"Enter." The command was quiet but sharp; the voice conveyed a calm confidence without bluster.

Jocobe did as the voice prompted and entered the austere office of The Highest of The Guild, allowing the door to swing quietly shut behind him. "Highest. I come before you that I may serve." It was a formal greeting but it was voiced in such a way that his great respect for the man behind the position came across clearly.

"Young Jocobe, how is it that you can serve The Guild today?" Another formal response and only those who were intimately familiar with Marius Abbertrés would have heard the hind of fondness in the Highest's voice.

"Highest, I have found a student for The Guild; a student that holds greater promise than any previous." Jocobe had to repress the urge to nervously lick his lips, if he wanted The Highest to accept his proposal then he would need to present it perfectly, otherwise it would be dismissed out of hand.

The Highest raised his eyebrow in mocking question, "Greater promise than any other, you say, young Jocobe. Who, pray tell, could possibly have gained such attention?" He was slightly intrigued, but the fact that Jocobe had not simply stated that there was a possible new apprentice for the guild, as he normally would, made Marius wary.

"This particular individual is younger than we would normally accept as an apprentice; however, in this case that is all to the better as it allows us to secure our position in his life before he is influenced by others. Besides his age there is only one reason you could have for not accepting him, and it is to his and our advantage to ignore it."

Marius lifted that same eyebrow again, somehow conveying his slight amusement and annoyance. Dropping formality in favor of addressing his former apprentice plainly he drawled, "Oh, after that ringing endorsement that contained so many clear and obvious details, I cannot help but sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the greatness of the mystery individual; who, strangely, I still know absolutely nothing about." The sarcasm had an edge to it that said clearly, 'Don't waste my time.' "Care to fill me in, Jocobe?"

Jocobe smiled slightly nervously; there was less of a chance of convincing him if he was annoyed. "I beg that you hear me out and allow me to explain after I have told you who, Highest." He sighed almost explosively when Marius nodded imperiously both to his request and to indicate for him to continue. "The boy is Harry James Potter."

If he had expected surprise, or indignation, or, in fact, any blatant reaction he was to be disappointed. Marius merely raised his eyebrow again, this time managing convey his doubts in Jocobe's cognitive abilities. He said only three words, however, "Very well… Explain."

"The boy has been placed into an abusive home, most likely to keep him ignorant and dependent upon Dumbledore when he enters the wizarding world. This is particularly important because Dumbledore, the last one to defeat a dark lord, has immense political power. If the young Potter were to manage his celebrity and act properly and accomplish a few minor feats in his life he could, conceivably, easily replace Dumbledore when the old man passes." He searched The Highest's eyes to see if he was following, and when he was sure he was he continued. "Now imagine, if you will, what would happen if The Guild were to "rescue" the young Potter from his abuse and teach him all about magic; give him a place of his own in the world and after the abuse he has suffered he would be forever in our debt. From there it would be a simple thing to poison him against the wizarding world that killed his parents, condemned his innocent godfather to Azkaban, and finally condemned him to an abusive household to keep him ignorant. By the time he is old enough to go to Hogwarts we would have a loyal servant absolutely focused upon furthering The Guild's goals and the destruction of the wizarding world."

The Highest sat in still in his seat, his eyes distant as if watching the future Jocobe described. When he finally seemed to come back to himself he searched Jocobe's face carefully, "The Guild is strong, but even The Guild would not survive the wrath of the wizarding world if we were to kidnap their young hero. The best we could hope for would be that they never discovered who took him, but we would be incapable of hiding his magical signature from their searches."

"I have already considered that, Highest, and I suggest we replace the young boy with a Doppelganger, that way the wizarding world would have no reason to search for him." This would be the most difficult part in convincing The Highest, Doppelgangers were expensive propositions for only a few days – the potions and other magical paraphernalia to pass one individual off as identical to another were very expensive and got progressively more so the longer one had to remain in disguise; to use one for years would cost a fortune.

This finally garnered a reaction, more than a raised eyebrow, from the man; unfortunately it was an incredulous snort. "A Doppelganger? Tell me Jocobe, where exactly is this doppelganger going to come from? Who is going to pay him to give up years of his life to play an abused little boy? Who is going to pay to provide him with the necessary equipment? How exactly are we going to continually provide him with those materials in secret over the course of the years?" He shook his head slightly, seemingly at the absurdity of the idea. "I don't believe you truly understand how expensive a Doppelganger would be, even if we only needed it for three years – the shortest anyone has ever completed their apprenticeships, and you can be assured that a little boy with no prior magical knowledge will take far longer. Let me put it simply, it would easily cost a hundred thousand galleons a year, likely near double that in fact. No, young Jocobe, The guild does not have a million galleons to throw away on the off chance this little idea of yours plays out."

Jocobe almost smiled, "You're forgetting something, Highest." He paused for a moment to increase the effect, "You are forgetting the Potter fortune." The Highest's eyes pierced him, pinning him to the spot and he knew that this would be the moment of his ultimate decision. He met his mentor's eyes with as much determination and conviction as he could muster. At last The Highest leaned back in his chair, a small smile playing at the edges of his mouth.

"Do it."

To Serve

Jocobe is pronounced Yo • kobe

This story takes place in a world where the worst dark lord in history claims far more than a mere few hundred lives in his reign of terror; in other words, in a more realistic and mature world than our beloved Harry Potter roamed.

A faction that calls themselves The Guild and practices a very different kind of magic than the wizarding world take interest in the young Harry Potter, this story is what became of their interference in fate.