Title: Visiting Horror
Claim: Alastor Moody
Prompt: Places: Azkaban
Summary: Visiting Azkaban makes Moody question his own convictions.
Author's notes: Kind of follows on from Constant Vigilance
There is a part of the Auror training that all dread. The very thought of it strikes fear in the hearts of all those who signed up for the rigourous three years. It is deemed necessary by the Ministry: a test of the mettle, perhaps. Or maybe it is a way to get these youngsters to question whether what they are doing is essentially right.
Alastor Moody was only twenty when he visited Azkaban. It was two years in to his training, and he thought that he could handle anything that was thrown his way. Already, he thought he had seen so much: he had seen the range of innovative tortures a Dark Wizard could devise. He had even cradled the woman he loved as she lay dying in his arms. He did not think that visiting the prison could disturb him in the slightest: after all, no matter how vile it was, its inhabitants deserved everything they got.
Azkaban is situated on an island far out in the North Sea, and Moody the three other young trainee Aurors in his group were taken most of the way by boat: it has to be this way due to the number of restrictions on Apparition and other ways that prisoners may try to escape. Perched high upon a rock, it is a malevolent presence, though Moody was struck by the lack of walls. The prison was surrounded simply by a low wall that may be found in the suburban garden, easily clambered over by anyone with inclination. Of course, if one did, one would plummet to certain death down the sheer cliff into the jaggedly rocky sea, but the sight was still strange.
The air was sharply cold and misty, even though it was the middle of July. One of Moody's colleagues began to shiver and mutter to himself, and was handed a bar of chocolate. Moody began to feel a little depressed, and dwelt upon the death of Macaria. She would have hated a place like this.
The group was ushered up steep steps hacked into the rock, to a gate, completely unguarded. Now Moody viewed the front of the prison in all its glory: smooth black stone with great wooden doors. A simple enough structure, yet it gave off an air of menace. One of the girls began to cry, though the sobs were lost in the howling wind. The gates opened, and Moody felt his heart sink. He did not want to step through those doors, and felt as though he may never return to the real world. He admonished himself for these misgivings; it was only a building after all, and one filled with people who deserved to be there. Including Macaria's murderers.
The Dementors were nowhere to be seen. They were uncloaked, invisible to the eye, but felt chilling through to the soul. Moody was surprised by how much he was shaking, and once again believed that he might never leave this place.
The prisoners were heard before they were seen, wailing and screaming against the mental torments they must endure for their sentences. The group were shown a few, choice specimens. Driven mad, shaggy, sobbing messes. Any one of them could have killed Macaria, and Moody had no idea which. They were all shells of humans, existing only to tear themselves in self-loathing. At any other time, Moody would have thought, good. But there was something about this atmosphere, the horrors within, that made him pity the creatures. Could anyone truly deserve to suffer like this?
The boat ride home was a silent trip. Four pale, shaking trainee Aurors nibbled at chocolate. Moody questioned once again whether it was right to torment people with the horrors of their own mind. It was a question that he never truly managed to answer: even today he hates the Dementors almost as much as the Dark Wizards he fights. Yet he gains comfort from knowing that the Dark Wizards cannot perpetrate their own vile torments. It is perhaps the only thing that Moody has no opinion on.