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Chapter 1: Disorder and Disarray
A calm breeze rippled the large puddles of water on the outskirts of the marsh, the cloaked man catching a brief glimpse of his reflection on the ground before it disappeared in to the ripples. He ran his hand over his forearm, lightly massaging it as he stared aimlessly out at the quickly darkening horizon. The sky was one of a dull grey which contrasted with the bright colour of the emerging moon’s light that began to cast a faint glow on the man’s face as he stood unmoving. The coolness of the breeze made the man shiver, anxiety growing in the pit of his stomach with every passing second.
He was growing nervous for two separate reasons. Glancing at his watch for what seemed like the thousandth time, the man was growing frustrated at just how late he was becoming. As if his long overdue departure was not enough, the fact that he was standing in a wide open marsh was extremely unsettling. Since there were no trees for as long as the eye could see in any direction, he felt a sense of nakedness; there was no source of cover for the man to use to his advantage in the event of an enemy arriving. He could not help but criticize his superiors’ choice of location; he was finding it very hard to be discreet in the middle of nowhere.
As the minutes continued to tick by, the cloaked man began to believe that something must had gone wrong; the fact that he should have left the marsh nearly an hour ago was beginning to prey on his mind. The pace of the man’s breath gradually began to quicken as he seriously began to consider leaving the marsh on his own accord and abandoning this dangerous mission altogether. Still, the man did not break his stance as these thoughts flowed through his mind. Even though he was becoming increasingly anxious, he knew that even the slightest movement could draw attention to himself; attention was something that the the man desperately did not want.
Then, before the man could even register what had happened, he heard a small popping noise come from somewhere to his left followed by a small gust of wind that made his eyes water after it temporarily blinded him. His heart pounding in his chest, the man quickly scanned his surroundings once the wind had subsided but was unable to detect the source of the noise, the increasing darkness making it hard to see anything of great distance. The cloaked man stood stock still, resisting the urge to call out; instead he began to rapidly scan the area around him for any sort of movement. His eyes rapidly focused in every which direction, hoping to get a glimpse of who or what had apparated in to the marsh. Suddenly, the man’s heart rose to his throat at the sound of a voice coming from behind him.
‘What’s your name?’ the male voice called out to him, his voice barely over a whisper. The cloaked man jumped at the surprising closeness of it. After a moment of hesitation the cloaked man drew his wand, wheeling around on the spot to identify who the voice belonged to.
‘Who wants to know?’ the cloaked man returned. He could feel a bead of sweat run down his cheek to his temple. After a brief pause, he heard the footsteps draw closer to him, the faint sound of water splashing with each step taken.
‘Show me your arm,’ the voice called out stiffly.
About ten feet away from the cloaked man, there was a tiny light shining from the tip of the man’s wand that was low enough as to only reveal the man’s torso. The cloaked man took a few deep breaths, his eyes wide in anxiety. He knew that he was taking a massive risk in showing his forearm, but after a moments’ hesitation, he made his decision. Slowly walking up to the enlightened tip, the cloaked man kept his wand directly in front of him, having a curse on the tip of his tongue in case things went awry. When he got to a close distance, he slid down his cloak, the second man pointing his wand tip down at the newly revealed piece of flesh emblazoned with a skull and serpent. The first man tried to register a glance at the newly apparated man’s face that was partially concealed by his long, overhanging hood, but upon realizing the cloaked man’s prying eyes, the second man quickly turned away, extinguishing the tip of his wand with a sharp flick.
‘We wait for one other,’ the second man growled softly, quickly turning his head in all directions, undoubtedly scanning the surrounding area for any intruders.
‘Now you show me yours,’ the first man spoke up, stopping the now pacing second man in his tracks. After a brief pause, the second man seemed to be content with the first man’s request, revealing the underside of his forearm for a few moments in order for his counterpart to be satisfied, continuing to pace around the surrounding area after he had done so. ‘So now all we have to wait for is our lead,’ the first man said, his anxiousness beginning to die away now that a fellow Death Eater had finally come to the meeting spot. He hoped they did not have to wait for much longer; he did not want to displease his superiors.
‘I am the lead,’ the second man chimed back. ‘We still wait for our second.’
The first cloaked man’s mind began to race, unable to say anything back to his apparent lead. He could only wonder what had happened to his second that would make him so late. In something as strict and particular as this meeting was, the only reasons the first man could think of were all very troubling.
‘So how long do we wait?’
‘Ten minutes until we depart – with or without him,’ the lead replied. ‘Are you Auburn or Ramsay?’
‘Auburn,’ the first man answered.
‘Avery,’ the lead returned.
Neither Auburn nor Avery spoke for several moments, the two Death Eaters resigned to their own thoughts, each thinking up their own troubling theory as to why Ramsay was late. As Auburn’s mind wandered, he could not help but feel slightly ashamed at the great lengths that the Death Eaters had to stoop to in order to meet without detection. Even though Auburn had only been a member of Lord Voldemort’s followers since just before the Battle of Hogwarts, he knew that current times were radically different to what they once were. To him, the Death Eaters were a body without a head; a large, disorganized group fearful about being caught by the investigating Aurors which only bred a lack of confidence amongst the ranks. Still, the less than satisfactory conditions the Death Eaters were currently placed in seemed to evoke a drive in Auburn – and many other Death Eaters alike – to re-instate the times of old and rise to power once again.
A loud pop, similar to the one he had heard only a few minutes ago, interrupted Auburn’s thoughts, both he and Avery whisking their heads around quickly in order to discover who had apparated to the marsh. Avery drew his wand quickly, Auburn following his lead a half second later as they both stared in the same direction. They quickly saw the cloaked figure emerge from the darkness, their wands unwavering in the presence of man.
‘Put your wands down,’ the figure called out as he walked briskly towards Avery and Auburn. He lifted up his cloak revealing the Dark Mark on his forearm, Avery and Auburn taking a sideways glance at each other and then slowly lowering their wands.
‘You’re late Ramsay – we were about to leave without you…’ Avery said coolly, not looking at him. Ramsay stopped only a few inches away from Avery, Auburn noticing that the newly apparated Death Eater’s eyes were scanning the area as both he and Avery had done earlier. Though it was growing increasingly dark, Auburn could see a few strands of Ramsay’s reddish hair underneath the hood that he wore over his head; a hood that he wore in the same manner that Avery was.
Then, before Auburn could move a muscle, Avery took an unsuspecting Ramsay by the collar, roughly tossing him in to the swampy ground, a large splash of water and mud hitting Avery’s face as Ramsay’s body hit the swampy ground hard. Avery hurriedly took out his wand and pointed it squarely at Ramsay’s chest, its tip only a few inches away.
‘What the bloody hell is this?!’ Ramsay protested loudly, not taking his eyes off of Avery’s wand.
‘Who are you working for?’ Avery called, anger seething in his face as he uttered each word clearly.
‘Working for… are you outside your mind?’ Ramsay called back in disbelief. ‘I’m a Death Eater you fool! What sort of rubbish is this?!
‘You lie,’ Avery said quickly, his wand moving closer to the downed and soaked Ramsay. ‘How come you were so late getting here? Did you need extra time in order to jinx the real Ramsay and transform in to him?
‘Get that wand out of my face before I give you an actual reason to point it at me…’
‘Or did you have trouble getting the location of this meeting place out of him before you imperiused him?’ Avery continued not wavering in his stance. Auburn, who had not moved in the slightest since the altercation began, finally spoke, realizing something that he had not at first.
‘Now let’s hold on now Avery. I believe that there is a very simple way that we can decipher if Mr. Ramsay here is telling the truth,’ he said quietly, trying not to anger his lead. Still not taking his eyes off his adversary, Avery replied.
‘And what is this Auburn?’
‘Well… I’ve seen him before… We were both inducted in to the Death Eaters together.’
‘As correct as you could be Auburn, that still does not mean that this Ramsay is the real one,’ Avery responded harshly.
‘Would you get that bloody wand out of my face?!’ Ramsay roared at Avery who did not budge.
‘True,’ Auburn replied confidently trying to diffuse this volatile situation as fast as possible. ‘But if he can answer some simple questions that only I and a few other Death Eaters know the answers to, then he must be the real Ramsay…’
Avery considered the proposal made by Auburn for a moment, tilting his head to the side as he examined Ramsay. After a moment of contemplation, Avery nodded his head slightly, giving Auburn the approval he needed to ask his question to Ramsay.
‘Alright then,’ Auburn began, pacing around Avery and Ramsay for a moment before beginning. ‘How many others were present on the night we were both inducted…?’
‘Two,’ Ramsay growled, looking up at Avery unblinkingly after her relayed his answer.
‘Do you seriously believe Auburn that a question as simple as that has left with me no doubt as to this Ramsay’s true allegiance?’ Avery growled as he advanced his wand closer to Ramsay who had made a small attempt at getting up off of the wet and muddy ground.
‘And how many of us were late that night?’ Auburn continued, not taking in to account Avery’s protest.
‘None of us,’ Ramsay said loudly, not taking his eyes off of Avery as he spoke. ‘But Rabastan – the one who inducted each of us… he deliberately did not show up on time in order to test our nerves.’
‘Auburn, these are things that he could have gotten out of the real –’
‘And what is it that I said to you – the only thing I said to anybody after the ceremony was over?’ Auburn asked, interrupting the flustered Avery. There was a slight pause before Ramsay spoke again, still not unlocking his stare from his adversary who still had not redrawn his wand.
‘It’s time to take back what is ours… it’s time to do the work that Lord Voldemort has requested of us…’
None of the three spoke for quite some time, Avery’s face contorted in a way that made him look like he wanted nothing more than to jinx Ramsay right then and there. Finally, Avery turned away from the downed Ramsay, putting his wand back in to his robes, Ramsay getting up from the swampy ground under him and letting out a large gasp as he got back on his two feet. As he pulled out his wand and began to clean himself up, Ramsay spoke loudly, his voice echoing out in to the empty swamp.
‘And you are the one who is supposedly leading us?’
‘The reason for your lateness… what is it?’ Avery replied, ignoring Ramsay’s question. Ramsay merely shook his head at first as he continued to clean his robes, finally offering his response a second later. For a moment, Auburn questioned whether Ramsay was going to say anything, but was ultimately relieved when he did; he did not want any more tension between his fellow Death Eaters.
‘I had a suspicion I was being followed,’ Ramsay said quietly. ‘I did not want to take any chance of giving away our location so I waited until I thought it proper to apparate here. There. Is that good enough for you, or would you like to question me on that too?’
Auburn grimaced at Ramsay’s response; he knew that Avery was only looking out for the interests of the Death Eaters as a whole, but the short tempered Ramsay seemed to be taking it much more personally than a mere precaution on their leads’ part. Before Auburn could even think of something to say to try and ease the tension, Avery responded.
‘If you two would come here… we are already very late. They will begin to think we have lost our way.’ Auburn admired Avery’s patience and was thankful that Ramsay’s jibes were not having any sort of detrimental effect on Avery’s ability to lead and to keep the mission in focus.
‘Well let’s wait a second now,’ Ramsay responded loudly. ‘What makes you think that we are just going to trust you? How do we know that you are who you say you are?’ Avery merely shook his head; Auburn could see that he was slowly beginning to grow frustrated with Ramsay.
‘Look,’ Ramsay said to Auburn, ‘he doesn’t even respond! How do we know he can be trusted?!’ Ramsay pulled out his wand, slowly advancing on the unmoving Avery who only stared back.
‘Now listen here,’ Auburn began after gulping so loudly that he could almost hear it. ‘This is not the time for this –’
‘But it was the time for this when I show up late?’ Ramsay interrupted emphatically. Ramsay was now only a foot away from Avery, his wand held only a few inches away from Avery’s nose. ‘How do we know that he can be trusted? HOW CAN WE KNOW YOU CAN BE TRUSTED?!’
Auburn took a step forward, pausing when he saw Avery take his own wand out of his robes. The two men did not waver from their stance at first, but something about the look in Avery’s eyes as he stared in to his adversary’s apparently made Ramsay regress. As Ramsay took a step back, lowering his wand as he did so, Avery did not budge.
‘I am one of Lord Voldemort’s oldest and most trusted Death Eaters. How dare you question me,’ he began. Auburn could see Ramsay’s eyes glisten in the moonlight as he took another step backwards, his foot making a large splashing noise as he stepped in to a particularly large puddle. ‘Now – if we can put all of this rubbish behind us… I think it best that we leave this place immediately.’
This time, Ramsay did not need any more prodding. The three put away their wands, Ramsay not looking at Avery as he joined him at the arm. Auburn could tell that Ramsay was regretting his questioning of Avery but something told him that there were many issues regarding the Death Eaters that Ramsay was bitter about. He was not sure if it was his rebellious demeanor or the air of cockiness that he gave off from the moment he arrived, but Auburn thought it best to keep his distance away from Ramsay for the time being.
Once Auburn had joined Avery on the opposite arm that Ramsay was loosely grasping, he felt the familiar sensation that one felt when apparating. He saw the dark and dreary swamp vanish in front of him and after a moment or two of losing his bearings, he found himself on level ground once again. Looking around at his new surroundings, Auburn quickly realized that he – along with Avery and Ramsay – were in some sort of alleyway. Looking to his left, he could see the images of fluorescent signage that served as the only sources of light in the area. The alley was lined with black metal gates that had to be opened to reach the occasional old and deteriorated door. As Auburn took a step forward, he noticed the ground was wet; a few puddles of water were situated in the spots where the pavement was uneven. The sheer length of the alley forbid any of the distant street noise from reaching the three Death Eaters; Auburn noticed as he looked around that he could not see any other sort of life at either end of the alley.
‘This way,’ Avery whispered, taking out his wand yet again from the inside of his robes. Without hesitation, Auburn and Ramsay followed closely behind their lead.
Neither Auburn nor Ramsay uttered a single word as Avery quickly led them down the alleyway. Following the example of their lead, the two Death Eaters glanced all around them periodically, making sure that no one was following them. Auburn thought back to what Ramsay had said earlier as Avery led them down a side alley off of the main one that was even darker and narrower than its predecessor. How did he know that Avery could be trusted? As he followed Avery down the narrow alley to seemingly nowhere, Auburn began to seriously question if Ramsay’s accusation of Avery had some merit to it after all.
These thoughts only elevated when Avery had come to a dead end, his hand pressing against the back side of a building. Auburn subconsciously began reaching for his wand on the inside of his robes, worriedly glancing over at Ramsay who wore an expression mixed of fear and anger. Ramsay’s next words were said with such force that it nearly made Auburn drop his wand.
‘Hold up! Stop right there!’ Ramsay called loudly, pointing his wand at the back of Avery’s head. ‘I see you retrieving your wand – don’t even think about it!’
Avery stood still for a moment, slowly turning around to face Ramsay. He was holding his wand in his right hand – just as Ramsay had suspected. Auburn had his hand firmly gripped on his wand, not believing that it appeared that Ramsay had been right about Avery this entire time. It was a few moments before either man spoke again.
‘Now listen here,’ Avery began quietly. ‘If you allow me to do what I have been instructed to, you will see the reason why we are here.’
Ramsay did not budge in his stance on Avery, Auburn glancing from his right to his left, watching for any drastic move on the part of his two acquaintances. Yet again, Avery was the next to speak.
‘What would you do? Jinx me here in the alley?’ Avery taunted. ‘Sure that would solve all of our problems, wouldn’t it?’
Obviously knowing his adversary’s mental defeat, Avery turned his back on Ramsay slowly, Auburn seeing that Ramsay had stuffed his wand back in to his robes a moment later. It was the second time that Avery had gotten out of Ramsay’s accusations successfully and what this told Auburn about Ramsay was that he was unable to back up the words that he spoke. Too afraid and confused to do anything more, Auburn watched Avery as he waved his wand over the wall, hoping that Ramsay’s claims had no value to them whatsoever.
A second later, and a bright light temporarily blinded Auburn. Though small, the power it had was great, evidenced by the fact that both Auburn and Ramsay had to shield their eyes for a moment before adjusting themselves out of the viewpoint of the bright rays. The narrow beam of light was coming out of the wall that Avery had just waved his wand over, Auburn realizing this after moving to his left. With his wand, Avery tapped this brick of light, its brightness being extinguished as quickly as it had ignited. For a brief moment nothing happened; the three men all stood there staring at the wall for something to happen.
They did not have to wait long for that very something to occur. Starting from the top, the wall began to seemingly melt away, a light filling the narrow alleyway with every passing second. It only took a few seconds for the entire wall to fall in to nothingness, the image of a dingy and dirty looking lavatory filling the views of the three Death Eaters. Without any more hesitation, Avery stepped in to the dimly lit lavatory, Auburn and Ramsay following their lead after a small nod to each other.
They quickly crossed the small, broken tiled lavatory, the wall rebuilding itself after they were all inside. Auburn took one last glance at the small alley outside, knowing that his last chance of escape if things went wrong had just come and gone. Avery slowly opened the opposite door leading in to a small hallway; he put up his hand as a way to signal to Auburn and Ramsay that they were to wait here.
Neither Death Eater spoke to each other while Avery was gone, wondering where exactly they were. Their thoughts were interrupted by a returning Avery who motioned for them to follow him out in to the hallway. Old autographed photos lined the narrow hallway that was adorned with an old looking red carpet and ancient looking patterned wallpaper that was chipped and folded over. The photos told Auburn that this was some sort of a Muggle dwelling, evidenced by the fact that the people inside of the frames were not moving.
Rounding a corner, Auburn gasped loudly, Avery flicking his wand instinctively which muted Auburn’s mistake. What lay in front of him was a Muggle; he was wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt and glasses that were slightly askew. They were askew, Auburn noticed, because the Muggle man was undoubtedly fast asleep. He was sitting at a little desk, his right arm propped up on the desk that supported his head. Sighing in relief, Auburn followed Avery past the sleeping man, making another left, but not before taking a glimpse in to a very large room. He could see the shadows of people moving and the noise of glasses clinking which told him that they were in some sort of pub.
After passing the sleeping host, they rounded down a flight of stairs in the opposite direction from whence they came, the old and tattered looking red carpet following their feet down the creaking steps. When the three came to the end of the staircase, they were greeted by a man dressed in the same dress shirt that the sleeping host had been wearing. The man (who stood in front of a door marked ‘Storage’) examined Avery for a moment, Avery pulling down the sleeve of his cloak to show the man the image of the Dark Mark on his forearm. With a slight nod, the man opened the door he was guarding, closing it shut behind him once the three Death Eaters were completely inside.
‘About time…’ a man who Auburn knew as Rodolphous Lestrange called out from the back of the room, Avery leaving his two companions in order to join him.
As Auburn and Ramsay took their seats (which were in the form of overturned wine barrels) the slow murmuring of the other Death Eaters slowly died away, the attention of the thirty or so directed at where Rodolphous stood. Joining Avery at the back of the room was Rodolphous’ brother Rabastan, and two other head Death Eaters who Auburn knew as Yaxley and Nott. Looking to his left, he noticed the Carrows, muttering to each other as the silence reverberated through the storage room though it was not long before the silence was broken by the voice of Rabastan.
‘We’ve called this meeting here tonight as a way to regroup after last months’… catastrophe…’ he said, his last words uttered with his eyes tightly shut, an angry expression characterizing his face. ‘Allowing the Aurors to infiltrate and destroy Riddle House has left us without a permanent home… and as a result, our impromptu meeting takes place here tonight.’
‘I say we go show those Muggles above us a taste of our hospitality,’ Alecto Carrow screeched, pointing up at the low ceiling, her statement being met with a variety of approvals by a group of Death Eaters sitting close by. ‘What I’d do to get my hands on some innocent little Muggles…’
‘It would certainly be something to do Alecto,’ a tall Death Eater Auburn did not recognize replied. ‘We all know how busy we have been lately…’ he finished off sarcastically.
‘That would be ill-advised. Any attention drawn to us would be counter-productive at this point… though in due time, it will be time to take action,’ Avery responded seemingly putting an end to these rebellious thoughts.
‘Though our ranks are not what they once were, as you can see here tonight, our forces are slowly being replenished,’ Nott said.
‘And it seems as if we are about to be joined by one more,’ Yaxley growled quietly.
‘Who’s that?’ a couple of Death Eaters called out at once. Rabastan, after a small grin to his brother, spoke a name that Auburn would never have predicted.
Malfoy’s name was met with severe protest, every Death Eater in the room speaking all at once. Rabastan put up his hands in an effort to silence the jeers, Avery speaking loudly over them in order to be heard.
‘Now listen up! We met with Draco just the other week after his mother was let out of Azkaban. We believe that he has the best of intensions in helping us return to power once again. He could turn out to be a key asset as a spy for us inside the Ministry.’
‘But what makes you think that we all approve of this decision?’ Amycus Carrow called out. ‘Some of us here don’t trust the little Malfoy or the rest of that family!’ His statement was met with some approval by the surrounding Death Eaters.
‘Unfortunately, that does not quite matter, Amycus,’ Rodolphous replied. ‘Lord Voldemort has communicated through his portrait to us – his most trusted Death Eaters. Do you really think we are just going to relate everything to each and every one of you as soon as you join our noble following? In time… if you all show you are worthy… we will share the Dark Lord’s knowledge with you. In the meantime… what he says goes and what Lord Voldemort has said before his portrait was destroyed is that he wants the Malfoy boy!’
‘Even if he turns out to be a dud, he is one of the prime targets of the Aurors! It would be opportune if we can bring him over to our side before the Aurors can influence him to do the same… at least this way we can keep a better eye on him,’ Nott interjected. The protest seemed to die down with these words, no one in the room daring to question the wishes of Lord Voldemort.
‘Mulciber – Jugson… have you had any success yet?’ Rodolphous called to a couple of Death Eaters sitting in the front rows.
‘N-No not yet, Rodolphous. Give us just one more chance… We are trying,’ Mulciber responded after glancing at what had to be Jugson. His last sentence was more a plea rather than a statement.
‘Pity…’ Rodolphous responded after a brief moment of examination of the two Death Eaters, Mulciber and Jugson only responding with avoiding the glaring stares of the head Death Eaters. ‘It appears as if we are going to have to take over. The distraction is an integral part of our plan – it is something we need in order for our acquaintance to carry out the work that has been requested of us…’ Rodolphous continued, glancing to his fellow head Death Eaters. ‘It seems as if you two are unable to perform the most simplest of tasks…’
‘What do you mean by “distraction”? What are you talking about Rodolphous?’ Ramsay called out from beside Auburn.
‘That is none of your business right now,’ Avery said quite loudly, his frustration with Ramsay continuing. ‘Once the assignment has been carried out, we will relay the next steps to all of you at that time…’
‘It’s not right to keep us in the dark on everything,’ Ramsay replied, though with less enthusiasm as his previous statement.
‘Here, here,’ Amycus called out enthusiastically, making Ramsay flash a brief smile at his support.
‘Regardless,’ Rabastan interrupted loudly, ignoring Amycus’ statement, ‘assignments will be given to those who have earned our trust… though as Mulciber and Jugson have proved to us tonight, even we can be misguided in giving out that trust from time to time…’
‘Now we all know our primary objective, correct?’ Rodolphous called out, his voice reverberating throughout the room. Auburn worried for a moment that the Muggles above would hear the goings-on of the meeting, but he quickly realized that proper protective enchantments would have been cast throughout the room in order to prevent any sort of attention to it. ‘Good. Then there is no need to repeat it. My brother and I have reason to believe that we are closing in on our target that Lord Voldemort had instructed us to seek out. Soon enough, once we have retrieved him, we shall have the knowledge and the power to bring back the Dark Lord once and for all…’
Rodolphous’ statement was met with positive cheering throughout the room. Looking around, Auburn felt the Death Eaters were stuck in a state of limbo; they wanted to collectively be more involved in the goings on of the Death Eaters but still supported the organization as a whole. The conservative approach by the head Death Eaters to only lay trust in the hands of a select few was frustrating but if the order to do this had come from Lord Voldemort himself, then Auburn thought it best not to question it; in time he would gain the trust of the head Death Eaters as well. Still, it was becoming increasingly difficult to live in fear the way he was; worrying about being apprehended by Aurors or nervous about being double-crossed were things Auburn wished he did not have to experience in his daily life. However, if this was what was necessary in order to bring back Lord Voldemort once and for all, then it would be well worth it.
‘Now, forgive me,’ Ramsay said sarcastically, breaking up the cheering as everyone turned in his direction. ‘But how do we know that this will lead to Lord Voldemort’s return?’ Ramsay was speaking in a way that he had not all night thus far. It seemed as if Amycus’ agreement with Ramsay earlier had lit a fire underneath him and had given him the confidence to speak of his true feelings and pursue them further. ‘From when I was just a child I knew that no magic could ever… ever raise a soul from the dead once they have departed this world. What makes you think we are all just going to go along with your little charade? I think it is time we got some real answers and none of this malarkey that you usually give us.’
No one spoke. Instead, every single Death Eater in the room turned to where Rabastan, Rodolphous and the rest stood. The head Death Eaters were all eying Ramsay with a look of utmost dislike while the rest looked upon him in a mix of approval, disregard and complete shock. Ramsay had spoken what every other Death Eater had on their mind; even Auburn could not help but side with Ramsay, though what he did not side with was the way he was presenting his frustration.
‘That’s the second time now that you have spoken when you should not have, Ramsay,’ Avery responded through gritted teeth. ‘And even more troubling than your loose tongue… is what exactly you speak of. If you are, in fact, a Death Eater and are loyal to our cause, then our word should be an example to follow, not something to question. I do hope that you do not have a serious problem with that…’
‘And what if I do? I’m sure that I am not the only one in this room who doesn’t like the way we are being led!’ Ramsay replied forcefully, Auburn subconsciously distancing himself from Ramsay who now stood up off of his overturned wine barrel. ‘Who’s with me?’
His address of the thirty or so other Death Eaters in the room did not prompt anyone to respond. Even the Carrows themselves only looked down in to their laps, either not brave enough to respond or not wanting to cross their leads and by extension, Lord Voldemort himself. Observing this, Auburn could see a lump grow in Ramsay’s throat, his hand moving to the insides of his robes as he took a step backwards, his heel kicking in to the wine barrel that he had previously been sitting on. Ramsay’s eyes were beginning to water, the head Death Eaters not taking their eyes off the retreating Death Eater.
‘I hope you do not plan on leaving our little meeting here, Ramsay,’ Rodolphous called as he observed this fact. ‘We still have much to discuss before we adjourn tonight.’
‘And what if I do?!’ Ramsay called back, Auburn seeing that he now had his wand in his hand as he continued to take small steps backwards towards the door. ‘What if I don’t want to play your games anymore?! What if I just want out?!’
‘Hmm. Well that probably means we have no good use for you anymore…’ Avery’s words sent a chill up Auburn’s spine as he looked back at Ramsay, his expression one of downright fear now.
‘N-No… P-Please…’ His wand was now held out in front of him, quivering in his fear. He opened his mouth to speak, but neither Auburn, nor anyone else in the room heard what he was about to say.
Auburn did not even hear Rabastan’s incantation. A flash of green light later and Ramsay crumpled in to a heap on the dusty ground of the storage room. Wide-eyed, Auburn only looked upon the lifeless body of Ramsay, unable to take his eyes off of it. As he exhaled loudly, feeling light-headed all of a sudden, Auburn heard the grizzled voice of Avery coming from what seemed like a substantial distance away.
‘Now… I pray we can return to our meeting now… That is unless anyone else has anything to say?’