1995-10-24: Knight To H7


Voldemort_icon.gif Jas_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif

Scene Title Knight to H7
Synopsis Voldemort calls his two of his servants - on in favor and the other not so much - to give them their new assignments and to entertain himself
Location Riddle House
Date October 24, 1995
Watch For Voldemort's Pet Obliviator
Logger The Serpent King

There is never a time when the old Riddle House is not creepy at some level. Not ever. It is, however, exponentially more unsettling when seen at night. It may very well be one of the reasons that most Death Eaters only ever see the place after dark. Now, with a late night storm making an unholy racket overhead, the Dark Lord himself sits on his 'throne' set up on a makeshift dais in the main room of the house - the one redone to look a bit like a macabre version of the Royal Receiving Hall. Behind him, a massive roaring fire throws eerie shadows all over the room. Curled around his feet is a truly terrifying - though familiar - serpent. Cowering next to his master is a fat, balding, snivelling excuse for a man. He clutches his arm and whimpers at the residual pain. Voldemort has called one of his servants.

And, in due time, which is a grand total of about ten minutes from the summoning, said servant appears: too well-disciplined to rub at his own arm, regardless of how much it still aches, Jas enters the room deferentially, bowing deeply. He spares the briefest of glances for Nagini, Devourer of Pet Cats that she is, and redirects the bulk of his attention back to He on the dais. "My lord," he murmurs, and is, after all, still bowing.

Having sycophantic underlings is useful, truly it is. It is also exhausting and even irritating. So it is that when Voldemort has cause to summon one of the few of his servants who can be deferential and still maintain their spinal structure… It's not only a welcome change from the norm, it's also a chance to truly have some fun. Well, if one shares his idea of fun at any rate. "James," he hisses in recognition, never stooping to something to base as a 'nickname'. There's something … almost cordial about his tone. "How is your lovely wife and your … delightful child?" It's a disturbing mockery of congeniality, made even worse when his lipless mouth twists into what just might pass for a smile.

Jas could, in fact, point out — again — that Valentina is no longer his wife, and hasn't been for a couple of years. He could also be a doting father, and talk Voldemort's ear off about Clemency (or Emmy) and all the wonderful things a six-year-old child might do (notable: drawing on things that are not even a little bit made of paper), and then Voldemort would only need one other person to do the same thing and his head wouldn't have /any/ protuberances!

Jas doesn't actually do either one, though. Instead, he holds his bow just slightly longer than he would for the Queen, and then straightens without actually waiting to be told to straighten, and he looks at the Dark Lord both respectfully and straightforwardly as he answers, "Quite well, my Lord," in a murmur. Respectful, yes. Sycophantic, no. "Might I ask how I might be of service to you, this lovely evening?"

Tipping back his head, the Dark Lord lets out a high-pitched laugh that very well may grate on the eardrums. So few followers have the wit or intelligence to 'play the game'. And this one is so much more polished about it than Severus. "I have a task to which I believe you would be well-suited, James." He waves one hand and conjures a smaller - yet still comfortable - chair onto the floor below his dais. "Please, sit. Sit." He gestures towards the empty chair and waits for his oh-so-politely spoken command to be obeyed before he continues. "The Ministry is … displeased with what they see as Dumbledore's … incompetence." His breathy voice is far too casual, far too conversational. "The death of a student, kidnapping of two, cursing of another … They believe he is getting lax in his old age and they wish to place one of their own within the castle to … " He pauses, that eerie lipless smile making another appearance. "Ensure that standards and procdures are adhered to." He reaches one bony hand down to run too-long fingers over Nagini's chilly hide. "Have you any experience in administration, James?"

Seeing as how Jas wouldn't have made it this far through being a Death Eater if he didn't have at least a few brains — that he wouldn't, in fact, be the one offered a comfy seat at the Dark Lord's whim, if he didn't have at least a few brain cells and the ability to rub them together — it doesn't really take him noticeably longer than the length of time Voldemort is speaking to follow along with the theory that, if his answer is pleasing, he himself will be that Ministry appointee. "As you know, my Lord," is his answer, "I have been responsible for the running of my family's estate since my graduation, more than twenty years ago. As far as education is concerned," somewhat more offhandedly, "I am the one responsible for requiring continuing education for all wizards employed by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, whether or not anyone remembers that was me. So yes, I believe I could say I do have experience in administration, my Lord."

Obviously this is the answer that Voldemort wants to hear. Judging by the look of smug satisfaction on his skeletal face, it'd even be a safe bet to say that this is the answer he expects to hear. "Excellent." Somehow he manages to stretch out the syllables of that one word until it's a long, sibilant hiss that might nearly be mistaken for actual Parseltongue. "Then you will make your excuses and prepare for a lengthy stay in Hogwarts castle." There's no longer even the mockery of politeness in his tone, leaving his commands cold and harsh. "You will utilize your position there to undermine Dumbledore from within his own house." Metaphorically speaking, of course. "If the opportunity presents itself to be rid of that old man's meddling once and for all…" His hand clenches into a fist. "You will take it." An unnatural sort of calm falls suddenly over his tense frame and he sits back in his throne, watching his servant with calculating crimson eyes.

Jas doesn't rush to answer — no immediate 'of course, my Lord'-ing for him, no. He considers this command, tasting it as one might a fine wine, as the seconds tick by into hissed minutes. "Do you wish him undermined in the eyes of the Ministry, or in the eyes of the students, and perhaps even his own supporters, my Lord?" Oh, dear. An intelligent question, followed by a flickering hint of a smile. "Or perhaps simply 'yes, all of the above'?"

The answer, of course, is 'D: All of the above'. Unfortunately, Voldemort is far too deep in denial of his Muggle roots to ever take advantage of so plebian a phrase. "The Ministry already questions him," he snaps, unnerved perhaps by the direction of his own thoughts. "He will only continue to lose face when the attacks on the students come to a halt with your placement." His eyes get a bit of a clouded, far-away look to them, but he recovers quickly. Private machinations are best left for private moments, after all. "There is someone in place in the school who will be assisting you in this endeavor." He turns to the cowering man still crouched next to his throne, regarding him with an undisguised sneer. "Go fetch Severus, Wormtail. His brewing should be at an acceptable stage by now." With a terrified squeak, the fat man scuttles quickly out of the room.

And so the Dark Lord's pet Obliviator continues to look thoughtful, not bowing and scraping in the face of the Dark Lord's irritation, desperate to save face — if Voldemort is pissed off, then Voldemort is pissed off, and begging for mercy really just gets him laughing at you. "Do you wish me to set someone else up as an alternative to Dumbledore, for the students to place their faith in, only — through him — to place their faith in you, my Lord?" he asks.

The fat man scurries down the hallway to a room, rapping on a door. The door swings open, having opened from within by wandpoint. "Yes?" Severus' imperious voice calls out as he finishes bottling a potion. "What do you want?" Wormtail tells him quickly, then scurries away like the rat he is. Severus mutters to himself quietly, gathers up the bottles of potions and strides quickly down the hallway to the 'throne room.' He enters, drops his gaze and bows, and offers the potions to the Dark Lord

"My Lord." Severus speaks softly, keeping himself in a deferential pose until he is called for. "The potions you requested, My Lord. As always, you have exceptional timing."

Voldemort does pause at this, giving the question his due consideration. He may be insane, but he wouldn't have made it this far if he wasn't also incredibly intelligent. "Out of those in the school already, there isn't anyone suitable in both temperament and allegiance." Yes, he knows that most children don't respond well to his style of leadership. It's part of the reason that he has at least a bit of an age-requirement on his following. Severus' entrance is noted, but for the moment, ignored. He can just stay bowed until his Lord is ready to deal with him. "If you are able to set yourself up in such a position, James, it would be … most beneficial." But the way he says it is casual enough to make it seem completely unimportant. "However, there is one task I confer on you both." Here he beckons Severus to come closer with one hand. Notably, however, he doesn't conjure a chair for him like he did for Jas. "My sources tell me that infernal Potter brat not only survived our previous encounter, but is completely unharmed." He glares at both men as if this is somehow their own personal failing and not his. "Before the end of this term, you will find a way to bring him to me." His knuckles go a funny sort of grey as he clenches both arms of the chair. "If I have to behead the boy myself to be sure of his final demise, then I will." And gladly.

There are some times that it's simply wise to bow, and scrape, even if one happens to be Jas, who frequently ignores such social cues. And at Voldemort's time-sensitive command, he — well, he bows, quite deeply, although he doesn't get out of the chair to do so. If he has his doubts about being quite charismatic enough to be Dumbledore's alternate, he keeps those to himself; perhaps he might have preferred if the Dark Lord had suggested someone else, but, well, he is going to be the one who's actually there, so it does make at least a modicum of sense. "I will find a way, my Lord," he murmurs, because it's really best not to assume that Voldemort didn't mean they were each, individually, personally responsible for Making This Shit Happen.

Luckily, Severus is used to remaining in this pose for a very long time. And without the added bonus of intense pain cramping every muscle, he can stay here much longer. So, he merely listens to his Lord speak, offering a murmured "Yes, Lord" when the occasion requires. When he says he will Make This Shit Happen, Serverus chances a look toward an old schoolmate. He is pretty sure he recognizes the man, but is a little surprised. Only a quick tensing of muscle indicates something is different. "I shall endeavor to assist Lancaster in any way I can, My Lord."

"Most excellent." Standing and waving his hand to banish Jas' conjured chair - if he's not out of it when Voldemort stands, he'll end up on his arse, but that's just the Dark Lord's whim, isn't it? - the self-styled 'Lord' extends that same hand to summon the potion vials wordlessly to him. He checks them over with what looks to be an expert eye - though it's doubtful either of the two men present would be stupid enough to call him on any possible pretense - and nods sharply, seemingly satisfied. "You will be expected to report to the school first thing in the morning." Inconvenient? Too bad. "Now get out of my sight, the both of you!"

The nice thing about bowing from a seated position is that, if one intends to be able to breathe while doing so, one basically has to have one's feet underneath him, or rather one, in order not to have one's lungs all squished. So the banished chair is met with a certain measure of flexibility and grace, alongside an eternal suspicion of the Dark Lord doing just that, and Jas is left crouching, in his bow, rather than sitting. "As you will it, my Lord," he murmurs, and — without ever actually bothering to straighten out of his bow, much less take a few steps one way or another, he's gone.

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