Tom's years at Hogwarts brought back more memories of his previous life, especially as he recognized other souls. The first he recognized was that of Charles Brandon in Alphius Avery. For this reason, Tom befriended him. However, remembering that Charles had betrayed him by marrying his younger sister, he kept an emotional distance between them. Tom swore he would never allow anyone into his heart, as everyone had betrayed him in some way or another.
Early on in his education, Tom discovered a terrible truth, which triggered another memory. His father, Tom Riddle, Sr. had not been a wizard. It had been his mother, Merope Gaunt who was magical. This knowledge cut him deep. It was a repetition of his previous life. It was, after all, his previous mother, Elizabeth, who had been pure royal. His father had royal bastards on both sides of his family tree. His entire line was illegitimate. Now, to find out that his current father was a Muggle, and his mother was a witch who wasn't even willing to stay alive for him? He decided to cast away the name Tom Riddle. He wanted nothing to do with the Muggle who abandoned him. He continued his search and his schooling known to his circle of "friends" as Lord Voldemort. Not long after, almost as a compensation for the terrible revelation about his father, he discovered that his mother was descended from Salazar Slytherin. He also uncovered the legend of the Chamber of Secrets and determined to find it.
As more and more memories were triggered, mostly by discovering in his classmates souls that he recognized from his previous life, Voldemort became more obsessed with immortality. He had looked up his previous life in both Muggle and magical history books. It had not been a happy one. Nor had it been particularly successful. He knew that he could not trust someone to carry on his legacy, as even his own son had failed him in his previous life; he must do it himself. If he lived forever, he would never have to entrust his life's work to another. This idea suited him well. As such, he began searching for the means to extend his life.
Voldemort found many different means of extending life past that of a normal wizard. The Elixir of Life was one option, but he did not want to be dependent upon a stone for the entirety of his existence. What if something went wrong? Someone could steal it, it could be destroyed, and, if not created perfectly, it would kill the owner rather than grant him immortality. No, it was not a foolproof plan. Another option was an ancient druid ceremony tying him to another human. Neither would die while the other survived, but he did not trust anyone enough to link himself to them forever.
Finally, in his sixth year, he found both the Chamber of Secrets and the answer to his quest for immortality: Horcruxes. He had been able to trick the Potions Master, Professor Slughorn, into giving him a permission slip to check out the book Ancient and Advanced Magicks. He had found the book while researching a potion for his senior thesis project. He had started his thesis early after hearing about it from some seventh years. Headmaster Dippet had given him a carte blanche pass into the Restricted Section, but he had still needed a permission slip to check out any of the restricted books. Ancient and Advanced Magicks had an entire section on sensing hidden magic, which had enabled him to locate, and open, the Chamber of Secrets.
In the Chamber, he had discovered the Basilisk and had set it on its ancient duty to cleanse the school of all students considered unworthy to study magic. He left this distinction to the innate senses of the Basilisk. Voldemort also found the secret hidden library of Salazar Slytherin himself. Within the library, he found exactly what he had been looking for. The book The Art of Immortality had an entire section on Horcruxes. Voldemort took the book with him to read in the comfort of his room. Once ensconced in his dormitory with the hangings closed and proper wards and privacy spells cast, Voldemort eagerly read about Horcruxes:
Horcruxes: An Overview
A Horcrux is the receptacle in which a witch or wizard has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purposes of attaining immortality. Should anything endanger the life of the witch or wizard who created the Horcrux, the piece of soul tethered to the Horcrux receptacle will remain on this plane, thereby negating the effects of death. As long as the Horcrux is kept safe, the witch or wizard will continue to exist even if his or her body is damaged or destroyed.
The Horcrux receptacle is the exact opposite of the human body. Whereas the soul can survive once the body has been destroyed, if a Horcrux receptacle is destroyed, the piece of soul residing within it will be destroyed as well. For this reason, Horcruxes are created with innate protections that will survive unless the receptacle has been destroyed beyond magical repair. As added protection, the creators of Horcruxes typically protect their Horcruxes with layers upon layers of protections, wards, and perhaps even protectors.
Horcruxes are best made from inanimate objects, as the piece of implanted soul will reside, unchallenged, within the object. Living creatures can be used, but at great risk. Should the creature die, the soul concealed within will be set free. Living creatures also pose the problem of having their own mentality and, in some cases, soul which may battle for supremacy with the soul that has been implanted. Also, when Horcruxes are created using living creatures, the owner of the Horcrux establishes a two-way connection with the receptacle which includes, but is most likely not limited to: mind reading, easy possession, and a degree of control.
The information provided was interesting. Voldemort could think of one place already where he may find a worthy receptacle. However, he kept reading until he came to a description of creating a Horcrux:
Creating a Horcrux
To create a Horcrux, the spell caster must first split his or her soul. The soul can only be split in one way: murder. It matters not whether the person murdered is magical or not, but it must be a human being. It has been suggested that the murder of a Pureblood witch or wizard provides one with a stronger Horcrux, but that has never been substantiated. It has also been suggested that the more violent and cruel the murder, the larger the split portion of soul becomes. This, also, has not been substantiated. It must be said that the act of splitting one's soul causes the main portion of one's soul to become incredibly unstable.
Step Two: Finalizing the Split
The potion to fully separate the split portion of the soul from the main soul takes approximately four hours to brew, and must rest for at least two hours before consumption. As the spell to encase the fragmented portion of the soul must be completed within seven hours once the soul has been split, it becomes obvious why it is suggested that the potion be completed before the actual act of murder. The potion is known as the Soul Separation Solution. The ingredients are as follows: 2 drops of Basilisk Venom, a single Phoenix tear, one cup of blood from a Hungarian Horntail hatchling no more than an hour old (the younger the better), one tablespoon of the blood of a virgin pureblooded witch (must have ancestry traced back at least four generations, the more generations traced, the better), a half cup of blood from a one-year-old unicorn foal, a pinch of powdered moonstone, and a drop of blood from the potion maker.
To brew the potion, combine the dragon's blood, unicorn's blood, and witch's blood in a solid gold chalice inscribed with the ancient runes for "eternal life" and allow to rest for one hour. Sit a silver cauldron over a 300 degree fire and allow to heat for thirty minutes. Pour the blood mixture into the cauldron. Bring to a boil while stirring clockwise with a marble stirring rod three centimeters in diameter. Add the powdered moonstone after the potion has been boiling for thirty seconds. After exactly one hour, add the venom and remove the cauldron from the fire. Add the Phoenix tear and lower the temperature of the fire to 200 degrees. Allow mixture to simmer for half an hour. Pour the mixture into a glass chalice and allow to return to room temperature (approximately thirty minutes). Once the mixture reaches 75 degrees, add the final drop of blood and stir clockwise three times with a solid silver stirring rod one centimeter in diameter. Allow to rest in the chalice for at least two hours, three hours is better. Do not allow to rest longer than four hours.
Step Three: Encasing the Soul
As mentioned previously, the spell to encase the fragmented portion of the soul must be completed within seven hours once the soul has been split. If the soul fragment is not encased within this time, it will die. To encase the soul fragment within the receptacle, the receptacle must first be magically cleansed of all energies. The incantation to do this is "deleo vi" (deh-LAY-o vee). Once the receptacle is properly cleansed, the caster must remove the soul fragment from his or her body. Point the wand at the heart and speak the incantation: "animam torquere" (AH-nee-mam tore-KAIR-ay). Remove the wand from the heart, and a small ball of light should hover about an inch away from the wand tip. This light is fragment of soul. Quickly move the wand to the Horcrux receptacle. Push the soul into the receptacle. It should be quite easy as the soul naturally wishes to be within an object. Quickly speak the incantation to seal the soul fragment within the receptacle: "indere animam" (een-DARE-ay AH-nee-mam) before the soul can escape. This completes the actual creation of the Horcrux. It is highly suggested that one rests before completing the next step, as the process of creating the Horcrux is magically taxing to the extreme.
Step Four: Protections
The final step of Horcrux creation is magically protecting it. The protections added prevent it from being destroyed my all but the most powerful methods and imbue it with a form of the compulsion charm which compel anyone near it to protect it. There are several spells which form the protections. The first is "Praesidium Absolutus" (pray-CID-ee-um ab-so-LOO-tus) which is incanted while moving the wand in a counter-clockwise circle around the object. Next, a drop of the owner's blood must be applied to the Horcrux while incanting "Defendere" (de-FEN-dare-ay). A wand is not necessary for this incantation. The next incantation involves touching the Horcrux with the wand and speaking "Rapto" (rap-TO). Next, cast the incantation "Impetum Timoris" (eem-PEH-toom ti-MORE-iss) while moving the wand in an "x" formation in such a way that a leg of the "x" is "drawn" with each word. The final incantation is "Tueri Se" (too-EH-ree seh). The wand movement is a small clockwise spiral directly above the center of the Horcrux.
This completes the creation of the Horcrux. It is protected from all but the most destructive of magic, and will protect itself in several ways. However, it is advised that the Horcrux be placed in a highly protected area as well.
As Voldemort finished reading, his eyes glowed with excitement. It seemed that a Horcrux would be the perfect way to ensure his immortality. He quickly copied the pages and made plans to visit his good-for-nothing father and his mother's old house. He desperately hoped his grandfather or uncle would still be living there.
***The Gaunt Shack***
Several weeks later found Voldemort walking down the lane to his mother's old home: The Gaunt Shack. He had asked about it in Little Hangleton, which had earned him many odd looks. He could understand why the Muggles kept whispering about him, but he didn't have time to deal with them for now. He was on a mission.
As he approached the shack, he was disturbed to see a dead snake nailed to the door. This angered him. He had a certain affinity for snakes. Without hesitation, he pushed open the door and crossed the threshold. The Gaunts' house was indescribably filthy. Voldemort was certain they had never heard of house elves or cleaning spells. The ceiling was thick with cobwebs, the floor coated in grime; moldy and rotting food lay upon the table amidst a mass of crusted pots. The only light came from a single guttering candle placed at the feet of a man with hair and beard so overgrown Voldemort could see neither eyes nor mouth. He was slumped in an armchair by the fire, and Voldemort wondered for a moment whether he was dead.
As Voldemort took a step toward him, the boards creaked beneath his feet and the man jerked awake, raising a wand in his right hand and a short knife in his left. For a few seconds they looked at each other, then the man staggered upright, the many empty bottles at his feet clattering and tinkling across the floor.
"YOU!" he bellowed. "YOU!" And he hurtled drunkenly at Voldemort, wand and knife held aloft.
Stop. Voldemort had spoken in Parseltongue. The man skidded into the table, sending moldy pots crashing to the floor. He stared at Voldemort. There was a long silence while they contemplated each other. The man broke it.
You speak it?
Yes, I speak it, Voldemort answered. Voldemort assessed the man before him with a complete lack of fear. He was clearly too young to be his grandfather Marvolo. His face expressed disgust and disappointment.
Where is Marvolo? he asked.
Dead, said the other. Died years ago, didn't he? Voldemort frowned.
Who are you, then?
I'm Morfin, ain't I?
'Course I am, then…
Morfin pushed the hair out of his dirty face, the better to see Voldemort, who saw that Morfin wore a black-stoned ring on his right hand.
"I thought you was that Muggle," whispered Morfin. "You look mighty like that Muggle."
"What Muggle?" asked Voldemort sharply.
"That Muggle what my sister took a fancy to, that Muggle what lives in the big house over the way," said Morfin, and he spat unexpectedly upon the floor between them. "You look right like him. Riddle. But he's older now, in 'e? He's older'n you, now I think on it…" Voldemort decided to use an advanced form of Legillimency on his uncle. He needed to know more. However, because of the attack, Morfin looked slightly dazed and swayed a little, clutching the edge of the table for support. "He come back, see," he added stupidly.
Voldemort picked out that the ring had belonged to the Gaunts for generations. It was the perfect receptacle for his first Horcrux. He also confirmed that the man Morfin was referring to was his father. This was an unexpected piece of good news.
Voldemort gazed at Morfin as he appraised his possibilities. Now he moved a little closer and said, "Riddle came back?"
"Ar, he left her, and serve her right, marrying filth!" said Morfin, spitting on the floor again. "Robbed us, mind, before she ran off., where's the locket, eh, where's Slytherin's locket?"
Voldemort did not answer. He had just learned of another option for a Horcrux receptacle. The locket had belonged to Salazar Slytherin himself. But first, he would have to find it. That was something for another day, however. First, he had a Horcrux to create. As Voldemort thought, Morfin was working himself into a rage again; he brandished his knife and shouted, "Dishonored us, she did, that little slut! And who're you, coming here and asking questions about all that? It's over, innit… It's over…"
Voldemort did not appreciate his mother being spoken of in such a way. Certainly she had been weak, but she had given him life. He owed her something. For his dishonor, Morfin would pay, and Voldemort had already worked out exactly what would befall his dear Uncle Morfin.
Voldemort moved forward again and stepped up his mental assault, causing Morfin to stagger. A silent stunner caught Morfin off guard, and he collapsed entirely. Voldemort bound him and took his wand. Revenge would be sweet.
Twenty minutes later, Voldemort was standing before his father and paternal grandparents. He knew instantly why the Muggle townspeople had been so intrigued. He looked exactly like a younger version of his father. He would make sure to modify that later. For now, however, his looks were useful to him.
"Who are you, and what do you want?"
"Father," Voldemort spat out the word. "I'm surprised you don't recognize me." He made sure to silently bind them all to their chairs. As Tom Riddle, Sr. attempted to stand, they all seemed to realize that they couldn't move.
"Why are you here? What have you done to us?"
"Nothing you don't deserve, father, for abandoning my mother. You left as soon as you found out she was a witch, didn't you? You don't deserve to live, you piece of Muggle filth." While Voldemort would have dearly liked to take his time with this, he had no idea whether any other servants would arrive. He had sent home the handful of servants downstairs in the kitchen with quick uses of the Imperius Curse, but he was sure the evening shift would be arriving soon. He would have to make this quick. "I'm afraid this is good-bye, father. You haven't exactly been much use to me. However, as you enabled my birth, I'll leave you for last."
Voldemort cast two killing curses in quick succession, finishing off his grandparents. His father seemed to understand exactly what was happening, and was now eyeing him with a look of complete horror. Such a shame he didn't have time for some fun. He would need to take care of Morfin and return to Hogwarts before he was missed. If he didn't hurry, surely someone would realize he was not part of the Prefect rounds this evening.
"Avada Kedavra!" With his father disposed of, Voldemort canceled the binding charms and returned to the Gaunt shack. He unbound Morfin and cast a light sleeping charm on him. Once the Aurors found him, any signs of the charm would have dissipated. He transplanted the memory of killing the Riddles into Morfin's mind, then returned his wand. His family was taken care of.
After returning to Hogwarts, Voldemort secreted himself in the Room of Requirement to drink the potion and perform the required spells to make his Horcrux. He was chagrined to find that he did, indeed, need to rest after transplanting the portion of soul. He had thought he would be strong enough to continue. No matter, that would be taken care of later. When his work was done, he put on the ring, figuring that was the safest place for it for now. He would find a better place for it during the summer holidays.
With his first Horcrux under his belt, Voldemort felt safer. However, remembering all of the betrayals of his previous life, he felt that perhaps only one Horcrux would be too risky. Should he not have more? After all, having multiple back-up plans was better than having only one.
This new information obsessed him. Voldemort's every waking moment had at least one thought devoted to Horcruxes, ways they could be used and protected, and the best number to make. It was this last idea that saw him staying after one of the "Slug Club" meetings to speak with Professor Slughorn.
This particular meeting, he had brought Slughorn a box of premium crystallized pineapple, which he knew to be the man's favorite. He was now sitting well back in a comfortable winged armchair, one hand grasping a small glass of wine, the other searching through the box of crystalized pineapple, his little feet resting upon a velvet pouffe.
Voldemort was one of half a dozen boys who were sitting around Slughorn, all on harder or lower seats than the professor, and all in their mid-teens. Voldemort was the most relaxed of the students present. He was at home in this setting, as all of the students present were in his closest circle of what he liked to call "courtiers", although they thought they were his friends. Voldemort's right hand lay negligently upon the arm of his chair, where he could glance occasionally at Marvolo's gold-and-black ring. He liked looking at his trophy.
"Sir is it true that Professor Merrythought is retiring?" Voldemort asked suddenly.
"Tom, Tom, if I knew I couldn't tell you," said Slughorn, wagging his finger reprovingly, though winking at the same time. "I must say, I'd like to know where you get your information, boy, more knowledgeable than half the staff, you are."
Voldemort smiled as the other boys laughed and cast him admiring looks. "What with your uncanny ability to know things you shouldn't, and your careful flattery of the people who matter – thank you for the pineapple, by the way, you're quite right, it is my favorite –" Several of the boys tittered again. "– I confidently expect you to rise to Minister of Magic within twenty years. Fifteen, if you keep sending me pineapple, I have excellent contacts at the Ministry."
Voldemort merely smiled as the others laughed again. "I don't know that politics would suit me, sir," he said when the laughter had died away. "I don't have the right kind of background, for one thing."
A couple of the boys around him smirked at each other. Voldemort caught these looks. And they were supposed to be his friends. He was right in keeping his distance. Although, he was immune to these kind of jibes. He had received them often enough from his courtiers in his previous life.
"Nonsense," said Slughorn briskly, "couldn't be plainer you come from decent Wizarding stock, abilities like yours. No, you'll go far, Tom, I've never been wrong about a student yet." Voldemort was sure Slughorn was correct. He would go far, but not in the way Slughorn expected. The small golden clock standing upon Slughorn's desk chimed eleven o'clock behind him and he looked around.
"Good gracious, is it that time already? You'd better get going boys, or we'll all be in trouble. Lestrange, I want your essay in by tomorrow or it's detention. Same goes for you, Avery." One by one, the boys filed out of the room. Slughorn heaved himself out of his armchair and carried his empty glass over to his desk. Voldemort moved toward him, which made Slughorn turn around.
"Look sharp, Tom, you don't want to be caught out of bed out of hours, and you a prefect…"
"Sir, I wanted to ask you something."
"Ask away, then, m'boy, ask away…"
"Sir, I wondered what you know about… about Horcruxes?' Slughorn stared at him, his thick fingers absentmindedly clawing the stem of his wine glass.
"Project for Defense Against the Dark Arts, is it?" Voldemort could tell that Slughorn knew perfectly well that this was not schoolwork, and answered with an explanation Slughorn would grasp at without questioning.
"Not exactly, sir," he said. "I came across the term while reading and I didn't fully understand it."
"No… well… you'd be hard-pushed to find a book at Hogwarts that'll give you details on Horcruxes, Tom, that's very Dark stuff, very Dark indeed," said Slughorn.
"But you obviously know all about them, sir? I mean, a wizard like you – sorry, I mean, if you can't tell me, obviously –I just knew if anyone could tell me, you could–so I just thought I'd—" Voldemort made sure it was very well done, the hesitancy, the casual tone, the careful flattery, none of it overdone. Voldemort was a master at work. After all, he wanted the information very much, and had been working toward this moment for weeks.
"Well," said Slughorn, not looking at Voldemort, but fiddling with the ribbon on top of his box of crystallized pineapple, "well, it can't hurt to give you an overview, of course. Just so that you understand the term. A Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul."
"I don't quite understand how that works, though, sir," said Voldemort. Utter nonsense, of course, but it wouldn't do to dive straight into the heart of the matter.
His voice was carefully controlled.
"Well, you split your soul, you see," said Slughorn, "and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one's body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But of course, existence in such a form, few would want it, Tom, very few. Death would be preferable." Voldemort knew that was not the case for him. He would do anything not to die again. After all, he had no way of knowing if he would be returned a third time.
"How do you split your soul?"
"Well," said Slughorn uncomfortably, "you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature."
"But how do you do it?"
"By an act of evil – the supreme act of evil: by committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: He would encase the torn portion –"
"Encase? But how –?"
"There is a spell, do not ask me, I don't know!" said Slughoin shaking his head like an old elephant bothered by mosquitoes. "Do I look as though I have tried it – do I look like a killer?" Voldemort knew he had pushed too hard and too fast. He backtracked quickly, trying to repair the damage.
"No, sir, of course not. I'm sorry… I didn't mean to offend…"
"Not at all, not at all, not offended," said Slughorn gruffly, "It is natural to feel some curiosity about these things… Wizards of a certain caliber have always been drawn to that aspect of magic…" Voldemort decided it was now or never. He could tell Slughorn was withdrawing from the subject.
"Yes, sir," said Voldemort. "What I don't understand, though – just out of curiosity – I mean, would one Horcrux be much use? Can you only split your soul once? Wouldn't it be better, make you stronger, to have your soul in more pieces, I mean, for instance, isn't seven the most powerfully magical number, wouldn't seven –?"
"Merlin's beard, Tom!" yelped Slughorn. "Seven! Isn't it bad enough to think of killing one person? And in any case… bad enough to divide the soul… but to rip it into seven pieces…" Slughorn looked deeply troubled now, he was gazing at Voldemort as though he had never seen him plainly before, and Voldemort could tell that he was regretting entering into the conversation at all. "Of course," he muttered, "this is all hypothetical, what we're discussing, isn't it? All academic…"
"Yes, sir, of course," said Voldemort quickly. He didn't want anyone looking too closely at his motives. He got enough of that with Dumbledore.
"But all the same, Tom… keep it quiet, what I've told – that's to say, what we've discussed. People wouldn't like to think we've been chatting about Horcruxes. It's a banned subject at Hogwarts, you know… Dumbledore's particularly fierce about it…"
"I won't say a word, sir," said Voldemort, and he left making sure to mask the wild happiness he was feeling.
A year and a half later, Voldemort was standing outside of Hogwarts for the last time as a student. In a few moments, he, and his fellow seventh years, would be returning to the Hogsmeade platform via the boats they had ridden when they arrived as first years. Even Voldemort, who was never sentimental, thought it was fitting. There was no graduation of any kind, as schooling at Hogwarts was optional. Their NEWT and OWL results were what would earn them positions in the wizarding world, not their marks. Hogwarts had merely been a way for them to prepare for the OWLs and NEWTs. Voldemort thought back to his "accomplishments" while at school.
Voldemort had earned an Outstanding on the ten OWL examinations he had taken. He had foregone Divination and Muggle Studies, feeling they were completely unnecessary, and, in the case of Muggle Studies, beneath him.
He had earned a plaque for Special Services to the School for "discovering" the person and creature who had opened the Chamber of Secrets. That oaf, Hagrid, had just happened to have an Acromatula hidden within the castle, which had made for the perfect scapegoat. Hagrid had been expelled for keeping dangerous pets. Voldemort was surprised it had worked so well. Surely SOMEONE would have noticed that the girl who had died did not have a bite mark, or that Acromatula's are incapable of petrifying, but no one had looked too closely at the matter. Of course, knowing that he would have to seal the Chamber again before the Basilisk had been able to finish its destiny, Voldemort had utilized his murder by proxy of that girl to create another Horcrux, this time within a diary. He knew that someday he would be able to give either a follower, or the child of a follower, the diary to complete the cleansing of the school.
Although he had yet to receive his NEWT results, Voldemort fully expected to earn an Outstanding on all ten. As such, Voldemort could practically name his position in the wizarding world. However, he had other plans. He needed to track down Slytherin's locket, as well as other items that would be worthy receptacles for his Horcruxes. He had therefore applied to, and was gladly accepted at, Borgin and Burkes as a buyer, a move that had horrified some of his professors, and stunned most of the student body.
Voldemort also planned to use his time at Borgin and Burkes to research magical means of permanently altering his features. He was outgrowing the usefulness of his father's good looks, and desired to give himself a more fearsome visage. The time was upon him to begin the true creation of Lord Voldemort as an entity the wizarding world would fear forever.