Chapter 54 // I am lord Voldemort
Riddle pulled Harry’s wand from his pocket and began to trace it through the air, writing three shimmering words:
TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE
Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of his name rearranged themselves:
I AM LORD VOLDEMORT
‘You see?’ he whispered. ‘It was a name I was already using at Hogwarts, to my most intimate friends only, of course. You think I was going to use my filthy Muggle father’s name forever? I, in whose veins runs the blood of Salazar Slytherin himself, through my mother’s side? I, keep the name of a foul, common Muggle, who abandoned me even before I was born, just because he found out his wife was a witch? No, Harry — I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world!’
My brain seemed to have jammed. I stared numbly at Riddle, at my father. Lord Voldemort. I slowly sank to my knees, my wand dropping to the floor. I didn’t see or hear anything. My hand reached for Ginny’s, needing someone to comfort me. The room seemed to fade away. All that was left were the colours and the beating of my own heart. I couldn't breath, I couldn't speak, I couldn't even cry. All I could do was stare at the outline of grotesk being that was my father.
‘You’re not,’ Harry’s quiet voice sounded far away, but filled with hatred. I turned my head, trying to focus my eyes on the only thing that could get me out of this mess. The only thing that had been real in my whole life: the boy who lived.
‘Not what?’ snapped Riddle.
‘Not the greatest sorcerer in the world,’ said Harry, breathing fast. ‘Sorry to disappoint you and all that, but the greatest wizard in the world is Albus Dumbledore. Everyone says so. Even when you were strong, you didn’t dare try and take over at Hogwarts. Dumbledore saw through you when you were at school and he still frightens you now, wherever you’re hiding these days —’
The smile had gone from Riddle’s face, to be replaced by a very ugly look. I looked away again, shaking my head to clear my thoughts. Harry needed me right now. There would be time to think later. I needed to make sure that Ginny and Harry were save. But I couldn't move my feet. I was chained to the floor by my own fear.
‘Dumbledore’s been driven out of this castle by the mere memory of me!’ Riddle hissed.
‘He’s not as gone as you might think!’ Harry retorted. Riddle opened his mouth but froze. Music was coming from somewhere. Riddle whirled around to stare down the empty Chamber. The music was growing louder. It was eerie, spine-tingling, unearthly; it lifted the hair on my scalp and made my heart feel as though it was swelling to twice its normal size. Then, as the music reached such a pitch that I felt it vibrating inside my ribs, flames erupted at the top of the nearest pillar. A crimson bird the size of a swan had appeared, piping its weird music to the vaulted ceiling. It had a glittering golden tail as long as a peacock’s and gleaming golden talons, which were gripping a ragged bundle. A second later, the bird was flying straight at Harry. It dropped the ragged thing it was carrying at his feet, then landed heavily on Harry’s other shoulder. As it folded its great wings, I looked up and saw it had a long, sharp golden beak and a beady black eye. The bird stopped singing.