Quo Vadis?
Title: Quo Vadis?
Title: Quo Vadis?
Author: Ruskbyte
Author: Ruskbyte
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: It is the greatest threat the world of magic has ever faced. It cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be bargained with. It cannot be hexed. It cannot be cursed. It cannot be stopped. It cannot be killed. And only Lord Voldemort stands in its way.
Summary: It is the greatest threat the world of magic has ever faced. It cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be bargained with. It cannot be hexed. It cannot be cursed. It cannot be stopped. It cannot be killed. And only Lord Voldemort stands in its way.
Author’s Note: An idea that sprang to mind after reading the classic “Who Goes There? ” by John W. Campbell. There was also some inspiration from John Wyndham’s seminal piece; “The Midwich Cuckoos ”. Besides, how often does an author have the chance of turning the story’s ultimate bad guy into the wizarding world’s last hope? Couldn’t resist.
Author's Note: An idea that sprang to mind after reading the classic "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell. There was also some inspiration from John Wyndham's seminal piece; "The Midwich Cuckoos". Besides, how often does an author have the chance of turning the story's ultimate bad guy into the wizarding world's last hope? Couldn't resist.
.
/oOo\
/oOo\
Quo Vadis?
Quo Vadis?
\oOo/
\oOo/
“Welcome, Rita Skeeter, to my parlour.”
.
"Welcome, Rita Skeeter, to my parlour."
The intrepid reporter in question was desperately wishing that she had listened to her mother and become a respectable house-witch, an occupation that all but guaranteed that the current Dark Lord would not take much notice of you. Unfortunately, she had not listened to dear old mum and as a consequence now found herself in the presence of the much feared You-Know-Who.
The intrepid reporter in question was desperately wishing that she had listened to her mother and become a respectable house-witch, an occupation that all but guaranteed that the current Dark Lord would not take much notice of you. Unfortunately, she had not listened to dear old mum and as a consequence now found herself in the presence of the much feared You-Know-Who.
Lord Voldemort, widely agreed to be the most dangerous and terrifying wizard alive, or dead, was standing at the far end of the room, in front of an impressively large stone fireplace. He was facing away from her, hands clasped loosely behind his back, and observing the crackling flames. The pair of Death Eaters that had fetched her from her home in Cambridge gave her a relatively gentle push into the room.
Lord Voldemort, widely agreed to be the most dangerous and terrifying wizard alive, or dead, was standing at the far end of the room, in front of an impressively large stone fireplace. He was facing away from her, hands clasped loosely behind his back, and observing the crackling flames. The pair of Death Eaters that had fetched her from her home in Cambridge gave her a relatively gentle push into the room.
“Please, sit down.”
"Please, sit down."
Rita swallowed convulsively and did as the Dark Lord commanded, taking a seat in one of the chairs scattered about the room. She winced as her knee bumped against the low coffee table that now stood between her and her host.
Rita swallowed convulsively and did as the Dark Lord commanded, taking a seat in one of the chairs scattered about the room. She winced as her knee bumped against the low coffee table that now stood between her and her host.
“In case you were unaware, I am Lord Voldemort,” he declared.
"In case you were unaware, I am Lord Voldemort," he declared.
“B-but the Ministry—“
"B-but the Ministry—"
“Yes, my greatest, if unwitting, allies,” Voldemort drawled. “Needless to say, Rita, my return to the land of the living is very, very real. Harry Potter is not, as the Daily Prophet claims, an attention seeking brat. No, I have indeed come back.”
"Yes, my greatest, if unwitting, allies," Voldemort drawled. "Needless to say, Rita, my return to the land of the living is very, very real. Harry Potter is not, as the Daily Prophet claims, an attention seeking brat. No, I have indeed come back."
“Oh Merlin.”
"Oh Merlin."
“I imagine you are curious as to why I have had you brought here,” observed Voldemort, still staring into the fire.
"I imagine you are curious as to why I have had you brought here," observed Voldemort, still staring into the fire.
“Y-yes,” she managed to say.
"Y-yes," she managed to say.
“You are here, Rita, so that I might tell you a story.”
"You are here, Rita, so that I might tell you a story."
Rita blinked in surprise and blurted out, “A story? Are you serious?”
Rita blinked in surprise and blurted out, "A story? Are you serious?"
Voldemort shifted slightly, causing Rita to squeak in alarm, but he did not turn to face her. He reached up with one hand and began to absently straighten the various knickknacks sitting on the decorative shelf above the fireplace. “You will find,” he said, his voice rich and smooth, “that I am always serious.”
Voldemort shifted slightly, causing Rita to squeak in alarm, but he did not turn to face her. He reached up with one hand and began to absently straighten the various knickknacks sitting on the decorative shelf above the fireplace. "You will find," he said, his voice rich and smooth, "that I am always serious."
Gathering what small amounts of courage she had, she was no Gryffindor after all, Rita managed to ask, “W-what kind of story?”
Gathering what small amounts of courage she had, she was no Gryffindor after all, Rita managed to ask, "W-what kind of story?"
“A true story, Rita,” replied Voldemort. “One that has never before been told.”
"A true story, Rita," replied Voldemort. "One that has never before been told."
Put that way, Rita had the strangely hopeful thought that the Dark Lord had brought her here to tell his life story. She could almost see it; The Life and Times of Lord Voldemort, in his own words . If anything was going to earn her name a place in the history books that was certainly it.
Put that way, Rita had the strangely hopeful thought that the Dark Lord had brought her here to tell his life story. She could almost see it; The Life and Times of Lord Voldemort, in his own words. If anything was going to earn her name a place in the history books that was certainly it.
“Oh?”
"Oh?"
“Yes,” Voldemort nodded. “A story about the greatest threat the magical world has ever faced.”
"Yes," Voldemort nodded. "A story about the greatest threat the magical world has ever faced."
“I, uh, don’t have a quill with me,” Rita muttered.
"I, uh, don't have a quill with me," Rita muttered.
“I did not expect you to.”
"I did not expect you to."
“But—”
"But—"
“I require only for you to listen as I speak, Rita. No more. No less.”
"I require only for you to listen as I speak, Rita. No more. No less."
“Er, if you say so...”
"Er, if you say so..."
“My tale begins nearly fifteen years ago. It was Halloween night, in the year 1981...”
"My tale begins nearly fifteen years ago. It was Halloween night, in the year 1981..."
-oOo-
-oOo-
I stood at the base of the stairs, languidly tapping my wand against my palm, and feeling somewhat disappointed. At my feet, less than a minute dead, was James Potter. He had put up very little in the way of a struggle. I had hoped that he would prove to be more of a challenge. Sadly, other than that old fool Dumbledore, nobody could truly accomplish that any more.
I stood at the base of the stairs, languidly tapping my wand against my palm, and feeling somewhat disappointed. At my feet, less than a minute dead, was James Potter. He had put up very little in the way of a struggle. I had hoped that he would prove to be more of a challenge. Sadly, other than that old fool Dumbledore, nobody could truly accomplish that any more.
It had started to become boring, truth be told; encountering nothing but success after success, without any meaningful resistance. There is no true satisfaction to be found when everything is handed to you on the proverbial silver platter.
It had started to become boring, truth be told; encountering nothing but success after success, without any meaningful resistance. There is no true satisfaction to be found when everything is handed to you on the proverbial silver platter.
I mounted the stairs and made my way to the upper story of the Potter’s home. It was a quaint house, I recall. It did not take me long to track down Lily Potter, cowering in the nursery. No, I lie. She did not cower. Much like her husband, she stood ready to face me. Defiant to the last. An admirable, if pointless, display of courage. Behind her was the crib, in which the object of my attentions lay.
I mounted the stairs and made my way to the upper story of the Potter's home. It was a quaint house, I recall. It did not take me long to track down Lily Potter, cowering in the nursery. No, I lie. She did not cower. Much like her husband, she stood ready to face me. Defiant to the last. An admirable, if pointless, display of courage. Behind her was the crib, in which the object of my attentions lay.
There was a prophecy, you see. A prophecy foretelling my downfall at the hands of a child. I knew that there were only two possibilities. Harry Potter or Neville Longbottom. Yes, Longbottom. I had, for reasons of convenience, chosen to deal with the Potter child first and intended to hunt down the Longbottoms and their boy some time afterwards.
There was a prophecy, you see. A prophecy foretelling my downfall at the hands of a child. I knew that there were only two possibilities. Harry Potter or Neville Longbottom. Yes, Longbottom. I had, for reasons of convenience, chosen to deal with the Potter child first and intended to hunt down the Longbottoms and their boy some time afterwards.
At this point I made a token attempt to spare the mudblood’s life. I had no real reason to kill her. It was her son that I was interested in. Perhaps the hair had a little to do with it as well. I always had a bit of a thing for redheads. But, just like James, Lily held firm and refused to step aside. She begged, of course. They all do.
At this point I made a token attempt to spare the mudblood's life. I had no real reason to kill her. It was her son that I was interested in. Perhaps the hair had a little to do with it as well. I always had a bit of a thing for redheads. But, just like James, Lily held firm and refused to step aside. She begged, of course. They all do.
“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead.”
"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead."
Those were her last words, as well as the customary pleas for mercy. I, naturally, showed her none. The Killing Curse dealt with her easily enough. With both the father and now the mother out of the way, I moved on to the boy.
Those were her last words, as well as the customary pleas for mercy. I, naturally, showed her none. The Killing Curse dealt with her easily enough. With both the father and now the mother out of the way, I moved on to the boy.
I will confess that I enjoy looking into the eyes of my victims when I kill them. There is something greatly satisfying about seeing the light of their life wink out and fade away. I could kill people for no other reason than to see that happen. As such, I took the time to move close and stare down at my young victim. I wanted to see the life leave the eyes of my prophesised vanquisher.
I will confess that I enjoy looking into the eyes of my victims when I kill them. There is something greatly satisfying about seeing the light of their life wink out and fade away. I could kill people for no other reason than to see that happen. As such, I took the time to move close and stare down at my young victim. I wanted to see the life leave the eyes of my prophesised vanquisher.
I held my wand at the ready and the words to the Killing Curse were on my lips. But then the boy stopped his hysterical wailing and turned his head to stare up at me. I was frozen in place. Utterly unable to move, as if I had been petrified. Those eyes... those green, green eyes. You have seen them perhaps? During your “interviews” with the boy during the Triwizard Tournament this last year. I cannot image that they would have escaped your attention.
I held my wand at the ready and the words to the Killing Curse were on my lips. But then the boy stopped his hysterical wailing and turned his head to stare up at me. I was frozen in place. Utterly unable to move, as if I had been petrified. Those eyes... those green, green eyes. You have seen them perhaps? During your "interviews" with the boy during the Triwizard Tournament this last year. I cannot image that they would have escaped your attention.
I must have remained standing there for I don’t know how long. Minutes. Just standing and staring; entranced by those unnatural eyes that held me in place. I can remember having a distinct feeling of disquiet, of unease and uncertainty. There was something, something more than a mere baby looking at me through those eyes. Something... sinister.
I must have remained standing there for I don't know how long. Minutes. Just standing and staring; entranced by those unnatural eyes that held me in place. I can remember having a distinct feeling of disquiet, of unease and uncertainty. There was something, something more than a mere baby looking at me through those eyes. Something... sinister.
Eventually I managed to shrug it off, pushing my concern aside as nothing more than the foolish worry that the prophecy might have actually been true. I raised my wand back to the ready and took careful aim. I made a point of targeting the brat’s head, rather than the body, as I normally would. A reaction against those eyes, which never once strayed away from me.
Eventually I managed to shrug it off, pushing my concern aside as nothing more than the foolish worry that the prophecy might have actually been true. I raised my wand back to the ready and took careful aim. I made a point of targeting the brat's head, rather than the body, as I normally would. A reaction against those eyes, which never once strayed away from me.
I summoned my hatred, my strength, and cast the Avada Kedavra.
I summoned my hatred, my strength, and cast the Avada Kedavra.
I did not even have a chance to blink, let alone scream, when pain and darkness engulfed me.
I did not even have a chance to blink, let alone scream, when pain and darkness engulfed me.
-oOo-
-oOo-
You know the rest of the story. Everyone does. The story of Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. But this was only the beginning of my tale. My downfall, which cost us so much time. Too much, perhaps.
You know the rest of the story. Everyone does. The story of Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. But this was only the beginning of my tale. My downfall, which cost us so much time. Too much, perhaps.
As you can see, Harry Potter did indeed defeat me, but he did not kill me. Years, decades, before the prophesy had ever been spoken, I had taken steps to ensure that death would not be enough. Steps soaked in the foulest and blackest of dark magic. And it was enough, though barely. I survived. I should have died, but I did not. My body was destroyed, but my spirit remained.
As you can see, Harry Potter did indeed defeat me, but he did not kill me. Years, decades, before the prophesy had ever been spoken, I had taken steps to ensure that death would not be enough. Steps soaked in the foulest and blackest of dark magic. And it was enough, though barely. I survived. I should have died, but I did not. My body was destroyed, but my spirit remained.
The years that followed my defeat were not easy. Such adversity I had to face. There were times, yes, where I despaired, where my will began to wane and I almost gave up all hope of returning to my past strength and glory. And through it all I was haunted by the memory of those damnable green eyes; watching me, weighing my worth and finding me lacking...
The years that followed my defeat were not easy. Such adversity I had to face. There were times, yes, where I despaired, where my will began to wane and I almost gave up all hope of returning to my past strength and glory. And through it all I was haunted by the memory of those damnable green eyes; watching me, weighing my worth and finding me lacking...
It was not until the summer before Potter’s first year at Hogwarts that I made true progress. Before then I had been forced to survive by draining the life energy from mere animals. Rats mostly and other vermin. I could take form, briefly, by possessing snakes and other suitable creatures. But then, finally, after what felt like an eternity, a foolish young wizard stumbled upon me. It was the perfect opportunity. I seized it without hesitation.
It was not until the summer before Potter's first year at Hogwarts that I made true progress. Before then I had been forced to survive by draining the life energy from mere animals. Rats mostly and other vermin. I could take form, briefly, by possessing snakes and other suitable creatures. But then, finally, after what felt like an eternity, a foolish young wizard stumbled upon me. It was the perfect opportunity. I seized it without hesitation.
My return to Britain was hardly a triumphant one. Quirrell’s knowledge that the Philosopher’s Stone was to be brought to Hogwarts spurred me on. Turning base metals into gold is one thing. Using the Elixir of Life to regain my body was something else entirely. Were it not for that, I would scarcely have bothered to remain bonded to him. I did not have the strength needed for anything more than that and thus was forced to maintain a low profile. As Hogwarts’ new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, this was an exercise in skill that would challenge any Slytherin. But I was worthy of the task. Dumbledore may have suspected, yes, and perhaps Snape as well, but neither had more than that.
My return to Britain was hardly a triumphant one. Quirrell's knowledge that the Philosopher's Stone was to be brought to Hogwarts spurred me on. Turning base metals into gold is one thing. Using the Elixir of Life to regain my body was something else entirely. Were it not for that, I would scarcely have bothered to remain bonded to him. I did not have the strength needed for anything more than that and thus was forced to maintain a low profile. As Hogwarts' new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, this was an exercise in skill that would challenge any Slytherin. But I was worthy of the task. Dumbledore may have suspected, yes, and perhaps Snape as well, but neither had more than that.
Imagine my surprise when one of the first people I encountered upon returning was the very person that had caused my exile in the first place. Fate truly loves a jest. That Harry Potter’s return to the magical world would coincide with my own... it could be nothing else.
Imagine my surprise when one of the first people I encountered upon returning was the very person that had caused my exile in the first place. Fate truly loves a jest. That Harry Potter's return to the magical world would coincide with my own... it could be nothing else.
We met once again, if only briefly, in the Leaky Cauldron. It was the boy’s birthday and the half-breed, Hagrid, was escorting him on a visit to Diagon Alley. The oversized oaf has no concept of subtlety or tact. Everyone present knew of the boy’s return within a minute of his arrival. And then, to my amazement, Hagrid actually led him to me, introducing him to my host.
We met once again, if only briefly, in the Leaky Cauldron. It was the boy's birthday and the half-breed, Hagrid, was escorting him on a visit to Diagon Alley. The oversized oaf has no concept of subtlety or tact. Everyone present knew of the boy's return within a minute of his arrival. And then, to my amazement, Hagrid actually led him to me, introducing him to my host.
Despite the fact that I was hidden, so well hidden that even the vaunted Dumbledore could not detect me, I found myself feeling exposed... naked. It was even worse when the boy shook Quirrell’s hand. The sensation was horrible beyond any description. You cannot comprehend what it was like. The boy, Harry Potter, in that single moment, was able to instil in me a fear greater than death itself.
Despite the fact that I was hidden, so well hidden that even the vaunted Dumbledore could not detect me, I found myself feeling exposed... naked. It was even worse when the boy shook Quirrell's hand. The sensation was horrible beyond any description. You cannot comprehend what it was like. The boy, Harry Potter, in that single moment, was able to instil in me a fear greater than death itself.
He... tasted me. That is the closest I can come to explaining what it was like. He tasted me. Not my body, as I had none. No, it was my magic that felt his cold touch. Perhaps even my very soul.
He... tasted me. That is the closest I can come to explaining what it was like. He tasted me. Not my body, as I had none. No, it was my magic that felt his cold touch. Perhaps even my very soul.
Quirrell, simpleton that he was, didn’t even notice. Nor did anyone else for that matter. I think that unnerved me almost as much as everything else. That I could be made to feel so vulnerable, without any apparent effort on his part. And without leaving any indication that he had violated me in such a manner.
Quirrell, simpleton that he was, didn't even notice. Nor did anyone else for that matter. I think that unnerved me almost as much as everything else. That I could be made to feel so vulnerable, without any apparent effort on his part. And without leaving any indication that he had violated me in such a manner.
I had been interested in Potter before then. He had broken my power, after all. Now, however, my curiosity was piqued. Clearly, the Boy-Who-Lived was much more than I had anticipated. I resolved to be cautious, as any good Slytherin would, and to watch my nemesis closely throughout the school year.
I had been interested in Potter before then. He had broken my power, after all. Now, however, my curiosity was piqued. Clearly, the Boy-Who-Lived was much more than I had anticipated. I resolved to be cautious, as any good Slytherin would, and to watch my nemesis closely throughout the school year.
-oOo-
-oOo-
The attempt to steal the Stone from Gringotts, before it could be moved to Hogwarts, was a resounding failure. I still wonder that Quirrell was able to escape, not to mention keep his identity hidden from the goblins. Resigned to waiting, we departed to Hogwarts, something I both rejoiced at and despised. The next month was an exercise in tedium; preparing for the arrival of the students and their lesson plans for the year.
The attempt to steal the Stone from Gringotts, before it could be moved to Hogwarts, was a resounding failure. I still wonder that Quirrell was able to escape, not to mention keep his identity hidden from the goblins. Resigned to waiting, we departed to Hogwarts, something I both rejoiced at and despised. The next month was an exercise in tedium; preparing for the arrival of the students and their lesson plans for the year.
And then, there he was again.
And then, there he was again.
Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, had come to Hogwarts.
Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, had come to Hogwarts.
Oh, the temptation! To command Quirrell jump to his feet and cast a Killing Curse, it was almost too much to resist. But I did. My power was weak, but my will remained strong. We sat there, at the staff table, and watched the Sorting. Potter, as everyone expected, was quickly dispatched to Gryffindor.
Oh, the temptation! To command Quirrell jump to his feet and cast a Killing Curse, it was almost too much to resist. But I did. My power was weak, but my will remained strong. We sat there, at the staff table, and watched the Sorting. Potter, as everyone expected, was quickly dispatched to Gryffindor.
Well, perhaps not “quickly” so much as eventually. The Sorting Hat spent a surprising amount of time on the boy’s head. I had expected it to reach a decision almost immediately, yet it actually took quite some time. Not enough that anyone would become suspicious or worried, but enough that I now wonder what was said. How did Potter manage to convince the Hat to send him to Gryffindor? Where did it really want to put him? It was only months later, just before year’s end, that I asked myself these questions. Of course, by then, it was too late.
Well, perhaps not "quickly" so much as eventually. The Sorting Hat spent a surprising amount of time on the boy's head. I had expected it to reach a decision almost immediately, yet it actually took quite some time. Not enough that anyone would become suspicious or worried, but enough that I now wonder what was said. How did Potter manage to convince the Hat to send him to Gryffindor? Where did it really want to put him? It was only months later, just before year's end, that I asked myself these questions. Of course, by then, it was too late.
Dumbledore made his usual idiotic remarks. The man somehow thinks himself amusing, rather than senile. It is only his power as a wizard that keeps the common people from realizing just how far he has fallen from his once impressive heights. The welcoming feast was soon in full swing and I took the opportunity to observe Potter in a more comprehensive manner than our brief encounter in the Leaky Cauldron had allowed. It took a great deal of effort to augment my senses enough to see through the layers of cloth that separated us, hidden away as I was beneath Quirrell’s turban. I was left exhausted, but felt that it would be worth the expenditure of energy to watch my foe.
Dumbledore made his usual idiotic remarks. The man somehow thinks himself amusing, rather than senile. It is only his power as a wizard that keeps the common people from realizing just how far he has fallen from his once impressive heights. The welcoming feast was soon in full swing and I took the opportunity to observe Potter in a more comprehensive manner than our brief encounter in the Leaky Cauldron had allowed. It took a great deal of effort to augment my senses enough to see through the layers of cloth that separated us, hidden away as I was beneath Quirrell's turban. I was left exhausted, but felt that it would be worth the expenditure of energy to watch my foe.
What I saw was not a first-year student. He was not excited. He was not afraid. He was not awed. None of the emotions you would expect from a child beginning their studies at Hogwarts. No, there was only a cool detachment. I watched as he scrutinized and studied Hogwarts and the people within it. Potter was examining the people around him with all the dispassion of one free of the ability to care, to feel. They meant nothing to him. Nothing.
What I saw was not a first-year student. He was not excited. He was not afraid. He was not awed. None of the emotions you would expect from a child beginning their studies at Hogwarts. No, there was only a cool detachment. I watched as he scrutinized and studied Hogwarts and the people within it. Potter was examining the people around him with all the dispassion of one free of the ability to care, to feel. They meant nothing to him. Nothing.
Oh, certainly his face and his body language spoke of his awe at the Great Hall’s enchanted ceiling. His expressions were filled with amazement at the banquet before him, delight at the candles floating overhead and even the happiness of a lonely orphan finally having a chance to make friends. It was all a lie. A show, a mask, a façade. How nobody else saw it, I cannot imagine. Even Dumbledore seemed fooled. To me, though, it was as obvious as the noonday sun on a clear summer’s day.
Oh, certainly his face and his body language spoke of his awe at the Great Hall's enchanted ceiling. His expressions were filled with amazement at the banquet before him, delight at the candles floating overhead and even the happiness of a lonely orphan finally having a chance to make friends. It was all a lie. A show, a mask, a façade. How nobody else saw it, I cannot imagine. Even Dumbledore seemed fooled. To me, though, it was as obvious as the noonday sun on a clear summer's day.
All that I had to do was look into his eyes. They call the eyes windows to the soul. Goblins, elves, trolls and centaurs... they are not that different from us. Look in their eyes and you will see the same thing you would in any human, be they pureblood or lowly Muggles. Hah, even the acromantulas, as far removed from humanity as you will find, have some measure of spirit in their eyes. They do have four pairs of them, after all.
All that I had to do was look into his eyes. They call the eyes windows to the soul. Goblins, elves, trolls and centaurs... they are not that different from us. Look in their eyes and you will see the same thing you would in any human, be they pureblood or lowly Muggles. Hah, even the acromantulas, as far removed from humanity as you will find, have some measure of spirit in their eyes. They do have four pairs of them, after all.
Dementors, such foul yet useful creatures, have no eyes. They do not need them, for they possess no souls. That is why they affect us the way they do, and why they seek to consume the souls of their victims.
Dementors, such foul yet useful creatures, have no eyes. They do not need them, for they possess no souls. That is why they affect us the way they do, and why they seek to consume the souls of their victims.
Gazing into the eyes of Harry Potter, I found myself lost and adrift, for that boy... that thing... has no soul. When he turned to match my gaze, as my idiot host prattled mindlessly with Snape, I realized that truth. The boy’s eyes were blank and empty. He could outstare a mountain. And somehow, despite being hidden by Quirrell’s turban, despite the dark magic muting my presence in the magical skein, Potter knew I was there. He looked at me.
Gazing into the eyes of Harry Potter, I found myself lost and adrift, for that boy... that thing... has no soul. When he turned to match my gaze, as my idiot host prattled mindlessly with Snape, I realized that truth. The boy's eyes were blank and empty. He could outstare a mountain. And somehow, despite being hidden by Quirrell's turban, despite the dark magic muting my presence in the magical skein, Potter knew I was there. He looked at me.
And he smiled.
And he smiled.
-oOo-
-oOo-
I cannot tell you how I survived an entire year trapped within the same castle as that monster. I myself do not know how I remained untouched. Quirrell’s lessons with the boy were nerve-wracking. For the first time in my life I felt terrified, on a purely primal level. I was prey, cornered by a predator. Every hour, every minute and every second spent in Potter’s presence was a trial to survive.
I cannot tell you how I survived an entire year trapped within the same castle as that monster. I myself do not know how I remained untouched. Quirrell's lessons with the boy were nerve-wracking. For the first time in my life I felt terrified, on a purely primal level. I was prey, cornered by a predator. Every hour, every minute and every second spent in Potter's presence was a trial to survive.
After the first week, I had the suspicion that he was playing with me.
After the first week, I had the suspicion that he was playing with me.
By Halloween, I knew he was.
By Halloween, I knew he was.
You have doubtless heard that tale, yes? Of the troll in the bathroom. Of how Harry Potter and Ron Weasley saved the life of the know-it-all mudblood; Hermione Granger. The one little incident that brought about the formation of the Golden Trio. The Gryffindor Three. From that moment on, they were inseparable. Yet no-one wonders if that is truly the case. If it truly was their encounter with the troll in the bathroom that caused them to grow so close.
You have doubtless heard that tale, yes? Of the troll in the bathroom. Of how Harry Potter and Ron Weasley saved the life of the know-it-all mudblood; Hermione Granger. The one little incident that brought about the formation of the Golden Trio. The Gryffindor Three. From that moment on, they were inseparable. Yet no-one wonders if that is truly the case. If it truly was their encounter with the troll in the bathroom that caused them to grow so close.
It wasn’t.
It wasn't.
Really, a rampaging troll defeated by a simple Levitation Charm? Please. No, the truth behind that troll’s fate is doubtless far more sinister than you could imagine. Even I do not know exactly what transpired.
Really, a rampaging troll defeated by a simple Levitation Charm? Please. No, the truth behind that troll's fate is doubtless far more sinister than you could imagine. Even I do not know exactly what transpired.
What I do know is that when the professors finally arrived on the scene, McGonagall, Snape and myself, we found three children in perfect health. Potter, Weasley and Granger were standing calmly around the troll’s body. They may as well have been having a picnic for all the excitement they were showing. I concentrated on Potter, as I knew he was somehow responsible. And yet, I noticed the other two regarding me with that same cool dispassion. Even as they crafted a wonderful web of lies, they watched me. And when they brushed by, ordered back to their common room by McGonagall, I felt them dip into my essence. It was that same, horrifying sensation as when Potter had shook hands with Quirrell in the Leaky Cauldron.
What I do know is that when the professors finally arrived on the scene, McGonagall, Snape and myself, we found three children in perfect health. Potter, Weasley and Granger were standing calmly around the troll's body. They may as well have been having a picnic for all the excitement they were showing. I concentrated on Potter, as I knew he was somehow responsible. And yet, I noticed the other two regarding me with that same cool dispassion. Even as they crafted a wonderful web of lies, they watched me. And when they brushed by, ordered back to their common room by McGonagall, I felt them dip into my essence. It was that same, horrifying sensation as when Potter had shook hands with Quirrell in the Leaky Cauldron.
The lessons with the first-year Gryffindors were even more difficult from then on. I now found myself as prey, surrounded and being toyed with by not just one predator, but three.
The lessons with the first-year Gryffindors were even more difficult from then on. I now found myself as prey, surrounded and being toyed with by not just one predator, but three.
I knew that I needed to grow stronger if I was to survive, but without the Stone that was impossible. I finally resorted to a stopgap measure, a temporary solution that was as dangerous as it was fortifying. Unicorn blood. It would force upon me a half-life, a cursed life, but with that came power. Power enough that I grew overconfident. Careless.
I knew that I needed to grow stronger if I was to survive, but without the Stone that was impossible. I finally resorted to a stopgap measure, a temporary solution that was as dangerous as it was fortifying. Unicorn blood. It would force upon me a half-life, a cursed life, but with that came power. Power enough that I grew overconfident. Careless.
It was after Christmas. I had been out in the Forbidden Forest, once again hunting for sustenance. I was not overly surprised when my feeding was interrupted, but I had been expecting either Hagrid or those bestial centaurs. It was an unpleasant surprise that the interloper was Potter, accompanied by Lucius Malfoy’s immature spawn, Draco.
It was after Christmas. I had been out in the Forbidden Forest, once again hunting for sustenance. I was not overly surprised when my feeding was interrupted, but I had been expecting either Hagrid or those bestial centaurs. It was an unpleasant surprise that the interloper was Potter, accompanied by Lucius Malfoy's immature spawn, Draco.
Lucius’s boy immediately screamed in terror and fled into the night. Potter remained. He stood perfectly still and watched. It was unnerving, the sheer lack of any emotion or feeling on his face. I made the decision to strike, to kill him before he could act. My unease grew as I approached him, for he remained in place and did nothing save stare at me with that same dispassion. For the first time I noticed just how bright those eyes of his were. Like a cat’s eyes. Or some other wild beast, whose eyes seems to glow in the night’s darkness.
Lucius's boy immediately screamed in terror and fled into the night. Potter remained. He stood perfectly still and watched. It was unnerving, the sheer lack of any emotion or feeling on his face. I made the decision to strike, to kill him before he could act. My unease grew as I approached him, for he remained in place and did nothing save stare at me with that same dispassion. For the first time I noticed just how bright those eyes of his were. Like a cat's eyes. Or some other wild beast, whose eyes seems to glow in the night's darkness.
“Voldemort,” he said softly, though the words carried unnaturally in the night air.
"Voldemort," he said softly, though the words carried unnaturally in the night air.
Somehow, he not only knew that I was there, hiding, but he also knew who I was. I was torn. Torn between urging my host to attack, on the hope that he might actually manage to hurt the boy, or to retreat and hope that Potter did not follow. The choice was made for me when we were interrupted. I was saved by a centaur, if you would believe it.
Somehow, he not only knew that I was there, hiding, but he also knew who I was. I was torn. Torn between urging my host to attack, on the hope that he might actually manage to hurt the boy, or to retreat and hope that Potter did not follow. The choice was made for me when we were interrupted. I was saved by a centaur, if you would believe it.
I had Quirrell withdraw back to his quarters in Hogwarts, biding my time. The next few months were an excruciating trial of my will, my patience and my ability to remain hidden. Between Snape’s incessant prying, Potter and his friends’ stares and my general weakness of magic, I was sorely tested. Finally, relief came at the very end of the term, not a week before the start of the summer holidays. Dumbledore left the castle for the day, called to the Ministry by that bumbling Fudge. This was what I had been waiting for all year. It was my chance, possibly the only one I had left.
I had Quirrell withdraw back to his quarters in Hogwarts, biding my time. The next few months were an excruciating trial of my will, my patience and my ability to remain hidden. Between Snape's incessant prying, Potter and his friends' stares and my general weakness of magic, I was sorely tested. Finally, relief came at the very end of the term, not a week before the start of the summer holidays. Dumbledore left the castle for the day, called to the Ministry by that bumbling Fudge. This was what I had been waiting for all year. It was my chance, possibly the only one I had left.
I took immediate advantage of it.
I took immediate advantage of it.
The traps and obstacles laid by Dumbledore were as nothing against my power and cunning. A mindless dog that fell asleep at the sound of music. A plant that shied away from fire. Flying keys. A giant chess set. A child’s puzzle. These were the things Dumbledore sought to stop me with? Had I not been so limited in my options, I would have been insulted by being so grossly underestimated. Mere children, first-year students, could have beaten their way through such a weak challenge.
The traps and obstacles laid by Dumbledore were as nothing against my power and cunning. A mindless dog that fell asleep at the sound of music. A plant that shied away from fire. Flying keys. A giant chess set. A child's puzzle. These were the things Dumbledore sought to stop me with? Had I not been so limited in my options, I would have been insulted by being so grossly underestimated. Mere children, first-year students, could have beaten their way through such a weak challenge.
It was only at the very end that I encountered a challenge. Naturally, it was Dumbledore’s part in the Stone’s protections. There was an enchanted mirror. The Mirror of Erised. A powerful magical object, true, but worthless to me. Somehow, the old wizard had managed to hide the Stone somewhere within the mirror. Quirrell, fool that he was, was left completely stumped by this final defence.
It was only at the very end that I encountered a challenge. Naturally, it was Dumbledore's part in the Stone's protections. There was an enchanted mirror. The Mirror of Erised. A powerful magical object, true, but worthless to me. Somehow, the old wizard had managed to hide the Stone somewhere within the mirror. Quirrell, fool that he was, was left completely stumped by this final defence.
“Good evening, gentlemen.”
"Good evening, gentlemen."
My examination of the mirror was disrupted by an unexpected greeting. Quirrell turned and found himself confronted by the three monsters that had made the Defence lessons so uncomfortable for me. Potter with Weasley and Granger following behind him. I was puzzled by how they came to be there. Certainly, they should not have struggled overmuch against the bulk of the Stone’s protections, but Snape’s puzzle should have prevented all but one of them from reaching the end of the challenge. There had only been enough of the Flame Freezing potion for one person to breech the wall of black fire. Yet, there they were.
My examination of the mirror was disrupted by an unexpected greeting. Quirrell turned and found himself confronted by the three monsters that had made the Defence lessons so uncomfortable for me. Potter with Weasley and Granger following behind him. I was puzzled by how they came to be there. Certainly, they should not have struggled overmuch against the bulk of the Stone's protections, but Snape's puzzle should have prevented all but one of them from reaching the end of the challenge. There had only been enough of the Flame Freezing potion for one person to breech the wall of black fire. Yet, there they were.
“Potter,” snapped Quirrell, ignorant of the danger we had suddenly found ourselves in. I silently cursed his idiocy.
"Potter," snapped Quirrell, ignorant of the danger we had suddenly found ourselves in. I silently cursed his idiocy.
“Professor,” the three chimed. It sounded playful, but I could hear the mockery in their voices.
"Professor," the three chimed. It sounded playful, but I could hear the mockery in their voices.
“Did you come down here to try and stop me from getting the Stone?” Quirrell demanded.
"Did you come down here to try and stop me from getting the Stone?" Quirrell demanded.
“No. Don’t worry; we won’t insult the cliché of hero versus villain by ignoring your offers of power, glory and material wealth,” said Potter as they approached. “So... please, begin tempting us.”
"No. Don't worry; we won't insult the cliché of hero versus villain by ignoring your offers of power, glory and material wealth," said Potter as they approached. "So... please, begin tempting us."
He was wearing a bland expression on his face, but I could see the amusement in his eyes. He was silently laughing at me! But it was only later that I could rail against the insult. I had far more important things on my mind at that moment. The room where the Stone was hidden had only one entrance. One. And it was behind Potter and his two friends. There would be no escape, I realized, unless I went through them.
He was wearing a bland expression on his face, but I could see the amusement in his eyes. He was silently laughing at me! But it was only later that I could rail against the insult. I had far more important things on my mind at that moment. The room where the Stone was hidden had only one entrance. One. And it was behind Potter and his two friends. There would be no escape, I realized, unless I went through them.
“Quickly, you fool, kill him! Kill them all!”
"Quickly, you fool, kill him! Kill them all!"
Quirrell responded remarkably well and snapped his wand up. “Avada Kedavra! ”
Quirrell responded remarkably well and snapped his wand up. "Avada Kedavra!"
Potter did not even blink. He stood there, watching, waiting, as the Killing Curse struck him just to the right of the heart. The force of the impact knocked him off his feet and left him in a crumpled heap several metres back from where he had been standing. For a moment, I dared to hope. His “friends”, Weasley and Granger, looked back at his fallen body and then turned their attention back to me.
Potter did not even blink. He stood there, watching, waiting, as the Killing Curse struck him just to the right of the heart. The force of the impact knocked him off his feet and left him in a crumpled heap several metres back from where he had been standing. For a moment, I dared to hope. His "friends", Weasley and Granger, looked back at his fallen body and then turned their attention back to me.
“That was very impolite of you,” said Granger, actually daring to admonish me.
"That was very impolite of you," said Granger, actually daring to admonish me.
“Yes, you’re supposed to try and recruit us first, then torture us and then kill us. Not the other way round,” said Weasley.
"Yes, you're supposed to try and recruit us first, then torture us and then kill us. Not the other way round," said Weasley.
Still following my earlier command, Quirrell turned his wand on them. First the boy, then the girl. “Avada Kedavra! Avada Kedavra! ”
Still following my earlier command, Quirrell turned his wand on them. First the boy, then the girl. "Avada Kedavra! Avada Kedavra!"
Again, both curses flew straight and true. Neither Weasley nor Granger reacted in the slightest. No attempt, at all, to throw themselves out of the way. The curses struck unimpeded and the pair was thrown back, much as Potter had been.
Again, both curses flew straight and true. Neither Weasley nor Granger reacted in the slightest. No attempt, at all, to throw themselves out of the way. The curses struck unimpeded and the pair was thrown back, much as Potter had been.
Quirrell paused to gather his breath. The weakling had strained himself by casting such a powerful curse three times in quick succession. With a sense of elation, at having finally vanquished the monster that had defeated me, I had the fool turn his attention back to the mirror. My deliberations on Dumbledore’s trickery had no chance to resume, as I was almost immediately interrupted again.
Quirrell paused to gather his breath. The weakling had strained himself by casting such a powerful curse three times in quick succession. With a sense of elation, at having finally vanquished the monster that had defeated me, I had the fool turn his attention back to the mirror. My deliberations on Dumbledore's trickery had no chance to resume, as I was almost immediately interrupted again.
“Are you done posturing yet?”
"Are you done posturing yet?"
Quirrell spun around in terror, almost tripping over his own feet. The rapid motion left me feeling dizzy, but I was still aware of what was happening. Potter was standing before me, once more on his feet, and showing no sign of having taken a Killing Curse to the chest. His eyes were glowing brilliantly in the low light. It was a sight the remains forever etched into my memory. My disbelief shaded into horror when I noticed that Weasley and Granger were already beginning to stir and would soon be picking themselves off the floor.
Quirrell spun around in terror, almost tripping over his own feet. The rapid motion left me feeling dizzy, but I was still aware of what was happening. Potter was standing before me, once more on his feet, and showing no sign of having taken a Killing Curse to the chest. His eyes were glowing brilliantly in the low light. It was a sight the remains forever etched into my memory. My disbelief shaded into horror when I noticed that Weasley and Granger were already beginning to stir and would soon be picking themselves off the floor.
“Impossible,” muttered Quirrell, breaking the moment.
"Impossible," muttered Quirrell, breaking the moment.
Potter smiled. It was a truly hideous sight. “Please. As if a little magic could hurt us.”
Potter smiled. It was a truly hideous sight. "Please. As if a little magic could hurt us."
“Avada Kedavra! ”
"Avada Kedavra!"
Again Quirrell cast the Killing Curse. Again, Potter did nothing to evade it. Again, i
Again Quirrell cast the Killing Curse. Again, Potter did nothing to evade it. Again, it struck him