1995-11-12: A Twisted Tea Party

Participants:

Voldemort_icon.gif Clemency_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif Whitmore_icon.gif

Special Guest Stars: Orpheus Yaxley and Trent Baddock

Scene Title A Twisted Tea Party
Synopsis Kidnapped, Clemency Lancaster is brought to Riddle House. Snape is summoned to tea and given a message to pass on.
Location Riddle House Throne Room
Date November 12, 1995
Watch For Voldemort being insane and creepy, Shadow being … insane and creepy, Snape being Snape and Clemency being adorable.
Logger The Dark Lord

Sunday afternoon finds a large desk on the dais where Voldemort's 'throne' usually sits. Seated at it - in an obscenely large, comfortable chair - is the Lord himself. A glass of … whatever it is he drinks that looks like it might be red wine sits near his left hand, but his attention is focused almost entirely on the slew of maps and charts and other sundry bits of parchment spread out over the workspace. A large black quill is dipped again in the inkpot and long, elegant fingers curve around the writing instrument to scratch out a few more notes in the margin of a - probably highly illegal - set of Ministry blueprints.

What? You didn't think world domination was all manic plans and evil laughs, did you?

Sitting in a padded chair near the desk is a portly man with ginger hair. He might be a ringer for Arthur Weasley, if his eyes were not so cold and heartless. He leans forward, whispering ideas from time to time. "Milord, perhaps if you considered the doorway over here. It swings inward, like so, so perhaps…" His voice trails off, and he backs away, having offered his opinion. The voice is deep, impossibly deep for the body he inhabits. It's a clear signal to the others that he is disguised. Or, it just might be designed to mess with their minds. Either would be true.

This is, of course, a cue for another door to swing inward — this one, the door from outside. Proudly enter two Death Eaters: Yaxley and Baddock, triumphant. Yaxley's got the door, because Baddock is encumbered by quite the load — a little over a yard long, swathed in bags and wraps, there's an awfully strange-looking lump under his arm. As soon as he's in the room, he's dumping it — with Yaxley hissing "Not that way, you idiot!" at him, he flips it just before it touches down, just before Yaxley murmurs finite incantatem at it, and the full-Body Bind on little Clemency Lancaster is gone.

This does nothing for the bag over her head, of course.

So, of course, the most sensible reaction here for the child who had previously been in the Full-Body Bind is to attempt to pull the bag off her head. It's secured well enough — and in the back — that she can't actually manage to do so, so little Clemency goes for the next best thing. Screaming.

"You mean to lure them to that bottleneck, then?" There is nothing un-creepy about Voldemort's hissing, rasping voice. "That would make their superior numbers use - Silence." That last hissing command is accompanied by a flick of a long wand. Apparently Voldemort has learned a thing or two about intent when it comes to magic, for there is - in fact - as Silencing Charm flung at the screaming child. And now he has to pay attention to their coming in. Damn brat ruined his opening line. Pushing to stand, then, he sweeps around the desk and uses the wand to banish the fastened bag and then the tip of it to lever under her chin, forcing her to look up at him as he looms. "Hello, Clemency." It's a mockery of etiquette, hissed from a lipless mouth. Jerking the wand away, he straightens sharply and gets right into Yaxley's face. "And," he rasps harshly. "Her father? What of James Lancaster?"

Yaxley is smart enough to debase himself utterly once he gets a Voldemort all up in his face, falling to his knees in front of the Dark Lord. (Coincidentally, this puts him just a little taller than Clemency, and just a little bit behind her.) "Overwhelmed and stunned, My Lord, as You commanded," he answers solemnly. "There were — rats — they stayed with him."

"That would be the most effective, yes," Shadow manages to offer before the ruckus begins. He leans back in his chair, links his fingers together across his chest, and listens, his eyes flicking among the men flooding in.

Clemency, silenced, cannot scream. She can't really do much of anything except stay right where she is and listen — and try her best to remember. Apparently, these people are after her father for something. That's all she can discern.

Continuing his mockery of polite society, Voldemort smirks at the cowering, kneeling man - smirks on lipless mouths look wrong - and returns his attention to the child. With an elegant sweep of his arms, he pushes his robes out back behind him and drops to a crouch in front of the now-silent, observing child. "Miss Lancaster," he offers in a sibilant - but civil - hiss. "If I remove the spell that gags you, will you promise not to scream?" The tone is almost too-kind - saccharine, even - but there is something cold and wild in his blood red eyes that speaks of a barely reined-in madness. "Baddock!" he hisses the name in Parseltongue. All Death Eaters from the first war learned quickly to recognize the sounds of their own names. It was often a signal. "Extend your arm." That bit, however, is in the Queen's English.

Baddock is, of course, careful to keep his look of dismay — that look of oh, no, not *again*, what did I do to deserve this? — well away from his expression, away from his eyes — he is, in fact, a perfectly expressionless model of obedience, extending his arm to his Lord's bidding.

At least one of them is a perfect model of obedience. Oh, wait — no, the child has been tamed, now. In a way. She is no longer screaming or trying to fight to get a bag off her head, at least. Clemency's eyes are wide, so much so that it would be physically impossible to open them any further. She gives a very slow, hesitant nod to the Dark Lord's questionings of her; will she scream again? No. The screaming is out of her system and there is nothing left to scream for.

"Excellent." With a simple tap of his wand to her lips, the Dark Lord releases the spell. It is then time to turn to Baddock, whose wrist is grabbed rather roughly and held firm as Voldemort presses the tip of his wand against the man's mark. The hiss of burning flesh means that the Summoned servant will be arriving shortly. And the Dark Lord Voldemort knows exactly how to throw their next guest off-balance. Without giving Yaxley or Baddock leave to stand - or to leave - he offers a long-fingered, bony hand to Clemency to help her stand and lead her oh-so-grandly over the the desk. "Would you care for a drink, my dear?" he hiss-rasps in as cordial of a tone as he can manage. "We shall be having a guest join us soon, but I think perhaps it would be permissible to sip a beverage while we wait." He smiles what - he thinks - is a pleasant smile. On his skeletal, snake-like, lipless face, however, it looks entirely un-.

Now, this is interesting. Clemency's eyes remain incredibly wide-open, but she's unable to resist a tiny little smile as her tiny hand is taken in Voldemort's rather creepy one. She is, indeed, off-balance. But her idea of balance, as a six-year-old growing up essentially surrounded by all sorts of strange creatures. "I — I like orange juice," she says in an airy sort of whisper, taking in the room, taking in Voldemort, turning her head about — confused. Off-balance. But she does like orange juice.

There is a sharp crack of apparition, and there appears one slightly greasy death eater amidst a swirl of black teaching robes. The sight that greets Severus Snape is … different, to say the least. "My Lord." Severus drops into a bow, holding the position until he's told to rise. However, he flicks his gaze, his attention to the man at the — desk.

Conjuring a seat for Clemency between himself and Shadow, the Dark Lord hands her into the chair. A small, emaciated House Elf appears with a glass of orange-y looking juice - from Merlin only knows where - and Voldemort takes care to set it in front of the child with a flourish. Hmm, a flourish remarkably similar to the one her father used when scooping himself some punch at a recent dance. The symmetry - and thus the irony - is sadly lost on little Clemency. Snape, however, just might catch it. "Severus." The name is hissed out with an extension of that mildly nauseating civility that has been his general charade of the evening. "Come, come." He gestures toward the other side of the desk - opposite Shadow's seat - with his wand, conjuring yet another chair. "We've saved you a seat." A tap of his wand on the desk and the scattered parchment stacks and disappears - to where, no one knows.

This, of course, leaves Yaxley and Baddock to lurk in the background — unmentioned, uncared-for, presumably not forgotten. Baddock says nothing about his burned arm. It's possible Yaxley cast a quick charm on it to relieve it of the burning — possible, yes, but not likely. They wait their Lord's pleasure, or displeasure, and watch the charade before them, and say nothing at all.

Another person! Clemency looks up at Snape, then back down to her drink and taking a tiny, hesitant sip. It definitely tastes like orange juice, and it's not as if a small child raised in a little fishing village called Cadgwith around magical creatures has been taught about things like being careful with strangers. There are no strangers. There are no problems! Sip. She even hesitantly smiles a little.

"Yes, Milord." Snape is thinking, somewhere back — way far back, in the darkest, most locked parts of his mind — that he has marking to do, and does not have time for a 'tea party', but he does as he is bid. "Miss," he dips his head in greeting, adding his own touch to the farce. Shadow is noted and given a cordial nod as well.

"There, you see? We're all friends, here." Voldemort, of course, says this in a way that - to the adults in the room - means they are absolutely not, but will observe the niceties anyway. One of the Death Eaters in the clump of those kneeling, standing and groveling on the floor below mutters something that sounds very like "We're all mad, here." It's quiet enough, however, that its source in unclear. The glare swept across the whole room, however, leaves little doubt that the Dark Lord will discover the source. Later. Painfully. "Severus," he hiss-purrs, rolling the name around his mouth like one would the name of a lover - the better to disquiet them, surely. "I don't believe you have had the pleasure of meeting Miss Clemency Lancaster. She is a … guest here while her father completes his work." His glass of … red-wine-like drink is lifted to a lipless mouth. He doesn't have to ruin the charade with blunt, coarse language. Snape will understand all of the … layers. "I have generously offered to keep her completely safe from harm here with me while he labors in my name." The harsh rasp of his voice cannot be softened by anything, not even this faux graciousness. "We live in such … dangerous times, after all. Don't you agree?"

"He's an Obliviator," Clemency explains sagely, and intelligently, with a continued wide-eyed smile. She offers her hand, polite and prim, the way Grandmother Lancaster taught her to. "It's nice to meet you, sir." Of course it is. She doesn't really know that it isn't. And then just as quickly she's returned to her drink, as if the confusion over who Jas works for has never existed — maybe, after all, this man is from the Ministry and her father is obliviating things for him. Belatedly, she recalls, "Except I'm not s'posed to tell people he does that."

Shadow has procured a glass of his own, a simple goblet with a green-tinted substance inside. He lifts the glass, toasting his Master before sipping politely at his drink. He giggles just a bit, the sound a definite disconnect with the deep voice that offers it.

"Miss Lancaster. What a pleasure to make your acquaintance." Severus' voice is dry as dust. "I believe I have met Mister Lancaster. He has also been assigned to work with me at Hogwarts." He glances around to the Death Eaters he can see. "Indeed, Milord, such dangerous times."

"Children are to be seen and not heard." Voldemort's sharp hiss and even sharper drop into cold, clipped orders is almost as disconcerting as his sharp slide back into congeniality. Shadow earns a flicker of garnet gaze for his giggle, but it is uncommented upon. Clemency is given a longer, more measuring look - perhaps to judge her wakefulness - but his attention inevitably returns to Severus. There is a mad glint of approval in those eyes for the fact that he's following along. "You will … ensure, will you not, Severus, that James is informed of his daughter's … safe arrival?"

Shadow falls silent under his leader's regard, but his eyes are still wild with crazy. He sips at his drink, tracking the Dark Lord's attention. When Voldemort asks Severus a pointed question, Shadow's gaze narrows. Ohhhh. He sees it now.

Someone gets it! That someone — is not Clemency. Clemency is nearly done with her juice, and she's yaaaawning, eyes fluttering closed, pressing shut tight and opening up again. "What about my mum?" she asks, sleepily, and then tilts her head far enough over it seems she's trying to use her shoulder as a pillow.

"Yes, Milord. I shall see to the advisement of Mister Lancaster." Severus nods his agreement to the instructions. "I quite agree, milord." He would elaborate about young French students and their attitudes, but he knows that the Dark Lord pointedly Does. Not. Care. He watches as Clemency begins to fall asleep, gaging the angle of her lean. He lifts a brow as he gazes at Voldemort again. "Milord, may I?" He points his wand at the child's chair. "Perhaps she would rest better on a different chair." Like one more suited to the Headmaster's sitting room. Minus the bright color, of course.

Severus being considerate of the comfort of someone else? Of a child? Voldemort might be less-than-sane, but he's not unobservant. Nonexistant eyebrows rise to a non-existant hairline, but the expression is swiftly transmuted into a smug sort of smirk. "Time spent among children has made you soft, my friend." Nevertheless, that same emaciated House Elf pops into the room to collect the child and take her to a non-corpse-infested bedroom to rest. Voldemort takes another sip of his … wine. "Perhaps it would be best you not … linger, lest you be softened further by my hospitality and become … useless to me." Mildly rasped words, but the threat doesn't need to be shouted. All Death Eaters know what happens to those who outlast their usefulness. "Yaxley! Baddock!" he barks. "Be so good as to see our guest to the door." He'll wait until Severus' back is turned before hissing out a single Cruciatus at his back - making to catch him off-guard and perhaps gain a stumble. "Oh, and Severus?" There's something deadly in the too-sweet tone. "Do not tarry. We'd hate for James to lose his child because the message got … misplaced along the way."

"Yes, My Lord." Severus stands, swiftly swirling as he strides toward the door. Just before he reaches it, the pain spell hits him, and his body freezes in rictus. He draws a breath in sharply, and remains still while the pain courses through his body. Without a further word, he heads out the door and apparates away.


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