Why Snakes Shouldn't be Used to Look for the Fountain of Youth
(In Florida at Least)
A/N: Don't own, don't get any compensation from. Just for fun.
A/N 2: This is based on an article called "man vs. snake Everglades smackdown" written by Dave Berry, which was reprinted in Reader's Digest after being printed in the Miami Herald on Jan. 13, 2013
"Master, master", the devotional tones of Bellatrix Lestrange rang throughout the chamber that housed Voldemort's throne in the Malfoy summer house in Nice. The slightly unhinged Death Eater was one of Voldemort's fiercest fighters, although given that they were held off from accomplishing their mission by six students, two who hadn't even finished their OWLs yet, was discouraging to say the least. Bellatrix, in particular, was disappointed that she didn't even manage to lay a single spell on the Longbottom whelp. Her master was harsh with her, but she knew she deserved it for not being able to finish what they were ordered to do by their Lord. It still brought a smile to her face, remembering the screams of her brother-in-law for his failure in leading them to acquire their master's prophecy.
Voldemort turn to look at the kneeling form of his most devoted Death Eater. With the exception of one or two of his followers, they could all be the same, one of the reasons he made them dress in the same outfit. Although it wasn't like Voldemort to want followers who thought for themselves, it sort of took away from having followers if they started making their own decisions about stuff. He just wished he had more competent and less stupid followers. He returned from his musings and addressed Bellatrix.
"Arise, Bellatrix, report what you have found out." Voldemort hissed to his prostrated follower. The aforementioned Bellatrix Lestrange, with a slightly disappointed look on her face that her master hadn't used the Cruciatus Curse on her, unlike most witches and wizards she felt pleasure from that particular curse and not the overwhelming pain that most in the magical community do. Her musings were cut short by the sound of her lord and master tapping his wand into the palm of his hand. Realizing that there were curses that did cause her pain and her master would use them if she kept him waiting to long Bellatrix spoke.
"Master, I've found it, I found what you need to insure you immortality." Preening in the attention she was getting from Voldemort, Bellatrix didn't noticed the rest of the Dark Lord's forces coming into his throne room after getting a notification to do so.
Voldemort was at cross purposes, he had always thought of himself as the smartest, strongest wizard since Merlin. For his lackey to have found something he had not, despite his searching caused him to become rather angry. Still if what Bellatrix had found was to be believed he wouldn't have to worry about that ever again.
After regaining his body at the end of the Tri-wizard tournament, Voldemort had put his forces on two projects. Lucius' was to manage a way for his prophecy to be retrieved in order for him to hear it; so far that hadn't been going that well. Bellatrix was to look for someway for him to stay alive if what happened when he went to kill the Potter heir ever happened again.
Since Lucius' project didn't seem to be coming along that well, it was Bellatrix's that the dark lord was the most interested. While the use of spells and potions had held off the advances, something in the ritual that Wormtail did to resurrect him had gone bad, he was aging at an advanced rate.
The fact that Voldemort had come back hairless should have been an indication that something had gone wrong, but given that he had thought that his hair just needed time to grow back, had led Voldie into a false sense of security. It was only after Christmas when there was absolutely no hair growth that Voldemort started to become worried.
It was this reason the Dark Lord had instructed his Death Eaters, under the command of Lucius, to get his prophecy out of the Department of Mysteries. Given that it was that prophecy that led him to attack the Potters, while planning to attack the Longbottoms next week, and before being disembodied that Halloween, he had a stately head of hair and had come back bald upon his resurrection.
Admittedly Wormtail could have gotten the resurrection ritual wrong, Voldemort would have to say that he had come back to life, so it was possible that something else besides Wormtail messing up the ritual, such as the mudblood's protection, that was causing Voldemort problems with his form. The fact that he had a connection with Harry was troubling him too, even while he had tried to use the connection to his advantage and get the boy to retrieve his prophecy. It would have worked too, if not for Dumbledore and his vigilantly group.
Trying to get the wording of the prophecy out of Potter's feeble mind proved to be more difficult than Voldemort expected, this was in part due to his fear of remembering what happened the last time he tried to enter Potter's mind. The residual effects of the pain Voldemort felt in his conflict with Potter when he was ejected from the boy's mind caused Voldemort to be bed ridden for a week. Explaining that to his followers took some fancy talking to keep them from revolting and trying to usurp him.
Voldemort didn't have many illusions of the loyalty of his followers, save Belatrix; he figured that if Lucius could figure out a way to overthrow him, then the rein of the Dark Lord Voldemort would be over before you could say "Quidditch". In hindsight, Voldemort cursed himself for entrusting one of his Horcrux's to the blond pureblood. Who knew what sort of spells Lucius cast on the journal to try to understand how to undermine his master, after getting his own taste of power pulling Fudge's strings using the Malfoy fortune spurned on by the minister's greed.
Reading Lucius' mind after summoning him during his resurrection "celebration", and didn't that not go the way he expected with Potter escaping and alerting Dumbledore. Voldemort came to realize that Lucius, instead of being pleased that his lord and master was back felt resentment towards Voldemort, for possibly ruining his behind the scenes running of the ministry.
When testing Malfoy, after getting over the shock of the Prior Incantatem, Voldemort was told by the blond pureblood that he had agents throughout the ministry waiting for the word when they would rise up and deliver it to the Dark Lord. While Malfoy sounded as though he was nothing other than thrilled to see Voldemort was back, his mind was filled with worries over how the Dark Lord being back could sour his dealings at the ministry, not to mention the safety of his family.
Luckily, Malfoy had rudimentary Occlumency shields that were able to keep his annoyance at having to kowtow to someone he thought was gone for good, leaving the way for him to rule from the shadows blasted out for any Legimens to read. Voldemort's war in the 70's had shown him that a full frontal attack, aside from being to Gryffindor to seriously comprehend, gave those unworthy of opposing you ample reason to nurse a grudge. Better to rule from the shadows with a puppet to take all the blame. Lucius knew if any of the Dark Lord's hard line supporters, Belatrix for example, Merlin forbid the Dark Lord himself, knew what he was thinking he could expect a quick death, for which he made sure his Occlumency was constantly up during any meeting he had with his fellow Death Eaters.
Voldemort, however, did not know this. While he was still mad at Lucius for abandoning him for those long thirteen years, the blond wizard made a good point that his getting a favored position in the higher echelon of the Ministry as a way of encouraging the pureblood position of keeping the half bloods and mud bloods in their proper places was, if not an advancement of their plan, at least a way to stop those like Dumbledore who would see wizards as nothing less than trained magicians for the benefits of Muggles. It was with Lucius' knowledge that the plan to gain access to his prophesy came to be, regardless of the fact that it didn't happen at least for once the knowledge that he was given by one of his followers turned out to be right for Voldemort, if he had to suffer though another Wormtail debacle he would kill all of his Death Eaters and start recruiting new followers, pushing his plans for Britain and Europe at large back by a considerable degree.
Going into the library that his followers had "donated" their personal books to, Voldemort walked to the section that was dominated by wizarding folklore. Pulling down a tome that dealt with immortality, Voldie went to where the most comfortable seat was. Casting a spell getting the fireplace roaring, Voldemort settled down and started reading, with a self enlarging piece of parchment and a quill on a side table beside him. Flipping the pages of the book so that he was roughly two-hundred pages in, Voldemort came to the section that he was looking for.
It would appear that in the sixteen hundreds a Spanish squib explorer by the name of Ponce de Leon was sent on an exhibition where he was told that he was to look for new wand woods and cores to help his family's wand making business. In reality de Leon, formally Edwin Slytherin had been turned out with the hope that some creature in the new world would take care of him, there by removing the stain of a squib being born into the Noble and Ancient Salazar family. It was rumored that noble Slytherin was a descendent of that same family that led to the finding of the Fountain of Youth, even though with the shame of their squib relative being the one that found it meant that they couldn't come out and claim it. If it was true however it should be some where in the wizarding world's history. Voldemort let out a triumphant hiss as he found the passage he was looking for, in a journal reputedly belonging to de Leon's brother Alfred.
"16 August, 1537
Was good to met with Edwin, was somewhat of a surprise to spend time with him after so long. Had a good talk with him, while he was disappointed with how mother and father treated him bares he me no ill will. Will try to keep in contact with him, however his planned trip to the southern part of the newly discovered world may keep a correspondence at a minimum, have gotten Edwin's permission to scry for him regularly to make sure that he isn't grievously injured/had died.
23 February 1569
Am now at the end of my life, and while I am sad that I will not be able to spend more time with those that I love, do not feel as though I have lived a wasted life. The palatable love of my friends and family has been nearly tangible as they have gathered to comfort me upon my passing and find comfort in spending time together to soften their grief.
Was surprised to get a visit from Edwin, have not been able to account for his whereabouts for some time now. Was shocked to see that in the intervening thirty years since we had last laid eyes on each other it would appear that Edwin had not aged a day. At first thought that my brother had lost a fight with a vampire, was evident upon Edwin coming close that his complexion was too hale and rosy for that to be the case.
After Edwin had situated himself by my bedside I rose up, with Edwin helping me, and took a proper look at him. I was shocked at what was presented before me. Know that with magic we are able to prolong the stages of aging later in life, for most of it, however, we have to follow the normal stages of aging that our non-magical brethren are beholden to. Only upon achieving the age that most muggles (as they are being referred to in popular circles) refer to as middle age does our maturing start to slow down and allow us the ability to live two to three times the age that they do. Unfortunately this does not hold true with squibs, so I was shocked to see such an improvement in what I expected Edwin to look like this late in his life.
Upon requesting an explanation of how he had come to appear to forestall the advancement of aging without the benefit of a magical core, Edwin's face split into a large grin. As he settled himself more firmly in the chair by my side, my brother asked me how much I had paid attention to the stories mother had told us about the Philosophers' Stone. Edwin asking that question left my in a state of shock, while I soaked up the stories mother told us about valiant wizards questing for such things as the cloak of invisibility or the Philosophers' Stone Edwin had always scoffed and said that they were tales for impressionable wizards and witches who didn't have the imagination to make something of themselves and spent fruitless hours trying to find a cloak that would hide themselves from death, I was surprised at the earnest look upon his face as he questioned me. It would appear that my brother's cynicism had been soften in the intervening years since we had meet last.
I sat in stupefied shock listening to Edwin spin a story about a natural spring that granted restorative powers of rejuvenation. Upon my stating that his story was too fanciful to believe, Edwin smiled a rather smug smile and pulled a flask out of a pocket of his traveling cloak. Holding the flask in front of me Edwin declared that inside it was the rejuvenating waters that he had spoke of and if I would place a modicum of trust in him he would ease the pain and toil of aging that I had been subjected to.
Perhaps realizing that while I loved my brother, the fact that he showed up claiming to have an ability to essentially put a stopper in death was quite a claim, Edwin offered to at the very least prove that the liquid within was safe to drink. Within saying so Edwin raised the flask to his lips and took a sip of what was inside. Seeing my brother having no ill effect to what he had quaffed I agreed to try this elixir of youth.
Imagine my great surprise that as the liquid, which tasted like no more than the water that we procure from the town well, began to smooth out my skin, restore my eyesight and energize my magical core. Edwin warned to use the liquid sparingly as he didn't know how long the restorative powers lasted and he didn't have access to a potion lab to do an in depth examination of the draught.
Upon doing an examination on the draught, using a proper potions lab, the tests proved no ingredient that would suggest that it was anything other than natural spring water. Likewise the use of magic, both passive and direct, has not given a clue as to the origin of it's power. Asking Edwin where he had gotten the water from, he had claimed that it was some where in the southern end of the colonies in a place that most of the natives spoke a dialect that sounded somewhat like what were heard on our trip to Hispania. One can only hope that I will be able to die if I so choose as I have noticed that the rate that my old friend are dying at is starting to worry me."
Using what he had found in Alfred's journal as well as some maps that showed the known trade routes that muggles were reputed to use in the 16th century, Voldemort had found what he believed to be the most likely sites of the fabled fountain of youth. After checking his notes Voldemort realized that he had three sites that seemed to be the most likely to prove positive, two of them were fairly sparse leading him to believe that he could send some of his followers and it would not cause to many problems.
The failed attempt to retrieve his prophesy from the Department of Mysteries, plus the effort needed to break his followers out of Azkaban after they had been captured, left Voldemort without many resources to call on. While his death eaters, who had been able to escape Azkaban upon his downfall, had claimed that this time they were being coerced with the safety of their families to assist his Death Eater and, therefore, were let out of captivity fairly quickly. The fact that they had been implicated in being Voldemort supporters too many times for it to just be swept under the rug like before, leading most of his spies and foot soldiers to be unable to carry out the search for this fabled source of immortality.
Hearing the content murmuring of Nagini as he finished digesting a muggle that was foolish enough to wander into their lair and fell to Belatrix's wand, Voldemort realized that he had a much less conspicuous method to search for the source of his immortality. Quickly deciding not to inform his followers of his plans, Voldemort summoned Nagini and explained what he wished for the snake to do. Nagini quickly understood what was being asked of him and found himself suddenly in another location, one that to the snake's pleasure was a good deal warmer than the drafty manors of England. It was with this pleasant realization that Nagini set out on his mission, unaware that he would soon meet a grizzly end that would lead to the downfall of his master.