Later May: The State of the Lestranges Who: Rodolphus Lestrange, Bellatrix Lestrange, Edward Nott, Charles Avery, Rabastan Lestrange, & Arlo Mulciber What: For the past two weeks the Lestranges have been busy putting plans into motion for trouble about to unfold soon. When: The latter half of May Where: Various locations, mostly on Lestrange property Warnings: Various death eater plotting. The last section is the darkest and most graphic of the vignettes in with blood magic, actual bleeding, and references to torture.
13 MAY: RODOLPHUS & BELLATRIX @ THE TERRACE Had this not gone on long enough? While the start of spring had carried the promise of possibility, now they were in the muck. There was a disturbing lack of clarity. Rodolphus could be patient, he would keep his faith, and play the long game. It was not as easy for Bellatrix. She was a blade, a woman who needed to wage war, and didn’t do well with being idle.
There had been no action, no great battle in months now. She was restless and none so easy to distract. Rodolphus had felt that unease more keenly since their return from the catacombs. Blood magic was an ancient and complex art kept secret among families. And it wasn’t entirely a surprise when he felt her before he saw her.
Rodolphus grinned, slow, sitting up and shutting the book in front of him. “You’re in a good mood.”
“I’ve just heard that Dolohov has succumbed to madness.” She collapsed almost careless onto him and the sofa.
“Is that so? I was surprised to learn that he has lasted as long as he did.” Although even that was about the long game. There was more care to be had now that the ministry was watching.
“Well, I have been reminded many times that patience is a virtue.” Bellatrix shifted to look at him. There was a playful danger, a promise, and something he knew well.
“Ah wise words. I wonder who might have attempted to imbue such a prudence?”
Rather than answer, Bellatrix surged forward to kiss him. She was a woman of passion in all things, and if she couldn’t more publicly enact the Dark Lord’s will she would find ways to pass time in private.
19 MAY: RODOLPHUS & BELLATRIX @ THE PARK “It would seem the Order might be onto our business.”
Bellatrix threw a large splat of pain against the canvas. It hadn’t been forming the way she meant. “You know how I hate to be interrupted.”
“I do.” He wrapped his arms around her, not worried about getting paint on his robes. “I also know that you like to be kept informed. Professor McGonagall is digging around the past of our Dark Lord. And we both know what sort of projects he began in school.”
She turned around, meeting his gaze. “What about the Triad?”
Rodolphus paused, he was still weighing those choices. “They will be their own undoing. We just need to give them enough space to damn themselves.”
“Go away now.” Bellatrix made a sound, pushing his face away, and leaving a trail of paint behind. “Tell me when we have an active target. I grow tired of these politics.”
23 MAY: RODOLPHUS & NOTT @ THE PARK Rodolphus supposed he too was becoming restless of the status quo. It was certainly well past time to something about the chalice. “Thank you for coming out this evening, Edward. As you can imagine, it had been no easy task to remove the familial protections from the object. Both objects technically.”
The two chalices were not so much on display as much as they were set on the mahogany desk near identical but in individual stasis fields.
“You might also imagine my reluctance to simply hand over either item to Arlo, even at his request.”
Rodolphus was good. Edward Nott was better. He had played this game for many years, and would continue to play it still. He also had the benefit of knowing Corvus personally.
“Yes, I suppose it was a rather wise choice involving me in such matters.” Edward didn’t let his tone betray anything one way or the other. And he would say nothing more, Rodolphus would have to do all the work here.
It was a risk. Truly this whole thing was a risk, and it perhaps getting less calculated as the time went on, but something needed to change. Rodolphus would never be content to sit back and wait. “We might also agree we are rational men, who might not want to see what would happen if Arlo, or his brute, had possession of one of the Dark Lord’s horcruxes.”
“I had wondered if any of you lot would have figured it out.” Edward smiled, small. “I might say you have taken your time, but perhaps there is yet hope for the future.”
“And it is in planning for that future, I must voice my concerns about such instability in our ranks.” It wasn’t quite speak of treason, but it was dangerous grounds. Others had been tortured or killed for less.
“Hypothetically, what might you be suggesting Mister Lestrange?”
“Our future hangs on a precipice. Without a single uniting voice we may lay victim to our temper or arrogance. It would do many a disservice to have all of the years of work and sacrifice undone because we waver now. It is perhaps well passed time we prune our ranks in order to ensure the cause continues.”
Edward nodded and moved over to examine the chalices. “If you are seeking permission, it is not my place to grant it. However, should your plans resolves certain nuisances you may find my support in the future, although should you fail…”
He didn’t need to say anything more. Rodolphus understood exactly where he was treading. Risk and reward. The time to hesitate was over.
25 MAY: BELLATRIX & AVERY @ THE WELSH DRAGON RESERVE “You must be bored.”
Avery glared. It was bad enough to have to entertain a visit, worst yet to engage in such … games.
“I mean, I’m bored. I long for the days of violence. Now, we just get missions, small tasks, and nothing for weeks at a time.” Avery grunted, but didn’t say anything further. Not yet. For now he would let Bellatrix continue. “I feel like the others just aren’t appreciative of our particular expertise.”
He took a long drink, sizing her up. “You are but a child. You will know your place.”
“And is my place not at the Dark Lord’s side? Felling his opponents?” She twirled her wand. “I haven’t killed or tortured anyone in weeks.”
Politics were games for other men and women.
“We’ve been told to lay low. Be careful.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Wasn’t even able to kill anyone for those Dark Marks.”
Bellatrix tapped her nose. “What if I had a lead? And not so much me, but my sweet little rat friend?”
Charles Avery was suddenly quite interested.
“It seems almost obvious now that I know, but I’m afraid my nasty cousin Sirius and that mudblood he hands around with -- Evans.” She spat the name. “I think we ought to teach them a lesson not to meddle in our dark arts.”
27 MAY: RODOLPHUS & RABASTAN @ THE PARK The tides were changing. Maybe not certainly enough, but standing on the edges of the Park in darkness, he could feel it. Tomorrow and the days that came would not be easy, but their cause would be revitalized. The Triad crumbling, and from their ashes a new leader or perhaps even the return of the old.
Rodolphus could see dozens of possibilities unfold in front of him. The future would come, but for now, he would quietly raise a glass with his brother.
"Oi," called said brother, balancing his precarious way along the drystone wall back towards Rodolphus. He had his arms outstretched for balance, half-full bottle in one hand, empty glass in the other. "You've been staring at that tree for ten minutes. Are you drunk already?"
Rodolphus threw back his drink, emptying his glass. “You know,” there was a slight slur to that typical careful speech, “it is pretty much the only thing you can’t get yourself. And now my cup runneth dry.”
"We can fix that." Rabbit jumped down off the wall with only a minor stagger; drinking with his brother was the one time he didn't bother fudging how little it took to actually get him inebriated, but he'd still been pacing himself. Didn't want to miss his annual viewing of the whiskey rounding the edges of his usually immaculately squared-off brother. He lifted the bottle, topped up Rodolphus's glass, and said, "To--" and stopped again, huffing a breath. The last few months had made a mess of his careless fallback toasts. No call for casually slagging off their father, no Dark Lord's agenda to prosecute, and Rabbit was stuck trying to think of something to drink to. Which was a pretty good metaphor for the entire situation right now.
“To becoming our own men. May we long see the last of our elders.” Rodolphus raised his glass. Unlike his brother, he could hold his liquor well, he just didn’t tend to indulge, and when he might he tried to not let it show. It was a funny edge to try not to spill his drink. “À votre santé.”
Rabbit grinned, all teeth and anticipation. "I will drink to that," he declared, and knocked his glass against his brother's.
31 MAY: RODOLPHUS, ARLO, & NOTT @ ARLO’S HOME [PLEASE TAKE NOTE THIS PART GETS DARKER]
“Surely you’ll understand the delay in delivering this to you. My father could be a cautious man and if entrusted with an artifact from the Dark Lord he would take every precaution available to him.”
The Chalice was on the surface between them, a casual but deadly centerpiece.
“Two-nearly-three months is quite a lengthy time to produce a result, Rodolphus.” Arlo rose from his chair, walking around the desk. He leaned back on the desk, but even then he had still closed the distance between the two men. “I would have expected better of you, for all the promise that you have shown.”
Rodolphus glanced up, his expression blank. Today, in this moment, he would appear to be the perfect foot soldier. Easy it might have been to speak, to offer explanations or questions. Now was best served for silence and almost as quickly as he met Arlo’s gaze he looked away -- humbled.
“I have had my concerns about your loyalty. You and your wife both make for fraught allies and even more unsettling foes.” Arlo spun his wand carefully in his hands. “You see my dear boy, I have not forgotten who you are. You may act civilized, and willing to follow orders, commands, but only from those deemed worthy. You are your father’s son in that regard. Corvus would have never allowed you to settle, to be content in subservience to anyone less than great.”
“I had hoped you would come to see me as such a leader naturally. However, as you have failed to do so …” Arlo cast a silent descendo forcing Rodolphus down to his knees. “I will now have to motivate you toward more favorable conclusions.”
Rodolphus steeled himself, ready for whatever physical torture that Arlo could throw at him. He had not survived so long by not being able to endure. Besides this was exactly where Rodolphus wanted to be.
“But before we continue, do you have anything else you might like to disclose?” It was a trap, of course. “No, nothing about this chalice? Or about the near replica that Edward has also brought?” Arlo looked away, raising his voice just a little. “Nott, if you will.”
Out walked Edward Nott with another chalice near identical to the one on the desk, setting them aside each other. Rodolphus dared a glance at Nott, but clenched his jaw.
“It is only a shame that Bellatrix is not here as well. Edward has kindly filled me in on some of the finer points of Lestrange blood magic, but I will make do with what I have.” Arlo made a wide swooping gesture with his wand producing a diffindo worthy of a healer. “Now rise, and let us put some of that blood to proper use.”
Rodolphus was compelled to follow, focusing on the sting of the open wounds on his palms. He pulled his hands into fists so he could squeeze his blood into the chalices, easily going around the protection wards.
“That’s enough. Now, back down.”
Rodolphus’s body was forced back to his knees, bod still taut and controlled. If he was very lucky, the bruises on his knees and cuts on his hands would be the worst of it. He kept his gaze focused at the foot of the desk, curious as he was to look up as Mulciber and Nott worked, he wouldn’t risk it. Rather he tried to keep it all to memory. Surely Lucius would be able to make better sense of this, he just needed to get through with his senses intact to be able to report out.
Time passed. And Rodolphus held. Then there was a crack and the smell of sulfur. And only one chalice remained on the desk. Arlo and Edward were speaking in low tones, Rodolphus only able to get the basic concept of gratitude and pleasure this was sorted.
“Edward, thank you, again, for your service. Your knowledge and loyalty remain true, we shall be in touch.”
“I serve at the pleasure of the Dark Lord’s will.” Edward nodded, bowing his head ever so slightly. “And while I wouldn’t dare tell you how to proceed, I would ask you to consider to go easy on this one. He might yet prove useful to us.” He placed a hand on Rodolphus’s shoulder to give a rather gentle squeeze, before he departed.
“Now, now, Rodolphus, I would say I take no pleasure in this, but well, that would be a lie. Do know that you will get exactly what you deserve and will not be without a chance of redemption. You might say I can be a just and kind god.”