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TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE
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half - slytherin - fifth - guillaume varki
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<div align=center>What are these roots that clutch, what branches grow<BR>
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,<br>
You can not say, or guess.<P>
Tom Marvolo Riddle.<br>
Heir of Slytherin.<br>
13˝", Yew, phoenix feather core.<p>
Though it seems immaterial, considering that the boy is unaware of it himself, the resemblance between Tom Riddle and his father is uncanny. Ever since he was a young boy, it could be said that he was handsome; as he matured, this has only become more apparent. His good looks, Tom has found, can be used just as any of his outward mannerisms are: as a means to an end. He has a boyish and charming sort of handsomeness that is appealing to the general population, and surely has left more than one girl giggling behind his back. Even with that knowledge, he offers the public a sense of modesty, which ranges from humbleness regarding his appearance, among other things.<P>
He has no definitive manner of speech or movement, except that he takes care to never contradict his reputation: that of a bright, unassuming orphan boy. This means a decided lack of dismissive gesture or swaggering gait of any variety. Tendencies to manipulate others by mirroring their own qualities make him somewhat inconsistent in many areas, such as movement, posture, speech and so forth. He sheds mannerisms like second skins, easily changing himself depending on the company he is currently keeping. However, these subtle inconsistencies tend to go unnoticed entirely by the staff and general population of Hogwarts. <P>
Subtle forms of flattery and feigned emotions go a long way toward making Tom the likable boy he is; the ugly truth of the matter though, is nearly every subtle expression - every passing comment - is well thought-out and calculated. Though he might seem endearing and even a little absent at times, there is not a glance or a compliment that leaves his mouth without great amounts of forethought. Manipulation comes easily to Tom, and this much would be obvious from the seamless manner with which he slips between telling the truth and lying. <P>
On another boy, his coloring and features might look harder or colder, or seem uninviting. His confidant (for lack of better term), Rosier, for instance might share a few similar features about the face - however, when it comes to the high, defined cheekbones and the well-shaped jaw, Tom makes it handsome and charming seemingly through expression alone. Where some of the boys he runs around with seem darker or even obnoxious, Tom is nothing if he is not charm. Often, in fact, he has been said to be a good influence on one or two of them. Dark-haired and remarkably pale, his features offer a contrast that in later years will be unsettling and unnatural; currently though, it is almost appealing, especially considering his round, dark eyes. <P>
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,<BR>And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,<br>And the dry stone no sound of water.<P>
Tom is a quiet boy. It is a constructed quietness; a quietness born out of necessity, of self-study and self-preservation. It is the kind of quietness that seems to imply politeness and reservation and, indeed, that is Tom Riddle all over. Sincere and charming, he exudes a calm interest in everything around him, whether it is the concerns of another student or the latest History of Magic essay. He has to him an air of silent confidence - not something obnoxious or arrogant, but a vested understanding of his talents with no trace of false modesty. The confidence is born, at least in part, of a voracious thirst for knowledge that is encouraged and appreciated by all his tutors; it is difficult not to like a student who has surpassed such personal hardship and yet still manages to be respectful and intellectual. The fact that Tom appears to have had no 'acting out' phase is testament, it's said, to his calm, collected nature and general goodwill to all. He shows no outward prejudice towards other students and is slow to lose his temper; even when he appears to be irritated, it only manifests itself in a slight hardening of the voice and perhaps something close to condescension. And who, honestly, would suspect anything of such a minor flaw? It is difficult not to like Tom whoever you are - he has a faint, warm sense of humor, is loathe to disobey the school rules, and is respectful and pleasant to all and sundry, be they student or professor. And that is Tom Riddle.<P>
And this is Tom Riddle: cruel, ambitious, petty, seething with internal rage and, most of all, manipulative. A talented actor and psychoanalyst, Tom's charming, respectful demeanor and ability to connect with most other people is less born of empathy and more of quietly mirroring positions, habits and mannerisms. Though subtle, he practically changes who he is depending on the person he is speaking to - he likes to make them feel special, because a person who feels special is much more likely to be forthcoming with favors and information. And, of course, much less likely to suspect you of any kind of wrongdoing. He makes a point of keeping himself slightly held back in most company; being seen as a 'private' person only adds to the list of good qualities that most people see in him. It is, after all, usually suspected that it is simply his way of dealing with being from such a tragic background.<P>
A thoroughly selfish person, Riddle lacks any of the need for compassion or affection that other people have; he is perfectly at home by himself, and his only need of others is so that he may prove how much better he is than them, or to act as petty foot soldiers on his behalf. Despite the knowledge that he is more 'special' than the muggle children he shared his orphanage with, arriving at Hogwarts has shown him that he is not as special as he once thought. The longing to push above his peers and be counted as unique, as someone worth something, is a definite factor in his appetite for knowledge, but it is certainly not the only factor. Driven as well by fierce curiosity and a slightly obsessive personality, he yearns to learn all he can about the new world he was thrust into at eleven years of age, and isn't doing such a bad job so far. Also impossible to ignore is his crippling fear of death; eaten up with the desire not to fade away or be weak like his mother, a large part of his research is on how to conquer death, and he spends an inordinate amount of time contemplating how it might be possible to evade the inevitable.<P>
Petty and rageful, Tom, a boy who had already developed a loathing for a dead mother he regarded as close to worthless for her lack of usefulness and inability to stay alive for him, has cultivated a marked hatred of all things muggle. This, upon the discovery that it was not his father who was the magical one, has only intensified. The years wasted in the trophy rooms and historical records, desperate for a glimpse of 'Riddle', have played heavily on the boy. The massive shift in moving his hatred away to his father rather than his mother is not without casualties; though he now recognizes it is the dead parent who was the magical one, he resents her deeply for being so weak as to allow herself to succumb to something as silly as death. His loathing of muggles has only worsened with the knowledge that it is his surviving parent who is one and has combined with his manipulative streak into being expressed to his Slytherin comrades in arms. While his abhorrence is genuine, he has twisted it into something ultimately even more dangerous by capturing the imaginations of the pureblood supremacists he counts as his 'friends'. Those same few are really no more than mildly entertaining and useful puppets - though he comes close to trusting the highest echelon, he plays games with them, deliberately setting up little fights and bestowing more favor on some than others, turning them against one another. He sees this as necessary; the more they distrust each other, the more they are likely to simply listen to his own direct orders rather than form any little coalitions or ideas of their own. Within his select group of Slytherins he is perhaps slightly more relaxed - most of those involved know that Riddle is not exactly the charmer he pretends to be - and he impresses them with displays of rare, horrid dark magic, Parselmouth, and tales of being the heir of Slytherin.
He has a tendency to seethe over any little injustice or wrong doing, though he rarely, if ever, shows it on the outside. Dumbledore's visit to the orphanage was particularly formative in this regard; it taught him to keep himself reigned in much more, to not boast but instead stand back and hold his cards tightly to his chest. His childish fear of Dumbledore has not subsided, and he avoids him like the plague, making no attempt at charming him as he has charmed his colleagues. The magpie attitude to other people's belongings from his old orphanage days has also not subsided - his dorm mates often find that small possessions of theirs go missing, most often things that have particular meaning to them.
<P>Your shadow at morning striding behind you <br>
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;<br>
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.<P>
"I remember she said to me 'I hope he looks like his papa', and I won't lie she was right to hope it, because she was no beauty — and then she told me he was to be named Tom, for his father, and Marvolo, for her father — yes, I know, funny name, isn't it? We wondered whether she came from a circus — and she said the boy's surname was to be Riddle. And she died soon after that without another word."<P>
What's in a name?<P>
A love story bereft of a happy ending or even a traditional tragedy. A last salute to a short, brutal life led in squalor and ending in weariness rather than fear; markers to distinguish a father who'd never shown love and a lover who had only shown it out of chemical coercion. The story of a woman whose only chance to live beyond a shadow left her so tired that she could no longer keep her eyes open for a son who needed her. Tom Marvolo Riddle. An absent father and a thuggish, pig-eyed creature who couldn't even take care of himself when he discovered what his daughter had done. It was hardly the most auspicious of names to press upon a child, but it had one potential, even if it was a bittersweet one: the aspiration to be better.<P>
An orphanage like Wool's, contrary to popular belief, was not the helter-skelter of horrors it could have been. The children were a motley crew of war orphans and undesirables, the time lending itself to the booming business of finding somewhere to tidy away loose ends, and though Wool's was constantly under-funded and scrabbling for what cash and rations they could find, they were never cruel to the children. The problem was, with running from room to room and making sure that none of their charges were killing each other or dying of malnutrition, there wasn't much room for affection, either. The matrons of the orphanage adopted a frosty outlook because it was the only way to be; to let yourself get endeared to a pair of round, glistening eyes could mean the welfare of the children all around you suffered. They were trying to make the best of a bad job - they couldn't be everywhere at once. And certainly, as Tom grew, those around him stopped wanting to be.<P>
People are only rarely born monsters, and the few that are cannot be called the sophisticated ones. More common is for people to be born with the potential to become monsters - a predisposition towards amorality or ambition, perhaps a chemical imbalance that makes it more likely to be unaffected by empathy. Tom Riddle did not eat his way out of the womb or gnash fangs; rather, he grew into a small, quiet boy with appropriately childlike resentment for a building that simply did not have time for him. His initial problem, perhaps, was being too intelligent for his own good and being given no opportunity to let that flourish. Rather than encouraged, he found himself drawing the ire of larger, angrier and stupider children than he - children that matrons could only scold and move on from, offering no comfort to a scraped knee or bruised ego. Initially, he turned his anger with the world inward, trying to abandon his desires for human contact. Petty jealous led him to steal from other orphans; a combination of loneliness and wanting a forum for his rages had him turning to animals and insects for company. He never expected the animals to answer back, for he was a boy of logic as much as he was one of rage, and so the first time a snake returned his embittered comments on an older boy, he was understandably surprised; it preyed, for a time, on an innate, black fear of the mad-house.<P>
But more snakes came, summoned by his loneliness and by word of mouth, and he boasted in darkened corners to younger children of how they would whisper to him at night. And at the same time, summoned by this new confidence and this dark pleasure at being able to frighten the younger children, came his first few experiences with magic - his first tastes at being special - and he reveled in it like a desert flower revels in water. His hidden desire for attention found itself a willing partner in his magical abilities, and he discovered, to his wonder and fascination, that he could make the other children do what he wanted if he tried hard enough. So he tried hard enough. He started pushing the limits of what he could do, finding childish and vengeful glee in making the people who had previously teased him hurt. Quickly, the other orphans learned to fear Tom Riddle, for a child is much more likely than an adult to believe in magic. No one would fear him more, though, in his childhood, than Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop.<P>
They were the first children for whom revenge was not the primary motivation behind Tom's actions. It was instead a dark form of curiosity; Tom had been exploring, quite undaunted and having slipped away from the matrons on one of their day trips. He discovered the cave by accident, tripping and scraping a knee against a rock that seemed to drink the dark smear into itself and groan for it. The place fascinated Tom for its darkness, but it was a partial kind of fear that had him scrambling back up the banks and inviting little Amy and Dennis to 'come and play'; he didn't want to spill his own blood. Amy and Dennis, young as they were, never spoke about what happened between the three of them, though whether that was solely horror or a distinct, all-encompassing fear of the small orphan with the intense eyes and the ability to talk to snakes would never be established. Regardless, it finally alerted the matrons to something that their attention could have fixed if only applied earlier: that Tom Riddle was a very strange little boy.<P>
"Did you know, sir? Then?..."<BR>
"Did I know that I had just met the most dangerous dark wizard of all-time? No."<P>
Despite the tangible nature of his magic, Tom Riddle continued to nurse the deep fear that it was insanity which truly touched his mind. He was rejecting the idea as constantly as it was forming, mainly through his fierce and desperate belief in his own specialness - or, at least, his need to have this belief, which was close to the same. When the matrons of his orphanage introduced one Professor Dumbledore, therefore, his suspicions were naturally awakened. <P>
Tom was instinctively distrustful of others, and the only force strong enough to overcome this inclination was an equally powerful conviction: that he was designated for something far more grand than the shabby fixtures of a destitute orphanage. The idea of magic appealed to him and satisfied his pride immediately, such that he spared little time in doubting its reality; he had always fantasized that his specialness would be confirmed. Though he was not effusive, he was secretly filled with a deep satisfaction and euphoria. He was happy. The consequences of being happy, however, meant that he was careless and outwardly voracious; in his eagerness to impress this Professor, he bared too much of his malice and ambition. Dumbledore's stern upbraiding alerted him to his folly, but by then, it was far too late, and the damage had been wrought. Tom learned from this encounter. With all too much sharpness, he suddenly understood the necessity of deception. In this magical world, where there were others that possessed the same talents, he could not succeed through brutish displays of power alone.
Even at eleven, he preferred to operate by himself. He refused Dumbledore's accompaniment to Diagon Alley, instead opting to take only the money and the tickets before parting with the professor. Once left to his own devices, the boy wandered the streets of Diagon up and down, enraptured by the many wonders housed inside its rickety stores. He could not afford most of them, but he could admire and thirst, envious of those more privileged children who could buy golden cauldrons and silver scales. What solidified his new world was his venture into Ollivander's, where he received a slender wand of yew and the speculative appraisal of its maker. It was in this moment, with his wand held closely at hand, that he vowed to be different still from the multitude of other young wizards and witches; they had more to challenge than those hapless orphans, but he would rise far above even them.
Upon arrival at Hogwarts, Tom was duly sorted into Slytherin and ushered into its subterranean quarters. And here it was that he began exercising his charisma. Ignorant of Salazar's history, of pureblood elitism, and of even the significance of speaking in parseltongue, he nonetheless made up quickly for lost ground through a combination of social dexterity and subtle mimicry; Tom Riddle was nothing if not a quick learner. Finding himself surrounded by a bevy of entitled, pureblood boys, he immediately adapted to their ideologies and reflected their opinions back toward them. Were it not for his carefully constructed modesty, or his natural genius, he would likely have failed in this endeavor, for they were of dispositions difficult to impress, especially by a boy of unknown name.
But his brilliance was quickly unearthed in the realm of the classroom, his attentiveness and curiosity rewarding him the highest opinion of his professors. That besides, Tom Riddle was simply likable; he had a way of finding common ground with nearly anyone, a way of anticipating and confirming their beliefs. And he was a parseltongue. This above all else disarmed their prejudices to appreciate his aptitudes, for what greater prestige could there be besides a relation to the great Salazar Slytherin himself? He was accepted as one of them, and with his cunning and guile, augmented his power as the leader. Foremost in his confidence was Foras Rosier, who proved to be an immaculate strategist and an efficient ally. In his closest circle, there was too Antares Lestrange, valued for his loyalty, Sinclair Avery, for his magical finesse, and Abner Yaxley, for his sprawling connections. Together, and under the direction of Tom, they indulged in experimentations in dark magic and constructed a subtle power structure through the school.
In that time, Tom also nursed a growing obsession with his heritage. The encouragements of his peers convinced him that he must be of noble blood; the weakness of his mother, as exhibited by her death, must indicate that his father's name would be his key. But in vain did he scour the history books, the trophy rooms, and the memories of the ghosts for any mention of the surname "Riddle" that had ever traversed Hogwarts. With great reluctance, and the strongest doubt, he finally spared a look for name left by his mother: Gaunt. What delight visited him when he finally discovered his ancestry there, for it established his connection to Slytherin and at once confirmed all his desires to be special. The knowledge that his mother perished, despite being a witch, filled him with a paralyzingly fear of death and a desperate need to find an escape all the more. But beyond that, and armed with the knowledge that he was Slytherin's heir, he had made another discovery that kept him far more occupied: the Chamber of Secrets.
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<br>OOC House: hufflepuff or maybe ravenclaw
<br>Limits: if i find some, i shall let you know!
<br>How did you find us: i have applied before but failed to finish my app... sorry
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