Author's Note: Welcome readers! An old version of this story was written a while ago. Recently, large parts of this have been rewritten and edited, with things being shuffled around and some changes to the progression of it. I think it is better this time around and I hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, unfortunately. The specifics of Lily & the Marauder's 6th year is largely mine, with things you recognize being JKR's creations.
They hardly dared to breathe. No one knew why they had been called to the Avery home, but nobody dared to ask. They knew that it would not be smart to question the Dark Lord's motives, particularly when he had been desperate enough to call them at eleven o'clock. For most of them, they had not had the honour of being in his presence more than a handful of times.
Even though the Dark Lord had not yet arrived, much less told them why they had been summoned, the group of Death Eaters knew that this would not be an ordinary assignment. Most of the men and women scattered around the room were young, new recruits. There only a few were out of their twenties, and even fewer had been granted the honour of having the Dark Mark tattooed into their skin. In fact, Cassius Avery and Cygnus Black were the only two present who had the Mark.
It was unusual for the Dark Lord to have called upon this group, most of whom were so new to his mission that they had not been able to go on any assignments yet. In fact, Cygnus's eldest daughter, the recently married Bellatrix Lestrange, was considered experienced despite the fact that she had recruited one new member to their cause and had only been in four skirmishes.
Of everybody present, the youngest was sixteen year old Julius Avery, the son of Cassius, who was going start his sixth year at Hogwarts in two days' time. He had never been allowed into the meetings that were held at his house before, but today the Dark Lord has made the request that he be present at the meeting. He was standing awkwardly beside his father, unsure of what he should expect.
The grandfather clock in the foyer began to chime as the door opened and the tall, pale figure of Lord Voldemort swiftly entered the room. The quiet conversations that had been occurring ceased as his presence became known. Many of the newest Death Eaters bowed their heads as he walked past them as a sign of respect, but he did not pay attention to them. He had a purpose here, and he intended to get to it as quickly as possible.
He stopped near the elaborate stone and marble fireplace in the corner of the room and turned to face his followers. He examined the faces of those who had shown up carefully, as though checking to see that everyone he had requested be present had arrived. Many of the young men and women did not hold his gaze for more than a moment or two, but they had all shown up like he had told them to. This was exceptionally important. He did not trust people; it went against his very nature, so the best he could hope for was that they were loyal and obedient. He would not deal with people who could not follow orders, but he despised killing witches and wizards who had such noble blood.
"I see you have all found your way here," he said. He did not speak loudly, but he didn't have to. Nobody dared speak when he did. "For many of you, this could be the opportunity you have been waiting for." He paused, letting this comment sink in, before adding, "The time has come that you will all be of use."
He walked towards Julius and Cassius Avery, placing his hand gingerly on the older man's shoulder while the younger one tensed up at his proximity to the Dark Lord. "Avery offered to let us use his home so I could inform you all of a very important mission. It is one that you all have the skills for and the resources for, perhaps even more so than my followers who have proven themselves most loyal."
The Dark Lord was happy at the curiosity the young Death Eaters were showing as he spoke. Many of them seemed quite surprised by his statement, unaware of how they could be of more help than his older followers who had more experience, more connections to important people, and had proven themselves skilled in the past. They did not have to wait long for the Dark Lord to continue.
"I'm sure you have all noticed that you are a rather young group," he began. "This will work to your benefit, because you have the connections that we need so desperately now. You have acquaintances of proper heritage that would be excellent in duels and supportive of our cause. You have sharp minds and have all proven yourselves most eager to learn for the benefit of wizardkind. And above all, you are young."
The first two points had been easy to follow, but the third caused several of them to look around, their confusion evident on their faces. This did not bother Voldemort. On the contrary, it pleased him that many of them could not see exactly why he was thinking how he did. It would make things so much simpler later on.
"Many of you have younger siblings and younger cousins, young people who you can influence. Some of you have children," he looked pointedly at the few middle aged wizards in the room, "who you have brought up to be proud of their pureblood heritage. This will prove itself beneficial to our cause. If the young witches and wizards of today can be taught what is important and right today, they will be able to have an influence over the wizarding world for years to come.
"You will all be able to prove your worth over the course of this next year. You will aid in me shaping the minds of today's youth. The group I have gathered today should prove most beneficial, as you can help guide the young ones who come to you in the right direction."
He moved so he was standing directly in front of Julius Avery. The dark haired boy looked uncomfortable that the Dark Lord appeared to be preparing to speak to him directly, but managed to hold eye contact. "You, young Avery, are in a position to be of great use to me, from inside the walls of Hogwarts itself."
He ended the meeting shortly after and apparated away, leaving nearly as quickly and silently as he had appeared. He was the closest he had felt to being happy in quite some time. Things were starting to fall into place. Even better, nobody seemed to suspect some of his true reasons for wanting such young, inexperienced Death Eaters.
He would soon have more young witches and wizards at his fingertips, with their malleable minds and willingness to do what they were told to do. What they lacked in skill and practise, they would be able to make up for in eagerness, bravery, and recklessness. They would do as he told them, he was quite sure of it. They would be ideal to send off on missions where he was expecting fights, because young ones did not think about the dangers of what they were doing. If things went badly and they were captured or killed, it would be much better than losing his more trained, talented followers.
The others also did not seem to realize that by having young followers at Hogwarts, it would help him level the field with Dumbledore. The old fool wouldn't even realize what was happening right under his crooked nose until it was too late. The damage would already be done.