It's branded into my arm. It's black, but the skin around it is red.

It's the Dark Mark.

And it hurts like hell.

I don't wake up screaming every night, because I can't sleep anymore. I don't contemplate suicide, because I know it's no use. I might as well stay alive and make a difference; my death will just be another horrible deed in a horrible world, and go completely unnoticed.

I have scars, too many to count, too many to care anymore, but this is one scar that won't be forgotten, because I will never be rid of it. Even if I make it through, it will be there mocking me for hat I have done, and mocking me for what I am, for what I had no choice but to become.

My House has turned out more Dark Wizards than the other three put together, but what most people forget is that most of us weren't given a choice. Those of us who don't take the Mark are the ones deemed unworthy because of lack of power, lack of intelligence or those who are just too plain to be bothered. I won't say that those of us who don't take the Mark are the lucky ones.

Those are the ones who are killed.

They are killed as a precaution, because they know too much. Because they were too weak to survive in a world such as this. Because their peers deemed them unworthy. That is why my House has a habit of picking on those who we deem as too stupid, too weak or too scared. That is why my House is filled with overachievers. It is our only chance of survival.

Going through my House, openly neutral, is an impossibility. Either you join, or you die. It is that simple, and it is that horrifying. There is no use fighting it, because that is only a quicker way to be killed. There is a reason why ´eat or be eaten´ has become a cliché; it applies, all too much, to my life, as well as many others.

Deception is one of the few ways out. Pretending might to others be a children's game, but played right, it might be the difference between life and a very gory death. A few manage to trick their way out of ever taking the Mark, on various grounds; none of them would ever work for me.

I will not, however, willingly submit myself to the whims of a madman. I will fight it, passively, to my last breath. I might not be able to openly defy it the way Potter can, but passive resistance works just as well. I shall be the poison that breaks down the Dark Lord's defences. I shall be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I will not cower before him like a witless slave. I will not bow to him. I will not submit myself to a life in servitude. Because I know he will not win. Not with Potter and Dumbledore defying him, not with most of the known world standing in his way. Not while I can still stop him.

I have, contrary to popular belief, an honour. It's twisted, it's black, and it benefits no one but me, but it's there, and I swear by it that I will not rest until the Dark Lord is dead and gone. If I so have to bury him myself, with a stake through the heart and his throat cut, I will not give in.

Meanwhile, I will wait, bide my time, until I can fully enter his service and break him down. I shall watch the others, and I will remember. Yes, I will remember everything, and when the day comes and I stand before the Dark Lord, I will spit him in the eye, and I will laugh. He may kill me, but I have never put much worth in my life, nor will I do so now.

There are, after all, some things worse than death. I have yet to find out what it truly is, but I can imagine many things that are. I shall not be deterred by the threat of my life being taken away; it is a small price to pay if I will be secure in the knowledge that someone, at least, will remember me.

This is what I will do.

Because there is no other way.