Chapter 1 : Prologue
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October 31st, 1982
Silence fills the Ministry's Atrium as the Dark Lord surveys his followers carefully. His Death Eaters surround him in a circle, their skeletal masks concealing their identities. Nevertheless, he does not require faces to decipher their names: all he needs is a brief second of eye contact, and instantly he has the ability to see all that they have done, all that they plan to do, all that they wish they could do. This ability is how he knows that there are traitors among him now. Pettigrew is more than willing to betray him in order to redeem himself to his friends. Snape is concealing his thoughts with Occlumency, but the the hidden portion of his mind is more substantial than the Dark Lord would like. Dolohov spared the life of a Mudblood he had a brief schoolboy romance with. They will be disposed of in time, but at present, they remain useful to him. As long as the Dark Lord watches those chosen traitors more carefully than the others, and while they do not explicitly betray his secrets, they will remain alive for the present.
Suddenly, the woman arrives, cradling her son in her arms. The Dark Lord watches with mild amusement as her eyes widen at the sight of the desecrated Atrium that presently stands in ruins. She ought to have expected the sight: he did take the Ministry by force, after all. She shivers -- from the chill in the room perhaps, or maybe it is not a shiver but a trembling of fear -- before facing the Dark Lord. Her red hair is tangled around her shoulders, clearly unkempt from many months on the run, while her doe-like emerald eyes are vacant and listless.
She is defeated.
The Dark Lord smirks once more before he issues his instructions. "Bring the boy to me. Put him on the floor."
Lily Potter hesitates, but the Dark Lord does not cast the Imperius Curse as he would in normal circumstances. Instead, he waits, and when Lily Potter realises that he will not force her to make this choice, she whimpers.
It is a beautiful sound.
The whimpering does not stop as she walks through the Atrium and through his ranks of Death Eaters until she comes to a stop in front of him. The Dark Lord takes a brief moment to peruse the toddler's mind: from his recollections of his parents and his former home, it is him, without a doubt.
"Your wand," he says, extending his arm for her wand to be placed into his hand. At first, Lily Potter appears bewildered before she complies with the request.
And then the Dark Lord's attentions turn to Lily Potter herself, searching for proof that she is not under a curse which forces her presence here. He wants his victory to be real; there is no question now that Harry Potter will grow up to be his equal, and he does not want the wizarding world to live in hope after the boy's death because of a mere technicality. Their spirits will be crushed in the morning when he announces Harry Potter's death, and all will submit to his orders once they realise that there is nobody left to save them. Enough pure blood has been spilt already.
Quietly, Lily Potter kneels and places the boy on the ground, tears streaming down her cheeks. The Dark Lord surveys her with pleasure; she has come willingly, begged by the man she loves to end this bloodshed for once and for all. He extends his arms to the air with grandeur.
"Witness now," he declares, "an event that shall never occur again. Look upon the Mudblood where she stands, filthy blood running through her veins. One year ago, she believed that she could evade my wrath by fleeing Godric's Hollow. And look at how we have punished her for those actions. The world as she once knew it has disintegrated. Her family are dust and bones. Her friends are dying or already dead. The Order of the Phoenix, who pledged to protect the Mudblood and her son, no longer exists."
The Dark Lord watches as Lily Potter takes several steps backwards from the boy in anticipation of his actions. Her bewildered child begins to wail, holding out his arms for a hug.
The Dark Lord gives the boy a momentary glance before fixing his gaze upon Lily Potter. "The deal we made remains the same. His life, in exchange for yours."
She nods in acknowledgement, her shoulders slumped in surrender.
"Kill him," she whispers.
The Dark Lord smirks with pleasure. "Avada Kedavra."
There is a flash of green light.
Author's Note: So, welcome to my newest novel, aka the AU Marauders that I've been talking about since... October 2013. Yikes. I'm hoping to update this novel somewhat consistently, given that I've been terrible at updating anything else, but since I have about 20k of this novel written, I've set myself a goal to put a new chapter into the queue on the 13th and 30th of each month, which should hopefully be memorable for you lovely readers too. Thank you to Mallory / UnluckyStar57 for beta'ing this prologue for me! ^.^
The summary comes from Doctor Who, season six episode seven A Good Man Goes To War, written by Steven Moffat and broadcast by the BBC. There's a relevance to it, which will be revealed as the novel progresses. I'd love to hear what you think of Starfall so far... That little grey box down there looks hungry ;)
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