(1939-12-22) Machu Picchu
Details for Machu Picchu
Summary: Abraxas, Beryl, Hattie, and Lucretia journey to the "lost" Inca city of Machu Picchu to begin their South American journey.
Date: 22 December 1939
Location: Machu Picchu, Peru
Plot: Raiders of the Lost Serpent
Related: A Very Malfoy Christmas

On the morning after the Malfoy Christmas Party, England is chilly as the group of Abraxas, Lucretia, Hattie, and Beryl, along with their assorted wizarding baggage, lightened and put in knapsacks that are bigger on the inside, wait in the foyer of Malfoy Manor. Despite the weather, when the come downstairs, Abraxas is attired for the jungle, in a long-sleeved khaki jacket, breeches, and boots, with a pith helmet under his arm. The portkey, designed to look like a tribal totem of some kind, sits on a small round table. A representative of the tour company is also there, and explains, in clipped tones, "The portkey will transport you to Machu Picchu. You will tour there - beware, there are muggles about - and then will slip into the jungle for broom travel south out of the mountains."

Similarly attired in Jungle Garb of a tailored field blouse and smartly cut trousers tucked into sensible boots, Lucretia Black lounges atop a chaise in the hallway, idly inspecting the long plait of her hair. Her pith helmet rests beside her. There is a brief flicker of annoyance behind her eyes when the word "Muggle' is mentioned, but she does little more than sigh resignedly. "An unavoidable inconvenience, I'm sure," she drawls at the tour representative.

Hattie does the best she can with the attire she has, in no way as glamorous as the Malfoys or Blacks, but enjoying a cuppa as she toys with the strap ends of her dun-colored satchel. "Less so than the elevation, I am assured… Its 2,430 meters above sea level… Like breathing from a wet paper sack, if you haven't a breathing charm." She smiles, though.

Abraxas does a bit of a double-take as Hattie recalls that little bit of information, "Sometimes, I forget that you're a Ravenclaw, and then I'm reminded again." He quirks his lip just a hint, and then picks up his knapsack and throws it over his shoulders, tightening the straps. "I suppose we should get on our way, then! Adventure awaits and all that." He sticks the pith helmet on his head, adjusing his Bombay bowler to the proper angle.

Lucretia's eyes twinkle faintly at Hattie. "How droll," she murmurs, sounding as if she were teasing. "Remind me to pick your brain at some point. I have questions for you, and I'm beginning to wonder if you aren't just a little librarian in the making." She stands and plops her helmet on with a jaunty sort of determination. "Indeed we should. I intend to make the most of this expidition, but fret not. I shall make a solemn vow not to push one of you off a cliff so that I might practice saving you. Now -there's- a notion. If we use magic over there, are we still in trouble?"

Hattie primly wags a travel brochure from the satchel. Perhaps her recall is not THAT impressive afterall. "Don't worry, Black. I'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunities to legitimately save me, should you so desire. And I thought there was a wave on underage magic, providing it was EXCLUSIVELY in self-defense? But I'm not auror track… I'm foggy on how all that works." She polishes off the last vestiges of British Imperial culture, and pops to her feet. "Point me at a jungle!"

Everyone gathers around the little totem object, and there is a nod, "One… two… three." Hands go out, and WHOOSH! There is the sensation of being squeezed, and the world passes by very quickly in a tunnel of light and cloud. It's a long journey in the mundane world, but it takes only seconds magically, even if they are discombobulating seconds in which one later might swear they could see sound and smell light. But then they are descending towards the top of the mountain and the broad plateaued descent that surrounds it. "Let go!" they are instructed.

Abraxas releases the portkey and, mostly gracefully, thuds down to the ground, giving a bit of an "oomph!" and catching his pith helmet as it flies forward. "Wow!" he says, looking up at the ruined stone buildings around them. He tries to take a deep breath, which leads to a fit of wheezing that young lungs quickly adjust to.

Hattie is not so graceful. She has nerd all over her, and thus stumbles into a heap at the feet of Beryl, and has to climb back up in her indignity. "I wonder what happens if you hold on too long?" she asks no one in particular, and is almost immediately rummaging for her notebook and *fountain pen*. "Look, Malfoy! Those stones are fit so close together you can't pass a butter knife between. Isn't it clever?"

Malfoy offers Hattie a hand up, and then spins around. "Yes, it's amazing, isn't it?" Abraxas says, though he's taking in the whole vista, and not just the huge blocks near them. And then he looks up at one of the ruins, "The books I read said the muggles who lived here weren't the ones who practiced human sacrifice, though. Or at least it says that other muggles say that. But they would, wouldn't they?" He tilts his head for just a moment.

Lucretia lands with a grunt and promptly moves off to a place where she can catch her breath.

Hattie says, "These ruins aren't -that- old. This is only a little older than the War of the Roses— and it's the wrong people. You want the Mayans, in Mexico— who were doing most of that during the period the Druids were doing that, before the fall of Rome. Of course, we all know there really *is* power in blood, or use we wouldn't use it in class." Yep. The nerd is strong with this one, and she's largely oblivious to it. She smiles though and rushes off a few yards to shield her eyes. "It's beautiful. Its so green… And high!"

"Of course there's power in it. Though I don't know if I've heard of anything really powerful that requires it…. Blood, that is." Abraxas says, as he follows her, then, with all the care for historical places inherent in the 1930s, he climbs up one of the steps to get a better look at the temple ahead. "Think we should climb up it?" he asks, looking sideways at his companions, "Seems like a grand adventure, and I want to take a sketch from the top."

"Nothing does that's not really dark, I expect." Hattie clambers up the stone and turf behind him, already scribbling in her notebook. "Just don't make me run…" she says, admitting to the light-headedness that comes at 2,430 meters above sea-level. "Gosh…" she can't help but say.

"I'm puffing away like the Hogwarts Express myself." Abraxas says, as he continues to climb, shifting his pack a bit to a more comfortable position. It clanks momentarily. "This beats the hell out of hearing Professor Binns drone on about old places."

Hattie take a knee a meter or so back, and bends to examine the accumulation of moss and lichen on the riser on slab of stone, flaking just a little bit off with her fingernail (you see? you see how dirty nails happen?) to examine in her palm as they climb. "I wonder why we don't ever travel as a class. Do they not think they can keep us in line like they do at the castle?"

There is something almost annoying about Beryl Crabbe. Nothing ever seems to make her break a sweat - physically, mentally or emotionally. The kids may be huffing and puffing along, but the auburn lady brings up the rear behind them with the same calm, cool and collected attitude she always has. Admittedly, she isn't smoking (for once) but her breathing is gauged and carefully measured as she climbs. "Life experience is the best teacher. Really, they ought to do field trips for the students at Hogwarts. If they had any imagination, you'd think they would have created a program for it, by now." She says, agreeing wholeheartedly with Hattie's remark.

"I guess they're worried that something might happen. They took students to Durmstrang, and THAT didn't work out so well. They barely want to let us go to Hogsmeade. Though I suppose being cooped up in a draughty old castle with a bunch of people you barely know is supposed to build character or something." Abraxas gives a little shrug as he crosses a plateau diagonally before climbing up to the next one. "Surely there's a ramp or something…" he observes. One doesn't seem on offing, though, so he continues his laborious way. "Anything interesting in the moss, Hattie?" he asks, dispensing with the whole last-name thing while they're all on vacation together.

Hattie holds out her hand to show the brilliant purple color of the flakes, green and ruffly at the edges. "I don't know much about lichens… but it won't hurt to have a sample, I don't think." She says though in an awed tone, "Who could ever, having seen how much more there is, ever be satisfied with just the piece of sky they could make out from the castle windows. I suppose they want us to curb our wanderlust, a bit. But after this, how drab weekends in the village will be."

Beryl smirks in a knowing way. Taking the moment to cross her arms and lean back against a bare piece of rock, she sighs and looks up at the vast expanse of open sky. Indeed… who could ever be satisfied with just a little patch of what you can see from the castle window? She certainly never was.

"You sound a lot like me when I was your age." She remarks quietly. However, pushing the brim of her hat back slightly, she chuckles and adds: "Well, except for the fact that I was a bit of an ass - which you aren't. And… I don't know a thing about plants. Herbology was never my subject. Still, you understand about all this." She finishes her thought, making a sweeping gesture with her hand at the world around them.

"I was content. I was pretty confident that England was all there was of the world, and the rest was rubbish. I wasn't even sure when Professor Lestrange told me otherwise. But… well, I'll withhold judgment until we get back, but this is a promising start." At least this high up, the air is cool, and he takes a few quick pants to ease burning lungs. "Yeah, she's cracking at Herbology. I couldn't possibly like it less. And I am an ass." He looks back at Beryl, "I wonder what that says about me?" He harrumphs and starts climbing again, getting nearer the top now, and turning back to give Hattie a hand up, even though she's no doubt perfectly capable on her own, "I'd like to think that the ones I'm most abrasive towards deserve it. But from the froth my father was worked into, the targets of my ire might not be around by the time we get back." A pause, and he adds, "A figurative froth. Father doesn't go for the literal kind."

Hattie says, perhaps a touch defensive for him, "Nothing, Malfoy. It says nothing at all, because it all depends on how you define being an ass, by what traits are most abhorrant to you. Ravenclaws excel as being asses through pedanticism, and Griffyndors through gloryseeking. Hufflepuffs make themselves martyrs, and Slytherins use exclusivity. So I'm positive you're usually no more of an ass than anyone else." To Beryl, she queries, "Gosh, you're fit, though! You must do this sort of thing all the time. It's not hot, but," she abandons the climb to sit on the turf heavily, "I'm already as wobbly as a lamb."

Beryl bursts out laughing as Hattie runs through the list of what makes the four different houses asses in their own unique way. It is not derisive laughter - but rather, light and silvery. "You couldn't be more right, and on all counts, too."

A glance toward Abraxas is followed by an arched eyebrow: "All I know about the Malfoys personally is… well, if you can't be in cahoots with them, stay out of their way. If the Eibons really crossed your father that much, they're in for a bit of a shock, I'm sure." Really, she does wonder what's going on back in Merry Old England right now.

To Hattie, the woman gives a faint smirk: "I'm not strong, but I have endurance. I worked hard at that throughout my childhood and…well, ever since. I was born too early, you see, and was always a weak, sickly child. I wasn't willing to let it hold me back though. The more you try to hold me back, the harder I fight against you. My mother jokes that I have the spirit of a dragon, even if I am not physically strong. A lot of how you handle things is in here." She says, tapping the side of her head.

Abraxas laughs, and plops down next to Hattie, pulling out his journal from a pocket of his coat, along with a pencil. He begins a quick sketch of the view of the City, along with a map of where they've been. It's a skill he has to practice, and getting around Hogwarts isn't exactly a challenge after five years - well, except for the parts people don't explore. As he moves his pencil, he glances between the two women - Lucretia still collecting herself a bit further down - and nods, "Oh, from what I heard, it's that bad, but the last thing I want to think about on this trip is the bloody Eibons and their thickheaded nonsense. Obviously apples don't fall far from trees." Which could just as easily be said of the Malfoys.

Hattie scrapes a tiny clump of moss and puts it into a phial from her bag she has made out of a section of soda fountain straw. Her brow draws down a little hearing about the situation, but more when she relizes she cannot simply magic the end. "Do you have a light? To melt the wax?" She taps the side of her noggin, and says, "Oh, no, wait… I have a…" Yes, by all that's magical, the girl brought a little magnifying loupe, which she proceeds to use to focus light to her purpose, and then pack all the pieces back into her satchel. It is frightfully mugglish. "I just… I don't know how much fight there is in me. Definitely not a dragonish amount."

"I always have a light," Beryl chuckles, reaching into her own satchel to produce an equally Mugglish lighter - an extremely fancy one at that. However, Hattie's got it covered, seemingly, and she slips the lighter back into the bag with a light shrug. "Everyone's got some fight in them. You might surprise yourself," she replies languidly. Pausing to brush some of her unruly curls back behind her ear, she shifts a little before continuing: "It's what keeps us alive. Most people just never find out how much fight they've got in them until they wind up in a tough spot."

Turning her face toward the young man as he sketches, Beryl nods: "Mister Malfoy there, he's got fight in him. Ambitious people always have a lot of it. Am I right, Mister Malfoy?"

"I…" Abraxas says, as he sketches, "Am a kitten, and harmless to all and sundry." He looks up and gives his most charming smile - which anyone who knows the Malfoys would suspect is the time they should start worrying. "I think, Hattie, you have more fight than you give yourself credit for, as Miss Crabbe already said." He finishes the quick sketch and shows it to Hattie and Beryl - a quite servicable map of the area and an elevation drawing of the "lost" city from their approach direction.

Hattie says of the lighter, "Oh, wonderful! Then I won't have to worry about the sun going down!" chirping as she comes to see the rendering. "I didn't have any idea you drew so well. Why aren't you in art club?" she questions. "So, we go this way… and take the brooms after the sun starts to go down off the mountain?" she asks them both, shyly. Or maybe warily, because there are muggle here, milling about in the excavations.

Again, Beryl laughs: "A kitten? That's the smile of the cat who ate the canary - not a kitten, my dear. Work on that." She says with a wink, pointing at Abraxas briefly. She's usually so close and guarded around people. Apparently, she doesn't mind the teenagers so much.

Directing her attention to Hattie, Beryl then glances up at the sun: "Good thing about our kind of travel in this part of the world is the lack of light. At night, you have fires, or else the stars and moon… and that's it. Not much choice or variety out here. That's what makes the jungle so deadly at night." And clearly, by the glint in her eyes, Beryl rather enjoys the fact that their surroundings have the potential of such danger.

Abraxas closes his journal up and tucks it back in his pocket, "I don't think I have the time or inclination for the art club, but I thought a bit of mapmaking and technical drawing might come in handy someday. You see, I'm a man of unexplored depths." He sighs and brushes his pants off, and then says, "Shall we keep going. According to the books, this building right up there should be the Temple of the Sun. Well, building, ruin, whatever. And there's some sort of astronomy stone near it."

"Oh, yes. Climbing. Again. Right. Lots to see! — What *will* we see out there, Miss Crabbe? I assume there's worse than giant pitcher plants and jaguars… There are jaguars in the jungle, aren't there?" Hattie asks as she prepares to make another push toward the structure Abraxas indicates.

"Onwards and upwards, as they say," Beryl agrees, pushing away from her perch on the rock. "The temple, such as it is, is a sight to behold. I'm sure you'll find more inspiration to draw from, Mister Malfoy." As the boy will undoubtedly offer a hand to Hattie, she does not interfere with the kids as they begin their climb. Lucretia has surely caught up to them by now, allowing her the chance to take up the rear, once more.

"The jungle has the most dangerous of all monsters hidden in its depths, my dear," she remarks calmly in answer to Hattie's question. "Mankind." Meaning, of course, the potential of tribes that may yet be "undiscovered" by outsiders.

"Ah, yes, Professor Lestrange mentioned that. Strange pure-blood wizarding tribes in the Amazon. I think we're supposed to go looking for them." Abraxas grins as he works his way up the last few plateaus to the ruin of the Temple of the Sun - not all that large, but the view from up here is stunning. He turns around again, "Inspirational, indeed." A deep breath - which is more of a necessity than a luxury given the thin air and his shallow breathing.

The sharp-eyed might notice, however, that at the very base of one of the stone walls is a small inscription of three wizarding runes in an area scraped free of lichen and plant growth.

Hattie does not seem well-encouraged by the idea, even though it is part of the greater expedition. To Hattie's mind, people hide out in the jungle because they rather don't want to be found, and are like to do terrible things to them as come looking. She's just here for the plants… and possibly a little potioneering. And maybe, some? "What are those?"

And Hattie's thoughts on the subject of the possibly undiscovered natives are dead right. They don't want to be found, more than likely. And they will treat unwelcome, uninvited guests accordingly - if they happen to drop in.

Without even skipping a beat, Beryl's cool green eyes rest on the runes and she steps closer: "Touch wand here." Couldn't be more concise if I asked." She remarks with a chuckle. "At least they were forthcoming - whomever they might be." And with that said, the auburn witch glances over their surroundings to take stock of just how alone they might be. She won't draw her wand unless they are truly isolated. Merlin only knows what might happen as a result of touching the wand there, anyway.

As evening is starting to close in, there are no muggles about. Not that there's much tourism in this era anyway. Their arrival put them on the far side of the place from the road, and a distance away where they wouldn't be seen, so they haven't passed another soul the whole time they've been climbing up here.

Abraxas looks down at what Hattie and Beryl have noticed. He observes, "If something is labeled 'don't touch', you will automatically touch it. What if it /tells/ you to touch it? Go along, or be contrarian? I say we see what it is."

Hattie is gripping at the shaft of her wand, as though in preparation for BREAKING THE LAW. Or bending it. Just in case. She has a little moral flexibility where not dying is concerned. Hattie, a timid girl, has a bad feeling about this. "Go on, then… maybe there's a charmed space, for wizarding travelers?" Hope springs eternal.

Beryl did not become a Cursebreaker by being careful. How many professional careers even have the word "Break" involved in the title? "Stand aside, then. It's my job as I do happen to be responsible for you all." She says calmly, stepping between the teenagers and the rock in question. Her senses are up, and her mind is sharply focused on putting up a good defense if necessary.

Then, she withdraws a glossy, dark wand from within her jacket and holds it out before her with all due caution. The slender stick is touched to the stone…

No darts fire, no stone head breathes flame, no choirs of angels sing from on high. But the runes seem to become sinuous and then flame writing appears above them, against the stone of the wall. The message, like the instruction, is simple, if more cryptic. "Help. Piripkura. Map." is all it says. Whoever left this behind was either taciturn in the extreme, or had little time.

Abraxas whistles quietly. "That's opaque. I didn't know Professor Mopsus traveled so widely. Though I suppose it's at least not in the form of a riddle."

Hattie sticks her tongue out mildly at Abraxas— being Ravenclaw, one has to keep up appearances. There isn't much force before it, anyway. She taps the space below the center word, the one that she doesn't know. "Piripkura…" she reads. "Is it a place? A person? It doesn't sound Spanish, or even Portuguese. Do you know it, Miss Crabbe?" A word for each of them; Abraxas and his cartography, Beryl and her knowledge of the lay of the land… but its the first word calling out to Hattie. Concern has furrowed her brow, big brown eyes soft.

"Whomever left these, I take my hat off to them," Beryl remarks, half-jokingly. She even goes so far as to lift her hat from her heat briefly in a gesture of goodwill to the memory of the person (or persons) who did this rune work. "They didn't waste breath on riddles - which are always such a bore. Of course, it could mean they were on the run and died soon thereafter, but…"

Drawing breath, again, Beryl brushes unruly curls back from her face: "Piripkura are a tribe - or so I heard tell a long time ago. Sort of a bogie-man in the forest. More myth than reality. At least… it seemed that way until now. There's no logical reason for someone to say Help. Piripkura. Map. if they don't exist. This isn't the place for making jokes. No one does anything lightly out here."

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