VOLDEMORT TO QUIT? Death Eaters rocked by leadership crisis
The forces of darkness were in uproar today as Lord Voldemort denied claims that he is planning to step down as the leader of the Death Eaters before the end of the Harry Potter series.
At a press conference, he called for Pureblood unity and asked "Why would I step down before my moment of greatest glory? My evil is eternal and immortal, and I intend to make that Potter boy die an agonizing death that will make the world tremble in fear and loathing. This certainly does not constitute an exit strategy."
J.K. Rowling will not finish the final instalment of adventures for the popular boy wizard until Summer 2007 at the very earliest, and the Dark Lord was widely expected to lead the Death Eaters into what is being billed as a climactic battle. But dissent is now brewing within his own disciples at his refusal to set a timetable for world domination, along with his continued failure to resolve the "Potter issue". Voldemort has dismissed doubters, saying "This is an organic process and setting rigid targets is counterproductive. And anyone who says otherwise will be turned inside out extremely slowly and fed to my Basilisk. All right?"
The challenge to his leadership comes only days after the Dark Lord won a Most Popular Villain award and was about to begin his annual break in the forests of Transylvania. But to his opponents, such publicity stunts have proved insufficient to detract attention from a series of PR embarrassments. Only last week, the Daily Prophet published a leaked memo from Lord Voldemort's spin doctor Peter Pettigrew, which admitted that the Death Eaters' recent activities had been "not exactly on-message", and suggested ideas for boosting the Dark Lord's public image, including "Turn up at a Weird Sisters gig in a ripped T-shirt = very down with the kids!", "Give away novelty Dark Mark tattoos in cereal boxes" and "Consider buying a toupee". Death Eater HQ immediately denounced the memo as fake. Coincidentally, most of its Strategy Department were tragically killed later that same day in an accident involving an unlicensed wand, a red-hot poker and a pot of industrial-strength lubricant.
Voldemort also denies that he has begun secret talks with Severus Snape to discuss a transfer of power, and insists that he trusts Snape implicitly, despite the former Hogwarts Potions Master's somewhat checkered past. Nevertheless, Snape is thought to be winning support within the Death Eater rank and file, after years in the political wilderness. Snapites claim he is a man of action who will be "tough on Mudbloods, tough on the causes of Mudbloods", and the plans for his leadership challenge are rumoured to be preceding under the slogan "Big Nose In, No Nose Out".
Snape himself, however, is still playing his cards close to his chest. "The Dark Lord has my full support at this difficult time," he told reporters as he left Borgin and Burkes carrying a large knife and a book entitled Backstabbing the Brutus Way, both of which he claimed were "for a friend".
Bellatrix Lestrange is one of the Voldemite inner circle who is remaining loyal through this crisis. "We simply need to show the Muggle-loving scum that we can tackle the issues that matter, instead of squabbling like a bunch of six-year-olds," said the murderous stunner. "And besides, it's a well-documented fact that Severus Snape smells of poo and eats bogeys."