III. The Arts of Slytherin

So it came to pass that Lucius Ajax Malfoy became a faithful follower of the Dark Lord. His second year was an interesting one for Lucius, as he managed to become seeker for the Slytherin team, winning them the Quidditch cup as well as the House cup for the second year in a row. As well as this he was chosen by Slughorn as a member of an organisation nicknamed 'The Slug Club', which included all the well-connected students at Hogwarts.

However, it was not until the Christmas holidays of his third year that Lucius found himself required to actually do anything on the Dark Lord's behalf. His father had called him into his study once again, and that in itself was enough to tell Lucius that something important was soon to happen. He did not, however, expect to hear the words that his father eventually spoke; leastways he had not been expecting to hear them for quite some time yet.

"Lord Voldemort is thankful for your service, my son," Abraxas told him. "He is grateful for all the information about the school which you have passed onto him through me, however minor and seemingly inconsequential this information is. But now the time has come where the Dark Lord wishes for you to actively serve him."

"And how does he wish me to do this, father?" Lucius asked.

"The Dark Lord is of the opinion that your command of the Dark Arts has reached a sufficient level that you would be capable of instructing your fellow students in the discipline," Abraxas explained. "I must say that I agree with his judgement entirely on this matter; your command of the Imperius and Cruciatus curses is of a higher calibre than that of many wizards far older than yourself.

"As well as this we have reason to believe, from the information you have passed on to us and from other… sources we have, that there are a number of your fellow Slytherins who would be more than willing to aid the Dark Lord's caused. However, to do that they must be proficient in the Dark Arts – which, of course, is where you come in.

"As for places in which to practice, I feel I ought to let you know that there are rooms within the Slytherin quarters themselves which have been spelled in such a way that any magic practiced there can be neither detected nor traced. The largest of these is behind the fifth bookcase on the left in the Slytherin library. I'm sure you'll be able to work out how to get in there by yourself. But I will give you one clue – snakes."

Lucius frowned. "How do you know all this, father? I've never heard anyone mention secret rooms within the Slytherin quarters themselves."

"I know first hand that they exist, my dear son," Abraxas replied. "I myself used them on a number of occasions during my time at Hogwarts. Although I cannot take the credit for having rediscovered them, as it were; no, it was the Dark Lord himself who achieved that feat."

"And if my fellow Slytherins enquire as to the name of the Dark Lord's… organisation, as it were?" Lucius asked.

"Then tell them that they should be honoured to be serving the ideals of the Knights of Walpurgis under Lord Voldemort" Abraxas replied, smiling coldly. "Now go and do some work. You have much sharpening up to do if you are to be ready to train others in this most complex yet wonderful of arts."

"Yes, father" Lucius replied and he left the room. Snakes? What did his father mean, snakes? He had a lot of work to do if he wished to figure that one out before returning to Hogwarts in the New Year.

As it turned out, Lucius failed to figure out his father's clue before he returned to Hogwarts, which led to his spending countless nights in the Slytherin library with Talaus, trying in vain to figure out what his father had meant.

"I wish he had just been straightforward and told you what the bloody hell he meant," Talaus spat, angrily scribbling out part of his arithmancy essay. "And I wish you'd tell me why you're suddenly so obsessed with finding this room anyway. It seems rather ridiculous to me; you're turning into a Gryffindor!"

Lucius decided to ignore his friend's comment. He had decided that it would not be prudent to inform Talaus of his true reasons for attempting to find this secret room until after said room had been found. He didn't entirely trust Talaus Pyrites not to go round blabbing to the whole of Slytherin house that Lucius Malfoy was going to train all willing and capable students in the Dark Arts. When they finally did start training he knew that this wouldn't be a problem, as he could always place Talaus under a vow that would have rather unpleasant consequences for him if he broke it. Hair loss, perhaps, or boils, or possibly even just wrinkles: he could think of nothing that would horrify Talaus more. The boy was impossibly vain.

"I mean seriously," Talaus was muttering again, "what did he mean, snakes? There are bloody snakes everywhere in this part of the castle."

"Hardly surprising considering we're in the Slytherin quarters," Lucius replied, exasperated by Talaus' comment. Was the boy really so stupid, or was he just prone to speaking before he thought? Lucius strongly suspected – and hoped for the latter. "You do realise that you're beginning to sound like a Gryffindor, Tal. 'There are bloody snakes everywhere' – honestly!"

Talaus glared at him. "Don't do that, Lucius; it's incredibly annoying. And besides, you've no right to talk to me like that, not if you want me to help you find the entrance to that room your looking for."

"You know no more than me."

"Oh don't I?" Talaus replied. "Well I take it you've already taken a look at the bookcases then. You do realise that that one over in the far corner has a snake inscribed on the side of it? I would have mentioned it earlier but I forgot about it until you began to annoy me so much that I think I'm now at risk of getting wrinkles."

Lucius hadn't noticed any such detail, but of course he wasn't going to give Talaus the satisfaction of knowing that he had spotted something that even the great Lucius Malfoy had missed.

Later that evening, when he was quite certain that every other Slytherin would be asleep or otherwise occupied, Lucius Malfoy decided to follow Talaus Pyrites' hint and inspect the bookcase in the far corner of the Slytherin library. It was hidden away enough that Lucius was certain that even if any insomniacs or prefects happened to inspect the common room they wouldn't detect any movement up in the Slytherin library.

He looked at the bookcase, which was full of ancient, rather outdated books on muggles of all things. He wrinkled his nose in disgust. Books on muggles, here in the Slytherin quarters? No wonder no one went to this part of the library. What had Talaus been doing looking at books on muggles? He sincerely hoped that his associate had more sense than to be developing muggle-loving, bloodtraitor tendencies. He shook the thought from his mind almost immediately; no, Talaus would never be so stupid. He was a Slytherin and a pureblood through and through, and Lucius knew that he would be one of the most devoted to the Dark Lord's cause as soon as Lucius informed him of what was going on.

Lucius turned his attention away from the books to the bookcase itself, hoping that Talaus' information might actually provide something of use. Of course he didn't expect that to be the case, but it was worth acting on it anyway: Slytherins of all people knew that every possibility had to be investigated. Unfortunately Talaus' information seemed to have been ungrounded, as he could make out no sign of a snake anywhere on the bookcase.

Lucius glared at it, wondering whether a particularly vicious stare would force the elusive snake out of its hiding place. It had to be somewhere in this library or his father wouldn't have mentioned it; he wouldn't go wasting Lucius' precious time, especially not when it came to anything related to their service to the Dark Lord. He really needed to find this snake.

It was as if the bookcase had somehow heard his thoughts, as a silvery-coloured carving of a snake appeared in the very spot he had been glowering at for the past few minutes. Lucius blinked: that certainly had not been there before. Perhaps Talaus really did have a point. Lucius wondered whether he should thank the other boy later on but almost immediately decided against it. It wouldn't do to acknowledge that Talaus Pyrites had managed to note something that he, Lucius Malfoy, had failed to spot. If he did that then the other boy would gloat insufferably for weeks, and Lucius didn't trust himself not to kill – or at the very least severely maim the other boy if that were to happen.

Lucius reached out and touched the snake, which, to his surprise, then turned and hissed at him as though it were alive. Lucius jumped back in surprise then shook his head. What was he doing, jumping back from a snake (and not even a real one at that) like some frightened mudblood Hufflepuff. This really was ridiculous, and besides, he had work to be getting on with.

He reached out and brushed the snake with his fingertips. It coiled around his hand and he froze momentarily, but then he remembered that it really was imperative that he found the place his father had mentioned so he could begin training others in the Dark Arts like the Dark Lord had commanded. With that the snake curled all the way up his arm and the bookcase swung open, revealing a long, dark passage.

Lucius wondered whether it would be too Gryffindorish a thing to do if he were to investigate, but then he decided that investigation was rather necessary in this case. He really had to have a room to practice in, and if this was the one that his father had mentioned to him (and he was almost certain that it was) then he had no reason not to investigate. The possible positives if this was a room in which he could begin teaching the Dark Arts to his fellow Slytherins far outweighed the possibly negatives – such as encountering a hex or two or having to jink something in that corridor.

With that in mind Lucius stepped into the passage. He suppressed a shudder as the bookcase slammed shut behind him, leaving him momentarily in complete darkness until torches began to flicker into life along the walls of the corridor, shrouding the whole scene in an ethereal green light.

How very Slytherin it all seemed, Lucius mused. Yes, this was most certainly the place his father and the Dark Lord had instructed him to find. He continued making his way down the corridor, trying not to pay any attention to the stench of damp that lingered here. It didn't have surprise him (they were under the Great Lake itself, after all) but that didn't make it any less unpleasant.

Finally the passageway opened up into a cavernous room. The ceiling towered above him to such a height that he could barely discern it among the shadows. The walls of the room were perfectly rounded, too, and the same glittering green torches were present here as lit the passageway and the Slytherin quarters proper. There was no doubt in his mind that this was the place that his father had instructed him to find: the very walls here tingled with the residue of ancient dark magic. Yes, he would bring his Slytherins (for he was already thinking of them all as his) to these quarters and begin training them immediately.

Lucius headed away from the cavernous, back to the Slytherin library. He wondered momentarily how he was going to get out, as the bookcase had slammed shut behind him when he'd entered the corridor, but luckily it opened as soon as he came close to it.

Lucius had just managed to slip out of the passageway, the bookcase closing itself silently behind him, and sit down at one of the nearby tables when Augustus Rookwood came round the corner. He caught sight of Lucius and glared suspiciously at him. This was just his luck, Lucius cursed, to be caught outside his dormitory after hours by the Head Boy.

"Why are you up so late?" Rookwood asked, sounding vaguely amused rather than annoyed like Lucius had expected.

"I was looking for some information that might help me complete my herbology essay if you must know, Rookwood," Lucius said curtly.

"Of course, Malfoy," Rookwood said, suppressing a laugh. "Because we all know that you love herbology so much that you'd be sitting up and trying to finish an essay four days before it's actually due in. Come now, you're a Slytherin; you're supposed to be a better liar than that. For Salazar's sake, if you're attempting to get hold of Dark Arts stuff then just beg Bellatrix Black; I'm sure she's got some rather interesting texts on the subject."

It was Lucius' turn to suppress a laugh now. He knew very well that Bellatrix Black was rather fond of the Dark Arts – and he also knew that his knowledge of the subject had far surpassed hers a long time ago.

Rookwood either didn't notice the amused glint in his eyes or he chose to overlook it. "Get to bed, Malfoy. We all know you're as bad as Pyrites when you don't get your beauty sleep."

Lucius was half-tempted to throw a witty retort in the prefect's direction but he decided against it. It really wouldn't be worth the hassle; trying to outwit Augustus Rookwood would probably be about as productive as staring a Basilisk straight in the eye.

It was only when he was climbing into bed that Lucius realised why his father had told Lucius to find the room for himself rather than telling him where it was from the start; the room only made itself known to those who really, truly wanted to make use of it. Salazar Slytherin had embedded his attitude even into the castle itself, it seemed.

"You're going to do what?" Talaus exclaimed, looking like a crup that had been given a fresh bone.

"Will you keep your voice down," Lucius hissed. He knew that mentioning this to Talaus and Nyctimus on the way to breakfast wasn't the best idea he'd had recently, but it was the only time he could think of where both of them would actually be listening to him at the same time. "I already told you – I'm starting up a Dark Arts Club. Just for a few of us purebloods, don't worry," he said, catching sight of the suspicious look on Nyctimus' face.

The other boy relaxed immediately. "Thank Salazar," he muttered. "We really couldn't be doing with Mudbloods learning the Dark Arts, now could we?"

"Of course not," Lucius replied. "I've yet to meet a single one who could handle the Dark Arts with the care and respect they deserve."

"You sound like my father," Talaus muttered, sounding not so much annoyed as exasperated.

"Meaning what, Tal?" Lucius asked coldly.

"Meaning you sound… old. You know, like you've been studying this sort of thing for ages," Talaus explained.

Lucius raised a thing, silvery eyebrow. "And who's to say I haven't been studying 'this sort of thing' for a long time?"

His fellow third years looked at him in shock.

"But you're only in third year!" Nyctimus exclaimed. "How can you have been studying the Arts for a long time?"

Lucius took note of Nyctimus' euphemism (the 'Arts' was so much more ambiguous and so much less incriminating than the 'Dark Arts'), then sighed and began to explain.

"My father thought it appropriate to begin teaching me such things the summer after I'd completed the first year," he said. "He'd intended to wait until I was fourteen, but he decided to begin things rather earlier."

Nyctimus glared at him, envy obvious in his gaze.

"Father refuses to teach me anything until I turn sixteen," he muttered.

"And I am telling you that I'm willing to begin teaching you now, Nyctimus, so there's nothing for you to be complaining about any more, now is there?"

Nyctimus nodded, a sly smile creeping onto his face. "So, who else shall we notify about that."

"Anyone whom you think would be loyal to the cause of Lord Voldemort," Lucius replied. Upon spotting the blank expressions on his companions' faces he deduced that further explanation was necessary; evidently they had yet to hear of the great Dark Lord. "Basically anyone you know who is a pureblood – and a true pureblood at that. We don't want to be wasting our precious time on bloodtraitors, now do we?

"Our first meeting will be next Thursday evening at nine-o-clock. Gather as many people as you think is appropriate and meet me in the Slytherin library. I'll lead the way from there."

When Thursday evening came around, Lucius found more people than he had expected waiting for him in the Slytherin library, all with either eager, curious or power-hungry stares on their faces. They were a curious lot, the oldest there being Linus Travers, whom Lucius had always expected had rather an affinity for the Dark Arts, and the youngest being Alecto and Amycus Carrow, a pair of rather hideous looking, rat-faced first year twins of whom Lucius was not fond, but whom he expected would easily be bent to the Dark Lord's will when the time came. He noted that there were no sixth or seventh years present – he assumed that they were either horrified by the idea that a third year thought himself skilled enough to have anything to teach them, or they simply didn't know what Lucius had going on that evening, though he strongly suspected the former.

Lucius waited five minutes, then when he was quite certain that no one else was coming, he turned and stared at the bookcase, willing the silver serpent to appear and grant him the right to use the hidden room. The serpent appeared in a matter of moments this time (it was far easier to summon it now that he knew exactly where to look) and as soon as the bookcase swung open Lucius began to lead his fellow Slytherins down the cold, stone passageway and into the cavernous room.

He heard a few gasps as the entered the room and looked around to see that even Travers could not entirely mask the look of wonder in his eyes. Evidently they had all had even less idea than he that such a place existed. This made Lucius wonder how the Dark Lord had discovered this room in the first place. Perhaps his desire to study advanced magic in secret had been so strong that the serpent had materialised before him without him ever having to command it outright to show itself – or perhaps there was something deeper in it, Lucius didn't know.

Talaus leaned over to Lucius and hissed, "I told you so."

"You may have pointed out the snake to me in the first place, Tal, but even you couldn't have expected that this was what was hidden there," Lucius shot back. He turned around to face the crowd of expectant-looking faces and began to speak. "As you all know, I've called you here in order to teach you the Dark Arts. Dark Magic is the most powerful of all, and that is why it is so expressly forbidden by the fools who run this place. They want us to be weak while our enemies grow stronger! So I have decided to follow the example set by the Durmstrang Institute and begin passing my knowledge of the Dark Arts onto you, my fellow Slytherins. You are all here because you are purebloods and you are Slytherins – and we of this damned house of Salazar must rise up against the muggle-loving blood traitors in order to protect not only our own purity but the purity of the wizarding world as a whole." A cheer rose up from a number of those in front of him and Lucius smirked slightly. Excellent – things were going exactly as he had planned. He noticed Nyctimus rolling his eyes at the smug look on Lucius' face, but Lucius decided he could overlook that for now.

"We'll start with something simple," Lucius said. "The gastronicontortious curse ought to do." He caught sight of a few horrified looks. "What were you expecting to be studying – the jellylegs jinx?" He sneered at them. "If you don't like it then leave now: but be warned, the consequences will be dire if anyone whom this does not concern finds out about it." A few people paled at that but no one moved. "Excellent. We'll begin shortly. Now, who wants to be our test subject for the evening?"

"Malfoy," someone shouted, breaking the silence that had until the cloaked the Slytherin library, "we need a word with you."

Lucius' first instinct was to completely ignore whomever it was that had decided to interrupt him whilst he was working, but then he caught a glimpse of whom it was that had called him out of the corner of his eye. Rodolphus Lestrange was standing right behind him, hellfire blazing in his eyes. Whatever Rodolphus wanted him for, he could be sure that it wasn't anything good, and Lucius knew that while he would almost certainly get berated if he went with him, he would probably get severely cursed if he didn't.

His initial thought was to let him try (seventh years or not, he knew he had a fair chance of beating Lestrange in a duel) but then he saw Augustus Rookwood and decided that it really would be in his best interests to go. Rumour had it (and rumour in Slytherin was almost always fact) that Head Boy been offered a place in the Department of Mysteries already, and as such he was one person whom Lucius did not want to cross.

Lucius got slowly to his feet, tucking the book he had been reading under his arm, and nodded to the two seventh years.

"What do you want with me Rookwood, Lestrange?" Lucius asked quietly.

"Like I said, we need a word," Rodolphus hissed, grabbing Lucius by the arm (the one that wasn't clutching his book, luckily) and dragging him down the stairs into the common room itself.

The first thing Lucius noticed was that the common room was empty apart from one, dark, rather insane girl who was sprawled across the armchair nearest the fire, the flames of which were making her look ill as well as mad, as though she had just been released from Azkaban. It was Bellatrix Black.

Rodolphus shoved Lucius away from him and Lucius sank gracefully into the chair opposite Bellatrix, not pleased at all with the way things were going. He was alone in a room with three of the most feared students Slytherin had produced in a long time, and he had absolutely no idea what they wanted him for.

His question was soon answered, as it wasn't long before Rodolphus spoke. "Our sources tell us that you've been teaching other students the Dark Arts, Malfoy."

"And if I have?" Lucius asked, his lip curling with annoyance.

"Well, that's just the thing; you should leave the teaching of the Dark Arts to those of us who actually know how to practice them," Rookwood drawled.

"Have you considered that perhaps I know more than you would give me credit for?" Lucius said coldly.

Bellatrix and Rodolphus began to laugh but Rookwood actually seemed to take him seriously.

"Even if that's the case I don't see why you felt the need to pass this knowledge on to other students – some of which are first years, no less," Rookwood said.

"I'm only doing what I've been commanded to do," Lucius said shortly, not feeling quite up to the task of explaining his service to the Dark Lord to these three.

Bellatrix howled with manic laughter again. "Commanded? Commanded? And who is it that's commanded you to teach to ickle ones Dark Magic, hmm, Little Lucius?" Bellatrix said in that mocking baby-voice she so often used. It made Lucius feel physically sick.

"I am at the command of the Dark Lord and the Knights of Walpurgis," Lucius snapped back, now seeing no reason why he should hide that from one such as Bellatrix Black who, mad as she was, would likely agree with the Dark Lord's ideals.

Bellatrix plainly didn't believe a single word that Lucius had just said. "You serve the Dark Lord, do you now, Malfoy? Is this the Dark Lord that lives under your bed and terrifies you into submission by giving you horrible nightmares? Aaaw, poor Little Lucius."

Lucius felt his lip curl with disgust. Bellatrix Black truly did bring new dimensions to the word 'infuriating'.

"Insult me one more time and you'll be tasting black magic, Black," Lucius snarled. Bellatrix laughed. "You think I'm joking?"

"You can issue an official challenge if you're serious, Malfoy," Augustus Rookwood drawled, not even deigning to look up from his book.

Rodolphus Lestrange looked at him, aghast. "Come off it, Augustus! He's only a bloody third year. There's no way a third year could ever become the Slytherin Leader. That just doesn't happen."

"It has before," Rookwood corrected him. "When your father was at school one of his classmates because the Slytherin Leader in his second year. For Malfoy, as a third year, to challenge for it would be surprising, yes, but not unprecedented."

Bellatrix began to laugh again and it was then that Lucius made up his mind.

"In that case I, Lucius Ajax Malfoy, officially challenge you, Bellatrix Dorea Black, for the title of Slytherin Leader, the one with the greatest control over the happenings within this house," he said solemnly. Bellatrix stopped laughing immediately and glowered at him.

"Alright, little Lucius. Seeing as you have issued the challenge, I'll chose the time and place for us to duel," she said smoothly. "One in the morning, Saturday, the Forbidden Forest."

Lucius froze. Saturday? That gave him almost no time to prepare. Then again he didn't really need it – he was quite confident that he could beat Bellatrix Black in his sleep.

Then a thought occurred to him. "I know a much safer place for us to duel, Bellatrix – a place where no one will ever be able to trace out magic."

He wasn't entirely certain whether showing Bellatrix the secret room was a good idea, but he had a feeling that doing so might just work to his advantage.

"You've done what?" Nyctimus was looking at Lucius, absolutely aghast.

"I've challenged Bellatrix Black for the position of Slytherin Leader," Lucius repeated, wondering how many times he would have to say it before his year-mates understood what he was intending to do.

"You're mad, Lucius," Nyctimus stated. "You're absolutely mad. No matter how skilled you are, Bellatrix is a seventh year and you're only a third year. Even if you do win there's no way that she'll ever admit defeat."

"Then I'll just have to make her admit defeat, won't I?" Lucius snarled.

"And how to you intend to do that, exactly?"

"I have my ways," Lucius replied. "Now are you two going to accompany me on Saturday or not? It'll be rather wonderful when I manage to get Bellatrix Black grovelling at my feet."

Nyctimus and Talaus glanced at each other then nodded. Both of them knew that they really didn't have a choice in the matter after all.

Lucius leaned back against the wall of the cavern. The walls here were unexpectedly smooth, but he put that down to erosion. After all, the only man-made things in this place were the torches and the protective spells; the cavern itself, he had figured out, was a perfectly natural construct, one that Salazar Slytherin had cleverly used to his advantage.

"Are you sure that this is a good idea?" Talaus was hissing at him, but Lucius wasn't really paying attention.

"Of course it is, Tal," he replied. "If I back out now then I'll lose face, and there's nothing worse than losing face. You're a Slytherin, you should know that!"

Talaus looked as though he was about to protest but he was cut short as Bellatrix Black entered the room, accompanied by what seemed to be over half of Slytherin House. Lucius hadn't been expecting that, but he supposed it was hardly surprising; she had always been the type to put on a show, and one really couldn't have a show without an audience.

Rodolphus Lestrange walked over to where Lucius was standing, then grabbed Talaus and Nyctimus, dragging them away from him.

"We can afford to have anyone other than you or Bellatrix getting hurt," Rookwood explained as Lucius shot Rodolphus a withering look. "One or two people in the Hospital Wing we can explain away; ten or twenty we cannot."

With that Rookwood walked away from him as well. The spectators had gathered around the edges of the cavern, leaving only Bellatrix and Lucius in the middle, facing one another.

"This is you're last chance to save yourself and back out," Bellatrix said to him.

"I'm never going to do that, Black, and well you know it," Lucius snarled back.

"Then please begin," Bellatrix yawned. "I'd really rather be in bed right now, but it seems that fate has handed me the task of leaving your remains on the walls of the cavern for the House Elves to clean up."

"Serpensortia!" Lucius shouted, causing a long, black snake to appear out of the end of his wand. Bellatrix jumped back, startled that he had begun to duel without any warning, and vanished the snake, which gave Lucius time to fire a silent gastronicontortious curse in her direction. Bellatrix seemed to sense this, however, and flung up a shield just in time to deflect the spell.

"Non-verbal magic, hmm?" Bellatrix asked. "I must confess I'm impressed, Little Lucius. But you'll have to do better than that to defeat me!" She too seemed to be using non-verbal magic now, unfortunately for Lucius, as a streak of fire rushed straight past him, biting through his arm. He had enough sense to extinguish the flames whilst dodging Bellatrix's next cure, but he couldn't do anything to get rid of the pain.

Lucius gritted his teeth. This was almost enough to make him think that challenging Bellatrix Black to a duel hadn't been the best idea he'd ever had – then suddenly it dawned on him. He had known the way to win this duel all along. They couldn't trace any of the spells that were being used here, couldn't even sense them, so he wasn't going to suffer any repercussions because of his actions. His mind was made up.

"Imperio," Lucius whispered, willing Bellatrix Black's will to bend, willing her to bow to him, to declare him the head of Slytherin. He would posses her, control her every move, her every thought. She would bow to him. He saw her struggle but he knew that he had almost managed to break her.

"Imperio," he whispered again. This time Bellatrix sunk low to the floor and kissed the hem of his robes.

"Now tell me that I am the leader of the Slytherins," Lucius commanded her.

He could see Bellatrix struggling against his curse, but in the end she had no choice but to bend to his will.

"You are… the leader of… the Slytherins… my lord." No matter how hard she struggled against them, the words escaped Bellatrix's lips. She slumped to the ground, defeated, and a cheer rose up among the crowd as people realised the complexity – and illegality of the spell he had just used. He truly was a master of the Dark Arts. Bellatrix's days were over: she had finally been defeated. Lucius had won.

That was how, halfway through his third year, Lucius Ajax Malfoy established his place as the most powerful member of Slytherin House.