July 21, 2019, 01:09:47 AM

Author Topic:  To Every Captive Soul [Closed]  (Read 277 times)

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Gaius Purcell [ Inactive Character ]
2177 Posts  •  50  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Gavin
To Every Captive Soul [Closed]
« on: January 06, 2019, 11:35:18 PM »
The sun was at its highest point, bathing the field in a clear, bright light. Birds chirped arrogantly, and somewhere, in the far distance, he could detect the soft rumble of muggle cars. The field sloped gently, highest side at the tree line of a dense forest, lowest side marked by a rough agricultural path that let from a crossroads, a crooked signpost indicating the nearest muggle town. The Auror stood by his left side, and he carefully examined the surroundings. A second Auror was carefully patrolling the perimeter, examining hedgerows and bushes with a suspicious, clinical eye. Gaius inhaled deeply; the scent of cut grass and the sting of pollen in his eyes a wonderful and alien experience; he momentarily wallowed in it. A sudden sharp whistle from the second Auror roused him, looking up he saw the man give an exaggerated thumbs-up to his colleague. The coast was apparently clear.

With a flick of his wand, the magically-enhanced restraints clicked open, and for the first time in nearly four years, Gaius Purcell stood in the great outdoors, free. He was dressed in the misfitting clothes of some other poor detainee of Azkaban; a horrifically dated brown suit with legs about two inches too short for him, and a set of cheap robes in a fantastically pungent shade of mauve that he carried over his arm due to the summer heat. The Auror momentarily sized him up with narrowed eyes. “Well, Mister Purcell, that’s about it, I suppose. Here, you’ll be needing this,” and he handed the former Death Eater a rather well-used wand. “Naturally, it has the trace.”

“Naturally,” replied Gaius calmly.

“And as you know, check-in every second Monday, if you please.”

“Of course,” answered the Death Eater. “If I may be so bold to ask -“ and he looked about himself, unsure, “- where exactly are we?”

“Outside the village of Pikehall. Peak District. Lovely place, actually. Quiet too. We thought it was best to do the old release here. No chance of the Daily Prophet or any of those sorts sneaking around.”

Gaius nodded slowly. “A wonderful choice, I agree.” The Auror said nothing for a moment, but his expression seemed to agree. He looked about himself; an englishman admiring the world, slowly lost in thought. The weight of his task lost on him.

“Well Mister Purcell, it has been certainly most interesting.” He exchanged a brisk handshake with his former prisoner. “Take care. Stay away from the press, they only want to cause trouble. And please, no nonsense. We’ll be watching.”

“The very least I would expect,” replied Gaius courteously. “Of course, all I have planned is a quiet retirement. I will be as reticent as a church mouse.”

The auror nodded once, and with a pop, Gaius was alone. He sat on the grass, and did not move for an hour.

————

The Tuscan village of San Lazzaro lies roughly half-way between Florence and the Ligurian Sea, lost amongst a wiry patchwork of dusty paths and seemingly endless vineyards. The roads often reduce to single lanes, and the requisite traffic is slow and bad-tempered. The village itself consists of a small grouping of old stone houses, built at some point in the late nineteenth century to replace the wooden structures that had once stood there; a farm with a seemingly endless supply of chickens, and a small parish church sparingly manned by a Jesuit priest. And on this particularly balmy August afternoon, the chickens were disturbed by the approaching footsteps of a particularly unkempt tall man with wild hair and a messy beard; dressed in a strange brown suit that had trousers much too short for the wearer; his skinny ankles brazenly protruding. The man, having undertaking an arduous journey on foot, slowly wandered through the village, stopping only to give a “Buongiorno” to the slightly alarmed priest at the doorway of his priory. He only came to a final halt once he reached the little house at the top of the village, scattering its own collection of chickens that proceeded to run off randomly, squawking into the distance.

The door opened, and a little old lady with silver hair and small glasses appeared from the cool darkness within, squinting into the bleached sunlight at the dark figure. “Ah Signore Westerby,” she began, smiling, having recognised the man through the decrepitude, and, as if this was a perfectly normal occurrence, gestured for him to enter.

He sat at her small kitchen table, the room cool compared to the scorching sun outside, and she went about, chattering away in a mixture of poor english and heavily accented Senese, clattering pots and invoking the Sacred Virgin at frequent intervals. She knew well enough not to ask too much; that was what she had been well compensated for; but Gaius would positively interject now and again to feign an interest. She prepared him a delicious Pappa al Pomodoro soup which he devoured at speed, and she told him who had been born and who had suffered and died with cancer and the like, and informed him of the suspicions she held about her odd neighbour who, for a married man, seemed to enjoy the company of young women a little too frequently. And when he had cleaned his plate and drank several glasses of her Chianti, she said “And you must want your room, Signore Westerby,” and she placed the heavy iron key on the table in front of him.

The attic room was as he had left it; untouched apart from the lack of dust signifying her cleanliness. A small bed against the wall; a window with a view of meandering Tuscan hills and an old narrow desk before it; some books against the wall; a chair. Curtains stitched from old bed sheets. The rest of the dark room barren. He went to the desk and opened the small drawer underneath, removing a silver letter-opener. In the middle of the room he dropped to his knees and, using the letter-opener as a lever, removed one of the floor boards; a piece about a foot long. From the exposed cavity within, he removed an old long jewellery box; cheap and unpleasant looking, probably constructed in the nineteen-eighties to sell to unsuspecting tourists. He used his wand to unlock it’s Colloportus charm, and he emptied the contents back onto the desk. A blackened wand. Several expired Muggle credit cards. Bearer bonds marked out to several thousand Bezants. A thick bunch of Lira notes. A card for an investment account at Deutsche Bank Firenze. A Victorinox GAK pocket knife. A small piece of pachment upon which was a carefully-written list of addresses. He gathered all together, and took one last look upon the golden hills beyond.

————

In the city of Florence, Lire were converted to the multi-coloured Euro notes. A safe deposit box at the Deutsche Bank branch on Via de' Vecchietti was emptied, and Gaius Purcell was now in the possession of a several bearer bonds that connected him to various Gringotts accounts in Zürich, Rome and London. He went to his favoured shirt makers on Via della Scala and was measured. He paid a visit to the tailors on Via dei Fossi, and made several requests. He visited a barbers on Piazzale della Porta al Prato for a clean shave and haircut. He drank the city down like a man returning from a famine. Day after day he visited Fra Angelico’s frescoes in the Convento di San Marco, in rapture at the purity of the colours he had once imagined he would never see again. He wandered the Uffizi until his calves hurt. He was ordered out of the Accademia by a guard who felt that three hours was more than enough time to stare at a Michelangelo. He watched giddy couples holding hands upon the Ponte Vecchio between the stalls of overpriced tourist tat. He touched Ghiberti’s golden doors at the Baptistery. He sat in the pews of the Duomo and considered the genius of Brunelleschi. After a week in that old city, he was nearly the man he had once been.

————

He walked from the lobby of the St. Regis hotel to Piazza della Signoria, and, amongst the throngs of tourists, he sat at the edge of an overpriced cafe. With an espresso at his elbow, he  considered his charges carefully, and began to write a letter to @Eris Rosier .


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