Chapter 8: A Death Eater’s Tale
“You seem very non-communicative today,” Snape noted after 15 minutes of silently eating lunch with Harry.
“What is it to you?” the boy snapped irritably. “You complain when I talk, anyway.”
Snape shrugged. “I am simply getting the rather uncomfortable vibe that you have a question you’re debating whether or not to ask me. Your inquisitional skills are still being honed, it seems.”
Harry looked down. “Maybe I don’t want to know the answer.”
“Maybe I would refuse to tell you the answer even if you asked it,” he shot back. “But then you’ll never know unless you decide to breach the subject.”
Harry breathed out. “Did you…enjoy it?”
“Being a death-eater, when you really were one? Did you…act the way they act, take pleasure in the things they did?”
“You’re asking if I was a sadist.”
“You can put it that way.”
“I suppose that would be a logical thing for you to surmise, easy enough for you to believe…”
“Maybe once, I would have let myself believe it,” Harry admitted. “I would have believed you capable of any horrible thing, I think. But…it’s not as easy now.”
“Why? Have I changed so very much in my benevolent attitude towards humanity?”
“That’s not the point,” Harry blurted. “Whatever darkness is in you, I don’t…I can’t believe it’s to that level.”
Snape shifted a little. “And why not?”
“Because.” The emphasis in Harry’s voice was telling enough.
“She broke off our friendship, remember?” Snape reminded him. “Maybe the reason was…she found out that…”
“No, no.” Harry shook his head. “I would know if…”
“Yes. I shared the dark lord’s mind, didn’t I? I should know…how deep such things go. And I just don’t…”
“When you were young, and I looked upon your scar, it burned you.” Snape eyed him intensely. “It burned you badly, Potter.”
Harry met Snape’s eyes and searched them for a moment. “They used to scare me,” he mumbled. “They haven’t for a long time, though.”
“But damn you, Potter, if you can read my mind,” he growled.
“I don’t want to read your mind,” he retorted. “I want to read…” He stopped himself, but they both knew what he was going to say anyway. “Can’t…can’t you just tell me?”
“You would not believe me if I did.”
“Yes, I think I would.”
Snape looked at him again and let his eyes cut into his scar a little, wondering if he would flinch or frighten. He didn’t. The man swallowed. “I had my fill of blood, Potter…it filled up my eyes, my mind…” He closed his eyes now. “I learned to hate the sight of it, the stench of it. Long before your mother’s death, I had lost my keenness for the chessboard I was playing on. She was…just my checkmate.”
“When did it start, Snape? When did you shed your first blood?”
He blinked. “I was 19 when I went on my first raid, to kill or capture a wizard most outspoken in the opposition, who was hiding away in the muggle world. Before that, I had preferred to serve the cause in more….intellectual ways.”
“You thought being a death-eater was going to be an intellectual pursuit?”
“You know nothing, Potter, if you do not know the nature of their recruiting. It was meant to be a redefinition of order…something grandly managed and finely tuned, using the power of all forms of magic to create a shield of strength that rivaled the workings of the universe itself. To be welcomed into this new regime, this new power, based upon merit, was a satisfaction it may be hard for you to comprehend.” He exhaled. “I avoided what I did not wish to see. My role, I believed, was that of a counselor, a preparer of plans, and gatherer of information. And yes, I did prepare potions for him. Though I did not believe…they would be used to kill. To extract information from uncooperative prisoners, yes, I admit to that. But I tested them on myself first. I did not wish to serve as executioner.”
“Because you thought it below your intellect?” Harry sneered.
“Because I did not…wish it.” Snape closed his eyes, and there was a sincere sorrow in his voice Harry could not deny.
“Well…then what happened during the raid?”
Snape eyed him and answered simply, “People died.”
“At your hand?”
“In my sight. I told you, I was not…executioner. And there were others eager enough to fulfill that obligation. I was brought along by the dark lord to help him…oversee. It was supposed to be…an honor.”
Snape remembered how the horror had unfolded, how after the wizard had been struck down, his wife and four children were butchered in horrible fashion. He remembered how hard she had begged for the lives of her children, clinging to the edge of Voldemort’s robes even as her throat was being cut. She did not stop until her windpipe was severed. He remembered how the eldest daughter, who could not have been more than 12, had been too shocked by her parents’ murders to move, and found the same knife drive through her heart, dying where she stood.
He remembered the way the other death-eaters gleefully struck down her two younger brothers with their wands. He remembered how Voldemort had the bodies piled up on top of each other in the corner, and how the young little girl, perhaps 6 or 7, had been made to watch. She had climbed atop a cabinet to hide, but revealed herself by screaming.
The young Snape, sickened by the carnage he had already witnessed, had asked Voldemort for the child as his personal property if he could get her to come down. And the dark lord had let him coax that terrified child down under the promise that no harm would come to her. The girl seemed disbelieving, but came down anyway, very slowly, like a cat trying to get out of a tree. She had very little choice, and there was some part of her that seemed resigned to the sudden cruelty of fate.
When she saw the pile of bodies up close, she started sobbing convulsively. Snape didn’t remember how it all unfolded in the lurid fog of his own memories, but his intent had been to scoop up the child and cover her eyes on instinct. But before he could do anything, the dark lord’s voice rang out, and one of the death-eaters was suddenly there, slashing the child through with his blade over and over again.
Snape had started forward, but the dark lord seized his arm. “She’s muggle, Severus,” he stated calmly. “All of them, save the wizard himself were muggle. And muggles for which you and I both hold a hatred, are best utilized in teaching death-eaters the art of death. But I have every intent of keeping my word; you may have the corpse for whatever experimentation you wish.”
Snape’s throat had dried as he watched the mortally wounded child tossed on the pile of bodies…and saw her little hand reach out instinctively and clutch at her dead mother’s sleeve.
“No…experimentation,” Snape had rasped.
“As you wish,” Voldemort conceded, and cried out, “Incindio!”
A fire sprang up among the bodies as the other death-eaters spread out across the house, smashing and destroying. He heard the sound of a whimpering dog. Nothing would be spared here obviously. But now alone, standing in front of the fire while the dark lord strode up the stairs to search the dead man’s office, Severus found himself, with madness flickering in his eyes, yanking the dying child across the floor, out of the flames.
Blood was hemorrhaging from her many wounds, gushing harder with each tortured breath. But even now, she managed words.
“Mama…I want my mama….let me go back to mama…”
“You’ll see your mama soon…very soon…” His voice was shattered as he randomly stroked the burnt side of her face. Charred flakes of skin started to rub off and caused Snape to stop. He didn’t know what to do as her hand kept seeking her mother’s sleeve. She needed something to cling onto to get her through. So Snape crawled over and snatched up the rag doll she had dropped from atop the cabinet.
“Here…here, baby…” he addressed her, not in the trained voice had had assumed in the wizarding world, but in his own rough Cokeworth accent, and there was a tragic tenderness in it. “You hold on, like this…good girl…your mamma is waiting for you…she couldn’t go on without her girl…you can go to her…go on…”
He had let his hand fall on her rising and sinking stomach, until it stopped. Then, with the scent of burnt flesh stinging his nostrils, he had wandered out of the door somehow…and vomited. The whole house was going up in flames now, and it seemed as if the whole world would be consumed in the inferno.
For the next two years, the dark lord put further pressure on Snape, seeming to enjoy forcing him to watch things which he knew turned his stomach inside out. He even purposely overdosed a prisoner on one of Snape’s potions, resulting in death. The young man began to pick up on the message. Voldemort was saying that Snape was no better than any of them, no cleaner than them, and he would have to get used to the stench of blood if he wished to hold his pride of place.
And Snape began to sense that Voldemort was becoming slightly wary of that pride of place. This man who would be lord of the world was extremely suspicious of all who surrounded him. That a proud young man with a school record that proved him to be a protégé would dare to challenge his master so often when in council, that he would hold to his own intellectualist notions on conducting a war, and executing the dark arts with rationality as opposed to at random, rankled Voldemort. So the more he could make Snape squirm…the more he seemed to hope it would knock him down to size.
One day, Snape was brought in for the interrogation of a new “prisoner.” It was a student from Hogwarts, an addle-headed Hufflepuff no less, who had gotten lost in the woods and accidentally stumbled upon the abandoned warehouse Voldemort had been using as headquarters. Snape immediately insisted that the questioning was purposeless, that the little brat was from the single stupidest house in the school, infamous for clumsiness and wandering into trouble by accident, and he was not an asset to the cause in any way.
But Voldemort had not listened. Voldemort had wanted him…interrogated. But this time, at least, he had the courtesy of dismissing Snape from the proceedings. Severus decided it best to go out in the woods himself, to hunt for some herbs needed for potions brewing, and take his mind off of…whatever was happening. He didn’t want to know, even though he couldn’t help but know. He just wanted to turn a blind eye, as he had managed enough times before.
But once outside, Snape heard a muffled moan and the zapping of wands coming from the adjacent underground cellar. Then he saw his fellow death-eaters walk out, cackling to themselves. He felt his skin prickle in the evening air. He thought about turning away. He was not keen on any involvement in another scene. But…he had to see what had happened…
Climbing down the cellar stairs, he lit his wand so he could see in the dark. And then he came upon the child, slumped against the hallway wall. He was staring blankly at his hands, all covered in blood, with his shirt stained red and a crimson puddle having formed next to him.
Snape found himself sickened at the specter of the child, lost in his own terror-stricken world, too far gone to even respond. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do. He took a step nearer on instinct, and the sound of his boots on the concrete made the boy finally snap out of his haze and shrink back against the wall, like a small animal approached by a hunter, closing in for the kill.
Their eyes met, and the air felt frozen over. The scent of blood tinged the cold. The boy was shaking like a leaf now. Snape knew the child in front of him was sentenced to die. It was the dark lord’s will. But…but surely…he didn’t have to suffer…this much…it could be hurried along…that would be legitimate, would it not?
He drew out his wand. The boy’s eyes followed the swing of it, and dimmed in despair. He opened his mouth, as if to try and say something, probably responding to an urge to plead, or possibly scream, but no sound came out, only a mouthful of blood, trickling slowly over his lower lip. He rubbed it away slowly, pathetically, with his sleeve, and let his arm linger there over his lips. But his frightened eyes were still on Severus, just waiting for another surge of pain.
The death-eater stood, and his wand stood, primed to kill. To kill, to kill, always to kill, and draw strength from fresh meat, like wild cats that strike down deer and wild dogs that clean the bones white. He was trained in this way of life, he had embraced it, and it was his lone guide, his master…
Something inarticulate took hold of him, something primal, something that swelled his chest with sheer disgust. As much as he had hated his muggle father and his muggle town, it did not change the fact that he was a midlander, bred and born. The free shires of England, with their history of outlaws in their forests and machinery smashed by General Ludd, had been his home. He had walked the common land, and pathways that rambled over the hills. Even the stench of the factory and his father’s alcohol-stained breath could not prevent the free air from entering his nostrils. The history was too rich for him to swallow slavery. Not now. Not ever.
So it was that boots tromped across the floor, and the wand lowered, until its tip was touching the wound torn across the child’s belly. And a voice, one choked with a surge of inner rebellion, spoke an incantation of healing, not death. Instead of cold electricity, there was a glowing aura and a sealing of that which had been ripped apart. Breath and blood came flowing back into the right channels, and the child inhaled shakily. Then he clutched at his shirt, and saw to his astonishment that the wound had vanished.
Snape decided it would be best to lift the dumbstruck boy up off the stairs to see if he could stand up straight. But then he unexpectedly found himself being hugged by the sobbing 11-year-old, who threw his arms around his neck and buried his tear-streaked face in his shoulder.
The young man tightened, unsure how to respond. “Let go, brat,” he ordered in what he hoped was his most chilling death-eater voice.
The trembling child did not obey, but only nuzzled his head deeper into his shoulder. Snape leaned against the wall, suddenly feeling a pang of his own traumatic childhood memories. This little boy, who had just been terrorized and lost a far amount of blood, still staining his clothes, was so scared he was embracing a branded death-eater for comfort, who, for all he knew, might turn on him any second and kill him.
Snape did not know how long he had let him stay there against him, but he somehow could not bring himself to tear the boy off of him. It had been so long since he felt human touch in this way, and it left him with a strange, uneasy feeling. He was supposed to be untouchable, untrustable…a spy, a monster…something to be hated and feared and destroyed, if it could be managed, like a poisonous spider caught in a jar, like a powerful, deadly, despised disease. People never embrace disease.
But all the same, as his sobbing subsided, the child fell asleep on his shoulder anyway, worn out by the ordeal.
Hufflepuffs, Severus thought. Always so low energy…
Still he found himself slightly soothed by the sound of his breathing and the warmth of his body against him. He just…couldn’t bear to think of him dead. He couldn’t explain that, he just…couldn’t. Snape had thought he would quite like being beyond the realm of touch and trust. It would be his fortress, isolated and proud, with intimidating towers piercing a dark sky. But now he frightened himself with the realization that having something so small and helpless completely at his mercy was not bringing out a death-eater’s blood lust, but a long-concealed protective instinct.
And perhaps it was automatic that one human being, in fear and suffering, should reach out to another for comfort…perhaps sensing some other shared element of fear and suffering, no matter how deeply buried…no matter what mark that other being bore, no matter what darkness was supposed to linger over him…it was as vital as the need to believe in the unseen ability of air to fill up the lungs…
After a long time, he felt the boy stir against him, then stiffen, undoubtedly trying figure out where he was and what had happened. Snape decided he had to handle the situation with tact, lest he set the boy off into a breakdown. Besides…he realized the child’s voice was gone. He had been that way once for five long hours after his father beat him. Lily had talked to him for as long as necessary to open him up again. It had saved him from permanent speechlessness. He needed to get the little urchin…talking…
“I know what you want,” he remarked, in a much gentler tone now. “You want your mother, don’t you?”
The little boy hesitated, then nodded.
“That’s not…unnatural under the circumstances.” He touched the child’s arm, with the intent of trying to carefully pry it loose from his neck, and the boy flinched. “None of that, now…I’m not…going to harm you. If I was going to, I would have done it…back there. I’m not going to now. Just…be calm.” He exhaled, realizing how weak the assurance was, and wanting to take his mind off of it. “Besides, Christmas is coming, so you should be going on leave to see your mother…very soon.” He let his hand drift to the boy’s shoulder and slowly massaged some of the tension out of it. It seemed to have the desired effect, as the boy’s hold eased a little. “So…do you know what you might get her for Christmas?”
Miserable small talk, he knew, but he saw no alternative….
The child swallowed, and shook his head a little, but did not answer.
“You really should plan ahead on these things, boy,” Snape offered, just trying to get him to form words, as the red-haired girl had once done with him. “You have no idea at all?”
The boy stalled, then finally tried opening his mouth, but no sound came out.
“Take…your time,” he instructed. “Just…let the sounds form naturally. Don’t force them out.” That’s how he had done it back then…letting them slowly reemerge in his throat.
“I…I dunno,” the boy choked. “Chocolates, I guess.”
Snape couldn’t help but feel the smallest lift at the corners of his mouth. “Sounds rational,” he responded crisply, and he felt the boy nod. “So what does your mother look like?”
He shifted a little in his arms. “Br…brown hair…blue eyes.” The little Hufflepuff swallowed. “What…what does your mum look like?”
Snape froze, totally taken aback. “Dead,” he spat, wanting very much for it to sound unimportant to him, that he was contemptuous of the question.
But the boy shocked him by responding to this declaration in the form of tenderly tightening his hold on Severus. He felt his saliva thicken in his throat.
“To my kind, death is an art,” he rattled off, but the words were empty. “We do not love; we do not grieve…” He shut his eyes tight, and then rasped, “Child, let me go.”
Slowly, the boy did as he was told, but he still was too weak to do anything but lean up against Snape for support.
Severus sighed. “I…I’m going to go try and find you something…to drink. You need fluids…”
“D…d…don’t…go…” the boy pleaded, sinking back down against the wall, shuddering as his gaze once again fell on the blood staining the floor.
“I’ll be back, brat,” he assured huskily, standing up and turning down the dank hallway. He knew that somewhere down there, the death-eaters had their recreation room – yes, recreation was still to be had by them in what was a chamber of torture for their victims. Inside, he found a small ice box and started to scour through the contents.
“Muggle food…?” he queried to himself, knowing that the dark lord had forbidden such imports. Shrugging, he decided to make the most of it. There were several bottles of flavored water, lemon, raspberry, and strawberry. In addition, there was a box of assorted snack cakes and a bag of cheese crackers shaped like goldfish. Snape decided he might as well just grab it all and figure it out later.
Returning to the hall, he found the boy partially drifting off to sleep, and Snape had to rouse him with a shake. He pulled him up on his feet.
“Here,” he offered, unscrewing the lid of the lemon water. “Rinse with this.”
He put the bottle to the boy’s lips, and the child winced.
“Go on, you little fool, it’s only water. It’ll help.” He tilted it up and let the water trickle into his mouth. “Now don’t swallow it; spit it out. I’ll give you some to drink afterwards. Just spit out over there by the grate.”
Snape held the boy round the middle as the child leaned over and let the water dribble out of his mouth. “Can’t you spit, boy?” Snape snapped impatiently.
The boy made an effort, but was so weak he could barely manage.
“Alright…it’s alright, don’t…choke yourself.”
When he’d finished, Snape settled him against his shoulder and again brought the bottle to his lips. The boy responded eagerly, like a small rodent, sucking at the bottle happily, although also measuring his swallows. The blood loss had obviously made him quite thirsty.
“Easy,” Snape cautioned him. “Don’t kill yourself after all this trouble, you little monster.”
When he took the bottle away, Snape proceeded to use the water to soak a paper towel and clean off the child’s bloodied face and hands. Again their eyes met, and he saw a glimmer of wordless gratitude staring back at him. He suddenly felt very small himself.
“Want…to try and eat something?” he queried awkwardly. “There were…snack cakes in that ice box, believe it or not.”
The boy smiled just a little, and Severus took that to mean ‘yes.’ So he helped undo the plastic wrapping which enabled him to rapidly down one of the chocolate cream rolls, followed by one of the strawberry cream ones. Snape himself was feeling wrung out enough to require some energy, so he too took advantage of the bounty. He had no idea that the lower ranks were getting better food rations then he was, but he had to admit the snack cakes were the best thing he’d eaten in a while.
Then the boy started delving into the cheese crackers. It seemed as if he had rather forgotten his previous woes, at least for the time being, surrounded by some basic creature comforts.
“You do eat a lot, don’t you?” Snape sighed.
The boy paused and looked at him, as if a bit concerned he might have gotten on his wrong side and had just jeopardized his future.
“Don’t look at me like that, urchin,” he huffed. “Really, I have no intention of…”
Just then Snape heard footsteps from the outside, and shoved the boy behind him. He knew who it was…he could feel it in the air. It was him. Out for his evening walk, it seemed. Oh, was there nothing that could be hid from him…
Snape had the wherewithal to snatch up his wand and mutter his own created spell that transported them both to the back exit of the cellar. Climbing out, Snape snatched the boy’s arm and hurriedly dragged him into the nearby woods. He had to get him out and fast. But the woods were dark, and the child was obviously more than capable of losing himself. If he did it again, they would both be done for.
An idea came to him, but he almost instantly dismissed it as insane. No death-eater could do what he had in mind. It had been stated over and over again. No death-eater could have pure enough thoughts to cling to. It was impossible…
And yet he could not help but remember back, back when he was 13, and first showed his patronus to Lily. Of course, wanting to be hardcore, he had made the thing come out of his wand like a bat with little red eyes, and it flew around like one.
“Sev, that thing is creepy!” she’d complained with a shiver.
“No, it’s not,” he’d protested. “It’s just…epic.”
“Looks like you’re trying to haunt a house or something,” she’d countered.
“Well, what’s yours then?” he had challenged.
And she took no time in demonstrating her own creation. “Well?” she has asked excitedly as the delicate doe had emerged from her wand.
“It’s…cute,” he had offered, rather uncertainly.
She then had huffed and crossed her arms.
“Oh, come on, Lils! Look, its fine. Really. It’s even nice…for what it is.”
She sighed, relenting reluctantly. “I suppose yours is nice for what it is too.” Then she’d grabbed him by the hand. “Now that that’s all settled, I’m starving, and there’s this pumpkin spice cream roll and pumpkin spice cream tea special at the cafeteria I’ve been dying to try! Let’s go together.”
They had then walked off and gotten into a deliciously zany conversation about how everything possible had been laden with pumpkin flavoring for the autumn menu board, including pumpkin flavored pumpkin…and Lily had laughed her infectious laugh…
And 21-year-old Severus Snape the death-eater, infusing himself with this profoundly simply memory, saw a figure take shape from his wand. He blinked as he saw…it was a doe.
“You follow that deer, boy,” Snape ordered briskly, kneeling down and shaking him by the shoulders. “Follow wherever she leads. She’ll get you through the woods and back to the school grounds.”
The Hufflepuff stared at him. “What…what are they going to do to you when…?”
“Never you mind, brat,” he cut him off. “I’m more than capable of handling it for myself. Now scram, you little mite!”
Impulsively, the child crushed Severus in another random embrace, then turned and followed the shining silver deer.
Snape watched him disappear behind the trees, and then muttered a spell to erase his memory of all that had transpired between them. This act should have been simple enough and yet he found himself chilled to the bone as the words left his mouth. For he was severing a newborn bond he had just reforged between himself and humanity, one that revealed him not as a monster, but a man. A very young man, in fact, whose rebellion could never be known.
But the trees seemed to have had eyes, and ears, and memories…
When Voldemort declared to his assembled minions that a prisoner had escaped, Severus knew he had been found out. He knew by the look in his would-be master’s eyes. And he knew there was no escaping what was coming. Still, he had tried to fall back upon his own rank, for surely he would not be treated as a common member of the rank and file. He was the Half-Blood Prince, a protégé, a counselor of the one who would not die…
But his illusions of grandeur were shattered, and for the first of many times to come, he felt Voldemort’s dark tortures course through his body. He was being punished like a disobedient dog, and his pride throbbed as a lump in his throat he was forced to swallow back. He writhed on the ground, tightening and releasing as the pain swam through his veins.
For many years afterwards, he would become increasingly accustomed to bearing up against the Dark Lord’s wrath. He even created a spell to numb the pain when it became too intense. But he rarely used it. He could not bring himself to ease his own suffering when he had been unable to ease the suffering of so many other victims, too many of them women and children, tortured to death while he was forced to look on, a placid expression forcefully smeared like makeup over his face.
Besides…he felt he deserved it, without restraint.
Sometimes, half delirious, he would speak to the pain and encourage it to ravage him for all the horrors he had participated in, and somehow burn the evil out of him. Sometimes he asked it to go extra hard on him to wear itself out so the next child Voldemort’s magic sucked the life out of would not know its full force. Sometimes he asked it to wrap around his blackened heart, like a snake, and take a bite out of it, so death would come at last. Sometimes he asked that the veil of time might be split, and any pain his Lily might have known in dying might be generated into his own body instead. Sometimes, he simply blacked out and found himself mercifully unaware of the worse of it.
But on this day, this first day of the torture and the pain, Severus had remained awake, and unaccustomed to the intensity, he had cried out. It was the first and last time he would give his cruel master the satisfaction. But what was worse than the physical contractions was the taunting, as the dark lord made sport of him in the midst of his torture.
“The great Severus Snape, the prince of the night,” he spat. “Prince of half-cup empty, prince of tainted blood.” He smirked, and cast a spell to fill his goblet with some substance. “I know what the other half is, Severus. Kitten’s cream.” He threw the contents of sour milk in the proud young man’s face.
Snape, still crumpled on the floor, hissed, “I am no…milk sop, my lord! You…send me…send me, anywhere! I will do whatever task there is to do, without question. I will show you, my lord…I am…no coward…”
“Are you loyal to me, Severus? Or to your own sentiments and ambitions?”
“I am branded in your service, my lord,” he panted, just wanting the pain to end now. “The mark will never leave me. It is my armor against weakness…”
“Then mind you wear it well on the mission on which you must go,” Voldemort instructed, placidly. “You will enjoy this; spying has always suited you, Severus.”
Snape had no idea at the time that the mission would lead him to uncover the news of a prophecy, of a newborn child, and all that proceeded forth from it. He had no idea that the words that came forth from his lips would be the death sentence of James and Lily Potter. He had no idea that, when he later tried to secure at least Lily’s life by making Voldemort think that his interest in her was carnal and out of revenge against her husband, he would be met by mockery and the promise that if the redhead mudblood lived, they would all share a taste of her.
He had no idea that it would send him running, running to Dumbledore and pleading that he would give anything, anything at all, if the headmaster could do something, anything to save them. All of them.
But in the end it was all in vain. The blood would always be on his hands, as red as her hair, and he would bear the dark mark in his eyes until they saw no more.
Avellina Balestri (aka Rosaria Marie) is one of the founding members and the Editor-in-Chief of The Fellowship of the King, a literary magazine with a strong Tolkienite influence (which, by the way, is open to submissions). She reads and writes extensively, and eagerly seeks out the deeper spiritual significance of popular fandoms such as The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games. And yes, she does have a soft spot in her heart for classic Disney movies, The Princess Bride, and Merlin 😉 She is also a recording artist, singing traditional folk songs and her own compositions as well as playing the penny whistle and bodhran drum. She draws her inspiration from the Ultimate Love and Source of Creativity, and hopes to share that love and creativity with others.