Title: Malignant Objects
Chapter: Prologue - The Fallacy, Part 1
Author: Charlie Blue
1.Full of hate and showing a desire to harm others
2.Likely to cause harm
1.A focus of somebody's attention or emotion
2.An aim or purpose
3. to be opposed to something, or express opposition to it
1.Something that is believed to be truth but is erroneous
2.An argument or reasoning in which the conclusion does not follow from the premises
3.The condition of being misleading or deceptive
The first couple of chapters jump around and there are several changes of scene and point of view. Don't worry, these are just the introduction – the story will settle down. Thanks.
Timeline: I know it deviates from canon, but that's how I'm doing it.
The Boy-Who-Lived is born – 1988
Finishes his first year at Hogwarts – Halfway through 2000
Time: 2005, night.
Location: An unknown estate.
Long forgotten returnings.
It was late at night, far past midnight and long into the hours of the night when all living were at their least alive.
The beautiful, white castle, a mass of graceful spires and twisting arches, arose from the cliff as if it had sprung up out of the earth itself. Far below it a frozen river lay snaking along the landscape. Snow fell in light flurries, and through the drifting white, the bright lights of a procession of expensive, sleek cars.
The cars purred through the huge gates one by one, passing beneath the high, arching spire that spanned the entrance.
Well, dressed, immaculate valets emerged from the high, double doors in two, flawless lines. They opened the car doors with white-gloved hands, and the Death Eaters arose from their plush, luxurious vehicles.
Bellatrix, her dark curls swinging, lips blood red, glanced about her disdainfully over the soft, ebony fur she clasped close and high about her ivory neck. Her husband's arm slid around her small, belted in waist, and her lips parted in mock-astonishment as she turned in his arms. After a disdainful look, she swung around, grasping his arm as she did so, and sashayed up the wide, sprawling stairs to the entrance. Rodolphus swaggered in her wake, winking at the askance look Lucius threw him as he coolly offered Narcissa a hand.
One by one, well-dressed men and women emerged from the dark machines, climbing the wide, well-cut marble steps to the doors, which were open, spilling out enticing golden light.
Inside, the entrance hall was a grand affair, with an arched roof and fluted columns forming a corridor that was lit by intricately detailed chandeliers. At the far end was a magnificent, sprawling marble staircase that widened out as it reached the ground, spanning the entire back third of the hall.
A woman walked down the oversized staircase. Her golden curls fell in spirals and ringlets down to her hips, tumbling over her dusky, bare shoulders. A black bodice twisted tightly around her body, becoming ample, sensuously flowing skirts that were an intricate array of soft, raven-black feathers.
She wore an incredible, snowy-white, sumptuous fur coat that had fallen off her shoulders and slouched around her elbows, trailing far behind and above her across the stairs.
She stopped, waiting two-thirds of the way down them, hip resting in casual grace on the ornate banister, a long, dark cigarette dangling from her fingers.
More and more of the Death Eaters arrived. The woman did not move, obviously waiting until all had arrived. It was not a silent affair. The people moved, floating in and out of conversations like butterflies, whispering and murmuring to those long not seen.
Narcissa and Bellatrix made eye contact across the room. They both recognised the woman on the stairs, and the fact that she was here, where the Dark Lord was rumoured to be, was not good news. She had been a notorious, but largely unseen player during the first rise of the Dark Lord, but had, rather too coincidently, disappeared shortly before the night Daniel Potter had somehow defeated him.
Bringing a notoriously conniving group like the Death Eaters together once more created a huge amount of politics, even in the short, few minutes of waiting in the hall. Everywhere, behind the polite, cat's-paw smiles and delicate, snide laughter, the dark witches and wizards of British high society once again were entering the games of status they had played during the Dark Lord's first rise to power.
Finally, the last guest entered, and the doors shut silently. A moment passed in silence, and the woman's lips, painted a dark crimson, parted, and she blew out a dark stream of smoke.
"Ladies and Gentlemen." She pronounced, her voice a purring, dramatic flourish that made the crowd instinctively look up to her.
Her dark eyes scanned the Death Eaters gathered in her entrance hall contemptuously.
"I welcome you to my house." She said, and the glint of white teeth glimmered between her lips in an amused expression that just might, at a stretch, be called a smile.
"The Dark Lord will join you shortly."
It was a momentous statement. For the past five years, rumours had sprung up in certain circles that their Lord was indeed revived. For the ten years before that, it had been almost completely and utterly certain he would never return.
Now, finally, he had summoned his Death Eaters once more.
Location: London Slums
Run before madness. There is no other defence.
The room was cheap, junky; the lighting was dull and yellowish and the apartment was littered with trash and the stench of marijuana. John Diamond, a middle-aged man of general all-round unpleasantness, sat sprawled on a cheap couch in front of the television, which was squawking out football scores with gusto.
There was a soft boot step in the entrance hallway, and the man turned, revealing an unshaven, corpulent face.
"Who the fuck are you?" The man spat out as he caught sight of a young, beautifully handsome man standing casually in front of his closed and locked front door.
The boy smiled, and the man felt a chill down his spine as he realized that that cold grin was directed at him, and only him.
"You can call me Tobias." Voice cold, emotionless. "Lady sent me."
The man stumbled to his feet, "Tobias who, kid?" His voice rang with false bravado. He knew exactly who the boy was.
The young man was dressed in a dark designer suit, and in peak physical condition. He had that air of incredible sexual confidence about him that gave the man no doubt as to which Tobias exactly he was.
He belonged to the Lady, that mysterious, terrifying figure who ruled the underworld.
The man backed slowly into his living room, his old shotgun was there, if he could just –
Tobias's smile merely widened as the man realized, too late - even in the sparse seconds the exchange had taken - far too late, just exactly who he was.
"Lady isn't very happy with you, Johnny boy." Tobias taunted, walking forwards slowly, his unusual eyes cruel, sadistic.
Tobias, fucking Tobias. John had heard of him, even so young, the boy was infamous in the dark criminal underworlds for his numerous … talents. But what John hadn't realized until now, looking Tobias straight in the face, was that it was entirely possible the young man was mad.
John licked his lips, and he realized that his hands were shaking, that his forehead was breaking out into a cold sweat, and his eyes darting, looking everywhere, anywhere but at the handsome, that too handsome young boy. His vision blurred and his heart's pounding drowned out his hearing.
I shouldn't be this scared. He thought, even as he turned tail and ran, heart pounding madly, room spinning, something's very, very wrong.
Something was, but John Diamond never lived to find out.
Tobias stared down the smoking barrel of the gun as the man staggered, and fell. He walked forwards, slowly, smoothly, and stood over the dying man.
Two straight shots to the head, and the dark pool of blood expanded with ominous speed.
Tobias turned and walked out of the seedy London apartment.
Tobias strode down the darkening street, a darkly coated figure, just one among the many anonymous people of the city. He let out a breath shakily and shoved his hands into his pockets, his stride lengthening as a fine drizzle of rain misted down onto his face from his hair. He ran lightly down the stairs leading into a London tube station, the grimy walls and cheap, electrical lighting suiting his mood.
Tobias attracted a few looks from those waiting for a train, and black amusement rose in him; he was devastatingly gorgeous – he knew that without any pretensions, though that exact wording was not his, it was a description given by an old friend of his.
He was vain, and didn't really care that he was, but he was not so vain as to over-look the fact that if he hadn't been so attractive, he would have been left to die on the streets long ago. The thought provided him with a certain amount of bitter satisfaction.
He closed his eyes for a moment, welcoming the darkness, spotted as it was, with the glares of the strips of overhead lighting. He wasn't supposed to have done it, wasn't supposed to have killed the man. He wasn't one of the Lady's killers, or even one of the fighters, but he had called in a couple of favours, just to see the blind animalistic fear in that fat pig's face.
It was personal, and he knew that Lady would be angry with him, rather than just pissed off, simply because of that fact; no one with personal ties to an assignment was ever given it, but right now, he didn't give a fuck.
In fact, he felt numb. He had killed before; your normal, run-of-the-mill morals didn't last long in the mad world in which he had been reared, but this … this was different. Perhaps it was because of the reason the man had been killed.
His thoughts cleared, become crystal-cold clear, as the connection occurred. It was because he had just killed the bastard who'd raped his best mate and caused the deterioration of the breathtaking boy to such an extent that Tobias could find no vestige of the man his friend had had once been.
He lit up a cigarette.
Location: Deep under the ground of the slums of London.
Beauty of a dangerous kind.
Lucius Malfoy was not a man who lost his poise or exterior of detachment easily. A talent he was exceedingly grateful for as he followed the sleek, suited, buxom woman through a world breathtakingly disturbing in its hedonistic debauchery.
He had entered an entirely different world. Sunken below the city itself, it was huge, large enough, by all accounts, to be considered a city.
He was on a platform that hung from struts and encircled the absurdly extensive dance floor far below. The complete abandonment of the crowd of any kind of human moderation or proprietary was incredible. Had he not seen this place, Lucius would have thought the existence of such a place physically and humanly impossible.
The place pulsed with bodies - female, male and all those in between. Cages hung above the crowd, men and woman alike dancing inside them, raised platforms of strippers and bars; an entire fantasyland of carnival circus performances, sexual teases, animalistic impulses and flashing lights.
The entire clubbing scene reached high up on several different levels, courtesy of smaller, raised dance floors, platforms that hung from the ceiling by chains, trapezes, sets of stairs that lead to nowhere, even a Ferris wheel that fit comfortably into the mind-boggling large ware-house-like room.
If he were to describe it in better words, he would not hesitate to call it something that was as close as mortals could get to creating the Devil's Playground.
The woman turned and paused as she saw him stop. She smiled slightly, seeing his incredulity, dimples appearing in her dark, mocha skin.
"The entire underground is a revolutionary concept of magic." She explained, her voice cultured and like to that of a first-class airhostess. Sexy, but impersonal.
"Oh really?" Lucius drawled, unimpressed. "How so?"
"Mr Malfoy. Wizards expand space all the time. Whether it be cars, houses, bags, anything. This particular type of magic, whilst fascinating in its simplicity, is not what I am talking about." Her lips curled.
"As with most common 'light' spells and magics - " Lucius could almost see the punctuation marks around the word as it rolled off her tongue, "It is based on non-logical thinking. You know this."
He did, though many failed to realize the concept existed at all.
Most wizards had completely different thought patterns to muggles. Because they were reared on magic, something that apparently defied all logic and laws of the universe, their thoughts were often quite surrealistic in comparison to a muggle's.
They had to be; otherwise their own minds would cripple their ability to manipulate magic.
Following this, the spells were based off a particular kind of though pattern that was so illogical, it was logical. The expansion spell was a very good example of this.
Simplistic, yes, that was a way to describe it. The theory was that if the inside of something was expanded, but the outside was not, why should the outside become enlarged at all? – They were two completely different things, even though they belonged to the same object. Thereby creating a spell that made the inside of something larger without making it bigger on the outside at all.
"But this –" She waved an elegant arm expansively, "is something completely different." She smiled, revealing perfect white teeth.
"It is something that its creator likes to call 'Quantum-Related Space-Expansion of the Seventh Dimension with Microengimagic Factors of Relation to Impossibility Probability Spheres to Root of One Ninety-Seventh Degree.' "
"I see." Ventured Lucius.
She treated him to another dimple,
"Of course you don't - nobody does." She paused, and turned, spreading an elegant arm out towards the corridor in front of them. "Shall we?"
He indicated that she should walk in front, transferring his heavy leather briefcase to the other hand.
The office he was lead to was large, and tastefully appointed, the man occupying it no less tailored to give off the impression of sophistication and luxury. His face was that of a once-handsome, gracefully aged gentleman, in his fifties, perhaps.
He grinned, revealing pearly white teeth, and stood from his leather chair.
"Mr Malfoy, I presume?" He questioned, his voice disarming and welcoming, his grey eyes crinkled at the edges from his smile.
The dark-haired woman smiled and led Lucius into the room.
"Yes, Thomas, this is Lucius Malfoy, Mr Malfoy, this is Thomas Grey."
"Please, call me Thomas." Interjected the man, indicating that Lucius should take a seat with a gracious gesture, lowering himself into his own.
Lucius seated himself in the left-most of the chairs provided opposite Thomas's smooth, dark mahogany desk, faintly unnerved, for some reason, by the charming man he was confronted with.
"Drink, Thomas, Mr Malfoy?" Asked the woman, her voice unfailingly polite.
"Thank you Katherine," Thomas replied, "Scotch." He looked to Lucius, and raised his fine, silvering brows.
"French Brandy, if you have it, … Katherine." Lucius replied, amused by the smoothness of the whole operation. That walk through the most vivid, and visually assaulting place had been designed purely to throw him off balance.
The drinks poured and served, Katherine left the room, the door closing with a soft snick.
Thomas leant forwards and fixed Lucius with a shrewd look.
"So, the Dark Lord sends an aristocrat to charm the criminals?"
The hairs on the back of Lucius's neck prickled. A cunning man, with perhaps a little too much pride and no small intelligence. He would enjoy these … negotiations.
"Not at all." He replied smoothly, "The Dark Lord sends a representative to begin relations with a hitherto unknown factor. Nothing less."
"Something more?" Once more, the brows rose.
"That depends, Mr Grey, entirely on you."
The man chuckled, leaning back, his eyelids lowering slightly.
"No, Mr Malfoy, I am afraid you are mistaken."
"Yes." He smiled, dangerously, and did not elaborate.
"And I told you to call me Thomas."
Location: Hogwarts' School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Absurdity is the rationality of the brilliant.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts' School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, scanned the hastily penned note over the top of his half-moon glasses, his blue eyes pensive.
Absently, he tapped a delicate china cup sitting in front of him, in the midst of a mountain of paperwork, and steam immediately began billowing out of the newly warm bergamot tea.
So the magical scan had found nothing. He wasn't sure whether he should be shocked or resigned. He'd almost been expecting this; from the moment he'd seen the looks on Lily and James's faces when he'd proposed it, right through to the owl battering at his window.
Sighing, he let go of the note, watching it waft gently down to settle perilously on the unstable pile of official papers, making it wobble dangerously.
The analogy touched on Albus's sense of the ridiculous – the system brought down by an errant scrap.
He slit open a sealed envelope, read it, and left it sitting on the desk, rising and walking around to stand by the window. Another complaint from the parents of a first year muggleborn.
This was not the kind of school Albus had envisioned when he had taken up the weighty mantle of Headmaster. Grindelwald had just been defeated and he'd thought – foolishly, still flushed from his defeat of The Dark Wizard – the title that Grindelwald had been known as – that he could unite the school, right old prejudices.
Instead, a new Dark Lord had risen, and he had been unable to stop it. Instead, the Lord Voldemort had been defeated, if not vanquished, by the one-year-old Potter boy. Then had risen again, ten years later, breaching Dumbledore's own defences and gaining his old body back from the mythical powers of the Philosopher's Stone.
And so politics had come to rule the hallways of Hogwarts. Almost every student knew that within Hogwarts was the one time in their life they would be mingling with possible future deadly enemies, rivals and victims without being able to harm heavily or be harmed.
So, instead, games were played, games of power and of alliances, of neutrality and favour. Of bloodlines and wealth. Many of the first-year muggleborns, who had not known what to expect, never returned to Hogwarts after their first year.
Those that did, faded into obscurity, or became especially learned in the arts of magic, simply in order to survive – for they would become dependant on a pureblood, who seeing the potential advantage having one so learned at their disposal after Hogwarts has ended, would take it upon themselves to take the muggleborn under their wing and protection.
For once the students left the halls of Hogwarts, those bonds, or lack thereof that had been formed, became reality.
He wrenched his mind from his thoughts, which returned to the scrap of paper he'd just received.
The search had failed, once again.
More than anything, Lily and James were growing ever more desperate to find the son they had left in the orphanage. The first few years had been fine, the memory of the incident that had forced them to abandon little Harry Potter still fresh in their minds – as well as the added distraction of the young Boy-Who-Lived himself, Danny Potter, and all the publicity and stress that went with being his family.
The boy was just about to enter his seventh and final year at Hogwarts. He had grown wonderfully; handsome, confident, with no small power and talent as a wizard, he was, probably, the most popular boy in the school. If he was a little too arrogant, that was nothing a teenage boy could not grow out of.
What Daniel needed was competition, something that would spur him onwards, but a twin would have another, very important quality. Because of the closeness of their blood, there were several rare, but eminently powerful rituals that could only be performed between twins – even brothers were not considered close enough for these kinds of rituals. But they were rituals that would allow Daniel to … appropriate his twin's undoubtedly raw and untrained power for a time.
Albus was confident that Daniel, as the boy from the prophecy, had been born with a twin for this very reason, and the fact that the boy would be untrained would have the added advantage of making such rituals much, much less … problematic.
So while he would find the boy for Lily and James, and also out of a sense that they boy deserved to know his heritage and family, in these troubled times, the main reason Dumbledore would find Harry Potter would be for his ability, willing or unwilling, to impart his power onto his twin.
Location: Underground, Outside Thomas's Study
Deals and meetings.
The fine lines betraying Lucius's tension eased as the heavily polished door to Thomas's study swung shut behind him.
Success, of a sort.
Katharine appeared at the far corner of the underground corridor, stilettos silent on the carpeted floor. She strode forwards, dark eyes steady, eyebrows slightly raised.
"Quite." Lucius replied, moving forwards to meet her. She smiled, lips curving as if pleased, and stopped as he reached her.
"Then it is time for you to leave, Mr Malfoy."
He inclined his head slightly and followed as she turned and walked back the way she'd come.
They walked in silence for ten minutes or more before Lucius realized that they were not taking the same path as when he had arrived. Indeed, the corridors of the underground were so confusing in their similarity, he came to the conclusion that they had been built labyrinth like as a defence against … unwanted persons in the halls of the Lady.
His eyes narrowed and he'd opened his mouth to demand an explanation of the damnably ingenuous Katharine, when the corridor took a new turn and widened into a large, long room that finished at it's opposite end in a currently opened door and continued on as a corridor.
The room itself was lavishly furnished with frescoed wooden wall panels, thick carpets and decorated with sumptuous couches and Oriental silk throws and cushions haphazardly scattered. Several doors led into it from either side, some of which stood open, others barred.
About three-quarters of the way down the room a group of maybe six or seven young men and women lay, sprawled across the luxuries of the room and each other, obviously in a good mood, judging by the laughter emanating from them, as one of them, a woman, began to strip – the mood that of a game, not a seduction.
Even as he watched, for Katherine had paused at the entry, two men strode through one of the doors on the left, deep in conversation, and out the opposite door, one of them nodding in return to the greetings called out to them by the group in the room.
Three women entered the room through the very end door, and two pealed off to join the seated clique while the other kept walking. She eyed Lucius, running her eyes up and down his form as she neared, and smiled at him from under her lashes as she past, brushing his body with her own.
In the few moments he had been watching the woman, more people had entered the room, some staying to sit somewhere in the room, others leaving immediately, only passing through.
Obviously the room was a go-between, yet also somewhere for the people of this strange, surreal world, to stop, in between whatever it was that they did.
As his eyes darted from group to group, person-to-person, Lucius noticed something about each and every one of them. Or rather, something that they were not. None were overweight, ugly, timid in bearing or posture or otherwise, in almost any way, unattractive. All were, unmistakeably, sexual beings.
Katherine looked at him over her shoulder, smirking, "Backstage, I suppose it could be called." She said, her voice rich with amusement, and smoothly continued walking.
As he passed the couches and piles of cushions, Lucius noticed there were more people, whom he had missed, lying on the floor, some kissing, caressing, others sleeping, elegant forms completely at ease across the silken rugs they lay upon.
Lucius' spine tingled as he walked through the room. There was a kind of wrongness about it, yet he could not pinpoint it.
His examination was cut short by a sudden bang, then the excited chattering of a group as a young girl, of perhaps ten years, whispered something to them.
Then, silence. Some of the group tried to appear nonchalant; going back to their talking, yet their attention was constantly on the far door, others gave up all pretence and stared openly at the door.
The young girl continued on around the room, whispering to each person or persons. As they neared her, Lucius heard the girl speak a name,
Katharine evidently heard it as well, for she instantly stiffened, stopping her forward motion.
A swish and a flick of motion beyond the door, and then a young man, of perhaps eighteen, strode through.
He paused on the threshold of the room for a moment, and then the silence was broken by the delighted voice of one of the girls in the central group.
"Tobi!" She leapt to her feet and ran lightly towards him, and his face cracked into a devilish grin as he caught her and swung her around, kissing her soundly on the mouth as he set her down.
That was when his eyes met Lucius'.
Momentarily, all Lucius saw was the deep, overpowering green of the boy's gaze, then, as he studied the boy's face, all self-control deserted him and he gaped openly for a moment, before the mask snapped back into place.
The young man, Tobias, gave Lucius a speculative once-over, and whispered something in the girl's ear. She nodded, smiling lightly, and stepped back, her rich, auburn hair swinging across her face.
Then he moved forwards, and his gaze now was unreadable. His eyes flicked over Katharine once disdainfully, before returning to Lucius.
He reached them, and stopped, squarely facing Lucius, and turned his head to look at Katharine.
"And who would this be?" He demanded, one fine, dark brow raised. Lucius noticed immediately the coldness radiating off the boy towards Katharine, and the way the woman's proud posture closed in, as if intimidated by him.
He cut in.
"Lucius Draconis Malfoy." He replied suavely, eyes unimpressed and cool, but watching closely for a reaction from the boy who, incredibly, had noticeable similarities to - …
The boy's regard was no less than Lucius's, but now a glint of amusement entered them.
"Lucius Draconis Malfoy?" He said, voice infinitesimally mocking.
"Well I suppose in that case I'd be Tobias Harold Grey."
His green eyes flickered slightly at the look that fleetingly crossed the intriguing man's, Lucius's, face at his name.
Katharine made a small movement, and Tobias smiled coldly and looked Lucius up and down.
Lucius felt like he was being sized up by a deadly predator.
"See you around … Lucius." Tobias said, and moved closer to him - uncomfortably close - for a fraction of a second, looking up at the taller man, then walked past him.
The girl Tobias had kissed earlier followed him, her eyes narrowed as she walked past Lucius.
Lucius waited until he was outside the entire place, in a dark back alleyway, before he allowed himself to sag against the rough wall, and swear softly to himself.
That name, Harold...!
Location: Godric's Hollow
The most powerful of human emotions is regret.
Lily hugged herself murmuring a soft child's rhyme under her breath as she stared out the window, the dark grey skies enveloping her vision.
She started as a strong arm wrapped around her waist, stilling her she recognized the scent of James' cologne. She leant back into him, but kept her arms wrapped about her waist.
She felt tears pricking at her eyes, a great lump welling up at the back of her throat. She swallowed and closed her eyes, looking down as her still-fiery hair fell about her face.
"We couldn't have known." He whispered to her, but she remained silent, hearing the crack and tremble in his voice.
"Too late, far too late." She replied eventually, and his free hand came up to stroke the crown of her head, pulling her fully into his arms.
"And still too little." His voice was rough with unspoken sadness, but he and Lily had never had to speak to understand each other, even when they hated the other.
"And Danny – " Lily choked out, "What are we going to tell him?"
James's eyes darkened as they stared over the top of his wife's head, into the thunderstorm.
Location: The Castle of the Lady
Secret messages and darkling muses.
She let the smoke billow out from between her lips, absently tapping the cigarette with one long, immaculately manicured nail.
Her concentration, for the moment at least, was entirely centred on the thick, richly embossed letter lying on the desk in front of her.
Perfectly arched, brushed eyebrows rose, and then drew together as her eyes, darkly made up, scanned the letter yet again.
She reclined casually on a chaise situated below a huge glass window, overlooking the night sky, completely naked, and even the moonlight itself seemed to drape across her body with effortless sensuality.
She tilted her head to one side, her long, curled blonde hair sliding off one shoulder, and leaned back, crossing her legs and lifting the cigarette – a long, elegant affair, set in a cigarette holder – to her mouth once again.
So. The Dark Lord had finally deemed the time right to begin his war again in earnest. Or, as he liked to call it himself, his revolution.
Her mind drifted back to those days, before the first fall of the Dark Lord, and her lips lifted in a soft, sensual smile.
Those who had known of her existence, and what she did, had wondered at the name she had been dubbed with, Lady, and what it had implied. Most had assumed her to be the mistress of the Dark Lord.
Her smile became a smirk, and she stood, walking around the dark desk, bare feet making no sound on the rich carpet of the study, and stopped before the unlit grate of the fireplace.
Eyes dark, she pondered.
Yes, perhaps she had been, but not in the ways they assumed.
A tall, lean man dressed in a svelte, dark suit walked down the corridor towards the Lady's study.
Stopping outside the over-sized door, he ran his eyes up and down himself before knocking – it had become second nature – for the Lady appreciated aesthetics.
A murmured voice from within, and he opened the door and entered, quietly closing it behind him. She was standing by the huge fireplace, gazing out the ceiling-to-floor windows into the nighttime sky, cigarette sending dark, spiralling twists of smoke up and around her splendid, golden, curving form.
She turned now, and smiled.
He cleared his throat and held out a small, soft grey envelope.
"A message from the Mr Grey, Lady." He said, as she moved forwards and slid the envelope from his fingers.
She thanked him before slicing a nail under the flap and opening it. A small, perfectly square, and completely blank piece of paper fell out. Delicately, she held it to her mouth and kissed it.
From where he stood, Edward could see the faint outline of words appearing in the paper.
She read it and smiled, before tilting her magnificent head towards the fireplace.
"I'm cold, Edward." She purred, and he smiled, withdrawing a slender willow wand from his sleeve and waving it at the grate.
Bright, roaring flames burst up, sending shadows and lights flickering across the Lady's face as she stood beside it.
She made a small motion, and the square of paper, and the envelope, fluttered vainly down into the flames.
Her eyes, dark pools in the blazing firelight, looked up at him, darkly amused.
"It seems our plan has been implemented." She informed him, and he smiled briefly, as if he knew what she was talking, or rather, crooning about, and she nodded, dismissing him.
The Black Family and the Death Eaters - Interlude
Political theory for the uninformed.
The Black family was an ancient and noble house that had a recorded family history that stretched back farther than any other familys' in Britain.
During some eras, the family had sunk into obscurity, sometimes into poverty, but never, never had the ruling matriarch or patriarch let the family lines be broken or corrupted.
In the past few generations the Black family had enjoyed an unprecedented level of wealth and power, such that though it seemed a foregone conclusion that the family followed the Dark Lord and practised the forbidden arts, the family remained, superficially at least, in the good graces of the Ministry of Magic.
Other noble, seemingly dark, families in Britain had been treated with the same respect as the Black family, some through family connections, as with the Malfoys, others, through the support and backing of the family, as with the Zabinis.
And so, through this network of families, most depending to some extent, whether small or large, old favours or current protection, on the Black family, an empire of sorts was built by the scions of the family, one of high society and decadence.
And they were but one arm of the Dark Lord.
For while many characterized the entirety of the Dark Lord's followers under the label of 'Death Eaters', the truth was that the Death Eaters were, and are, truly only one, more public, sector of the Dark Lord's followers.
Location: The Stronghold of The Dark Lord
Grandeur of evil.
The darkly cloaked and hooded doorman slid through the crack that appeared between the two huge, heavy doors that lead from the antechamber and into the audience room.
In any other man, such grandeur would have become tasteless, but in the Dark Lord, one found a man whom seemed to have been created for the sole purpose of fulfilling such sumptuousness.
Beady, glittering eyes scanned the antechamber before finally resting on the man who had been summoned.
"Lucius Malfoy…" His voice was always soft, just rasping, something one could miss if they were not paying attention. Yet the chosen doorman of the Dark Lord was rarely ignored. Due to his custom of being the killer of those come to see the Dark Lord, people whom the Dark Lord either did not want to see in return, or whom he had, unknown to the unfortunate person, ordered dead, over time, the doorman had come to be known by a different name, the Executioner.
The suave, commanding blonde bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement.
"You are bid welcome into the presence of the Dark Lord as the bearer of good news." The doorman pronounced, turning, and pulling the left door open easily, as if it had not been three times his size.
Without another moment's attention to the doorman, Lucius Malfoy strode through the doorway, and entered the room.
It was a long, large chamber, floored in white marble veined with a rich, dark grey colour. Down the centre, a sumptuous, dark blue-black carpet lay, ending at the far end, where a raised dais began.
It was simple, three steps leading up, with one chair sitting in the centre. Unpretentious, it was simply carved of dark mahogany with no embossments. Behind the dais, the room ended in the shape of half a hexagon, each panel made up of glass windows, showing the dark, stormy ocean beyond the edge of cliff on which the stronghold was situated.
Men and women alike gravitated around the room, dressed in the sleek, flowing forms of high fashion, chatting and laughing softly, gracefully moving, like vipers through long grass, as if they themselves were part of the chamber's décor.
The court of the Dark Lord.
When the Death Eaters had been re-introduced to the fold of the Dark Lord, they had been surprised, and not a little worried, to find that during his supposed 'absence' in the five years where all they had heard were rumours of his presence, the Dark Lord had, in fact, gathered a thriving court of followers and allies.
In amidst the sounds of laughter and murmuring voices, the splash and ripple of falling water threaded. Down either side of the hall, a silvery stream of water ran, covered by sheets of crystal and bordered in pure black marble, and partly hidden by the pillars that ran the length of the room.
It was, all in all, a beautiful, light chamber of impeccable taste.
Lucius suspected the influence of a certain Lady.
A man stood on the dais, behind the chair, studying the view from the windows. At the sound of the huge door closing, he turned. He was a handsome man, dark haired and lithely muscular, his form visible even from beneath the dark, billowing robes he wore. A man in his prime, he seemed no older than thirty-five.
Lucius halted, and bent down to one knee.
"Lucius." The man's voice was not raised, yet it seemed to reach every corner of the large chamber, and even in cordial tones, the dark undercurrent of power was threaded through every syllable.
"My lord." Lucius replied, feeling familiar taint of fear holding an icy clench in his stomach.
The Dark Lord held his deepest loyalty, an emotional bond neither easily or painlessly formed, and there was no being alive or dead that held the same respect and status in Lucius's world than the man he was kneeling before.
And the Dark Lord was generous … very generous, and each and every man or woman who followed him was rewarded, each greatly in their own way.
And in each and every man or woman, follower or not, fear was simply an aspect of life when it came to this man.
Powerful, frighteningly and terribly - by the very gods it seemed – gifted with not only raw magical power, but a mind that seemed to encompass and comprehend magic on a level that few, if any had ever achieved, he was, quite simply, not afraid to go to descend to the most horrific of lows and drastic of sacrifices to fully realize his magic.
He was ruthless, manipulative, adored and despised - and he wanted to change the world.
A thump, and then the Dark Lord's voice, much closer now, holding a tint of suppressed amusement.
"You may rise."
Lucius looked up as he stood to find the Dark Lord standing about ten metres from him – having lightly jumped the three steps from the dais to the ground.
The Dark Lord stopped walking as he reached a small, waist-high table on rollers that had been set beside the right edge of the carpet.
Lucius studied it carefully. It held a crystal decanter of dark red wine, an elaborately engraved silver jug, and two simple glass goblets, each with a dragon of silver winding its way up the stem of the goblet and around the ball of it.
Casually, the Dark Lord picked up the decanter and swirled it for a moment, watching Lucius with unreadable eyes, before making summoning gesture and turning back to the table to fill up one – just one – of the goblets with the wine.
Poised, but decidedly cautious, Lucius walked to the table, intensely aware that it was only the streams that broke the silence – all of the conversations had ceased.
The Dark Lord left the table, leaving the full goblet where it sat, and walked several steps away before turning back to Lucius.
"You come with good news, I hope?" It wasn't a question.
"Yes, my lord." Lucius spoke confidently and quickly, inclining his head.
"Thomas Grey has agreed to have dealings with us, though he disagreed with several of the finer points of the agreement."
"Indeed." The Dark Lord remained silent for a moment, then, without moving his eyes from Lucius's face, suddenly called out.
A dark woman moved out, into sight from behind a pillar halfway down the chamber and sank into a curtsey.
"You will discuss the problems of the Grey Agreement with Lucius before you leave."
"Of course." She remained in the curtsey, eyes on the floor.
She looked up, and the Dark Lord tilted his head ever so slightly to one side, before his mouth curved in a soft smile.
"That is all."
"My lord." She said softly, her smile generous, eyes delighted, before moving back into the shadows of a tall fluted pillar.
And Lucius tensed as the Dark Lord's attention returned to him.
"While that news is hardly unsatisfactory, Lucius, it can scarcely be called good enough to need to inform me as soon as you arrived, the Kriane family is after all, very good at what they do."
The Dark Lord's voice was light, almost jovial, as he spoke, and yet his hand lingered over the handle of the silver jug, and his face held traces of a warning. He was a patient man when the situation required it, but he did not like it, and he was irritated by meaningless interruptions.
Irritation from the Dark Lord generally meant grief and pain for the recipient.
"My lord, there is … something else." Lucius paused for a moment, carefully gauging his next words, then continued, "you know that Dumbledore has been frantically searching for the abandoned son of the – the Potters."
One never knew how the Dark Lord would react to their name – but on this occasion, he remained impassive.
"While leaving the underground complex of Thomas Grey, I crossed the path of a young man of the … right age, and had identical –" He stressed the word, "eyes to Lily Potter, and my … intuition flashed -" The Dark Lord's eyes looked up at the meaningfully inflected word. Lucius continued, sure he understood, "And he introduced himself as Tobias Harold Grey. He was adopted, which is why he adopted the last name of Thomas Grey, it is the custom, I believe." He finished on a suave note; sure he had fallen across a trump card in the boy.
Now the Dark Lord's eyes did light up, and he strode forwards, but rather than go to Lucius, he turned once more to the table and filled the other goblet with red wine, leaving the silver jug untouched.
Lucius let out an imperceptible breath.
He lifted the two goblets and handed one to Lucius.
The Dark Lord's demeanour was completely changed. Now, as he handed the wine to Lucius, he smiled conspiratorially, and his eyes glittered at the bemusement Lucius could not hide.
"Ah, you wonder why I believe it so readily, Lucius?" He sipped the wine, watching Lucius over the rim of the goblet.
"I do not question you, my lord." He replied carefully.
"You see, Lucius," The Dark Lord said, voice soft and eminently self-satisfied, "I have a friend who promised me the twin brother of the Boy-Who-Lived." He took a sip of the dark wine, eyes dark as they watched Lucius over the rim of the cup. He lowered the cup and his eyes hooded with what seemed like delight.
"They promised me Harold James Potter."
The Dark Lord's voice was rich with the fulfilment that can only come from vengeance, and Lucius felt a change in the atmosphere towards him in the room – he had suddenly won favour with the Dark Lord and the court, however reluctantly, had begun to acknowledge that.
Lucius felt the thrill that playing such games of intrigue always brought him. He was rising ever higher in the Dark Lord's esteem.
The Dark Lord turned suddenly, gracefully, and swept his free arm across the breadth of the hall.
"Leave us!" He commanded.
By the time Lucius had fully comprehended the last sentence, he was alone in the room with the Dark Lord.
Whom turned, waving his arm forwards, clearly directing Lucius to follow him, and strode back to the dais, and up to the windows.
Lucius remained on the first step that led upwards.
"Now, Lucius." The Dark Lord said suddenly, "I want you to make sure Dumbledore learns of where the boy is."
Lucius frowned slightly – why give Dumbledore the one thing he seemed to so desperately want?
The silence lingered as the Dark Lord sipped his wine and continued to study the ocean as the first threatening rumbles of thunder crawled through the air.
Without turning, the Dark Lord suddenly spoke again.
"The boy has been abandoned, Lucius, and you see what he has become, or you at least guess correctly, I suspect.
"He will have no great love for such a family, and indeed, who would? To him, it will seem as if they abandoned him simply because he was not the babe who defeated the all-powerful Dark Lord."
A dawning comprehension began to break over Lucius – not from what the Dark Lord was saying, but by something else entirely, for the Dark Lord did not elaborate on his plans and thoughts to any but few, oh so few.
And now he was talking to him, Lucius, speaking to him, if not as an equal, then as someone whose opinion mattered.
A deep sense of profound pride rose in Lucius that such a man, in such a world, was coming to consider him one of his closer confidantes.
The Dark Lord turned, studying his wine as he swirled it in the goblet for a moment before looking directly at Lucius.
"Do you understand?" And the tone spoke volumes – it was a complex question, different on so many levels, interpreted in so many ways that could lead to death, obscurity, indifference or a higher level of understanding.
"My lord." Lucius smiled, a predator's smile, and bowed slightly, "I believe I do."
Eyes intent, the Dark Lord took a slow step closer to him, and Lucius had fight not to take a step away.
"You must understand Lucius, it is pure arrogance. I am not above such spite. ... Or the appreciation of such irony. I … I, return the Wizarding world's golden family their lost son." He smiled coldly, and Lucius was shocked at the wave of relief that went through him at the knowledge such a smile was not directed at him.
After a pause, the Dark Lord continued, "and he will cause them a world of pain and guilt. Such a thing is not of eminent importance to our goals, and yet …" He turned, back to the windows, "can you imagine how … played, the vain, self-important Headmaster would feel when he discovers this? Our most feared enemy, foiled in a petty game of revenge."
"So now, do you see, Lucius?"
That this was an admission of the spiteful, small revenge of the Dark Lord did not factor into or influence Lucius' near-adoration of the powerful man. The Dark Lord was near immortal, and supremely confident in the infinitely complex knowledge of what it was that drove humans, gained in his time as a spirit, and Lucius never forgot this.
Instead, such a speech revealed the tiniest facet of the Dark Lord's true self – something he protected with a wall of cold ice around his heart and mind - and it was Lucius to whom he was making this small confession.
The dark, emotional, clutching spirals of the ties that bound the man to the Dark Lord wormed a little deeper into his mind.
Lucius bowed in acquiescence.
The Dark Lord took a sip of wine, and, complete arrogance resumed, waved his hand at Lucius in complete dismissal, without turning back from the windows.
Lucius strode from the hall, and as he did, the man at the window looked over his shoulder as the blonde man stalked like a feline predator from the chamber.
He smiled ferally as the door swung closed, dark hair falling across one dark blue eye.
Such a useful instrument – one simply must now how to play it correctly.
The first ominous streaks of lightning made a jagged slash through the dark, roiling sky.
In the antechamber Lucius closed his eyes for a moment, quelling the tingling, thrilling yet sickening feeling everyone and anyone, no matter who, always felt in the presence of such a man. It was like vertigo, standing on the edge of a mind-bogglingly high cliff, being the presence of such awesome intellect, of such power.
The Dark Lord may have begun drawing Lucius ever closer to him through his tangled courts and embroiled emotional games of trust and deceit – but Lucius was no fool. If his news had disappointed the Dark Lord in any way …
He let out a long breath and began walking down the hallway.
… He had seen the silvery, darkly twirling smoke coming from the lip of the silver jug – smoke tinged with a faint, but vividly poisonous green.
And he had no doubt that he would have had no choice but to drink whichever liquid the Dark Lord had seen fit to pour into his goblet.
That was simply an introduction to the AU world my story is set in – and I really need ideas and thoughts on what is flawed, what you think I can improve, and what you would like to see.
And I need the extra push to keep writing!