Darkness of the Scavenger – Prologue – startabby

Content Rating:
  • R
Warning(s):
  • Dark Themes
  • Kidnapping
  • Torture
  • Violence-Canon-Level
Genre(s):
  • Drama
  • Fusion
  • Historical
  • Hurt/Comfort
Relationship(s):
Percival Graves/Newt Scamander

Word Count:
1186/1186/15,000-20,000

Author's Note:
Oh, man, this month has been a challenge. RL + Writers block have forced me to put my other story on the backburner, so I decided to try and get this one going instead.
BTW, I've added the torture/kidnapping warning because of a brief scene with Grindelwald, but it's not very explicit.

Summary:
Dreams are all that sustain him here in this dark place, dreams of his life before and a hope to one day escape from captivity. But then, one day the dreams evolve. A mysterious creature, a black scavenger, is haunting him, warning of dangers, calling for him to change, to protect the realm. As light comes at last, Percival shuts his eyes from the glare and promises… he will be faithful to the charge of Magic.

It was always dark now. The clock that hid his prison in its depths only let in a bit of light through its face and even then only when the room where it stood was illuminated.

After months trapped in the tiny room, without his wand and with bonds suppressing his wandless Magic, Percy was a mess. He had developed the habit of prowling the extent of his prison like a caged Nundu, a predator confined. The tiniest sound or change in the light coming in from the outside caused him to freeze, alert for anything that might lead to an escape.


It had been several days since the last time that his captor had paid Percy a visit, bringing fresh food and water and disposing of collected waste. During that visit, Grindelwald had tortured his prisoner for information and his own amusement.

As was usual, he was digging into the details of what Percy knew of MACUSA’s New York Headquarters and its staff. In particular, Grindelwald wanted to know the policies on the books about Magical Creatures, Accidental Magic, and the handling of No-Maj-born children and their families and how the official policy compared to actual practice. Besides policy, Grindelwald demanded details about Percy’s personal interactions with certain MACUSA staff, such as President Seraphina Picquery and his subordinates in the Office of Magical Security like the – apparently – demoted Auror Tina Goldstein.

“Goldstein is trouble,” Grindelwald commented at one point while taking a break from throwing curses. “She’s stubborn and is refusing to let go of her investigation of the Barebone family, despite her demotion. It is a bother.”

Almost casually, he shot off another hex, burning a fresh stripe across Percy’s scarred back. As the immobilized Wizard suppressed a scream, Grindelwald continued.

“It is true that the Barebone woman is a first-rate example of the kind of nastiness that the non-Magical are capable of showing. That is why I want her left alone. After all, how can I convince the Wizarding World that we need to take over if I don’t have examples? And how can I have a war without a non-Magical leader to fight?”

It was clear to Percy that Grindelwald’s question was rhetorical, but he couldn’t help himself. “Yes, because another war is exactly what we need right now.”

“Yes, we do.” Grindelwald ignored Percy’s sarcastic tone. “Wizards are meant to rule, not hide in the shadows. It is for the Greater Good, after all.”

He casually twirled the wand that he held, taunting his captive by reminding him that the villain was torturing him with his own wand.

“I’m still no closer to finding my prize,” Grindelwald mused, “though the child’s actions have been useful for other reasons. Still, you’d think poor, abused Credence would be of more use.” He gave a sinister smile, a sight all the more disturbing since he was wearing Percy’s face. “I’ll have to visit him again, remind him who is his only friend.”

With that, Grindelwald left the cell. Since he had not bothered to cancel the immobilization as he went, Percy was stuck. It would be several hours before the enchantment would weaken enough for his suppressed Magic to break it.


Trapped in the darkness, Percy had trouble in distinguishing day from night. He also had great difficulty in sleeping with his instincts screaming danger at all times. Still, he would occasionally drift off into a quasi-sleep, his body’s exhaustion forcing his brain to slow down for a time.

It was on one of these occasions that Percy found himself, in his dreaming state, in a strange, blue landscape.

Looking around, he was reminded of the mature forests of upstate New York, the playground of his childhood. He could identify beech, ash, maple, oak, hickory, and many others, all tinted with the blue of the environment.

The familiarity was a comfort as Percy wandered through the forest, glutting his senses on the sights, scents, sounds, textures, even tastes as he plucked and ate a small wild strawberry growing near the base of one of the trees. Indeed, the feeling of nature all around him after living in the sensory deprivation chamber that was his prison was a balm to his wounded psyche.

Eventually, Percy’s wanderings led to a clearing in the forest. There, perched on the stump of a downed tree, was a massive black bird.

It’s bald head and large size reminded Percy of the creatures that he had seen out in the battlefields of Europe. Such animals could be seen overhead during the battles, increasing in numbers as men fell and blood and magic were thrown around in increasing quantities. Then, after the fighting had ended and the survivors had retreated back to their camps to regroup, the beasts would descend upon the bodies left behind. Knowing that the birds would tear apart their dead if left untended, many of Percy’s comrades had cursed the scavengers, calling them the Eaters of Death, and doing everything that they could to eliminate them. Still, the beasts returned time and time again, often in greater numbers than before.

Unlike his peers, Percy had never felt threatened by the scavengers. He recognized that they were present for a reason. When Wizards made a mess, Mother Magic provided. So, he was unbothered by his company. Still, when he heard a voice inside his mind, Percy couldn’t help but flinch.

There you are, Sentinel.

The bird’s voice echoed inside of Percy’s skull. Its tone was distinctly female, maternal almost.

Welcome to my home.

Your home?

Yes. This is the spirit realm, the dwelling place of those who have agreed to partner with the Guardians that are called by Mother Magic to protect the Realm.

Then… Percy couldn’t help his frown of confusion. Why am I here? He paused, but then quickly added. Not that I am not grateful, ma’am, for the opportunity to visit. Your home is a place of peace.

Though the bird’s outward position didn’t change, Percy could sense her amusement at his words.

I am glad that you approve. And there is no need to call me ma’am. I am Pelles. You are here because I called you.

Called me?

Pelles mantled on her perch, flaring her wings as she shifted position. As she did so, he caught a glimpse of white on the underside of her wings. Then, the sense of amusement vanished.

Yes. You have been called, Percival Graves, by Mother Magic, to protect her Realm against the evils that threaten her. This is a calling that you have already accepted, as your past actions have shown. Now, Mother Magic offers you a gift, a new set of abilities that will help you in your calling.

Abilities?

You will see.  She paused for a moment, and then added. But for now, our time is at an end.

Percy could feel something tugging at his mind, drawing him out of the peaceful forest and back into the real world. As the blue forest faded from his mind, he heard one final statement.

I look forward to meeting you out in the world, My Paladin.

Percival ‘Percy’ Graves – Sentinel

Pelles the Harpy – Percy’s Spirit Animal

Newton ‘Newt’ Scamander – Guide

Rosie the Nundu – Newt’s Spirit Animal

Queenie Goldstein – Guide & her sister Tina – Mundane

Dougal the Demiguise – Queenie’s Spirit Animal

About startabby

Extremely prolific lifetime published fiction reader (just ask my family about my library account usage as a child), I fell down the rabbit hole into fan fiction a few years back. Reading has recently inspired me to start writing, as can be seen on my AO3 profile (startabby), as well as here on Rough Trade.

4 Comments

  1. I am intrigued.

  2. Good start

  3. Good beginning

  4. Great start! 🙂

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