A/N: This is a short one. But, no worries, I promise the next one will be quite long...and juicy. ^_~
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Warning: Violence and darkness ahead (of course).
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers, not me.
Immortalis Dominus Dominatus
Part I: Alpha
"A heartless creature is a loveless creature, and a loveless creature is a beast."
~Stephen King (The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of The Three)
Chapter VI: Slytherin
With a high-pitched squeal, the rusty pipe Abigail clung to bent sharply downward. No longer able to hold on, Abigail plunged swiftly to the ground.
Standing atop the roof of the Astronomy Tower, Tom watched Abigail's rapid descent. Before her inevitable collision with the surface, Tom removed the wand from his robe, pointed it at the tiny form far below, and said, "Ascendo," while raising his wand arm slowly upward.
At the moment her life would have shattered against the grassy ground, Abigail suddenly found herself soaring up into the air in a grand arc.
Grinning broadly, Tom drew an imaginary circle with his wand while aiming it at Abigail. Abigail, like a marionette, helplessly somersaulted in the chilly, windy air.
Now hovering almost above him, Abigail cart-wheeled three times in rapid succession.
Nearly choking with mirth, Tom called up to her. "Are you having fun, Abby? D'you want to come down now?"
There was no response from the twelve-year-old girl who hung suspended, upside down, in the air.
"Come, talk to me, witch."
After a brief moment, Tom sighed.
"All right then. Converto."
Still dangling head down, Abigail spun like a gyroscope.
Nearly doubled-up with glee, Tom stuttered, "What do you say, Abby? D'you still wish to leave me?
Abigail ceased rotating and was flipped over to an upright position. Immediately, she vomited. Tom had stepped back just in time.
"That's revolting, Abby. Now tell me, d'you wish to leave? Answer, "no," and you will live. Answer, "yes," and you will die. Which will it be?"
In a tiny, strangled voice, she replied, "No."
"Very good, Miss Orlen. You shall witness another day.
Abigail landed on the roof, and crumpled up on its surface in a heap as her violently trembling legs gave out from beneath her.
Tom walked over to where she lay curled up in a foetal position.
"Get up, Abby."
Faintly, he could hear her gasping for breath. Tom then knelt down beside her at the same instant a strong gust of wind blew toward his face. An expression of distaste flitted across his features.
Softly, he said, "My, my, what are we going to do with you, witch? You stink. Chucked on your robes, eh? And soiled your knickers, I see."
Then he stood.
"Get up, Abby. I'm not going to ask you again."
Jerkily, she unravelled herself. On tremulous legs, she managed to gain her feet. Silently, she wept. Her face was pale with shock.
"Now, now, we don't need that, do we? You made the correct decision, Abby. It's wrong to break an oath, you see. Reneging on promises made to me has, er, unpleasant consequences as you have learned.
"Come, let's go inside. It's chilly, and you're...damp. I want you to be in good health at our next meeting. I already have a special assignment for you."
Then he laughed.
"Two rolls of parchment. I want you to write two rolls of parchment on what happens to those who desert your master. Make sure you don't omit any details. I'm sure your fellow soldiers would love to hear of your adventure."
He briefly laughed in his peculiar high, cold fashion.
"And, Abby, bring one Galleon with you to the meeting. One Sickle will not do, not in your case."
Tom then turned on his heels and swiftly went toward the door with his robe billowing out in the wind behind him.
Teeth chattering, Abigail watched him go as tears rolled down her freckled, ghostly-white cheeks.
He approached the group of girls clustered around a table playing Stakes and Brimstone. Melia glanced up from the game as Tom went to stand close beside her. The other girls paused in the midst of the play and gazed up at him questioningly. Tom then retrieved a half dozen sugar quills from his pockets.
"Here," he said while offering the candy to Melia. "Share them with your friends."
Hesitating briefly, Melia reached out and took the sweets.
Tom gave her a winning smile. "You're welcome. I hope you and your friends enjoy them."
Then he left.
Sitting in a dark corner with her friends, Skye Amberidge narrowed her eyes at Melia.
They stood in a circle with Tom and Abigail at the centre. Abigail's eyes were downcast, and two rolls of parchment hung loosely from one hand. A few of the boys, such as Edmund, stole uneasy glances at their peers.
"Are you a fairy?"
"Abby's diary was full of lies, eh?"
"Yes, Master," Clem replied, vehemently.
"I think Miss Orlen should be taught that it is unwise to fabricate tales about her fellow soldiers.
"Miles, what would happen if someone accused you of being a fairy?"
"I would beat the shite out of the bloody fool, My Lord."
"Very well then.
"Clem, come and teach Miss Orlen a lesson, but don't touch her face."
Reluctantly, Clem walked up to Abby and half-heartedly kicked her in the shins.
Tom reached out and brutally grabbed Clem by a handful of hair. Clem's eyes closed tightly in pain while he drew in a sharp intake of air.
"I'm beginning to think you are a fairy," Tom said in a low, threatening voice. "Now, teach her a lesson or I will hurt you."
He roughly let go of the boy's hair.
Fright briefly passed across Clem's face before he recovered his composure. Then he stepped behind Abigail and administered a forceful kick to her lower back.
Abigail screamed and fell to the floor with one hand clutching at the small of her back.
"Get up, girl," Tom snarled, and then reached down and dragged her onto her feet by the hair.
"Jason, didn't Abby accuse you of being a fairy, too?"
"Then prove to her that you aren't."
Jason went to the sobbing girl and drove his fist into her stomach.
She fell onto the floor writhing and gasping for breath. Her face began to turn an alarming shade of purple.
Trembling minutely, Edmund walked over to the girl curled up on the floor and spat on her face.
"Hurt her, Edmund," said Tom in an ominous tone.
Edmund leapt and landed squarely on Abigail's legs.
One by one, the soldiers taught Abigail a lesson.
Frustrated and tired, he went from bathroom to bathroom searching for the Chamber of Secrets. He had limited his quest to the girls' toilets on the second floor. Based on the veiled clues in Salazar Slytherin's writings, he believed he was on the correct course.
"Damn," he muttered to himself as he exited a toilet in the middle of the corridor. "It has to be here."
Tom glanced at a clock hovering between two suits of armour. An instant before the clock flew away, he noted that it was thirteen minutes past 3 A.M. Tom then silently strolled toward the end of the corridor and turned left into another passage. He had been here many times. Pale moonlight streamed through two windows at the end of the passage. Tom stealthily went toward the girls' toilet that was only a few steps from the windows.
Just before he opened the door to the room, The Bloody Baron entered the corridor by floating through the wall between the two windows.
The Bloody Baron, who was Lord Lorcan Carney Averill Wigheard in another time and place, turned his vacant gaze toward Tom.
For a few seconds that seemed to stretch into eternity, Tom and the Slytherin ghost stared at one another. Then Tom broke the spell and entered the girls' toilet. Shortly after, The Bloody Baron followed him.
Tom saw the apparition materialise into the room with his peripheral vision. Ignoring The Bloody Baron, Tom began to inspect the sink before him.
"What is it you seek, young master?" The Bloody Baron exclaimed in a rich, commanding voice.
Surprised, Tom looked up at the ghost. This was the first time he had ever heard the spectre speak in the five years he had attended Hogwarts.
Before he could respond, The Bloody Baron added, "Do you seek glory or conquest?"
Tom thought for a brief moment.
The Bloody Baron nodded and said, "What you seek is three steps to your left."
Then he disappeared.
Frowning slightly, Tom went to examine the sink a few paces to his left. After spending fifteen minutes going over every inch of the basin, he could not find the serpent Slytherin mentioned.
"In the chamber wherith witches groometh lies a spout wherith cleansing water floweth. Look closely, me friend, for there ye will findeth a serpent," Tom quoted aloud.
Then the answer to the puzzle came to him all at once.
"The tap," he said in a breathless, excited voice. "The bloody tap."
Bending forward, he carefully eyed the surface of the sink's tap. There it was. A miniscule snake was etched on the side.
"Speak to it and it will showeth ye the way."
In Parseltongue, he said, "Show me the way to Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets."
The copper tap glowed with a white brilliance and began to spin. Then the entire sink sank from view, thereby exposing a large pipe.(1)
Tom climbed into the pipe. Suddenly, he found himself sliding swiftly through the tube. The journey through the dark and slick cylinder seemed forever. Just when Tom started to wonder when it would end, he flew from the pipe like a projectile and landed on a damp, mildewed floor.
He gained his feet, pulled out his wand, and said, "Lumos."
He appeared to be in a small, stone cavern. Tom reckoned that he was far below the castle's foundation. It was quite dark in the chamber despite the glow from his wand. He was not sure where to proceed. After a moment of deliberation, he decided to move forward. The going was slow due to the darkness. Tom did not wish to inadvertently injure himself and become trapped in what seemed too much like a tomb.
After a number of turns and minutes, Tom came across a dead-end. Before him was a wall on which there was a carving of two entwined serpents with large, gleaming emeralds for eyes.(2)
Tom grinned and stepped up to the carved stone.
"Open up in the name of Ssslytherin'sss heir."
As the wall opened, the entwined serpents parted and then slid out of sight.(3) Tom Marvolo Riddle, known as Lord Voldemort to his three intimate friends, entered Salazar Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets.
(1)J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, The Chamber of Secrets (p300, Scholastic Press, 1999)
(2)J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, The Chamber of Secrets (p304, Scholastic Press, 1999)
(3)J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, The Chamber of Secrets (p305, Scholastic Press, 1999)