I’ve been doing things that will likely get me killed for months, but this is… another, further step, a culmination of previous planning and effort. It moves things onto a new level. I am not writing letters, I am not sending others to slip potions into uncounted drinks. I am acting directly and personally. I have to- I can’t bloody well trust Potter and Weasley not to mess this up.
Tonight we set out from the castle and make our way to some staging area or other from which we can break into the Death Eatery and rescue Padma. I don’t know how in Hell I’m going to manage this, how I can work with all those sodding Gryffindors. I don’t know if they’ll have the nerve or the knowledge, let alone the ability to do what must be done. We have to get in and out unseen. If we are spotted, our presence must not be reported- those who have been seen to defy the Dark Lord rest beneath gravestones now, with few exceptions, all of them due more to luck than skill.
If we are seen, we must kill whoever spots us. We must not be identified- our lives depend on it.
I took my broom out to the forest last weekend, and began practicing my curses. All of them. If I don’t have to use them tomorrow, I shall be surprised. If I make it that long without using them… there is always this weekend to survive as well, and the attentions of my Aunt Bellatrix. Father will have told her how displeased he has been with me of late, and if the stories Mother tells me of the things they used to do, the way Aunt Andromeda was treated- if these stories are, as I suspect, diluted fragments of a harsher reality, I will be in no less danger in her home. Service to the Dark Lord and years in Azkaban will have distilled her, to the essence of whatever she is, pure in her loyalty and determination to serve the Dark Lord.
I will not fear. I will not tremble, I will not blink, I will not shy in the face of danger. I will anticipate, and I will prepare. Whatever may come, I stand ready for it. I stand, and I stand unafraid. I will not fear.