Not related to any of my previous stories. This takes place after SoG, but is in almost no way related to that episode. I just say that because this fic is much longer than my last and I will not get it done before FtF airs, so I'm picking a definate time placement.

The far corners of the wizarding world can be a dark, desolate place. The foulest beings and magic folk gather there, living in the darkness of their hatred and regret. At the farthest corner, there lay a village known as Grimm. This town had long since been deemed a place to never enter, and usually it was empty. Not even some of the dark creatures dared venture there. It was rumoured among those keen enough to know his true identity that this was the village where Tom Riddle made his final transformation into Lord Voldemort.

Tonight the weather was foul, black clouds unleashing pouring rain and lightning upon the dark little village. The tavern, as it was most nights, was empty; not even the tavern owner was present; except for two robed figures. Underneath one was the Death Eater Lucius Malfoy, on the run from the Aurors of the Ministry of Magic. The other was a ghost, Vlad Plasmius.

Had anyone with knowledge of the Death Eaters' beliefs towards all those who were not pure-blood wizards been present, this sight would have been nearly impossible to behold. But as he had proven in the muggle world only too many times, Vlad was a master of manipulation and furthering his plans.

When he had first begun to train himself in the Ghost-Zone, Vlad was lost, confused, and bitter. He had not asked for these powers; the idiocy of his best friend Jack Fenton had accidentally forced them upon him. In the ghost-zone, the forces of the paranormal changed and corrupted him, driving him further into malevolence. He struggled through, unable to control his powers. He knew he needed guidance. With the Ghost-Zone's many entries into other ghost worlds and spiritual realms, Vlad travelled through these many lands, each time failing to find the right way to gain control of his powers. All seemed to be falling apart for him. There was no one else who was a half-ghost, half-human; who could help him? Then, one day, he found his way into the wizarding world, and happened to come across Lucius Malfoy, at the time one of the most trusted of the Death Eaters.

Having learned of the Death Eaters' feeling towards non-magic folk, Vlad was quick to disguise that part of himself. Passing himself off as a strange ghost, of a different kind than those the wizarding world knew, he sought help through magical means for his powers. He had little to offer then; this was before his wealth and fame, before he had any ghost allies. So he offered himself as a servant and apprentice. He would do menial tasks. He would go out, try and bring others into Voldemort's circle, commit murders, rob, plunder, and other such crimes. Malfoy agreed.

Through magic and the Dark Arts, Vlad was able to gain control of his powers. They were enhanced through the magic, and he himself learned a few curses and spells. He kept his word to Malfoy, carrying out whatever was ordered of him. As he began to build his fortune and alliances at home and in the Ghost-Zone, he proved his worth to Malfoy in other ways. Malfoy never brought Vlad to Voldemort, fearing he would lose a personal aide. And despite his powers, Vlad was the one secret Voldemort did not unearth from his Death Eaters. After Voldemort's fall, Vlad continued to be a reliable connection for Malfoy, helping to cover his activities. Eventually, Vlad learned enough magic to fully transform himself into a ghost without death, still able to disguise himself as a muggle. Now they sat in the tavern, waiting.

They did not have to wait long. From nowhere a wisp of a black cloak appeared in the centre of the tavern, coming out further into a full figure. Tall, thin, the hood of his cloak raised over his snakelike face, Lord Voldemort appeared in the room, quickly turning to face his two fellow occupants, who quickly rose to their feet and bowed.

"Lucius," the high, cold voice said from under the cloak, "I trust I haven't kept you waiting long?"

"Not at all, my Master," Malfoy bowed once more, "Never is waiting for your presence too long..." Voldemort held up a hand to bring silence.

"You have finally brought your friend out of hiding, I see," from behind the cloak, the scarlet eyes darted over in Vlad's direction, "I must admit Lucius, when you first told me about this ghost of yours you're lucky I didn't kill you right then and there. You know full well the use creatures such as ghosts, giants, dementors and the like can be to us."

"My most humble apologies, my Master. I had always intended to..."

"Enough, Lucius," Voldemort silenced him once again, "You have finally brought him out, and it is time for him to prove his worth to Lord Voldemort," he now walked right up to Vlad, "Lower your hood," the ghost did so, revealing his blue-toned skin, deep red eyes, and Wolverine-styled hair. Voldemort looked over him a few times, always pausing to glare into the ghost's eyes.

"Lucius has told me about your wonderful services to him before and since my encounter with Harry Potter," he finally said, "I must admit that I am impressed. You have quite a knowledge of the variety of ghosts and spirits that exist; not even I hold all of that knowledge. And yet I wonder; you have fufilled your debts to my friend Lucius, who never brought you before me, and now control your powers. What now brings you to join me?" Vlad bowed again.

"It is through the powers you master that I was able to become what I am," he said, "and without you, Lucius could not have helped me in the ways he has. I am in your debt. And I have my reasons for loathing muggles," Voldemort did not answer yet. He just kept his cold, dead stare fixed into Vlad's eyes, as if searching his mind. Finally...

"Welcome, Vlad Plasmius, to the service of Lord Voldemort," Vlad once again bowed.

"I thank you, my Master. I shall immediately begin to gather my ghost friends to your side. There is one young ghost much like me..."

"Bring him as well, then."

"There is a problem with that, my Master. He is under the same foolish beliefs held by such wizards as your Dumbledore that there is a good and evil rather than power. However, with his mind as confused as it is, it should not be difficult to bring him over to our side. He is currently..." Voldemort raised his hand to silence him.

"Lucius," he said, "See to it our newest member gets whatever he needs," and with a wisp of his cloak, Lord Voldemort vanished just as he had come.

As Strong as we are United