Chapter 5 : A Gathering Darkness
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"Who called this meeting anyhow?" a short man hissed to his neighbor.
"Dunno Yax, you got the same message I did." the much beefier man replied holding out a small rolled up piece of parchment tied with a red ribbon.
Yaxley nodded gruffly and looked around at the rest of the group. “What’s McNair doing here? I heard he was ratting us out before the fight even ended.”
“Yeah, Nott too. Look at them over there. Look a bit nervous don’t they?” the chubby death eater smirked.
“They should be if the rumors are true. Got plenty of people in this group forced into hiding on their information what I’ve heard.” He spat on the ground in the general direction of the men he was talking about.
“You got a problem Yaxley?” The broader of the two men barked.
“Yeah maybe I have McNair. I’ve got a big problem with cowards only interested in saving their own skin!”
“You calling me a coward!?” the much larger man bellowed back.
"Certainly sounded like it didn't it." Yaxley retorted snidely.
Wands were drawn and more voices joined the argument. McNair and Yaxley were now yelling directly in one another's faces and the group had clearly split in two defending one side or the other.
One lone figure stood by himself away from the groups watching with a mixed look of fear and annoyance. His hood concealed his face but long blonde hair could be seen framing the opening much cleaner and neater than most in the clearing. In one hand he clutched his wand while the other held a small scroll. He'd found the note on his desk in his study and had not shared its contents with his wife or son. It gave the simple instruction though in a cryptic manner. Unrolling it he read once more:
If your faith remains return to your master. Recite the phrase 'Non Omnis Moriar' at midnight on the 23rd and the scroll will transport you.
He heard a loud POP and looked up to witness the two groups of former death eaters thrown in either direction landing on their backs.
Yaxley was the first to his feet. "Who the bloody hell did that?" he was pointing his wand about madly searching for his attacker.
"It was I," a booming voice came from the brush at the edge of the clearing, "Lord Voldemort." A pale figure could be seen hovering slightly off the ground, arms outstretched with wand in hand glaring fiercely at his former disciples.
The men who had managed to find their feet immediately dropped to one knee and lowered their heads collectively muttering different variations of, "My Lord."
The floating figure smirked evilly at the men and turned to its right to focus on the group's outlier. "Come join us Lucius. You have nothing to fear."
A few heads briefly glanced in the direction of Lucius Malfoy but quickly snapped back down to glare at their feet menacingly. Although they could only guess as to what most of their other cohorts had divulged Malfoy's testimony had been quite public. Many scoffed at the idea that he had nothing to fear.
Hesitating for just a moment Lucius stood, taking great care to look anywhere but at the men now cursing his name under their breath. He chanced a look at Voldemort and saw the man looking back at him greedily. Something was different about the eyes he thought. As if they weren't really focusing on him, they looked like someone else's eyes were behind them looking out. He reached the others and knelt once more though he kept one hand firmly gripping his wand handle.
"There we are now. Everyone's in place. On to business."
"Excuse me m'lord," a tall thin death eater spoke up timidly.
"Rise Rapier. I cannot hear you mumbling like that."
There was clear annoyance in the voice and Rapier hesitated not quite sure why he hadn't been tortured for speaking at all. He seemed to think the invitation to stand was a trick.
"I said rise!" the voice boomed. And the terrified man stood stalk straight as if forced into the position. "Now," the voice hissed quietly, "did you have a question?"
The expression on Rapier's face was one of utter terror. The only muscles he was capable of moving were his jaw so he looked a bit like a ventriloquist's dummy as he choked out his question.
"How did you manage to return again? With no help from any of us it seems and we didn't even feel the mark burn." His voice was monotonous as if he was being compelled to speak. He closed his eyes waiting to be struck down but instead felt himself released and he fell to the ground. Shaking he rose to one knee again.
Many other death eaters were thinking now and shaking their heads in confusion. A few even chanced a glance at the figure before them as if to see that it was really Voldemort.
"Oh, well that's an easy answer. I didn't. Or rather he didn't." A young dark haired witch in long blood red robes materialized standing beside her Voldemort puppet. As she turned her head to scan the small crowd's bewildered expressions the floating body mirrored her movements.
"Now hang on just a minute," Yaxley spoke up rising to his feet. "What the hell's goin' on? Who are you?"
"Who I am is none of your concern. However, what is going on can be explained simply as well." she spoke in her own voice now which was cold but beautiful. "I am here to return you to the glory you so nearly possessed. I wish to pick up where your previous master left off and help you to conquer the wizarding world."
She said it so matter of factly that a few of the men snickered. Yaxley gave a sly smile now gaining confidence against this unknown young woman, "Really, and you just expect us all to follow you? What makes you think that you can succeed where the most powerful wizard in the world failed?"
The entire group was now standing and forming into what they thought was a menacing mob facing down this girl. A few still shot anxious glances at Voldemort's body though which continued to mimic her every move.
"There are many reasons for Voldemort's failure none of which have anything to do with a lack of power. Although I do not deny that I consider myself his superior in that aspect as well as many others."
The crowd actually began to laugh now at the sight of this young girl proclaiming her superiority over the man they had feared so much.
Lily continued to talk in a cold stern voice at a quiet enough level so it forced the men to cease laughing to hear what she had to say. "As far as why I expect you to follow me, well now that you have seen me and know of my existence I cannot let you leave this clearing alive without your sworn allegiance. So if you choose not to follow me you will die here tonight."
The men fell into an even louder fit of laughter. A few men looked near tears as they doubled over slapping each other on the back and carrying on.
Lucius Malfoy however once again stood apart from the rest. Being slightly more intelligent than the majority of his peers he could tell there was more to this young woman than met the eye. To start with, she seemed to have recovered the body of their old master which he knew to have been locked away in the ministry under heavy guard.
He stepped forward and spoke to her. "Madame if I may," a flick of her wand and the laughter was silenced. The men continued to guffaw silently for a few seconds before realizing their voices had been stripped. They began to advance on the woman brandishing their fists and yelling silently. Another lazy flick stopped the front line dead in their tracks causing those behind them to run into their backs.
In the momentary confusion a silent scuffle broke out. She ignored them and turned her attention back to Lucius. "Yes Lucius?"
Having even more evidence that this woman was not to be underestimated and seeing an opportunity to get in her good graces he tread very cautiously. "I only wondered, how did you manage to liberate this body from the clutches of the ministry."
"The ministry, like the rest of the country, is less on guard than they wish the public to believe. It was an easy task to break into the department of mysteries, as you should remember Lucius, and dispatching 3 sleeping unspeakables was a less than remarkable feat."
Even without being enchanted the crowd would have been silent at this point.
"Now that I've got your attention however, I'd like to tell you my proposal. Then you may decide whether you'd like to join me or rejoin your old master." She smiled at her own joke.
"As you know since the fall of Voldemort the so called 'good' witches and wizards of the world have been given a new hope. They think the one and only threat to their impure way of life has been defeated and they're treating the rest of you like you're nothing. You have been scattered across the country forced into hiding some captured, some killed, some even seeking redemption and acceptance again." Many eyes turned towards Malfoy again with disgust.
"I am here to help you strike fear into the world again, to wreak havoc and seek revenge on those who've scorned you, and to return you to the positions of power you deserve as the most noble and pure of the wizarding lines."
She paused for effect and saw most of the crowd was still skeptical despite her demonstrations so far. "I have brought to you the body of Lord Voldemort to accomplish the first part of my plan: Restoring fear to the citizens of Britain." A look of interest spread over the crowd now as they contemplated the plan.
Lily continued, "At this very moment the ministry is working to cover up the disappearance of the body. They know that panic will ensue if people think for even a moment your Dark Lord could return. We will cause this panic."
She now had the undivided attention of the men so she lifted the silencing spell expecting some dissension and relishing in the opportunity to make an example of one of the men. The killing curse was becoming her favorite spell and she got particular pleasure out of completely dominating a person before taking their life. She wondered who it would be that stood up. "The first thing we must do is regain our numbers while slowly leaking the resurrection of Voldemort," she continued. "Those of you who are currently cooperating with the investigations will be most helpful in this task." She smiled at Lucius, "Being able to move about in the open will allow you more access to potential followers. You must let your old comrades know we are coming together again."
"What should we tell them of your leadership Ms. . . " Lucius spoke again encouraged by the approval of the woman.
Ignoring his attempt to extract her identity she responded simply, "Nothing. The less people who know of my existence the better for now. Let them think the Dark Lord has returned. It is only you few that will know who's really pulling the strings."
"And what of the cowards who fear to fall back on the Dark Lord's side?" Yaxley spat as if the thought made him sick and he was accompanied by supportive grumbles from the crowd.
She smiled thinking she'd marked her dissenter. "Allow them to live-" the grumbles changed to shouts of indignation at this response but Lily spoke a bit louder and the crowd noise dimmed. "It will be necessary to leak the news of Voldemort's return slowly. These cowards you speak of will be the rumor mill through which we will work. If they are known past supporters their information will seem more credible. Don't worry," she continued seeing the discontent on her new follower's faces, "their time will come."
"What about the ones in Azkaban?" MacNair spoke up from the back.
"I will handle Azkaban." This proclamation was met with more skepticism. "Do you still doubt my power?" Lily sounded more amused than anything. "I will gladly demonstrate. Who wishes to defy me? Who here does not wish to follow my lead?"
She decided to put on a little show to provoke the skeptical. The wind picked up around her and Lily seemed to grow taller before their eyes levitating off the ground before them. The air was crackling with energy and she hadn't even lifted her wand.
Most of the men shook their heads and looked around seeing if anyone else was going to stand up. Suddenly Yaxley stepped forward, "Is this it? Is this supposed to intimidate us? I'm ashamed to be named amongst the lot of you cowering to this little girl!" he turned about gesturing towards the rest of the death eaters. "How can she be more powerful than the Dark Lord? It is a trick! They are probably surrounding us right now!" he turned back to face Lily and raised his wand. "She's the puppet here. Av-"
Before the spell left his lips his wand cracked in half. Her wand was poised in front of her now and she floated eerily toward him. "I'm sorry you decided to become the example Yaxley. You would have been a powerful ally." Yaxley was still staring at his splintered wand when he was forced to his knees by her spell. She slashed her wand through the air and gashes opened up on his arms, chest and face. Yaxley was screaming in pain and Lily's smile seemed to grow wider with each swipe. She stopped suddenly and Yaxley slumped, only held up by the spell she had on him. Blood dripped from the cuts across his body soaking his clothes. She raised his chin and pointed her wand at his chest. Turning him to face the onlookers she relished a moment in the mingled looks of fear and disgust before yelling, "Avada Kedavra!"
The body fell to the ground and everybody stared at it struck dumb. "I do not wish to kill any more of you, you can all be of value to me. Just know what awaits treachery and dissent." she pointed at Yaxley's body with her wand. The cuts closed up leaving many dark scars but his bloodstained clothes remained in tatters. It rose into the air next to Voldemort's body. Then her voice changed to sound just like Yaxley's and she animated his body to follow her motions. "You don't want to become another one of my puppets do ya'?" The short man's head drooped and it began waving its arms above its head like a marionette on strings as Lily began to laugh. Voldemort's body began a similar eerie dance jiggling about like a rag doll.
Lucius was the first to drop back to one knee and bow his head saying softly, "My Lady." and shortly the other men followed suit. She barely noticed them cowering as she seemed lost in the hilarity of her gruesome puppets.
A/N: Non Omnis Moriar is Latin for "Not all of me will die." Lily hoped these words would make the death eaters she summoned think Voldemort had found another way back like before. The quote is from an old poet called Horace. The part of him he meant would live on was his poetry. I am putting it to a more literal use here.
As always, let me know what you think. Next chapter we'll return to Harry and get to see others visit him at Godric's Hollow. We'll uncover some secrets and perhaps more mysteries.