The Dragon Bane Counsel
The Dark Lord was never questioned before, but this change of direction, though similar than before was...unusual. It was welcomed by the Counsel. To sacrifice the unmarked, the bodies recruited simply for numbers were weak. Their only use in life was to serve that which was greater, to to become great themselves and those who did not well...they would serve in other ways. They would have their lives sacrificed for a cause greater than themselves and this was the best they could hope to achieve in all their lives. The Dark Lord initially rejected this leap into the most ancient of dark magic more for the uncertainty of its authentic and use and desired not waste the resources on it. Now was different, now, there was a hunger for power that was not present in those eyes before. What had happened and what her goal had been in that last battle remained a mystery, but the Counsel was quite approving of this change. They were beginning to doubt the Dark Lord’s ambitions and will to carry it out to be less than fellow members counsel.
“Our envoy has returned from the north, but she reports she did not find this supposed coven.” Mentioned the fifth, “I suspect her memory to be tampered with. Our information suggests this coven exists in seclusion in a valley hidden, but it seems it is not able to be marked on a map.”
The seventh rolled her eyes, “Sure it can’t be found or that it doesn’t exist?”
The eight, yawned, “I agree, I tire wasting time searching for ghosts in shadows based on rumor and superstition.”
The fifth and seventh argued as six tried to calm the two, but all were silenced as the Dark Lord rose her palm and sent fifth and seventh off their feet. Enough.
“The envoy will be inspected for signs of manipulation.” The Dark Lord commanded, “As she passed thru our barrier without alarm it is doubtful she is bewitched, but caution should be taken. Without evidence of fowl play, we will not act on baseless rumors, but in the meantime our efforts will be placed in ripping a hole thru the alliance’s line.”
The eleventh decided to take this chance and spoke up, “Perhaps if she is of no use to you I may have her? I have need of a subject in my next experiment who possesses more...ability than the whelps i’m given.”
The Dark Lord tilted her head slightly, “Is it their lack of ability or your own that has resulted in the failures?”
None dared to defend eleventh, nor his clumsy experiments which have commonly been deemed more as torture than true pursuit of knowledge. He was very quickly losing credit to his work as eleventh had not produced worthwhile results in quite sometime. At this rate those that have been sacrificed will soon be seen as a waste of time and effort, something the Dark Lord will not tolerate.
“My Lord...” The eleventh began nervously, “All I ask is that I receive quality goods--”
The thin, scrawny wizard found himself frozen in place and in the next moment had his entire upper body bent to meet his heels. A blood-curling scream followed and with another snap was silenced as the body dropped with eyes staring at the ceiling thru his feet. Many were unsettled by the sight, but were not fearful of it happening to them. Knowing though it was a dreadful way to die it was nothing the man did not bring upon himself. Now there was a vacancy in their ranks, however it was one already filled by another who entered.
“You summoned me my lord?” Came a tall, pale man with thick black hair kept free at his shoulders.
Antares motioned for the wizard to approach the table, a dragon-bone mask rested at its end in front of him. The mask of the previous eleventh now to be worn by the new.
The other rose to give honors to their new brother as the Dark Lord spoke, “Welcome to the Dragon Bane Counsel Anguis Crawford.”
He did all that was necessary to solidify his role among the Dark Ones. Salazar allowed for no doubt to be placed on him, to act out of extreme care when fulfilling his role as a spy--he reminded himself everyday of his true name and true calling, but the years pretending to be another wore him. He believed Godric’s dream to be one of pure and just intentions, but how it would be carried out...Salazar was not certain of these allies. To ally with the Anexus was not an advised gamble, they were not a people to be trusted, to be believed and the same was thought of sorcerers. Godric was convinced peace was possible and how was Salazar to argue against him? Despite this uncertainty...his small, yet powerful coven supported his brother in his endeavors.
All this time among his enemies did indeed soften his understanding of them. Their methods and mannerism, those were things the wizard grew used to on the front lines, but being among true ranks of the Dark Ones and now to be apart of the Dark Lord’s inner circle had changed his thoughts. They sought to liberate the wizarding world from the shadows and to unite the world under a single rule. It was a large plan, one that would have easily succeeded had there been no resistance, but have nonetheless persisted to engage this same goal in another manner.
Salazar saw his way in thru this new manner--they sought to immortalize themselves, to cheat death and this man was just the one to help them. Anguis Crawford was a wizard who had become well-known as one who gained power quickly. This was true, his hunger for power knew no end and it was this characteristic that led him to his current place. He was a man of power among those of the same and though he knew where his loyalty truly lay, he could not help but feel at home and a sense of belonging here. The line between Salazar Slytherin and Anguis Crawford was beginning to blur. His advancement can also be thanked for his growing skill in Legilimency, one that enabled him to know what the counsel sought in a person and how to cause a defect or two in the previous eleven's experiments.
Saraphine pounced the man who was occupied with thoughts far from here, "You did it!"
None were meant to know the true identities of the Dragon Bane Counsel, but for Anguis and Saraphine few secrets were kept between them. The witch was spun around and placed against the wall as the man wore a smile when bringing their lips together. All his work, his efforts, schemes; the cunning needed to accomplish his plan--he knew he was the reason the alliance has stood against the Dark Ones this long, but they were to be the ones to bring them down.
Saraphine placed her hand on Anguis's cheek, "What is wrong my love? Are you still not satisfied?"
They had long known the feelings of the other, but it was Salazar's reluctance that kept them at bay. He truly ached at the thought of lying to someone who meant so much to him, but after the close encounter in the woods with the Anexus boy, the wizard held little more back. If only for a little while, he would indulge in both their longings, granting a fairytale wish if only for a moment. He decided, when the time came, when the last truth came to light, that would be the time he took her away from the castle. Even if she should hate him, should she never forgive him, her life meant more than his own happiness.
"I will have little satisfaction until all my ambitions are fulfilled." Anguis answered.
"Oh? Is there no satisfaction in me then?" The witch teased.
"Does your love of me have no end?" Anguis asked as the witch replied with a kiss.
"It does not."
The wizard smiled, "Then have no fear for my ambition to have your love has indeed satisfied me in this regard.''
Anguis later cleared his new place of work with a flick of his wand, burning incense to rid the stench of dried blood and rotten flesh. The previous eleventh was no man of progression, only barbarism. The current eleventh was certainly different, a useless man of all bark and no bite, his death was foreseeable in his failures with out without Salazar's help. Now was not the time to dwell on thoughts of another dead man, rather to see if he accomplished anything in the realm of the living. It was not much, but it gave Salazar place to start which was better than scratch.
The Dark Lord and her counsel sought to immortalize themselves, to cheat death and ensure their vitality to rule for centuries and have no need of succession. What was noted here was more theory than reality, ancient writings of an unknown magical style that required no incantation. Salazar desired to know what was truth from this, to pluck fact from fiction because some of this was rather exact in its direction. Muggle lives were found inadequate by previous attempts, but what was a common problem was the incomplete nature of the spell and its written casting. It was missing something...this did not seem the means to create an object to give immortality to another, rather to make one immortal by a means of taking rather than giving.
Salazar began his writing, the Dark Lord unknowingly watching from the shadows outside the door. She saw him get right to work without delay, not even taking a moment to savor his feat in joining their ranks. He was a wizard she knew would be useful in the future, still, their was a familiarity to him the first expressed. Though the aged wizard could not put his finger on it, the young blood reminded him of another, but there was no recalling an interaction with a Crawford. Perhaps his concerns were baseless, perhaps they were the ramblings of a suspicious senile man or perhaps there was need of concern.
It seemed unlikely, Anguis joined their ranks years ago, years before the Alliance of the Great Families came about. Still...it did not hurt to be careful, especially in these times where both sides were now in open war. Her spies reported the growing forces, but those rabble would be water to rock against her own power and of this castle. Their barrier was absolute and even if their location was discovered, none that do not bare the mark could enter. The Dark Ones would not be defeated, she would sacrifice the entire counsel before she allowed that to happen. They were so close to achieving their goal, all that stood between them was the alliance, that was only what stood in th way. Once they fell, the world would cower before her power and invincibility--none would dare challenge her.
Antares walked down the hall, pausing for a moment at the window. In this dull, darkened castle, a single flower, against all odds found a home there. The Dark Lord went to the bright flower, having bloomed where little light, water, or nutrients were found; its will to grow defied the odds stacked against it. She touched the petals of the white and yellow daisy somehow finding herself thinking of Avalon. Against all odds.
That was a woman after her own heart, against all odds they have risen among their people to lead them toward a better future. Though their versions of a better future differed, both women...respected the other. This was to be a battle of wills now; whose will was stronger than the other would determine who would emerge from this war alive and victorious. The Dark Lord sincerely wished the alchemist had accepted her proposal; she would have made a great ally...and perhaps a friend.
An owl flew in, landing beside the flower, with a letter hanging from its beak. Antares took the letter and opened it: Avalon Anexus was rumored to have gone north in search of another ally. The Dark Lord folded the letter and continued down the hall. She was alone out there and alone...she could be killed.