Wraith Chpt. 28
Chapter Twenty-eight: The Serpent's Lair
"Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here."
At the sight of the ancient and once grand building, Wraith felt her heart constrict in her chest. Her hand shook as she grabbed at the Dark Lord's arm.
Voldemort stopped and turned to her, lifting her face towards his. "A thousand years ago, my ancestor called this Manor home," he told her. He touched the chain around her neck and pulled the locket out from under her collar. The heavy gold seemed to double in weight when it fell against her heart again. "You should be honored."
"But my Lord, I what about what happened the last time I was here? What if it happens again?"
"I told you beforeit is harmless. You are sensitive to the old powers within its wallsthat is all. Put it from your mind."
Wraith fell silent and though her heart still pounded, she followed him once more to
Wraith Chpt. 27
Chapter Twenty-seven: Reckoning
"Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge."
There was a shout from the cellar that Wraith recognized as Neville's voice. Up in her music room, she waited, listening intently. Forgive me for the pain. I cannot help you that much. She prayed that he had seen what she had, passing Bellatrix in the hall.
It didn't take much, Wraith thought scathingly. The woman probably intended to use the boy's own wand against him, just for irony of it.
Another shout caught Wraith's attentionfor it was not Neville's voice.
It was Bella's.
Though she longed to rush down and see what had happened, she did not dare. Not yet. She soundproofed the door on both sides, and the shouts and crashes from below went silent. Instead of sitting at the piano, she went to the window and waited, staring out onto the grounds below.
After a few minutes, she saw a side door burst open, spilling light onto the hedged path. Neville scampered over the
Wraith Chpt. 26
Chapter Twenty-six: Opportunity
"There exist only three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the soldier, the poet. To know, to kill, to create."
The following night, a small barn owl came through the window of the Malfoys' parlor carrying a thin envelope. Narcissa grabbed it quickly, scanning the handwriting on the outside. Recognizing it, she moved to tear it in half.
Narcissa looked up to see Wraith in the doorway. The older woman hesitated. She held up the letter. "Have you already forgotten what happened last night? I would think that you"
"The Dark Lord and I have discussed it," Wraith said, her voice low. "He does not approve of Janeschbut he is tolerant. Give me my letter."
Narcissa handed it over, still uncertain. Wraith took the letter and disappeared from the room. It wasn't until she was safely in her own room that she opened the envelope and read.
Let me know if you're still alive.
Wraith smiled weakly
Wraith Chpt. 25
Chapter Twenty-five: Death's Duet
"Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice."
Janesch returned to the Manor the following night, and as he did the first night, followed Wraith upstairs to the music room, locking the door behind them. Wraith had taken to soundproofing the door for the first time in weeks, leaving the Malfoys completely in the dark as to what they were doing. Each of the three made a great many excuses to pass by the door throughout the hours that Janesch remained, but whatever they expected, they heard nothing to support it.
Behind the door itself, Janesch was delighted each time they heard someone pass the door, and would break from the music to laugh. This annoyed Wraith from time to time. However morbid the music, she fell into it with a passion that rather impressed the vampire. She was very single-minded, Janesch realized as they practiced, when it came to what she wanted.
Wraith Chpt. 24
Chapter Twenty-four: Connection
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true."
When Wraith descended to the dining room the morning after, she took advantage of the empty table to speak quietly with Jiri for the first time in months. The house-elf seemed glad to talk, though not all that they exchanged were pleasantries.
"The Master and Mistress spoke last night of someone you had met."
"Did they know him? Had they met him before?"
"No, Miss," Jiri said, shaking his head.
"There's that at least," Wraith murmured into her tea. "It was just gossip then?"
"It sounded so, Miss."
Wraith fell silent, noting the new bandages on Jiri's hand. When the house-elf turned to go, she reached out and grabbed his arm to stop him.
"Jiri what happened to the Malfoys' first house-elf?"
Jiri shook his head, looking frightened. "I don't know, Miss."
She touched the bandage on his injured hand. "I can fix this for," she offe
Wraith Chpt. 23
Chapter Twenty-three: Claw & Fang, part three
"When you live next to the cemetery you cannot weep for everyone."
Janesch leaned against the wall as well and pulled a slim cigarette from the pocket of his jacket. He lit it with a match and blew a puff of smoke before looking at her again. "Any better?"
Wraith nodded mutely. "You're a vampire," she said. "I've never met one before."
"Well, we're actually something of a rare breed these days," Janesch told her with a hard smirk. He drew another line from his cigarette as silence fell between them again.
"You did her a mercy, you know."
Wraith's head snapped around in panic. Janesch held up a hand to stop her.
"Relax, I'm not going to tattle on you and I doubt anyone else noticed it. They all had their eyes on that woman. I had to focus on something else when the blood began to flow, and I chose you as my focal point."
" Why?" Wraith asked him.
"It's difficult for things to keep my interest," he replied lightly. He point
Wraith Chpt. 22
Chapter Twenty-two: Claw & Fang, part two
"Evil brings men together."
Rafe stared at Wraith for a long and pointed moment before he stepped towards her with a sharp smile. "I follow no one," he told her. He offered his arm to her, "But I will walk with you."
Wraith returned his smile and set her hand upon his arm. They walked up towards the castle, the pack of wolves trailing behind them. As they entered the Great Hall, a hush fell across the Death Eaters there. Wraith nodded to Rafe before releasing his arm and stepping ahead of him. She left the werewolves at the doorway as she strode across the room once more. As she passed, the Death Eaters moved to one side or the other, making a clear path behind her. Her head was tilted down, but her eyes were locked with the Dark Lord's and they shared a similarly dark smile.
She reached the dais and Voldemort held out a hand to her. She took it and dipped once before turning on her feel to stand beside him.
Across the room
Wraith Chpt. 21
Chapter Twenty-one: Claw & Fang, part one
"By learning to obey, you will know how to command."
Voldemort returned to the Manor a few days later, and stopped in the parlor to speak with Lucius rather than making his way up the stairs. Lucius was dressed in his finest dress robes, his Death Eater's mask in his hand. Narcissa was also present, in a fine deep green dress and matching jewels. She too had a mask, but a black one that matched the edges of her gown. They bowed low to the Dark Lord, who seemed pleased by their attire.
"You are ready to depart then?"
"At once, my Lord," Lucius said. There was a nervous air about him, for he was entering the Dark Lord's plan without a wand to defend himself with.
The Dark Lord looked to Narcissa. "Where is my Wraith?"
"Upstairs, my Lord," Narcissa said, "but she should be down shortly."
Voldemort turned at the sound of a footfall on the stair and stepped out into the hall.
Wraith came down the stairs, her dress as fine as Narcissa's