Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Andrea Moran and the Intricacies of Bestial Politics

An Tóchar Cathbad

by UnpredictableWitch 0 reviews

Andrea's father takes her to Dublin to get all of her school things, but their day in the city takes a rather unexpected turn.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Humor - Published: 2017-02-23 - 3013 words

Andrea had been to Dublin only once before, with her Uncle Ryan. That day, though, they had remained largely within the muggle areas of the city. It had been fun, taking the tour busses around, seeing all the sights. All while her uncle told her about the magical history behind all of them, on top of the muggle's versions of events.

Ryan Moran was an expert on magical and muggle history alike. He was a wealth of information. And he had a particular knack for storytelling, so Andrea was always happy to listen to him.

This trip was, Andrea knew, going to be very different. She didn't need to look to the future to know that. Because Andrea knew her father. He would never let her run as rampant as her Uncle Ryan did. Frankly, no remotely sensible adult would let her get away with even half so much as Uncle Ryan did. Andrea didn't know why her father let her spend so much time alone with him. But she wasn't about to start questioning it.

You know what they say about gift horses, after all.

Andrea knew better than to make her father rethink his decisions when she had a good thing going on. It was a sure fire way to end all fun for the foreseeable future. And she could foresee a hell a way into the future.

By the time they'd arrived on the mainland Andrea's instincts had proven correct. Her father was incredibly antsy. Humming along to the radio more loudly than usual. He kept taking his eyes off the road to shoot her weary glances. And tapping his fingers against the steering wheel of their ancient old Citroen van, with its weirdly discoloured silver paint. She didn't know what could have possibly happened to the thing. And to be perfectly honest, she didn't want to know.

But this was behaviour her father always exhibited whenever the prospect of bringing Andrea into public cropped up. Young though she was, Andrea was used to it.

Her Uncle Ryan and Aunt May like to say her father was neurotic. They weren't exactly wrong. But Andrea couldn't find it in her to be bothered by his occasional flights of lunacy. As his siblings liked to call his anxieties.

Andrea preferred to think of him as a kindred spirit to Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. What with her 'poor nerves' and all. She thought it was a hilarious likeness. Andrea's extended family agreed with her. They thought it was very clever. Her father, on the other hand, was a lot less amused by the comparison.

She knew the world could be a dangerous place. She saw terrible things every day. More often than not, there was nothing she could do about any of it. That created a sense of existential dread that rarely left her be. Her father's actions, worrying about her, keeping an eye on her, his attempts to keep her from harm's way, all of it made her feel safe. Secure. Which was something very few people or things could come close to achieving.

So, Andrea didn't complain about his ever-vigilant eye being constantly aimed in her direction.

Unlike most of their outings, Adrien had relaxed quite a lot by the time they reached county Dublin. It was a pleasant surprise. But it only lasted until they reached the shambles of construction work and maze of half-finished roads that was the M-50. Then it all went completely tits up.

Trying to navigate that shit show turned both of them into howling neurotic versions of themselves. It was an experience Andrea never wanted to repeat.

Honestly, it was the absolute worst of all possible nightmares.

But, in the end, it was worth it.

Because Andrea loved the bustle of the city. Even if it was horrendous to try and drive around. And had no signposts. Making it nearly impossible to navigate.

She loved that one minute you could be in the most cosmopolitan of places, overflowing with wealth, culture, and history. Then almost as if within the next breath, you could be standing in what almost looked like a village, or a small town. Equally as interesting, but polar opposites at first glance.

The destination of Andrea and her father could be found in a place much like the latter. It looked like a quite little place. With modest, but pretty, housing estates. A park. A post office. Along with a few grocers and boutiques. With a few pubs thrown in for good measure. A lovely place. But one of little to no consequence to those who didn't live there. There was only one thing about the area that wasn't perfectly ordinary.

This one abnormal thing came in the form of an ancient landmark. An old building that had once been a bank. By the nineties, however, it had been converted into a museum. To most, that's all it was. An old building filled with even older things.

To wizard kind, however, the area and the museum were far more significant.

Andrea and her father travelled up the steps, and through the grand door with the small crowd of tourists milling about. But they parted ways with them as they passed through a side door labelled as 'Employees Only'.

Through that door was an empty cupboard. Large enough to fit five people, at the very most. But Andrea and her father were able to fit quite comfortably.

Adrien faced the back wall of the cupboard and raised a fist. Then he knocked on the stone in the exact centre of the wall. In the rhythm of the first line of the Irish Rover. Once he was finished a new door appeared. Far more ornate than the one which led to the cupboard. It took up most of the wall. And it looked like something that belonged in a castle, rather than in a museum, not to mind in a cupboard.

The sight of it was a surprise to Andrea, who had never seen it before. To Adrien, though, it was completely expected.

He reached out and pulled the gargantuan door toward them to reveal an extraordinary sight. Through the doorway was an entire street. Just as busy and bustling as the city outside. But the people who crowded the street before Andrea's eyes were far more unusual than those striding along the muggle streets beyond the museum.

They were all clad in robes and pointed hats and all kinds of strange assortments of attire that went hand in hand with wizards trying to pass as muggles. One particularly notable example was an old man striding around in a nightdress and a biker jacket.

Instead of record stores and shoe shops, the buildings were occupied by apothecaries and broom shops.

Through the door was a place known as an Tóchar Cathbad. A village that had been absorbed into the metropolis of the capital a long time ago. Despite this, it remained a hub of magical activity. It was the best place on the island of Ireland to buy supplies necessary for magic and the life of a a witch or wizard. Whatever you wanted, from beetles' eyes and cauldrons to trained post owls, to magic wands. All kinds of strange and obscure magical odds and ends. Anything needed by a witch or wizard of any proclivity could be bought in Tóchar Cathbad.

It was too much for Andrea to take in. Though she damn well tried.

The Morans didn't dawdle. They stepped over the threshold and Adrien quickly hauled the door shut after them. Then he bustled Andrea off down the street. She followed, despite how much she wanted to hang around and stare about at all the strange and wonderful sights surrounding her.

Before they could get her school things Adrien had business to take care of. Supplies to buy. People to haggle with. Sales to arrange. Boring adult stuff. Though all of it was almost incorrigibly dull, Andrea bore with it, because she knew it would be worth the wait.

Even if she was left to wait with a half deaf old friend of her father's, who he called 'Tick Tock' for some reason, while Adrien made a trip back to the muggle street where their van was parked. He had to drop off the mountain of of supplies he'd come to Dublin for. It was a better option than carting the lot of it around for the rest of the day, Andrea knew. But it was hard to remind herself of that when she was faced with the sheer weirdness that was Christie Tick Tock.

If she'd thought Dumbledore was weird. Well. He had nothing on old Christie.

He was probably a good fifty years younger than old Tick Tock, too, if Andrea had to guess. How someone could live to be that old, Andrea couldn't even fathom. And he owned what was possibly the strangest shop in Tóchar Cathbad. Full of things Andrea couldn't put a name to no matter how much she stared at them.

He wasn't a bad guy, though, Andrea discovered quickly.

In fact, Christie was incredibly interesting. Even if he believed the Deathly Hallows were real when everyone else knew they were just part of an old children's story. Still, the stories of he told her about the Peverell brothers, who he told her were the real owners of the Hallows, were brilliant.

He even wore an amulet around his neck. A triangle with a circle in the middle and a line through it. He said all believers in the Hallows wore them.

Triangle for the Cloak of Invisibility.

Circle for the Resurrection Stone.

Line for the Elder Wand.

There were several others just like it on display in various places around the shop. Some with stones. Some plain metal. They were officially the one and only thing in the building Andrea could identify. He took a break in his story of the history of the Elder Wand - brutal and bloody and positively enrapturing - to peruse them. After a moment, he plucked one of them up and examined it more closely.

"Hmm... yes, perfect," he muttered to himself, then he turned back to her and held it out with a crooked smile that showed off three gold teeth he possessed, "A gift, little one. I only ask that you not show it to your father."

Andrea took the offered gift with an answering smile. A jolt of excitement ran through her at the idea of doing something, even something so small as accepting a gift, so slyly.

That taken care of, Christie continued on, exactly where he left off. Andrea continued to listen, just as captivated with his tales of extraordinarily powerful weapons and brutal murders to take possession of it. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon. Andrea found herself wishing that her father had left her in the shop of oddities run by an even odder oddity earlier, and take care of his business alone.

She liked Christie Tick Tock. So much so that she was a little disappointed when her father returned to collect her.

"Bye Mr. Christie," she bade him goodbye morosely, and gave him a little wave as her father laid a hand on her shoulder to guide her through the maze of curiosities that made up Christie's shop.

"I'll see you, little dove," he replied kindly, "Anytime you need me, Adrien,"

"Thanks Tick Tock," Adrien called over his shoulder as they left, "Don't worry, I'll keep what you said in mind."

Once they left Tick Tock's shop they headed to the bookstore. Read a Damned Book was a terrible name for a shop, but it had been around for seven centuries, so changing the name wasn't an option. Name aside, it was a wonderful place. A massive Victorian building, with high ceilings and a fresco behind the counter.

Every other inch of wall space, floor to ceiling, was taken over by shelves. Those shelves were overflowing with books of all shapes and sizes. The floor space was similarly overtaken by floor to ceiling shelves. They created a spectacular labyrinth where one was completely submerged in an incalculable number of books. A mix of new, second hand, and rare, much older volumes. Organised without any rhyme or reason that Andrea could discern.

Getting lost in there would be the most pleasant of misadventures, Andrea was certain.

But she wasn't allowed to do so that afternoon. Her father knew her too well to attempt to wander off. Additionally, he had been in the shop many times before, and knew the most efficient way to the counter. So Andrea wasn't afforded the time to get distracted.

"How's it goin'?" her father greeted the young witch behind the high counter as they arrived in the clearing around the cash desk.

She looked up from the small orange book she was reading and gave them the forced smile of anyone working in sales.

"How can I help?" she asked in return as she marked her place and set the book down.

"My wee on's off to Hogwarts this year," he said, turned to Andrea, beaming with pride, "Could you help us find what she needs?"

"Sure thing," she said, a hint of relief in her voice, though Andrea couldn't say why. She leaned over the counter and smiled down at her, a much more genuine expression, "You got your list pet?"

Andrea nodded and fished her Hogwarts letter from her pocket. She handed it over and the young witch flipped through until she found the book list. She looked over it quickly and nodded to herself.

"I can get yous all this in a jiff," she told them, and waved them on to follow her, which they did, and the three of them set off into the labyrinth once again.

The young witch walked with purpose through the stacks. She didn't stop to check the titles. Which made it clear how confident she was that she knew exactly where everything was. Even though there were no signs anywhere to label the sections. There were no displays to give any hints either.

She abruptly stopped and plucked a heavy book bound in black leather, "A History of Magic, Bathilda Bagshot," she announced and held it out to Adrien, who took it with a quick thank you.

She then whirled around and hopped onto a ladder attached to the opposite shelves. She climbed up about half way and retrieved a much smaller, acid green tome. She descended quickly and easily to hand her father the second book, "Magical Theory, Albert Waffling."

The young woman was just as efficient in her search for 'The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1', Miranda Goshawk, 'A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration', Emeric Switch, 'One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi', Phylladia Spore, 'Magical Drafts and Potions', Arsenius Jigger, 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them', Newt Scamander, and 'The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection,' Quentin Trimble. When she was done, Andrea and her father were clutching a pile of books.

Adrien turned to head back to the counter, but Andrea was determined not to let him forget the promise he made to her almost a month ago.

"Dad, you said I could get something with my pocket money when we were here," she reminded him, just loudly enough that the witch helping them could overhear.

Adrien looked down at the pile of heavy books he was already carrying, then nodded.

"I did promise," he agreed, "What d'you want?"

Andrea beamed.

The witch let out a quiet chuckle from behind them.

Andrea left Read a Damned Book not only with her new school books, but five additional books the young witch, Maura, helped her pick out.

Practical Defensive Magic, Beginner's Guide to Alchemy, Important Advances in Alchemy, Pride and Prejudice, and Pollyanna. She was very pleased with herself. Her father, slightly less so. He levitated the books as they left the store rather than trying to fit them all into his arms.

A tactic which he continued to use as they visited Grafton's Apothecary, O'Carroll's Stationary and Quills, and Call us Cauldrons.

They didn't run into anything remotely interesting until they entered Connelly's (Makers of Fine Robes, est. 573 B.C.)

When they stepped through the door they saw the shop was packed to bursting with people. Harried seamstresses rushed from customer to customer. Some wearing finished garments, some in fabric pinned together with chalk lines all over it in patterns Andrea didn't really understand the significance of.

One of the customers being fitted made Andrea's father incredibly uncomfortable for some reason. He caught sight of the hulk of a man - seriously? Did he have giant's blood or something? Andrea wasn't easily intimidated, but that behemoth of a man was enough to do the trick - and almost immediately walked into a mannequin. It was an uncharacteristic bout of clumsiness. Adrien was almost always sure footed.

The man turned around at the sound of the commotion. As did everyone else in the store. While there was nothing but confusion on the faces of the customers and the seamstresses, the man who spooked her father wore a large grin. He stepped down from the pedestal he was perched on for his fitting, slipping through the grasp of a rather annoyed looking seamstress, and held his arms out wide as he approached Andrea's father with a spring in his step and laughter shining in his dark eyes.

"Adrien," he boomed in a warm, husky voice, and grabbed her father into a crushing hug, "How good to see you again! It's been far too long!"

Andrea sent her father a questioning look.

She didn't know the huge, jovial man. She knew all of her father's friends. Or, she thought she did. Because the strange man and her father definitely knew each other. They were obviously friendly, if the way the man embraced Adrien was anything to go by.

Who, by Merlin's saggy bingo wings, was he?
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