Chapter 5 : The Death Eater's Daughter
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My father and mother: Orpheus Yaxley and Selena Greengrass. Both pure blood wizards, proud Slytherins and at the height of wizarding might.
There is no royalty in the wizarding world, but if there was, the House of Yaxley would be at its side. For hundreds of years, the Yaxleys have been Head Boys and Girls, recipients of Special Services to the School, future members of the Wizengamot, pioneers of great magical and remedial discoveries, Head Healers at hospitals around the world, and players in the political sphere for generations. There’s even been three Ministers for Magic.
My father was a year below my mother in school, and it took him a few years to love her back. Selena Greengrass was tall and pretty, a promising Quidditch player, the top of her class in Transfiguration, and as Slytherin as they come. My mother tells a story from her fifth year, when she watched my father deliver a rousing speech in Debate Club against the rights of Muggles to have knowledge of and involvement in wizarding government. His opponent, Amelia Bones, was quaking in her boots and stuttered through the rest of her arguments.
After the debate, my mother stalked up to my father and introduced herself. She was drawn to greatness, she explained.
But Yaxley had other things on his mind. He ran in a tight, secretive circle, a crew of mighty purebloods who learned the most taboo of spells, mastered the Unforgivable Curses, wiping their victims minds after practicing on them. Malfoy, Mulciber, Rookwood, Snape, Dolohov, Rosier: they were destined to be Death Eaters ever since the Sorting Hat called Slytherin, and as Lord Voldemort rose to power he looked among the young to expand his inner circle, weeding out the weak. They were consumed with the righteous necessity of purging the wizarding world of filth, they were privy to the final solutions which would purify the wizarding race. They were a noble group, daring to the extreme, dangerous to cross.
On my father’s last day at Hogwarts, he was summoned to see the Dark Lord. While his classmates chattered excitedly and toasted their year with Butterbeer back at the castle, my father was miles away, kneeling in allegiance to Lord Voldemort.
“Ah, welcome, Yaxley,” the Dark Lord hissed, “another faithful servant, come to join our ranks.”
Behind him, the other Death Eaters bellowed and stomped, but were silenced with by a twitch of the white finger.
“Now, we will raze Hogwarts,” the Dark Lord whispered, and as my father donned his Death Eater mask, hiding his face from his old classmates, he flew swiftly behind his master to the castle. Only one was killed that night: a boy called Silas Townville, the son of two Manchester firm accountants.
It was the beginning of the First Wizarding War, the day my father left Hogwarts and entered his magnificent new life at the Dark Lord’s right hand.
“Yaxley,” his master called, a year later. “I understand congratulations are in order.”
The red eyes glinted, the white cheeks stretched upward in the likeness of a smile. For a moment my father tried to imagine how the Dark Lord must have looked as a child: he failed.
“Yes, my lord.” He replied, bowing his head, heart lifting at the thought of Selena back in the little green manor. “She is a pureblood, from the line of Greengrass, and a cousin of the Lestranges.”
Rodolphus Lestrange, who was sharpening a knife with his wand, nodded to my father in acknowledgement. The blade glinted, evilly: it was charmed to weaken the body and spirit of whomever it touched, and would later sit in Borgin and Burkes collecting dust until Lestrange escaped from Azkaban and reclaimed it.
“Ah, good,” Voldemort breathed, his slit nose flaring a little. “For women are most important to our cause. The pure bloods must breed and multiply the wizarding population” – his snakelike eyes gleamed – “since the Muggles breed like rats and the vermin they are.”
Soon after my parents’ wedding – at which Nott Sr. and Evan Rosier were the groomsmen – a pureblood baby girl was brought into the world, Daphne Selena Greengrass-Yaxley. But she only spent one year in the glorious reign of Lord Voldemort.
One summer night, my father’s master pointed his wand at the infant Harry Potter, kicking aside his dead mother, and all wizardkind knows the consequence. The Dark Lord wasn’t heard from for years, while Harry Potter grew up healthy, in the same year as my sister.
My father missed my birth. As my mother labored and two-year old Daphne waited solemnly in the corner, my father’s friend Evan Rosier was being pursued by Aurors.
Trapped in a corner in a dark alleyway in Leeds, Rosier was dueling with Mad-Eye Moody and Rufus Scrimgeour.
“I’d rather die than give up to you blood traitors! I will die in the service of the Dark Lord!” Rosier shrieked, a most unnatural sound. My father arrived just in time to see his old friend crumble to the floor.
With a bellow of pain, my father knew he was finished. He Disapparated , before the Aurors could see his face and identify him. Self-preservation trumped loyalty to his absent master.
He would return to his growing family. He would quietly search for his master. He would not follow the Lestranges, Dolohov and his friend Mulciber’s foolish footsteps to the Dementors, screaming their Voldemort obsession on the beaten-down path to Azkaban. He would not go the same way as poor Evan Rosier, dying in defense of a name.
A master of manipulation, a dominator of men, a skilled caster of the Imperius curse and a voice which inspired obedience wherever it spoke. A specialist in the minds of men, Yaxley would wait for the Dark Lord to return, and in the meantime he would prosper.
Daphne and I grew up in a small country manor outside of London. The manor is protected from all Muggle sight and visitation, except for the milkman, who my mother explains is actually a half-blood who went to Hogwarts with her and whose cows produce the best milk in the county. The milkman was corrupted into marrying a Muggle, and we are not to speak with him, but only to drink his produce and be thankful that we were not so weak.
The Yaxleys have always had competition, those who are jealous and will stoop to any low in order to get ahead. This is part of the reason why my sister and I took my mother’s maiden name at Hogwarts: hiding our true heritage in case we drew attention to our father’s dangerous past as we tread among his old enemies. For wherever there is greatness, there is danger. Of course, the Greengrass name commands respect as well: my mother’s family is rumored to be descended from the Peverells.
I grew up to be proud of my heritage, of my father and who I was born to be. I just was also taught not to flaunt it, to be the puppeteer until the opportune moment occurs to reveal oneself.
When I was five and Daphne was seven, my father left for a long absence. It was a few years since the Dark Lord had disappeared, and I knew my father was out searching for his Master. Daph and I missed him, desperately: ever night we stationed ourselves at the bedroom window in case he happened to return. We gave Mr. Nott the inquisition about our father’s whereabouts every time he Apparated in to see my mother.
Finally, after what seemed like too many long months, our father returned. He was brown from the sun and weary.
“I’ve missed my girls,” my father laughed, and he bid us to bring him tea after his long journey. We bustled about and fought for the honor of presenting it to him.
He pulled me up into his lap and let me pet his beard, while Daph, no longer the right size to be coddled, looked on jealously.
“Well?” asked my mother, clutching her tea anxiously. “Was there any sign of Him?”
My father shook his head mournfully.
“Alas, Selena, it seems that my fears have come true. The Dark Lord, the savior of wizard-kind, is surely gone for good.” My father had been searching in the Highlands, in Albania, in the Russian wilderness, anywhere a snake could survive. There was no sign of a living Lord Voldemort.
I bit into a biscuit and looked at my parents’ serious faces, unsure of what this all meant, but remembering it just the same.
I was eight when my father noticed my particular skill for Occlumency. It was purely by accident. He had arrived home at the manor, and was confused as to why his family had gone and there was no tea on the table. Immediately, horrible scenarios began to flood his mind: had someone identified him as a former Death Eater? His old comrades were being hunted down all the time during these years. Had the wretched Aurors taken his family as hostages? Did his wife sit in a chair with chains, were his little dark-haired daughters taunted by Dementors as the Council for Magical Law interrogated them about their father’s allegiances?
His mind reached out, searching desperately for that whose mind he assumed to be the weakest: mine, the youngest, the most innocent.
“Where are you, Torie-girl?” he wondered out loud, pushing his mind beyond the boundaries of our home.
I was in the Nott’s garden, playing Hogwarts.
“Now, Miff Yaffley, you haf not yet handed in your Ariffmancy homework,” Theo lisped pompously. “I fink that will be fifteen-“
I stopped listening. There was a presence poking at my head, an unpleasant sensation like somebody trying to break down your front door. I frowned to myself, concentrating intensely on expelling the presence.
“Get out,” I whispered aloud, and imagined locking that front door with an iron padlock. The presence was confused, lost and homeless, I felt it drift away and back towards its source.
“That’s right,” I said, and the Notts looked at me with confusion.
“The point is to gain House points, not loose them,” said Pyxis scornfully.
Meanwhile, my father located Daphne’s mind and, seeing through her eyes, recognized the Nott’s kitchen where she was sitting primly, sipping her tea and chatting with mother and Mrs. Nott about dress robes. When he appeared in the garden with a Crack!, I looked up from my game in surprise and ran to him.
“Papa! Papa!” He scooped me up.
“You’re getting too big to be carried around, pet,” Father said, more affectionate than usual. I reveled in it. “You, my girl, are going to be somebody very special, did you know that?” He slung me over his shoulder as I giggled and marched into the house, shouting, “Selena! Theodore! You’ve got to hear about what Tor’s just done-”
Since that day, I rose even higher in my father’s affections. Every day, even if it was just for a few minutes, he taught me how to best close my mind.
“Its all about the imagery,” he said. “Find a symbol, a real thing that works for you, then apply it to your mind. What do you see?”
I nod. “A locked front door,” I tell him. “Blue and wooden and pretty, like ours.”
Father smiled grimly. “Yes, well there’s a lot more to that door than wood and blue paint. Good, Torie. Now, I’m going to try and get into your head.”
After I had demonstrated my ability as an Occlumens, Father began to teach me Legilimency, which was much harder. He taught me how to search for someone else’s mind with my own, having me practice on Mum, Daphne, the Notts, the milkman, anyone I could think of. Gradually, I learned how to connect with them over long distances. I learned how to see the thoughts on the surfaces of their minds: I could even go a bit deeper than that, although it exhausted me.
Father refused to teach me how to properly infiltrate minds, how to plant my own ideas in their heads and have them believe them to be true. I suppose he knew it was a much too dangerous skill for a child.
Daphne did not take well to my rise in my father’s affections. After all, she was the eldest daughter, the birthright: she was born during the Dark Lord’s reign, Lord Voldemort himself had congratulated my parents on her birth. She was the pretty daughter, whereas I was small and weak and looked sickly. She reminded me of these things constantly: pinching me and pulling my hair when mum wasn’t looking, laughing at me if I stumbled or did poorly in a lesson, whispered that I was really a Squib and wouldn’t be allowed to attend Hogwarts, that I’d have to go to a Muggle school instead.
Daphne was temperamental and flaunted her magical abilities as a child. She tore the head off my favorite doll without even touching it. My chocolate frog cards went missing even though my room was magically locked. Dust storms whipped up around her feet when she was angry: even the laurel trees themselves seemed to cleave to her.
While Daphne taunted that I had no magical powers, I quietly smiled and kept my knowledge to myself: that I could control my magic, welding and letting it burn deep inside me. I had control when she did not, and while her power was great and sometimes terrible to witness, I had the choice of whether mine would explode out of me.
When Daphne came home at Christmas after her first term at Hogwarts, she had changed. She was more reserved, cool, polite to our parents and helpful around the house. She beamed when asked about her lessons and brought me a scarf she had knitted magically, in the colors of Slytherin House. While I suspected her of hiding her true nature, my parents were pleased. My mother, who always doted on her eldest, let her eyes shine openly as Daphne repeated the praise she had received for her potion-making. Daphne had become a true heir of Yaxley at last.
A/N: Death Eaters have feelings too! This chapter was a bit of experimentation with Tor as a detached narrator, and I feel like I know her a bit better now. Te next chapter will be both eventful and light-hearted. Please review if you’ve read this, I’d LOVE to know what any readers are thinking!!!
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