January 23rd, 2006, 5:58 pm
Rowena - The New FanFic from CicadaInvasion
Why did Rowena Ravenclaw value intelligence and cleverness above all others? How did she become one of the greatest witches of the time? If you have ever wondered, and even if you haven't, this fic is for you!
Disclaimer: I am not worthy...all HP relatedness...belongs to JKR!!!
Chapter 1 - Beginnings
In April of 871, Alfred the Great was crowned King of Wessex. Porchester Castle was full of servants, and the castle bustled with life from sunrise until late in the night.
But, when the moon was at its highest, a fortnight after the coronation, a solitary figure strode across the tilting yard in the moonlight. The figures speed gradually increased, until she broke into a run and disappeared along the curtain wall.
Soon afterward, another figure followed. The sentries on the wall heard a scuffle in the darkness, followed by a blast of red light and a man's cries of pain.
"Now, hear me out. If you come near me again, I'll kill you!" a woman's voice echoed into the darkness. She set off again across the field, skirts hiked up out of the mud.
One year later, however, Kyna Solan gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock. The child was born with a tousel of red hair, earning her the name Rowena.
Kyna was shamed, and exiled to remain in the country for the rest of her life, but King Alfred, inspired by the Bishop of Winchester, kept the child and gave her to one of the maids to care for. He agreed to allow her to live in the castle, but to avoid rumor, he gave her the surname of Ravenclaw, the symbol on his shield.
"Can I go outside?" a nine-year-old Rowena asked.
"Not yet," replied the woman who was scrubbing the windows of the corridor. She broke her cycle of scrubbing to dip her brush back into the bucket. "Help me with this first." But when the woman unfolded and turned to face the window again, she found the soot she had been scrubbing for the last two hours was gone, and the windows glimmered in the sunlight.
"Rowena, did you do it again?"
"Not on purpose."
"How can it not be on purpose? Can you imagine if his majesty had seen that? Can you imagine what it feels like to be excecuted?"
"On the contrary," a deep male voice said behind them. The woman and child turned to face the King himself. "It is an extraordinary talent."
The woman and girl fell to their knees. "Majesty," the woman began. "I beg you, forgive the child. Forgive her."
"Forgive her? What's to be forgiven? She shall be honored. Come with me child." He set of down the corridor, Rowena trotting at his heels to keep up.
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January 28th, 2006, 4:41 am
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To Rowena, the castle had never seemed so large as it did when she trotted behind the king, struggling to keep up and not get too close. Her stomach knotted in fear and squirmed in anticipation. She trained her eyes on the hem of his gilded robe and tried not to think about what happened to those proclaimed as witches.
King Alfred had never actually burned a witch, Corrigan had told her. But Corrigan had also told her about the old king, who burned at least one witch a day. She had described to Rowena the taunting crowds, the leaping flames that consumed the body, leaving only a mass of charred and pink flesh that reeked of death, and the smoke that hung over Wessex like a shroud, and covered them all in ash.
After following him for what seemed like forever, they stopped outside a door gilded with a swooping raven.
"Do you know where we are?" the king asked.
Rowena shook her head, servants like her were never allowed into the west wing of the castle. She did know the throne room was here somewhere, but that was all.
The king smiled and opened the door. After they had stepped through the door frame, the door clicked shut and latched by itself. Rowena let out a small gasp then spun in a circle to take in the room.
There were tempera portraits on the walls, many with paint chipped off the slates. There was a fire, a desk, and nothing extraordinary about the room whatsoever. She let out her breath and stopped taking comfort in the room's general warmth.
Out of the corner of her eye, she swore the old man in one the portraits stretched. Then, an instant later, the steely woman painted in front of her adjusted her head wrap, letting her ebony hair fall down her back. When the woman smiled at her, Rowena screamed.
"It's all right, child," the king began. He paused and after several minutes of silence had passed between them, began again, "Things are not always as they seem. Although the old king did not think it wise to allow things you can't understand to exist, I have learned otherwise...Gryffindor!"
Rowena's eyes widened as the flames flashed green. Moments later, a grizzly old man stepped out of the grate and shook the ash from his long beard. Cowering behind the king, Rowena watched the man stoop to his knee.
"How may I be of service, excellency?" he asked with a northern accent.
"Come here, Rowena," the king commanded.
Slowly, she advanced, courage increasing with every step. In her mind, everything pieced together.
That can't be true. A whole other world I can't see?
"Sir Farrell Gryffindor, may I present you Rowena Ravenclaw."
Instantly, Rowena felt as though she were being pried through, as though she were a deer, and the knight were removing her entrails.
"Sire," the man from the fire began, "How long have you known?"
"About thirty minutes."
"Do her parents serve in the castle?"
"The mother was a maid, but she has long since disappeared."
Inwardly, Rowena smiled at the king's kindness, he had told the man she had been born in shame, that her mother was exiled to the wild, and that her father was unknown. It would have been so easy for him to say so, and he hadn't.
The men had been talking while Rowena had not been paying attention. When she glanced toward them, she saw the knight holding his hand out to her. With her lye-dried hands, she grasped his callused one. The fire burned green again, and she was pulled into the smokey grate behind him.
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February 5th, 2006, 4:14 pm
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Rowena wanted to scream the entire time the knight's green fire spun her in circles, but she knew, if she did, she would breath in the smoke. For that long minute they spun in the grate, she held her breath.
The fire spat her out on the cold stone floor of a room, similar to the one she had just exited. The portaits were moving, talking amongst each other. She looked at them warily, then heard the knight exit the fire, light as a cat, with the grace and skill of practice.
Hurridly, Rowena brushed herself off and jumped to her feet, hoping the knight hadn't seen her sprawled on the floor like a lifeless doll.
Whether he had or hadn't, Rowena never knew, for the next moment, he commanded, "Follow me," and set off out of the room and down the corridor. There was an efficency to his step, with no wasted movement of muscle or superfluous extravagance. His shoulders were thrown back, but not smugly. They reflected pride, but not vanity. Instantly, Rowena's distrust of him vanished, and she knew she could believe anything he said.
After climbing three flights of stairs and taking three right turns, they arrived at a heavy wooden door reinforced with metal brackets. He swung the door open and it sent a creak through the corridors, filling every inch of the castle.
The young girl's eyes widened at what she saw before her. It was a grand office -- one equal to a king's -- and was filled with thousands of spinning, whirring and brooding objects, all begging to be seen. Behind the desk stood a young man, no less than fifteen years of age, but no more than twenty. He examined a twirling object that shone with the brilliance of the sun.
Corrigan wouldhave claimed instantly that the object was a vessel of God, but Rowena wasn't so sure -- after all, if God existed (inwardly, she reminded herself never to say that aloud) why, out of the whole world, grand and large as it was, would he choose that simple, twirling piece crafted of metal and glass.
Every so often, the man would write something on a piece of parchment with a stick of charcoal. Rowena's eyes ached as she willed them to see what was on the paper, but they refused to obey her.
It's not as though you could read it anyway, she thought.
Once the door of the study had closed behind her, Rowena's feet planted themselves firmly to the ground, refusing to take another step. The knight had continued to advance to the desk, and when he saw her remain by the safe familiarity of the door, he beckoned her towards the desk. Her feet, however, still insisted on remaining close to the door.
"Come here, Rowena."
The young man looked up, noticing her for the first time. He stared at her intently for a whole minute, then turned to the knight and whispered something in his ear. The knight nodded and said aloud, "I know. I saw it too."
They looked at her expectantly until she remember she was supposed to be walking towards them. With all the might she could muster, she forced one foot forward, then the other. After repeating this procedure seven times, she stood directly before, thoroughly exhausted.
"Mary, Mother of God," the young man whispered.
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February 12th, 2006, 3:51 pm
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The young man walked towards her, eyes widening in wonderment with every step. Rowena glanced behind herself hoping someone had opened the creaky door behind her, but it was latched and shut, tightly barring the possiblility of escape.
Rowena could feel herself shaking as the young man stood before her searching her face. She felt the same prying feeling, and like never before, she felt hatred that she could not stop it. With all her might, she willed it to stop, she willed that other presence to leave, to be expelled.
A loud bang echoed through the room and sent the two men sprawling to the floor, and Rowena swore there had been a tiny fire on the hem of the young man's robes that sputtered and went out, dropping a tiny mound of ash to the floor.
The wonderment never left the young man's eyes as he sat up rubbing his head, then his back.
"You sure know how to throw a blow, young one," the knight said from across the room.
"I didn't do it," Rowena replied cooly.
"Of course you did," the young man retorted. "You don't have to deny it to us."
"I didn't do it," Rowena repeated. "You can't do something if you don't know what it is."
"You did it...I know you did. I did the exact opposite to get in there in the first place." With a slight groan he rubbed his head again.
"Child," the knight began, "You have a magical aura unlike I have ever seen. You may be the most powerful witch alive, and you don't even know it."
"I'm not," Rowena insisted, although everything told her it was true. "You are just clergymen tryin' to get me to confess to heresy. I haven't done anything."
"Look at me," the young man commanded. He whispered in Latin, and a brilliant purple flame leaped from his fingers. "If I were trying to convict you of heresy, would I do that?"
Rowena could only stare at him with wide eyes.
"Would I? Are you that simple?" he screamed, grabbing her by the arms and shaking her.
"Godric!" The knight commanded. "Stop that at once. She's just a child. She doesn't understand."
Finally, Rowena found the courage to speak. "I am not simple and I do understand. But, can you see my reason for concern? I could be killed if I admitted it!"
"I think we've frightened you sufficiently for one day, child." He reached over and pulled a cord threaded with gold on the wall. In the distant recesses of the castle, a bell tolled. "We'll talk more tomorrow."
Instants later, the door creaked open, and a servant in red and gold livery beckoned her to follow.
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February 20th, 2006, 4:07 am
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Chapter 2 - One Month Later
Before she could look at the sky, it seemed, the moon had disappeared and returned. Rowena had no time to look at the sky. She was looking at words, trying to understand the world. Everyday, she amazed the knight and his son. Everyday, a new combination of letters told her something new, unlocked some new secret of the universe.
Alone in her room one afternoon, she caressed the spine of the book the knight had given her to study. Its parchment pages were filled with a beautiful script that Rowena only half-understood. Without the knight or his son to help her, her reading skills were mediocre at best, and she only knew words she had already read. It helped to read aloud to herself -- her first lesson had been one in phonetics, and she had seen that she recognized many of the otherwise opaque words when they were spoken.
The Bible was even better written than it was spoken. Corrigan had told her the stories of Joseph and his brothers, of men swallowed by fish, of people raised from the dead. Rowena smiled reminiscently -- as a small child, she had dreamed about the book of Rowena being added after Revelations. She imagined it being filled with stories of jousting knights and brave steeds charging across the battlefield. Then there would be the story of a palace maid who recieved gifts from a mysterious benefactor, who was made a saint for...well, the daydream had never gotten that far.
Now, however, she daydreamed about Corrigan. She wished Corrigan were here with her, and Corrigan was washing windows while Rowena read to her. Psalms held no great secrets. To Rowena, it seemed to be a bunch of pretty words lumped together.
By the time the rays of sunlight slanted into her room as they always did right before supper, Rowena was slumped across her beloved book, dozing in the cool air of a winter afternoon.
A knock sounded on the heavy oak door of the room.
It sounded again.
"Rowena?" came a worried voice from the door. "Are you in there?"
"What are you doing, Godric?" a second voice asked.
"Rowena was reading the Bible in there today. She's not answering the door."
"Give her a minute."
"Well, I have been here twice that long. How long can it take? Her room's no more than a closet with a window."
"Don't worry, I'm sure she's fine. Let's just go to supper."
Two pairs of footsteps retreated down the corridor, returning one hour later.
"It's not like her," Godric's voice said.
"I know, she eats like a starved wolf when she thinks no one's watching."
"Should we just go in?"
"That's treading dangerously, lad. You run the risk of her not being decent."
There was knocking again.
"She's nine. How undecent can she be?"
"It's the principle of the matter. She's probably just absorbed."
The footsteps retreated again as the moonbeams shone softly on Rowena's opening eyelids.
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February 27th, 2006, 2:48 am
Updates may be a bit sporadic in the coming two weeks. My computer, in effect, blew up, and I must borrow one until the factory sends me it back!
Once Rowena's eyes had adjusted to the darkness of her room, she lifted her head, swinging her feet onto the stone floor with a quiet pat. The chill of the stone shot through her veins, sending the chill of the night racing to her heart. She looked out across the moor that surrounded the castle. Beyond the dirt road leading to the gates, a wall of fog advanced across the rolling heather.
The night called to her through the window, begging her to join it, but the darkness frightened Rowena. She could not see, she could not determine. She was powerless in that darkness.
Tonight was different, though.
The light of a nearly full moon glanced off the armor of the sentries. The knight, Rowena had learned, kept them there to avoid arousing suspicion. In reality, the guards were obsolete, for the knight had devised his own barriers. For nearly an hour, Rowena had begged him to tell her about them, but he remained staunch. They still remained a secret.
In the night air, there was that curious summer whistling that had appeared on the summer solstice. Rowena imagined there must be an army of something whistling a tune horribly out of key.
In the end, curiosity outweighed fear. Rowena opened her door, pleased that it didn't creak in the slightest. Her feet padded down the corridor, soft as a cat. As she reached the top of the stairs, she smiled broadly. She was free --
Until her stomach issued a deafening rumble and she realized she had slept through dinner and was now ravenously hungry.
Her heart seized with terror. She would be found -- punished. Her beloved books would be removed and she would be sent back to Corrigan in the palace -- or worse.
Sprinting off down the corridor, the soft padding of her feet morphed into the sound of a paddle slapping water. Every other stride, she glanced over her shoulder, expecting to see the knight, his son, the church and the king descend upon her in rage all at once.
When she reached the first door that opened onto the grounds, she stopped dead, gasping for breath. At first, her hand had reached for the door, had almost swung it open with the ferocity of a youth. But her mind, fortunately, remained one step ahead of her muscles. There was a sentry outside that door. A sentry who would at least stop her and send her back upstairs. At worst, he might kill her by accident in the surprise of the door swinging open so late at night. But the call of the night still echoed in her skull, now becoming a painful vibration.
Never in her life had Rowena wished she were so invisible. Invisible.
Then she remembered what the night had told her. Perhaps she could become invisble. She had blasted Master Godric off his feet when she wished him out of her mind. She had cleared the windows instantly when she wanted to go outside.
I wish I were invisible.
She clenched mentally willing it so, but to no avail.
I wish I were invisible. Invisible. Invisible. INVISIBLE!
She felt as though her body were draining. Quickly, fearfully, she looked down at -- no, through -- her arm. It had blended into the stone behind it.
Crouching low so an errant spear wouldn't be thrust through her chest, she swung the door open, scurrying past the sentry who had jumped to attention. By the time he felt the rush of wind that was her presence, however, she was already sprinting across the yard.
Early in her stay at the castle, eager to discover the secrets of the moor, she had discovered a small hole in the curtain wall that she could squezze through. While pulling herself through the wall, which was nearly ten feet thick, she felt a sharp sensation in her arm, followed by the warm trickle of blood.
As she exited the wall, a gust of wind whipped by, and she felt like an empty goblet being filled. She looked down and saw a steady stream of blood flowing from her arm, which was very real, and didn't blend into the curtain wall at all.
Above her, she heard the approaching footsteps of a sentry. In front of her, she saw the advancing fog. Instantly she felt the call again. It was like an energy flowing through her body, drawing her into the darkness she feared.
Without another thought, she sprinted off, hearing the unintelligible cries of the sentries behind her. Soon she had reached the curtain of fog, though, and disappeared into it like a fox into cover.
The energy strengthened, and she followed it. It lead her to the circle of rocks on the crest of the hill. As she approached them, a strange light appeared. Willing her stomach to be silent, she scrambled to the top of one of the rocks to see what emitted the light.
In the circle, there was a group of men, all dressed in black, gathered around a green fire with leaping tongues that licked the night air.
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March 9th, 2006, 3:19 am
Sorry, this post was entirely accidental. The real update will be posted in a day or so.
Sorry (Please don't shoot!)