Chapter 2 : Programma Del Voldemort - Voldemort's Plan
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The sky was a rich, deep pink, dashed with lustrous gold. The trees of the woods were almost black in the sunset, as was the grass and hedgerows beside the dirt track people liked to call a road.
Along the dirt track another one sprouted, curling among the hills to the east. Right at the end of this track, nestled between two tall hills, was a small house. Unobtrusive and unimportant, it just stood there; it's roof tiles steadily falling off, the window panes steadily rotting ...
Many Muggles who wandered past this place ignored it. It was a dump, just one of those buildings someone builds on the edge of a village and then never use.
But it was used. At least, it was at this moment. A group of around four men were there; three of them wearing black cloaks, hoods and masks, the fourth only wearing a cloak.
This man was pale-skinned, with dark eyes and jet-black hair that fell into his face. His face bore no signs of stubble, or beards or anything. Even though he was probably in his late-forties, early-fifties, he looked remarkably like a thirty-seven-year-old ...
Each of them men in front of him sat with a sort of haunchy stance, their backs straight, their wands upright in their hands, ready to curse anything undesirable that came too near their master.
'But, Master,' said the one nearest to the black-haired man, 'I don't really understand ...'
Lord Voldemort laughed. His pitiless black eyes glittered. These were the days before the birth of the Chosen One.
'You don't understand?' he repeated mockingly. 'It's quite easy to understand, if only you got your thick head around it first, Nott.'
The man who had spoken recoiled as though he had just been punched in the face.
'I'm s-s-sorry, my Lord,' he stammered. 'I didn't m-m-mean to offend you ---'
'Offend me? Offend me?' said Voldemort, laughing again. 'You did nothing of the sort, Nott. I'm used to your incompetent mind. But your powers are enough to compensate, which is why you are sat here with my most loyal, and not feeling sorry for yourself like the others. Of course I am not offended. I am merely surprised.'
'Yes, m-master,' Nott muttered, moving as far backwards as he could without falling off his bench. Voldemort watched him for a second, then, after deciding he was not worth the bother, turned to the others.
'Well, you all know what to do,' he said softly. 'You all come back here at midnight tonight and we will head towards our destination ...' He pointed with a long pale finger over to the west. 'Italy.'
'My Lord, if I could just ask a question ...' said the youngest of the Death Eaters, who seemed to be Voldemort's favourite one there, for he used his first name, not his surname like he did with Nott. Voldemort turned his deep dark eyes on the man, who took a breath before carrying on. 'Can't we just wake Her from here?'
Lord Voldemort's lip curled into a smirk. 'Certainly not, Lucius,' he said silkily. 'We have to be where She is more likely to hear us. We have to be near Her sleeping place.'
'But She doesn't like being woken, my Lord,' Lucius Malfoy continued. 'What if we are too near? What if She kills us?'
'No big loss, you know, Lucius,' Voldemort said, shrugging and smirking. 'Although I will be sad to lose you. A little. So ... everyone understand?'
The Death Eaters all looked as though they had more questions to ask about the plan, but Voldemort seemed to be losing his patience. They all nodded hastily, drawing their cloaks tighter about them and pulling their hoods lower. Their eyes darted to look at each other uncomfortably..
* * * *
'Why did your dad get a Time Turner off Mundungus Fletcher?' Ron asked curiously, having read the note over Harry's shoulder.
'I dunno,' said Harry. 'But he wanted me to have it. Even Dumbledore enchanted this cabinet so only a Potter could find it. I suppose I'd better take this ...'
'I don't think you should, Harry,' said Hermione warningly, who also had read the note and was eyeing the other package warily. 'Time Turners are in Ministry regulations for a reason. They're dangerous. If you go back in time and do something, you could change history so that you were never born, and then Voldemort would never have disappeared, and we'd literally be living out a reign of hell on earth. Please don't take it. It might not even be from your father at all! It could be from a Death Eater, trying to trick you. Please don't act on impulse, Harry.'
'This is my dad's last wish, Hermione,' said Harry angrily, waving the note in front of her nose. 'Look, he knows he's in danger. He's already warned me not to change history. It's from my dad, and I'm not just going to throw it away or hand it in. I'm going to keep it.'
'Good thinking, mate!' said Ron, clapping him on the back. 'But ...' he frowned, 'why would James want you to have a Time Turner. Did he want you to go back into the past and see him or something?'
'Maybe,' said Harry. 'I'll go and see McGonagall about it later. Maybe she might know about it, too ...'
Hermione pursed her lips. 'I think you're being very unwi--' she began, but Ron and Harry stood up.
'Hermione, could you mind getting out now, please?' Harry said loudly. She looked taken aback.
'Because in case you hadn't noticed, I'm still in my pajamas.'
Hermione looked him up and down, shook her head exasperatedly then left the room, slamming the door behind her.
Ron picked up the little package as Harry began to get dressed. He examined it, looking very curious.
'Can I open it, please, Harry?'
'Wh-- oh, yeah, you can open it,' said Harry, pulling his robes on. He looked up as Ron carefully tore open the remaining brown paper. A silvery chain fell out onto his hand, with a tiny little hourglass attached. The chain was very long, and the back of the Time Turner bore scruffily engraved words: 'To my son, Use it well, Love, Dad'
'Yep,' said Ron. 'It was definitely meant for you. Look.' And he showed him the engraved back of the Time Turner. Harry read it and smiled a little to himself. Ron seemed quite in awe that James Potter could arrange all of this, knowing that he was going to die. Maybe it was around that time when Sirius persuaded Wormtail to become Secret Keeper ...
Harry finished getting dressed, took the Time Turner carefully off Ron, and then slipped it deep into his pocket, covering it with the paper to stop the chain tinkling.
'Are we going to see McGonagall?' asked Ron, leaving the dormitory with Harry. They descended the stairs to the common room.
'Yeah,' said Harry. 'Straight after breakfast.'
They saw Hermione chatting to Ginny over by the fire. Hermione cast Harry a worried look as they both stood up and went over to them.
Ginny kissed Harry on the cheek (Ron cleared his throat loudly and Seamus, over by the portrait hole, sniggered, though was quickly silenced with a venomous look from Dean).
'Hermione said you've found a Time Turner under your cabinet,' Ginny said quietly.
'Er ... yeah, I have,' said Harry. 'Did Hermione tell you who it was from?'
'All she said was that it claimed to be from James,' said Ginny. 'She doesn't think it was, though, do you, Hermione?'
Hermione went red. 'I---'
'Where is it?' Ginny asked.
Harry drew her over to a corner. Ron and Hermione stood in front of them, shielding them from view. People looked over, assumed that Harry was getting off with Ginny therefore looked away again, shaking their heads. Harry took the Time Turner out of his pocket and let Ginny look at it. She gazed at the back.
'That's so sweet,' she said softly. 'Well, I think it's from James. Only a father could be that touching. You should keep this. It would be an insult to James's, and Sirius's, memories not to.'
Hermione opened her mouth furiously, and said, 'I thought you were on my side!'
'I'm on nobody's side,' said Ginny simply. 'Although if I was, I would be on Harry's cause he's my boyfriend. I'm simply voicing my opinion, which is that this is from James.'
Hermione made an angry noise under her breath and stormed away.
'Honestly,' said Ginny, staring after her. 'She's usually so nice, but she can occasionally be a little bitch.'
'Yep,' said Ron, shaking his head. 'She was like this over the Firebolt when Harry got it, all convinced it was cursed, then it turned out to be an innocent present! You wait, she'll be proved wrong in this case, too.'
'Well, we'll just have to go without her, then,' said Harry, heading towards the portrait hole. Ron and Ginny caught up with him.
'Go where?' asked Ginny, looking anxious, obviously wondering if he was about to go on some dangerous quest without her.
'To see McGonagall,' said Harry. 'I want to know what my dad had in mind when he decided to give me a Time Turner.'
'I'm coming,' said Ginny immediately, seizing hold of his hand. 'You can't get rid of me that easily, Harry James Potter.'
Harry looked down at her and smiled. Ron rolled his eyes.
After a few minutes they arrived at the gargoyle behind which the staircase to the Headmistress's office stood hidden. Harry looked at the others.
'Do any of you know what the password is?' he asked. Ron and Ginny shook their heads, looking mystified. Professor McGonagall had only been the Headteacher for three-and-a-half weeks, and she hadn't given any students the password.
Harry growled angrily to himself. He tried some sweet combinations, wondering whether Professor McGonagall may use the genre of password, too.
'Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans?' he asked tentatively. The gargoyle did not move. 'Cockroach Cluster? Sugar Quills? Everlasting Gum? Er ... pumpkin pasties? Oh, come ON!' he shouted at it.
'Harry, I'm not really sure McGonagall would use sweet names for her password,' said Ginny. 'It'll be something educational, I bet it is.'
'OK,' breathed Harry. 'Erm ... quill? Parchment? Transfigure .... grrrrr,' he growled, feeling a hot desire to punch the gargoyle, but resisted, knowing it would only cause him pain. 'Errr ... Animagus?'
The gargoyle would not move.
'FINE!' Harry bellowed at it. 'Be like that!' He stormed away. Ron raised his eyebrows at Ginny, who shrugged. She did not seem perturbed by her boyfriend's aggressive behaviour towards a stone statue.
Back in the common room, Harry, Ron and Ginny found three seats by the fireplace. Hermione was reading by the window. She shot Ginny an angry look, and then snatched up her book and left the common room, running up to her dormitory. Neither Harry nor Ron noticed, but Ginny did. She looked as though she was going to leave Hermione alone, but then she stood up.
'Wait here,' she said, pecked Harry on the cheek, and ran up the girls' stairs. Harry watched her go, before turning to Ron.
'We'll have to wait until we next see McGonagall before we ask her about Dad,' he said. 'So ... what're we going to do with the Time Turner.'
'I dunno,' said Ron. 'But I don't think we should use it just yet. Not until McGonagall or someone's checked it over.'
' WHAT?!' said Harry, stunned. 'You think it's cursed, too? Oh, great, thanks, Ron, for your wonderful support! Is it just Ginny who thinks it's genuinely from my dad? Why don't you just join Hermione and whisper about the most gruesome way this thing can kill me?!'
'Harry,' said Ron patiently. He was so used to Harry's occasional outbursts that it didn't bother him anymore. 'I think it is from James. I do not think it is cursed. But it's been in that cabinet for at least seventeen years, and you saw the package seemed a bit squashed. Maybe it's accidentally broken, like a tiny crack or something. You don't know what could happen if you use a broken Time Turner. That's what I meant. Go to McGonagall and check if it's not broken.'
Harry calmed down. He looked quite ashamed of himself. 'I'm sorry,' he said. 'Yeah ... er ... I'll go and check with McGonagall. Sure ... I will ...'
Soon Ginny came stomping down the stairs, looking quite irritated.
'I've just spoken to Hermione,' she said sourly, throwing herself into a chair.
'Oh, really? What did she say?'
'She said she couldn't believe I picked you over my best mate,' said Ginny. 'She did the thing us girls can do very well, you know, make the other person feel guilty even when they haven’t done anything. I hate it when people do that to me. Mum's brilliant at it.'
'Tell me about it,' said Ron darkly. 'Over the summer, before you came round, Harry, she made me feel guilty about going out to play Quidditch in the field. Anyway,' he said, turning to his sister, 'are you still on our side? You still think the Time Turner's from James?'
'Course I do,' said Ginny. 'I'm not like Hermione, just because loads of people want to kill him - sorry, Harry, but it is true - doesn't mean that anything strange was sent by a potential murderer. You never know, the thing might prove useful to Hermione.'
'She could sit lessons at once again.'
'I'm not having my Time Turner used for educational purposes!' said Harry at once. 'It'll be used for ... adventures, or totally unnecessary things, you know, like the Invisibility Cloak is.'
* * * *
A man with short white-blond hair set in quite strangely attractive spikes, and piercingly cold grey eyes walked up the road to the small house he and the others had met their master in a few hours before. It was dark - the only lights were those of the moon and the distant, tiny pricks of luminescence marking the nearest village. A tall figure was waiting for the man, his black hair falling into his eyes. His pale skin almost glowed.
'How did I know you would be the first to do what I asked, Lucuis?' Voldemort asked silkily. 'You are incredible. How old are you, Lucius?'
'Twenty-four, my Lord.'
'Twenty-four ...' Voldemort repeated thoughtfully. His dark eyes flashed. 'Interesting how such a young man could be so loyal to a man such as myself ... come here, Lucius.'
Lucius looked quite apprehensive. Though only the best Death Eaters got even a hint of praise off Voldemort, he still did become quite wary of him. He moved forwards slowly.
'Come, come, Lucius, I'm not going to hurt you,' said Voldemort, reaching out a white, long-fingered hand and seizing his arm. He pulled the young Malfoy towards him, raised his left sleeve, then said, 'Well, I am going to hurt you ... it hurts everybody ...'
He smiled evilly and pressed a long white finger onto the skull-and-snake tattoo on Lucuis's forearm. Lucius yelled in pain as the Mark burnt deep black. He recoiled his arm, staring at Voldemort and breathing heavily. It hurt more when Voldemort touched your Mark than when you felt it burn because he'd touched someone else's ...
'Just a little reminder to the others,' Voldemort said softly, circling around Lucuis, who turned slowly on the spot, watching him apprehensively. 'Do you have a family, Lucuis?'
'Er ... yes, my Lord ... my parents live in London and ...'
'No, Lucuis, I meant, do you have a wife and children?' said Voldemort, his lip curling at Lucius's misunderstanding.
'Well, I have a fiancée, but, no, I don't have any children,' said Lucius, looking quite frightened, as though he thought that his next assignment would be to go and murder his close family.
'Are you going to have children with this woman?' asked Voldemort, stopping and surveying Lucius with his cold black eyes.
'Yes, we're ... er ... thinking about it,' said Lucius warily.
'Good,' said Voldemort. 'Because any child of yours would be welcome to join me. Two Malfoys? Any Dark Lord would jump at the chance.'
'Oh, thank you,' said Lucius, after realising that Voldemort had just paid him a compliment. 'Yes, no doubt any children of ours will be Death Eaters when they are old enough.'
Voldemort smiled. 'Good,' he said quietly. 'Ah, here the rest of them are,' he added. Three more wizards had materialised out of nowhere, along with one witch.
One of the wizards removed his hood and brought the witch forwards with him. He had wavy brown hair, dark eyes and pale grey eyes like Lucius's. The woman, who looked around twenty-two, had long, shiny, dark hair, and dark eyes. She was extremely beautiful. Lucius nodded at her.
'Good evening, Bellatrix,' he said. 'And you too, Rodolphus.'
Both of them inclined their heads back to him. Voldemort searched the couple with his pitiless eyes.
'This is not a family reuniting area, Lestrange,' he said to Rodolphus quietly. 'There were only four of you at the meeting earlier. Now there are five here. Why?'
'She's my wife,' said Rodolphus. 'You know how loyal she is to you, my Lord. You just didn't want her at the meeting because she's a woman. Normally I would agree with you, my Lord, but --'
'It is not for you to agree with what I decide or to disagree with it, Lestrange,' snapped Voldemort venomously. 'Yes, she is loyal. Yes, no doubt she would do anything for her master, but the fact is that I did not invite her to the meeting--'
'Master,' said Bellatrix warily. Voldemort looked down at her, eyes filled with anger. 'I would do anything for you. I could be useful. I am descended from the Blacks.'
'And why does that mean that you would be of use to me in this instance?'
'Because the modern-day descendants of Italians,' said Bellatrix proudly. 'Some of our descendants survived the last awakening of The Daughter of the Dead, and wrote a book about it. I have the book with me now, if you would like to read it, my Lord.'
Voldemort looked very much as though he would like to curse Bellatrix, but sighed. 'Very well, Ms Lestrange. What have you got?'
Bellatrix dug eagerly inside her cloak and drew out a small book from a pocket of her robes. As the other two Death Eaters, Nott and Macnair, gathered round, she said:
'She grows in power the longer she sleeps. She's been asleep for two thousands. I do not think that anyone will survive the re-awakening of La Figlia Dei Morti.'
*~* END OF CHAPTER 2 *~*
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COMING UP: VOLDEMORT DISCOVERS SOMETHING THAT MAES IT NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO REAWKEN LA FIGLIA DEI MORTI, AND HARRY USES THE TIME TURNER WITHOUT CONSULTING MCGONAGALL!!!
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