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A Meeting of Death Snape was standing in the center of a ring of people in black cloaks and masks. He knew this scene all too well: it was a Death Eater meeting. The Dark Lord, as always, stood in the center, but this time, there was somebody else with him. It took Snape a moment before he recognized Alannah. Her long, dark gold hair, which she usually wore back and out of her face, was tangled and mused around her dirt and blood-streaked face. Her shirt and jeans were in tatters, barely concealing her undergarments. Voldemort was holding her very tightly around the arm, his fingernails digging in to her flesh and drawing blood. “This is Pronteros’s brat, who is as foolish as her twit of a father to come and meddle in what doesn’t concern her,” he was telling the circle of masked wizards. “Pronteros was a fool and a coward. He thought he could take matters into his own hands. Needless to say, he was wrong.” The Death Eaters laughed. Alannah was struggling to release herself from Voldemort’s grasp, but he just tightened his hold, and more of Alannah’s blood spattered the ground. “I was going to finish her off, as I did her father,” he continued, “But when I realized she was a virgin, I thought I’d bring her back here for my faithful Death Eaters to play with.” Alannah struggled more, this time kicking out at Voldemort, but he jumped out of her range, still holding on to her arm. “Now, now, Alannah,” he cooed. “None of that, my girl. We’re doing you a favor. You didn’t want to die a virgin, did you?” As he talked, he slowly pulled Alannah closer to him. “You bastard,” she hissed, and spat in his face. Voldemort laughed softly. “Bastard, you say? Yes, I am. But you are too, are you not?” Alannah looked at him with a hatred so intense that Snape flinched. “Crucio,” the Dark Lord said. Snape looked back at Alannah, expecting to see her on the ground, writhing in agony, as most did, but she was still standing. She had her hands clenched, her knuckles white, and she was biting her bottom lip, but she did not collapse on the ground, nor did she cry out. As he watched, she bit through her lip, and it began to bleed, a scarlet stream falling down her chin. Her knees buckled and she sank onto the ground as Voldemort lifted the curse. “You have the nerve to call me a bastard,” he said in a deadly whisper, “You, who have your mother’s surname because your father didn’t love either of you enough to even be around while you were growing up. And yet, you come here with him. You were willing to die for a man that you did not even know. He abandoned you, and yet you would have DIED for him. Did you think that he would have tried to save you? He would have sat back and watched you die.” “I didn’t do it for my father,” Alannah growled. “I came to avenge my mother. Your followers tortured, raped, and murdered her, and I watched every sick minute of it. What kind of freak encourages that?!? I was nine years old; I thought that people were safe since Precious Potter ‘defeated’ you, but I was wrong. They still did that in YOUR name. So I came here to drag you to the gates of Hell in my mother’s name. My mother died to save me. She let them take her so they wouldn’t touch me. I will see to it that she didn’t die in vain.” Voldemort laughed again. “A noble speech, little eagle,” he said. “You think your mother loved you? You think that she had a choice whether my Death Eaters killed you or not? No. She died because she didn’t have a choice, and it was only luck that saved you. Do you even think that your mother even wanted you to begin with?” Voldemort moved closer to where Alannah knelt on the ground. “If it weren’t for me, you would have never been born.” “I always knew you were not quite sane, but now I know you’re mental,” Alannah spat, and Snape smiled. Even when facing certain death, Alannah was still a smart-ass. “You think your father was some kind of saint, do you girl?” the Dark Lord asked her. “He had his faults, and I can’t say that I ever loved him, but he was a good man,” Alannah replied. “He dedicated his life to kill you, so on principle, I can’t hate him.” The circle of Death Eaters laughed, as did Voldemort. “Little eagle, did you ever wonder why your heroic father didn’t join the Order of the Phoenix along with the rest of Dumbledore’s bats?” he asked. “He didn’t like Dumbledore,” Alannah said. Again, cruel laughter swept around the circle. “Yes,” said Voldemort, “Not may Death Eaters do.” “What?” said Alannah sharply. “Your wonderful father was working with me, little eagle. He was a Death Eater. He raped your mother nine months before you were born on my orders, he had the bitch that birthed his child…disposed of, and he brought you here tonight on my orders.” “You’re lying,” said Alannah blankly. More laughter. “I can assure you that he was,” said Voldemort. “McNair, bring Pronteros’s body here, and the eagle can see with her own eyes.” One of the masked wizards left the circle and came back a minute later dragging a body by its legs. The man’s eyes were open and staring; he was quite clearly dead. Voldemort walked over to the corpse and pulled back the left sleeve of his robes. Clearly visible against the white skin of his arm was a black tattoo showing a skull with a snake in its mouth. Alannah recoiled from her father’s body looking horrified. “No,” she whispered. “Why? Why did he bring me here tonight,” she asked “Your father, in his brief appearances in your life, taught you much. Your skill with weapons of all kinds, Dark Magic, self-defense, among other fighting techniques; he taught all to you. I remember him telling me how astounded he was at how quickly you learned. When he realized that you held your mother’s death against me and had sworn vengeance, he said that the only way to deal with you was to kill you. He said that you were too powerful and too knowledgeable of the Dark Arts. I knew that you would be dangerous if you were to join Dumbledore, so we both agreed that we needed to lure you here and dispose of you before you were old enough to join the Order.” Alannah was staring openly at Voldemort. The hatred still burned in her dark eyes, but when she spoke, it was with a quiet, controlled voice, as if she was merely curious about what the evil man before her was saying. “If he was a Death Eater, why did you kill him?” she asked. The Dark Lord smiled a cruel smile. “Haven’t you ever heard that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is as cruel to his followers as he is to his enemies? Your father has been most unreliable lately. There was an instance that I will not go into where he almost gave away our plans to a ministry worker. Whether on accident or on purpose, I could not risk it happening again. He had to be killed.” “You’re horrible,” Alannah whispered. “No, I do what I must to have power. To have the world fear you, that is power. Now, my little eagle, come here,” said Voldemort. “No.” “Now, my dear, don’t make this difficult.” Voldemort took her hands and pulled her to her feet. Alannah tried to back away, but he held on, yanking her towards him. She fell against his chest and he began tearing the remains of her shirt away. Again Alannah tried to break away, but she wasn’t strong enough to break the grip of the Dark Lord. He pressed his lips to hers, and it appeared that she bit his top lip, because when he drew away, it was bleeding. “Feisty now, aren’t we?” he said, licking the blood from his lips. The Death Eaters roared with laughter as Voldemort forced Alannah onto the ground. Snape turned away. He could guess what happened next, and he didn’t want to watch. There was nothing he could do; this was Alannah’s memory. He felt ill as he heard the Dark Lord call forward certain Death Eaters to “play” with Alannah. He never heard her make a sound, but he was sure that she was fighting tooth and nail. “Lucius, would you care to see how fierce the eagle really is?” asked Voldemort. Snape’s blood ran cold. He had always thought that Lucius Malfoy was about as decent as Dark Wizards came. He had never been much involved in the rape and torture business of killing. He always used the killing curse first, and as a Death Eater, he couldn’t possibly be any kinder. “No, I’d rather not, my Lord,” Snape heard Lucius say. “Very well,” said Voldemort, sounding a little disappointed. Snape looked back at Alannah to see her bruised and bleeding, trying to wriggle back into her ruined clothes. She looked up and saw Voldemort talking among his followers. She stood up and started to make a dash for the edge of the circle, but Voldemort caught her. “Thought you’d try to make a break for it, did you?” he hissed. “Go ahead, try to run. They’ll catch you. You’re outnumbered, little eagle.” “I hate you!” Alannah screamed. A knife appeared out of nowhere in Voldemort’s hand. He slashed her back, and for the first time, Snape heard her give a small whimper. But Voldemort continued to cut her back. “You hate me, little eagle?” he said. “Well, now you can die with my mark on your skin. Like father like daughter. Ironic, isn’t it?” he whispered. Alannah struggled against him, but he hung on, still slashing the Dark Mark into her flesh. Her blood covered the ground and more splashed down as he watched. When the Mark was finished, Voldemort let go of her for a second, and in that moment, Alannah’s foot made contact with his groin. As he doubled over in pain, Alannah streaked to the edge of the circle, and in the confusion, she managed to break through the Death Eaters. Snape was floating along beside her like a ghost, and he hear how labored her breathing was. It was amazing that she hadn’t already passed out from blood loss. He heard Voldemort scream “Get her!” and not long after, he heard pounding footsteps behind them. He turned and looked into a masked face. The Death Eater reached for Alannah and brought her down with him. “Are you alright?” he asked, hurriedly. Snape recognized the voice; it belonged to Lucius Malfoy. “No,” she said. “Of course you’re not. Look, can you dissaperate?” “I don’t know...I can try...I’ve never done it before.” She said, her breathing getting harsher. “Well,” said Lucius, “Now is a hell of a time to learn. They’ll kill you if you don’t. You can’t run in your current state. It doesn’t matter where you end up, as long as it’s not here.” “What about you? And why the hell are you trying to help me? You’re one of them,” Alannah asked. “You have to get out of here. Just go!” he said urgently. With a faint pop Alannah vanished, and at the same time, Snape’s study came into focus. Sorry this was kind of a dark chapter, but there’s a reason for the rating. Again, this story is going to be rather tragic, so don’t read it if you can’t stand to see people get hurt and die. Just to ensure that I don’t lapse into happy thoughts during these darker chapters, I listen to Faure’s Requiem, which is among the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. It’s not as tragic and dark as some Requiems, but it still is a Requiem. Well, I’ll stop blubbering and go write the next chapter. Love y’all! -Plethra

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