dm_mod (dm_mod) wrote in d_matribus,
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Prologue

The 1960's was a relatively calm period in the history of wizarding Britain.

Outside of an errant dragon, a few incidents involving bewitched Muggle items, and the occasional robbery, the Daily Prophet found little negative news to print. Faint memories of Grindelwald's terrible reign in the 1940's were fading like a bad nightmare, and Albus Dumbledore himself continued to teach younger generations of wizards how to protect themselves. It was a pleasant era, which in part is why the community found it hard to take the encroaching dark forces seriously.

The old money Slytherin families that had survived the last war had spent decades trying to rebuild their lost prestige. Even the common wizard knew that a handful of the Hogwarts governors were Averys or Notts, and it was just as obvious that many high-ranking officials at the Ministry were Blacks or Carrows, and yet it was a given fact of almost-aristocracy that someone's great-uncle had sold dragon's blood at some point in time, and his brother killed someone else's grandfather in a duel - and it was all history, wasn't it?

There were snakes in the Ministry, in short, but it was one man that turned the wizarding world upside down. He slipped back into London in 1966, nothing more than a gaunt figure in a dark cloak, all glowing eyes and whispered orders, and seemingly with nothing more than the power of persuasion, things began to change. At first, the Muggle murders were too varied to make it into the wizarding media, and the disappearance of a handful of witches and wizards could not be traced to one source.

It was in 1969, after the mysterious death of Minister Waldo Crispe, that anyone began to suspect something was awry. The late Crispe, who had taken office after Merlin Burrage, leader of Britain through the war with Grindelwald, retired, had been a fair and well-liked minister, and his sudden illness (and consequent death) took the public by surprise. An investigation revealed no foul play, and yet several of the more liberal wizard newspapers printed dodgy interviews with anonymous witches and wizards who hinted that Crispe's death was either an inside job or an outright hoax.

So it was with some hesitation that the wizarding public ushered Millicent Bagnold into office as the new Minister for Magic in the spring of 1970. Bagnold was an oddity in that she was the first witch to become minister in many years, and was considered fairly progressive. She coined the slogan, "No Lies, Know Truth", which was a direct reference to the public's suspicion of its government's high-ranking officials; wizarding historians would later credit Bagnold for making the Ministry seem more "people friendly" for a brief time. Historians would also note that it was terrible timing for Minister Bagnold to take office when she did.

It was good timing, however, that Albus Dumbledore became the new headmaster of Hogwarts. Armando Dippet, the former headmaster, had grown too tired to manage the eager minds of his students, and asked the long-time Transfiguration professor (not to mention war hero) to take over the honorable duty. Dumbledore was the obvious choice, in the public's eye, and even the Ministry swallowed its pride - as the wizard had been first in line to be Minister, but politely declined - and printed their approval with the new headmaster in the Daily Prophet.

During the political shuffling, another lesser-known group was going through some changes, as well. The Knights of Walpurgis, as they called themselves, were struggling to find well-qualified members. The heads of the old and powerful Slytherin families were not young anymore, and their heirs were too young to be given so much responsibility. This meant that cousins, husbands-in-law were to take care of business, which was always risky. The leader of the Knights was growing restless at lack of progress on various levels.

Dumbledore would later say that Tom Riddle, a Slytherin from the class of '47, had always been impatient.

Riddle was a tall, handsome boy that made top marks in his classes. He had all the traits of a natural-born leader, and yet possessed no close friends. There was something about him that turned others away, some quality that one couldn't place by simply looking at or speaking with him that was deeply unsettling. Professors would point out that Tom was too serious for a teenage boy. Dumbledore suspected him of several unpleasant incidents at the school, one of which resulted in the expulsion of another student, but no professor had been able to lay blame on the grave Slytherin.

Riddle acquired a following that included some of the brighter, more vicious Slytherin boys, and yet none of them could really be called his friends. He moved through each successive grade without any academic or extracurricular trouble, was chosen as prefect in his fifth year, and was unanimously voted Head Boy in his seventh. Tom graduated magna cum laude from Hogwarts and absolutely disappeared.

Not even his closest followers could say what Riddle did in the years between 1947 and 1966, when he quietly returned to Britain. It is rumored he studied with Gregorovitch, the reclusive Eastern European wand maker, and (less likely) might have even served in the Muggle army during their Second World War. What was clear, though, was that Tom Riddle had returned as an entirely different wizard, and taken a new name - Lord Voldemort.

It is unclear why Voldemort chose to keep his Knights' activity under the radar of the Ministry for the earlier part
of the decade, but in 1978, things began to change.
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