Not only have I been relegated to the degrading duty of reconnaissance, but I’ve been forced to keep company for the last fortnight with the two reactionary fools, Alecto and Amycus, who are nothing more than brainstems holding wands. However, now I am to stand by and allow this Szabo to claim this Horcrux as his own? Lucius is even more delusional that I gave him credit for if he truly believes that will happen.
I narrow my eyes and tighten my fingers around my wand as Szabo and Avery, who has proven to be nothing more than a disappointment, disappear into the dark and gaping hole in the side of the cliff.
Let that fool, Szabo, enter after Thomas, Finch-Fletchley, and Wood. I will wait for him to do the work for us and then descend and reclaim this mission. In the end it will not be Szabo who will hold the Horcrux, it will be me. And then Lucius will have no choice but to concede to my demands and reward me richly.
There’s an excited snort a short distance away. It’s Alecto and Amycus lurking near the cave entrance like two dim boulders, no doubt waiting to rush inside and demonstrate their crude and tasteless brand of magical persuasion. The Lestrange brothers – who, to my satisfaction, appear to be leery of this slippery Szabo character – are conversing quietly as they have been ever since Thomas, Wood, and Finch-Fletchley appeared.
It is time for me to appeal to their senses and being to bend this situation to my advantage.
“Lucius is foolhardy and rash to trust a man like Szabo. He is not one of us. He has not served the Dark Lord and earned his right to stand along side us, let alone claim to lead us,” I tell them.
Rudolphus exchanges a sly looks with Rabastan and then carefully surveys me before saying in a measured voice, “We do not follow anyone.” Rabastian nods in agreement like the puppet he his. The younger sibling is always destined to be the follower which is why I did away with my family years ago. Blood ties are nothing but a burden and a distraction.
“If that is true, then why is it you are waiting here on baited breath for Szabo’s signal?” I say silkily, not bothering to keep the distain from my voice.
Rodolphus scowls and seethes, pulling his wand out as if he believes he can truly harm me. “The same can be said about you, Stavros. I would not be hasty with your tongue; otherwise you may find it parted from your body.”
I stare long and hard at Rodolphus, willing him to break my gaze. I am confident that I can sway him to my cause as I know how men like him work. I say in a low voice, “I have my own reason for playing along with this little game for now.” He narrows his eyes as I continue calmly, “You are part of the old guard – you remember our former glory under the rule of the first Dark Lord before our ranks were contaminated with lesser stock. We cannot let him eclipse our authority. We can put this fool, Szabo, back in his place. We present a united front and those two,” I motion toward Alecto and Amycus who are still eyeing the cave entrance, “and on our orders, they will destroy Szabo for they will blindly follow the most powerful and do the bidding of whoever gives them just cause to create chaos and destruction.”
Rodolphus raises his eyebrows and then grunts, pretending to be disinterested as Rabastan frowns as if trying to decipher my words.
It seems that they need more of an incentive. “We can defeat him easily and then Lucius will have no choice but to eat his words. We all recall how in the past he defiled the Black family name by speaking ill of your dear Bellatrix.”
In the past, attacking the Black family honour never fails to elicit a response, and apparently this time is no different. I suppress a smile of satisfaction as Rodolphus and Rabastan devour my bait and begin ranting about Lucius. I stand there and allow them to waste their breath. How predictable.
Finally Rabastan asks, “What about Avery?”
“Avery is a non-entity. He’s grown soft in his old age and lost his edge. A shame to our Legion,” barks Rodolphus, obviously irritated as he often gets when Bellatrix’s name is dredged up.
“He is a minor annoyance that can easily be dealt with,” I say, “Szabo is the one who we must concentrate on.”
Rabastian nods and then looks at Rodolphus who scowls at me before spitting out, “My brother and I need to talk.”
It seems that things are beginning to fall into place.