Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. If I did, then things would be a whole lot different.
Important A/N: Thanks my Beta, Alethea27 for all her help in editing and to all you readers who patiently waited for this new chapter. I hope you all had a pleasant holidays. I had originally planned for this to be added in time for Halloween but then I started to have my computer issues and you know the rest of the story. All the information concerning the vampires is of my own creation. Voivode is an old Slavic word that translates into English as prince or duke and can also mean a governor of a province or appointed area. The title of this chapter is from the description of the Dark Arts given by Professor Snape in the Half Blood Prince.
Chapter Thirteen A Many Headed Monster
Alone in one of the many dark cells of Azkaban, Bellatrix Lestrange sat huddled in the corner. Time had deteriorated her mind just as it had her once glamorous looks. The once prominent beauty had hallowed and become waxen. Her finger nails had grown and now resembled claws. A wild mess of black hair had replaced the once luxurious ebony hair. But her appearance was n7ot a concern to her. As she sat in her gray and dirty prisoner's uniform, the eldest daughter of Cygnus and Druella Black looked at the mark that had been burned onto her skin.
It stood against her pale skin. The symbol of her utter devotion and dedication. She traced its shape with her long, dirty finger nail. For the past thirteen years, the black skull with the protruding snake had lain dormant but that changed. Over the course of the past year, the Mark slowly grew in strength until just a few short weeks ago, it suddenly flared to life causing her to let out a high pitch cackle of glee. Had it not been for the strong Anti-Apparition wards that covered her cell, Bellatrix would have answered the call. How she craved to be at her master's side once more and Bellatrix knew that moment would come soon enough.
While the other so called loyal Death Eaters went into hiding after his apparent downfall and others, like her simpering brother-in-law, claimed they were forced into his service, Bellatrix proudly proclaimed her loyalty to the Dark Lord and was one of the few tying to find him and return him to power. Unlike the weaker ones, the eldest Black daughter was more then willing to servre her sentence in Azkaban because she knew she would be rewarded for her loyalty.
That time was coming soon. When it finally flared back to life, Bellatrix knew it would just be a matter of time before the Dark Lord brought down the walls of Azkaban. But he never came that night or the next. Bellatrix was not worried. If the Dark Lord wanted to wait for the right moment to release her, fine. She could wait a little while longer.
A suddenly burning twinge sized he left forearm causing her Mark to come alive. The sensation lasted only for a moment before it faded away. Lifting her head, Bellatrix looked up to her cell's small window and let out a mad cackle of glee.
"I must say Lucius, it is a very flattering gift," Cornelius Fudge said the blond wizard seated across from him in his office.
"Come now Minister," Lucius began with a wave of his hand, "I'm happy to do so. The Malfoy fortune is considerably vast and I'm happy to put it towards such causes."
The gift in question was a large magical portrait banner of the Minister. Lucius had it created to help boost Fudge's already inflamed ego. It was just one of the many gifts Lucius had bestowed on the Minster in the past few weeks. It was how the aristocratic wizard had been able to obtain his significant influence within the inner workings of the Ministry. With those gifts Lucius had been able to get close to Fudge and offer his humble advice to the man. Now, that influence was going to help his master rid the Wizarding World of Mudbloods and Blood Traitors and return Pure Blood Wizards to their rightful place in the world.
"Now all I have to do is figure out where to place it," Fudge said thoughtfully as he rubbed his chin.
"If you ask me," Lucius began in his subtle tone, "I think it would look spectacular hanging in the Atrium. That way, all who come to the Ministry will be able to see it and be reassured that your position as Minister is sound and steadfast against Albus Dumbledore's false accusations."
"Yes. Yes. It would look spectacular hanging in there," the Minister answered with elation. "I'll have Magical Maintenance see to it at once."
Lucius offered an obsequious smile, inside, the blond Death Eater smiling with as much smugness as Fudge was radiating. 'How easy it is to fool the weak minded,' he thought to himself as he gazed at the silver snake head of his walking stick as the Minister fumbled with a memo to send to the Head of Magical Maintenance.
"Tell me Minister," Lucius began in a casual tone, "how goes your attempts in getting rid of your little doxy problem?"
Cornelius propped himself conceitedly in his chair. While the Minister's crusade against Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter was well known in the halls of the Ministry, it was not something mentioned out loud. As such, the entire affair was talked about as a rather bad case of Doxy infestation. "Oh that's going well. The current treatment for the oldest one does seem to be working even though the pest does appear to be extremely stubborn in succumbing to it. But I'm certain that given plenty of time, the treatment will deliver the expected results."
"And the other pest?"
"I have something special in mind for that problem."
Fudge's smug answer sparked Lucius' interest. He determined that there was more to the Minister answer and he was certain that the Dark Lord would want to know everything the man had in store for the Potter boy.
"Really Minister?" Lucius asked in a mock sense of awe. As he leaned forward, the head of his walking stick practically in Fudge's face. "How so?
"It's quit ingenious really if I do say so myself."
As Cornelius went on to describe his plans, Lucius paid strict attention so he could relate everything in full to the Dark Lord.
Deep within the Ministry's Archives, Thaddeus Nott sat surrounded by numerous stacks of books and bundles of aged parchment. After finishing scanning the aged pages of the book before him, Nott closed it and added it to the large pile of items he had spent the past few hours going through. He had made some progress but he still had a long way to go before he had finished. The Dark Lord had tasked Nott to find as much information as he could about a magic from the Dark Ages and forbade him to mention the direct details to anyone.
Thaddeus had been chosen mainly due to his interest and knowledge of obscure magics and this particular piece of magic was largely believed by many to be just a legend. But the Dark Lord was confident that it was real. Since many believed it to be a legend, tangible information about the subject was hard to come by. Thaddeus had searched the bookstores of Knockturn Alley but found little that would aid him. He eventually realized that there would only be three places in Wizarding Britain were he could find any type of real information for the Dark Lord. Those places were the Ministry's Archives, the Hogwarts Library and the private library of the Hogwarts Headmaster.
There was no way he could get access to the latter two, but Thaddeus had been granted access to the usually off limits Ministry's Archives thanks to Lucius' influence and he had been left alone to go through the vast collection on his own. As he scanned over the number of material he had gathered, Thaddeus spied a large leather bounded volume entitled The Darkest Works of the Darkest Ages Archives. It was twenty minutes later that Nott came across a passage that made his eyes widen. The passage detailed exactly what the Dark Lord was after and how Nott could limit his search more directly.
As he started to write down the information, a piercing voice came from amidst the long series of book shelves. "Aren't you finished yet?" Bethany Ulrich asked as she neared Nott's cluttered table.
"That's none of your concern," Nott answered looking up from the tome. "This isn't like looking up some simple hex. This practical brand of dark magic is from the time of Merlin and, as I'm sure as you recall from your History of Magic classes, many of those brands of magic have been lost for centuries. Records about them are extremely scarce."
Bethany rolled her eyes at the explanation. "Why the Dark Lord wishes to waste his time hiding and sending the likes of Lucius off to toady up to the Minister and you to breathe in dust is beyond me."
"Well it's not your place to question the Dark Lord's actions."
"But still," Bethany huffed as she crossed her arms, "wasting his time having that old fool Dumbledore dragged through the mud and fixating on that Potter brat is more time he could be using to getting rid of Muggleborns and other filth. Just find Potter and kill him. I would think the Dark Lord would have learned something from that whole Triwizard Tournament fiasco."
Thaddeus shot up and reached for her left arm and pulled back the sleeve to reveal her Dark Mark before doing the same to his. "The Mark is a sign of obedience and loyalty. It means we do not dare to question any of the Dark Lords plans," Nott hissed. "If he were to hear you say such things, you would be dead before you knew he had even drawn his wand."
"Alright I get it," Bethany said as she pulled back her arm. Anyway, Lucius sent me to find you and let you know that when he's done with Fudge, he's coming down here to see you."
"Very well," Thaddeus replied with a small nod and returned his attention back to the archive. Bethany simply huffed and left.
As the two Death Eaters went about their business, neither one of them were aware of the figure hidden on the other side of the bookshelf who had witnessed their entire conversation. Quietly and quickly, they hurried out of the Archives through the other entrance, not certain as to what to do with the information they now held.
In the traditional Death Eater manner, Severus apparated to the Dark Lord's side in a cloud of billowing black, his mind completely occluded and quickly saw that they were in an unfamiliar rocky area. The Dark Lord was standing with his back to him, cladded in his hooded black robe. Nagini was nowhere to be seen. He fell to his knee and waited to be acknowledged, noticing the high cold wind that whipped about.
"Come Severus, rise," Voldemort instructed.
Doing son, Severus quickly took in where his Dark Mark had brought him. They were standing near a rocky ledge with a vast dark forests sprawled out below them with a river cutting through it. Before him were high snowcapped mountains. It was evident they were not in Britain.
"The Carpathians are quit majestic aren't they, the Dark Lord commented to the Potions Master.
'The Carpathians?' Severus thought in disbelief behind his shields. "We're in Romania?'
"Have you ever been to Transylvania, Severus?"
"I can't say I have my Lord."
"A pity. It's quite a beautiful country. I myself spent several years here after I had left Hogwarts. I studied and learned much here about many forms of obscure of magic."
Voldemort motioned for Severus to come and stand beside him and Severus did so. With the heavy hood up, Snape was unable to make out the snake like face that was hidden in shadow. The absent of the scarlet eye told him that the Dark Lord had his eyes closed in thought. Finally after several minutes, the scarlet eyes opened and looked over to the Potions Master.
"The alliance I sought with the vampires was denied Severus. I'm here to find out why. And I sense you would like to know why I chose to include you."
"I am a little curious my Lord," Snape answered, "but am honored that you selected me."
Placing his white spindly hand on Snap's shoulder, Voldemort smiled. "I know I can count on not only your loyalty Severus, but also your candor. Something we both know Lucius lacks at times."
"My Lord," said with an expected humbled bow of his head.
With that, the Dark Lord tightened his hold on the Head of Slytherin and disapparated.
"Our decision stands mortal. Your request for a treaty is denied."
The words of Carandini, Voivode of Italy were stated in a deep voice. Alongside him sat the other twelve vampires that composed the Thirteen Vampire Lords whom governed a vampire population throughout the world. Each sat in a high black throne with a banner depicting each Lord's coat of arms below them.
Severus never thought he would find himself standing in the Grand Vampire Throne Room. Very few mortals, wizard or Muggle, had been given this honor. To Severus, the throne room and the castle was like one of the old Muggle vampire movies he would watch with Lily when they were younger. The high vaulted ceiling was supported by large stone columns. High gothic windows opened out to the rugged peaks of the Carpathians. The light of candles and the large fireplace on the far side of the room filled the room. Carandini's appearance greatly reminded Severus of Abraxas Malfoy. He had a strong face, dark piercing eyes and a highly defined aristocratic manner. Instead of a full beard, Carandini wore a long white mustache which was the same snowy white as his swept back hair.
"But why?" the Dark Lord demanded as he stood confidently before the gathering of vampires. Severus stood behind him obediently, taking in everything so he could show Dumbledore later. "Why have you rejected my offer? I believe I deserve a reason."
"First of all, you did not see fit enough to seek an alliance with this council in your first bid for power," began Carridean, Voivode of Canada. Lean and cadaverous with saturnine looks and a neatly trimmed mustache, Carridean gazed hard at Voldemort. "No. Rather, you went and enlisted the most gullible of vampires to your cause."
"As a result, many our kind were once again hunted down and destroyed even though we had no part in your plans," continued Shadix, Voivode of Japan as he steepled his fingers. Shadix had elongated features and wore a rich red and purple kimono. He wore his hair pulled back into a traditional topknot with the rest falling down well past his waist. "After the bloodshed had ceased, we were able to prove to your leaders that we had not consummated an allegiance with you, Riddle," sneered Shadix.
Voldemort's shoulders stiffened. The way Shadix had spoken his true name was like slap across the face. That one act made it clear that the Vampire Lords did not think he was the all grand wizard he presented himself to be.
"But perhaps we should thank you for your stupidity," stated Villaris, the Voivode of Mexico. "Your Ministry opened up negotiations between our two sides after they learned we had played no part. As such, we have been able to manage our own affairs without interference."
Voivode Creighton of America chuckled as he smiled. To Severus, Creighton was the oppositeof Carridean with a noticeable exception. While both wore a similar mustache, Creighton looked like a bloated leech that had just fed. "We have gained acceptance and have not faced the hatred as the werewolves face in your country. And we no longer have to fear retaliation for our feedings. We just promised to limit our feedings to just a few times a month."
"And you do not see that as an insult," Voldemort interjected. "If you join me, I can promise you all the Muggles you can feast upon. You will be allowed to freely multiply and no longer fear being hunted down."
It was evident to Snape that the Dark Lord had been fighting an uphill battle; he had lost and did not wish to acknowledge it. The Vampire Lords clearly knew it as well and were enjoying seeing the dark wizard squirming. They did not believe any of the Dark Lord promises and why should they? Similar promises were made to the werewolves, but Severus knew they would not be kept. As he watched the Dark Lord's body language, it was easy for him to see the dark wizard had had enough. He had not been given a good enough answer in his twisted mind. His hand clenched the handle of his yew wand, but he was unable to use it. Since they were already dead vampires were unaffected by magic, but being dark beings also, they held powers of their own.
Before anyone else could speak, the rich dark voice of Belasko, Voivode of Romania and King of the Vampires rang out. "You will not win the coming war. You will fail as you did before. And we have no wish to be on the losing side of a war. So when the time comes, we shall simply wait the bloodshed out."
"So you all believe Harry Potter will defeat me!" Voldemort seethed, anger flaring up in his scarlet eyes. "That's your great reason for rejecting my offer of power! I am far stronger than a simple child. Especially one born to a dirty blood Mublood!
It took all of Severus' self-control to keep from casting the Cruciatus or worse at the Dark Lord.
"A child who succeeded in defeating you ,Tom Riddle, already once when he was just over a year old. And when the time comes, he will did so once again," Belasko said. "All of your strengths and skills mean nothing. In the end, we know that you fear the boy."
Voldemort's anger finally erupted. "I am Lord Voldemort, the greatest wizard of all time! I fear nothing! I will kill Harry Potter and all those who stand in my way!" He looked at the council of vampires and looked pointedly at Belasko and added, "If you believe I shall not succeed this time then you're all fools, but none greater than you."
Before Severus or Voldemort knew it, Belasko had leaped from his throne and swooped down on the dark wizard. The Vampire King had Voldemort by the throat and was lifting him off the ground with ease. Staying true to his character, the Potions Master had drawn his wand but did not attack. None of the other vampires moved. They merely looked upon the scene with mild indifference.
"You are no Lord," Belasco declared. "You were once a mortal named Tom Marvolo Riddle who came to this country to try to unlock the secrets of immortality. But even then we could sense what you had done to yourself in the name of immortality. We know you've broken the most scared of laws before more than once you tried to discover our secrets. Your shattered soul is proof of that. And now you dare challenge our, my, final and absolute judgment? You are even more foolish than those who follow you."
Severus just watched as the Lord of All Vampires hurled Voldemort across the room and into the wall.
"My Lord!" Severus shouted as he raced to the man's, if he could be called that, side. But as he bent down, Voldemort brushed his offer of help away as he stood. His snake like features scowled as he faced the vampires.
"I will defeat Harry Potter, I promise you that. Then with no one to defy me, I shall rule the Magical and Muggle worlds as I see fit. And all those who did not see fit to join me will find that that it was the poorest decisions they ever made!"
With that he stormed out of the throne room with Severus right behind him. Belasko smiled darkly and said, "Poor deluded fool."
After Apparating away from the castle, Severus found himself standing on the rocky ledge once again with the Dark Lord's back to him. Somewhere in the valley below a wolf howled. Severus made sure not to address the Dark Lord for he knew he would be on the receiving end of a prolonged Cruciatus Curse. After several minutes had passed, the Death Eater turned spy decided to be the loyal follower he was perceived to be.
"I grow weary of these setbacks Severus. It appears that I'm losing my touch at not foreseeing such possible outcomes."
"My Lord, I must protest," Severus interjected. "In all my life, I have known no other wizard to possess such a skill."
"Not even Dumbledore?" Voldemort asked turning to face Snape.
"Dumbledore is always blinded by his flawed belief that there is the possibility of good in everyone," Snape scoffed. "And as the greatest wizard of them all once said to me, there is no good or evil. There is only power and those too weak to seek it."
Voldemort smiled. "Still, do you not think it odd that I never thought to assume the vampires would not agree to join me?"
"It is not your fault my Lord. From what I witnessed, it's apparent the vampires have become weak. The Thirteen Lords fear that if they were join you and you were somehow fail to gain control of the Wizarding Word that the protection they have from their treaty will become null and void. That would mean the once mass persecution of their kind would return."
"Your follower is a very perceptive. Fortunately, I'm not as narrow minded as the rest," a voice called out to them. Turning, the two wizards saw a vampire wearing a long black cloak step out of the shadows and come towards them. Severus knew who this vampire was, the Voivode of Australia, Lord Roxburgh. His similar features made Severus think how students often thought he was a vampire. He exuded a strong militaristic quality as he stood with ridged posture. His long black hair was pulled back into a pony tail with a few stray strands framing his angular face. He wore black gloves and a single golden ring hung from his left ear.
"Lord Roxburgh," Voldemort addressed him with a small smile before he turned to Snape. "Severus, I need to talk with Voivode Roxburgh about salvaging my plans. You're assistance here is finished my friend. Return to your current duties. I shall call upon you later."
"As you wish my Lord," Snape answered with a bow.
Without another word, the two were gone. Roxburgh had transformed into a bat, an ability that only the strongest of vampires possessed, and flew off into the night with the Dark Lord flying after him. The Potions Master waited until they were completely out of sight before he could act. Drawing his wand, Severus summoned his Patronus. Once the silver doe appeared, he provided the message he wanted it to deliver and sent it off. Then grabbing hold of his robe and sweeping it about him, Severus disapparated without a sound.
Miles away, in a picturesque village, Severus Snape found himself sitting in the local bar. The bar was crowded but not noisy and most of the patrons were Muggles. He sat in a corner booth near the roaring fireplace with a large mug of local brew and went over the events of the last hour. It was apparent that Roxburgh was willing to go against the other Vampire Lords and join the Dark Lord in his campaign of horror. Having werewolves fight for him was one thing, but vampires as well? He did his best to suppress the shudder he got just thinking about the situation.
As he took a long sip of his drink, his onyx eyes caught sight of the companion he was meeting enter the bar and make his way over to his table. Severus saw he kept his hand in his coat pocket where no doubt he kept wand. Upon reaching the table, the young man did not sit down right away. He remained standing, keeping hold of his hidden wand as he asked, "What was the flavor that ruined Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans?"
"Vomit," Severus answered correctly.
His visitor relaxed and let go of his wand. That was the correct answer that told him the man before him was the real Severus Snape and not an imposture.
"Professor Snape," he said with a smile.
"Mr. Weasley," Severus replied to Charlie Weasley as he motioned for a drink for his former pupil and fellow Order member.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and as always, I look forward to all your opinions.
Again, I'm so sorry this chapter took over three months to get put up but you know what life can do to your plans. I hope it was worth the wait.
As I said before, the information about the vampires is of my own creation. I did a lot of research and my vampire world was mainly influenced by the hierarchies of the Catholic Church and Galactic Empire from Star Wars. The Vampire Lords are based on actors who have portrayed Dracula. The ones I have mentioned are as follows:
Carandini – Sir Christopher Carandini Lee
Carridean - John Carradine
Shadix – Glen Shadix (He did not play Dracula but a character called Tso Lan who was modeled on him)
Villaris – Carlos Villarias
Creighton - Creighton Chaney (Lon Chaney Jr.)
Roxburgh – Richard Roxburgh
Belasko – Bela Blaskó (Bela Blaskó)
I plan on doing more with the vampires later on as well as Nott's project too.
In the next chapter I'll get back to Harry and Snape and their relationship.
Till then, I wish you the best.