|Orric Stefan Rutherford|
I stared at the mark on my forearm. The Dark Mark.
I was seated around a table full of others who were also branded as I was. Most were there by choice, because they shared similar beliefs to our Master. But there were also others there like me, others who were there because it was what was expected of them. Our Master knew the difference, and we knew he did.
"I heard mention of your wedding," Lord Voldemort hissed softly to Lexa, "am I to be invited?"
"Of course, Master," Lexa responded, her voice not faltering, even as she squeezed my hand tighter beneath the table.
Voldemort walked away from us, returning to his seat at the head of the table. Silence filled the room. Everyone was waiting for whatever was to come next.
I continued staring at the mark on my forearm. It was another family heirloom that I was to treasure, to honor, to respect, but it was just another thing I hated, another thing I despised. All the mark was, was another reminder that I was a puppet. A puppet with multiple masters.
"My Lord," a muffled voice broke the silence.
Everyone turned toward the fireplace, and saw a mans heading revolving there.
"Did you fail?" Voldemort asked coldly. Failure was always expected. Success was hardly ever an option.
"We captured a dozen Order members," the mans head replied, clearly avoiding answering Voldemort's question.
Voldemort stood up from his seat, and walked over to the fireplace. "And the boy?"
"He escaped, my Lord."
Silence again descended on the room. Voldemort stared into the fire, his eyes glowing a sinister red. His snakelike fingers closed tightly around his wand, a hiss escaped his lips, and the man in the fire was no more.
We'd all be punished for this failure. For his continued failures.
"Crucio!" Lexa was blasted from her chair, as the curse hit her. "Crucio!" Another Death Eater was blasted from his chair, followed by a dozen others. Voldemort attacked at random, because in his mind, everyone was to blame.
"Rutherford!" Voldemort exclaimed turning to me.
I waited patiently for the excruciating pain that followed the Cruciatus Curse, but it didn't come. I raised my eyes to look directly into his, "yes, Master?"
"Do something with her," Voldemort nodded with disgust at the shaking form of Lexa, who was cowering at my feet.
I grabbed Lexa by the arm, and pulled her to her feet. I dragged her out of the room and into the hallway.
"Orric," Lexa's voice cracked, "Orric, you're hurting me."
I didn't let go of her arm, until we were far enough away from Death Eater ears. "You're not supposed to show weakness, Lexa, it makes you a liability."
"I know, Orric," she glared at me. "Try being hit with the Cruciatus Curse and not flinch."
"I have, Lexa, multiple times. You do know who my grandfather's are, right? They aren't exactly the loving and hugging type. You break their rules, you get punished." I had never told that to anyone before. I never wanted to admit that my grandfather's treated me like a criminal when I didn't agree with their beliefs. I kept my secrets to myself. I kept myself closed off from the world, and here I was spilling my guts to the girl I was being forced to marry.
"I'm sorry, Orric," Lexa reached out a hand to touch me, to reassure me, but I pulled away from her.
I cracked my knuckles, my nervous habit. "Just watch yourself, Lexa. If you're to be my wife, I need you to hold your own better."
Lexa dropped her hand to her side, and walked away from me.
I should've followed her. I should've attempted to make things right. She'd complain to her father about my behavior, who would then complain to my grandfather, and I'd have to deal with his wrath later.
"Rutherford," a voice echoed toward me, "we have a mission."
I balled my hands into fists, and watched as the snake on my arm slithered into life.