Chapter 1 : The Sound of Drums
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"In my dreams they're calling,
And every waking moment,
I heard the vortex calling,
I heard the sound, the sound of drums."
-Chameleon Circuit, The Sound of Drums
I sit in the Restricted Section of the library, flipping through Darkest of the Arts, not quite sure whether the book is reliable or a boatload of rubbish written by someone in the loony bin. Some of it seems true, but other things seem more like third year pranks than dark magic. That's the tricky part about these books- you never know which ones have got the truly dark magic, and which ones have meek variations. I myself prefer the true dark.
There's no need to worry about being caught here at this hour. Everyone's asleep, and the library is closed. Even if I was caught, why would anyone care that Head Boy Tom Marvolo Riddle was in the library late? I could be studying or working on a project I had forgotten about. Or, since I'm in the Restricted Section, I could have been satisfying my curiosity about a particular form of magic.
My purpose, however, is far greater than curiosity. Power- that is all I will ever need to be happy. I don't need a woman, I don't need a friend, I don't need a pet, I don't need a family, just power, pure, clean, flawless power. Where would the world be if not for power? Nowhere. We'd be stupid apes crawling over the surface of a planet. All the world needs is power, but power cannot be wielded by all. There are some, like me, who have the capacity to hold power in its rawest, purest form. I can wield the power, and I can rule the world. I alone can be the one to hold everything in the palm of my hand.
"You hear them, too." I turn around quickly; no one else is ever here. But tonight, there is. A man, too old to be a student, but most definitely not a teacher, is sitting on top of the bookcases above me. How he got up there, I don't know. I would have heard him.
"Hear what?" I ask. He smiles wickedly and looks down. His eyes gleam with evil, but beyond the evil, they gleam with power. Power even I don't know.
"The drums. The unending drums. Always there, every waking moment, and even in your dreams. You hear them, just as I do." Confused, I stare at him, questioningly. I don't hear anything, I had never heard any drums beyond those of the stupid school orchestra. They'll be some of the first to taste my power. I focus on the man.
"I hear nothing. No drums. Not now, not ever. Not when I'm awake, not when I'm asleep. I don't hear drums." The man shakes his head.
"Oh, yes you do. Just be quiet, don't make a sound. You can hear them, just as clearly as I can. Close your eyes and listen." He closes his eyes and leans his head back. "The sound of drums. The never ending drums, never ceasing." He begins to drum a four-note beat on the bookcase he's sitting upon wih his fingers. "Listen to them. They're calling," he says, as he continues to drum his fingers. He begins to imitate the beat with his voice.
"I've never heard that beat. You've got the wrong person," I interject. His eyes snap open, and his head jerks down to look at me. His face has a crazed look on it. The man jumps off the bookcase, landing silently next to me. Upon closer inspection, I can tell that he most certainty is not a wizard, but in that case, how could he be here?
"I am most certain I don't. You have heard it. No, you don't remember it, but you can hear it, even now."
"I don't hear anything!" I yell at him.
"You do. You hear it just as I do. You hear a calling, a calling to power. You know you're the only one worthy of it, don't you? Those are the drums, Tom. Those are the drums, calling you to rule the world, in four-note beat, like the two hearts of a Time Lord. Oh, if you were one of us, you would be so great. Nothing could stop you."
"Who are you, how do you know my name, and what's a Time Lord?"
The man leans close to my face and, very slowly, states, "I. Am. The Master." I back up a bit, trying to get him out of my face. "I've been watching you, Tom Riddle. I know you hear the drums. A Time Lord, someone with all of time and space at their fingertips, and someone who can cheat death. Oh, yes, most of my race is indeed dead, but that's because they were weak. So very, very weak!" He spits out the last word. "One more still stands, but that doesn't matter. If your were a Time Lord, you needn't fear death. You could just regenerate. Repair your wounds, and continue in a new body. And with your hunger for power, you could stand by me, and together, we could rule the universe."
"If I ruled anything, I would never share it with anyone, and most certainly not with you. It would me mine to rule, mine alone!" I retort. This man, this Master, something's wrong with him. He's not right.
"But think, Tom, just stop for a moment and think. Two men, the most powerful in the universe, side by side, ruling everything. Nothing could stop us. Not even death. Because we would never die. I would regenerate, and all you have to do is go and ask your favourite professor about one little kind of magic. When you know what it is, and when you know how it works, make one. No, make more than one. Make as many as you can, don't stop."
"Make what?" I demand. The Master may be insane, but if he can give me immortality, then who am I to say no?
"Horcruxes," he says, the same wicked expression poisoning his face. "That's as close as you can get to immortality. Figure out how to make them, and together you and I can rule the universe. So do us both a favour, Tom. You take the Earth, and I'll take the stars and planets beyond. After that, I take you with me, and we rule everything together, side by side." I can't say that this doesn't sound tempting, but how do I know that I can trust the Master?
"The whole universe?" I ask. "Everything?"
"Every star that will ever shine, every planet that will ever form, every comet that blazes through the skies, every living thing in all of the great wide universe. Who knows, maybe we can go beyond," he says, grinning wickedly. He stands right in front of me, seemingly looking through my eyes and into my soul.
"How can we go beyond the universe? There the universe, and then there's nothing, isn't that how it works?" I inquire, walking in a circle around him. "There is no end of the universe." The Master laughs, tossing his head back as I see more insanity cross his face. He then steps close to me, once again staring into and past my eyes.
"Tom, oh, Tom, you are so very wrong about that. There is a place where you can slip out of the universe. There are parallel universes. Practically anything you can think of, Tom. It exists." He back away from my face, and walks down the aisle, and then turns to me once more. "Listen to them, Tom. Listen to the drums and heed their call. Don't ignore them like you have for years. They've always been there for you. You've always turned to them without knowing. All those children at the orphanage, when they picked on you, those were the times when you did listen to them. Then, you just left them. Listen to them again, Tom. The drums are waiting."
"How do you know about the orphanage?" I ask, beginning to draw my wand. Everything is starting to look more suspicious. Something's not right.
"Like I said, I've been watching you. For years I've been there, unnoticed, watching you grow up, hoping that you'd decide that being the one who rules everything was the path for you. Just stop everything for a minute and be still and silent. Listen to the silence, and then hear the drums breaking through it." The Master does this, smiling warmly towards the drums he hears. I try, but I hear nothing. Just silence.
"I already told you. I hear nothing." His eyes snap open and he walks up to me. The Master circles around me twice and gives me a shove. I immediately send a spell at him, nothing major, just a simple jinx. He moves aside before it hits him and grins.
"You do. If you didn't, you wouldn't have felt the need to retaliate like that. Most people would use words. You immediately move on to actions." The Master walks towards the library exit and then turns to look at me. "I'll be going now, Tom. Remember, ask about the Horcruxes, and get to creating them as soon as you can. I'll see you around, and I await the day we rule the universe together. Until next time, Tom Riddle." He opens the library with something that gives off a pulsing sound, leaves, and then locks the door with the same device.
Horcruxes. I don't know what they are, but old Slughorn will surely tell me after one of his get-togethers. Deciding that I've had enough for the night, I go to a portrait and take the shortcut to the dungeons. I'm not sure if I can really trust the Master, but I'm fairly certain that he is indeed trying to help me. I put away the thoughts and slowly walk down the corridor, avoiding all who are patrolling it.
A week ago, I asked old Slughorn about Horcruxes. He told me everything I needed to know. This evening, I came to the girl's second floor bathroom, to the entrance of the Chamber of Secrets. I didn't have to wait for anyone, stupid Myrtle had already been crying in one of the stalls. When she opened the door to the cubicle, she saw the eyes of Salazar Slytherin's basilisk, of my basilisk, and died immediately.
I look down at her lifeless body and pull out my old diary. As disgusting as the process sounds, I begin, and scream as I finish, tearing apart my soul for the first time. When it's over, I look down at the book. It looks that same as it had before, but I can feel my soul flowing through it, pulsing through the pages. I gaze upon Myrtle's body once more, and then tilt my head back, closing my eyes.
I smile, and I can feel the Master standing next to me, eyes closed and smiling as well.
I can hear them. I can hear what the Master told me about, as loudly as he does.
Unending, never ceasing, and beautiful.
The sound of drums.