Disclaimer: This website is not called author-fiction, now is it?
Author NOTE: 1/18/2023 I read through the entire story again as prep for writing the final chapter. The now-much-older version of me could not resist cleaning up dialog and getting rid of many many extra commas. What an extravagant writer young me was. I'm hoping it now reads much easier and with more flowing dialog/less flamboyant character interactions. As of this date Chapters 1-9 have been replaced.
A Shadowed Soul
Chapter 1: Meeting a Shadow
A cool summer wind whipped through a darkened apartment in a London suburb, exploring the room and swirling around the apartment's owner. He sat cross legged and perfectly still on the floor of this empty room, his body relaxed and eyes closed. The night breeze tussled the youth's long black hair, teasing the bare skin of his back and chest.
The gust died as the young man remained still, the only movement the constant rise and fall of his chest. He sat in deep contemplation, in meditative trance to prepare himself for the difficult task ahead.
Magic crackled excitedly around him, showing his emotions when his face did not. The light of the magic cast shadows which appeared to swirl with their own power and life. For this and more he was called him Shadow by those that feared him.
The room brightened as power flashed more and more violently around him. The man picked up an intricate dagger from beside him on the floor. Eyes still closed, he pricked his finger, allowing a few drops of his blood to fall onto the blade. The room blazed as though it were lit with a hundred torches, a tornado of light and power. The youth held the bloodied dagger between his palms, making sure blood connected each hand to the blade. The energy crackled and attacked the dagger, swirling violently around it again and again before being sucked into the steel right at the point where his blood lay. The room was plunged into darkness.
Emerald eyes suddenly opened, their light almost glowing in the blackness. He lowered the dagger as he stood, sheathing it in its place in his mid calf-high dragon skin boots.
Kai, as he called himself, took a deep breath and proceeded to check the wards he had placed on his meditation room. Wards were his specialty. Something special in his magic allowed him to send it out across wards and manipulate them from a distance. His mentor Crystian said he had never seen such a thing before. Kai closed his eyes again in a moment of grief. Crystian had been Kai's only family, his birth family long dead. Crystian as well, a mere 11 months ago.
Crystian had rescued Kai from the streets at 8. Kai's guardians had beat him on a whim, using him as an excuse for everything wrong in their lives until they threw him out like trash. Crystian had saved him, earned his trust, then taught him everything that he knew.
Crystian was a wilder; he learned magic without any formal training. He used his magic without a wand or any other controlling device. He simply tapped directly into his own raw power. Some witches and wizards were meant for this style, floundering under the normal methods. Kai was one of them.
As a muggleborn wilder Crystian had few legal career choices. So when an offer came from the guild of assassin's Crystian agreed. When Kai was old enough Crystian presented Kai with the option to be trained as an apprentice. Kai found himself well suited for the trade. He had trained hard for 8 years to become what he was today. He was a master and so was given the codename 'Shadow'.
Crystian had shown him many sides of the world, the good, the bad…but most of all, Crystian had shown him the love of a brother.
The teen walked from the meditation room into his kitchen, pouring himself a glass of water. He was in the zone, completely aware of every sound and movement around him.
Tonight's mission was one in a series he'd completed over the last 6 months. From time to time the British Ministry of Magic would send an agent to meet with him. This ministry had a problem, a dark lord by the name of Voldemort. Apparently Kai had been the only assassin or hit wizard who had any success in tracking, capturing, or eliminating any targets on the wanted list. Tonight would be the conclusion of another hunt.
His target tonight was a pureblood wizard by the name of Lucius Malfoy.
He could remember the meeting with the ministry agent clearly, because it had left him uneasy. The meeting happened exactly as it usually did. It had been a new unspeakable but he had met with a number of different unspeakables as a part of these missions. And yet...
Breathing deeply, he grabbed a simple black tank top off the floor by the door and pulled it over his head. He walked to his supply closet and selected a back harness that contained two foot long knives, the harness making the head of each knife stick just out on either side. He would never use his dagger of power for a kill. Death released a wizard's magic and death magic was not something he wanted tainting that precious tool. He clipped shrunken vials in his right pocket, blood replenishing, healing and energizing potions and a poison that caused almost instant death. All were for him, in case of emergencies. The dark youth had seen firsthand what could happen to assassins that were apprehended on the job.
"Might as well get this over with," he whispered, his low voice smooth, slightly hissing quality.
Stepping in front of the mirror by the apartment entrance, Kai slowly morphed his features. Metamorph magic was something that had come surprisingly naturally to him at an early age. His hair shortened to a near buzz cut, fading to a medium brown. His angular features softened to a more generic face and his eyes became dark brown. Most importantly, he moved the sharp scar that sliced down the right side of his forehead to his right thigh. Nodding in satisfaction, he stepped outside the anti-apparation wards and was gone without a sound.
The assassin reappeared three miles off from the unplottable Malfoy Manor. Kai had scouted a 5-mile radius around the manor for the past two weeks, studying the defences and the behaviours of the guards and his target.
Breaking into a jog, Kai ran toward his entry point. Less than a quarter hour later he stood at the boundary of the wards, a mile still from the manor. The wards formed a dome over the property, visible only to those trained to see them. In the center of that dome was the point where the ward lines tied together, forming the barrier. Sitting cross-legged on the forest floor, he quickly dropped into a meditative state and used his magic to feel along the wards to that crucial point. Strand by strand, he unravelled the rainbow of protections. Once unravelled, he held the loose ward threads and weaved them together in such a way that there was a hole 10 feet in diameter in the dome.
Dropping back within himself, Kai transformed into his animagus form. A thestral stretched its long black wings and leapt into the air, soaring high above the warding before diving at through the hole. Landing softly on the ground, he shifted back into his human form, keeping low and moving at a quick walk towards his target.
Invisible, he observed the house's guards in their normal positions. He scanned the outside of the house for magic suggesting wards that could be traps for him. Finding nothing unexpected, he silently crossed the open yard, crouched low and eyes open for the guards that were circling in other areas. He reached the side of the house and immediately started climbing the bricking on the building.
Unwinding a set of proximity and motion wards, the assassin stepped silently onto the balcony to the master bedroom. Using his magic to scan the attached room, he sensed for the state of the room's two sleeping occupants. Kai quickly disabled an alarm ward and various other wardings that surrounded the door and room, knotting them in the same way to prevent alarms being raised at their falling.
He slowly opened the balcony door, drawing the hilt of the dagger protruding from his right side. The assassin picked Malfoy out of the two forms lying sleeping on the king size four-poster bed. He had felt the man's magical signature for the past two weeks. Lucius Malfoy's long platinum hair splayed across the pillows, mingling with that of his wife's. Kai wished that the lady had been absent this evening, but no such luck.
He crouched low beside the bed, the non magical blade ready to deal the final blow - another way to prevent sounding alarms. Suddenly lights blared on in the room and a loud mechanical buzzer sounded.
"Fuck!" he hissed and dove around the bed toward the balcony, only to have warded doors slam shut in his face. He spun on a heel and turned to face the room, dagger in hand, body low in a wary defensive stance.
He cursed inside his mind, trying to figure out what gave him away.
"Don't move!" The Malfoy her stood in the door. It was then that Kai realized he wasn't invisible anymore.
"He's here I see," a voice drawled from the bed as a fully clothed Lucius Malfoy got up, motioning for his frightened wife to leave the room, "Now, why don't you drop that blade, your wand, and put both hands behind your head, hmm?"
Kai didn't move, he just stared down his target, possible plans whirring in his head.
"You can do this the easy way, my friend, or the hard way. Drop the blade or my son will kill you instantly."
Kai smirked darkly. It didn't look nearly as menacing as it would have in his natural face, but it was dark enough that Lucius raised his wand aggressively in response.
Deciding to play along, Kai dropped the silver dagger and kicked it towards the father and son. As Malfoy the elder bent down to pick it up, his eyes momentarily left the assassin. Seeing this, Kai gave a quick snap of his wrist, sending a disarming magic blast at the two, removing their wands from reach. Lightning fast, he was on the younger Malfoy, sweeping his legs and in the same movement, round-house kicking him into the wall behind him, knocking the youth unconscious. Turning on his heel, Kai spun to face his target who stood regally before him, exuding all the power he held.
"Impressive," Malfoy drawled, "but you're not good enough, boy," Lucius drew a long saber from a sheath on his hip.
Kai couldn't hide his sharp intake of breath as he felt the death magic surrounding the sword, its aura making Kai's nose wrinkle in revulsion. Many a wizard had died by that sword and pieces of their power were forever trapped in the blade. Cursing inwardly, he called his Dagger of Power into his right hand while simultaneously drawing his second battle dagger with his left.
"Fucking set-up," he muttered, shaking his head.
Magicked steel met magicked steel as the two fought. Malfoy was a talented swordsman. A line of blood dripped down from a long cut of the Lord's face, awarding Kai first blood. Kai danced out of the way as the saber sliced towards his midsection. A ripping sound told him that he needed to move faster next time. He barely blocked a strike aimed directly at his neck, his two daggers crossed to catch the blade. Forcing Lucius' blade to the side, Kai struck out with a black booted foot, catching the blonde hard in the head and flinging him back.
"Crucio!" a shouted spell came from behind him and Kai dove hard away from his current position, tucking and rolling back onto his feet facing the doorway where 10 new opponents had entered. Thanking the gods that he had managed to dodge the pain curse, he stood warily, daggers raised as he stared down the new Death Eaters.
A man stood at the head of the group, his magical aura was a swirl of darkness that crackled around him, speaking of great power and great evil. This was not good.
"We came as soon as the alarm alerted us, Lucius. Now let me take a look at him," the tall man's voice was dark and smooth… similar yet dissimilar to Kai's.
He stepped forward, staring hard into the eyes of the assassin as Kai worked diligently on the wards separating him from freedom. Suddenly, Kai's magic felt like it was hit by a brick wall as layer after layer of warding was piled between him and escape.
"Tsk, tsk, young one, I saw what you did to the wards outside. I won't be letting you escape that easily."
This must be Voldemort. He sent a dark smile at the man, accepting the challenge.
Voldemort glared at Kai, his eyes flashing red, "He seems to find this funny. Gentlemen, why don't you show him a good time."
'Okay, I'm going to do this the ugly way,' the assassin thought as he brought his magic up into a visible sword and dove for the balcony, magic slicing cleanly through the wardings, sending their threads whipping about in Kai's senses.
Dispelling the sword in mid-stride he swan dived off the balcony, righting himself to land on his feet two stories below. He rolled to minimize impact and felt spells skim his back.
He darted towards the forest, hoping that reaching its safety would allow him to change into his animagus form and escape. With how powerful the Malfoy wards had been designed, he could go out the hole he created or not at all. They were a solid barrier. Unless he pulled the whole thing down, which he might have to do.
That would require him going into a trance, however, which would also require a quiet moment of safety.
Unfortunately, his path was cut off by fire from all directions. He jumped and dodged spell after spell, one hand holding a shield and another firing back spells just as brutal but more obscure than the typical unforgivables.
The assassin was getting frustrated; he was surrounded on all sides by what he estimated to be 20 Death Eaters. Oh yes, this was definitely a set up.
Kai knew he was in trouble when he felt Voldemort step into the circle.
"What say you now, assassin? Will you yield?" the Dark Lord hissed, voice easily crossing the distance between the powerful magic wielders.
Kai didn't answer, using the time to catch his breath and think of escape.
"You are too powerful to simply destroy, why not stand at my side?"
Still ignoring the man's question, the assassin grimly assessed his situation.
He couldn't change; he'd be shot down.
He couldn't apparate; there were wards.
He couldn't pull down the wards; again, he'd be shot down.
'Chances of fighting my way out: assessed as less than 5 percent. Well damn. I'm going out with a bang than.'
He shifted deeper into a fighting stance. 'There, Voldemort, you have your answer. '
"I see," red eyes narrowed. With a small gesture of his hand, he stepped back and the Death Eaters moved in. "Men."
No human could ever dodge 20 simultaneously cast Cruciatus curses coming from different directions. Kai, unfortunately, was human.
He dodged as many as could, jumping away from the center and towards those he assessed as being weakest in power. He threw up a specially design magic shield, knowing it was futile against so many. Seven curses hit his shield en masse, shattering it instantly.
Pain flooded his senses, like nothing he had ever experienced, it was maddening. He tried to remain standing but failed, falling helplessly to his knees, his muscles spasming violently. His vision blurred and he could only feel the Death Eaters surrounding him, more adding their power.
He forced himself to accept the pain as he was taught to, focusing his mind. He drew up his magic and lashed out, slicing the connection between the casters and their spells. As soon as the spells ceased, however, he and his shield collapsed.
That's when they fell on him, mercilessly kicking him in the ribs sending him rolling across the ground, undoubtedly breaking bones. One bent down and wrested his Dagger of Power, which he had managed to hold onto, from his hand, examining it. Kai's awareness returned at the loss of his precious dagger and he struck out desperately, sending a stunning wave towards the Death Eaters standing in front of him, surprisingly dropping three and rolling to his knees. He breathed heavily, his pain ridden mind forgetting about the others behind him until the the handle of a sword was brought hard on the nape of his neck.
And then, he knew nothing but the darkness.