Into the Abyss
It felt like the lift had been going down for ages when it finally came to a stop. The air that rushed in through the grates seemed a bit musty but was cool. Dominique pulled her robes a bit more closely around her as she followed Chris out and towards the large set of double doors that seemed to reach up at least one storey. She looked up at them, her eyes widening as she took in the solid oak and various carvings of moments throughout wizarding history. A gold plate to the right side of the doors read "Ministry of Magic Historical Archives".
Chris pushed one of the massive doors open, stopping a moment to hold it as Dominique entered. She stopped as they entered a large lobby. It was dimly lit with matte gold walls that contained portraits of all the past Ministers for Magic. It was nearly empty, save a red velvet sofa to one side with a large L-shaped desk and an old witch to the other. Directly across from them was another set of large doors. The witch sat shuffling through parchments at the desk. A pile of scrolls sat to her right. It was the only noise around them, save the squeak of the door as it slid shut. The old witch looked up and pushed her glasses up her nose.
"Yes?" she asked, annoyed to have her work interrupted.
"Chris Abbott and Dominique Weasley from the Auror Department," Chris said, stepping over to her. Dominique followed. The old witch picked up her wand and waved it at the two then studied them a moment. Seeming satisfied, she waved them through.
"You know the rules, Mr. Abbott. Please explain them to Ms. Weasley," she said boredly, returning to her work.
"Of course, Ms. Harquin. Oh, by the way, we're looking for Molly Weasley. Do you by chance know where she is?" he asked.
The old witch looked up at him and then stood. She walked over to the other part of the desk where a large map seemed to be laid out. She studied it a moment before looking up.
"Ms. Weasley seems to be in Cavern C-3, Room 306," she said, walking back and sitting down.
"Thank you," Chris said. He walked towards the door with Dominique following, her heels clacking loudly against the floor. They went through the doors and were standing in a large, rock corridor that went right and left.
"How far down are we?" Dominique asked as Chris seemed to be determining which way to go.
"Dunno. Don't think anyone really knows, save the Minister, perhaps. Only she has access to all the blueprints for the Ministry," he said, taking off towards the right. The two walked in silence, but every so often a large archway would appear to either side of the corridor. Dominique would peer in, astonished to see large cavern after large cavern filled with thousands of bookshelves, filing cabinets and various other storage devices.
"How on earth do you figure out how to get around here? Is there some sort of filing system?" she asked breathlessly, suddenly feeling mounting pressure. They had been walking nearly 10 minutes and there seemed to be no end to the corridor or caverns.
This was going to take forever. There was no way they could make it through all of the Archives. Maybe in 20 years or so, but not in the amount of time needed to figure out what was going on.
"I still haven't got the hang of it, but Molly tends to stay in the C caverns most of the time, so I've gotten good at remembering how to get there," he said. Dominique nodded.
"And what are these rules that you're supposed to inform me of?" she asked, glancing at him.
"Don't take orginals of anything. Be respectful. No loud noises and so on," he said.
"I hope it wasn't an extensive list," Dominique said.
"It's about the same as any library," Chris replied. He slowed down as they came up to the right cavern. Chris turned right and stepped in, Dominique following him. She was instantly in awe of the sheer amount of information that must be kept here. The ceiling was easily four to five storeys high with seemingly endless bookshelves and filing cabinets that went just as high. She had no idea where to begin figuring how things were stored. But at least she was a quick learner. And she was sure that Molly would break it down quickly. She followed Chris as they skirted the outer edge of the cavern. He stopped at a door and opened it, popping his head in first.
"There you are, Molly," he said cheerfully.
"Please tell me you aren't here to bother me," Dominique heard her groan.
"Pleasure to see you too. I've actually brought you extra hands," he said with a smirk.
"No offense, but you haven't been that helpful lately," she said. Chris grabbed Dominique's arm and pulled her into the room. Molly sat up from where she had been bent over a large, dusty tome, quickly grinning.
"Thank Merlin, Teddy finally got you transferred!" she shouted as she shot up out of her chair and ran over to her cousin, hugging her.
"So now I get to see you at work and at home," Dominique said, smiling. Molly let go.
"Bound to be more helpful than this git," she said, frowning at Chris.
"I wasn't that far behind you in class rankings, Molly," Chris said, rolling his eyes. "And I'm an auror. I know what I'm doing. Just do it a bit differently than you, is all."
"Right," Molly said with a snort. Dominique stifled a laugh. Molly was very much a by-the-rules sort with a very clear idea of how things should be done - whether it was right or wrong - and anyone who didn't fit that mold was definitely in her wrong category.
"Right then, I'm off to do some digging," he said. "Don't have too much fun." He then turned and left the room. Dominique looked around the small room. The walls were rock - as though the room had been carved out of the cavern itself. There were torches around the walls lighting it up, with three lamps spread down the long, wooden table in the center of the room. There were about ten comfy looking chairs around. Molly led Dominique over to where she had been set up, surrounded by piles of books, parchments and scrolls.
"What are you looking at?" she asked as she sat next to Molly. Her cousin sighed and pulled her wavy red hair up into a bun, fastening it with an elastic.
"Ancient cultures," she said. "Seemed like a good place to start with the reference to Athena."
"At least that narrowed our search range," Dominique said looking around.
"Still too much to go through," Molly said. "There's actually a fair amount of information on Greece, Greek culture and the gods and goddesses down here. Not to mention the chance that it might not even be there."
"Where do you want me to start?" Dominique asked. "Anything here? Or should I go out and search for more." Molly looked around, seeming overwhelmed by the amount of information just in that room alone.
"Maybe start with finding your own? I could use help here, but I think we might cover more ground if you go out and poke around a bit," she said. "Besides, if there's anything we want to look over more closely after hours, we can make copies." Dominique nodded and stood.
"I shall be back soon," she said cheerfully.
Dominique quickly discovered that the archives were every bit as daunting as she thought upon first arriving. Once she figure out how things were stored - which took a good 30 minutes to get the basics down though she still didn't completely understand it - it took another hour or so before she found several tomes and scrolls that could potentially lead to information that they needed.
She walked back into the room, finding Molly still alone and still pouring over the same book.
"How's your introduction to the archives going?" she asked without looking up.
"Difficult," Dominique said as she dropped everything in her arms on the table. A small cloud of dust flew up into her face, causing her to sneeze. Molly snickered, looking up at her.
"That happens often," she said. Dominique sat down and opened the first book.
"What's in the padlocked rooms?" she asked, looking over at her cousin.
"Various magical artifacts that are too dangerous to be displayed in museums," Molly replied, turning back to her book.
"Anything of use to us?" Dominique asked.
"Not sure - haven't made it in there yet. Suppose we should take a look at the registries before we wander in though," she said. Dominique sighed and looked down, getting to work. She had barely gotten to it when the door opened and Chris led Toby in. He was grinning as he looked around the room.
"This place is amazing," he exclaimed. With a roll of his eyes, Chris left, shutting the door behind him. Toby walked over and sat next to Dominique.
"I've now been fully briefed - seriously how could you all keep that a secret for so long? I definitely have words for Daisy when I see her. Oh, and what's the plan?" he asked.
"Scour the archives for any and all information that could be related to protective magic, Athena and ancient Greek culture or magic," Molly said with a sigh.
"Right. I'll get started," he said, pushing out of the chair and walking to the door.
"Try not to get lost," Dominique called out with a smile. Toby laughed at her.
"I won't," he said said.
"You sure? You got lost in Hogsmeade the first time you visited," Molly said, a smile playing across her lips. Toby stopped and stared at her.
"I did not," he said indignantly. "Just got turned around is all…"
"Sure," Molly said, laughing softly.
"Just get to work," Dominique said.
Dominique sighed as she collapsed on the sofa in the flat she shared with Molly. She had moved in shortly after Molly's younger sister Lucy moved out and in with her boyfriend. The two had shared a dormitory at Hogwarts, not to mention Dominique had hated her flatmate prior with an undying passion, so it was an easy decision.
"So… this is what you've been doing day in and out for the past few weeks," Dominique said, looking over her shoulder into the kitchen. Molly walked out with two glasses of wine in hand. The two had stopped by a pub for dinner and then quickly headed home as the after work crowd started to get rowdy.
"Yes. I'm sorry I didn't tell you. Teddy wanted to keep it quiet for a bit," she said, handing a glass to Dominique before sitting next to her.
"No harm done," Dominique said. "How often do we have to see Abbott?"
"Oh, he's not that bad, Dom. Takes his job quite seriously, though he prefers to be out asking questions and such. Not cooped up in the archives," she said.
"Who would he be questioning?" Dominique asked. "Not like there are others like Aunt Iris, Daisy and Jamie out there."
"He's off speaking to various scholars and such. Though carefully," Molly said. "Can't really let anyone in on it. He's just been asking about ancient magic and such." Dominique was silent for a moment.
"He might be onto something. Maybe we should be talking to scholars and writers. Anyone who has studied the topic extensively," she said. "I mean, keep looking in the archives, of course, it's one of our best resources. But if there is anyone we can talk to, we might as well."
Molly nodded slowly.
"It would get us out of the tombs for a bit," she said. "Not that I mind it, but just might need a bit of time outside here and there."
"Too true," Dominique said. "And it gets us away from Teddy and Abbott," she said. Dominique looked at Molly. "To figuring out the great mystery." Molly laughed and clinked her glass with Dominique's.
"To figuring out the great mystery."
Since it's Christmas and all, decided to post another chapter. And I ended up writing another chapter.
Hope you all enjoy! Thanks for reading!