Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
(Disclaimer: Everything you recognise belongs to the fabulous J.K. Rowling. The rest is my humble attempt to be a decent writer.)
Rowena Ravenclaw sighed as she looked out the window. Below her she could see the first of the guests arriving, crossing the moat and entering the terrace below. It was the perfect picture of splendour, the gallant lords and ladies arriving in robes of finest fabric, servants and house-elves trailing behind them bringing chickens and ducks and chests of gems and other various wealth to tempt the Ravenclaw family in exchange for Rowena’s hand. Rowena was about to turn twenty, and thus everyone said it was high time she was to be married. Her parents had been trying to persuade her with suitors since she’d turned sixteen. But Rowena knew that all these suitors would return home empty-handed, because Rowena had eyes only for one man. One man who wasn’t here tonight to ask for her hand.
“Rowena, dear,” said her mother. “Come away from the window, you’ll catch cold. And you want to look your best tonight – there are many young men coming specifically to see you.”
“I do not wish to marry any of them,” Rowena insisted obstinately.
Her mother smiled. “Just give them a chance before you say that,” she said. “One may turn out to be perfect, but you never know until you try.”
“They are only pursuing me for money and position,” said Rowena. “I shall not be happy with someone like that. I want someone who loves me.”
“You are very wise, Rowena,” said her mother. “I am glad you are not throwing yourself into this too hastily. But your father and I do hope to see you married soon. What about Lord Redwald? He is coming tonight. And he is a sensible man; one who will not be after money, for he is already one of the richest wizards in the country. And I have heard he single-handedly fought off those Muggle invaders last month. He would be a fine husband.”
“Lord Redwald only made his castle invisible so the Danes did not bother coming – he hardly fought them off. So forgive me if I am not particularly impressed by him.”
Lady Ravenclaw sighed. “Please try to make an effort,” she said eventually. “You do not have to marry one of them, just please talk to them.”
Rowena nodded, giving in at last. She straightened up and fixed her plait of long black hair, placing a circlet of small white flowers atop her head for effect.
“You look beautiful,” her mother said. “Now it’s time to meet the guests.”
Rowena drifted down the elegant marble staircase, the hem of her long blue dress trailing behind her on the steps as she walked. Heads turned and jaws dropped; many girls would be flattered by such attention, but not Rowena. Into the hall she walked, all smiles and geniality, while young men kissed her hands and favoured her with their attention and compliments.
As her mother had predicted, Lord Redwald tried to make an impression. He greeted her with the politest compliments, remarking several times that he’d never seen anyone so lovely as she. Rowena soon found herself unfortunately trapped in conversation with him, and after his initial attempts at flattery, they talked of nothing but Lord Redwald himself.
“I am certain you heard about that invasion last month by the Danish Muggles,” Redwald told her proudly. “But they could not touch my manor. I used a quick Invisibility Charm and they must have thought it was a trick of the light, because they left! So easy to fool those Muggles.”
“How clever,” said Rowena with a smile. “Such a shame that rather than raiding your manor, they went and killed the King instead. Now his half-brother Aethelred is on the throne, a mere boy of ten. So I fear these raids will only be more common now.”
“Ah,” said Redwald uncomfortably. “Yes, that is unfortunate. It is a shame these Muggles keep fighting. But I try my best to stay out and not get involved, and to keep them out of my affairs as well. And so far that proves effective, even though I have such an incredible amount of land they want.”
It was with great restraint that Rowena managed to not roll her eyes at him. Redwald turned every point of conversation around to discuss his riches, his land, the fact that he had thousands of house-elves serving in his castle, none of which could sway Rowena’s affection. Lord Redwald was at least twice her age, and quite boring. Ever since the first moment he’d opened his mouth to speak, Rowena had been trying to find a way to get out of the festivities unnoticed.
“Are you quite all right, my lady?” Redwald asked her suddenly. “You look troubled.”
“Oh – I… I am sorry,” Rowena apologised, realising she’d been staring at the window rather than pretending to be listening raptly to Redwald’s monologue about his prospects. But she latched onto the opportunity that had just presented itself. “Since you mention it, yes, I am feeling rather faint all of a sudden. I should go lie down.”
“Let me accompany you. You are not well, do you need help?”
“Thank you, but I shall be fine. Excuse me.” Rowena put her hand to her forehead and walked out of the extravagant hall into a small side room, where she let her hand down and stopped feigning illness. Although her excuses had isolated her in this room, it was at least better than being forced to socialise with sycophantic suitors. She’d actually managed to escape.
The sound of the gala in the neighbouring room still echoed through the halls and made its way into her sanctuary. Rowena closed the door and moved to the window, taking in the view of the sun setting over the forested hills, pink clouds blowing by in the sky above. If she’d been in one of the tower rooms, she could have looked out across the hill to the modest house of her best friend Helga. But here on the ground floor, she couldn’t see quite that far.
With her sights focused on the near rather than the faraway views, she noticed something that made her heart leap with joy. A figure was running towards the castle, dark and silhouetted by the red setting sun. She couldn’t see his face, but she’d recognise that walk anywhere. He had come! She knew he couldn’t have made her suffer these old boring suitors all evening.
“Salazar!” cried Rowena. The figure stopped and looked around. “I am over here!” Rowena said again, waving her arm out the window.
Salazar Slytherin turned and found Rowena, and ran up to her window, a grin on his face.
“How are you this evening?” he asked. “It appears you got away from them.”
“It took long enough,” said Rowena. “I got away by pretending I was ill.”
“I am surprised that worked,” he said with a laugh. “Because you certainly do not look ill to me, you look lovely.”
After all the obsequious and arbitrary compliments she’d heard that evening, it was refreshing to hear a real one. Despite the simplicity of his statement, Rowena could feel her heart fluttering. If Salazar only knew what an effect he had on her. She looked down from her window, unable to tear her eyes away from him. A slight breeze swept through his brown hair and ruffled his exquisite emerald robes. In Rowena’s opinion, he looked finer than any of those rich, well-dressed admirers in the hall.
“Are you coming out?” he asked her.
“You mean leave?” Rowena clarified, surprised. “You want me to leave with you?”
“I thought you wanted to leave,” said Salazar. “Unless you want to go back into that party… Yes, come with me! We are all over at Helga’s, and decided you needed rescuing!”
“How?” asked Rowena. “They’ll see me if I leave.”
“Out the window, of course!” Salazar suggested.
Rowena was shocked. That was very inappropriate behaviour for a lady. “Climb out the window? I will tear my dress!”
Salazar shrugged in response.
“I shall need help if I am to climb out the window in this dress,” said Rowena thoughtfully as a plan came to her. “I will climb up onto the sill and then you help me down.”
Salazar agreed, and Rowena lifted the hem of her dress so she could climb up to sit in the window sill, then swung her legs around to face Salazar. He reached up for her and she put her arms around his neck, holding on as he caught her in his arms. Rowena savoured the moment, revelling in her successful plan at escape.
When Salazar set her feet back on the ground, Rowena relinquished her grip from around him. Together they walked away from the Ravenclaw estate, Rowena looking back nervously every few steps, and just when they reached the moat they Apparated away onto Helga’s doorstep.
They were welcomed into Helga Hufflepuff’s home by the cheerful host, her golden curls bouncing and dimples forming on her cheeks as she smiled and led them inside. Her house was simple and ordinary, a far cry from the spectacle that was the Ravenclaw castle, but Rowena didn’t care. It felt comfortable and warm. At the moment, a fire crackled merrily in a large cauldron in the centre of the room, the soot blackening the ceiling, and over twenty people were gathered in the room talking and laughing.
Rowena and Helga had become fast friends a few years ago when Helga and her husband had moved into the area from Wales. The two women were practically opposites: Rowena was a reserved, sophisticated lady and Helga more vivacious and outgoing. And they moved in very different circles – Rowena’s family associated with the most illustrious people in the land, mainly wizards, and Helga with more common people, wizards and Muggles alike. But their differences never came between them in any bad ways. Rowena found their opposite personalities to be rather an advantage, in fact; whenever one needed advice, the other was always there to give it, seeing the situation from another angle. Helga had the ability to see a situation fairly from all perspectives, and often saw the possibilities Rowena had never even considered; Rowena was usually a bit more shrewd in her judgements, but often turned out to be right, and Helga valued Rowena’s wisdom.
“Rowena, I’m so glad you were able to get out!” Helga said as she led Rowena and Salazar into the house. “I was worried about you. Was it as dreadful as you thought it would be?”
“Worse,” said Rowena. “Hours of listening to people talk about how rich they are in an attempt to make me marry them. You are lucky you> never have to deal with that again.”
“That’s why we thought we would send Salazar to go get you out of there,” said Helga, handing each of them a flagon of homemade mead, and pointed out the table piled with all types of fresh bread and cheese. Then she led them into the main room of the house, where a storyteller was singing and plucking a lyre, and Helga's husband Cador and a few of his friends sang along to the bits they knew. Some house-elves were gathered in a corner listening, and two chickens wandered through the room picking up fallen crumbs of bread until Helga shooed them out.
Maybe it was a rather odd place for a lady like Rowena to go. Although Helga was by no means poor, she hadn’t grown up in the luxury Rowena was accustomed to. And it was odd to see the house-elves about; the ones working for Rowena’s family always disappeared when a wizard came into the room, but Helga permitted her house-elves to enjoy their share of festivities as much as the rest of the guests. But, Rowena considered as she stepped around a chicken and walked across the room to find a place to sit, one didn’t always need to be surrounded by luxury. Good friends mattered much more to her. And anyone in their right mind would prefer mead and cheese and storytelling over a dull group of rich suitors.
After a while, the storyteller’s singing drew to a close and the noise in the room doubled as everyone entered their own conversations. Rowena and Helga went off to talk in a quieter part of the house, catching up on all that had happened in the past week since they’d seen one another.
“This is what I’ve been working on,” said Helga, excitedly showing Rowena a new broom she’d made; it had knobbly twigs at the end and Rowena was certain that even Muggles made better brooms, but then Helga pointed out that it could fly. People had been making flying broomsticks for maybe fifteen years, but Rowena didn’t personally know anyone who owned one. After all, she’d heard they were quite uncomfortable.
“Cador has been using this – he believes it can be used for long distance transportation someday, once he can fix the few little problems it has. It’s a bit unsteady in the air.” Helga lifted it up and inspected a couple of the twigs at the end, twisting them slightly.
“Yes, I think I prefer walking,” said Rowena. “I do not know that I would trust a little piece of wood like that, no matter how many charms it has on it to keep from falling.”
Helga shrugged and set the broom back in its corner. “Maybe. It does not fly very high off the ground currently, but I think it would be possible to make it fly better. I am sure you could think spells far superior to the ones I used. You should try your hand at it; then maybe you would trust it!”
“Perhaps,” said Rowena. “If I have nothing better to do.” She generally enjoyed more intellectual pursuits, and broom-balancing didn’t fit into that category, but it might be fun to invent some new spells…
Helga poured some more mead into the golden two-handled cup she was holding, and during the silence in their conversation Rowena let her eyes wander over to Salazar, who was talking animatedly with Godric Gryffindor. Godric had a very commanding presence in the room; he was very tall, with a mane of bushy auburn hair, and he carried a large goblin-made sword on his belt even though there was absolutely no need for it at a time like this.
Salazar and Godric were practically inseparable; they’d known each other since they were children. At around eight years old, Salazar and his family had been forced out of their home by angry Muggles who disapproved of magic, and Salazar had professed a strong dislike for all things Muggle for years afterwards. Godric, however, stood up for Muggles and was a good friend to Muggles and wizards, and eventually he’d brought Salazar back around. Too far around, Rowena considered privately; Salazar had recently fallen in love with Lady Maeve, the daughter of a well-respected Muggle knight.
Rowena could hear Salazar singing praises of Maeve from across the room. She tried to ignore the words and instead meditated upon how Salazar’s eyes lit up when he was excited about something, watching him subtly over the rim of her goblet of mead.
“She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen,” Salazar was saying. “The fact that I am a wizard still puts her off, but I know she will change her mind.”
Salazar was a very determined person, and worked hard to get what he wanted. And Rowena knew that if he wanted to make Maeve fall in love with him, he would find a way. Maeve was no match for Rowena’s intelligence, but perhaps intelligence and wit were not what Salazar looked for in a woman. Rowena would just have to convince him otherwise; after all, wit beyond measure was man’s greatest treasure.
“Shall we join them?” Helga asked suddenly, winking as she noticed what Rowena’s eyes were fixed on.
Rowena blushed. She had never told Helga about her feelings for Salazar, but she knew without a doubt that Helga was not unaware. They walked over to join the men, where the discussion of Maeve thankfully seemed to have concluded. Instead, Godric brought up the topic of the recent Viking raids, which Rowena did not find to be an improvement in conversation, because it brought to mind smarmy Lord Redwald’s long soliloquy on the matter which she had heard only a few hours before.
“Yes, is it not awful?” Helga said. “It is the same thing every time, but it keeps getting worse! I wish we could all get along.”
“Hear, hear,” said Godric. “Mainly the Muggles do keep it among themselves, and they do not fight with wizards much, but the few times they have attacked wizards it has been bad for them. Like the witch in Chichester who turned seventy Muggles into toadstools. Both sides are getting nervous now.”
“Do you think it shall ever amount to anything?” Salazar wondered. “As you say, it has been going on for ages. Even when I was a child…” His face clouded over, and Rowena knew he was remembering the Muggles who had forced his family out of their home.
“It is difficult to say,” said Rowena. “Most of the Muggles do not have trouble with us. We just mind our own business and the Muggles fight between themselves. It is when they involve wizards that it gets bad, because magic is more powerful than their spears and arrows. Eventually, I think the Muggles here will either try to get us on their side against the Vikings, or they shall try to destroy us too. That is just one outcome I could foresee – but I hope it never comes to that.”
Helga sighed. “You are a very intelligent person, Rowena, but I hope you are wrong this time. I hope it doesn’t get worse, because I enjoy the company of wizards and Muggles, both of which are here tonight. I do not want there to be any fighting.”
Salazar laughed. “Do you remember a time there was not fighting?”
“No, I suppose not,” said Helga, standing up. “But that is enough of that, now – have you tried my new lentil recipe? Rowena, you have eaten little since you came in.” She disappeared for a moment and returned with a large, steaming dish smelling of wonderful exotic spices, setting it on the table beside them.
“The Vikings will be after you next, for your delicious cooking,” Godric teased.
It was a couple of hours before Rowena decided to head back to the Ravenclaw castle, hoping that enough time had passed that all her parents’ friends and all her potential suitors might have left. By this point it was very late; the fire in the cauldron had reduced to embers, and the sounds of merriment in Helga’s house were finally diminishing as some guests began to depart and others began to snore at the table, heads resting on their arms and empty goblets of mead beside them.
After saying goodbye to her friends and again expressing her gratitude that they’d got her out of the unpleasant party at her home, Rowena Apparated directly into her tower bedroom without being seen by anyone in her family, so she could say tomorrow morning that she’d only been in her room all evening with a headache.
A/N: Well, I’m back! I’d had no plans to write any more fanfiction, but this idea popped into my head and I decided to give it a try. This is going to be a short(ish) story, weaving together all four founders’ POV. Also, I can’t pretend to be an expert on tenth century England, so I apologise in advance for any glaring historical errors – hopefully there will be few, if any!
Please let me know what you think. I’d love to know if there’s any interest in a Founders story – I feel like there aren’t many of those – so I’ll just be nervously awaiting feedback!
ETA: Here's a link for feedback. Thank you!
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
Last edited by marauderfan; January 21st, 2015 at 5:23 am.
Re: Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
Thank you for the wonderful response to my first post, I really appreciate all of you who read it and who left feedback! Here's chapter two, from Gryffindor's POV this time.
Godric Gryffindor found himself wishing that Rowena Ravenclaw did not always have to be right. But she was. Again.
It had only been a few weeks since the four of them had been discussing the potential effects of the Muggle skirmishes over plates of delicious food at Helga’s place. And now, almost as if Rowena could see the future, it was happening just as she thought it might. Muggles in the community were appealing to wizards to help them out against invaders. But Godric couldn’t resist helping; it felt wrong to let his friends suffer.
Godric had been enjoying a quiet lunch at home with his wife Laudine when he heard noises from outside: the growing din of swords clashing and people shouting. With a mounting sense of dread, he approached the window and looked out to see about a hundred men engaged in battle in the distant hills. Spears flew through the air, and swords glinted in the afternoon sun. Many people lay motionless on the heather in the middle of the action.
“Should we help?” Laudine asked nervously, standing beside him. “We know some of those Muggles. You can see Baron Edwin over there – I am certain it is him, because no one else wears hideous feathered tunics like that. I know it is not our battle, but they are our friends.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” Godric agreed. “Edwin has been nothing but good to us, and it is only right that we should help him out.”
Just then a booming knock sounded on the door, and Godric and Laudine hurried away from the window to answer it. Godric pulled the door open quickly, and a young woman nearly fell into the house as her arm swung forwards to knock again on the door that was no longer there.
“I apologise,” cried the visitor as she straightened herself up again. “But – you must help us! The Danes are back and Edwin is fighting and he has been hurt! You are wizards, you can do something! You can save us and evict the Vikings from the land!” She was wringing her hands frantically, and looked from Godric to Laudine with fear in her eyes.
“Of course we shall help, Baroness,” Laudine said comfortingly. Godric dashed back inside and grabbed his trusty goblin-made sword, a beautiful work of art in silver encrusted with rubies, which had served him well in many battles. As he looked around for his shield, Laudine rushed to his side with her wand.
“What are you doing?” he asked her. “You cannot fight Muggles with a wand; that is unfair.”
“But it will drive away the Vikings, and that is what we need,” said Laudine.
“Yes, bring your wands, both of you!” the Baroness said urgently. “The Vikings have not wizards with them, so with magic on our side, we have a chance! And it will be over sooner and we will not need to lose any more lives.”
“It is not noble to fight with a wand against Muggles,” Godric insisted. “But of course we will come to help.”
Laudine relented, selecting a sword and shield from their stash, then quickly put her hair up under an iron helmet and followed Godric out the door. The Baroness followed a few steps behind them as they hurried out, crying “Thank you, thank you! I will go see if I can get more help!” and then disappeared down the path.
Godric and Laudine ran down the hill, the noise of battle growing louder every minute. As they approached the outskirts of the fight, where their good friend Edwin was collapsed on his side and clutching a wound in his arm, Laudine stopped. “If we’re not going to use our wands, at least let me do this,” she said, and pointed her wand at Godric and then at herself. “Repello ferrum – there, that should protect us from swords for a while, at least until it wears off. We are not using magic against the Muggles, but I see no reason why we cannot defend ourselves with magic.”
“They cannot,” said Godric, pushing her wand away and unsheathing his sword in preparation for the battle.
“They have also got chain mail armour, and we have not. This is what we shall use instead. It is fine, and still fair; stop trying to be so noble.”
This time Godric conceded. He performed a similar charm to protect the groaning Baron Edwin from any further injury before they both charged into the battle, their swords leading the way. Metal clanged all around them as swords glanced off shields, and spears flew through the air, always seeming to miss him by just a few inches.
Godric realised after a while that several other witches and wizards from the community were fighting right alongside him. The fretful Baroness must have knocked on every wizard’s door. Godric’s sword slashed here and there as he did his part, although he noticed that a few of his fellow wizards and witches were not quite as scrupulous. One wizard was shooting flames out the end of his wand, and a sword sliced through midair behind him, held in the hand of a nearly invisible witch under a Disillusionment Charm.
The battle gradually turned to chaos with the introduction of magic; a number of the invading force ended up with hooves, and one man turned to stone. The local Muggles cheered as many of the Vikings retreated. Then there was a shriek of horror; Godric turned to find a witch lying dead, a knife through her heart. A wizard was standing over her in shock.
“You killed her!” cried the wizard. “You killed my wife!” He drew out his wand and hastily pointed it at the Danish Muggle who had killed her, and then a colossal explosion split the air.
Godric found himself on the ground, his head spinning. With a sinking feeling, he stood up amidst the smoke and fiery heather and tried to see how much damage had been done. This was exactly what he had been worried about, and why it was poor form to fight Muggles with magic. How could they defend themselves against such a blast?
But it was worse than he’d thought. About twenty more people lay dead – both local Muggles and their assailants. And the Muggles they had just been assisting were now furious, as magic had caused them to lose many of their men; Godric was stunned to see his good friend John Badrick turn his sword upon him. He had never foreseen this as an outcome – he had only thought he’d stand alongside the Muggles to defend the land they shared. Now it was a fight against not only the Muggles who were trying to take their land, but also the ones who lived there already.
The skirmish ended long after the Danes left, when the wizards and Muggles had been fighting for some time and Baron Edwin, still prone on the ground, had brought everyone to their senses and asked what on earth they were still fighting about. Some of the witches and wizards involved had then tried to make amends with healing spells for the wounded, but not all the Muggles were willing to put their lives in the hands of magic after such a battle. It was with heavy hearts that Godric and Laudine returned to their house that evening. There was no celebration in the town about having driven away the Danes; everyone seemed rather subdued.
For many days afterwards, the townspeople were on edge; Muggles and wizards sought each other’s company much less than before. Some people tried to keep town relations as they had used to be, and understood that the magical explosion had only been an accident, but other Muggles wanted nothing to do with wizards anymore, and vice versa. Godric and Laudine were still generally respected by most Muggles in the community because of their lasting reputation as friends of Muggles, but Godric had to wonder how long even that would last. Would Muggles continue to ask for magical assistance? The Vikings had been driven away this time, after all. And Godric couldn’t really say what would happen if their neighbours requested help again. It was possible no one would want to help the Muggles anymore. Or they might help, only to have the same sort of disaster happen again.
Saddest of all, perhaps, was that it was affecting the children of the village as much as than the adults. Godric would walk through town and see young witches and wizards trying to learn spells by practising harmless charms on each other, but they’d hide away their wands away when anyone walked by, as if practising magic was something that merited a scolding. Muggle and magical children weren’t often allowed to play together in the streets anymore, because Muggle parents got uneasy that something would happen to their children.
One such day, when Godric was on his way back home from the village smithy with his newly shoed horse, he saw a girl around the age of eight chasing her younger brother with a swarm of colourful butterflies. However, the squeals of laughter stopped as Godric approached, and the butterflies ungrouped and flitted away. Both children looked up at him without a trace of laughter on their faces. They had been doing nothing wrong, but due to the recent conflict, magic even as harmless as this was considered reprehensible. Sadly he looked at the guilty faces of the children as he stopped walking.
“Mary, he’s a wizard,” said the young boy to his sister, relaxing as he recognised Godric. “We’re not going to get in trouble.”
“Oh – right, of course!” The girl turned to face Godric. “You’re Godric Gryffindor!” she said brightly.
“Yes,” Godric confirmed.
“Everyone says you are the bravest wizard who ever lived,” said the boy reverently. “Can you make it so we are able to do magic again?”
Godric could only stare back at him. If only it were as easy as that…
“My friend Mildred no longer wants to see me,” Mary whimpered. “Because she is a Muggle. Her parents will not let us play together anymore. But I never used magic to hurt her!”
“I am sure you did not,” said Godric, squatting down so his eyes were at the same height as the children’s. “Magic is not a crime, you know,” he said. “Remember that. You do not have to hide it. And keep your head up; the Muggles will come around.”
“What if they do not?”
This was a valid concern of Godric’s as well, and he didn’t know what to tell the children. He was trying to think of a way to reassure them in a way that wasn’t a barefaced lie, when the boy spoke again. “Are the Muggles angry with you too?” he asked. “Everyone’s always liked you, and you saved us last week. So of course you can make them stop being mean, right?”
Godric sighed as he stood up again. “It is… complicated.” The children continued to stare at him forlornly, the dusty rags they wore only adding to the pitiful sight. He couldn’t leave them like that, so he took out his wand and conjured more large, multicoloured butterflies.
“Ooh, how did you do that?” said another voice. A boy slightly taller than Mary had turned up just in time to see the large cloud of butterflies swirl about.
“Geoffrey!” said Mary in surprise. “I thought you weren’t allowed out anymore!”
“They are not aware that I got out,” he replied, then explained to Godric. “Me parents are Muggles. They’re trying to keep me away from all magic, like they can crush it out of me. But it will never work. So let us see, then, how did you do it?”
Godric was horrified that any child with magical abilities would not be allowed to make use of his talents – and by the rules of his own parents! So Godric explained to the children how to do the charm. Only Mary had a wand, which was actually her father’s, so the children took turns trying the spell. In the end, the Muggle-born Geoffrey managed to produce one caterpillar, which resulted in all three children shrieking with delight.
As Godric went on his way afterwards with his horse, he felt an odd mixture of emotions. Part of him was happy and proud for successfully teaching the children some magic, but mostly he was appalled by the things they had said and by what was happening between Muggles and magical folk.
After a couple of weeks it had become too much for Godric to handle. He needed to know if it was getting worse all over the country, or just in his village. And he needed advice. So he Apparated north to the glen where his good friend Rowena lived, in search of words of wisdom from a woman who was always right.
He was admitted immediately into the castle by Lord and Lady Ravenclaw, who were unfamiliar with Godric and assumed he was a suitor coming to see Rowena. They summoned one of their house-elves, who appeared and squeakily apologised that she had not gotten there sooner, and then Lady Ravenclaw sent the elf off to find Rowena. They led Godric into the hall and advised him that Rowena would be down shortly to see him.
It took a while for Rowena to appear in the hall, and when she finally did, she gave Godric a relieved smile. “Oh, it’s you,” she said. “Thank goodness. All I had heard was that someone was here to see me, and I worried it might be Lord Redwald again, because he has tried to visit me every day and I am sick of him.”
After a quick few minutes of small talk, he and Rowena sat down to discuss the most recent affront to Muggle-wizard relations. He told her all about what had been happening in his town as of late. Rowena was not surprised to learn that her predictions had been correct, but was far from thrilled about it.
“It’s terrible if children cannot even practise magic in peace,” she said. “Muggles everywhere are losing their trust in us.”
“We have always known that fights between Muggles and wizards are never good,” said Godric, “but it hurts to think that even friendly Muggles are turning against us. Now it looks like it is not England against the Danes so much as it is wizards against English and Danish Muggles. How can that be?”
“I wish there was something we could do,” said Rowena.
“That is why I came here. I knew that if anyone could think of something, you could.”
Rowena’s brow furrowed. “Hmm. You said you taught some children a bit of magic? Did it seem to make a difference for them?”
“I think so,” said Godric. “I suppose they felt less guilty about doing magic… at least they did for a short time. Not much has changed since then. And the Muggle-born boy – I have not seen him at all since then; he may be locked up in his house again.”
“Well…” Rowena said hesitantly, “this is a crazy idea, but perhaps it has value… what if we started our own school of witchcraft and wizardry? A place where children could be free to learn magic without fear of being hated by their neighbours?”
“Would that solve anything, though? We would just be isolating them. If anything, it would contribute to the separation of wizards and Muggles.”
“Can you not see that is the way it is headed anyway? Some people have an aversion to anything that is different from them. There will always be Muggles who do not approve of magic.”
“I want to change that, not just accept it without trying.”
“You have been trying, Godric,” said Rowena. “We all have.”
Godric sighed and tried to imagine what would happen if he took Rowena up on her offer. Certainly a lot would change. But in the end would it be a change for the better or for worse?
“It would not need to be a complete separation from Muggles,” Rowena continued. “They would not be in school forever. It would just be where they learn how to sharpen their skills, for maybe several months out of the year. Then they would go home again.”
A thought had just occurred to Godric. “Well said. Under our instruction, perhaps we can help cultivate the idea that Muggles are indeed our friends, and free the children from the grudges of their parents. Being away from fighting will be good for them.”
“That is a wonderful idea,” said Rowena happily. “You think you would be up for it, then? I only thought of it after you mentioned how you had been teaching those children. And now that I think about it, I could definitely see myself doing something like that as well. I feel I am just wasting away here, with nothing to do but waiting around and going to fancy dinners until I get married. But I want to do something meaningful.”
“You would be a wonderful teacher,” said Godric.
“So – you think it is a good idea?” Rowena asked.
“Yes, I do. But we will need more than just the two of us. Let us ask Salazar and Helga and see what they think about it. I think the four of us could be a great team.”
Thanks so much for reading! And any feedback you have (good or bad) would be appreciated!
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
Last edited by marauderfan; January 21st, 2015 at 5:28 am.
Re: Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
This chapter covers a pretty large span of time – about two years – but hopefully it doesn’t seem rushed. I thought that was the best way to do it considering the way it’s written from four different viewpoints… Anyway, thanks much to Baarney and BrightestWitch for your feedback!!
As summer progressed into autumn, more often than not Helga Hufflepuff could be found sitting at her table, bent over sheaves of parchment writing down everything she could think of that would need to be considered in the making of their new school, such as what subjects to teach, or how they should structure classes. One particular day, she was listing possible names for their school, as Rowena paced about the kitchen, wearing a silver diadem engraved with Rowena’s favourite maxim: Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure. Rowena was muttering to herself as she walked, which Helga found immensely distracting. Helga sat up and scanned her list of possible school names so far:
Helga had just dipped her quill in ink to add Phoenix to the list when there came a knock at the big wooden door. She stood up and hurried over to the door to let in Godric and Salazar, who had planned to be there earlier but must have gotten delayed. The two of them were constantly away on their horses, having adventures together.
“Hello,” she said as they walked into the main room. “You have not missed much. Rowena is practically in a trance with that wisdom crown on, and I have just been listing names for the school, since we still had not done that yet.”
Salazar picked up Helga’s parchment from the table and read the list. “These names are all flowers and herbs,” he said, puzzled. “You think we should name it after a plant?”
Helga smiled. “Well, it would be a bit of a mouthful if we called it The Gryffindor-Slytherin-Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff School of Magic, would it not? I was listing plants because I thought the name should be something that sounds familiar to people. A name they recognise – then maybe it would not feel as odd for them to go far away to school. But it need not be a plant; I was just about to add Phoenix. Do you prefer that?”
“I think they are all favourable,” said Godric. “Your idea about a familiar sounding name is sensible; people know these names from using the plants for potions or for herbal medicines. My favourites are Foxglove or Hogwort.”
“Foxglove School of Magic,” said Helga pensively. “You know, now that I consider it, I am not sure if that works. It sounds rather pretentious. Our school isn’t meant to just be for the nobility, after all.”
“It does not sound pretentious; in my opinion, a plant name would be a bit dull,” said Salazar. “And Muggles know these plants as well. I do not think it should be a common plant name. Our school may not be for only nobility, but it is certainly not common. It is going to be the finest school of magic that ever existed.”
Godric shrugged. “But we could use the plant name as a basis, and then change it just a bit, like… Hogwarts. Hogwarts School of Wizardry.”
“And witchcraft,” said Rowena suddenly.
“I thought you were off in your own world of thinking?” Salazar asked.
“I could still hear you,” she said, turning around to face them. “And yes, I was just thinking of something. What say you about a changing floor plan for the school? It’s entirely possible to do that – to have staircases move, corridors switch places – it would be brilliant!”
“That is a wonderful idea,” said Helga. “As long as it's not too much of an obstacle course – we do not wish students to get lost.”
“No, we would keep it manageable. But I think that is just the sort of thing that would make a school of magic so great.”
“How do you think of such clever things?” asked Helga. “Can we trade off who gets to wear that diadem? You are intelligent enough as it is,” she said with a wink.
Rowena laughed. “That particular idea, actually, came from my youth – as a child I used to love charming the staircases at home to point somewhere else and confuse my parents. I do not think they found it as amusing as I did; they could not decide whether to be infuriated or impressed.”
“I am not sure I want you to be managing the floor plan anymore,” said Salazar lightheartedly.
“Oh, hush,” said Rowena briskly. “You two came to discuss the curriculum, did you not? So let us get on with that.”
And so a long meeting ensued, in which they planned out what magic was best to teach children of which ages. Helga interrupted the meeting every hour or so because she got restless sitting there, and would leave the room sometimes only to return with a cauldron of soup or a freshly baked loaf of bread. Thus, the meeting lasted perhaps longer than it needed to, but at least it was enjoyable and in good company.
It was nearly evening by the time Rowena, Salazar, and Godric prepared to leave. “At this point,” said Godric as he stood by the door, “once we agree on a place to build the school, of course, all we need is people to help us build it. Wizards and witches who have some experience in construction charms.”
“Oh, I know scores of people that can assist,” said Helga. “Cador worked as a stonemason when we lived in Wales, and he knew quite a few more who were always coming over for feasts. Most of them were wizards, too – I am certain I could get them to help – especially with the incentive of their children getting to learn magic at a proper school! There are quite a few around here as well. I shall ask around and see who I can get to help!”
The four of them had decided to build in the highlands up North, where there were much fewer people and less of a chance anything would happen to their school. Helga’s original idea had been that they should set the school up farther south, a more populated area and where it was more easily accessible to the children who would attend, but as Godric pointed out, it was much easier for wizards to move about the country than it was for non-magical folk. All it took was a simple twirl, determination, and a good idea of where you were going. People should have no trouble bringing their children to school by Apparition, even if the school was far away.
But they still hadn’t decided on a specific place yet. They had brought up the topic during their meeting, but no conclusion had been reached. Helga decided that tomorrow she’d visit people who might be interested in helping to build, and maybe see if anyone knew a nice secluded place in the highlands.
So the next day, she went out into the town and visited people she thought could help, people she thought might be interested. The last place she stopped by that day was the manor of Lord Oswald, whom she knew because Cador had done some stonework on his house. Lord Oswald was a well-respected wizard who ran a successful farm, where several others lived on his property in exchange for working on his farm some days and giving him some of their income.
Lord Oswald showed interest in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and hoped to enroll his daughters in the school when it opened. He didn’t have any building experience, but he thought some of the tenants on his land might. So Helga went to one of the small huts on the outskirts of the farm, where a craftsman named Laurence lived. Laurence waved his wand to move some freshly made ceramic bowls off a chair and allowed Helga to sit down at the small wooden table while she discussed the school.
“I know the perfect place for your school,” he said excitedly, his eyes glazing over as he sank back into a memory. He wasn’t looking at Helga – rather, he seemed to be looking through her as he thought. “I went there once as a boy. It is the most beautiful place in the highlands. You should build your school there. And I would help, you know. I’d bring all my brothers and they could help too. And then after I help, maybe you’d let my son attend for free? Only I can barely afford to live here, I spend all my free time in the fields. ”
“We will certainly not want things like that to get in the way of students coming to Hogwarts,” Helga assured him. “So how about this place you had in mind? Can you show me?”
“Of course,” said Laurence. “We can just Apparate there – grab my arm, and I’ll bring you along!”
Helga held Laurence’s arm, felt the twist as he Apparated, and she opened her eyes a moment later to see green-carpeted mountains all around her, and a large lake stretching out far to the left. She gasped – it was the perfect place for a school of magic. The location itself was magical enough.
There was a flat spot atop a cliff adjacent to the lake. It was easy for Helga to picture a magnificent castle there, where they’d be teaching magic to young wizards and witches. She imagined herself in a grand stone room with high arched windows (maybe like the hall in Rowena’s family’s castle, which Helga had always admired)… the room full of students excitedly learning how to Levitate a feather… a spectacular view of the mountains and the lake just outside the arched window. Now that she’d found a place for their school, it was easy for Helga to see their dream becoming a reality.
“Laurence, this is wonderful,” she breathed. “For this alone your son can attend for free. I’ll make sure of it.”
Laurence was overjoyed. “Thank you,” he cried. “If there’s anything else I can do—”
“There is. You said your brothers would be interested in helping to build?” Helga asked. “Because we’ll need all the help we can get. Tell them… and any other witch or wizard you know! It will take a lot of us.”
“I’d be glad to.”
They Apparated back to Lord Oswald’s manor and then Helga departed, assuring Laurence that he would hear from her again soon about the building of the school. At the end of the day she’d already got twenty-four people interested in helping to build, and that was without each of them asking their own friends. And she hadn’t even talked to her old friends back in Wales yet either – that would add at least another twenty. But now her main priority was to tell Rowena, Salazar, and Godric about the proposed location. She was sure they’d like it, but it was best to ask them, obviously.
When she got back home in the evening, she sent her three friends quick notes by falcon, requesting that they meet tomorrow so she could show them what she was sure was an ideal spot for the school.
The following day was just as busy. Helga and Cador Apparated back to Wales and visited their old friends there, easily convincing thirty people, nine house-elves, and two giants to help. It was an odd mix, but Helga was certain they would all be able to work together. Then she and Cador went back home, where Helga awaited the arrival of Rowena, Godric, and Salazar, who all showed up within the hour. When she brought them to her proposed location for Hogwarts, it was unanimously decided that this would be the place.
Helga sent word out to everyone she’d contacted that they would start building on the day after the Michaelmas harvest festival. So on that morning, a significant number of people accumulated outside her house; because not everyone was already familiar with the spot where they were going to build Hogwarts, it had been arranged that people would meet in a central location, then go as a large group led by someone who knew where it was. So Helga greeted the many people, and then, as Rowena had advised her yesterday, Helga told everyone assembled to touch some part of the stone wall surrounding the garden. Once everyone had done so, Helga pointed her wand at the wall, cried “Portus”, and the entire wall disappeared, bringing the group of about forty with it North into the wild highlands.
There were over a hundred people in total. Rowena produced her floor plans and drawings of what the castle should look like, and building began. Tasks were catered to people’s skills – the five giants (the two Helga had met in Wales had brought friends) carried large quantities of rocks, aided by wizards and witches who were adept at charms involving the movement of large objects. After a few days, due to the rapidity which magic allowed for construction, there was already a stone foundation. It was rather oddly-shaped; somewhat rectangular but with bits jutting out, much like a poorly sewn patchwork quilt, as it had been made by seven groups of people. Eighteen house-elves then oversaw the smaller details, managing the evenness of the stone floors or mending holes in the new walls.
When Helga wasn’t charming rocks to fly onto the tops of the walls or using abrasion charms to sand them down, she looked after the team of workers, making sure that everyone was doing well and taking the necessary breaks from working. The next few weeks were spent building up the walls and the beginnings of the towers (one of the giants accidentally knocked down a tower, but was able to replace it, and a team of witches performed some fortifying charms on the stone to ensure it didn’t happen again). At this rate, it would be less than a year before they could open the school!
When the snows came after a couple of months, Rowena created a huge dome of spells around the castle; inside it, the air was balmy and comfortable, while outside it winds raged and snowdrifts accumulated as high as the castle walls. But as time passed, the castle walls grew higher, and the snowdrifts subsided, and detailed work began on the interior. Some people left the building endeavour after a few months, but overall the team grew, as more people found out about it and wanted to get involved.
As Hogwarts began to take the shape of a nearly complete castle, with two storeys and arched ceilings and cosy classrooms and hidden passageways (the latter was the fault of Godric, who began getting lost as the castle plans got more complicated, and would forge his own pathways through the stone to where he wanted to go), Salazar designed protection for it. Anti-Apparition charms, to keep out unwanted visitors; disguise charms, to make it look unappealing to Muggles; everything he could think of to keep it safe from anyone who would want to destroy a wizarding school. Rowena set to work on her ingenious changing floor-plan, charming the staircases, the corridors – it was finally nearing completion.
When the time came to create sleeping quarters for the students, the four friends discussed the possibility of sorting the incoming students into four houses, each supervised by one of the school’s founders. These Houses would be rather like family for the duration of the students’ stay at the school.
So Helga, after one afternoon adding a shelf to the kitchen, decided that her House would reside in the vicinity of the kitchens – she rather liked the idea of having a kitchen nearby so she could cook something up whenever things got stressful. In that same corridor, over the next two weeks, she and a team of house-elves and several wizards built what became a circular room, and then Helga shrouded the entrance with a colourful, pleasant tapestry.
Salazar, who had been persistently pursuing his beloved Maeve during these months, had eventually stopped doing so after one of many talks with Rowena, who didn’t want to see Salazar get hurt. Salazar’s work on the castle now was listless, the work of a lovelorn man whose focus was not entirely on his work at hand. He fashioned the dormitory for students of Slytherin House near the dungeons, but forgot to leave a door for it, building instead a bare stretch of wall as blank as his own mind. Sighing, Helga pointed this out to him – but Salazar insisted it was intentional, and that the Slytherin rooms were hidden by a password.
As the finishing touches were added – doors, decorative tapestries, a delightful charm of Helga’s on the ceiling that resembled the outside sky – Helga looked on with pride. Their work had paid off, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was about to open.
Nearly two years had passed since the beginning of construction, and already the small castle was complete. Helga couldn’t imagine how long it would have taken without magic – they’d probably still just be getting started! But magic made everything go faster, and even held together some parts of the castle.
After building had finished, most of the house-elves wanted to keep working, so after consulting with Rowena, Godric, and Salazar, Helga informed the house-elves that they could stay on at Hogwarts in the kitchens. She ensured that the working conditions were good – in fact, better than they were in other places like even Rowena’s home – and she shared the secrets of her best recipes. As Helga was to be teaching when the school opened, she wouldn’t have time to cook for everyone as well. It was a thought that saddened her, because she loved to cook, but maybe she’d find time to come help in the kitchens every now and then. But the house-elves would run the kitchen.
Classes began the day after the harvest festival, exactly two years after building had commenced. Some students arrived by Apparating with their parents, some took a Portkey, some flew on brooms, and one even arrived on a dragon, his grand entrance making him an instant celebrity among the other students.
Because no new endeavour starts off without a hitch, the first order of business the four had to attend to was the student who had arrived on a dragon. He was covered in burns and scrapes, and his clothes were singed. Rowena set to work with her healing spells, while Helga, Salazar, and Godric tried to restore some sense of order.
Helga thought they had gotten the word out about their school very successfully. She knew the parents of many of the students, which had helped. And now, gathered in the Hall were fifty-two pupils between the ages of ten and fifteen, who had come from all over the vast range between southern Wessex and the northern Kingdom of Alba.
As the four friends had previously discussed in one of their many meetings during the building of the school, their primary task after everyone had arrived was to sort the students into the four houses. Almost all of the students knew at least one of the founders, which made it easy for the four founders to separate the students into groups. At first, Helga had the largest group, because she knew the most people, but they evened out the numbers to make it fairer.
The whole process took several hours, and Helga personally thought that they should find a way to simplify the sorting ceremony for subsequent years. But in the meantime, the students seemed happy with their placement into the Houses (mainly because they personally knew their head of house), and after a wonderful feast cooked by the house-elves, Helga brought the new members of Hufflepuff House to their dormitories downstairs. After ensuring everything was in order, and the students were comfortable and happy, Helga stopped by the nearby kitchen to check in with the house-elves, praising them on the meal they had cooked, and seeing how they were settling in.
She met up with the other three in the Hall about a quarter of an hour later.
“I think our first day went well,” said Godric as he sat down at one of the tables, relaxing at last, as he’d been running around taking care of unexpected problems all day.
“It was certainly exciting,” said Helga. “I could not believe the nerve of Lord Magnus’s son… what was his name, Eustace? Riding in on a dragon!”
“He is well now,” said Rowena. “He had quite a few unpleasant burns, though, so I think he shall not be attempting something like that again. Let us hope not, at any rate.”
“Good luck, Godric,” said Salazar with a wry smile. “Since he is in your House, you are the one who has to teach him – and I have a feeling he has not finished causing trouble for you.”
“Probably not,” said Godric. “But I can manage. I was just like that when I was thirteen.”
Salazar looked around the large, finally empty Hall. “I must say, this is rather a large castle for just fifty students.”
“But we are just getting started – there will be many more next year!” said Helga optimistically. But then she thought of something. “How we shall ever teach that many, I have no idea.”
“We can find other teachers,” said Rowena. “It does not have to be just us. This school is going to live on long past the four of us, and it will be managed by others some day.”
The next day, after a well-deserved night’s sleep, Helga got up early to prepare her lesson plans for the day. Hufflepuff House had sixteen students, all at different levels of prior magical training. So her first day of teaching was spent assessing the levels of ability of each of the students, separating them into three groups by age, and taking turns working with each group. The first lesson was in various Charms, which was her favourite category of magic, and for half the day she watched the youngest children in the front of the classroom Levitating small objects like feathers and bits of cloth, while nearby the older students practised Summoning Charms. The most advanced pupils practised Flame-Freezing Charms in the back of the room.
This setup led to much disorder, as sometimes the older children would Summon the feathers the young ones were trying to Levitate, or small fires would creep from the back of the room up towards the front. Helga realised that teaching was harder than she’d imagined… or maybe her system of teaching just might need some work.
When all the students went to the Great Hall for lunch, Helga met up with her fellow teachers at the table near the top of the Hall to see how their first lessons had gone, and found that it was much the same for the other three, except they’d managed to keep a bit more control of their classrooms. Salazar in particular seemed thrilled; he was humming to himself as he dished some food into a bowl, food that had been excellently prepared by the house-elves.
“You are very cheerful today, Salazar,” said Helga. “Your lesson must have gone well.”
Salazar smiled. “Yes, it did – but mainly I am happy because I have just heard from Maeve, and she wrote about how much she misses me. I knew it would happen eventually!”
Lady Maeve was a Muggle, and Helga wondered just how much Maeve knew about Hogwarts. “Does she know where you are, what you are doing up here?” Helga asked.
“She knows I am up in the Highlands working at a school. That is all I told her,” said Salazar pensively. “I did not know how much I could tell her. This school is supposed to be a secret, hidden from Muggles – we decided that in the beginning. I want to tell Maeve about it, but would that not defeat the point?”
“Hmm,” said Helga. “We had not even considered that. And what about Muggle-born students? Of course we will want to accept them too, and we have a few here now, but only because we know their parents, who had mentioned their children had odd abilities. But when Hogwarts gets bigger, how will we be able to get the word out? And how will they get here? They cannot Apparate if their parents are Muggles, because they will not know how… nor will they know about Portkeys…”
“Well, how did the Muggle-borns get here yesterday?”
“Two of them, Joan and Isabel, came on horseback. Geoffrey – he is in Godric’s house – came with Mary’s family, who are wizards. There was one more… who was it…” Helga paused as she tried to remember.
“How can you keep all the names straight?” Salazar interrupted. “I was having a dreadful time of it in class today, trying to remember who was who, and I know I mixed some people up.”
“It is only the first day,” said Helga. “I am sure they understand. Remember, they are all still trying to learn each other’s names, too.”
Salazar passed Helga the dish of stew, and she ladled some out, her thoughts occupied by how the school compared to her expectations so far. It was more difficult than she had thought it would be, and few things yesterday and today had gone completely according to plan. But she knew what she could improve, and it would just take time and hard work to fix the problems. Even though some things hadn’t gone the way she’d hoped, she was satisfied in that she and her friends were doing a great service to the wizarding world, and it would certainly be worth it.
Sorry this chapter wasn’t particularly exciting, but it was necessary to put it in because it’s a pretty important part of Hogwarts history Anyway, I’d love to know what you think, your feedback really helps me! Thank you for reading!
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
Last edited by marauderfan; January 21st, 2015 at 5:33 am.
Re: Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
Ok and we're back, with Slytherin this time. Many thanks to my wonderful feedbackers BrightestWitch, nevillesgal, and Baarney. You all are awesome!
Spring had come, and after seven months of school some of the children began to leave, to return to their families and help out on the farms, as it was the planting season. In Salazar Slytherin’s opinion, everything was finally coming together and the school was running smoothly now, and what a fine school it was: certainly one of the most magnificent structures built in recent times – their names would be remembered for centuries. But he and the other three teachers had met one afternoon and, after a short discussion, decided to call it a year and would pick up again after the harvest festival in the autumn. After all, as Helga had pointed out, if the remaining students got to learn for a few more weeks, it wouldn’t be fair to the ones who had to go home early and work on the farms. So they’d sent word to all the students’ parents about the end of the school term, and now Salazar was teaching his last class of the year until everyone came back in the autumn.
He watched as the young students practiced turning twigs into candles, occasionally aided by some of the older students. Salazar had found this setup to work quite well: he was able to supervise all the groups at once, the younger students got the help they needed, and the older students learned better by teaching skills to the younger ones. On the whole, this plan had fared well the entire year.
But next year, he knew, things would be changing. Hogwarts was likely to have many more students, due to the wonderful success of its first year. And even though Salazar had been fine teaching Slytherin House’s fifteen students all together as a group this year, Hogwarts would eventually have enough students that they’d need more than just four teachers. So after the last class, before heading southward, the four friends made sure all the students left safely, and then said a temporary farewell to one another, knowing they’d all meet again over the summer to prepare for next year.
As much as Salazar enjoyed his new life teaching at Hogwarts, he was thrilled to be going back south for the summer. Going home meant he got to see Maeve again. Lady Maeve, the love of his life, who had written to him several times a month telling him to come back. They were planning to get married in the summer. And as of yet, Salazar hadn’t been able to tell her what he was up to, far away in the highlands. But all of her letters cheered up his days, heightening the anticipation until he would be able to see her again.
When the students left at the end of class, Salazar began to clear the debris of months off of his rough wooden desk. The top item was a letter from Maeve. He smoothed it out again, admiring the fine penmanship, and recalling the day his life had changed.
It was a clear, warm day as Salazar Slytherin walked past the church in his town, and it would have been a day like any other had he not heard the sweetest voice beckon to him – from beside him, the simple greeting, “Good morning.”
He turned to see a young woman with a bright blue eyes and a plait of dark auburn hair, a flirtatious smile playing about her lips. She was about a head shorter than he.
The woman, Maeve, introduced herself and seemed eager to talk to him, so they meandered about the town together as their easy conversation flowed. She kept glancing sideways at him, and eventually Salazar took out his wand and produced a large bouquet of white flowers, handing it to her graciously.
“You are a wizard!” she exclaimed, drawing her hands to her sides and leaving Salazar to hold the bouquet. “That is a shame. I have always been told that wizards are not to be trusted. My father got into a disagreement with one once – that is how my mother died.”
“Then you… you are a Muggle,” Salazar realised dully. “I have always thought the same of your kind, that I should be wary of you. When I was but a child, I lost my home to a group of Muggles with torches.”
But it would seem that not all Muggles were as cruel as he remembered. Maeve had already begun to change his mind, after only a blissful half hour of her acquaintance.
They looked at each other for a few seconds; Maeve’s initially open demeanour now seemed suspicious, careful. Salazar was a refined person, not the type to act rashly, but he hated to see the sadness in this beautiful woman’s eyes because of him, and blurted, “Perhaps we only misunderstand each other. You have only seen the wrong type of wizards – as I had only met the wrong Muggles.” He held out the flowers for her again, hoping for a chance with her.
She did not take the flowers, but smiled coyly at him. “We shall see. I will be here again in a week’s time.” She allowed him to kiss her hand, and then disappeared. Salazar breathed in the fragrance of the blossoms in his hand, watching the girl walk out of his sight. Maeve had already convinced him that there was hope. He would not let her leave his sight until he had convinced her.
And it had taken many seasons, but his determination had come to fruition – they had overcome their pasts and fallen in love. He only had one last secret.
Last month, he’d asked Godric, Helga, and Rowena what they thought of him telling Maeve about the school; when he married Maeve, he would obviously have to tell her. But their advice had done little: Rowena had suggested he not marry Maeve, Godric had been supportive and was all for telling Maeve about Hogwarts, and Helga seemed ambivalent. Their opinions essentially cancelled each other out, so Salazar figured the decision was ultimately up to him.
The following day after he’d Apparated back home, Salazar went to visit Lady Maeve. But he met her father at the door to the house, and as always, Maeve’s father insisted that Salazar was not good enough for his daughter and told him to go away. This had never dissuaded Salazar in the past, so he went around back of the fine estate and threw small pebbles at Maeve’s window. Soon enough, she appeared, leaning out the window, her long dark auburn hair framing her angelic face. And although the day was cloudy, Maeve’s smile was like a ray of sunshine beaming down upon him.
Then Maeve disappeared from the window, and a minute later came out of the door downstairs where Salazar ran to greet her. He helped her over the short stone wall surrounding the house, and then the two of them left to walk through the hills.
Salazar thought he could have spent days out there just walking with Maeve; it had been so long since he’d last seen her. But that long separation had done the trick – it was because he’d been gone so long that Maeve had realised she was in love with him. And now everything was falling into place: they were going to be married by the end of the summer, despite the reservations of both of their families.
Salazar’s family was still distrustful of Muggles, after everything that had happened when he was little and the Muggles had forced his family to leave their home. But that was a different case, with different Muggles. Maeve wasn’t like that. However, her family was vehemently opposed to the match as well, and kept propositioning Maeve with other suitors, even trying to marry her off to one of the Danish invaders, preferring him instead of Salazar as a potential son-in-law. But none of that would work. Wizards and Muggles weren’t that different from one another, they insisted, and Salazar and Maeve were in love, and their life together would be wonderful.
As they walked, Salazar took out his wand and conjured a large bunch of red flowers and gave them to Maeve, who smiled back at him. “This might be the best part of being in love with a wizard,” she said, admiring the flowers. “I am a lucky girl indeed.”
“If only our families agreed with us,” said Salazar. “I am thrilled that we are getting married, but we shall have to do it in secret. I just wish our families approved of it.”
“Maybe they shall learn to do so, it just might take time,” Maeve suggested. “After all, it took a while for me to fully come round. I did not understand magic, and so I did not trust wizards. But then I got to know you, and discovered we are really the same, only I cannot pull a bouquet of roses out of thin air.”
“I hope you are right,” said Salazar. “I do not want to make enemies of your family. I hope they will learn to trust me.”
When they walked by Maeve’s manor again, she boldly insisted she would be fine – her father might know she had snuck out, but there was little he could do about it. “And if he does not let me out again,” she said, “well, you can just use magic to get me out next time you visit.”
Salazar considered pointing out that that wasn’t quite the way magic worked, unless he Apparated into the house itself, but then decided it would be too complicated to explain and just agreed with her, and bid her farewell just outside the wall around her house.
Spring was off to a good start. Salazar felt like singing as he walked away from Maeve’s house, the happiest he had been in months.
And indeed, much of the spring passed in that manner. He’d go visit Maeve, and after a good deal of sneaking around, they’d walk together and just enjoy each other’s company. Life was simple and sweet.
One day, as they explored a meadow, Maeve asked, “When we get married, are we going to live around here, or up north where you have been for the past year?”
Salazar supposed this would be as good a time as any to explain Hogwarts to Maeve. “I was hoping you would like to come up north. It is absolutely beautiful up there, and that is where I have been working. I did not tell you about it before, but I teach at a school.”
“Yes, you have told me that.”
“But it is not the full story. Hogwarts is a school of magic, so I teach young witches and wizards how to use their abilities and do magic.”
“Can you teach me to do magic?” asked Maeve, her bright eyes eager. “I know you said before that it is impossible, but now that you have been teaching it… now that you know how to teach…”
“I wish I could,” said Salazar. “You have to be born with the ability.”
Maeve sighed in defeat, a pout on her face. “So we shall just be moving up there and I will be surrounded by magic where I am a complete outsider. Salazar, you are asking me to leave my whole life here – everyone and everything I know! I will be forgotten there, an unimportant girl who cannot do magic. Here, I am the daughter of a knight. We have always said otherwise, but you do live a completely different life than I.” Her forehead creased with worry.
“Do not be disheartened,” said Salazar comfortingly. “It will not be like that. There are plenty of Muggles in the highlands – Muggles are nonmagical folk, like you – so you will not be an outsider at all. And just wait until you see the highlands. You would love it there.”
Maeve seemed reluctant to move away from the life she knew, which Salazar could understand. He assured her that they could come back to visit as often as she wanted, because Salazar could bring her by Apparition, and with all these promises, eventually Maeve agreed to live up north.
By the time midsummer came around, Rowena had requested a meeting to plan out the upcoming autumn at Hogwarts. So one day about a week after the solstice feast, Salazar found himself in Helga’s kitchen with a large plate of food in front of him, seated at a table covered with parchment and bread crumbs and hardened drips of old candle wax. House-elves were chattering in a neighbouring room, and the chickens had free rein of the house as they made their way through the room, clucking and picking up scraps of food from the floor.
“I have received letters from at least sixty new people saying their children want to go to Hogwarts this autumn,” said Godric, holding up a stack of parchment. “Our students have told their friends back home in their villages, and those friends have told others – word has gotten out now, and we may have more students than the four of us can handle.”
“We need another way to teach classes,” said Rowena. “As much as I love our house system, it will be necessary to have multiple classes per house. The younger students with morning classes, and the older ones in the afternoon, or something.”
“As long as we are proposing things to change,” said Helga, “I think our house system is too divisive. It was a good idea at first, but… the students in each house never get to see the students in the other houses, and at a school this size, everyone should be able to get to know everyone else, and not be separated into groups like they are.”
“The house system promotes very close friendship within the houses,” Salazar argued.
“Yes, within the houses, but not between the houses, and that is of equal importance,” said Helga.
“Both of you raise very good points,” said Godric. “I am sure we can work this out in a way that solves both problems.”
“We should keep the house system,” said Salazar.
“I like the house system too,” said Godric, “but it has a lot of room for improvement. It would be good for students to get more out of their education than just the opinions of one teacher.”
“I have an idea,” said Rowena. “Right now, classes are divided by house. Students learn with everyone in their house, and then go back to their house dormitory. But we could change it – we shall keep the house dormitories, so the houses are still like family, as they were, but the classes could be divided by subject. So each of us will teach a different subject, and have students of all houses in our class.”
“That is a great idea,” said Helga. “But what subjects? How would we divide into groups the different types of magic we teach?”
And so began a long discussion after which they had concluded that the most essential magic they taught at Hogwarts fell into the four arbitrary categories of Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, and Defence Spells, the categories so created because they matched the talents of each of the four instructors. Godric had a talent for Transfiguration, so he would teach that; Helga would teach Charms, Rowena Potions, and Salazar Defence. This way their students would be able to learn from all four of them.
To address the number of students, each of the four teachers could offer several different sections of their class, separating the beginning students from the advanced ones so that each would be able to learn at their own pace. With separate classes, the number of students in each class would be more manageable.
“Salazar, I have a question,” said Helga as the meeting wound down and she began to clear dishes off the table and placed them in a large cauldron full of water. “One of your students, Catherine, told me something interesting a few weeks ago. She lives in my village; she was originally one of my students until we evened out the numbers, so she knows me – anyway, what she told me was that she loved your Defence lessons, except for all the dark magic. I thought little of it at the time, because she had a lot to tell me, but just recently I have begun considering it again. Were you teaching the Dark Arts in your lessons?”
“Yes,” said Salazar. “I am teaching all I know about magic, and that includes the Dark Arts.”
“I did not teach the Dark Arts in my Defence lessons,” said Helga.
“Nor did I,” said Godric. “I cannot claim to know as much about the Dark Arts as you do, Salazar, but I thought the point was not as much to teach the students all we know, but to educate them in what will be most useful for them, and Dark Magic rarely solves anything.”
“I am not teaching them how to do the Killing Curse, if that is what you are implying,” said Salazar, miffed. “The Dark Arts are an important branch of magic for many reasons, one being that it is much easier to defend oneself against a known enemy. Knowing the Dark Arts helps with Defence against it.”
“I had not thought about it in that way before,” said Helga contemplatively. “But it just seems wrong to me, educating young children how to do Dark curses. I still do not think we should teach that at all.”
“Well, Salazar does have a point,” conceded Godric, “but I agree with you, Helga. If they need to learn Dark Magic at all, it should not be at Hogwarts. The school was designed to be a safe place from all the Muggle and wizard wars, for students to learn magic in peace. That is how it should stay.”
Salazar felt a twinge of annoyance that his best friend disagreed about his teaching methods, but appealed to Rowena, hoping she at least would be on his side, because the others highly valued Rowena’s opinion. And Rowena didn’t usually argue with Salazar. This, he figured, was because she had strong feelings for him. A while ago, after enduring several confusing months of Rowena inexplicably acting oddly around him, he’d tried Legilimency on her to see her thoughts – an action of dubious morality, perhaps, but at least he understood now, and he’d never use the information against her.
But Rowena shook her head. ““I am sorry, Salazar,” she said. “I am with them on this too. I do not think we should be teaching the Dark Arts. Even if it helps a little with Defence. They can still learn how to defend themselves very well even if they are not taught how to perform Dark curses.”
“You realise that I am the one teaching Defence now,” said Salazar. “We all voted on that. So I could teach the Dark Arts and you three would be unaware.”
“We’ll know,” said Rowena. “So don’t do it.”
“I would argue that it is acceptable to talk about the Dark Arts in your classes, but do not teach them,” said Godric.
Salazar shrugged. Maybe they were right. He didn’t want a row, so he let the matter drop. After all, the meeting had dragged on longer than he’d wished it to, because he was going to meet Maeve again that afternoon.
So once the four of them parted, Salazar Apparated to Maeve’s mansion, and after she’d snuck out the door, the two of them walked through a field enjoying the peaceful sunny afternoon, until Maeve suddenly jumped and shrieked, clinging to Salazar’s arm.
Alarmed, Salazar looked around to see a green snake slithering in the grass by Maeve’s feet, and then relaxed. It was only a snake, so there was no cause for worry. He understood snakes, and they understood him. “It’s all right,” he told Maeve, squeezing her hand lightly.
“It’s not venomous, is it?” Maeve asked tensely.
“I expect not, but I will ask if you would like.” Salazar leant down to look at the snake. “Hello,” he said to it. “I am sorry we scared you. You are not venomous, are you?”
“Cccertainly not,” hissed the snake as it moved towards him and away from Maeve’s foot, which was trying to crush the snake. Salazar held Maeve around the shoulders, preventing her from continuing her assault on the snake; she stopped kicking at it, but she was trembling. “Thanksss,” said the snake, and continued on its way.
Salazar turned back to look at Maeve, who was still shaking – not with fear, but with anger, Salazar realised as he saw her livid expression.
“Let go of me,” she said icily.
“You are fine, Maeve, the snake is not venomous. I just asked.”
“I said get away from me!” said Maeve, pulling away from him, her stony eyes not straying from his face. “You are being possessed by a demon! I heard you hissing at that snake!”
Salazar was flustered. He hadn’t thought she would react like this. After all, she was fine with him whispering incantations to produce flowers out of thin air. “All I did was ask if it was venomous, and it said it was not. There is no demon. I can talk to snakes, there is no trickery.”
“Serpents are an instrument of the Devil,” she insisted, her voice a low, angry hiss – almost snakelike. “And you were hissing at it. That is not normal!”
She took several steps away from him, but Salazar couldn’t let her go like that, and ran after her. “Maeve, it was not what it seemed! I promise! There was no evil at work, just magic. I love you and I would never hurt you. You know that.”
Maeve finally spun around and faced him again. “My parents were right about you all along,” she said. “You used some form of evil sorcery to trick me into falling in love with you. Well, it is over now. I never want to see you again, you and your twisted magic and demons!” She slapped him across the face, turned and ran away.
Salazar stood there, stunned, and watched her go. He didn’t run after her this time, and she didn’t turn back.
It would take time. That had been what they’d said all along. It had taken time for Maeve to accept Salazar’s being a wizard, and then they’d said it would take time for their families to come around and accept their love. So Salazar told himself that in time, Maeve would get over her shock that Salazar could speak to snakes.
Four weeks had passed, and Salazar hadn’t seen Maeve at all since the day she’d left him in that field, so he ventured to Maeve’s family’s manor, to see her again and ask her forgiveness.
He knocked on the door of the manor, which was answered by Maeve’s father, as usual. But this time, rather than barking at Salazar to get out, his face twisted into a wry smile. “My daughter is not here,” he said. “After you broke her heart, she finally understood how untrustworthy your kind are. She is now married to Lord Dunstan.”
“Married?” cried Salazar in disbelief. “But—”
His protest was cut short when Maeve’s father slammed the large wooden door shut in Salazar’s face.
After Salazar had stood there a few minutes, dazed, a thought came to him: Maeve’s father was just saying that to get rid of Salazar. That had to be it. So Salazar ran round back of the house and tossed small pebbles at Maeve’s window again. But this time, no one appeared in the window to smile at him.
He couldn’t bear the thought of it. Maeve was gone from his life, already married. She hadn’t given him a chance to explain. Crushed and bitter, Salazar went back to his own house, hating himself. How could he have trusted Maeve so, when she clearly had never trusted him? Only one insignificant thing had caused her to leave him. If she had trusted him, if she had loved him as much as he loved her, they would have reconciled.
Although the spring and early summer had flown by, what with all the wonderful time he’d spent with Maeve, time now crawled by as it neared autumn. All Salazar wanted was to get back to Hogwarts and devote himself to his work, because he had nothing else now. Maeve had betrayed him, but Hogwarts never would.
Some things at Hogwarts would have to change, though. No one of Muggle parentage should be allowed into Hogwarts anymore, because Muggles were liars and cruel and their dislike of wizards would tear apart the school. He should have known this all along – there was evidence of it every day, what with all the violence between Muggles and wizards at home… but he’d been deluded by love. Not anymore. He would never love again.
Maeve’s leaving him had opened his eyes to what he should have seen all along. Salazar had given Muggles a second chance, and now twice he’d been betrayed – by the ones years ago who had chased him and his family away with torches, and now Maeve. There was no such thing as a third chance. Muggles could not be trusted, and this time around no one would be able to convince him otherwise.
Thanks so much for reading!! I always love to read your feedback, so let me know what you think here.
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
Last edited by marauderfan; January 21st, 2015 at 5:37 am.
Re: Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
This chapter has been a long time coming, I know. It's kind of a weird one. Many thanks to nevillesgal, Baarney, and BrightestWitch for your feedback! And without further ado.......
It was the end of the summer. The four friends were back at Hogwarts, making a few final preparations before all the students joined them there in a week. Already it seemed like this year would fare better, what with the new structure for classes to make their lives less stressful. They also would offer some new subjects this year, and had two new teachers. Over the past year, Helga’s husband Cador had been doing stonework in his village, and Godric’s wife Laudine had been fighting against Vikings, attempting to mend wizard-Muggle relationships in her community. Now they had both moved up to Hogwarts, where Laudine would teach about the stars, and Cador would teach classes on magical herbs and plants.
As the six of them sat at a table in the empty Great Hall, enjoying a meal, Rowena looked at the two happy couples who were discussing how wonderful it would be to live in the same place again and work together, and then her eyes drifted over to Salazar, who had been quite taciturn ever since Maeve left him. Rowena could imagine that the present company was not helping him cope.
She moved over to sit next to him, and gently put her hand over his, which was resting on the table. “I am so sorry, Salazar,” she said. “I know how much this hurts for you.”
Silently, Salazar looked at her hand on his, and then up at her face. Rowena hated to see the pain in his eyes. If only she could persuade him to love again, if only she could help him. But he didn’t want help.
At least the school term at Hogwarts was about to start. Salazar would have been miserable if the summer had lasted any longer; Rowena had heard that already Maeve was outspoken about the perils of witchcraft in the community. It was best that they were away from all that up here.
Rowena and Salazar sat in silence and watched the four laughing at the other end of the table. Godric had taken off his hat, which was sitting on the table in the middle of the group. As Rowena watched from afar, Helga picked up the hat and put it on her own head and started talking in a low, dramatic voice, which set the others laughing again. Rowena turned back to Salazar and shrugged.
But as soon as Rowena and Salazar had gone back to minding their own business, Godric and Helga approached them. “Why do you sit over here by yourselves?” Godric asked with a smile on his face. “I have just come up with a grand idea about how to Sort the new students.”
Rowena looked up. “Do tell,” she said.
“Well, this year we cannot just select the ones we know, obviously, because there are too many. That is why we could use my hat! We shall enchant it to select students for the Houses for us!”
“We do not have to accept that many students,” Salazar interjected, his eyes narrowed. “Perhaps we should be a bit more selective so the school does not get out of hand. I mean that we should accept pureblood witches and wizards, but not necessarily Muggle-borns. Muggle heritage can only mean trouble. We do not want any violence like what is happening everywhere outside Hogwarts…”
“Muggle-borns can be extremely talented wizards and witches, too, Salazar,” said Rowena. “If we are worried about numbers, we could admit only the ones with the most magical aptitude.”
“We decided ages ago that the purpose of Hogwarts is so that we can teach anyone with magical ability how to use magic,” Helga reminded them. “And the number of people who have heard of Hogwarts is much greater this year; we have gained a fine reputation and people want to learn. Why should we turn them away?”
Salazar was silent and glanced at Rowena. Rowena wasn’t quite sure what to say to Salazar; she had a feeling that most of his objections stemmed from the fact that the Muggle he loved had betrayed his heart, but that wasn’t really the issue at hand. He would eventually get over Maeve, and then this would not be a problem anymore. So Rowena directed the discussion back to the original point as she addressed Godric. “You mean we would merely have the new students put on your hat and that is all? The large number of students this year would not be a problem for it?”
“How would we know if it is dividing the students properly?” asked Salazar.
“Well,” said Godric, “I was thinking we could give the hat a piece of each of us, you know, let it see into our minds so it has the ability to pick students based on the skills and virtues each of us values.”
Rowena privately wished she had thought of the idea herself, but she nodded. “It is a great suggestion, Godric,” she said. “And it will make the Sorting process very simple, which is exactly how it should be.”
Salazar mutely nodded his approval as well.
So their next task was to enchant Godric’s old hat to see into the wearer’s heart and place him or her in one of four categories, depending on whether the wearer most displayed bravery and spirit, or fairness and loyalty, or ambition and pure-blood ancestry, or intelligence and wit.
After a long period of all four of them trying on the hat, a lot of complicated spellwork, charms and enchantments, the hat appeared to be sentient. As Rowena was transferring some of her feelings to the hat, she jumped in surprise when suddenly a small rip by the brim expanded as the hat gave a tremendous yawn.
“That’ll be enough of your feelings, Ravenclaw,” it said brazenly. “I’ve got enough for one hat to handle.”
Rowena gaped at the hat, then turned to face the others.
“It worked!” said Helga brightly.
“Yes,” said Rowena, “but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so… rude.”
“Rude?” exclaimed the hat. “Who’s being rude? You are the ones trying to fill my mind with your personalities. It is as if I have four other people in here! How do you think that makes me feel?”
“You are hollow,” said Godric. “There is nothing in there. So strictly speaking, you do not even have a mind!” He turned and addressed the others. “I had no idea it would be this talkative.”
“It’s your fault I am this talkative,” said the hat. “You were the reason I got sliced by a sword and got this tear in my brim. And you didn’t care about me enough to fix it up, so here I am!”
Godric looked surprised. “I never said I disliked you!”
“Don’t forget I have seen inside your mind, Godric Gryffindor. It’s all right though, I never liked you either.”
Salazar sighed. “Listen to you, arguing with your hat,” he said. “Can we not do something about it so it will not act smart with us all the time? This will get tiresome.”
“I’ll enchant it to sing or something,” said Rowena. “That’s always more cheerful to listen to. Assuming, of course, that it can carry a tune…”
“Maybe once it gets used to its new abilities, it will not be as angry at us,” suggested Helga. “It just needs time.”
“It is a hat, not a person,” Salazar reminded her.
“But it still has feelings,” said Helga. “Human feelings, now that we have done our enchantments.”
Rowena picked up the hat from the table. “Time to see if it worked,” she said. “It can talk, but were all those charms effective?”
She put the hat on her head, and it promptly said “RAVENCLAW!”
Godric smiled. “All right, it can tell who you are, at least. It says you belong in the Ravenclaw house, which makes sense. We should all try, just to make sure.”
After all four had tried on the hat with successful results, Rowena mentioned that maybe they should test it out on someone more objective, someone who had never been Sorted. This would be the situation the hat would be facing when it had to Sort maybe a hundred new students whose personalities weren’t already in the hat. So she gave it to Godric’s wife Laudine.
Laudine tried on the hat, and sat at the table for a few seconds while nothing happened. Rowena began to worry that the charms only worked as far as getting the hat to recognise the four founders, and that anyone new would confuse the hat. But her worries were alleviated when the hat opened its brim and said “SLYTHERIN!”
“Slytherin?” cried Godric and Salazar in surprise, looking at each other, and then they both laughed.
“I would have thought it should sort me as one of your house, Godric,” said Laudine as she took the hat off. “But it said I am ambitious and resourceful and that I exemplified the qualities of Slytherin House.”
“I am surprised it was so kind,” said Rowena. “Nothing snide in there at all?”
“It talked to you?” asked Godric. “We heard not a word.”
“That’s because it had nothing to do with you,” said the hat.
“Nothing to do with me? She is my wife!”
“Stop it, you two,” said Rowena.
“It sounded like it was just thinking out loud,” said Laudine. “It was considering what house to put me in, and just told me what it was thinking. That is probably what will happen with all new students.”
And with that, Hogwarts’ second year had begun. The dormitories were magically expanded to accommodate more people, and then many students arrived the following week, with a ceremony in the main hall for Sorting everyone. The hat seemed to work well as a Sorting tool; it divided the group of students relatively evenly, and sometimes it would sit on a student’s head for a long time before shouting out the result, during which time it was speaking to the student only. But each student was welcomed into one of the Houses, according to the information the four friends had given the hat.
After the ceremony was complete, the students all sat together at the few tables in the hall for the welcoming feast, while the four founders and Cador and Laudine sat at a table near the end of the hall up a few steps, where they could oversee the entire room. Godric’s hat sat on the table in between two dishes of stew. “I think it went well,” said Godric proudly.
“The hat was a very good solution,” said Rowena. She looked out at the tables of students, who were happily Sorted into four houses but still socialising with everyone else. Rowena remembered Helga’s protest that the houses were too divisive, and that that unity between the houses was essential. So far, it looked like she might be getting her wish. It was exactly how it should be.
At one of the nearby tables, a boy who had clearly never used a wand before had managed to set the table on fire. Rowena took out her own wand and quickly put out the fire, then went to speak to the boy, who was crying.
“It is all right,” she told the boy. “Very few people can Levitate a spoon on the first try. You will learn how to use that soon. For now, you do not need magic to eat your dinner.”
She returned to her own table at the top of the Hall, internally thankful that the boy had been sorted into Gryffindor House instead of her own, because she didn’t think she’d have the patience to deal with him on a regular basis.
“Clearly a Muggle-born,” said Salazar quietly, seated next to Rowena.
Rowena nodded. “Well, he must have magical ability – perhaps very little, but some, anyway – otherwise he would not be here.”
“He lives in my village,” said Helga, who had witnessed the fire as well. “His parents are Muggles, and came to ask me about him; although he had never done magic in his life before he got here, he always managed to make magical things happen around him without trying.”
“It is nice to see that Muggle-born children get the same treatment here,” said Cador. “He may be starting a little behind the others, but he will be fine. No one is particularly good at magic at that age.”
While Helga and Cador talked, Salazar looked back at Rowena. “If I had got my way,” he said, “there wouldn’t be any Muggle-borns here at all.”
“They are not all like that,” said Rowena. “And at least he is not in your house.”
“That is true. But we will still be teaching all of them. That boy is not in your house, but you will have to teach him how to brew potions.”
“I know,” sighed Rowena. “It will be difficult. That is why I had originally wanted it to just be the most talented and intelligent that came to Hogwarts, but seeing them all talking together, everyone is friendly despite their House or their magical background or what they excel at. They are all here because they want to learn, and we are here to teach all of them. That was what we signed up for when we started this school. This is what we wanted.”
Rowena sat at the top table in the Great Hall, eating her dinner and looking out across the hall as she had so many months before. She could not have been prouder of the work they were doing here at Hogwarts. It was spring now, and so far the second year of Hogwarts had gone by with many fewer hitches than the first year, at least in terms of academics. As she watched, William, the Muggle-born who had started a fire at the table during the autumn, entered the hall and sat with a group of students in the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw Houses. He was still rather dreadful at Levitating Charms, and constantly set fire to things, but he had already proven to have a natural ability at potion-making.
Regarding non-academic topics, the year had been a bit more disappointing as of late – but only for Rowena. Salazar had finally found love with someone else, a pureblood witch named Elaine, and two weeks ago they had gotten married. Elaine was very kind, but astute and clever – a complete opposite to Maeve, and in fact very similar to Rowena herself.
While Rowena was happy that Salazar had gotten over his heartbreak about Maeve, she wished it had been under different circumstances. She knew that, as a friend, she should be glad for Salazar and wish him the best in his married life. But there was a lingering feeling of jealousy that stopped her, and as nice as Elaine was, Rowena just couldn’t like her.
Salazar was sitting between Godric and Elaine at the table. Although Elaine didn’t teach at Hogwarts, she was as welcome there as if she had taught there. Godric and Salazar were laughing at something, while Elaine leaned against Salazar’s shoulder. Salazar was wearing a heavy-looking gold locket around his neck, which had a carved snakelike “S” on it. It had been a gift from Elaine.
Now that her three best friends were married, Rowena couldn’t help but feel alone. There were happy people gathered around her, and a hundred or so students in the room, but they only added to her loneliness. As this loneliness had sunk in over the past two weeks, Rowena realised she’d essentially just been waiting for Salazar all these years, and that was why she had pushed away other suitors. Now she would have to settle for someone else.
But as always, Rowena kept a level head and didn’t let her emotions affect her teaching. Her beginner Potions class the following morning went as well as usual, with few interruptions; William made a remarkable treatment for boils, and then accidentally set his hat on fire.
That afternoon she had a break before the intermediate students’ class, and used it to wander the beautiful hills around Hogwarts. Despite the solitude, she didn’t feel quite as alone; there was no one around to remind her how happy they were. She would miss this place when she returned to her town for the summer.
Summer, unfortunately, brought the return of Lord Redwald, a pompous and boring suitor who had tried to impress her four years ago, and apparently thought to try again for her affection now that she was back. With Salazar now completely out of the picture, Rowena wondered what her future would be like with Lord Redwald. But after a moment’s pondering, she resolved she would never sink that low. Maybe she’d have to settle for someone, but she could still do much better than him.
On one of her many pointless trips to the town centre to avoid Lord Redwald, she met a much more impressive man, who had come to one of Rowena’s parents’ extravagant social events about a year ago. She had never talked to him much then, because she’d had her eyes on someone else. But Sir Palamon of Suffolk was sensible and intelligent, and he had come to town specifically to look for her.
Rowena spent a good portion of the summer in the company of Sir Palamon, and her parents were thrilled that she was finally showing interest in a suitor. She saw her fellow Hogwarts founders only infrequently for brief meetings every now and then, so Rowena was happy to see Helga at the door one day near the end of summer.
They walked into the hall together. “Rowena, I hear you are getting married!” exclaimed Helga. “That is wonderful! I had no idea. I cannot believe we haven’t seen each other for longer than a few hours all summer!”
“Indeed, it has been a busy summer,” said Rowena calmly. “And yes, you heard correctly – I am betrothed to Sir Palamon of Suffolk.”
Helga smiled warmly. “I am so glad. He must be wonderful, because I know how high your standards are,” she laughed.
“Too high,” Rowena agreed.
“If I were you, I would be far more excited about this,” said Helga. “Just like you, acting so composed even about something so exciting!” Then she looked critically at Rowena, her eyes narrowing slightly in an uncharacteristically shrewd way. “You are happy, are you not?”
“Of course,” said Rowena.
“Right,” said Helga. “It is simply that… I know you were a lot more upset about Salazar than you let on, and that was only a few months ago, so it must still be… I do not mean to interfere when this is not my business, or if you wish not to talk about it, but you are my best friend and you deserve to be happy. I don’t want to see you settle for someone you do not love.”
Rowena sighed. “I was upset about that. But you have no need to be concerned anymore. I have moved on, and I am to be married.”
“Do you love him?” Helga persisted.
It was best to be completely honest, Rowena decided, because Helga would know. From the way the discussion was going so far, it seemed Helga could already sense that Rowena wasn’t being entirely truthful. So she thought for a moment before she carefully answered, “I respect him a great deal, which is almost the same thing.”
When she looked up to meet Helga’s eyes, she saw an expression of pity there. “Don’t,” said Rowena, before Helga could say anything. “I am happy. I promise.”
Helga was quiet for a few moments and then said, “I should have been here for you more this summer. I’m sorry.”
“Do not apologise, Helga. Life does not always turn out how you want it to, but occasionally it will exceed your expectations.”
Not sure how the Sorting Hat ended up so sassy. As always, feedback in all forms (praise, criticism, vegetables thrown in my general direction) can be left here. Thanks for reading!
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
Last edited by marauderfan; January 21st, 2015 at 5:39 am.
Re: Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
Huge thanks to BrightestWitch and nevillesgal for your feedback, this one's for you!
In the eighteen years since Hogwarts first opened, faces had come and gone, children had grown up, and newly educated witches and wizards had left Hogwarts to pursue other endeavours. The edifice itself had been added to throughout the years, expanding to accommodate more students. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had become a landmark to magical people all over the country, and a few years previously a man called Hengist of Woodcroft had even begun building a small village near the castle. The town of Hogsmeade was becoming very popular among the students as a social space outside of class, where all four Houses could mingle.
The families of all four founders had eventually relocated to the town of Hogsmeade, their old lives in faraway villages left behind. Godric sometimes went back to visit his old village of Sorrel Hollow, where he was still friendly with many of his old neighbours, and they’d update him on the situation between Muggles and wizards. Refreshingly, there had been a few years of peace between the Muggle Vikings and the wizards in the land surrounding Godric’s town.
And in recent years when he’d gone back to visit, his magical neighbours and friends had come to regard Godric as something of a hero, due to the incredible success of Hogwarts, and the many children returning from school back to Sorrel Hollow as talented and capable witches and wizards.
But Hogwarts was where Godric spent most of his time. He, Laudine, and their son Roland lived in a small house in Hogsmeade, and although Roland was not yet enrolled at Hogwarts, he spent a lot of time there, as both Godric and Laudine taught there, and several of the other founders’ children attended. Roland had just turned eleven, and was going to start school in the autumn.
Recent discussion among Godric, Salazar, Helga and Rowena had circulated around what age students should be admitted to Hogwarts, because they didn’t want to start the children at school too young. So far, no one under the age of nine had been admitted, but some new students had been as old as thirteen. To find students of magical ability, they had enchanted a quill to detect the birth of a magical person and write their name in a book, but then the question was what to do with the information. At what age would the child be sent an invitation to school?
Luckily, the quill had only been put in place last year; it would be at least nine years before any of the children in the book would be eligible, so they had some time to decide.
Besides the new quill, the running of Hogwarts had not changed significantly in the intervening years. Godric’s hat had proved to be effective for Sorting, and the students seemed happy in their houses. All the turmoil that had occurred towards the beginning of Hogwarts had passed now; Godric was thankful it was all over, because it had strained his relationship with his best friend. But Slytherin House had accepted a few Muggle-borns over the years, and Salazar no longer held a grudge, at least not outwardly. The years had been good to him; although his hair had turned grey, he had become much the same person he was before he ever met Maeve.
One afternoon, Godric was teaching his intermediate Transfiguration lesson, a class that was always hampered by two troublemakers who thought they could get away with anything because their parents taught at the school. Salazar’s eldest daughter Edith, and Helga’s son Rhys, who were both thirteen, had the unfortunate habit of playing practical jokes in class. Godric could only hope that Salazar’s other two children Patrick and Morgan, and Helga’s daughter Gwendolyn, would be better behaved than their siblings; fortunately none of them were old enough for Hogwarts yet.
Outside the window of the classroom, he could see Roland and Patrick flying around on broomsticks outside. This was rather distracting while Godric was trying to teach his class, because the classroom was on the third storey of the castle, and it surprised him to see the children so far off the ground. What with Edith and Rhys creating large bubbles in the back of the classroom during the lesson, and Roland and Patrick just outside the window soaring about at a great distance above the ground, Godric’s attention was constantly being diverted away from the lesson at hand.
Flying broomsticks weren’t a particularly recent development – Godric remembered around twenty years ago when Helga had been dabbling in it herself – but it had only become popular as of late. Many children now had flying broomsticks.
After Godric had finished his class and dismissed the students, he went out into the corridor where Salazar was just walking by. Godric fell into step beside him. “How was your class?” Salazar asked. “Edith did not disrupt lessons by breaking things again, I hope?”
“No,” Godric responded. “But there is always something to thwart lessons at a school of magic. And today, it was our sons. I could see them out the window the whole time, far above the ground; they are both becoming quite adept at flying on broomsticks.”
Salazar smiled. “As long they are not playing Creaothceann.”
“Thankfully, they were not,” said Godric. “Not on this occasion, at any rate.”
The game Creaothceann was a recent development as the flying broomstick had become more common. A player in this game would strap a cauldron to his or her head, throw a great number of large, heavy rocks into the air, and then zoom around on a broom, attempting to catch as many falling rocks in the cauldron as possible. It was popular in many other areas of the Kingdom of Alba as well, and Godric had heard stories of fatalities. He knew that as a teenager he would have found this game to be fantastic, but as an adult – a parent whose son kept sneaking out to play Creaothceann – he rather wished the game had never been invented.
Rowena’s fifteen-year-old daughter Helena was far too grown-up and sophisticated for such pursuits, but Roland, Edith, Rhys, Patrick, and Gwendolyn all liked to play Creaothceann together, much to the chagrin of their parents. It was a constant battle for Godric and the other founders to stop games of Creaothceann before they got started.
As they sat at their table near the top of the Hall some time later at dinner, Rowena brought up her own concerns about flying. “I have been thinking maybe we should enact a rule that forbids flying broomsticks at Hogwarts,” she said. “I find them to be an incredible distraction from learning.”
Godric looked at her in surprise. “I do not think that is necessary,” he said. “Flying does not seem to be that dangerous, it is just something to do for fun. I am fine with them flying.” Only if he found students playing Creaothceann would he have a problem.
“That is all well,” said Rowena, “except for when entertainment impedes education. They are here to learn magic, not to learn broom tricks. One of my students skipped class yesterday and I saw him outside on his broom! A student in Gryffindor House, I will have you know.”
Helga, on the other side of Rowena, laughed in response. “We certainly never saw this coming as an obstacle to Hogwarts,” she said, setting down her golden two-handled cup. “Rowena, I think flying broomsticks are the one thing you have ever been wrong about. You initially said nothing would ever come of it!”
Salazar left the women to their conversation and turned to ask Godric, “So how is Patrick at flying? What sort of broom tricks were he and Roland doing this afternoon?”
“They were just chasing each other,” said Godric. “Roland had figured out a sort of loop manoeuvre, and Patrick seemed to be improving at dives.”
“Is he?” asked Salazar with a grin. “I taught him how to do a dive.”
“I have no idea where Roland picked up his loop trick,” Godric mused. “Maybe it is a natural talent.”
“That would not surprise me,” said Salazar. “Did Roland make that broom himself?”
“He did. At least he built it himself, although I helped with the flying charms.”
When Godric and Salazar turned back to face the others at the table, the discussion of banning flying was over, and Rowena and Helga were talking about food now. Maybe Rowena had given up her idea of disallowing flying.
The following morning, breakfast was interrupted by the arrival of a former student who had been in the very first class at Hogwarts. “I daresay, is that Joan?” cried Helga in disbelief, and got up from her seat to greet the former member of Hufflepuff House. After a quick embrace, the two stood and talked in the centre of the Hall for a few moments and then headed up to the teachers’ table. Godric moved a seat down on the bench to make room for the new arrival, who apparently would be joining them for breakfast today.
“How great to see you after all these years, Joan,” said Godric. “So what brings you back?”
Joan smiled as she sat down, momentarily becoming distracted by the view of the hall from this new angle. “I have returned to see if you need new instructors, actually,” she said. “I would love to teach a new class. Have you given any thought to the art of divination?”
“Have you any experience with divination?” Salazar asked, his tone sceptical.
Joan nodded. “Ten years ago, soon after I left Hogwarts, I had a vision. I constantly saw images of a fire in a field, and I thought I was going mad. And then a month later, I woke to find my farm ablaze. I realised that what I had been seeing was the future. Since then, I have managed to control the visions, to understand what they mean. They are not all as simple as predicting a fire.”
“That could potentially make a good class,” Rowena began, “but would a student not already need to possess this power? It does not sound like something you can teach just anyone.”
“I think I could,” said Joan. “I did not have the power of advanced sight while I was at Hogwarts. I had been experimenting with divination for a while before I got that first vision, and then I got to understanding them with the help of a herbalist in my village. So I think it is a power that can be learned, not necessarily one that a student has to be born with.”
“That is wonderful, Joan,” said Helga. “I think it would be a marvellous idea to have you teach here.”
Joan beamed, and looked around at the other three founders hopefully. Godric saw no reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to teach at Hogwarts, and gave his approval; Salazar and Rowena were quick to do so as well. As it was spring, however, they advised her that she’d not be starting until the following autumn for the new term.
Godric’s morning Transfiguration class was for advanced students. There were no habitual mischief-makers in this class, which was a relief. He watched as the students transfigured rabbits into hats, all the while subconsciously thinking of what these hats would say if given the chance to speak. Luckily, they had no such chance.
Helena Ravenclaw was the first to master the transfiguration assignment, and did it with such ease that Godric gave her a more difficult task to attempt so she wouldn’t be bored for the rest of the class. But there was no chance of her being bored; the boy seated beside her saw to that.
Perceval, a member of Slytherin’s House, was the son of a wealthy Baron. He seemed to have taken a shine to Helena and spent the beginning of the class period trying to get her to help him with the assignment. When Godric stopped by the table to offer assistance to Perceval, he found out that Perceval in fact already knew how to turn his rabbit into a hat, and did so with a grin and a lazy flick of his wand.
Surprised, Godric gave Perceval another assignment as well, and again Perceval appealed to Helena for help turning his cat into a statue. Helena was tolerant and helped him, although she didn’t encourage him. She seemed to have control over the situation, so Godric returned to the front of the classroom, Perceval and Helena’s discussion still within earshot as they sat near the front.
After Godric had dismissed class, Perceval held open the door for Helena, and she paid him no mind as she went through it. Godric laughed, forcefully reminded of Rowena’s behaviour towards Lord Redwald twenty years ago. But Perceval wasn’t bad, and seemed to genuinely like Helena. Helena took after her mother in many ways – no man was proving to be up to Helena’s high standards, and she spurned the advances of Perceval and apparently a few others as well.
Godric walked into the corridor after the students had left, to find Helena briskly walking away from a rather displeased looking Perceval. Helena’s demeanour changed as she saw Godric. “Hello,” she said. “Good class today, the assignment with the cat was very challenging and I loved it.”
Godric couldn’t help but laugh. “You are so very like your mother,” he said.
Helena looked at him sharply. “Am I?” she asked, a slight crease between her eyebrows forming the hint of a frown.
“It is a good thing,” said Godric, surprised at her reaction. “She is the smartest witch I have ever met. You should be proud to be like her.”
“That is all I shall ever be,” said Helena dully. “Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter. I am just living in her shadow. I will always be compared to her. But I do not even want to be like her.”
“Why not?” Godric asked. “You are a brilliant witch and so is your mother, is that so bad?”
“It is not only that,” said Helena. “I want to be known for my own accomplishments, not hers. And I do not wish to end up like her… I want to be happy. I do not believe she is, not entirely.”
Godric was speechless. Rowena never gave any indication that she was unhappy with her life, but then again, she had never been one to let loose her emotions. And Helena would have seen a different side of Rowena than he had.
Helena’s face flushed as Godric failed to come up with a response. “Do not tell her,” pleaded Helena. “I want her to remain unaware that I know.”
After a moment’s pause, Godric nodded. He hated keeping secrets, particularly ones like this between a mother and daughter. But Helena was like a niece to him, and Rowena was one of his best friends; he didn’t want to hurt either of them. Telling Rowena would accomplish nothing. Keeping silent was the noble thing to do.
Helena put a smile on her face again and continued walking down the corridor. Godric turned the corner towards the main hall, whereupon he saw Edith sneaking out of the gates with two cauldrons she clearly had just stolen from the Potions classroom. Behind her was Roland, also carrying cauldrons and a broomstick, and when he saw his father, his face took on a wide-eyed, guilty look.
Godric confiscated the cauldrons and brought them back to Rowena’s Potions classroom, all the while wondering if many other cauldrons had been smuggled away for stealthy games of Creaothceann after classes. When he got to the classroom, the cauldron cabinets were emitting a high-pitched noise. Godric set the cauldrons down on a nearby table and stooped to investigate the cabinet door, and moments later Rowena entered the room as well.
“Thank you,” she said, eyeing the retrieved cauldrons.
“Wise of you to put an alarm jinx on the door,” said Godric. “I cannot figure out how to make it stop, though.”
Rowena waved her wand and the sound died. “After simply locking the cabinets proved unsuccessful, I knew I had to do something else to ensure no cauldrons could be removed without my knowing about it.”
“This seems to have worked,” said Godric.
“Until the children find another way, that is,” said Rowena. “I cannot decide whether I am annoyed or very proud of them. I hate that they are playing that game, but I do like to see such determination and creativity to accomplish their goals.”
Godric laughed. “That is true. If only they had safer goals than trying to catch falling rocks with their heads.”
“They are children,” said Rowena, shrugging. “I can only hope they will grow out of this phase before they hurt themselves. Anyway, I have decided not to push my broomstick rule, because you are right – the problem is not flying broomsticks. If not for that, they would undoubtedly have something else to distract them. And if it must be one or the other, I daresay I would much prefer ordinary flying to Creaothceann.”
Godric and Rowena walked into the Great Hall together after having restored the stolen cauldrons to the Potions classroom. Godric looked around at the many happy students. With eighteen years of success so far at Hogwarts, Godric was quite proud of the way things were turning out. Hogwarts was constantly changing, but always seemed to be getting better; next year there would even be a new class subject. And for the time being, wizard-Muggle relations were somewhat friendly again, so the hardest task in Godric’s life was to stop Roland and the other kids from playing Creaothceann.
Historical notes: If anyone is wondering about Rowena Ravenclaw not changing her name when she married… From what I can tell, surnames were not common in the early Middle Ages and often people just had a first name then “of (a place)” – but Rowena had a surname, so Helena kept the name Ravenclaw from her mother.
Also, to anyone not familiar with Scottish history, the “Kingdom of Alba” was the medieval name for Scotland.
So, I know nothing actually happened in that chapter, but in the grand scheme of the story it makes sense Please let me know what you think! Thanks for reading
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
Last edited by marauderfan; January 21st, 2015 at 5:45 am.
Re: Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
Hello, to anyone who is still reading this! I finally did complete Divided, after taking a year and a half hiatus. I feel like I owe you an explanation for that, and without getting into it too much, after a tragedy in my family last year I just inexplicably stalled on this story and lost interest in writing it. But the world keeps turning as they say, so I finally picked up the pen (or keys, as it were) and finished the last two chapters, so here they are!
Hogwarts was flourishing, as fine as Salazar Slytherin had ever seen it. Students of all backgrounds could come and learn about the ways of magical defence, potion-making, alchemy, divination, and many other essential topics. The verdant hills around the school secluded Hogwarts from prying eyes, shielded it from invaders and violence. Salazar and Elaine and their three children lived peacefully in Hogsmeade, as they had now for years, and hoped to for many more to come.
But small slivers of unrest were starting to take hold of Salazar. Despite what he had outwardly told his friends, he still harboured ill will against Muggles for the events of many years ago; he had never forgiven Muggles for Maeve’s transgressions. For a long time now, he had watched with disdain as children who knew nothing of magic were Sorted at Hogwarts, occasionally even into his own House, and he kept his lips sealed. There was nothing to be gained from speaking out, because the others would overrule him.
Recently, however, he had heard word of the Danes raiding England again, and it brought up his old feelings on the topic. Muggles were dangerous and not to be trusted, and the others needed to learn this before it was too late. It had been fine for many years, but now there was a danger again. Over the years, Salazar had observed that people often took action only when they had to, such as in the wake of a disaster. But Salazar wished to avoid any Muggle-related disaster before it happened. And in this mindset, one day at dinner he brought forth to the others his long-held idea that Muggle-born children should no longer be admitted to Hogwarts, in order to protect the school.
“Why would we enact such a rule?” Godric asked him, his lined brow furrowing. “There has never been a concern here regarding children of Muggle parentage.”
“Not yet,” Salazar insisted sharply. “But it shall only be a matter of time. Their blood is not as pure as ours. They are not trustworthy.”
“Salazar, we’ve discussed this before,” said Helga. “My own mother had no magical ability whatsoever, so by that logic my blood is impure. Does that mean I am untrustworthy?”
“No, because you were raised in the ways of wizards,” said Salazar, impatient. Of course he didn’t think one of his fellow Founders was untrustworthy – but she was missing the point. “Some of these students come here knowing nothing at all!”
Rowena spoke up. “How long has this been troubling you? I assume that it has been for quite some time. Why do you wait until now to bring it up – twenty-six years after the school opened?”
“Surely you have heard that the Danes are back.”
“That is an entirely different story, Salazar,” said Godric. “The Danish warriors are Muggles, not Muggle-born wizards, and they are not here to go to Hogwarts.”
Salazar pushed his plate away, his full attention on his argument now as he formed his long-held opinion into an ultimatum. “The Muggle-born children are raised by Muggles; they know Muggle ways, not ours. You have seen for yourself the contention between Muggles and wizards – nay, you have even been a part of it, fought in it. In some places they no longer even acknowledge us – they deny our very existence! Hogwarts as we know it will not endure under these conditions unless we close it to the common Muggles with impure blood. Besides, after Hogwarts they always go back to their Muggle families and disappear from society anyway – at Hogwarts we will train the best of wizards, to help better the wizarding society.”
“Salazar,” said Helga tentatively, “do you not think you’re getting a bit carried away?”
The Divination professor, Joan, finally added, “I know I am not one of the original founders of Hogwarts, as you are, but do not be too hasty in your judgment. I am Muggle-born, and have I not been an asset to this school community?”
There was a tense silence around the table. Godric said nothing, his eyes fiercely trained on Salazar in a glare. Rowena and Elaine both seemed too stunned to say anything, and Helga was patting Joan on the back in a comforting manner. Salazar wished he had not said a word; this was what he had feared from the beginning. He hastily rose from the table, sweeping out of the Hall without another word to anyone. Elaine was soon to follow.
Salazar came to rest standing by a window on the second floor, and watched the red sun on the horizon as soft footsteps sounded behind him. “Do not tell me to rethink my words, Elaine,” said Salazar without turning around.
“I had no intention of doing so,” she said.
“I feel very strongly about this, yet my words fall upon deaf ears; the others will not listen until it is too late. It is all clear to me – how is it that none see except I?”
“Perhaps there truly is nothing to worry about. Hogwarts is far from the eyes of the Muggles.”
Salazar frowned at Elaine. “You do not believe me either.”
“How can one know what will come to pass in the future?” asked Elaine. “I trust Joan, for she is trained in the art of divining, and she fears not the continued presence of Muggle-borns.”
How could it be that Salazar was the only one who saw it? The others were all blinded by their successes, happily settling into complacency. But Salazar was the most astute of the four. He alone could understand, and did not allow past triumphs to create false optimism for what the future held. The greatest mind of the four, but like fools they dismissed his words.
Things that mattered to Salazar never escaped his grasp. He had spent years pursuing Maeve, back in those days on which he did not care to let his memory linger, and now he had a new goal. Since the others did not support him, he would have to do it all on his own. At the inception of the next academic season, a year in the future, Salazar privately planned to intercept all communication to new students so as to filter out the ones he could identify as Muggle-born. They would not receive welcoming letters to Hogwarts. Thereafter, he would be known as the man who had saved Hogwarts from certain destruction.
It was only a small rift beginning between the four, but it echoed loudly. In Salazar’s opinion, Helga’s jokes were no longer as funny as they used to be, Rowena did not seem to be as intelligent, and most of all, Salazar’s friendship with his oldest friend Godric seemed to be hanging in a delicate balance, though neither man cared to bring it up outright. The unspoken stirrings of mistrust were gaining a foothold in Salazar’s mind.
Salazar’s Magical Defence lessons were the one stronghold where he was the ultimate authority. He had a commanding presence in the classroom; perhaps, with his grey hair receding, his penetrating eyes were more conspicuous and demanded attention. Whatever the case, as students filed into his lesson, a respectful silence came over them, and even the most unruly of children kept still with faces forward throughout the duration of the lesson.
Most of the Hogwarts founders’ children had left school by this point, had married and started families nearby. Aside from Helga’s daughter Gwendolyn, the only two of the teachers’ children left at school were Salazar’s son Patrick and daughter Morgan.
But one fine day, Helena Ravenclaw returned to Hogwarts. She had been travelling south with her father Sir Palamon and her school acquaintance the Baron Perceval, and arrived home again with her heart full of dreams and her head full of adventure, of knights on horseback, of fine ladies, of wise bards who brought the stories and wisdom of far corners of the world all the way to Helena’s ears. She was restless, and Salazar could see it.
The Baron Perceval was visibly enamoured with Helena, although she seemed to disregard him; she instead spoke highly of a foreign, intelligent man of great riches who had participated in countless battles and slain many foes, and she longed to see him again.
Salazar saw in Perceval and Helena the echoes of his own first experience of love – the adventuresome girl who refused to see what was right in front of her. That was where the similarities ended, as Helena was a far better person than Maeve had been, but Salazar couldn’t help feeling the slightest twinge of pity for the poor Baron, for he knew how it felt.
The homecoming of Helena from abroad set back Salazar’s proposals for change, as the others would rather hear about Helena’s adventures than about why Muggle-borns should not attend Hogwarts. Salazar had never before been particularly resentful of the young Lady Ravenclaw, but as he saw how easily she commanded the attention of the others, and how much they desired to listen, Salazar wished Helena could have returned at a different, more convenient time.
But as the weeks progressed into the cold season, the novelty of Helena’s return wore off, and Salazar even found himself no longer the sole voice of warning about the future of Hogwarts.
“I keep foreseeing terrible things, Salazar,” said Joan, the Divination instructor. “Hogwarts is in a golden age right now, beautiful and peaceful, as it has been for twenty years. But golden is like the setting of the sun, and after it comes the dark. All I see in my visions of the future is Hogwarts crumbling, your dream falling apart. And it has to do with you more than the other Founders of Hogwarts.”
“I… I am not sure. Divination does not allow one to watch the future unfold; it is a business of hints and interpretations. But I see dark shadows… everything broken.”
Salazar had never put much faith in Divination; he thought it to be rather imprecise. All the same, he felt uneasy about Joan’s warning. Coincidental, it should seem, that the warning had come at the same time as the latest Viking invasion. Had he not warned them all, only to hear them dismiss his sagacious words?
Before he turned to take his leave of her, he asked one final question. “Do you see what is inevitable, or the way it will come to pass only if we keep on our current path?”
“You ask me if we are able to change Fate,” said Joan wryly. “An elusive answer that diviners like myself have been seeking for centuries.”
Unsatisfied, Salazar slunk down to the cellar of Hogwarts, into a lushly decorated chamber near his house’s common room, to seek the company of his wife. But Elaine was not there; she had gone into town that morning with their youngest daughter Morgan, and something must have detained them.
By the late afternoon, as the last breaths of sunlight sighed across the darkening sky, Salazar became worried. Elaine had only gone to get potion ingredients at an apothecary; it should not have taken her all day, so Salazar Apparated into Hogsmeade and stopped by the old thatch hut of the apothecary. After tapping at the door and announcing his presence, the door opened and a woman hobbled out to greet him, drawing a thin cloak about her as she stepped out into the cold. Behind her, Salazar could see the cluttered interior of the house, all overflowing shelves of dried herbs and spices, and jugs of potion.
“Salazar Slytherin,” she wheezed. “How can I help you?”
“I am looking for my wife and daughter,” he explained. “Have they been by here recently?”
“Yes, the Lady Slytherin was here around midday. I didn’t have everything she needed, so they went all the way to Canaich when they left.”
Salazar frowned. “Thank you.” As the old woman retreated into her house and closed the door, Salazar spun on his heel, arriving moments later on a dusty street in a bustling little village. In comparison to Salazar’s beloved Hogsmeade, which was purely a wizarding village, here were both magical and Muggle folk, where the presence of magic was very much stifled, almost to the point where an outsider would not notice it.
Today there seemed to be some sort of disturbance in the centre of town; Salazar could hear the sounds of commotion carried to him on the chilly wind. Wrapping his thick robes tightly around himself and ducking his head, he strode at a brisk pace to see what was going on. Perhaps Elaine and Morgan would be there.
They were, but not quite how he expected to see them. There in the pillory in the town centre, on display to be humiliated by the common Muggles of the town, were his wife Elaine and daughter Morgan, their hands and heads trapped in the wooden shackles as people threw rotting fruit at them. Salazar felt his blood run cold, shivers down his spine, as the rushing noise inside his head grew deafening. It could not be. How could anyone do this to his wife and daughter, thus shaming and dishonouring them?
“What is the meaning of this?” he roared at the crowd. “Cease this at once! Do you common fools know who they are?”
A man turned to him. “They were claiming to be witches!” he laughed. “They caused some ruckus over there, destroyed a fence, and a horse escaped.”
“They are witches,” said Salazar pointedly. “And they are noble ladies. This treatment is far beneath them, the shame of being mocked by Muggles like yourself while they are your superiors in every way!”
The man’s face took on a bewildered look. “Witches don’t even exist, they’re just stories! Those two women are insane, and liars.”
So it was true, then, in some places: in a quarter of a century, magic had become, to Muggles, nothing but tales for children! Was this the result of the increasing segregation of Muggles and magic folk? Or was it just this little isolated town? Salazar had not been back in his childhood town since he left it and left Maeve, so he could not be sure and compare.
But magic did exist, and Salazar had had enough of these imbeciles watching his family like a spectacle. He drew out his wand, pointed it lightly at the beam of the pillory, and released the clutches on Elaine and Morgan, amidst great uproar as other spectators tried to determine what had just happened. As Salazar hurried over to his family, he saw the most unwelcome sight. Standing to the right of the pillory with a mouldy cabbage in her hand was, to Salazar’s utter shock, Maeve.
He had not laid eyes on her for over twenty-five years. Her once auburn hair was now liberally streaked with grey, her eyes sunken but bright as she glared at him, as slow recognition dawned, as she remembered those dreamlike days of sunny fields and naïve optimism.
“How dare you,” growled Salazar. Maeve knew magic existed, knew that these women in the stocks weren’t lying, but due to her hatred or fear of magic she had done nothing to stand up for ill treatment of innocents – just stood by and thrown things at Salazar’s family. He could not bear it. He couldn’t even bring himself to shout at her; he just glared with all the fierce intensity of his anger, and perhaps she realised the connection, for she begged him for forgiveness, insisting that she had not known these women were Salazar’s family. But he did not give her the forgiveness she desired.
Salazar pushed past Maeve and wrapped his arms around his wife and daughter; Morgan was shaking uncontrollably with cold. It would not do to keep either of them out in this weather. He spoke softly to them, ensured that neither was injured, then Apparated them back to Hogwarts with him.
It was less than a week later that Morgan succumbed to illness, her thin frame growing skeletal as she expended her numbered breaths coughing and wheezing, and wrapped herself in progressively more woollen blankets. Salazar often asked Rowena to step in and teach his classes for him, as he instead spent a good deal of time trying to care for his daughter and eventually his wife as well; as a result of their being locked up outside in that weather, they had both contracted an ailment of the lungs. Salazar’s colleagues were all kindness and did all they could to help, but it was not enough.
Morgan died just as the Highland winter set in, and Elaine followed a few weeks later. Salazar was lost.
All he had left was Hogwarts, but at the moment, Hogwarts was still open to just anyone. This would need to change. The others, he knew, would not listen; they would attribute any dissenting opinions to his grief. But he was not motivated by grief; his goal was revenge. Revenge on that race of Muggles, those cruel animals with no common decency, who had thrice destroyed his life. This great loss was the last straw. Only Salazar understood the dangers, and he would not let a soul stand in the way of his new plan.
Salazar’s old friends tried to comfort him, particularly Helga; she and Cador spent a lot of time with him to ensure he was not alone. But he couldn’t stand the kindness; it was suffocating. He closed off his heart and mind, and told her nothing. All his life he had cared, but now, two of the people he loved most had been taken away from him, by the woman who had once stolen his heart decades ago. He could not afford to care anymore, or he would fall apart.
He dismissed Helga from his chambers in a fit of fury one day and flew downstairs into the deepest dungeon of the castle. Raging, he snatched his wand out and blasted holes in the stone left and right, rubble accumulating around him until finally he collapsed on the floor and broke down in angry tears, his sobs echoing in the cavernous chamber. He hated all of them, everything.
But this destroyed dungeon eventually became Salazar’s place of refuge. He expanded the great hole in the floor to create a vast room, and then sealed it from view with a trap door. Below it was Salazar’s chamber, and Salazar’s alone. Here he could finally hide away, in a place that was all his, a place that would keep the secrets of his suffering soul, where no one would come to him with teary eyes full of pity, where Muggles would never find him. This dark, musty part of Hogwarts belonged solely to him and no other.
He fashioned the chamber with finely carved serpents, and a towering statue of himself. Upstairs in the school, Salazar was one of four authorities. But here, he was the only one, the most important, and none would ever forget his legacy.
And in time, here he would enact his plan: he would raise a beast to rid the school of anyone with Muggle blood, purge the filthy stain from his beloved school and life’s work. Hogwarts had to remain pure in order to stay strong.
The monster would be a snake. Salazar had a special connection to snakes, and Muggles hated snakes, so it was perfect. He had heard tell long ago of a great monster, the feared Basilisk, which killed with a glance. It was easy enough to raise; one only needed to hatch a chicken egg underneath a toad, both of which would be simple acquisitions. The young Basilisk would live in this chamber until it was old enough – perhaps many years. But then it would be called to do its work, and only his heir possessing the same talent he had, that of speech with the scaly vermiform beast, would be able to release the Basilisk. It would kill all of the Muggle-borns, like they had killed his daughter and his Elaine.
When Salazar was not absconding away in the chamber full of all his secrets, building grand monuments to himself or taking care of his new Basilisk, he kept up the appearance of normality. He kept his opinions quiet, for he knew that it would not matter in the end and his own agenda would win. He smiled when he needed to smile, spoke when he needed to speak, but primarily dwelt inside his head, or far beneath the ground in his safe haven. He was being consumed by the Chamber of Secrets; he could feel it gnawing away at him. But he didn’t care anymore.
Hogwarts, four people’s life’s work, was holding together like mere feathers in an oncoming storm.
Historical notes: In the early Middle Ages, it was commonly believed that witches simply did not exist, and those who thought they had seen evidence of witchcraft were considered to be crazy – that’s the era we’re approaching at this point in the story. Witch burnings did not actually begin until about the year 1450 at the earliest, but the stocks were a common form of public punishment for small crimes.
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
Re: Divided: The Tale of the Hogwarts Founders
And the second of two new chapters... the last one!
Throughout its nearly thirty-year existence, Hogwarts had constantly been growing and evolving for the better, but for the past two or three years, an uneasy feeling of change had taken over Helga. It had begun almost imperceptibly, and she couldn’t mark exactly when the balance had shifted, but it seemed to her as if the Four were drifting apart, as if Hogwarts’ once stable foundation was developing cracks. Infused with the late spring Highland breezes were the unequivocal winds of change.
But there was nothing in particular she could pinpoint. After all, life was a series of changes, and perhaps age could account for much of this odd feeling of imbalance. Salazar seemed quieter than he used to be, and Rowena seemed to have grown more short-tempered, but none of this was cause for concern. When it really mattered, the other three were unconditionally supportive.
In the winter, Helga had lost her dear husband Cador to illness, and mourned for him, and her three closest friends helped her through it all when she needed them. Godric was there for Helga with grand gestures and words of comfort. Salazar was a man of few words, so his words were that much more valuable when he expressed brief condolences and a look of deep understanding, for he too had lost loved ones. And Rowena’s often irritating philosophy proved to be a comfort in this case: Helga reminded herself every so often that death was a part of life, she would never forget Cador and was lucky to have had the time with him that she had, and time would continue to pass.
Perhaps it had all begun with Joan’s vision around three years ago, a vague caution about how Hogwarts was nearing the end of its golden age. Helga had suspected that there was more to it than that, which Joan concealed, but it was certainly disconcerting for Helga to think back on Joan’s counsel to her in light of the current perceived situation.
A shriek interrupted Helga’s thoughts. Alarmed, she hastened out of her chamber and out into the corridor, where she could more clearly hear clanging noises and yelling; it seemed to be originating from the kitchen. When she pulled the kitchen door open, she was met with the strangest sight: A little man was floating in the air, clothed in lurid stripes and a hat covered in bells, dropping wooden utensils here and there. A broken ceramic pot lay in halves on the table, and on the floor beneath the table cowered several house-elves and two of Helga’s students.
“Stop this at once!” cried Helga, staring up at the trespasser. The man floated about the room like a ghostly spirit, but he was solid. As Helga watched, immobile and transfixed, the spirit grabbed hold of a sack of ground flour and upended it in the air, coating nearly every surface in the small room with a thick white snow. Helga coughed as the flour made its way into her lungs with each breath. “Who are you?” she spluttered, squinting up at the man through white-dusted lashes.
But the little man just grinned – a wicked, mysterious grin – and turned a somersault in midair.
“What is the meaning of this?” exclaimed another voice. Helga turned around to find Godric in the doorway, but rather than helping, he merely laughed upon seeing her. “Helga, what have you gotten yourself into? You are covered head to toe in flour!”
A loud, sharp cackle rang through the room. Helga picked up a fallen, floury wooden spoon and threw it at him; it bounced off his shoulder and clattered to the table again, and the spirit’s grin only became wider. He seemed to thrive on chaos.
“Get out!” boomed Godric, and this time the spirit obliged, showering a bit more flour onto them as he soared out of the room over their heads. In the ensuing silence, Helga and Godric both sighed with relief, and the house-elves and students tentatively crawled out from beneath the table.
But the respite was short-lived: with a sinking feeling, Helga realised that this was not the end, and she met Godric’s eyes to see a similar expression of dread: they had just released the spirit out into the rest of the castle. Who knew what manner of chaos he could create with the entirety of Hogwarts at his fingertips?
“Where did he come from?” Helga asked the house-elves and students when she caught up with her own racing mind, but received only blank stares and assertions of innocence and bewilderment. It was time to find Rowena, and soon, before the spirit could cause any more damage.
Godric sighed as they walked down the corridor away from the disordered kitchen. “He is all of our most intense troublemakers through the years, put together!”
Helga shook her head in disbelief. “First it’s all our children playing Creaothceann and practical jokes, and now this. Never a chance to just rest and get old.” She laughed.
Godric smiled. “Is that what you truly want to do? I am not yet ready to be old.”
“We are old,” said Helga, eyeing Godric’s thinning hair. “You have the grey to show for it.”
“At least it is not yet white, as is yours,” said Godric with a smirk at Helga’s flour-spangled tresses.
As they approached Rowena’s tower chamber, they could hear shouting; Helena Ravenclaw’s voice carried all the way down the stairs, punctuated by Rowena’s own. Helena was now a member of the faculty; she had taken over Cador’s old position as instructor of magical plant and herb lore, having become quite versed in the subject during her many visits to her fanciful foreigners in faraway Illyria Graeca.
Helga and Godric glanced at one another uneasily, and knowing better than to interrupt one of the Ravenclaw quarrels, they made to turn around when suddenly the door burst open and Helena rushed out. She avoided Helga’s and Godric’s eyes as she hurried past them out to the corridor, her fine robes fluttering and her face hidden.
Rowena appeared in the doorway a moment later, and her ashen face flushed. “Helga, Godric, I… did not expect you. Helga, what happened to you? Is that flour?”
“I apologise,” said Helga, wanting to put Rowena at ease before presenting another issue for her so soon. “Our intent was not to disrupt anything.”
Rowena sighed shortly, a small crease appearing between her brows. “All is well. To what do I owe this visit?”
Godric spoke up. “We discovered a spirit wreaking havoc in the kitchen, throwing flour and utensils everywhere, and he has just been released out into the school.”
“How did he get here?” Rowena demanded.
“We are not certain,” Helga admitted. “He seems to have just appeared. Do you want to see him? We should be able to find him simply by following any loud noises.”
Rowena watched Helga for a moment and then smiled. “If he is as you have described, that is enough for me; I have no need to be doused with flour. I shall consult my manuscripts concerning spirits and poltergeists to see if I can find any information. In the meantime, if he is around to stay for any duration, it appears that the time has come for us to invent some cleaning charms.”
It was at breakfast the day following the Leaving Feast that the mounting silent discord was aired at last. At Rowena’s request, she, Helga, Godric, and Salazar had their customary discussion of the highlights and low points of the year, their way to improve the curriculum for the years to come. There were new grievances this year: Rowena’s greatest peeve was the new poltergeist that seemed to appear and create chaos whenever she least expected it, particularly during lessons. But some old points of contention were raised as well; Helga voiced her opinion that the House system should be eliminated to promote the unity of the school, and Salazar insisted that Muggle-borns no longer be admitted to Hogwarts.
“Salazar, I do not understand why you continue to propose this idea,” said Godric dismissively.
“You know perfectly well why I do,” Salazar retorted acidly. “There is no such thing as a third chance. Muggles have ruined my life time and time again, and I do not wish the same upon anyone. Muggles cannot be trusted, nor can those raised by Muggles. I will not tolerate it. We have put far too much into this school for it to collapse at the hands of the unworthy.”
Rowena scowled. “I see what this is about. I cannot believe you are still holding on to your resentment of that woman from thirty years ago.”
“Maeve was there when Elaine and Morgan were in that dreadful Muggle humiliation contraption,” said Salazar. “She, and other ungrateful Muggles like her, is responsible for the most painful moments in my life. I am embarrassed to think I was once taken in by her charm. You could not understand how it feels to love someone and have them betray you in the worst way possible!”
“Yes, I do,” said Rowena coldly. Helga could do nothing but gape at the scene unfolding before her; Rowena’s dark eyes were practically burning holes in Salazar’s face, but he stared back, just as angrily. Rowena continued speaking with a shaky voice. “Years ago, Salazar, I loved you. And now look what you’ve become. You are filled with hatred. I hardly know you anymore.”
A twisted sneer stretched across Salazar’s thin face. “I have become much more than I ever was then,” he said slowly.
“This is madness,” cried Godric. “Salazar, what has come over you? Need I remind you that our dream was to provide education for all the magical folk in the country. We are not to give up now, after so long, because of your obsessive loathing of a Muggle.”
Salazar’s silence provided more tension than an aggressive rebuttal would create. He drew out the moment before finally answering in a silky tone, “I simply have higher standards than I did then. Perhaps you would do well to raise your standards as well, or Hogwarts will soon be fit for none but pigs.”
“How dare you?” raged Godric.
Closing her ears to the heartbreaking insults being slung about the room, Helga recalled the wonderful, warm days when the four had used to meet at her small cottage to bring their dream to life, when they were all happy and cherished one another’s company, had valued one another’s talents and strengths. Now they could only see differences and faults.
Helga stood up. “Stop,” she said quietly, and the shouting ceased. “Have we changed so much that we cannot appreciate each other anymore? Salazar, I have always admired your determination – it has brought Hogwarts through many challenges. Godric, your courage and heart never fail to keep us all safe and comfortable. And Rowena, the brightest mind I have ever known. Can we no longer celebrate what we have together?”
“Salazar’s determination now only leads us into discrimination,” insisted Godric.
There was a beat of silence, and then Salazar responded with an unsettling smile and far too final of an air, “Very well. Clearly my input about Hogwarts is unwanted, so my work here is finished.” He swept off down the stairs, across the hall, and out the door.
Helga was too stunned to respond, and based on the disbelieving expressions on the others’ faces, they were equally taken aback by Salazar’s departure. Breakfast ended abruptly in commotion, and Godric stalked off without a word, while Helga and Rowena took some time out by the shore of the lake to comfort one another and to process the enormous row that had taken place in the hall. A massive change had occurred with that dispute, and Helga felt that it would be impossible to return to those golden years. Tears slipped down her face as she wondered, for the first time, how they could ever recover – if Hogwarts was truly over and their life’s work come to ruin.
Despite Rowena’s recent emotional distance and short temper due to her daughter’s obstinacy, she was there to dry Helga’s tears and promise her that this, too, would pass. Despite it being their worst argument in thirty years, the four would recover from it as they had from all the others.
After the two women came back inside around midday, Helga spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen with the house-elves, fighting her conflicted, desperate feelings by cooking an elaborate meal, hoping they could all smooth over the events of the morning. At dinner, however, Salazar was absent. Helga felt her heart sink into the pit of her stomach with dread as the thought occurred to her that Salazar had left Hogwarts permanently.
Godric set out on horseback the following day to find his old friend, but returned defeated in the evening, his eyes red. He apologised profusely to Helga and Rowena for arguing with Salazar and driving him away, and many kind words and consolations were exchanged between the three. But the fact of the matter was that Salazar was gone, without a trace, and the great empty vacuum he had left behind continued to plague the other three. Hogwarts simply did not feel whole any longer.
With the passing of a month, it became clear that Salazar did not ever intend to return, and the remaining three finally took steps to replace him, although it went without saying that Salazar was simply irreplaceable. Godric contacted Salazar’s remaining children, Edith and Patrick, to see if one of them would be willing to take on the role as Defence instructor and leader of Slytherin House, and Patrick eventually accepted. Helga couldn’t help thinking, upon seeing the young Slytherin heir, that he would merely be attempting to fill shoes that were impossibly big for him.
Hogwarts did not easily recover from the shock of losing Salazar, and the imbalance particularly aggravated Rowena, whose altercations with Helena seemed to become more commonplace. Helena did not find teaching to be challenging enough, and wished to get out of her mother’s shadow and see the world, understand its peoples and gain knowledge from as many cultures as she could. It worried Helga to see this strife between mother and daughter, and although perhaps it meant overstepping her bounds to interfere, she had had enough of arguing for a lifetime.
“Helena, your mother may not know what is best for you,” Helga counselled Rowena’s frustrated daughter one morning, “but she only says the things she does out of love and concern for you.”
Helena shook her head. “She is so wrapped up in her own achievements that she does not give a thought to mine. I do not wish to continue teaching; I am too young for that. Rather, I wish to remain a scholar, and return to my pursuit of learning from people all across the earth.”
Helga was silent for a moment. “I am not here to tell you what to do; the choice is yours. But if you do leave, know that we will miss you greatly. I speak for all of the faculty when I say we hope you will stay.”
With no answer forthcoming from Helena, Helga promised her, “I will speak to Rowena as well, and suggest that she not be so harsh on you.”
“Thank you,” said Helena.
The summer arrived with warm, heavy air, but to Helga it felt chilly and unwelcome. She had still not adjusted to the idea of Hogwarts without the integral presence of Salazar. But she was not alone in that sentiment; Rowena and Godric were equally out of sorts.
When Helga went to visit Rowena in her tower chamber one day, she found not Rowena, but Helena coming down the stairs, her face set defiantly and one arm hidden in her sweeping robes. She spared Helga a smile, and then said, “If you are here to visit my mother, you should seek her elsewhere. She is not there.”
Helga glanced back up the stairs, and then followed Helena away. “Have you any idea where she might be?” she asked the younger woman.
“None, I am sorry. I must go.”
Helena’s behaviour seemed strange to Helga, but she did not take much note of it, and made her way to the Potions classroom, which was her next guess at Rowena’s location. And indeed, there she was, surrounded by wrinkly parchment manuscripts.
“Helga,” said Rowena with a smile as she looked up from her study.
“If now is not a good time, I can come back. I have nothing of importance to discuss.”
Helga had taken to visiting Rowena a lot more, particularly after Cador’s death, when she desired company, but she had no desire to interrupt Rowena when she was engaged in scholarly matters. So Helga assisted Rowena in sifting through the old manuscripts, passing an enjoyable afternoon until Rowena’s husband Palamon arrived in the doorway looking drawn.
“My dear, I think Helena has disappeared. She is not to be found in the castle, and most of her possessions are gone from her chamber.”
Rowena sighed and rested her elbow on the carved wooden desk, and her forehead in her hand. “I cannot say this is unexpected,” she admitted. “She was unhappy.”
“Shall I send out to look for her?” Palamon suggested.
“No,” said Rowena after a pause. “She does not wish to stay here, so I will not force her to. The reason she left is because she felt too controlled here.”
It was unthinkable to Helga that the Hogwarts family should suffer another loss at this time. She consoled the Ravenclaws as best she could, offering the idea that maybe Rowena would return in a year or two after she’d had time to sate her wanderlust.
But soon after Helena’s departure, Rowena fell ill, and seemed to be exhausted much of the time. Helga assumed Rowena had finally succumbed to the pressure of the recent strains on her life: the sudden collapse of Hogwarts, and the emotional upheaval of her daughter running away. As such, Helga spent much of her time by her friend’s side, or else in the kitchen preparing special soups for her, at a loss of how to care for her when most of the illness was psychological.
Helga discovered Rowena one day tearing apart her chamber, tossing gowns and manuscripts aside as if searching for something. “Rowena, you should be resting,” cried Helga, rushing to her friend and easing her into a chair. “Do not overexert yourself. What is it you seek, so that I might find it for you?”
“Nothing,” said Rowena, earning her a suspicious frown from Helga.
“Clearly you are looking for something important,” said Helga, “or you would not be throwing everything about in this manner. Is it your old treasured diadem?”
Rowena shook her head. “No, no. Forgive me, I do not know what came over me.”
“Is there anything I can do to help you?”
There was a moment of silence, and then Rowena said, “There is nothing can be done anymore, I am afraid. I can feel it.” Her face was set with an air of finality.
Helga swallowed, fighting the rising lump in her throat. “You cannot mean… Rowena, do not talk in this way.”
“Would you send for the Baron Perceval?” Rowena asked. “There is something I must ask him.”
Unable to argue, Helga nodded and made her way to the kitchens, where she dished a bowl of hot soup out of the cauldron for Rowena, and then asked one of the house-elves to find Perceval and send him to Rowena’s chamber. The elf nodded and disappeared, and Helga plodded back up the stairs to her friend. They remained there for an hour, making small talk and avoiding the serious matter that hung over them, until Perceval entered the room and knelt by Rowena’s chair.
“Perceval,” said Rowena, “I know I am not long for this world, and before I go, I would like to see my daughter again. She will listen to you, so you must find her and bring her back.”
Perceval scowled and shook his head. “She will not listen to me. Twice she has denied my offers of marriage! She is far too selfish to care about me.”
But this did not deter Rowena. “I have no doubt she has run off to Illyria Graeca; that should be the first place to begin your search for her. Find her, and tell her I am dying.”
Beside her, Helga let out a sob, still audible despite her efforts to stifle it with her hand. As Perceval left with his task, Rowena and Helga embraced, tears now flowing freely. After all the divisions and strife within Hogwarts lately, only love and compassion could pick up the pieces and keep it all going. She would be by Rowena’s side every step of the way.
Perceval had been gone for a month when Helga went to Rowena’s chamber on that final day, and found Palamon, Godric, and Laudine by her bedside as Rowena lay nestled in pillows, a blanket tucked up to her chin. The lines on her wan, tired face made her appear far older than her fifty years.
“How are you feeling?” Helga asked soflty as she took a seat beside the bed.
“I am lucky to have all of you here with me,” said Rowena, then looked over to Palamon. “I only wish Perceval had found… Helena?” She sat up in bed, extending a feeble hand towards the entrance to her chamber; Helga looked up, surprised but comforted by the return of Rowena’s wayward daughter at such a time. Yet the sight that met her eyes instead was unexpected, and a gasp escaped her lips as she beheld a translucent, pearly presence, a grey imitation of Helena in the threshold. A ghost. Helena was dead.
“Mother,” said Helena, and floated sombrely to join the other teachers around her mother’s bedside. But it was too late, Helga realised as she looked back to her dear friend; Rowena was gone.
Helga’s eyes began to fill with tears. Though Rowena’s death was not unexpected, it was still painful, another loss in an already difficult time, of one who had been her close friend for decades. Helga reached out to the men beside her and took Godric’s and Palamon’s hands in her own. She could feel Palamon shaking slightly, and gave his hand a small squeeze. Behind them lingered Helena, present but unable to grieve with them.
Palamon, when he was finally able to tear his eyes away from Rowena’s still form, looked up at his ghostly daughter, disbelieving. “What happened, Helena?” he asked softly. He did not appear angry with her, only sad; anger was no use anymore. “You disappeared, and now you have come back as a ghost! How did it happen?”
But Helena remained silent, her head down and her lips tightly pressed together, and Palamon, lacking the energy to argue, merely sighed. The thick silence was interrupted by the arrival of another ghost: the Baron Perceval, covered in what resembled silver bloodstains.
“You just missed her,” said Godric stiffly. With a glance at the scene he had interrupted, Perceval drifted back out through the wall behind him, and took his leave of Rowena’s grieving family and friends, where the silence consumed them all once more.
Helga looked to Godric, but said not a word. They were now the only two remaining of the original four pillars of Hogwarts, after losing half their strength to a betrayal and to death. Together long ago, the four had stood strong, a force to be reckoned with; divided, they had fallen apart. Now they were two, left to carry on the work of four; there was much work to be done.
Helga could only hope their dream would outlive them.
Historical Notes: Illyria Graeca was a medieval Roman province, nowadays known as Albania.
A/N: Woah, it’s done, after exactly two years in the making. This would be the part where I thank all of you who read this story; you really meant so much to me. Special thanks to those of you who left feedback - I'm looking at you BrightestWitch, nevillesgal, Baarney, PotterGirl654, and CheddarTrek. You all rock my world. Thanks for reading! ♥
Here is where you can let me know what you thought of the last two chapters! Thank you
And lastly, though I rarely am on CoS these days, I write at harrypotterfanfiction.com under the same username (marauderfan) and have 15 stories on there, so feel free to check it out. Or don't. You know, whatever floats your boat. Hope you all are having a spectacular 2015!
Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA
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