Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. It belongs to JK Rowling, etc.
A/N: Here is a little teaser for my next Harry Potter fic. I've got some good ideas (I hope), but I guess you guys will be the true judges of that. I hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think, and whether or not you think I should continue. Forgive the lame title – I couldn't for the life of me figure out what to call the damn fic.
Oh, and this prologue takes place before the epilogue for Year of Discord.
The New Dark Lord
He was being hunted by an animal - a damn animal in human form. His feet pounded against stone, sending up invisible splashes of water in the night, the moon hidden behind dark clouds. He couldn't escape. He tried to Apparate, but he was trapped in, sealed off from the outside by a powerful magical bubble.
Dammit! He didn't deserve this. How had it all gone so wrong?
He saw an opening in the wall to the left and ducked inside. The old abandoned building was dark - dark enough to hide him for a while. He crouched in the shadows, back against the damp wall, hearing rainwater dripping in periodic patters through a large hole in the ceiling.
He used the time to get his bearings. He was stuck in this forgotten wizarding village, being hunted by a madman. Oh yes, he knew what followed him. He knew its anger. He'd heard the stories. Many of his brothers had come up against this terrible force, and they had barely survived. The stories told of missing limps, men driven insane by the Cruciatus Curse, and even a few that hadn't survived at all. He didn't know what he feared more. Being tortured into insanity, or death at the hands of this monster.
The sound of a can rolling down the deserted street made him tense. He felt his heart thumping. Maybe the monster wouldn't have to kill him. He very well might have a heart attack. His fear drove him from the building. He had to keep moving. He had to escape somehow.
But a part of him knew, no matter how hard he ran, no matter how much he tried, he wouldn't escape. No one had. He wanted to cry it was so unfair. But no, he would be strong. Maybe he could escape.
Even as the thought entered his mind, a dark shape appeared before him, and he cried out in terror and fell to the cold wet cobblestones beneath. He tried to run, but he was flung up against a wall. He'd already lost his wand. It blew away down the street like the can earlier. He was powerless.
The shape of the hunter appeared before him, ominous in shade. He begged with his eyes and tongue. 'Please. I didn't mean it. I was scared. Please. Mercy.'
The monster shook his head. 'That's what they all say,' Draco Malfoy said, raising his wand.
The former Death Eater's scream echoed in the derelict village.
'Hey, Malfoy, wait up.'
Draco slowed to let his partner catch up. She came up behind him, jogging, her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, her cheeks red from exercise. 'So,' she said, getting her breath, 'you bagged another one without me, I hear.'
Draco picked up the pace and she jogged lightly after him. 'I caught his trail. No time to call for back up.'
'Convenient,' she said. Elle was a good girl, but she was too damn nosy for Draco's tastes.
'What's that supposed to mean?'
'You know what I mean,' she said. 'You never have time to call for back up. I'm your partner Malfoy. We're supposed to work together. And don't get me started on how every single one of the Death Eaters you bring in looks like they've gone ten rounds with a fucking Mountain Troll. I wonder how that happened, huh?'
'They resisted,' Draco said flatly.
'I bet.' Elle glared at him. 'Do you think they won't notice a pattern? You're not above the law Draco. Look, I'm just worried about you, that's all.'
'Don't,' Draco said, stopping and turning to face her. 'It's none of your business what I do. Back off. Got it?'
Elle continued to glare at him. 'Fine,' she said angrily, turning to storm away from him. 'Don't come crying to me when you get suspended, or worse!'
Draco shook his head. Nosy bitch. He successfully put her out of his mind as he entered the Auror offices locker room. He began to get changed. After months of nagging, he'd finally agreed to go visit Harry and Hermione.
'This is crazy,' Armadus Cohan said, slamming a hand on the table before him.
The room fell silent.
The old Death Eater glared at the remaining members of Voldemort's cult. They were a sorry lot, but they were all that was left. He ran a hand through his greying hair, grown long and unkempt in these trying times. He had to keep control; otherwise they would all die, or end up in Azkaban. 'I know how you all feel. The Malfoy boy hunts us like dogs. I know you're all afraid. You think you're next. Maybe you're right. But…'
'Cut the crap Cohan,' another Death Eater interrupted. His name was Greene, and he was a prick, as far as Armadus was concerned. 'You think you can motivate this lot.' Greene gestured at the huddled shapes of the remaining Death Eaters, barely over twenty wizards and witches. 'You're not the Dark Lord. He's gone. Accept it. Move on. I have.'
'Then why did you answer the summons?' Armadus snapped. 'You still believe, as I do.'
'So?' Greene scowled. 'I do believe, you're right, but these… people… they're nothing without him. Without our Lord's protection, they can't do a thing. They're just a bunch of cowardly worms, waiting to die. You think you can take his place? You can't.'
'At least I'm trying. If you're happy to sit back and let Potter win, happy to spend the rest of your days licking his ass, then be my guest. Leave.'
Greene narrowed his eyes. 'What did you say to me?'
'Must I repeat myself?' Armadus flipped a hand at him, already dismissing the spineless wizard. Greene could call the rest of them cowards, but he was the real coward. Without the Dark Lord, he was willing to go back to pretending. Armadus and the rest – they weren't cowards. They would carry on. They would do whatever it took to see their Lord's vision fulfilled, and to see Potter and the Malfoy boy in the ground. He would see that they did.
Greene raised his wand. 'Say it again fool.'
Armadus gripped his wand underneath his black robes. 'Leave, coward.'
Greene's face twisted in anger. Armadus saw the rage in the other Death Eaters eyes, and reacted before Greene, whipping out his wand and firing a Killing Curse. Greene threw up his arms, raised before his eyes, cringing away in a useless attempt to shield himself from death. However, his death was stayed, as a flung chair intercepted the curse at the last minute.
Greene lowered his trembling arms after a few seconds. He looked over towards the door of the dark cabin with the rest of them. Two figures stood there, one tall, the other small and unassuming.
'What business do you have here?' Armadus demanded, attempting to regain his composure.
'You are in charge of this meeting?' Armadus couldn't tell which of the figures spoke these words, but the tone was commanding, so he assumed it was the taller of the two.
'I am,' he addressed the man.
The smaller figure stepped into the candlelight and lowered a hood. His hair was nearly white, and his face even paler, eyes a dark black. He looked like he belonged in a colourless world, for he appeared entirely in black and white. He was young, surely still attending school.
'Wrong,' the boy said. 'I am.'
Armadus laughed. The child was clearly confused. 'How did you get here boy? This location is known only to Death Eaters.'
The kid gestured to his companion. 'I had a guide.'
Armadus blinked in shock as Antonin Dolohov stepped into the light.
'Dolohov?' What was going on here?
Antonin Dolohov didn't even react to his words. He just continued to stare at him like some hypnotised Inferi.
'What have you done to him?'
'Oh,' the boy smiled, 'he's fine. I just needed to locate you all. It was easier this way.'
Armadus pointed a finger at the boy. 'The nerve of this boy. Someone kill him.' No one moved. Armadus glanced back in surprise. The boy looked up to meet his eyes. A terrible feeling overcame him - a paralysing fear.
'Kneel,' the boy said commandingly.
Armadus felt the jolt as his knees crashed into the floor. He gasped and tried to speak, but found his mouth unable to form words.
The child strolled past him and took his seat.
'You.' The boy looked at Greene. 'Sit.'
'You're all directionless,' the boy said, speaking quietly, but somehow forcefully. He had completely dismissed Armadus. 'Without a leader, you flounder. Where are the Death Eaters that struck terror into the wizarding world? Surely they do not sit in this room with me? This will listen to me and I will see you returned to your former glory.'
Armadus desperately tried to speak. Who was this child?
'Do we have an agreement?'
Armadus was amazed when he saw the rest of the room nod in accord. This couldn't be happening. He was supposed to lead them! Not some brat!
The boy stood and walked around to stand before him. 'You do not agree?'
Armadus glared at him.
Armadus gasped. 'Who are you?'
'You're new Lord,' the boy said. He cocked his head, smiling eerily. 'You wish to challenge my authority?'
Armadus felt himself shaking. He couldn't stop it. 'What are… you doing… to me?'
'I'm proving my authority,' the boy said calmly. 'It's unfortunate for you. Stand.'
'Point your wand at your head.'
Armadus did. He was sweating, his eyes bulging, fear leaking from every pore. He couldn't control his own body. The boy continued to smile at him.
He heard himself say the words. It was the last thing he heard.