Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Touch of Destiny

Shape of Things to Come

by fatlewis 2 reviews

Dumbledore finds his powers beginning to decline, while Voldemort's are growing. Harry discovers new powers, but will the Wizarding World accept them? The Prophecy is revealed to all, but is it o...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Dumbledore, Harry, Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [!!] [!!!] [?] [V] - Published: 2006-09-11 - Updated: 2006-09-12 - 5634 words

Chapter One

Shape of Things to Come

Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, greatest wizard of the age, sat at his desk in his office at Hogwarts school of Wizardry and Witchcraft. The Hogwarts Express had just left that morning to ferry the students back to London after the completion of yet another school year. It had been a very difficult year for him. The Ministry of Magic had tried to take over control of Hogwarts in order to silence his claims that Lord Voldemort had returned. They had succeeded too, at least for a time, and he had been forced to flee Hogwarts in order to protect Harry Potter from expulsion. But now, after Voldemort's recent public appearance at the Ministry, the campaign of denial waged by Minister Fudge had crumbled, and Albus was back where he belonged.

Albus wore a concerned look upon his ancient face, and gone was the seemingly ever-present twinkle in his blue eyes. He sat silently touching his wand to his temple, removing silver strands of memories, and gently depositing them in the Pensieve before him. The portraits of the former Hogwarts Headmasters and Mistresses on the walls of the office were having hushed conversations amongst themselves: concern for the man in front of them was their current topic. Albus paid them no mind; he was deeply immersed in his thoughts at the moment. Not even the gentle cooing of his phoenix friend Fawkes, from his perch next to the desk, seemed to penetrate his reverie. Casually, he stopped what he was doing and placed his wand on the desk. With a slow labored sigh, he removed his half-moon glasses and rubbed his eyes with his slender, long-fingered hands. He leaned back into his comfortable chair and replaced his glasses. After a moment's reflection, he slowly lowered his face into the shimmering swirl of memories that swam in his Pensieve. Albus Dumbledore needed answers. He only hoped he could find them quickly.

After a quick feeling of disorientation, the memory solidified around him. He was confronted with a much younger version of himself as he taught a Transfiguration lesson. He remembered this particular lesson well. It was always the first one that he gave to his fifth year students when they returned from the Christmas break. At the sudden gasp from the class he was able to narrow it down even further. His younger self had just awarded 10 points to Gryffindor House to reward a young, bespectacled Minerva McGonagall who had just successfully transfigured legs onto her teacup. The twinkle returned momentarily to the old man's eyes as he watched the bewitched teacup race back and forth across the desk, doing the occasional back flip, under the careful direction of his future Deputy Headmistress' wand. Another gasp from the class sobered Albus immediately. He remembered quite clearly that if Minerva was in this class, then so was another.

As his younger self declared, "Simply astounding Mr. Riddle, 25 points to Slytherin for that amazingly creative spell work!" The older Albus turned quickly and recognized immediately the reason he was in this memory. He locked his eyes onto the handsome young man who would one day become Lord Voldemort. Young Tom Riddle was currently directing his wand at a china replica of a Hungarian Horntail dragon, which had once been his teacup, as it circled his head in flight. With a quick flick of his wand, the small china dragon flew across the room and descended like a predator towards Minerva's still-prancing cup. As it neared its prey, it belched forth a small stream of flame from its tiny mouth which engulfed Minerva's teacup, causing one of its fragile legs to break, and sent the three legged cup pitching off the edge of the desk to shatter on the stone floor. Young Minerva let out a stifled shriek and levelled a thin-lipped glare at the memory Tom Riddle, who just smirked at her in response. Dumbledore listened as his younger self admonished Tom, deducted points from Slytherin, and assigned him a night of detention. The tiny dragon, which had returned to perch on Tom's shoulder, let out a tiny roar that sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard, and the memory twisted in a swirl of silver before once again solidifying into another memory long past.

After several hours searching his Pensieve, a visibly shaken Albus Dumbledore found himself, once again, in his office. He had not found the answers he had hoped. He stood up from his chair and walked over to Fawkes' perch. He reached out and stroked the beautiful red and gold bird and said, "Fawkes my friend, why is it that fate can be so impossibly cruel?" While he knew better than to expect an answer from his familiar, he had long ago become accustomed to using him as a sounding board for his thoughts. He smiled at his friend, threw a quick sleeping spell over the eavesdropping portraits, and continued speaking, as the bird trilled softly, encouraging him to open up.

"I have, of course, told you what an impossible burden our young Harry has on his shoulders." Albus clasped his hands behind his back and began to slowly pace back and forth across the office as he spoke. "I fear that it may in fact be too great a task for him. Were Harry to face Voldemort today, I do not doubt that he would be dead within a few short breaths. In fact, I daresay that he would be hard-pressed to last more than a few moments if faced with just a 15 year-old Tom Riddle instead. True, he has survived more meetings with him than any, save myself, who still draw breath. But he accomplished this feat, not through any great skill, but with a large deal of luck, and the timely arrival of aid when it was needed most. While the loss of such a fine young man would be terrible in itself, the consequences of his death would mean the end of our way of life.

"Fawkes," Albus continued, "I have spent the last several hours in search of answers hidden within my memories, but I have found none. I have reviewed my memories of the young schoolboy Tom Riddle that I taught all those many years ago, and those of the monster that he has become. I had hoped to find some weakness we could exploit. I have also watched my memories of Harry as he has developed, in hopes of seeing some spark, or hint, of the power that the Prophecy speaks of. Alas, my conclusions are not very reassuring.

"There is no doubt that Harry is a remarkable young man. He is possessed of a great deal of courage, but, having faced down what he has been forced to deal with in his short life, how could he not be? He displays remarkable loyalty to those he cares for, and he is selfless to a fault. In fact, I fear he would gladly trade his own life to protect just one innocent soul, and, in doing so, he would doom us all. The crux of my dilemma is this: Harry simply has not displayed the magical power that will be required to accomplish the task that destiny has handed him. While he has shown flashes of brilliance - his conjuring of a corporeal Patronus at thirteen years of age being a glaring example of this - his magic has not blossomed as I had hoped."

Albus stopped his pacing in front of the cabinet in the corner. He removed a fine crystal glass and a decanter of brandy from the second shelf. He poured himself a full three fingers of the amber liquid and returned to sit at his desk. "My friend," he continued after taking a sip of his drink, "I do not like the path my thoughts are taking, but I see no alternative. I cannot train him as he is now. He simply does not have the power to handle what I can teach him. I fear that such an attempt would do nothing but shatter what little self-confidence he has. Since Harry will not be ready to face Voldemort anytime in the foreseeable future, we have no choice but to keep him safe. He must not be allowed another roll of the cosmic dice until such time as he is ready.

"Harry must be protected, and, he must be allowed to develop into what he is destined to become. I only pray that he begins to show signs of the power the Prophecy spoke of, before all is lost. I fear that I have no choice but to break a promise that I made to Harry. I swore that knowledge of the Prophecy would be his to divulge to those of his choosing, but I must now break my word. I cannot protect him by myself. Already, the members of the Order are railing against me about the constant guard that I have insisted watch over Harry while he is at his relatives. Many of them feel that our efforts are better spent elsewhere, directly confronting Voldemort and his minions. Had I only the information that they have available to them, I daresay, I would feel the same about the situation.

"Fawkes, I have become an old man, and, I am not the wizard that I once was. Were it not for your timely appearance at the Ministry, I would have died in my duel with Voldemort. His power still grows, while mine has started to wane. I do not think I will be able to hold him at bay for much longer. The war has just begun, but I fear that I will not see its end. I must take steps to ensure that, if I fall, others understand Harry's importance.

"Yes Fawkes," he said before draining the dregs of liquor in the bottom of his glass, "after tonight's Order meeting, I will hold back the inner circle, and reveal to them the full contents of the Prophecy. The knowledge must not die with me." Having walked his train of thought through to its conclusion, he stood and with a flick of his wand he woke the now snoring portraits. The aged Headmaster shrank his pensive and, placing it into one of the pockets of his colourful robe, he strode towards the fireplace. He paused as he reached for a handful of Floo powder and the familiar twinkle returned to his blue eyes. With a smile on his face he turned towards Fawkes and said, "Thank you my friend. I would, as always, be lost without your wise counsel," as he bowed graciously to the phoenix. Fawkes let out an indignant shriek and vanished in a burst of red and gold flames. The Headmaster laughed softly at this as he turned back toward the fireplace. The last thing the portraits in the room heard before he vanished into the Floo network was, "Always such a cheeky pigeon."

At roughly the same time as Albus Dumbledore was leaving his office at Hogwarts to meet with the Order of the Phoenix, the Dark Lord Voldemort was preparing to convene a meeting of a far darker nature. A grimace of disgust rippled across the snake-like features of Lord Voldemort as he downed the last of his potions. He hated the taste of them, but he hated the reason that he was forced to trifle with the potions even more: he was weak.

He had been gravely injured during the recent debacle at the Ministry of Magic. While he had faced Dumbledore again at the Ministry, the old man was not the cause of the Dark Lord's current problems. No, the only pain that Dumbledore had caused him was the irritation he felt as he was forced to listen to another of the old fool's self-righteous speeches. In fact, were it not for the timely arrival of Dumbledore's accursed phoenix, Voldemort would have killed him that night.

The source of Lord Voldemort's pain, as seemed always to be the case lately, was Harry Potter. He had possessed the boy at the Ministry and used him to taunt Dumbledore, but the boy had violently expelled him from his mind. It had taken all the strength that he had to escape from the Ministry with Bellatrix before he collapsed. The pain that the boy had caused him was beyond anything he had ever experienced. It had made the pain of the Cruciatus Curse seem like bad sunburn in comparison. And now, weeks after that night at the Ministry, Lord Voldemort was still weak.

Not that anyone would ever know of his plight though. After all, no Dark Lord ever stayed in power by showing weakness in front of his subordinates. With the liberal use of Pain Reduction, Pepperup, and Strengthening Potions he had been able to continue to project the all-powerful image that his Death Eaters expected to see. The hardest part of the deception was over now, and his strength was beginning to return. He expected to be one hundred percent again within a week's time.

Lord Voldemort, if nothing else, was a man who learned from his mistakes. He had underestimated Harry Potter on more than one occasion, but he vowed not to do it again. Lord Voldemort would never admit it, not even to himself, but he was afraid of Harry Potter. The beginning of that thrice-damned Prophecy had claimed that Potter has "the power to vanquish the Dark Lord" and he had to grudgingly accept that for the time being. He would not act directly against Potter again until he discovered the rest of that prophecy. Fortunately, he had a plan to gain the knowledge he required. He had carefully researched and implemented every aspect of it. Only he knew the details, and he was certain it would not fail.

A hesitant knock on the chamber door shook the Dark Lord from his musings. "Come," he commanded, as he stood and Vanished the empty potion bottles. The door opened and a short, nervous-looking, bald man scurried into the room, bowing hurriedly as he came.

"My Lord," the man squeaked, never raising his beady eyes to look at his master, "we have returned from Azkaban."

"Excellent, Wormtail. How did it go?" Voldemort responded.

"E-Everything was as you said it would be Master," Wormtail explained. "With the help of the Dementors, the Aurors on duty were overwhelmed within minutes. None survived. Your servants have been freed. They await your pleasure in the audience chamber. Also, I have received word from 'The Hand'. They have succeeded and will be returning tonight."

A twisted smile found its way onto Voldemort's face at this news. "Thank you, Wormtail," he said. "You have done well. Continue to do so, and you will be rewarded. You are dismissed, but do tell the men that I will be with them shortly"

Moments later, Lord Voldemort strode confidently into his audience chamber, stepped onto the raised dais at the front of the room, and sat in the high backed throne in front of his gathered Death Eaters. He casually reached down with his left hand to gently stroke the head of his giant snake familiar, Nagini, who was coiled menacingly around the legs of his throne. Voldemort's red eyes flashed over the sea of Death Eaters in front of him and he noticed, with great satisfaction, that many of the black robed, white masked men were trembling in fear at his mere presence.

"My friends, we are here tonight," he began, "to welcome back into our flock those members whom we have just liberated from their short stay at Azkaban. The Dementors have joined our side, and the prison has fallen. This is the first blow in our war to purify the wizarding world."

Voldemort rose to his feet and, with dark passion rising in his voice, he continued his speech. "For too long, we, the elite of the wizarding world, have been forced to hide in the shadows. For too long, we have been denied the power that is our rightful birthright."

He paused momentarily, and allowed the venom to build in his voice before resuming. "For too long, the wizarding world has been infected by a plague of Muggle-borns and Half-bloods who have been allowed to partake in our sacred knowledge. No longer shall we allow this to continue. The purge has begun. We will burn this world to the ground! And, from the ashes of our fires, we will build the world anew, as it was meant to be! Together, we will fulfil the vision of my ancestor, Salazar Slytherin!" A cheer broke out from the gathered Death Eaters as he finished his speech and returned to sit on his throne.

"Unfortunately," Voldemort began again, and the room fell instantly silent at the sound of his voice. "Before we begin tonight's Revel, I must take care of some business. He raised his wand and cast a complex spell into the Dark Mark on his arm. Almost immediately, several members of the audience grasped their own Dark Marks with a quick intake of breath. "Now, if those of you who did not just feel a summons will wait in the graveyard. Most of us will be along to join you shortly."

Once the rank and file had left the chamber, those remaining removed their masks as Voldemort addressed them. "Lucius, come forward."

The man in question broke rank from the others who had remained behind, knelt before Voldemort and kissed the hem of his robe before he said, "I am here my Lord, how may I serve you?"

"Lucius," Voldemort addressed the kneeling man in a cold tone. "You have disappointed me. I gave you, above all others, the honour of retrieving the Prophecy from Potter at the Ministry. I even sent along many of my most loyal Death Eaters to aid in your task, but you failed me. I have given a lot of thought to what punishment you should be given. Before I pass judgment though, tell me, Lucius, why did you fail?"

"M-My Lord, I have no excuses." The aristocratic wizard replied nervously as he bowed even lower in submission before his master. "I will accept whatever punishment you see fit to give, I will not fail you again."

Voldemort successfully prevented a smile from appearing on his face and said, "Very well Lucius, as a reward for your loyal service over the years, I will forgive your failure this time. Rise, my friend, and rejoin the others."

The stunned man rose quickly and returned to stand with the others. He was so astonished by this uncharacteristic act, that a stuttering "Thank you, M-Master" was the only response he could manage. Lucius had expected to be punished quite severely for his failure at the Ministry. In fact, a part of him had not expected to live through his next meeting with his Master.

Voldemort saw the confusion that showed in the ice blue eyes of Lucius Malfoy and said coldly, "Do not make me regret the leniency that I have shown you today, for I promise you, that if you fail me again, it will be the last time."

He watched Lucius' eyes and saw the earlier confusion replaced with a look of steely determination. While it is true that the fear of pain and suffering can be a strong motivating force, a master manipulator like Voldemort was smart enough to realize that there are many ways motivate men. In this case, a kindness shown to a man who expected none had accomplished what no amount of torture could have. He would never have to worry about Malfoy returning in failure again. The look in Lucius Malfoy's eyes proved that point beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Voldemort looked up from the gathering at the sound of the chamber door opening. A bowing Wormtail rushed forward and said, "Master, they have arrived."

"Good, Wormtail, show them in" Voldemort responded.

As Wormtail rushed back out the door, Voldemort once again addressed the group. "Rookwood, what progress have you made in the hunt for Karkaroff? You made it very clear how much you desired the chance to payback the traitor for his actions towards you at his trial, and I have granted you your chance for revenge. It has been over a year since you began your hunt for him and I would like to know what progress you have made."

Augustus Rookwood stepped forward, bowed, and began his report. "Master, unfortunately, I have nothing new to report. My informants tracked him down to a village outside St. Petersburg, but, by the time I arrived, he had vanished and hasn't been sighted since. I am sorry that the news isn't better, Master."

The Death Eaters in attendance braced themselves for the explosion that was sure to come. Voldemort had already let Lucius slide tonight, but none of those present expected Rookwood to receive the same treatment. To the surprise of everyone, all Voldemort said was, "I know you are, Rookwood. I am sure that you have been giving this matter your full attention and I am certain that he will turn up eventually."

The gathered Death Eaters exchanged nervous and confused glances amongst themselves. The newer members who were in attendance, thinking that the tales of the Dark Lord's cruelty must be exaggerated, seemed to visibly relax. After all, Voldemort had casually dismissed failure twice already this evening.

However, those Death Eaters who had been present during Voldemort's first rise to power saw the Dark Lord's act for the farce it was. Never had Voldemort so calmly accepted failure. That he appeared to now, could mean only one thing. He knew something that Rookwood didn't, and the Dark Lord, like a cat toying with a mouse, planned to enjoy his private game for a while before he pounced on Rookwood.

The door to the chamber opened again and Wormtail, followed by two men, entered and came to join the others. The gathered Death Eaters surveyed the newcomers critically as they approached. They dismissed Wormtail immediately - the rat was next to worthless in their eyes - but there was something out of place about the other two.

Both strangers were dressed identically in what appeared to be Muggle clothing. They wore black jump boots, khaki cargo pants, and heavy grey wool jumpers with suede patches on the elbows and right shoulder. They were both of average height, had short cropped black hair, and dark brown eyes that flashed constantly around the room. They had a slightly darker cast to their complexions that led those Death Eaters who noticed to believe they hailed from some part of the Middle East. The two men, who must have been twins, were identical in everyway except that one bore a long, angry, red scar across his throat. They appeared to be unarmed, but both had a suspicious bulge on their right hip underneath their jumpers.

The more intelligent Death Eaters in the group took notice of the graceful economy of their movements and the calculating glare in their eyes. They recognized that these were dangerous men. The less intelligent members of the group saw only the arrogant swagger of two men who dared to walk in front of their Lord without showing the proper respect. As a group, they bristled when they realized that these men were not wizards, but muggles.

Lord Voldemort watched the pending confrontation with interest. This was the first time he had met these men, but if only half of the information their father, the only man that Voldemort had ever considered a true friend, had provided about them was true, he was excited to see how they handled themselves. They might even teach a much-needed lesson in humility to some of his more self-confident Death Eaters.

It began much as Voldemort had expected. A sneer of distaste crawled onto Lucius Malfoy's face, and with a quick shout of "Muggle filth," he began to reach for his wand as the lumbering Crabbe and Goyle moved towards the newcomers. The two strangers reacted instantly to the oncoming threat.

The man with the scar on his throat moved first. He landed a swift kick to the much larger Crabbe's knee, breaking it with a loud snap. He immediately followed up with a vicious punch to the falling man's temple that left him in an unconscious heap on the floor.

The second man snapped his wrist and produced an extendable metal baton in his left hand, which he used to deliver a backhanded slash to Goyle's throat. He spun around the advancing man, as Goyle dropped to his knees, clutching is throat as he tried to force air through his collapsed windpipe. He finished his spin just to the right of Malfoy with a matte black automatic pistol, that he had drawn in his right hand at some point during his spin, pressed against Malfoy's temple. The metal baton in his left hand was pinning Malfoy's hand, which had been going for his wand, firmly to his chest. The man was in perfect position to see a fourth Death Eater, with his wand raised, step behind his brother and start to utter a curse. He gave a shrill whistle to alert his brother to the threat behind him.

"AVADA K...." was as far as Antonin Dolohov got before his jaw snapped shut. At the whistle from his brother, the scarred man had dropped into a crouch, drew a long bladed stiletto from a holster in his boot, and pivoted as he rose to drive the thin blade through the soft area right under Dolohov's chin, through the roof of his mouth, and into his brain, killing him instantly. He moved behind the dead man and held him up in front of him as a shield against any further attacks.

Voldemort let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding and shouted, "Enough! Stand down, all of you!" as he rose to his feet. He hadn't wanted one of his Death Eaters to die; they were too few in number as it was. He saw it as a necessary evil though. After all, these muggles were integral to his plans. His Death Eaters didn't have to like these men, but they needed to respect their abilities if they were to learn from them.

Reluctantly, those Death Eaters who were still able released their wands and relaxed. Seeing all potential threats disappear, the brother holding the gun on Malfoy stepped back, holstered his pistol, collapsed his metal baton, and tucked it back up his sleeve. He threw a sly wink at Malfoy that caused the wizard to whiten with rage. Meanwhile, the scarred brother gave deft twist of his wrist that freed his blade from Dolohov's skull and allowed his body to fall to the floor in a growing circle of blood. He knelt and wiped the gore from his blade before lovingly returning it to his boot.

Voldemort smiled when he recognized the SS insignia on the man's blade. He had given that dagger to the man's father over thirty-five years ago, as a sign of friendship and to cement their alliance. It pleased Voldemort to see the affection that his friend's son seemed to have for the dagger. However, he found it deeply ironic that a Mossad operative would show such appreciation for a weapon that had once belonged to the Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

"I believe it is time for me to introduce our guests" Voldemort said in his normal cool tone. "Allow me to present Josef," he extended his arm to indicate the brother with the scarred throat and nodded towards the other man, "and David Hofis, together they are known as 'The Hand'. They are here at my invitation to report on the status of a mission that I gave them. You will, I am sure," he said while glancing at Dolohov's body, "treat them with every courtesy during their stay, as it would be a shame to have to replace more of you. Oh, and I should mention that Josef will not respond beyond a nod of his head. I assure you, he is not being rude or disrespectful. He had an unfortunate run in with some members of the PLO. He survived the encounter, but the knife that slit his throat also severed his vocal cords and he hasn't spoken a word since."

The brothers stepped forward, snapped off a respectful bow, and David said, "Lord Voldemort, our father sends his best wishes and asks that you call on him when you are able. As for our mission, it has been done as you requested. Igor Karkaroff is dead." Wormtail shuffled forward and handed a package wrapped in a black plastic garbage bag to Josef. In the background, Rookwood paled dramatically.

"Here is the item you wanted recovered," David said as Josef allowed the garbage bag to unravel until it deposited a severed arm with the Dark Mark clearly burned into it on the floor at Voldemort's feet.

Voldemort was on his feet in an instant and with an angry shout of "Crucio!" Rookwood crumbled to the floor screaming in agony. "You useless worm/, it has been /two weeks since I gave them this mission! You had over a /year/, and yet, all you produced were /pathetic excuses/!" Voldemort held the curse on the screaming man for a good thirty seconds before he released it. It was a very short punishment compared to what he usually delivered but in his weakened state he didn't dare push his limits.

His eyes searched the faces of the stunned Death Eaters until they fell on the sole woman in attendance. He saw the hunger in her eyes as she watched Rookwood quiver in pain at the after-effects from her favorite curse. Voldemort sat back on his throne and said, in a honeyed voice that he reserved just for her, "Bella my dear, please take Rookwood and ensure that he understands the depth of my displeasure with him. Feel free to mark him in anyway you see fit, but, please don't allow him to die. I will give him one more chance to prove his value."

In a quick rush, Bellatrix burst forward and knelt to kiss her Master's booted feet. "Thank you Master!" was her hurried reply as she all but ran from the chamber, a floating and Petrified Rookwood, trailing behind her. Voldemort allowed himself a satisfied smile when he heard Bella's insane laughter echo in the hall before the door shut. He always enjoyed torture, but Bella, she was an artist. He turned once again to David and nodded for him to continue.

"My Lord, I feel that I should mention that the fat one," he nodded his head towards Goyle, who was still struggling to breathe and was beginning to turn a little purple, "will be dead in under 10 minutes unless he receives some aid." Voldemort, who had completely forgotten about the man, sent Wormtail to take him to the infirmary. "As you suspected, Karkaroff wagged his tongue, in an effort to save his skin, right up until we removed it. The only worthwhile information that he had is that apparently Severus Snape has been playing you for a fool. He is a spy for Dumbledore, and has been for many years."

A cry of outrage rippled from the gathering and Rodolphus Lestrange stepped forward. "Master," he said, "Please allow me to bring you the traitorous bastard's head."

"No," Voldemort responded. "Snape is not to be touched. I have known of his true loyalties since my return. For the time being, he serves my purposes. Tell me David, what sort of person makes the best spy?"

David thought about it for a moment and replied, "The best spies are those who don't realize that they are spies in the first place."

Voldemort smiled at the answer and said, "You are, of course, correct. Unbeknownst to Severus, I have modified his Dark Mark to act as a recording device. When he attends our meetings, I simply draw the information from his Mark into this crystal" he indicated a fist sized piece of quartz that he withdrew from his robes, "and I am free to sift through the recorded memories much as I would with a Pensieve. I have been able to attend every meeting of The Order of the Phoenix for the last month."

He watched as realization set in on the faces of those gathered and continued. "I am sure you all realize the tremendous advantage this provides us. Severus must be allowed to continue his game, because the information that I am able to obtain through him is invaluable to our cause. Rest assured, when the time comes to deal with him, I will handle it personally.

"As you are all aware, knowledge is power. For all of his glaring faults, Severus Snape remains an intelligent and perceptive individual. So, I cannot risk that one of you will inadvertently let slip something that would cause Severus to suspect that he has been compromised. Only I will be allowed to retain this knowledge." He drew his wand, and with quick shout of "Magna Obliviate" he watched as the revelation about Snape was wiped from the men's minds.

Once he was certain that the charm had taken effect, he moved on. "David and Josef, kneel and prepare to receive your reward." The two men knelt in front of the Dark Lord and became the first muggles to be initiated as Death Eaters. Neither brother gave so much a hiss as the Dark Mark was burned painfully onto their forearms.

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