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Chapter 9: The Black Lake
If any Gryffindors had looked out their window at precisely midnight two weeks later, they would have seen nothing save the rustling of the wind in the trees. But had they looked one minute later, the swish of a cloak and the small spark of a spell would have been just barely visible on the grounds below.
But Tom Riddle was very accomplished in a dillusionment charm, and before long, he blended in with his background so well that it was almost as if he was invisible as he crossed the grounds and made his way to the black lake. A slight smirk played across his lips as he thought about his plans for the night. There were times when even he was surprised at his own intelligence.
At a time like this, Tom was glad he was a prefect. Because as a prefect, he was required to walk the Castle at night. And if you listened closely, as most prefects didn’t, you would hear whispered secrets and hurried plans being made. And if you got lucky, you might hear a girl agree to meet her boyfriend at the black lake at midnight on Saturday night. And if you were even luckier, the girl and her boyfriend might both be Mudbloods.
He grinned with anticipation as he began moving faster. He could have simply asked the basilisk to attack them and be done with it, but this time, his presence was required. In one hand, he held a flask of dragon’s blood taken from Professor Slughorn’s personal stores. He intended to leave a message for when the dead bodies were found. He imagined the look on the faces of the teachers when they came across two bodies accompanied by a message written in blood.
As he got closer, he could hear hushed voices laughing and talking. He smiled. They had kept their date, then. They were making this much too easy for him. They had no reason to suspect that their miserable little lives would soon be ending.
Tom stopped in the bushes, a few feet behind the couple, and pulled his wand out, just in case. Focusing his mind, he sent an image of the couple to the basilisk and waited. It didn’t even take a full sixty seconds before he got his answer. Tom shut his eyes tightly. He knew the basilisk would tell him when the job was done.
Almost sick with anticipation, Tom curled his hands into fists and waited. There was no scream, no cry for help, but suddenly, the voices were silenced mid-laugh. He did not open his eyes, savoring the moment of his success. Almost immediately, an image of two bodies lying side by side entered his mind and he stepped forward, opening his eyes to the same scene he had just seen.
Tom’s eyes lit up. He nearly ran to the bodies, placing his fingers against the girl’s neck and expecting to feel nothing at all.
He was right. But something wasn’t right. Her flesh was hard, cold, and she had only been dead a few seconds. It should have still been warm. Unless…
He wanted to cry out. Petrified! Again! He roared in his mind, hoping the basilisk would hear and come to him.
“Why!” he called into the dark, speaking Parseltongue. “Why have you failed me once again!”
He heard a hiss behind him, but knew better to turn around.
“It was the water, master. They saw me in the water.”
Tom glanced at the black lake. Of course! How could he have been so stupid. They must have only seen the basilisk’s reflection. Desperately wanting to go back and redo the moment, Tom waved the basilisk off. He knew he had to remain calm. Someone could come out at any moment. He needed to write his message and get the hell out.
Still fuming with anger, Tom dumped the contents of the flask onto the ground and picked up his wand, writing words in the air and feeling only slightly better when the blood moved to mirror them.
Your blood is not pure, your magic tainted.
You have no right to walk these hallowed halls.
The rightful heir has come to finish the noble deed.
The Chamber has been opened.
Stepping back, Tom admired his work. The Black Lake glowed eerily in the soft light of the moon, providing the perfect backdrop for the bodies of the two lovers, still holding hands in their sleep of stone. The blood shone under the stars, appearing almost silver as the last word in particular stood out from the dark grass underneath it.
For one moment, Tom forgot that his true intentions had failed. He forgot that this was just one small event in the bigger picture of eradicating the Mudbloods from Hogwarts. He forgot that he was out of bed at midnight. The scene before him stunned him. It screamed that it was the work of a mastermind.
Then he shook his head to clear it and began the trudge back up to the castle.
His last thought before falling asleep was that they really ought to have better security.
Amaya hurried along the cold dungeons corridor, swearing under her breath as she took the stairs two at a time. She couldn’t believe she had forgotten all about their potions essay. It had been assigned nearly two weeks ago, not to mention that it was supposed to be at least four feet long and she had yet to start. Forget that, she hadn’t even the slightest idea on what a snargaloff pod was, let alone “its benefits in potion making using examples from at least three different common and one rare potion”.
Breathing heavily, she drew her bag closer to her, feeling the books rattle around in it as she made her way to the library. She still had a History of Magic essay to finish and she had promised to practice silencing charms with Anabel later.
Slowing briefly when she passed Professor Dumbledore moving just as quickly in the opposite direction, Amaya couldn’t help but notice two older Slytherin boys that she vaguely recognized looming over a much younger girl. Confused, and a bit worried as to what they were doing, Amaya took a brief detour and headed in their direction.
One of the boys looked up when she got closer, and with a pang, she realized that she did in fact know him. Cygnus Black grinned at her as she walked towards him. He nudged his friend, whispering something that she couldn’t hear, but his friend snickered as she walked over to them.
“Well hello there, Fitz,” Cygnus said when she was a few feet away.
Amaya nodded coolly. “Black,” she acknowledged. “Who’s your friend?”
Cygnus gestured to him. “Robert Wyard. His family isn’t quite as well known among us Purebloods, but he pops up every now and then. What brings you here?”
“I came to see what you were doing. Who is this girl anyway?”
At a closer glance, Amaya could see she was crying, or at least, she had been very recently. Her cheeks were tear stained and her eyes were puffy.
“Ah, it’s quite a story, actually,” Cygnus replied with a smile. “This is Mary Robinson. She’s a third year Ravenclaw, and she was under the impression that she could talk to Robert and I like equals. The thing is, she’s a dirty little Mudblood. And we all know the Mudbloods don’t deserve to speak to those of pure blood. We were just having a nice little conversation with Miss Robinson. Putting her in her place.”
Amaya stood frozen on the spot, stunned at what Cygnus had just said. She knew the sentiments of her family and other purebloods, but she had never dreamed that she would actually come across it, and especially not like this. Looking back at the girl, she couldn’t see how anyone would want to hurt her. She was a delicate little thing, and once Cygnus had started speaking, she had resumed her crying, silent tears falling down her cheeks. Did it really matter who she had for parents?
Still, Amaya could not find her voice. She couldn’t bring herself to say something, anything at all, to Cygnus. She could barely imagine what would happen if she stood up for the girl. Cygnus would most likely hex the both of them, first of all, and then he would be sure to write to his parents, who in turn would tell her own. And if her parents found out, she would be bombarded with owls for days, asking why she had gone against Cygnus and stood up for a Muggle-born.
Amaya felt her face grow warm, but neither could she open her mouth nor could she bring herself to move.
Cygnus smirked at her. “What’s the matter, Fitz? You’re one of noble blood too, aren’t you? You should be glad that we’re teaching the Mudblood. You want Mudbloods in their place, don’t you?”
Amaya kept her eyes fixed on the floor, refusing to let his words provoke her. She knew that Cygnus was challenging her. She had never been one of the most vocal of her generation, and she knew that Cygnus wanted to see her put down the girl so he would have something to gossip about. It was nothing more than a game for his sick pleasure.
“No voice, Fitz? Or are you so scared of a little third year Mudblood that you won’t even speak up?”
Still looking at the floor, Amaya raised her head a fraction of an inch and opened her mouth. Hating herself for what she was doing, but hating Cygnus even more for making her do it, she forced her tongue to form words.
“S-Stupid Mudbloods should stay where they belong,” she choked out.
She could feel Cygnus’s eyes on the top of her head, deciding whether or not he would accept that and be done, or whether he was going to push her further. Luckily, she was saved from further ridicule by the appearance of Orion Black who rushed by at that moment, and upon noticing Cygnus, darted into their corridor and yelled to him.
“Oi! Cygnus! Haven’t you heard?”
Cygnus gave him a questioning look.
“There’s been another attack! Down by the Black Lake! You have to come and see!”
“C’mon,” Cygnus muttered to his friend, following Orion out of the corridor.
Amaya stayed frozen for a few seconds, then ran to follow them. She looked back just before turning the corner, but immediately wished that she hadn’t.
The girl had collapsed onto the ground and had her head in her hands, crying harder than ever before. She couldn’t believe that she had done that to someone. She knew that she would never be able to forgive herself for what she had said.
Running to stop herself from dwelling on the image, Amaya reached the Black Lake before Orion and Cygnus.
Not to her surprise, the crowd was even larger than last time. She could make out the purple pointy tip of Professor Dumbledore’s hat up front, but if there were any other teachers, she couldn’t see them.
Sighing, Amaya began pushing her way through the crowd. It was surprising how quickly you could move through a throng of people if you tried. She managed to worm her way to the middle where, if she stood on her tip toes, she could make out the outlines of Professor Dippet and Professor Merrythought.
She still couldn’t see what everyone was looking at though. Amaya groaned, preparing herself to push past even more people when all of a sudden, Professor Merrythought yelled loudly.
“Back! All of you! Back!”
The crowd began pushing backwards, students turning around and grumbling as they made their way towards the castle. Amaya stayed where she was, waiting for the crowd to thin enough that she could see what everyone was looking at.
Two bodies lay on the ground in front of the lake, their hands still entwined. But that wasn’t what really stood out. Next to them, in glittering red ink that could only be blood, a message was scrawled.
Amaya was barely able to read it before she was caught in the crowd and forced to head in their direction, walking towards the castle.
Tom smiled inwardly as he allowed himself to be carried back to the castle with the rest of the crowd. Everything had gone smoothly this time around. He wasn’t exactly sure how the bodies had been discovered, but when the school started to talk about the attack, he had followed along. He could tell that his message had made everyone uncomfortable, though.
What surprised him was that not many students knew about the Chamber of Secrets. In fact, most of them had been confused by that line. He had heard many queries passing between friends of what the Chamber was. Somewhere along the way, someone had found a copy of Hogwarts, a History and begun to inform the others about the Chamber of Secrets, so Tom was confident that most, if not all, of the students would understand his message by the end of the night.
It had been strangely entertaining to stand and listen to their chatter. Some made jokes, others were close to tears, and still others cheered at the sight of the message. He knew that the double attack had frightened many. They knew now that the attack wasn’t just a one-time thing. And even being with someone else didn’t keep you safe.
He had also enjoyed listening to their speculations as to who or what had attacked the students. Some of his favorite theories were that the Giant Squid had learned to walk on land, or that Salazar Slytherin himself had come forward in time to control his beast. No one suspected a student yet, though he knew that would change soon enough.
In fact, Tom decided that there was only one thing missing from his plan: a name. He needed a new name. A notorious wizard could not be known with a common name. He needed to stand out.
Excusing himself to write an essay, Tom pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill and began writing.
He decided to come up with some characteristics of the name he wanted before trying to take a stab in the dark. He knew he wanted it to relate to his current name in some way. He didn’t want it to be completely random, but instead wanted it to be derived from his name but sound much different.
With that in mind, Tom listed the letters of his name at the top of his parchment.
T O M M A R V O L O R I D D L E
He studied them for a second, then rearranged them in alphabetical order.
A D D E I L L M M O O O R R T V
But he barely had time to create one combination of letters before the door to his dormitory swung open, and he hastily stuffed the parchment into his bag. Oh, well. That, at least, could wait.
He would be able to create a name and plan another attack as long as he kept patient. Right now, he had an image to uphold.
A/N: First of all, all credit for the lovely Black Lake idea goes to academica.
Second of all, the next chapter is my favorite one yet, and it’s a big turning point for Amaya, so hopefully a quick update on that.
Third of all, thank you to the lovely validators who make the queue time short so this will hopefully be coming to you just a couple hours after I submit.
And fourth of all, reviews make sad days happy <3