Rise of a Dark Prince
"My lord," Snape said reverently, bowing before the tall figure. Kissing the hem of the dark robes, he slowly stood up and said in a quiet voice, "There has been a prophecy. Sybill Trelawney, granddaughter of the famous seer Cassandra had an appointment with Dumbledore before me. I overheard a part of it."
"Speak swiftly, Severus," the dark figure said icily, raising a finger to his lips in consternation.
"Pardon, my lord," Snape lowered his eyes and voice. "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... There was more but I was discovered at that moment."
The Dark Lord stared at Snape with venom. "How do you know it was a true prophecy? That old fool might have suspected your true allegiance and set it all up."
"With your permission, my lord," a deep yet silky voice drawled. The masked figure standing directly to the left of the Dark Lord bowed. Several whispers rose instantly. To interrupt the Dark Lord was a most foolhardy thing to attempt. And yet, Lucius Malfoy could get away with more than the average death eater.
"Lucius," the Dark Lord acknowledged with a wave of his hand, instantly silencing the whispers.
"I received word from my contact at the ministry," Malfoy said in a low voice. "There seems to be an unusual amount of activity in the Department of Mysteries. One of the Unspeakables let slip about a new prophecy concerning the Dark Lord."
The Dark Lord digested the information in grating silence. "Was there any mention of another name? Prophecies rarely concern a single individual alone."
Malfoy shook his head and said, "I am afraid that was all my contact could find out. It is rare for even this much of information to spill out from that specific department."
"Which again makes me wonder," the Dark Lord hissed in an almost serpentine voice, "Is this all a setup? Does Dumbledore expect me to attack the Ministry of Magic in order to get my hands on this prophecy?" He stood up from his throne-like seat and walked up and down the chamber in deep contemplation. With an exasperated intake of breath, he stared at the long rows of masked men and women around him and snapped, "Are you all fools or simply mute? Do you have no thoughts of your own?" Then he stopped in front of one figure in particular and asked, "What are your thoughts, Bella?"
At his words, a thin yet voluptuous young woman bowed reverently. "The prophecy speaks of mere children, my lord. There is no need to attack the Ministry when you could simply identify the families the prophecy speaks of and attack them. It matters not if it's a true prophecy. Those who have defied the Dark Lord deserve to be punished."
The Dark Lord nodded. "You speak wisely, my dear Bella." He returned to his seat and declared, "Married couples who have crossed my paths thrice... I have a spy, hidden from all except my inner most council. This spy is close to several families involved in Dumbledore's Order. I want to be absolutely sure which one the prophecy speaks of. Lucius, Bella, Regulus and Severus… stay. The rest of you leave." He closed his eyes as the masked figure walked one after the other to kiss the hem of his robe before disapparating. When only the few he had commanded to stay were remaining, he opened his crimson eyes.
"You may remove your masks and sit," he said emotionlessly, conjuring comfortable chairs for the four of them in a semi-circle facing him. After the inner council had done as commanded, the Dark Lord looked at the youngest male. "Regulus?"
The death eater nodded. "It has been done as you ordered, My Lord."
"Good," the Dark Lord smiled crookedly. "I hope you faced no trouble on the way back."
Regulus Black lifted his left hand, which was bandaged. "One of the inferi managed to strike me before I neutralized them."
The Dark Lord nodded and turned to Lucius. Removing a diary from within his robes, he sent it flying to the hands of the blond pureblood and said, "Lucius, my old friend, this diary will be our key to Hogwarts when the time comes. Take it and hide it in the depths of your manor. Do not use it! Do not lose it! Do not touch it until I ask for it! Is that clear?"
"Perfectly. You honor me with this privilege, My Lord," Malfoy said, inclining his head in a slight bow.
"Severus," the Dark Lord began coolly, "What progress have you with Dumbledore and his group?"
The young death eater faced the Dark Lord courageously and said, "Dumbledore fell for my ploy. He believes in my remorse. But the others do not trust me. Potter, Black and Moody cannot be convinced."
"Then is there any reason for Dumbledore's belief in you, Severus?" the Dark Lord hissed, focusing his gaze on the death eater. "Perhaps you are truly remorseful. Perhaps I should have punished young Bartemius more severely for having his way with your sister."
Snape looked the Dark Lord straight in the eye and said resolutely, "I serve you alone and am faithful to the cause, My Lord. Emotions breed weakness and there is no space in my heart for such weakness. By not taking the mark, Sarah brought punishment upon herself."
"An answer most satisfactory," the Dark Lord remarked casually. "You may go. Tell Dumbledore an attack is planned on Diagon Alley a week from now. Regulus, you will plan this attack but not participate. This will be a test for the new initiates by which our spy's position will be further cemented. Both of you may leave." As before, the two death eaters approached the Dark Lord to kiss his robe before disapparating.
"Lucius," the Dark Lord looked at the aristocrat. "The prophecy, if it is true, is of great interest to me. Find what you can and contact Wormtail. Speak to none about our spy's identity." Then, closing his eyes, he dismissed his chief lieutenant, "I believe your lovely wife will be awaiting your arrival."
"As you command, My Lord," the aristocrat rose, knowing he was dismissed and did the same as every other death eater before him.
Left alone with the young woman, the Dark Lord rose with a glint of lust in his eyes, "Come, my dear," he said in a hoarse voice while reaching for her hand, "You will be rewarded."
Severus Snape clenched his fingers as he paced his room. His jaws were tight and his eyes glinted with barely concealed rage. Finally reaching the point of exhaustion, he dropped on his knees and wailed in agony.
"Sarah…" he moaned amidst tears. "Why…" Then, narrowing his eyes in rage, he muttered, "I will get you for this! Every one of you!" Getting up, he wiped his tears and took a few minutes to clear his emotions. Then he walked to the fire and said emotionlessly, "Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts!"
Entering the majestic room, he was momentarily startled to see the crowd of people gathered. Apart from Dumbledore and his phoenix, there were the Potters, the Longbottoms, the Prewetts, Black and Moody, each of whom were staring at him with different emotions. Dumbledore regarded him with a smile, while James Potter and Sirius Black sneered at him. Moody narrowed his eyes distrustfully. Lily Potter almost smiled before putting on a neutral mask. The Prewetts and the Longbottoms had expressions ranging from indifference to mild distrust.
Turning to Dumbledore, he stated plainly, "I did as you asked. He believes the prophecy refers to one of them," he beckoned to the assembled families, "but he will wait until he's sure which. He spoke of a spy."
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. "A spy? What else did he reveal of this spy?"
"Not much," Snape sighed, sitting down. "He is suspicious of your accepting me so easily. Maybe I should have waited longer."
"No, my boy," the Headmaster said seriously, ignoring his spy's chagrin at being called a boy. "There is no time. We cannot allow him to continue this way. Who knows what will happen if he's in power for long."
Then James Potter interrupted, "Albus, what's this about us being targeted? What prophecy?"
"Ah," Dumbledore sighed. "Alas! That is why I have assembled all of you here today. A prophecy was made a few days ago. A prophecy that could refer to some in this room." Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and spoke in a low tone, "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal... a brother in dark, a brother in light... his brother's happiness is the cost of his strength… he will bring an end to the dark era… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…"
There was silence for a few minutes as everyone pondered the mysterious words. Then James Potter rose in anger most of which was directed to the death eater in the room. "But why did you let Sniv… Snape tell him? Have you gone insane, Albus?"
The Headmaster sighed. "Sit down, James. I have merely asked Severus to tell the first few words. Voldemort," he paused as everyone flinched at the name, "does not know that he must mark the child for the prophecy to come to pass. This is the only way we can bring about his defeat."
"But what about our families, Albus?" Fabian Prewett protested. "When you-know-who comes looking for us… how will we hold him back? And how do you even know it's one of us?"
"Lily Potter, Alice Longbottom, and Julia Prewett, not only are you nearing the end of your pregnancy but you and your husbands have faced Voldemort thrice. This is early July and I am certain it is one of you the prophecy speaks of. Even you, Fabian, though you've managed to keep your recent marriage to Julia Armstrong a secret. I am indeed sorry that you are placed in such a situation. All we need is for him to identify the prophesized one. I myself will ensure the protection of your families. The Fidelium Charm cannot be breached."
"Are you certain of this, Wormtail?" the Dark Lord asked with a gleam of triumph.
"Absolutely, My Lord," the stocky man whimpered. "All three families have babies. I heard from Potter himself that Dumbledore believes Jake Potter to be the prophesized one. He said it's because he has a twin. Jake has red hair and Harry black. The prophecy had more to it and talks of a brother in light and a brother in dark. Dumbledore took it to mean literally as well as m-metaph-ph-phorically. Jake Potter is the prophesized one."
"So Severus did indeed miss part of the prophecy. Or perhaps it was planned…" the Dark Lord thought in silence for more than a minute. Finally he turned to the spy and said, "What else did you discover?"
"There's a Fidelius Charm. Dumbledore is the secret keeper. P-Potter also said that the prophecy said his younger son Jake will become powerful but for that his older twin Harry had to suffer. He told me that Harry had to be neglected and p-perhaps he might even t-turn d-dark…" the death eater cowered as the Dark Lord fixed his gaze at him.
"And what were the Potters' reaction to that?"
Wormtail shivered. "Black told me that James shouted for almost ten minutes at the Headmaster and Lily cried but in the end they gave an oath to Dumbledore. For the greater good, he said."
"So the righteous defenders of the light are willing to sacrifice a child's happiness for a mere prophecy?" the Dark Lord laughed uproariously. "Perhaps this can be turned to our advantage. Keep an eye on both of them. You may leave now." He waited as the spy kissed his robe and left before turning to Malfoy and Bellatrix. "Prophecies can be misinterpreted. Perhaps this neglect is what will make him stronger."
"Then it would be wise to eliminate the threat before it grows," Malfoy said in a low voice.
"Do not presume to interrupt me, Lucius!" the Dark Lord said sharply as the aristocrat bowed his head in silence. "The Potter children are not to be touched by anyone. You may spread the word later."
"By your leave, My Lord," Bellatrix spoke with a thin smile.
"Yes, my dear?" the Dark Lord looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
"Perhaps you will indulge me in allowing me a visit to the Longbottoms… I have some old debts to pay and an old lover to greet," she licked her lips in anticipation.
The Dark Lord raised an eyebrow. "Spare me the details. You may do as you please but if the Potters appear, then you are to leave. At no cost are you to hurt Lily Potter. You are not to kill the Longbottom heir either. You may go." He waited as the woman kissed his robe and then raised his hand for her to kiss his ring, a sign of favoritism, before she left.
"Lucius, what news of Regulus?" the Dark Lord asked.
"It appears," the aristocrat drawled, "that he has turned against us. He has been seen by three different sources to be in contact with his blood-traitor brother."
The Dark Lord nodded. "He had much promise. You know what to do."
"Yes, My Lord," Malfoy said, getting up.
Left alone, the Dark Lord frowned thoughtfully. After a long silence, he muttered, "Harry Potter."