July 4, 1992, 3:35 AM, Unknown Forest in Albania
Kersil The Snake
Stars lit the sky like beacons in the night; yet, they were as still as statues, not heeding the pull of the wind and only giving way to a sea of blue when the Sun would return a few hours from now.
Were she out there in that vast, dark ocean of space, she would have marveled at the curiosities that the universe had to offer. She would have felt her mind expand as she beheld such wondrous visions.
As it was, however, Kersil continued to slither forward under the starlight. Her forked tongue tasted the earth, and she shifted a little to the right, making sure that she was still on course.
I am still on the same path I took a few hours prior. She thought as she continued. The vibrations she felt through the ground from behind her reached her senses, and Kersil knew that the army of snakes behind her had also changed its direction to match her own.
A few minutes later, she stopped, recognizing the area ahead. “Master.”
Her Master’s form rose up from the ground and a face formed right in front of her. “I take it that we have arrived?”
“Yes, Master.” Kersil hissed; she tried to stay calm, but her excitement was like fuel to the flame of vengeance burning within her soul.
She longed to avenge Corsan’s death, but she needed to stay calm. Master is right. I will strike when the time is right— not before.
And so, Kersil waited for her Master’s instructions. The black vapor dented itself inward as Voldemort fashioned himself a pair of ethereal eyes and rose up into the sky, high enough to watch his prey without risk of capture.
Kersil wondered what it would be like to fly, unbound by the earth beneath her scales. It was an impossible curiosity, of course.
One such as her would be earthbound until the day she died.
The black vapor floated back down to them and was silent for a few moments before its mouth formed new words.
“The two sleep.” Voldemort hissed, a pleasant note entering his voice.
Kersil realized that he was excited, as well. She raised her head towards the Speaker. “What should we do, Master?”
“We will attack, of course.” Voldemort said before the vapor writhed in a threatening manner. “Quietly, but with surety and purpose. My friends.”
All of the snakes gathered around the black vapor, writhing with anticipation. Kersil could swear that she almost tasted the charged magic in the air, emanating from Voldemort.
“Surround their encampment from all sides.” Voldemort kept his hisses quiet as he laid out their plan of attack. “Constrictors, you will restrain their movement. The rest of you, bite to paralyze the old man only. I need both of them relatively unharmed, especially the younger one.”
Kersil wanted to protest, flashes of her friend’s desecrated corpse appearing in her mind’s eye. These men killed Corsan! I cannot allow them to live. They must pay for the heinous deed they have done.
But Voldemort’s presence washed over her like an ocean of calm, soothing her thoughts once again. “Do not worry, young Kersil. After I am through with them, they will wish they had been killed by you.”
Kersil bowed her head with reverence, awed at how her Master could read her intentions and feelings so well. “Yes, Master. I will do as you command.”
“Good.” He said, before turning his attention to the two sleeping fools. “Begin.”
Kersil went into motion, slithering alongside her companions as they all got into position. They quickly hissed among each other and decided that she, alongside three other snakes would approach them from the far side.
The others will be waiting for us to be in position. Kersil thought as she led two of their constrictors in a long circular path that stayed far from the two wizards’ perception, using the cover of night as well as the abundant foliage and brushes to keep their presence hidden.
They cannot know until it is far too late for them to do anything.
Kersil reached the desired position and exchanged a few hisses with the other snakes in her group.
“Now we wait for Master’s instruction.” Kersil hissed, and the three snakes nodded in agreement. Kersil looked at them for a second longer before her gaze moved towards the center of the encampment.
Above them, Voldemort floated, approaching the two men slowly. Without needing to be told, Kersil began to approach the camp at a speed proportional to her Master’s. The three other snakes followed her again.
Each second felt like an eternity unto itself, but Kersil kept her calm. Though she was still quite young, she understood the virtues of patience when it came to hunting— it was a trait well entrenched in every snake, after all.
Soon, she would have her revenge. Kersil savored the thrill of the hunt, her senses magnified with every inch she got closer to the two targets of her vengeance. Soon.
Minutes passed, and they had to stop at various moments when the men would toss and turn, but eventually, they all were in striking range. Her eyes found Corsan’s skin, still rolled up on a stick and had to fight the urge to attack them just then.
No. She thought, tasting the ground and focusing her attention on the old fool lying beside the stick and coiling herself in preparation: this one was hers. The snakes beside her prepared themselves as well.
Kersil awaited her master’s next command, the world slowing down even further than it already had.
“Now!” The vapor hissed, and they all moved. Kersil launched herself forward, and the world blurred before her eyes, making it difficult for her to see.
Kersil wasn’t relying on her sight, however. She felt her fangs sink into the old fool’s neck before he even managed to open his eyes.
The old man flinched and his hands closed in on her body, trying to both crush her body and rip her off of him, but Kersil held on to the fool, unwilling to concede to him.
She ignored the pressure, which caused lances of pain to shoot down the length of her body, with everything she had, instead emptying her venom glands into his veins.
The commotion from the other side of the camp intensified, with the struggles and cries of both men filling the air, but the snakes continued to subdue with quiet, stealthy purpose.
It took a few more agonizing seconds, but the pressure disappeared and her target began to yelp and flail. Kersil realized that her followers had successfully begun to restrain him, wrapping around his body to hold him down.
She felt the man’s trembles and tasted the fear coming off of his body, thrilled at laying the fool so low. Kersil stayed latched onto his neck for another second before finally relenting and slithering back to stare at her handiwork.
The constrictors had done a marvelous job, tying his legs together, as well as attaching his arms to his body. The only thing he could now move was his neck, but with the paralytic venom she’d introduced into his body, she doubted that he could even kill a mouse at this point— let alone escape his bonds.
All the fool could do was whimper and moan in fear of what was about to happen to him. She turned her gaze to the other fool, who was tied down by no less than five snakes. It was a little too much, but Kersil assumed that her Master did not want to leave anything up to chance, there.
She was unsure as to what the great man wished to do with these two, but she trusted in his words. Whatever it was, they would have wished that she was the one to deliver the killing blow.
Kersil wished Corsan were here to see this.
“Well done, all.” Voldemort’s voice finally came, and the younger man’s struggles ceased as he stared up at the ghostly vapor of her Master.
“What…” He said, fear in every word that came out of his mouth. “A ghost?”
“I suppose I could be called that.” Voldemort said as he addressed the snakes holding him down. “Hold him down while I deal with the older one.”
Hisses of acknowledgement met the vapor’s order, and Voldemort floated onto the older man, who could do nothing else but watch him with fearful eyes. Voldemort’s attention moved to Kersil for just a single moment before he turned back to wide-eyed, old wizard.
“Any last words?” Her Master said in a mocking tone.
The old man’s mouth moved in an attempt to speak, but the paralysis had made that rather difficult. Still, she could tell what his words would have been just from the stench of fear emanating from his body.
“A shame.” He said. “A pitiful end, it is.”
And then Voldemort latched onto the old wizard, draining him for every sliver of energy his body possessed. Kersil drank in the sight, watching as the fool’s feeble attempts of movements were almost instantly stilled, his skin sinking further and further as his flesh was consumed, leaving nothing but white bone.
The screams of the other man filled the clearing, and Kersil almost thought he would break out of the hold the snakes had on him, but another, sixth snake wrapped itself around the fool’s neck, choking him for a few moments and forcing him to be completely still.
The Master has thought of everything. Kersil watched as the snake let go of his neck, and the young fool began to gasp and choke. She turned her attention to the now dried up husk that was Corsan’s murderer and hissed at it with contempt. Now he will consume the other.
“Let me go!” The fool yelled as her Master approached.
“Let you go?” Voldemort repeated the words, genuinely curious as to the man’s answer. “And why should I do that?”
“I can—” The man said, struggling to speak. “I’ll do anything you want!”
“Would you provide me with your services in return for sparing your life?” Voldemort asked, and Kersil’s elation gave way to a simmering anger. Was her Master sparing this one’s life? He was just as guilty as the old man for killing Corsan!
“Yes!” He said. “Anything you want— I’ll serve.”
Voldemort floated closer to him, not saying anything at all for the longest moment.
And then, the vapor’s mouth formed into a wicked smile. “Then serve as my vessel.”
“Wha—” Before the man could finish the first word of whatever he was about to say, Voldemort enveloped him completely, the black vapor seeping into every part of his flesh like water being absorbed into a sponge.
The man twitched once, twice, and a third time before his body began to spasm uncontrollably like an animal in its death throes. Then, he stilled and began to breathe again.
Kersil approached the man slowly, unsure of what had just occurred. What had her Master done? She knew that he was able to consume the essences of other people, but what he had done here was something that he’d never shown her.
Was this an inventive way of torturing his enemy? Was Voldemort eating the man’s flesh from the inside out as punishment for his hand in the murder of her friend, Corsan?
All questions left her mind when the man’s red eyes opened again— had they not been dark brown, before?
“Release me.” The man’s mouth moved, but her Master’s voice was the one to come out of them.
The other snakes did as commanded, untangling themselves and freeing the man from their once tight grasp. The man lay still for a moment, staring at the vast, starry sky above with searching eyes.
He reached out to them, hand splayed out as if to take it all in.
“Everything will become a part of it all, one day…” Voldemort muttered, almost too low for anyone but herself to hear, before clenching his fist shut. “Our strands will be cut, and all will be unmade. Everything will fall to ruin. But I will not end. I will defy destiny, with my own two hands. I will do whatever it takes.”
Kersil approached the man, not understanding what he was talking about. “Master? Is that you?”
Voldemort did not answer her question, instead lowering his hand and getting to his feet, dusting himself off.
“It is me, indeed.” Her Master hissed back at her, finally giving her the reply she desired.
“Master, how did you—”
Her mouth shut as Voldemort took a few tentative steps forward, not answering her question. He knelt down and took the young man’s wand before getting back up— I suppose it’s my Master’s wand now. Kersil thought.
When Voldemort had said that they would have wished to have been killed by her, Kersil had assumed that his justice would prove to be far more brutal than her own. It seemed that she was right. Though, not in the way I’d hoped.
“This one’s name is… Marco, I believe?” Voldemort hissed, checking the wand in his hand for a moment. He flicked his wrist and bisected a tree in half, lengthwise. Kersil watched with awe as the two pieces split off and fell down to the earth with a dull thud, shaking it for a few moments.
She turned her gaze back to her Master, who looked disappointed. “This fool’s magic is not at all ideal, but his life force is such that it will be enough to sustain me for quite some time.”
He closed his eyes for a moment, and Kersil could almost imagine her Master rooting through the foolish Marco’s brain for answers.
“A follower of Grindelwald alongside the older companion…” Voldemort nodded as he quickly seemed to gain access to the man’s memories. “I see. They were broken out from Remords De l’Âme. Ingenious move by Grindelwald— that was to be one of my first targets, after defeating the British Ministry… Very good, indeed.”
“Master…?” Kersil hissed. Everything that Voldemort had just said to her was complete nonsense, but he seemed rather pleased about it.
“Come, Kersil.” Voldemort walked forward, not giving her a second glance. “There will be time for questions later. For now, I must make plans. Glory awaits.”
“Yes, Master!” Kersil said and fell in line with the other snakes, overjoyed at her Master’s words.
Same Time, Grimmauld Place
Harry burst awake with a yell, feeling a massive headache. He looked at his surroundings with anxious, green eyes and did his best to get his bearings.
He caught the soft moonlight coming out of the window before his gaze swept the room, noting that he was exactly where he was supposed to be. My room.
His breath came out shaky, and Harry shivered, realizing that he was drenched in sweat. He lay back down, closed his eyes and took deep lungfuls of air, letting them out with long, soothing bursts in an effort to calm his thundering heart.
A few minutes later, Harry could say that he had adequately calmed himself down. He opened his eyes again, staring up at the ceiling for a few seconds before blinking.
“A nightmare.” Harry said, recalling the strange, disjointed events he had witnessed in his sleep. He couldn’t make much sense of it. It wasn’t the first time he’d ever had such an experience.
At times, he saw dead creatures beneath him— rodents, birds and all manner of small forest animals— dessicated and reduced to nothing but bones and exoskeletons. He did not know what it meant.
Other times, he saw himself moving through the darkness of a vast, mysterious forest, branches around him snapping and thrashing as the animals escaped in fear of him. He had been a hunter, then, powerful and unafraid of the forces that sought to destroy him. He hungered for them, to strengthen himself for what was to come.
This time was the most intense of all, though the images buzzed about in his thoughts, muddying his perception of them. The only things he could remember with clarity were the screams of his victims— people. Harry had been hunting people, that time.
What is wrong with me? Harry thought in horrified realization. Why was he dreaming such things? Just what was going on?
“Just a nightmare.” He told himself again and again. “It was just a nightmare— a long-term effect from the bad things that happened at the end of the year.”
He held onto that explanation with all of his strength, because it made him feel like he had control over this; and, with control came a certain peace of mind.
“I will not end.” Harry murmured the only words he was able to remember from the dreams, feeling a shiver go through his spine.
If there was someone else there with him, they would have asked him why he had hissed at the air for no apparent purpose. Instead, Harry shook his head and ignored the pounding headache, turning over to his side in an attempt to get some more sleep.
It did not come for another hour.
The next time he opened his eyes, he felt a lot better. Harry quickly checked the clock at his bedside and realized he’d just woken up in time for breakfast. He smiled a little, the previous night’s dream all but forgotten as he began to prepare for the day.
Today will be a day of relaxation. He decided in the middle of getting dressed— a simple white t-shirt and dark green shorts that he had chosen on his first shopping trip with Sirius. Harry stared at his own reflection for a moment before shifting his hair to hide the lightning bolt scar on his forehead.
He didn’t like how much redder it was appearing, these days.
I suppose it could be worse. He thought, images of Adam’s horrible burns flashing in his mind’s eye. At least I can hide my forehead. He can’t really hide his entire arm. Or the white eye.
Harry exited the room and headed downstairs for breakfast, wondering how his friend was faring. Probably bored out of his mind in the Orphanage. Maybe we should bust him out sooner than the time he’ll be allowed to leave.
Harry’s thoughts died as he entered the basement’s kitchen, staring with wide eyes at his Godfather, who was wearing the most ridiculous, pink apron he’d ever seen in his life. This was the fifth apron this week, and it had only been three days.
He goes through them like crazy!
“Harry!” Sirius said, making grand gestures towards the simple breakfast at the table and failing to hide the doughy, gooey devastation wrought in front of the oven. “Breakfast!”
“…I have so many questions.” Harry said.
“No time for those!” Sirius said, and Harry was ushered into his seat with much fanfare. A moment later, he had a plateful of pastries shoved in front of him. “Here, try this! I made it myself— don’t worry if the crust is a little hard, I didn’t do it properly, but it still tastes great! Promise.”
Maybe I should trade places with Adam. Harry thought, staring at the pastry with a suspicious gaze.