Chapter 4 : Falkner Selwyn: The Price of Loyalty
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Selwyn was forced to his knees, wincing as they collided heavily with the marble tiling. His body shook, his vision blurred, as he brought his head up to survey the scene. Around him, other witches and wizards were kneeling, some shaking, as he did, with fear. Several hooded, masked and cloaked wizards were moving amongst the wizards, deftly retrieving their captive’s wands. Still more of the wizards - the Death Eaters - had circled the captives, watching them with wary eyes. In the corner of the room, he saw a still body, sprawled across the floor. Red blood was seeping from the body, staining the polished marble. A strong wave of nausea rose in his throat; hurriedly he turned away from the horrifying sight. He could hear screams, mingled with fearful sobs, arising from the other occupants of the house. A particularly loud scream split through the foyer, echoing off the stone walls.
“SILENCE!” The loud, commanding shout came from the centre of the room, it too echoed off the walls. He turned his head, and found himself staring directly into the masked face of a Death Eater. Only the Death Eater’s eyes were visible underneath the mask and the Death Eater met Selwyn’s stare for a moment, before winking evilly. He shuddered, averting his eyes to a remarkably clean section of floor. “You will not speak, unless spoken to,” the voice continued, now carrying easily over the hushed captives.
Several of the captives looked up, exchanging fearful glances, but it was the voice of a young child that first pierced the silence. “Mommy, I’m scared,” the young girl said, her voice carrying audibly across the room. Her mother, a tall, pale woman, quickly made a shushing noise, however the Death Eater standing nearest to Selwyn had already whirled around, raising his wand in the direction of the child.
“Avada Kedavra!” the Death Eater cursed, and with a flash of green light the child crumpled, landing face first on the floor. The captives recoiled in horror, while the Death Eaters looked on impassively. For the second time that day, Selwyn felt the sudden desire to be sick. The mother of the child glanced at her child’s body, a tear falling down her cheek. She made a sudden motion, as if to rise, causing the Death Eater to direct his wand at her. “Move,” he said clearly, “and you get the same as her.”
The mother glared at the Death Eater. “Who kills children?” she asked, her voice hoarse. “Who is so despicable that they would kill a child?”
“I am,” the Death Eater hissed angrily, as he made a slashing motion with his wand. Purple flames erupted out of it, passing through the woman’s body as if it didn’t exist. She blinked, her mouth opening slightly wider, before she collapsed, falling next to her child’s body. The Death Eater looked down, nudging the woman’s body with his foot. Satisfied, he stepped away, opening his mouth to address the captives. “Does anyone else wish to disobey me?” he asked, his eyes menacing beneath his mask. A few of the captives shook their heads, others, like Selwyn, stared fixedly at the floor, afraid of attracting the Death Eater’s attention. “I didn’t think so,” the Death Eater said before turning to face the other Death Eaters. “Has he been called?”
“Not yet,” replied one of the Death Eaters as he rolled up the sleeve of his robe.
“No!” hissed another Death Eater, grasping the sleeve of the first and forcing it back down. “I shall do it!”
“And let you have the glory?” the Death Eater growled, his hand clenched firmly around the wrist of the other. “I think not.”
“Idiots,” the commanding Death Eater spat, quickly rolling up his own sleeve, and pressing upon his left forearm. The reaction was immediate, both of the quarrelling Death Eater’s turned to glare at him.
“Dolohov!” they shouted together.
“I was about to call him,” the first continued.
“No, I was,” argued the second.
Dolohov quelled the pair with a fiery look. “Bellatrix, Lucius, enough! Watch the prisoners.”
Both Death Eaters threw Dolohov a surly look, before turning to face the captives, both trying to avoid looking at the other. Dolohov ignored them both as he assumed a relaxed, yet alert pose, his eyes carefully scanning the group of frightened captives. Reaching up, Dolohov removed his mask, revealing a long, pale, twisted face. He noticed Selwyn staring at him and winked. “You won’t be waiting long,” he promised, his voice containing a hint of excitement.
“Long until what?” Selwyn thought, panicking as his mind conjured several images, each significantly more horrifying than the previous. Again, his eyes fell on the still bodies on the floor, he shuddered as his active imagination leapt with new ideas. His knees trembled faster, he could hear them knocking against the marble. Dolohov was still watching Selwyn, a sneer lighting upon his twisted face.
A thud caused Selwyn and Dolohov to turn around, Dolohov immediately striding in the direction of the noise. Peering around Dolohov’s slim profile, Selwyn saw the Death Eater Bellatrix standing over a body, her wand raised triumphantly, as her eyes danced with delight. “Bellatrix,” Dolohov sighed, “don’t play with your catch.”
Bellatrix laughed, a sound that was cold, loud and maniacal. Selwyn flinched, as she spoke in a light hearted, honeyed, tone, “Dolohov, allow me to have a little fun. They’ll still be alive when he appears.”
“If they aren’t,” Dolohov threatened, “the blame will fall on you.”
Bellatrix laughed again, indicating the three bodies. “What about them?” she asked coldly. “He wanted everyone alive. Are you going to take the blame for that?”
Dolohov smirked. “Why do you think Lucius is here?” he asked carelessly.
Bellatrix stared at Dolohov, and Selwyn thought he could detect a trace of admiration in her eyes. A second later that admiration was replaced with worship, and another person apparated amongst the Death Eaters and captives. Slowly, the new person lowered his hood, revealing the bald, white skull, flat nose and red, slited eyes belonging to Lord Voldemort. The fear that Selwyn had felt previously was nothing compared to the utter terror that now struck him, freezing his bones, causing his mind to go blank. He felt faint as he watched Voldemort’s eyes scan the room, occasionally lingering upon a certain captive. They reached the first of the bodies, and he paused, raising his head to stare at the Death Eaters, his anger evident beneath his white complexion. “Who did this?” he asked, his voice coming out in an angry hiss. “Were my instructions not clear?”
“My lord,” Dolohov answered smoothly, “it was Lucius.”
Lucius twitched, opening his mouth to retaliate, but Voldemort spoke first. “Is that so?” he asked, coldly rounding on Lucius. Lucius flinched, drawing back slightly from Voldemort, but remained silent. “Is it the truth?” Voldemort demanded angrily, raising his wand ever so slightly. Lucius hesitated, glancing at Dolohov who was watching impassively.
“Yes, my lord,” Lucius confirmed, fearfully lowering his gaze.
“Get back to the manor,” Voldemort said, his eyes glinting strangely in the light. “I’ll deal with you then. And Lucius, don’t try to run.”
“No my lord,” Lucius breathed, “I wouldn’t dream of it.” He then disaparated. Voldemort glared angrily at the spot where Lucius had so recently stood, before whirling around to survey the group of captives. His eyes lit up, his anger was slowly replaced by a look of satisfaction, mingled with desire.
“Well, well,” he murmured, “what do we have here? An auror? And a member of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement? A decent catch. I’m impressed,” he added, glancing towards his Death Eaters. “Bella, Mulciber, Avery, bind those two and take them back to headquarters. And check to make sure Lucius hasn’t run, although I believe he would be too cowardly to attempt it. Nott, Rosier, keep our recent activities from the Ministry. I do not wish for those muggle loving fools to know what is occurring, until I allow them to. Do what you must. Dolohov, stay with me,” Voldemort stopped speaking, immediately the Death Eaters sprang to motion. Selwyn watched, horrified, as two of the Death Eaters stunned the captives singled out by Voldemort, bound them tightly with leather cords and disaparated, taking their bound prisoners with them. Selwyn blinked, stunned by the brisk efficiency with which the Death Eaters had handled the movement. Then Voldemort spoke again, and Selwyn’s attention returned to him. “Marcia Cross,” he murmured, speaking to a young, blonde witch. “Such a lovely figure. Tell me,” he hissed, fingering his wand, “what’s your blood status? And tell no lies, for Lord Voldemort will see right through them.”
The witch quavered, her eyes fell to the floor. “Look at me!” Voldemort commanded, “And speak.”
“Mug...muggle...born,” Marcia stuttered.
“Avada Kedavra,” Voldemort cursed, the swiftness of his spell causing several of the captives to tremble with fear. Selwyn stared, wide eyed, as Marcia fell to the ground. “Pity,” Voldemort hissed, already turning to face the next captive. “Ah yes,” he smirked, surveying the kneeling wizard. “Damon Price. Tell me Damon, what is it about the muggles that made you willing to marry one? Such a waste, throwing away pureblood status for filth such as this,” Voldemort spat into the face of Damon’s wife, causing Damon to swell with rage.
“You have no right,” Damon started, his words slow and angry.
“On the contrary,” Voldemort started, raising his wand, “I have every right. Avada Kedavra.”
Again, Selwyn shuddered, viewing, for the fifth time that day, the horrific murder of a man. Neither Voldemort, nor Dolohov appeared phased by the murders, Dolohov simply standing impassively in the corner of the room, while Voldemort slipped over to his next victim. Selwyn watched, as further murders progressed, starting with Damon’s wife, then moving throughout the room, adding another five bodies to the body count. As the sixth body fell to the floor, Selwyn found that couldn’t watch anymore. Instead, he chose to stare at the marble flooring, while he tried not to listen to the muffled thump, as another body hit the floor. And then, the horrible, shocking realization hit Selwyn. He was about to die.
His terrified brain had barely registered the shocking revelation, before a shadow fell across his face. Slowly, Selwyn looked up into the cold, pale, bloodless face of Lord Voldemort. Voldemort’s eyes were red slits that were symbolic of his bloodlust. Voldemort sneered, raising his wand.
“Wait,” Selwyn gasped, his panicked eyes fixed on Voldemort’s wand.
“Wait,” Voldemort repeated, giving a cold, high laugh. “And why do you think Lord Voldemort should wait?”
Selwyn swallowed, trying to call water into his dry throat. “I...I,” he stuttered.
Voldemort gave him a pitiful look. “I...I,” Voldemort taunted, “not a very convincing argument.”
“I wish to join the Death Eaters,” Selwyn said clearly, his deep fear giving him a new found courage.
The reaction was immediate – the last remaining captive turned to stare at him, his eyes and mouth open with surprise. In the corner, Dolohov laughed shortly. Voldemort was silent as he regarded Selwyn with curiosity. “Why,” Voldemort asked, “would you wish to join the Death Eaters?”
Selwyn hesitated. “Because, I think you have the right idea,” he answered.
Voldemort laughed. “I can tell when you lie,” he reminded Selwyn, “and I know that you are lying now.” Selwyn gulped, licking his dry lips. “You are a coward,” Voldemort continued, “and you are joining out of fear. You’re trying to save your own skin. I can see in your mind, Selwyn, and I know what you are thinking.” Selwyn nodded, nervously, trying to control his twitching feet. Voldemort sneered. “My Death Eaters,” he explained, “are not cowards. They joined me, as you so eloquently stated, because they believe I have the right idea. They are loyal and devoted to my cause, willing to obey my every desire. They joined me, because they believe it is a great honour to serve me, and they continue to remain loyal and supportive to my cause. My Death Eaters,” he continued, “joined me because they wanted to; because they believe what I am doing is right. And then,” Voldemort paused, giving Selwyn a look of disgust, “there is you. A miserable coward, who believes that joining my Death Eaters will spare you from death. You wish to join out of fear. The words that came from your mouth were spoken out of desperation, not out of loyalty. So tell me,” Voldemort finished coldly, “why is it that I should allow a coward such as yourself to join my Death Eaters?”
Selwyn paused, thoughtfully considering his response. From where he was kneeling, he could see the smirk etched upon Dolohov’s face. Dolohov noticed his gaze and winked, slowly drawing his finger across his throat. Selwyn gulped, returning his gaze to Voldemort. “Fear,” he began raspily, “is the factor that led me to offer you my service. But, I’m not joining strictly because of fear. I do believe that you have the right ideas and I do support your cause. And,” Selwyn finished, “I would be a loyal servant.”
“You say you will be loyal,” Voldemort laughed. “Do you think your word is going to be enough for me?”
Selwyn stared up at Voldemort, before nervously shaking his head.
“Then,” Voldemort continued, “it appears we have hit a snag in your plan to avoid death.”
Selwyn shuddered. “How can I prove my loyalty?” he asked fearfully.
Dolohov laughed, his eyes darting with amusement. Voldemort blinked, before thoughtfully considering Selwyn. “Are you that desperate to avoid death,” Voldemort asked, “or are you serious about joining the Death Eaters?”
“I want to join,” Selwyn replied firmly, causing Dolohov to raise his eyebrows.
Voldemort tapped his wand against his leg, as he thoughtfully considered his options. “It so happens,” he said slowly, “that there is an action that you could perform, something that would prove your loyalty. And, it would serve to demonstrate something else.”
Selwyn blinked. “What?” he asked shortly.
“My Death Eaters,” Voldemort explained, “must do what is required to do what is necessary to further my cause. If you wish to join,” Voldemort continued, “you must demonstrate that you have the capacity to commit murder.”
“Murder,” Selwyn repeated.
“Yes,” Voldemort said, “murder. If you wish to join my services, I will require you to commit murder. Specifically the murder of,” Voldemort paused, glancing at the remaining captive. His eyes took in the tall, dark skinned man, and he smirked with delight, “Gareth Selwyn.”
Selwyn’s mouth dropped open; he stared at Voldemort in horror. “Father?” he asked softly, praying that he had heard wrong.
“Yes,” Voldemort breathed. “Your dear, muggle loving father. It’s curious,” Voldemort continued, turning away from Selwyn to face his father, “how a respectable, pure-blooded man, feels the necessity to defend muggles. Such an unnatural feeling, yet one that so many appear to feel. And, it’s those despicable purebloods that are the reason for the further tainting of our noble bloodlines. Bloodlines,” Voldemort added, turning back to Selwyn, “that you know all about.”
Selwyn nodded, knowing full well that the Selwyn’s were one of the oldest wizarding houses.
Voldemort smiled. “Then you know that we must do everything to stop that tainting,” he continued, as he resumed tapping his wand against his leg. “We must not allow men like your father to continue with their defence of the muggles.”
Selwyn nodded again, not trusting himself to speak.
“Which means,” Voldemort’s voice rose higher and crueller, “that your father’s life must end. And you must be the one who does it.”
Selwyn froze, staring at Voldemort, his mind numb. “I...I don’t have a wand,” he stuttered finally, attempting to get out of his current position.
“That won’t be an issue,” Voldemort said, beckoning to Dolohov. “I’m sure Dolohov will be happy to oblige.”
Dolohov left the corner, approaching Selwyn and Voldemort with deliberate patience. Confidently, he handed his wand to Voldemort without blinking an eye. Voldemort smiled, raising Dolohov’s wand to study it. “Yes,” he breathed, “this will work quite fine. Stand up,” he ordered, causing Selwyn to rise to his feet, trembling as he forced his stiff limbs into motion. “Take the wand,” Voldemort continued, handing the wand to Selwyn, who took it with shaking fingers. “Now face your father,” Voldemort ordered, pushing Selwyn towards his father, “and look him in the eyes.”
Selwyn’s mind appeared to have taken control of his frozen body, it had decided that obeying Voldemort was its best option and thus, he was now standing in front of his father, whose usually dark skin was pale with fear. Selwyn could see the beads of sweat breaking out on his father’s forehead, could see the fear shining in his eyes.
“You know what you must do,” Voldemort encouraged, standing directly at Selwyn’s back. “You wish to save your life by joining my Death Eaters, which means you must take another life. Think of it as a fair trade, except that if you refuse, both of you will die.”
Selwyn gulped; he shakily raised the wand, highly frightened by the way his father’s terrified eyes followed the wands motion. He directed the wand at his father’s chest, before freezing, unable to continue. His father’s eyes remained fixed on him, this close he could see every line of panic that crossed his father’s face.
“You must kill him,” Voldemort repeated coldly, “or die yourself.”
Selwyn opened his mouth, licking his dry lips in an attempt to call moisture into his parched throat. He tried to speak, but no words came out. Instead, he remained still, wand still raised in front of his father.
“This is taking too long,” Dolohov growled to Voldemort, “just kill them both and get out of here.”
“He has two minutes,” Voldemort replied, “before I kill them both.”
“Why are you even bothering?” Dolohov asked. “Why waste this much time on a coward?”
“Because, we need supporters,” Voldemort answered impatiently.
“But –“Dolohov started.
“It’s not a matter of discussion,” Voldemort snapped. “You have a minute,” he added to Selwyn.
Selwyn took a deep breath, attempting to steady his shaking limbs. He met his father’s panicked eyes, before and took another breath. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, “but I need to do this.”
“No,” his father pleaded. “No, you don’t.”
“Yes, I do,” Selwyn declared firmly.
“Falkner Selwyn,” his father said desperately, “do not choose this path in life. It’s not what you want to do.”
“I’m sorry,” Selwyn replied, “but if I don’t do this, we both die.”
“Falkner, there are somethings that are worse than death,” his father said.
“I’m sorry,” Selwyn repeated, before adding, “but I don’t believe you.”
His father looked at Selwyn, not bothering to conceal his desperation. “Then I’m sorry,” he said softly, “sorry that you’ve made your desicion.”
“This is truly touching,” Dolohov growled, “but if you don’t kill him in the next thirty seconds, I will do it myself. And then, I will kill you.”
Voldemort glared at Dolohov, but he did not contradict his words, instead giving Selwyn an annoyed look. “Do it,” Voldemort ordered, “or I’ll let Dolohov finish you both.” Dolohov smirked, intently watching Selwyn, who immediately stiffened, squaring his shoulders.
“This wasn’t what I wanted,” Selwyn promised his father, “but I am taking what I can. Avada Kedavra,” Selwyn said firmly. A jet of light burst from his wand, striking his father in the chest. His father blinked, before crumpling upon the floor, his fearful expression still etched on his face. Slowly, Selwyn lowered his wand, gazing at his father’s dead body with horror. Behind them, Dolohov looked at Selwyn in disbelief.
“Well, well,” Voldemort said, coming to stand next to Selwyn, “I didn’t think you would actually have the courage to do it.”
Selwyn blinked, he turned away from his father’s dead body to look at Voldemort. “It was him, or me. Either way he would have died,” Selwyn replied, as he attempted to mask the horror that he was feeling.
Voldemort stared at Selwyn, who quelled beneath the intensity of those scarlet eyes. “Still afraid,” Voldemort murmured, “but not as much as before. You took a man’s life, and you grew from that experience. Your loyalty is still uncertain, but that can be amended through time. Falkner Selwyn, do you still wish to be a Death Eater?”
Selwyn hesitated, glancing back at his father’s body. That was the price of loyalty, the price that Selwyn had paid. And Selwyn was unwilling to let that price go to waste. “Yes,” Selwyn replied, nodding for emphasis.
“Good,” Voldemort said, before turning to pace across the room. “Stay with Dolohov,” Voldemort ordered, “and clean up the mess. When you are finished,” Voldemort continued, stopping his pacing near Dolohov, “return him to me.”
Dolohov nodded, meeting Voldemort’s eyes. Briefly, his gaze flickered to Selwyn, before returning to Voldemort. “Return Dolohov’s wand,” Voldemort commanded Selwyn, who hastily crossed the room, avoiding the corpses, to place the wand in the older Death Eater’s hand. Dolohov gave Selwyn an appraising look, as his hand closed around the warm wood of his wand. “I shall send Lestrange,” Voldemort added, “with another wand. He will help you clean up.”
Again Dolohov nodded, while Selwyn remained stiff and motionless. He had finally gained control of his trembling limbs, and he wasn’t about to lose it now. “Dolohov, leave no trace behind,” Voldemort ordered, before turning on the spot and disaparating. Selwyn and Dolohov watched each other for a moment – Selwyn’s eyes wary, Dolohov’s calculating – before Dolohov shrugged and turned away.
“Stand against the wall,” Dolohov barked, “and stay out of my way. You’re no use without a wand.”
Selwyn hastened to obey, nearly stumbling over his own feet as he darted towards the wall. Nervously he stood there, as Dolohov started to ‘clean’ the room.
“You paid a heavy price,” Dolohov remarked, as he carelessly levitated the bodies into a pile in the centre of the room. Selwyn blinked, not understanding what Dolohov meant. “To join,” Dolohov clarified.
“The price of loyalty,” Selwyn murmured.
“Or the price of life,” Dolohov said as he deposited the last body on top of the pile.
“Or life,” Selwyn agreed. “Is it worth it?” he asked suddenly, carefully watching Dolohov’s expression.
“Is it worth it?” Dolohov repeated. He paused thoughtfully, before saying, “that’s something you need to discover on your own.” Selwyn gave him a curious look, but any further words that Dolohov might have said, were cut off by the apparition of another cloaked and masked Death Eater.
“That’s him?” the Death Eater asked, jerking his head in Selwyn’s direction.
“That’s him,” Dolohov agreed.
“He looks like a coward,” the Death Eater dismissed, “won’t last longer than a week.”
Dolohov shrugged. “I’m not making any bets, Lestrange. I know about your habit of not paying them off.”
Lestrange sighed before carelessly tossing a wand to Selwyn, who lunged and barely caught in his finger tips. “How are we disposing of the bodies?” he growled to Dolohov.
“Torching the place,” Dolohov replied as he started towards the front door. Lestrange and Selwyn followed Dolohov out into the crisp nights air.
“Stand back,” Lestrange ordered Selwyn, “I don’t want you getting in the way.” Together, he and Dolohov raised their wands, before casting the fire spell. Selwyn watched, fascinated in spite of himself, as the large manor erupted into hot flames that swallowed up the stone walls, destroying the building in a matter of minutes leaving nothing behind but a pile of white ash. Dolohov quickly vanished the ash, before turning to Selwyn and Lestrange.
“Let’s go,” Dolohov said gruffly, grabbing Selwyn’s arm and disaparating.
The searing pain bit into Selwyn’s arm; he flinched in an attempt to draw away from it. But it clung tight, refusing to release him, refusing to subside. Selwyn bit back the shriek that was building in his throat. He closed his eyes, his face drawn and tight, as the pain continued to build in his arm. He briefly saw his father’s face, reflected in his eyelids. And he remembered what this had cost him. I wanted this, he thought, I want it. I’m here because I wanted it, and I will not scream. He clenched his jaw, felt his teeth grinding, as the fire burned on his flesh, sinking deep into his arm.
And then, the pain disappeared. Slowly, Selwyn looked down to see the black mark branded onto his forearm. “Look up,” the cold voice said, and Selwyn felt his travel towards Voldemort’s pale, snake like, face. “Welcome to my service,” Voldemort hissed and Selwyn shivered, feeling a strange, bidding sensation running through his veins. “Now bow,” Voldemort ordered, hastily Selwyn dropped to his knees, lowering his head until it almost grazed the ground. “Good,” Voldemort hissed, “good. Now listen closely,” he demanded, “because I will only tell you this once. I don’t not trust you, Selwyn, and I will be keeping a very close eye on you. One wrong step, if your loyalty wavers even for a second, you will suffer my displeasure. Be careful, Selwyn, very, very careful.”
Selwyn swallowed nervously. “My lord,” he murmured, “I know the price of loyalty.”
Voldemort laughed. “Then you shall rise Selwyn, rise and join the ranks of my Death Eaters.”
Following the Battle in the Department of Mysteries
“You have a choice,” the pale skinned auror said, staring intently at Selwyn. “Renounce your ways, turn in your fellows and walk free, or declare your loyalty to the Dark Lord and rot in Azkaban.”
“I guess you’ll have to take me to Azkaban,” Selwyn spat, “because I would never betray my fellows.”
The auror shrugged. “Being loyal won’t help your situation,” he informed Selwyn.
Selwyn glared at the auror. “I paid a price for loyalty,” Selwyn replied coldly, “and I intend to uphold that loyalty. And he knows of my loyalty,” Selwyn continued, his voice taking on a breathless tone, “and he will repay me.”
The auror shrugged again, motioning two guards towards them. “Take him away,” the auror replied carelessly, “and leave him to rot.” Selwyn allowed the guards to lead him away, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before he would walk free of Azkaban. He smirked, knowing that he had discovered the price, and the benefits, of loyalty. As cell door closed behind him, Selwyn remembered the question that he had asked Dolohov so long ago. “Is it worth it?”
“Yes,” he replied out loud, as he glanced down at the dark mark branded on his forearm. “Yes it is,” he repeated, flexing the mark that displayed that he had paid the price of loyalty.
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