New World Wizardry
Once Diana had changed into Muggle clothes, she and Jason lugged her trunks down to the Grand Hall. The great room was no longer full of desks and testing students, but now had several fireplaces jutting out of the walls, students disappearing into them with flashes of green light.
Neither had to look hard for Moxie; she was leading students into a large circle of flame and Disapparating with them, Apparating into another circle seconds later. Teachers sprinkled the hall, assisting where they needed to. Professor Twain took Diana's trunk and threw it through a fireplace, again complimenting her Aqua Eructo charm. Eddie sheepishly skirted past them mid-conversation and disappeared into a fireplace.
"Hi Jason!" two voices chimed from behind. He turned and was greeted by the identical faces of the Witney twins. Brother and sister, Whitney and Whitnie, were dressed in identical stark white traveling cloaks. Their white hair was almost glowing in the sunlight, "So good to see you again. We were just waiting for father and mother."
Jason shifted on his feet, the Witney's weren't exactly the best people around, but they were highly respected, just as the Malfoy's were in Britain. "Hey," Jason forced a smile, "Nice to see you, too. Er--how was your year?"
Thankfully, before they could answer the Herbology teacher grunted for them. Their private ride had arrived and was waiting. "Have to rush, sorry Jason," Whitney said, smiling innocently.
"Maybe we'll see you later this summer?" Whitnie flashed an identical smile and they departed to the back of the hall. A driver in a white suit was waiting in the large doorway. He was very tall, and Jason suspected that he was less human than people hoped.
"Vile little rats," Diana muttered from behind Jason. She hated Whitnie with most of her being (what was left hated Whitney); their families had been feuding longer than anybody dared count. The Witneys and the Moones were both pure wizarding families, though the Moones decided to take the high road and not make it a point of interest. Witneys, on the other hand, would never be seen amongst the likes of Muggles or half-bloods. Dirty by association seemed to be the family motto.
"Ignore them," Jason said, "You don't need anymore trouble with them." He turned and looked back toward Moxie. She was done Apparating students out and the last fireplace was being tucked away by Madam Louise, the Divination teacher. Jason tried his best not to talk to the woman; she was constantly asking Jason if he had had any Sights or Visions over the school year, to which he always denied. Divination was a silly subject, in his opinion, and Madam Louise was terrible, always predicting that Voldemort would rise again, and now that he had, that he would come after the Institute.
"Jason, Diana!" Moxie called, "Let's get a move on." They hurried toward her, now dressed in a simple dress rather than her billowing navy blue robes. She was not smiling and looked preoccupied. Her conversation with the President was obviously bothering her.
But she wasn't going to let Jason and Diana see her while she was down and she feigned happiness. She held out her arms, "We'll have to Apparate just outside the city. New Anti-Apperation fields being set up everywhere, I'll explain later. Louise?"
Madam Louise spun, her frilly white robes swishing up into the air around her. "Yes, Viv?" she said sweetly with a toothy grin. Only now did Jason realize that she was heavily made-up and her hair was bigger than usual.
Moxie's jaw clenched, "Close off these rings once we're gone. Make sure Sandy gets everything locked up. Thank you."
"Not a problem, Viv!" Madam Louise shouted merrily, "And do be careful; I foresaw some nasty things happening tonight!"
But the last half of Louise's warning was cut off, as Moxie couldn't stand listening to another word and Disapparated with a loud crack. When they landed on solid ground again, the scent of wet earth filled Jason's nose. "Moxie," Jason asked, "Where are we?"
The forest they were standing in had recently been burned and drenched in water. Moxie and Diana looked around, their mouthes open in shock. Moxie looked gravely at Jason, "This is--was Hawthorne Forest, the only purely magical forest in the States." She gave the burned trees another concerned look. "We shouldn't stay long," Moxie muttered, pulling her wand out, "Herbivicous!"
A vibrant green ring began to pulse from the tip of her wand, wrapping around any trees that got in the way. "It will take some time," Moxie said contently as the trees began to lose their blackened crusts.
"Anyway," Diana said with forced cheerfullness, "We should get Jason into the city. I don't think he's visited before."
She was right; Jason wasn't even exactly sure where they were now. The sun appeared to be in the same place it had been when they left the Institute, so they must not have traveled far. Moxie tucked her wand back into her purse, "We'd better be off then, might not get a cab if we're late."
So they marched through the burnt forest and nearly ten minutes later found themselves staring down on the bustling city of New York. Moxie had drawn her wand and pointed it into the air, "To call a wizarding taxi. Canarius!"
A jet of yellow light soared into the air, chirping loudly. Jason almost thought Moxie had tried to summon a swarm of birds, the sound was so deafening. When the sound finally died away, what replaced it was the coughing and choking of the junkiest yellow taxi Jason had ever seen.
Diana audibly gagged upon seeing it and Moxie's lips were pursed tightly, "Always the one that tries to be inconspicuous." The car stopped and the back door popped open, the sound of metal on metal made Jason flinch. Diana and Jason got in first, and the inside of the car was surprisingly clean. Jason figured there must have been an Undetectable Extension Charm inside the cab, as it felt like the three of them were sitting in the back of a stretch limousine.
Sitting in the divers seat was a very large man with short, curly brown hair. "Where to?" the driver grunted in a surprisingly girlish voice.
"The City Within," Moxie said, snapping the door shut behind her, "And make it fast."
"My pleasure," the man grunted again, pulling a lever and slamming his foot on the gas. Jason's body slammed into the rubbery seat and he could not, despite his best efforts, turn his head. Diana and Moxie sat with their legs crossed, both trying their best not to laugh.
When the car came to an abrupt halt, Jason was ejected from his seat and rolled on the floor of the car, "What the heck was that?"
"Vehicular Apparation," Diana laughed, offering her hand to Jason. He pulled himself up and looked out the window; they were now in the middle of very cramped traffic. "I think a wand helps stabalize things, and since you don't have one..."
"Right here will be good, driver," Moxie interjected, pulling open the car door. She stepped out and was followed by her pupils. When Jason looked back, the junky old cab had disappeared and a Muggle taxi pulled into the open space.
"Loons! Get out of the road!" the driver shouted from inside his car. Moxie gave him a sour look and pointed her wand at one of his back tires. Jason heard the sound of ice and saw that a layer of frost had formed on the rubber, and Moxie was smiling viciously.
She led them to the even more crowded sidewalk and stopped in front of a bare brick wall. "My, it does look like it could rain today," she said loudly, to no one in particular. The commuters continued on their walks as if Moxie, Diana and Jason were not there.
Jason looked blankly at the wall and scanned the crowd to his left and right, "What's supposed to--"
Before Jason could finish, a trickle of water began to run down the brick wall. What was a trickle quickly became a steady stream, and within a minute the wall was completely soaked, any longer and it would crumble away. Instantly, the water stopped flowing and the wall began to dry--Jason swore he could hear the sound of electric fans. There was a doorway shaped blot of water on the wall, and Moxie walked straight through it.
Diana followed suit and disappeared when her face met the brick. This was just like the Hogwarts Express Platform, Jason figured, and he walked confidently through the wall. Where Jason was expecting a street much like Diagon Alley, he found what appeared to be a mirror image of the street they had just left.
Except for the witches and wizards flying around on brooms and taxi cabs Apparating in the middle of the the once full-of-cars street and the numerous dazzling explosions of light all over. This side of the wall seemed to be under some sort of darkness spell, as the sky was deep blue and filled with stars.
"Welcome to the city within the city," Moxie smiled, noting Jason's awed expression.
The streets were lined with hundreds of shops with different purposes. The left side of the street was filled with the funnier and happier looking shops and near the end Jason could see an Animated Broadway sign which sang bits of songs from shows playing that night.
The right side of the street seemed to have a more serious tone, ending in what Jason guessed was the Wizarding equivalent of the Stock Market--goblins were getting out of Apparating taxis and walking straight toward the building.
The most interesting object on the entire street, however, stood where the streets met. A huge bronze apple revolved slowly, messages and news headlines spun around it in the opposite direction. Jason's attention, however, was focused solely on the metal dragon that occasionally popped out of the hole near the top of the metallic fruit.
"That's the coolest part," Diana said excitedly, looking at her watch, "It'll shoot fireworks off every hour to help keep time."
"Which reminds me," Moxie interrupted, "Don't get separated. Time is weird in the Underground; I knew a witch that got lost and stumbled into a side street, when she finally found her way back out she was 300 years in the past."
Jason could have stood there and watched the foot traffic forever, and judging by how Diana held his arm, she would have too. But Jason looked to the shop to his immediate left; the sign read "New World Wands" and had two silver wands that shot jets of light into the sky. "There's the wand shop," Jason said, clearing his throat; he sounded just a little too awed for his liking.
Moxie put her small round glasses on and nodded, "Yes, but I'm sure you've run low on...funds while you were at school. We had better stop at the bank first." This immediately caused Jason to wonder where they could fit a bank here. Moxie took off down the right side of the street, Diana dragging Jason behind her.
They passed many people who said their hellos to Moxie, and several teenagers waved fervently at Diana. Moxie had nearly reached the huge bronze apple when she turned on her heels and stopped at a wooden archway. There were beavers carved into the wood and a huge bronze beaver head was fixed in the center of it all. "Identification?" it said in a bored tone.
"Vivian Moxie, withdrawing money on the behalf of Jason Crowe," she said, holding her wand up to the beaver's shining nose.
It took a big sniff and gave a content sigh, "Aah, pinewood. They don't make those very often anymore! Very well, how much?"
"Come to think of it, I have no idea how much a wand costs now-a-days," Moxie muttered, "Mind running the numbers for me?" The beaver head nodded and began to mumble to itself. Numbers and words ran across its black marble eyes, when they stopped, it nodded curtly and opened it's jaw. A slab of wood was ejected into Moxie's waiting hand.
"The Beaver's Lodge thanks you for your business," it gave the motion of a bowing head and went inanimate a minute later. Moxie handed the slab of wood to Jason, "We'd better get going. I think she's been closing up shop early, lately."
And she marched off back toward the wand shop, Diana and Jason trying to keep on her heels. "What exaclty am I supposed to do with this?" Jason asked, shoving the wood into his sweater pocket.
"There's a spell," Diana said breathlessly, spinning around a man that was juggling starfish, "That turns it into the amount you withdraw. The goblins that run the Lodge are... different. Depending on who's withdrawing, they might give you the wood token or the beaver might actually give you coinage. Dad was expecting to get a wood slab and it ended up spitting out Galleons for ten minutes."
Diana and Jason stopped behind Moxie, who was staring up at the wand shop's sign. Jason thought the shop looked a lot simpler compared to the others on this side of the street; in fact it looked like Ollivander's shop back on Diagon Alley. "This woman, is she related to Ollivander?"
At that second the door was slammed open and a crooked old woman stood silhouetted against the lights inside the shop, "Did somebody say Ollivander?" Her eyes looked wild and Jason thought he had insulted the woman, and just as he was about to apologize she burst into tears.
"Oh, I'm so sorry ma'am!" Jason pleaded and attempted to rush up to her, but Moxie blocked him with her arm and shook her head curtly. The woman gave an unbecoming snort and looked up at the trio.
"Did you know him?" she asked quietly. Jason shook his head; he had not ever gotten his own wand. The woman hobbled forward and got uncomfortably close to Jason's face, "Are you a Crowe, by any chance?"
She rushed back into the shop before Jason could answer, but Moxie pushed him in after her, "Just go. We'll be waiting out here when you're done." Diana and Moxie took seats just inside the door and Jason headed after the woman toward the back of the shop.
"My name is Jessica Wald," the woman said to Jason as he approached her. She was searching a huge, yellowing book, "Amelia Delair, 12 and a half inches, yew with a melted gold core. Didn't know I used metals in my wands? Did you? Nooo, Ollivander's not the only one with tricks, you know."
"But Miss Wald, my mother's wand was almond--"
"Egan Crowe! Almond wood with a Unicorn hair core, ten inches on the nose. Terribly feeble wand, I didn't want to sell it but it fit him like a glove and you can't deny children that looked like him!" Jessica wove her hand in the air dismissively. Jason had been using his father's wand all those years?
Jason wasn't fond of the story of his father. He ran away when his wife and daughter were being attacked. He came back and took what he could and abandoned Jason. If Moxie hadn't told Jason that Egan had been driven mad by his guilt, he definitely would have hated his guts.
"I even tried to get little Alexandria a wand," Jessica smiled sweetly, pointing at the name in her record book, "Child couldn't make a spark, but I gave her one anyway. An experimental wand, elm wood and a strand of silver. A wonderful wand for Divination studies..
"But you," she looked at Jason. Her eyes were grey around the pupil and seemed to light themselves; Jason had the oddest feeling that she was reading into his soul. "I've never placed a wand in your hands, have I? No, but by the looks of how you hold your hand, you've been using your father's wand.. Terribly dangerous you know?" Jessica clasped her hands behind her back and continued to examine Jason.
"Come with me," she beckoned, hobbling deeper into the shop. It was cold and dark, the light coming down from the ceiling was cast from broken wands, which Jason could only assume wasn't safe. "Here we are," Jessica called from a few yards ahead.
She was standing in front of a huge shelf; a sign pinned to the side of it read 11+ inches. "You're so tall, you'll need a longer wand, like your mother," she grabbed a box at random and pulled the wand out, "Oak and gryphon tail feather. Extremely rigid. Give it a good wave, I think it'll be stubborn.."
Jason gave the wand a shake, causing some sparks to fly from the tip, "Uhm.. Duro!" Jason pointed the wand at a potted flower; it turned to stone quickly and Jason smiled. However, the spell had been too strong and made the rock extremely dense, crushing the podium it was sitting on and falling straight through the floor.
"I'll fix it later," Jessica said reassuringly, tucking the wand back into its box and placing it back onto the shelf. She grabbed another box at random and pulled the wand out; it was a light wood with a streak of metallic color winding its way up the shaft, "Apple wood and wendigo vein. The last one was too flowing, perhaps this will work."
Jason took the wand and like the last it sparked a couple of times. "Flipendo!" Jason said, pointing at a chair that wasn't tucked under a table. The chair leaned forward and immediately toppled back into its original position.
"Ah, perhaps not the best. Apple's not exactly known for being an assertive wood," Jessica muttered, tucking the wand away again. Again she reached randomly into the shelf and pulled out another wand box. Upon opening it, she realized it was empty. "Well, that's not good. Accio wand (she looked at the box number) 875,439!" she said clearly, her own wand spouting a blue light in her belt.
"While we wait for that one to show up, let's try," and for the first time Jessica considered which wand she would pick out, "Let's try this one."
She pulled out a rather long box and gingerly opened it. There was a black silk cloth wrapped around the dark wood wand, and Jessica handled it with the utmost care. "This is one of my more recent works. Very experimental, but I know a few Mending Charms and Viv's out front if anything goes wrong," she smiled slightly and offered the wand to Jason, "Hazel wood and an onyx and silver thread core. Perfectly balanced, it's a logical wand--doesn't over think it's orders, just acts; give it a try."
Jason wrapped his hand around the wand tenderly. This wand did not emit sparks. Instead, it spit out a single, glowing, black feather. Jason pointed it into the air above him, "Avifors!" A jet of dark light shot from the wand, and a flock of birds quickly materialized and flew around the high ceilings. Jason was grinning widely and gave the wand another twitch; the birds dove back into the tip of this hazel wood with an onyx and silver thread core wand.
Jason looked at the wand in his hand and gasped; there were several small silver birds on the wand now, and silver had filled some of the wider cracks in the handle. "Looks like it likes you," Jessica said happily, tucking the box under her arm and leading Jason back to the large book filled with names. She quickly jotted down Jason's name and details.
"Miss Wald," Jason pushed, "If you don't mind my asking, why did you start crying when I mentioned Mr. Ollivander earlier?"
Jessica stopped writing and looked up at Jason, "Garrick is my older brother. We had tried to run Ollivander's together when I lived in Britain, and then I met my husband. Jeff was a fool to drive a wedge between my brother and I, but I was the bigger fool for letting him. With my wand making experience and his ability to gather raw materials we thought we'd be the next big thing in the wand making industry. My brother's wands, as you know, are far more famous, however."
"And your husband? I haven't seen him at all since we've been here," Jason pondered.
"Attacked by a Wendigo when he tried to gather some of its hair," she scowled, "A fool, like I said. He's at Saint Hudson's up in Canada; Wendigoes are terrible creatures, I'd even say they rival Dementors. Oh, but how can I explain this... Where Dementors drain your happiness, Wedigoes will drain any ounce of sanity you might have, and their bite is infectious. Jeffery was halfway through transformation before he finally found his wits and Apparated to the hospital."
Jason winced at the thought of going mad, and again at the thought of being bit by something. He nodded grimly as Jessica closed the book and started for the front of the shop. Moxie stood when she saw Jessica through the shadows, "Well that was hardly no time at all compared to how long it took me!"
Jessica scoffed, "Viv, that was our first day of business and your father had decided to drag you in the minute before we closed."
"We still went through three different sizes before we found the right shelf," Moxie grinned.
"I'll give you that. It's easier to match size when they're older," she was now fumbling with an ancient looking cash register. "Now, about the cost.."
This caused Jason to jump. He had almost fogotten about the wooden slab, and quickly pulled it out of his pocket, "Er, here." He laid it on the counter and stared at it awkwardly. Jessica stared at Jason expectantly. "I, uh, don't know the spell," Jason finally admitted.
"Oh!" Moxie laughed, "I nearly forgot. Thought I sent an owl to Filius about it years ago. It's Aurum Mutare; only the person for whom the gold is intended can use it on the wood."
"Otherwise the spell just rebounds and makes things gold colored," Diana chimed in, "Dad left one on the table once, when I was younger. Took a month to brush the gold off my teeth.."
Jason nodded and pointed his new wand at the slab of wood. Before he could even say the spell, his wand had emitted a golden hue and the composed slab of wood Transfigured into thirteen shining galleons. "Did a right good job with that one," Jessica smiled at Moxie, and Jason wasn't quite sure if she had meant herself with the wand, or Moxie with himself.
"Indeed," Moxie smiled warmly, thinking the same as Jason.