Penname: Page of Cups
AOL Screen Name: AndromedanQueen
Title: The Prophecy of Absconditus
Pairing: Ron Weasley/Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter/Blaise Zabini
Summary: Absconditus collapsed in 372 A.D. History passed into legend except for the visions that haunt Ron Weasley's dreams. The past has a strange way of repeating itself.
Disclaimer: This story contains characters, locations, and other random things created and/or owned by J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic, Inc., etc. Since no money is being made, no infringement is intended. Section 102(b) of the U.S. Copyright Act states that copyright protection does not extend to ideas, procedures, concepts, principles or discoveries, but the actual words used to express those things. The plot, Ryan Alcor, Bade Mizar, Aleco, Hero Veriatice, Lorenzo Merak, and anyone else you may not recognize belong to me.
CAUTION: This story contains SLASH. Slash indicates boys liking boys, boys dating boys, etc. If this is not your cup of tea, please click back on your browser. If this is what you were looking for, read on. You have been warned.
ARCHIVE: If you would like to archive this story, please e-mail me first so that I may view your site. If I find this story listed without my permission, there will be hell to pay.
Special thanks to the people who beta-ed, promised to beta, or gave input to the makings of this story. Your work did not go unnoticed, and you are appreciated.
Chapter One: Absconditus, 372 A.D.
The night was more placid than he would have liked, as the sky grew black with only starlight to illuminate the shadows. On the top floor of a small stone prison, Ryan Alcor peered through his barred windows at the kingdom of Absconditus below. No one was out at this hour and a bitter bite in the back of his head whispered that his father would have been pleased. The man always did seem to have a problem with the late night rendezvous by the locals. Even if you were king, you didn't always get the order you so desired.
Ryan testified to that. Royalty or not, he stood by this barred window. Tomorrow, it would only be a memory, and things would all be over, at least for now. Alecto had come and gone, bringing a joy that only left him in misery. She and her forsaken prophecy! Ryan braced himself against the window, and rested his forehead on the back of his palm.
As much as he liked to tell himself that tomorrow would be a day just like any other, his intuition told him differently -- his intuition and that headache, which wouldn't leave him, and flashed images across his eyes. He knew Alecto meant well. She was an admired priestess and oracle, and most of the people of Absconditus would be honored to have her guidance. Alecto, however, wasn't the only one with the gift of foresight, and so she would have to excuse Ryan if he didn't seem grateful to have his worst fears confirmed.
The prophecy, she said. That was all he heard for weeks now, ever since he was accused and tried for the murder of his father and brother. She came once a day, much to the chagrin of his stepmother, Larrissa, and with each visit, they talked about the prophecy -- the prophecy that would save the wizarding world one day if it was carried out properly. Of course, if it was carried out properly, it would also cause the death of the entire kingdom. Ryan didn't know what to make of that.
Glancing to the corner, Ryan saw three silhouettes shrouded in the dark. Those were the bodies of his cell mates -- the people in his life who had been condemned to die the next morning just as Ryan was. He didn't know how it could have gotten so far. He didn't know how Larrissa had gotten the better of him. An image of his stepmother in luxurious clothes, sitting up in his palace -- while he was waiting to die -- came into his mind. She sipped some refined beverage (a wine from the cellar), laughed with Reynaldo about silly little Ryan Alcor, and was very proud of herself. It wasn't every day you got away with murdering the king and pinning it on his youngest son.
"Ryan?" said a voice, and in the dark, a pair of soft silvery blue eyes met his.
"Why are you not sleeping? Tomorrow is a day of the utmost importance."
"Because tomorrow is my last. I don't want to miss a moment."
"Care if I join you?"
Shuffles echoed from the corner as Bade disconnected from Hero and Lorenzo, and then he was by Ryan's side, slipping their fingers together. Ever since cursed and sentenced to death, Ryan imagined his final night to be more . . . final. Instead, things were just like always, and the kingdom was tranquil, unlike tomorrow when there would be chaos, and it would seem that the apocalypse had come.
"Why do you worry?"
"Can you believe that after tomorrow, this will all be gone?"
Bade stared hard at the set expression on Ryan's face, and then followed his gaze through the bars. He gave a stiff nod, and tightened his grip on Ryan's hand.
"This is the only way. You know that. Alecto --"
"I know, Bade. I've heard about the prophecy just as many times as you have. I've also heard the cries of the people. They want us dead, and if things go the way that Alecto has foreseen -- what I've foreseen . . . we aren't going to be the only ones who die tomorrow. The only difference is they won't take down the city with them."
"You're far too theatrical, Ryan," said Bade. "You know it needs to be done. If we just allow them -- we shouldn't even be here. But to let my mother and Reynaldo win? I cannot let that happen."
Ryan didn't answer, but he felt that Bade understood.
It seemed like a very long time ago when Ryan was still a free man. The second son of King Reegan of Absconditus, Ryan was known through the kingdom as "The Forgotten Alcor." Starvos, his elder brother, had been the Prince-in-Waiting, and was lavished upon. His mother died when he was still a young child, and Larrissa Mizar became Reegan's second wife.
She was wealthy, of high stature, and came with the baggage of her only son, Bade.
"I had to keep him," Larrissa swore to his father one day. "The pregnancy was an accident -- rape and all. No matter what potion I took, or what the mediwitches did, the brat survived. I couldn't just get rid of him. What would people think of me?"
Bade was a bastard child who never knew his father, and because of this, was rejected by his mother. After growing with Starvos, Ryan had been thrilled to find a friend in Bade. They understood each other, and what it meant to be forgotten, a joke.
Lorenzo Merak was a wizard page and servant. A friend to Bade and learning under Reynaldo Lynx (advisor to the king), Ryan met the runaway child upon his arrival. He came from a family of drunkards, and desired to be a proper wizard. His unusual power to affect time earned a place in the court.
Hero Veriatice was one of the most heartbreaking cases that Ryan could think of, and it hurt him to see her sharing his prison cell. When she was only four years old, she was sold into slavery due to outstanding family debts. Her father murdered her mother when she was seven, he was beheaded, and all hopes to escape slavery vanished. As a bit of a joke on Ryan's part, Larrissa assigned the girl to be the Prince's handmaid. This was where things became too complicated, and Ryan shut his eyes, hoping to block out the world.
Secrets are in every family, in every kingdom, and Ryan hid his share.
He was six years old when he first met Bade Mizar, but because either Larrissa never felt like a mother, or Bade was more of a friend, he never seemed like a real brother. He never meant to fall in love with his stepbrother, but Ryan found him irresistible. Already a joke in the kingdom, he didn't dare let his stepbrother know of these feelings, but Bade figured it out on his own.
For several years they were lovers before needing some kind of commitment, but no offer presented itself. Who could they trust their secret to? Only Lorenzo and Hero knew, both of whom because they were in such close corridors, age, and found solace in each other.
Meanwhile, Hero and Lorenzo found each other, and when Ryan went to his handmaid for advice, he discovered she was pregnant. Through tears, Hero confessed her pregnancy, a story for only Ryan's ears, but another heard. By the next morning, the entire kingdom was aware, and Ryan was thought to be the source of the infidelity. The public stoned Hero, and she almost lost the baby by sundown.
It was a time of horror. Though he had always been somewhat forgotten, he held a sense of superiority. Perhaps this was due to the gift of foresight, an inner eye that he possessed since birth. He may have been a wizard, and he may have lived in a wizard city, but even there was the gift of Seeing rare. Only Alecto, the oracle, had gifts in Seeing before Ryan. It was so rare a gift, in fact, that his predictions earned a place in the Knight Court. Starvos was furious.
Ryan didn't know what to make of his brother's actions. Within a fortnight, he, Hero, Bade, and Lorenzo were arrested, each playing a part in the murder of King Reegan and Prince Starvos. Ryan and Bade conspired to take the throne, while Lorenzo poisoned Reegan. Hero lured Starvos, murdered him. They were each innocent, but they were each condemned, and due to die tomorrow.
"There is an evil," said Alecto, "that will be born out of this decree. It is an old magic that he who takes innocent blood shall pay a price."
They scattered their magic throughout the city, and tomorrow, at sunrise, the city would collapse. To bind a soul is to return with that soul. The old magic that Alecto spoke of refered to revenge: Because they were due to die, they would be given a chance to escape, be reborn, and take back what was theirs. They would have their second show down, return with those who had forsaken. Ryan wasn't sure about this.
She had seen a time where the future of magic would be uncertain, and where evil roamed. She had seen a time where the special gift that each of the four possessed would become very important. She had seen a time where they could save others from the same fate they suffered. He wanted to help, but looking out at Absconditus, Ryan didn't know if it was right at the price of all those lives. They had condemned him, but did he have a place to pass judgment? Almost as if knowing what he thought, Bade took him by the arm, and captured his lips.
"Don't think on it," he said. "Absconditus will fall, but the fountain will be preserved, and in it, so will our magic. These people -- if we don't do something, we will die forever. No chance to come back and set things right. And my mother -- do you want to leave the fate of our world in her hands? Reynaldo's?"
"You know I don't."
"There's nothing to think on. Tomorrow will be the last of Absconditus, but it will not be our end. We will return in that time that Alecto has Seen. We'll be able to get our revenge and savor redemption. If we don't --"
"I know," said Ryan, dropping his eyes. "The curse. The trial. The sentence. If the process is completed --"
"If Absconditus does not fall --"
"Then our gifts will be taken, and the government . . . what if I don't care, Bade? Sometimes the gift of foresight seems more like a curse."
Bade said nothing, but moved to stand behind his lover.
"I've Seen what's going to happen tomorrow. I've Seen the suffering we're going to cause, and all the people who will lose their lives just because they condemned us. I don't think it's fair, but I don't think what we're doing is right, either. I know that if we don't, a power more evil than we can ever imagine will emerge, but I can't bring myself to see virtue in this. If it's slaughter --"
"If it's survival --"
"We're going to go away, and the city is going to fall. Alecto is going to take us, we're going to pass on, and Absconditus -- it will all be gone. Everything. Your mother, our people, gone in a heartbeat, because we didn't want our gifts to be taken."
"I don't want them put to a use that my mother might see fit. Could you imagine if she got hold of mine?"
"I know," said Ryan.
"Everything will be all right. You'll see."
"I certainly hope you're right. You said the same thing when the curses started, and now Lorenzo is blind."
"Lorenzo is going to a better place. He doesn't need something trivial like his eyes to see the glories there."
"How did you get to be so smart?"
"What about Hero? She's been a mess. After the baby, and the furies -- Alecto said that Rune would be taken care of. I can't imagine what that's supposed to mean, but -- I feel terrible, Bade. Everyone thinks that was me. My curse is to have lost the child, but Lorenzo -- and he can't see her pain, but he can feel it. She's suffered enough."
"We've all suffered enough. You don't think you're the only one."
"I adore you."
Bade moved his lips to the back of Ryan's ear, and pressed the soft pink flesh of his lips gently against Ryan's skin.
"Ryan, love, don't think on it. We'll be gone by sunrise, and with Alecto, we're going to get away. Cities rebuild. One day we'll be back, and then I'll be with you again. A thousand years couldn't keep me from loving you."
"What about two thousand?"
"I'd still worship you. Stars sparkle, shimmer, and all fade away. Except you."
"I'm a star?"
"You're beautiful," said Ryan.
Ryan covered Bade's hand with his own, and gazed out into the kingdom. The morning would come, and when it did, they would be far away from here, on the mountain where Alecto made her home. From there, they would watch the city crumble, and they would die along with it, murdering their home and each other. When the morning came, everything that Ryan had ever known would be gone, and it would be centuries until he would feel Bade's touch once again. When the morning came . . .
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