The Lord of the Dark Realm did not speak as he offered the maiden his hand, although his grey irises bore right through her as he waited for a response. Hermione knew it was an extremely rare opportunity for Lord Voldemort to present an individual with an option – god or mortal alike.
What she did not know, however, that this was simply a test. The King of the Underworld was measuring her, deciding her worth and power to his cause.
He was giving her a choice. Remain like one of her mother’s naive, innocent potted flowers, caged in the delusions of light and purity of the world above… or join him in his kingdom down below. To learn of magic as old as time, to cultivate power freely without any fear or constraint.
She took his hand without a second’s hesitance and met his gaze boldly, sealing the fate she had created for herself.
“So shall it be done,” Voldemort quipped as he intertwined his hand with hers. The Earth started to quiver, cracking wide open as it revealed a mighty, colossal chasm underneath the surface. The God of Death accompanied by the Goddess of Spring, descended in the Underworld as the Dark Lord’s golden chariot sped away toward the darkness.
Voldemort’s arrival was duly welcomed at once. The Underworld bowed down to him as though it was a living, breathing entity itself. Every flower bent toward him, every river flowed to the direction of his form, every dead subject kneeled in his presence. No stone was left unturned, no matter was left unheeded he knew not about.
He was their Dark King, and now he brought forth a Dark Queen. Like the very empire he ruled, he had a side of him so cold, that even the Sun could not burn on it. And like the moon, she had a side of her so dark, that even the stars could not shine on it.
“My Hermione. My Persephone. My Proserpine.”
“Lord Voldemort, My King.”
Hermione stepped forward as soon as Voldemort motioned for her to come forth. The flower crown of narcissus glimmered beautifully on her head. In the world below, her radiance shone so bright like the Sun, and her veins emanated heat like the hottest of fire.
Perhaps in the Earth above, her hair was a rich, vibrant brown. Though here, in the darkest crevices of Hades, she stood bodaciously tall and commanding amongst the dead. Her long hair flowed in rivers of red, auburn flames as each rivulet of curls blazed brilliantly in the sunless domain.
She gazed into the Dark Lord’s eyes as though she was penetrating his very being; her brown eyes, he noticed, were no more to be found. What stood in its place were glorious pools of liquid amber. Like the Sun, she poured herself to him, showering him with beams of light that might have blinded him had he only been human. Those who stood too close were engulfed by her burning flames. She was the Sun. His Sun, and the Underworld orbited around her very presence.
“My Dear Sisters…” Voldemort cooed before raising his arms as he admired the view of his domain from the throne room in which he was standing.
"We welcome you, Our Lord," solemn voices began to speak in unison as Hermione saw three women materialized before them. They were accompanied by a magical spinning wheel that continued to spin endless supplies of luminous thread. The domestic machine instantly caught her attention as it spun without any aid. She had never seen the wheel before, but only heard of it from the tales told by those in the land above. She knew the King of the Underworld had summoned the Fates.
They were three sisters. There was Clotho, the Spinner, she was the one who spun the thread of life; then, there was Lachesis, the Disposer of Lots, who assigned each mortal his fate. And at last, Atropos, the one who could not be turned. She was the one who carried the ‘abhorred shears’ and cut the thread at death.
"What troubles afflict our Dark King?" The first woman, Clotho said as she held the strings of life in her hands while the wheel spun. She had transformed the magical thread from glittering, formless aether.
“Ask, and we shall answer.”
“Seek, and we shall find.”
“Bid, and we shall obey.”
“Their voices...” Hermione thought. It was like there was only one entity speaking and not three.
“I only bring glad tidings.” Voldemort answered with a pleased look on his face as he gestured toward the goddess beside him.
The sound of a harsh snip from the abhorred shears were heard as the three women simultaneously turned their gaze at Hermione.
“Ah, of course.” The second sister, Lachesis spoke as she measured the thread with her fingers. Her slender digits plucked the strings like the nimble legs of a spider, weaving each destiny into its grand design. “The beautiful, virgin Hermione.”
“The Goddess of Spring,” added the third Fate, Atropos after she snipped the thread and arranged it in the air. She peered closely at Hermione as though the goddess was an interesting specimen which action was then followed by her two other sisters.
“A perfect match. A perfect match, indeed.” They agreed in unison while they slowly encircled her person. Their hands were never resting from the eternal task given to them.
“Nagini…” Voldemort’s sibilant hiss broke the Fates’ mystic inspections as he beckoned his most trusted and magnificent beast.
“Ssssire?” Nagini emerged. The frightening and beautiful basilisk with scales that glittered like starlight pearls slithered into the throne room. Its piercing green, emerald eyes blinked at the god’s form. This legendary creature was a formidable monster, known for its fatal breath and deadly gaze.
“Fetch forth the adamantine dagger. A matrimonial blood ceremony must be performed.” The God of Death ordered as the colossal reptile lifted its enormous head, before bowing in obedience to both Voldemort and Hermione. The terrifying creature had already acknowledged the goddess as its Dark Queen.
“Yesssss, Masssster.” Nagini flicked its long forked tongue, then moved silkily across the parched stone floor to adhere the Dark King’s bidding.
Adamantine was a strong, rare metal that could only be found in the Underworld. It was known as the metal of the gods. This hard material was unlike any other because it was capable of penetrating the skin of an immortal being.
“Are you frightened?” Voldemort queried even if he did not need to ask as Nagini returned with an enchanted double-edged dagger. It was held in between its long, sharp, and poisonous fangs.
“Of a little blood?” Hermione scoffed at him as she offered to him her hands. No hint of fear or hesitation troubled the goddess’ face.
“No,” he corrected while he took the great dagger from the basilisk's mouth. “But for a lifetime of devotion and from here on, be known as the Dark Queen and wife of Hades.”
“Why would I fear a title created for me by Lord Voldemort, himself?” Hermione responded. Her celestial voice was unfaltering until the end. She knew this was a great honor and she was no fool to reject the proposal of the Master of Death.
Voldemort gave her a gratifying smirk and removed his black gloves. He opened his right palm and delicately made an incision across his ethereal skin. Bright crimson fluid trickled the blade. He allowed his immortal blood to flow inside the two golden chalices he produced with the blessing of the Fates.
He carefully wiped his palms with a special cloth followed by the ceremonial dagger before making a similar slice on Hermione’s palm. A sharp pain flashed up her hand while she watched the thin streak of blood seeped out of her skin. The discomfort was easily subdued as the Lord of the Dark Realm allowed the drops of vibrant red liquid to fall into the chalices.
Six pomegranate seeds with pulpy crimson arils were crushed to create the tincture and Voldemort set Hades’ eternal flames to burn inside the cup. As their immortal blood blended with the seeds blazed with hell fire, accompanied by the benediction of the Fates, the wine was ready.
Voldemort lifted the golden chalice in his fingers. The grand gesture was a sign that symbolized the significance of this sacred ceremony. He could feel every ounce of jubilation from the Fates, the Furies, his Nagini… each of his followers kvelled with their utmost allegiance to their Lord. The Underworld rejoiced. He surveyed his vast dominion before his grey irises finally focused on Hermione.
He took Hermione’s injured hand with his own as he began reciting his vows. “With this hand, I will elevate your name above the highest heavens. Your cup will never be empty, for I will be your wine. With this eternal flame, I will burn the world for you. With our immortal blood combined, you are now mine.” The Dark Lord finished speaking as he imbibed the concoction in his hand.
“I am yours.” Hermione agreed as she took her chalice and drank the blazing wine of pomegranates mixed with their blood.