, unimaginable horror), where no one from the wizarding world could possibly track him to.
For days, he had done nothing but research, nothing but prepare.
The Master of Death.
You asshole, Draco thought sourly as he trekked through the vibrant, wintry land. I'll find you, you asshole.
Draco had lists of locations he planned on going to, all of which were somehow connected with death. Places that were rumored to be passageways to the underworld, caves and islands that were supposedly portals to other realms. If the Master of Death were to be found somewhere, Draco mused, he should find him in one of those places, surely?
Draco not only researched muggle legends and folktales of the afterlife and death, but everything else, too. Defensive magic. Healing spells. He'd studied cloaks, wands, and magical stones. He'd decided to take a leaf out of Granger's book and enchant one of his bags to be massive on the interior, so that he might carry with him any supplies he would need. Nothing so foul as her ugly, beaded purse, of course, but a handsome satchel that he slung over one shoulder. Dragon's hide, black, fire and water-proof, practically indestructible. The finest money could buy. He had it filled with books of every sort, a myriad of potions in unbreakable vials, the giant, luxurious tent his family had used during the Quidditch cup, a Firebolt…
Draco Malfoy was not taking this quest lightly.
The South Pole, the very first place he'd come to, was not actually on his long list of locations to explore. Draco continued on in the empty plane of white with his hands in his pocket. It wasn't a logical place to investigate. There was no possible way that he would ever want to set foot here, in this place where he'd been held captive for an entire year, asleep and unaware.
Perhaps it was only because this seemed the place that such a journey should begin. This white, white world.
Draco paused, narrowing his eyes as he noticed something in the distance. Something small and dark. It stood out against the endless lightness like a blot of ink, marring the otherwise pristine landscape.
He didn't think. He headed that way.
By the time that Draco was close enough to see it properly, he was beyond astounded. It was a plant. Something was growing here.
Here! In the middle of this Antarctic tundra, in the midst of nothing but ice!
Draco rushed over and knelt down next to the impossible sapling, running his fingers across the thin, delicate leaves. They looked familiar, somehow…
The memory struck him like a bolt of lightning. He recognized these leaves, even in this young, barely sprouted form. This was the same species which grew in the front yard of his manor, the infant version of the tree which he had once flung himself from as a child, breaking his leg in an unsuccessful attempt to make his magic jump to life, when he feared he had no magic at all…
This was a yew tree.
Draco quickly flung his bag around, opening it and reaching into its endless depths. He was met at once with the echoing sound of something collapsing. "Damn," he muttered. "That'll be the books…"
Which was especially irritating, considering that a specific book was exactly what he had been going for. Draco pulled his wand from his pocket, scowling. "Accio… accio Olivander's book," he muttered, unable to recall the title of it, despite the fact that he had read it multiple times in the last week alone.
Instantly, a tome flew into his hands. Draco opened it and flipped to the section on Wand Woods. Because just now, seeing this sapling had stirred some vague recollection in his mind...
Yew: Yew wands are among the rarer kinds, and their ideal matches are likewise unusual, and occasionally notorious. The wand of yew is reputed to endow its possessor with the power of life and death, which might, of course, be said of all wands; and yet yew retains a particularly dark and fearsome reputation in the spheres of duelling and all curses. However, it is untrue to say (as those unlearned in wandlore often do) that those who use yew wands are more likely to be attracted to the Dark Arts than another. The witch or wizard best suited to a yew wand might equally prove a fierce protector of others. Wands hewn from these most long-lived trees have been found in the possession of heroes quite as often as of villains. Where wizards have been buried with wands of yew, the wand generally sprouts into a tree guarding the dead owner's grave. What is certain, in my experience, is that the yew wand never chooses either a mediocre or a timid owner.
The book fell slowly from Draco's hands. He looked back at the sapling and gaped, backing away from the tree like it had just taken on the characteristics of the wizard it had once belonged to.
Even thinking the name made Draco shiver violently, though he was untouched by the coldness of the arctic air. The Dark Lord's wand had been yew, it must have been…and he had dropped it here, and…and left it… But this wasn't his grave, his body was not here…
A cacophony of crippling emotions stormed Draco's mind. He wasn't sure if he wanted to rip the infant sapling up by it roots and set fire to it or care for it like the miracle of rebirth in this world of white that it was.
In the end, he did nothing.
Draco picked up his book and pocketed his wand, turning away. He didn't burn the yew, nor did he touch it again.
He just walked.
Draco was unable to decipher his emotions. He couldn't fathom how a yew tree had sprouted in this barren field of ice, no matter whose wand it had once been... but he did know one thing with certainty.
That to search for Harry Potter was to search for Tom Riddle.
He nearly gave it all up, in that moment of clarity. Draco considered ending his journey before it had even begun. He walked aimlessly in the white, white world for a long time, his thoughts whirling in a way which never aligned themselves into something logical, but which did, eventually slow.
"You asshole." Draco looked up towards the blank sky.
To the mother fucking sky!
"You asshole, I'll find you…"
With a sharp crack, Draco Malfoy disappeared.
I anticipate that this will be five chapters long. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
All my love XO