Chapter 4 : Encounter With the Dark Lord
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Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park, Chef Aid, 1998
“The Dark Lord has every detail of his followers memorized, from their greatest weaknesses to their most powerful spell. If you are to gain his acceptance, you will need to submit yourself completely to his will. You are, of course, aware of such consequences.”
Kiana’s previous plan of envisioning Harry dancing naked in the front of Snape’s office failed dismally. She could no longer tune out Snape’s words, and her fear that he could see every scene that flashed through her mind caused her to practice Occlumency with vigor.
“You mean am I prepared for excruciating pain and tormenting tasks?” she said crisply. “I hadn’t expected to be pushed into Hell tonight, Sir. I have not dressed properly for the occasion. What is Voldemort’s favorite color?”
“This is no game, Karn.” His icy breath caused goose bumps to erupt on her neck. “If you want to gain his favor and hear of his plan to murder Potter, you will have to act like one obsessed with impressing the Dark Lord. Act like you have tried performing every Dark curse in history and that you envision torturing your enemies in your sleep. Any sign of hesitation or reluctance to obey his commands will grant you an instant onset of the Unforgivable Curses.”
She suddenly forgot to breathe. “But Dumbledore said…”
“Dumbledore does not encounter the Dark Lord on a daily basis,” Snape sneered, tapping his wand against his palm as he circled Kiana sitting in a lone chair. “He doesn’t know the tricks he uses to ensnare his captors. Do not expect me to fly to your rescue as my master scrutinizes you; you will be alone in your task.”
Her jaw shook with the rage she was unsuccessfully suppressing. “So I was right; you will throw me to Voldemort! How can Dumbledore just send me into his clutches when I haven’t been prepared? I know nothing about the Dark Arts nor am I accustomed to torturing those weaker than me. I believe I should be writing farewell letters to my friends and family instead of sitting in this gloomy office with you!”
Snape glared at her, as if her anger was inappropriate for the occasion. “You can start by controlling that temper of yours, Karn! The Dark Lord does not tolerate the fly-away emotions of a teenage brat such as yourself. There are two simple rules you must follow if you wish to survive tonight’s task: keep your mouth shut and your mind open. If you pretend like you have nothing to hide, the Dark Lord will be less suspicious.”
Though it had only been two hours since her arrival in Dumbledore’s office, the reality that she was going to be facing Lord Voldemort (someone 99% of Hogwarts students had never spoken to), was distressing her mind and body. Despite the burning in her throat and eyes, she willed herself not to tear up. Showing weakness in front of Severus Snape, a skilled double spy, would only turn her into a target for the Potion Master’s Dark curses.
However hard she tried to keep her emotions from Snape’s reach, he clearly noticed her distress. He folded his arms across his chest and stared at the ceiling, obviously annoyed by her lack of resolve. Kiana silently waited for him to speak. She took deep, long breaths to keep her tears at bay and her stomach settled. Finally, Snape peered down at her with unreadable eyes.
“Despite my deep aversion toward you and your upbringing, Karn, I, too, believe in your ability to outwit the Dark Lord. If you believe in the strength that right now remains buried beneath your adolescent emotions, you will survive. But to assist you in this task, I am granting you this one gift…”
Before she knew what was happening, Snape had waved his wand across her eyesight. She was hit with a wave of knowledge and emotions completely foreign to her mind. Instantly, she was able to chant dozens of curses she had never learned, recite information that would have previously chilled her to the core, and think horrific thoughts about anyone who crossed her mind. She found her eyes drying, her stomach unclenching, and a wave of determination and annoyance fight its way to her conscious.
“Are we done yet?” she snapped at Snape. “I want to confront this so-called lord before more minutes are wasted in this pathetic study.”
Snape’s expression hadn’t changed, but she noticed a glimmer of satisfaction flicker across his dark eyes. “You will return to my office at exactly a quarter to nine. If you are late, you will have to deal with my curses before those of the Dark Lord’s.”
“Don’t worry, Sir,” Kiana jumped off the table and sunk low in a mock bow. “I don’t wish to anger one so skilled in the Dark Arts. Don’t miss me too much when I’m gone.”
Without waiting for a reply, she rushed through Snape’s open office door, slamming it with a flick of her wand as she retreated.
No stars burst through the sinister blanket of night as Kiana and Snape hurried through the dense forest toward the cemetery in Little Winging. Snape’s Dark Mark had erupted a minute before nine o’clock, and he had wasted no time before Apparating them both to Voldemort’s supposed destination. Snape had supplied Kiana with a thick, black cloak to conceal her face from curious Death Eater stares. Snape, himself, was clothed in the same dark cloak, and Kiana thought to ask about other Death Eater fashion trends, but she knew her comment would be unnecessary. The world around them was as silent as the bodies buried deep beneath the earth, and Kiana suppressed a shudder at the desolate area. Did Voldemort always need to appear in a hellish, deathly location?
Seven others had arrived at the same time as them, and Kiana longed to study the faces of the tall, hooded figures, but her hood limited the range of her vision.
“Speak to no one,” Snape hissed in her ear. “Ignore anyone who wishes to engage in conversation. Their questions will be answered once the Dark Lord arrives.”
That moment occurred far quicker than Kiana had hoped. One moment the patch of grass in front of her was vacant, the next it was occupied by a creature alike to the Devil himself. His skeleton-like body was covered by a black gown that moved with him like smoke. His skin was paler than the dead, and his red eyes could burn a hole in your forehead. Kiana’s eyes widened with fear at his mere presence, and she involuntarily took a step backward. Snape quickly grabbed her arm and hauled her back, whispering, “You leave and you die.”
So much for support, Kiana thought with disgust.
As if hearing the words spinning through her mind, Voldemort fixed his eyes on her and sneered. His sneer (far different than Draco Malfoy’s), froze her to the spot and left her cold. She could do nothing but watch as Voldemort approached her with greed in his gaze.
“So, Severus, this is the one.” Voldemort’s voice was cold and low like a snake’s hiss, but he managed to sound fierce and commanding at the same time. “And you have brought him to me under Dumbledore’s nose. Does the old fool know he is here?”
“No, my lord,” Snape said, keeping his eyes lowered in respect. “Dumbledore, although aware of this pupil’s talent, did not glimpse the true desires within her mind.”
Voldemort raised an eyebrow questionably. “Her?” he hissed, instantly throwing back Kiana’s hood with a flick of his hand, although he was still a foot away. Once spotting her long, brown hair and the feminine features of her face, Voldemort laughed with scornful delight. “A girl, Severus! You had me expecting a young male warrior, and instead I find before me a young teenage girl!”
He laughed again, a high, bone-chilling sound, and the Death Eaters around him copied, having been given permission from their master. Kiana remained still, trying to keep her mind empty and her eyes glued on Voldemort’s petrifying features.
“Speak, girl!” The Dark Lord waved his hand at her in acknowledgement. “Why do you think you have been brought here today? What do you have to offer the Dark Lord? Speak wisely, for these words could very well be your last. Lord Voldemort does not consider new followers for long – I can usually judge in a minute whether they have what it takes to call me ‘Master’.”
Swallowing to ease her dry throat, Kiana took a deep breath and said, hoping nothing was betrayed in her voice, “My lord Voldemort, I have come to offer you my talents and allegiance. I have met the boy Harry Potter, and I can easily see the weakness and vulnerability you, of course, are aware of. It will not be difficult to finally finish him off, but I hope to join your ranks of obedient followers in order to fully observe the wonders of your powers. With you as the world’s leader, the Mudbloods and Muggles will fall, and we pureblood wizards and witches will be able to enjoy a free world with you as our master!”
Voldemort listened to her speech with rapt attention, although Kiana thought she glimpsed doubt flash across his face. She prayed she was wrong, for it surely meant death if it were true.
“You bring me not only a girl, Severus, but an American!” Despite the mockery in his tone, Kiana caught a hint of astonishment. “To find such a talented wizard abroad is a great feat indeed. But you speak of purebloods leading the way, girl. How do I know that you, yourself, are of pureblood?”
Having prepared herself for this moment, Kiana bent down on one knee and offered up the ring of Slytherin Dumbledore had given her. “This was given to me by my father, my lord, before his untimely death.”
Voldemort took the ring into his long, white fingers with a smile of glee. “I thought this had disappeared into the earth,” he whispered, almost to himself. “I did not know of its existence. Surely you must be of pure blood if your father gave this to you…”
“I am, my lord Voldemort.”
“Very well! You shall prove yourself capable of the demands I set upon my followers. Rise up, girl, and point your wand at that hooded figure!”
Her wand arm was shaking, but Kiana couldn’t control that. She knew what Voldemort wanted her to do. She had known of this task even before her arrival.
She couldn’t tell who the hooded figure was, which only made the job easier. Voldemort sneered as he continued to point at the wizard. Then he hissed, so softly she almost didn’t hear…
She unexpectedly felt Snape nudge her in the back, and a rush of eagerness and delight spread through her mind. This is all too easy. It’s like killing a baby…
With a flash of green light, the man crumbled to the ground. Voldemort let out a shout of pride and grinned at her. The force of the spell had knocked energy out of Kiana’s body; she was breathing heavily as she faced the Dark Lord once more. She tried not to consider the words that haunted her mind:
I just killed someone…I just killed someone…
“Congratulations, girl. You have joined my army of Death Eaters.” Voldemort observed her weakness and regret with a surge of gratefulness and hunger. To shape this girl would be hard work, but it would be well worth the effort.
“I hear from Severus that you wish to know of the plan to destroy Potter. You also have stated that you know him, and he you. You cannot lie to Lord Voldemort, girl; I see your encounter with him in your mind. You are fond of him.”
Kiana had not expected that. She gasped softly, her eyes widening with fear. It was over. It was all over now…
“Don’t look so fearful, girl. It’s not unusual for a lady as young as you to fall for Potter’s looks. But if want to prove yourself worthy, you must help me with my plan.”
Before she could react, she found herself being transported to a small, run-down cottage close to Hogwarts grounds. The floor was filthy and deteriorating into the earth, and the walls seemed destined to fall sooner rather than later. Voldemort was at her side, but they were very much alone. This fact scared her more than Dumbledore’s initial request. No one could save her if Voldemort decided to kill…
“Time is of the essence now.” The snake creature hissed. “You must do this for me, girl; are you listening well? You must befriend Potter, something I know you are all too capable of. Get him in a vulnerable position and then cast the mortacious spell at his heart.”
Kiana’s own heart almost stopped. She knew of that spell; it caused the most painful death imaginable in the victim. And he wanted her to do it to Harry…
“It will be difficult for you; I sense this in your mind. But if you don’t follow my command, I will possess your soul and use you to torture innocents forever. What is that common phrase of Dumbledore’s? Oh yes. ‘There are things worse than death.’ I think I understand what he means. Shall I dare demonstrate?”
Voldemort’s gray lips parted in a smile as he noticed a filthy emaciated cat pat along the floor. Kiana had no time to prepare as Voldemort vanished into a haze of smoke and flew at her. He hit her with the strength of a freight train, sending her flying back against the wall. Her mouth opened to let out a scream, but no cry escaped her lips. Coldness engulfed her heart until she thought it to be dead, and her mind clouded over until nothing but rage, envy, and a sickening lust for power filled her thoughts. She stared at the cat with inhuman disgust, and she barely hesitated before raising her wand. “Avada Kadavra!”
A fierce explosion of green burst from the tip, and Kiana found herself smirking as the creature fell limp to the floor. No regret or pity leaked through the mist covering her mind. She felt only satisfaction and a renewed lust for blood as she studied the cat’s corpse.
She was about to search for another soul to torture when a painful tear occurred in her heart, and the Dark Lord separated himself from her soul. For an instant she experienced intense grief and desolation as she was left with her own weak mind and vulnerable heart.
How pathetic I am in comparison to the Dark Lord, was the first thought that coursed through her mind. I hope I didn’t taint his powerful soul with my own filthy one.
Kiana discovered that most of her energy had been drained in trying to repel Voldemort from her mind, and it was not long after Voldemort stood again in front of her that she collapsed at his feet. She longed to pull herself up, to not become so vulnerable, but she hardly had the strength to keep her eyes open.
“This is only a taste of what’s to come if you betray me,” the creature hissed above her. “And we won’t be killing worthless animals next time. You have a close group of friends, no? How I long to see the expression on their faces when their best friend raises her wand against them.”
She could do nothing but lay there and hear him hiss in her ear. She noticed him draw his wand out of the corner of her eye, and she tensed, preparing herself for another onslaught of pain. But he merely studied her for a moment before replacing his wand back into his robes.
“My warning will sink in harder if you lay here for a few hours. I want the job done within two weeks, do you understand? Stay close to Potter whenever possible and keep his guard down. If nothing happens by Sunday the 24th at sundown, he will be the first to die at your own hand.”
Voldemort Disapparated without another word, leaving Kiana alone on the cold, damp floor. Tears streamed from her eyes as she thought about what the future held for her and those she cared for.
Kiana regained her strength slowly and painfully over the next four hours, and it was not until well after one in the morning when she was able to stand and limp back to Hogwarts. By then she only saw Harry’s face in her mind and the way his eyes sparkled when he laughed.
“Oh Harry,” she whispered. “What have I done to you? What have I done?”
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