The white plain of snow crunched softly underneath Tanners feet and his breath froze as it came in contact with the cold midday air. An open bottle of whiskey was grasped tightly in his hand, dangling as he approached the beaten down manor. This is where they took refuge. The place wasn't even worthy of a glance, in his opinion. He stopped momentarily to observe it. Snowflakes caught on his bearded face as his dark eyes took in the poor condition of the manor. It was hard to imagine that someone had once lived there. The face of the manor was covered by thin brown ivy and the white paint was chipped here and there to expose rotten wood. This led his eyes downward to the one thing that caught them, a red door with a silver knocker.
Why would anyone hide here, in a place undesirable to wizard and muggles alike? Tanner questioned this as he moved forward, a small amount of spilling out of the bottle in his hand, dying the snow a crisp brown color. His movements were sluggish, like he'd just waken up. The fact was, he had found a crate containing muggle alcohol and drank himself into a stupor. "Do you know the muff-" he burped loudly and continued, "-in man!" He had heard this in the muggle village not far behind him. They had sung it. Now it was stuck in his head. He climbed the porch, more alcohol splashed out of the bottle, bathing the white snow beneath him brown. "Who lives on Drury Lane?" He sung loud and proud with a hint of a slur.
Just as the tips of his fingers were about to lay upon the black doorknob, the door retracted and a shadowed figure appeared in it. "We've been expecting you." This voice was feminine, prim and proper, unmistakable. He knew exactly who was hidden beneath the hood. "Were you followed?" The witch stuck her shrouded head out and gazed around. "No, nobody saw me. I walked here from the muggle town." He replied, gazing backward at the footprints he'd made in the snow. "Now may I come-" He stepped forward but the woman, held her hand out in front of her grasping her wand. "How do I know you're really Mr. Barrett?" This was met by a large smile across Tanner's face. "Your guilty pleasure is listening to Celestina Warbeck and enjoying a warm cup of tea." She pulled back the door and he stepped inside.
The interior wasn't any more desirable than the exterior. There were long gashes in the hideous wallpaper, accompanied by portraits of old wizards & witches, lining the entrance hallway. "Do you know where any of these portraits lead?" He held the alcohol to his lips, gulping down a mouthful of the harsh liquid. "If you don't," he handed her the half full liqueur bottle, "it would be wise to take them down." This place left a bad taste in his mouth and a musky smell in his nostrils. He did not speak another word, but strode forth down the hallway, the portraits eyes following his every footstep. They murmured in their portraits, snippets of their conversations reaching his ears. "I doubted I'd ever see him here." Tanner turned a corner to face a pair of double doors.
Beyond these, he didn't know what to expect. There was a flicker of light from behind the door, signifying a lit fireplace. How many Death Eaters had found it safe to stay here? There was a bickering of voices from behind the door, an argument. "Draco did the best he could." This voice was deep. "Ha, Draco was a bloody coward!" This voice was high pitched and mad like, belonging to a male. "You weren't there. I was. He couldn't do it, Severus did it." Tanner knew exactly who they were and what they were talking about. He too liked to believe Draco to be a coward, like his father Lucius. His hand reached out and touched the oak wood doors and pushed them inward. In one step he entered the room, everything coming into perspective. There was a large fireplace near the northern wall, apart from that there were bookshelf around him and a dozen recognizable faces. "We could have-" The man stopped mid-sentence.
It wasn't hard to tell that Tanner was respected within the community. He had aided the Dark Lord with his wealth and loyalty. He'd battled at Hogwarts twice and had witnessed the downfall of the Death Eaters first hand. His chest bore wounds received from his previous battles. That didn't even test him. This now tested his strength and devotion to the cause. He would not let them dwindle into none existence. He would ban them together to fight. The battle may have been lost, but there was still a war to be won. It was sickening how many people had just given up and ran from the cause. "It is you." There came a murmur from beside the fire. "Do not speak. You listen to me now." Tanner replied, making his way into the middle of the room. "Look at yourselves, all of you." A few of them shrugged their shoulders. "Do you think this is what he had planned, for us to just sit around and play wizards chess?"