Chapter 1: The Dark Lord's Gift
Nothing about the Riddle House appealed to Bellatrix one little bit. Fifty years had passed since muggles last inhabited the mansion near Little Hangleton, but still Bellatrix sensed a distasteful presence within it. When she was young she had never imagined herself stooping so low.
Now she had little choice. Her master had been using the house as a means of concealing himself from the wizarding world for many months now. Few accepted the account of Lord Voldemort's rebirth. Thus he deemed it to be an adequate hiding place, from which he seldom allowed his followers to leave. To Bellatrix the Dark Lord's word was law.
Although not fond of her new home, Bellatrix delighted in being free from the horrors of Azkaban. The memories of the torment she had gone through to please her master no longer tore at her dark spirit. Instead she stood proudly beside her master, allowing his strength to wash over her.
One night, she lay down on a bench in the
mansion's garden. The night began as usual, with her casting her mind
back to the day of her escape.
She remembered standing on a deserted
street, the dawn after the breakout, facing her master. She had stared
into his fierce scarlet eyes, hardly daring to believe she was seeing
him again after so many years apart.
The stench of decay wafted through the air. The coldness made her shiver, but she cared not. To her the only things that truly existed were herself and her master.
'My Lord, you rescued me,' she said, breathless with joy, 'I must admit I was beginning to doubt you. I had spent so long in prison that I began to loose hope. I beg of you; forgive me for my foolishness.'
For several long seconds, Voldemort remained silent, a stern expression engraved on his pale face. Finally he spoke to Bellatrix in a soft voice, 'We both know what it means to have waited for what seemed like eternity, to watch our hopes vanish bit by bit, to be abandoned by the people we placed our trust in. This is something we share.'
Bellatrix's heart leapt, 'But still you stand before me in all your former glory. You were saved from your torment just as I was. How did such a joyous event occur?'
So Voldemort recounted the tale of his return. Bellatrix listened with rapt attention.
'So you were willing to brave Azkaban for me,' Voldemort said, once he reached the end of his story, 'such favours are not easily forgotten. Time has changed you Bella; you don't look the way you used to.'
Bellatrix's heart sank. He was right; Azkaban had sucked most of the beauty from her face, leaving it pale and hollow. Though there were no mirrors in her cell, Bellatrix should've known what such a place would do to her.
'Such changes are evidence of your bravery and devotion,' Voldemort continued, 'I value these qualities and will reward you for them.'
Bellatrix's nervousness turned to relief mixed with a growing excitement.
'I shall bless you with my abilities,' said Voldemort, 'transmit my power through to you. Maybe some day, if you maintain your loyalty to me, you'll be almost as mighty as I am.' At these words Bellatrix's face lit up with joy. She could barely speak but her expression revealed all.
Voldemort held out his wand, as if poised to attack. Bellatrix gasped, as what resembled an electric current, burst from the wand. The spell struck her in the chest and condensed to form a thin black tube. A strange tingling sensation spread from the point of contact as the magic travelled through her body, infusing her with its power.
After the shock of the spell had passed, the benefits came through. A sense of adrenaline pumped through Bellatrix's veins, making her feel warm in spite of the chilly morning air. Her pulse raced as her grew stronger as she became convinced that no goal was beyond her reach. Everyone else seemed pitiful in her eyes, apart from the one man standing before her.
The black tube disintegrated, but Bellatrix's strength remained. 'Master I am forever grateful,' she stuttered. Voldemort said no more.
'The Dark Lord wishes to speak to you,' Wormtail's words interrupted Bellatrix's memory. She awoke from her dream-like state to find herself trapped inside the Riddle House once more.
'Very well then,' she scorned. For having a worthless wretch like Wormtail speak to her as an equal displeased her.
Bellatrix followed Wormtail through empty hallway after empty hallway, until she found herself standing at the door to her master's room.
She rarely spoke to him since the day he lent her his power, for she did not want to let the memory be tainted. When she did meet with him it was only to exchange important information, but somehow she couldn't stop herself from knocking on the dusty, wooden door.
'Come in, my Bella,' said her master.