Welcome All. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: This website is not called author-fiction, now is it?
NOTE: 5/12/2017 I went through and updated the entire story. The over-arching plot has remained the same, but it has been updated to be more readable, with more believable character development and communication than my younger self thought of ;)
The major changes start with chapter 7. You can reread, or not, you won't miss anything by just continuing where you left off but it'd be neat to see if people felt there was a significant improvement in quality.
A Shadowed Soul
Chapter 1: Meeting a Shadow
A cool summer wind whipped through a darkened apartment in a London suburb, alighting on the simple furnishings of the living space. The wind continued through the rooms, gently caressing the skin of the apartment's owner. He sat cross legged and perfectly still on the floor of this empty room, his body relaxed, his eyes closed. The night breeze tussled the youth's long black hair, held at the nape of his neck by a simple black elastic. It teases the bare skin of his back and chest, its night-icy fingers receiving no reaction for their work.
The gust dies as the young man remains still, the only movement the constant rise and fall of his chest. He sat in deep contemplation, in meditation to prepare himself for the difficult task ahead. This centered him. His magic crackled softly around him in silver and blue lines of power. He loved these missions and the adrenaline rush that came with them. He was good, damn good at this. He was The Shadow.
The room brightened as his power flashed more and more violently around him. He 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 fell into darkness; it was over.
Startling emerald eyes suddenly opened, their light almost glowing in the blackness. He lowered the dagger and slowly 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, he could make or break the best of them. He would close his eyes and his mind and magic would soar over the boundaries, studying the linking and unwinding them. His mentor, Krystien, had said that he had never seen anyone do such a thing before. Kai closed his eyes again, Krystien was his family, the only person that he had ever loved. Of course, Krystien wasn't Kai's real family. His family was long dead. Krystien as well, a mere 11 months ago.
Krystien had taken Kai in went he was only eight years old. He had been living on the streets, abandoned to the cold of winter. His 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. Krystien found him curled up between two garbage cans in a alley in the middle of the night. He had fed him, warmed him, and from then on taught him everything that he knew.
Krystien 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 wizards were meant for this style, floundering under the normal methods. Kai was one of them. Krystien spent the next 3 years teaching him magic the way he wanted to teach him, regardless of ministry regulations.
As a muggleborn wilder Krystien had few legal career choices. When growing up he decided to join the guild of assassins. When Kai was old enough Krystien presented Kai with the choice to follow him as an apprentice. As a child practically devoid of emotion, Kai was well suited for the trade. He had trained hard for nine years to become what he was today. He was a master and so was given the codename 'Shadow'. Krystien had showed him many sides of the world, the good, the bad…but most of all, Krystien had shown him the love of a brother. Knowing that he could never replace a parent for Kai, Krystien took Kai under his wing as a little brother and showed him the power of loyalty and friendship.
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. It was almost time to go.
From time to time the British Ministry of Magic would send an agent to meet with him. This ministry had a problem, a big problem. This wizard, a man by the name of Voldemort, was creating a ruckus. While he was born in England, Kai was happy to keep himself withdrawn from English society. However, several of this wizard's followers, known as Death Eaters, needed to be gotten rid of and apparently he was one of only a few that succeeded in finding them. Tonight would be the conclusion of another hunt.
His target 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.
"You brought the information?" the youth had asked.
"I have, as long as the deal stands from the previous arrangements," the man kept his hood up over his head, his face hidden within the cowl. The contact agent had changed without him being notified; that set him on edge.
"It is as I have said before, wizard; I do not like to repeat myself."
The agent slid him a briefcase underneath the table in the booth between them until it brushed his calf. Kai nodded, wandlessly picking up the disillusioned briefcase and leaving.
That meeting had felt just a little bit off. There was something about the man that have given him a bad feeling, but he was definitely an unspeakable and bore the right code and legitimate proofs that he spoke for the ministry.
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 in the room and first grabbed the two holsters for his forearm length battle daggers. The assassin slid the daggers into the holsters so they ran horizontally along his waist on the back. Kai almost never used his Dagger of Power in his work, death released a wizard's magic and death magic was not something he wanted tainting this 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. An acquaintance of his had miraculously escaped being captured and it had left his face and body horribly mangled. At the point where such a situation was imminent Kai knew he would rather go on his own terms than go mangled and screaming, without any pride or honour.
"Might as well get this over with," he whispered, his low voice smooth, almost snake like.
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 his door and 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 smirked as he stood and slipped into his animagus form. A thestral stretched its huge black wings and leaped 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 wardings 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 he had no such luck. The dark haired youth hoped that he would be able to do his job quietly and while Lucius still slept so no one would be the wiser, including his wife. He had no desire to incur collateral damage. He had managed it before and hoped he could do it again.
He crouched low beside the bed, weapon drawn blade down ready to deal the final blow. Suddenly lights blared on in the room and a loud mechanical buzzer sounded.
"Damn!" he hissed and dove for the balcony, only to have the doors slam shut in his face and wardings snap into place around the room. 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 as he looked to the doorway to see the Malfoy heir standing there, wand pointed directly at him.
"Don't move," the youth yelled at him. 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. Kai had no wand to give him so the situation was not going to get better even if he yielded his knife.
"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. The look didn't look near as menacing as it would have in his natural face, but it was dark enough that Lucius drew his wand and pointed it at Kai as well.
Deciding to play along, Kai dropped the gleaming silver dagger he had 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 to 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.
Kai nearly smiled, 'A challenge,' he thought.
"Impressive," Malfoy drawled, "but you're not good enough, boy," Lucius drew a long saber from a sheath on his hip that Kai had not even noticed.
Kai couldn't hide his sharp intake of breath as he felt the powerful death magic surrounding the sword, its aura making Kai's nose wrinkle in revulsion. Many a powerful 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, but not talented enough. 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, the powerful strike 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 tall, lean man stood at the head of the group, the magical aura was a swirl of darkness that crackled around him, telling of great power and great evil. This was not good.
"We came as soon as Narcissa alerted us, Lucius, now let me take a look at him," the tall man's voice was smooth, dark … 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, Kai laughed to himself, the man didn't seem that scary.
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.
No, that would require him going into a trance. He'd couldn't afford that; he'd be killed.
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, C-360."
It didn't take long for Kai to figure out 360 meant he was surrounded for 360 degrees by enemies and that they would all fire simultaneously. What they were fired was no huge surprise either.
Now, no human could ever dodge 20 simultaneously cast Cruciatus curses all coming from different directions. Unfortunately for Kai, he was indeed 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 shield, knowing it was futile. 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 circle him, surrounding him. More added their power.
He forced him to accepting the pain as he was taught to, focusing his mind, drawing in magic from around him before flinging up the sharpest shield he could manage, slicing the connection between the caster and the spell, stopping it. As soon as the spells ceased, he and his shield collapsed, without the strength to continue holding. The Cruciatus did horrible things to your magic and your body.
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 steel of a blade sliced into his right arm and the handle of a sword was brought hard on the nape of his neck.
And then, he knew nothing but the darkness.