Chapter 1 : Prison
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“Father!” Draco said excitedly. “Is it true? Has the Dark Lord returned?”
I smiled deviously, stroking the handle of my cane with one hand as the other firmly clutched the grooves at the end of the mahogany chair’s armrest. I felt Narcissa’s delicate hand slide down the length of my shoulder as she stood behind me.
“Naturally,” I said evenly. “Tell me, Draco, did you truly believe an infant could conquer the most powerful wizard our world has even known?”
“Of course not!” he exclaimed triumphantly. “Does this mean things will be better? Like before?”
His enthusiasm was spectacular to behold, reminding me of how eager I had been at his age, when the first whispers of the Dark Lord’s growing movement reached my ears. Finally those privileged few families who had the prescience to maintain their purity amidst flagging moral standards would be restored to their rightful place. It would take time certainly, but a glorious revolution was at hand.
A sibilant hiss interrupted my reverie. The snake had returned, coiling itself around the chair to await his return. As the screams faded into pleas for mercy, I was the first to feel my Mark burn, moving to the edge of the room. It was important I reserve places at the table for my wife and son.
As I waited, I listened patiently for the sound of their footfalls on the main staircase. Narcissa’s came first, her heels clicking on the black marble. Doubtless Draco was alongside, tucked carefully under her arm as he had been since returning from school most recently. Sure enough, a few moments later they emerged from the shadows in just such a fashion. It was pathetic. Narcissa and I had discussed the subject innumerable times. Draco had already been infected in the Dark Lord’s eyes, first by my incomprehensible setback at the Ministry and later by his own lack of conviction. Now he was to be sheltered like an infant from the path he had chosen? Demeaned in the eyes of the very people whose impression of him his future would depend on? The weakness of it was sickening. Such displays should be left in private, especially with so much at stake.
Nodding curtly, she sat primly in the chair next to mine, once again keeping Draco at a distance.
“Draco,” I called sharply, watching with disguised satisfaction as my blonde-haired boy moved swiftly to answer my summons.
“It’s time we went for a walk about the grounds again. We have much to discuss.”
Though the moment itself would come later, that was when his fate had been sealed.
After a lengthy stroll in comfortable silence we had reached a safe distance from the manor.
“Draco,” I began, “How much thought lately have you given your future?”
“After Hogwarts, yes…but your more immediate future.”
“I’ve been focused on what you asked me to. Distinguishing myself amongst my housemates.”
“Yes, I understand you’ve gathered quite a following. A necessary accomplishment for a young man of your stature. But that alone is nothing to be proud of,” I rebuked him.
His grey eyes flew downward. “Yes, father.”
“You’ve been distracted Draco. Caught up in being a child. As if the life ahead of you is some sort of game.”
“I’ve only been–”
“You’ve been pissing away your time with that repugnant Parkinson girl.”
“Pansy’s a perfectly–”
“She comes from respectable stock. But her future is as dim as her intellect. In the days to come you’ll be free to choose from pureblood witches from across Europe. Compromising yourself for a childhood fancy is irresponsible.”
“But you and mother–”
“Were well-suited. Politically first. You will learn in time Draco,” I soothed, placing a hand on his shoulder in the type of paternal display that was rare for me. “Love will develop over time.”
A series of pops announced the arrival of several of our comrades. Looking up I noticed Dolohov and Rowle. The bastards lacked any concept of respect, smirking at me in my own home. There had been a time when the fear my word struck into their heart’s was second only to that caused by the Dark Lord himself. I stared back icily as if unaffected. Under the table I reached for my cane. Lifting the handle I stopped myself, sliding the unfamiliar wand now attached to it back into its hiding place. The nearly jagged, roughly polished oak abomination could scarcely even meet the definition of the word replacement such was the diminution it inflicted on my magical prowess.
Bellatrix was the next to arrive, her penetrating glare was laden with judgment and condescension. I remembered when she answered to me. More followed from those who arrived later.
As we waited for his surely imminent arrival, I cast my gaze upon the mantle above the darkened fireplace. Since the Dark Lord had taken up residence it was far more spartan than it used to be. Still, a few photographs remained. Draco and I alongside the former Minister for Magic at the Quidditch World Cup some years ago. The fool was grinning brightly, completely unaware of the total chaos and destruction we were about to inflict at his meticulously-planned event. At the other end was the moving image of Narcissa and I magically unveiling the entry to the new ward for the healing of spell damage at St. Mungo’s. Surrounded by bloodthirsty fools who had served the Dark Lord for far less time and far less effectively but now stood above him, the photographs mocked me. Living relics of a bygone era that I grew more certain by the day I would never reclaim.
Finally, clothed in the finest robes, he emerged from below to join us, the rat with the silver hand trailing behind him submissively as he swiftly moved to claim the chair at the head of the table. The snake slid forward to rest on his arm, hissing in satisfaction.
“Greetings,” he spoke in the elegant, snake-like tone that had once enthralled me. “Those of you who enjoy the daily pleasure of being in my company know well that our quest is progressing excellently. But now, it is time to push still further.”
As he finished, he turned his gaze toward Yaxley, his piercing eyes bidding the man to speak to how such a scheme could be accomplished.
“My Lord,” he began. “You control the Ministry completely. There are a few blood traitors still working inside, but they are heavily isolated. Any trouble they tried to cause could be…snuffed out. Easily.”
“Yes…excellent. Then we can proceed without interference?”
“Of course my Lord. As soon as you command.”
Suddenly I felt the weight of his attention focused entirely on me.
“Ahh Lucius, are you prepared to accommodate still more guests?”
“My Lord, I am always prepared to do your will,” I said stiffly. The obsequiousness I was forced to behave with ceaselessly now made me want to shatter something.
I was rewarded with a patronizing half-smile from his deformed face.
“My Lord…” I ventured, “Might I suggest that we use–”
“Someplace else, Lucius?” he interrupted. “I would have thought that one who had so often proclaimed his undying loyalty to our cause could only be delighted that his home would be the last place that those who oppose us would see alive.”
“Of course, my Lord,” I conceded, head bowed as my now ragged hair half-hid my unshaven face.
It was then I realized that we could never regain our standing. The Dark Lord’s will could be done with or without me. He could call on others – spouseless, childless – to do his bidding. The scorn in his eyes was impossible to miss and yet I knew I had to carry on. I knew I must continue to serve the despot who had seized my house by the mere threat of his vengeance and stolen what used to be my throne. After all I had done, all I had given, what other choice was left?
I looked away, staring at the picture of Draco and I with the once-Minister before turning my gaze to the blackened interior of the fireplace, charred from centuries of use and coated with the combination of dust and ash.
The Dark Lord would soon be all-powerful – exercising an endless reign and shaping our world in his image with an iron fist. But when he finally achieved the omnipotence we had helped him chase for so long, we would all become truly expendable. In the eternal darkness that would surely be our future, the Dark Lord would never deign to share his authority. Having fallen so far from my perch in his miniscule circle of trust, it was finally possible for me to see my greatest mistake. Proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it.
A/N: First things first! Thanks for reading! This concludes another foray into the first-person perspective – this time Lucius Malfoy. I tried to capture his prejudice, cold, aloof demeanor, the pressure he exerted on Draco and the impact of his change in status. He was a very difficult character to capture so I’m interested to know what anyone thinks about the characterization. This piece also includes my first attempt at incorporating flashbacks (the italicized portions if you didn’t pick up on that). Did it work well? Were the scenes believable? Finally, what about Voldemort’s dialogue? It was really tough to write and I just wonder how people feel about it. Eloquent and cutting enough? Any thoughts and feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Final sentence was assigned to me per the challenge and comes from Netflix’s House of Cards.
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