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Legendary by katti4493

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 43
Word Count: 201,008
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Horror/Dark, Romance, Angst
Characters: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 10/19/2009
Last Chapter: 10/10/2012
Last Updated: 10/10/2012

Summary:




Beautiful, stunning, amazing banner by Carnal Spiral @ the dark arts

"Your names will always be remembered; Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin"

Watch as they become...Legendary
 


Chapter 1: I Love You More Than Life Itself
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Chapter One - I Love You More Than Life Itself

 

 

 

 










Beautiful chapter image by aim.moon @ tda

 

 

 







On the day that Godric Gryffindor was born, Leif Ravenclaw had to make the toughest decision of his life. He sat huddled with a few of his strongest men, his hunting gang, in an old tavern to escape the winter’s treacherous weather. It was indeed, as the peasant women whispered, the coldest winter ever. The three men were his oldest friends; Rolf Brodersen, Bjorn Fjerstad and Haakon Magnussen and each of them had nearly drunk the tavern out of all the alcohol the owner possessed. The buxom barmaid Elisa had laden them with so much drink that Rolf and Bjorn were both on the brink of drunkenness and were slurring their words so they were incoherent. It could be said that Haakon, the youngest of the four, was nearly paralytic. Leif however could keep his ale and so was sober, and his mind was totally free.

While his men downed their beer and chortled loudly Leif listened to the snow outside. It swirled around the aging tavern, making the building groan and shake right to its foundations. He could hear trees being whipped around and was thankful for the roaring fire to keep him warm. Leif watched as Elisa walked towards the table, her hips swaying seductively as she walked, her wooden tray laden with more beer and ale. The men pulled the flagons of ale off the tray hungrily, almost knocking poor Elisa over, until Leif roared loudly,

“Show some courtesy to a lady you dogs!” The three men burst into laughter at their old friend and began to drink regardless, ignoring the disconcerted looking Elisa. After shaking her head at his friends Elisa simpered girlishly at Leif’s last statement, running her thin fingers through her long flaxen hair. Bjorn wolf whistled lewdly but Elisa just ignored him, and she kept her deep blue eyes on Leif as she gave him a deep, respectful curtsey.

“Thank you my lord,” she whispered breathlessly, batting her long eyelashes furiously “it is so nice to know you look after your people.” Leif smiled to himself. He was the Jarl of Svalbard and that meant on top of being fabulously wealthy and having a large amount of power, all the best women fell at your feet. Elisa was considered a local beauty, and was now a wealthy widow after her husband died last winter. Many of the townsmen were trying to ensnare her heart to land their grubby peasant’s hands on the tavern.

“That’s okay Elisa,” he smiled as she leant in close. He could smell her soft skin; it smelt distinctly of the ale that she willingly served to all the men who were customers at her infamous tavern, the Wolf’s Den. Using one of her pale hands she tenderly stroked dark tendrils of his hair out of his bright green eyes that were the colour of emeralds and kissed his pale forehead, as only a lover can. Elisa was a strong woman and knew what she wanted, and tried every opportunity to become closer to the Jarl, and she was a ridiculous flirt. Leif however pushed her away and emotionlessly told her to get more drinks, at which she nodded happily and returned to the bar which was heaving with interested customers, buzzing around like insects over a dead wolf’s carcass.

Leif’s men roared with laughter and one by one the three of them slapped their leader on one of his muscular shoulders, failing to even hurt him at all. Leif was a colossal six foot five and towered over every other man and easily resembled the warrior kings heralded and worshipped in the legendary Valhalla. Bjorn hiccupped rather loudly and then brushed his white blonde hair out of his own large blue eyes taking another swig out of his flagon, draining it dry. In his drunken stupor he lazily pointed a stubby finger into Leif’s handsome face and slurred loudly,

“Good decision, you can’t go sleeping with easy women when your noble wife is nine months pregnant!” Leif laughed heartily and returned to drinking his ale, his friends knowing that he liked women, and there was no way his wife’s pregnancy would stop him going after the pretty girls that regularly threw themselves at his feet. He winked at a serving girl hurriedly cleaning the next table along which made her blush furiously, and avert her terrified eyes. His friends again roared with drunken laughter at which Leif joined them, wiping his long black beard clean of the drink.
A flash of light illuminated the little tavern from the lightning outside, accompanied by a loud bang as the door of the tavern swung open violently revealing a burly figure dressed in some of the most expensive wolf skin. The customers of the tavern swung round to gaze at the intimidating presence of the man who had just entered into their lives. It took Leif less than a second to recognise his brother in arms, the brave Henrik.

“Leif!” he spluttered, his blonde hair wet with the icy snow, bounding towards Leif like a dog “your lady wife, you must come quickly, she has gone into labour!” There was a moment when the whole tavern watched Leif silently, holding their breaths tantalisingly. Leif reacted suddenly by standing up quickly, knocking the table flying to the whole tavern’s loud wild clapping. Tonight was the night that Leif became a father and fulfilled his own father’s wish for him. Majestically, he ordered Rolf to get their furs from the tavern’s cupboard as he went and embraced Henrik in a friendly manner, shouting in triumph at his own fertility as the whole tavern began erupting with joy. People were clapping and hugging each other, some were shouting, others muttering silent prayers.

“A whole round on me!” Leif cried as he began to dance around clapping each man on the back. Several men began to sing a drunken song about pregnant women and Leif and Haakon began to dance a strange jig. He briefly peered at Elisa who gave him a warm smile to match the roaring fire, shouting him muffled congratulations he could not hear through all the noise. Henrik and Bjorn were busy giving him well intentioned advice as they were both fathers and had several noisy children to contend with. Leif swelled with inner pride of the thought of his impending fatherhood and felt happy that he had finally produced an heir, so maybe, just maybe, the world would let him leave his wife to be with the woman he knew he should have married a long time ago. 

 

 

 

 














Elisa began serving more customers, weary travellers laden with goods for tomorrow’s market muttering at the Jarl’s success, drunks that had no will to live who were reminiscing the old days and people just wanting a room for the night. Tonight, however, had been mainly focussed on the Jarl who had come back from a day of hunting and given her one of the caribou they had captured for free. Elisa thought Leif Ravenclaw made a very good Jarl and was glad to see him so content in her dead husband’s tavern.

There was a gentle tap on Elisa’s shoulder and she pivoted on the spot to see who it was. It was the serving girl, Gunnhild, who worked in the tavern and rented a room in Elisa’s own house. She stood there, her face grave and hollow with shadows. Gunnhild was a plain girl with dishwater coloured hair and no curves but she worked incredibly hard, and for that, Elisa was incredibly thankful. Gunnhild looked at her cheap wooden clogs for a moment, then back into Elisa eyes.

“M’am,” she began her voice sickly sweet and barely a whisper “There was a messenger come in the back door; she says he wishes to see the Jarl. She says it’s urgent.” Gunnhild gave Elisa the little nod of the head that showed her everything she needed to know. Now was the time for Elisa to protect her good friend Alfhild from the horrors of a structured society. Elisa nodded quickly and demanded that Gunnhild stay in the back while she went a told the Jarl. The girl nodded sweetly, and returned to the back room, taking one rapid look at the Jarl who was now standing in the corner, his face flushed with happiness.

Elisa wove through the crowd, giving polite nods and a push to any drunken men who tried to make a grab for her, making her way towards Leif who was watching Bjorn dance with Old Magnus the Drunk. Elisa watched Leif sadly, distressed that she was about to ruin his sublime happiness, perhaps forever. She slipped silently past the gaudy celebrations until she reached Leif, and quickly took his large hand in hers, at which he turned to her, his face dancing with a curious expression. In the most secretive and quiet tone she could manage she whispered,

“My lord, there is a messenger for you in the back room.” Leif widened his eyes in shock as he began to straighten himself out. He was about to leave to see his wife, and this was evidently not the most opportune moment to deal with what he supposed to be a travelling salesman. Elisa watched him cautiously waiting for a reply. He put his hand on the hilt of his ruby encrusted sword and then used the same tone she had used to give a hushed reply,

“Can’t it wait?” Elisa shook her head nervously, looking over her shoulder at the celebrating revellers to make sure no one was watching. She did not want one of the Lady Mikayla’s men to witness this. She was looking for the flash of silver embroidered on the men’s tunics to see if any of them would betray her, but it seemed as if the coast was clear. Elisa turned cautiously back to the Jarl shaking her pretty blonde head in fear and sadness,

“She says it’s urgent,” Elisa said giving Leif the same nod that Gunnhild had given her. The Jarl cracked a smile as he breathed heavily, evidently realising what a terrible misfortune he was just suffering. Elisa swore he muttered “the God’s have it in for me” but then he shook his great shaggy head worriedly and gazed round the little tavern as he lowered his gruff voice to barely an audible squeak,

“Have you served anyone tonight wearing my wife’s insignia?” Elisa shook her head purposefully and warmly took his arm, willing herself not to hold his hand as she led Leif to the quiet of the back room, trying to drawn as little attention to the imposing Jarl as it was possible to do. When the drunks were looking away, they crept inside the little back room that Elisa used to store barrels of her best wine, to see the tired looking Gunnhild standing with a trembling maid from the Jarl’s castle who Elisa believed was the blacksmith’s youngest daughter, a pretty girl called Kristine. She was a fair girl with icy blue eyes but she seemed absolutely terrified at the mission that had secretly been entrusted to her – collecting the Jarl.

“My lord,” she began, tears in her scared eyes, “I’m sorry this is tonight, it is more dangerous than ever because it is this day, Lady Mikayla’s men were following me in town but I believe I shook them off.” She paused for a moment at which point Elisa nodded quickly, bidding her to continue, ”But I am here to inform you that Alfhild Gryffindor is giving birth.” The room descended into silence, as the three women turned their eyes to the trembling Jarl, but his stony voice, devoid of the usual warmth it usually held, cracked over it.

“So you mean, tonight is the night I must choose between duty to my wife, my heir and my country and the love of my life and my heart’s true desire.” Elisa, Gunnhild and Kristine were shocked at his frankness, and for a moment none of them moved for the impact of the Jarl’s words. Finally Kristine began to nod silently, wiping the large tears from her eyes, begging for an apology. The Jarl had tears in his green eyes too, and it seemed very soon he would be sobbing, but Elisa walked up to him in an attempt to get him back to his senses.

“I know I am biased in this as Alfhild is like a sister to me, well closer than a sister,” she began wiping Leif’s tears away with a handkerchief from her apron, “but you must decide. The Lady Mikayla is offering you immortality. She is offering you a dynasty with you at the head, and is offering you your name in history, recalled forever.” She paused for a moment seeing if her words had any effect, “Alfhild on the other hand is offering you the son you’ve always wanted, her son. She’s offering you a family.” Elisa watched as the Jarl put his head in his hands and then his body shook with violent sobs, his head falling onto Elisa’s shoulder, his tears running into her hair.

“Why on the same night? Why must my two children be born on the same night?” Elisa patted his broad back with one hand. Elisa gazed over the Jarl’s shoulder as Gunnhild gave Elisa a surreptitious nod and returned to the bar, not taking one more look at the sobbing Jarl. After the door had slammed shut, Elisa patted Leif’s shoulder and ran her fingers through his dark hair, but then made up her mind and pushed his hulking body away. At the sudden mothion he opened his mouth in shock.

“You must be a man Leif,” she said as Kristine moved to stand next to her, nodding along with Elisa’s noble sentiments, “Both Mikayla and Alfhild are in pain and both need you tonight. Mikayla needs you as the Jarl; Alfhild needs you as a lover. I cannot make that choice for you Leif.” Elisa took his hands in hers as she kissed him tenderly, “I’ve always hoped you’d love me, but I, and the rest of the kingdom, know you are will never be able to love anyone else other than Alfhild. But you must not use that love to make your decision, you must choose which child you want most.”

“I don’t...” Leif stuttered as he began to pace around the room wringing his hands in distress. Kristine stood quietly in the corner, wanting nothing more than to return to the warmth of her room and curl up in the corner. Elisa still strolled around Leif willing him to make the decision, the repercussions of which would resonate for years Elisa was sure. If Leif chose Alfhild, he would be resented by his wife and maybe even his unborn heir. On the other hand, if he chose Mikayla, he would lose the love of his life forever. Leif stopped dead still, mopping his mane of black hair out of his face; it was evident to Elisa that Leif had made his decision.

“I need Mikayla’s baby to make my hold on the Jarldom stronger,” he said, slowly walking towards Kristine, comprehension dawning on his face, “but I want Alfhild’s baby as a man.” Elisa’s eyes widened in shock, in her opinion he had entirely made the wrong decision. In the long run it would be better for him if he left the Muggleborn and her baby and continued his family with his pureblood wife.

“Leif, think about this,” Elisa began, her voice tinted with panic. She grabbed his arm fiercely to stop him moving away and spat with a venom that was lodged deep inside all purebloods, “You don’t even know if the child will be magical,” Leif looked at her in hurt confusion at which she began, “you know that Alfhild’s parents were Muggles. You also know that Mikayla’s parents are two of the most skilled wizards sent to Camelot Court ever.” Leif angrily shook her arm off and bowled towards Kristine, grabbing her delicate hand.

“I’m coming with you,” he said to her menacingly at which point she gave a trembling nod and turned to leave into the icy wind through the back room door, “no matter what you say Elisa. I love Alfhild, and nothing can stop that.” Leif suddenly realised he did not have his furs, but instantly decided that Alfhild was in pain giving birth to his child so he should suffer too by going through the cold in his drinking clothes.

“Elisa, go and tell Henrik that I’ve already left to see my wife,” he said gruffily as he beckoned Kristine to leave the little tavern. When Kristine obliged he followed her soundlessly, leaving Elisa standing silently in the back room, among the barrels of her most expensive wine. She sighed gently and then swung open the door to the tavern, and making her way over to Henrik. It did not matter to Elisa whether Leif loved her or not, she would always love him, and would carry out whatever he asked of her.

 

 

 

 














The snow battered Alfhild’s full figure as she staggered through the deserted streets around the Jarl’s formidable castle. Ice hung in her fiery red hair and her hazel eyes shone with determination. Of all the nights she spent in Leif’s arms she despaired at the thought that on the black evening she gave birth to his child, she was left to die like an animal on the cold streets. She hadn’t even been offered a warm room at Elisa’s tavern by either Elisa, her supposed closest friend, or her lover the Jarl. Just because she was penniless nobody cared whether she lived or died on the street, isolated from the warm fires in people’s homes.

She had grown up side by side with the Jarl, they used to play together in the magical private gardens and used to always pretend that they were husband and wife, and Leif a famed knight. It had been a common sight in the grounds of the castle to see a dark haired boy and a red head girl skipping in the courtyard. Alfhild had been taken in by Leif’s kind late father when he discovered her innate extraordinary powers on the tragic day of her parent’s death. He had treated her like an equal to his own son and she had learnt her magic together with Leif. It had seemed inevitable, like a predestined path that a passionate relationship would occur between the handsome biological only son of the powerful Jarl, and the pretty young ward, an orphan with no magical ancestry. Servants recalled, in moments of nostalgia arranging secret meetings in the castle grounds between the handsome young couple.

The Jarl’s father had secured her a job as the medicine woman to the city, and the people had adored her, and she adored her work. She used her knowledge of magic, especially potion making to care for the cities many citizens. Through the time when Leif became engaged and married to the Lady Mikayla her job was the only thing that kept her waking up in the morning’s. It had all changed since the Jarl’s father had died however, as Lady Mikayla pressured her weak willed husband to banish his love from the court, in a fit of jealous rage, leaving Alfhild jobless and penniless. Where could a Muggleborn ever find work in a Wizarding city if she wasn’t a whore?

Alfhild was made of sterner stuff than Leif however. She was resilient and ploughed on through the snow and ice for the sake of her unborn child. Her waters had broken, and she knew she, and her child would die if she gave birth to him amongst the snow on the street. Alfhild knew in her heart she would get to the castle, and be reunited with the man she loved, Jarl Leif. Alfhild hoped she would be welcomed as she had made a few friends amongst the winding passages of the castle and she was sure one of them would get a message to Leif of the impending birth. Then he could never turn her away, or their child, he would remember his love for her and realise how much he missed her. Lady Mikayla would never be able to hurt her again.

On she went, dragging her bare feet through the snow until she reached the castle courtyard. This led to all the servants’ quarters and houses. She was sure she would be able to find some help amongst the down to earth kitchen workers, especially as she had saved most of them from death several winters ago. Her body contorted with pain as another contraction came. She did not have enough strength to stagger onwards for much longer, so when she reached the old oak door leading to the kitchen she slumped to the floor and with both arms used all her remaining energy to bang on the ancient oak door.

The door opened and the sound resonated through the empty courtyard through the silence of the snow. Alfhild looked up into the bright light streaming from the kitchen to see a rather rotund woman in a rough woollen dress looking down at her. Her mouth was full of meat from dinner, obviously a gift from the generous Jarl. The woman spluttered but then managed to shout to the other workers in the kitchen,

“Ingrid! Alfhild has returned home!” Alfhild fell to the ground, her thin dress soaked from the snow at which a woman with bony features ran to stand next to the rotund woman and they both lifted the exhausted Alfhild into the warmth of the kitchen. The heat was intoxicating and Alfhild willed herself to stay awake, even though she was starved, exhausted and freezing she was not going to die, her child needed her. Without her, Alfhild was sure the baby would be devoured by Lady Mikayla’s insatiable hatred and jealousy.

“Kristine, clear the table girl,” Ingrid cried. A terrified looking girl eating some bread dropped what remained of her crust and leapt up and cleared the table of all the wooden bowls and cutlery laying clumsily there from dinner. Alfhild was laid unceremoniously upon the dirty table as she screamed as another contraction came. “Brigitta, the baby is coming soon. Kristine go and fetch the Jarl!” Ingrid thundered as Kristine scuttled from the room, exiting from the door that Alfhild had just entered from.

For two painful hours Alfhild pushed, being coaxed along by Brigitta and Ingrid. The pain was excruciating and Alfhild cried silvery tears that fell down her cheeks like the rain. In the warmth of the fire she got more energy and she pushed for her life, hoping and praying that Kristine would reach Leif in time for him to be there for the baby. Her mind whirled with thoughts of her own family she had lost so very long ago, and the idea that she could as loving mother as her own mother had been spurned her onwards. At thought the door opened to reveal Kristine and Leif, both covered with snow, Leif’s man of hair plastered to his head. His face was red with cold, but his warm smile shone brightly through the dim light of the kitchen fire.

“Oh, Alfhild I’m so sorry!” he sobbed kneeling next to her and clasping one of her delicate hands. Alfhild’s heart glowed in triumph; Leif loved her and had travelled back to the castle to see her. He kissed her sweating brow and his beard tickled her face. Leif presence gave her the will to continue pushing for their love and the family they would have together.

Within five minutes of Leif’s arrival the baby was born. The little boy had flaming red hair like his mother and green eyes like emeralds that were his fathers. Alfhild held the little boy in her arms as Leif looked at him, holding Alfhild’s smooth shoulders. He kissed the top of her head and then promised her he’d never leave her again and they could be a family together. He promised to love and care for her, and raise the baby as his son. Alfhild hoped Leif would keep his promises, she highly doubted he would. He was weak willed, and Alfhild was sure that the heartless Lady Mikayla would get her own way in the end.

“I want to name him Godric after my father,” whispered Leif, stroking the little boy’s red head. Alfhild nodded in agreement. They both loved Godric, the old Jarl, and they both instantly knew what the baby was to be called. Alfhild secretly hoped her son was like Godric Ravenclaw, more than his own father, as Godric had been brave, noble and just. Brigitta and Ingrid cooed over the little boy and agreed with the name choice.

“Mikayla was also giving birth tonight,” whispered Godric, trying not to scare Alfhild, “it will be dangerous for you as she will be full of hate, but I couldn’t leave you Alfhild,” Alfhild broke into a smile as he continued, “I love you more than life itself.”

 

 

 

 














Mikayla had cried far too much that night. As the sun rose she was still crying. The tears mingled with her hair and drenched her dress but she still cried. Not with sadness that her husband had abandoned her in her time of need, but with a burning anger that would incinerate anyone who came close. He had chosen some adolescent fancy rather than his own wife. The girl was scum, and the jealousy filled Mikayla’s body and heart. She was not even caring about her son, who she had instantly named Harald after her own father. Mikayla had decided in her anger if Leif was not there for the birth he could not partake in the name giving. Harald was being held by his wet nurse, another nameless servant to Mikayla. The only emotion that consumed Mikayla’s heart was jealousy.

She had first met Leif a year before their marriage and had instantly fallen in love with him, and she knew he belonged totally and only to her. In the early days he had been sweet and attentive, but his attention had waned, and ultimately died after the news broke of her pregnancy. Mikayla did not quite understand what she had done to turn him so cold. She was as beautiful and unobtainable as ever, with her midnight black hair and dark eyes, totally unheard of in Svalbard.

“M’lady,” murmured the wet nurse, “do you want to hold Harald?” Mikayla shook her head and let the tears roll down her cheeks. Harald’s father was as distant to her as the moon was, and her son would only remind her of her great loss. She had banished Alfhild from the court, ruined her chance of getting a job and left her nothing more than a penniless beggar, but Leif had returned to her, like a puppy to its owner. She had ordered her men to search the city for her when she discovered the girl’s pregnancy and put her to death, but the girl had survived and was now safe in Leif’s arms. Mikayla cried with the injustice of it all, after all, she loved Leif more than life itself, and she had lost him.
 
 
 


Chapter 2: The Phoenix from the Ash
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Chapter Two - The Phoenix from the Ash

 

 



 

Wonderful Chapter Image by Ayita @ the dark arts

 

 

 






On the night that Helga Smith was born, Edward Smith lost his wife. In their little cottage in the isolated village of Dewsbury she drew her last breath giving birth to Edward’s only child. The girl was a pink, healthy looking baby with a blonde curl on her underdeveloped cranium. He held the defenceless little child in his muscular peasant’s arms, wrapping her naked body in one of the folds of his rough cloak. She was a little angel born into the poor filth of his cottage, and he loved her instantly. He was entranced by her little body and the amount of life it held at such a young age. Her tiny fingers reached for his chestnut brown beard but he forced himself to ignore her, his little miracle, and turned his tearful eyes to his dear Helga lying in her last throws of life. Her skin was deathly white, the colour of bone, and her usually intelligent green eyes were dead looking, and their luminous sparkle had disappeared, Edward feared forever. Her blonde hair was splayed out on the pillow behind her and tears covered her pale face. Edward watched her cry, his hands laced with her blood as the panic rose in his deep voice.

 

“Helga,” he was stammering, his voice quavering, “It’s going to be okay, Mother Blythe, Sister Coventina and Sister Petronilla will be here soon. Everything will be just fine. Just hold on until then.” Edward was despairing at how he could be so happy and so sad at the same time, and the clash of emotion in his strong body was leaving him panicked and scared. Helga gave him a sad little smile, a shadow of the smile that used to light his life. Long gone was the woman he’d shared secret loving moments with in Dewsbury Orchard. Gone was the woman whose voice could cheer him up all day. She lay on the bed, a mere shadow of her former beautiful self, and he willed her to return to the usual force of life she was. Instead, her voice was husky, its usual warm tone gone, and it put a sense of foreboding in his heart, and showed him that death was creeping upon the sleepy little cottage waiting to devour his dearest Helga.

 

“My life is in my sister Petronilla’s hands,” she smiled darkly, the shadow of her former humour dancing across her dying face, “oh, the irony.” Edward gave a small chuckle at which the baby let out a loud hiccup, causing Edward to look away from his wife for one moment. The baby had turned her head and was looking curiously at her mother who was still staring into her husband’s face, as sense of sadness in her eyes. Helga finally turned her face to the child, at which her countenance glowed with the smallest glimmer of life. It was a mixture of happiness and sadness rolled into one, and she was on the verge of tears. Edward loved the hint of pride on his wife’s face at the little miracle wrapped up in his strong arms.

 

“Look what we did Edward,” she gushed as she moved her hand gently towards him at which Edward took it with zeal, trying to give some of his life and energy to her in that simple intimate movement. Her palm was icy cold, like death itself and it slightly repulsed him. The shock of the temperature of her usually warm hand forced him into loud noisy tears because he could no longer avoid the inevitable truth. The birth had been too dangerous, too hard and Helga was going to die as a young woman, and Edward would have to live without her. She had always seemed so strong and unbreakable, but it was clearly evident that Helga Smith was just as mortal as everyone else and it broke his heart. Helga squeezed his had affectionately and turned her head to the window.

 

“Neither Mother Blythe or any of the Sister’s will able to do anything for me,” she sighed, accepting her terrible fate, Edward could barely look at her, but she continued regardless “this is our last evening together, Edward, for a very very long time.” Edward cried more heavily, his heart almost exploding with the pain of it all. Helga’s death would be savage, and Edward would have to watch as the woman he loved slipped through his fingers and into oblivion. Helga’s eyes however were fixed on the glimmering stars peppering the heavens. She almost seemed to be searching for a path to fly to paradise above everyone else. Suddenly Edward watching her as her eyes glazed over in the familiar way they did when she saw the future. Helga had the power of prophecy like her great grandmother, Nimueh, the celebrated Seer in King Arthur’s court, and later an enemy, an evil sorceress. Her body convulsed angrily as her voice came out as a madwoman’s voice, a rasping croak that chilled Edward to the bone.

 

The sun will set on her mother’s life the night the three sisters come. Her father will waste away to oblivion and leave her in the ash and the dust of the world. Then the three sisters will come. They will claim her as their own. But she will rise burning like the brightest star in the heavens. She is the phoenix from the ash.” Her eyes returned to normal as she gasped for air, as she stopped convulsing, her lungs burning for oxygen that she so desperately craved. Edward held her hand tightly as her emotions went insanely wild and she started to panic.

 

The door of the cottage suddenly burst open and made Helga scream in confusion and shock as the three immaculately dressed coven sisters entered the little room. They were lead by the rather large Mother Blythe, her wrinkled face contorted into a fake concerned expression. She had never really been a compassionate soul, but she was practical, and Edward trusted her. Her silver grey hair was tied into a tight plait down her hunched over back and she was wearing a clean white woollen dress and a pair of rough clogs. Blythe was an old woman about one hundred years old, and was a skilled witch with such sought after healing powers. She was the leader of the Dewsbury Coven of Witches and Wizards, and presided over the village like a goddess, letting the villagers worship her. Sister Coventina stood on her left had been raised half of her life with her parents and the other half in Mother Blythe’s care, training to become a skilled healer. She was an earthy looking girl with almost red hair and hazel eyes the shape of almonds, and Edward thought she would be able to help Helga far more than Helga’s own sister Petronilla would.

 

Petronilla leant over her sister almost menacingly, her straw like hair dangling in Helga’s white, terrified face. Helga screamed louder at the sight of her sister and Edward almost had to pin her down to stop her using her last energy for ripping Petronilla into tiny shreds. Petronilla herself was peering into Helga’s wide eyes as if trying to judge whether there was any hope for her dying sister, evidently hoping for the worst. Mother Blythe quickly pulled Petronilla away, scolding her and tutting at her noisily. Blythe gazed at Petronilla curiously for a moment and then said rather emotionlessly, “I know you must care for your sister deeply, but I feel that I can help more than you at this point Petra.” Edward highly doubted that Petronilla was even remotely concerned for her dying sister, as a great and ferocious rivalry had always existed between them. Years ago, Petronilla had declared that she would steal her own sister’s fiancé from her, but Edward and Helga had married happily with Mother Blythe watching over them much to Petronilla’s disgust and anger. Edward was sure that burning rage had never disappeared and Petronilla wanted nothing less than for Helga to burn in hell for all eternity.

 

Blythe put her wrinkled, worn hands on Helga forehead and then closed her eyes. She muttered unknown words in ancient languages. As she was the mother of the coven, she had powers without wands, and powers that lesser wizards and witches could only dream of. Edward closed his eyes pointedly, madly hoping and praying that Blythe would be able to save his dearest wife with her ancient powerful magic. Helga shivered violently as Blythe gazed at her sadly for a tiny moment and then dropped her sinewy hands to her sides, her eyes filled with disappointment at the failure of her powers that she had been honing for years.

 

“I’m sorry Helga,” she croakily whispered, obviously angry with herself and not sad at the dwindling life of her patient. “My younger sister would not want her only grandchild to die like this.” Edward tensed up instantly, finally realising that nothing could be done for his wife who was about to make the terrifying journey from life to death. His heart beat ferociously with the fear of losing her and the loss which was applying more and more pressure as the seconds ticked by. His chest became tighter and tighter and his chest became more constricted with the pain. The baby gave a loud squawk but Edward ignored her and turned to look at each of the women.

 

“Mother Blythe,” he said breathlessly, finding it difficult to speak, “she can’t, she can’t die! You saw the prophecy, she has developed her Seer Powers, when you are gone she will take your place as the Mother of the Coven. She has the Power! You saw her triumphs!” Edward’s voice had grown so loud in the pain and fury and he shouted at Mother Blythe in accusation, almost as if it was her fault that destiny had put Helga on this path. Sister Coventina moved towards Edward in a move of compassion, trying to sooth him, but Edward stumbled away from her and fell onto his dirty knees next to Helga’s bed, and pressed his head into Mother Blythe’s lap in desperation and heartbreak. “She is destined to live, she can’t die now! You’ve never seen a vision wrong; you’ve never seen the future changed!” There was an obvious look of fear and worry in Mother Blythe’s eyes, her powers seemed weak tonight, but when she spoke she spoke with self assurance and confidence.

 

“The future can change,” she uttered boldly, causing Edward’s heart to break, “the reason for Helga’s death, I am not sure what Mother Destiny has for us to achieve by our sister’s end, but Edward, I am sorry, the Heir is dying.” Edward sobbed hysterically, but suddenly he felt Helga’s cold hand on his head. He looked up into her eyes and to his surprise Helga lips had curled into a gentle little smile. Jumping up to sit on the bed next to her, he kissed her pallid brow as she spoke, her voice reduced to almost nothing.

 

“Mother Blythe is right,” she said, looking at him bravely her eyes brimming with silent tears, “I am dying Edward. It’s my time, the birth was just too difficult,” she gasped in pain suddenly as Mother Blythe retreated from the bed, letting Helga and Edward share their last moments together. Helga leant forward and kissed the little baby’s exposed cranium causing the baby to make an excited noise. Tears welled in Helga’s eyes as she whispered painfully, “I’m not going to see her growing up, and it’s all up to you Edward.” She groaned in pain for a second time as Edward grabbed her hand, almost trying to keep her with him for a few more precious moments.

 

“Save your breath!” he cried, he voice wrecked with the most terrible kind of emotion. Helga seemed to be trying to say something, and Edward could visibly see the colour and life draining from her once beautiful face. She gazed into his chiselled, handsome face as she started to draw weaker and weaker breaths. “Edward, I truly love you.” She gave him one final small smile and then it was like a switch had been turned off, as Helga died, her soul passing on from her worldly body, and into the afterlife. Edward dared not breathe as he looked at his sleeping angel, gone from his side forever.

 

“Helga, oh my love!” he sobbed, his tears stinging his eyes. He ignored Mother Blythe and Sister Coventina’s mumbled prayers for Helga’s soul. Helga had been the embodiment of goodness, and Edward knew for certain she would be in heaven, he just did not know whether he could live without her. The room fell into silence as Edward cried for his lost love, and let his heart fall into the depths of darkness. His soul felt dead without its other half, his darling Helga, and Edward sat miserable next to Helga’s body, looking at the shell in which she used to live.

 

“So, what happens now?” asked Sister Coventina, her voice nervous and cracking. She was fairly new to being Mother Blythe’s aid, and found it all very difficult, especially watching someone pass on. Edward turned to say something, speaking would distract him momentarily from the truth, but the domineering Petronilla butted into the conversation, her nasal voice penetrating Edward’s ears. Edward thought at a time like this his wife’s greatest rival and mortal enemy’s opinions were definitely not welcome.

 

“We bury her of course,” she said patronisingly, looking down on little Coventina. With her arms crossed snootily Petronilla paused for a long moment, clearly decided whether her next statement was the right thing to say, but then continued regardless, “and I become the Heir to Mother Blythe as Helga’s closest female heir and Mother Blythe’s great niece.” The glint of triumph in her smug eyes made the anger in the pit of Edward’s stomach come bubbling to the surface, erupting suddenly and ferociously for all to see.

 

“How dare you!” he thundered, his eyes fixed on Petronilla’s smug face, “Helga lays dead and you are already celebrating at what you gain!” His eyes were full of burning rage at Petronilla’s harsh words, and he desired nothing more that to throttle her for her insensitivity and her selfishness. Then he calmed almost instantly, as a thought had just sprung up in his mind. Petronilla would not be getting the powers she so craved, and Edward would be the one to tell the spiteful cow that wonderful piece of news, “and anyway, you are not the Heir as this baby lying in my arms is Helga’s closest living female relative!” Petronilla’s nostrils flared in anger as she looked at the naked baby, her eyes full of jealousy and loathing. Petronilla’s wrath would not be easily avoided, but Edward stood up to her defiantly, protecting those he loved.

 

“This is not the time for family disagreements,” Mother Blythe said tersely as she drew herself up to her full height and turned on the two of them. Petronilla snapped her head away, tucking her blonde hair behind one ear. Edward lifted the baby to his lips and kissed her, almost in defiance of Petronilla. “Coventina, go and fetch a stretcher and some men to carry Helga’s body to my house, we’ll go and arrange the funeral there.”Coventina gave a quick nod of her pretty head and left the little house without another word, leaving Edward, Blythe and Petronilla looking down at Helga’s prostrate corpse.

 

“I will go and prepare my house for her body; the necessary spells will be said. You have nothing to fear Edward, I will save her soul,” Blythe said passionately, almost reassuring herself that her powers still worked. She glanced at Petronilla briefly and followed Coventina’s path out of the house, not looking back as she went. Edward totally ignored Petronilla and knelt next to his wife, trying to control yet another upsurge of terrible grief. In his despair he held his only daughter, the only thing remaining of his loving wife, as if she were the most important thing in the universe. Petronilla hovered behind him, teetering on the edge of speech, until finally she made her move,

 

“What are you going to call it?” she asked almost tersely. In this moment she looked more horsey than Edward had ever seen her before, an expression of absolute revulsion across her gaunt face. Edward stood up, clinging onto his tiny daughter almost possessively a mad look in his eyes.  He looked straight into her eyes, the same shade of green as her sisters, but they did not hold the same warmth or kindness that Helga’s had.

 

“I’m going to call her Helga,” he choked angrily, trying to anger his sister in law again. Petronilla raised her pencil thin eyebrows haughtily at the mention of her dead sister’s name, the disgust in her eyes shining outwards. Edward rounded on her, directing his grief and anger at her again. He had hated Petronilla for so long, for her constant following of him, for the duel in the church on the wedding day between Petronilla and Helga. He hated her for her uncaring attitude to her sister and he hated her for her offensive behaviour next to her sister’s body.

 

“Helga after her beautiful mother, who will never be replaced in my heart. I will love her until the day I die, and you were never going to be even an option for my love.” Petronilla flushed a nasty red colour in embarrassment and anger. She clearly did not like the subject of her passionate love for Edward being brought up and tossed aside by him in an uncaring fashion. To try and appear strong and unafraid, she bolstered herself and then towered to her full height, her anger that he had seen so often shining in her snide green eyes.

 

“I have loved you since I was a little girl; I loved you even before my bitch of a sister even first laid her unworthy eyes on you. She stole you from me, and for that I will never forgive her. I will hate her for all eternity,” she gave a deep breath and then without even thinking she continued angrily, “I curse Helga Smith the daughter of my sister. She will lose everyone she’s ever loved until she’s old and alone. The misery will consume her as she withers away into nothingness!” Edward gasped at Petronilla’s curse, astounded that she would even sink so low to curse a defenceless child. No magic could break her curse he knew, and his mind whirred with plans to save his daughter until he concluded he could do nothing as she stormed angrily from the house, sweeping her dress behind her, leaving anger and loathing in her wake.

 

Edward knelt next to Helga again, asking her desperately what to do about Petronilla, even though he knew she could not give him one answer “even in the event of your death she will never leave me be!” Then Edward let the misery and grief overcome him, for what seemed like hours, years even. He sat huddled with the little Helga in his arms, staring at his wife’s body and feeling the loss like a thousand knives being stabbed into his still beating heart. Edward only moved when Sister Coventina returned, pushing open the wooden door of the cottage, with two young wizards in tow to help carry Helga’s body away. Edward got up to follow the pale corpse out of her home, but Sister Coventina stopped him by putting up her little hand in front of her.

 

“No, I’m sorry Edward. When the purifying ceremony takes places only the three sisters can be there.” Edward shook his head ferociously at these words. He could not even witness his wife’s last rights and he was the person who had loved her most in the whole world. Worst of all he did not want Petronilla near his dear Helga’s body for fear that she would do something terrible to it in jealousy and rage. Coventina knelt beside him compassionately as the two men carried Helga’s body from the room, ignoring Edward’s quiet whimpers and protests.

 

“I will not let her do anything to Helga’s body Edward; you know that, don’t you?” Coventina said looking into Edward’s eyes. Edward let Coventina put one of her tanned arms round his muscular shoulders, and he sobbed unashamedly into her neck. Moving her hand into his hair she drew him close and rocked him almost like he was a baby. The young Helga squawked in protest between their bodies and with that Edward broke away, looking out the window along the path to the town square.

 

“Coventina,” he began, not looking at her as she cocked her head to listen, “when I was with Helga, when we were married, we were safe from Petronilla because Helga and I were tied together by magic more powerful than her petty curses. But now there is no such protection. She has easily cursed my daughter and there is nothing to stop her from stealing me away from my dear Helga,” he looked down at the baby for a moment and then continued, “I am not the most powerful of wizards, and there is nothing to protect my daughter from Petronilla’s wrath other than my own mediocre skills. She is the daughter of the woman Petronilla hated the most and she has stolen the powers that Petronilla thought were rightfully hers and for that I fear that she could grow up in terrible danger.”

 

Coventina looked at the baby gently with her hazel eyes and then gazed into Edward’s face searching for a response to her upcoming question as she said, “My parents are very influential, who hasn’t heard of Baldward and Torda Hufflepuff round these parts?” Edward nodded, feeling encouraged, it seemed as if Coventina was willing to help him. “I will get my family to personally train Helga so in the future, if she ever needs to, she can defend herself against Petronilla if the need may ever arise. Why, even my brother Adrian will help, even though he’s only five!”

 

“Thank you Coventina,” he whispered, embracing her tightly in enormous gratitude and relief, “I will forever be in your debt!” Coventina held him tightly to comfort him and then broke away, her voice husky when she spoke, “Don’t mention it.” Lifting herself up from the floor next to Edward, she turned to the door and dusted off her white dress with one hand. Gazing at the door gently,  she suddenly turned around one last time, “I will talk to Mother Blythe about this; I will not mention the part about Petronilla, as she trusts her more than anyone else, but I will say that you have agreed to it. If she agrees it is a good idea, Helga will be protected until the day that Mother Blythe dies. And anyway, when that day come Helga will be the Mother of the Coven and Petronilla will not be able to touch her.” With those last words of hope and comfort, Coventina swept from the room, leaving Edward alone with the baby for the first time.

 

He looked at the baby Helga, with her tiny button nose and olive green eyes. Her little hands reached for his face longingly, and he instantly felt a strong bond of warm love and affection. He stroked her golden head as he whispered gently, “your mother was so excited to have you,” the tears of grief welled in his eyes again as he peered down at his tiny daughter. “Your mother will miss so much, but I will be here for you Helga, for as long as you need me. I will be watching over you and protecting you for all time as I will never leave you.” His words caught in his throat but he continued, making a promise to his daughter that he hoped he would never be forced to break, “We’ve got some tough times to face together kid, but I promise you, your wicked aunt Petronilla will never lay one of her grubby little fingers on you.” The baby seemed to smile playfully as Edward lay back on the bed, left wrecked and exhausted by his emotions, he began to slip into the subconscious state, with little Helga dozing on his chest, lulled into sleep by the slow rising and falling of Edward’s chest as his breathing slowed down as he fell into a deep sleep.

 

 

 

 










A/N: Okay people, I've had this idea for a little while and seeing as I have severe writers block with From Ancient Grudge by Rose/Scorpius fic I decided to put this one into motion. PLEASE REVIEW - Thanks!
 
 
 


Chapter 3: Ensnare a Heart
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Ensnare a Heart




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On the day Rowena Black was born, the kingdom of Alba broke into a triumphant cacophony of celebration. Ordinary people lined the stone walls of Alba’s most famous and breathtaking castle, the impenetrable Black Fortress, belonging to Rowena’s father, the formidable warrior king Bevan Black. He had darker skin and darker hair than most of his subjects, and amongst them he seemed an outsider, but he was immensely popular and his people adored him like they had adored no other king for centuries. His wife, the generous and loving Queen Emma was the apple of the people’s eyes, and they saw her as one of the most beautiful women of the age. They were celebrated throughout Alba and people worshipped them throughout the land, making them immensely popular and successful. From the poorest of peasants to the richest of merchants, the royal family was the embodiment of everything that was good and perfect in Alba and they would not change them for all the world.

 

There was only one problem that upset the Utopia that was the lives of the people dwelling inside the Black Castle. Queen Emma was nearing forty years old and King Bevan was a rotund man of fifty. They had first been married at the age of twenty and thirty respectively in a sumptuous wedding and they were heralded to be the beginning of a great new dynasty, as it was Emma who was the heir to the throne. However, after years and years of fruitless trying the marriage had produced no children. They loved each other dearly and devoted their lives to each other, but for all their trying their famous love could not produce an heir. Then finally, out of the blue after years of trying different forms of complex magic and herbal treatments, Queen Emma finally fell pregnant, and the triumphant news was met with feasts and dances throughout the land. The lords celebrated in their castles while the peasants danced in their shacks. While they were separated by their wealth and fortune, they were joined by their happiness at the news of a newly born heir.

 

Amongst the celebrating subjects of Alba who wrapped themselves round the castle walls, King Bevan had placed some of his best knights to stop the masses becoming unruly, wild and leaving the celebration as a bloody and violent riot. His knights used all their strength to push back the people who were clamouring for a small glimpse of the precious baby when she would be shown to the world. One of these knights who was squashed amongst the ordinary people was a fit athletic looking man going by the name of Sir Bedivere. He was tall with close cut brown hair and he was so physically intimidating that the ordinary people just shied away from him. He had an easy job because of his natural gift to strike fear into people’s hearts and nobody dared to come within two feet of him. For this fortunate luck he just spent his time just resting and watching the world go by. He enjoyed watching the peasants have petty squabbles over whether the new princess would have dark hair like her father, or be a blonde like her mother. As the crowd’s volume grew particularly quiet in the anticipation of seeing the new heir, another knight ambled over to Sir Bedivere to relieve him of his duties. Instantly noticing how fatigued he was from spending hours pushing people back, he decided to get some ale at a nearby tavern to help his relax.

 

Kicking the door open of “The Crown” tavern, he made quite an entrance into the little place. He arrived in the dirty tavern to find it empty apart from a grumpy bartender who was cleaning some grubby looking flagons behind the counter. Layers of dirty straw were strewn across the floor and the walls were layered with dirt but Bedivere decided this would be a cheap place to relax in. It was evident that the common men of the city were too enraptured with the news of the new princess to want a drink or even stay in the tavern, so Sir Bedivere swaggered over to the bar and ordered a large pint of cold beer to quench his thirst and put burn life back into his veins. Once the angry looking bartender had given him what he wanted, and he had been paid, Sir Bedivere went and sat on a table near the fire, taking long gulps of his beer to calm himself. The weather in Alba could chill you to the bone sometimes so he sat down with the good intention to stay there for as long as possible, warm against the fire.

 

He gazed into the fire for a moment, contemplating his life in the Black Castle in general but suddenly his thoughts were disturbed as the door of the empty tavern swung open with a loud bang. Bedivere snapped his head round quickly to see who was disturbing his peace and disrupting his thoughts. Silhouetted in the light there stood a very beautiful woman with cascades of honey blonde hair and silvery eyes like the moon. Bedivere thought she must be around the same age as him, her mid thirties, and her eyes showed that she had had a very tough life. Her belly was round with child and she wore rough clothes and wooden clogs, but this did not make her any less appealing to him. In one hand she grasped the tanned hand of a skinny little boy with a messy dark head of hair and his mother’s silvery eyes which seemed to illuminate his boyish face. He, however, seemed desperate to pull his hand away from his mothers and go and explore the empty tavern himself, but she kept a firm grip on him, and from the way her hand was tensed Bedivere sensed her grip was as strong as iron. In her other arm she clung to a little boy that was roughly three years old, with the same dark hair and silvery eyes as his brother. Both the boys were dressed in rags like their mother, and Bedivere instantly assumed they were beggars off the street.

 

“Antioch!” she cried shrilly, pulling him as close to her as she possibly could, “you can let go of my hand in a minute once we’ve got some food!” The woman marched over to the grumpy old bartender, dragging her scruffy son behind her, with a worried look etched on her tired face. “What is the cheapest food you have?” she asked bluntly, her voice hushed and nervous. The barman gave a gruff little laugh, almost like a dogs bark as he cruelly answered, almost making fun of her predicament,

 

“Three groats for a piece of bread,” he said looking at her raggedy dress and her dirty children, almost guessing that she would not be able to pay for even half a piece of the dirty bread. Bedivere watched as the woman’s pretty face fell in anger and disappointment as her mind whirred at what to do next. “Love, if you can’t pay I’d advise you to leave, I don’t give space to gypsies,” the barman said, beginning to clean up the flagons again. His brown eyes briefly flicked over Antioch and then returned to gaze into her silvery pools. He gave a small chuckle then turned his back on her completely, signalling that she and ‘her kind’ were not welcome in his tavern. The woman gave one angry look at the barman and a dejected sigh and then followed his command and turned to go. As she performed this action something clicked with Sir Bedivere. Something had taken over Bedivere’s heart, maybe it was human compassion, he did not know.

 

“Stop,” he began, his voice not its usual volume but considerably quieter, but loud enough for it to bit through the silence. The woman and the barman turned to face him, curiosity on their faces. “How much is it for three proper substantial meals, you know, meat, vegetables and gravy, the whole thing?” Bedivere quickly asked the barman, who looked instantly shocked at Bedivere’s unexpected kindness. The barman nodded and immediately asked for florins as he knew Italian money was worth far more than the Alban currency. Bedivere handed over the money to the barman whose black eyes flashed greedily. “There you go,” said Bedivere slowly, turning to face the woman, “two meals for you, one for me, a fair deal I say.” The woman watched him with her silvery eyes for a moment, a look of shock on her beautiful face, highlighting each one of her aquiline features.

 

“For free,” she stammered, obviously stunned at his kindness, “you’re going to give me two meals for free?” Her look of shocked innocence just made her all the more appealing to Bedivere. She seemed a sweet woman who had ample human emotion and was capable of great kindness. However, this did not explain everything, Sir Bedivere never did this, the great Sir Richard Bedivere never threw himself at a woman’s feet, but there was something different about this woman. She seemed intelligent, though she probably could not read a word, as if she would understand the whole universe if she was taught. Bedivere moved towards her as slowly as he could, normally this terrified women as he looked so big and brutish, but she stayed where she was, resolutely looking into his eyes.

 

“On one condition,” he whispered as tenderly as could as he gazed down at her. She raised one of her thin eyebrows, waiting for his request, a slight look of panic in her silvery eyes, “you dine with me as my guest and tell me your name.” The woman seemed shocked by the mere suggestion, but without protest she let Bedivere take her hand and direct her to his rickety table, even letting him pull out a chair for her. She placed her toddler on the floor beside her while her other son, Antioch seated himself next to his mother almost like a guard dog, giving Bedivere suspicious looks. Dropping down into the seat opposite her, Bedivere held out one of his large hands, to which she instantly shook.

 

“My name is Sir Richard Bedivere, a knight of King Bevan’s guard,” Bedivere said gazing at her with curiosity, “and you my fair lady, what is your name?” The woman gave him a small smile at his kindness and compliments and then threw back her long hair over her left shoulder, obviously trying to us her feminine wiles on his as she gently shook Bedivere’s hand for a second time, coquettishly batting her long eyelashes.

 

“My name, Sir Bedivere, is...is...” her smooth voice trailed off for a moment, she seemed as if the sound of her own name caused her soul the utmost pain, and Bedivere could see the words caught in her throat. Her magical eyes darted into her own lap at immense speed and her son Antioch immediately bolstered at his mother’s visible distress, and gave Sir Bedivere one of the most ferocious looks he had ever seen, one you would expect to see on a wild animal ready to devour its prey.

 

“Why did you upset my mother like that? She doesn’t like to talk about herself, not since father...” Antioch’s resolve seemed to fail as he turned to his mother for support, desperately not wanting to talk about his father. She lifted her head and looked up at Bedivere again, waving one hand at Antioch to hush him. Placing her hands on the table she began to speak, her voice sweet and hushed, as if she had some big secret that she wanted no one to ever hear, and was constantly scared it would be found out.

 

“My name is Cybele, Cybele Peverell,” she said the truthfulness of her words radiating from her eyes, “and this is my son Antioch, and my son Cadmus.” She pointed to each of her sons in turn and then gazed at Bedivere serenely as if she was at peace, “so, why are all the people turning into madmen at the castle gates?” Bedivere looking at her in a confused manner. Had she been living under a rock for nine months? The news of the new heir must have reached the four pillars of the earth Bedivere reckoned, so how did Cybele and her children no know.

 

“Our Majesty Queen Emma had just given birth to the heir to the throne of Alba. The people have waited twenty years for this day and now she’s finally arrived, so they are celebrating.” Cybele watched him for a moment, seemingly formulating an opinion on this piece of news. When she next spoke her words were tentative,

 

“She? It’s a little girl?” Sir Bedivere nodded cheerfully. Many people had felt slightly worried of the news of a female heir, but Sir Bedivere did not care in the slightest. She was flesh and blood of Queen Emma, a strong resilient woman and Bedivere was sure she would have no problem ruling this purely magical kingdom. Sir Bedivere looked at Cybele for a moment, studying her for the first time,

 

“Women can be as strong and brave as men can they not? I was sure you were one woman who has overcome many obstacles in her life.” Cybele nodded gently, a red colour rising in her cheeks. At that moment the grumpy barman came over and deposited plates brimming with meat and vegetables in front of Bedivere, Antioch and Cybele, and then he turned away to the bar, ignoring them once again. Antioch immediately leapt at his food like an animal, it was evident from his mad hungry eyes and skinny frame that he had not eaten in a while, so forgot all manners when consuming it. Cybele passed some food down to the little Cadmus and then began on her own food, still looking with interest at Bedivere.

 

“Have they named the girl yet?” Cybele asked politely in between mouthfuls. Bedivere nodded as he chewed some carrots. They watched each other as Cybele waited for Sir Bedivere’s reply. Once Cybele had finished chewing gently she said, “I imagine they would call her Emma, after her mother...or Alice...Alice is a good name for a princess.” Bedivere smiled warmly before finishing chewing and answering, it was good to be able to talk to someone, after all people usually ran away from him because of his large intimidating presence, “They’ve called her Rowena, Princess Rowena.”

 

Cybele smiled gently as Bedivere watched her. Her face clearly said that she was formulating a plan that would benefit herself and her children. Bedivere gazed at her as his brown eyes met her silvery ones, and in that moment, he knew he would do absolutely anything for her. She stretched out her arms along the table and she gave him a brilliant smile as she began to speak, “with a new princess running around the palace, surely they’ll need some more help, like a maid, or a seamstress and maybe even a new stable boy!” Cybele pointed one of her fingers at Antioch who nodded dolefully.

 

“I can help you,” said Bedivere happily, overjoyed that he could do something to help the lovely Cybele and her growing family, “I can get you jobs in the castle, I can get you jobs anywhere and the king will listen to me. After all with Princess Rowena, he and Queen Emma are going to need all the help they can get.”





 

 






 

King Bevan arrived in the entrance hall of the castle in a brisk fashion after showing the new Princess Rowena to the people. He had lifted her up on the battlements and the people had cheered in joy at the sight of her. People chanted for the angelic babe and Bevan finally felt that he could be a truly wonderful king. While the people chanted however, he knew that no one was happier about the birth than him and his beautiful and brave Emma. They had gazed at their child for what seemed like hours, the little baby with black hair like a midnight sky and shining dark blue eyes like a rippling lake. Bevan knew that little Rowena was the most important person in the whole world and he loved her with every fibre of his being.

 

The entrance hall was deathly quiet; all the courtiers were queuing outside his wife’s room to get a proper look at Rowena. All usual formalities of leaving the Queen alone after the birth had been forgotten in the joy of the newly born heir, the baby that had been waited for by so many people for so many years. Bevan enjoyed the peace, he had not slept for over twenty four hours and had craved it, but now he could let his mind rest.

 

Suddenly, a heavy wooden door that lead to the kitchens burst open to reveal a man with white blonde hair almost like snow and piercing electric blue eyes. Bevan recognised him immediately. His name was Bjorn Fjerstad and he was a visitor from the far flung country of Svalbard. His presence in Black Castle was all quick mysterious as he had appeared out of the wind and rain several weeks ago begging for hospitality. He had said he was here on urgent business from his master and friend Leif, the Jarl of Svalbard, but until now he had not made his business known. He said he had to wait for the right moment to carry out his task, and Bevan had mainly ignored him up to this exact moment, his mind focussed on preparing his wife for the baby.

 

But now it seemed, Bevan could ignore Bjorn no more as the second Bjorn saw Bevan; he gave him a deep respectful bow, his long nose almost touching the floor. Bevan gave a quick flick of the wrist to show his guest that he could stand up and Bjorn immediately complied, standing up to his full monstrous height. Bevan registered that he was taller than he previously thought him and he was fairly muscular making Bevan suspect he could pack a powerful punch. He held his wand in a belt around his waist and he fingered it nervously as he glided towards Bevan.

 

“My lord,” he began, obviously contemplating his words, “I have been here for the past few weeks living in the comfort of your hospitality and kindness because you believed I had urgent business to carry out.” His loud voice rang around the Gothic entrance hall, almost as if he was giving a speech, “I am now ready to impart my message to you.” Bevan nodded slowly waiting for Bjorn to say something that was worth listening to, “My message, my lord, comes directly from Leif the Jarl himself,” Bjorn cleared his throat quickly and then said, “my message could have taken two different routes, one route I would be heading back home this instant with nothing to say to you, but because of recent circumstances the Jarl and the honourable Lady Mikayla his wife would like to remind you that they have a six month old son by the name of Harald.”

 

Bevan was totally bewildered by what Bjorn had said, why on earth was the Jarl reminding him that he had a six month old son? Then it dawned on him, as clear as the morning son, the Jarl was already matchmaking and was eyeing up Rowena as a potential wife for his son Harald. Bevan’s anger began to boil, now was not the time to discuss wedding plans, and anyway, Bevan was sure that when it was time for Rowena to marry he would always consult her on her potential suitors.

 

“I do not believe that this is an appropriate time to discuss wedding arrangements for my daughter,” he said, trying to keep his voice steady but his anger rose regardless, “maybe in seven years or so, or do you want to start choosing the music to dance to at the feast afterwards?” Bevan eyed him with loathing and repulsion at the mere suggestion of already using his barely a day old daughter as a bargaining chip, like a prize to be won. Bjorn clearly understood his message and nodded, then lifted his great head up to gaze at Bevan.

 

“Of course my lord, I will return to Svalbard tonight to convey the news to my master.” With that Bjorn turned back to the door he came through and disappeared back down the passage, evidently making his way to his room to prepare for the treacherous journey back to Svalbard. Bevan sighed; he knew with a single daughter, the heir to the whole of Alba, every available man would be jumping at the chance of marrying her. Bevan also hoped that the man Rowena would marry would also be the one to ensnare her heart.

 

 

 








 

That night Queen Emma cried, not with grief or sadness, but with joy and relief. Emma had asked her servants to leave her and let her cry alone. She covered her midnight blue eyes with her hand as she sobbed, her heart lifting joyfully. For years she had not been able to give Bevan what he wanted, a child, and Bevan himself was getting restless. Even though it was Emma who was Queen and Bevan just her consort, Bevan had never been in it for the power. He happened to love her, whatever people said, and he wanted children. Emma knew that deep down in his heart he had considered leaving her, even though she had tried all she could to siilence these thoughts. But now they could be a family, now Emma’s life was complete with her dear little Rowena.

 

Emma had ordered she did not want a wet nurse, she was to do it all herself. She was determined to be a proper mother to her dear Rowena like she was a proper wife to Bevan. Emma held baby Rowena so close, just for a moment until the courtiers would finally have to be let in to see the tiny baby. Her little angel would be the most precious thing she had ever had to care for, and her heart beat in excitement of the prospect of herself and Bevan caring for the tiny girl.

 

The door finally opened to reveal Emma’s handmaiden, Agnes, who looked extremely flustered, burst into view. Her normally neat brown hair looked wild and it was evident she had had to physically restrain several people. She gave the Queen a pained look at which Emma finally relented; she couldn’t leave the courtiers standing out in the cold forever.

 

“Two at a time!” Emma demanded as she gazed lovingly at her daughter. Emma was so pleased that the courtiers loved her; hopefully they would love the baby just as much. She fidgeted for a moment and then something came to her mind that she couldn’t forget. “Agnes dear!” she shouted. Agnes’ head peeped round the door to look into Emma’s face, “please go and get my diadem, before they come in.” As Agnes left the room Emma let out a huge sigh, nobody apart from Agnes could ever see her without her diadem. The diadem was simply magical, in enhanced all her natural abilities and made her more intelligent and more beautiful. It also made people love her, and Emma was sure the diadem was the reason the people were crowding round the castle walls, not the baby exactly.

 

“My lady,” came Agnes for a third time, peering round the door, and her voice rough as she spoke. Emma cocked her head to listen to her handmaiden as the woman shuffled inside, her voice barely a whisper, and “my lord King Bevan wishes to see you.” Emma gulped loudly as her mind whirred; she could not see Bevan right at this moment.

 

“Tell him to wait, then get my diadem and once I have it on my head then he can come in.” Agnes complied as she left the room as Emma’s heart began to beat loudly in her chest. She remembered Bevan as a knight in her father’s guard, a brave and good knight who had saved so many people. Emma used to watch him from her bedroom window as he wandered around the courtyard always imagining that she could marry this handsome man. Then one day she had seen him meet a woman out in the courtyard, and they had kissed and embraced and Emma’s heart had frozen.

 

In a rage she had enchanted the diadem, making her heart’s true desire love her more than anyone else. When he had seen her wearing the fantastically beautiful diadem Bevan had totally forgotten the woman, who turned out to be Lady Diane, and they were preparing to marry. But no, Emma had taken Bevan away and she had him all to herself. She married him and he loved her all the time she wore the diadem, hardly ever taking it off in his presence. There were the times it was absent when he became confused and agitated, but Emma did not care, for when she put it back on he was as loving as ever. How else was she meant to ensnare his heart?
 


Chapter 4: Forbidden Fruit
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Forbidden Fruit
 

 

 

 









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On the night Salazar Slytherin was born; the Wydeville family had to pay their rent. Robert Wydeville and his wife Caris sat in their derelict little cottage with their five children, and waiting for the moment that Lord de Clare would burst through the door demanding money they just did not possess. Money was a hard thing to come buy where the Wydeville’s lived and if you had it you coveted it. It had been a bad year and the famine had savagely eaten away at their crops leaving them with nothing but a few bowls of rotten cabbage soup and their five starving children whose bellies growled with hunger every day.

 

The Wydeville brood was fairly big. They had three strong sons, Robert (who was known as Rob), Elfric and John, each of whom were wasting away before their parent’s eyes. Each had dirty dark brown hair and at their respective ages of fifteen, ten and eight they could do nothing accept greet their fate with open arms. Their cries of hunger and misery mattered to no one. Then there were two daughters, Mair who was a starving little girl of seven and then their youngest Bess a bonny girl of four. In her depressing mood, Caris drew Bess into an embrace; holding her as tight as she could, she could not stand to lose the house as then her family would have no hope of ever being able to feed themselves again. Without realising it the barrier that kept Caris’ tears inside her tired body burst, making her delicate face wet with moisture.

 

“Mama,” whispered little Bess sweetly, pulling herself up to look into her mother’s eyes, “don’t cry.” Caris leaned in and kissed her youngest daughter gently, her rough lips catching her daughter’s forehead. There were plenty of reasons for her to cry, Lord de Clare, filled with vengeful malice would return to the little cottage and demand money. Caris cried because of her own stupidity. When she was nothing but a young girl of sixteen, she had fallen madly and hopelessly in love with the handsome son of the lord of the manor. Guy de Clare had been a rakish, dark haired devil who rode the surrounding countryside astride his great black stallion.

 

Caris remembered the light summer days fondly in which they had been together, happy in each other’s arms, his warm embraces and tender kisses blocking the world out, casting searing memories in her mind. He had promised he loved her more than life, and that the second his father died he would make her Lady of the manor. But it was not to be. Caris remembered the awful day she had discovered she was pregnant and deep down her doubts in her heart surrounding Guy’s love bubbled to the surface and she had accepted the proposal of simple country boy, Robert Wydeville, married him within a day and passed the baby, who grew into Rob, off as her husband’s. Guy, mad with jealousy, began to persecute Caris and the husband she grew to love for their betrayal. No one broke a Lord’s heart, especially not a penniless peasant girl.

 

Now, Caris was not sure what Guy would do. Over the years his careful love had matured into an obsessive passion and Caris knew he would arrive at the cottage ready to declare them all guilty of a crime that they did not commit. She felt the man she once loved with all her heart and every fibre of her being now had no restraints. To get what he wanted Caris knew he would burn, torture and murder and Caris knew her innocent children would be in the firing line. The only one thing that would save her family was the fifteen year old secret that Rob’s resemblance to his Lord was due to the fact that he was the Lord’s lost son.

 

“Caris,” came her husband’s calming voice from out of the darkness, “you look so scared my love. Whatever happens, the good lord will save us,” he said simply in his honest country tone. But before Caris could even think about replying there was a loud, fierce knock at the door. Each of the family froze in shock and anticipation at the loud noise that had perforated through their existence. Robert, her brave husband, stirred at once and stood up to his full height, unlocking the door without so much as a tremor. When the old wood door swung open, he was instantly bowled over by three armour clad soldiers, followed by their Lord. Each of the soldiers carried a heavy sword at their belt that could easily glide through human and bone, and a nasty grin across their brutish faces.

 

“I do not think weapons are necessary gentleman...” Robert began cautiously but he was pulled to his feet by one of the burliest soldiers as Guy eyed each of the smaller children with malice, while Caris and Rob got hastily to their feet, terrified looks on both of their faces. Caris could not claim to be beautiful; she had curly dark hair that fell to her waist, shared by all her children bar Bess. She was short and plump, with rosy cheeks and full lips. But the innocence which she had always possessed shone out in her olive green eyes, and that was why Guy was enchanted.

 

“Where is my money?” said Guy gruffly but threateningly, ignoring Robert who was drawing away from each of the guards, holding his hand out in surrender, and instead Guy stared intently at Caris with all the control he could muster. His dark eyes were full of a mixture of loathing and lust as he slowly paced towards her, and almost by habit his eyes slowly explored every curve of her body that his hands had once touched. At this most intrusive of movements Rob instantly stood in front of his mother, acting as a human barrier between the predator and his delicious prey.

 

“Myself and my family are terribly sorry, the winter wiped out last year’s crops on all the farms, and we all could not get any work, even digging ditches,” he said bravely, trying to give his Lord a respectful look. Caris could clearly see that Rob hated Guy and his loathing shone through his dark eyes, the same one possessed by Guy. Caris had never been able to stomach telling Rob the truth about his paternity, if he was kept in the dark he may be able to live a peaceful life. Guy, who knew the full story of Rob’s birth, looked at his son, and air of arrogance crossed his face.

 

“So you are saying, yourself and your father, two strong men, could not get any work?” he said mockingly, pacing around the little cottage, eyeing the absolute squalor that Caris and her family lived in with utter contempt. There was nothing kind about Guy now, nothing at all. Rob did not say anything, but shook his head sadly. Unlike his biological father he was a kind and sensitive boy who was immensely loyal to his family.

 

“My lord,” piped up Robert, “we just need more time. There is sure to be some work sometime soon.” Guy at these words pulled himself over to stand next to Caris, his arms folded as if he was seriously thinking about Robert’s reasonable proposal. He suddenly smiled almost maliciously and then said, “well, I see no other solution to this other than to sell you assets.” The whole family watched him dumbfounded as he moved over to their candle, the only thing they owned that was worth any value. One of the soldiers had bought in a taper that was burning brightly and they lit it.

 

“That candle is all we have,” said Robert desperately walking up to his master with his palms pressed together and his eyes wide, “please, please my Lord, I am begging you! We need that candle!” Guy shrugged his shoulders slowly and looked at the trembling Robert, a grin of satisfaction dancing across his thin cruel lips, “Well, there is another, more preferable way that I would like to be paid.”

 

In one movement Guy pulled Caris close to him and explored her body with his hands, “I’ve waited so long for this,” he whispered, but it was a short lived moment. Robert had pushed his Lord away with all the force he could, and Guy almost fell back onto the wall, but he still kept a firm grip on Caris’ arm. However hard she tried to pull herself away from the man she hated with all her might he held on resolutely.

 

“I know that’s been your plan my Lord, all these years. To mistreat me to try and get my wife in your bed, but it won’t happen I tell you! For it is a sin to covet another man’s wife!” Robert had transformed from a trembling little peasant to an angry man who stood up to his Lord. Guy turned to Robert who did not cower away or show any sign of fear. Braver men than Robert would have cowered before the formidable Guy de Clare, but Robert was resilient. There were many ways a Lord could treat his surfs but this was definitely not one of them.

 

“Oh no Robert I assure you, I’ve just been trying to get your wife into my bed again,” said Guy smugly as the three soldiers laughed at the look of shock and hurt that flickered across Robert’s weathered face. Caris blushed in shame. Her guilty secret was for all the world to see and Caris could not bear to look at Robert, sweet, darling Robert who had been nothing but kind to her ever since she had married him. Robert, the son of a labourer had admired her from afar for years and bumbling proposed to her when she had been pondering her pregnancy alone in the wood. Turning to her slowly, Caris saw young tears welling in his eyes.

 

“Caris,” he said, his voice hoarse, “is this true?” She could not bear to look at him as he stared at her incredulously with all the hurt in the world in his innocent eyes and not God or his archangels could have convinced her to peer into his familiar face. She had betrayed him by never telling him the truth and she could never go back on all those years of lying. The years of trust and love now laid shattered at both their feet.

 

“Robert,” she began, the tears rolling down her cheeks, “it was so many years ago, before we were married, I was young and I was foolish. You’ve loved me all these years regardless of anything I’ve ever done and I’m so sorry for never telling you the truth.” Robert watched her for a moment and then unexpectedly he held out his hand and Caris silently walked towards him, feeling his fingers thread through hers.

 

“It doesn’t matter now Caris, I love you and you love me and that is all that matters.” Caris was sure they would discuss this later, but now they needed a united front and Robert was a forgiving man anyway. At these words Robert curled his arm around Caris’ shoulders and all their children surrounded them, Caris taking Bess’ hand and Rob standing firmly in front of young Mair. Guy however roared with anger and flung his arms around him in frustration.

 

“You will pay for this! You will love me Caris! You will love me if it’s the last thing you do!” As quick as a flash he pulled out his magnificent long sword and in his anger swung the terrifying weapon around, cutting the wooden table that stood in the centre of the room cleanly in half. This sent the candle tumbling to the floor and igniting the straw rushes that were strewn across the bare wooden floorboards, sending the orange flames bursting up around the room.

 

“Are you crazy?” thundered Robert standing up to his lord as the three terrified henchmen hurried from the building. Robert’s decisive action was evidently the wrong thing to do as Guy’s eyes were as bright as the enlarging fire and in his rage he thrust his gleaming sword straight through Robert’s chest. His thin frame slid along the sword blade as he eyes widened with pain and shock. Guy’s sword had become a dark red as streams of his enemies blood trickled down his large hands.

 

“You will no longer have Caris!” The screams that then started up were louder than the fire’s roar. Guy slid his sword out of Robert’s limp body as quickly as he had stabbed Robert in the first place. He watched unemotionally Caris’ husband’s body slumped to the floor, causing all his children to let out cries of pain and anguish. Caris’ screams and tears overcame her and she barely noticed Guy seizing her by the collar and dragging towards the door. Bess followed her, grabbing her mother’s hand and trying to pull her back. A four year old girl was no comparison to a fully grown man however and they had almost reached the door when the beam that supported the roof of the little house, engulfed by the flames, collapsed to the floor. The house’s inhabitants stood divided. On the side by the door stood Guy, Caris, Bess and Rob and on the trapped side stood Elfric, John and Mair.

 

“Rob quick-“ began Caris, the fear for her children suddenly coming to the surface. But before Rob could do anything, Guy grabbed Rob by the waist and threw him out of the freshly kicked open door. Caris then found the same fate follow her, but she just had time to grab Bess’ hand as she was plunged into the darkness of the night and landed sharply on her back. Dragging her by the hair, Guy pulled Caris away from the fire and then drew her up as he grabbed the screaming Bess and placed his sword at the little girl’s throat, a violent red line suddenly springing forth.

 

“You both stay here, or she dies.” His face was filled with the most extreme form of rage and Caris’ eyes welled with tears. She remembered the man she had once loved, now her persecutor and could not believe that he stood in front of her, his obsession for her driving him to threaten children, her children and it made her boil with a mother’s rage and protective love. But she was not mourning for him now, or even Robert, she had to save her children.

 

“You don’t have to do this Guy,” she said, her voice unwavering in her determination, “you can let her go, you can save them!” Caris said as the tears began to roll down her cheeks. Flicking her eyes towards her home engulfed by flames, she turned back to see that Guy had not let go of the terrified Bess, his fingers digging into her young skin as he held her up. His handsome eyes were wild and he looked furious as the words came from his mouth.

 

“I’m doing this for us Caris!” he groaned hoarsely, “I love you!” he moaned, tears of frustration and anger coming to his eyes. But Caris was not listening anymore. She could hear the screams of her children left trapped in the burning house. In that moment she forgot about Guy and his jealous passion and turned to look at the house, becoming obsessed with the fact that she was going to watch her children die.

 


 

 

 

 







 










 

“Matilda,” came her husband’s crisp voice through the darkness, “Matilda my love, can I come in?” Matilda answered her husband quickly and he came in as quietly as he could, she hushed him even though he was making no sound. Giles Slytherin sat beside his wife on their double bed and put one arm round her slender shoulders as they both gazed down at the tiny boy in her arms. Matilda sighed contentedly; her and her husband had a baby, a real baby boy with chocolate coloured hair and light skin after so many years of trying.

 

The baby looked like his mother, with the dark brown hair and tanned skin. He had not yet opened his eyes, so no one was sure if he would have his father’s misty grey eyes or his mother’s hazel brown. Matilda said she would like grey, Giles the brown. Giles gazed down at his son. Maybe he would one day grow up to be like his father, even if he did not have the sandy blonde hair or grey eyes he may become noble and true. Giles knew he would be surrounded by a loving family and would become a well rounded and contented young wizard, with all the powers of his forebears.

 

“I’m so happy Giles,” Matilda smiled in an almost relieved way, “I mean I don’t believe it! I’m a mother!” The moment for them both to appreciate the joy of being parents was short lived however as the door suddenly burst open revealing Giles’ manservant, a skinny young boy called Aart. He was usually quite a cheery boy, but tonight he looked different, his face was gaunt and hollow and there was panic in his light eyes.

 

“Sir,” he stammered, “I know you said you did not want to be disturbed tonight but this is urgent.” Giles gave his servant a quick nod and bid him to continue, “It’s Sir Guy, he’s gone against you wishes. He went to the Wydeville’s home. I’m afraid that Robert Wydeville has been murdered by Guy himself, and the little cottage burnt to the ground. Two of the Wydeville boys and a daughter perished in the flames, but the witch Caris was left alive. I’m afraid this is all Sir Guy’s doing.”

 

Giles and Matilda both flinched at the word “witch”. They both knew that Caris Wydeville was anything but a witch, but if they tried to prove her innocence they could out themselves and their wizardry, so they kept quiet. The people believed Caris had magical powers for capturing the Lord’s heart the way she did, but Giles knew that was only love. “He’s bringing the witch and her remaining son and daughter to the Hall,” continued Aart, waiting for his master to answer.

 

Giles lifted himself gracefully from the bed and walked deliberately towards Aart, running his fingers through his own light hair. From where he was standing, Caris had never been more than a harmless peasant and her refusal to love Sir Guy had just cost her more trouble than it was worth. Giles felt he wanted to help Caris as she was as innocent as her children in all this mess. Giles was not a man to leave innocent people in distress and he turned to Aart, his mind whirring thinking about how to help the poor unfortunate family.

 

“Aart, do you know the arrangements for when the family arrive at the castle?” Giles asked urgently, holding his servants shoulders and looking into his eyes. Giles was worried for the Wydeville’s. He knew Sir Guy very well as they were old comrades in arms against the Mercian’s. They had basically lived their lives by the sword together and Giles knew that Guy had never been able to fully shake off the bloodlust. He also knew full well that Guy loved vengeance almost as much as he loved punishing those he considered living in sin – drunks, prostitutes and of course witches.

 

“Yes,” began Aart slowly as Matilda, carrying the baby, came to stand next to her husband and looking at Aart quizzically, “Guy sent special instructions on how the survivors are to be treated. The eldest boy, Rob, is to become a squire to one of the knights, the little girl is to become a servant to your own good wife here and the witch is to be left to Sir Guy himself.” Aart’s eyes showed all that Giles needed to know. Tonight Caris would not just be punished for her defiance just by seeing her husband, two sons and a daughter murdered, but also she would lose her remaining children and her pride.

 

Giles knew there was nothing he could do for Caris herself. When Sir Guy wanted something, he would get it, and not even God himself coming down and threatening to smite him would stop Guy. Rob would not be out of Guy’s clutches either. Giles was one of the few people who knew of the boy’s true parentage and also knew that Guy would step up and raise his son and not let anyone interfere. Giles could only help the little girl, the one who would become a servant to Matilda.

 

“Go fetch this girl the instant she arrives,” ordered Giles solemnly as Aart nodded and left the room sharply. Giles felt for this persecuted little girl. At least Guy was showing a little compassion to at least one of the children. He must have known there was not a cruel bone in the motherly Matilda’s body, and if he had wanted to be vengeful he could have locked the girl away. But beside the girl’s tiny piece of luck, Giles still felt a sense of overwhelming pity for the girl that had just lost her father, two brothers and a sister. He knew what it was like to be different, ostracised by society. That was why when he met Guy he had never told him the truth about his powers as he was sure that if he did he would lose his head and Giles would have quite liked his head to stay firmly in the position it had been born into.

 


 

 

 

 







 










 

Matilda had almost expected her to cry. Bess Wydeville was only four, a short, earthy looking girl dressed in rags with light brown hair the colour of autumn leaves and large, doe like eyes. Matilda expected she would be very beautiful when she was fully grown. Bess had gone through a lot in the last few hours and yet she stood firmly and proudly, eyeing up her masters. Matilda had to admit she had been slightly taken aback by this determined little girl who looked as if she hadn’t just seen half her family’s murders.

 

“I hope you will be as happy as possible here Bess, “said Matilda, as a smile flitted across her lips while she clutched the baby to her breast. The little girl nodded, but she did not smile as Matilda had invited her to, but just stared at the baby. Her eyes seemed to engulf the little boy and it slightly disturbed Matilda. It was as if Bess knew something about the child who had barely been alive a day, more than anyone. It seemed to Matilda as if Bess was awestruck by the baby just a few hours old, the baby with no name.

 

“You can call me Mistress Mattie...” began Matilda cautiously but the child clearly wasn’t listening. Bess slowly walked closer, holding out her grubby little hand to stroke the baby’s dark head. At that moment, quite unexpectedly, the baby opened his eyes. Matilda stared at her son awestruck; his eyes were the most brilliant green she had ever seen. He lifted one of his chubby hands, evidently reaching for Bess. The new girl obligingly took his hand in hers and she stared at the baby too, until finally she spoke, her voice hushed.

 

“Does he have a name?” Matilda shook her head and gazed at her son. Now seemed the ideal moment to give the little boy a name, the moment he had revealed those brilliantly green eyes to the world. Unexpectedly, Bess decided to comment, “you should name him Salazar,” she said simply, “his eyes are the colour of a snake.”

 

“Salazar Slytherin?” pondered Matilda aloud, gazing down at her little boy, “has a ring to it, doesn’t it?” Unbeknownst to Matilda, Salazar and Bess, the fact that Bess had named the boy evoked a powerful ancient magic. A Muggle naming a pureblood wizard tied Salazar and Bess’ souls together forever.
 
 
 
 


Chapter 5: The Sword of Godric Gryffindor
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The Sword of Godric Gryffindor




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On the day that Alfhild Gryffindor died, Godric saved his father from outlaws. The courtiers of the Jarl’s castle clearly had favourites when it came to the Jarl’s two very different children. Harald, the Jarl’s one true legitimate heir, was a slight boy with dark hair like his mother and displayed limited magical ability and talent. He was not gifted in any particular field and he had never grasped academic subjects very well, and his father was disappointed in his small, weedy son who was slightly sickly and a coward. Harald would spend his days with his mother and her attendants and shunned children his own age and denied himself the experience of exploring the world.

 

Godric on the other hand was a strong, burly boy with violently red hair, sparkling green eyes and a dazzling cheeky grin. He spent his time playing knights and wanting to be like his father. He also seemed to have inherited his father’s knack for being considerably charming to all the ladies who habituated the Jarl’s court. It was therefore seen as a great disappointment that he would not be the next Jarl as he possessed so many qualities that the people would want for a leader. So on a wintry Tuesday, the Jarl took both his youthful boys out to view their father’s realm. The Jarl also took the opportunity of being with his heir to test the boy’s magical skill. The expensive carriage rolled through a little hamlet and then picked up its pace as it reached a menacing forest. This in turn led to an icy river which they would need to cross to reach the other side of the kingdom.

 

Godric sat next to his father, and he looked tiny compared to him. While Godric was a fairly large boy, Leif Ravenclaw was a collection of rather enormous muscles and appeared to his little son a giant. In his father’s outstretched hand was a large, shiny pebble which Harald was meant to be levitating. Harald received the best schooling in the land from various famous Wizarding scholars, but he was far behind any moderate young wizard. Godric, barred from having a magical education by the Lady Mikayla, was permitted to sit in on his brother’s classes, but not attempt any magic. Godric however had not been bound by such rules, and though his brother was far behind he had learnt from the lessons in secret, also a little from his mother and finally from many of the books in the library. His father had no idea of this however, he had not even bestowed his son a wand, believing he would not have an ounce of magic in him due to a set of Muggle grandparents.

 

Godric however had overcome this problem with relative ease. He had learnt to do magic without a wand, something which he knew many fully grown wizards couldn’t do. Godric was only ten years old and his mother regularly told him how special and talented he was, and he willingly believed her, enjoying the thought that he was special and possessed a rare talent. His father however, lived appreciating him as a good son, but did not see him as a good wizard, just as a little boy who was a sweet child with no extraordinary ability.

 

“Harald,” said Leif harshly, his brow furrowed in frustration “it is not difficult. Use your wand and make the stone levitate.” Harald squeezed his eyes shut in concentration and doing the simple swish and flick motion with his wand. Godric watched him in amusement. He had never particularly liked his brother; Lady Mikayla had made sure that he was never near Harald as she viewed Godric as an evil child, one not fit to socialise with the future Jarl. Godric watched Harald eagerly with his sparkling green eyes, waiting for him to slip up in front of their father. Nothing happened despite all Harald’s attempts and finally Harald gave up, slumping into a tired stupor against the side of the carriage.

 

 

 








 

Alfhild couldn’t help but smile at her old friend. Elisa was now a happily married woman with a son of her own, and another on the way, but Alfhild loved seeing her. She had not known about Alfhild’s banishment from the Jarl’s castle ten years ago and been extremely helpful with raising Godric. Now Alfhild let her son run wild through the castle and through the life he led, similar to the one she had as a child, she thought he would develop into a well rounded young man destined to be a knight in his father’s service.

 

Her relationship with Leif had come on leaps and bounds, so much so she was expecting a second child and she had a strong feeling it was a girl. She wasn’t scared like she had been the first time; Lady Mikayla would not be able to touch her, Godric or the new baby any more. She breathed in deeply as Elisa began to gossip, discussing her son Eric and his future as a knight in the castle. Eric was seven and seen as an ideal friend for Godric, but already Alfhild could see the difference between the two children. Eric was a fairly talented young wizard with a crop of light hair and intelligent blue eyes. He could do simple spells and was articulate and clever but Godric was extraordinary. Alfhild was the only person who knew of his talents of spell making without a wand, she was pretty sure her son could defeat his father with relative ease in a duel.

 

It was at this moment a loud knock ran through Alfhild’s chambers. Elisa looked at her friend in surprise; maybe someone was ill as Alfhild had been the most beloved of all the medicine woman. Lifting herself up with a grace not usually seen in a woman eight months pregnant, Alfhild began to walk across the chamber until she reached the strong wooden door that barred the visitor entry. Pulling the door open Alfhild saw Kristine who worked in the kitchen. She was a friendly young woman, and always worked hard for the Lady Mikayla but with no thanks. Everyone suspected Lady Mikayla knew of Kristine’s involvement with Alfhild’s return to the castle on the night Godric was born and that was the reason why she was not particularly favoured. At that moment she was laden with a basket of food and drink which she held up enthusiastically.

 

“This is from the Jarl,” she said conversationally, “tonic for pregnant women and some cake just to wash it all down!” Alfhild opened the door wider as Kristine lugged the enormous hamper into the room and dropped it onto the floor with an almighty crash. Everything inside looked sumptuous and with glee the three women circled round it, eyeing up the delicious treats and tonics.

 

“Do you mind if I have some of the tonic?” asked Elisa, digging through the hamper and pulling out two glasses. Pouring one for herself and one for Alfhild she turned to look at Kristine who had pulled out a cake and was beginning to divide it into three. Crashing onto the floor, the three women prepared to have their picnic as Kristine shared the cake around. Simultaneously they all took a bite and then took a sip of their drink. Alfhild, anxious for some relief from her pregnancy downed the tonic in one whereas Elisa only took a tiny sip. Kristine, not needing the tonic drank some plain water as the three women began to chat animatedly.

 

“Where has the Jarl taken Godric today?” asked Elisa, gazing at Alfhild with polite interest. Alfhild on the other hand was not looking at Elisa but rather at her own hands. She seemed to have four. The room began to sway in front of her as she was overcome by a nauseous sensation and she fell to the floor like a dead weight.

 

 

 








 

Harald looked furious and folded his arms sulkily as his father began his lecture, “Really Harald, you are behaving like a common Muggle! You are the future Jarl! You should be able to levitate a pebble easily!” Godric did not listen to his father’s rant however; he had heard it many times before. Harald never seemed to be able to do magic so this angry tirade from the Jarl was commonplace. Instead, Godric gazed out of the window, taking in the view of gradually thickening trees of the darkest green. This woodland was known as outlaw territory; large gangs of bandits made up of starving people scraping a living to people just wanting to live the risky life. The main bandit in these parts was Tam Hansen, a terror of a man who scourged the landscape like a plague.

 

Godric sometimes wondered what it must be like to be Tam Hansen and live free in the forest, with no burdens or constraints tying you down. When he was alone at night Godric imagined himself a bandit or a warrior; a noble person that everyone respected. Looking out at the trees Godric suddenly saw a shadow dart past him. His father and brother were in a heated debate and too busy to notice, but Godric kept his hawk like eyes squinted in case he saw something else.

 

Then came the almighty crash. There was then a groan and a thump. Godric had a sudden nasty feeling that the thump was from the driver’s body hitting the ground. Without so much as a second the doors of the carriage were burst open and Godric caught sight of several armed men. They began grabbing him and Godric found himself being pulled out of the carriage and a black bag pushed clumsily over his head. He could hear his brother’s squeals of pain and his father’s angry roars as Godric himself was loaded onto a horse and the large animal galloped away into the distance, leaving Godric a captive.

 

 

 








 

Mikayla sat quietly in her bedroom, gazing into the silvery surface of her mirror. On the first inspection of her face she saw she was beautiful as ever. Looking at her face she saw why gallant young knights had once fallen at her feet declaring their love for her, won tournaments for her, left their wives to be her lover. But now, her face did not seem to hold the angelic beauty it had once possessed. Lines began to crease across her face from years of scheming to keep herself on top and others down. Those lines also seemed to draw out the years of burning jealousy that had burned for Alfhild, the girl who had stolen her husband. But now, that was all at an end.

 

The door burst open revealing two burly guards, each grabbing a defenceless Kristine by the wrists. They flung her at Mikayla’s feet where she lay sobbing, her tiny body shaking in misery. With a quick snap of the wrist Mikayla exiled the two guards from her room and after the door was slammed shut Mikayla stared at Kristine. Floating across the room in her expensive Venetian silk dress, Mikayla balanced herself on the cushioned stool she used for embroidery.

 

“You tricked me!” sobbed Kristine, “you said it would help them! Now,” she said distraught, “now, Elisa has lost her baby and Alfhild is...is...dead!” Kristine stood up her eyes wide and glistening with freshly formed tears. Mikayla watched her emotionlessly, knowing that although her own beauty was beginning to disappear, her cunning mind was not.

 

“Well my dear girl,” began Mikayla condescendingly, throwing her heavy dark hair over her shoulder, “what do you expect? Alfhild was in the way of the very thing I want, the thing I am entitled to. I am entitled to my husband’s love.” Mikayla watched as the distraught girl lifted herself up and stared into her eyes.

 

“You are a heartless murderer!” Mikayla had heard enough. With one hand she pulled her wand from her belt and screeched “Avada Kedavra!” But Kristine was too quick and she fled from the room and ran down the stairs away into the noisy throng of the lower levels of the castle. Mikayla stood up, her dress billowing around her. The girl didn’t matter, not yet anyway. Mikayla knew she would keep her mouth shut, everyone always did.

 

 

 








 

Godric woke slowly. He had been knocked out along with his father and brother when they had entered the outlaw’s camp. His vision was blurred and all he could make out was a bright fire surrounded by feasting men, who he assumed to be outlaws, roaring with laughter at their good capture for the day. Suddenly, Godric decided to leap up to make an almost foolhardy escape but he found himself tied to something hard. Whatever he was tied to let out a little whimper and Godric realised whatever he was bound to was moving. Then he heard a little sob and suddenly realised it was Harald he was imprisoned with, and his brother was crying.

 

“Shut up,” snapped Godric harshly, “crying isn’t going to help anything. We just have to get out of here!” Harald shook his head and whispered dejectedly, “father will rescue us!” Godric found himself being angered by his ignorant brother and whispered, “no, father was kidnapped with us!” Almost on cue Godric saw as his father was pulled into the centre of the crowd of men by the fire. The outlaws roared happily as their leader rose to his feet, a sinister smirk on his familiar face.

 

“My lord,” bellowed their leader, lifting his head high. Godric suddenly recognised him. He was the notorious outlaw Tam Hansen and he had built a vast criminal enterprise around the neighbouring towns and villages. The peasants were terrified of him and the city dwellers complied with everything he said. What was most terrifying of all was he was a squib, yet still held sway over a huge magical populace.

 

He was tall with white blond hair and a protruding jaw. He had a broad smile plastered on his face and he was filled with so much self confidence that he bellowed his words loudly across the small clearing, “I am so sorry for the inconvenience but that has been so much talk recently of you cracking down on common outlaws, rounding us up, executing us for our so called crimes, that my men and I could not put up with it any longer. We have decided that you are not fit to rule Svalbard any longer.” He spoke with a haughty tone as if he was an aristocrat, but then behaved like nothing more than a common thug as he punched Godric’s father in the face.

 

Drawing up to his full height, Tam clapped his hands and the scene suddenly seemed to speed up. Two burly drunkards who were part of Tam’s gang swung round menacingly and galloped towards Godric and Harald, untying both boys quickly and dragging them towards Tam, nasty grins spread across their red faces. Harald was sobbing, his nose running and his dark hair looking wild and messy. Godric on the other hand was trying to speed away from his captor but he was unceremoniously thrown at Tam’s feet.

 

“Please!” sobbed Harald his eyes filled with tears, “don’t hurt me!” Godric felt disgusted with his brother. He was begging, he was a legitimate Ravenclaw and he was acting like a common servant. Godric had always seen himself as his father’s true heir, not the snivelling Harald. “Fine,” began Tam slowly, “we don’t want to hurt you Harald, but we do want to punish your father for his attempts at destroying my work.” At this Tam drew Godric up, pressing the boy to his thick thigh and put a blade across his small white throat. Godric could only watch as his father struggled to break free.

 

“Please, not Godric, not my Godric! He’s defenceless!” Godric’s heart burnt for a moment, first in pride for his father’s love and then for his father’s low opinion of him. “I’m sorry my lord, but you must be punished!” whispered Tam mockingly. Godric could almost see the terrible grin on his face. “And the only way to do that is to kill your Mudblood son!”

 

Then the outlaw placed his large hand over Godric’s mouth to silence him and it all happened at once. Godric felt himself get very hot and then Tam yelped back in pain. The skin on the hand that had been clamped to Godric’s face was peeling off, as if it had been burnt. Wincing in pain Tam swung round, but Godric and Tam’s men took their chance. The thugs leapt at Godric with arrogant looks on their faces, as if to suggest the little boy would be taken down easily. Using the trick of moving things with his mind that he had been able to do since he was young, Godric made their daggers that hung at their belts fly through the air and stab their arrogant owners in the centre of their broad chests.

 

The two outlaws fell to the floor, blood gushing from their identical wounds, and the remaining bandits looked up in horror. Godric acted immediately as more men came at him. He lifted his hands up at the oncoming men and jets of burning flames erupted from his palms and hit the men in their chests. However, Godric barely had time to see the alight men run into the woods as more outlaws were around him. Leaping up, Godric found himself hovering several feet above his captures. Moving the men’s arrows that were scattered around Godric propelled them towards their owners and watched as they sank into the outlaw’s soft skin.

 

Godric watched as they fled the campsite, leaving only Tam. Godric landed on the ground and pulled his father sword from his halter, and plunged it into the outlaw’s heart. He fell back with a resounded thud as Godric whispered, “you are the one who must be punished.” The outlaw that had terrorised thousands of families had been killed by a little boy. Turning back to his father, Godric quickly undid the ropes that bound him.

 

“Godric,” began the Jarl, a look of utter disbelief on his face, “how...who taught you to do that?” Godric couldn’t help but smile at his father and then he said, “mother taught me a few things, the books in the castle and I sat in on Harald’s lessons.” The Jarl put a heavy arm around his son and whispered “you are extraordinary my boy!” Harald stood watching them, a look of jealousy on his pale face.

 

“I have a gift for you,” whispered the Jarl pointing at his own ruby encrusted sword in Godric’s hand, “that was given to me by my father. It is now yours.” Godric looked at the sword, still drenched in Tam’s blood. Godric smiled jubilantly, partly at his father’s praise and gift, and partly at the look of utmost hate and jealousy etched on his brother’s face. Then, in a moment, Godric realised that his father now knew the truth. Godric also knew that he had ascended to the position of the favourite son.

 

 

 








“Leif!” The Jarl heard his voice reverberate across the castle’s stone courtyard, perforating his ears the second he arrived there. Leif instantly recognised the pretty blonde girl from the kitchen, Kristine, running towards him, her eyes wild with panic. With a quick flick of his wrist he sent his two sons away and then led Kristine to quiet area where she could talk.

 

“My lord,” she whispered, her eyes brimming with tears, “your lady wife murdered Alfhild!” There was a long drawn out pause that seemed to slice through the scene like a knife. Leif stared at Kristine for a moment, his eyes wide in shock and pain. It couldn’t be true! It just couldn’t be! Fresh tears were rolling down Kristine’s cheeks but Leif could no longer see her as the grief welled in his chest.

 

He remembered too clearly his past with Alfhild. They met as children, the old Jarl praising Alfhild for her extraordinary magical ability. Leif had been jealous of her at first for stealing his father’s attention and spent the first nine years or so that he knew her plotting to get her thrown out of the castle. She had been convinced they were friends, but Leif knew how to take advantage of her trusting, loyal nature and manipulated her easily.

 

Then he remembered it becoming so confusing. The girl who had spent years irritating and vexing him suddenly became extraordinarily attractive. Her hair seemed to shine that much brighter and her eyes gave off a sparkle. It was him who had made the first move, kissing her after they had a blazing row over something trivial. The whole thing had become more and more passionate, but only the servants knew. Alfhild was appointed to various positions within the court for her magical talent. Leif had always secretly known he was not as good as her.

 

Then his father had told him he should marry some faraway lady going by the name of Mikayla. Leif had promised Alfhild he would always be there for her, but when the Lady Mikayla arrived he had to appear to be attentive to his soon to be bride. There was no doubt that Mikayla was attractive and Leif was sure he could exist comfortably married to her until one day she had called Muggleborns “scum”. From then on Leif loved Alfhild unconditionally and felt a slight sense of repulsion for his foreign bride. But Leif had married her anyway, knowing what good it would do for his kingdom and dynasty.

 

When the news broke that both women were pregnant he was overjoyed. Secretly, he longed to be married to Alfhild, but at the old Jarl’s death Mikayla used her wiles to have Alfhild thrown from the court. Leif had tried to convince himself it was for the best, but on the night that Alfhild gave birth all of Leif’s old feelings washed back over him. For ten years he had stayed devoted as they watched their son grow together, but now she was gone.

 

Then the true extent of what had happened dawned on Leif. Mikayla had killed Alfhild, something she had been dying to do for years. Leif found his chest becoming heavy and painful as he turned away from Kristine, knowing that he would hate his scheming, manipulative wife until the day he was laying in the ground next to Alfhild.

 

 

 








 

A full week had passed since his mother’s death, but Godric still felt awful. He could not stop thinking about her. The only person who had seemed to take the news worse than him was his father who spent his days in a drunken stupor. Godric mainly spent his time in the little attic room that he had always occupied, staying out of the way of the various courtiers who wanted to give him their condolences.

 

There was no doubt that his mother’s funeral had been beautiful. Despite the Lady Mikayla’s protests Alfhild was buried in a wonderful jewel encrusted tomb in the family mausoleum, right next to her patron the old Jarl. Elisa, who managed to escape the poison herself but losing her baby, was the only person who cried at the funeral, everyone else seemed too broken and destroyed to do something as human as to cry.

 

It was mid evening when Godric heard the knock on the door. Lifting himself up Godric walked towards the noise and discovered the perpetrator was Elisa. She looked bedraggled and broken but she smiled half heartedly and bid Godric to let her in. Obeying instantly, Godric shut the door behind her as Elisa walked into the room, perching herself on his bed. Knowing that this was to be the most serious of discussions, Godric sat next to her, holding his father’s sword in his free hand.

 

“Godric,” began Elisa, her voice croaky, “your mother made me promise to do something years ago if what has happened this week ever happened.” Godric looked at her bemusedly. She was confusing him. He did not know the full details of his mother’s death but he had a sneaking feeling that he was about to discover them. “She made me promise to give you this.”

 

In her hand was an envelope with Alfhild Gryffindor’s swirling handwriting adorning the front. Godric made a grab for it but he was interrupted by Elisa’s wavering voice, “I have never read it as I feel this is just for you.” Depositing it on the bed next to him, Elisa stood up and swept from the room, her luminous eyes filling with fresh tears that he was so used to seeing in her eyes now. Godric instantly grabbed the letter and ripped it open swiftly. He did not calm down until he saw his mother’s swirling handwriting. He thought that once her warm hand would have touched that paper, the same hand that was now lying frozen in her grave.

 

Dear Godric,

            If you are reading this letter then Elisa has kept her word and I am dead. It seems strange that I am writing about such a morbid subject now for at this moment you have just fallen asleep in your crib and your father has just left. This moment seems so full of life in comparison to the moment you must be living through where you are.

 

I do not know how old you are, you may be a dashing knight in his late thirties, married to some local girl with three bonny children. Or you may be just a boy and when you are older you may barely be able to remember me. But however old you are the truth remains. I lay dead at Lady Mikayla’s hand.

 

I do not wish for you to be shocked by this. Her threats to my life have been numerous, especially while I was pregnant with you. She has always hated me for taking your father away, something I do not regret, as you would not be here and he and I would not be happy.

 

At hearing this news I only ask you one thing in life. One thing you must promise to do for your poor dead mother. Avenge me. I do not mean kill Mikayla or her son, or any more children she may have. I just mean get the things that she has always wanted for herself and claim them as your own. The first is the most obvious, take the Jarldom. Make sure you, or a descendent of yours is sitting on your father’s throne and I shall be partially avenged. The second is less clear; win your father’s love. If you are the favoured son over that sickly child Harald, then I will be avenged.

 

God’s speed my child. When you see me again, may I greet you with open arms in the afterlife after you have lived a long, full life.

 

From your mother, who will miss you most terribly,

 Alfhild.

 

The letter stirred so many dormant emotions in Godric’s heart, but one thing resounded more clearly than anything else. “I will avenge you mother” he whispered harshly, storing the letter the pocket of his jacket. He had now inherited one thing from both parents. From his father he had a glistening sword and from his mother, he had a purpose in life.
 

 






At the moment I am going to focus on this story as opposed to "From Ancient Grudge" my Rose/Scorpius story. This is because I have to change the ending of my story to fit in with sight guidelines. Sorry about the delay. I hope you like this one though! Please review! This poor story hasn't got one review, and its feeling lonely.
 


Chapter 6: Under Your Spell
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Under Your Spell



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On the day that Mother Blythe and Edward Smith died; Helga left home. It was a sunny day that day, with the yellow and brown leaves of autumn giving a golden glow to the little town. Helga found herself trundling towards the woods through the comparatively empty town centre. She had been put on the task to go and find Adrian Hufflepuff by his parents as he was supposed to be helping to clear out the stables, a job that he did not like. Helga could not help laughing in spite of herself; Adrian was always one to skive off his duties.

 

Even though Adrian was five years older than Helga, a strapping boy of fifteen, Helga knew he was the most special person in her life. She had spent much of her young life in the safety and protection of the Hufflepuff family and although she loved Baldward, Torda and Coventina it was Adrian who held a special place in her heart. Every day while her father worked in the fields Helga spent the day at Adrian’s side, doing some work in the garden, cleaning out the chicken coops and doing some embroidery while he helped his father with the cattle. Then the whole family would sit and teach Helga magic. Adrian had discovered that Helga was particularly talented, and the two were evenly matched when they duelled each other. But by seven o’clock she had to return home to prepare her father’s dinner after his busy day on the field, but she missed Adrian terribly.

 

He had always found ways to entertain the bonny Helga, and she doted on him for it. He called her his little angel because of her curly blonde hair and green eyes and she just wanted to spend all her time with him, and when they were younger she had. They had spent countless hours chasing each other through the fields and playing games with the other village children. Now, everything had changed. Adrian had recently started to become more irritable with her, and she seemed to be able to vex him like she had never done before. He also spent countless hours at a time out of the house, avoiding his sister, parents and especially Helga. Try as she might, Helga could not help but miss him, even when he was being as rude as he was.

 

Because of the quick pace she walked, she was soon past the boundary of the town and into the outskirts of the ancient dark woods that encircled the isolated Coven. Helga supposed that Adrian would be here as if you wanted to go anywhere private, secret or just out of the way of interference you had to be out of the town as there, people were always watching you. Picking up the pace Helga marched along the path worn down by many a traveller’s feet. It had been raining the previous night so the earth was sodden and muddy so Helga just followed the recognisable prints of Adrian’s thick leather boots.

 

It did not take her long to discover Adrian. She could see his long, lean figure through the bending trees and she instantly wanted to shout his name in the most childish manner possible. But Helga thought she would have her bit of fun and sneak up on him as he always did to her. Pushing herself to the ground, Helga began to crawl through the undergrowth towards Adrian’s, ready to jump on him and scare the living daylights out of him. But, on closer inspection, Helga realised that her old friend was not alone. On his back had appeared two pale hands grabbing his jacket and the arms they attached to appeared to be looped under Adrian’s armpits.

 

Helga watched for a moment as Adrian moved slightly, causing Helga to see who’s arms they were. Maud Penny was attached to Adrian’s lips, his hands in entwined curly blonde hair and hers digging into ravenously his back. Helga recoiled in shock for a moment. Maud was perhaps one of the worst human beings that Helga had ever met in her life. She was vain and silly, but there was no doubt she was attractive. She had a cloud of shining blonde hair and saucer like blue eyes. People around town claimed that Helga would look like her one day, but Helga was horrified by the idea. Maud was one of those girls who Helga extremely disliked, not for her beauty but her unkind heart.

 

Maud noticed Helga standing wide eyed before Adrian did. Pushing Adrian away she gazed at Helga, a look of malice in her usually sweet eyes. “Adrian,” she snapped vindictively, “what’s that little kid doing here?” Adrian turned to face Helga, his hazel eyes shining with sadness and annoyance as he saw her. It seemed as if he was disappointed with her and Helga could not bear that. Annoyed with Maud’s infuriating attitude, Helga began to speak slowly, her voice quivering despite herself.

 

“I only came to tell Adrian that he’s wanted back home.” Adrian turned to Maud and took one hand, before saying simply, “I have to go Maud.” Maud seemed to grow red in the face, her usual pale skin now a rosy colour. “You always run off at the slightest thing from that girl,” spat Maud nastily, pointing a delicate finger in Helga’s direction. Adrian seemed to blush furiously at this suggestion. Helga was not quite sure what was going on. It was true Adrian was affectionate, but he was not her lapdog. He did have his own life. Adrian turned away from Maud, shaking his head sadly.

 

“This is over Adrian!” Maud was screaming furiously, “if you make another excuse about that girl I swear to God that this is over!” Maud looked absolutely livid and Helga could not quite understand why. Helga did not have any clue why Maud would want to attach her lips to Adrian’s anyway. That was the sort of things mothers and fathers did. Adrian was a boy and boys were gross!

 

Adrian suddenly turned to Maud, “you can’t expect me to choose you over my family Maud!” he shouted, “It’s only been a month!” Maud seemed to inflate angrily, her chest swelling and her face becoming red in indignation “that little kid isn’t your family Adrian! She’s Edward Smith’s daughter, not yours!” Adrian stared at Maud wildly, his chestnut hair shining in the sunlight, “I know that Maud, but you can’t understand! I’ve sworn to protect her!”

 

Maud seemed to breathe heavily, a note of forced hilarity in her voice, “From what Adrian?” Adrian didn’t answer her and defiantly took Helga’s little hand in his and marched away from the scene, seemingly not caring as Helga stumbled as they went. They walked for ages until they could no longer see Maud through the thicket of trees, at which point Adrian threw himself down next to a large. He let the tears come quickly. As Adrian was a boy and boys were meant to be brave, he hardly ever cried. When he did, the only person that big, tough Adrian would ever let see him cry was Helga. Apprehensively she sat down next to him, gazing at him with her big green eyes.

 

“Adrian, why are you crying?” she said gently, patting his muscular shoulder consolingly. He turned to her, slowly wiping his tears away with his sleeve. “It’s Maud. We’re together one minute and we’ve broken up the next. She’s always been like this, she just can’t see how much a love her.” For some reason Helga noticed that this comment of Adrian’s made her feel like she had been stabbed in the stomach. She did not know why but it felt as if her entrails were leaving her body as the cold came rushing in, numbing her senses.

 

“Tell her you love her,” Helga said meekly looking at him with her saucer like eyes, “that’s the easiest way to show her!” Her own words seemed to injure her even more. It was not that Helga was jealous of Maud; it was just if Adrian followed Maud then Helga would lose him forever. But it was not that. Helga could not be selfish when it came to it. She had to think of Adrian and if he loved Maud, he should tell her.

 

 

 









 

Petronilla found herself at the door of Edward Smith’s house. The instant she saw the life leave Mother Blythe’s body, not even waiting to close the dead matriarch’s eyes, she had leapt into action. She failed to inform that stupid girl Coventina of the misfortune that had befallen the community as that would only ruin the grand plan that she had drawn out long ago for this eventuality. Unlocking the door with a quick spell she barged her way into the little cottage, her white cloak whipping around her, casting her as a dominant, terrible figure.

 

Inside she found Edward. His burly arms were laden with logs for his fire and as it was a rather hot day he had removed his ragged shirt. Petronilla could see the beads of sweat rolling down his face into his tawny beard; he had evidently been working hard. His muscles were taut from carrying his load and Petronilla could not help but notice her heart pick up its pace at the sight of him. His light brown eyes connected with hers and he dropped the logs in surprise and shock, sending them tumbling onto the stone floor.

 

“What are you doing here Petra?” he said, his voice wavering. His eyes were wide in shock as Petronilla lifted her wand menacingly, pointing it directly at the centre of Edward’s chest. He lifted his hands immediately as Petronilla realised that he did not even have his wand on him. Her heart was hammering at the sight of him like this. He was defenceless, within her power, under her spell. That was the way she had wanted him to be for years.

 

She remembered how much she had adored Edward when she was a slip of a girl, and hoped and prayed that he would someday be hers. But Helga, her awful sister had got him first. It was startling how quickly he could be swayed by fluttering eyelashes and an easy virtue. Petronilla had fought as hard as she could for him, but she could never get over her sister’s betrayal. The thought of that dead bitch still acted as a barricade between Petronilla and her beloved, and she could not stand for that any longer.

 

“Mother Blythe is dead,” said Petronilla viciously, the tears coming to her own green eyes, “and you are going to tell me where your daughter is.” She thought she had delivered her message perfectly simply and with the threatening tone of her stance and voice, he was bound to give in to her demands. His eyes opened wider in shock and horror as he gazed in loathing at Petronilla. She felt herself wavering in front of him, her terrifying mask slipping for a moment. For years she had loved him and now, if he refused, she did not know what she would do.

 

A cruel chuckle rose from his throat. It sounded as if it had come from deep within, ripping itself out to mock her. “Petronilla,” he said, matching her viciousness, “let’s not play games. You and I both know that I will not be telling you where my daughter is, now or ever, because we both know what your plans for her are.” Petronilla breathed in sharply, her temper was being pushed. He was the only one who had ever been able to get her like this, usually she remained calm and used trickery, but he unlocked the gates that let her passions come flooding out.

 

Years she’d waited for those coveted powers. She’d plotted to kill her sister so she would be the heir to Mother Blythe, the heir to all those hopes and dreams. But Edward had stood defiantly in the way. First, he had loved Helga over Petronilla and that upset Petronilla no end. Then, although Edward’s baby cost Helga her life, the baby held all the power that Petronilla craved. That baby was not just Edward’s, but Helga’s and therefore a mixture of the person she loved the most, and the person she hated the most.

 

“Edward,” Petronilla spat, angry tears coming to her eyes, “I love you and I always have. But if you stand in my way I have no choice.” Her promise sounded so resolute, so final and Petronilla was sure this would change his mind. To her horror Edward’s handsome face broke out into a laugh, this time genuinely amused at what she had said. “Oh Petra,” he said a hint of sadness slipping into his deep voice, “I lost my will to live ten years ago when Helga lost her life. I will happily give my life for my daughter.” Petronilla almost screamed in rage. He was always so irritating, so vexing but just so wonderful.

 

“I’ll kill her, I’ll rip her to shreds if you do not admit you’ve loved my all these years, more than you ever loved my dratted little sister!” Petronilla screamed, a hint of madness entering her eyes. Edward looked solemn for a moment as he gently ran one hand through his messy chestnut hair. “Why have me lie to you?” he asked, “you know that Helga was my everything, still is all I’ve ever wanted. I don’t understand why you’d have me lie or why you would want to kill my daughter.”

 

“It’s simple,” said Petronilla, “because then I’ve beaten her.” An expression of disappointment washed over Edward’s face as Petronilla continued, “So, I give you one last chance. Where is she?” Edward shook his head and replied simply, “no.”

 

Then Petronilla had to make her decision. The decision she had been trying to delay for most of her adult life. Her one true love or revenge on her sister and the power she’d always craved? It took her less than a second before made her decision as she uttered an ancient dark spell that would seal his fate for eternity. “Avada Kedavra”

 

Edward did not even have time to react and she saw the life disappear from his body the second he was hit. Edward Smith was dead before he hit the ground. His chestnut brown hair was splayed out behind him and his chestnut eyes were a ghost of what they had once been. Petronilla looked at him for a moment before bending down beside him. She had sent him directly to Helga, she knew that now. Her decision had been rash and temperamental. He looked as if he were asleep, his brown hair still ruffled and messy, his mouth slightly ajar. His eyes, those light brown eyes that had always enthralled Petronilla so caught the light even more spectacularly now all the anger and resentment he had been feeling towards her had disappeared.

 

He was as perfect as he had ever been. She hovered there for a moment, watching the body of the man she still passionately loved. Then she stood up and made her leave. “Now Petronilla,” she said to herself, a hint of madness in her tone, “time to find your ever so darling niece.” As she left the little cottage to she took one last look at him before repairing the door. “I truly loved you Edward,” she whispered, leaving him behind her forever.

 

 

 









After consoling Adrian, Helga pulled him up ready to return to Dewsbury. It was getting dark and she would have to make her father’s dinner when she got home. A depressed Adrian would delay this entire process. They tramped across the dirt tracks hand in hand. Helga only ever secretly admitted it to herself but she had always admired and adored Adrian. Adrian on the other hand, while caring for Helga, saw her as a silly child.

 

Helga remembered when a couple had married in the town several years previously. Everyone was excited and the wedding was wonderful. There was a sumptuous feast and gallons of wine but Helga didn’t touch any of it. She was far too preoccupied watching Adrian dance. She did not know why, but even from a young age she had loved him and she knew she would never let go of that.

 

She also knew, deep down inside her, that one day she would be married to him. She’d always known. It was as if they were destined to be together. But then there was Maud and Helga could see how much Adrian loved her. If he truly loved Maud, beyond anything else, though it pained her to do so, Helga would let him go.

 

She did not know why she felt so adult in her emotions. She could never kiss him, or hug him, the way Maud had been with him, but she had such an affectionate feeling towards Adrian that she knew that it could only lead to marriage for her. She strolled leisurely in his company, gazing up at him occasionally, seeing the sad look in his eyes. She hated to see him sad.

 

When they reached the edge of the town Adrian dropped Helga’s hand. He did it automatically and Helga was not hurt by it. She knew everyone his age could not understand why he cared for her so much. Helga followed him dutifully as they made their way through the town. It was a normal evening and Helga liked the town at that time of day.

 

Adrian and Helga made their way round to the Hufflepuff’s house. It was bigger than most other houses as Adrian’s family were so influential in the town. They trailed round to the back of the impressive cottage so they could sit in the room used as the kitchen for awhile to relax and then Helga would return home. Adrian swung one lean leg over the window sill, pulling himself through into the kitchen space. Helga, being too short to do this, was then helped over by a waiting Adrian.

 

It was at that point that Helga heard a voice that made her nearly scream. It was her Aunt Petronilla. Helga hated her Aunt and she had always been told to keep away from her. There had been one stolen conversation between Coventina and her father that Helga had overheard and it filled her heart with terror. Petronilla would one day be out for her blood.

 

“Where is she? I know you have her; she follows your son round like a puppy dog! Where is she?”

She sounded crazed, half mad. Adrian put one strong arm around Helga’s shoulders and she was instantly comforted. She felt as if Petronilla could not touch her as Adrian would keep her safe. Helga cowered into Adrian’s side as she heard Adrian’s father’s voice coming through the wall.

 

“I do not know where she is Petronilla, just calm down and be reasonable! She is just a child!” Helga shivered only for Adrian to hold her harder against him. She knew why Petronilla was here and Helga was certain she was going to die. Petronilla’s anger seemed to slide through the walls as she bellowed, “she is a child in my way! She is her child!” Helga knew Petronilla was referring to her deceased sister, Helga’s namesake.

 

There was a noise of movement behind them and Adrian turned, pulling his wand from his belt. They turned to find Coventina climbing clumsily through the window. Helga rushed to her aid and soon Coventina was in the room, undetected by the bellowing Petronilla. Coventina’s eyes looked terrified and sad; she barely looked at either of them as she thrust a bundle into Helga’s hands which including some food, a cloak and Helga’s wand.

 

“Adrian,” she whispered urgently, “take her to John the Blacksmith. He owes me a favour, tell him to deliver Helga to Alba, there she can be truly safe.” Alba! Helga knew that was many miles away, further than she had ever been before. She had only ever travelled to the local Muggle town to trade and that was it. Alba was a magical kingdom far to the north.

 

“But I can’t leave here! When can I come back?” Helga stammered. Coventina ignored her but kissed her brother on the cheek. “Keep her safe Adrian, according to Mother Blythe; her future must not be stopped!” Helga did not understand as the tears came to her eyes. “Go now,” said Coventina, “get out the window and go through the woods. I will stall our dear Petra.”

 

Adrian nodded as he placed one hand on Helga’s back, directing her towards the window. Helga clambered through, followed by Adrian. It was dark and he grasped Helga’s hand as he began to jog along the path, taking her silently through a back route. “Adrian,” Helga whispered through her tears, “your parents can stop my aunt, can they not?” Adrian did not answer as they sped through the woods.

 

It did not take them long to reach John the Blacksmith’s cottage. It was a clean little house with ivy drawing lines up the side. Thick layers of straw covered the roof and Helga had always imagined she would one day own a house like that. There was a golden light shining through the windows and silhouettes danced on the opposite wall. Marching up to the door, Adrian knocked as boldly as he could, still grasping Helga’s hand.

 

The door swung open and Helga found herself staring into Maud Penny’s eyes. She took one spiteful look at Helga before saying to Adrian, “what do you want?” Her voice dripped of the sentiment that she was not going to be helpful. “Maud,” Adrian said, sounding drained, “we have no time for argument now I need to speak to your father!” Maud looked very sullen but nodded and called for her father who came blundering into view.

 

He was a large man with a heavy set jaw and beady brown eyes. He looked nothing like his attractive daughter and spoke with a gruff voice. His large belly hung over his trousers and his messy beard held bits of food. Helga found herself immediately repelled. Adrian however stood up taller as John rolled his blood shot eyes over him.

 

“Your my Maud’s bit aren’t you?” he asked in his thick accent. Adrian blushed a bright shade of crimson as he continued, “this is not about Maud sir. My sister, Coventina sent me here to bring you Helga.” John turned to look at Helga, a quizzical look on his brutish face, “what do I want her for?” Adrian looked slightly riled, but he continued regardless, “my sister wants you to take her to Alba.”

 

John let out a hearty laugh as he clutched both his sides. “To Alba!” he snorted, “that’s a week’s travelling, why would I do that?” Adrian looked at Helga for a moment. His eyes seemed to be searching for something in hers before he said, “she is the daughter of Helga and Edward Smith. They are both dead. Petronilla will have her revenge if this girl stays here.”

 

John reacted to this as he coughed loudly before spluttering, “Petronilla! Alba you say?” He grabbed Helga roughly by the arm and dragged her towards the cart that lay behind his cottage. Adrian jogged resolutely behind them as Helga started to cry, “please! I want to stay here!” John did not listen as he thrust her one the cart, “you have two minutes then I’m taking her out of here.”

 

Dashing back into his cottage, John left Adrian and Helga perfectly alone. “Adrian,” sobbed Helga, “I don’t understand. Why am I leaving?” He hovered in front of her for a moment, before enveloping his strong arms around her. “It’s not safe for you here,” he said sadly. Helga sobbed freely into his shoulder, “what about papa? You said he was dead!” Adrian suddenly broke away as if the words she said were painful to him, “If Petronilla is out for your blood, it means she’s already got your father’s.”

 

The news hit her hard. Her father was her everything and she could not bear it if he were dead. “At least he’s with mama again,” Helga whispered, thinking of the mother she’d never met, “they’ve just left me alone.” The tears rolled down her cheeks like raindrops. Adrian held her again, tighter this time, “I’ll miss you Helga.” Then it all dawned on her all at once, “you’re not coming with me?”

 

Adrian shook his head sadly as tears matching Helga’s came rolling down his cheeks. “I have to stay here,” he said sadly, not bearing to look at her. “Will I ever see you again?” asked Helga, knowing the answer full well. Adrian would grow up here, marry Maud have many children and grandchildren and run a successful farm. He would then end up living in a nice house as his children and wife looked after him as he got old, and he would be buried in the local graveyard. Helga’s future however was hundreds of miles away, in Alba.

 

The door to the cottage burst open noisily as John came out dressed in a thick cloak. “We’re going,” he said gruffly as he untied a horse from his stable. Adrian hugged Helga one last time and kissed her on her cheek, “I may never see you again until the next life,” he whispered, “so I hope you’re happy in Alba.” Helga nodded as the tears came again, “I hope you’re happy too.”

 

Soon everything was ready to go as Helga perched in the back of the cart amongst the bales of straw that were loaded haphazardly around her. “Look after Maud for me while I’m gone,” said John to Adrian, her gruff demeanour melting at the mention of his beloved daughter. Taking the words to heart, Adrian nodded. “Goodbye Helga,” he said sadly. Helga could not even reply as she gave him a small smile and nestled into the straw. The cart started as Helga looked up at the sky now peppered with stars. Was the sky still like that in Alba?

 

The cart picked up speed as Helga gazed back, frantically waving to Adrian whose outline was becoming smaller and smaller in the gentle light of John and Maud’s house. Helga was sure he was waving too, but she could barely see. Soon she could not see him at all and then it hit her. She would never see Adrian or her father again.

 

 

 









 

The journey was long and treacherous. While John adeptly avoided lands that were populated by bandits, he could not miss the terribly cold weather or the hilly terrain. Some days they barely passed a village, and Helga grew terribly hungry. She had shared the bread that Coventina had given her in her bundle with John, but he had not returned the favour. While he bought large quantities of food for himself, Helga just got his leftovers.

 

It took them a full week to reach the forests that surrounded Alba. Big deciduous trees acted like barriers between the two travellers and Alba and Helga found it all terrifying. John did nothing to comfort her, but instead ignored her and kept the tired little cart going along the tracks. On that particularly freezing night, John decided it was best to stop before entering the woods. He unloaded a whole loaf of bread for himself and leaning up against a tree he began to demolish it. Helga watched him hungrily, she had not eaten properly since she left Dewsbury and the thought of food was all too tempting.

 

He said nothing, but kept shovelling mouthfuls of bread down his throat. The moonlight was bright, just like the night that Helga had left home and it made her so sad to think of Adrian and her father. Suddenly a noise ripped through the night air that made John jump with fright; the wolves were howling. Helga could hear their plaintive, primitive song and it called to her. The call of nature always sang to Helga and she listened carefully, consuming every word.

 

“Dogs howling in the dark of night,” whispered John, panicked, “Howl for death before daylight!” He jumped up, ramming the last piece of bread into a pocket. Running quicker than a man of his size and age he leapt up onto his cart and settled himself ready to go. “Are we going now?” asked Helga, moving towards the cart. “I am,” he said gruffly, “but you’re not. Alba is just through this forest!” Helga nearly laughed; he was not seriously leaving her, was he?

 

“But you can’t just leave me,” stammered Helga, “Mother Blythe said I had a future. If I’m not safe, Petronilla...” John seemed to swell with indignation at Helga’s words. “I don’t care anymore; Petronilla can run the coven if that’s what she really wants. I’ve got to get back to Maud! And besides, with those dogs howlin’, I don’t want to be the one dead!” And with that, John turned his cart of into the night, leaving Helga trembling at the base of a tree. Then she was totally alone and she would have to fight for herself.

 

 








I hope you like this story. If you do, read my other one "From Ancient Grudge". Please read and review, I would really like to know how I'm doing. Next Chapter...Princess Rowena and Cadmus Peverell go playing in the woods and meet a new friend...
 


Chapter 7: Helping Hands
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Helping Hands



Beautiful new banner by Saranghae @ tda

 




On the day of Princess Rowena’s tenth birthday; Rowena met a new friend. Condemning eyes stabbed into the young girl’s skin like knives as she walked towards the Great Hall to face her mother’s wrath. It was not a particularly pleasant task and Rowena knew she would be in deep trouble for this. Cadmus, her best friend, had tempted her to come and play with him outside the castle in the city streets, something that future monarchs were definitely not permitted to do by court etiquette. Rowena’s expensive Venetian dress was now muddy and ruined and she looked nothing like the angelic princess that her mother had cultivated her to be for the ten years that built her young life.

 

Courtiers, servants and heralds stared at her as she passed them. Normally she was their angel, a blessing sent to lead their country into a new future. She could almost hear them tutting in disappointment that she was not the perfect divine being they wanted her to be. Rowena however would not blush or appear inferior, especially not to these grovelling servants. Lifting her head high, she marched defiantly towards the great hall, ignoring everyone’s disapproving stares, oblivious to their snide comments.  She was Rowena Black, a Princess of Alba and would never look weak or feeble at any time.

 

When she reached the Great Hall she swung the heavy oak door open viciously, her strength matching her annoyance. As she expected her mother sat at the other side of the elongated room, balanced on her gaudy gold throne as she usually did. Her mother was so ostentatious and pretentious that Rowena could not quite believe that she had been born from this woman. The Queen of Alba looked frozen, her perfect symmetrical face stuck in a look of disapproval and disappointment. Ringlets of her shining blonde hair tumbled majestically down to her waist frozen in their position, and perched on top of her head was her infamous diadem envied by every other European Queen.

 

“Rowena,” she said angrily the rage appearing in her eyes, “what did you think you were doing?” Rowena stared at her mother, her midnight blue eyes alive with anger. Her old battleaxe of a mother would never understand her daughter. Rowena was positive that this stuffy woman had never been young. “You are the future Queen of Alba, and your future subjects would not expect this kind of ridiculous behaviour from you!” Rowena did not move or say anything. It was best just to let her mother get angry and for Rowena to stay silent. She would nod and agree with everything her mother said and endure her humiliation until it was all over. After all, she still wanted to go out with her father and his entourage today.

 

“What do you have to say for yourself!” thundered the Queen, staring at Rowena angrily. Rowena swore she never saw her mother any more unless it was for an engagement like this when the two of them locked horns so viciously. Rowena answered immediately, her court etiquette that had been drilled into her all her life controlling her speech, but she did not want to be apologetic “nothing dear mama!” This however had the opposite effect to the one Rowena had intended. “You insolent child!” shouted her irate mother, standing up and leaning over her child in the most intimidating and threatening manner possible, “How dare you! How dare you!”

 

Queen Emma stared at her only daughter for a moment, livid with her and her truly despicable behaviour. She could never understand why her daughter always insisted on doing all the terribly outrageously things she did. “You will not be going out with your father today! Just go to your chambers and stay there!” Rowena would not show her emotions to her mother but internally she was outraged at how preposterously unfair this woman could be. She would cry in silence later. Turning silently on her heel she marched from the room, her head still held loftily high appearing every bit the unobtainable princess.

 

 

 








 

My dearest Bevan,

                        How it seems so long since I last saw you, even though it is just a week! My mama is being very kind to me here; I am eating so much wonderful food, unprecedented in this part of Alba! There are so many perks to living here. I don’t feel inferior to everyone here; no bowing or curtseying and there is no competition for anyone’s attention. But although I love my life back at home I cannot wait to return to the Black Castle to be with you.

I hope you’re having a good time with the King on his hunting expeditions. I am sure you will have seen a wonderful variety of game out in the forests. It must keep you away from the castle, but you get some male company which must be nice. No more “twittering women” as you so kindly say! Is little Princess Emma still staring at you over hedgerows? I think she has taken quite a fancy to you Bevan! She is such a sweet girl and she is young, I’m sure the infatuation will pass.

I have kept our engagement secret like we arranged. It will be so much better when we are reunited and can go and ask the King for his permission. I hope you have sweetened him up well on that hunting trip! I will be returning within the week, so I will see you then my darling.

 

Love, Diane

 

It had been thirty years since Bevan had last read that letter. Thirty years since he had last seen her, her face flushed with joy at the prospect of them spending their lives together. Lady Diane had been so wonderful, so perfect. She was everything a man could want in a woman. He was not shrewish or obnoxious like his current wife. He had become engaged to Diane relatively quickly because he loved her so much. It had been an instant attraction and courtship and he had loved her whole heartedly, but then he did not know what happened.

 

Suddenly Princess Emma was there and he turned away from his darling Diane, vowing to marry the Princess. Bevan never knew what was quite so attractive about the spoilt and bad tempered Emma, but there must have been something. Once they were married Emma had banished Lady Diane from court and she had returned home, begging Bevan to see her one last time. That wish never materialised and he had been regretting it ever since. Diane had died when Rowena was five, some said of a broken heart. Recently, Bevan had been thinking more and more about Diane and he did not know why.

 

He was sure that Emma had hoodwinked him. He had believed that was true for many years. It was known she was an extremely talented witch and Bevan knew she would do anything to get what she wanted. Emma was definitely capable of it. He just did not know how she had done it, how she had ripped him away from his one true love. He had married her of his own free will, thinking he loved her, in reality he did not. But he could not leave her now, after all he had the fair Rowena to think about, his beautiful daughter. He could not abandon her.

 

Then it hit him, the whole murky truth: Emma’s diadem. That infernal diamond monstrosity that she always insisted she had with her. She never took it off, and refused to be seen without it on. Only once had Bevan ever seen her without it and that was when Emma had taken Rowena out and lost her in the bustling city streets. The whole court had searched the city for her and Bevan had marched into Emma’s chambers, ready to question her about where she had last seen Rowena, filled with concern for his daughter.

 

Emma’s long blonde hair was hanging down to her waist, and the diadem was not perched on her head. For once she looked relatively plane and Bevan could not see her in the same light as he had before. He had felt so strange, like he was confused and sick. Emma had screamed at him to get out and he had stumbled away, tears in his eyes. He had never forgotten that eventful day and he could not understand why his wife had appeared to him as a person he could never fall in love with, let alone marry.

 

 

 








 

Cadmus stood resolutely at the bottom of the tower, tapping his foot on the cobbles. He could see Rowena’s window and he knew she was inside. He also knew she was in big trouble with her mother, but he still wanted to see Rowena. She was his best friend, even though he was just a page boy and she was a princess it had always been that way. Two souls tied together as she always said. They went exploring round the castle together, ran round the streets and spent evenings in the kitchens together.

 

He was three years older than her, but she was the person closest to his age in the whole castle, apart from his younger brother Ignotus. He was boring and cautious unlike Rowena and for that reason; Cadmus preferred to spend time with Rowena instead. After all, being friends with Rowena was beneficial and he would be able to do more things without getting into trouble. “Rowena!” he shouted loudly, bellowing up to the little window, praying she would hear him and he would not be caught by some snooping courtier. Her dark head peered out almost instantly and he smiled happily.

 

Rowena had obviously cleaned up since her mother had expressed her disappointment and her wavy black hair was tied into a bun at the back of her head with wisps fallen loose and she wore one of her mesmerising smiles. His eyes were fixed on her and his mind was whirring with plans of their next adventure. “Cadmus!” she shouted gleefully, “my mother says I can’t go out with you and father, but I’m going to talk to father, he will let me out!”

 

“Good!” shouted Cadmus enthusiastically, tossing his hands into the air flippantly “I can’t go out to meet the people without you!” He couldn’t help but smile happily up at her. A veil of brilliant light enveloped her, and she seemed to shine from the window high above him. Her hair fluttered in the breeze as she gazed down at him a perfect smile on her face. Almost as quickly as she had appeared she was gone, evidently to speak with her father.

 

Cadmus waited patiently for her to return. He sat down at the foot of the tower, rubbing his chin which had evidence of a forming beard. He was no longer a boy but not quite a man. Cadmus was caught precariously between the two states; his limbs seemed to have grown longer and he had become gangly and found it difficult to control himself. His voice was playing tricks on him and sliding up and down the octave, disregarding how stupid it made his owner look. He felt out of place in the castle. The Black Castle itself was a momentous achievement – it was not a wooden construction like the multitudes of Motte and Bailey castles scattered throughout Europe. The stone was bound by magic and it remained the heart of the magical community that was Alba.

 

“Right!” came Rowena’s happy voice from the window, “my father’s talked mama around, I’m coming! My father says you should go saddle up Midnight. He said you can use one of the little ponies in the paddock.” Her excited face disappeared again as Cadmus turned round and sloped off towards the stables. He was glad he was able to go out of the castle with Rowena; many other servants like his brothers Ignotus and Antioch and his half sisters Odila and Aliena were never allowed out, only ever allowed to do their duties. It was because he was one of Rowena’s personal favourites and accompanied her nearly everywhere she went, on her insistence of course.

 

Soon he arrived at the stables, finding his older brother, the aggressive Antioch stroking the horses affectionately. He did not particularly like humans and found he had an affinity with animals. He lifted his messy dark head up when Cadmus entered, but did not smile. “What do you want?” he asked gruffly, patting the great stallion with a heavy hand. “The king wants Midnight saddled, as well as one of the ponies from the paddock for me.” Antioch raised one of his thick eyebrows and then ran one of his hands through his adolescent beard. “Still being the princess’ pet?” he grunted, an unfriendly smile curling across his lips. Cadmus said nothing; it was common knowledge that he and the princess were friends; no one else found it strange and it was only Antioch who made fun of his brother for it. He did not particularly like his older brother and his constant teasing.

 

“Just be quiet, I can be friends with her, can’t I?” Cadmus stormed out of the stable leaving his brother to his duty, knowing he did not want to talk to that dullard at that particular moment in time. He became easily infuriated; he had the famous Peverell temper after all. He inherited it from his long deceased drunkard of a father. His mother had always been kind and delicate but resiliently strong at the same time. It seemed strange that she and Sir Richard, his stepfather, had so easily fallen in love. Richard looked like a troll, but he had a kind heart and for that Cybele loved him. They now had two five year old daughters, Odila and Aliena, and they were the sweetest and bonniest girls to be seen. Rowena had particular affection for the both of them as did many other people in the castle. They were part of the princess’ entourage of female attendants. They were all either significantly older or younger than her and for that reason it was Cadmus who was her closest friend.

 

 

 








 

Rowena rode Midnight side saddle, the way befitting a princess of Alba. Cadmus rode a pony beside her. She had specifically asked that he be allowed to ride with her as he truly was her favourite person in the world, besides her father. He was busy chatting about something incredibly stupid and she wasn’t really listening, she just liked being near him. He was such a good friend, especially during the long lonely periods when her father left the castle and her mother refused to talk to her. King Bevan turned his shaggy head round and pointed something out through the dark trees of the wood; “that my friends, is where we are stopping tonight, Torvets Castle.” Rowena squinted her eyes through the darkness and could just make out the outline of a wooden building in the distance. Her heart leapt! She thought she would be returning home tonight. But no, she would be free for one night with the people she loved the most.

 

The entourage drew closer to the building, moving slowly due to its large size. Cadmus had now started babbling excitedly, happy that it was him here and not his brothers. Many of Rowena’s ladies were here, but they were the hunched over old crones who used to serve her mother in her youth. Only Cadmus was the breath of fresh air she always craved. Soon they nearing the gates of Torvets Castle and the entourage stopped. Peering over the heads of the people in front of her, Rowena just made out what was blocking their path, a large crowd of tiny beggars, each looking thing, straggly and tired.

 

“Please my lord!” came the throaty voice of one of the peasant women, “my babe is starvin’ if you’ll just get our good lord here to provide us with some food!” The other people chimed in with their own requests and King Bevan, being a kind hearted man, began to disperse the remaining food they had. Cadmus was early pulling food that was being carried on his pony out of his bag and giving it to the people who were engulfing the horses. Rowena turned her horse away and broke through the crowd to join her father up front. In front of them was the dominant Torvets Castle. The horns were sounded, signalling the royal party’s arrival. Immediately the drawbridge was lowered to reveal two figures on horseback. Rowena instantly assumed that they were Lord and Lady Torvets and this assumption was proved correct when they invited them into the warmth of the castle. Looking over her shoulder as she rode in, Rowena noticed the peasants still grabbing for food and one girl standing alone looking devastated. Knowing she could do nothing, Rowena turned and made her way into the heart of the castle.

 

 

 








 

“Hurry up Cadmus!” whispered Rowena. She had managed to nimbly jump down from the wall of the castle to the outside world and was adamant that Cadmus would follow her. She longer to explore the dark woods away from the castle etiquette she had left in the Great Hall. Cadmus managed to throw himself down beside Rowena and despite a few small groans he stood up and prepared to follow her. Taking his hand, Rowena began to run into the woods. She heard her and Cadmus’ rushed footsteps echoing around her. To her, that was the sound of freedom. Letting the darkness envelope them, Rowena ran as fast as she could and only stopped when Cadmus begged her to.

 

“Rowena,” he said breathlessly, “we have no clue where we are. Let’s just go back; I don’t like it out here!” Rowena despaired with Cadmus sometimes. He had no sense of adventure. “Why?” Rowena asked, “Look, the night’s beautiful, we don’t have to live in the court for a minute. What are you so scared of?” She watched Cadmus. He looked sickly pale in the waxing moon. Then Rowena noticed something; his eyes were full of fear and he was jabbering incoherently. He lifted his hand and pointed over Rowena’s shoulder. Turning around, she realised what he was so worried about.

 

There was a whole pack of wolves. Their greying coats looked silver in the moonlight and they looked almost majestic. But there was no mistaking the ravenous hunger clouding their vision. Counting quickly, Rowena surmised there must be about twenty of them. For her that was twenty too much. They stalked forwards, growling menacingly at their prey. Cadmus squeaked and turned to Rowena, “what the hell do we do?” They both scrabbled round in their belts, eagerly looking for their wands. Rowena cursed her stupidity; why did she think she would have been safe out here without her wand?

 

Then they all moved together. They all at once went straight for Cadmus and it did not take a moment for him to be shoved to the ground. He was trying to push them off and he looked wild, his fingers scratching and the animals. Rowena jumped back but she could hear Cadmus’ screams and she knew she had to do something. The tears began to roll down her cheeks as she lifted her hands towards the wolves in desperation and something strange happened.

 

It was like a gust of wind coming from Rowena’s hands. It propelled several of the wolves off Cadmus and they shied away, running back into the woods. Rowena tried again with the remaining wolves, but nothing happened. Her anger kicked in, why could she not do it again? Suddenly she turned round as she felt someone behind her. There was the peasant girl that Rowena had seen crying earlier. There was something very strange about her, she was glowing gold and her eyes were radiating sunlight.

 

“I order you, sons of the night!” she bellowed, her voice magnified around the small clearing, “you are to leave and never touch these people again!” The wolves seemed to quiver in fear at the sight of the girl and they turned on their heels and dashed off into the thick trees. Relief washed over Rowena, but when her eyes fell on Cadmus she felt as if her heart had been gripped by an ice cold hand. He was bleeding profusely from several heavy cuts and his clothes looked shredded. Screaming in horror she fell by his side. All thought of everything else was gone as she fell beside her best friend, the tears rolling unrestrained down her cheeks. Then, she felt a warm hand touch her shoulder. Turning round she saw the girl. Her blonde hair was whipping around her face despite there being no wind and her green eyes were shining more than humanly possible.

 

“I can help him,” she whispered. Rowena moved for her, trusting her instantly. The girl knelt down beside Cadmus and laid her hands on him. Not only did his cuts seem to re-seal themselves but his clothes mended to. Cadmus seemed flabbergasted as he looked up at the girl, blabbering incoherently until he could muster actual speech, “who are you?” The girl seemed about to answer but then suddenly something snapped. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she slumped to the floor; she was unconscious. Rowena acted immediately, “Help me Cadmus! We’ve got to get her back to Torvets Castle!”

 

 

 








 

The girl had just regained consciousness and King Bevan ordered a lavish feast to be prepared for her, due to her heroic actions in the forest. Rowena and Cadmus sat either side of her; half proud of her, half shamed with themselves for putting each other in such danger. King Bevan did not notice this however, he was just ecstatic that the girl had saved them. However, once she opened her eyes it became clear that she was not the same as she had been in the woods. The eminent glow and superhuman powers she seemed to possess were gone; now she was just a normal, if rather thin and scraggly, girl. She ate the food she was offered ravenously, as if she hadn’t eaten for months. Rowena attempted to be friendly to this unusual girl, so she attempted to initiate conversation.

 

“So, what’s your name?” she asked, looking at the girl with avid curiosity. The girl lifted her head up from her food, briefly looking at the people around them before whispering, “Helga Smith.” Rowena nodded before continuing, “so, are you a witch?” Helga nodded, albeit suspiciously. Cadmus smiled and then said enthusiastically, “so are we!” Pausing slightly he continued, “well, I’m a wizard...” Rowena waved at him to be quiet before she introduced herself. “I am Princess Rowena of Alba, and you have just made yourself a friend for life.”

 

Helga gave her a half-hearted smile before saying gently “well, I think I’ve infringed on your hospitality long enough.” Lifting herself up, Helga abandoned her food and turned away, ready to leave. “Did you not hear me!” thundered Rowena in the most authoritative voice she could manage. “I am a Princess of Alba, and you saved my life. You can infringe on my hospitality all you like.” Helga smiled gratefully and said, “oh, that won’t be necessary. I have to get some work, stand on my own two feet.” At that comment, Rowena smiled happily before saying, “you will be my new handmaiden. A job, a small allowance, a home and food. How does that sound?”

 

“Thank you!” said Helga cheerfully, retaking her seat at the table. Rowena joined her smiling happily at her new friend. The reason for keeping Helga by her side was not for the simple act of saving Cadmus. The truth was, Rowena was intrigued with this girl’s power. And she thought, by understanding this girl, she could understand how the future ruler of Alba managed to summon a gust of wind when she truly needed to.

 

 






Okay...thank you very much for reading this chapter. This one's a bit of a filler I known, but Helga and Rowena had to meet! Please read my old story "From Ancient Grudge" or my brand new story "The Chained Lady". Next Chapter...Salazar comforts Bess on the most difficult day of her life...
 


Chapter 8: Hellfire
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Hellfire



Wonderful new banner by PhoenixAlthor @ tda

 




On the day Caris Wydeville died; Giles had a fight with an old friend. He tried to ignore the distraught sobs of the people he passed, he could do nothing for them and even if he could, he wouldn’t. He had his wife and son to think about after all. Each of them were chained and bound like animals in the pit of Sir Guy’s castle each accused of being witches. If it was not so deadly, Giles would have found it funny. The notion that these women were witches was ludicrous. Each one was a mother, a sister or a cousin of someone in the town. They had fallen from their pedestals of paragons of good in the community; pushed by people who were insanely jealous of them. Now they were crumpled and broken, left to rot while the shadows danced over their fractured bodies, foreshadowing their end.

 

Old Widow Jones who had lost all her family the terrible famine of last winter sat, hysterically sobbing knowing that she had been found guilty of enchanting her own family and causing their death. Her grey hair was bedraggled and dirty, and her worn hands looked rough and cracked. Rebecca Turner was accused of poisoning her neighbours family with her witchcraft. Rebecca had once been a local beauty with long golden hair and flashing blue eyes. Now she was a skeleton. They were all to suffer the hangman’s noose, just as the last inhabitant of the cells was. Unlike Old Widow Jones and Rebecca Turner she remained silent. She did not beg for her existence. There was no point, and was life even worth begging for to her? Her hair was dirty and bedraggled just like the other prisoners and she had lost all her former beauty. Giles could not help but question why Guy was still infatuated with her. He had come to the conclusion that the love he had once held for Caris was now gone, replaced by revenge and settling old scores. He could not even bring himself to give her a set of clean clothes. So much for his so called love. It was nothing more than an obsession.

 

Guy stood over by Caris’ cell, a wild look in his eyes. Hanging back in the shadows, Giles knew he was hovering on the edge of Guy’s vision maybe just out of sight. Guy was too enraged to notice however. His worn hands were gripping the bars of Caris’ cell with manic fury and they had grown taut and white, glowing in the dim light of the dungeon. His nose was hovering close to the bars but Giles could not see Caris and assumed she was back against the wall. “Caris,” Guy was muttering threateningly, “I have given you chance after chance after chance. I’ve been much too generous with you. If you repent, admit you are a witch and agree to return to my arms, all will be absolved, in my eyes and the eyes of God.”

 

His eyes were wide and staring, almost mad looking. He was no longer the handsome young knight he had been in his youth. Her next words vexed him no end, “God knows I’m innocent,” she whispered gently, her eyes sparkling with religious euphoria “as does Mother Mary, our Lord Jesus Christ and all the saints.” Guy roared in anger in spite of himself and thundered, “Bishop Philip knows you are a sinner, everyone in this town knows you are a sinner and most of all I know you are a sinner!” He looked simply murderous but then suddenly it all changed as his face was flooded with affection for the woman he adored; “You can live Caris. You can live if you just give yourself to me.” Up until this moment she had remained quiet only uttering the names of the saints. But now she stood up, her face flooded with anger as she said quietly, “you had me my Lord and you lost me. You will pay for what you are to do to me one day.”

 

“You stupid woman,” he spat angrily, running his hands through his greasy greying hair, “you have no choice if you want your life. You must say you’ll be mine.” Scoffing loudly she said simply, “my life is not worth it. You destroyed everything good and true in my life. First, you refused to give me up and in doing so killed everything good in your own heart. Then you ruthlessly killed my husband and children. And not content, you take my two remaining children mercilessly never letting me see my daughter and gloating at the fact you’ve corrupted my son. So I do not care what you do to me. If you place me in the hands of God I will once again be with my husband and children.” She stared at him for a moment, evidently willing him to realise what terrible mistakes he had made throughout his life in regards to her, but Giles knew it would never come.

 

There was a long pause before Guy whispered softly with all the tenderness in the world, “Do you love me?” She answered without a moment’s hesitation, “No. Once, maybe. But now no. You are no longer the man I first met.” With that she turned away from him and curled up once again in the straw, disappearing from Giles’ view again. Guy was visibly swelling up, ready to erupt, “I have told you before,” he said becoming more breathless, “you have no choice. You have to love me.” For the first time, something strange happened. Caris let out a humourless laugh before barking, “I do have a choice and I choose the good Lord and his angels.”

 

Guy bristled furiously before adding menacingly, “You know what I have done to you before. I can do it again you know.” There was a long drawn out pause in which as nasty smile stretched across Guy’s face but it faltered when Caris answered condescendingly, “what does it matter what you do tonight? Tomorrow I do the hangman’s jig. You’ve condemned me yourself.” With that Guy’s anger erupted as he pulled the keys from his belt, a lust fuelled blaze dancing in his eyes. Giles knew this was the time to act and he stepped out quietly from the shadows.

 

“Guy,” he said gently, twiddling his goatee with the tips of his fingers, “I need to discuss the Sickening with you. There are rumours of its return in the next village along.” There was a pause for a moment as Guy decided what to do. On the one hand, there was Caris, defenceless in her cell. On the other hand, he had to carry out his duty as the Lord of the Manor. It was clear that he had made up his mind as Guy, looking very disappointed tied the keys back to his belt and trundled out of the room, following Giles’ lead. Giles led Guy up the cobbled stairs and up into the Great Hall to discover it was silent and completely empty. Giles turned around promptly and gave Guy a disappointed look.

 

“What are you looking at me like that for?” asked Guy suspiciously, his fingers moving to the hilt of his sword out of habit. Giles continued cautiously knowing it wasn’t the best time to ignite his friends temper. “I just think it’s for the best if tonight you make your decision; you either send Caris to her death or you let her go. You cannot continue to play with her like this. It does nothing for your nerves.” Guy flared for a moment, his eyes alight with the angry passion he had possessed his whole life. “What do you mean? I’m not playing with her; I’m giving her a choice.”

 

Giles had to try not to grin at Guy for his stupidity, “But you should not let her have the cards in her hands,” he interjected smoothly, his hands jumping once again to his goatee, “you must do something either way. Because the truth is Guy you will never have Caris love you. Her soul can’t allow it anymore.” Guy looked livid as he leant in close, “she still loves me, however much she denies it. She cannot erase those times with me all those years ago.” There was a part of Guy that was still ever hopeful, and he was dominating his brain at that moment, but Giles could not allow it any longer. Smiling patiently Giles whispered, “yes, but she cannot forget her family Guy.” Guy bore his yellow, crooked teeth as he gazed at Giles angrily, “it was not me that did that. It was her own choice to have them killed.”

 

“I’m just saying...” began Giles but he was interrupted very quickly by Guy. “No, I am fed up with you ‘just saying’. Look where your advice has got me. The Sickening has been plaguing our town for years, and I cannot get rid of it. No matter how many heretics and witches I burn nothing changes. Caris could be the one who needs to die. She’s tormented me long enough!” thundered Guy. “Well,” said Giles as sweetly as he could, “make the decision once and for all. Do not give her the option of saving herself.” Giles only then noticed that his heart was hammering heavily; this was making him so tense. He hoped Guy would make the right decision and save the life of the woman who he once loved and had done nothing wrong.

 

Guy gave a defeated nod before saying, “you are right. I have let that wench rule me long enough. I’m going to make the decision even if it kills me.” With those words Guy stalked off out of the dungeon and Giles followed, running his fingers through his goatee. He had been friends with Guy for years and in their youths that had been perfectly matched. Guy was the heroic, noble man who had brutish force, resilience and drive. Giles was quiet and careful, but at the same time he was strategic and inventive and for that he was Guy’s perfect sidekick. As they had grown older, however, Guy had become more temperamental and extreme, too unpredictable for the cautious Giles. However, he hoped that Guy would make the right decision for the first time in his life, a trait that the quick tempered Guy had never easily mastered.

 

 

 








 

When Matilda lifted her head from her pillow the next morning she noticed that Giles had not come home the previous night. It was not unusual; he often spent hours working into the night in his study as he was such a conscientious man. It did not worry her in the slightest. She lifted her head and yawned loudly, noticing the sun had barely risen over the hills she could see through her window. Life was good for Matilda; she had a loving husband, a perfect son and an ideal house. Nothing in the world could be better for her. Lifting herself out of bed, Matilda began to wonder why she had been woken. She was a lady of middling status, not a member of the peasantry and did not appreciate being woken this early. She was not used to it.

 

There was suddenly the crash of stumbling feet on the floor outside her room and the door opened violently to reveal Bess, her nightgown pulled up to her knees to allow her to run through the winding corridors of the house. She had grown into a rather gangly obtrusive girl with long chestnut brown hair and a face splattered with freckles. Bess would one day be tall and statuesque, but now she was an awkward looking adolescent, not yet used to her body. Matilda could tell, however, that one day she would break many a man’s heart. She was a miniature of her mother after all. After a few moments Matilda noticed something was terribly wrong. Bess was not wearing her usual happy smile of morning greeting and her eyes had darkened with stress and anxiety.

 

“Mistress Mattie,” spluttered Bess, her luminous eyes filled with tears, “They’re ringing the bell for the executions.” Suddenly, tears were rolling down Bess’ cheeks, her pretty face twisted into an expression of terrible anguish. “He’s got my mother; I know he’s got my mother.” Matilda jumped up and ran over to Bess. Those words were all she needed to know. Guy de Clare was finally going to act on his extreme feelings for Bess’ mother. Bess had been a faithful companion for ten years and Matilda was determined to do everything within her power to save Caris as she could not stand the charming girl to be miserable. “Giles will not let this happen!” said Matilda defiantly as she bundled out of the door and down the stairs to the second floor of their town house, where she knew Giles would be; curled up alone in his study.

 

As she crashed open the door she was met with an unusual sight. Giles was up early; totally ignoring the clanging of the bell, going through his accounts meticulously. For once, Matilda noticed, Giles looked tired. His once resplendent mane of hair was now streaked with grey and there were noticeable lines etched on his once flawless face. He looked old. Treading carefully into the room Matilda began sweetly trying not to betray panic in her voice, “Giles dear, I need to talk to you.” Lifting his head absentmindedly, Giles gave her a quick glance so Matilda began to talk, not caring whether he wanted to listen or not. “Caris Wydeville is she to be put to death this morning?” she asked nervously, her heart hammering in spite of herself. Giles lifted his head slowly. The sad look in his eyes said it all.

 

“And you are just sitting here?” asked Matilda incredulously, her body frozen in shock “Bess’ mother is going to be executed and you will do nothing? She has had a hard life with her brother turning against her and the rest of her family murdered. Why haven’t you stopped Guy like you usually do?” thundered Matilda, her face turning slightly red with emotion. Giles remained silent for a moment as he gazed at his wife’s face. Then he spoke cautiously, as if he expected someone to jump out of the shadows and put him to death also. “Guy will not be governed by another man when it comes to Caris. He has lived for long enough under her shadow. She needs to die.”

 

Matilda stood stock still in shock in the words she had just heard her own husband utter. Caris who had never done anything was to be killed because of one tyrant’s crazy decision? “No Giles,” said Matilda, forcing herself to be calm, “she does not need to die. She is an innocent woman whose life has been destroyed by that man you call a friend.” At those words Giles got angrily up and stared at his wife, his eyes blazing with fury. “That friend of mine has given me the means of raising my family in comfort and luxury.” He walked round his desk until he was directly in front of her shoulders and he grabbed his shoulders menacingly; “he has power over us. One click of his fingers and we are dead. You know how temperamental he is!” Matilda let out an angry cry before spitting, “you could try Giles! You could try and stop her dying!” Giles looked down at his feet for a moment and then up again as if he was deeply ashamed; “I have tried and he wants her dead.”

 

Matilda let out a distraught little sob and covered her mouth. The tears were beginning to form in her eyes as she began to cry for Bess. Sweet, loyal, intelligent Bess was going to have to suffer and Matilda could do nothing for her. She felt helpless and useless, two things she never liked to feel. Matilda felt her husband’s strong arms envelope her in a tight embrace and he sniffed into his shoulder. “Don’t you see,” whispered Giles, tenderly and carefully, imploring her to listen, “with Caris dead he will stop on this rampaging witch hunt. We’ll be safe here, forever.”

 

Matilda pulled herself away from Giles and found herself backing away from him, shocked at her husband’s logic. “But does our safety warrant the death of an innocent woman?” Giles looked at her silently for a moment and Matilda could see he was carefully deciding what to say next, “But didn’t the death of the lamb save us all from mans first sin, a sin not our own?” Matilda shook her head at her husband before saying; “You are a different man from who I thought you were.”

 

Marching out of the room Matilda suddenly realised she was the one who would have to break the news to Bess. Nothing could save her mother as Sir Guy was carrying out his revenge once and for all. Matilda did not have to go far as soon she found Bess slumped against a wall, her pretty head buried in her hands. At the sound of Matilda’s footsteps she jumped up, “Mistress Mattie, what of my mother?” Matilda looked at the poor girl before shaking her head, knowing that would tell her everything she needed to know.

 

 

 








When Salazar woke that morning, the house was silent. He could not hear his father pacing in his office in the room next to him, nor his mother’s early morning singing. Scuttling servants stayed quiet and this disturbed Salazar. He literally fell out of bed, his messy, curly hair falling around his tanned face as he lifted himself up. He was unusually tall for his age; he looked like a bean pole, tall and skinny as if he would snap. However, Salazar liked this about himself. The large, tough looking Muggle boys his age tended to be bullies with no brains. Salazar prided his intelligence more than any collection of powerful muscles.

 

Salazar dressed quickly and then decided to look out of his window. It was a picturesque morning but there was something terribly wrong. There were large crowds flocking in the centre of the town; something that never happened unless it was the yearly market. Salazar whipped round to go and discover the commotion but found his mother hovering at the door. Her dark hair hung in curls round her shoulders and her amber eyes seemed morose. Marching up to his mother, he wrapped his arms around her. He loved her dearly and could not stand to see her looking so sad. “Mother,” he said, “whatever is the matter?” Breaking away she gave him a sad little smile before whispering, “Bess has served me so well and I could not do the one thing she’s ever asked from me.” Salazar looked at her quizzically and instantly understood. The crowds gathered in town were there to watch Caris Wydeville die.

 

“Where is Bess?” asked Salazar, his voice dripping with urgency. Tears in her eyes, his mother answered, “I think she’s gone to see it.” Salazar reacted quickly; he threw on some clothes not paying attention to his mother’s wide eyed staring. “Where are you going Salazar?” his mother asked, a hint of panic in her usually calm voice. “We can’t leave Bess alone now!” he said exasperatedly, sprinting past her, his heart hammering wildly in his chest. “Who knows what she’ll do?”

 
 

 








 

The crowds behaved like a wall. She could barely see their faces; her vision was blurred due to the tears in her eyes. She did not realise that she was sobbing loudly as the cheering voices burnt her ears with such force that she could not hear herself. Pushing as hard as she could she fell through the crowd until finally she could see her mother. There, as if a rag doll, was Caris Wydeville, the light forever gone from her eyes.

 

Bess fell to her knees, clutching her hands over her lips and sobbing her eyes out for what seemed like eternity. Her mother; the woman who had kept herself imprisoned to protect her was gone. Though Caris and Bess had not spent days cooking, cleaning and talking like normal mothers and daughters, Bess loved her mother whole heartedly and could not believe she had now departed this world. Bess cried, not daring to look at her mother’s corpse. The magnitude of what had happened was too great.

 

Suddenly she felt a pair of cold hands on her shoulders. Whipping herself around she found herself looking into the cold eyes of her twenty five year old brother, Rob. He had not gone by the name Rob for ten years, now being known as Robert after assailing the ranks in the service of his biological father. He had gained his fortune in the war against the Mercians and now was no longer the caring older brother she had always depended on. He was a stranger to her and she could not trust him at all. She could also not believe that his heart was filled with nostalgia of the times he had spent as a child with their mother. Those times had been wasted on him. As he had grown, he had gained a stronger and stronger resemblance to Guy and because of that, Bess felt a twinge of fear in her stomach.

 

“Bess,” he whispered, not daring to draw back his hood in case he was recognised by one of the crowed, “go home. It is not safe for you. My father could turn his wrath on you if he so wished.” Bess nearly spat at him. How could he suggest not crying for their mother’s death? “Your father just ruthlessly murdered my mother and you just want me to go home?” she nearly screamed, but the sound of the crowd kept her words hidden. “Yes,” Robert said urgently, his eyes darkening with something that could only be described as fear, “because you look so very much like our mother did at your age, and you act very much like her to!”

 

Bess instantly understood what Robert was trying to say, but she rejected his hand when he offered it to her. “I do not forgive you Rob,” she said angrily, pulling herself off the dusty market place’s ground, “you watched our family die and you are still loyal to him.” With than Bess pushed past her brother and melted into the crowd, trying to subdue the tears that wished to break through again. Soon she had pushed past into the empty space behind the crowd and she immediately began to run home. The Slytherin’s had been like her family for years. Giles, her elusive father constantly cultivating a stable life for his family. Matilda the caring mother who was always there for her and finally there was Salazar. She supposed he was like a brother, but at the same time he was not. Salazar was a truly special boy and for that he held Bess’ admiration.

 

He was clever, an astute wizard like the rest of the Slytherin family. Bess was one of the few privy to this dangerous secret and she was determined to keep it to her grave. She did not want them ending up like her mother, human ragdolls on pieces of rope. As she rounded the corner into the lane that lead to the Slytherin’s house, Bess noted the silhouette of a person running wildly up the street. She instantly recognised the gawky figure of Salazar hurtling towards her. At ten, he could run incredibly quickly. Once he approached, Bess appreciated how tall he actually was. He came up to her nose, and she was a tall girl of fourteen.

 

“Salazar, what are you doing here?” It was only now that Salazar began to look slightly embarrassed as he mumbled, “I heard what happened, I wanted to see that you were alright.” Bess gave him a half hearted smile. Salazar had always been a kind little boy; caring and compassionate, always thinking about others. There really was no one else like him in the world. “I am okay,” she said honestly, “well, the best I can be considering.”

 

Salazar gave her another smile and his violently green eyes shone after finding out she was not devastated, “that’s good. I am really sorry; I couldn’t stand it if I lost my mother.” Bess gave him a sad nod as she shrugged her shoulders, “well, who knows what games the gods play on us?” With that, Bess gave Salazar a gentle pat on the shoulder and the two of them turned around, making their way down the road ready to return to the mundane routine they were used to but with a heavy burden upon their young shoulders.

 

 







Hi...I know that was a bit of a filler and its been ages but this bit needed to be done before the next part of Salazar's story is to be told. Next Chapter, we move out of our characters childhoods as they finally reach the age of 17! Next Time...Godric hears what is in store for Harald and the tension between the two brothers finally comes to a head...
 


Chapter 9: My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean
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My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean

 

 

 








Beautiful Chapter Image by Ayita @ the dark arts

 

 

 






On the day that plans were made for travelling; Godric Gryffindor saw an opportunity. This feast night before their epic journey to Alba was much the same as any other night. Leif, the Jarl, still hopelessly besotted with Godric’s long dead mother gave her only son the seat usually reserved for the son and heir. Harald sat in the seat allocated for the “spare” and he wore his usual discontented expression to highlight how badly he thought he had been treated.

 Before the feast started Godric went out to see his current flame. Kristiana, the daughter of the castle’s herald, could only be described as a woman with confidence. She was not as attractive as some of the other women who flitted around the castle like leaves; but she held herself with such dignity that she could not help but be alluring. She held her head very high and stuck her chin out making her appear proud and unyielding. Her flaxen hair fell in curls to her shoulders and she had a plump face with brilliantly rosy cheeks and pearly white teeth. Though she was slightly larger than the dainty women who traipsed around in all their finery, she had a potent allure that Godric could not ignore. He saw her on the battlements; her hair fluttering in the gentle evening breeze, her stolid body wrapped in a thick fur coat.

He marched defiantly towards her.  She was truly beautiful, and he believed wholeheartedly that once he could leave Svalbard when his brother ascended the throne, he would take Kristiana with him and marry her. They would explore the world together, fulfilling their dreams that they had harboured for years. He placed a heavy hand on her shoulder and she turned round quickly, deigning to tempt him with one of her dazzling smiles. He kissed her immediately, taking in her sweet taste but in an all too swift moment they broke apart. “Well,” said Kristiana sadly, stroking strands of Godric’s red hair out of his face, “I suppose this is it.” 

“What do you mean?” asked Godric, wrapping one arm around her waist and running the other hand through her hair.
 
She pushed him away gently before whispering, “you’re going to Alba tomorrow. I am staying here. How can we expect to continue like this when you are in a foreign land?” He looked at her incredulously as he let go of her, his heart hammering in his chest.
 
“Do you love me?” he asked gently, his heart screaming for her to say yes, “for you are my one true love and I can never forsake you.” 

She gave him one of her familiar smiles, but this time it was overly sad, not filled with joy as it usually was, “but we must be practical. You will be gone for many months, and my father will no longer be happy with me being a spinster. That’s why I am getting married to Ari, the Steward’s son.” 

Godric clasped her hands tightly in his own as his mind whirred. “No, you cannot get married to him!” thundered Godric, his temper rising, his mouth open in shock, “he is a simpleton; he will never be enough for you! He will never make you happy the way I can!” 

Tears poured down Kristiana’s rosy cheeks as she stepped backwards away from Godric, almost stumbling on her feet, “I have to try Godric, and you cannot expect me to wait until your father dies for me to marry you. No matter much I love you I must have my own life. I am not a person willing to be devoted to you forever, not if I am to be nothing more than a mere mistress to you.” Godric could only now see the five years difference between him and Kristiana. She was a bold and mature twenty three year old, her mind constantly thinking about her future. Godric was an impetuous and spontaneous seventeen year old, thinking only of the moment.

 “You are more than a mistress to me!” he said defiantly, taking her hand again, trying to convey all he felt for her in mere words, “no matter what anyone says I will marry you tomorrow if that is what you want!” 

She gave a small laugh before stroking his cheek gently with the palm of her hand and then saying quietly, “Godric, you are so naive. One day you will see the world for what it is and I assure you, you will be truly disgusted.” 

He could feel the tears prickling his eyes as he gazed at her. “I love you; please don’t do this to me. Don’t break my heart.”
 
Kristiana leant in and kissed him one last time and Godric savoured it for everything it was worth. “I sorry Godric, but sometimes, love just isn’t enough.”

 Kissing him on the cheek she gave him one more, devastating, sad smile before turning away and heading away back into the warmth of the celebrating castle. Godric stood in the bitter cold weather for awhile wringing his hands in grief. His relationship with his first love had just ended and he did not know whether he could ever recover from it. He doubted he would ever forget Kristiana, for her beauty and intelligence. Godric was sure he would never find a woman like her ever again. Maybe it was just better for him to die now than to live through the pain of his heart slowly breaking in the coming months. With that thought fresh in his mind; he turned and followed the path that she had taken, ready to return to the life of feudal politics, with a glazed smile always present on his roguishly handsome face.

 

 

 







Godric sloped into the Great Hall that was cheerfully brimming with overly excited people. There were people drinking heartily, the drink giving colour to their cheeks, musicians playing and couples eagerly dancing. Women, daughters of the nobility stood around the room trying to appear attractive and alluring to men who could stand up and be respectable husbands. Godric found himself very popular amongst the ladies as he supposed he appeared handsome and charming to the inexperienced debutantes and the aging courtiers. While they fluttered his eyelashes at him and pouted profusely, he ignored them and strolled up to the main table where his father, brother and step mother sat, each sitting watching the frivolities with bored expressions on their faces.

“Godric!” cried the Jarl, a beam cracking across his tired face. Godric gave his father a friendly smile as he came and took his seat next to him. Leif gave his son a clap on his back and began to talk about the festivities. Godric found himself gazing at his father, who now had streaks of grey in his dark hair and wrinkles around his eyes. His father had recovered from losing the life of his life, Godric’s mother, so why couldn’t his son?  On his father’s left sat the Lady Mikayla, as haughty and domineering as ever. To Godric, she was the most despicable person he had ever met. She had no sense of loyalty as she would make anyone who got in her way “disappear”. One such example, other than Godric’s own mother, was that six years after that untimely event the Jarl had finally found another woman he had some sort of romantic attachment to. Mikayla ensured that relationship was brought to a swift end in the most brutal way possible.

 Harald sat to Godric’s right. He was the polar opposite of his popular half brother. While Godric was tall, athletic and burly, Harald was relatively short, bookish and skinny. He was not what the general populace wanted in a future Jarl. He had a mop of dark curly hair and a beard had not yet formed on his chin, unlike Godric. He had dark eyes and an angular face that seemed to attract shadows, and he reminded Godric of Mikayla every time he looked at him. He was the son of the woman who murdered his mother and Godric could never forget that. He also could not forget the promise he had made when he was a boy of just ten to his mother. He would avenge her death and part of that revenge would be taken out on Harald.

 “Godric,” asked the Lady Mikayla icily, sipping some wine from her goblet, “where have you been? We have all been missing you terribly.” Godric had to prevent himself from scoffing at Mikayla’s attempt at motherly interest. 

“I have been walking outside,” he said, not wanting to think of Kristiana. As Godric thought this the door opened and Kristiana entered, she had changed into a floating sea blue dress and she looked simply divine, outshining every other woman in the room. Her long blonde hair had been curled into an extravagant hairstyle and she gave off a divinely elegant aura. It was at this moment that Godric regretted court etiquette above all others. Kristiana glided towards them a participated in a deep courtesy to the Jarl, showing every inch a respectful servant. Godric felt himself go a brilliant, shameful red at her humility and as he lifted his head he caught Harald giving him a curious look.

 “Ah,” said Godric’s father, a smile on his face, “Kristiana, I have heard of your engagement to Ari. Congratulations!” She routinely gave him a smile, but this was not the type of smile that Godric was used to seeing. It was cracked and broken, and it faltered slightly. 

“Thank you my Lord,” she said, her eyes flicking to Godric for a brief moment. Godric felt like screaming; he wanted to stand up and beg his father to let him marry Kristiana but he knew it would come to no avail. The Lady Mikayla would stop any chance of happiness that Godric had because she detested him so much. After all, he was the spitting image of his mother, his father’s one true love. He also took precedence over Harald in their father’s eyes and that had never sat very well with her. In revenge, he knew she would do something terrible to Kristiana and Godric could not bear that. 

 Kristiana turned away and gently floated across the room to where the blonde, handsome Ari had just appeared. Godric could not bear it, his heart hammered in his chest as he watched Ari take her hand and lead her behind a crowd of milling courtiers, making her disappear from Godric’s view. Harald’s eyes slid over Godric and an unpleasant grin of understanding flickered across his features; Godric tried his best to ignore him by downing a goblet of pumpkin juice in one. But it did nothing. It did not prevent his face from going red, or the make the horrible lump that had appeared disappear from his dry throat. All he could think of was her and how she had so willingly broken his heart. 

At once, a nameless aristocratic lady passed before the table. She was like Kristiana, blonde, but she did not have the same warmth radiating from her. The woman was tall, stick thin and wore a haughty expression on her youthful face. She gave Godric a small smile and he reacted instantly. What better way to be rid of his blues than to enjoy a dance in good company? He leapt up, jumped over the table and took the hand of the woman who easily accepted a dance with the Jarl’s son.

 

 

 

 








The sky was cloudy that night; the way it often was in Svalbard. Godric did not know why but he had the feeling that this would be the last night in his native land for a very long time. Sometimes when he looked around he could not see anything worth staying here for. He was hated by Harald. The animosity between him and his brother had built up throughout the years. As Harald was the heir, Godric had always tried to avoid fighting him but their relationship was teetering on the edge of including physical violence.
 
Also, Godric had never felt safe around his stepmother. He could see in her eyes how much she hated him. For her, Godric realised, it must have been like staring at her greatest rival every time she saw him. He knew she wanted nothing more than to see him dead, but the love for her flighty, inattentive husband prevented her from acting on these feelings. Godric knew it was not good for him to be around these volatile and destructive relationships anymore, especially as they were with people he should love and cherish. Despite the fact that he had promised he would avenge his mother’s death, he felt he would have to do it in some other way.

 He had lost Kristiana; not through their lack of love for each other, but because of their social standing. All that time he pretended they could be together as he was young and saw an idyllic world. She was headstrong and mature, and these conditions prevented her from dreaming that they could really be man and wife. Kristiana was not stupid; she did not want to end up like Alfhild Gryffindor. That broke Godric’s heart. In the end, she had loved her life more than she had loved him while he was willing to die for her. He did not know whether he could stay watching her marry Ari, live with him, have his children and grow old together while he spent his life fighting in battles and marrying a woman he did not care about. It would ruin him. Maybe if he could get away from her, be isolated from his passion for her for a long time he could learn to live without her.

Then there was his father, the father who he idolised with every bone in his body. He was the one blood relative left in the world who truly loved him. But that was where the problem lay. The old Jarl’s love for his bastard son was clouding his vision, stopping him from seeing what was really important. The succession was not secure. The old adage “the heir and the spare” had not been put into practice. Due to the Jarl’s love of Godric’s mother, he had never had any more children by Mikayla. If anything happened to Harald, Svalbard would fall into chaos. The Jarl favoured his childhood loves child, leaving Harald out in the cold. Combined with Harald’s jealous and possessive nature this was sure to lead to something terrible. Godric reasoned that if he was out of the picture the Jarl could love his other son more and Svalbard would be a much safer place.

The idea struck him under that grey sky. Tomorrow, he would go, with his father and brother and huge entourage, to the nearest magical kingdom. There, Harald would meet a girl who, it was hoped, would agree to be his wife. While Harald and the Jarl were preoccupied with the thoughts of grandeur for their dynasty, Godric would sneak away into the night and become just another nameless face. There, he would start his new life. He would never have to see Kristiana and Ari or think of his father and brother again. He would be free to do whatever he wanted. He would hear from afar of the news of Harald and the Princess Rowena’s marriage and would be content in the knowledge that he would never be involved in court intrigues ever again. It was a pleasant thought.

He was walking down beside the Great Hall, planning to go down to the stables to see his beloved horses one last time. This thought was abruptly cut short by the sound of a woman’s voice coming from round the corner. He recognised it instantly; it was Kristiana. She sounded panicked and nervous, but her voice was quiet, forcing Godric to hold his breath to hear her properly. “What do you want with me?” The voice that replied sent shivers up Godric’s back – it was Harald. 

“Oh, nothing much,” he said mockingly, “just, you are so very pretty. I heard you are marrying the steward’s son. He’s not good enough for you.” Then Harald paused for a moment before laughing, “well, he’s better for you than my bastard brother!”
 
Kristiana gasped in shock before mumbling, “how did you know?” Shushing her gently, Harald said malevolently, “it does not matter how I know, just that I do know. If you want me to keep it a secret, I need something in return.” Godric had had enough as he quickly unsheathed his sword and shouted, “don’t you dare!”

The sight that met his face shocked him. Harald seemed to have his hands on Kristiana’s waist and she was attempting to push him off. This made Godric see red. At least she was willing to receive Ari. Every hateful thought he had ever felt for his brother clouded his mind as he lunged at his brother. While Godric was strong and powerful, Harald was agile and quick and he easily dodged Godric’s move, forcing Godric to fly right past him. Harald had unsheathed his own sword. Godric gave a merciless laugh; he knew how much Harald hated his sword. 

While Godric had been bestowed his father’s sword, Harald had to buy his own sword, while it was expensive it did not hold the sentimental value that Godric’s did. Godric took another powerful swipe with his sword, but Harald met his blow and there was a deafening clang as metal and metal collided. Godric withdrew briefly allowing Harald to stab his sword forward aiming for Godric’s chest. He missed as Godric managed to swerve out of the way in time. In that moment it had become crystal clear that Harald was aiming to kill.

Godric knew he shouldn’t but he could not help himself. He had always had a violent temper and this just heightened his magic when it was awoken. With his free hand he aimed a ball of fire directly at his brother, but Harald again managed to avoid it. However, this allowed Godric to take another swipe at Harald and this time the sword met his brother.
 
The blade slashed through the expensive silk of his shirt and drew a long, bloody gash on his arm. Harald screeched in anger and pain and swung his sword viciously towards Godric. This caught Godric off guard for a moment as he had been celebrating finally getting Harald. The good timing and strength of the blow forced Godric’s sword to fly out of his hand and over his shoulder. Godric was livid. How could he let himself be disarmed by Harald? “Got you now!” taunted Harald, “you’re going to wish you had never been born!”

 Then Godric did something incredibly stupid. Using all the force he could muster, he launched himself off the floor and he flew towards Harald. Harald was taken aback by this so did nothing as his sword was pushed from his hand. The future Jarl ended up sprawled on his back with Godric on top of him. Then, yet again, every hateful thought for his brother rose in Godric’s mind and he reacted by sinking his heavy fist into Harald’s nose. He hardly saw Harald as he punched again and again, his anger coming out in new bursts as he punched again and again. His brother’s blood was now covering his fist but he didn’t stop. He hated Harald and he loved Kristiana, and Harald had tried to strike him where it would hurt the most. Then, everything happened so fast.

 “Harald!” came a shrill voice. Godric looked up to find himself staring at half the royal court. At the front stood the person who had shouted Harald’s name. The Lady Mikayla looked horror struck as she looked at Godric and Harald and she put out a hand onto her husband’s shoulder to support herself. Kristiana stood there also. She had evidently ran off once the scuffle started to fetch someone to help. There were tears in her eyes and she looked almost disappointed. The Jarl looked sad also, but he did not say anything as it was the Lady Mikayla who spoke first.

 “This is treason!” she shrieked, “he has tried to murder the heir to the throne. He needs to be executed! That is the only fit punishment for an attempted murderer like him!” The crowd did not say anything. They did not seem to agree with Mikayla which was an encouraging sign. Godric stood up and moved away from his brother as he gazed at his father. He did not say anything, but watched his wife as she scurried over to Harald and scooped his head in her arms. 

“Leif!” she thundered, “are you not going to do anything? Our son is leaving to meet his future wife tomorrow; he can’t leave in this state! He cannot go with that oaf either!” she screamed, pointing one finger wildly at Godric. 

The Jarl walked towards Mikayla and lifted her gently from the floor, “Harald can be fixed,” he said gently, “and you’re blowing this all out of proportion!”

 Her hair seemed to crackle slightly with rage as she bellowed, “once again you take his side over your legitimate son!” She snapped her fingers viciously and several of her attendants scurried over and began to pick Harald up and returning him inside. “Get out of here!” she screamed at everyone, “I must talk to him alone!” She was looking angrily at Godric and the court complied, quickly hurrying away as if nothing ever happened. Godric’s father hovered for a moment before Mikayla said softly, “that includes you Leif.” Giving his son a pained expression, the Jarl turned and headed back inside leaving him totally on his own with his mother’s murderer.

 “You have a choice,” she whispered quietly, her eyes scanning his face intensely, “when you get yourself on that ship tomorrow to go to Alba you can make your plans to leave. I never want you to step foot in my kingdom again.” 

Godric countered her words quickly, “good, that’s what I was planning to do.” Mikayla gave him an angry look, “you will never come back. You will never darken our doorstep again!” Godric thought briefly of his father but then remembered how much happier his father would be without him before growling, “On two conditions.” Mikayla gave an agreeing nod before Godric continued, “you never come looking for me, you never send your men after me to kill me and you never touch Kristiana or my father.”

 Mikayla nodded, “that is only on agreement that you never come here again. If you do I will not be afraid to bring you and Kristiana together in death.” Godric understood plainly as he stared at her. Lady Mikayla, once the jewel in the Jarl’s crown was now an aging, unattractive, vindictive lady. Once the physical beauty disappeared the rotten insides were on display. 

“Goodbye my lady,” Godric said, staring at her with the emerald green eyes that reminded her so vividly of his father, “I hope to see you in the next life.” 

Mikayla gave a gentle, mirthless laugh before whispering, “even that will be too soon my boy, even that will be too soon.” She quickly turned on her heel and marched back into the Great Hall leaving Godric perfectly alone.

 That was the first chance he had to feel excited about the adventures he had in store. He was sure it would be tough to begin with, but he could not wait to prove that he was a much better person than his half brother was; even if there was no one there to prove it to. Then, after taking a deep breath of cold night air he turned on his heel and followed the Lady Mikayla’s path back into the Castle to celebrate the last night of his old life.

 

 

 

 








So they are finally adults and this is probably my favourite chapter! Please review as it is the first chapter of this "era" and hopefully you love it as much as I do. Next Time...Rowena falls in love on the night she meets her fiancee, but is it to the wrong man?
 
 
 


Chapter 10: Breaking the Rules
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On the night that Rowena Black met her fiancée she broke her mother’s rules. Twice. The first time was something she tended to do every night; she would go down to the stables to meet Cadmus. When they had been children, Queen Emma had accepted that Cadmus was a suitable companion as he was a similar age to her daughter. However, when both of them had hit adolescence, Emma had decided that the Princess Rowena would be more suited to her female attendants, such as Helga. However much Rowena loved Helga, she could not give her what she desired, male attention.

 

Rowena did not find anything in particular attractive about Cadmus. He was an average twenty year old man with a fondness of drinking, gambling and dancing. He was reasonably intelligent and witty and could keep her suitably entertained. Rowena supposed the main reason she kept up the stream of frequent dalliances was that he was so willing. The simple fact was that Cadmus adored her, and that was the reason she met him down at the stables at every opportunity. She was addicted to the attention.

 

As she made her way through the dark grounds in a borrowed woollen shawl of Helga’s to make her mix in with the servants, she thought of her future. She wondered about her fiancée. Rowena had never actually met him but she was perfectly happy to marry the man, after all, it would secure her realm. Rowena was hoping that he would come marching in and sweep her off her feet the way she longed to be, but she knew this was unlikely. The truth was she was very picky when it came to men. Cadmus was only allowed near her as she held some friendly affection for him. But, if the worst came to the worst and she hated him, she could still continue her tryst with Cadmus. She had been undetected so far.

 

The part of her that still held some youthful romanticism drew a hasty picture of Harald in her mind. She imagined him to be tall, fair, well built and in every way handsome. While she valued these physical traits his intelligence was the most important thing to her. His magic skill must be beyond compare and he must at least be a good match in a duel. Rowena was a ridiculously talented witch after all.

 

Soon, she found herself at the stables. There, as she expected, was Antioch, Cadmus’ elder brother. While he looked almost identical to his younger brother, the elder was a violent lout. Cadmus was sweet and sensitive, and this was the reason, Rowena assumed, she allowed herself to be with him. “My lady,” he said gruffly, an amused twinkle in his eye.

 

“Where is Cadmus?” Rowena asked, her nose in the air, trying to keep the superiority out of her voice as she spoke. Antioch squinted his eyes at her for a moment. Rowena knew she was being terribly stupid allowing someone other than herself and Cadmus into the secret, but she hoped that Antioch would keep quiet for the sake of his brother.

 

“He’s out in the paddock,” replied Antioch, signalling over his shoulder to the door behind him. Without saying another word to him, Rowena whipped her midnight blue cloak around her as she discarded Helga’s shawl into the straw, making a mental note to retrieve it later. The inky sky stretched above her head as she squinted into the darkness, looking for Cadmus. She eventually saw him over by the fence, gazing out into the forest.

 

She decided to creep up on him as she stepped silently across the grass until she reached him. His lean silhouette was dark in the moonlight and she could see he was leaning on the fence, his head lifted to the sky. Before he could react she wrapped her arms around his middle and held on tightly taking in his familiar comforting smell. “Good evening Rowena,” he said gently as he turned around in her arms. The moonlight caught his features and highlighted his grey eyes that had belonged to his mother.

 

“Is he here yet?” asked Cadmus with a disappointed sigh. The pain on Cadmus’ face was visible, but Rowena felt no sympathy. Did he honestly expect her to give up everything to run away with him? Her mother had been stupid enough to fall in love with a commoner, and even though Rowena loved her father with all her heart, she could never shake the feeling that her parent’s marriage was a mistake, that it wasn’t meant to be. Rowena sometimes suspected her mother had done something to her father to make him love her, but she did not like to dwell on that.

 

“He arrived an hour ago,” said Rowena gently, not quite looking Cadmus in the eyes, “my mother is just arranging where their enormous entourage will sleep. I’m sure the feast will begin in about twenty minutes.” Cadmus looked broken as if he had never heard such terrible news. Rowena surmised it wasn’t so terrible. Cadmus was constantly thinking to the future, and that annoyed Rowena. All she wanted to do was savour the moment they had together and not think about what was going to happen in the coming days, weeks months or years later.

 

“Let’s go,” he said to Rowena imploringly, “I know you don’t want this, don’t want this life!” Rowena had to stop herself from laughing. No matter how hard she tried she could never devote herself to Cadmus the way he could to her. He was a good friend, a friend with whom she could share an affectionate relationship. The strange thing was, she did not love him. She knew he expected her to, but she couldn’t. No matter how hard she tried Cadmus’ love for her would always be unrequited.

 

“Cadmus,” Rowena said in a tired way, as if she expected him to know her answer already, “don’t be ridiculous. I have to marry Harald for my country.” Cadmus’ tanned face was going red with a mixed of embarrassment and annoyance. Rowena couldn’t help but gaze at him sadly. She sometimes regretted getting into this relationship with him. But most of the times she just thought of the way he had begged her and how, even though she did not love him, how much she enjoyed their stolen kisses.

 

“No,” said Cadmus his irritation biting through with every word, “you don’t have to marry him. You are going to be the Queen one day, and Queens can make their own decisions!” Rowena smiled up at him with the same sad smile on her face, hoping that he would understand what she was going to say. He must know, she presumed, that deep down the princess could never belong solely to him. That was because Rowena could sense someone, just outside her vision who would claim her heart as his own.

 

“I want to marry him Cadmus,” Rowena said calmly, her hair fluttering in the gentle breeze, “It is my duty.” Cadmus’ face fell spectacularly, and Rowena felt slightly guilty for a moment. She had entangled him within her life; he could have been free to fall in love with someone else of his own station if it wasn’t for her. Now he loved her more than anything, and she was going to break his heart.

 

“You can’t do this to me,” he moaned, his head falling onto her shoulder, “you just can’t! I love you Rowena, can’t you see that?” Anguish was the prominent emotion sketched across his youthful face as he looked up, but Rowena had to ignore it. Her dalliance with Cadmus had to come to an end as they were not meant to be together. The truth was, they both wanted different things. Cadmus wanted a love that would endure for all time while Rowena wanted some harmless fun.

 

“I’m sorry Cadmus,” she said quietly as she turned away, walking back towards the castle, ignoring his pained shouts of protest. Rowena could not love him any longer. In truth, it was not just due to her upcoming marriage and their different social standing. In her heart, she was tiring of Cadmus. She had know him for years and now the chase was over, there was no fun in it.










 

Helga was distinctly irritated. Queen Emma, furiously trying to liven up the banquet before the Svalbard Party arrived from their sleeping quarters, had decided that she wanted every person she could muster to dance and preferably with the guests already in attendance. There were several foreign ambassadors who were here, from the Frankish king and beyond, out into Scandinavia and one wrinkled old wizard from as far away as Kiev. While Helga had not been forced to dance with him, she was dancing with the most loathsome person in the whole castle; Guillaume Malfoy.

 

He was the Frankish Ambassador and a well known bounder. While he had a large family back at home in France, he took particular delight in deflowering the young maidens of the Alban court. He had now set his sights firmly on Helga. His heavy hand rested on her waist as they circled gently around one another. Their palms were pressed together in front of them as the familiar modal drones of the music came from the various musicians dotted around the hall.

 

“My girl,” he said gruffly as his grey eyes met Helga’s green, “you do indeed look enchanting tonight.” He spoke with a thick slurring accent that Helga supposed many women found attractive. He was too well polished for Helga, she preferred a man that appeared a little more homespun, and she hadn’t met a man like that since she had left Dewsbury seven years previously. Suddenly, Malfoy was moving closer to her and she felt she had to act quickly, implementing a quick spin she flew away from Malfoy before moving closer again, putting him back at the distance they previously had been at.

 

“You are a divine dancer,” he said gently. The next thing she felt was his cold fingers running through her loose blonde curls. Trying to stop herself shivering with loathing she tensed her body at which Malfoy reduced his grip slightly. They kept dancing, slowly whirling around each other but Helga did not look at him but instead gazed round the room for two things.

 

The first was for Rowena. Tonight, she had been particularly elusive. Helga assumed she was down at the stables with Cadmus, her latest fling. Helga found it quite distasteful really. Cadmus had been Rowena’s loyal friends for years and she was willing to betray him in the most heinous way. He was head over heels in love with her and she was using him shamelessly. But Helga could not really be angry with her. For such an intelligent person, Rowena never thought.  She could never see what effect her actions had on other people.

 

The second was for Rowena’s fiancée. She had heard lots about him and the rumours, which she made sure Rowena was not privy to, were worrying. Harald had an international reputation of being of limited mind and small physical stature. He did not sound like a man who Rowena would even be remotely attracted to. But Helga tried to press these thoughts to the back of her mind and keep her focus strictly on the present. And at that moment she was dancing with the loathsome Malfoy.

 

Then in one swift moment she was saved. The heralds sounded noting the Svalbard Party’s arrival. Helga was quickly pushed to the side and a scan around the room showed her that Rowena was not here. Queen Emma appeared to be looking for her daughter too, and when she caught Helga’s eye she made a discreet hand gesture which signalled for Helga to go and find Rowena immediately. Nodding respectfully, Helga ducked out of Malfoy’s view and managed to skirt round the crowd until she came to one of the windows. While everyone was distracted, she leapt through it and into the cool night air. Her skirt swished noisily as she ran down to the paddock, her curly hair blowing in the evening breeze. She felt frightfully cold in her thin silk dress but she kept running until she saw a figure dawdling towards her. The statuesque stance of the woman made it evident that she was Rowena.

 

“My lady!” shouted Helga as Rowena lifted her head up. Rowena seemed to pick up her speed on seeing Helga and soon the women were standing face to face. Helga had never been able to prevent herself marvelling at Rowena. She was truly beautiful, with lily white skin, midnight blue eyes that seemed to sparkle constantly and a voice as smooth as honey. She had rosy cheeks that gave her a spirited appearance and long dark hair that always seemed to catch the light. Rowena was the epitome of what a princess should be like; she was refined, elegant and graceful. In her hands she held the woollen shawl that she had borrowed and Helga took it back, wrapping it round her cold shoulders.

 

“Helga,” said Rowena slightly breathlessly, “I’m so glad you are here. I took your advice, I ended it with Cadmus, and it wasn’t fair on him the poor dear. Not when I am to be married so imminently.” Helga gave Rowena a gentle smile before shushing her. Helga was the only servant in the whole castle who could do that to the princess. She had the princess’ respect and she saw her as a treasured friend.

 

“We have no time Rowena,” said Helga quickly, putting both hands on Rowena’s sloping shoulders, “The Svalbard Party has arrived in the Great Hall. We’ve got to get you inside quickly, Harald is here.” Helga thought she saw her friends face go deathly white for a moment as if she was scared. That thought was ridiculous however, Rowena was never scared. Helga did not know whether she herself could cope with marrying someone she hardly knew, but Rowena was content to do it for her kingdom, to supply a future heir to the throne.

 

The two young ladies walked back up to the castle through the moonlight not speaking. Helga accepted that Rowena needed a moment to think before she saw her future. “Do you think I can love him?” asked Rowena gently. She was not looking at Helga, as if she could not bear to see her. Helga did not say anything at first. She hated lying, it was deceitful and never accomplished anything in Helga’s opinion, but in this case, to soothe her friend’s feelings, she felt she must.

 

“Yes, of course you could love him,” smiled Helga putting her arm round her friends shoulder, “as long as he lives up to your very high standards!” she joked. It was well known that Rowena was very flighty and seemed to have a different man every week. But, Helga supposed, she was a princess and in that respect she could do whatever she pleased. Soon they reached the window which Helga knew was the quickest way in. The two girls watched it silently for a moment knowing that after tonight, life would never be the same again.

 








 

Harald and Godric lurked together at the corner of the hall. Godric was not sure why they were doing it, normally they hated each other, but tonight they stood together to show a joined front. For once, Godric felt sympathy for his brother. He would be marrying a woman he had never met, albeit willingly, while Godric, after tonight, was free to do whatever he wished. Godric had noticed that Harald had been eyeing Godric’s more expensive silk and fur robe in comparison to his own, and Godric had been willing to trade. Tonight was the last night they would ever have to make amends.

 

“Have you seen her yet?” Godric asked gently. Harald shook his head. Godric knew he was nervous and no matter how much he hated his brother, the feeling of sympathy kept rising in his stomach. Godric could just imagine the type of woman Harald would hate. He would hate an intelligent wife as it would just make him jealous at his own lack of brains. His wife could not be too beautiful or too impressive to detract attention off himself.

 

“I’m going to find her,” grunted Harald, turning his back on Godric and walking away into the crowd. Godric thought nothing of his brother’s rudeness and instead picked a goblet of pumpkin juice off the table behind him. Putting it to his lips he turned round, but on catching sight of the woman in front of him he almost dropped his goblet. She was stunningly beautiful with cascades of black hair and smouldering dark eyes. He had never seen another woman like her in his life before.

 

“Hello,” he said gently as she walked up to him. He was transfixed, bewitched by her beauty. Her eyes were open wide and seemed to be consuming him. She was ethereal, not of this world, unlike anything he had seen before. Before ten seconds had passed he knew he was in love and this time it was not fleeting, affectionate love it had been with Kristiana. It was all consuming, darker and yet lighter than anything he had ever felt. It was uplifting, reaching him into high altitudes but at the same time crushing him into the deepest depths of hell. It was hellish, but at the same time heavenly.

 

“Would you like to dance,” she asked, offering him one of her ivory hands. He took it willingly and for a moment felt like nothing more than kissing her in front of everyone. Wrapping his arm around her waist, he began to dance with her. She must have been roughly his age, seventeen approaching eighteen and she had a youthful glow about her. She did not fight him as he led her in the dance, but instead remained by having her eyes focussed on him and a lilting smile on her red lips. He leant towards her and their nose touched. He could feel the soft skin of her face. They did not say anything but kept dancing. They danced through several pieces, ignoring every other person in the hall. Only the two of them mattered.

 








 

She spotted him instantly. The man in front of her was roughly her age with a mane of fiery red hair and emerald green eyes. He had an adolescent beard forming on his chin and his cheeks were red with life. To Rowena, he was entrancing. He was unlike anything she had seen before. He looked so alive, so different from the cold, domineering aristocrats littering the hall. He was natural, the most raw human being she had seen and she couldn’t keep her eyes off him.

 

He walked towards her, greeting her with a gruff voice with an absence of an accent. She could tell from one word that his English was good. This proved something else for her, he was intelligent, something deeply attractive in a man. She could not believe he was her future husband, as he was wearing the cloak that proved him that man. Rowena was overjoyed; she was going to have a good life with her husband, a man she could love whole heartedly.

 

“Would you like to dance?” she asked, the words getting caught in her throat as she said it. She offered him her hand which he took. His skin was soft, and she held on tight to his hand, almost fearful of letting go. Cadmus’ hands were quite rough, but his was perfect. She felt his hand snake round her waist and she almost shivered at his touch; it was intoxicating. They wove around each other through several pieces of music, his strong arms leading her. She usually liked to lead in the dance but she gave herself to him and refused to take her eyes off his for a moment. Their noses touched as they danced and she could feel his breath on her face as she shivered with delight.

 

Suddenly she felt a hand on the arm that was trailing down beside her. There was a strong tug and she was pulled away from him. Turning around she saw the livid face of her mother. Her face was red with anger and her usually immaculate hair was slightly messy. “What are you doing my girl?” she spat angrily. Rowena looked at her mother confusedly. Surely she did not have a problem with her dancing with her fiancée?

 

“I am dancing with Harald!” she whispered angrily to her mother. She did not have time for this, and wanted desperately to dance with Harald again. Queen Emma actually had the front to laugh out loud before picking up her left hand and pointing menacingly at two men who stood close to the imperial throne.

 

“The taller one,” she started angrily, “that is the Jarl and the shorter one is his son, Harald. Go and speak to them!” Queen Emma turned on her heel and marched defiantly away, her greying blonde hair swaying as she went. Rowena had her eyes fixed on Harald. He was a spidery man with dark shifting eyes and a downtrodden expression. Rowena realised immediately there was nothing special about him. Suddenly she realised he was still standing behind her. Pivoting on the spot, she looked back into his mesmerising green eyes.

 

“So,” he said, the emotion seeping through his words, “you’re the Princess Rowena?” She could barely bring herself to look at him, what they had shared in those few brief moments had been so intense she couldn’t quite believe it had been real. Nonetheless, she nodded her head slowly before looking at him once more. His smile he had been wearing only moments previously was gone to be replaced by a tortured expression. She so desperately wanted to know who he was and she moved closer so she could whisper to him.

 

“Who are you?” she asked a sense of urgency in her voice. She expected him to answer quickly, but he didn’t, instead taking time to deliberate over his words. It seemed as if he did not want to tell her his name, as if it was some terrible secret. He mumbled something and Rowena had to lean in slightly closer, but she heard it perfectly clearly the second time he said it. He said his name was Godric and he was Harald’s brother. The news hit her like a ton of bricks. The man she was convinced, even after their brief moment together, was meant for her, was to be her future brother-in-law. She wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. She had never felt this hopeless and wretched before, she was going to marry his brother due to her duty.

 

Her stream of thoughts was interrupted by a blood curdling scream. Turning round quickly Rowena instantly spotted where the noise was coming from. On the stairs leading up to the tower was a girl of fifteen. It was Odila, Cadmus’ half sister. It was well known she was a sickly girl but tonight she looked particularly shocking. Her hair was in tendrils round her face and her eyes were wide and bloodshot. It was then that Rowena noticed the red blotches across her face and arms.

 

“Help me!” she sobbed. The effect was instant and she plunged to the floor, rolling down the stairs and landing in a messy heap at the bottom. The crowd of useless aristocrats stood lifeless around her but three people immediately jumped into action. Helga, Godric and Rowena all raced to her side. Godric reached her first and held her in his strong arms as Rowena and Helga leant over her. Helga was talking to her, trying to get her to stay with them. Odila’s breath was becoming shorter and shallower as if she was hurtling towards the end. Rowena watched her, trying to work out what was wrong with her.

 

“Be careful,” Odila whispered staring straight at Rowena, “it’s coming for you too!” Then it was as if she had stopped working as all her power was taken from her. She dropped onto Godric’s arms, lifeless and still. Rowena stared at the girls face. She had been young, about thirteen years old. Younglings died, Rowena knew, but at this age you thought they would have got through the worst. The crowd that surrounded them gasped in shock and horror, there was no way the girl could have died so suddenly, was there?

 

“What’s happened to her?” questioned Helga, looking straight at Rowena. While both girls had leant magic together, it was Rowena who had excelled that little bit further. If anyone was to know, it was her. Rowena shook her head groggily; she did not understand why the girl had dropped so quickly. She looked at Godric for a moment. He had a look of utmost concern on his face and Rowena had to stop herself kissing him for his sheer compassion. Then a voice burst through the silence which answered all their questions.

 

“L'écoeurer,” said Guillaume Malfoy, his voice grave, “you would say ‘The Sickening’. It has already ravaged the fair fields of my kingdom and now it’s come for you,” he said, his words echoing Odila’s. The happiness that had swelled throughout the room previously had disappeared, replaced by a sense of fear. There was silence for a moment before Rowena’s mother pushed through the crowd and stared at Odila’s corpse.

 

“Get it out of here,” she growled to Helga before announcing to the crowd, “we have an engagement to celebrate!” The crowd immediately obeyed their Queen and returned to false cheeriness which shook Rowena to the core. A girl had just died and they were willing to celebrate. Helga followed Godric as he picked up Odila’s body and walked from the room. Turning her head back to her mother she could not help but seeing once and for all how cold hearted her mother was. If a young girl’s death wouldn’t soften her heart, nothing would.

 







I hope you enjoyed this chapter, its kind of the turning point for Rowena and Godric so...I hope you like it! Next Time...Salazar and Bess run away together by find the consequences to be fatal...


Chapter 11: Heartbreak
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Heartbreak



Lovely new banner by Saranghae @ tda

 




On the day that Salazar and Bess got married, Salazar’s world fell apart. The day had arrived unusually beautifully. The sun shone gold and bright across the town making Salazar feel very optimistic and bubbling with repressed excitement. He could barely contain himself at the thought that later that evening, he would have a wife and they would grow old together, their unrelenting happiness frozen in matrimony.  

 

His future wife was four years older than him, and Salazar knew it was very unusual to have such an age gap, but Salazar always believed he was the one for Bess. It was as if they were tied together, a magnetic pull existing between them, two halves of a whole. Maybe it was because they had grown up side by side and knew everything about each other, like soul mates. He could not imagine his life without the benevolent, kind influence of Bess. They had always been close but Salazar had started to develop feelings for Bess when he was sixteen. Now a strapping seventeen year old, an adult, Salazar was ready to marry her.

 

He was sure the news would not be well received by anyone. Although his parents loved Bess, he was not sure they would be totally pleased with him marrying a poor Muggle. But the worst threat was Sir Guy, who had always had an interest in Bess as she was Caris’ daughter, and due to his guilt of murdering her mother, Sir Guy was obsessively over protective of her. Salazar was not entirely convinced that Sir Guy would easily let her go.

 

Salazar and Bess planned to take an “evening walk” together and then head off through the woods to the church in the next town and be married before spending their first night together in the local inn. That way, they would not have to receive Sir Guy’s blessing which Salazar believed would be harder to obtain than Merlin’s wand. For the rest of the day, Salazar had to behave like he usually did, and that meant going hunting with his father and Sir Guy in the forest belonging exclusively to the Lord of the Manor so only Sir Guy could permit people to enter under the dark canopy.

 

It had felt very tense for several hours. As Sir Guy had aged, he had become more and more bitter and after Caris’ execution, eternally blaming herself for her death. Nobody dared to bring up Caris anymore, especially Bess, who had moved to Sir Guy’s manor to join her brother at Sir Guy’s request. This was due to Guy’s obsession with protecting Caris’ remaining children, as if he was trying to atone for his crimes. Guy also slightly blamed Giles who had pushed Guy to make a decision concerning Caris, even though he had not pressed Guy to make a decision either way. But Salazar thought their bond was too strong, their friendship forged in the fires of war and would therefore never be broken.

 

Giles and Guy were light on their feet as they cantered through the forest, despite no longer being in the bloom of youth and their bows were slung lazily over their broad shoulders. Salazar, who had not been hunting for long, watched in awe as his father and Guy hunted like animalistic predators, taking down deer’s, birds and rabbits with ease. Salazar could also see that Guy was the slightly better hunter than his father. Guy’s technique was more accurate, the way he aimed his bow much more precision. It was a skill to marvel at.

 

After an afternoon of heavy hunting, the three men went back to the town in absolute silence. Salazar could not quite understand the silence, but he followed the older men’s example and trotted along behind them quiet as a mouse. Suddenly, the quiet was punctuated by Guy who muttered gruffly, “It’s been finalised, Rob is going to Winchester in time for epiphany. I have given him all I can; he will be a great warrior one day.” Salazar was shocked by this exclamation; Guy had always wanted to keep Caris’ children under close watch. Rob’s loss would have terrible consequences for Bess who would be under even worse scrutiny. Salazar’s muted reply was quashed by a suddenly furious Guy.

 

“No Giles!” he bellowed angrily, “I will no longer stand living under your shoe! You will no longer tell me what to do! Your advice led to Caris’ death and you will not stop me giving my son the life he deserves!” Guy seemed to realise what he said and shot a look at Salazar who attempted not to look stunned. It was clear that only Guy and Giles knew this gem of information. That was why Guy had spared Rob all those years ago.

 

Guy then turned on his heel and stalked off, leaving Giles and Salazar staying perfectly still on the darkening path. Salazar copied his father as they both gazed after Guy, his shadowy figure becoming smaller in the distance. “What does he mean by son?” asked Salazar, knowing full well the answer. Giles turned to Salazar, his face suddenly catching the evening light. Only then did Salazar see how truly tired his father was.

 

“It’s a great secret,” said Giles gently, “and it must be repeated to no one, understand?” Salazar nodded, trying to prove that he was trustworthy. He was a man after all, not a mischievous little school boy. “Guy’s temper is being tested at this time,” continued Salazar’s father, “he is blaming me for past mistakes and looking for any opportunity for finding disloyalty. You must do nothing to anger him.” Bess flashed into Salazar’s mind for a moment. That would be betraying any promise he made to his father, but at that point in time, Bess and his own happiness was more important than anything.

 

“Yes father,” Salazar whispered, not quite meeting his father’s eyes, “I promise.” With that, Giles gave his son a confident smile and began to slowly make his way back towards the town. Salazar felt extremely guilty for a moment. By marrying Bess, he would be angering Sir Guy greatly and therefore betraying his father. Overcoming this feeling, Salazar lowered his head and followed his father’s path unaware of the consequences he was about to evoke.





 

 

 

 








 

Bess made sure she looked beautiful. Not so outlandishly that it would make Sir Guy suspicious, but enough to make her the wonderful bride that Salazar would expect on his wedding day. She had plaited her hair into one long braid that fell down her back and then twirled it into a bun that perched on the back of her head. She wore a plain woollen dress and would get some flowers for herself in the next village. Afterwards she wrapped herself in her thick night robe that would keep her warm for the walk to the next village.

 

Descending the stair from her bedroom she tried to appear confident as she made her way towards Guy’s room. She did not know whether Guy would allow her to get some air as he was always whipped up into such frightful tempers these days but encouraging herself she knocked on Guy’s door when she reached it.

 

“Who is it?” came a gruff, angry voice from behind the heavy oak. Bess gulped for a moment. There was something obscenely terrifying about Guy. It was true he was Bess’ mother’s murderer, but Bess was sure it wasn’t that at all. Bess knew she lived in his house for one reason; Bess was the spitting image of her mother. Guy relished the opportunity to look at her every day and pretend that he hadn’t committed the most heinous crime. As he grew older, Guy’s guilt had played with his mind until now he was verging on insanity. He was erratic and emotional, eternally angry for no reason. Bess feared that one day he would no longer distinguish between her and her mother and she would feel the full extent of his wrath or unrequited love.

 

“It’s Bess,” she replied meekly, “may I come in?” There was another grunt that Bess took for permission to enter and she slowly pushed open the door. Guy was on a wooden chair facing the fire; his body slumped back into the chair. Even from this distance Bess could see the sheer power that years of war craft had brought Guy and his body bulged with large, cruel muscles. He did not turn or register that Bess had entered and instead gazed almost longingly into the fire.

 

“Sir Guy,” she said, attempting to sound assertive, “I am going for an evening walk with Salazar Slytherin, is that alright?” Guy grunted again and Bess took it for an acceptance. After quietly thanking him, Bess began to creep from the room until she heard Guy’s cracked and broken voice, “Do you love me Caris?” Bess’ heart beat wildly for a moment but then she realised the Lord of the Manor was not speaking to her, but instead gazing into the fire.

 

Twenty minutes later, Bess found herself trotting up the path to the woods. She hoped Salazar would already be there as she did not fancy hanging around in the darkness. Just as expected, Salazar was punctual as he always was and Bess ran towards him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He kissed her gently before saying, “shall we go then?” Giving him a gentle nod, Bess took Salazar’s hand and they continued into the woods, both of them silently smiling to each other.

 

“You know Bess,” said Salazar carefully, “I’ve realised something. I realised that I’ve loved you my whole life.” Bess knew that Salazar was not used to sharing his feelings, but with her it was different. It was as if they were one and the same, almost working in perfect synchronisation. Bess smiled her usual smile, one full of confidence and warm. However, Salazar’s smile in return seemed almost lukewarm. That was one thing about Salazar that unnerved Bess slightly. She had never seen Salazar give a genuine, heartfelt smile. His grins were always fleeting and fake and lingered for no longer than a moment before disappearing into the concerned expression he usually wore.

 

“Me too,” Bess said gently, “it’s always been so strange, it’s like we were made for each other.” Salazar nodded slowly in agreement and then leant in and kissed Bess on the cheek. He looked drowned in thought as he usually did, a line drawn on his forehead. Bess suddenly realised she did not actually realise where they were going, or what the plan was, so she looked at Salazar, to see if he would automatically tell her by her gaze.

 

“The plan,” he said cautiously, “is for us to be married tonight in the church at Hampton. It’s already been arranged by myself and the priest. Then we’ll spend the night in the local inn until tomorrow morning we will return, well, a say we, I mean you.” Bess opened her eyes in shock. Was Salazar really expecting her to return to Guy’s house alone? For a moment Bess believed he had gone insane but then he said simply, “I am not mad Bess; I just think it would be better that you went home first and told Sir Guy what has happened. He would not do anything to you. Once you have persuaded him that it was all in our best interests come and collect me from Hampton, and we will ride home in triumph.”

 

“But what if it all goes wrong!” squawked Bess, pulling Salazar to a firm stop. He had an amused smile on his face. It was almost condescending. That was something else about Salazar, he always seemed to think himself superior and everyone else was beneath him. But Bess did not mind. Flaws could only be expected in a marital partner and she loved the good aspects of his personality more than she hated the bad.

 

“Bess,” he said tenderly, wrapping her in his strong arms, “It won’t go wrong. And even if Sir Guy does not agree to the plan you can just sneak out and come back to Hampton. We could go anywhere!” He paused for a moment, breathing slowly and gazing at Bess in amusement, “and anyway, it better go alright because I’m not disposed to being hacked to death by Sir Guy’s sword.” Bess gasped in horror but Salazar laughed, “don’t be so overdramatic.”

 

He kissed her gently and Bess responded, putting her arms around his neck. She did not know why but she loved Salazar whole heartedly and was glad they were getting married. She could not think of anyone else who she loved more in the whole world. When they broke apart, Salazar muttered, “Come on then, let’s go get married.”

 

 

 

 

 










 

The voices whispered malevolently wherever he went. Sometimes they were sickly sweet like honey, telling him everything he wanted to hear. They said his people loved him; they thought him saintly and brave. He slew the witches and saved his people from the pestilence that had swept his territory. Sometimes they spoke to him like a thousand lovers, each one a crisp clear memory of and adolescent Caris and the happy days they spent together. More regularly, however, they were urgent paranoid whispers filled with dark thoughts that gnawed at his soul.

 

“You know it wasn’t Caris who needed to die,” they whispered, their voices coming from every direction, their invisible hands on his body. “Caris was innocent as a saint as she professed.” The guilt inside him bubbled through him, making his large muscles tense. “It was her executioner. Giles Slytherin signed her death warrant with his words. He must pay.” It was only then that he realised he was holding a sword. It glimmered brightly in the firelight and it seemed to burn as if it was the time to act. Now was the time to act.

 

“He’s a witch,” spat the voice, growing louder and making him tremble, “you’ve known it for years but have refused to believe it. He is the one bringing plague and death to this town! You must act before he kills others like he killed the saintly Caris!” His legs grew strong and lifted him off the old wooden chair. They hit the floorboards as he walked, sending clouds of dust up into the air with each step. Now he was finishing what he should have done years ago. He was going to avenge Caris’ murder.

 

His feet carried him along the familiar path without instruction. Giles’ house sat illuminated with a warm glow. He assumed that inside would be Giles’ family, maybe a servant or two. They were all guilty because their master was. If he was a witch, so was his wife and son and the world would not be safe until they were wiped from the earth. His heart hammered in his chest. He could feel this was what he was meant to do with his life. It was his destiny, his spiritual calling, what he had been placed on earth to do.

 

The servant who answered the door fell without a noise when the sword passed through her body. She was nameless, her pretty face lifeless forever more. She served Giles, and therefore she was the devil’s servant. He walked on, up the stairs onto the first landing and silence the second made, trying to stop her infuriating screaming. The door to his left swung open to reveal Giles’ wife in her nightgown, a terrified look on her worn face.

 

“What are you doing?” she screamed, a stick of wood in her hand. However, she did not have time to use her powers as he silenced her also with a deafening slice of his sword. She fell, just like the maids had, with no more grace or manner. She was a witch and deserved nothing more. She was making people sick with her powers and it disgusted him.

 

“Matilda!” came the loud, masculine voice that signalled the arrival of Giles, “was that you screaming?” He had exited his study just the floor below, his heavy feet making loud noises as he walked. Shrinking back into the shadows, the assailant remained absolutely silent. He did not give the woman’s body lying at his feet a moment’s notice. He briefly recalled thinking Giles’ wife a local beauty, but now, there was nothing but darkness for her in his heart.

 

“Matilda!” came Giles’ voice again as he bolted up the stairs. It would not be long now before he saw the body with her dead face. It would not be long before he saw who had done the deed. He appeared at the top of the stairs, looking tired, his hair greying, his eyes lined. Briefly, thoughts passed through his head that Giles’ had at least once, a long time ago, been a good man. His eyes fixed on the body and the assailant thought he saw emotion in those grey eyes, but he banished the thought from his mind. Giles’ could never love. He could only calculate, scheme and bide his time for the perfect moment to take ultimate power.

 

“Guy,” Giles said, his voice hoarse, “why?” Guy stepped from the shadows, a nasty grin on his face. The voices roared in his ears, ordering him to end Giles’ life just as he had the three women. Guy could not speak for a moment. He didn’t know whether he should give Giles an answer to his question. But in his heart, he knew the man did not deserve it. Glowering at him, Guy began to speak against his better judgement, “you’ve been plotting against me for years and years. You are a witch; it was you who brought the pestilence here in an attempt to usurp me!” The way in which Giles responded troubled Guy, he let out a laugh which melted into angry tears.

 

“I’ve served you devotedly for years and how do you repay me?” With that, Giles drew out a similar wooden stick to the one that his wife had possessed. Pointing it at Guy he muttered as strange word and suddenly a beam of ice erupted from the tip of the stick. Guy leapt out the way as a hard, frozen layer appeared on the wall behind him where he had just been standing. Then Guy reacted without thought, it was basic, raw instinct. Using his sword like a spear he threw it expertly and it landed on its target. It pierced Giles right through the centre of his chest and he toppled backwards, down the stairs with great thumps and landed in a cluttered heap at the bottom.

 

His work was done.

 

 

 

 

 










 

The next morning passed for Bess like a dreamy haze. She was a married woman, with a ring on her finger and a contented smile on her face to prove it. Salazar had also presented her with something that was his own work. It was a golden locket, ornately decorated with a letter “S” that twirled like a snake. Bess did not know why but Salazar had always had an affinity with snakes. Because of the love that had been poured into the locket, Bess treasured it and kept gazing down at it bouncing merrily against her chest as she moved.

 

Despite the fact that she was a newly married woman, she walked alone through the forest. The plan had to be carried out to the letter for it to work so Bess was alone and heading straight for Salazar’s house. There she would inform Salazar’ parents of the marriage and she hoped they would then help her launch a two pronged attack against Sir Guy. With pressure from both Giles and Bess herself, he could not fail to agree to the marriage.

 

As Bess neared the town, she suddenly realised there was a great deal of noise coming from her home. There were people screaming and Bess swore she could hear sobbing. There were also rousing cheers and vicious roars of approval. She picked up her pace, her feet cracking twigs as she began to jog towards the noise. Soon she had broken out of the woods and into the outskirts of the town and she was met with a shock. The front doors of the farm labourer’s cottages swung open, revealing their empty insides. The people had left their homes, so something extraordinary was bound to be happening.

 

However, Bess chose this moment to push her curiosity aside. She had to go and find the Slytherin’s and inform them of their son’s marriage. Taking the routes through the outskirts, Bess soon found herself outside the Slytherin’s home and something immediately struck her as not right. The flickering light of the candles shone through the windows; nobody used candles when there was perfectly good light to be had. Candles cost money and even affluent families like the Slytherin’s could not afford to burn candles all day. Slowly walking up the front path, she saw the front door casually ajar, just like the rest of the houses. Marching forward, Bess pulled open the door and screamed when she saw what was in front of her. One of the serving girls was lying lifeless in a pool of blood. Her eyes were open and her expression was vacant. Clearly the girl was dead.

 

Fear coursed through Bess’ body as she pushed into the house and immediately saw the body of yet another servant, and to her horror, Giles. He lay across the bottom few stairs of the staircase, his face pressed into the corner of step. There was a gaping hole in the middle of his chest that had clearly been seeping blood. It was all over the bottom of the stairs, across the strip of material that ran down the stone steps. There was also a line of blood running down one side of his face where his head had been cracked against the steps. Bess ran close to him and rolled him over, seeing his dead face for the first time. Clasping her hand to her mouth, Bess began to sob, the tears rolling down her cheeks. With one hand she closed his eyes, as she thought of the obviously violent death that had befallen him. It was disgusting what had had happened and Bess moved on up the stairs. Upstairs, she saw that the same fate had met Matilda and she repeated the ritual of closing her eyes.

 

Bess suddenly knew what she had to do. She had to leave, right that moment, and never return to the town she grew up in. Guy had completed his descent into insanity and Bess knew she would never be safe or happy while he was able to release his angry fury on anyone he felt like. Pivoting on the spot, Bess ran down the stone stairs and out of the front door into the early morning light. Crashing to a stop, she saw someone standing resolutely at the end of the path. It was Guy.

 

“Bess,” he said hoarsely, lumbering his heavy body towards her, “where have you been? I’ve avenged your mother’s death. Giles and Matilda are gone. You have nothing to worry about ever again.” Bess blinked at his words. Surely he did not believe what he was doing was helping her? Shaking with fury and anger she stepped forward wiping the heavy tears out of her eyes with one brush of her hand.

 

“You are the most despicable man I have ever met!” she shouted venomously, “you are heartless and do not care whose life you ruin or who you maim and kill. Giles was your loyal friend for years and you betrayed him. I know it was you who killed him! He did not deserve that and you did not deserve him as a friend!” Guy looked simply livid, but as he stepped forward brandishing his sword in front of him, Salazar appeared behind him looking absolutely horror struck.

 

 

 

 

 










 

He had had a change of heart. He could not leave Bess this mammoth task when it was their joint responsibility. Gazing at them, Salazar saw Bess leap into action. Her face was pale and wet with tears but it was alight with anger. Pointing one accusatory finger at Guy she bellowed, “he killed them! He killed Giles and Matilda!”

 

Salazar’s heart stopped. It was as if he couldn’t breathe anymore. His parents were dead. For so many years he had believed them almost indestructible, unable to be hurt by anything. He had almost believed they were immortal. Suddenly the sadness that had possessed him switched to unadulterated hate. Without thinking, he lifted his hands up towards Guy, his palms facing his worst enemy. Great jets of water sprung from his hands and Guy was pushed back, almost knocking into Bess who managed to slip out of the way.

 

Guy was on his back but he still shouted, “So, you are just like your parents! You are a witch! You deserve to die!” He groggily lifted up, but Bess was quick and she jumped onto Guy’s back, desperately trying to pull him away from Salazar. She was screaming and had one hand in his hair, pulling as wildly as she could.

 

“Get away from him!” she shouted, but Guy had evidently had enough. It was at this moment that several of Guy’s well trained guards lumbered into view. Each had obviously heard Bess’ screaming and soon they were surrounding Salazar. With a quick twist of Guy’s hand, the signal was made and Salazar felt the burly arms of the soldiers holding him back. With Salazar incapacitated, it left Guy to turn around and face Bess. He looked simply livid; his eyes burning with such anger that Salazar had never seen the likes of.

 

“Bess!” he shouted, pointing one finger at her wildly, “I’ve given you chance after chance but you

torment me still! You are just like your mother! She was a devil’s disciple as well! I will not rest until every one of you is wiped from this town forever!” Salazar desperately struggled against his captors, but to no avail, their grip was too strong.

 

What happened next happened in slow motion for Salazar. Guy lifted his sword above his head enabling it to gleam in the early light. It sank down under the weight of Guy’s forcefulness and with his master looking vengeful and angry, the sword swept through the air, coming straight down through Bess. She whimpered in pain for a brief moment, and Guy withdrew his sword, leaving Bess as yet another corpse that lay in his wake.

 

The feeling that followed altered Salazar’s life forever. It was as if his body was being ripped in half. Fire burnt his bones and he screamed in agony as he collapsed, only the guards hands keeping him upright. He vision became blurred and all he could see was the gleam of the sword stained with fresh blood. The pain was intense, but brief, for when he found his energy again everything was different. He no longer felt sympathy or remorse for this cowardly man or anybody for that matter. He roared in fury at which the guards leapt away as if they had been scolded by hot water.

 

“My hands!” screamed one as he showed his burnt hands to his comrades, “he’s the devil!” At those words Salazar turned to them, his anger destroying all judgement and reason. He lifted his hands, and as if he was possessed he muttered ancient dark words, “Avada Kedavra”. The men fell like stones in a pond and none of them moved. Salazar had no thought as he turned to Guy who still stood beside Bess’ destroyed body.

 

“Mercy!” shouted Guy, his once handsome face filled with terror. Salazar could see in his face what he felt. Part of him was terrified as he felt the final judgement would be made, part of him was furious that he had lost and part of him felt as if everything had come full circle and this was the natural way for it to end. Lifting one hand, Salazar caused Guy’s sword to clatter away from him into the grass, and the man who had always been such a great threat looked even more terrified.

 

“What?” chuckled Salazar cruelly, “like the mercy you gave to Bess, Caris and my mother and father? I don’t think so.” He stepped forward and lifted his hand up as if to strike the man standing in front of him. As the hand swung across Guy, a vicious line of blood appeared across Guy’s neck. He was not allowed to scream before death, and he fell like a ragdoll onto the floor, lifeless and unable to hurt anyone again.

 

Salazar thought no more of Guy and he stepped over him, running instead to Bess’ body. When he saw her, he did not feel sad as he expected, but terribly angry. He leant forward and gently kissed her forehead, closing her eyes with one hand. She was not yet two and twenty, but her life was gone. He looked at the locket he had made her, and tugging at it, he removed it from her neck. It was an insult to her to leave something that held so much happiness and joy, on a corpse.

 

Salazar stood up and marched away, vowing to himself not to look at anything else. Never again would he lay eyes on this town or its people as he was going to flee. He did not know where he would go, he did not think there was anywhere in the world that would be able to heal his wounds. Stalking away, a part of him knew he was leaving something behind, for the day that Bess died, so did everything within Salazar that was human.

 

 

 

 









Thanks for being patient, severe writers block! Please read and review. Next Time...the Sickening causes havoc in the Black's Castle and there are devestating consequences for Rowena and Godric's blossoming relationship...
 
 
 


Chapter 12: The Sickening
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The Sickening



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Through the weeks leading up to Rowena’s wedding, the Princess spent more and more time with Godric. Although her life was extremely busy, on befitting an Alban Princess, she found herself time to spend in his company. Between tending to her father who was becoming very weak, discussing the way forward to tackle the Sickening with her mother, tending to patients with Helga in the Great Hall and applying herself to her usual studies, she managed to go out with him thanks to a rather nifty piece of magic she had discovered and taught the very able Godric.

 

She had named it Apparition and basically the person had to close their eyes and picture the place they wanted to be and they would appear there. Rowena had been very impressed as it had only taken one lesson for Godric to master the skill. In truth, Rowena could not find fault with Godric. She had always been highly selective with men, but with Godric it was very different. She knew he had flaws, he had a quick temper, he could be a little vain and boastful and spent far too much time polishing him armour, but she loved him for it.

 

One day she and Godric had appeared outside the city walls in a glade in the forest. Rowena had discovered it when she was a child and had only ever shown it to Helga and Cadmus before. There was a high rocky ledge which fell dramatically into a clear pool of water and it was surrounded by blooming flowers and Rowena felt secret and safe there, a way she felt nowhere else. It was extremely secluded and she felt she could be entirely at peace here. That was why she showed it to Godric.

 

“It’s beautiful,” he said as he gazed across the picturesque scene, “we’ve got nothing like this in Svalbard, it’s all icy and barren. While the ice can be breathtaking, it is not as vibrant and alive as this.” His eyes seemed to glow slightly as he gazed around, and Rowena could not help but adore him. Suddenly, a mischievous grin appeared across his handsome face and he bounded towards the pool, ripping off his tunic as he went. Rowena could not help but stare.

 

His body was perfect. Every muscle was bulging and defined, his taut skin making him appear impressive and strong. His complexion was fairly tanned, giving him a healthy appearance and his red hair burst in undisciplined curls across his chest. He climbed up the steep precipice and when he reached the top, majestically threw himself off the top and into the pool, making a deafening splash as he hit the water.

 

Rowena could not help but splutter with laughter as he broke the surface sending ripples across the pool. His face broke into a boyish grin as he called, “Rowena, fancy joining me?” Rowena blushed instantly, and he noticed instantly and shouted, “it’s not too hot! It will cool down that red face of yours.” Rowena shook her head. She felt embarrassed and nervous around him. He seemed so exciting, so willing to be daring and adventurous, able to follow the slightest whim without a qualm. Sensible Rowena was bound by her own strict rules.

 

“Godric,” she mumbled, “you’ve got to be joking. I’ll be soaked!” Godric shook his head, rolling him eyes. Almost ignoring her last answer, he held out one hand that tantalisingly invited her into the pool beside him. Rowena suddenly knew she couldn’t say no to him. Pulling her hair out of its tight bun and kicking off her shoes, she skipped towards the pool. Her toes went in first and she realised how icy cold it was.

 

“Godric!” she said mockingly, “you said it was fairly warm!” Then he gave her one of those dazzling smiles that left her slightly weak at the knees. The euphoria that came over her when he gave her that simple smile was more than anything she had ever felt in her life before.

 

“I’ll keep you warm,” he smiled, extending his hand towards her again. She moved deeper into the pool, her dress billowing out behind her as she glided towards him, not thinking about anything other than the present moment. Soon she was standing right near him, close enough to take his hand. When her fingers curled around his palm a shiver ran up her spine. He moved her towards him, close enough that she could reach out and touch his skin.

 

“What do we do now?” she asked sheepishly, the question sounding foolish the second she had said it. But then he let go of her hand and extended his long muscular arms round her waist and pulled her close. She could feel the strength of his rippling muscles against her chest and his breath on her face. Rowena knew she should kiss him, but she didn’t for a moment. She didn’t know whether it was apprehension, or something else.

 

“Is this what you want?” he asked, a sense of confusion in his green eyes. Rowena nodded instantly, and this allowed them to move closer. Her heart was racing, and she could hear his beating loudly in his chest like a drum. When she felt his lips on hers she felt like she was going to explode with happiness. She had never realised how lonely and cold she had felt until that moment. She tightened her grip on him, fearing letting him go, afraid she would lose this ecstatic feeling inside her.

 

She ran her fingers through his hair and closed her eyes taking in everything. She knew she loved him so much and she wanted to cry for all the emotion. His body surrounded her, making her feel warm and protected. From that moment onwards, Rowena vowed to herself that she would never let Godric go.

 

 








 

It felt so dark. Even though light streamed through every window, bouncing off countless polished gold objects, it seemed that darkness would swallow them all up. Queen Emma couldn’t help but feel this way. Soon it would be the end of everything; years of scheming and dreaming gone. It was dwindling as the light disappeared from his dull eyes.

 

Emma hadn’t been able to look at her husband for several days. It was too painful to see him that way. She remembered him as a sunny and lively man who had roamed under her tower every day. How could she have been expected to resist his charms? How could she have been able to not fall in love with him? How could she have been able to stop herself getting rid of their infernal wench?

 

That was why she was heading towards his room. Not to one of the crowded halls filled with people dead and dying from the Sickening. She loved him, more than she had ever loved her country or her duty and was now going to fill her obligation to him. It would be a nice surprise for him too. Rearranging her ostentatious tiara on her head, she pushed open the door of the little room.

 

Bevan was sitting bolt upright in his bed, his hands clasping sheets and sheets of parchment. They were old and faded and heavy with writing. For the past few days he had been pale behind the marks of the Sickening, but he looked more alive in that moment than he had for months. The second he noticed his wife at the door the colour drained from his face as he looked back to his letters.

 

“Who are they from?” asked Emma concernedly. For a moment he looked worried, but then something changed in him. It was as if he had just had an epiphany that he had been waiting years for. Sticking his hand out firmly, the top letter still in his sweaty hand, he made a motion indicating for Emma to read. Taking it slowly, she noticed the ink was smudged in some places, as if someone had been crying over it.

 

Dear Bevan,

                        I have no time to beg you sweetly and courteously anymore. Tomorrow you marry Emma and I beg you not to. I know you too well just as I have loved you too well. She is not right for you. How can you claim you love her when I know it is me you love?

                        If not for me then for yourself. Do not marry her. I do not see you happy as the King Consort of Alba.

 

            From your former beloved,

                        Diane

 

Emma could barely contain her horror. That woman, who had been haunting her darkness nightmares her whole marriage, who had been dead for years, was back. Her name stated boldly in the faded ink made Emma feel sick to the stomach, but she kept her face neutral and tried to slow her rapidly beating heart.

 

“What’s this?” asked Emma in fake light hearted way. Bevan let out a low, chilling laugh that sent shivers up Emma’s spine; she had never heard him like that. He sounded miserable, angry and vengeful all at the same time. His tired face contorted into a look of pure unadulterated anger. Lifting himself from his pillow he stared at Emma, seemingly with every negative emotion he had felt in the last twenty years.

 

“You know,” he said spitefully, “I remember Diane. I loved her so much. I loved her more than anything. We were going to get married and be happy together. We wanted seven children and a hunting retreat. Diane would have come to court regularly, visiting her friends and fulfilling her duties. I would have run our estate and visited your father the king when he needed me. But you ruined all that.” Emma could not stand it. She was used to the dazed look of love in his eyes, not this look of hate. It was breaking her heart.

 

“Bevan my love,” said Emma, unable to prevent the tears springing to her sparkling eyes, “I don’t know what you are saying! You fell in love with me; I don’t know what I was meant to do!” Despite his illness, he raised his voice and began to shout, his face going red with fury and Emma could not help but recoil slightly. He was like a demon that the Christians preached about, ready and willing to drag her straight to hell for her sins.

 

“Your diadem!” he said, pointing at the diamond tiara balancing on her greying hair, “it bewitched me! I never loved you Emma! I was in love with the image of you that that thing projected. And because of it I left Diane, and she died miserable because I refused to see her! She died of a broken heart and it is entirely your fault.” He began to sob with the pain of a lost love, totally oblivious to the fact that Emma felt exactly the same.

 

Violently coughing, Bevan’s face grew crimsoned as he began to choke and splutter. “Calm yourself!” sobbed Emma, laying him back on his pillow and running one hand through his dark hair. She poured him a flagon of water from the canter on the side and forced him to drink it. The water dribbled down his chin as he drank, Emma hated to admit it but he was so very weak. Soon his condition had reduced to wracked breathing and he stared heartlessly at his wife, a slight sneer developing on his lips.

 

“I’ve known for years what you have done. But I stayed for Rowena. However much I despise you for what you have done, I will always love her ardently and I will never be able to stop that.” Emma sobbed her body shaking violently as she stared at her husband. He had only stayed with her for that excuse of a daughter? Jealousy of Rowena sprung up inside her contorted heart as she let the tears come.

 

“Why wait all this time?” she said, her mind swimming with her angry thoughts of her husband’s two great loves, Lady Diane and Rowena. She could barely see his face as her eyes were full of blurry tears, but she tried to keep her eyes on him, fearful if she turned away she would betray a sign of weakness and prove to him that she was guilty to the crimes he was accusing her of.

 

“I’m to die today,” he said resolutely, “and I did not want to ruin Rowena’s world before that.” Despite everything, Emma could not help but love him as much as she had always done. She wiped her eyes with one hand so she could see him clearly again. It only then registered that she had never seen him look so weak.

 

“I’m so sorry Bevan,” she said shakily, “but I love you so very much.” He closed his eyes for a moment and she took his hand. “Even though I may not have been the person you wanted to keep vigil over you tonight, please let me.” He gave a small nod as he laid back into the cushions of the bed, and from that moment Emma knew that Bevan was finally hearing the song of the dead.

 

“I hope you are happy with her,” sobbed Emma, but Bevan could no longer hear her, as he had gone somewhere where Emma would never be able to reach him. “Whatever you thought,” Emma mumbled, “I always loved you.”

 

 

 






 

Cadmus trooped though the pine forest, following the familiar path to Rowena’s glade. He had been sent to find her for some secret reason that he had not been informed of and as Helga was incapacitated treating the scores of sick and dying people in the Great Hall, Cadmus had been given the task of searching for the elusive princess. He had quickly deduced that as Rowena was absent from the castle, she had evidently retreated to her favourite glade in the forest.

 

In truth Cadmus was still slightly angry with Rowena; she could not see that their love was more important than her duty. He loved her passionately with everything he had but she was willing to discard him through fear of her mother’s wrath. He did not believe that she would be happy marrying Harald. He was not particularly attractive and did not seem to have any passions or a mind of his own and was therefore not the man for Rowena.

 

Soon, Cadmus was approaching the glade and he began to move slightly quicker, wanting to talk to Rowena about what she was planning to do before sending her back to the castle. He stumbled forward slightly clumsily and broke through the rough thicket of trees. The scene that was unfolding in front of his misty grey eyes made his heart instantly heart jump to his mouth in utter horror.

 

Godric, Harald’s half brother, stood in the glade, naked from the chest up and soaking wet. In his arms was Rowena, her arms wrapped tightly around his neck as Godric pulled her close to him and they were kissing passionately. In Cadmus’ mind they looked like two horrific monsters, slowly devouring each other as he watched helplessly at the side. Boiling rage overtook Cadmus as he gazed at them, each of them utterly oblivious to his presence. Godric was obviously forcing himself on the defenceless Rowena in a moment of quiet solitude.

 

“How dare you!” thundered Cadmus, launching himself towards Godric. His arms outstretched, Cadmus propelled himself into Godric sending both men tumbling to the ground. Leaping up, Cadmus withdrew his wand from his belt and yelled, “Finite Incantatum!” While Godric managed to spin out of the way, the spell nearly hit Rowena who screamed before leaping back to a safer distance.

 

Godric however had spun round unusually quickly and did something that Cadmus had not expected. Godric lifted one hand and swiped it down across his foe’s body, forcing Cadmus to be pushed back by some invisible force and crash into the ground with a resounding crash. Jumping up again, Cadmus lifted his wand and swiped it diagonally, making a huge bloody gash appear across Godric’s chest. Cadmus’ foe let out an angry roar like a lion before leaping towards Cadmus and punching him squarely in the jaw, his large fingers feeling like coils of tough rope as they sunk into Cadmus’ skin. The force of the punch sent them both crashing to the floor again and for the second time Godric pulled back his fist ready to strike, but Rowena stopped them by outstretching her long arms.

 

“Please,” she shouted, “there is no need for this!” Both of them stopped out of affection and respect for Rowena. Godric stood up and marched over to her, his face angry and red. Cadmus was quicker, and managed to dart between the two, holding his arms out protectively in front of Rowena, preventing Godric from stepping any closer to her and attacking her again.

 

“Don’t you dare touch her!” bellowed Cadmus, spit flying as he pronounced the words, “she is having a bad enough time already without you attacking her.” Godric’s nostrils flared as he bore down on Cadmus. He looked more like a lion than ever with his mane of red hair and his angry green eyes. Cadmus thought Godric looked terrifying, but he stood resolutely in his protection of Rowena.

 

“You don’t know anything you stupid little boy,” spat Godric, looking at Cadmus bitterly with a sense of rage and smugness. His green eyes were violently angry, and it was only at that moment that Cadmus even considered the consequences of his actions. It was at this moment that Rowena deigned to intervene in the fight between two men who had played such important roles in her young life. Pushing Cadmus gently to the side, she stared at the two men angrily.

 

“Just stop it both of you!” she thundered, “you are acting like children!” Cadmus flushed a nasty red as he registered what she was saying. He spluttered for a moment, totally confused. Was she saying he was as bad as Godric?

 

“What are you talking about Rowena?” Cadmus said desperately. “He’s obviously jumped on you here in the woods, and I just wanted to stop him!” It was at this moment that Godric let out a loud laugh, almost like a roar. He grabbed his sides as if to prevent the hilarity that was over taking him.

 

“You think I was attacking her?” Godric laughed, “you really are stupid if you think that wasn’t consensual!” It was at the sight of Godric’s gloating face that Cadmus saw red. Without even thinking he lifted his fist and punch Godric straight in his hard, masculine jaw. The Svalbardian was propelled back slightly by the sheer force of the punch, but he rebounded and stared angrily at Cadmus, who was cradling his aching hand. It was as if he were indestructible.

 

“Stop it!” thundered Rowena melodramatically, “what do you want Cadmus?” She was moving towards Godric and to Cadmus’ horror; she took his hand and stared at him defiantly. He swallowed heavily; he could barely breathe. She was breaking his heart standing there, throwing everything they had ever felt for each other back in his face. Those years of loyal friendship, those awkward moments when they began to like each other and those secret times they spent in each other’s arms were washed away by that subtle moment.

 

“You are wanted back at the castle,” he said, his voice cracking as he said it. He could barely look at her. She had stabbed him straight in the heart, and she did not even appear sorry about it. Rowena nodded and then bade Godric goodbye, with a lingering kiss on his lips. Cadmus wanted to cry, to stop himself he turned away and began to march back into the forest. He did not care whether she followed. He did not care whether both of them were attacked by werewolves. He hadn’t won her heart and he felt like his whole world was crashing down into pieces around him.

 

 

 






 

Emma had kept a vigil by his bedside. She did not let anyone speak in the room. The Ladies and Gentlemen of the court were in attendance to bid farewell to a truly noble king and warrior. Their faces were painted with grief and she imagined they felt joined with their Queen in sorrow. But they were not, because nobody could feel the pain of loss acutely as Emma did, because nobody had loved Bevan as well as she did. Emma could barely believe it. Bevan was dead, she was alone and he had died knowing her shameful secret.

 

He was still handsome even though his face had acquired that familiar deathly veneer. She had seen it on her own parents many years ago and part of her had always hoped she would succumb to death before Bevan so she would never have to see him like this. She had never wished to feel a pain like this and was convinced that it would never leave her.

 

The door opened with a loud crash revealing the crazed looking Princess Rowena. Her usually beautiful face was awash with tears as she sped towards the bed, her ebony hair whipping around her face. On reaching the bed she collapsed into a bout of distraught sobs at her father’s side, her slender body shaking with noisy tears. They were not needed adolescent tears; if she was truly in pain she would be silent. The dead do not scream. Emma knew she should put out a hand to console her daughter, but she couldn’t.

 

The truth was Emma was quivering with hate. The whole point of Rowena’s birth and life was to prove to Bevan what a loving and perfect wife her mother was.          But her daughter had failed. If anything, Rowena had stolen Bevan’s attention and love. Bevan had clearly always loved his daughter more than anything, even more than Diane and definitely more that Queen Emma. And that was why Emma hated Rowena with every fibre of her being.

 

The spite and grief that was welling up inside her erupted as she said viciously, “Your father’s last wish was that you were to be married within the week.” Rowena’s mouth dropped open in shock. Emma knew she had stunned her too smart for her own good daughter into silence for once. Knowing full well how miserable Rowena would be married to that dullard Harald, Emma thought it would be the perfect revenge on the person who had held so much of Bevan’s desired love. Since she had had so much paternal love, why did she deserve love from her husband?

 

“But mother,” stammered Rowena, her flushed face going paler by the second. Emma shushed her daughter by raising one delicate hand. Trying to hide a vengeful smile from her aging face she said calmly, “I will discuss with the Jarl tomorrow morning. I will not let my husband’s last wish be passed over and if you were a dutiful daughter and Princess of Alba you would not let it pass either.”

 

Emma could see Rowena’s distress. The wench would be miserable. Harald was boring and stupid, a wonderful punishment for the headstrong Rowena. It was almost amusing how easy the revenge was. If only the Lady Diane was still alive, she would suffer a fate far worse than Rowena’s. Rowena gave a small smile, it was as if she was analysing her life thoroughly, weighing up the effects of fighting or remaining docile.

 

“My duty,” Rowena whispered, not quite meeting her mother’s eyes “is the most important thing in the world. I must marry Harald,” she seemed to choke on those words, “and we must rule Alba and Svalbard together. I am no longer a child, and I must forget everything from these days when I was free.” After these words Rowena dissolved into a fresh bout of tears. Emma smiled, her revenge would be complete.

 

 






Hi everyone, I'm sorry its been so long...I've been away. Anyway, I know this chapter was a bit of a filler but some things needed to be done to explain what happens in the next chapter. Hope you enjoyed it, please review! Next Time...Rowena must make a heartbreaking decision as she must choose between her duty and Godric...
 


Chapter 13: The End of the World
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The End of the World



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On the eve of Rowena’s marriage to Harald, Helga remained silent. She could not stand to see her old friend like this. Rowena was being internally tortured. On the one hand, her father, who she had loved more than anything, had commanded her to marry Harald within a week in his dying breath. On the other hand, was Godric. Helga could see by the way Rowena looked at him how much she loved him. Her eyes had a smouldering, intense look, but at the same time they were sparkling with happiness. Helga had never seen Rowena like that.

 

Helga dared not speak to Rowena, even though they were totally alone sitting side by side in a room in Rowena’s private quarters. Rowena had a spell book rested precariously on her lap, but she wasn’t reading it, instead using half remembered spells with a flick of her wrist. Helga was busy darning one of Rowena’s stockings, not noticing as Rowena sent quills floating around the room.

 

“Helga,” whispered Rowena, her usually silky voice sounding rough and croaky, “have there been any visitors for me?” Helga could only manage to give a little shake of the head. Rowena looked like she was about to burst into tears. Unable to find any words to say, Helga tried to show her sympathy by getting up, kneeling in front of Rowena and taking her hands in hers.

 

“Helga!” Rowena sobbed her defences, so well maintained over all the years that Helga had know her, were shattered before Helga’s eyes. “What do I do? I want to do what’s right by my father, by the promises I’ve made and by my country, but I don’t think I can bring myself to do it while I know that I could have Godric. But if I pick Godric, what happens? We run away from Alba, are relentlessly pursued by my mother’s men until one day they catch us and I’m right back at square one.” She paused for a moment and then tightened her grip on Helga’s fingers, “Helga, what do I do?”

 

Helga wanted to say something insightful, something that would release Rowena from her predicament, and something that would help her. “I don’t know what to say,” stammered Helga feeling totally hopeless, “you have to make this decision for yourself, I am afraid I can’t help you Rowena.” The Princess continued to cry before saying, “thank you Helga but I think I need to be alone.”

 

Nodding, Helga lifted herself up and left Rowena’s quarters and quickly making her way to her own rooms. She hadn’t realised how tired she was until that moment, so was not entirely focussed as she flew down a corridor, rounded a corner and crashed straight into a very solid human. Falling back with a resounding thump, Helga began apologizing profusely until she saw who it was.

 

Guillaume Malfoy had a triumphant look on his face. He had been trying to get Helga on her own since he had arrived here, and instantly took it upon himself to save the “damsel in distress”. Lifting her by her waist, Guillaume pulled Helga towards him and gave her what he obviously thought was a seductive smile.

 

“You look ravishing,” he purred. Helga put one hand on his chest to keep herself at a distance. Guillaume Malfoy made her feel slightly sick, but he was an ambassador, and she was nothing more than one of the Princess’ ladies. There was no way she could refuse him if he made the transition from attempted seduction to making his attentions known.

 

“Thank you Monsieur Malfoy,” said Helga as politely as she could. He smiled at her again, taking one hand and running it through her hair, twisting the loose ringlets round his fingers. Helga wanted nothing more than to curse him into oblivion. He did not know what a talented witch she was, she could easily take him on in a duel.

 

“I don’t know why you are content wandering round in those rags,” he said condescendingly, eyeing her up and down. Helga felt herself getting irritated. She had saved her wages for a year to buy this dress; it was the best silk that she could buy. It was true she did not have the financial reserves like someone like Rowena, but Helga thought she still looked fairly presentable.

 

“If you would let me,” Guillaume started moving closer and closer, “I would buy you all the jewels in the world.” It was at this moment that he kissed Helga. She tried desperately not to flinch, if she angered the ambassador, there was nothing that she could do to stop him. When he broke away he said slyly, “will you let me?”

 

“But,” Helga stammered, “you have a wife back home! It would feel wrong!” Guillaume’s nostrils flared for a moment, but then said angrily, “all men have mistresses. You would be mine.” Helga was totally lost for words. She wanted to do nothing more than slap him in the face, but she knew she couldn’t; she would lose her position in the castle or worse.

 

Suddenly a little squeaky voice blurted out, “Master Malfoy, sir, a messenger is here with a letter from your wife, the Lady Heloise.” The voice had come from a little elf with large pointy ears and orb like eyes who had popped up behind Malfoy. Guillaume turned round to face the little elf, finally relinquishing Helga from his strong grasp.

 

“Can’t you see I’m busy!” he bellowed, kicking the elf brutally with his boot. Helga grabbed his arm to try to pull him off but he flicked her off with one shake of his shoulder. Before saying anything more, he kicked the little elf again who let out a little squeak. “Get out of my sight unless it’s something important!”

 

“But it is something important!” trembled the little elf as he received another kick, “your lady wife has written to tell you that, with your permission, she longs to stay with you!” At these words, Guillaume went a violent shade of crimson as he kicked the elf repeatedly, “why have you been reading my letters?”

 

“I can’t read sir!” squawked the elf in pain, “it is only that the messenger told me that I know the contents!” It was at this point that Helga managed to pull Guillaume back and soothe him enough to agree to go and attend to his wife’s letter. He gave Helga another supposed alluring smile before kissing her hand.

 

“I’ll get rid of that wench my love,” he cooed, “so you and I can spend lots of quality time together in the future.” All Helga could bring herself to do was to give him a curt nod before he turned away, disappearing down the passage and into the night. After he had gone, Helga immediately dropped down to tend to the little elf, who had just picked itself up.

 

“Are you alright?” Helga asked kindly. The reaction that she got was not one she had expected. The little elf’s eyes opened as wide as they could possibly go and he clapped his tiny hands over his mouth. Helga looked at him bemusedly; she had never seen an elf up close before. She knew they worked in the kitchens of the castle, but one never saw them.

 

“Are you talking to me?” squeaked the elf, clearly terrified as he peered around the corridor, checked for the return of his awful master. Helga was a bit shocked. The elf looked frightened out of his life and deeply surprised that this unknown lady had decided to talk to him.

 

“Yes,” said Helga, a little confused at what to say next. She decided to go for the friendly approach and so stuck out a hand and said cheerily, “I am Helga Smith, who are you?” The elf gulped so hard that Helga saw his Adam’s apple bob up and down in his throat.

 

“Hogwarts,” said the little elf, “my name’s Hogwarts. And a witch has never been so kind to Hogwarts as you has my lady.” Helga smiled at Hogwarts and he smiled back. She knew she would never be able to understand why Guillaume was so cruel.

 

 

 

 

 









 

Godric managed to leave his quarters without being detected and race across the castle grounds towards Rowena’s tower. He had made up his mind; he could not let Rowena marry Harald without a fight. He knew she would be miserable and he did not want that for her. Even if she did not love him, he could not stand to see her ruin her life and pledge herself to his despicable half-brother.

 

He made his way through the shadows, if he was seen; he would get them both into grave trouble. But at the same time, if he was caught, he felt his heart would burst with pain. Everything would be lost and he would never recover from the loss of Rowena.

 

Soon he was standing at the bottom of her tower. It was a steep vertical drop, and Godric could see the only way up was to sturdy the ivy with magic and climb up it. Pulling out his wand, he quickly solidified the weaving ivy and grabbed hold with both hands. It took less than a minute for the powerful Godric to lift himself to Rowena’s window.

 

Before he went in, he peered over the window ledge, trying to see who was in there. It was just Rowena, perfectly alone. She was wearing her long white night gown, her hair loose and cascading down to her waist. Her head was hung over slightly, engulfing her beautiful face in shadow. But Godric could still see the glistening tears rimming her eyes, and he could hear her quiet sobs. Like the crack of a whip Godric pulled himself up over the window ledge and rolled into Rowena’s room.

 

She jumped from her bed like a spell had just been fired at her. Her midnight blue eyes were wide and shocked, but they looked miserable. It was as if all the inky blackness that kept them alive and sparkling had been washed away with her tears and now she just had a strangely haunted look.

 

“Godric,” she hissed angrily, “what in God’s name are you doing here?” She looked angry now and was staring at him hardly. Suddenly Godric did not know what to say. He was like a blubbering boy but standing in front of the only woman that could ever have such control over his aching heart.

 

“I had to see you,” he said, unable to stop his voice cracking as he said it, “I love you Rowena, and if you can’t understand the way I feel about you then you are not the woman I thought you were.” He paused for a moment, gazing at her with his piercing green eyes, “You don’t love Harald,” he said, desperately trying to make her understand, “If you don’t love me,” he paused as he brought himself to say it, “fine, but you will be miserable with Harald.” He tried to hold her hand, but she flinched away, as if she was trying to control herself.

 

Rowena seemed to shrink slightly as she whined sadly, “it’s not about love or sadness. I am going to marry Harald as it is my duty to my country, my people and my father!” Godric could not help but let out a hoarse laugh at this, “but it could be about love! Your mother and father married for love and it lasted! Why can’t you give us a chance?”

 

Rowena’s tears began to fall again but she had a vindictive look in her eyes as she spat, “because you are the illegitimate son of the Jarl. Your mother was a commoner and...and...” she ran out of power to wound him, and Godric could see she was only trying to put him at a distance, to hurt him and make him run away from their love.

 

She crumpled in on herself as she broke into fresh sobs at which Godric reacted immediately. He moved towards her and placed his strong hands on her shoulders in almost a comforting way. But he could not resist putting his arms around her and they embrace, Rowena sobbing into his chest. “Please don’t cry,” he mumbled kissing the top of her head, “I can’t stand it!”

 

“I love you so much Godric,” she moaned, lifting her head and looking into his eyes, “I just love you so much!” Godric bent forward and kissed her, before breaking apart and saying sincerely, “I love you too.” When they kissed again, Godric knew he would not be leaving that night. At dawn he would be entangled in Rowena’s charms forever.

 

 

 

 

 







 

 

The morning of Rowena and Harald’s wedding was overcast and cloudy, and there was a cold mist encircling Black Castle. When Rowena awoke, she shivered with the cold, so subconsciously moved towards the warm body beside her, wrapping her arms around the hard chest that she could feel beneath her skin. She felt movement, and the steady rate of breathing. She swore she heard a strong heart beat hammering somewhere close to her head.

 

She opened her eyes. Her head was rested on his bare chest and she lifted up and saw Godric contentedly asleep, his breathe coming long and slow. This was the place she wanted to stay forever, in Godric’s arms. This was how it was meant to be between men and women; loving and affectionate, eternally sworn to each other.

 

Then she remembered. She was getting married and to Godric’s brother in several hours time. Her heart hammering, she shot out of her bed and ran over to her night gown, which had been strewn on the floor the previous night. Throwing it over her body, she began to gather up Godric’s clothes and throwing them onto the bed. Godric was stirring, and Rowena turned to him as he lifted himself up, a broad smile on his roguish face.

 

“Good morning,” he said, staring at her with a look of desire, “Come back to bed,” he growled, as he laid back onto the bed. Rowena shook her head sadly, “I can’t, you know I can’t, you have to get out of here!” Fear was rising in her voice that she just couldn’t suppress. Godric sat up again, the sheet falling to reveal his burly chest as he looked at her, surprised.

 

“What, you mean you’re still marrying Harald?” he said incredulously. Rowena could barely look at him as she mumbled, “just put your clothes on Godric.” He wasn’t moving, instead staring at her with disbelief and shock. “Why?” he said, his voice rising in pitch. Rowena could not put it into words for a moment, but she knew she had to.

 

“I made an oath when I was crowned Princess of Alba to serve my country in any way I could. I have to fulfil that oath!” she said shrilling, wiping her eyes nervously, afraid the tears would fall. Still not moving, Godric began gesticulating with his hands as he spoke, “An oath! An oath is just words – brief and soon forgotten! This – this thing between us; its real and its physical. God Rowena! It’s love! You can’t go any higher than love!”

 

“I do love you Godric,” she said, not wanting to lie to him, “I really do – but I can’t run off with you. I can’t marry you! I can’t even be with you anymore as I know what it will lead to.” He looked crestfallen, and Rowena could see his heart was breaking. “Your heart only breaks once, Godric,” she said, repeating an old adage her mother had once told her, “after that, the rest is just scratches.”

 

He looked at her for a moment, before saying slowly, “so is that your final decision?” She nodded, but gazed at him defiantly, realising he deserved an honest answer, “yes,” she gulped. He reacted instantly, pulling on his clothes and jumping out of bed. It was all happening too fast, Rowena just wanted to fall back into bed with him.

 

“I hope you can respect me for my decision,” Rowena said almost professionally as he made his way towards the door. He turned back, his eyes locking onto hers, “no, I hate you for it!” he said, pained. Rowena knew he wasn’t telling the truth, he only wanted to hurt her, but the compassion in his voice was all too clear.

 

“Goodbye Godric,” she whispered, as he reached the door. He did not turn round this time, and Rowena thought it was in fear of her seeing him cry. “Goodbye Rowena,” he replied, opening the door with a click of the lock and disappearing behind it. Rowena wanted to sob openly, as she realised that she would never be with Godric the way she wanted to be ever again.

 

 

 

 

 









 

Rowena stared at her reflection in the mirror. She thought she looked as if she had been drowned by luxury. Layers of silk hung on her body and they were adorned with sapphires, pearls and diamonds. Her hair had been tightly curled by Helga, and now she was leaving Helga to fuss around with the veil, trying to get it just right before putting it one.

 

Helga wasn’t dressed yet. While the Queen had been forcing countless aristocratic ladies on Rowena to be her bridesmaids, Rowena had defied her mother and Helga was made a bridesmaid. It was her one victory on this otherwise devastating failure of a day. She was forcing herself not to cry, not to spoil everything for everyone with her tears. Anyway, it would do no good.

 

The door swung open revealing The Queen, draped in her most expensive jewels and furs. She looked so artificial, even her face looked dead it was layered with so much lead powder to cover the smallpox scars and her lips lined with red ochre the colour of congealed blood. The Queen was no more than a made-up corpse.

 

“Rowena my dear,” she said in her sickly sweet voice. She seemed to have aged so much since the King died; even her eyes spoke of death. She draped her skeletal arms around her daughter’s neck and kissed her on both cheeks. Rowena had to prevent herself for pushing her mother away. It was as if she had the scent of death on her skin.

 

“Mother,” said Rowena dutiful as her mother stepped away and held her daughter’s head in her hand. Rowena found this experience strangely unreal. For years she had craved her mother’s attention, affection and approval, but now there was nothing. It was as if Queen Emma was not the same person she had always been.

 

“I have brought something for you,” the Queen said as she clicked her fingers. Agnes, her mother’s long time friend, came scuttling in with a large wooden box. It had her mother’s symbol, an eagle in mid flight, engraved and adorned with tiny gemstones. Her mother opened it, her eyes set on her daughters face. Rowena nearly died with shock at what laid inside.

 

It was her mother’s diadem. It was a crown of diamonds and sparkled magnificently with the light. It seemed to breathe life and power, and Rowena had never had a greater desire but to hold it in her hands. “When you are my age,” said her mother with a strange grin on her face, “you realise you have made some terrible mistakes. One of them is not giving this to you sooner.

 

She beckoned Rowena to turn around and she willingly obeyed for what seemed the first time in her life. Queen Emma placed the heirloom on top of her daughter’s midnight curls and Rowena felt the strangest sensation wash over her. It was as if she could do anything. She was invincible, but at the same time utterly without flaw. She was beautiful, she was intelligent and she was perfect.

 

“Thank you mother!” squealed Rowena, wrapping her arms around her mother’s shoulders. She could not see the contented grin spread across Queen Emma’s face, and it was barely a moment before the thought of Godric and his devastating smile drifted into her mind’s eye once more.



 

 

 

 







 

The celebrations were loud and obnoxious, not Helga’s taste at all. So she had left and gone for a walk in the cold night, ignoring the blowing northern winds and the light spattering of rain. She hardly cared that the hem of the dress was muddy and ripped; it was all too elaborate for her anyway.

 

The wedding had gone off without a hitch. Rowena had not even cried. Harald had seemed completely happy and enchanted by his wife, something Helga had not been entirely expecting. The only person he seemed not to be joyful was Godric. He had remained by his father’s side all evening, never daring to venture near his brother, hoping he would have to look on the truth as little as possible.

 

Cadmus had not been present. Rowena’s other most famous conquest had instead stayed down in the gamekeeper’s cottage by the paddock with his brother’s, telling each other stories to rid their souls of the truth. They were all too poor to ever get what they wanted from life.

 

It was moments like this that Helga’s thoughts cast back to Dewsbury as she looked into the inky blackness. What had become of the Hufflepuff’s after her flight, and most especially what had happened to Adrian? She imagined him married to Maud with at least two children. He was well built, handsome, a find wizard and totally out of Helga’s reach. Although she loved everything Rowena had given her, she also longed for a glimpse of her old life.

 

It was at that moment she saw a figure on a horse dashing towards her.






 

 

 

 







 

He was free.

 

His father had been drawn into a conversation about battle tactics with Guillaume Malfoy, and Godric had been able to slip off into the night. Nobody would care where he went. He didn’t know if he really cared either. Anywhere was better than here, watching Rowena and Harald living and dying together.

 

He had crept across the castle grounds and had now reached the paddock. The candle in the gamekeeper’s cottage was lit, and through the window Godric could see the figures of Rowena’s friend who he had punched and who he assumed were his brothers. They were all drinking in silence, they looked deathly the three of them, as if in some trance. But Godric did not care.

 

He had his sights set on a rather large black stallion over by the paddock gate. All he would need to do was dash to the gatehouse on the horse and he would be free. He would never have to set eyes on Harald, Lady Mikayla or Rowena ever again. All he wanted to do was to ride perpetually south, never looking back. When he reached as south as he could go, he would find a boat and sail across the sea. The wonders of Europe awaited him.

 

He briefly gazed black at the sinister black shadow of the castle. Part of him wanted to say goodbye, to his father and Rowena, but if he did he knew he would never leave, and he had to do it for himself.

 

Walking silently, he made his way towards the great horse. It did not moan or whimper as Godric reached him, patting the great animal as he threw himself on the back of the horse. He turned it around and, exhilarated, he began to gallop away, back towards the castle and the gatehouse. He came crashing towards the exit when he pulled the horse to a stop as he made a figure out in the distance. It was a woman.

 

“Rowena!” he shouted as he cantered the horse towards her, his drawn resolutely to her figure. Soon he could see who it really was. It was her maidservant. Godric couldn’t quite remember her name. Was it Helen? Or Henrietta? The sight of her crushed Godric – the last glimmer of hope he had was being washed away with the rain.

 

“I’m sorry,” she said feebly, her hair matted again her head by the gentle falling rain, “it’s only me, Helga.” She did not say anything for a moment, but stayed watching him, and he could tell she was unsure of what to say. “Where are you going?” she asked, an almost knowing look on her young face.

 

“Out of here,” spat Godric bluntly, “far enough away so no one will ever come looking for me. So I don’t ever have to see my brother or,” he faltered for a moment, “Rowena ever again!” He looked down at the girl. He supposed she was pretty, but not dignified and beautiful like Rowena. She reminded him of Kristiana, and he supposed if he had never met Rowena, he would have been attracted to Helga.

 

“You don’t have to go,” whispered Helga, giving him a friendly smile, “Rowena still loves you. Love just doesn’t disappear like that you know?” She had a common edge to her voice, something Godric had not heard for years due to his upbringing in aristocratic circles. Not since his mother.

 

“I do,” said Godric sadly, “if I stay, my heart will break each day with the knowledge I can never have her. It will be better for her to grow to love her husband, and me to find someone new. I can have all the adventure I have ever craved if I leave. But if I stay I am condemning myself to misery and my stepmother’s wrath.”

 

“Where will you go?” asked Helga conversationally, scanning him observantly with her large eyes. He chuckled to himself, knowing that Helga was probably working for Rowena, trying to drag him back to be the princess’ pet. He wasn’t having any of it. “North,” he said, “back to my homeland.” He gazed at her for a moment before he said, “Goodbye Helga, I hope life brings you all the joy you could wish for.”

 

Her face broke into a charming smile as she chuckled, “you too Godric. I hope you find someone else as wonderful as my lady to warm your lonely heart.” Nodding his great head, he turned the black stallion off towards the gate. Not looking over his shoulder, he galloped into the night, becoming another nameless shadow in the blackest night of the age.

 

 

 

 

 









 

Helga watched him as he disappeared into the distance. Her heart ached for her mistress, if Rowena could not see that Godric and love were more important than anything else, then she was blind. She blinked, and in one moment an excruciating pain coursed through her head. It felt as if her head had been cleaved in two.

 

Her legs buckled beneath her and she fell onto the grass, her hands curled inwards in pain. It she wanted to die right then to rid herself of this awful agony. She hardly noticed she was lying on her back, she had her eyes so tightly squeezed shut.

 

The pain disappeared in a second. But she wasn’t outside Black Castle anymore. She was on the battlements, peering over into the distance. Turning round she saw herself, happily hugging a man she didn’t recognise dressed all in green. She saw herself turn round and there was Cadmus behind her, and they embraced as well.

 

Helga then turned her eyes to the two people closest to her. They were both kissing passionately. Suddenly she registered they were Rowena and Godric. They both looked older, and both looked happier than she had seen either of them.

 

The image started to dissolve, and when Helga opened her eyes she was lying in the grass, gazing up at the sky peppered with stars. By the time she had time to think, she had realised what had happened. She had seen the future. A future where Rowena and Godric were together. A future with a happy ending.

 

 

 

 







Okay - I hope you liked that. I wanted to put a bit more of Helga in that chapter, as I felt she was getting neglected for Rowena and Godric. Please Read and Review! I like to know what you think! Next Time... Godric begins his travels and comes across an interesting character...
 
 
 
 


Chapter 14: Broken Dreams
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Broken Dreams



Gorgeous new chapter image by prospero @ tda




On a perfectly ordinary day, Elidore of Weye kicked a traveller out of his tavern. The Green Dragon on the Northern End of the old Roman Watling Street was a respectable institution, and attracted high profile clientele. It was an ambiguous looking building, as it was a pile of different architectural styles. Elidore even claimed he had a pillar of a Roman temple keeping his tavern’s roof held up. Therefore, Elidore did not admit anyone, especially not ruffians off the street. If they did enter, they had to leave hastily. He especially did not like the drunk who basically lived in his tavern.

The man looked fairly young, but it seemed he had had to grow up in a very short space of time by the look of permanent sadness that haunted his handsome face. Although he was good looking, his face was ruined by layers of dirt and his hair looked lank and greasy. Elidore was prevented from kicking this strange man out of his tavern by his formidable wife Millicent, who insisted that good money was being made from him.

“Millicent!” thundered Elidore as he took her to the small room behind the bar, “the way to make more money is to attract rich clientele, not ply some dirty drunk with all the alcohol he craves.” Millicent always beat him down however. Her nostrils flared the second she was challenged by her husband. Elidore had always known his wife had a superiority complex, and he did not like to mess with that.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she spat, her brown eyes crackling with fury, “don’t delude yourself with illusions of grandeur. You are a man of the earth,” she snapped. It was at times like this that Millicent always brought it back to Elidore’s birth. He was the son of a labourer, she the daughter of a rich merchant. The only reason Elidore had flown so high was his wife’s money. She made him feel like Icarus; he was too close to the sun and his waxen wings were melting. He was slowly dying.

“Give your customer everything he wants,” she said calmly, a smug look from her small triumph etched on her aging face, “he has the money to pay you, so stop complaining.” Elidore ran his gnarled fingers through his grey hair as he stomped back to the bar. The drunk sat on a table in the corner, his head rested on his hands and his eyes bloodshot. Elidore had tried to speak to him, but the man was inconsolable. Elidore did not even know his name.

“Millicent,” said Elidore imploringly, gazing back at his wife, but she gave him such a look that he decided he would allow the drunk to stay in the tavern. It was not worth Millicent’s wrath. Elidore began to clean a rather disgusting flagon. It was chipped and obviously had not been cleaned in several days. Elidore took his work seriously, and only looked up when the tavern door swung open with a resounding bang.

In the doorway stood Eadric the Thatcher, and his current woman, Abelena. Eadric was a powerful young man who was basically a collection of huge muscles. He had beady black eyes and tangled black hair. Besides the unnamed drunk, he was the most frequent visitor to the tavern. His father owned great swathes of land in the local area, and although Eadric was a violent brute, Elidore welcomed him warmly into the tavern. He was the type of person you needed to impress if you wanted to get anywhere in the world.

Abelena was the most beautiful girl in the area. She was about nineteen years old, with untameable chestnut locks that flowed down her back like water. She had fairly dark skin and large blue eyes, which she always used to look adoringly up at Eadric. Most of the men folk could not help but stare at Abelena, but they had to do it secretly in case Eadric decided to unleash his fiery temper.

Abelena wore pink ribbons in her hair. It was clear that Eadric had been spending his father’s money on her. Only Abelena could turn that proud, insolent boy into a puppy. The two were holding hands, their fingers entwined, and gaining into each other’s eyes. Elidore remembered the fleeting joys of young love. Those stolen looks and sweet kisses could inflame any young man’s heart with passion. It was a shame that marriage acted as such a dampener to those wonderful feelings.

“Eadric!” said Elidore jovially as the two men shook hands. Elidore tried to ignore the pain that coursed through his fingers due to Eadric’s vice like grip. “What can I do for you this fine day?” Eadric gave one of his gormless grins as Abelena gave a show of her high tittering laugh.

“I’ll buy one for everyone,” Eadric smiled, “Abelena has agreed to be my wife!” There were cheers from everyone standing in tavern, accompanied by slaps on the back and good wishes. The only person who wasn’t moving was the drunk. He stayed exactly where he was, but he had started to mutter to himself, and his bright green eyes were fixed firmly on Abelena.

“I’m so happy!” squawked Abelena, flinging her arms around Eadric and pecking him on the cheek with her plump red lips. Then something totally unexpected happened. The drunk leapt to his feet and staggered forward. For a moment he looked crazed, his eyes bulging and his posture hunched. Reaching Abelena he grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her towards him, his voice was coarse and raspy, “why do you do this to me Bess? Can’t you just leave me in peace?”

Eadric reacted immediately. Pushing Abelena out of the way and against the bar, leaving his fiancée groaning pain, he grabbed the drunk by the scruff of the neck and bellowed “what the hell do you think you are doing!” The drunk said nothing so Eadric threw him to the floor with all the force he could muster. He landed with a resounding crash on the cobbled floor and after howling in pain the drunk let out an anguished scream, “don’t you defend her! She left me! They all left me!”

“He’s mad!” shrieked Abelena, fake pearly tears rolling down her flushed cheeks, “leave him alone Eadric! He’s totally mad! He might contaminate you!” The girl was a dimwit, Elidore knew, but that did not stop her being a good catch. Elidore decided this was his opportunity to rid himself of the drunk for good. Picking the man up by the back of his robes, Elidore marched him to the door, only stopping to pick up the bucket of water that Millicent had recently got one of the serving girls to collect from the well.

Kicking open the door, Elidore threw the man outside, then threw the water from the bucket over him in an attempt to sober him up. “And stay out!” thundered Elidore as he slammed the door shut, hoping he would never see the drunk again.





It had been six months since Godric had left his old life behind. He no longer looked like the favourite son of a distant monarch. He now looked like a common adventurer, living a dying by the sword. He had no money; he had spent that in the last town he had visited, enjoying the soft alluring pleasures of the wine and women.

He had had many women in those six months. Common blondes who had disobeyed their fathers orders for him and sneaked into his lodgings disguised as washer women, one very snooty aristocrat who had just wanted some sort of revenge on her philandering husband, a lonely brunette whose husband had just run off leaving her with four children, and even one nun who had rejected her vow of chastity for him. But none of them had been good enough.

Every time he had taken them in his arms, his mind had gone back to the one night of heaven he had had with Rowena. He recalled the feel of her body and smell of her hair with ease, and no matter how much he tried he could not get those thoughts out of his head. Sometimes, when seeing a girl with dark hair, he swore it was her. She had overthrown her mother’s tyrannous regime and chosen him. But after a moment it would become clear that it wasn’t her, just some girl buying flowers or selling some food.

He wanted nothing more than to see Rowena again, and let her know how much he loved her and missed her. She was all he ever thought about, he could barely go one minute without her figure dancing through his mind. But now she had given herself to Harald, and that made Godric hate his brother even more because he had stolen the one good thing in his life.

The only remnant left of his old life was his father’s sword glistening at his belt. He had only used it once; when he was pounced on by one of his conquests husbands who vowed revenge. Godric had barely escaped with his life. He felt guilty about it afterwards, but in all truth he realised in this life it was kill or be killed. He had vowed to live by that motto; bravery and action was the way to live. You could be free of the shackles of your past that way and you would never have to look back knowing that you could live by your own rules.

One of the things he did miss about his life was magic. He had not used any for the past few months in fear of being caught by the Muggles. He had not even met another magical practitioner, and though he was glutted on freedom, he was starved for not being himself. He often wondered if he passed a witch or a wizard, but didn’t recognise their magic and so walked on by, leaving them behind forever. Due to his isolation from the magical community, he wanted nothing more than to make something levitate or charm an apple into doing a dance for him.

Suddenly, the path he was walking along took a strong turn to his left, and he appeared by a rickety tavern. The Green Dragon did not look very special; it was an inconspicuous place and he thought it looked fairly peaceful. He soon surmised he would not be far from the nearest town; after all, would men trek miles for a drink?

Godric felt extremely tired. He did not care to walk to the town. After all, it was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. He decided instead, he would sleep out in the open, under the tree just outside the tavern. It would be quite refreshing to sleep there, amongst nature. He followed this particular whim; he laid down under the tree and closed his eyes. His mind was flooded with images of Rowena, as it always was when he tried to sleep. There she was, a girl of seventeen who had destroyed her own life by making the wrong decision. Only by dreaming of her kisses did he finally drift off and imagine he was once more in her arms.





Lifting his head, Salazar felt groggy. There were gentle spots of rain falling on his back, and he had a splitting headache. He had no idea how long he had been asleep outside of the tavern, but he knew it couldn’t have been long, it was still light. He pushed himself up slowly, staggering to his feet as he dusted down his robes. It was clear he would be moving on again and finding yet another tavern to spend all his money. He was now an outcast here; and the road was calling him.

It was then that he saw it. Its scales shone like emeralds and it was thick as a rope, slowly coiling its way round the trunk of an aging trees. It was the largest snake he had ever seen. He had never been convinced that you could see a snake like that outside of those mysterious lands far to the south. Its black eyes glistened in the afternoon light, and Salazar could almost see the venom dripping from the snakes fangs as it inched towards the shoulder of the man slumped against the tree.

It was just at that moment that Salazar first noticed the sleeping man. He looked like Salazar did; dirty, tired and impoverished. Only his sword that hung at his belt looked like anything of value. It was encrusted with jewels and glistened in the light. But this dishevelled looking man was going to die if the snake bit him. In one snap of the snake’s jaw, the red headed man would be dead.

The snake began to reach towards the man, its eyes glimmering hungrily. “Stop it!” spat Salazar forcefully. The snake looked up at him, its eyes clearly saying, “why should I?” It was at that moment that the man began to wake. He shook his head gently and opened his eyes, giving Salazar a quizzical look as he hunched over him. When the man was fully awake, Salazar noticed the vivid green of the man’s eyes. They were a similar colour to his own.

Salazar signalled for the man to stay still as he spat at the snake, “leave him alone! Find yourself food elsewhere.” The snake seemed to give him a meaningful look as he curled away up into the tree. Salazar turned slowly to the man on the floor. It was the first time that he had a meaningful look at him. He was tall and almost like a statue from the antiquity, a collection of perfect muscles and a godlike aura. Although he looked a little worn around the edges; his hair was a mane of undisciplined curls and he clearly hadn’t shaved in several weeks, he still looked powerful and erudite.

The man, obviously not liking to appear weak, jumped up, his hand shooting nervously to the hilt of his sword. “What did you just do?” he asked gruffly, his intelligent eyes scanning every inch of Salazar to make a judgement of him. It was only then that Salazar had realised the consequences of his actions. He had revealed his powers to a Muggle, and he was sure he would have to flee yet again, fearing for his life. “Nothing,” muttered Salazar, unable to look the unknown man in the eye.

The man had a worrying smile on his face. It distorted him, made him look less handsome. It was as if he had absorbed some knowledge only to use it to his own end. “Don’t lie to me,” he smiled, “I know what you just did!” Salazar’s heart was hammering in his chest. He was going to be accused of consorting with the devil. He had a talent for talking to snakes, he always had. This man was going to force him to run; he knew it so he made a snap decision.

He moved backwards as quickly as he could until he was in a good position strategically. Lifting one hand he felt himself conjure something that could only be described as a beam of ice. He shot it quickly at his opponent, who only just managed to swerve out the way as the ice froze the tree he had been standing in front of. The man twisted around, and to Salazar’s shock and horror, he shot a ball of fire at him, without even lifting his wand.

The stopped fighting instantly. Salazar stared at the man as comprehension dawned on him. This man was a wizard like him. He had never met another trained in the arts of magic other than his mother and father. He had lived in an isolated bubble all of his life, and this revelation relieved a small part of the pain in his chest.

“You’re a wizard!” breathed Salazar as he ran one hand through his dirty hair. The man nodded before saying, “so are you.” Salazar couldn’t quite believe it. For years he had felt so special. His parents had always been amazed at his ability to do magic without a wand. Yet, here standing before him was a man who could do exactly the same.

“Who are you?” asked Salazar, a note of distrust in his voice. The man paused for a moment, the same look of distrust on his face that Salazar supposed he was wearing. The man stepped forward and held out one large hand, “Godric Gryffindor and you are?” Salazar copied Godric’s gesture of hesitating for a moment before replying, “Salazar Slytherin, I see alliteration is a common theme here.”

Although Salazar felt his hand being crushed in Godric’s heavy handed grip, Salazar recognised the friendliness behind the gesture and instantly warmed to this complete stranger. He had a sort of affinity with this man. They were both magic and they were both wandering lonely vagrants. Godric gave him a broad smile before saying jovially, “so what are you doing outside a tavern in the middle of nowhere?” He had a look of cheeriness on his face, but Salazar could just recognise the underlying sadness in his eyes.

“Running away,” said Salazar, before finishing with the question, “are you doing the same?” Godric and Salazar began to move away from the tavern together. “Yes,” said Godric slowly, “who wants to live by the rules when you can be out here a free man?” Salazar could tell that Godric wasn’t telling the whole truth, but brushed over the subject quickly for fear of upsetting him, “how long have you been travelling?”

Godric began tell Salazar the stories after his flight from his old life. He had been on his own for six months, just slightly shorter than Salazar himself had. Salazar thought his escapades sounded enthralling. He had travelled around like a knight, helping people when needed, rescuing damsels in distress and standing up for the poor and abuse. He was like a troubadour, constantly in the pursuit of courtly love as many women fell at his feet. Salazar wished he could be like that.

It was soon they arrived at the nearest town, a sleepy little village with one inn. It was a low wooden building with a peeling sign; almost the perfect place to remain discreet, just like Salazar longed to be. To their surprise, the tavern was filled with people; each looking terrified. There was one girl sitting precariously on the dirty bar, her hands in her cream apron pockets. The audience watched her, in rapture, as she told her tale.

“And then,” she said melodramatically as she flicked her dark brown plait over her shoulder, “these trolls...I mean monsters...came out of nowhere!” Salazar was shocked for a moment; this girl knew what trolls were. A sign of magic surely? Her dark eyes sparkled as she added slowly, “so me and Leah did a runner, she was so quick and dashed off into the woods that I couldn’t keep up. But I managed to fight them off, using,” she hesitated again, obviously covering the evidence for her magic, “sticks and stones. That’s how I tore my Sunday dress.”

The girl had magnetism about her. She wasn’t exceptionally pretty. She had an upturned nose and looked almost piggish. Her eyes were not really any colour in particular; they were a greyish blue colour. Her face was splattered with freckles and Salazar could only describe her as average.  But she had a nice smile and her voice was soft and silky, it made people want to listen.

The crowd burst into chatter once she had finished her tale, “so you saw the monsters that killed Henry Farmer’s sheep?” The girl nodded and flattened her skirt nervously. “There’s no one in this whole village with the power or strength to take on those demons.” It was at this moment one rather large man cried out, “I will pay anyone who can kill those things twelve Venetian ducats!”

“I’ll do it.”

If Salazar had not seen his lips move, then he would not have known it was Godric who spoke. The crowd turned to look at them, their eyes filled with a mixture of disbelief and awe; “my friend Salazar and I will only be too pleased to do it for twelve Venetian ducats!” The people stared at them, not doing anything. The first person to react was the girl, who gracefully leapt off the counter and marched over to them, her dress billowing out behind her.

“Fine,” she said alluringly, gazing in Godric’s eyes, “I’ll take them to the glade they live in. I’m sure you will be able to defeat them.” Godric gave her a seductive smile as she took his hand and dragged him out of the little tavern. Salazar followed bemusedly; it was clear his life would be changing today.





They marched through the thick trees with Rachel leading the way. She had introduced herself to them almost instantly and had insisted on taking Godric’s hand to lead him to the glade. She was assertive and had quickly ironed over any queries that Salazar had had about the plan when they walked into some sleeping trolls home and didn’t expect to be killed. It was clear she was attracted to Godric and openly flirted with him. Godric hadn’t complained. Salazar just assumed that some men had that allure to women.

“The trolls are all up this way in their glade. They mostly spend their time sleeping but occasionally go down to the village to raid some farms.” She looked at Godric and Salazar to see their reactions; but they both remained calm, so Rachel continued, “They are the biggest things I’ve ever seen! I hope you two have some serious weapons with you. They’re not going to fall down easy.” Salazar and Godric looked at each other for a moment.

“You mean,” said Salazar, lingering on his words, “that you are not going to get your wand out and help us?” Godric turned to Salazar, his face red in shock. It took a moment for Godric as he looked between Salazar and Rachel, comprehension dawning on his face. Rachel on the other hand only raised one of her eyebrows and said, “so, you know what a wand is?” Salazar felt slightly smug for a moment, as he was the one who had rumbled Rachel’s little secret.

“Yes,” said Godric, cutting off Salazar’s unsaid words, “are you a witch?” She nodded slowly, eyeing them both up and down with interest, “my parents and I live in an even smaller village, a couple of miles away. Dewsbury was full of magic. But since the true head of the coven went missing years ago, its dying.”

“That’s terrible,” said Godric an expression of concern on his handsome face, “I have grown up around powerful magic. I couldn’t imagine a life without it.” Salazar could see that Godric was recalling his life in his mind. He wondered how Godric had lived, but due to this tantalising clue that Godric had given him, Salazar remained silent. Magic had been scarce and rare in his own life. His parents had been the only other practitioners he had ever known, and that was all thanks to Sir Guy. How could Godric run from what sounded like such an idyllic life if he had it in his hands?

Rachel hushed them as they turned a corner and she pointed through the trees to what looked like giant snoring boulders. Salazar couldn’t help but feeling slightly sick. He did not want to throw himself into danger for the sake of a couple of sheep. Godric however, looked incensed. His eyes were alight and it looked as if only Rachel’s hand was stopping him slaughtering the trolls right that second. “Right boys,” Rachel smiled cheekily, “let the adventure begin!”





I am so sorry how long this took. I got stuck and couldn't write anything. Please tell me what you think of this chapter and how to improve it. Thanks! Next time...Godric, Salazar and Rachel discover a new adventure involving an old friend...
 
 
 


Chapter 15: The Svalbardian Silverback
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The Svalbardian Silverback



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On the day that Godric got a reminder of his homeland, Rachel was reunited with an old friend. “You really have to learn to control yourself!” panted Rachel as she slumped against the creaking willow tree behind her. She stared at Godric with blazing eyes and Salazar could see him almost flinching at her ferocious gaze. They sat in silence for a moment; so out of breath due to all that running. It was all Godric’s fault for flirting with the Lord of the Manor’s daughter and doing it all so blatantly in front of her very angry fiancé.

“Let’s get going,” laughed Salazar, trying to break the tension as he lifted himself to his feet. The other two followed his example and got to their tired feet, with Rachel saying angrily; “look, we don’t even know where we are, and I don’t know about you two but I am starving!” Both men spotted the terrifying look on Rachel’s face that indicated she was very annoyed and they had come to dread in the last few months, but Salazar couldn’t help but smile. Despite all the danger, all the hungry nights and all running, Salazar was having the best time of his life.

“Come on Rachel,” smiled Godric, pulling her into a very heavy handed hug, “it must only be another mile to the next town. We can stop at the tavern and you will hungry no more!” Rachel sighed heavily at this promise and for a moment rested her dark head on Godric’s shoulder. After that brief moment she turned round looping her thin arms round Godric’s and Salazar’s burly forearms.

“Come on then boys!” she said cheekily, her mood suddenly brighter, “let’s get a move on!” The three of them happily marched towards the town as Godric let out a hearty laugh. “Rachel, I must say it’s not all my fault! If you hadn’t...” As Salazar expected, Rachel replied flirtily, “oh Godric, we know we have to blame everything on you and your appetite for women.”

Salazar did not say anything but let out a silent smirk. He knew Rachel and Godric’s flirting meant nothing to either of them. You only had to look at them to see they didn’t love each other, and they had no more feeling for each other than a trusted friendship. It was just they were two very lonely romantic people that needed some semblance of an affectionate relationship. Rachel was clearly still waiting for someone to capture her attention. As she had said to Salazar, she though Godric was far too grand for her, she wanted someone more homely.

She wanted a man who could ride a horse, knew how to be an archer and was a country man. A man with fine words and a past was not the type of man that Rachel wanted to get involved in. She wanted a simple man, able to love her wholeheartedly without any baggage. Neither Salazar nor Godric could give her that, and she had no pretensions that either of them could either.

There was something about Godric that made Salazar believe he did not love Rachel as he would be expected to. Salazar recognised the expression Godric wore on his handsome face; it was of a defeated man. He had lost his love just like Salazar himself had, and there was no way he would ever forget the pain or the anguish of it. Godric never revealed anything about his past, and Salazar knew nothing more about him than the information Godric had given him about the life on the road that he had been living previously to meeting Salazar.

It was not long until they arrived at the next town or city should he say. This was the legendary Winchester he had heard of from his parents. Here was the Muggle capital, the seat of all power in the kingdom of Wessex. Their King, Ethelred was here in the city, most likely planning the defeat of the Scandinavian raiders in the north. However, three wizards like Salazar, Godric and Rachel did not need to get involved in the intricacies of Muggle politics, and so when they spotted a tavern on the outskirts of Winchester, the three of them piled in.

After Godric ordered some food and drinks they sat in a little alcove, consuming their food ravenously. It had been a while since they had had such a hearty meal and they were not distracted as they gulped it down. They did not talk until Godric had finished, draining his flagon with one gulp before saying, “what do we do now? Shall we just walk onto the next town? It could be dangerous for our kind around here.” Rachel seemed to be swayed by Godric’s argument and gave an agreeing nod, but Salazar silenced what she was going to say with a quick movement of one hand.

“We are in Winchester, do we really want to squander our opportunity to make some money here  that could keep us fed for months in perfectly safely. There must be some of our kind around here to pay us for some work or another.” At this point Rachel snorted loudly, saying, “as long as I don’t have to clean out a pig sty again!” Salazar was suddenly taken back to the one time he had allowed Godric to make the plans, and they had all been covered in animal muck and stinking for days.

It was at this moment, opportunity knocked. A gruff looking man with a thin straggly beard and a crooked nose appeared at the entrance to the tavern, casting a shadow across the dusty floorboards. He made his way over to the landlord, a man twice his size, with a bald head and rosy cheeks who was busy cleaning some metal flagons. “Cuthbert,” said the landlord with a jovial grin, “what can I do for you today?”

“Oh,” Cuthbert sighed almost angrily, as he crossed his arms tightly across his chest, “It’s that wretched self professed monster slayer I hired a week ago to try and discover what that awful creature was that killed little Lucy Tanner.” The landlord gave Cuthbert a quizzical look before he continued in the same annoyed tone, “he has been missing for six days now. I think he’s gone and got himself killed and I have wasted forty pounds on him!”

“He could be still alive,” said the landlord hopefully, giving him a look of reason, “I mean he could just be formulating a plan in the woods.” Cuthbert gave a dramatic sigh. This whole conversation had not failed to pique Salazar’s attention, and he turned to his two friends who were discussing the condition of Godric’s sword. Noticing their disinterest, Salazar leapt up and approached the exhausted looking Cuthbert.

“Excuse me sir,” he said hopefully, running his fingers through the small goatee he had developed on his chin, “I could not help but overhear your conversation and I sympathise enormously with you! Forty pounds is a lot to lose for no result.” Cuthbert let out a low chuckle before saying, “I’d pay four hundred pounds to see the back of that demon that terrorises us all so well.” That was just the answer Salazar wanted to hear.

“If you pay me fifteen pounds, tomorrow morning I my two friends and I will go and find this monster slayer of yours and reunite you.” Cuthbert looked particularly happy about this offer so Salazar continued, “but I must know what this monster looked like so I may prepare myself in case of attack.”

“Oh,” said Cuthbert, his eyes widening in ill disguised fear, “It’s the most terrible looking beast I ever saw. It’s huge and scaly, like a snake, and its back is like polished silver, you can see your face in its scales. It also breathes fire.” Salazar instantly recognized this monster as a dragon, a Svalbardian Silverback to be exact. He shook hands with Cuthbert animatedly as he turned round to tell the news to Godric and Rachel.





The next morning, Godric found himself walking along yet another woodland path with Rachel and Salazar. Salazar had explained the news about the dragon. “The plan is not to fight the dragon if we don’t have to,” Salazar had said calmly, “once we have saved this so called monster slayer we get ten pounds each from him as reward for our services.” Godric nodded, he trusted Salazar’s judgement and he had a gift for forward planning. Godric instead relied solely on spontaneity and instinct to keep him alive in these situations.

Rachel looked white as a sheet. In the six months that Godric had known her he had never seen her scared, but he knew that a dragon was a whole other story. Godric took her hand and she turned to him, giving him a friendly smile. Godric appreciated Rachel, at the moment she was the only constant female influence he had and he needed it to keep him grounded. He turned away and looked back at Salazar. Godric always left Salazar in control; he just knew what to do in these situations.

“Okay,” said Salazar quickly, “the cave is just up here. The man we are looking for is fairly tall with brown hair and eyes and was last seen wearing chainmail armour.” Godric sighed in despair. With all this at stake, Salazar hadn’t even got a description of what the man they were looking for looked like. “That could be anyone!” said Godric, with a tone of despair. Salazar rolled his eyes at Godric before saying, “he may be trapped, he may be dead, we just have to find him and get back forty pounds at any cost. If he is dead, we take the money and run.” Godric seemed shocked at Salazar’s ability to use underhand tactics to meet his own ends, but he obeyed.

Soon the cave appeared before them, its inside was shadowy, and Godric could just make out the sleeping form of a dragon in the mouth of the cave. “Can you see anyone,” asked Rachel nervously, hovering just behind Godric. “No,” said Salazar, peering across the little glade. It was at this moment that they heard a voice.

“Hello?” the voice said in a projected whispered, “hello? Is anyone there?” Rachel span round, “it’s coming from the cave!” she said loudly pointing into the inky depths of the dark cave. It was a big mistake. The dragon opened one of its blue eyes at the sound of Rachel’s voice and noticing his three guests, he ran out towards them snarling. Rachel let out a heart stopping scream as she ran backwards away from it, rummaging for her wand in her belt.

“Do you have a plan for this?” shouted Godric to Salazar, his voice slightly shaking. The answer, “no” was not the one Godric wanted and so he ran to the right, leaving Salazar and Rachel to run in completely opposite directions. It was absolute chaos. Unfortunately for Salazar, the dragon chose him as his target, swinging its massive tail to the side as he went. The outcome of this was for the fleeing Rachel to be struck straight in the abdomen by the heavy silver tail. She flew through the air, and Godric could not help but hear a horrible crack as she landed on a pile of rocks, her limbs splayed out at odd angles.

Godric ran towards her, his heart beating frantically for her. Pressing his fingers into her neck he could feel a slow heart beat – she was alive at least. At that moment, Salazar came running towards him, an authorative look on his face. “Go find the man we’ve got to locate. He may be able to help us!” Godric obeyed instantly as he ran into the cave, the centre of the dragon’s world, his heart pattering heavily with sheer exertion and fear.

It was dark inside, and he could not see anything but odd patches of grey dotted around the cave. But he could hear the reassuring sounds of spells being shot by Salazar at the dragon. At least he was still keeping up the fight. Godric walked slowly into the cave, hoping to find the source of the voice. “Hello?” he called, its sound reverberating off the hard stone, “is anyone there?” There was a pause before someone answered from the bowels of the cave, “I’m down here!” Godric followed the voice cautiously along the narrow path until he reached a man, trapped behind a rock. He looked deathly pale and he had a scar across his cheek which was still bleeding profusely.

“Thank God your here!” he said panting heavily as a smile cracked across his face. Godric analysed him for a moment. He fitted Salazar’s description. He was fairly tall with chestnut brown hair. He looked about five years older than either Godric or Salazar, he had the well built stature of a man in his early twenties. Godric took it for granted that this was the man they were looking for, and using some magic he pushed the rock away without the man realising what he was doing.

“So,” said the man calmly, looking at Godric’s hand, the one he had just used to propel the rock away, “you’re a wizard.” Godric nearly cursed himself for being so obvious as usual, “yes,” he said almost peevishly, eyeing the man in front of him with great suspicion, “and you?” The man nodded slowly, and was about to say something when there was an almighty explosion from outside the cave that rocked the walls, causing a couple of fragments of stone to fall from the ceiling.

“That’s my friend Salazar,” said Godric, gesturing over his shoulder towards the sound of the explosion, “I think we better go help him fight the dragon.” The man followed Godric outside the cave to find Salazar shielding Rachel’s unconscious form with his body from the dragon and shooting beams of ice at the dragon’s mouth. The dragon however was still succeeding in breathing fire, shown by the smouldering hem of Salazar’s robe. The unnamed man leapt forward, withdrawing his wand and casting jinxes at the dragon, which were rebounding off its scales at wild angles. The dragon swung round and Salazar ran across to help the man, leaving Rachel vulnerable.

Godric ran towards her and when he reached her, he picked her up and swung her up onto his shoulder, running off into the trees. The trees were dense, but he ran for close to a minute until he found a suitable copse in which to lay her. “I will be back Rachel,” he said hurriedly, kissing her pale forehead that was slightly moist with her terrified sweat before dashing back through the forest to Salazar’s side to combat the dragon.

Salazar and the slayer were having no success; Salazar had dropped back for a moment, panting with sheer exertion. The other man was weaving past the dragon’s ferocious attacks. The dragon, however, still had resources of pent up fury that he could easily launch at them to kill them. The dragon seemed indestructible, a monster who could not be defeated. Then Godric remembered something. It was an old fairytale from Svalbard that his mother had taught him when he was a little boy. He remembered her words exactly.

You always have to be polite to a dragon...

Darting in front of the unknown man, Godric looked up at the dragon before shouting, “excuse me Mr Dragon.” It only registered how stupid it sounded after he had said it. “I was just wondering if you wouldn’t mind to return to Svalbard. It’s only that there is a nice breeding colony there, up in the hills. I’m sure it would make you a lot happier.”

The dragon paused for a moment, looking down on Godric with an expression that clearly showed he was considering it. Godric knew that dragons were clever, they understood human speech and could comprehend what he was saying. Godric was pretty sure the dragon would do the right thing and fly home. The man standing behind Godric looked dumbfounded as at that moment, the dragon began to flap his wings as it turned away from the three of them and disappeared into the sky.





They had remained in absolute silence until Godric had apparated back to the town with Rachel in his arms and Salazar had taken the unknown man by Apparition back to the tavern. Salazar had hurriedly paid for a room and they ran to up the creaking stairs to the chamber they had been allocated. It was a fairly plain room, but it would suit their purpose, looking after Rachel, perfectly. Godric laid the unconscious Rachel on the cheap straw stuffed bed as the three of them encircled her, gazing down at her concernedly. She did not stir.

“What do we do Salazar?” asked Godric concerned. That was one thing that Salazar had noticed about Godric, in times of difficulty he was not so keen to make the decisions, and left everything to Salazar. He sighed, gazing at the unconscious Rachel, he was clueless. “I don’t know,” replied Salazar honestly, “I know nothing about healing magic. I can barely heal a small cut.”

However, the unnamed man had leapt into action. He turned Rachel on to her side to view the back of her cranium. Her dark hair was matted with blood, but the man did not mind this. He drew his wand from his belt and pointed it at the back of her head, “come on Rachel,” he mumbled gently before a glowing beam of light left his wand and seemed to encircle Rachel’s head.

The blood seemed to disappear leaving her hair as clean and shiny as it had been before. Gently, he turned her over and dusted her hair out of her face and gazed and her worriedly, “She will need to sleep,” said the man softly, “we may as well go down to the tavern. Leave her in peace.” Godric was about to follow the man out of the door but Salazar stopped him with one hand. Godric stared at him, a confused look on his face. He was not entirely sure of what move Salazar was going to make.

“Wait,” said Salazar slowly, fixing his bright green eyes on the man. They had just met him, and Salazar was not completely trusting of this man. “You know her name. I have not told you her name, and I presume Godric hasn’t as we have had so little time to get acquainted.” Godric seemed surprised that Salazar had picked that small detail up and gave the man the same suspicious look as Salazar was.

“She used to be a neighbour of mine,” he said with his gentle voice, “we lived in the same coven, Dewsbury. I haven’t seen her for four years, not since I left.” The subject seemed to cause him some pain as his voice was croaking. He looked away from them and back down at Rachel to continue his story. “The magic was going you see, as our true leader had had to flee. I was an enemy of the woman who wished to usurp her place. I couldn’t stay. Rachel did.”

Salazar was slightly taken aback by this show of honesty. Godric did not seem to be fazed; he was one of those people who understood sudden outbursts of emotion. Salazar wasn’t that way inclined. He did not like other people knowing how he felt; it made him vulnerable. People like Godric always wore their heart on their sleeve, but this seemed foolish. People could always manipulate you if you did that.

“What’s your name?” asked Godric, giving the man a friendly smile. Salazar scanned the man briefly. He looked scarred, like he had been fighting a long time, but he seemed to wear his scars with pride. Salazar assumed he would have been handsome once with his light hair and eyes, and his smile seemed friendly and warm. For some reason, Salazar instantly felt like he could trust him. “Adrian,” he said cheerfully, “Adrian Hufflepuff. And you?”

Godric extended his arm to Adrian to shake his hand, “Godric Gryffindor and this is Salazar Slytherin.” Adrian nodded at Salazar to acknowledge him, and Salazar returned the gesture slowly. Godric already seemed to be friendly with the man, and so did not seemed bemused when Adrian asked his next probing question. “What do you do as a profession.” This seemed rather an odd question, but Adrian continued, regardless of Salazar’s distrusting gaze, “I mean, it’s just I run a business that could use two employees like you.”

Godric seemed to perk up slightly at this offer, money and adventure always attracted the spontaneous Godric, “a business?” he asked, raising one of his eyebrows. “Yes,” continued Adrian giving Godric an encouraging smile, “I offer my services dealing with magical problems. I need some help, as you could clearly see with the way I dealt with the dragon. I would only be too happy to offer you a cut of the profits and an adventure of a lifetime. You both are just so talented.”

Godric did not take a moment to answer. He never really gave anything the deep thought that was often needed. He just threw himself into something like a new love affair, with passion and zeal, ready to give it his all. The problem was he never considered the consequence of his actions. Godric did not understand the concept of guilt. To Salazar, it seemed that Godric had no regrets, and part of Salazar wished he could be like that. But Salazar could never be like that. Every day he saw Bess’ lifeless figure and her glassy eyes. He remembered the pain of being ripped in two. He regretted her death, and his parents. Every moment he wanted them to be alive again. He remembered his spontaneity when marrying Bess. It was that spontaneity that had cost Bess her life, and for that reason, Salazar was now cautious and calculating in everything he did. There was no way that he would make the same mistake again.

Godric walked over to Adrian as almost to say let’s get going right now, but Salazar stopped him in his tracks by asking a simple question, “what about Rachel?” Both of them gazed at Rachel. She looked like a sleeping beauty, her dark hair splayed out behind her and usually animated face was peaceful. Salazar suddenly felt a surge of sadness. There was no way they could disappear and leave loyal, kind Rachel asleep, not knowing where her friends had gone.

Adrian smiled affectionately at Rachel, the way childhood friends could only smile at each other, as if they had some secret.  He walked over to her and held one of her pale hands. “I’d only be too happy to take her too.” This seemed to settle Salazar’s worries. Godric seemed happy with this settlement too, and he walked back over to Salazar giving him a smile that clearly said he wanted to take this offer. Salazar looked back at Adrian, he was young and strong, and seemed to have a calming influence, something that could be useful in reigning in some of Godric’s wild and dangerous whims. One more person added to their little troupe would make things much easier, they would have more hands to work, another brain to think and another person to socialise with. Adrian appeared an honest person, he had been incredibly helpful in terms of Rachel and another man would be perfect for her flirtatious nature.

“Okay,” said Salazar giving a small smile, to both Godric and Adrian, “You have yourself a deal.” Godric clapped Salazar on the back and stared between Adrian and Godric. “This is going to be wonderful!” chirped Godric, “Rachel will love it too! With four of us there is absolutely nothing in this world that will stop us! We will be indestructible!”





Thanks everybody for reading! So sorry its been ages! The next chapter will be a lot quicker...Promise! Next time...Four years have passed and Adrian gets a message that will change the lives of Godric and Salazar forever...
 


Chapter 16: The Return
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The Return



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The day Adrian got a letter; Godric felt his heart break all over again. Rachel sat on the table in the house they had bought with the profits from their enterprise. Four years hard work had given them this luxurious stone mansion with Persian rugs, huge ornate fireplaces and large mahogany wardrobes. For Godric, it was wonderful, and he could not see his good fortunes come to an end.

“That’s two hundred and fifty pounds each,” Rachel said, pushing Godric and Salazar’s pile towards them. She had already poured hers into the large wooden chest in which she kept her money, and Godric noticed that is was almost full, despite how much she was spending.

Rachel was very different from the girl Godric had met in that tavern four years previously. She had filled out, mainly due to all the good food they had become accustomed to being served by the cook they had hired, and her hair was always elegantly styled by the housemaid. She wore expensive silk dresses, the one she was wearing now was a regal purple with prominent gold brocade embroidered on the front. From her ears hung priceless jewels, and she looked every bit the princess. Godric had to admit that sometimes, when he looked at her from the corner of his eye, he swore he was looking at Rowena.

Godric on the other hand spent his newfound wealth in a very different way. While he had acquired expensive furs and silks to wear, he had a collection of armour second to none and an armoury full of fascinating weapons. He had perhaps the largest warhorse money could buy, and using his spare time he had invented some rather devastating spells that could be used in war. This all came in very useful when they went on missions together.

Salazar, while now very different from the scruffy drunk that Godric had first encountered, was still the same man. He was still as cautious and calculating as ever and for that reason did not spend on such a grand scale as Godric or Rachel. His clothes were fairly modest, as was his horse, his armour and his sword. He had acquired a wand, even though he could harness magic without one, as a way of improving his craft, and that was what he spent his money on. He had a vast library of books that had helped him perfect his magic. There was no one who Godric knew who had a greater knowledge of the Dark Arts and how to defend oneself against them.

“Where is Adrian?” asked Rachel, “he must hurry and put his money away. We do not want it getting stolen.” It was at this moment that Adrian appeared at the door with an enormous smile on his face. Godric could only describe Adrian as the kindest human being he had ever met. He was a mentor and a friend. He aided Rachel with her quest of discovering more about herbal remedies, he was willing to act at the target for Godric’s jinxes and he was always available to discuss the finer points of magic with Salazar.

“I have just received some brilliant news,” he said, sitting down in the spare seat next to Rachel. Rachel bobbed her head in an interested manner. Godric listened to Adrian intently. He trusted Adrian above every one, minus only the resourceful Salazar. Adrian cleared his throat with dramatic relish as his three audience members leaned in, eager to hear their next job.

“Dear Sir or Madame,” said Adrian in a grand way, reading from the letter in his hand, “I am writing to request your assistance in a matter of urgent importance. The stately Black Castle has been invested by creatures known as doxies, and I hereby summon you and your company to expel them from my home. I expect you to have arrived at the Black Castle by midsummer day. For your labour, each member of your company will be paid in the excess of five hundred pounds. Yours sincerely, Rowena Rex, Princess Regent of Alba.”

Rachel flung her arms round Adrian’s neck, almost singing with happiness. Salazar ran his fingers through his styled goatee to signify his contentment at the proposal. All three of them failed to notice that Godric had gone a deathly white. Rowena was ordering him to return to Alba, oblivious that he even worked for Adrian. He felt sick; surely she would be at Black Castle with her husband and their children. Godric could not cope with that.

He was happy here. Adrian, Salazar and Rachel were like the close knit family he had never had. Adrian was his father, kind and caring, a good influence. Rachel was his sister; she fussed over him and made him feel special. Salazar was not a friend; he was a brother, a man who he could never argue with. He was responsible, careful and always looked out for the tempestuous Godric. The thought of all of this being ruined by a woman who had willingly abandoned him cut angrily into his heart.

He still loved her, but not in the unconditional way he had done when he was nothing more than a boy. She had hurt him badly, and Godric did not want to be dragged into the pain of it all again. The other three were discussing how best to transport everything they needed up to Alba, but Godric interrupted their excited plans, almost harshly.

“I’m not going,” he said simply, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on his hands as he said it. There was a hushed silence after he said that, and Godric felt their gazes burning the back of their heads. He didn’t like to talk about his past; none of them did, but now it seemed he would have to. “Why?” asked Rachel gently, in a voice that coaxed Godric to lift his head and look her straight in the eye.

“It’s complicated,” he said, turning away from Rachel to look at Salazar and Adrian. They all were giving him a look, begging him to explain to them what was going on. But he couldn’t tell them, even though he loved them all more than anything he couldn’t tell them the truth that burned with pain inside him every day. Then an idea struck him.

“The truth is,” he began, looking between them all, “the Princess’ husband, Prince Harald is...” he paused for a moment, lingering to hold back the truth for one last time, “he’s my brother.” There was a collective intake of breath from his audience, but he continued regardless, “we arrived from Svalbard nearly five years ago, but I have always detested him, and he me. I can’t see him again.”

Rachel smiled at him as if she understood, “I never got on with my sister.” Salazar looked at him as if he had no definite opinion on the subject. Although Godric did not know for sure, he thought that Salazar was probably an only child. He had all the manners of one, and did not know of the pure hatred that could be born of sibling rivalry. Adrian on the other hand had an expression that only showed he did not understand at all. Godric knew he had had a loving relationship with his parents and his sister, and so would not take this as an excuse.

“Godric,” he said in disbelief, “we’ve got the whole castle to clear! We need all the help we can get!” Godric nodded; he understood where Adrian was coming from, but it didn’t seem a good enough excuse to return to Alba. “I’ll forfeit my five hundred, I’ll stay here, do the accounts or something.” They all knew that Godric was terrible at the accounts, and usually they would have laughed at this, but at this moment, they didn’t.

“Godric,” said Adrian again, regaining his usual calm demeanour, “you have to face your fears in life. Whatever is waiting for you at Black Castle is not worth keeping you cooped up here like an animal. You have to face your brother like you faced that dragon the day I met you. You must fight your fear.” Godric knew what Adrian was saying was true, but not about his brother. He knew he had to see Rowena one last time so he could finally leave her behind.




Rowena couldn’t help but marvel at her children. Bevan and Helena were twins with same dark hair like their mother. They were both very self aware and understood the restrictions social status, even though they were only four. Bevan was a clever little boy who was already using his talent to an unusual degree, usually to cheat in games he played with his sister. Helena was disarmingly charming with her cute little smile and the polite conversation she made. However, she was not as skilled at magic at her brother, and for that reason, Rowena had to admit she played favourites with her children.

Another reason Rowena favoured Bevan was that he reminded her of his father. He had Godric’s emerald green eyes. They were Leif Ravenclaw’s eyes, and for that fact she had been able to pass him off as Harald’s son. Every gesture, mannerism and his passionate nature made her think of Godric all the time. The truth was she knew she had made the biggest mistake of her life in marrying Harald, and she wished with all her might that she had taken her chance with Godric when it had been in her hands.

The great hall was fairly empty. Her children were doing their studies, and only faithful Helga stood at her side, her curly blonde hair loose over her expensive green dress. She stood to Rowena’s right, acting as her chaperone and protector as she greeted people who had queries and problems that they needed the Princess to sort out. In her hand was a golden goblet filled with pumpkin juice, just in case Rowena needed a pick me up.

The only people that Rowena was expecting that day were the group she had ordered to clear the doxy infestation in the castle. Rowena was sick of the little creatures. They always seemed to ruin the sessions that she and Helga took to study the intricacies of their craft. Rowena had practically thrown her money at this group that she had heard so much about and were so effective.

Suddenly the doors swung majestically open and four people walked in. Rowena instantly realised they must be the ones she was waiting for. Not looking at them closely, she got a rough mental picture of them. There was a scarred man with brown hair, a slip of a girl drowned in her luxurious clothes and a man in green with a small goatee. At the back of the group stood another man and Rowena’s eyes were immediately drawn to him.

It was Godric.

Rowena could not see anyone else. She didn’t even notice the goblet of pumpkin juice that Helga was holding go clattering to the floor. Nobody moved or said anything for a moment. Then Godric made his decision. He moved slightly to the left and put one arm around the girl’s shoulder. Her facial expression seemed confused for a moment, and then it flickered away to the demure nod she was giving her betters.

Rowena wanted to cry. Godric was giving her a hard look, and she could only ever remember warmth and affection from him. Snapping herself back into order she said, “welcome, welcome. I’m sorry about all this mess.” Helga had already begun hurrying around trying the get rid of the spilt pumpkin juice. “Your names?” Rowena asked quivering slightly, not daring to look at Godric.

“Adrian Hufflepuff, your majesty,” said the scarred man. He then pointed to the man in green, “Salazar Slytherin,” and then to the girl, “Rachel Fitzherbert,” and finally back to Godric, “and Godric Gryffindor.” This introduction allowed Rowena’s gaze to linger on Godric for a moment, but he stared at her sternly so she looked away.

“Thank you for coming,” she said, totally lost for words, “I see no reason for you to start work today. You will be escorted to your lodgings and I hope to see you tonight for dinner.” Rowena gave Salazar, the only person who was looking at her, a cheery smile as a servant came forward to take them away. Slumping back on her throne, Rowena wanted nothing more than to sob.





He felt euphoric. He had realised how cold and lonely he was until this moment. Her diadem was glistening on top of her unruly curls and it seemed to make her dark blue eyes shine even more. Salazar could only say he was totally in love. Ever since Bess died he had felt like half a person, but now the emptiness had been filled by this woman who was a vision of heaven. It was smothering and all consuming. All he wanted was her. He wanted to possess her.

He felt slightly dizzy, and didn’t even notice when the girl beside the princess let out a shocked squeak and dropped the goblet she was holding, letting the pumpkin juice it contained dribble across the floor. He didn’t hear Rachel’s s intake of breath when Godric unusually put his arm around her.

Her voice was silky as she apologized for the mess. Salazar had to use every resource of self control to stop himself running up and kissing her. When Adrian introduced him, the Princess Rowena looked Salazar for a brief moment giving him a glittering smile to match her diadem, but then her eyes turned away from him onto Rachel and finally Godric.

Her beautiful blue eyes seemed bewildered for a moment, but then she turned back to Salazar and gave him another beautiful smile. Flicking her hand, she summoned a servant to escort them to their lodgings. At that moment, Salazar did not want to go anywhere, but stay and drink in her beauty. But he followed Adrian, Rachel and Godric out, and she disappeared from view.





Helga would have felt for Rowena, but for once, she was too preoccupied with her own thoughts. Adrian was here at Black Castle! She had recognised him almost instantly, even all those years could not blur Helga’s image of fifteen year old Adrian from her mind’s eye. He was twelve years older, and scarred from years of fighting, but it was still Adrian.

Rowena had organised a lavish party for this evening, but she seemed to not be enjoying the whole affair, and had left her position at the top table, probably to talk to her deranged mother or try to catch Godric alone for a brief moment. Helga was also thankful that Guillaume was nowhere in sight; it would only cause her more problems.

There was dancing and eating. At that present there was a lively jig and Helga watched transfixed as Adrian whirled the dark haired girl he had arrived with into the air. His muscles bulged through his sleeves as he lifted the girl, and he smiled as he danced with her. Helga wondered whether this girl meant as much to Adrian as Maud had, or whether she was worth infinitely more.

After the jig, the musician begged the dancers for a two minute pause in the music to have a drink, and Adrian kissed the girl on the cheek. She said something which Helga could not lip read. In reply, Adrian nodded as the girl turned her back on him and made her way towards the exit into the grounds. It was at this moment that he turned round.

She remembered his eyes so well, and here they were gazing at her once more. She had caught his eye several times throughout the evening, twice when he stood at the sideline watching others dance, and once when he span past her while dancing. Helga’s heart hammered in her chest; he was walking towards him, a nervous smile on his handsome face. Letting him see her most beautiful expression, she cracked her face into a cheery smile, and heartened, he picked up his pace.

Soon he was standing in front of her, and she gazed up at him. He was panting slightly from the dancing, but he still wore an expression of curiosity on his face. His voice was hushed when he spoke, as if he revered her, “my lady.”

Giggling nervously, she blushed. “Oh, I wish!” Then Helga kicked herself inwardly. She should be portraying herself as an aloof aristocrat and make him want her; but she had never been very successful at that sort of thing.

“You look like a lady to me,” Helga crimsoned at this comment, but this was covered by Adrian continuing, “I’ve been watching you all evening trying to find the courage within me to ask you to dance with me. I’ve been a coward up until now, but now I have succeeded.” He said this all tremendously quickly, as if he was terrified, “so will you accept this coward for one dance.”

For once, Helga said something she was proud of, “I would dance with you all night if I had the chance!” At that he gave her another handsome smile as he presented his hand to her. Helga took it, thinking of all the times she had held this hand before and how this time was so infinitely different.

Soon the music began, and Adrian gave her a smile. This time, the music was slow and romantic, and Helga couldn’t help but thank her lucky stars. Helga felt Adrian’s strong hand clasp hers as she placed her hand on his shoulder; it gave her Goosebumps. His other hand rested on her waist and gave him the ability to guide her. His face was inches from her own as the music took them in gentle steps.

“I noticed you from the moment I arrived,” he said innocently, “I’m sure my friends were fawning over the Princess, but I saw only you.” He looked so earnest as he said it, that Helga had to let out a little laugh.

“Everyone is enchanted by Rowena, no man can fail to be,” she said, looking once more into his mesmerising eyes. “I was not enchanted,” he whispered, “there are many great ladies like her, but there is no one I’ve ever seen as beautiful as you are.” A memory stirred, people in Dewsbury used to say she looked like Maud Penny, Adrian’s first love, and Helga thought that for once this would work to her advantage.

Then Adrian took her by surprise. He kissed her. It was brief and lasted less than a second, but his lips touched hers for a single tantalizing moment. It was reckless and against all court etiquette. She tried to pull away but Adrian said urgently, “what’s your name?”

Helga began to panic as old feelings of insecurity rose to the surface. Why did she deserve the love of brave, handsome and clever Adrian? “You don’t want to know my name!” she sobbed, tears coming to her eyes as she turned away. The emotion had been quite sudden and stinging, but it caused her to run away. She pushed through the crowd and kept running until she was in the open air and alone, but not for long.

Adrian had followed her and padded up behind her, a sense of confusion in his eyes. This did not stop him coming to her and embracing her tightly and Helga gave in. He was warm and comforting, and she gave in to her emotions. He released her slightly as she looked up at him, and he kissed her again, this time more passionately. Helga was dazed, she had never experienced anything like this before, only heard tales of the magic of it from Rowena, but now she understood.

When they broke apart, she smiled up at him, her whole body glowing with happiness. “Adrian!” It was a joy to say his name, she felt so exhilarated, but his expression faltered. He looked more confused as ever as he whispered, “I haven’t introduced myself yet, how do you know my name?”

There was no point lying. It was the opportunity to tell him everything and she did happily. “Twelve years ago you put a little girl onto a cart and sent her to Alba to save her from her aunt. Her father had just been murdered. She asked you if she’d ever see you again and you didn’t know. You said you may never see her again in this lifetime and you wished her luck in Alba. She came here, and became the Princess’ maid.”

His eyes dawned in comprehension as she said it, “Helga?” he whispered in disbelief. He stepped back gazing at her from head to toe, “is it really you?” Helga nodded as she gave him a happy smile, tears once again rolling down her cheeks. “Yes, it’s really me.” He looked dumbfounded, but Helga reacted at once. She kissed him, just as he had kissed her, gently and without any force. When they broke apart she whispered, “I love you Adrian, and, do you know what? I think I always have.”





The evening was cold, but Rachel didn’t mind. She had to admit, she felt a bit stifled by the atmosphere in the Great Hall. Godric had disappeared and was nowhere to be found, Adrian had seemed very preoccupied with a blonde haired woman who served the Princess and Salazar was being utterly boring. He refused to dance, and instead sat at the side in a stupefied daze. Rachel had decided it was best to leave him to his thoughts.

She had decided to go for a walk in the open air. Tomorrow she would start work and needed a clear head for that and she knew staying up all night dancing was not the best way to achieve that. So she had decided that before she retired to the chamber she had been allocated, she would walk through the crowds.

Her footsteps sounded heavy in the silence, but she kept walking. It was calming to be so alone, so engrossed in her own thoughts. It was good to be away from Adrian, Godric and Salazar sometimes with their male orientated talk. Suddenly she heard a voice from a few feet behind her.

“Rowena!”

Rachel span round to see who had spoken and she found herself looking into the silvery grey eyes of a man she had never seen before. He was fairly tall, with a surly expression and a shock of dark hair. Rachel had to admit he looked very dashing in the moonlight.

“Oh,” he said, on seeing Rachel was not the aforementioned Rowena, “I’m sorry I thought you were someone else.” Giving him a little smile, Rachel quipped, “Clearly, or you wouldn’t be calling me Rowena.”

He looked decidedly angry at this, and then appeared to make the decision to turn away from her, but Rachel stopped him by holding his arm, “who are you?” The man turned back towards with the same surly expression on his face.

“Cadmus,” he said almost bitterly, “Cadmus Peverell.” He had decided however that he was not interested in the woman who stood in front of him and turned away from her and marched back towards the castle. Rachel considered following him, but then stood still watching him go. From that moment, she resolved that while she was in Black Castle, she would always keep an eye on Cadmus.




Godric did not know where he was. He had wondered off to escape the noise and emotion of the Great Hall. He remembered the last time he was here on the worst day of his life. His heart had been broken and stamped on, and he didn’t believe he would live through it.

The Castle brought back those bad memories. He thought of Harald and wondered where he was. He assumed he was back in Svalbard with his awful mother, and Godric was relieved, at least he didn’t have to see them.

“Godric,” came a voice that instantly sent chills up his spine, “what are you doing here?” It was Rowena. Godric turned round to face her. She was still as beautiful as ever but it seemed everything had been enhanced by that glittering diadem on her head. She moved towards him, but he took a step back, “don’t come near me,” he spat viciously, almost snarling at her. She looked hurt, but Godric found he didn’t care, for a moment he wanted nothing more than to make her feel a tiny bit of the pain that he had been going through ever since the day she left him.

“Don’t you think it hurt for me too?” said Rowena emotionally, her words punctuated by the onslaught of tears, “don’t you think I thought about you every moment we were apart? Don’t you think that every breath felt like I was dying? Don’t you think that during every time I was with him I thought about you?” It was too much for Godric and he snapped.

“Don’t you blame the way you feel on me!” he roared, “I am not the one who left! I’m not the one who married someone else!” He was furious and he could feel his heart beating like a war drum in his chest, imploring him to keep the conflict going.

“It was not my fault either!” sobbed Rowena angrily, the tears falling down her face, “it was my duty to...” Godric let out an audible snort before shouting, “that’s you isn’t it Rowena? Cold and lifeless! You choose your duty over what we had which was passionate, exciting and alive!”

“I am not cold!” screamed Rowena furiously, “or do you not remember Godric? Do you not remember how much I love you?” Godric was incandescent. How, after five years apart could she claim that she loved him at any point?

“You never loved me!” he said as he finally broke, tears rolling down his cheeks, “you used me to get back at your mother, just in the same way as you used that Cadmus boy and god knows how many other people!” Rowena’s eyes flashed angrily as she turned on him, more furious than he had ever seen her.

“What we had was special!” she said indignantly, “It was true love. It was an amazing love that created two beautiful children and clearly left you a broken and bitter man!” Godric, without thinking began to shout back.

“I am not a broken or,” he suddenly stopped when he registered what Rowena had said, “what did you say about two children?” His mind was in a blur. He knew Rowena had two children, and by his calculations they were just over four years old.

“Bevan and Helena,” she said as a whisper, calming herself down, “are your children.” Godric was frozen on the spot, he almost stopped breathing. It was as if he was still comprehending what she had said. Prince Bevan, the Crown Prince of Alba and Svalbard, was his son? And the Princess Helena, a girl destined for a life of duty like her mother, would never be allowed to be free like her real father.

“Rowena,” he croaked, “if you are lying to keep me here,” he began tersely looking into those midnight blue eyes that had made him fall so passionately in love with her, “I will never forgive you.” She looked hurt for a moment, but then her expression became blank again.

“I would never lie to you about something as important as this.” She was barely inches from him now, and the close proximity to her made him remember the intoxication he had felt during their relationship, as if he never wanted to let Rowena go.

“It won’t make me stay,” he said resolutely, fixing her with a piercing stare, “once I have finished this job I will leave. Although they may be my children by blood, legally they are Harald’s. If I stay, I will want to be in their lives too much.” Rowena nodded in the stately way she had been taught; she did not agree with him, but she had to be diplomatic about these things.

“I understand,” she said sadly, “but you wouldn’t even try to stay, if not for Bevan and Helena then for yourself, to see if there ever was anything more to what we felt other than the fire of young love?” For a moment, he wanted nothing more than to hold her in his arms and kiss her with every fibre of his being. But he stopped himself, Rowena was married, and she would never be fully his. And they would never be fully free.

“Rowena,” he said pained, “you made your choice, I cannot reverse the damage you’ve done.” With those parting words, he turned away from her and vowed to himself never to return to her; it would only cause more pain.






I'm sorry this has taken so long, I had no inspiration, but now its here!!! Please tell me if you think this chapter is too soppy, but I hope you see there is something similar lurking beneath. Next time...Helga has to make some big decisions while Rowena and Salazar become acquainted...
 


Chapter 17: Running With It
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Running with It



Lovely new chapter image by prospero @ tda




During the weeks that passed; Rowena felt nothing but pain. Godric was here, fixing the Doxy problem, which was turning out more difficult than expected, and he never said anything to her. She organised balls, parties and feasts in the vain hope of capturing his attention, but he never came, instead choosing to walk in the cool grounds of the castle or stay firmly in his room, his door bolted shut.

She had only seen him speak once. He had been out in the grounds and she had taken her children down to the Great Lake. Bevan loved to swim and Helena would dip her toes in the freezing water like a lady. Godric had seen them from a distance and joined them, laughing when Bevan slipped on a rock or when Helena squealed when Bevan splashed her.

The rest of the time he worked like a slave, not daring to do anything other than his task given. Rowena wondered if he really had lost all love in his heart for her, or if he was just trying to appear brave and not be seen to be as miserable as she was. She remembered the times in which he had been eager in his love; he had given himself whole heartedly to her. She wished she could have those times back more than ever.

Rowena felt selfish. She felt jealous of Helga, who was clearly happy and in love with Adrian, and Rowena could see why. He was charming and attentive, and seemed to know a great deal of the world. Rowena had to bite her lip to stop herself crying when she saw them hand in hand, their looks of utter joy on their faces. Their kissing in secret made Rowena’s heart ache for the times with Godric.

The only thing she had to keep her sane was the project she had embarked on. The Sickening was ravaging Alba, killing townsmen and nobles alike. Whole villages were being wiped out by its dark hand, and Rowena knew that as Princess Regent, she had a duty to fix her people’s problems. The mounting pile of corpses was making people discontent and they looked upwards and pointed at Rowena who now, due to her mother’s insanity, did all the duties of a Queen.

She had experimented with every ingredient she knew, even the poisonous Belladonna, but nothing worked. Her patients still died. It was on one very frustrating afternoon that she sat in the library, pouring over ancient Wizarding scholars to see if she would find an answer to her questions. But there was nothing. Pages and pages of words discussing various ailments but nothing of any use. Rowena wanted the cry and she was very close to throwing a priceless antique book across the room when she heard a voice.

“Frustrated?” she didn’t recognise it, so she span round to see who it belonged to and found herself looking into the stunningly green eyes of one of Godric’s friends. She didn’t remember his name. He had dark hair and gazed with her with such a look of intensity that she found it slightly unsettling. For some unknown reason she found her heart pounding. She supposed this man was attractive; he did not have the traditional swashbuckling good looks that Godric possessed, the contours of his face were more delicately drawn and he seemed more refined, and Rowena had to admit he had captivating eyes. They seemed shrouded in mystery; as if they kept some terrible deadly secret.

“Who are you?” she asked rudely, knowing that her bad mood was getting the better of her. To stamp her authority on the conversation, she rearranged her diadem on top of her hair to indicate that she more important than him as she didn’t appreciate the way he was making her feel. She wanted to disguise her nervousness, even when she didn’t really know why she felt that way. “Wasn’t it Samuel or something?” she snapped irritably, closing her book with an angry slam in a feeble attempt to insult him.

“Salazar,” he said, his unusual face betraying no emotion, “Salazar Slytherin.” He paused again, as if to study her. Rowena suddenly wondered whether he was one of those men who, according to the common women, could read minds. “You look flummoxed,” he said, gazing at the book Rowena has just closed, “are you confused academically or do you just really dislike Merlin?” he said, pointing at the author’s name on the book which was embroidered in gold. Rowena let out a small laugh; at least he had some brains.

“What do you know of medicine Mr Slytherin?” asked Rowena, raising one of her sculpted eyebrows in interest. He shrugged his sloping shoulders in a nonchalant way, “I know the teachings of Galen, Merlin and other scholars.” Rowena’s eyes lit up with excitement. Galen, why, she did not know what Galen thought! Rowena realised that a large grin had spread across her face; but she didn’t care.

“Do inform me of what you know of Galen!” she said happily, her mood lightened. Salazar took the seat opposite her and began to talk animatedly, his eyes alight with interest and curiosity and Rowena knew she had found someone who she could talk to, someone who she could discover a cure with and someone who she would be able to fight this debilitating loneliness with.
 





The breeze was terribly strong, but Adrian didn’t care, and neither did Helga. Since spending time with Adrian, Helga had discovered what had happened to her on the night Godric had left Black Castle and why she had received that vision. She had the powers of the Mother of the Dewbury Coven, and therefore was a Seer and the vision was just an example of the extent of the powers she had at her fingertips. Adrian had decided to see what she could do, so had attempted to recreate the scene from that night on several occasions. Helga had to admit she had told Adrian a couple of white lies, it was not fair for her to reveal Godric’s secret, but at that moment he was attempting to recreate the scene as faithfully as possible.

“I was watching him galloping into the distance on his horse, and then it just happened!” said Helga, looking over at the place where Godric’s horse had disappeared that night. She could see his dark figure disappearing into the distance in her mind’s eye, and the memory resurfaced with such strength that Helga had to blink back tears. There had been so many strong emotions that night and the air had been filled with the silent forces of love and loss. Adrian gazed at her eyes and then followed her line of sight and saw where she was pointing.

“And the vision,” began Adrian, studying her face with interest, “has it come true?” Helga shook her head sadly. Part of her thought the vision would never come true, and Godric and Rowena would never be reunited. She thought they were now very different people from the idealistic young lovers they had once been; and she was not sure they would ever find it within themselves to forgive each other. Godric blamed Rowena for his heartbreak and the destruction of his life, while Rowena believed that Godric had selfishly left her to a life of loneliness. Helga did not want to vocalise this to Adrian. He would be too forceful in trying to get them to see how much they loved each other, and their stubborn personalities would stop them listening to sensible Adrian. “No,” said Helga, “but everyone in it looked older than they are now,” she lied.

“Alright,” began Adrian slowly, fixing Helga with a piercing stare, “Coventina told me what Mother Blythe used to do when she used her powers, and as yours and hers are the same, surely yours should work in a similar way.” He ran his hands through his hair, before saying, “Coventina was telling me that in the beginning, she had to have physical contact to know for sure that she would see the future.”

Adrian reacted instantly to his thought and beckoned Helga to him. Hesitantly, Helga stepped forward to the spot where he wanted her to be. She was barely inches from him and couldn’t help but feel her heart fluttering in her chest due to his close proximity. “Hold my hand,” he said gently as if he was caressing her. She could not help but obey. He smiled as their fingers touched, and soon Helga squeezed his hand affectionately, hoping it would do something.

Nothing happened.

Helga clearly showed her disappointment on her face, but Adrian smiled. “It’s fine,” he said in a carefree way, “is there any other time you’ve had a vision?” Helga paused for a moment, vaguely recalling something. She remembered the night that Rowena had taken her is as her handmaiden. Helga had been wandering through the dark woods looking for some food and then...nothing. She remembered shadows and screams and the feeling of burning; but not coherent.

The next thing she knew she was woken up in a castle with crowds of people surrounding her and she was being told she had saved Cadmus and Rowena’s lives with her magic. They had grinned at her happily when they say she was awake; but Helga had only felt confused. The rotten thing was that Helga did not remember anything. She briefly told Adrian this bit of information, and this just made him look more puzzled, and he began to tap his foot in vexation.

“Right,” he said slowly, “I have an idea, I’m not sure it will work, but we can give it a go.” Helga looked at him curiously so he continued; “it seems as if your powers work at a period of heightened senses or emotion. You were in the cold and felt sad when Godric left, and you were alone in the darkness and heard wolves. Maybe you have to get into that state.”

Helga nodded, but was not entirely sure about what to do. Adrian walked towards her and put two heavy hands on her shoulders, making her shiver with utter delight, “I think you should start by closing your eyes.” The hesitancy was to be expected with everything she did, something that annoyed Helga about herself, but she did it, wanting nothing more than to get her power to work, not just for herself but to impress Adrian.

Flecks of light danced on the back of her eyelids as she realised her hearing was slightly stronger. Twittering birds were louder and more tuneful than they had been when her eyes were open. She could feel the breeze billowing her skirt and she could feel it caressing her ankles. She seemed to be able to sense where Adrian was, and could tell he was slightly in front of her. He walked away several feet and then in a large circle until he was standing just behind her right shoulder.

He radiated warmth. His chest was just behind her back, barely an inch away and she believed that if she strained her ears, she could hear the slow steady beat of his heart. His mouth was by her ear, and she could feel his warm breath blowing on her neck with each outward breath and she could hear each gentle intake of air. She wanting nothing more than to wrap his strong arms around her waist and hold her tightly. She longed for him to kiss her.

Then it happened.

There was a lot of shouting. Indistinguishable places and people flashed before her eyes. A voice that she vaguely recognised said “she will lose everyone she’s ever loved until she’s old and alone. The misery will consume her as she withers away into nothingness!” There was someone crying, a devastated mournful cry. It then changed to the hungry needy wail of a baby. A lullaby about the moon was heard for a few scant notes.

Then she felt the grass beneath her hands. She snapped her eyes open and realised she was laying on her back on the grass, with Adrian leaning concernedly over her. With one hand he was stroking strands of golden hair out of her eyes, his thumb lightly touching her cheek. He smiled, showing each one of his pearly teeth; when he saw she was awake. It was a wonderful sight to see him smile.


“Are you okay,” he said concernedly, resting his hand on her shoulder. She nodded and tried to sit up, but Adrian said quietly, “Gently.” She obeyed and slowed the pace at which she sat up. “Do you want me to get you a drink or anything?” he asked his voice unbearably tender with worry. Helga shook her head, and Adrian gave her a cautious smile.

“I had a vision,” she whispered groggily, “but I couldn’t decipher it. I heard lots of screaming and crying, and I definitely heard a baby. Then there was a lullaby, and a voice, a strangely familiar saying something that sounded almost like a curse.” Adrian let out a smile and wrapped his arms around her. It was so comforting to be close to him, to feel his body so against her and to smell his skin. Helga reciprocated the show of emotion by wrapping her arms round his waist; joyfully happy that she had him by her side and firm in the belief that he would never leave her.

“Well done!” he squealed delightedly, “it could mean absolutely anything, but it is a start!” When he broke away from the hug, Helga kissed him on the cheek. His cheek was warm and she could feel stubble forming against her lips. She could see he was blushing, a bright red of nervousness and pleasure at the suddenness of Helga’s display of affection.

“You are a wonderful teacher,” she said honestly, dusting a strand of sandy hair out of his hazel eyes. He shook his head letting out a little laugh, his hair shaking as he did so. Helga was quiet shocked at his sudden humbleness and so said forcefully, “yes you are Adrian. You’re kind and patient, everything that a good teacher should be.” He gave a sharp breath out like an echo of a laugh as he held Helga’s hand affectionately.

“I’m nothing special,” he said cheerily, “everyone can teach if they try hard enough. The teaching comes out of you when you know someone needs to learn something. You need to be able to use your powers to defend yourself from Petronilla if anything ever happens. You are the one with the talent, I am no master sorcerer, all it needs is a person to coax it out of you, and in this case, it is me.”

“I feel sorry sometimes,” said Helga sadly, her thoughts leaving Adrian for a moment, “when I think of some people with magic. Some are born into their family covens and are trained from birth and become celebrated and talented sorcerers, but some have no idea they are magic and have no one there to teach them. All wizards and witches educations are disparate and uneven. How are we meant to see the best magical talent when the world is like that?” asked Helga, her brow furrowed in sudden frustration at the world she lived in.

“I know,” said Adrian sadly, “but what can you and I do about it Helga?” he said mournfully, “we are just two people.” Then Helga suddenly realised she had had the most brilliant idea in her life. It would be difficult to accomplish, and would probably take years to achieve; but Helga could only imagine how many people it would help. A school for witches and wizards. They had a school building, Black Castle, and there were people in this castle who were the best at their craft and could be persuaded to add some meaning to their lives by becoming a teacher.

“Come on Helga,” said Adrian carefully, “it’s getting dark, and we have to return for dinner.” Helga nodded and extended her hand to him and he lifted her up. He immediately wrapped one arm around her waist and they walked side by side back to the castle. Helga couldn’t help but think how lucky she was as she nestled her head into Adrian’s shoulder, but her mind could not stop whirring about her brilliant idea and on the homeward journey, she could not help but tell Adrian about all the ways it could be accomplished.






Dinner had been delicious and Helga felt stuffed. Rowena always knew how to put on a show and impress people, and this had been no exception. There had be dancing and drinking and Helga believed it was yet another futile attempt on Rowena’s behalf to tempt Godric into seeing her. It had not happened, however Helga had not spoken to Rowena much that evening as she had been so engrossed in her discussion with Adrian’s friend, a man who Helga had barely spoken to since his arrival in the castle.

“This is Salazar,” Rowena had said cheerily, turning her palm up to the faintly handsome man sitting next to her. He had dark chestnut hair and eyes that seemed to hide something; but Helga did not know what. Helga hadn’t been entirely sure whether she liked him; he seemed slightly ambiguous unlike most people she knew who you could read like a book. In line with etiquette, however, she had given him a curt nod and said, “Pleasure to meet you.”

After he had returned to compliment, Rowena had interjected excitedly, “Salazar and I have been discussing potions for most of the day. I’m not surprised there is no work getting done round here, it’s just that everyone is so frightfully interesting!”  Rowena and Salazar had then gone back into a deep discussion, leaving Helga to think about the logistics of her wonderful idea, occasionally hearing them analysing deeply complex potions and theories.

All the food had made Helga terribly tired, however, and after dinner she was resolved to go straight to bed so tomorrow she could talk to Adrian and try to get a vision again. It was on the way to her quarters when she was walking along the third floor corridor that she saw someone walking towards her with a powerful and arrogant gait that she instantly recognised, and it was the last person she wanted to see.

It was Guillaume Malfoy.

He looked it exhausted, and his usual pristine appearance was gone. His hair had an unkempt air to it and he was unshaven. His grey eyes flashed angrily as he marched towards Helga, fury on his face. “Oh,” he said sharply, “so the harlot is finally alone.” Helga gulped loudly, but tried to look brave. In truth she had always found Guillaume’s cool demeanour terrifying; so it was unusual for him to be so outspoken and rude as he was being now.

“What are you talking about Monsieur Malfoy?” she asked, trying to appear stern and unyielding as she stared at him, but knowing it was highly ineffective. In truth, her heart was hammering wildly in her chest. She had entered into an arrangement with Guillaume which was never broken in the situation they were in. It was always the man who ended such sordid affairs. He looked livid, and strutted towards her with the sense of arrogance that she was used to with Guillaume.

“I’ve seen you with him!” he shouted angrily, his cheeks going red with the exertion of his bellowing. “That bastard is just going to get what he wants from any woman and then run off into the sunset with those awful friends of his. None of them are any better; one looks like he could break a man’s neck without much effort, the other is such a sneaky looking man I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him and the girl acts like a man. Why do you associate yourself with a man like him?”

Helga felt so angry at Guillaume, but didn’t say anything and he continued to rant; “I’ve given you everything Helga! Dresses, jewellery, anything I asked of you I bought! My King has made me a Baron for god’s sake! I would have gone to the bottom of the deepest ocean for you,” he seemed resolved to stop talking, then suddenly he lunged towards Helga and kissed her. Before Helga could react however, Guillaume jumped back due to a clatter and then the sound of hurried footsteps.

Helga’s heart jumped to her mouth. Who had seen them? Horrible thoughts came to her mind that it was Adrian who had witnessed it and that he would leave with his friends and never return; leaving her as miserable as she had been before he came back into her life. Helga shot Guillaume a terrible look before turning around and marching back up the passage, the terror causing her stomach to tie itself in knots.





Godric was elated. He couldn’t believe what a mine of information he had stumbled on by wandering the castle and keeping away from the meaningless gossip that circulated the court. He had been terribly worried about his friends and their ability to leave the castle. Adrian seemed hopelessly besotted with Helga, and Godric wasn’t sure he would be able to tear Adrian away from her. Salazar seemed to be becoming very attached to several members of the court; including Rowena herself, finally finding someone he could have an intellectually stimulating conversation with. Rachel had fallen in love with Alba itself, and spent much of her free time traipsing through the green fields and talking to the people. Godric wasn’t sure she would want to return to a life on the road, as she had professed the thought that she may want to settle down.

Godric had been convinced that Rowena had ruined his life again by entrapping his friends in the wonders of court life. They were provincial people and not used to grandeur, and it seemed to blur their judgement. He couldn’t help but blame her; he was so angry at her. Some days he wanted to shout at her in front of everyone and so kept himself away to control his temper. However, on other days he wanted to kiss her and so he kept away from fear of how he would act. Godric despaired at his friends and knew they would not leave, especially so in Adrian’s case.

It seemed to Godric that Helga was the ambassador’s mistress, and he pampered her every whim. Now it seemed that Helga had found a new catch; the wealthy Adrian who was single and unattached. To Godric it seemed she was a climber and was only after the impressionable Adrian for his money and he couldn’t stand it if honest Adrian was used and betrayed like that.

He stopped dead in his tracks. He had to think what to do with this information. If used at the right moment it could persuade Adrian to leave Black Castle forever, and Salazar and Rachel would be obliged to follow without complaint. When that happened Godric never had to see Rowena again and he could be free from the pain she brought with her.

Suddenly he heard childish laughter. There was a clatter of tiny feet and two children came running round the corner. Godric instantly recognised them as his son and daughter. Helena was in the lead and she spotted Godric first. He had formed a quiet friendship with them over the short time he had been here; and they would be the people he missed the most.

“Godric!” cried Helena running up to him, her little arms outstretched. He crouched down to embrace her, and she rested her dark head on his shoulder. Bevan’s reaction was to push Helena, allowing Godric to pull both of his children into a tight hug.

“We’ve finished our lessons!” squealed Bevan excitedly, “and we can now do whatever we want! Will you come to the grounds with us?” For the first time in many weeks, Godric felt himself relax and gave them a generous smile; “of course I will.” With that he stood up, and taking his children’s hands, he forgot his worries for a moment and joined in with the childish games he had once loved.






Okay, in this story I wanted to show the flaws of each character, especially Godric, and also the good side of Salazar, so I hope that is coming across. Please read and review; it will help me with my writing - especially with this story! Next Time...Helga tries to make her crazy idea become reality as Rachel has some time to connect with Cadmus...
 


Chapter 18: New Horisons
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New Horizons



Wonderful beautiful new image by randompotterink @ tda

 




 

 

On the day that Helga told Rowena her brilliant idea; Rowena realised how she was moving on. Rowena sat in her private quarters, having had just seen her children off to bed. She was just falling asleep in her armchair, a book of notes that Salazar had complied on his theories of the origins of the Sickening balancing precariously on her lap. Rowena was just falling gently into a dream about herself, Helga, Salazar and Godric sitting at a long table when there was a loud knock on the door.

 

Jumping, Rowena’s papers fluttered to the floor. “Coming!” she shouted as she scrabbled around picking up the carefully annotated notes. Placing the parchment on the little table that sat by her chair, she walked towards the door, wondering who would be calling at this hour. She unbolted the door quickly, and on the other side was Helga, her faced blushed with enthusiasm and a beaming smile on her face.

 

“Good evening my lady,” said Helga cheerily, “I hope I haven’t woken you?” Rowena let out a little smile and said, “no, of course not. Come in.” Opening the door wider, Rowena stepped back to allow Helga to step into the room. Helga, totally at ease in Rowena’s company, went and sat on her usual chair, and following the normal routine, Rowena sat in her chair, the more expensive and luxurious of the two.

 

“You looked quite determined,” said Rowena conversationally, noticing the unfamiliar glint in Helga’s eye, “what has you so awake at this time of night?” Rowena guessed that Helga had come here to talk about Adrian as she looked so happy, so she was taken aback by what Helga came out with next.

 

“I have had an ingenious idea,” she said, her green eyes alight with excitement, “and you are the one person able to make this idea a reality.” Rowena was intrigued. Normally, it was her who came up with the ideas and Helga just facilitated them. Rowena watched Helga for a moment before saying, “go on then, tell me this wonderful idea of yours.”

 

Helga gave her a nervous smile before saying, “look at us Rowena. If you hadn’t found me in the forest that night our lives would have been very different. You would have been a great witch, all kinds of tutors and magical books to learn from. I would have either died in the woods or know little to nothing of the wonders of magic.” She paused for a moment, and Rowena confused with what she was trying to say.

 

“Look at Godric; he would be great as he had access to learning. However, people like me and Adrian would have been taught the things our parents knew, and if that was very little we would lose the chance to enhance our magic. Witches and wizards born to Muggles for example would never know what powers they had because they would never have the chance to learn.”

 

“Yes,” said Rowena slowly, “and it is a very sad case of affairs,” she said slowly, trying to gage Helga’s reaction. Rowena was a little apprehensive of what Helga was trying to say, but she listened like a good friend should. Helga gave a beaming smile at this and dusted her hair out of her eyes ready to continue with her idea.

 

“Well,” she said happily, her eyes gleaming with passion, “we have the chance to change that if we open a school of witchcraft and wizardry.” Rowena was totally taken aback by this. Helga was saying this idea as if it was the most obvious thing to do in the world. However, Rowena thought it would be a hard task to accomplish.

 

“Helga,” she tittered, “you can’t be serious? Where would we have this school? The Castle is used for the royal court. And where would we get the teachers? The two of us are twenty two years old and we hardly have enough life experience to look after ourselves let alone an entire school!” Helga looked hurt, and she sounded slightly choked when she replied.

 

“I didn’t envisage we would do it alone,” she said stingingly, “I’m sure people would be thrilled to help us. It is for the greater good. We would be educating young witches and wizards and be preparing them for what life has in store for them and therefore creating a better future and a stronger Alba!” Rowena suddenly felt so much older than Helga. How could Helga have so much youthful idealism about her when Rowena so clearly saw what the world was and what it stood for?

 

“Helga,” said Rowena tiredly, “it would be a wonderful idea if it was achievable but it is not and it will never be.” Rowena obviously showed her discontent on her face, and Helga clearly saw it. Rowena watched as her friend got up and gave a curt nod before mumbling, “Good evening my lady,” and walked out the room so defiantly that Rowena surmised this was the first huff that Helga had ever been in.

 

Rowena let out an audible sigh. If it had been several years ago, Rowena would have been deeply upset that Helga was angry with her, but now she almost didn’t care. Her actions seemed meaningless now. Whatever she did people would be angry with her. She was stuck in a stalemate with everyone in her life. That was the burden of having a responsibility.

 

Helga was angry with her for not having the resources to support her idea, Queen Emma was disappointed in what a terrible regent she made, her advisors were angry with her bad decisions and Godric would never forgive her for choosing her duty over him. Even Salazar gave her glances some times which seemed to show that he was disappointed with her, but Rowena did not know why.

 

She was so jealous of Helga for her happiness. She didn’t begrudge Helga for having it, but wanted it so much for herself that sometimes she could barely look at her friend. Her mother no longer made any sense. She would either be vengeful and screaming or unbearably loving. With Godric it was the same. Rowena knew she could never prove to him how much she loved him, as the only way she could do that was marrying him, which she could never do as she was already married.

 

Her only saving grace was the gem that she had discovered in Salazar. He was a sturdy and trusted friend, always offering cautious advice and full of knowledge. When she looked at Salazar, she found her looking at every single quality that Godric did not possess; patience, caution and a studious nature.

 

Rowena had mused in quiet moments the sudden intensity of her friendship with Salazar; it reminded her of the brief but passionate nature of her courtship with Godric. She saw Salazar as no more as a friend, but she already knew that she didn’t want him to leave as much as she wanted Godric to stay. She assumed that it was because Salazar’s friendship was for her mind, whereas Godric’s love was for her soul.

 

 

 

 






 

The library was incredibly dark that evening, so Helga had brought a lantern along for company. She could not understand why Rowena did not see the genius of her plan, and felt so annoyed that she wanted nothing more than solitude and she knew that this was the place to get it. Nobody came to the Library this late at night.

 

Helga threw herself onto an empty chair and placed the lantern on the small table next to her. Part of her wanted to see Adrian, but she knew he would be asleep and she didn’t want to disturb him. Undoing the ribbon that tied her hair back, she let her loose blonde curls fall lazily onto her shoulders. Rowena did not like Helga looking casual, but for once Helga did not care what Rowena thought, and part of her didn’t want to care what Rowena thought ever again.

 

“You are talking to yourself you know.”

 

Helga jumped from her chair with a little squeal and turned to face the source of the voice. The shadows seemed to converge on him, with only his tight facial features catching the light. Her mind whirred for a moment, not recognising the face in front of her. Then she remembered his name. It was Salazar Slytherin.

 

“What are you doing here?” asked Helga, piercing him with what she hoped was a mean stare. He gave her a curt smile that was half mocking, half jovial. He had infuriated her from the moment she had met him because she could not understand what he was thinking. Helga had always found men incredibly simple characters, always wanting one thing or another, but Salazar never showed his motives and Helga had to admit it made her slightly uneasy.

 

“The same question could be asked to you,” he said wryly before pausing for a moment, “I am just doing some reading for the Princess Rowena, someone you seem well acquainted with.” She watched him for a moment, he seemed to want her to give him some information about Rowena, so she obliged.

 

“I went to see her this evening,” she said cautiously, “I wanted to present an idea to her, something that is so vitally important, but she just did not see the merit of it.” He raised one eyebrow at her before saying, “I’ve met women like that. They are just worried of the consequences of what will happen. Sometimes it is worth the extra evaluation.”

 

It was at that moment that Salazar betrayed the first sign of genuine emotion that Helga had seen from him. His eyes seemed saddened for a moment, but then he returned to his usual blank face. Then Helga was resolved to trust him. Up to that moment she had seen him as not quite human. He did not seem to have the ability to show emotion, he was neither man nor beast, only a statue.

 

“What was this idea,” he asked casually, looking at Helga with interest. Helga told him instantly. She had it all mapped out in her head; how every intricacy was to work. The only thing standing in her way was Rowena’s obstinacy. As an Alban Princess she had raised to be stubborn and to know her own views, but Helga thought this sometimes left the Princess extremely narrow minded.

 

Salazar was still gazing at Helga with that benign look of interest. “That is a truly enlightened idea,” he said, throwing himself onto the chair opposite, “I just cannot understand why dear Rowena doesn’t see the merits of it.” Helga blushed at these words. She wasn’t used to such flattery. Even Adrian did not laud her intellectual feats, as he was a man of simple words.

 

“She won’t listen to me,” said Helga dejectedly, “no matter what I do she will always see me as nothing more than her handmaiden!” Quite unexpectedly, she suddenly felt tears stinging her eyes for the little Rowena thought of her, but Salazar leant forward and took her hands in his. They were ice cold, but were smooth, and Helga felt instantly comforted.

 

“Don’t cry,” he said earnestly, “it is a truly wonderful idea. Rowena is quite attached to me at the moment; we have built up a firm friendship. I will talk to her and I’m sure she will begin to see the merits of your argument.” Helga was taken aback by this show of kindness, so gave him a beaming smile.

 

“Thank you,” she whispered, “so, you will help me in all my endeavours to make this dream come reality?” she said, gazing him with such an intense look she wondered he didn’t quiver. He let go of his hands as he stood up, his heavy cloak twisting round his narrow frame as he turned away from her.

 

“Yes, of course,” he said, fixing his piercing green eyes on her, “I will see you again Helga, after I have persuaded dear Rowena to our cause.” He gave her a curt nod before disappearing into the shadows of the library. Helga watched him go, happy that she had made a friend who she could trust with all her heart.

 

 

 

 






 

The moon was not there that night, but that didn’t deter Rachel. Nothing would. The days she had spent at Black Castle were the happiest of her life. Godric, Adrian and Salazar believed it was due to her love of Alba itself, but Rachel knew it wasn’t that. Although she loved the city, with its magical shops, its rolling fields and its magnificent architecture, nothing had enthralled her as much as he had.

 

And it had all happened so unexpectedly.

 

He had blundered into her life with all his surly angriness and his hidden thoughts. All her life she had known what she wanted from a man. She wanted him to be simple, attentive and loving, but Cadmus was absolutely none of those things. He was sulky and sarcastic, but this attitude made Rachel more intrigued.

 

That’s why every night she went down to visit him. Even at impossibly late hours he always seemed to be awake when his brothers were asleep, and this gave Rachel time to see him alone. Rachel thought that he was rather warming to her visits now.

 

Just as expected he stood in the paddock, in the process of leading a horse into the stable. Rachel recognised it. The horse was Midnight, Princess Rowena’s one, and Rachel thought that Cadmus spent his whole time devoted to that single horse as if he had a point to prove. He caught Rachel’s eye as she arrived at the gate, but didn’t move to open it for her, leaving Rachel to hop over the gate herself.

 

Rachel had noticed as she had arrived a hopeful look on Cadmus’ face when he first saw her face. Rachel decided to tease him and question him about it. “Cadmus,” she began, fixing him with a piercing stare, “you looked almost happy when you saw me just now.” She walked close to him, gently resting her hand on his arm, feeling the strength of the muscle beneath.

 

“It’s just you look like...” he began slowly, “oh, never mind.” He turned back to the horse, but Rachel dropped her hand to take his, and he seemed slightly taken aback. Stepping closer to him; she analysed him in detail for the first time. He was not high and mighty like everyone she was meeting recently; he was from a humble family and this reflected in the way he looked at her. He did not have the confidence that came with entitlement.

 

Rachel suddenly noticed the expression on his face, which was highlighted from the pitiful amount of light radiating from the Peverell’s House. He looked sad, and Rachel dropped her flirting for that look. “Cadmus,” she breathed, “are you all right?” Cadmus gazed at her, as if he wanted to say something. “Please tell me,” implored Rachel, stroking a strand of hair out of his eyes.

 

“It’s just...” he began, his sentence already fragmented, “it’s just...” she couldn’t help but stare at him, “you look so much like...” Then he did something that shocked Rachel. He grabbed her by the elbows and pulled her to him, and he kissed her.

 

When they broke apart, Rachel clasped her hands to her chest. She felt dizzy. It had been shocking but exhilarating at the same time. She knew what came next in situations like these, the man would declare his undying love for the women and would promised to be married to her within a day. Rachel watched him, waiting for him to say something.

 

“Well, goodnight,” he said sharply, instantly turning away from the startled Rachel. With that, he led Midnight away and over to the stables, leaving Rachel perfectly alone and perfectly shocked, in the darkness.

 

 

 

 






 

The next morning dawned cold and bright and Rowena awoke fairly early, not wanting to waste a second of the new day. It seemed clear and bright, but she did not want to go to the stables to retrieve Midnight like she had in her youth. For once, she did not think of a plan to ensnare Godric. Instead, she thought of Salazar, and the meeting she had arranged with him.

 

She got herself washed and changed, not wanting to wake Helga, and then made her way down to the library, the place that had become the automatic meeting place for her and Salazar. The early morning light was just seeping in through the windows, but when she arrived she already found Salazar sitting in his usual chair, a book of medical history in his hand.

 

“Good morning Salazar,” said Rowena cheerily, sitting in the chair opposite him, “it is shaping up to be such a wonderful day!” Salazar gave her one of his usual half smiles. Rowena had to admit that was the one thing she could say that she disliked about Salazar; he never gave an honest genuine smile and each half smile he gave seemed to be hiding some terrible secret that he was too scared to admit.

 

“Good morning my lady,” he said carefully, placing the book on the table next to him, “I hope you slept well.” All of this was just small talk, but Rowena had to admit that she was able to give him a positive answer. Rowena had slept better than she had in months. Usually her mind was whirring through ways of getting Godric back but last night, nothing but peaceful sleep.

 

“I slept wonderfully,” she said happily, clasping her dainty hands together, “you?” Salazar gave a pained look that took Rowena by surprise. Rowena had always taken Salazar to be the kind of man who never showed pain or weakness, instead he would always make himself appear strong and bold. It was the expected thing to do in court circles.

 

“No, I didn’t,” he said morosely. Rowena analysed him carefully. He didn’t have the blood shot eyes and dazed look of someone who had had a bad night sleep. In fact, he looked perfectly well rested. However, she didn’t believe he would be lying, he seemed too sincere to be a liar, and she thought there would be a valid reason to why he was awake.

 

“Why?” she asked nonchalantly, picking up a book near her and beginning to flick through the pages. Rowena then looked back up at Salazar who she noticed looked very concerned. His brow was furrowed and he was wringing his hands.

 

“I saw Helga here last night and she looked awfully upset,” he said, indicating to the chair Rowena was now sitting in. The thought struck her that maybe she had been a bit dismissive with Helga the previous night, but she didn’t want to vocalise this as there was a possibility that she had been upset about something else.

 

“Oh, did she?” Rowena sad quickly, trying to cover the guilty expression that she was sure was now sliding across her face. She looked down at her hands nervously and bit her lip. Salazar was one of these people who seemed to be able to read your mind, and she didn’t fancy him being able to see her guilt.

 

“Yes,” he said slowly, his bright eyes fixed on the back of Rowena’s head. She knew he was trying to get her to look at him, but Rowena didn’t want to. If she looked into those intense eyes she knew she would tell him the truth. Instead she pretended to find a section of her skirt highly interesting, and she began to scratch it with one finger as if to remove some invisible stain.

 

“What was she upset about?” said Rowena conversationally, finally looking up at Salazar, her jaw tense with defiance. He looked perfectly relaxed however, but did not meet Rowena’s eye. Instead he took one long finger and began to draw large circles on the armrest of his chair, which he watched intensely. Rowena copied him for some unknown reason, bewitched by the even circles he was tentatively drawing.

 

“She was saying something about you not listening to her idea,” he said, as if he could not quite remember, “I couldn’t quite hear through all that sobbing.” The guilt felt terrible now. Rowena hated to upset Helga as she was so sweet and innocent, but she never thought of the problems to her ideas, and her idealism somewhat irritated Rowena.

 

“Oh why, that girl will get upset over anything,” Rowena laughed dismissively, desperately trying to cover her guilt. Stinging thoughts of all the times that Helga had been a good and loyal friend surfaced to Rowena’s mind, but she tried to bat them away, fearing that she would give in to Helga’s idea.

 

“What was her idea?” asked Salazar, fixing her with such a look that Rowena was obliged to tell him. She explained Helga’s idea for a school in which students would come to Black Castle to learn the intricate art of magic. She complained of the difficulties of it all. Where would we find them? Where would we get the teachers? Where would they sleep?

 

When Rowena finished explaining the idea to Salazar he fixed her with a pensive look. She could almost see his mind evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of the plan. That was one thing that made him dependable; he did not run into stupid passionate decisions like other men did. Godric for one seemed incapable of making reasoned judgement, and Rowena found herself resolved to depend on Salazar in the future. Suddenly, he gave a stiff little nod and said with feeling, “But that sounds such a brilliant idea!”

 

Rowena was taken aback by Salazar’s enthusiasm and a little too shrilly she squawked “No it doesn’t! Think of the logistics!” All she could think of was the mounting problems that would come with running a school here in Black Castle. Also, she had a kingdom to think about.

 

“Think of the intellectual stimulation,” Salazar pressed on enthusiastically, “You will be surrounded by intelligent children who share your passion for learning. They will be pushing the boundaries of knowledge and magic, they may even help you with your quest to find the cure. All that information shared between intelligent people. Rowena, doesn’t that sound perfect for you?”

 

Rowena suddenly felt herself become intrigued. It was true that before Godric and Salazar had arrived Rowena had felt incredibly lonely, with only Helga able to give her an intelligent stimulating conversation. With other skilled practitioners around, she could learn so much and impart her knowledge so well. It was strangely appealing. “I hadn’t thought about it like that,” she mumbled, stroking her chin with one finger.

 

“I’m sure there would be many who will want to help you,” continued Salazar, leaning over and clasping Rowena’s hands. Only then did Rowena notice how strangely cold his skin was “Helga and I for a start. With your friends help, it will be perfectly achievable.” He sounded passionate about the cause, and Rowena had to admit that having a purpose in creating something good was what she needed now to take her mind off her problems with Godric.

 

“Salazar, you know how to persuade me!” said Rowena jokily. He had conjured up images of how wonderful this school could be in a way that Helga had not managed to. For perhaps the first time, Rowena felt excited about something she was going to do as she would be doing it with Salazar and Helga, two of her best friends in the entire world.

 

“Alright then, I’m in!” she said, shaking Salazar’s hand happily. She gazed into his eyes, glad to know that at last she had found a dependable man in the ever shifting sands of her life. With that simple handshake, little did she know how much she was to change the course of history.



 

 

 






Hi, new chapter is finally up!!! I hope you like it. Important decisions are being made...next time...Godric is told of the plans for the school while Adrian discovers something that could end his blossoming relationship with Helga forever...

 
 
 
 


Chapter 19: Changing the World
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Changing the World



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On the day that the plan for the school was agreed; Adrian had his heart broken. Breakfast that morning was a subdued affair. Helga sat alone at the head table, looking out into the shadowy Great Hall for signs of life. Only a few unimportant courtiers and servants hovered in the Great Hall, and Helga thought it very unusual.

 

Rowena had not appeared, and Helga surmised that she was with Salazar and hopefully had been converted to the cause. Godric was notably absent, but that was not surprising. He rarely arrived in any places he expected Rowena to be and for that reason remained isolated from the court. Cadmus was not there and he usually arrived in the hope he could talk to the women of his desires, Rowena, usually with no success. Even Rachel, a girl that Helga had become acquainted with, was not present which was very rare, as Rachel was always up promptly for breakfast.

                                                                                                

Most unusually of all, Adrian was not there, and Helga missed him. All the time when she wasn’t with him, Helga could not help but think of him and wonder where he was, and in moments of solitude she thought of everything wonderful about him and why she was so lucky to have his love. She worried about him, and dreamed of him and found herself being giggly and acting like a child because of him.

 

Breakfast had been rather plain that morning; a hunk of bread with a small amount of cheese and ham, but Helga had eaten it ravenously. Helga had always had a particular appreciation for food; especially the wonders that were concocted in the Black Castle kitchen and she was adamant that one day she would be a fine cook.

 

She was just finishing the last crumbs of her meal when the doors from the entrance hall crashed open to reveal the last person she wanted to see. Baron Guillaume Malfoy, as he was now to be called, marched in with his usual domineering swagger. He still possessed the dishevelled look he had worn the last time Helga had seen him, but he seemed calmer and an icy stare dominated his handsome face. He marched in between the tables and up towards Helga, only stopping when he hit her table and was able to lean across to her, grabbing her chin angrily with one hand.

 

“I need to talk to you,” he spat ferociously, “now!” His eyes seemed bloodshot and he looked tired and broken, but Helga did not feel sorry for him. He was a callous scoundrel and Helga was overjoyed that she was no longer sharing his bed as his mistress. She shook her head determinedly. She need not waste any more of her life on Guillaume. Pulling herself from Guillaume’s grasp, she gave him the most defiant look she could muster.

 

“Yes you will,” he hissed dramatically, “or your darling Adrian will know what you truly are.” Helga’s heart hammered loudly in her chest; she could not bear it if Adrian knew; she would feel like a traitor. So she dropped the remains of her food onto her little wooden plate, desperately trying to appear brave. She stood up in an attempt to seem intimidating, but Helga knew it was ineffective from the way Guillaume’s mouth curled into an ugly smile.

 

“In the forest,” she whispered tentatively, thinking of the most secluded location she possibly could, “it’s the only place we won’t be seen.” With that, Guillaume extended his arm to her and she took it angrily, stopping herself spitting at him. Him leading her, they strode out of the Great Hall and away from Black Castle into the surrounding forest.

 

 








 

It took several minutes before they appeared in a suitable clearing; at which point Helga shook Guillaume’s arm away loathed to let him touch her. “What do you want Baron Sanglante!” she said, using his official title to wound him. He looked at her with such intensity that Helga wanted nothing more than to run away, but she kept still, keeping his gaze and trying to stop herself shaking with nerves.

 

“Helga,” he moaned like a wounded dog, “what happened? We were so happy! I loved you like a man should love his mistress, and I gave you all I could. But now you wash yourself of me for dirt like him!” Helga flushed a brilliant red in her anger, and had to use all her self-restraint to stop herself punching him as the hate built in her chest.

 

“He is not dirt,” spat Helga angrily, “he is anything but dirt, he has a good heart and...” however, Guillaume broke of her sentence with an outbreak of mirthless laughter. Wide eyed, Helga watched him as his face contorted into a gargoyle’s face with his cruel chuckle. She did not want to look at him, but he scared her so much she couldn’t break away.

 

“I know you Helga Smith,” he said evilly, “I know you are after two things, money and power. Dear Adrian is just the next step on a path to obtaining that. You think that because he is friends with Godric the Princess’ lover,” Helga obviously gave a subconscious shocked expression for this fact her knew, as he said rudely, “oh, don’t be surprised that I know, it’s an open secret.” He paused before continuing, “you think that if you sleep with him then you will get all the benefits that come his way.

 

“Don’t you dare!” she hissed quietly, aware that she was in an exposed area, “don’t you day say...” However he sentence was cut off as Guillaume grabbed her roughly by the waist and pulled her into a kiss. It was rough and uncomfortable, but before Helga could do anything she heard the smash of broken glass. Pushing Guillaume away she turned to see what had made the noise.

 

To her horror it was Adrian.

 

 








 

He had dropped the bottle of wine in blind panic. Barely looking at Helga, he had begun to run as fast as he could. He could hear her behind him, her breathless cries of his name. Tears were evidently rolling down her pink cheeks as he could hear her sobs echoing through the trees. He ran with every bit of strength that he could muster as he darted through the trees.

 

Adrian could not take it anymore, so he drew his wand from his belt to Apparate like Godric had taught him. Within seconds he was standing, breathless, outside his chamber in Black Castle. Leaning his head on the oak door, he let the stinging tears that had been waiting come. After a minute he stood up, wiping away the tears that had overtaken him, and unlocked the door with a quick spell.

 

“Oh, there you are,” came a familiar gruff voice. Adrian looked up to find Godric Gryffindor lazing and the armchair that sat in the outer chamber of his bedroom, “I just wanted to ask you about, oh are you alright?” Adrian surmised that he obviously looked heartbroken, but Godric’s words pushed him over the edge again as the tears began to well in his eyes.

 

“It’s Helga,” he said, wiping the tears away, his voice racked with sobs, “I saw her in the woods. She was kissing Baron Malfoy!” Adrian noticed the guilty look on Godric’s face and he suddenly understood. “You knew?” he thundered, incandescent at his friends secret, “you knew and you didn’t tell me?”

 

Godric shook his head sadly and said, “how could I tell you? You were so happy! Even if I had told you, there was no way that you would have believed that Helga is the mistress of the Baron.” Adrian felt sick. This revelation was one too much. Helga was Malfoy’s official mistress, and it was obviously an open secret.

 

“How do you know?” asked Adrian cautiously, almost not wanting to hear the terrible answer. Godric put one of his strong arms around Adrian’s shoulders and said sadly, “I overheard her talking to him. They seemed to be quite affectionate.” Godric wasn’t directly looking at him, but Adrian dissolved into sobs, running his hands through his hair.

 

“Why Godric?” he said anguished, “why did she do this to me?” Godric took his great arm off Adrian’s shoulder and turned him around to face him fixing him a ferocious stare with his piercing emerald green eyes. It was as if he was his father, teaching him a fact about life that could never be forgotten.

 

“It’s women Adrian,” he said simply, “women are all the same. They do not care whose lives they ruin as long as they get what they want; someone to keep them warm on a cold night.” Adrian felt crushed and he staggered into the armchair, not able to believe that Helga was capable of such treachery.

 

“Adrian,” said Godric gravely, “you know what this means.” Lifting his head, Adrian looked at his friend, not quite sure what he was talking about. “When we have finished this job we take Salazar and Rachel and we run and never look back. I told you this Castle was a dark place, and only by leaving will we ever see the light again.”

 

Adrian nodded morosely, “I suppose you’re right, we should never have come here. None of us are made for the traps that come with court life or the people that populate it.” Adrian was so distressed that he barely registered Godric turning away, and he did not see the contented grin break across his friend’s face.

 

 








 

Rachel had made up her mind. She needed to talk to Cadmus, more than anything. His kiss had caught her off guard but it had been wonderful, and she needed to know what was going through his mind. It was a glorious day, and she made her way down to the paddock sure that Cadmus would be there attending to Midnight.

 

However, she found she was wrong. The paddock was full of grazing horses which all looked up as she entered, but Cadmus was not to be seen. Rachel surmised that he would be in the little cottage he shared with his brothers, so she marched to the front door and gave three loud knocks on the heavy wood.

 

There was barely a pause before the door opened to reveal one of Cadmus’ brothers. She couldn’t be sure which one; all the Peverell boys had matching dark hair and luminous silver eyes. The brother who stood before her was slightly taller that Cadmus and his face had not yet developed the prickle of stubble.

 

“Hello,” he said warmly. Rachel could instantly tell that this boy was different from his brother. Where Cadmus was sarcastic and cold, this boy would be friendly and inviting. “You must be Rachel,” he said cheerily, pushing the door open to the little circular cottage, “please come in.”

 

Rachel did as the boy said and was instantly gladdened. The Peverell House was a homely place, with a large round table laden with the leftovers of a hastily eaten breakfast and a small door leading off the brother’s room. The boy indicated a chair and she sat down. He then offered her a drink but she refused, at which point he sat down next to her. Rachel was slightly taken aback; this boy had manners unlike his rude and annoying brother.

 

“I’m dreadfully sorry;” said Rachel mournfully, “but I don’t even know your name.” The boy gave a smile as he poured himself some wine before sitting down opposite her. It was frightening how similar he was to Cadmus, but at the same time he was very different. He had a carefree smile, something that Cadmus never seemed to have.

 

“There’s no reason you should,” said the boy in his lilting country accent, “my name’s Ignotus, and I am Cadmus’ younger brother.” Rachel gave a polite nod as she began twiddling her thumbs. She suddenly felt the awkwardness of the conversation descend over them once the pleasantries were out of the way, “What do you want with Cadmus?”

 

Rachel couldn’t tell him. She would have been repulsed if she had heard about her own sister’s love life, so was sure Ignotus did not want to hear about Cadmus’. “I just wanted to talk to him; do you know where he is?” It was at this point that Ignotus’ face fell and he folded his arms, giving Rachel a tense look.

 

“I’m not allowed to tell you,” he said grimacing, “he made me swear. If I’m honest, I think he’s avoiding you.” Rachel had expected this. Cadmus was very awkward, and she could not tell if he really liked her or hated her. The problem with him was he saw the world in black and white, so could not properly evaluate his feelings for her. “I’m sorry,” Ignotus mumbled.

 

“It’s alright,” she smiled, standing up ready to walk out the door and continue her search for him, “sorry to bother you.” She tried to bite back the unexpected tears that were welling in her eyes, but she failed and she had to bitterly wipe them from her cheeks. Soon she felt a warm comforting hand on her shoulder, and took it gratefully.

 

“Don’t judge him too harshly,” said Ignotus comfortingly, “I know he can be a pig at times, but there have been so many tragedies in his life that he has not taken well. Our sisters, mother and step-father were all taken by the Sickening and he misses them terribly. Also, you look so much like,” he paused dangerously, “oh, it’s not my place to say.”

 

Rachel suddenly felt irritated. Who did she look like that stopped Cadmus from treating her fairly? However, Rachel held back the feelings and said, “thank you very much for your hospitality. I better be going. I might try to catch your brother!” With that, she made her way back to the door and disappeared into the grounds.

 

 








 

Godric made his way to the library fairly begrudgingly. He knew it was where Rowena frequented regularly, and did not feel like talking to her. However, the library along with a room on the third floor, were the last rooms to tackle before they could leave. Adrian had begged Godric to go to the library as he believed that Helga would be there, and he didn’t want to face her. Godric didn’t tell Adrian about Rowena, as it was technically a state secret.

 

Godric pushed open the great oak doors of the library, and just as expected he found Rowena sitting by a circular wooden table. Unexpectedly, he saw that Helga and Salazar sat with her, perusing what looked like a large map of Black Castle. Rowena jumped up when she saw him, as did Helga and Salazar, as if they had been doing something naughty.

 

“Godric,” said Salazar bemusedly, “what a pleasant surprise.” For once, Godric felt a bit angry with Salazar. Why was he sitting here holed up with Rowena while Godric was doing all the work? Godric suddenly was overcome with emotion of wanting to get Salazar away from Rowena at all costs, as if it was an emergency.

 

“Shouldn’t you be helping Adrian?” said Godric suspiciously. Salazar watched him for a moment before nodding, and Godric continued, “he’s up on the third floor. The sooner we can do this job the sooner we can get out of here.” All three before him flinched when he said this, but none of them did anything for a moment. Then, quite out of the blue, Salazar nodded to the two women and went to make his way out of the library.

 

“Salazar,” stammered Helga nervously, “can I come with you? I just have to speak to Adrian.” Salazar gave one final resolute nod before the two of them dashed out of the library, not looking back at Rowena who they had both callously abandoned to Godric. The door slammed shut loudly behind them.

 

He was determined to say nothing to her, so he turned away from her and walked towards one of the infested bookcases to inspect it. He wanted it to consume his interest, but he could sense Rowena’s presence across the room. He could feel Rowena’s eyes burning into the back of his head, but he didn’t turn round. He knew he couldn’t.

 

“Can’t you say anything,” she said softly in a defeated way, “can’t you say what I meant to you Godric. Can’t you say anything to me? I want you to say something Godric, instead of these silences and long pauses which are tormenting me so.” Godric felt a lump rise in his throat, but he suppressed it, and turned round to face her.

 

“I have spoken to you Rowena,” he said, his voice shaking with emotion at the sight of her, “all the talking is done!” Rowena stepped towards him, and he could see the glistening tears beginning to outline her eyes. He wanted to hold her, and tell her she would never be sad again, but he didn’t, he knew he couldn’t.

 

“Strong words in raised voices does not count as talking Godric,” she said, the strength in her voice rising, “you chastised me for the failings in our relationship and I admit that a turned you away, but you cannot blame me for doing my duty!” Godric turned away angrily. He did not want to talk to her; he had already said all that could be said.

 

“The words are gone that will make you understand how I feel,” he said gravely, “yes, I loved you. Yes, I still love you, but you betrayed our love and remain a prisoner in your own home. I am free Rowena, and I won’t give that up. Not for anyone. Not even you.” She ran towards him and now she was inches from his chest, and his heart sped up as it did five years ago.

 

“You still love me?” she said, the tears rolling down her cheeks, “stay, please stay Godric. I am building a future here, beyond Alba and its walls. Salazar, Helga and I are to build the future, and you should stay and be part of it!” She grabbed his hand in the heat of the moment and clung on, and Godric did not let go.

 

“What are you talking about?” he asked, his interest suddenly piqued. Godric had to admit he liked the idea of being involved in great things, and even though he did not know the plan, he was interested. A boy of illegitimate birth always tended to dream of greatness. If Salazar agreed with it then surely it would be ingenious and brilliant.

 

“We are to run a school for young witches and wizards within these walls,” she whispered majestically, “magical children from all backgrounds will be able to learn their craft from the best. Did you know that Salazar, Helga and I can all perform magic without a wand? So can you Godric! Just think of the chances we would be giving those children!”

 

Godric had to admit that the plan sounded good. He imagined his life if he had magic but Muggle parents. He would have always felt different and unable to see the world he so rightly belonged in. He thought of the children in those circumstances and pitied them. But then he thought again. He would be in Black Castle every day with Rowena, trapped by her side forever. They might fall in love all over again, and they could be together every day. But Rowena could never be his wife and it would always be a secret. They could never have the life he had with Adrian, Salazar and Rachel that he loved so much.

 

“No,” said Godric pointedly, “no, I can’t. I would be trapped here forever and I would lose everything I have gained in the last five years. Surely you can understand that?” Rowena nodded, but took his other hand and drew even closer to him. She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a gentle kiss, the first kiss in five long lonely years. It was in that moment that Godric remembered why he loved her.

 

“Well, whatever you do,” she said sadly, “remember, you’ll always have me. I’ll always be here for you, waiting for you to return to me.” The tears began to roll down her cheeks again, and Godric did the only thing he could think of. He took his arms and wrapped them around her, holding her in such a tight embrace that he felt he would never let go.

 

“I’m so sorry Rowena,” he said, kissing the top of her head with all the tenderness in the world, “I’m so sorry.” The two of them stood there like that for a long time, lost in each other, hoping that they would never have to let go.

 

 








 

Helga remained determinedly silent as she walked up to the third floor with Salazar. He knew what had happened between her and Adrian, and had vowed to give them time to talk, but now the two of them had plunged into silence. They both had things to think about and Helga couldn’t help but appreciate his sensitivity immensely.

 

They arrived at the little room fairly quickly, and Salazar paused as he put his hand on the door, his face alight with nervous anticipation, “are you sure you want to do this?” he asked quietly, looking at her carefully, “maybe you want to wait awhile.” She shook her head determinedly. She had to do this now and Adrian had to know how much she loved him.

 

“Yes I’m sure,” she said nervously, her voice quivering in spite of herself, “you heard Godric, he’s pretty determined to go, and I’m sure he will have persuaded Adrian. This may be my last chance.” With those final words, Salazar nodded understandingly and pushed open the door to the room, Helga tiptoeing in behind him.

 

She was shocked to find Adrian not doing any work, but sitting with his head in his hands against the wall, his body racked with sobs. Suddenly Helga hated herself for being so deceitful, and she ran to him, kneeling in front of him and squeezing his shoulders in the hope of it being a gesture that would reconcile them.

 

“I’m so sorry Adrian,” Helga said, her voice shaking as the tears came, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you!” Salazar obviously felt the intensity of the moment, and so crept out as quietly as he could. At these words Adrian looked up, astonished, but at the same time impossibly angry. She had never seen him like this before.

 

“Did it slip your mind Helga!” he bellowed angrily, “that you’ve been living in sin with the Baron?!? Did you think I wouldn’t care that you loved him and were doing both of us at the same time?” She had never heard him speak so coarsely, but she didn’t care. She needed to prove to him that she loved him and the Baron was just a terrible chapter from her past.

 

“It’s true I was the Baron’s mistress,” she said dejectedly, “but when you arrived I left him. I love you Adrian, and I always have.” He did not look convinced so Helga continued, “he’s an ambassador. Did you think that I, a poor country girl, could say no to him?” Adrian kept his eyes fixed on her, desperately trying to tell whether she was honest. “He begged me to talk to him, so I did, and when I was there he jumped on me! You have to understand Adrian; I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you!”

 

“Godric has persuaded me,” he said slowly as if he was testing her, “he has persuaded me to leave with him, Salazar and Rachel within the next few days. If you don’t love me I will go.” Helga began to cry large silvery tears, and she tried to wipe them away without Adrian seeing. She wanted him to think she was strong.

 

“Please Adrian, don’t go,” she hiccupped, “I love you so much and I can’t live without you and I’m not made for the life you lead!” Helga collapsed into her own tears and began to shake as much as Adrian had been when she first saw him in the room. She felt so incredibly stupid, that she had failed to get her message across to him.

 

He watched her as he wiped the way the tears, “really Helga? Do you really love me?” Helga nodded forcefully desperately trying to convey her honesty in her eyes. She knew he was being convinced and she was so glad of his trusting nature. “Because the reason why I came to the woods with the wine was I wanted to ask you something.” He paused, giving her an evaluating look.

 

Helga’s heart began to beat faster as she watched him, and she took his hand in an attempt to console herself. “What Adrian,” she whispered, “what did you want to ask me?” With that he reached into the pocket of his robes and retrieved a small silver ring. It was nothing compared to the jewellery that Rowena possessed, but Helga instantly loved it.

 

“Will you be my wife, Helga?” he said plainly, his eyes alight with the question. Helga moved her hand towards him, enabling him to slip it onto her finger. In that moment, the destiny she had always expected for herself was coming true. Flinging her arms around Adrian’s neck she smiled happily.

 

“Yes Adrian,” she said clearly, “I will marry you!”

 








I hope that was good enough! I had a really hard time writing this, but I hope it was good enough. Please tell me in a review! I want to know whose your favourite character and whose characterisation I haven't got right. Please guess whats going to happen! Next time...It is Helga and Adrian's wedding, and it prompts Rowena and Godric to do some thinking, also Antioch Peverell brings home his invention...
 


Chapter 20: The Pledge for Life
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The Pledge for Life



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In the months that led up to Helga and Adrian’s wedding, Rowena had Godric by her side. Adrian had broken the news triumphantly to his friends and Salazar, Rachel and Godric were all instantly resolved to stay by his side until he was a married man. It had made Rowena so happy to be with them; it was more people for her to talk to.

 

Every morning she would go to the library for her morning discussion with Salazar. They would talk about things she could talk about with no one else; they would discuss magic and highly complicated spells that had never interested Godric and Helga. They would also make plans for the school; what they would teach, what equipment they would need and which members of the court had agreed to help them with the project.

 

During the day she would spend time with Helga, who had introduced her to Rachel. The three women would first tackle the running of Alba. While Rowena made important diplomatic decisions, Helga and Rachel acted as secretaries and also advisors on the best course of policy. Then, the three women would go for a walk in the grounds after lunch and talk about what was troubling them.

 

Rachel had confessed her love for Cadmus, and Rowena thought it was brilliant. There was a great divide between Rowena and Cadmus now, but she thought that Cadmus being married to such a charming young woman would be brilliant for him. Rachel would also bring him a great deal of money, and he would be able to move him and his brother’s into a house in Alba.

 

In the afternoon, Helga and Rachel would leave her, and this was the time that Rowena spent with Helena and Bevan, instructing the little five year olds on their schooling and playing with them in the castle grounds. Sometimes Godric joined them, and Rowena entertained herself with thoughts of them being a proper family, and her being Godric’s wife.

 

In the evening, she would retire to her quarters after dinner and organise what had to be done the following day in relation to the wedding. Rowena had promoted herself as the head organiser, and Helga and Adrian had been quite relieved to have the pressure off their shoulders. It was Rowena who had ordered Helga’s expensive silk wedding dress and Adrian’s new dress robes. She had also booked the little chapel in Alba as the place for the wedding. Rowena had to admit she quite enjoyed it.

 

Sitting at the head of the table at dinner, she gazed across the myriad of people in front of her. She could see Helga and Adrian huddled together in the corner, kissing like guilty children. That was the way she had kissed Godric once, thought Rowena regretfully. She saw Rachel and Salazar nearby having a deep conversation. Rachel had been let in on the school idea and was most enchanted by it, and they were obviously in deep conversation about it.

 

Then Godric walked in, and Rowena saw no one else. He saw her and smiled, walking up towards her until he was at the grand table. It was general knowledge that it was either he or Salazar that took the place beside the Princess Regent. Many thought it was slightly inappropriate; although Godric had noble blood and was Rowena’s brother-in-law, he was illegitimate in the eyes of the law. Salazar may have risen to being almost an advisor of Rowena’s, but he was still a commoner. It was even rumoured that his parents had been Muggles.

 

“Good morning Godric,” said Rowena sweetly as he sat down beside her. Automatically, she poured him a glass of pumpkin juice. “I hope you slept well,” she said, gazing at him adoringly. Before he answered she could tell that he didn’t. He looked pale and drawn and there were large bags under his attractive green eyes. It was most unlike him.

 

“No,” he said ruefully, “I did not sleep well.” Before Rowena could ask why, Godric began to talk to her, and it was the first honest conversation they had had since the one in the library months ago. It was not about the weather, or the castle, or court gossip which they usually used to avoid the real issues at hand.

 

“I’ve been thinking,” he said slowly, not quite meeting Rowena’s eye, “I’ve been living here the past ten months in preparation for Adrian and Helga’s wedding. He is like a brother to me and I could not leave without seeing him a married man.” Rowena felt her heart begin to quicken, she could tell where this was going.

 

“Months and months the preparations have dragged on, prepared by you who claim you want everything perfect. While I agree that that is desirable, I cannot help but think you are dragging out the process to keep me here.” So he finally understood, and she knew she couldn’t continue with what she was doing. She had hoped that in nine months he would have fallen in love with her again, but it hadn’t worked.

 

“The wedding is on Friday,” said Rowena sadly, “that’s two days from now; I’ve been trying as hard as I can. It’s true I want you to stay, you’ve been invited onto the school project but you continually turn me down!” Godric shook his head at Rowena and drinking his pumpkin juice down in one he got up.

 

“I think I need to talk to the others,” he said harshly, almost storming away from her. Rowena watched him go and sighed. She was the Princess Regent of Alba and yet she sat here and did not even have the power or authority to make him sit beside her and eat breakfast. What did she have to do to make Godric love her again?

 

 






 

“You are always so good at this game!” shrieked Rachel noisily as Salazar conned her out of her money again. She flung her cards down in mock anger, glaring at Salazar intensely, “I don’t know why I play with you! I should play with Godric; I think he’s even worse than me.” It was true that Godric was good at most things, but he did not seem to be good at taking the right risks at the right time in a game of cards.

 

Salazar let out a laugh as he scooped up the money he had won from the cards. Salazar was the opposite of Godric, he had the strategic mind needed for the game and always knew what risks would pay off and what one definitely wouldn’t. He said cheerily, “I can spend this on some people to deliver my library to Black Castle. The one here needs some new additions.” Rachel nodded in agreement.

 

“The school will need more books for those advanced students. It will be such an aid,” she paused for a moment before saying, “it’s so exciting what you, Helga and the Princess Rowena are organising. It’s just going to be so brilliant to be involved! I can get all my belongings delivered here too; Rowena has offered me some permanent living quarters too so I can stay here with you. It’s just so exciting!”

 

Salazar, however, did not look so enthused, and this confused Rachel. He was one of the main driving forces behind the project; could he really not be excited about the future? “I am worried though,” he said, concern etched on his face, “I mean it seems that we will gain so much but lose something just as important at the same time.”

 

“What do you mean?” asked Rachel perplexed, letting her newly collected cards fall from her hands. For her she could only see a bright future. She would live here in a bustling community of magic, something she had never experienced before. Rachel’s friendship with Rowena and Helga was growing stronger every day, and she would have Adrian and Salazar by her side. They had promised her she could be a teacher, and that excited her more than anything. What was there to lose?

 

“It’s Godric,” said Salazar sadly, “Rowena has tried to persuade him many times to stay, but he refuses. Rowena will not tell me why, but she says he feels he would be sacrificing his freedom by doing this. I don’t think there’s anything in the world that could make him stay if Rowena can’t.” Suddenly, Rachel saw the sparkle in Salazar’s eyes that she had when looking at Cadmus. He was head over heels in love with the dazzling Princess.

 

“Godric has always been wild and impulsive, without focus or direction,” she began diplomatically, trying to convey her meaning to her friend, “but to me it seems he trusts one person’s judgement above all, and it seems to me that he will be able to persuade him.” Salazar looked utterly perplexed as he raised one sculpted eyebrow, “who?”

 

Rachel let out a chuckle. That was the problem with men. They were blind to the workings of other people’s hearts. “Why,” began Rachel, a grin on her face, “you of course Salazar. You have been there to guide and direct him the whole time I knew him. He trusts you like a brother and would give his life for any plan of yours. While Rowena has beauty and charm that you cannot match,” she said watching Salazar give a look of indignation, “he trusts you with his life as you are the one who gives him the plans and direction to abide by, so if anyone can persuade him, it’s you.”

 

It was at that moment that the door to Salazar’s chamber burst open, revealing none other than Godric himself. He looked tired as he strode into the room, but he seemed to have a sense of purpose about him as he pulled up a chair next to Salazar, and began to talk, not even greeting his two friends.

 

“In two days time,” he began dramatically, “it is Adrian and Helga’s wedding. I am sure it will be a wonderful event and I will not be able to pull Adrian away from his beautiful new wife for anything.” His eyes flashed between his two friends as he said, “but after the wedding I can stay here no longer, and I was wondering whether either of you would be returning to our life on the road with me.”

 

Rachel suddenly felt an intense pang of guilt in her stomach, and she looked at Salazar for consolation. She did not want to leave. Going back would be returning to a life of uncertainty and only living for living’s sake. Her future here would mean she had a divine purpose. She tried to catch Salazar’s eye however, he was staring back at Godric determinedly, and as their green eyes met, Rachel knew that Salazar was the last hope in getting Godric to stay.

 

“Rachel and I,” said Salazar, briefly looking at nervous Rachel, “will not be going back on the road with you,” he said, like a true statesman, “because that chapter of our lives is over.” Godric crimsoned instantly, Rachel knew he hated being rebuffed, especially by Salazar, who he thought sometimes treated him as a child.

 

“You would not believe that if we had never come here,” spat Godric angrily, “if we never came here we would still be out on the road, fighting dangerous creatures and having adventures. How can you say you did not love that life? It was what brought us together, whereas this place is tearing us apart!”

 

Godric was now on his feet, clearly angry. He was staring at Salazar with all the venom in the world, and it looked as if he wanted to rip him to shreds. However, Salazar countered this by standing up to face Godric. He was not as tall as Godric, and was not as burly or intimidating, but he had a stare that could make the most fearsome warrior quiver.

 

“This place is not tearing us apart,” began Salazar, not taking his eyes off Godric, “I have made friends here. I have learnt new things, had new experiences. It is you that is tearing us apart, and your unfathomable hate for this place.” Rachel had to admit, Salazar was very talented at talking his way out of tough situations.

 

“I do no such thing!” said Godric angrily, clearly flustered. Rachel saw the sheepish expression covering Godric’s face as Salazar continued, “you snub court society, you barely talk to Helga or Rowena and you act as if Rachel, Adrian and I are betraying you. You just don’t see Godric,” he said grandly, “how happy you could be here!”

 

“Happy?” thundered Godric, “This place offers no happiness! You are forced to stay here, in the web of lies and intrigues. Secrets must be kept and not a word can be spoken about it! How can you say I could ever be happy here when life on the road was so much more exciting?” Godric finished with a look of triumph, but Salazar countered him almost instantly.

 

“You could be happy here, with your friends and with people who could become your friends. You could build a school and teach students how to fight like we have had to. You can learn new things, meet new people and become someone that everyone you detest in this court would respect and admire. Here you can fight for a higher cause and become a hero in the whole Wizarding world, something you could never do as a local vigilante. So that is why you should stay.”

 

Rachel knew that Salazar was playing with Godric’s heroic nature, and she suspected it was working, but she needed to say something that would truly consolidate it. “Godric,” she said simply, standing up and moving towards him, “there are some people in this world not us lucky as us. They did not have the chance to meet such wonderful friends and share their magic. By staying here, you will be doing for other people what you have done for me, Salazar and Adrian and what we have done for you. You will be giving them a home and a family.”

 

Godric stopped, and he seemed to calm for a moment, almost smiling at his two friends, “but I would never be free.” Now Rachel saw a glimmer of the truth, there was something here that lingered from Godric’s passed and he was terrified of it. He was terrified of it returning to ruin everything. Rachel gave him a reassuring smile, something she knew that Salazar would never be able to pull off effectively.

 

“You could leave,” she said gently, “if you hated it that much Godric you could leave but I’m sure you’ll love it so much you’ll never want to go.” His handsome face broke into a smile, and she knew that they had won. Godric would not be leaving, and he consolidated this by pulling them both into a friendly embrace.

 

“You are my best friends in all the world,” he said, holding on tightly. Rachel stretched her arms round Salazar and Godric and thought to herself that after overcoming this most difficult obstacle, nothing would ever be able to break them apart.

 

 






 

Cadmus sat at the table in absolute silence. He sometimes felt he never had anything to say anymore. Every day he felt so sad and regretful. He watched Rowena when she came to the grounds with her children, and saw how she smiled at Godric when he came too. It was too painful to bear.

 

Ignotus had told him to grow up. His brief summer romance with Rowena had been as fleeting as it was passionate, and she obviously saw it as nothing more than a rebellion against her mother. And anyway, why would the married Princess of Alba ever return to her stable boy? The argument had happened the day he had hidden from Rachel, and things had been awkward with Ignotus since.

 

Then there was Rachel to contend with. Cadmus admitted she was pretty, and she was pleasant conversation, and he knew in his heart of hearts that he had some affection for her. But at the same time, he felt like he was betraying Rowena. His head told him it was ridiculous, Rowena was married and had been having an affair with her future brother-in-law, but at the same time he could not get rid of this feeling of loyalty.

 

The cabbage soup was tasteless, and he wondered what Rowena was eating up at the castle. She would be sitting up there with Rachel, Helga, her new friend Salazar and worst of all Godric. He imagined her laughing at their jokes and her pretty smile. How could she laugh when she had abandoned her only childhood friend, the boy who had kept her company when she was the loneliest girl in the world?

 

“Do you like the soup?” asked Ignotus, attempting to make conversation. Cadmus had always felt henpecked by his younger brother. Ignotus had taken it upon himself after their mother died to act as their new mother. Antioch had taken to it fairly well, and had let Ignotus cook and clean. Antioch made the most money, as he now worked in Alba, spent his money in the tavern and came home. Cadmus on the other hand had the same job as he had had when he was a child, cleaning the stables.

 

“It’s disgusting,” spat Cadmus viscously. He longed for nothing more than to be up at the castle but instead he was stuck with his brother, talking about cabbage soup. His life bored him and he longed for something more, something he never vocalised to his brother’s. After this failed attempt at conversation, Ignotus tried again, seeing if Cadmus would be rallied.

 

“I haven’t seen Rachel today,” he said, stirring his spoon in the green liquid, “have you?” Cadmus let out a dramatic sigh. It seemed that as well as cooking and cleaning like their mother had, Ignotus had also taken it upon himself to get his two brother’s married off, and he had come to the conclusion that Rachel was perfect for Cadmus.

 

“No, and I’m not planning on seeing her,” he snapped gloomily. He was fed up with Ignotus and his stupid chatter. Standing up, Cadmus marched over and poured himself a tankard of mead. He didn’t want to think about Rachel, or Rowena or anything else for that matter. Cadmus just wanted to sleep.

 

“You should see her,” said Ignotus commandingly, “she’s a sweet girl, and would be good for you. I’ve heard rumours that she’s in love with you.” Cadmus flushed nervously at this. He didn’t like talking about love, especially with his nosy brother. Sitting back down, he gave Cadmus an angry stare.

 

“She thinks she loves me,” he drawled, “when in reality she doesn’t. She belongs in Rowena’s world, and that is far away from me and my job.” Cadmus thought he had made a valid point but Ignotus clearly didn’t think so. He rolled his eyes the way their mother had when she thought one of her sons was talking nonsense.

 

“From what I hear she’s a lowborn girl who just got lucky and made some money. And anyway, she doesn’t care about money or status the way your precious Rowena does.” Cadmus snapped as he slammed his tankard onto the table, giving Ignotus a ferocious look. The last time Rowena had been mentioned by Antioch, Cadmus had punched him. Was Ignotus trying to cause trouble?

 

“Don’t talk about her like that!” cried Cadmus in anguish, “she does not care about money or status. She is my friend!” Ignotus let out a small chuckle before answering, “a friend that will never see you?” Cadmus wanted nothing more than to sink his fist into Ignotus’ gloating face, but at that moment there was a knock at the cottage door.

 

Ignotus leapt up and sprang towards the door. Cadmus watched as he went, and when the door opened he instantly recognised the person who stood on the threshold. Antioch hardly ever came home during the week, and Cadmus was overjoyed to see him. Although he could be a callous brute, Antioch did not scold and chide him the way Ignotus did, and Cadmus could not help but smile.

 

“Antioch!” smiled Ignotus, embracing his brother happily, “we were not expecting you until Sunday at least!” Ignotus pulled open the door and Antioch stepped inside, throwing off his cheap cloak as he came. Cadmus watched as his older brother sat down and pointed a finger at the bowl of soup in front of Cadmus.

 

“You eating that?” he grunted. Cadmus reacted instantly, pushing the bowl towards his older brother, vaguely hoping that Antioch would have some news that would take his mind of his melancholy. Ignotus took his seat next to his brother and turned into the little boy he had once been, eager to hear the stories of adventure and intrigue.

 

“What have you been doing?” said Ignotus quickly, babbling like an incoherent child, “you spend so much time in town. We want to know. How have you been?” Ignotus’ talk was giving Cadmus a headache and he massaged his temples slowly, waiting for Antioch’s answer. Ignotus however, continued talking, “why have you come home?”

 

“I want to show you something,” said Antioch mysteriously, he paused his devouring of the soup to stand up and walk over to his discarded cloak. “Master Johnson had us make many magical items, cauldrons, spell hats and cloaks. But I recently changed jobs and have begun to work for a curious man named Master Ollivander.”

 

Cadmus remembered the name from somewhere. He suddenly remembered an Ollivander working for King Bevan when he had been a strong warrior. He had made wands for Bevan’s army, and the King had held him in high esteem for they were the best wands that money could buy. “I remember him,” Cadmus said, “he used to live up in the castle.”

 

“His family has been in the wand making business for a long time, and he hired me, thinking I would be good for business. He left me in his workshop sometimes. It was there I decided to conduct a little experiment.” Cadmus looked at his brother intensely, it was not like Antioch to be inquisitive, or work at a wand shop, but Cadmus kept listening.

 

“Ollivander told me that the wood of an elder tree should never be used to make a wand. It would be too powerful, too strong. He said it could beat any other wand out there, and should never be created as it would upset the balance.” Cadmus did not understand what Antioch was saying, but watched as he pulled a long wand from a pocket that he had tacked inside the cloak.

 

“There are many things you can put inside a wand,” he began slowly, “anything with magic. Ollivander is an old fool, and uses things he deems safe; dragon heartstrings, unicorn hair and phoenix feathers. He doesn’t understand what could be achieved if you use other things.” He walked back to his seat majestically, and placed the wand on the table.

 

“One day several months ago, I went walking in the forest. I find peace there; it is where mother is buried after all, and Sir Bedivere. I went to their graves, laying a flower for them, two for Odila and Aliena. It seemed too cruel as I thought about them. It was then that I saw it. It was like a skeletal horse with great big wings. It looked dead. I ran at the time, being a silly and stupid boy. When I returned to Ollivander’s I thought about it more, and decided to find out what it was.”

 

“What was it?” asked Ignotus, his misty grey eyes firmly on his older brother. Cadmus even had to admit he was intrigued. Antioch seemed spellbound by his own story. He had always desired a life like those who lived at the castle, and Cadmus thought that maybe this wand would bring him one step closer to achieving his dream.

 

“It was a thestral. They are creatures that can only be seen by people who have known death. After I researched them, I asked Ollivander about them. He had never seen one; the old fool has never experienced death like we have. Then I realised, that a tail hair from one of these creatures mixed with elder wood may create one of the most powerful wands in the world.”

 

Both Ignotus and Cadmus looked down at the wand. It looked like any wand apart from the strange carvings that adorned them. “The pattern came when I attempted to infuse the hair with the wood. I had nightmares during the day. It was delirium. I saw mother, Odila and Aliena. They were pale, like skeletons, reaching for me. When I woke up the wand had been created. I did it in my waking sleep.”

 

Ignotus had begun stammering with pride, “so it’s the most powerful wand in the world.” Cadmus gazed at the wand. Maybe with the most powerful wand in the world he could win Rowena’s love. Ignotus was staring at it too, but only with awe for his older brother. His heart was pure, he did not think about what he could gain. As Cadmus gazed at it, all he could think about was Rowena.

 

 






 

Rowena rode beside Helga as the bells of the little chapel rang loudly. The streets were lined with smiling faces. The wedding was the biggest news in the land. The people loved Helga for her devoted service to their princess these long years and were overjoyed to see her happy. Helga wore the finest silk dress money could buy, Rowena’s gift for her dedicated friendship. Her blonde curls hung lose on her shoulders, and she shone like the sun, her cheeks flushed with happiness.

 

Rachel rode on the other side. She wore the same royal blue as Rowena and wore a dark black cloak. The broach at her knew bore the eagle of the Black Family, and Rachel too wore the smile of happiness. Rachel was to act as bridesmaid, and she was proud of the honour. The three women were cheered as they rode along the set path to the chapel, the men already inside.

 

They dismounted at the doors of the chapel, at which point Rowena checked her friend’s veil was straight. Rowena gazed at Helga through the netting of the veil and gave her an encouraging smile, “ah, I am just so happy that I lose you to such a wonderful man.” Tears were welling in Helga’s eyes as she wrapped her arms round Rowena.

 

“It feels like the end,” she said sadly, “of all the good years we spent together.” When they parted Rowena felt a pang of sadness. After today they would be two married women, very different from the two little girls who had fought wolves together in the forest so many years ago. She suddenly felt so old; she was now an adult and had responsibilities, ones which she had shunned so long ago.

 

“It’s not the end,” smiled Rowena happily, “it’s a new beginning.” With that, Rachel picked up Helga’s train as Rowena took Helga’s arm. It had been agreed that it would be Rowena who gave Helga away as she was her closest friend. Rowena pushed the doors open, and the three women entered, a hundred eyes turning to greet them.

 

Rowena floated up the aisle with Helga at her side. At the top, by the altar, stood Adrian who looked as happy as it was humanly possible to be. Godric and Salazar stood at his side, both acting as best man. Suddenly Rowena thought of her own wedding to Harald and what a sad occasion that had been. She hadn’t seen her husband for years who kept himself cooped up in Svalbard. Happily, this marriage would turn out very different.

 

When they reached half way up the aisle, Rowena caught Godric’s eye. He looked regretful and she knew why. He was imagining the same thing she was, that it was Rowena gliding up the aisle in the wedding dress ready to declare undying love to him in front of a crowd. Only in her most blissful daydreams had Rowena dared to think of such a union, but soon she stood with Helga at the altar and was giving her friend away to Adrian. The tears came to her eyes quite easily.

 

Rowena stood beside Salazar who smiled as she took her place. It wasn’t long before she was crying like a child, and Salazar put one long thin arm around her. She leant on his shoulder, glad of the comfort as she watched as Helga and Adrian promise to cherish and love each other forever. Although she was so happy for them, she wished that she could freely love as they did.

 

Then they were husband and wife.

 

They kissed each other hungrily, and Rowena remembered the feeling of passion so easily. Her face grew hot as she thought of it, and she tried not to look at Godric, who was clearly avoiding her too. Adrian and Helga held hands as they walked down the aisle and soon Godric, Salazar and Rowena followed. When Rowena exited the little chapel she knew she had walked into a new world.

 

 






 

Okay!!! I know a lot of people said they loved Helga and Adrian, so here it is! Please read and review; I would love to know what you think. It will help me make the next chapter even better!!! Next Time...The situation with Guillaume finally come to a head and Helga and Adrian realise there is one more thing they have to do before they start the school...
 


Chapter 21: The New World
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The New World



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On the day after Adrian and Helga’s wedding, plans were made for the school. Adrian laid in his bed, the bed he now shared with his wife. It seemed strange that he was a married man, and to Helga, the girl he had not seen for years. Her blonde head rested on his chest, and he had one arm wrapped around her soft shoulders. He did not want to wake her, but Helga’s years as an attentive servant had turned her into a light sleeper, and she woke quickly, kissing him gently.

“Good morrow,” she said sleepily, holding him tightly, snuggling into the warm bed sheets. He stroked her hair absentmindedly before bidding her good morning also. In truth his mind was not entirely on his lovely new wife, and he looked away from her, his mind buzzing with thoughts. She looked up at him confusedly, her green eyes wide with worry.

“Adrian, are you feeling well?” she began, stammering slightly, “you’re not regretting getting married are you?” Helga could be so worrying some times, and he kissed her to reassure her. She gave him a little smile before saying, “you just look so concerned.” He laughed and stroked her hair, rolling over to face him.

“I’m just thinking about the school,” he said pensively, “I mean, it’s all very well us organising this school, and rooms being renovated and books being bought, but there is no students coming from anywhere, and the few of us can’t find them.” Adrian could see from the look of Helga’s face that she agreed with him, and clearly hadn’t thought about this problem.

“How do we get in touch with these students then?” she questioned, her great green eyes filled with confusion and worry. Adrian exhaled for a moment, trying to think clearly to allow his plan to fully form in his tired mind. It would be difficult, and it would be a lot to ask, but he couldn’t think of anything else.

“I’m going to have to infringe on Rowena’s luck again,” said Adrian slowly, with a hint of guilt in his tone, “with the money she has at her disposal, she can hire people to search throughout the land for magical students. They can visit covens, the most obvious place to start, but they could also go to Muggle settlements in the hope of finding magical children.”

“Have I ever told you how clever you are?” teased Helga, leaning on his chest again, the worry lines on her forehead totally gone. Adrian couldn’t help but smile at her, as he pulled her in for a kiss, thinking to himself that he truly was the luckiest man in the entire world to be married to such a wonderful woman.






Unusually, Rowena spent her morning alone in the library, compiling a list of all the books that the Castle Library currently had in stock. The basic classes that were to be taught had been drawn up, and Rowena thought that as the popularity of the school grew, they would be able to extend to subjects taught. Rowena herself would be teaching Charms, and it wouldn’t be long until she had recruited enough people to cover all the subjects.

Suddenly the quiet in the library was disturbed by heavy footsteps. Looking up, she saw who it was. Godric was awake and had brought her a new pile of books that Salazar had taken out for reading several weeks ago. They were piled high, and Rowena instantly walked over to help him. “Give me some Godric, I want to help,” said Rowena warmly, trying to take some away from him to alleviate his burden.

“I’m fine,” he said, clearly straining under the weight of the books. It was just like him to try and never show a sign of weakness, but she continued the way she was going. Rowena wanted to be helpful so she said, “no please let me help.” She soon found herself almost wrestling him for the books, and it wasn’t long until they clattered to the floor, their pages becoming bent and folded and making a huge thumping sound on the floor. Godric let out a dramatic sigh. He knelt down instantly gathering them up, in his strong arms, still not daring to look at Rowena.

Rowena laughed, copying him to speed up the job, “they are only books Godric,” she chuckled, “no damage has been done.” It was less than thirty seconds before they them had piled up between them, and it was at that moment that they both looked up, directly into each other’s eyes. Their faces were inches from each other, and Rowena suddenly felt everything come flooding back so intensely. She felt as if she had been engulfed in his emerald eyes and she watched him silently, her heart beating quickly in her chest.

It all happened so fast.

With one swoop of his hand, Godric had spontaneously pushed the books out of the way, sending them tumbling to the ground. He grabbed her shoulders, the silk of her dress snagging at his touch. He pulled her to him and it was as if they were seventeen again. He kissed her like he had in the lake and during that one glorious night. Rowena kissed back with everything she had, she had been waiting for this day, this moment when he would realise how much he still loved her.

But then he stopped suddenly. He pushed her away and stood up, not facing her as he paced away. It was as if he was angry with himself for what he had just done, “I’m sorry Rowena,” he panted, his face flushed with passion, “I’m so sorry.” Rowena stood up, looking up at him despairingly. Sometimes, she could not work out how his mind worked.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” said Rowena plainly, feeling that if they had both enjoyed it, there was nothing wrong with it, “you felt the same thing as I did in that moment.” She tried not to cry. Suddenly gates that had locked all her feelings for Godric away over the past nine months came open, and her feelings came flooding back.

“There is,” said Godric, his voice croaky, “it’s a sin what we have done Rowena. You’re my brother’s wife.” Rowena suddenly felt a stab of anger. How could Godric, one of the most irreligious people she knew, suddenly be worried about his soul and God’s divine punishment? It was as if he became a hypocrite whenever it suited him, and usually just to hurt her.

“You and I have not cared for sinning before Godric,” said Rowena sternly, “without our sins Helena and Bevan would never have been born to the world.” Godric turned to face her, his normally proud face crushed by the emotion in his heart. She wanted to kiss him again, and tell him that all would be well.

“It’s not fair Rowena,” he said angrily, tears welling in his eyes, “you should be my wife. We should be free to love each other the way Adrian and Helga do!” Rowena could not help but inwardly smile. Apart from Godric’s heartbroken confession nine months ago, she had no sign of a renewal of his love.

“My mother would never allow it,” said Rowena sadly, knowing the truth, “I would be disinherited. We would lose everything.” She paused for a moment, suddenly thinking of her distant husband who she never saw, the man whose face she could barely remember, “Harald may be open to the idea though,” she mused, “I don’t think he loves me at all.”

Godric let out a mirthless chuckle at the thought of his brother, “but Harald will proclaim he loves you more than life itself for your land and title, and to spite me.” Rowena could not help but feel trapped. There was no way she could ever love Godric the way she wanted, and the secret was gnawing at her insides. She wanted to be free of all the chains that kept them apart.

“I better get back to my work,” she said sadly, dropping to the floor to pick up the discarded books, “if Salazar finds any more, please let me know.” Godric nodded gravely as he turned away, not even bidding her farewell as he ran from the library and from the pain in his heart.





Guillaume Malfoy marched down to the stables later than he wanted to. Hogwarts stood at his side, carrying books and furniture down to the wagons which the servants were loading up. Guillaume had finally made up his mind; he would be returning to Paris vowing never to look upon Helga again. He thought his sister Bonne, even though she could be cold and harsh, would welcome him home, even though he had given up on her dream of him being a great man.

When he entered, he found the dirty peasant who looked after the horses carefully attending to the Princess’ horse, a magnificent black stallion. Guillaume found that his patience was being tested by this boy, and he snapped at him, “Get me my horse!” The boy look up in deference, his misty grey eyes alight with terror.

“Yes sir,” he mumbled, fleeing across the stable to collect Guillaume’s sturdy war horse. It was at this moment that Hogwarts came toddling up him, in his hands a bright red book. Guillaume recognised it instantly. It was a book of poetry. He had been compiling it for Helga only weeks before she met that Adrian fellow, and now she would never get to read it.

Suddenly he heard a couple’s laugh. His heart fell. He knew the woman’s laugh, that light airy chuckle had haunted his dreams. It was Helga and Adrian. They came into the stable, their arms linked clearly enthralled at the sight of each other. It made Guillaume feel sick to his stomach. Snatching the book out of Hogwarts hands, Guillaume stood up tall, facing Helga, his grey eyes burning into her skin.

When they spotted him, they both stiffened, and Helga seemed to tighten her grip on Adrian’s arm, her green eyes fixed on Guillaume, waiting for him to make his move like in a game of chess. He drank her image in, the last time he would ever see her as the trophy on someone else’s arm. He took a tentative step forward, at which she seemed to retreat into Adrian, resting her pretty blonde head against Adrian’s shoulder.

“I just want to give you something,” Guillaume said slowly, giving the book tentatively back to Hogwarts, “and then I will leave. You will never see me again.” The tension was palpable, so no one moved, not even Hogwarts who stood like a statue an inch from his master’s robes. In one moment, Guillaume channelled all his frustration at the little elf as he lifted his boot, kicking the elf right in the ribs.

“Go, give it to her!” Guillaume thundered, his grey eyes sparkling with rage. The elf look terrified as he ran towards Helga, the book in his outstretched hands. Guillaume turned away, not wanting to see her face as she opened it and glanced on those poems of love. He knew she was a married woman, just like he was a married man, but he couldn’t help but want her to leave Adrian.

Due to this, Guillaume did not see Helga take the book from Hogwarts, or the little elf trot away back to his master. He did not see her slip the glove off her hand or place it amongst the pages of the book. He turned round to face her, his eyes almost filled with tears. “Well?” he said, almost irritably.

“I don’t want this,” said Helga, her anger spitting through with every word. She held it out, and Hogwarts trotted obediently over to her. Guillaume looked up to the ceiling in desperation for one brief moment, so missed Helga’s mouthed instructions to the little elf to “open it”.

Guillaume did not look at any of them, and only turned round when he heard Hogwarts’ little voice. “Master, you have set me free!” His heart stopped as he saw what was in Hogwarts’ hand; a white winter glove, one that he had had bought from the north for Helga when he went on a hunting expedition. He looked at her, hate for her and Adrian bubbling in his chest.

“You wait,” he spat at them nastily, “one day I will have my revenge, just you wait!” With that he pushed past them, running up to his horse that the stable boy had just bought in, and leaping onto it, he galloped out of the stable changing his mind entirely. One day he would return, and Helga and Adrian would pay.





Cadmus just couldn’t believe it.

Only several days previously Antioch had been sitting in their house eating tasteless cabbage soup. He had spoken briefly to his brothers about his life in Alba, and then declared he was going back to Alba to the taverns to have some fun. Now he was lying in an unmarked grave on the road to Nottingham.


His only friend, Tom had left a garbled explanation. Antioch had returned to the taverns to find Tom and the two began to have a drink. They met a girl who Antioch took and instant fancy to. She tried to run from them and had pulled a Portkey from her pocket. Tom and Antioch had got hold before they disappeared and they ended up in a distant village.

The girl had run from them, and her brother had appeared, vowing to protect her. It had resulted in a duel in which a drunken Antioch had apparently killed the man. The two drunks had then gone to the local inn where Antioch had proclaimed himself the “master of death” as he was the owner of a wand that couldn’t be beaten.

Then Tom recounted how he woke in the morning and went to Antioch’s room. He had found him, as if asleep, lying on his bed, his throat had been slit and the Elder Wand was gone. Tom had explained that he hitched a ride home to deliver the unfortunate news.

Ignotus had been devastated. He had lain on his bed for days, crying his eyes out. Cadmus, on the other hand, sat by the table drinking to take away his woes; he found it dulled the pain. The misery was accompanied by long drawn out periods of silence when Ignotus fell asleep and he was left to his own feelings.

The darkness hung around him that night. Clouds had drawn in and there were no stars anywhere. There was even no moon. It was the blackest night he had ever seen. That was why he was surprised by the knock on the cottage door. His curiosity made him answer it; otherwise he would have abandoned the visitor to the cold night. Pulling open the door, he was instantly thankful of his decision.

It was Rowena.

He had to blink again to test that his eyes weren’t deceiving him. Then he believed it was her. He hadn’t spoken to her in months apart from slight questions and answers. He had to stop his quivering hands from holding her, from caressing her like he longer to do. He could not greet her, his shock leaving him rooted to the spot.

“Good evening Cadmus,” she said, her blue eyes twinkling with pity, “I heard what happened to Antioch, I wanted to come and offer my condolences.” Realisation dawned on him. It was a totally diplomatic gesture; he never realised she could be so cold. As far as he was concerned she could keep her pity to herself.

“I don’t want your condolences,” he said sharply, pushing the door closed with one hand. However, he found that Rowena pushed back, her intelligent eyes firmly on him. He couldn’t turn her away. Opening the door slightly, she walked in, making her way over to the table but not sitting down. Cadmus instantly thought her too grand for his humble home. Her diamond diadem twinkled seductively as he moved towards her.

“I know you don’t want to hear my condolences, but it may help,” she said almost sternly, as if she were chiding a child. He resented her; her life up in her fairytale castle with her new friends. It drove him mad with jealousy, and he could not have her return to his life whenever she felt like it; like a goddess finally giving her most faithful worshipper that long awaited miracle.

“What are you doing here Rowena?” he said viciously, “I thought you had new friends now, a new life. Why are you here?” She clearly felt shocked by this, and the hurt showed in her eyes. He instantly felt guilty and decided that from then on Rowena would never know how he felt, because he didn’t want her to feel pain.

“I wanted to make sure you were coping,” she said, putting one hand on his shoulder. He tried to ignore the fact that his body tingled where she touched him. He tried to imagine she was someone else, so his heart didn’t do somersaults in his chest. “Are you coping?” she added, squeezing his shoulder gently.

“No,” he said honestly, “I miss him.” Rowena had moved closer, and now moved her hand to his cheek. Cadmus felt like he was on fire, and he knew he was blushing in spite of himself. Surely she hadn’t forgotten what it had felt like when they were together. Then she did something totally unexpected; she pulled him into a deep hug. Her dark head rested on his chest, and it wasn’t a moment before he had wrapped his arms around her.

It was like they were when he had her heart. He rested his chin on the top of head. Cadmus wanted to kiss her, so badly, but he didn’t just letting her rest in his arms. It was comforting to have her there. They stayed like that in silence for a few moments, but eventually they broke apart, and she looked up at him, a new determination in her eyes.

“If you ever need friends, or people to be with,” she said slowly, “bring your brother along to the castle. A few of us are planning on running a school from there; it might give you some direction.” Cadmus watched her, considering for a moment. He would see her more often, almost reconnect with her, and maybe it would take away the loneliness.

“Okay,” he said cautiously, “Ignotus will probably come too. I think it will help.”






Helga and Adrian just lay on the bed. He had his arm around her, a contented smile on his face. Helga loved that smile; it filled her with confidence every time she saw it. It felt like it should be a serene calm moment, if it wasn’t for the manic house elf scampering around. “Can I get you anything!” squawked Hogwarts, “food, drink, a back massage?”

Helga couldn’t help but chuckle at the happy little elf, “no Hogwarts, we are fine don’t you worry.” The little house elf beamed, his ears lifting a little as he did, “that’s good to know,” he said, absentmindedly straightening the sheets at the end of the bed. Helga felt so happy for him; he was finally free from the tyrannical rule of Guillaume, just like she was.

“Helga,” said Adrian suddenly, not quite looking at her, “I’ve been thinking about something.” She looked at him quizzically. His forehead was furrowed in deep concentration, and his hazel eyes looked darkened by his own thoughts. Helga rested her head upon his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him, but he still seemed tense.

“These people we’ve sent to find students,” he mused, not looking at her, “they are going into every town, every coven in the hope of finding eligible students.” Helga nodded, not quite connecting the dots and working out what was worrying him so. She lifted her head and took one hand, resting it on his scarred cheek.

“Tell me,” she said sadly, “what’s wrong?” He looked up at her, surprised that she hadn’t realised what he was thinking. Suddenly she thought she saw anger in those eyes. “Hogwarts,” she said nervously, “can you get us some food and drink.” The little elf obeyed, and finally she felt relaxed enough to hear what Adrian had to say.

“Don’t you ever think about it?” he said exasperatedly, removing her hand from his cheek. She looked at him confusedly, what was this thing that she was meant to be thinking about? He could obviously see how lost she was, so leapt from the bed, gazing down at her sharply.

“About our home Helga,” he almost shouted, “the place you lived with your father! The place I lived with my parents and sister! The place that is being ruled with an iron fist by your hateful and vicious aunt!” Helga had to admit to herself, she rarely thought of it anymore. She could barely remember what it looked like.

“No,” she said pointedly, “it used to be my home Adrian, until I was forced to start my life again. Everything I loved in Dewsbury is gone.” He scoffed loudly, pacing across the room. Helga could not understand where this was coming from. Surely, he would understand why she never thought of it, as he had fled too.

“So you’ve given up the fight?” he asked, a sense of despair in his voice. He watched her for a moment, before sitting on the bed again, his head resting in his hands. “I’ve written to my sister, over the time I’ve been here. Hundreds of letters. I’ve written to my parents. I’ve not gotten one reply.”

Helga found this quite odd. The Hufflepuff’s had been very close, and Adrian spoke of his family warmly, so she assumed that they were still in touch. This was very out of character for his family. “Why have they not been writing Adrian,” she murmured encouragingly, sitting behind him and holding him tightly to her.

“I think it’s Petronilla,” he said calmly. That name still chilled Helga to the bone. She hated her aunt, and she was terrified of her just the same as when she had been a little girl of ten. “I think she’s stopped letter’s getting to the town.” Helga kissed the top of his head, almost cradling him to comfort him.

“We are going to have to go there,” whispered Helga, trying to keep her voice strong, “we have to get the children to come here to the school. It will get them out of Petronilla’s clutches.” Adrian turned round and kissed her energetically, all his anger finally abated. Helga held him eagerly, thankful at his sudden change in mood.

“We have to try to beat her Helga,” he said, gazing at her intensely, “we have to free them, and the only way for that to happen is for you to beat her in a duel.” Helga thought she had been secretly waiting for this moment all her life. She knew that one day she would have to return to Dewsbury, to fight Petronilla. It was written in the stars.

There was a loud crack, and suddenly Hogwarts appearing with a tray carrying a delicious plate of food. “No time for that,” said Helga, taking charge, “Hogwarts, I want you to go and tell some stable boys to saddle up our horses. Adrian and I are leaving tonight!”

The little elf looked shocked, his great eyes wide in disbelief. “I’m coming with you,” he stammered uneasily, “if you need something done, Hogwarts will be here for you.” Helga nodded; she knew that Hogwarts would never leave her side after what she had done for him. He smiled happily at her, and ran out of the room to fulfil his command.

“You know,” whispered Adrian, standing up and taking her hand, “you are the most amazing woman in the whole world.” And for one glittering, shining moment, Helga actually believed him.





I know this is what some people have been waiting for, and its coming next time... Sorry this was a bit of a filler, but this stuff needed to be said. I had a tough time writing this chapter, so I hope you enjoyed it!!! Next time....Helga and Adrian return to Dewsbury and discover what has become of their home...
 


Chapter 22: Petronilla
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Petronilla



Lovely brilliant chapter image by mixer @ tda




On the day Adrian and Helga reached Dewsbury; there was nobody to be seen. Helga found it quite odd. She was used to the bustle of Alba, and the quiet village of her use did not seem to be how she remembered it. She had remembered welcoming villagers and smiling friends, not the eerie silence that surrounded her now. Adrian leapt of his horse instantly, and beckoned Helga to do the same, which she did without hesitation.

“I think we better hide the horses,” he said, his eyes flicking around the deserted lane, “there’s a small wooded area over there. We’ll tether them to the trees and Hogwarts can look after them.” Helga and Hogwarts nodded, and they walked to the spot that Adrian led them to. “Right,” he said gently, “we’ll take the route through the outskirts and go through the window, like we used to when we were younger.”

It took longer than she remembered, and she was glad Hogwarts wasn’t with them, as his nervous chatter would probably have got them caught by Petronilla. She took Adrian’s hand for security as the two of them crept through the deserted streets. “That’s Rachel’s house,” said Adrian, pointing to a rather impoverished hovel to their right.

It was not long before they arrived in the more familiar area of town where the affluent Hufflepuff’s lived. The house was cosy looking, with ivy climbing the walls but it seemed more dishevelled than it had been in the past. Adrian checked over his shoulder before leaping through the low slung kitchen window, and helped Helga hop through, as he had last done on that fateful day when she had had to flee Dewsbury so many years ago.

“It’s so strange to be back,” whispered Helga breathlessly, gazing round at the room which had barely changed since she was ten, “it’s as if not a day has passed. You wouldn’t believe it’s been thirteen years.” The pots and pans were scrubbed and clean and were lined along the walls. There were fresh rushes on the floor. However, Helga’s thoughts were cut short as they heard the slam of the door in the next room. Someone had entered the house. Helga and Adrian listened as footsteps reverberated into the kitchen, and soon the door was pushed open.

“Adrian!” cried Coventina, clasping her hands to her chest in shock. Adrian ran to her, enveloping his sister in a deep hug, her head resting on his shoulder. She was rounder than she had been when Helga last saw her, but her plumpness made her seem more motherly. “You are so different! Four years has changed you! That scar on your face, how did you...” At this moment, Coventina’s large eyes, so similar to her brother’s, fixed onto Helga who was waiting patiently behind him. “Whose this?” asked Coventina, a sense of distrust in her previously friendly voice.

“This is my wife,” said Adrian proudly. Helga had to suppress her grin as Coventina narrowed her eyes suspiciously at her, “my wife Helga.” At this name, Coventina’s tightened into a straight line as she walked towards Helga assertively, as if she was trying to analyse whether this slip of a girl in front of her was deserving of being her brother’s wife.

“Helga,” she murmured pensively, “a dangerous name to use around these parts. It’s a name that could get you into all sorts of trouble.” Helga stood taller, stiffening her back into a rigid straight line even though it felt she had been frozen. She needed to seem intimidating to Coventina, and then she had a hope of scaring the worse adversary, Petronilla. Her life was in danger in Dewsbury, the same as it had been when she was a child.

“I know,” said Helga bravely, eyeing Coventina viscously, “nobody wants to share a name with Mother Blythe’s heir.” Coventina looked deeply shocked at these words, and her fingers played with her wand which was stuck securely in her belt. Helga did not think Coventina would attack her. Surely she would know who she was. Adrian tried to butt in, but Coventina stopped his words with a flick of her hand.

“How do you know that?” she said gazing Helga up and down, “how do you know that our dear dead mother’s heir was called Helga? Petronilla killed the girl nearly three years ago; she told us she had found her in Mercia, hiding amongst the pigs in a pigsty, afraid to face her aunt.” Now it was Helga’s turn to appear shocked. The lies that her aunt told were malicious and deadly. They could extinguish people’s hope.

“It’s not true Coventina,” she whispered, “because she stands before you, alive as you are.” Coventina did not seem satisfied and marched over to the table on which stood a solitary candle, nearly burnt down to a stump. She beckoned Helga over with one finger, and Helga obeyed like she had when she was a child.

“Light it,” snarled Coventina, leaning into Helga’s side to put pressure on her, “light it without using a wand. Only Mother Blythe’s true heir could do that; even Petronilla herself cannot. If you can do it, then I will believe you are the Helga I sent away all those years ago.” Helga inhaled deeply, she could do this. Lifting her hand, she cupped the wick of the candle, and soon she felt the hot glow of flames in her hand. Coventina stared at the candle, as if it were a miracle.

“Helga,” she whispered, tears coming to her eyes, “I can’t believe it’s you! We all believed you were dead!” Coventina threw her arms round Helga, embracing her with all the love and affection that was still extant after thirteen years. Helga felt so comforted; Coventina had been like a sister to her, and now she could not imagine how she had coped with being removed from her. “And married to my Adrian!” she laughed, “how did you find each other?”

“When I arrived in Alba all those years ago I became employed as a handmaiden of Princess Rowena after saving her once. Adrian came to the castle with some friends to fix a problem. It was fate!” chirped Helga, squeezing Coventina with all the love and happiness after losing her so many years ago. Helga loved the warmth of the reunion, and she was happy that Coventina had embraced her so lovingly as a sister-in-law.

“It’s wonderful to see you,” Coventina smiled. “Come through to the living room, we can talk there.” Helga and Adrian followed his sister as she took them through the door that led to the living room. It was just as Helga remembered it, filled with comfortable chairs, a roaring fire and an expensive rug. They sat down with relief, happy for the comfort.

Helga felt she was the one who had to speak. She had to know of the town that she had abandoned when she was little more than a baby. “How is my aunt?” she questioned stiffly, feeling the answer would resolve every question she had longer to know. Coventina screwed up her face, the pain of years of resisting showing in her expression.

“She’s mad,” whispered Coventina plainly, “the first thing she did once you left was to destroy your mother’s grave in the churchyard. She wanted no memory of her sister left on the earth. They say she felt guilty for your father’s death; felt remorse for it was her who killed him. But I believe she was angry with herself that she had never had him in life.”

Coventina’s words sent chills up Helga’s spine. Adrian took the lead however and said, “where are mother and father?” A terribly sad look crossed Coventina’s face at the mention of her parents and she looked down at her tender white hand, trying to hide the distress she felt from her two welcome guests.

“I don’t know,” she said, clearly pained, “two years ago they began to teach magic to the few children left in the town. Petronilla has forbidden it, and she keeps everyone doing what she said with her band of,” she paused, as if it was a most terrible thought, “undead men. Mother and Father were caught, and had to flee. Petronilla lets no letters come in or out of this town, so I don’t know anything.”

Suddenly Helga’s heart leapt to her mouth. Surely if Petronilla could control something as simple as the post, she would know they were here. “Will Petronilla know we are here?” squawked Helga. Coventina shook her head reassuringly, “she may be using some terribly dark magic, but only if you used magic to get yourself here will she be able to find you.” Helga felt relieved, but her interest was piqued by something that Coventina had said.

“Dark magic?” she asked apprehensively, “what type of dark magic.” The expression of mixed disgust and worry that appeared on Coventina told Helga that her aunt had become caught up in despicable things; magic of the very worst kind that could make decent people squirm. Coventina wrung her hands as she spoke, nerves showing on her face.

“Terrible things. She is very talented at the killing curse; easily deposing of people who get in her way. It is terrifying; she can make people feel the most pain in all the world, like they were on fire. And she can control people. Maud Penny, do you remember her?” Helga nodded, not quite looking at Adrian, “she was an outspoken opponent of Petronilla; now she is her pet. And worse of all, I heard her researching something called a Horcrux.”

Helga was instantly confused. She had never heard of a Horcrux. She turned to look at Adrian who looked equally as bemused; he obviously did not know what his sister was talking about either. “What is a Horcrux?” asked Helga apprehensively, part of her desperately not wanting to know, the other, her curiosity, craved the answer.

“When you kill someone,” said Coventina, her face showing she loathed to tell them, “you can make a curse that will split your soul in half. One part you can store in an inanimate object. Petronilla has put hers in that locket she wears round her neck; it has your father’s portrait in,” Coventina paused, as if she did not want to say what was her duty to say next, “she made the enchantment stronger by killing the person she loved the most in the whole world; your father.”

Helga nodded. The news that her aunt loved her father was not a surprise; she had heard the story of the incident at her parents wedding many years ago. In some ways, she could understand why her aunt was so hell bent on killing her niece; she was a mixture of the person she loved the most and the person she hated the most.

“We’ve come here for a reason,” began Adrian suddenly, giving his sister a serious look. “Helga is founding, along with some talented friends, a school for young witches and wizards to learn their craft. It is to be run from Black Castle and the Princess Rowena has sent scouts all over the country to search for prospective students. We have come here because we believe that there are children here that need an education in magic. Will you help us Coventina?”

Coventina nodded instantly, “there are four children you should take. Their parents are desperate to get them away from here; to get them an education. There is the Crouch’s three boys who live near here, and Sally Robins, she’s an orphan whose parents left her in my care. She is playing in the woods right at this moment.”

“Alright,” began Helga, “if you take us to them then we can...” However, Helga’s words were interrupted by a loud knock on the door. “Coventina!” came a loud grunting voice that still terrified Helga, “I need to talk to you, let me in now!”

Coventina reacted instantly; “go into the broom cupboard. Hopefully Petronilla didn’t see you come in!” Adrian and Helga sped over to the cupboard as quickly as they could. Adrian wrapped his arms around Helga as they were closed inside; it was the only way that the two of them could fit comfortably together.

Helga heard a mixture of sounds; Adrian’s mouth was close to her hear, so she could hear him panicked breathing, she could hear Petronilla’s repeating knock demanding entrance and she could hear Coventina’s nervous shuffling footsteps. “I’m coming Petronilla!” came Coventina’s voice as she made her way to the door, “do not fret!”

From their point of safety in the cupboard, they could hear the click of the lock as Coventina opened the door to let Petronilla in, and also the latter’s barked orders. “Why did you hesitate answering the door girl?” snapped Petronilla accusingly. Helga’s heart hammered in her chest in spite of herself; Petronilla was suspicious.

“I was upstairs,” lied Coventina, “it took me some time to get down. It’s such a mess in this large house when I live all on my own; I can’t look after it so well.” A chink of light was visible through the door, and Helga pressed one eye up to it to see what was going on. Coventina stood in the middle of the room, her head cast down while Petronilla encircled her, looking as if she was going to devour her.

“Maud Penny told me she saw your brother,” Petronilla began slowly, her voice becoming high and reedy, “Maud would not forget your brother would she? She cried so much when he left after all.” Helga tried to ignore the jealous twinge in her stomach as Petronilla continued, “she said she saw him walking through the outskirts of town, with a blonde girl. Have you seen them?”

“No,” said Coventina convincingly, “my brother has not come home for years; I don’t know where he is. If he had wanted to leave this town so badly, why on earth would he come back?” Petronilla seemed to be persuaded by this answer, and this was when she came into full view for Helga. She was still as striking as ever; a tall, imposing woman with long limbs and faded blonde hair. She would have been beautiful if it were not for her eyes; they were full of cruelty.

“I will trust you Coventina,” said Petronilla unconvincingly, “just this once, but if you really have seen your brother...” It suddenly occurred to Helga what terrible trouble she and Adrian were causing by being here. However, at this moment, Petronilla turned away from Coventina, saying sharply, “I’m watching you,” before walking outside and disappearing up the road.

Helga pushed open the cupboard door and she bounded out of the cupboard closely followed by Adrian. Coventina was not looking at them however, and she ran to a wooden chest that sat by the window. “It’s father’s invisibility cloak,” she said pulling out a shining, translucent piece of material, “he was forced to leave it here when he had to run away. Put it on Helga, you can’t be seen.”

Helga did as she was told, and flung the cloak over her head, immediately making her disappear. “What about me?” asked Adrian, turning to his sister. Coventina pulled her wand from her and pointed it at him before muttering a disillusionment charm. Immediately, Adrian seemed to melt away into the background.

“I’m sorry dear brother,” murmured Coventina, “it’s just Helga is far more important that you. If someone gets caught, it must be you.” Adrian nodded understandingly, well, Helga believed he did for all she could see of him. “I’ll take you to Sally Robins,” said Coventina authoritatively, “she’ll come with us, then we’ll go onto the Crouch’s House. Then you must go.”





The woods were just as Helga remembered them. This had been her magic kingdom in all the games she had played as a child. Now, they were a new girl’s retreat. Coventina marched onwards, and Helga had to jog to keep up with her. However, soon she saw who they had come for, and she instantly knew this was the type of child they wanted at their school.

Sally Robins was drawing pictures in the air with her wand. Helga could make out meadows and people; one even looked a tiny bit like Coventina. However, she stopped the second she saw Coventina entering her kingdom. Helga gazed at the child; she was small and scraggly, the way Helga had been when she lived in Dewsbury, but she had dark hair and smiling green eyes, vaguely reminding Helga of Helena Ravenclaw.

“Sally,” cooed Coventina, as the little girl ran up and hugged her. “I need you to come with me. I’ve finally got a way for you to learn magic, and Petronilla will never know!” The girl grinned wildly, and seemed to hug Coventina harder. Helga could hear Sally’s muffled thanks, but Coventina pushed the girl from her, suddenly inheriting the authoritative air that her mother had possessed so many years ago.

“I’ve got two invisible people with me,” said Coventina kindly, “my brother Adrian and his wife Helga, they are going to take you away to Alba. They are running a school in the castle. I’m sure you’ll love it there.” The little girl smiled and took Coventina’s hand as they began to walk out of the woods. Helga couldn’t help but stare at this girl. She was little older than Helga herself had been when she had fled Dewsbury, but while Helga had been terrified, Sally seemed happy.

They remained in silence until they arrived at the Crouch’s house. Coventina explained to the three boys parents all about the school and what a future they’d have. Helga and Adrian had to come out of there invisibility to support Coventina’s claims. It took a while for Adrian to reappear, but it was not long before he was corporeal.

“I am Helga,” she said as cheerily as she could, trying to ignore the repercussions of the name. At this utterance, Mistress Crouch’s eyes opened wide in shock. “You can’t be, no I’m imagining things...” Helga let out a tired little smile before nodding sadly, “Yes, I am Helga Smith, and I am here to take your sons away, to be free of Petronilla, forever.” It wasn’t long before the Crouch’s had agreed, and after an emotional farewell, the boys left with Coventina, Adrian, Helga and Sally.

When they stepped outside, Helga’s eyes locked onto someone she had not seen for thirteen years. Maud Penny stood in the dappled sunlight. She was taller, but slightly wider than she had been at the age of fifteen. Helga only realised at that moment how much she looked like the older girl. Maud stood resolutely on the spot, her mouth opened wide in shock.

“Adrian?” she stammered, as Helga remembered that she still held the invisibility cloak in her hand and Adrian stood perfectly visible. Adrian’s expression was more difficult to fathom; he looked shocked, but at the same time there was a sense of misty eyed adoration that he still felt for his first love. However, Maud perforated the quiet with her shrieks.

“Help! Help! Adrian has returned!” She drew her wand from her belt and shot red sparks up into the air. The effect was instant. Petronilla appeared from thin air, and her terrifying eyes locked instantly on Adrian. He reacted instantly. Grabbing the four children, he apparated away, leaving Coventina and Helga alone to face Petronilla.

“I see you’ve been lying to me Coventina,” snarled Petronilla, “Adrian has returned, and with a guest. Who is this?” Helga saw no point in lying. It was clear from her aunt’s expression that she recognised her long lost niece, and Helga lifted up her hands and pointed them towards Petronilla. The force of the spell she cast propelled Petronilla back, but it did not knock her over.

“Oh Helga,” Petronilla goaded, lifting her wand, “you are as undeserving of those powers as your awful mother was! You can’t even use them!” Helga barely had time to react as she fell to the ground, her bones on fire. It was excruciating. She could hear Petronilla’s high laugh, it’s cold notes trilling around a root. Helga barely noticed as Coventina shot a spell at Petronilla.

Getting up, Helga tried again, projecting a gust of wind at Petronilla, but it was not strong enough to propel her aunt back. “There is no point fighting me!” screamed the crazed Petronilla, “I will get you Helga Smith! And I will kill you!” She felt like a child again; the little girl who had clung to an adolescent Adrian in a fear of her aunt who was hell bent on destroying her forever. Helga tried a spell that Rowena had showed her; it would make the ground shake and hopefully knock Petronilla over. It had no effect.

It was at this point that Petronilla succeeded in knocking Coventina out. Helga heard the deafening crack as her head hit the floor. Abandoning all attempt at fighting Petronilla, Helga ran over to Coventina, silently panicking at the pool of blood encircling her head. Helga felt defenceless and weak as she turned around, attempting to shield Coventina from her aunt.

“You’re so weak,” laughed Petronilla cruelly, “you’re so pathetic. I have to admit it’s going to be a bit of an anti-climax killing you after all these years.” Petronilla was growing closer, her wand pointed threateningly at Helga’s chest. Helga silently agreed with her aunt; she was weak and pathetic, and all her years of fighting would do nothing.

Then a miracle happened. Adrian apparated back, minus the children, with his wand drawn. He acted instantly, disarming Petronilla with ease. He said no words, but ran to Coventina and Helga, grabbing both of them. There was the brief strange sensation of apparating, and Helga opened her eyes to find a bare room, with a solitary bed standing in the middle.

Adrian cradled his sister in his arms as he placed her on the bed, weaving a complex variety of spells to heal her wound. Helga could see the terror in her husband’s eyes; his fear of losing his sister after finding her again. Helga stood by her bedside, watching Adrian intently. It wasn’t long before he put his wand back in his belt. “Will she be alright?” stammered Helga.

“Yes,” said Adrian gently, “but she’ll need to rest. Hogwarts has returned to the castle with the children, I’m sure Rowena will have them cared for.” Helga felt instantly relieved, and she walked over to Adrian, enveloping him in a tight embrace, hoping to convey her relief and her gratitude in one single gesture.

“Where are we?”asked Helga, breaking away from him to look round the little room they were in. Adrian looked around at the gossamer strands making complex webs around the room. Helga thought it had a hint of splendour to it that had been lost very quickly.

“This was my room,” said Adrian, running his fingers along the cold stone walls, “I shared this house with Godric, Rachel and Salazar at the height of our careers. We had money and fame, we put it all in this place. Everything of value is now in Black Castle. This life is over, and will never come back.”

He seemed sad for a moment, before he turned around and faced his wife. “We must hide from Petronilla,” he stated, as if it were a fact, “we must wait until you are stronger and have the power to defeat your aunt.” Helga suddenly realised what a disappointment she was; people expected her to liberate her town and be a folk hero. She wasn’t good enough for that.

“I love you Adrian,” murmured Helga, looking into his large amber flecked eyes, “I hope that’s good enough for you.” He smiled at her, walking up and kissing her as tenderly as he could. She knew that he loved her from the sweetness of his kiss.  






Okay, hoped you like that! PLEASE tell me what you thought of it; i had real trouble writing it! Next time...circumstances conspire against the founders as things start to spin out of control....
 


Chapter 23: The Call of War
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The Call of War



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On the day that Adrian and Helga returned home; Rowena received some life changing news. Rowena had heard every detail of their journey to Dewsbury. The house elf, Hogwarts, had arrived with four very terrified looking children and explained everything from the inability to use magic to the evil witch controlling the two. It seemed as if Helga and Adrian were in for a fight back in Dewsbury, and Rowena had spent many sleepless nights worrying about them.

Then it had been a whole week before three tired looking people arrived on the doorsteps. Helga explained everything; her fight with Petronilla, her sister-in-laws injury, and the long journey back to Alba without using magic in case Petronilla could track them and expose the four children they had brought to safety. She had been informed how talented Coventina was at magic, and Rowena agreed to hire her instantly as a teacher at the school.

Godric and Salazar had been overjoyed at Helga and Adrian’s return. They had grown close over the school project, and it was nice to see Godric looking so happy; something she did not see from him anymore. He normally looked sad and withdrawn; the cheerful humour bubbling under the surface that she loved so much was gone. Rowena had repeatedly asked Salazar about it, but he thought Godric seemed perfectly fine.

It was that evening under the enchanted ceiling of the great hall that Rowena received the news. She was sipping her pumpkin juice when the door to the Queen’s tower burst open, causing several people to turn round. An old and weary Agnes stumbled towards her, kneeling on her creaking knees before the Princess Regent, an exhausted look on her face. Rowena watched her with confusion; Agnes always spent her days tending for the crazed Queen Emma, a woman who Rowena had never forgiven for her unhappy marriage to Harald, and rarely ventured down to Rowena’s court that she usually liked to describe as “hedonistic”.

“Your majesty,” spluttered Agnes, her wheezing breath matching her aging figure, “you must come with me now, your mother needs to see you.” Rowena regularly had these summons, but never from Agnes herself. However, she assumed it was just some unimportant babbling her mother wanted to tell her; she had other things to think about and her mother was never high on her list of priorities.

“No, tell my mother I will not come,” said Rowena irritably, almost rolling her eyes at her mother’s request, “she’s probably going to just babble some nonsense at me as usual.” Agnes heaved her tired, aged body up off her knees and gazed at Rowena with what could only be described as a heartbroken look. Rowena stared, the intensity of the gaze grabbing her attention with such force that she felt like she had been knocked off a horse. Agnes usually just kept to herself, and it was unusual for her to be so open and frank.

“No your majesty,” whispered Agnes, her voice cracking with tears, “Queen Emma has been weak and sick for weeks. I fear that tonight is the night she meets her maker. She seems to have come to her senses and begged me to fetch you. She told me she needs to tell you something, before she goes.”

Rowena blinked in shock. Helga had her hand on Rowena’s forearm, trying to be comforting. Salazar and Godric looked across at her, stunned into silence, unable to think of anything to say. It just couldn’t be true. Rowena put down her pumpkin juice and stood up, knowing there was no way she could avoid seeing her mother this time without eternally regretting it.







Queen Emma’s Bower looked like a crypt when Rowena entered. It was cold, and the fire was dying, only a few glowing embers remaining. There were only a few solitary candles scattered throughout the room, giving the chamber an eerie glow. Then in the centre lay the pathetic figure of Queen Emma. Once, this woman had been loved and adored by her people. Now she lay alone and forgotten.

Rowena suddenly felt a pang of regret for her poor relationship with her mother. She spent her days planning her future with Helga, Godric and Salazar while leaving her mother to die a slow pitiful death in her tower, with only Agnes for company. Rowena felt disgusted with herself. She walked forward, her expensive silk shoes barely making a sound as she went.

“Mother,” she whispered, sitting on the edge of the bed to gaze down at the skeletal Queen who had once struck terror into her heart, “I’m so sorry.” Queen Emma turned her great eyes at her daughter, but did not directly look at her, instead looking at the mass of diamonds sitting upon the ebony curls; the glistening diadem that had once been hers.

“Even now it looks beautiful,” murmured Emma, lifting one knarred hand to point at it, caressing it with the tip of one withered finger. “I was beautiful when I wore that. He loved me so much, and I loved him too. Your father was the most wonderful man I ever knew; you look so much like him, you are so much like him.” Rowena glowed at the comparison; her father was one of the greatest men she knew.

“I betrayed him,” mumbled the Queen, tears beginning to roll down her withered cheeks, “oh, I betrayed him in so many ways, and in doing so I betrayed you.” Rowena furrowed her brow in confusion; surely this was her mother’s delirium. Why was she talking of betrayal and upset? Emma grasped her daughter’s hand, and Rowena could feel her deathly cold skin and she shivered in spite of herself.

“When your father died,” said Emma slowly, her voice rasping a wheezing, “he never said anything about your marriage. He wanted you to be happy. He said he would only stay with me for you; it made me jealous. It was irrational and stupid I know, but I felt the most acute jealousy ever. So I lied to you, told you to marry Harald like your father wanted. I was just getting my revenge on the person who had stolen his love from me.”

It felt like she had been stabbed. How could her own mother betray her so viciously and over a petty jealousy concerning a father’s love for his only daughter. Did she not see that her father could have loved them both in different ways? Tears stung her eyes, but she willed herself not to cry, her mother had to know how much she had hurt her daughter, the child she was meant to love with all her heart.

“You have never been kind to me,” began Rowena, her voice shaking with concealed tears, “you’ve never cared for me or loved me like a mother should. You’ve used me as a pawn in your political game of chess and you hoodwinked my father.” The list of Queen Emma’s crimes seemed to roll off Rowena’s tongue, and she kept her eyes on the guilty looking Queen.

“But I forgive you Mother,” said Rowena simply, “because you have never known the joy of loving another person the way I have, and I hope in your last few hours, I can bring you some semblance of that love.” And so Rowena sat with her mother, and sang her lullabies until the old Queen finally passed over, slipping into eternal darkness.






Over the next month, the emotions surrounding Queen Emma’s death were very strange. There was terrible sadness for the old Queen the people loved so much, and yet there was much rejoicing that a young, vibrant Queen would take her place. There was also a sense of unease; the game had now changed and the world could be decidedly different when the citizens of Alba awoke from their beds the next morning.

Rowena was crowned in Black Castle, under the enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall. She had to admit she felt a sense of achievement; after years of waiting and being the “Princess” and then the “Princess Regent” she was finally a Queen in her own right. She felt as if she could do anything now; they could have their school in the Castle without any interference, she could command people to help them. It was a thrilling prospect.

However, as she was being anointed with the holy oil, Rowena’s eyes met Godric’s. He was standing near the front of the assembled crowd, a strange look on his face. It was a mixture of sadness and pride. Rowena knew that even though she was Queen, she could not have Godric. She was still Harald’s wife after all, and now that mattered more than ever.

The feast after her coronation was the greatest of her life. She spent the whole night dancing, first with Salazar, who was the most awkward dance partner, and then with Godric, who had always been a talented dancer. They smiled and laughed, attempting to forget their worries for one night. Rowena gazed into his green eyes as she had so many times before, and remembered the first time they had danced together on a very similar night; the night they had first dreamed of being together.

The evening was drawing to a close; people were leaving, and soon she sat with only her close friends; Salazar, Godric, Helga, Adrian, Coventina and Rachel. They chatted about nothing, laughing at Godric’s jokes and giving Rachel advice about her relationship with Cadmus. It was so perfect, and Rowena wished it could stay like that forever, her happiness frozen for eternity.

But the peace of that night was burst forever, as a tired looking messenger walked through the doors, bowing to those assembled before saying in a voice as clear as crystal, “your majesty, the Alderman of the City of Alba wishes to come before your presence.” This was very strange, the hour was very late, but Rowena could see the troubled look on the messenger’s face, so she bid the Alderman to enter.

The Alderman was a plump man with a large belly hanging over his belt. He was sweating profusely, and dabbing his forehead with a piece of raggedy looking cloth. His breath was coming very quick and it was clear he had been running as if his life depended on it. “Good Alderman,” said Rowena gently, trying to show patience and good judgement like a good Queen should, “I pray thee, tell me what has caused you to come running to my castle at this hour.”

“My lady,” he said breathlessly, his eyes wide in fear, “I like to go for a walk up on the battlements of the city walls at this time; it clears my head. I was walking along when something caught my attention. It was a lot of tents perched on Hallaway Hill about a mile out from the city walls. It looked like it was an army, I did not recognise the colours and banners, maybe you would my lady?”

An army at Alba’s gates? The thought terrified Rowena. She did not know who would want to invade Alba so badly. Rowena and her mother had pursued a peaceful foreign policy and couldn’t understand why there was an army here; she had done nothing to provoke anyone. Rowena never had any experience of war, and now she realised that for once she would have to face it. She caught eyes with Salazar, her trusted advisor on such policy; he looked just as bewildered as Rowena felt.

“We should go view this army,” said Godric slowly, clearly the most calm of them all about this piece of news and therefore taking the authoritative position, “we all know many knights with militias and may recognise the banners.” Rowena nodded dazed and took Godric’s comforting hand as they followed the alderman outside, her hand shaking with nerves despite Godric’s steadying grip.






It was dark, but Rowena could clearly see the town of tents in the distance. There were hundreds of them, the colours of a popinjay. She trembled at the sight of them; war was something that deeply unnerved her. There were gold and green hangings, and a banner of some sort of dragon. Rowena thought it was vaguely familiar but she couldn’t quite place it.

“I’ve never seen it before in my life,” stated Salazar categorically, squinting his eyes to make out each individual line of the dragon’s scales. This clearly meant that the person whose symbol it was had not been in the castle while Salazar was here. Adrian, Coventina and Rachel murmured in agreement, it seemed that they had never seen it before either.

“It’s familiar,” began Helga, staring at the insignia, her brow knotted in concentration, “but I could not tell you whose it is if my life depended on it.” Then Rowena turned to Godric, wanting to know his insight. He had knowledge of such things, growing up in a royal court as she did. However, Rowena was totally unprepared for the look on his face. It was a mixture of utter shock and contorted horror.


“Godric,” murmured Rowena, placing a tentative hand on Godric’s tense shoulder in a futile attempt to comfort him, “what’s the matter? Do you recognise them?” He nodded slowly, and pointed with one figure to the flag of the dragon glittering at the gates of the little town of tents. Rowena followed his finger and gazed at the dragon in confusion.

“That’s a Svalbardian Silverback,” said Godric, a hint of fear in his usually robust voice, “and it’s the symbol of my brother, Harald.” Rowena watched him, aghast. It couldn’t be; after so many years of no contact and distant, Harald was choosing this moment to assert his dominance over his wife. The spontaneity of it was what terrified Rowena most of all.

“It can’t be him!” stammered Rowena, her eyes fixed on the image of the dragon, “it just can’t be him! He’s been away so long! Why would he return now?” Nobody seemed to be able to give her the answers she craved, but suddenly she heard the heavy footsteps of someone running. It wasn’t a moment before a herald appeared by her side. He was panting heavily.

“Your majesty,” he spluttered, not quite looking at her, “there is a messenger waiting for you in the castle. He says he is from King Harald.” The colour drained from Rowena’s face. The thought of facing her husband again, the husband who was calling himself her king, made her feel sick to the stomach and she wanted to do nothing more than run away.







Salazar was not entirely sure why he had been picked for the task. Helga had stated that he was the best person to convey a calm and unemotional message to Harald, and he didn’t know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult. After all, Harald had never laid eyes on him, so would have a neutral view, and also Helga claimed he was the best speaker of them all and could easily draw the gormless Harald around to his wife’s way of thinking.

The horse cantered across the field towards the great tents up in the distance. Harald’s message had not been cordial or filled with sweet nothings. It turned out that Queen Emma’s death had also closely coincided with Leif Ravenclaw’s death, leaving Harald as the Jarl. He felt that he was entitled to rule Alba also in right of his wife. The messenger had stated that Harald was being peaceful and was giving time for Rowena to surrender Alba; before his army attacked.

That was why Salazar had been dispatched. He had been given a cloak bearing the Black family insignia. It was to be a sign of defiance, one that Godric had thought of. While Salazar was scared about what would face him in Harald’s camp, he was also intrigued to meet the enigmatic figure. Harald had cast a long shadow on both Godric and Rowena’s lives. To Rowena, he was the loathed husband and to Godric, the brother he had always hated. Salazar wanted to meet him, to see what could turn two of his friends to such hate.

He knew the mission he was to undertake was incredibly delicate and sensitive; something he thought were not his friend’s strongest points. Godric would surely start fighting, Rowena would start crying, and Helga would end up making a ridiculous compromise that neither party could agree to. But he felt the pressure on his shoulders. If he could do this right; he would save the school and would be its saviour. Rowena might even think of him as a hero...

It was not long before he had reached the first line of tents. There were men; rough looking soldiers in full chainmail armour dotted around, preparing for the battle tomorrow. They did not pay any attention to Salazar as he rode past them; it was clearly dinner time, and the men stood round a spit on which a plump pig was being cooked, and the smell was intoxicating. They let him pass; it was clear he was expected.

It was not long before he was met by two heralds. They wore the livery of Harald, and one of them helped Salazar dismount from his horse in a rather rough soldier-like way. “Sir,” said the man politely, not sure what way to address this stranger, “King Harald’s tent is this way. Please do follow me.” Salazar obeyed the man, and he led him through the intricate maze of tents until Harald’s tent was visible.

It was the most ostentatious thing that Salazar had ever seen. It looked like a giant green palace with gold and silver adorning it. There was little sound coming from within, only the murmurs of planners desperately trying to determine a way of entering Alba. Silhouettes danced along the sides, and Salazar swore he could see a figure pacing up and down, clearly deeply in thought. He assumed that was Harald.

His prediction turned out to be correct as he entered the tent. There were several men at arms sitting around over maps of Alba, whispering plans to each other. However, they hastily stopped when Salazar entered, and they stood up gazing at him with interest. Salazar instinctively turned to face the pacing figure, who was expensively robed and had the demeanour of a king. “Ah,” said the man slowly, his voice gravelly, “I assume you come from my wife.”

Salazar took the opportunity to gaze at Harald. Salazar could see that he would not be what Rowena wanted; he was small and weedy with a shadowy face and great dark eyes that seemed full of hate. The only recognisable features he shared with Godric were his prominent aristocratic cheek bones, obviously inherited from their wayward father.

But at the same time, Salazar recognised something in him. Behind those eyes was the sense of a mind that was always working that his Godric did not possess. He was evaluating every eventuality; that was why he was sitting in his tent with his tacticians, working out what was to happen. He planned for every future, whereas Godric lived for the moment. Salazar suddenly felt an affinity with this man who he had never met before.

“Yes,” said Salazar firmly, as he had been coached by Rowena, “Queen Rowena has sent me to negotiate a peace settlement with you. She puts forward the deal of a divorce to settle all grievances with you.” Harald fixed him with a piercing stare before walking forward, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword in a calculated threatening manner.

“A Divorce?” he asked slowly, his mind evaluating the possibility for a moment, “why would I ever agree to that?” Salazar knew that Rowena should not have gone for this tactic, it would only rile up her proud husband, and he could see these emotions now playing out in Harald’s expressions. Rowena was better off letting Harald into the city, and taking him as her consort. Then he would be more willing to compromise and might even allow the school to continue.

“She would keep out of your affairs,” began Salazar slowly, trying to seem amiable, “and you would reciprocate and keep out of hers. You could also find a wife that you could love.” Suddenly Salazar had an image of Harald kissing Rowena, something he longed to do himself. He suddenly realised that he had to champion this option the most and get Rowena as far away from Harald as possible; if only for his own heart.

The last comment also seemed to affect Harald, and Salazar saw when looking at him a deeply frustrated man. He thought it was like looking in a mirror; Harald was obviously deeply in awe of his wife too, and seem dejected and sad that she did not reciprocate those feelings. It was at that moment that Salazar wondered whether Rowena would ever love anyone at all, or whether she would remain the aloof icy Queen for the rest of her days.

“No,” said Harald harshly, his dark eyes meeting Salazar’s with determination, “I reject every offer of peace you put forward. You can do nothing to stop me from taking back my marital right by force if necessary.” He was smirking, and Salazar suddenly felt a sense of dread. If Harald won, what would be inflicted on his poor wife?

“Oh,” said Harald gently, “there is one more thing I want.” Salazar was momentarily confused; what more could Harald want other than reaping the reward of getting back everything he felt he was entitled to? Salazar fixed him with a gaze the bid him to continue, and Harald did, his smirk becoming bigger.

“Bring me the sword of Leif Ravenclaw,” he said simply, “my usurping brother has had it for far too long.” Salazar suddenly remembered the sword that Godric carried with him everywhere, that he fought every battle with, that he would die by, and realised that Godric would never give it up. “Or the punishment,” continued Harald a nasty grin appearing across his face, “will be even graver.”







The moment Salazar had returned with the foreboding news from Harald, Godric had reacted instantly. He vowed to protect Rowena, their plans and the future at all costs, and he would be damned if he gave his brother the sword that had been rewarded to him on the night he had taken on the outlaws and won.

Rowena had commanded him to go into the city, and find men willing to fight Harald’s oncoming army in a heartbeat. Godric was confident he would get support; Harald would support the pillaging and looting that was to follow the battle, and Godric was sure the proud men of Alba would want to protect their homes and families.

He was to bring them to the Great Hall where they could assemble their weapons for tomorrows fight. The pitched battle would begin at midday, with the two armies facing each other outside the city walls. Godric would be head of the army, with Rachel by his side. Rowena had been confused by Godric’s choice at first; pre-empting that he would pick Salazar. But he knew Salazar would be needed by Rowena to formulate tactics. Adrian and Helga were in charge of the relief task; helping and healing wounded soldiers. Rachel had a strong proven track record.

Godric led several men around the town; all on horses and waking up the slumbering inhabitants. Inside; while he feared for Rowena’s kingdom, he was also excited at the chance to prove himself as more than just the bastard son of a dead monarch. He always knew he was more important than that, and now was the chance to show it.

Hogwarts sat on his horse’s rump. He had been chosen to act as a helper to Godric; his magic would be helpful in removing the commander from any dangerous situations. Godric also knew that he was similar to the little house elf, who wanted to prove his bravery to his new masters.

And lastly, Godric relished the challenge of finally being able to tackle Harald. The first fight since the brawl so many years ago over Kristiana, a place and time that now felt so far away, almost like a different life. But Godric knew he could not let the things that had held him back when he was a child; and beating Harald would be one step in fulfilling the promises he had made to his dead mother when he was ten years old.

Giving a small smile, Godric suddenly realised he was ready to fight everything that had drawn a shadow over him all those years. He knew he was ready to be a new man, and he was ready for anything that Harald would throw at him the next day.







Hope everyone enjoyed this! I know it was a bit of a filler, but please read and review! Next time...the fight begins...
 


Chapter 24: Vive La Resistance
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Vive La Resistance



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On the morning of the battle; Rowena was in despair. Her teeth chattered as she sat in the little room off the Great Hall. Even though she was with two of her best friends, she felt her hands shaking through nerves. She had brought them there to discuss how to best tackle Harald’s imposing army, which was hovering just outside the city’s walls. Godric had returned from his mission to assemble an army, and now at four in the morning they were finally being briefed by Adrian in the Great Hall, and prepared for the realities of war.

 

“I think it is best if we just charge!” said Godric forcefully, his dynamic personality showing in its full colour, “that way there is a head on battle, and it is easy to see what is going on. It is more heroic and noble that way!” Rowena felt exasperated; she did love Godric with all her heart, but sometimes he could be painfully short sighted. Salazar could see this as well, and was talking to Godric slowly and patiently.

 

“No Godric,” he said, smiling at his friend with almost paternal interest, “it will be better if you leave the command of a quarter of the army to Rachel, who can go through the forest to reach the other side of Hallaway hill. Once Harald’s army has left their positions at the top of the hill, Rachel can instruct the archers to fire the arrows down onto the army. It will be simple.”

 

“But that’s almost sneaky, and dishonest in war!” ballooned Godric, his burly chest inflating with indignation. Godric had a clear idea of chivalric war, and so wasn’t being particularly receptive to Salazar’s cunning plans. Rowena was almost regretting appointing Godric as commander, but there really was no one better for the job. She just had to hope that he followed Salazar’s meticulous instruction to the letter.

 

“How do you expect us to win?” asked Rowena almost irritably, putting herself firmly on Salazar’s side, “his army is three times the size of ours, and if we just ‘charge at them’ as you so eloquently put it, there is nothing I or anyone can do to stop our army being slaughtered and Alba overrun. I order we go with Salazar’s plan!” Rowena was oblivious to Salazar’s smug grin, and Godric’s muted annoyance at being rebuffed, due to a quiet knock on the door.

 

The door opened to reveal Helga who looked tremendously tired. There were bags under her green eyes, and her usually shining hair looked limp and lacklustre. However, she gave them all a big smile before saying, “Adrian has supplied all the weapons, we now just need the plan. Have you got it?” Rowena nodded and quickly took the scroll of parchment from Salazar and placed it in Helga’s trembling hands. Salazar stood up, and followed Helga across the room.

 

“I’ll go down as well, I can explain it in more detail than Adrian cam,” he said briskly, giving Godric and Rowena a nod before disappearing out of the room. Helga gave an understanding smile as she nodded to Godric and Rowena, and followed Salazar out of the cold room. It was then that Rowena realised she was alone with Godric; something she had not been in awhile. He looked at her with his beautiful green eyes but did not say anything, and she knew it would not be such a rush of affection as last time.

 

“It’s strange,” began Godric, turning away from her to look out of the window at the shining waning moon, illuminating much of the courtyard and the windows of the castle’s multitude of rooms, “tomorrow I may be dead and you would live as Harald’s wife again.” Rowena recoiled in shock at these words. Never had she heard Godric be so pessimistic about his own future; it scared her.

 

“Godric don’t talk like that!” she pleaded, taking one of his strong hands in the most tender way she could, “I know it looks terrible but we’ve got to have hope!” Godric turned to her, a sad expression on his handsome face. She knew that Harald returning to ruin their lives was his worst nightmare, just as it was hers.

 

“But we must accept that that may be what our fate is,” he said ruefully, nervously running one hand through his hair,  “everything we have worked for all our lives may be destroyed by my dolt of a brother before this time tomorrow. I’m sure Salazar has thought of this, as he must have thought of all eventualities, and I feel we must too.”

 

Rowena rested her head on his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him, and let him stroke her hair. It was so soothing, but his words had struck terror into her heart, “I want you to know Godric,” she whispered, trying to hold back tears, “that I love you, even if the worst comes to the worst and you fall in battle tomorrow. You will always be in my heart.”

 

There last moment together was interrupted again, as the door flew open revealing Helga, her face flushed with exertion. “We’ve just received news,” she panted, her eyes wide with fear, “Harald has deceived us! He is attacking the city now! He has breached the city walls!” Rowena’s heart stopped as she lifted her head off Godric’s shoulder. Salazar’s meticulous plan had been ruined and Harald was one step closer to achieving his goal.

 

“Godric you must go!” commanded Rowena forcefully as she suddenly felt new strength that surged within her, “and Helga, send Salazar to me, we must formulate a more structured plan.” Helga nodded and left the room in silence. Godric turned to Rowena and gave her one more soul destroying look before turning away and following Helga out of the room, his mind set on saving the woman he loved.

 

 

 

 










 

Helga had retrieved Salazar for Rowena, and then gone back into the Great Hall, slumping onto a chair at the high table. She wanted to sleep more than anything; but she was trying to stay alert and awake as she so desperately needed to do. Adrian stood in the middle of the hall, organising the soldiers into sections depending on what type of weapons they possessed. He looked tense with commitment and drive, and she couldn’t help but feel affectionate towards him. She watched him lovingly as his determined face looked to Godric for instruction.

 

She knew she had to tell him.

 

She could not sit here and watch him go out to fight without telling him. If he fell in battle and became some nameless victim of this terrible battle, she could never forgive herself. He would die without ever knowing the truth. She cried in spite of herself, the stress and upset of the day mixing with her raging hormones, and Adrian noticed, keeping his eyes firmly on her as he carried out his last duties.

 

She had only found out two days previously about the little child growing inside her. Adrian would make a wonderful father, and she was sure they would be so happy. If only it wasn’t for Harald, coming to spoil everything. She hoped that whatever happened, she and Adrian could live in peace with their child like she had dreamed when she was a little girl.

 

“Helga,” he said, dropping into a seat beside her and taking her hand with concern, “you look troubled my love, are you okay?” Her heart hammered in her chest in spite of herself; if she told him, and the battle was too violent and awful for words and Adrian was to die, he would die knowing that he would be an absent father. Her tired mind whirred ready to judge whether to tell him the truth.

 

“It’s just,” she began slowly, not looking at him, but instead at Godric who was enthusiastically greeting his soldiers, “I discovered something two days ago,” she whispered sadly, desperately trying to stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks, “I was going to tell you tonight, after the feast ended, but this happened...” her words trailed away and she didn’t know quite how to say what she so urgently needed to say.

 

“What is it Helga?” said Adrian, turning her head to face him with a gentle hand. His tenderness was unbearable. Helga sighed, she would tell him. It was her duty as his wife to keep no secrets from him, even if it was at the most inopportune moment. She bit her lip nervously as she looked at the soldiers again, seeing clearly the threat that faced them.

 

“Adrian,” she said gently, moving one hand to his face to stroke his cheek, “I am with child.” He didn’t react for a moment, but then his mouth fell open in absolute shock. Helga waited for the joy to flood over him, the way it had when she discovered the news herself. But to her surprise, his face crumpled into a frown.

 

“Helga,” he said, almost angrily, pushing her hand from his cheek, “what are you doing here then? There is a war going on Helga, if you are pregnant you should be hiding! You should be somewhere safe! The other women and children are hiding down in the basement! You should be there!”

 

Helga looked at Adrian in shock. She hadn’t thought of it like that; but she couldn’t bear to see her friends and her husband fight, maybe to the death, for something that had been entirely her idea. If Rowena, Rachel and Coventina, fellow women, were prepared to fight, so would she. Subconsciously, she took Adrian’s hand in her own and gave him a little smile that said so many things.

 

“Adrian,” she whispered her voice full of emotion, “I won’t let you do something I am not prepared to do myself. This is my fight as well as yours. And if you died and I had done nothing to protect you except hideaway in the shadows of the basement because it is safe I will never forgive myself. I don’t want to raise this child in a kingdom ruled by Harald. So I’m not listening to anything you say Adrian. I am fighting, and there is nothing you can do to stop me.”

 

 

 

 










 

Rachel had slipped away without anyone noticing. She was sure they could do without her for ten minutes. Adrian was doing so well organising things; and Godric, Salazar and Rowena were holed up planning the tactics they were to take. Harald would not be attacking for hours, and she had noticed something that she felt she had to rectify.

 

Cadmus was missing.

 

Rachel was livid. Everyone who lived and worked in the castle and in Alba was prepared to fight Harald and his oncoming army. Even Ignotus had plucked up the courage and was helping Adrian sort out the arriving soldiers. Only Cadmus was being too cowardly to fight for his home and Rachel could not understand why.

 

She almost ran down to the little house; fury was pumping through her body and she felt as if she was on fire. She could not understand what he thought sometimes; he was so intent on being isolated. He was constantly angry or irritated, and he never cared for anyone other than himself. She cursed herself for tripping unwillingly into love with him, and now all her thoughts were about him. Yet he was such an obnoxious, infuriating fool!

 

Hammering on the door of his cottage, she listened as his heavy feet walked along the floorboards to the door. It swung open with such a force that Rachel had to jump back to avoid being hit in the face. For once in his life Cadmus didn’t stink of drink, which made Rachel feel even angrier. How could he be fully sober and let everyone else do the fighting?

 

“Look,” he thundered his eyes flashing angrily at the sight of her, “I am not going! I don’t care if you think my brother is a hero and I’m a coward...” Rachel interrupted him by bowling through the door, knocking him out of the way with an angry shove. “Hey,” he shouted viciously, rubbing the spot where she had hit him while trying to push Rachel out of the door, but she swerved round him adeptly, ducking below his outstretched arms.

 

“Why aren’t you fighting!” she spat, a look of desperation in her eyes, a mixture of anger and worry pumping through her body. “Alba is going to be ripped apart at the seams if we all don’t step up and do our bit!” Cadmus shook his finger at her angrily, the colour rising to his face. It was clear that she could never understand what was going on in his mind.

 

“Because I don’t care!” he bellowed, taking Rachel back by the strength of his answer. “What does it matter to me whether it is Rowena or Harald sitting on the throne dictating orders to me? How does it affect me, a humble stable boy from peasant stock? To be quite honest with you Rachel, my Queen has never cared for me, so why should I care for her?”

 

Rachel thought he saw some pained look in his eyes, but he turned away before she could evaluate it properly. His shoulders were racked with sobs, and he was clearly desperate for Rachel not to see him so distressed, but she stepped forward and placed one hand on his shoulder, in an attempt to comfort him.

 

“What makes you think she doesn’t care?” said Rachel confusedly, thinking of Rowena and what she said of Cadmus, “she talks so highly of you. She views you as one of her closest friends. She would fight for you if you asked her too, so, why don’t you fight for her?” He turned round, knocking her hand off his shoulder in embarrassment.

 

“Rachel,” he said, in an almost tender voice, “I do care. I really do. It’s just...” He was lost for words, as if he had no hope in explaining what was going on in his head. Then Rachel did the only thing she could think of, and wrapped her arms around him, holding him so tight in what she hoped was a comforting gesture. For a moment he did not move, but then she felt his hands rest on her back and his stubbly chin on the top of her head.

 

“Then stand with us,” mumbled Rachel into his chest, suddenly overcome by the warmth of his body and the Goosebumps that were shooting up and down her skin where she touched him. “Fight with us to save the Kingdom as you know it and don’t plunge yourself into an uncertain future with Harald in charge.”

 

He let out a huge sigh, which ruffled the hair on top of Rachel’s head. She could feel that he was going to give in, and she smiled gently at her success. “Alright,” he said gently, resting one cheek on top of Rachel’s head. “But I’m not doing it for my Queen, or her court, or anything like that. Harald would be a terrible king, and I would rather live as I do now than have everything changed.”

 

Rachel deflated slightly. For a moment, she thought he was going to say that he would fight for her.

 

 

 

 










 

The plan had been formulated with such precision that nothing could go wrong. Godric would lead the army out of the front doors of the castle, and march towards the awaiting army. Then they would fight, hand to hand, until Harald’s army was pushed back and out across the drawbridge which was to be lowered. Rachel and the Alderman would lead sections of the army around through the narrow streets and travel parallel to Godric’s army, stopping any invaders escaping as they bore down on them.

 

Godric stood at the centre of the vanguard, who would start by pushing back the first line of Harald’s rabble, who were now climbing over the city walls. Citizens who lived by the walls were fleeing from their homes, creating general panic amongst the populace. All Godric’s head was full of was hate and anger. Most of all he wanted revenge.

 

They marched out the castle doors armed with their weapons. Rachel stood by his side, her wand held so tight that her fingers had gone white with fear. Cadmus stood beside her, his wand held in front of his chest. Godric held his father’s sword, in defiance of his brother and everything he wanted. Godric knew he would rather die giving his life to the cause than live and see Harald’s victory.

 

He smelt smoke almost instantly. Harald’s army had already begun pillaging the people’s houses. Many were wrenching expensive goods from the defenceless men and women, but Godric knew this was a weakness. Harald’s army was disorganised, and Godric knew that Salazar’s plan was made to exploit that.

 

Godric signalled for his army to march forward, and they did, not even breaking rank for the sight of their fellows being attacked. It was at that moment that Godric saw Harald himself, pulling a defenceless young woman from her house, disregarding her sobs of distress. Then in one swift movement, Godric ordered his men to charge.

 

The noise of battle was deafening. Godric’s sword slashed into the first man he came across, and the sudden appearance of the army seemed to terrify the disorganised rabble that was Harald’s army. “Attack!” bellowed Harald’s distinct voice above the noise, “drive them back to the castle!” But Godric would not let that happen, and broke through Harald’s men until he was almost at their leader.

 

“You!” thundered Harald, his dark eyes catching sight of his hated half brother, “Finally! The fight I’ve been waiting for!” Godric leapt towards him, swinging his sword angrily at where Harald stood. Harald’s agility got the better of Godric’s brute strength as he leapt out the way, and swinging his sword, made a clear cut across Godric’s bulging bicep.

 

“We are evenly matched now!” he shrieked across the noise of the battle, clearly remembering how Godric had injured him the same way so many years before, “I am going to kill you!” Godric’s jabs with his sword repeatedly missed Harald, who seemed to have become a more adept fighter since the last time they crossed swords.

 

“Leave this place!” shouted Godric, his long repressed hatred of his brother breaking through, “you have no right to anything here!” Harald span round his sword missing Godric’s head by inches. The adrenaline kicked Godric into even more dangerous tactics as the two men encircled each other, their eyes locked on one another, each waiting for the other to make a fatal mistake.

 

 

 

 










 

Helga was truly overwhelmed by the numbers of people fleeing to the castle from the oncoming army. Terrified mothers clutching tiny children, babbling horrific stories of destruction and murder inflicted on the people by Harald’s awful army. Helga nursed the wounded, laid out beds and organised food for all the refugees. She barely recognised how exhausted she was herself.

 

The people were fearful of the horrors that stood just outside the castle gates. Helga did not see Rowena and Salazar, who were writing messages to Harald and to Godric in attempts to negotiate peace or victory. But Helga knew that everything was failing. Adrian barely spoke to her, too busy organising people and acting as a messenger. She couldn’t help but let despair creep into her heart.

 

The door from the tower that was serving as a watch post burst open. Adrian look terrified, and barely had time to do anything before sprinting into the little room that Rowena and Salazar were occupying. Helga followed without thinking, and slammed the door behind her as Adrian began to relate his terrible news.

 

“It’s Harald’s army,” he spluttered, almost collapsing onto the only vacant chair in the room, “half of it has cut behind Godric’s force. They are almost at the castle gates!” Helga’s heart plummeted to the pit of her stomach. It just couldn’t be true! Rowena stood up, her eyes wide with shock. She looked just as terrified as everyone else, and that was what terrified Helga most of all.

 

“We put protective enchantments on the doors,” she mumbled to no one in particular, “they might hold him back for a little while. If we then post our remaining soldiers in the courtyard, they might be able to fight him off until we come up with a plan.” It was at that moment that everyone turned to look at Salazar. He held the unofficial position as chief planner, and everyone prayed that he would have an answer.

 

“I only have one idea,” he said gently, a look of cunning on his refined face, “if we do what Rowena says, and then trap Harald’s army in the courtyard by keeping the doors directly to the castle locked, and get Godric’s army to turn round and tackle this section of the enemy.” Rowena nodded, instantly trusting Salazar’s soothing voice, but Helga wasn’t so sure.

 

“But that may mean sacrificing the city!” Helga shouted, her mouth falling open in shock at Salazar’s unorthodox plan. It was clear that this had just dawned on Rowena as well, and she turned to Salazar again, a sense of pleading in her luminous blue eyes. Salazar countered this argument however, with his usual articulate way.

 

“Harald doesn’t care about the people. All he wants is Rowena and the castle. My betting is that if Godric falls back, Harald will order all of his men to the castle, bypassing the town.” Salazar’s intuition was usually correct, and Rowena seemed soothed by this. However, Helga’s mind had already moved onto the next problem – the messenger.

 

“It’s not Adrian!” said Helga angrily, as both Rowena and Salazar turned to face Adrian, silently admitting they thought he was the best man for the job. Helga marched over to him, placing her hands on Adrian’s shoulders in a primitive gesture of protection. “He will be caught in the crossfire! We need someone, smaller and more agile.”

 

Rowena turned to Salazar, who for once did not seem to have the answer, before she said, “who do you suggest other than Adrian to do what needs to be done?” Helga wracked her brain for a moment, before suddenly realising the perfect candidate, who would be only too willing to do something for her after she had changed his life so dramatically.

 

“Hogwarts!” she said, in a commanding tone. It did not take a second for the little house elf to appear, a beaming smile on his little face. Salazar and Rowena both seemed to understand at his appearance, and both gave Helga a satisfied little nod that gave her permission to continue in instructing Hogwarts.

 

“Hogwarts,” she said authoritatively, giving the elf an encouraging smile. “Will it be possible for you to deliver a message to Godric for us?” The little elf beamed with delight at his ability to do something for the liberator he loved so much.

 

“I need you to tell Godric that he must pull back, the castle is being attacked.” Hogwarts was suddenly come over with a sense of seriousness as Helga continued, “he must trap Harald’s army in the courtyard, it is the only thing that can be done.” Suddenly Rowena stepped forward, clearly with something important to convey.

 

“The protective enchantments are being put in place. You must apparated out quickly, and you will have no chance of apparating back. Is that alright with you?” The little elf nodded resolutely, before disappearing with a snap, ready to complete the task put before him.

 

 

 

 










 

Rachel was exhausted.

 

She did not know how long she could keep this up for. Her spells were becoming less effective and she felt like she was going to collapse. Godric had disappeared into the melee of fighting, and Rachel had to admit that she had never felt so alone in all her life.

 

The wizard she was battling was a stereotypical knight. His eyes were alight with bloodlust as he swung his sword around in desperate attempts to hit her. Rachel felt that the constant barrage of spells she shot at him were becoming less and less frequent, and he was able to withstand their effects more easily.

 

The knight took one well aimed swipe at her, and she was forced to duck and roll out of the way. He staggered wildly past her which enabled her to stand up. He was fast, and his following attack was so perfectly timed that a violent red slash appeared on her forearm. Her wand span out of her hand in panic and confusion, and she dropped to the floor, a feeling of terror overcoming her.

 

The knight appeared monstrous as he bore down on her, ready to cut her into pieces. She knew that she was going to die, and there was nothing to prevent her fate. She was so scared of what was to come that she couldn’t even scream; instead she silently watched the great metal sword slice through the air towards her.

 

There was a clang of metal on metal, and suddenly Rachel realised that she wasn’t dead. Looking up, she saw the strong jaw and piercing grey eyes of Cadmus Peverell, fiercely locked in a competition of strength with her assailant. Rachel span out from underneath them both, and with quick thinking, she shot a stunning spell at the knight, and he fell to the earth, barely missing Rachel.

 

He offered his hand, and he pulled her up. Her eyes met saw the steel grey flicker with emotion for a brief second, but then it disappeared as quickly as it had come. She barely had time to thank him, as Godric came thundering towards her, a small house elf in tow.

 

“Retreat!” he hollered across the battlefield in a desperate attempt to rally his men, “retreat to the castle!”  The migration that followed was huge, and Rachel found Cadmus take her hand and pull her towards the castle. There was utter chaos.  There were terrified screams from those injured or incapacitated, and cheers of victory from Harald’s army.

 

They followed fast. Rachel dared not let go of Harald’s hand as the two of them ran towards the castle, her heart beating wildly in her chest. Other people seemed like blurs shooting past her. The only things that made any sense to her was her own fear and Cadmus’ reassuring hand clasped in her own.

 

The doors to the courtyard were open, and Cadmus tugged her inside, one of the last few stragglers who had made it into the courtyard before the doors were closed. Rachel heard the massive boom of the doors snapped shut by magic behind her. But that was not what chilled her to the bone. She could hear a little voice, shouting in utmost panic.

 

“I’m still outside! I’m still outside!”

 

 

 

 










 

Helga had raced up to the battlements along with Rowena and Salazar, and had been shocked when she saw what was taking place. Their plan was uncoordinated, and the soldiers had clearly not been informed of the plan. The whole army had hurtled into the safety of the courtyard, unaware they were meant to be trapping Harald’s army within its walls.

 

Helga felt that there was now no hope. Harald’s army were hastening to the walls of the castle. Helga could clearly see two figures, hand in hand, running towards the open door. “We must close the doors!” shouted Rowena, her panic overcoming her, “or we’ll be overrun!” The two figures darted inside the doors as Salazar pointed his wand towards them. The magic he performed shut the doors, and for a moment Helga breathed a sigh of relief. But then she heard something.

 

“I’m still outside! I’m still outside!”

 

Helga looked down to the doors and saw the small figure, crouched and stooped, as he banged on the closed doors. It was a truly pitiful sight, and tears sprang to Helga’s eyes as she realised who it was that was in such distress. It was Hogwarts.

“Open the doors!” shrieked Helga, grabbing Rowena’s hand and shaking it in desperation, “Hogwarts is still outside!” Rowena’s great blue eyes turned to look down at the little elf, and her beautiful face was overcome by a look of despair.

 

“We can’t, Harald’s army are so close, and they will get inside.” Harald’s army were barely feet away from Hogwarts, and the crushing feeling that she couldn’t do anything for him washed over Helga. The elf would be left at Harald’s mercy. Helga felt a stab of pain as she realised she was going to watch him die.

 

Suddenly, it seemed as if Hogwarts had accepted what was to happen. He stood up and turned round to face the menacing figure striding towards him. Harald was clad in full armour; his eyes alight at the sight of the castle, a ripe fruit ready to be taken. His eyes were burning with such frenzied triumph, that he did not notice the little figure standing against the castle doors.

 

Eventually, Harald’s large eyes locked onto Hogwarts little frame and a horrible little expression came over his ugly face. “Ah,” he said, a crooked smile appearing on his face, “we have a straggler who has been abandoned by his own.” Harald’s soldiers laughed cruelly, and they began to get closer and closer to Hogwarts, who stood bravely against them.

 

“We don’t want to hurt you little elf,” cooed Harald, his mocking expression still on his face, “we’ll only hurt you if we have to.” Helga could not quite see Hogwarts’ expression, but she could imagine his fear vividly. She wanted to cry. “Just tell them,” shouted Harald, pointing up to Helga and the others standing on the battlements, “to let us in the castle.”

 

“No!” shouted Hogwarts almost instantly, “I will not let you hurt them! You have no right to take this castle and Hogwarts will protect my dear lady!” Helga knew he was talking about her, and she was overcome by a terrible sadness as she could not do anything for him.

 

Harald was instantly enraged; he clearly had a quick temper like his brother when he wanted. “You dirty little animal!” he roared, his face reddening to the colour of wine the way Godric’s often did, “you will tell them to let me in or you will suffer for it!” Hogwarts said no more, instead he stood against Harald, his eyes squinted with determination.

 

“Hogwarts is free!” he squawked bravely, “and I may be loyal and defend who I please. I defend my lady and the people in the castle! I will never yield to you!” Then Harald snapped, he ran forward, swinging his sword viciously. There was a sickening crunch as the sword sank into the little elf, and he fell silently, his eyes like two glassy orbs.

 

Helga let out a cry of anguish for Hogwarts, her loyal friend, but neither Rowena nor Salazar showed their emotions yet. Their eyes were still fixed on Harald, who was carelessly kicking Hogwarts’ corpse out the way of the door. He lifted his sword, attempting to stab into the castle doors, but he was blasted back by Rowena’s strong protective spell.

 

He looked up to Rowena, an angry grimace on his ugly face, “don’t think, dear wife that your spell will keep me out for long! I will get inside and my revenge will be complete!” Helga was so scared at these words that she barely noticed Rowena rest her head on Salazar’s shoulder, or Salazar arm drape comfortingly around her.

 

 

 










Okay, these few chapters were actually surprisingly easy to write, so I hope you enjoyed them. The action is always hard to write so please read and review to tell me what you thought of it. Next Time...the battle comes to an end as old scores are settled...
 
 
 


Chapter 25: Dearest Love
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Dearest Love



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On the day of the battle; Salazar found himself alone with Rowena. They were distant from the noise and blood of the battle, alone together in a small room off the Great Hall, formulating plans for all eventualities. Rowena was exhausted, and Salazar could clearly see it in the lines of her face, but she refused to rest, relentlessly putting forward ideas or suggestions and frantically writing messages. Salazar knew it was because she was scared, and he could do nothing for her. He had never felt so helpless in all his life.

 

“Godric has got all the soldiers we have in the courtyard, and Helga is trying to keep up the protective enchantments, and Adrian is helping hide all the people in the basement. Only essential people can be up here. Do you think that’s a good plan Salazar?” He nodded to reassure her, but she kept talking, her nerves coming through with every word.

 

“How long will he be kept out? I know he’s coming to get me! We have to protect the women and children, even if it means I go out willingly. Do you think there is any way to prevent that?” Salazar had to admit that Rowena’s fears were getting to him, and he put one arm around her, the way he did on the battlements, to comfort her, and himself.

 

“God!” bellowed Rowena suddenly, staring at her own hands, “why does he have to come now when everything was going so well? Why is he trying to ruin my life?” Then she did something he didn’t expect. Instead of just standing rigidly in his arms, she leant into him, her pretty head resting on his shoulder.

 

“He is going after what he wants,” began Salazar, desperately trying to stop himself breathing in the luscious scent of her hair, “he is not intentionally trying to hurt you.” He lifted his hand, and turned her head to face him. His hand was moist with Rowena’s tears. “Don’t cry,” he mumbled, suddenly struck by her vulnerability and drawing her in closer to him, desperate to hold her and possess her, “please don’t cry.”

 

“I can’t help it!” she coughed, the tears not stopping rolling down her pale cheeks. Even when she was upset she was still beautiful. “Everything we’ve tried has failed! The people flee to our castle and we can barely keep Harald’s army out, Godric’s army are being destroyed and there is nothing we can do about it! What did I ever do wrong?”

 

“You never did anything wrong!” cried Salazar, distressed by her anguish. He pulled her into a tight embrace, kissing the top of her head and stroking her hair in the tenderest way he could, “it is not your fault that Godric’s army has failed. He acted too rashly; he didn’t listen to our plans.” For a moment, Salazar loathed Godric for the way he had upset Rowena, but it abated as instantly as it had come.

 

“We will be overrun!” she sobbed, the tears rolling onto Salazar’s tunic, making a moist patch where her head lay, “Harald will defeat us and I will be all alone. He won’t let you stay here, he will want to isolate me and destroy my spirit. He won’t let me see any of you ever again.” Salazar’s chest swelled with indignation; nothing in the world would keep him away from Rowena; not even a brute with a sword and a whole army.

 

“I will not leave you Rowena,” whispered Salazar, running his fingers through her silky dark hair, overcome by how close she was to him, “you will have me with you forever.” Then he pushed her away, not to make her sad, but to reach for something in his pocket that he had kept with him for so many years, and now realised belonged to someone else.

 

The locket was a beautiful as the day he had given it to Bess, when he was a boy of seventeen, on his wedding night. Now he was a man, and felt that he knew more about love and how it worked, and was therefore more entitled to give the token of his affection away. Rowena’s eyes fixed on it curiously, taking in each of the inset emeralds.

 

“This is to show I will always be with you, and you always will have my affection, whatever may tear us apart.” Rowena moved her hand towards it and touched it gently, her fingers sliding along the cold metal. “Whatever may happen Rowena, I you will always have my love and affection.” With these words Rowena lifted it up into the light, her blue eyes scanning it.

 

“I can’t take it Salazar,” she whispered, “it’s too beautiful.” He placed his hands on her shoulders and turned her around. Taking the chain in his hands, he unfastened it, reconnecting it around Rowena’s neck. The feel of her soft skin on his finger made him shiver with hidden delight. Rowena turned round to face him, the Locket hanging round her neck, catching the light. Now, she wore his initial on her chest, and part of her was his.

 

“Salazar,” she said, the pain easily heard in her soft voice, “what is to become of us?” He drew her to him again, in an attempt of being loving, but he didn’t smile. In truth, he did not know what was happen to them and their dream of a school for purely magical children. But at the same time he did not care, for a moment it was him and Rowena, together.

 

He dusted the hair out of her eyes, revealing the oval of her face. She was so beautiful; he wanted to own her, for her to be forever his. She had never loved her husband, or anyone else for that matter, so surely she could be his. Surely he could be the person she loved until the day she died. The thought thrilled him.

 

They had drifted closer together, their noses barely an inch from each other. His heart sped up, skipping and leaping in his chest at the prospect of what was to happen next. Then he took his chance, and kissed her. For a moment he was in heaven, his lips touching hers, and her in his arms. He never wanted it to end.

 

The door swung open, and she pushed him away with such a force that he nearly fell backwards. He steadied himself before Helga saw him, but he was instantly distracted by the look on Helga’s face, “the spells have been broken. Harald is in the courtyard with his army.” Rowena went as white as a sheet, and without even looking at Salazar, she darted from the room, dashing to the Courtyard. Helga followed without a moment’s thought, and with a heavy heart, Salazar did also.

 

 

 

 






 

Harald’s army’s cheers could be heard from the Great Hall, and it made Godric’s blood run cold. He hated Harald with all his might and he could not believe he had been defeated by his incompetent and inept brother. He would never fulfil his promise to his dead mother; he would never be the Jarl now. He could imagine Harald’s gloating smile and he wanted to punch him.

 

“I don’t know what Rowena is planning to do,” said Adrian slowly, “it is only the doors of the Great Hall that is keeping her safe now. I think she has to face it; the dream is over.” Godric turned and gave Adrian a furious look. How could he have given up? Godric would fight for all they were working for to the death. He would fight for his friends; he would fight for Rowena, even if they were not prepared to.

 

“Not if I have anything to say about it!” growled Godric, his fists clenching in fury, but he was held back by a delicate hand that rested on his burly shoulder. He could instantly recognise that touch; it was Rowena. He turned round, and to his surprise he saw she had a look of determination on her face. It stopped him in his tracks.

 

“I’m coming with you,” she said, her voice steely, “we have to face him, together.” Godric knew there was nothing in the world he could say to stop her, and he knew he couldn’t. She had to face him just as much as he did. Extending his arm to her, she took it gingerly, knowing this show of solidarity would deeply anger Harald. But for a moment they didn’t care.

 

The doors were opened for them, and Godric found himself walking slightly ahead of Rowena, almost as if to protect her. Her proud head was held high in the air as they spotted a triumphant Harald, a gloating smile across his shadowy face. Godric had never felt so sick and furious in his whole life.

 

“Rowena!” cried Harald, spotting his wife and brother, “I don’t expect Godric will give you much of a ride!” Harald’s men whooped and cackled at his crude joke, and only Rowena’s steadying hand prevented Godric from unsheathing his sword and ramming it straight through Harald’s beating heart. He turned to Rowena, and saw she had flushed a brilliant shade of red, so he turned back so he would not bring attention to the fact.

 

“Harald,” growled Godric, the animosity perfectly transparent in his voice, “I have a deal for you.” Harald seemed to look interested at this, so Godric continued, not allowing him to answer. “I will surrender to you, admit you have won, give you our father’s sword and Alba is yours if you defeat me in a duel. If I win, you leave, forever.”

 

Godric knew his brother’s weaknesses. Harald was proud like their father, and would never say no to an opportunity to humiliate his brother, even if it meant risking something very important to him such as the castle which he had already won. Harald’s fingers played with the hilt of his sword; the sword that marked him out as the forgotten son. “Come on Harald!” roared Godric, shaking Rowena’s hand from his arm, “or are you too scared? Afraid of me, our father’s true son?”

 

This final taunt pushed Harald over the edge, and he ran towards his brother, lifting his sword from his belt. “I am no coward!” Harald screamed, his face contorted with rage, “I am a true Ravenclaw, born of a holy marriage. You are nothing but a bastard, the son of a common whore!” Images of Alfhild Gryffindor floated to Godric’s mind, and in a split second he made his decision.

 

Godric leapt forward, brandishing his sword venomously, but Harald was ready for him, his eyes alight with all the hatred that had been burning for Godric and the injustices perpetrated against him for all these years. Harald charged forward, his eyes dark with anger as he swung his sword forward, just missing Godric’s head. “You’ll pay for everything!” he screamed as Godric careered out of the way.

 

Godric’s back was turned so he did not see Harald withdraw his wand from his belt. Leif Gryffindor’s sword shone in the light as its master turned round, his hand stretched out to cast his signature spell. The ball of fire was unleashed before Godric could stop it, but Harald was prepared for him, and bellowed, “Aguamenti!”

 

The fire sizzled viciously as it was extinguished, but it gave an opportunity for Godric to lurch forward, his sword breaking past Harald’s defences and barely missing his chest. Harald lifted his sword as there was a deafening clang of metal as the two swords collided. Both men held them adjacent to their faces, and from that moment it was a battle of strength and wills.

 

Harald gave a sudden burst of energy and the razor sharp blades grew closer and closer to Godric’s throat. Thoughts of his own mortality shot through Godric’s mind which forced him to push back, his strength renewed. The blades were soon inches from Harald’s neck, and he gave a yelp of fear like a young animal. Godric was suddenly reminded of the fearful little boy begging outlaws for his life.

 

Godric gave one last thrust which caused Harald to be propelled backwards. He always underestimated Harald’s speed and agility, and his brother was back on his steady feet in a moment. Harald’s sword was suddenly bearing down on him, but Godric lifted his sword, the two swords meeting with such force that the two men were forced in opposite directions.

 

Harald stumbled slightly, but Godric regained his balance and ran towards his brother. It was a highly successful venture. Harald had not had time to regain his composure, and he looked at Godric, clearly terrified. Lifting his leg, Godric kicked Harald sharply in the chest, and he went tumbling backwards, his sword and wand clattering out of his hands and across the cobbles of the courtyard. Godric lifted his sword, placing the tip of the sword right on the point of Harald’s jugular. He was breathing wildly, a look of terror in his eyes.

 

“Are you going to kill me, brother?” he spluttered, clearly using their family tie as a kind of leverage. Godric’s mind was racing. He knew he should kill Harald; he had invaded Rowena’s country after years of distance, and had always acted like a shadow over Godric’s life. He had always been the person to compete with, and there was no depth he would not sink to get his revenge.

 

“Never come back,” whispered Godric, his words caught in his throat, “never see me, Rowena or this land again. You have no right to this country, you are not her King, and you and Rowena are officially divorced. If you abide by these conditions, I will not follow you and kill you like I have wanted to do for so long!”

 

“Okay!” spat Harald, his eyes filling with a child’s terrified tears, “I’ll do whatever you say, just don’t kill me.” Godric placed one heavy boot on his brother’s chest, as a show of defiant victory. Harald spluttered under the weight, but Godric did not move, keeping his emerald green eyes firmly on his brother wanting to humiliate him in front of his own men.

 

“Call them off!” he whispered, his voice deadly as he pointed to his soldiers, all standing aghast at the position of their leader. Harald did Godric what told him, but it still wasn’t enough. Helga and Salazar had appeared behind them, and Salazar took the initiative to take Harald’s sword and wand from the ground. “We’ll be taking those,” growled Godric menacingly, “and if you ever come back I swear to God I will kill you.”

 

He gave Harald a hard kick before finally releasing him from the trap. Harald scrambled up, his face red with humiliation. “One day!” he roared giving Godric a ferocious look before he turned to leave the castle gates, following his already exiting men, “one day I will have my revenge! I will destroy your world just as you did mine!” Godric watched him go, not quite realising the enormity of what he had just done...

 

Until he heard a squeal of excitement. He suddenly felt a person charge into him, flinging their slender arms around his neck, “you did it Godric!” Rowena squealed excitedly, her face flushed with adrenaline, “you did it and now we are free!” He looked at her; she looked so beautiful; for once she seemed happy. Harald was vanquished and the school could be built in peace.

 

 

 

 






 

Rowena had no limits anymore; she was free, just like Godric was. The right way to celebrate was to kiss him. Her excitement fizzled over her and she pulled him towards her; not caring if anyone was watching. She did not care if her courtiers thought her forward or a whore. She was free to love him now, and her heart raced as she kissed him, and he kissed her back.

 

When they broke apart, Rowena found herself smiling. “I love you so much,” she whispered, stroking a strand of fire red hair out of his eyes. It was at this moment that the bubble was burst as their celebrating friends ran over, each arriving to congratulate Godric, the saviour of them all. Rowena grabbed his hand affectionately, finally totally happy that they could freely show their love.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me!” cried Rachel, looking from Godric to Rowena, “I never guessed!” Rowena let out a laugh, as Godric beamed at his friend. Rowena could not help but lean into his shoulder. She wanted to show him all the affection in the world now their friends were here. There was Helga, Adrian, Rachel, Cadmus, Ignotus and Coventina all laughing and slapping Godric on the back in congratulations.

 

“I’m not the only hero,” said Godric diplomatically, “you are all heroes too. Helga, Adrian and Coventina you helped the wounded, the sick and the needy. Rachel, Ignotus and Cadmus, you fought by my side, indispensible to the last. We couldn’t have done it without any of you,” beamed Godric, gesturing to Rowena.

 

Rowena couldn’t say anymore, but she wrapped him in her arms, kissing like they were seventeen again, no longer caring what she looked like or who she saw. Finally she could be lost in Godric’s world and no one would have anything to say on the matter. Rowena barely noticed as Adrian and Helga started kissing too, leaving the other four standing there bemusedly.

 

“Oh,” said Rachel cheekily, “if this is how we celebrate a military victory in Alba, I’m joining in the custom!” With that, Rowena saw out of the corner of her eye, Rachel grab Cadmus’ shoulders and pull him into a deep, gleeful kiss, the smile visible on her face as she kissed him. Cadmus’ eyes were wide with shock for a moment, but then he gave in to her advances at last.

 

“I’m not kissing you,” joked Coventina to Ignotus. He gave her a cheeky grin, and Rowena’s heart was lifted as she gazed at them, her friends, the ones who would be by her side forever, as they forged this new future together. Then something struck her. The one person who had been by her side most loyally; the one she had been afraid to speak to since that kiss...

 

“Where is Salazar?” asked Godric, looking around at his friends, suddenly realizing the same thing as Rowena. She did not look at Godric; the guilt for that ridiculous spontaneous kiss washing over. It had meant nothing; it had been the fear and tension inside them both that had made them reach out for someone to hold, surely. However, she was quickly saved as Rachel and Cadmus finally broke apart, and Cadmus spluttered with shock.

 

“I don’t know where he is,” said Helga, looking around her to try and spot him, “maybe he took Harald’s wand and sword inside. Shall we go find him?” Rowena knew it would be better to face Salazar in a group than alone; maybe it would be less awkward. Turning round; they made their way inside ready to celebrate the start of their freedom.

 

 

 

 






 

They sat together; eating and talking for hours. Although they had been awake for over twenty four hours, no one slept as they buzzed with adrenaline. Helga sat beside Adrian, his comforting arm draped around her in a tender way that was entirely his own. She could not help but lean into him, as they laughed at the jester in harlequin colours together.

 

Rowena glowed with happiness; her hand constantly moving to Godric’s to hold it. It was as if she could not stop touching him. Helga could not help but be so happy for Godric and Rowena; now they could be together. It also seemed that Cadmus had almost accepted the inevitable.  He sat with Rachel, not directly addressing the fact that he was with her; but he was the friendliest towards her that Helga had ever seen.

 

She still thought of Hogwarts; the little house elf who had given his life for her and her dreams. Helga did not know what she could to do remember and honour him in a way that was great enough for his sacrifice; his sacrifice for her and the school. The others had been sad for his death, but they had not known him as well as Helga had, so it stung her the most.

 

The jester did a last comedy tumble before standing up and giving a majestic bow. Helga clapped just as loud as everybody else did, and she laughed, laying her head against Adrian; feeling so tired and relieved, but she knew that several more things had to come to light that evening. It was at this moment that Adrian cleared his throat, as if to capture his friend’s attention. They looked round; his calm authority evident.

 

“Today has been a very difficult day,” he began, a broad smile on his scarred face, “and I don’t know how much more celebrating we can do before we all fall asleep.” There was a titter of laughter at this, but it was quickly subdued, as Adrian clearly wished to say more. “Some of us did not make it,” he said reverently, and Helga knew was thinking of Hogwarts, “but for the ones who sit here now it is a new dawn.”

 

Godric banged his large fist on the table in agreement; his eyes alight with mirth. Even Cadmus let out a smile; something which Helga was sure she had rarely seen him do before. Coventina nodded at her brother; almost giving him permission to continue. Adrian liked this subtle acknowledgement from his sister, and continued with newfound passion.

 

“My friends,” he said looking at them all, “the future is bright for us! Not only have we won our castle and secured our future, I am very pleased to announce to you all, my lovely wife Helga,” he gave Helga a brief, loving glance, “is with child!”

 

There was a collective gasp of shock and joy. Helga found her eyes moving to Rowena; the one person who was going through the trials and tribulations of parenthood. “Oh Helga!” she said, her face flushed with emotion, “I am so happy for you!” Helga couldn’t help but smile at Rowena, her best friend. She may be sometimes oblivious and superior, but she still had the capacity for such love and warmth.

 

“I was also going to make an announcement tonight,” piped up Rowena, lifting her goblet and gazing round at her friends, “but after that from Adrian it pales in comparison!” She paused for a moment, before continuing eloquently, “many of the people of Alba have questioned my choice of advisors, but after today there can be no doubt that my faith in all of you is entirely justified.”

 

They all glowed with pride as Rowena persisted with her glowing praise; “that is why I have decided to give you all legitimate positions within the government of Alba.” Helga’s mouth dropped open in shock; surely Rowena could not be serious? Were several peasants and a few members of the yeomanry really to have titles?

 

“I proclaim you,” she said, pointing an elegant finger at Cadmus and Ignotus, “both knights of the realm. From now on you shall be known as Sir Ignotus and Sir Cadmus!” The two brothers looked at each other in shock; their mouths open in a similar way to Helga’s, not daring to believe what was taking place.

 

“And you two,” she continued, this time picking out Coventina and Rachel, “will have ranks deserving of your courage and bravery. I proclaim you Lady Coventina Hufflepuff and Lady Rachel Fitzherbert.” Rachel jumped up in her usual enthusiastic way, flinging her arms around Rowena’s neck.

 

“And you,” continued Rowena, turning to Adrian who went a brilliant shade of red, “you possess a calmness and authority that the rest of us can only hope to possess. You are like a father to us; us poor wandering orphans, and yet you are a great friend, and noble counsel. For that, I make you Lord Adrian Hufflepuff of Dewsbury.” Helga gasped in shock; while she had risen the Ignotus, Cadmus, Rachel and Coventina to the ranks of the gentry, she had made Adrian a noble.

 

“And Helga,” said Rowena, turning to face her flushed friend, “you have been my steadfast companion for most of my life. You have served me with unswerving loyalty; never questioning me and sacrificing your own desires for me. For that, I want you to be able to live the life that I have; one where you can speak your mind and be unafraid of retribution. For those outstanding services you have provided, I proclaim you, Lady Helga Hufflepuff, the Maid of Honour, the second woman in the Kingdom.”

 

Helga felt dizzy with shock, and she could only stammer thanks. She was no longer a simple nameless servant; she was now a noble of the realm. Rowena was continuing her lavish gifts, and she turned to Salazar who was sitting isolated at the end of the table. “Don’t think you’ve escaped my notice,” said Rowena cheerily, fixing Salazar with a beautiful smile, “you are brave, clever and the most valued counsellor and friend. For that, I make you Lord Salazar Slytherin, my Lord Chancellor and Supreme Councillor.”

 

Salazar’s eyes seemed alight with some kind of emotion; but as always his expression was unreadable. Rowena did not notice this however, as she had turned to the man who sat beside her; Godric. “For years I have not been able to acknowledge what you mean to me; what I feel for you. There have been too many years of secrets and I don’t want any more of that. That is why I proclaim you, Godric Gryffindor, as my Prince Consort.”

 

Silence descended. Helga could not believe it. Rowena had not made him her King, but she had elevated him to the ranks of royalty and officially her recognised partner. “I love you Godric,” she said, but before she could say anymore, he stood up and pulled her into a passionate kiss. Helga could not help but clap with the rest of them.

 

She looked at them all, and suddenly realised that everything was perfect, and the vision she had had so long ago one icy night when Godric had run away had come true. The world seemed in balance and in perfect harmony, and as she looked around at her friends, she knew this new perfect world would never end.

 

 

 

 






 

That night, Rachel was exhausted. It was not long after the astonishing announcements were made that Rachel retired to her quarters. She left Cadmus in the hall, giving him one secret kiss goodnight out of the glances of the court before moving off to the stairs, ready to go to bed. It was therefore to her surprise that she found Salazar slumped against the wall by the stairs, a curious look on his face.

 

“Salazar,” Rachel said, beaming at him, “or should I say, the Lord Chancellor?” Salazar gave her one of his fleeting familiar half smiles, and Rachel was instantly unnerved. Why wasn’t he happy? “Are you alright?” Rachel asked, hovering near him, wanting to reach out and touch him to comfort him, but knowing it would not be welcome.

 

“How could I be alright after what has happened today?” he said, giving a mirthless laugh as he said it. Rachel suddenly saw the terrible sadness and realised why. Salazar had developed feelings for Queen Rowena, totally unaware, as was everybody, that her heart belonged to another. Rachel suddenly thought how terrible it would be if Cadmus loved somebody else, and she could instantly sympathise with him.

 

“There is nothing I can say that will stop this hurting,” said Rachel, reaching out and squeezing his shoulder in a soothing way, “but over time, the pain will lessen, it won’t hurt so much. After all, Godric and Rowena do not know how much they hurt you, they are just thinking of their own love. You can find someone else Salazar.”

 

“I suppose you are right,” he murmured, not quite looking Rachel in the eye, “I will see you later. I think it’s best we get some rest.” Rachel nodded in agreement, before tenderly pecking him on the cheek, hoping to give him some sense of comfort. “Goodnight,” he whispered, before turning around and disappearing up the opposite set of stairs.

 

Rachel watched him go with a sense of foreboding in her heart. It only just occurred to her what different paths her three friends had taken. Adrian was soon to be a father; he had a wonderful wife and a child on the way. He was happy. Godric had just secured the love of his life, and the mannerisms of Rowena’s children subtly suggested that it was Godric, not his brother, that was the father of Bevan and Helena. He was happy.

 

But then there was Salazar. He had many friends, but had, in his mind, been betrayed by his best friend and the woman he loved. This filled Rachel with fear; would Salazar’s heart be opened to forgiveness? The happiness that had been building inside of her all day suddenly popped, as she ascended the stairs up to her room. There was an ominous black cloud hanging over the castle, and she was not sure that its inhabitants were prepared for it.



 

 

 






 

Okay, I hope you liked it! This chapter just flowed, unlike the following two!!! Please read and review and tell me what you think, do you think  Godric and Rowena's reunion was good? Please tell me what you think of my characterisation. Next time...five years have passed and the school has grown, but an old foe returns... 

 
 
 
 


Chapter 26: Intemporaliter Putus
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Intemporaliter Putus



Beautiful Chapter image by Ayita @ the dark arts
 








During the five years that followed; the school went from strength to strength. Hogwarts School, named for the memory of the elf who had given his life for it, was attracting children of famous Wizarding covens from up and down the country, but Salazar was not entirely happy with his life, and was not sure the dream was how he had envisioned it.

It seemed that everyone else around him was happy. Godric and Rowena had been firmly established by the Alban people as the almighty successors of King Bevan and Queen Emma. They were lauded wherever they went. Godric was seen as the defender of Alba, the man who had saved them from the evil King Harald, and therefore the man most deserving of Rowena’s heart. They were a happy family; with their ten year old children Helena and Bevan, although they were still legally recognised as Harald’s children, and a recent addition to their family, their barely days old daughter.

Artemisia Black had entered the world in a similar way to her mother. She was legally a Black due to the fact that her parents were not married but the streets had still been lined with celebrating people; rejoicing at the birth of a beautiful baby girl. However, Rowena was more fertile than her mother, and Artemisia was not the heir to the Alban throne, that privilege still lying with her older brother. She had brought so much joy to her parents, but she only intensified the rotting jealousy in Salazar’s gut.

Adrian and Helga had also made a very happy family. Their child, announced at the victory at the Battle of Alba, had been a bouncing baby boy made with his father’s chestnut brown hair and tawny complexion. He had been named for Helga’s father, and Helga often chirped how Edward Hufflepuff reminded her of her brave father. They had had another child two years later; a little girl they named after her doting aunt, Coventina. The little girl had a cloud of blonde hair like her mother, but neither child had inherited Helga’s distinctive eyes.

Even the newly minted Peverell’s were also living happy lives. Ignotus and Coventina had fallen together; an effect of the pairing off of all of Salazar’s friend’s. Despite the age difference; they were a happy couple, and Coventina had even produced a little boy, with all the appearances of a Peverell, who they had eagerly named Antioch. He was two, just like little Coventina, and the two children played together while their parents taught the students who arrived fresh faced every year.

Cadmus and Rachel were also married, with a son of their own, named Ulrich. Their marriage was very restless, and the students often laughed about their angry fights heard all over the castle. But there was no doubt that they loved each other. Despite everything, when they made up they were happy together. Their family was not perfect, but they loved each other in a passionate way, and Salazar could not help but envy them.

Then there was Salazar. He taught the Dark Arts; a subject he felt had to be studied deeply for a student to know how to effectively counter them. But he knew he wasn’t the most popular teacher; that honour fell with Godric, a swashbuckling figure who taught Transfiguration. The students adored him, and he was effectively the spokesperson for the four founders, and the symbol of the whole school. Salazar sometimes felt that he was totally monopolizing everything as usual.

Through the years, Salazar also realised two things. The first was that he did not clearly state his intentions during the creation of the school. Godric, Helga and Rowena were all two happy to let dirty Muggle children into the school. The thought of them and having to teach them made Salazar feel sick. It was their forebear’s ignorance that had killed his parents and Bess, and he could not stand giving them the gifts that their parents had scorned and killed innocent people for.

The other was that Rachel had lied to him. The years did not diminish the pain of losing Rowena. Every time he saw her, her sparkling diadem perched on her unruly dark hair and his locket hanging round her neck; he could not help but feel his heart ache. He hated Godric touching her; he hated the way she was with him when he wanted it so much for himself.

And his house followed his suit. Godric’s house, the Gryffindor’s, were a rowdy lot that did not seem to know when to shut their mouths. Salazar thought they were undeniably proud, like their creator, and although Salazar cared for his friend in some way, the Gryffindor’s seemed to reflect the worst aspects of Godric’s personality. They were smug and arrogant, traits that had grown within Godric continually since the day Salazar first met him.

The Hufflepuff’s, Adrian and Helga’s house, did not seem to be striving for excellence in Salazar’s opinion. The placid nature of their creators made it so anyone could get into Hufflepuff, and Salazar thought that was ridiculous. But that had always been Adrian and Helga’s way; they were endlessly manipulated by Godric and Rowena, who used their weak wills to get what they wanted.

The Ravenclaw’s seemed just like Rowena also. They all valued intelligence above anything else, and were all very beautiful, just like she was, but they did not realise there was other ways to achieve greatness from that lofty pedestal they put themselves on. The Ravenclaws seemed to be so aloof, just like Rowena was, and Salazar thought them all terribly proud.

Only in Slytherin were there truly great witches and wizards in the making. Their names would be remembered in history; there was no doubt about it. They had the talent, thirst and drive to prove themselves, something which the other houses did not possess. Only his students would be the greatest, as they had the cunning, resourcefulness and drive to push themselves to the top.

Salazar focussed his mind on the pile of paper work he had in front of him. There were mountains of essay’s and letters for him to read, and his tired brain ached. He had just finished marking a particularly tedious essay on Werewolves when he got a letter he had been delivered earlier in the day by a disgruntled looking messenger; clearly he had been travelling for days. Salazar ripped it open curiously, wondering who it could be from.

Monsieur Slytherin,

                        I have to admit your offer of employment I received came as quite a surprise. I am sure your acquaintances had informed you of my history in Alba, and my history with a certain lady who I am sure will never wish to see me again, so therefore it seemed like an illogical choice.

I would be honoured to accept the offer of a teaching post; I miss Black Castle, it was truly one of the happiest times of my life. I no longer want the speed of the life of an ambassador, and would much prefer to return to the peace and solitude of that far flung castle. But it may be best to not warn your acquaintances of my arrival; I am sure they would not be best pleased.

Yours sincerely,

The Baron Sanglante, Guillaume Abraxas Malfoy

Salazar felt an excited leap in his stomach. Malfoy had finally returned his answer to Salazar’s offer of employment. Guillaume Malfoy was one of the greatest Arithmancers of the age, and Salazar felt sure that he would fulfil his role spectacularly. It would also cause some much needed controversy in Salazar’s opinion. Helga and Adrian were perfectly secure in their relationship, so Salazar did not think twice about offering Guillaume the job. After all, Helga was very forgiving and would surely welcome Guillaume back with open arms. It would also make them think; something his friends really needed to do.

 

 

 










Lady Helga Hufflepuff was adorned with jewels. She was no longer the wandering child, lost and lonely in the woods of Alba. She sat by the Queen’s side at the long teacher’s table, looking at the rows of tables spanning the length of the hall. The Black Castle was now essentially a hybrid; half of it was Hogwarts School and half the Royal Court of Alba. It was not as formal as it had been, and Helga felt totally at home here. She was finally at her happiest. There was nothing wrong in her whole sunny world.

In memory of Hogwarts she had let hundreds of homeless House Elves live in Hogwarts and work in the kitchens. It was highly successful for both parties. Helga felt nothing in her life could go better. Her children were in bed, but she scanned the table looking at her friends. She could not believe how they had once been young revolutionaries trying to change the world and now they had achieved their dream.

Everyone was there minus Salazar. That was the only thing in her life that made Helga sad. The one person who had originally encouraged her to make her dreams reality now seemed so distant and aloof. He rarely sat with them after dinner and had tonight gone for a walk down to Alba. Apparently he was meeting the new Arithmancy teacher he had hired. Salazar was always the one who made staff appointments as he was always the one who would find the spark inside the candidates that made them a good teacher.

“Helga,” whispered Adrian drawing closer to her, “I am worried about Henry Wakefield. He hasn’t been handing his essays into me at the moment, what do you think...” She had a whispered conversation with her husband about this particular student; a boy brimming with so much talent but not the ability to apply it effectively.

Due to the depth of this conversation; Helga only noticed who had just arrived when Rowena gently tapped her on her arm. Turning round, Helga saw what had turned Rowena’s face deathly white. Salazar was striding into the hall; one of his wry half smiles plastered on his face. But that was not what scared Helga so. Beside him stood a man that Helga hoped she would never see again.

“I would like to reacquaint you all with our new Arithmancy teacher; The Baron Sanglante, Guillaume Malfoy.” Helga felt sick at the sight of him, and the old feelings of inadequacy and fear rushed to her heart. How could Salazar do this to her when he knew what Guillaume was to her? Malfoy’s eyes had rested on her, and she felt terribly cold looking into the icy grey. But she felt suddenly comforted as she felt Adrian’s fingers curl soothingly around her own.

Nobody spoke. Helga could see that Rowena was reeling from the same shock that she was. Surely Salazar would not be so insensitive as to bring Guillaume back? “We welcome you, Baron Sanglante,” and Helga turned round to see who had so freely offered this warm greeting. Godric was sitting at the centre of the table, dressed in the finest ermines and silks, a cheerful smile on his face.

“I thank you my Prince,” said Guillaume through clenched teeth, clearly not wanting to address such a low born man as the Prince of Alba. “I hope I can be useful in your mission to educate magical children.” Guillaume turned back to Helga and gave her one of his familiar half sneering smiles. Helga wanted to attack him. Only Adrian’s hand prevented her from standing up.

“I’m sure our hospitality will be well appreciated by the Baron,” said Salazar dutifully, “and I think it is best that I take him to his quarters. I bid you all goodnight.” With that, Salazar turned on his heel and began marching towards the entrance hall. Guillaume lingered for a moment, his eyes still on Helga, but then he followed his employer out of Helga’s sight and into the shadows beyond the door.

 

 

 

 








Godric and Rowena’s chambers were the most lavish in the whole castle. Their living room was bedecked with tapestries spun with gold and rugs from far flung Persia. On the mantelpiece was the head of a stag that Godric had killed on one of his many hunting expeditions, and Helga knew that it reflected the extravagant natures of their owners. It dripped with luxury; something that Helga had once envied, but now so easily obtained it did not seem important.

Adrian did not knock when they entered their quarters. Everything was much less formal now, and Adrian and Helga were no longer servants after all. They were nobles, and could therefore enter Rowena and Godric’s presence without any fuss. The door swung open, revealing Rowena and Godric in what seemed like deep conversation. Helga and Adrian went and sat in their usual chairs, opposite Rowena and Godric, and they all knew what they were talking about instantly as the icy atmosphere descended.

“How could Salazar do this?” hissed Helga, trying to keep the hurt tears from rolling down her cheeks as she looked from Godric to Rowena and back again, “when he knows all that happened?” Adrian gave a decisive nod of agreement and took Helga’s hand in a protective and comforting way. Rowena repeated Adrian’s nod and they all turned Godric, their unofficial leader who had been the warmest towards Guillaume, waiting for his opinion on the highly controversial situation.

“I think it’s best that we keep him here,” began Godric nonchalantly. Adrian instantly began to argue back but Godric lifted one authoritative hand and began to list his reasons, “Salazar has been, how do I say it, distant at the moment, and it seems we must humour him to keep him on our side. I have not seen a stronger marriage than yours; surely you can weather this out?”

“But Godric,” began Adrian, a look of anger appearing on his scarred face, clearly affronted at the speed in which his friend had taken sides, “he nearly ruined us in the beginning and Salazar knows that. I think we should get rid of him now, I cannot live here as Guillaume is here working by my side every day.” Rowena gave a curt little nod before readjusting her diadem, but Godric continued with his usual gusto.

“If you trust your wife Adrian,” said Godric sternly, a hint of anger colouring his words, “you must weather it out as we have no replacement for him. It is Salazar who picks all the new teachers, and we have placed our trust in him, we don’t want to upset him.” Adrian ballooned slightly, but Helga beat him to speech, her irritation finally bursting through.

“Why shouldn’t we upset Salazar?” she snapped, desperately trying to keep her temper, “Just because he is causing so much friction at the moment it doesn’t mean we have to give in to his every whim all the time. He is just as much of a founder as we all are, and he should be able to take criticism, just like we do from him.” At this point, Rowena chimed in to support Helga with an enthusiastic nod of the head.

“Helga is right Godric,” she insisted, taking Godric’s hand firmly in her own, “Guillaume would cause more trouble than he is worth, and Helga and Adrian need peace to be effective teachers. I don’t see the problem with just removing him quietly now and prevent ourselves from prolonging the problem. That would seem the logical answer.”

Godric was always quick to anger, and now he snapped at Rowena with a bite that was all too familiar to her, “no. Guillaume is staying as we haven’t got another Arithmancy teacher, and that is my final word on the matter.” Adrian stood up, a disgusted look on his face, for once losing his temper, and he stormed out of the room, leaving Helga to trail in his wake. She shot one disappointed look at Godric, before leaving their lavish chambers, hoping that Rowena would plead their case.

 

 

 









Rowena was frozen to her chair. How could Godric dismiss the worries of Helga and Adrian so easily and favour Salazar? She barely looked at him as he let out a heavy sigh, before taking off his boots with one hand. “You going to come to bed Rowena?” he asked as he pulled off his tunic, revealing his defined torso. He was acting as if what had just happened was of no importance. His uncaring attitude infuriated her.

“No, I’m not,” she said irritably, folding her arms across her new taffeta dress. Godric turned to face her, a confused look on his face. He never understood the depth of what other people were capable of feeling, because she thought he only saw the world in black and white. “Why were you so dismissive of Helga and Adrian?” she barked, standing up to face him. Godric’s face showed a mixture of bewilderment and amusement as he replied.

“Dismissive?” he replied incredulously, running one hand through his fire red hair, “they were over exaggerating the whole affair. Salazar knows what he is doing, and I don’t particularly want to upset him at the moment, with him seeming so...moody.” Rowena cared for Salazar, but at the same time she was not going to sacrifice Helga’s happiness for one of his whimsical appointments.

“Godric,” crooned Rowena, trying to keep her temper under wraps, “can you imagine if something similar had happened, but it involved us. What if Salazar had invited Harald to be the new Arithmancy teacher? How would you feel then?” As Godric never thought his words or his actions through, he reacted instantly and it was clear that he was getting irritated.

“Guillaume Malfoy did not attack and invade Alba or marry Helga did he? And Helga chose Adrian didn’t she; whereas you chose Harald!” When it came to Godric, he knew her so well that he knew how to make her angry and exploit her weaknesses. Whenever he felt weak he brought up this old argument. In retaliation Rowena lunged forward at him, ready to shout at him, hit him or something infinitely worse.

“Don’t you dare bring that up again Godric!” she spat, pointing one delicate finger at him with all the strength she could, “just because you’re now my Prince Consort, it doesn’t mean you can talk to me however you want. I am still your Queen!” Godric grabbed his discarded tunic and threw it back on again, not wanting to look so vulnerable in front of her.

“You are not my Queen!” he shouted, a laugh echoing in his words, “I am a foreigner! I am a foreign monarch’s bastard who does not have to give you any deference. We are not even married before God, just at your proclamation. In the eyes of the law you are just the mistress to a bastard and that is all you will ever be!” Rowena nearly lost her composure, but she turned towards the bedroom, a cold look in her eyes.

“If you are going to be so puerile Godric I am not talking to you!” she sniffed as she marched forward, kicking open the door and slamming it shut behind her. The coolness of the bedroom calmed her skin that was burning with suppressed rage, but she turned back, opening the door again to stare at Godric. “You can sleep outside tonight.

 

 

 

 









Guillaume had already made quite an impact on the school Salazar thought. He was an effective teacher, one who terrified the students into submission and forced them to learn. Despite the initial hostility towards him, neither Helga, Godric nor Rowena had put forward any opposition towards the appointment, so Salazar assumed he was here to stay.

Salazar’s subterranean office lay down the corridor from the Slytherin common room, and Salazar liked the peace and solitude it offered. Here, he did not have to see Rowena and Godric or feel the stab of betrayal every time his eyes fell on them. He did not have to be around so many happy people when he himself wasn’t. He flicked through the piles of essays he still had to mark and let out a protracted sigh. It was going to be a long night.

There was a sudden knock on the door. Salazar assumed it was a student, so shouted “come in” in a fatigued voice. He was then surprised when Guillaume entered, his mane of silvery blonde hair glinting in the candlelight, dressed in the finest robes that Salazar had ever seen him in. Salazar offered the chair by his desk to sit on, and Guillaume obliged, letting out a tired sigh as he did so. Guillaume did not speak for a moment, but when he did, his voice was grave.

“Salazar,” he wearied, placing his gloved hands in on Salazar’s in an imploring way, “I have come here to infringe on your hospitality yet again.” Salazar’s interest was piqued. Guillaume was settling into life well at the castle, surely he had enough books, parchment and quill to supplement his teaching. Salazar’s green eyes met Guillaume’s icy grey as the new teacher continued.

“My sister has recently suffered a terrible misfortune. She was recently married to an old widower with several sons and all her property that she inherited from out father was entailed to her husband. He recently died, and she is destitute. I would send her to live with my wife and sons, but she has never got on with my wife, Heloise. You might say I should send her to a convent, but Bonne has never had the temperament for that. So I was wondering whether she could come and stay here.”

Salazar’s mouth curled into a smile. Hogwarts was already reordering itself in Salazar’s mind and transforming itself into a giant chess board. Waiting for Godric to make his move, Salazar realised he needed reinforcements if he wanted his ideas reflected in the school. Guillaume would be the first of these allies; grateful for his return to the school. And now, it seemed another unexpected soldier would soon be arriving.

“Of course she can,” purred Salazar, giving yet another half smile as he saw the tactical advantage this would bring, “she will be most welcome. There are many chambers spare at the moment, I’m sure we can find her one.” Guillaume gave a grateful smile before standing up; clearly he had much work to do also. “Goodnight Guillaume,” said Salazar as his new ally left the room.

“Goodnight Salazar.”
 

 

 

 

 









The winter night was cold as Guillaume and Salazar walked towards “The Green Dragon”. It was the largest and most luxurious of Inn’s within Alba’s walls, and this was the place that they would meet Bonne and escort her up to the castle. Salazar was slightly apprehensive. From what Guillaume had said, Bonne knew what she wanted in life, and was not afraid to get it. She seemed to have a cunning mind, something that Salazar prized, and he wondered whether there was some flaw with her when he met her.

“The Green Dragon” made Salazar feel proud every time he stepped through its doors. It shared the name with the tavern where he had first met Godric, the place where he had left his old life behind. It was amazing to see how much he had changed. Now he did not even need the constant presence of Godric to keep him from slipping back into having no defined purpose in his life. It seemed the school had always been his destiny, and he would not ruin it.

When they walked into the Inn, a hushed silence descended as the customers noticed the entrance of the Lord High Chancellor of Alba and one of the Founders of Hogwarts into their humble presence. The owner of “The Green Dragon” raced forward, ready to serve these high ranking men who had walked in. “I was wondering whether a woman has arrived. She is Frankish, going either by the name of Madame Des Mieux or Mademoiselle Bonne Malfoy,” drawled Salazar as he looked down at the eager little man.

The man nodded jovially, “Mademoiselle Bonne Malfoy is in one of the dining chambers in the back. I suppose you two are her guests.” Salazar gave a quick nod, before the owner gave a deep bow, then turned to lead the two men to the back room. “Leave us be,” ordered Salazar as they reached the door. The man nodded and bid them farewell, leaving Salazar and Guillaume standing motionless outside the door.

“I warn you,” whispered Guillaume, pressing his ear against the door as if to test his sister was in there, “she can be a bit...feisty.” Salazar nodded, understanding how women could be. He instantly thought of Rowena, who could be the warmest friendliest person in the world or your coldest worst enemy on any given day. But then he realised; no woman in the world could ever have as big effect on him as Rowena could.

Guillaume pushed the door open, a false smile on his face. “Bonne, my sister!” Salazar could not see Bonne for a moment, his vision obscured by Guillaume’s broad back. However, when Guillaume entered the room, Salazar caught his first glimpse of Bonne, which he was sure would burn in his mind until the day he died.

Bonne was the most perfectly beautiful woman he had ever seen. She did not have one flaw. Cascading from her roots to her waist was the most glittering silver blonde hair that fell with a slight curl. Everything about her face was perfectly symmetrical and she had plump pink lips that looked like the ripest berries. Her eyes were not the same piercing grey as her brother’s, instead bordering between silver and light blue, making them reflect any light that fell on them. Her body was tall and graceful; she had a full bosom and wide hips.

Salazar couldn’t help but salivate at the sight of her. She was not like the two other women in his life. Bess had been wild and untamed; a mass of dark chestnut hair and an infection smile that still haunted his dreams. Then there was Rowena; glamorous, beautiful and unobtainable, an ice cold beauty with a shadow underneath the gloss. Now there was Bonne, a whole new thing entirely. She was perfect looking; there was not a hair out of place. She was the type of woman who drove men to distraction with desire.

“Brother,” she said, her soft voice drawing the listener in until they hung on her every word. “It is so wonderful to see a friendly face in these terribly sad times.” Her beautiful face did not give away any hint of what she was thinking as she gracefully stood up. Guillaume walked forward as she put forward her hand for him to kiss, which he did obligingly.

“Dear sister,” he drawled, “I would like to introduce to you my employer, Salazar Slytherin.” Her alluring eyes turned to Salazar, and he admitted silently to himself that he felt his heart flutter. There was something devastatingly attractive about her that he couldn’t shake off. She gave him a polite nod of recognition, which he returned.

“Monsieur Slytherin,” she halted in her thick accent, “it is so wonderful to meet you at last. The whole world seems to be talking of you and your friends little project.” Salazar’s throat felt dry as he gazed at her. “Please sit,” she said, a smile not yet crossing her face, “I have ordered a meal for us and it should be here soon.”

Salazar took his place next to the head of the table, which was taken by Guillaume, and opposite Bonne who was smoothing her deep blue dress. “So,” she began her voice suddenly becoming sharp, “I hear that the school admits an interesting selection of students. Are all of them of the right...quality?” Both the Malfoy siblings turned to look at Salazar, who was momentarily lost for words.

“We have some students from the very best covens and ancient families in the country. We have students from Alba and one girl from as far flung as Constantinople. There is as wide variety of pupils as there is possible to be.” He bit his tongue to stop himself mentioning the unworthy Muggle children who were taught at the school; not entirely sure of where the Malfoy’s lay on the spectrum of opinion.

“I heard you teach Mudbloods at your school,” she began, fixing him with a piercing stare similar to her brother’s, “is that true?”  It was then that she showed the first true hint of emotion he had seen on her face. It was disgust. Salazar suddenly understood that Guillaume and Bonne were like him; they knew that Muggle children should not be taught alongside their magical opposites. He had finally found people who thought the same way as him.

“I don’t like it that way,” he whispered, his voice only audible due to the quiet of the private room, “they are ignorant. Muggles are filled with suspicion and fear of what is really in front of their eyes. They will go to any lengths to crush things they don’t understand, and they don’t understand us.” Salazar’s eyes were locked on Bonne’s beautiful face, and she gave an expression that looked fleetingly like a smile.

“I’m glad we are on the same page then,” she began, as if it had all been some test for him, “I’m sure we will be firm friends.” With those words, their dinner arrived, and the three diners spent the rest of the evening having totally unimportant conversations. But Salazar did not care; he liked Bonne, and wanted nothing more than for her to like him.

 

 

 

 

 










Okay...hope you enjoyed it. The title means "Eternally Pure" in Latin, and I thought that would be the Malfoy family motto, which I thought was pretty apt for this chapter as they are now going to be playing such a big role. Please tell me what you think of Bonne. She was very hard to write because I wanted to make her a contrast to Rowena especially, but I don't know if I succeeded so please review and tell me. Next time...Bonne's appearance causes a splash as Ignotus has some exciting news for Cadmus...
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 27: Fleeting Attraction
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Fleeting Attraction



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On the day Adrian stood up for himself; poisonous schemes were formulated. Adrian did not like being a harsh teacher, but sometimes it was necessary. Henry Wakefield really was the most infuriating pupil in the whole school. He was very talented for a little boy of twelve, but he never concentrated in class, and had a habit of playing “the class clown”. Adrian knew that Henry would make a great wizard someday; he just had to find the talent within. Helga had once told him he would make a good teacher, and now he had the chance to try.

 

He marched up the corridor back to his chambers after a long day of teaching. He hoped Helga would be there, he was so busy at the moment he rarely spent any time with her. He missed the times they spent together when they were newly married, but now they had settled into the reality of being man and wife and Adrian had to admit he rather enjoyed it. It was only when he saw the shadow on the floor that he realised there was someone standing at the end of the corridor, waiting for him.

 

Looking up, his eyes fell on the very man he hoped he would not have to face so soon, when he had so little backing from his friends. Guillaume had only been at the school a week and a half, but he was still creating friction. Godric and Rowena were still snapping at each other, and Helga was beginning to look strained with the nervousness of him being so near. He brought back memories, horrible memories, of when they were not in charge of their own lives. Guillaume raised one sculpted eyebrow as he gazed at Adrian, almost looking down his long thin nose at him. It was condescending.

 

They both stopped and stared at each other. Adrian had to admit the large Malfoy did intimidate him slightly, but he kept his ground. He knew how much this meant. If he gave into Malfoy, he would think he could trample all over his marriage to Helga, and he would not have that. Malfoy gave an amused smile for a fleeting moment before speaking. “Adrian,” he drawled, “so nice to finally see you again.” Trying not to show any sign of expression was very hard, but Adrian did his best. The hate inside Guillaume was barely hidden by his simpering expression.

 

Adrian could not think of anything to say back to Malfoy, and was about to walk on past when Malfoy continued, his voice like ice cold water. “Don’t think I’ve let this go Adrian. I never forget people who cross me and you and Helga crossed me.” There was a twinge of fear in Adrian’s heart, but he suppressed it. He would not let Malfoy beat him. He was older now, and he had to face him, not just for Helga but for Edward and Coventina as well.

 

“There is nothing you can do to us Malfoy,” Adrian snarled, his animalistic side rearing its ugly head as he defended his territory and his wife, “we are married before the eyes of the Lord, and I will not let you rip it all apart. I would die before I ever left Helga, or ever let her be used by you the way she was.” Malfoy gave Adrian a truly ugly look before whispering the most direct threat Adrian had ever had from someone.

 

“You will be sorry for what you did and you and Helga will pay very dearly but maybe not in the way you expect.” With that, Malfoy drew himself away from Adrian and said cheerfully, “well good day Professor Hufflepuff. I am sure I will see you in the Great Hall at some point.” Adrian could only watch bewildered as Malfoy turned on his heel and marched away up the corridor and disappeared out of sight. He just couldn’t help it as he shivered. He would have to be on the lookout for trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

Salazar sat at the far end of the teacher’s table now. He did not like to sit near everyone else; as he knew they would just want to lecture him on his appointment of Guillaume and he was not a child. He thought there were far more interesting people to talk to, namely Bonne. He could not help but gaze at her as she spoke, and he loved to listen to her laugh that was like ice cold water. It made him shiver with delight.

 

Yet, at the same time, it was not the same as the all consuming passion for Rowena or his familial love with Bess. With Bonne, it was more spontaneous, and he was not quite sure if what he was experiencing was the first seeds of a feeling that would bloom into deep love, or the searing strength of a raw animalistic sensation; namely lust. He had to admit that he wanted her, but he did not feel the need to possess her, or make her totally his, like he did with Rowena.

 

“Salazar,” she whispered alluringly, her fingers lightly dusting his hand making him shiver, “you have not introduced me to your friends, and as they are so interesting and famous I would love to talk to them. You don’t seem to sit with them much.” Her accent was like a purring cat, and it just made her even more seductive. He wanted to leave with her at that exact moment and take her somewhere they could be alone.

 

“I don’t sit with them anymore,” he began, desperately trying to explain what had happened, “because I don’t feel like it.” His story was terribly lame. He wanted to tell her that she was distracting all of his attention, but he did not have the guts. Part of him wanted to sit with his friends, but he kept sitting where he was with her.

 

“Are you sure?” she drawled slowly, her eyes flicking away from his face to gaze at them, “because you always seem to sit away with them. They always seem to leave you out; like they don’t care what you think or feel.” Bonne’s fingers clasped Salazar’s hand as she looked into his eyes, her great eyelashes fluttering as she went. He was so absorbed in her lilting voice that he almost did not hear what she was saying.

 

“No,” he said gently, keeping firmly hold of her hand, “my friend’s care what I think. I was the one who encouraged the idea in the first place.” Bonne momentarily raised one of her sculpted eyebrows at him, but then her expression returned to one of gentle concern. Her eyes lingered on Godric and Rowena for a moment, but then she gazed back to Salazar.

 

“They don’t seem to involve you in any of the decisions they make,” she cooed, pouting her pink lips slightly, “they never even ask you how you are. I also heard what a frosty reception dear Guillaume is got from them. He admits there is a history there but they could at least act professionally!” Bonne’s words stung; but Salazar repressed this emotion.

 

“I will talk to them,” he answered, squeezing her hand affectionately, “I am sure I can resolve everything you see so clearly.” Bonne gave him a dazzling smile, one that made him feel slightly dizzy. He wanted to kiss her; maybe Rowena would think twice if she saw him with someone else. But he didn’t. He knew propriety was worth much more than a fleeting kiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

Mead.

 

It always made Cadmus feel better.

 

On the days when pretending got too much, he would retire to his office and drink as much mead as he could manage. Nobody would know, and he usually fell asleep on his desk. When Rachel found him in the morning, he would claim he had been working so hard he was overtired; but he knew the truth.

 

It had been years since he last kissed Rowena, and Rachel was a loving and obedient wife, but his heart still pined for Rowena. The truth was, he had some affection for Rachel, but that was mainly due to the fact that when he held her in his arms, she was a small echo of Rowena like the ripples on a pond. She was kind and generous, and he supposed that he did love her, but he was not in love with her as he was with Rowena.

 

There was an abrupt knock on the door.

 

“Coming! Coming!” shouted Cadmus as he hastily stored his tankard in a cupboard out of the way. He did not want his friends to know what he did when he came up here alone. He was a teacher after all, and teachers could not be seen to have a dependency on mead. Straightening out his clothes, he hurried to unlock the door. On seeing who it was, he let out a little sigh. “Oh, it’s you.”

 

His brother Ignotus stood in the doorway; a brilliant smile on his face and an odd piece of material in his hand. Cadmus felt like shutting the door in his face; he couldn’t deal with his brother’s optimism at that moment. That was another thing that annoyed Cadmus; even Ignotus had got someone he loved in life. Coventina was a beautiful and wonderful wife, and the two got on well.

 

“Brother!” smiled Ignotus, lines drawn on his face at the size of his grin. Ignotus enveloped Cadmus into a deep brotherly hug, and Cadmus endured it like he knew he must, like his mother had taught him so many years ago. When they broke apart, Cadmus was still beaming with excitement like he was a child. “May I come in brother?” he asked, at which Cadmus knew he must oblige, so he opened the door wider to allow Ignotus entry.

 

Ignotus wasted no time in making himself instantly at home. He threw himself down on the comfortable armchair by the fire before looking up at Cadmus, a look of utter joy on his face. “I’ve done it Cadmus,” he whispered, his eyes glimmering in the firelight, “I’ve done it, and I wanted you to be the first to know.”

 

Cadmus was not best pleased by this. He hated when his brother was so cryptic. Balancing himself on the edge of his desk, he fixed Ignotus with what he hoped was a wilting look. “I have no idea what you are talking about.” This cruelty did not faze Ignotus however, who stood up and took the odd coloured material and swung it over himself. The effect was instant. Ignotus was gone, and all Cadmus could see was the fire.

 

He understood instantly. Since becoming involved with the school, Ignotus had turned into a little academic. Due to too many conversations with Rowena, he had become obsessed with Invisibility, and had strived to create an invisibility cloak, to do something no man had done before, and he had succeeded. Cadmus just stood aghast.

 

“See!” came Ignotus’ disembodied voice, “It’s worked!” Cadmus did not know what to think or feel as Ignotus threw off the cloak. They were both teachers at the school, both the same, and yet, Ignotus was that much better than him. He had done something extraordinary, whereas Ignotus was just a nobody, pining over a woman who had forsaken his love so many years ago.

 

“How did you do it Ignotus?” babbled Cadmus, his shock suddenly subsiding and allowing him to speak, “how did you do it?” Ignotus gave him a wry smile that clearly said he was not divulging his secrets; and Cadmus could understand why. Ignotus was going to protect his new invention; he would be known as a great inventor. “Congratulations,” mumbled Cadmus, not entirely sure what to say to him. What could you say to someone who had just achieved one of his own great aims?

 

“Thank you brother,” said Ignotus seriously, his face still with sincerity. After a moment he changed his expression, to that of an over excited child. “I must go Cadmus,” he said, quickly turning towards the door, “I must show Coventina! She’ll be so excited!” With that, Ignotus gave a farewell nod and left Cadmus alone again.

 

His immediate reaction was to go to his cupboard and withdraw the mead. How could it be he was the only failure in a school of heroes? Godric, Rowena, Helga and Salazar had built this wonderful school together from scratch, Adrian and Rachel had been unswerving allies in the fight for the school and Coventina had spent years fighting a tyrannical megalomaniac in her own town. Even Antioch when he was alive had made that deadly wand that had cost him his life, and even if he had been a headstrong oaf sometimes, he was still the greater man than Cadmus.

 

The mead was so soothing. It calmed him and made him feel less inadequate. How could Rowena ever love a man like him next to the dashing Godric? Even if Godric was taken out of the way, there was a queue of better suited men. There was Salazar, Ignotus, and even Adrian may be led astray by Rowena’s beguiling charms. He never had a hope in hell of getting her again. She had only wanted him when he was the only one available in a lonely world.

 

When he heard the second knock at the door, he immediately leapt up to conceal his mead. He was quicker this time in reaching the door, so Rachel did not seem suspicious as she entered the room. “Ignotus has finally done it!” she smiled, wrapping her arms around Cadmus, “I met him in the corridor. You must be so proud of him!”

 

Cadmus did not answer her. He didn’t know how he felt. Yes, he was glad his brother had achieved what he wanted, but at the same time it made him feel smaller, as if he was the failure. Out of the three Peverell brothers, he would be the forgotten one. He could never compare. He looked into Rachel’s eyes; a woman who knew her own mind and what she felt about the world. How could she understand something like inadequacy?

 

“Am I good enough for you?” he asked, taking her hands gently in his, old feelings of insecurity bubbling to the surface, “am I good enough for anyone?” Rachel looked instantly dumbfounded, but without a moment to think she leant in and gave him the most enthusiastic kiss she could muster. Cadmus did not respond, so when Rachel drew away, she looked concerned.

 

“Cadmus, why do you beat yourself up like this?” Her pretty face was etched with concern. “You are a wonderful husband. I know many women who have terrible flighty husbands who go wenching and drinking every day of the week.” Cadmus tried not to blush at the mention of “drinking” as Rachel continued, “you are everything I expected and so much more.”

 

With that, Rachel gave him a quick peck on the cheek, “I must go find Ulrich and put him to bed, it’s way past his bedtime.” Turning round, Rachel disappeared as quickly as she had appeared and Cadmus was completely alone. If he closed his eyes, he could pretend for a moment that the dark haired woman who had just kissed him was Rowena, and that like Ignotus, all his dreams had come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

Breakfast was an interesting affair. For once, Godric was not inhaling his food, and instead had his eye on Salazar. He was sitting with Guillaume Malfoy’s sister, Bonne he believed her name was. She was a very striking woman, full of ice maiden tendencies and sex appeal. Godric could understand why Salazar was drawn to her. She was the type of woman that Godric would have had an affair with in the days he ran around with Adrian, Rachel and Salazar battling monsters.

 

Their heads were close together, and they were smiling. Godric was glad to see that. For years Salazar had seemed like he needed a woman, and now he had found one, and maybe she would make him a bit more forward with his emotions. He was glad that his friend had finally found the happiness he craved. He saw how Bonne made Salazar’s eyes sparkle, and how he smiled more. It warmed Godric’s heart to see his friend with something good in his life other than this drafty old castle.

 

There was a loud scrape as Rowena dragged back the chair next to Godric to sit down. He turned to her to kiss her good morning, but there was an ugly scowl on her face, so he didn’t. “I wish Mademoiselle Malfoy would stop rubbing her shameless flirting in our faces!” This shocked Godric. How could Rowena be so hypocritical? He was sure they had been forward with their flirting, and he was sure others may have found it distasteful, so why was it any different for Bonne and Salazar?

 

“Rowena!” said Godric incredulously, putting down his knife, “do you begrudge Salazar happiness? He has been a wonderful friend, but it must have been hard for him to watch us all pair off together.” Godric looked back down at his food, so did not see Rowena’s fingers stroke the locket that she wore around her neck with the large “S” on it.

 

“No,” she began, her voice steady in an attempt to hide her annoyance, “I do not begrudge him happiness, but I do not think that Bonne is the right woman to make him happy.” She looked decidedly angry, and Godric was very surprised. He had never taken Rowena as someone who so readily formed opinions on what other people should be doing with their lives. He thought that Bonne would be the kind of woman she liked; she was cultured and educated after all.

 

“Rowena,” he chuckled nervously, trying to defuse the tense situation, “don’t be ridiculous. She seems nice enough. He likes her, so I don’t see what is wrong with it.” When Rowena rounded on him, it was scarier than being attacked by a dragon. Her eyes were alight with anger and she kept her voice deathly low so no one could hear her, their Queen, losing her temper over such a trivial matter.

 

“She is Guillaume Malfoy’s sister, and you know what a little creep he is, so why should she be any different? I don’t trust her!” Godric could not quite understand where this was coming from, but Rowena continued, “the way she looks at him. It’s not love, it’s not even friendship, it’s as if it’s a game for her, and I will not stand to have Salazar played like that.”

 

Godric turned to look at Salazar and Bonne, smiling happily at each other. There seemed no hidden agenda there. Godric had never seen Salazar so happy, not for years. If Bonne was doing that for him, he didn’t see a problem with it. He wished Rowena would just let Salazar do what he wanted; he was not harming anyone else. “You are just being over protective. He’s not going to get hurt by Bonne; she is just a sweet girl.”

 

“Oh that’s right,” growled Rowena, fixing Godric with her most terrible look, “you are always swayed by a buxom blonde who flutters her eyelashes at you!” Rowena stood up, her eyes like daggers and marched away, her dress swishing behind her as she went. Godric could not help but roll his eyes. Women! Rowena especially could be so sensitive. He did not see what was wrong with Bonne Malfoy, and why should Salazar’s love life affect her?

 

Letting out a large sigh, he tore his eyes away from Bonne and Salazar. He had plenty of happier things to think of. After a long day of teaching, he was going hunting with Ignotus in the forbidden forest. They had grown firm friends over the years, and pushing Rowena to the back of his mind, he thought of the werewolf who they would be hunting down. It was as if he was back on the road again, as free as a bird.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

Even as the light from the candle tapered away, Guillaume kept his eyes firmly on the small text in his Arithmancy book. It was about the properties of the number seven, a topic he was doing with his fourth years the next day. The founders may not have warm feelings towards him, but that would not stop him being a good teacher. He had pureblood Wizarding students in his hands, and he could not let them fail.

 

The door swung open very gently to reveal his sister Bonne in the dim candlelight. She had a contented grin on her face, and this was most definitely a good thing. She was clearly going to inform Guillaume of the progress of her little ‘mission’ involving Salazar. “I think he listened,” she said, closing the door and walking to the seat next to Guillaume, “even though he tried to persuade me his friend’s cared about him, and think in his heart of hearts he was hearing what I was saying.”

 

Guillaume broke out into a huge grin as he closed his book, placing it on his lap, “good,” he purred, his eyes locked on her face in determination, “keep persuading him that his friend’s do not care. Although he may not appear it, I am sure Salazar is the weak link in the chain. He can be easily persuaded to trust us instead of his old friends.” Bonne looked equally as happy as she straightened out her billowing blue skirt.

 

“Then I will start with the next plan,” she smiled, her voice filled with excitement, “and it will not be long before we can shape the school in our own image. They will be powerless to stop us!” Guillaume could not help but grin. He could rip everything apart that Helga had ever dreamed of. He would have his revenge, and as a by-product he would create the school how he wanted. It was the greatest revenge that he could ever imagine.

 

“Have you collected the ingredients?” asked Guillaume sharply, suddenly worrying that his plan would fall through. After so many years of careful planning and design, he could not let it fail now. The ingredients were such a vital part of the plan, and they had to be found quickly if it was to go ahead. If he could not have Helga herself, he would watch as her world tore itself apart, from inside to out, and all with the help of his too eager sister, determined to rid the school of those unworthy to study magic.

 

“A trusted servant has,” she sniffed, picking up a looking glass that Guillaume had left on the table beside her to study her exquisite face, “and the potion is ready to be made. I will make it tomorrow, while Salazar is teaching so he won’t be suspicious.” Guillaume nodded; he could not see how anything could go wrong with his cunning sister by his side. She thought of every eventuality, and had the ability to so easily hide her emotions that she was the perfect person to carry out his plan.

 

“He will see what he needs to see for him to do what we want,” she drawled, dusting some fine blonde hair out of her eyes, “it will not be long before this school is free of Mudbloods, just the way it should be.” She looked supremely satisfied with herself as she placed the mirror down. “He just won’t be able to resist me.” She stood up again and gave Guillaume a little nod, “I will see you in the morning. I am sure it will not be too long until an opportunity arises.”

 

“Goodnight dear sister,” he smiled as she made her way to the door, “I am sure our plan will work. They will never realise what we are doing.” She gave him a smug little smile before turning her back on him, and leaving the room. It was only then that he thanked his lucky stars that he had such a dependable ally.

 

 

 

 

 








I really hoped you like it! Please tell me what you think of Guillaume and Bonne, and also anything else so please review! If you liked this story, please read my others: From Ancient Grudge (Next Gen Fic) and its sequel Then I Defy You, Stars and the one that I am starting up again, The Chained Lady (Ted/Andromeda)! Next time...Bonne and Guillaume try something dangerous with Salazar to take their plan to the next level...
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 28: Blackest Love
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Blackest Love



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On the day that Salazar got ill; Helga and Rowena were by his side. Helga dipped the flannel in the bucket of water, and she knotted it, squeezing the water out, letting it trickle down her hands. Her years as Rowena’s attendant had made her perfect for this job, and she did not mind tending Salazar when he was unwell. She dusted his chestnut brown hair off his forehead before placing the flannel upon it. She hoped it would give him some relief.

 

“It’s just a winter fever,” said Rowena matter-of-factly, her years of study paying off, “you will be right within a day or two. There is nothing I know that I can give you. You have just got to rough it out I am afraid.” Salazar gave a weak little nod, as Rowena held his hand. Men could be so overdramatic sometimes. “If you want anything, just call me or Helga. I’m sure everyone will help you if you just call them.”

 

Salazar gave an exhausted sigh. There was a worry that he might have caught the Sickening, and would be in his death bed, but Rowena, the expert on the disease, had declared he was not suffering from it and would be as right as rain before long. It was encouraging news, and Helga thought the best thing they could do for him now was to let him know they were there for him whenever he needed them.

 

“I am alright,” he said gently, squeezing Rowena’s hand tenderly, a strange light glinting in his eyes, “I will call you if there is anything I need.” Rowena smiled in a way that bedside manner dictated before Salazar said, “there is a lot of teaching to be done, and you can’t wait here all day because of me.” Helga nodded in agreement as Rowena stood up and they both made their way to the door.

 

“Be sure to call us,” said Rowena as she shut the door behind them with a little click, leaving Salazar alone in the dimly lit room. “I hope he is comfortable,” she said as Helga walked by her side down the corridor. They walked in step, having spent so long in each other’s company it was natural. Helga was going to have to cover Salazar’s lessons, which she was not too happy about, but she would do it for her friend.

 

It was then that Helga spotted someone at the end of the corridor. Bonne Malfoy was marching towards them, a concerned look on her striking face. Helga and Rowena stopped immediately, their eyes locking onto Bonne as she walked on, about to collide into them. She looked up, and on seeing the two women standing in front of them, she gave them a cordial smile. Helga could feel Rowena stiffen at the sight of her, so Helga knew she would have to be the one to talk to her.

 

“Hello Mademoiselle Malfoy,” she said with a gentle smile, knowing they were not close enough to address each other on first name terms, “what are you doing here this morning?” Bonne gave them both a deferential smile, but Helga felt slightly unnerved. While her mouth did everything that you would expect from a warm smile; the corners turned upwards and she showed her brilliantly white teeth, her eyes remained as sharp as a knife blade.

 

“I hear Salazar is ill,” she cooed, batting her long eyelashes, “I must go and see him, to see if he is alright.” Helga knew of the budding relationship between the two. Over the last couple of months it had caused an unimaginable amount of tension between Godric and Rowena, and whether Bonne was “right” for Salazar. Helga was just about to reply to Bonne’s request, when Rowena sharply entered the conversation.

 

“He is fine,” she spat almost viciously; “he’s just got a fever. All he needs is to be left alone. He needs sleep, peace and quiet and he will be quite well in a few days time.” Helga rested one of her hands on Rowena’s arm in an attempt to calm her down. Rowena really believed that she knew what was best for everyone, a trait that Helga had always tried to soften in her friend. Bonne, however, did not seem taken aback by what had just been said, and she continued cheerily.

 

“I would like to see him,” she said, a disappointed look spreading on her face, “I am sure I would be able to raise his spirits. I will not be in there long, and I will make sure he rests afterwards.” Helga knew there was no way that they could deny Bonne’s request. It was perfectly reasonable, and Helga was pretty sure that Salazar would appreciate a visit from Bonne, who he had grown so close to recently.

 

“Alright,” nodded Helga, squeezing Rowena’s arm painfully to stop her protesting, “just don’t be long. He really does need rest.” Bonne gave a courteous nod of thanks, before walking past them and off into the little room in which Salazar resided. Rowena turned to Helga in shock, her eyes were wide with annoyance and she put her hands on her hips. Helga had expected this.

 

“Helga!” she squawked indignantly, “I don’t trust her! You know I don’t! Why the hell did you let her go in with Salazar?” Helga sighed; Rowena was notorious for having set opinions about people that would never change even over years. She was unyielding in that respect. But at the same time, Helga thought Rowena was wrong for her meddling, and she thought it was best if Salazar made his own decisions, he was an adult after all.

 

“Look Rowena,” said Helga crossly, “there is nothing you can do about her. If Salazar likes her, it’s his choice! I don’t trust her either, but there is little we can do, and I am sure if she really is that bad, Salazar will come to his senses. He is intelligent after all.” Rowena nodded and let out a dramatic sigh, it was clear Helga was winning her over.

 

“I know I shouldn’t get involved,” said Rowena as they began to walk down the corridor, falling back in step with each other, “but he is just making such a bad decision!” From then on, the two women walked in silence as they made their way to their respective lessons, each puzzling on whether Bonne Malfoy really was good for their friend, or if he was just making a terrible mistake.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

Bonne smiled when she saw Salazar, lying back in his bed, his face having a sweaty veneer. He looked so vulnerable, but his face lit up when he saw Bonne. “Bonne my heart,” he whispered, his face breaking into a familiar ghost smile, his eyes lighting in a way they had not done while he was ill, “what are you doing here? You may catch the fever too!” She hovered at the door for a moment, before moving over to the bed to perch beside Salazar.

 

“They are being so inattentive,” she chided, fluffing the pillow as he sat up, “have they ever even offered you a medicine, or a potion to alleviate your discomfort?” Salazar shook his head, just as she suspected. Rowena and Helga would be too preoccupied with their precious school and attending to Adrian and Godric to care for their other friend. Everything was slipping into place just as Guillaume had predicted.

 

“Well,” she smiled soothingly, stroking his cheek seductively, “I do have a potion for you. It is a traditional Frankish remedy, and it works at treat for lowering temperatures. It contains honey, rosemary and chives.” And plenty of other things, but she was not going to tell him that. He smiled appreciatively as held it up to his mouth to drink. He did so without complaint.

 

“You will need to sleep now,” she said encouragingly, squeezing his hand comfortingly, “I will be back later to check on you, if Rowena and Helga let me that is.” Driving the wedge firmly between Salazar and his friends was key to the plan. Salazar gave her a little smile, but kept his vivid green eyes on her. She knew she had him transfixed. No one else had given him attention like this in a long time, and she knew he was like a starving animal. She could exploit his weakness.

 

“Thank you Bonne,” he croaked pathetically, “thank you for everything.” Bonne gave him the most innocent smile she could muster. She did not want him to think this was all carefully planned, and she did not want him to work out what was in the “medicine”. He was one of the great respected wizard of the age, and she hoped he trusted her enough for him to suspect it was not her who caused what happened next.

 

“That’s alright Salazar,” she smiled, standing up and walking to the door, “I hope you have a good sleep.” She pocketed the vial as she closed the door behind her. It had worked so well, and there was no way that Salazar could ever fight what her potion would do to him, and he would be willing to become a weapon for them, and weapon against his friends.

 

She tried not to smile in triumph as she marched down the corridor. It was always too easy to charm men; they were always susceptible to a pretty face, and that was what gave her so much power, and she knew how to wield it so perfectly. It would not be long before the school was the way she wanted it to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

He tried to cry out. But he knew no one would hear him. His fever had raged up, and he felt like he was on fire. His throat was dry as the bone, and he knew no sound would escape it. If he screamed, the noise would not escape his mouth let alone the room. Throwing his cover off, he stood up, picked up the water that Helga left and poured it over his red hot skin, hoping it would soothe the burning pain.

 

Then the nausea came. It overtook him, and he felt incredibly weak. Dizziness shot through him and Salazar could not help but retch. This was it; the fever had taken him, and he thought he would die. He would not be able to call for help, and he would die without his friends by his side. Rowena would be forever with Godric, and would not give him a second thought.

 

He fell to the floor, choking. There was no way he would see anyone again. And Rowena, oh, she would never know how much he loved her; she would never understand that she had made the wrong choice. And Bonne, what did he feel for Bonne? Now he would never know. The nausea began to subside as the darkness came, enveloping him at once. It was peaceful.

 

 

 

 

 







 

He opened his eyes. It seemed he wasn’t dead after all. But everything seemed different. There were rows of students in front of him, all happily chatting and eating dinner together. But he was seeing them from a slightly different angle. He was sitting at the teacher’s table he knew, but not in his usual seat. He looked to either side. Neither Godric nor Rowena were present. Adrian and Helga were there however, a couple of seats to his right. Normally they sat on his left.

 

It was only then that he realised how high backed his chair was. He attempted to look down at the arm rest, but instead it was his clothes that caught his eye. They were not what he usually wore. Gone was his favourite green and silver, instead replaced by red silk and gold brocade. It was trimmed with ermine; it was like some of the outlandish outfits that Godric often favoured.

 

It was then that a shot of silver caught his eye by his leg. Turning to see what it was, he saw a sword hanging in a sheath. It did not take him a second to recognise it. It was the sword of Leif Ravenclaw and it was hanging at his belt. Only then did it strike him that he was wearing Godric’s clothes and sitting in Godric’s seat.

 

Out of nowhere, Rachel appeared by his side. But she looked different. It was like an idealised version of her. Gone were the freckles that peppered her face and the roundness of her jaw was lost, giving way instead to fine, erudite features. It was only then that Salazar realised how strikingly similar she looked to Rowena. She appeared simply heavenly and it stunned Salazar into silence for a moment.

 

“Salazar,” she smiled warmly, “the Alderman wants to speak to you. After your defeat of Harald at the Battle of Alba, he wants you to help him set up a regular army to defend Alba’s boarders. He knows you have commitments to the school, but it would be wonderful if you could devote some time. There is no one better than you up for the role.”

 

It was utterly bizarre. On military issues, everyone always went to Godric because it was he who supposedly saved Alba. Salazar had not been recognised by the people for the role he played in bringing down Harald, and he often felt bitter that his achievements were never rewarded with love by the people. It felt wonderful to sit in Godric’s shoes and have the respect he had always craved. Even Godric did not deserve it as much as he did.

 

He tried to turn back to Rachel, but found that she was gone. He thought he might be able to get more answers from Adrian and Helga, but he found that they had disappeared too. Even the students had gone when he twisted to look. He was standing in the empty Great Hall with no one for company. The only movement was from the candles, bobbing up and down from above his head.

 

He blinked.

 

The Great Hall was gone. Instead he was standing by a warm fire in a very luxurious room. This was the antechamber of Godric and Rowena’s quarters. There were many times when he had sat here discussing improvements for the school, then left them alone together, kicking himself that it was Godric, not him, who would be spending the night with Rowena. But now, it seemed, he had Godric’s place in the world. He may still be Salazar Slytherin in name, but he had usurped Godric’s position in society. He was the military hero wearing the ostentatious silks and furs, so surely he should have the woman who came with it all.

 

The door to the bedchamber opened. There was Rowena in her nightgown, her long dark hair loose down her back. The only formal thing about her was the diadem perched on top of her head. “Salazar,” she moaned her voice as smooth as honey, “we’ve had no time to be alone together recently. My life has been taken over by demands from other people, but now I only want you.”

 

Salazar did not wait to be asked again. He ran to her, and kissed her with all the passion that had been caged inside of him for so long. She pressed herself against him, eager at his touch. It was unbelievable. She wanted him, and she gave herself to him willingly. Finally he possessed the flighty and aloof Rowena and gave himself to her. They broke apart, and Rowena gave him a dazzling smile to match her diadem.

 

“Oh Salazar,” she grinned, her voice melodic as she spoke, “I love you so much. My life is so perfect because you love me.” He did not care that this did not sound like the normal thing that Rowena would say; she was saying these words he had longed to hear for years, so he listened intently. Her words were like the sweetest music to him.

 

“There is only one thing in my life that you could change that would make it all the better,” whispered Rowena, her eyes telling stories of worry and tension. Salazar asked her what that was. He would do anything for her, and he just hoped it was achievable now he had won her. “I want you to rid this school of Mudbloods and Muggles.” Salazar opened his mouth in shock. Rowena, was she really on his side?

 

“I will do anything for you,” he promised, trying to pull her back into a kiss. But she had moved away, walking back into her bedroom and shutting to door firmly behind her. Salazar tried to chase her, and pushed the door open hurriedly, but instead of Rowena’s bedchamber being on the other side, he had walked directly into the entrance hall to find Godric standing alone.

 

However, his friend looked different from usual. He was wearing clothes in green and silver; Salazar’s usual colour. Godric’s usual brimming confidence had also gone, replaced by a reserved nature, as his eyes hovered on Salazar as if to make a judgement. “Congratulations,” he said happily, stepping forward into the light, “I knew I was not good enough for Rowena. Only you are powerful and great enough to make the Princess happy.”

 

Godric would never admit he was not “man” enough to do anything. So why would he admit he was not good enough for Rowena? Salazar accepted it however; it was good to have Godric’s blessing in his blossoming relationship with Rowena. “Have you done what Rowena has asked of you?” questioned Godric suddenly.

 

Salazar knew he was talking of the eradication of the Mudbloods. “It is the right thing to do,” Godric mused, nodding, “all of us are from long lines of pure Wizarding stock. Why should we betray that by associating with dirty Muggles?” Salazar could not agree more, and he went to reply before Godric too disappeared. It was so strange, where was everyone going?

 

Then the nausea washed over him. He felt dizzy, he stumbled, tripping on nothing and falling to the ground, he could hear a voice, desperately calling his name. It seemed familiar. “Salazar! Salazar!” but he could not tell where it was coming from. He closed his eyes hoping that it would end the awful feeling. “Salazar! Salazar!”

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

“Salazar!”

 

She kept shouting his name. Helga had asked her to go and check on Salazar, but she had not anticipated arriving to find him unconscious on the floor, his face as grey as stone. Coventina thought he only had a fever, and all her years assisting Mother Blythe had not prepared her for this. She had tried as many spells as possible, but none would wake him. It was like he was in an artificial sleep.

 

Suddenly the colour rushed back to his face and he opened his eyes, instantly rolling over to vomit on the floor. Coventina got rid of it in one second with her wand as Salazar sat up, but he still wasn’t looking at her. He was gazing down at his clothes in horror. She could not quite understand it. “Salazar,” she began gently, “are you alright?”

 

“Where is Rowena,” he panted, his eyes wide and crazy looking, “I need to talk to Rowena.” Coventina helped him stagger to his feet as she led him back over to the bed. He kept on babbling about Rowena and his “duty” to do something, so Coventina poured him some hops that she had brought up for him and ordered him to drink.

 

“Rowena is busy at the moment, you cannot see her,” she said coaxingly, waving the mug of hops under his nose in an attempt to tempt him, “then she is going into Alba to visit the Alderman tonight with Godric. He wants Godric’s help in building a permanent Alban army, so I don’t know if they will have time to visit. Helga and Rachel will be here if you need them.”

 

Salazar looked very confused for a moment; it was as if what he was hearing was not quite right.  “So, she won’t be back to see me,” he paused cautiously, a hint of disappointment in his voice, “she’s with Godric.” Coventina nodded bemusedly. What was wrong with Salazar? Although he was now awake, he still looked pale and drawn, his eyes bloodshot.

 

“It’s just that,” he began looking panicky, “oh it doesn’t matter.” Coventina watched him cautiously, while continually trying to get him to drink the hops she had brought him. He did so without complaining, but he still looked confused. Maybe the fever had brought on some strange hallucination, yes, that must be it. Coventina placed a hand on his shoulder in an effort to comfort him.

 

There was a click and Coventina span round just in time to see the door open. The visitor was someone she had not spoken to before. Bonne Malfoy had a concerned look on her beautiful face, and she rushed over to Salazar’s side, her face white with concern. “Is he alright?” she whimpered, “Is he alright?”

 

Coventina found this very strange. Helga had told her that Bonne had visited Salazar that very morning as Rowena had not been very happy about it. Why had she therefore run in to Salazar’s room looking like she knew something worrying had happened? It piqued Coventina’s interest, but she remained silent as she watched Bonne, her eyes narrowing with suspicion.

 

“Are you alright Salazar?” asked Bonne gently, holding his hand. Bonne’s presence brought a change in Salazar. His cheeks became more flushed as he gazed at her, and he would not look anywhere else but her. “Is there anything I can get you?” Coventina could not help but feel that Rowena was right about Bonne. Was she totally sincere? It was not possible to trust her. He answered no before drinking another mug of hops.

 

“I can look after him from here,” added Bonne coldly, turning to face Coventina, “I am sure you must have a lot of work to do, so I will look after him.” Salazar made no attempt at complaining at this, so Coventina gave them both a curt nod before reluctantly getting up and leaving the room, keeping her reservations about Bonne firmly to herself.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

Salazar’s mind whirred. His vision, if that was what it was, had been so strange. Maybe he was seeing a vision of the future; maybe Rowena would leave Godric and be with him, and maybe they would all come round to his way of thinking. He would take Godric’s place as the “leader” of the school. It would be him who was most loved and cherished of all.

 

“Are you alright Salazar,” said Bonne concernedly, “you look quite white.” Bonne’s attentiveness touched him. It was if his other friends had forgotten him, and only Bonne remained, steadfast in her offers of friendship and comfort. She seemed to be the only person who would be willing to listen to his vision, and not condemn him for the message it contained.

 

“I had a vision, for want of a better word,” he began, taking her ice cold hand in his. “It showed me all these things. It was so good. It showed me that I could have everything I ever dreamed of, that my friends would come round to our way of thinking. Do you think it is possible? Or was it just my fever talking?”

 

Her jaw dropped open with shock. He was taken aback by her reaction, and suddenly felt concerned. Did it mean he was sicker than he thought he was? Was it something life threatening? “You’ve had a vision of the future,” she whispered dramatically, her silvery eyes wide, “your mind was opened during your fever, and it is a sign of what must be done. You must make sure whatever you saw in that vision comes true.”

 

He suddenly felt a warmth of affection rush over him. Bonne trusted him, and believed in him, and did not dismiss him as a maniac or as insane. He knew Rowena would be pressing him to interpret every bit of the dream, Helga would be harping on thinking he was dying, and Godric would have thought he had been on the ale. “You believe that I saw the future?” he said hesitantly, not quite sure whether to invest his faith in her. She smiled, nodding vigorously.

 

“There can be no other explanation for it,” she said determinedly, “you’re fever brought you into the heightened state that is needed to be gifted a vision. If it was as vivid as you say it was, you must make sure it comes true, whatever happens.” She paused for a moment before giving him a beaming smile, “more hops?”

 

He took what she offered him without opposition.

 

 

 

 

 

 








 

Guillaume waited in his chambers with bated breath. Bonne would be back any minute with news of Salazar, and whether there little plan had worked. The whole scheme hinged on this; if it worked, Salazar could be turned from a casual Muggle hater to a diehard fanatic, if he believed what he really cared about was on the line.

 

He wasn’t stupid; he could see the way that Salazar looked at Bonne. It wasn’t love, but a limitless fascination, definitely the product of lust. He knew that Bonne would be skilled enough to exploit this to her maximum advantage. He knew with Bonne on his side, with her Machiavellian ideals, he could not fail.

 

It was barely minutes before the door clicked open. Bonne entered her usual subtle smile clearly in place. He knew everything from the look in her eyes. Floating over towards him, she sat on the chair next to him, the triumph in her eyes not yet extinguished. Guillaume was not celebrating too soon however. He had to make sure it had been carried out perfectly.

 

“Did he have the vision?” snapped Guillaume hurriedly, not daring to smile, “Did the potion work? Did he see that removing the Mudbloods will get him what he wants? What did he see Bonne?” She let these snapping questions wash over her for a moment, while she continued to smile at him, not deigning to give him an answer.

 

“He did have a vision,” she began, her voice tantalising him with every word, “and I know he saw himself getting what he really wanted, because he admitted it to me.” She paused for a moment, her expression becoming more troubled in a moment, “I do not know if the addition we put in worked, he made no mention of the removal of Mudbloods, but I’m pretty sure it did. There is no way this potion could have failed.”

 

Guillaume grew quite irritable as he whispered menacingly, “you know what will happen if Salazar does not believe he needs to purge the school of Mudbloods!” Bonne rolled her silvery eyes, as if her brother was the most pathetic creature in all the world. Guillaume felt indignant for a moment, but then she continued.

 

“Of course I do! I want the school to be just the way you want it too, and not over some petty revenge over a cheap tart who you had a fling with once,” Guillaume reddened with fury and he attempted to say something, but Bonne’s word cut him off quickly, “Removing Mudbloods from the school is for a greater purpose, and we may both have different reasons for doing this, but the end goal will be the same. Helga’s dream will be distorted beyond recognition, and ruined forever.”

 

Guillaume smiled. He loved his sister, she was the perfect ally in all things, and the only person he believed was truly on his side. “Well, Bonne,” he drawled slowly, a laugh bubbling under his words, “are you ready to initiate the next stage of our plan, knowing that you could gain so much from it?”

 

 “Of course I am.”

 

 

 

 

 

 








This chapter was really hard to write to make it seem like it was a genuine vision. Did I succeed? And what do you think of Bonne and Guillaume? Please tell me in a lovely review, and anything else you thought was good/bad/ugly! If you like this story please read my "Chained Lady" story that I am starting up again and will now be doing almost simultaneously (with more focus on this one). Next Time...tensions mount as Bonne and Salazar become closer...

 
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 29: Love is Blind
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Love Is Blind



Lovely new chapter image by PhoenixAlthor @ tda

 




On the day Guillaume explained blood purity to Salazar; Godric realised the truth. It was fairly warm that day, so at lunchtime, Bonne and Salazar went for a walk in the grounds. There was a light breeze washing through the trees, and Salazar had to admit it was the most pleasant that he had know Alba. Maybe it was because of the beautiful weather, or maybe it was because he was with Bonne.

 

He felt so strange. He was thirty years old, and it had been thirteen years since his marriage and Bess’ death yet he had not moved on. He was not ready to make the commitment of marriage with anyone for fear of what would happen. His friends were all settled, and he was the only one left a free man, for all Godric’s denials that he did not live in Rowena’s pocket.

 

Then there was Bonne. She was the only chance he had for a happy marriage with requited love.  Rowena was lost to him forever, in spite of what his vision had shown. Bonne was his only chance. He did not vocalise this however, instead walking gingerly beside her, not daring to look up or even hope that she might be thinking the same thing. She was a young widow with no obvious prospects, were there better catches than the Lord Chancellor of Alba?

 

“It’s so beautiful here,” she mused in her lilting accent, “I could spend my whole life here and never be unhappy!” Salazar sighed. In the early days he felt like that, like life at Hogwarts was better than what he left behind so he could be happy forever. But while grief and sorrow were slowly disappearing from his life, jealousy and resentment had replaced them.

 

“You are not smiling,” she cooed, turning to Salazar and taking one of his hands, “please, tell me what is wrong?” He was so confused! His head was telling him that Bonne was the right woman for him; she was beautiful, single and held the same values as him, but at the same time, his heart was telling him to hold out for Rowena, that the kiss at the Battle of Alba had not meant nothing and that his vision would come true.

 

“It’s nothing Bonne,” he smiled wearily, “I can tell you that I am quite alright. Nothing will spoil my time with you.” He did not let go of her hand as they carried on walking, accidently bumping into each other on occasions, and offering muttered apologies. But still his mind was drawn back to Rowena in her glittering diadem.

 

“Is it your vision?” she asked, her eyes suddenly focussing intently on him. It was true that his vision had been plaguing him. It showed him everything he dreamed, everything he wanted. It showed a world where he was the most appreciated man in the school, the hero of Alba, the man loved by Rowena. Godric had graciously stepped aside and the school was free of Mudbloods, forever.

 

“Because, what you saw in your vision is what we all want.” His heart stopped. Did Bonne know about his feelings for Rowena? She could not! But the she continued, “It is mine and my brother’s belief that unworthy people should not be taught the noble art of magic. Mudblood scum are ignorant, and do not deserve the gifts our parents gave us, and their parents gave them!”

 

That was the one thing he did not understand about Bonne. She had a passionate hatred of Mudbloods and Muggles that he could not see the origin of. “You are all so egalitarian here! You will teach anyone magic! In my homeland wizards and Muggles are clearly separate. They do not have the gifts we have, so why should their offspring?”

 

She had come to a dead stop, and turned to face Salazar, her eyes for once furious. “I don’t think you understand what I say to you sometimes. I am also feeling this,” she cried, signalling between herself and Salazar, “whatever it is, and I can’t give myself to you without knowing that you think the same way as I do. That you want this school changed as much as I do! That you want the Mudbloods gone!”

He blinked once. She had never been so blunt about the way she felt before. It made him vulnerable for a second, and it made him think of Bonne’s love for him. Surely, she was right for him. She loved him, and she had the same mindset. “Of course I think that!” he cried, before scooping her up in his arms and kissing her.

 

It was the closest he had been to anyone since Bess. But instead of the kiss being brief, as it had been with Rowena, Bonne kissed him back with all the force she had. He wanted to dance. She was so close, and she was his, no one else’s. The isolation he felt was washed away in a moment as he stood in her arms. When she pushed him away, her eyes were alight with a smile.

 

“Hurry! We must go and talk to someone!”

 

 

 

 






 

Today was the morning that they had decided would be the right time to breach the subject. Bonne now had gained Salazar’s trust, and Guillaume thought he was quite infatuated with her. Now would be the time that they turned him into the tool they needed, the tool they needed to bring the school to its knees, and replaced with something infinitely better.

 

It was not a moment before the door to Guillaume’s study door swung open, revealing Bonne and Salazar. He could see that Bonne was trying very hard to keep her smug grin off her face and Guillaume gave her a stern look in an attempt at keeping her composed. He signalled for them to sit down, which they did without question.

 

“Guillaume,” smiled Bonne, the sense of triumph clearly etched on her face, “Salazar has told me that he believes in blood purity.” Guillaume turned to face Salazar, to see him wearing a confused expression on his handsome face. It was clear that he had mentioned something that had vaguely been tantamount to blood purity, but he was not quite sure what.

 

“I don’t understand,” he said quietly, and Guillaume could tell by the expression on his face that there were very few times when Salazar Slytherin was ever confused. But that made him so vulnerable to what was to happen next. He had been isolated from his friends, by the ever skilful Bonne, and was now in the right position to be let in on the secret.

 

“Blood purity,” began Guillaume, standing up and beginning to pace round the room, “is a concept not widely known in your country,” he mused, “this is due to the Wizarding population still living in isolated covens, shut off from the horrors that can come from associating with Muggles.” Guillaume suddenly saw Salazar’s face go a little white, but he continued.

 

“In my country,” he continued dramatically, “it is very different. Wizarding folk have been exposed to the entrapments of Muggle life. They are turned into slaves, helping every dirty muggle who happens to walk past with any problem or whim they have. They have little time for themselves, forced to work for their muggle neighbours, solving their problems and whatnot.”

 

It was at this point that Bonne cut in rather helpfully, “there are also instances where Wizarding people have been murdered, cut down, their homes destroyed, their properties ruined by the inferior muggles, who are scared and jealous of the gifts Wizards possess and wanting to squash this ‘blasphemous’ talent out.” She paused for a moment, her cheeks flushed with emotion, “they are idiots of course.”

 

The colour of Salazar’s face indicated that he too had some bad memories involving Muggles, so Guillaume pressed on, wanting to drive the point home. “The most cultured, educated wizards, like us, believe that Muggles are too stupid and too close minded to allow Wizarding to thrive. We adopt an isolationist approach, not wanting us to mix with them.”

 

He tried not to wrinkle his nose at the thought of associating with Muggles, as Bonne continued, “Then there is the question of the Mudbloods, sorry, Muggleborns. They have not been brought up with our ways; have their ignorant Muggle families’ blood running through their veins. How can they ever make talented wizards? Or how can they even keep their big mouths shut about our location and secrets?”

 

It was at this point that Guillaume swooped back in to support his sister, “it is frankly dangerous for us to let ourselves become known to these creatures, who will steal our magic and use it for their own ends. Only the pure can ever hope to be effective wizards, only the pure can ever hope to be raised in our ways and be worthy of the gifts offered by wizardry and only the pure deserve to be taught the noble art of magic.”

 

The last comment was clearly an attack on the school. The school taught everyone who had magic, even those with no magical blood in their veins. Guillaume watched Salazar, trying to gauge his reaction, but he was as unreadable as ever. It was at this point that Bonne went for the jugular of the matter, ripping it with such ferocity as she pulled his head round to look into her eyes.

 

“You know that it is true Salazar!” she spat intensely, “you know the school must be changed, must be purged of all those elements unworthy to learn magic. Godric, Rowena and Helga have taken your dream away from you, what you originally wanted, a place safe away from Muggles and their kind! You’ve got to do something about it!”

 

It was at this point he cracked. He began to shout, not at anyone in particular, more at the world and the situation he found himself in, “but what can I do? Godric has control over everything, Rowena, Helga and Adrian sit in his pockets, and without his consent nothing will change. And he will never agree!” His eyes looked wild and staring, but Guillaume knew this was for Bonne to resolve, so he let his sister take charge of the situation.

 

“You have some control!” she orated neatly, “you are one of the five founders! You have control over your house! If you cannot change the other houses, you can at least prevent Mudbloods and half-blood scum from entering your house!” Guillaume watched as Salazar’s eyes cam alight in realisation. It was not a scared look, but one of great joy. Guillaume knew they had won him over.

 

 

 

 






 

The Founders weekly meeting was in full swing. Godric sat round the specially made five person circular table that Rowena had provided with Helga, Adrian and Rowena herself. Salazar was notably absent, but he rarely came to these meetings now, and Godric was sure he was spending this time with his new woman, Bonne. Godric knew if Rowena would skive off the meetings, he would definitely spend those precious few hours with her.

 

He was presenting his new idea. On the table sat a tall, sleek new wizard hat, one which he had enchanted to be able to read minds and sort people into the various houses. Adrian jumped up spontaneously, enthralled by the idea, “I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said Adrian gleefully, “it is much better than the questioning approach we are doing now. I feel it will do the job a lot more effectively.”

 

Sitting back down on his chair, which was engraved with the Hufflepuff crest, Adrian gave way for Helga and Rowena to voice their approval, which they did, each cheerfully highlighting the merits of Godric’s endeavour. The four of them decided that the “Sorting Hat” would be implemented the next academic year and would be a great improvement to the way they ran things. Godric glowed with pride; he enjoyed the feeling of being valued.

 

Suddenly, the door of the chamber swung open revealing someone they did not expect. Salazar, dressed in his usual green finery, strode in with the most serious look on his face. The rest of them beamed with happiness at the sight of him. “Oh Salazar!” chimed Rowena happily, so taken aback by his appearance that she leapt off her chair,“it’s so wonderful you could make it! Please sit down!”

 

For a moment, Godric thought that Salazar wrinkled his nose at this comment, but his friend sat down on his usual seat which was engraved with the Slytherin crest. “Godric was just showing us a brilliant new idea for the school,” chirped Helga, pointing gleefully at the hat that sat in the middle of the table, “it will sort students for us. All they have to do is place it on their head and it will shout out what house they will be in.”

 

Salazar did not smile, but Godric did not expect this. He rarely smiled, even one of his shadowy half smiles he usually adopted. Nobody spoke for a moment, instead, gazing at Salazar with a sense of apprehension. His sudden appearance was so unlike him. He watched them all back, before he began to speak with gravitas, given to him by their expectancy of him to say something to justify his late arrival.

 

“I am only here to talk about something which is very urgent,” he began, looking round at his fellow founders. Godric could not imagine what was so important. There seemed to be no pressing issues to deal with at the moment that was why they could afford to discuss such frivolity as a talking thinking hat. Rowena, Helga and Adrian seemed just as taken aback as he did, and when none of them said anything, Salazar pressed on.

 

“I want to change the requirements for entering my house,” purred Salazar, his eyes trawling across the other founders, evidently trying to gauge their reaction. In the beginning, they had argued for hours over who got what traits. Salazar had wanted the “brave” and “noble” but Godric had stamped that out as his territory, and the others had backed him up. Instead, Salazar had been left with “resourceful” and “cunning”, a settlement he was not all that happy about. Had he found a loophole to get the students he wanted?

 

“Alright,” said Rowena slowly, standing up to collect the house book to change the requirements she had meticulously written at the top. “It does not contradict with any of the requirements for the other houses, does it?” she asked, fully aware of his desire to have the “hero” students. Salazar shook his head, at which point Rowena sat down, summoning a quill from thin air ready to write with.

 

“I want to change my house requirements so only Purebloods may be allowed into my house.” As soon as those words left his mouth, an ice cold silence descended on the room. Godric did not need to look around to know that shock was plastered on all their faces. The idea of Blood Purity was a continental idea, only beginning to arrive off their land’s shores. Surely Salazar did not was to be a bastion for such a hateful creed?

 

“You can’t do that!” spluttered Godric, suddenly realising that by that thinking, he himself would be denied a magical education, “that is just discrimination of the most heinous kind!” Salazar turned to face Godric, his eyes cold and calculating, looking Godric up and down as if he was evaluating his weakest point, ready to pounce and rip him to shreds, like a lion in the Coliseum.

 

“But doesn’t Gryffindor House discriminate against cowards Godric, and Ravenclaw House against the less intelligent? Only Helga and Adrian can claim to not be discriminatory, and they do not produce as higher calibre of students as the rest of us.” Godric’s eyes flicked over to Helga and Adrian, who seemed to have braced themselves against this casual insult.

 

“But that is going against the spirit of the school!” piped up Helga bravely, her flushed red cheeks showing she had been hurt by Salazar’s comment, “we aimed to teach all magical students, regardless of background. Why now the sudden change of heart?” Godric went to turn to Salazar, but the answer instead came from Rowena who had gone as red as a tomato and was almost shouting at Salazar.

 

“It’s Bonne isn’t it!” she cried accusingly, “she’s turned your head! Turned you away from your original goals and ideals! She’s polluted you Salazar!” Salazar did not rise to Rowena’s bait and shout back at her, instead he answered as calmly and coldly as he usually did, his eyes fixed on Rowena as if he were a hawk. Salazar was always unshakable.

 

“Don’t blame this on Bonne,” he almost growled, like he was an animal protecting the nest, and it shocked Godric how he was speaking, “it is not her fault that I was seriously misinformed about what the intentions of this school was. You all seem perfectly happy to let Godric trample over you roughshod with his ideas about hats and every other thing under the sun, but you will not accept my authority over my own house and students!”

 

Godric swelled instantly and stood up, glaring daggers at Salazar. How could he think that he had not been made leader by the other founders because they thought he had leadership qualities, and that he trampled over the rest of them, “we agree you do have autonomy over your own house Salazar, but not at the expense of the students we teach.”

 

Salazar now stood up to join him, looking so venomous Godric thought he might strike, “I have authority over my own house. I will only pick Purebloods and there is nothing you can do to stop me!” He turned to the Sorting Hat, his wand pointing at it. Godric knew what he was going to do, he was going to make sure the Hat only put Purebloods into Slytherin.

 

“I have never complained!” spat Salazar viciously, his eyes alight with a terrifying frenzy, “but I will not stand for Bonne to be insulted or my right to decide the students over my own house to be flouted. Mark my words, the half bloods and Mudbloods will be purged from this school, unworthy that they are to learn magic and there is nothing any of you can do to stop me!”

 

The four of them watched him march out of the room, not even looking back at them. Godric could not even help but be utterly shocked. This was not the Salazar they all knew and loved. He seemed bitter and angry at the world, unable to let go of past misdemeanours. Godric could not help but wonder where it came from, where this sudden hate had sprung from.

 

“What are we to do?” whispered Helga, her voice quiet. Nobody answered for a moment, each ruminating over the scene they just witnessed. Surely the could not allow Salazar to get away with this, not allow him to undermine everything they had worked for. Godric knew he had never told Salazar about his own Muggleborn mother, or the other founders for that matter, but would Salazar think any differently if he knew his best friend had Muggle blood running through his veins?

 

“We have to let him do what he wants,” sighed Adrian, looking at them all almost paternally, “we cannot expect him to give up everything he believes for our school. We know he has the right to do what he wants. We just have to remember to keep our houses always opened for those students that he will reject.”

 

They each nodded, but none of them could shake off the horror they felt. Salazar had changed, and Godric could not help but think that the friend who he had met as a drunk and who had saved him from death, was gone forever.

 

 

 

 






 

Rachel had heard of the shouting from Ignotus. He had been passing the room in which the founders held their weekly meeting and had heard raised voices. He had not been able to distinguish what they were saying, but she was sure she would hear from one of them soon to see if the situation was resolved.

 

Rachel, Ignotus and Cadmus sat in the antechamber of her little room, waiting in silence for any news. Cadmus looked tense and drawn, and had done since Ignotus had said it seemed that Helga and Rowena had also been pulled into the argument, as he had heard a female voice shouting. The silence was overwhelmingly tense, but Rachel did not break it due to her apprehension. Feeble talking would not solve anything.

 

It was not too long before they heard a knock on the door. It was Cadmus who shouted to admit the person, and they were all relieved to see it was Godric. He would give a blow by blow account of the whole affair, and would not keep anything back, unlike Salazar, Rowena, Helga and Adrian would. Godric sat down on the spare seat, sighing greatly as he did. Rachel could tell she was going to be here for a long time.

 

“What happened?” questioned Ignotus quickly, “I heard shouting. I trust everything has been resolved.” Godric shook his great shagging head, and Rachel could not help the sharp intake of breath that came suddenly in shock. What could be so bad that these old friends could not smooth over without a worry?

 

“It’s Salazar,” moaned Godric, “he never comes to founders meetings, but today he did. We were all discussing the Sorting Hat idea, but he came in, saying there was something urgent he needed to discuss.” Rachel was on tenterhooks, Salazar had been causing a problem, and her mind instantly began to search for a reason of what it could be.

 

“He said he only wanted to admit Purebloods into Slytherin House. He sounded as if he was angry at us, like we had been ignoring his ideas, he was saying he was in control of his own house and could do whatever he wanted. He did not even acknowledge the fact that it was him who was staying away.” Godric looked deeply upset, so neither Cadmus nor Ignotus challenged him.

 

Rachel, however, had remembered something. After the Battle of Alba, Salazar, used to concealing his true face and emotions from the world, had buried a secret within his heart. His unrequited love for the Queen of Alba went unnoticed and unchecked, being allowed to silently fester within him, burning out a path for jealousy and resentment to enter his soul.

 

Part of her wanted to tell Godric the truth that Salazar was in love with his “wife”. But she knew it would cause more trouble than it was worth, so kept her mouth shut. She knew that it was not her secret to tell, and one day everyone would know what lay locked away in Salazar’s heart. Looking at her hands, she tried not to make eye contact with anyone in the room and it succeeded.

 

“Do I really know him?” asked Godric desperately, gazing at them all, hoping to find an answer. However, they all remained deathly quiet, all silently realising that only Godric could answer this question for himself, by analysing the friendship he had with Salazar to see if it was as sturdy as he once thought it was. And Rachel could not help but fear that it was the beginning of the end.

 

 

 

 






 

The fire burnt brightly, glinting in Guillaume’s greedy eyes. They had succeeded in turning Salazar; he would not be their firm ally in the fight to purge the school of Mudbloods due to his stupid, misplaced affection for Bonne. Guillaume would have laughed if it wasn’t so deadly serious. At her usual time, Bonne stepped through the door in her usual regalia, having just returned from talking to Salazar after his meeting with the other founders.

 

“Ah Sister,” he drawled, as Bonne joined him by the fire, warming her hands, “did Salazar put forward our proposal to the other founders?” Bonne gave him the answer that he expected, signalled by a curt nod. Guillaume could not help but smile, “and how did they take it? Was it the way we expected?”  Bonne nodded again, but turned to answer her brother.

 

“Godric kicked up the most fuss, talking about ‘discrimination’ and whatnot.  Adrian and Helga mainly gawped at it all, but you would never expect much fight out of those spineless cretins, and Rowena mainly whined about how Salazar had ‘changed’ and complained about my influence over him.” This was exactly what they expected; Rowena had been suspicious from day one, and Guillaume suspected that while she maintained the image of her passionate love affair with Godric, somewhere in her heart she had some romantic feelings towards her quiet lieutenant, Salazar. It was just basic jealousy.

 

“So, there is not much we can do about Rowena,” mused Guillaume, standing up to pace up and down the room, “and no one will take her accusations seriously, mainly for fear of upsetting Salazar further. Adrian and Helga will give us no problem, not for the time being at least. Our main aim then, sister, is to bring down the mighty Godric Gryffindor, the warrior Prince of Alba.”

 

Bonne’s eyebrows were knotted in concentration as she gazed into the fire, her mind whirring. “What do we know of Godric?” she began slowly, “where is he from? Who are his parents? When did he first arrive on the scene?” The good thing was, Guillaume’s capacity as Frankish Ambassador had allowed him to observe young Godric going about his daily business.

 

“He was the son of Leif Ravenclaw of Svalbard, half brother of Harald Ravenclaw, the man who tried to take this very castle several years ago,” related Guillaume, counting off the facts he knew on the tips of his fingers, “I have reason to believe he used to be part of a travelling gang, also including Adrian Hufflepuff, Rachel Fitzherbert, and our good friend Salazar. I am also told that he fell in love with the Princess Rowena on the first night we met her.”

 

“But these are well known facts,” snapped Bonne briefly, “we need to know what makes him tick. Why he perceives the world the way he does. We need to know of his life before the night you first saw him. Only then will we be able to exploit his weaknesses in the best way possible. We need to know his childhood!”

 

Guillaume thought this was rather absurd. He would have to use some rather complicated magic to incapacitate Godric and then extract the information all without getting caught. It did not seem within the realm of possibility. “How are we going to get that information without a serious risk to our persons or our plan?”

 

Bonne looked at him briefly as if he was the most incompetent person in the world. “Easy,” she said, standing up and crossing to Guillaume’s desk, “we write a letter.” She had picked up quill, made of an ostentatious peacock feather, and had pulled some parchment from his draw, as if she was all set to write it.

 

“A letter!” spluttered Guillaume incredulously, “who too? Who would know that amount of information about Godric? Who would know information like that and who would be willing to give it to us?” Bonne had fixed him with one of her most wilting smiles, and it made him feel quite pathetic for a moment.

 

“Harald Ravenclaw has much of a grudge against Godric, Rowena and Hogwarts as we do, and will want to see Godric’s hopes and dreams pulled down, even if it is not by his own sword,” smiled Bonne slyly, “I see no reason why Harald will not be able to tell us everything we need to know about Godric, and maybe even some information about Rowena.”

 

Guillaume marched towards her, and enveloped her in a thankful embrace, “Bonne, have I ever told you how brilliantly ingenious you are?” He could feel Bonne smiling on his shoulder, and he couldn’t help but feel grateful for her by his side. With them working as a team while the founders ripped themselves apart, nothing would stand in the way of their success.

 

 

 






I hope you enjoyed it, these few chapters have been really hard to write. I hope I am showing the depth of Salazar's character, and of Bonne (Guillaume will come later...little hint for you there). Please tell me what you think of my characters, and I will try and squeeze it in for you. I'm planning for it to be roughly 41 chapters and after that I am planning a prequel as this has been my most popular story yet!!! Please read and review, and tell me what you think!

And before I go (yes I know this is a long authors note) if you want read my other stories From Ancient Grudge and its Sequel Then I Defy You, Stars (Rose/Scorp) and The Chained Lady (Andromeda/Ted) Thanks x

Next time...Three Years Have Passed as Salazar fulfills his destiny...
 
 
 


Chapter 30: The Chamber of Secrets
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The Chamber of Secrets



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Over the three years that passed, Salazar grew closer and closer to Bonne. He spent nearly all of his time with her, and Bonne could see how wonderfully their plan was working. He had let the tensions he had laid so admirably at that founders meeting bubble under the surface, with nothing being resolved, as the others had had to allow him to only allow Purebloods in his house. It would not be long, Bonne thought, before their task would be done.

 

But, Bonne thought, Guillaume was not prepared to take the final steps. He was not prepared to risk lives in the name of their cause, and for that reason, Bonne had decided to take things into her own hands. She had been scouring the castle one day, looking for something to further her cause, when she had been walking in a room on the second floor. It was a rather messy, forgotten little room, with piles of royal junk spread everywhere.

 

Bonne had tip toed through, trying to find anything she could put to use, but as she was walking over the antique rug which lay dusty in the middle of the room, she tripped on something hidden underneath. Sprawled out on the floor, Bonne winced as she realised she had twisted her ankle. Angrily, she pulled herself to her feet, and attempted to see what had tripped her.

 

It was then she noticed the bulge underneath the rug. Dropping down to the floor, Bonne threw back the thick material and was shocked what she saw beneath. There was a trapdoor, with a rusted handle. It looked so old, and Bonne ran her fingers over it wondering where it led to. She withdrew her wand from her belt, grasping it tightly as she pointed it at the lock, muttering the unlocking charm as she went.

 

Pulling it open, she gasped as she looked below. There was a long black chasm, and deep as the eye could see. If you fell, you would be plunged into darkness, no one able to hear your screams. Bonne’s mind whirred; she had to know what was at the bottom, where it went, and how it could be used. It was a matter of urgent curiosity.

 

She rushed strait to the library, removing the parchments that denoted the original plan of the school. Scanning them as she raced back up to her chambers, she quickly saw what the room was. It was a bottleneck dungeon. Contraptions used in many fortified castles, the dungeons were often deeper than normal dungeons, as they were in Hogwarts Castle. While the top was thin and narrow, it branched out to reveal a huge subterranean chamber, perfect to quash someone’s spirit as they slowly died as a prisoner.

 

Her mind raced as she threw the plans into the fire, no wanting anyone to remember this secret dungeon. What could she use it for? She evaluated everything she knew about Salazar, his strengths and his weaknesses, and how it could be used. Then she struck gold; Salazar was a Parselmouth.

 

 

 

 






 

Night always came quickly now. Salazar laid on his bed, waiting for his eyes to close and for him to fall into a deep sleep, but it never happened easily. Thoughts plagued his mind constantly; mainly about Rowena, how much his love for her had grown and how she was slipping further out of his fingers. His life was so different from how he had expected. It was totally out of his control.

 

He was just beginning to drop off into a restless sleep when he was slapped awake by a knock at the door. Pulling on his dressing gown, he blearily stumbled over to the door, muttering “coming, coming,” as he went. On opening the door, he was blinded by the candle that the visitor was holding, and after blinking several times he could distinguish her face.

 

Bonne stood there, still wearing the clothes she had worn during the day. She did not look at all tired, and she beamed at him mysteriously, “come with me Salazar!” she whispered gently, her eyes sparkling in the candlelight, “I’ve got something to show you.” Salazar paused for a moment, uncertain of what to do next, but then nodded and took Bonne’s hand as she pulled him out of the door.

 

They walked in silence for a little while, Bonne turned at corners, seemingly randomly, and Salazar followed, until eventually Salazar spoke, “Bonne, it’s the middle of the night. Where can we possibly be going?” Bonne did not answer for a moment, instead, walked along looking suspiciously round corners, until she judged it was clear.

 

“I will tell you when we get there,” she whispered tersely, “you will understand all, I promise you.” Salazar stopped questioning when he heard the tone of Bonne’s voice, and instead trotted subserviently behind her as they descended down the stairs, finally stopping on the second floor, creeping along the corridor until they stopped at a rather unassuming door.

 

Bonne unlocked the door quickly with her wand, and then she led him in and he blinked to adjust his eyes to the darkness. She walked several steps into the room before dropping to the floor, her dress billowing out behind her as she placed the candle beside her. Throwing back the rug, a trapdoor was revealed underneath. Salazar dropped to the floor beside her, looking at it curiously.

 

“I discovered this several weeks ago,” she said matter of factly, “and I thought you could use it to regain control of the situation, of the school.” Salazar was instantly curious as he watched Bonne click open the lock of the trapdoor, throwing it open to reveal the darkness underneath. She blew out the candle and lit her wand muttering, “we can’t take that down there.”

 

Salazar balked. “We’re going down there?” he thundered loudly, at which point Bonne placed one delicate finger on his lips to hush him, “of course we are. I’ll explain all when we get down there. With that, Bonne shuffled herself to the edge of the hole, and neatly propelled herself off the ledge, plunging herself into the darkness. Salazar yelled in shock.

 

“Bonne!” he cried into the darkness, lighting his wand to attempt to see where she had gone, “Bonne! Where are you?” He was overcome with so much terror that his heart had jumped into his mouth. What if she was hurt? What if she couldn’t get back? “Bonne!” screamed Salazar into the chasm, not caring who heard him.

 

“Salazar!” came Bonne’s voice from somewhere that he could not see. Salazar called her name in relief as he wiped a trickle of panicked sweat from his forehead. “Just jump down! There’s a soft landing I promise you!” Without thinking, he swung his legs over the side of the chasm, and taking a quick, comforting breath, he let go of the sides, throwing himself into the darkness.

 

He hit the stone of the side of the tunnel, and found himself sliding along it, keeping his eyes open in case he suddenly saw Bonne and had to swerve out of her way. Rapidly turning a corner, Salazar saw the light at the end of Bonne’s wand, and he knew he was at the end of the tunnel. He was propelled off the end, landing in a pile at Bonne’s feet.

 

Pulling himself up, he put his hands on Bonne’s shoulders to steady himself, her beautiful eyes glimmering in the light of their wands. “This way,” she purred seductively, taking his hand again as she led him through a series of subterranean tunnels. It was damp down here, and due to still wearing his night gown, he shivered slightly.

 

It was not long before the tunnel widened, leading to a large empty chamber and Bonne stopped satisfied at last. She turned to Salazar, smiling, and he was utterly confused. Why where they here? Her expression seemed to signal that Salazar should have guessed why they were here, but for the life of him, he did not know.

 

“How is this going to allow me to regain control of the school?” he questioned, gazing around to see if there was any hidden objects that Bonne wanted to show him. Bonne walked towards him, and touched his hand to get him to lower his wand. He could tell by the look in her eyes that she was about to explain to him why he was here.

 

“The school is now so far out of your control, through no fault of your own, that you will not be able to sway the other founders to your cause. To make your vision come true, we need to use force.” He did not see how he was going to win Rowena’s love through any tactic of Bonne’s, but the eradication of scum might be possible with her help.

 

“What is your idea?” he asked curiously, watching her beautiful face enveloped in shadows as she smiled triumphantly. Although he would go along with any plan she would put forward, he could not see how an empty room could help him regain control of what was rightfully his. She stepped forward to stroke his face, in the most tender way, running the backs of her fingers across his cheek.

 

“We disguise this cavern, hide it from the other founders,” she began slowly, her eyes locking onto his, “and in it, you produce a weapon, a weapon so powerful that you can use it to purge the school of Mudbloods and Muggles if you so wish.” Salazar hung on her every word; all he wanted to know was what type of weapon he was thinking of, one that couldn’t be wrestled from him.

 

“I’ve got you a present,” she said, breaking away from him, walking into the darkness, “it’s somewhere here.” She walked on for a several minutes before stopping, “Ah!” she called, beckoning him to come over. “I have found it! I would like to introduce you to your new pet!” She was pointing to somewhere near her feet, and Salazar looked down obediently.

 

When Salazar first laid eyes on the little green snake, he thought it was just an everyday adder. But then he saw the texture of the scales looked so much tougher than a usual snake. He knew it was a Basilisk, but he thought it looked a bit weak and puny. This wasn’t one of Bonne’s better ideas, “Bonne, are you sure? What damage can it do?”

 

Bonne gave him a little smile before saying, “it’s a baby at the moment, and it will grow, don’t you worry. And anyway, it is the only weapon I know that only you can use, do you know any other Parselmouth’s?” Salazar had to admit he didn’t know anyone else, and he found himself suddenly in awe of Bonne’s genius. “So,” she drawled, looking up into his eyes, “do you think it is a good idea?”

 

Taking Bonne in his arms he kissed her with all the passion that had been locked away inside of him for so many years. She kissed him back eagerly, hungrily, in a way no other woman, not even Bess, ever had. When they broke apart, Salazar looked into her eyes and chuckled, “I think it is a wonderful plan.”

 

 

 

 






 

The new first years wandered into his class the next morning, ready their first Dark Arts lesson of the year. Salazar smiled at the sight of them; some looked incredibly nervous, but some look very excited. He recognised a few of them, ones who were from old Wizarding Covens, namely a little boy who looked like a Crouch, and a girl who had the features of a Bulstrode.

 

He stood up, at which they all hurried into their seats their eyes opening wide in awe as the famous Salazar Slytherin walked in front of them. He had to admit it did a lot to boost his ego. “Right,” he said walking before them, his cloak billowing out majestically behind him, “this subject is the Dark Arts, and it is one of the most important subjects you will learn at this school.”

 

He heard a snigger from somewhere in the back row, and a mutter as someone said, “all the teacher’s say that.” Salazar’s eyes darted over to the corner where he saw a collection of Gryffindor’s, their robes emblazoned with the Gryffindor lion. They were always the ones to talk in class, and Salazar tried not to show his annoyance.

 

“To be able to tackle the destructive and powerful forces of the Dark Arts, a thorough understanding of where that power comes from, and how you can fight that raw human instinct that comes from it.” Again he heard another snigger. He craned his head to look at the Gryffindor’s sitting at the back.

 

“’Tis the devil’s work,” smirked a dark haired boy to the boy beside him, putting on a silly voice. The blonde child with chestnuts for eyes sitting beside him opened his eyes in shock. “’Tis the devil’s work, and you will go to hell forever for just being here!” The blonde boy went white, the terror evident in his little face. Salazar pointed at the dark haired boy, ready to punish him for talking in his class.

 

“You,” called Salazar, his voice reverberating across the class as he pointed at the dark haired boy, “what’s your name?” The dark haired boy had all the confidence of a young wizard secure in his place in the world. He was evidently a boy from one of the covens, but Salazar could not tell where just by looking at him.

 

“McLaggen,” he began, a smirk on his lips, “I am the eldest son of the mightiest McLaggen clan,” Salazar stopped him with a twitch of his hand. He could tell that this McLaggen kid was an arrogant boy, like many of the raucous Gryffindor’s, and Salazar did not want to hear any more of it.

 

“What did you say about the Dark Arts being the devil’s work?” How could a pureblood such as McLaggen be thinking that magic was the devil’s work? McLaggen gave Salazar a little grin, stereotypical of the arrogant Gryffindor’s. He turned to the blonde haired boy beside him and pointed to him laughing.

 

“Guy here believes that magic is the devil’s work because that was what his Muggle parents told him.” If Salazar had looked at Lestrange at this moment, he would have been able to tell that the boy was only there to cause trouble, as he knew the founders views on Muggles, but Salazar could not look at him. His eyes were fixed on the Mudblood boy and he was filled with rage.

 

Usually, Salazar would have let this go. He could not control whatever riff raff the other founders let into their houses. But he found himself suddenly incensed. Maybe it was the sudden confidence that Bonne had given him, or maybe it was that the boy had thought magic had something to do with “the devil”, or maybe it was something more instinctive than that, due to his name being Guy.

 

“You,” growled Salazar, slowly advancing towards Guy, “You must get out of here right now! I refuse to teach you, you ignorant, filthy little Mudblood!” There was a collective gasp from many of the students, but no one moved, not even Guy. He gazed up at Salazar, his eyes wide with shock. It was not a moment before he began to stammer something.

 

“But Professor Gryffindor said you weren’t to kick me out of the class!” he piped, “He said it was wrong of you to do so! Wrong on all moral and magical grounds!” Salazar felt a sudden rage come over him. So, Godric had been talking about him had he? To students no less! And surely he had also discussed this in length with Adrian and Helga and even dear Rowena!

 

He lifted his wand, pointing it a Guy furiously, “I refuse to teach scum like you. Get out of my classroom now, before you have to leave in bits!” This last threat seemed to destroy the last of Guy’s nerve, who got up and scampered from the classroom as quickly as he could, leaving Salazar to pace back to the front desk. He sat down, and gazed at his terrified class as he began.

 

“Now could you all turn to page ten of your textbooks please.”

 

 

 

 






 

Rowena and Godric both had simultaneous free periods in the morning, so they thought it would be best to take their children out into the forbidden forest just to spend some time together. Bevan and Helena were now sixteen years old, and were practicing duelling in a clearing in the forest together, and five year old Artemisia had run off into the trees, gathering flowers.

 

They trusted their children to act sensibly, so Godric and Rowena sat up against a tree, his arm around her, snuggled together. Godric looked around the clearing they were in. It was Rowena’s Glade, the place where he had fought with Cadmus for her so many years ago. It all seemed part of his old life now.

 

There were three stages of his life. There was the one where he was an isolated boy from Svalbard who had fallen in love with a charismatic princess. Then there were the years when he was a travelling adventurer, surrounded by his closest friends. Now he was the respected teacher, and he felt his life had reached its pinnacle, beyond any dream he had ever wished for.

 

He kissed the top of Rowena’s head. For once she was not wearing her diadem. He had once asked her why she wore it continually, and she had told him that it was the one good thing her mother had ever done for her, so she wanted to cling onto it and never let it go. Godric had to admit he could understand that.

 

“It’s so peaceful out here,” sighed Rowena melodically, stroking Godric’s hand which sat in his lap, “could you imagine life being this wonderful when we were seventeen?” He shook his head. Those were the years before he knew Helga, Cadmus and Ignotus as well as he did, and before he had even met Adrian, Rachel, Coventina and Salazar. It had been a different world then. They had changed so much.

 

“The world seems to be changing so quickly,” mused Rowena gently, “I mean, once we were revolutionary for starting this school, but now we are part of the establishment. We are not the same people we once were.” Godric had to agree with this. Now, Rowena was kinder and more observant than she had ever been in her youth. Helga had grown in confidence and knowledge and become a happier person for it. Godric supposed he had become less reckless, but he couldn’t be sure.

 

Then there was Salazar. Perhaps he had undergone the most radical change. He rarely spoke to his friends, and had become a passionate supporter of Continental Blood Purity. Godric had to admit, he did not see the friend he had had so many adventures with any more when he looked at Salazar. But he still held out hope. Somewhere inside was the real Salazar.

 

Rowena seemed to have been following the same train of thought as him as she said wearily, “Salazar has changed. He’s not the man I,” she faltered for a moment, her eyes brimming with tears, “I thought he was.” Godric turned her round, and started to brush away her tears heavy handedly. He couldn’t bear to see her cry.

 

“Rowena,” he whispered gently, “the Salazar we know is still somewhere in there, he has just been led off the right path. Everyone has dark days, and these are his.” Rowena turned sullen at these words, pouting furiously at him before her top lip curled up in a mixture of disgust and aggression. She held the locket she wore around her neck firmly in her hands, as if it was some kind of comfort. Godric had never seen her like this before.

 

“It’s that Bonne,” she growled furiously, “she pounced into his life, taking him away from me, I mean us, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.” Godric squeezed her affectionately, that was all he could do to comfort her these days. He did not know how she could overcome these feelings of unexplained resentment and anger towards Bonne, and he had decided that just being there for her would make things better.

 

It was that moment that he heard the sound of someone panting and running. He turned his head to the direction the noise was coming, and was shocked to find Helga hurtling towards them. Rowena looked equally surprised as Helga staggered to a halt, her breath short as she tried to explain what she had come so hurriedly to see them for.

 

“Godric, Rowena,” she panted, trying to catch her breath as she spoke, “it’s Salazar.” Godric did not like the sound of that, but he continued listening. “He’s kicked a Muggleborn out of his class. He totally refused to teach him. Apparently called him ‘scum’. You’ve got to do something; Adrian has tried talking to him to get him to accept this boy back into his class but to no avail. You might be able to talk him into it.”

 

Godric was suddenly overcome by a terrible rage. Surely Salazar could not be so horrid. At least, the Salazar he had once known couldn’t be. He got up to follow Helga back into the school, Rowena at his side as they marched back towards the castle. There was no way he was going to take this lying down.

 

 

 

 






 

Salazar was expecting them. During his conversation with Adrian, Helga had disappeared, and Salazar instantly knew where she had gone. She was off to get the bigger, tougher reinforcements. He braced himself, Godric’s wrath would be enormous, but he had to do this. The future of wizards everywhere was more important than any friendship.

 

The explosion began the second that Godric opened the door. “Salazar!” he bellowed, his violently red hair matching the colour of his crimson face, “how could you do this? This is a terribly unfair crime on a poor defenceless little boy! He was here to learn magic, just the same as the others. We have given you the right to select who you want in your house, but you will not threaten a student from my house with your wand! Guy wants to go home you realise!”

 

Salazar bristled at the boy’s name, but it seemed to spur him on, giving him a sense of total justification for what he was doing. “That boy’s family,” began Salazar, trying to keep his voice calm, “believe we are consorting with the devil! They are ignorant to what good magic can do! If he is surrounded by people like that, what hope do we have of educating him?”

 

“Every hope!” yelled Godric, his incandescent rage pinging through with every syllable, “you shouldn’t write some one off before you’ve given them a chance! He could be extremely talented, and we would be wasting that because of your behaviour he left.” Salazar did not really think this was a strong argument, so he argued back.

 

“He has Muggle blood running through his veins,” spat Salazar viciously, “what hope has any magical talent got of getting past that?” Suddenly, Godric turned very white and he became very silent. It was unusual; Salazar had never seen Godric so quiet before. It was at this point that Rowena stepped forward, her blue eyes glistening angrily.

 

“It’s Bonne isn’t it?” Salazar had to stop himself from rolling his eyes. She had fallen back on this old argument yet again. She always brought it up, and Salazar had had to conclude that she was insanely jealous of Bonne for some undisclosed reason. “She’s manipulating you!” thundered Rowena, “manipulating you into doing terrible things!”

 

Salazar decided he had had enough. He stood up and walked towards the door saying, “I’m not letting him back into my class, end of story.” With that he slammed the door behind him and marched up the corridor, a contented grin on his face. There was no way in the world that any of them would stand up to him now.

 

 

 

 






 

The fallout from the argument was catastrophic. Rowena had fled to her chambers, her hands over her face to stop anyone seeing her tears. Helga and Adrian had walked resignedly away, leaving Godric alone in the room. Ignotus had heard the shouting from several rooms away, so had come to investigate.

 

He found Godric sitting in the chair, his head in his hands. Ignotus had never seen Godric like this before. Gingerly stepping into the room, he came up beside Godric not sure whether the other man had noticed him, “Godric,” said Ignotus gently. Indeed, Godric had not noticed him, and he jumped at his words. “Are you alright?” asked Ignotus sincerely, genuinely worried about his friend.

 

“Yes,” lied Godric, his voice tired, “I’m alright in myself. Rowena seems pretty upset, but I’m shocked more than anything. This is not the Salazar I know.” Ignotus understood, but he could see further than Godric could, for almost being a neutral player. He could see Salazar’s motivations, and he thought that explaining them to Godric may help them alleviate the breach in the long run.

 

“Salazar is a man Godric,” began Ignotus slowly, “not some demigod as you have always seen him. He does not know all, and he cannot save you all the time. He is prone to the same weaknesses as you, and women and jealousy are two of those.” Godric seemed so shocked by this statement that his eyebrows disappeared into his red hair.

 

“What the hell are you talking about?” he boomed, his emerald eyes wide, “I can understand the women part, but jealousy! What in the world has Salazar got to be jealous about?” Ignotus sighed. It really seemed that Godric was clueless about how other people’s hearts and minds worked. He supposed it was why he and Rowena got on so well.

 

“Salazar,” lingered Ignotus, stringing the words out, not sure whether to tell Godric, “is jealous of you.” This seemed to shock Godric even more, but instead of a conventional shocked expression, Godric let out his warm mirthful laugh that seemed to shake the walls. Ignotus did not join in however, he did not find anything funny.

 

“I’m being serious Godric,” continued Ignotus warningly, “Salazar has always been in the shadows.  He has never asked for the glory or the fame, but secretly he wants it. Secretly, he wants the recognition that he feels you are getting for all his hard work. He wants to be a popular Chancellor, but how can he compare to the charismatic Prince? He was to be a loved teacher, but how can he compare to the dazzling Transfiguration Professor? He wants recognition for the role he played in the Battle of Alba, but how can he compare to Alba’s hero?”

 

Godric had stopped laughing now. “That’s ridiculous,” he said firmly, all hint of mirth gone from his face, “he has never asked for it! And anyway, it wasn’t him who saved Alba and I am Rowena’s Prince, not him! What does he expect? He’s got all he ever wanted from life!” Ignotus had to prevent himself from rolling his eyes at Godric’s arrogance. He was a good man at heart, but this was one of his worst traits.

 

“Anyway,” said Godric, slowly getting to his feet, “I must find Rowena, see if she’s coping.” Ignotus nodded in understanding as Godric turned away and walked towards the door, “Thank you for the information Ignotus,” said Godric sincerely, “I will think about what you have said.” With that, Godric turned on his heel and left the room, leaving Ignotus only to hope that his words had had some impact.

 

 

 

 






 

He’d had enough.

 

He’d had enough of her protests about Bonne. It infuriated him. If she had that many problems with it, she should marry him herself. Oh, how he longed for that eventuality. He shook the thoughts out of his head. Rowena would never admit her own feelings unless it was in regard to Godric, who although he was her first love; was no longer suited to her.

 

He knew what he had to do. He had been playing with the decision for weeks now, questioning himself and his motives. But now he had cleared his thoughts and knew what he felt. His heart belonged to Rowena, and always would, but Bonne could provide him things that idealistic Rowena never could. She could be his ally and his partner in all things. It was the sensible, logical decision.

 

He was knocking on the door before he could even think about it. Her silky voice resonated from within the room, “Come in.” Salazar entered, and found Bonne sitting by the window in a silken nightgown. Her eyes were fixed on the moon which loomed large outside the window. That was another good thing about her, she was beautiful. The moonlight washed over her pale skin, and it made her look like she was glowing.

 

Turning her pretty head round, she gave him a dazzling smile. “Oh, Salazar,” she simpered, “what are you doing up at this late hour?” She was so close to him, and had taken one of his hands, a quizzical look on her face. He knew he was making the right decision; Rowena would be seething, and there would be nothing she could ever do about it.

 

“I needed to see you,” he concluded, “most urgently.” She signalled for him to sit on the wide window ledge, just like she had been, and she sat next to him, drawing his hands into her lap. Her blonde hair was rolled into a curl that hung down next to one shoulder. He knew that it would not be a mistake what he was about to do.

 

“Bonne,” he whispered, “You must know how I feel about you,” his voice caught in his throat, and he knew he would have to cut his romantic speech short. He was trembling in spite of himself, but he tried to calm himself, to allow the words to tumble from his mouth. “I just wanted to ask you, whether you would consent to be my bride?”

 

Bonne’s mouth dropped open in shock, but then she flung her arms wide and pulled Salazar into a tight embrace, her head buried into his neck. He blushed in spite of himself, but Bonne pulled away and majestic grin on her face. There were the first signs of tears of joy in her eyes, “Of course I will marry you Salazar!”

 

And so it was agreed.

 

 

 






I'm sorry this chapter has been quite long but I am really stuck on the next chapter. I am nearly there, but so much important stuff happens in the next chapter that it needs to be perfect! Please Read and Review and tell me what you think of it!

Next Time...Life and Happiness are torn away...
 
 
 


Chapter 31: The Battle of the Forbidden Forest
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The Battle of the Forbidden Forest



Wonderfully brilliant banner by PhoenixAlthor @ tda





On the day an old foe returned; the game was changed forever. Helga sat in her office, pouring over the mountains of essays she had to mark. It was so tiring! That was the one thing she had not been expecting about being a teacher; the amount of paperwork she had to do was absolutely monstrous! But she was happy, and that was all that mattered.

She was just about to give out yet another O when there was a knock on the door of her office. Signalling to let the person in, a messenger, drenched through to the skin came bounding into the room. It had been raining profusely, and she knew how difficult it was for messengers to get to the castle in this weather.

“Lady Hufflepuff,” bowed the messenger, handing her a neat little letter sealed with wax. She took it cordially, and thanked him heartily as he left the room. Looking at the wax seal, she realised she did not recognise it. She reached for her letter opening knife, and gently sliced open the wax seal, peeling the letter open as she went. When her eyes scanned the letter, she realised she did not recognise the writing.

Helga

It is so difficult for me to write this. She puts me in a trance! I can’t do anything but do her bidding, but for a few short hours I occasionally break away from her spell. This is why I write to you, so you may be prepared.

She is coming for you. After years of trying she had finally found your location and will be coming with the fury of the world. Your aunt has never ceased to be angry, more and more people flee Dewsbury to her consternation, and she can do nothing to stop them. She thinks, by killing you, your powers will be hers, and she will reign triumphant forever.

I know Adrian loves you dearly. He would fight to the death for you. It was Petronilla that tore us apart with her curses; I still love him, even in spite of everything. You must protect him at all costs, I could not bear it if he was to die for the same cause that I am enslaved.

I do not know when she is coming, but she will not be alone and her anger will be monstrous.

Maud Penny

Helga could not breathe. Petronilla was back! But now, it was not even about herself, or even Adrian. Coventina, her little daughter, was her closest female relative, and Petronilla would be after her too! She threw the letter down onto the table in her panic, and ran for the door. Only the collective powers of the Hogwarts Founders would have any luck in saving her now.

She flew out into the corridor, and began to run, white faced, towards the Founders meeting room. Her heart was hammering in her chest so loud, that she did not see the woman walking towards her, and collided with her with such an almighty crash. As Helga looked up, she recognised Bonne Malfoy, and had never been so happy to see her.

“Bonne!” Helga squawked, “you must tell Salazar to come to the Founders Chamber, I have received a letter that means we are all in danger!” She quickly explained how she had been sitting in her office when she received the letter and what her letter contained, “you must tell Salazar to go to the Founders Chambers, it is of the utmost urgency!”

With that, Helga sped round the corner and hurried off towards the Founders Chamber. She moved so fast that she did not see the nasty grin that swept across Bonne’s face, as she changed her course of direction and headed towards Helga’s study.







Bonne wasted no time as she dashed into Helga’s office. It was just as she imagined it would be, haphazard, with piles of papers and books scattered on every available surface. Bonne briefly paused to gaze at the golden cup emblazoned with the Hufflepuff Crest that stood proudly on the mantelpiece, but there were more important things she had to do.

She marched over to Helga’s desk, thinking it would be the most likely place to start looking for this letter. It did not take her long to find it. Trusting Helga had left the letter in the middle of her desk, thinking no one would take it, thinking that no one would want to use it. Bonne lifted it from the table and stuffed it down the front of her corset where it could not be seen.

Now all she needed to do was to inform Salazar of the misfortune that would soon to be befalling them all.






When Godric swept into the Founders Chamber, he only had to look at Helga’s face to tell that something was very wrong. There was a sense of tension in the air and her green eyes were wide, and she was holding onto Adrian’s hand so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. Adrian was looking at his wife concernedly, before looking up as Godric walked in.

Rowena was biting her lip. She only ever did this when she was nervous or afraid. In normal situations she would never look so un-regal as to be seen biting her lip. She was also twiddling with a lock of her own hair, wrapping it round and round her own finger, totally absorbed in what she was doing. It was a look of someone deep in thought, weighing up a problem she was faced with.

Salazar was the only one who did not look nervous. He sat there, his face blank, just as he usually was. He had never given an overt display of emotion, even in times of crisis like at the Battle of Alba or fighting the Svalbardian Silverback. He remained a statue, not willing to show any sign of what he was thinking, not wanting to look weak.

Godric marched into the room and sat down in his chair, filled with grandiose sentiments. Helga’s body flooded with motion as soon as he did, as she became ready to tell him what was so terrible that was to happen. “Good, we are all here,” she began, clearly flustered. “I needed to see you all to tell you that the school is in terrible danger! I have received a letter from a woman who has been under my aunt Petronilla’s trance for years. She was warning us that there was to be an attack.”

There was a sharp intake of breath from Adrian, who stood up instantly. “Who sent the letter Helga?” he questioned, his voice suddenly becoming panicked, “was it who I think it is?” Helga tried not to look jealous as the worried look danced across his face. It was clear he was thinking about Maud Penny. Whatever place she held in his life and heart now, she could not replace his first love.

“Yes, Maud sent the letter,” she said, as Adrian broke away from her, dropping back into his seat and placing his head in his hands, “she wanted to protect you, so she warned me that Petronilla was coming with others. She didn’t want to see you get hurt.” Then she turned to the other’s, not being able to bear seeing Adrian’s feelings for Maud, to see their reaction.

None of them had moved. Salazar remained dead still, while Rowena looked nervously at Godric, as if deferring to him on the judgement of this matter. He tried not to smile; how did he ever get made the unofficial leader? Godric looked up, and said slowly, “you said she was in a trance, correct?” Helga nodded, at which point Adrian looked up to reaffirm the fact. This allowed Godric to continue, “because it seems to me that she would have been instructed by Petronilla to write this letter and it could all just be a part of a trap, to make you attack them first, so she can draw you in and strike.”

“But it might not!” said Adrian angrily, clearly looking desperate, “Maud was,” he paused, his cheeks flushed with emotion, not quite making eye contact with his wife, “a very strong person, she could have easily broken away from whatever trance she was put under. I believe Helga’s scenario personally.” Helga gave Adrian a brief smile, but Godric interrupted the moment.

“I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t seem feasible to me, and what are we meant to do about it? Alba’s army is fully occupied at the moment fighting a war with the Northumbrians. We cannot spare some of them without good reason. Can we see this letter?”  Helga suddenly cursed herself, as she realised in her panic she had left the letter back in her office.

They all followed her back to her office, and she marched in saying, “I left it on my desk, it should be somewhere here.” She stopped suddenly. There was not a single sign of the letter. “It’s somewhere here, I know it is.” She flicked through the pile of essays that stood on the side of her desk, but she had no luck. “It was here!” she cried, “I’m telling you it was here!”

Godric let out a dramatic sigh before saying slowly, “Look Helga, I think it is best if we agree that this letter was a hoax, or a trap. There would be no way that Petronilla would be stupid enough to attack us here, we are at the centre of a bustling city, it would be ludicrous.” He had folded his arms across his chest and turned to Rowena for agreement.

“I think Godric is right,” she said gently, obviously trying to appease all her friends, her voice slightly hesitant, “it would be a terribly ridiculous act, and Maud betrayed you to Petronilla when you retrieved those students several years ago. If Petronilla could control her while she faced you, especially a man she loves, what is the hope of her breaking away when she is alone and isolated?”

Helga stared at them both, her mouth dropping open in shock. They did not believe her; they thought her a fool and they did not understand the serious consequences that Petronilla could bring. She wanted to cry with frustration. While she was now a noblewoman and an equal founder of the school, the army lay in Rowena’s hands, and as usual, she supported Godric.

“If that is how you feel,” she sniffed, before making her way to the door, not wanting to stay in a room with any of them, not even Adrian, anymore. She knew none of them followed her, because they often did not care and freely took advantage of her. Making her way down the stairs, she thought she would go into the grounds as fresh air would be appreciated.






He could see the grin stretched across her face the second she marched into the room. Brandished towards him in her hand, was a piece of parchment, almost looking like a letter. “Look what I have,” Bonne smiled cheerily, holding it towards him, “I’m sure you are going to be so happy.” She paced towards him until he was close enough to take it from her.

He read it quickly, absorbing every word. He couldn’t understand what on earth Bonne was doing with it. “Bonne,” he said sharply, a trickling of fear running down his back, “this is Helga’s private letter. What on earth are you doing with it? You are going to get into so much trouble if this is discovered! It could cause a catastrophe!”

Bonne let out one of her shrill laughs as she hooted, “oh Guillaume. What catastrophe could that be? From what I see, it will cause Godric to go against Helga as he does not want to release any of his soldiers from their duty in Northumbria. It will cause more trouble and strife, and it will help us with our cause whatever you think. Salazar will take Helga’s side, thinking Godric is trying to take control again. Don’t you see they are playing right into our hands?”

Guillaume stood up angrily, “but this is more than subtle manipulation here Bonne. This will endanger people’s lives! If Petronilla turns up there could be so much trouble. She could attack Adrian or even Helga!” Bonne turned angry very quickly, and her face had crimsoned into a nasty purple very rapidly as she spat at him viciously, as if she were a wild animal.

“Oh yes,” she growled furiously, “I forget this was just about you getting your leg over Helga! For Christ sake Guillaume, can’t you see that this is for the greater good? Can’t you see we will go down in history as heroes for what we are doing? What is a small threat to life in the face of what life will be like if we succeed? Think about it!”

“No Bonne!” thundered Guillaume, standing close to her, knowing that physically he could overpower her in a second, “this is wrong! A person’s life would be too high a price to pay for what we are trying to achieve. I am happy to play them off each other, but not when they could kill each other. It is not that important.”

She snatched the letter back off him while he was busy focussing on her angry face and shoved it down her corset angrily, “what are you going to do Guillaume?” she said mockingly, “tell them? Because you brother are in it just as much as I am! You are a traitor to this school and I know it well!” He knew she was right, but did not want to vocalise it.

“See,” she laughed heartily, as if he had just told her some meaningless joke, “I am right as always. I win! This school will change Guillaume, and there is nothing you or anyone else can do to change that fact! Remember, I will be Lady Bonne Slytherin soon, and once that ring is on my finger nothing can ever tear us apart!”

She swept out of the room as quickly as she had entered, leaving Guillaume alone to slump into a chair next to the fire. That was the problem with Bonne, she was so passionate and driven, and there was nothing in the world to deter her from her goal. Now he had unleashed the genie from its bottle, there was no way he was ever going to trap her again.






For once, Helga felt awkward walking beside Adrian. They were almost alone, with Edward and Coventina having run off into the distant to play at the fringes of the forest, just ahead of them as they walked. There was utter silence between them; there was nothing she could think to say. He had almost confessed his love for Maud and Helga knew that her marriage was nothing but a sham. She tried not to cry.

“Helga,” began Adrian, his voice gentle. He was speaking as he had when she thought he loved her, full of tenderness and sweetness. His voice was smooth and gentle and told of pain, something she thought he felt only for Maud. She couldn’t bear it. “You have refused to talk to me since the Founders Meeting. Please Helga; tell me what I have done wrong!”

He didn’t know! She turned to him, her tears suddenly wiped away by the overwhelming anger she felt. She was fed up of everyone in her life never taking her feelings into consideration when she gave so much in return. It made her feel sick. Even her own husband did not care about how she was feeling. They trampled over her roughshod, thinking she would give in to their every whim. She had never felt so angry in all her life.

“You don’t love me!” Helga cried, turning round to berate him. “You basically declared your love for Maud! I was blind to see that I was never anything to you but a replacement for her, a mere shadow!” The tears were rolling down her cheeks, not with sadness, but with anger that she had been taken for such a fool. She was sure the sadness would come later, but now she felt so humiliated she could not bear to think of losing Adrian.

“Helga!” said Adrian soothingly, “it is true that Maud was my first love, and I will always have a place in my heart for her, I will always be concerned for her. But Helga, she can never ever replace what I feel for you. I love you so much that even death will not stop my love for you.” He was stroking her cheek so tenderly that Helga thought she might cry again.

“I love you too Adrian,” she smiled sweetly, “And you know I always have.” He drew her into a kiss, which was passionate but gentle at the same time. She put all her weight against him, knowing that she could trust him. How could she have ever doubted Adrian’s love for her? She had been foolish and she was so sorry. He knew her, and her jealousy had played up again.

Suddenly there was a canter of little feet as Edward and Coventina came shooting out of the forest, their faces white. Coventina was sobbing, being only seven, but ten year old Edward was made of sterner stuff, and he managed to babble out what was troubling them so. “There’s a woman in the forest, with a group of men. They tried to shoot a spell at Coventina, but I pushed her out the way and we ran.”

Helga’s heart dropped as her fingers flew to her wand which was held tightly in her belt. It couldn’t be so soon, Helga had thought that they would have more time than this. She turned to look at Adrian, who looked equally as scared as she gathered Coventina into her arms, desperately trying to comfort her. She was so busy tending to her daughter that she only looked up when Adrian muttered, “Look!”

Slithering out of the forest was a group of people and at the head of them was the person that still turned Helga’s heart into ice. Her straw coloured hair was now a glistening silver and her skin was more wrinkled but she was still as formidable as ever. Her eyes lit up with an undiminished hunger as she spotted Helga. She did not say anything as she lifted her wand.

“Helga!” shouted Adrian suddenly, the panic reaching his voice, “it’s her! Take the children and run, I’ll hold her off!” Helga did what he said without question, grabbing her children’s hands; she turned away from him and sprinted away across the grounds. She knew what she had to do; she had to find the other’s and get there help. Edward and Coventina kept up with her well enough as they flew across the grounds.

Trying to ignore the bangs and shouts from the Battle behind her, Helga, Coventina and Edward ran as fast as they could towards the castle. Surely someone would help? Surely they would believe her now? It was not long before they were back at the castle doors, and Helga threw them all inside, telling her children to go to their chambers and stay there until she came to get them.

She then ran headlong to the Great Hall, and found Salazar and Bonne sitting at their table, deeply engrossed in some conversation. They looked up at Helga who must have looked wide eyed and terrified as she babbled, “Petronilla...is in the castle grounds.” Her breath was coming short and sharp, but she fought through, “Adrian is fighting her...need support...where are Godric and Rowena?”

Salazar shot up with a determined look on his face, “it’s alright Helga,” he said simply and forcefully, in a tone she could trust, “Rowena and Godric are down in the dungeons. Let’s go get them.” Helga breathed a sigh of relief. How could she doubt him? He was still the same Salazar she had always known: he would not doubt her. The two of them raced down to the dungeons, and they found Rowena and Godric very quickly.

“Godric,” began Salazar, his voice without emotion, “Petronilla is in the grounds. Adrian is all alone fighting her off. We need to help him.” Rowena nodded quickly and pulled her wand from her belt, whereas Godric paused for a moment, an angry flush of red on his face. It was clear he felt humiliated for being found to be wrong.

“Godric,” Salazar said again, this time a little more viciously, “this is no time for you and your bloody pride. We have to go.” Godric still hovered for a moment, but then he committed himself at a warning look of Rowena’s, and the four of them raced out of the little dungeon, to confront their most terrifying nemesis since the Battle of Alba.






Salazar’s heart hammered in his chest in spite of himself. Finally the Greatest Dark Wizard in the land had broken through Hogwarts defences and was here to claim her revenge. He was fascinated by her, but at the same time repulsed. She was the master of the Dark Arts that he understood deeply, even venerated. But she was going too far.

The skirmish had obviously moved into the seclusion of the forest, as they could hear yells and shouts from within. Helga led the way as the four of them hurried into the darkness, soon finding Adrian fighting for his life in a small clearing several yards into the forest. He had a nasty gash on his wand arm that was bleeding profusely, but he was still fighting. Salazar supposed that was what he admired about Adrian; his incredible loyalty.

They had not come alone: Ignotus, Cadmus, Rachel and Coventina were with them, their wands grasped tightly in their hands. Coventina’s face was deathly white but determined, as she obviously knew the extent of the power that Petronilla possessed. It was her expression that made Salazar the most terrified.

Adrian had knocked out one of Petronilla’s wizards and then taken to hiding behind a tree until back up came; shooting defensive spells from his position. Helga shot past Adrian and into the clearing, followed quickly by the rest of them as Salazar felt his heart beat quicken. Now was his chance to be the military hero he had always dreamed. Now was his chance to outdo Godric.

A wizard dressed in black shot a powerful curse at him that Salazar smartly dodged, shooting back a stunning spell, almost hitting Ignotus, who was at Salazar’s shoulder. These men were under Petronilla’s Imperious Curse, they could not be killed. Using a simple freezing charm, which effectively immobilized the man, Salazar began to push forward into the throng of people. He had no time to deal with this; he was aiming for Petronilla. If he took her out, he could become the hero that Godric could never hope to be.

Rowena was angrily duelling two of Petronilla’s men, while Godric was under fire from three. Adrian had leapt from his secure place to enter the fray and was now alongside Helga, desperately trying to reach Petronilla, but to no avail, as wizards were pounding on them from all directions. Petronilla herself stood behind the layers of human armour, laughing heartily every time it seemed Helga was failing. It made Salazar so angry. How could someone gloat over ruining a person’s life?

Cadmus was being cornered against a tree, attacked from all sides, while Rachel had been thrown to the ground by a brutish looking crony. Coventina looked like a woman possessed her rage incandescent as shot jinxes all over the place at every angle. Ignotus had already knocked out one man and was continuing to duel another. The men seemed to not be attacking Salazar with such force as the others.

He heard a cry of pain as there was a sound of an explosion. There was a man’s scream. Salazar briefly looked round, and in a moment he saw Rowena’s limp figure shooting through the air, away from a curse that one of the black hooded wizards had just launched. Her body crashed into a tree, and Godric had to dive in front of her to stop the attackers descending on her like animals.

Salazar just saw a jet of green light burst past his ear, and he knew he had to keep alert. He span round, stunning the man who had sent the curse at him, but after this was distracted as he noticed Godric running into the woods, Rowena in his arms. Swarms of wizards followed him, and Helga went in hot pursuit, furiously casting spells as she disappeared into the darkness of the forest.

Then another leapt towards Salazar, and he was fairly quick, his curse cutting a vicious line into Salazar’s cheek. Roaring with pain, Salazar staggered round, stunning him and causing him to fall to the ground like a dead weight. As he fell to the ground, the clearing turned into a chessboard in Salazar’s mind. As that meaningless pawn had been taken out, the path was opened to the Queen herself.

Petronilla stood yards away, not even looking in his direction, instead ordering some of her wizards to go after Helga into the woods. She was standing in the middle of a scrum of people who were ferociously fighting. It seemed the other’s had no clear aim at her, so Salazar was prepared to seize his chance.

There was only one curse that would do the job. From the years of studying the Dark Arts he knew the Killing Curse, the curse his friends were unprepared to use. By killing Petronilla, he would achieve everything he wanted to do in his life. Lifting his wand to point at her gloating face; he thought was this would mean to him. He would be Rowena’s hero. He knew that for it to work he had to want to do it, and he wanted to do it so badly.

“Avada Kedavra.”

But then the scene changed. Petronilla turned round and her eyes connected with his. Registering the flash of green light sailing towards her chest, she reacted quickly. Despite her advancing age, she was agile, and managed to slip gently to the side. Salazar’s eyes opened wide in horror as the curse missed her completely, and sailed into the shoulder of a man who was duelling behind her.

The force of the impact span the man’s body around, and the angle he fell at gave Salazar to glimpse his face as life washed away. It was like a candle had been blown out. His face, as he fell, was still flushed with his last triumph, and that only made the terrible shock that consumed Salazar all the worse.

It was Adrian.







I have felt so bad writing this when my lovely readers have been saying how much they liked Adrian. I want to tell you it was not a spur of the moment decision; unfortunately it has been Adrian's fate to die since the first moment he walked into my head.

Please review and tell me what you thought of it, it will make me so happy! Was Adrian's death good enough? And are Salazar's motives entirely clear?  I don't know how long the next one will be, but I will try to be as quick as possible. Next Time...Helga discovers the tragedy that has befallen her after the Battle...
 


Chapter 32: A Loved One Lost
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A Loved One Lost



Stunningly gorgeous image by illumination @ tda




On the day of the Battle of the Forbidden Forest; Helga thought her life was over. She had managed to flee the noise of the Battle with Godric, who had the unconscious Rowena in his arms. Helga had never seen brave Godric look so terrified the whole time she had known him. He kept running, his eyes fixed on the limp Rowena, even when they lost the crowd of Petronilla’s men in the myriad of trees.

He brought them to a halt by a little cluster of trees, with a tiny area to lay Rowena down in. Helga watched as Godric leant over Rowena, brushing her dark hair out of her beautiful white face, his tender fingers lingering to stroke her soft white cheeks. “Rowena,” he muttered imploringly, a sense of urgency in his hushed voice, “you must wake up! Please, we don’t have time! You’ve got to fight for yourself.”

The expression of utmost terror on Godric’s face stirred a memory deep inside Helga. There was Rowena, a little girl of barely eleven, screaming for help to stop her best friend being mauled by wolves. Cadmus would not be here today if it was not for Helga’s gift. Maybe, just maybe, she could do the same for Rowena as she had done for the dying little Cadmus so many years previously.

“Godric,” she said, placing one comforting hand on his heavy shoulder, “I can help, I just need you to move out of the way.” Godric hesitated for a moment, his troublesome pride flaring up for a moment, as if he did not want to leave Rowena’s side, but then he moved back silently, and allowed Helga to move into the spot next to Rowena.

Now was the time she had to implement everything she had learnt. She needed to feel her senses heightened, in a way that had happened very few times before. Her mind instantly drifted to Adrian, those plentiful times he had made her feel so loved and cherished. She thought of his kisses, and after a moment, she felt a glowing warmth come to her hands.

It flowed freely from her to Rowena, making Rowena’s skin shimmer as it moved from her torso to the rest of her body, slowly reaching Rowena’s eyes which fluttered open. Bleary eyed, she looked up, kissing Godric and then embracing Helga, all thoughts of the battle clearly washed from her mind. However, Godric instantly blurted, “we’ve got to go fight. The others are still battling Petronilla!”

“Are they alright?” questioned Rowena hurriedly, her eyes widening with concern, “is Salazar wounded?” Godric did not seem to be listening to Rowena’s stammering however, and he was pulling her to her feet, and hastened in jogging back towards the clearing where the battle had been. Rowena gave Helga a brief, petrified look before she ran after Godric, her dress billowing out behind her as she dashed out of Helga’s sight.

 








It was unexpectedly quiet in the clearing when they returned. The birds gentle chorus was the only sound that could be heard floating through the air. Hesitantly, Helga drew her wand, her hand shaking with apprehension. Petronilla’s wizards were gone. Then she heard a moan; a moan of utter despair. It turned into a sob; she could hear the tears rolling down cheeks. Rachel was walking towards her, her face white and tear stained.

“Rachel,” said Rowena, her voice hushed in concern, “what is wrong?” Although Rachel’s face had been blank, and her tears had stopped, they restarted suddenly as she crumped in on herself. Helga’s heart hammered in her chest. Whatever could be wrong? Godric and Rowena stood as still as statues, unable to say anything as they watched Rachel’s distress.

“Helga,” she stammered, tears falling down Rachel’s cheeks like the rain, “it’s Adrian.” Helga’s heart froze. Adrian? Nothing could have ever happened to Adrian. Adrian was immune to everything – Adrian was young, he had a whole life to lead. He was immortal, he was indestructible! Nothing, surely, could ever happen to him?

Her legs were running before Rachel was even able to say anything else. She shot past Rachel and soon spotted the collection of people standing in a secluded corner of the clearing. There was Coventina, Ignotus, Cadmus and Salazar in a small circle. The Peverell brother’s and Coventina stood huddled together, leaning on each other for support, but Salazar stood a little way away from them, his head in his hands.

Helga pushed past them her eyes suddenly locking on what they were looking at. Dropping to her knees, she let out a little gasp of utter horror. Adrian’s body was strewn on the grass, his limbs turned at odd angles as if he were a broken doll. No one had dared to touch him. Coventina was sobbing, her hands covering her eyes as she leant into her husband’s shoulder.

Helga’s tears came suddenly and sharply, as she clambered towards his body. She lifted his torso up onto her lap and brushed his tawny fringe out of his eyes. It was as if it was all some terrible dream. There was no way that he could be dead – he just couldn’t! His eyes were still open; his face still moulded into his last grin of triumph.

“Wake up,” whispered Helga, her voice raspy as the tears began to well in her eyes, “please Adrian. I can’t do it without you! Please, please, wake up!” Her tears poured down her cheeks as she pulled him closer, kissing his ice cold cheeks. Maybe some of her warmth would revive him, would make his eyes focus on her, the way they had so many times before. She would do anything to see him wake up.

“You have children Adrian!” she sobbed, knowing her words were futile, “they need you! They can’t live without their daddy!” She wanted someone to say something, to tell her everything would be alright. He was just asleep, and his ghostly appearance was a lie. How she wanted to wake from her living nightmare!

She bawled, screaming and shaking him, desperately trying to wake him. Her rage was huge. How could he leave her? How could he die? How could this happen? Adrian was cold and lifeless in her arms and the concoction of emotions in her heart made her scream with the injustice of it all. She kissed his forehead that still lingered with the heat of his blood. The pain overwhelmed her, but she found herself look up into Coventina’s tearstained face.

“How did it happen?” she thundered, her voice more aggressive than it had ever been. Nobody said anything as Rowena and Godric appeared by their sides, gazing down at Adrian’s prostrate body. The silence was too much for Helga. Why would no one tell her? Her fury came out instantly, “WHAT HAPPENED!” she bellowed, her shouts mixing with tearful sobs. The answer came sooner than she expected.

“It was me.”

They turned round as one, all gazing at the source of the voice, all staring in horror at Salazar. He had taken his hands away from his face, but he was not crying as they expected. His face was blank, but there was a hint of melancholy at the corners of his mouth, a slight hint of guilt in his eyes. Rowena was the only one who made a sound, and that was only a quiet intake of breath. The only other sound was the birds.

“It was an accident,” said Salazar slowly, trying to justify himself, “I didn’t mean to do it. I could think of only Petronilla, I was aiming at her! She moved out the way, and Adrian was standing behind her. I’m so sorry Helga, I did not mean to!” Helga was going to reply, but Godric cut her off, his voice steely and resolute. He stepped forward towards Salazar, with such a menacing glare on his face that Rowena had to grab his arm and hold back him back.

“In God’s name,” spat Godric viciously, his face reddening in a familiar sign of fury, “what spell did you use?” Salazar did not answer for a moment, but turned to face Godric head on.  Glowering, his top lip curled up into something resembling a snarl. He was instantly aggressive, and he took a step forward, puffing up his chest as he went. Rowena lifted a hand to try and part the two of them, but then Salazar stepped back again, his face blank again as he spoke about what he had done.

“The Killing Curse,” he said bluntly, “Avada Kedavra.” They all gasped in horror, but stood motionless, all except Godric, whose hand leapt to Salazar’s collar, grasping the expensive green silk in a tight fist. Forcefully, he jolted Salazar, his eyes like razor blades, his stare cutting into Salazar’s flesh. The latter showed no emotion; instead their green eyes met each staring the other down.

“You are so stupid!” thundered Godric, his voice cracking with sadness as he spoke, “that is the darkest of magic! It can corrupt every corner of your soul! It’s killed Adrian, your damn stupidity; it’s killed the man who took us in when we were nothing but vagabonds!” Angry tears were welling in Godric’s eyes as he spoke, but this did not stop Salazar attacking him with all the venom he could muster.

“If you had believed Helga,” he spat viciously, “and not cared so much about damn Northumbria, there would have been an army to keep Petronilla at bay. Adrian would not have even been here all on his own, fighting for us! His death is in your hands, Godric Gryffindor, and don’t you try to shake your guilt onto me!” Godric puffed up furiously, and he looked as if he was going to punch Salazar, but Rowena’s gentle voice stopped them both instantly.

“This is not the time for fighting,” she said quietly, wiping silvery tears from her cheeks as she spoke, “we’ve lost Adrian. Helga has lost Adrian. For once stop thinking about your stupid pride and think about what you’ve really lost. Adrian is dead, and there is nothing that either of you can do about it.”

They all turned back to Helga, who had just closed Adrian’s eyes with her fingers. Never again would she see those hazel eyes looking at her lovingly again. Never again would she hear his rough, humorous laugh. And never again would he say that he loved her, and she could never say it to him and know that he heard.

“Adrian.”

She let the tears come.

 






On the day of Adrian’s funeral; the people of Alba cried. Men, women and children, tradesmen and artisans, peasants and nobles, soldiers and priests lined the streets. The first of the great Hogwarts founders had fallen. They grieved that he had been murdered, by a jealous sorceress come to spite his wife. They all wore black, and it mixed with the dark grey of the sky that was heavy with rain.

The students of Hogwarts headed the procession to the chapel in which their Professor was to be buried. They carried flowers, but for Helga, their colours merged into one; they were black as the night. Following the students were Helga and Coventina, his closest relatives, on dark grey stallions. They too wore black. Coventina was sobbing all the way down the road, and Helga wanted to comfort her, but what could she say? Adrian was dead, and nothing would be alright ever again.

Behind them, on little ponies attended by groomsmen, were his children, Edward and Coventina, and his nephew Antioch. They all had tears stained faces, but nobody comforted them. Everyone was distraught, why were the children to be spared the pain? To Helga it felt as if the heart of Alba had been ripped out, and everyone around her were just ghosts, not realising they were dead without him.

Following his children were the Queen and Rachel, their heads bowed in respect. Both wore the very best of dresses, inky black silks, cold white diamonds and icy silver embroidered collars. However, while Rachel kept her hood up to shield her tears from the onlookers, Rowena wore her mother’s diadem and appeared as majestic and regal as ever. For once, Helga wished she would take it off.

Then came Adrian’s mahogany coffin. It had the badge of Hufflepuff, a badger, carved on top, and there was a wreath of white lilies just above where his hands would be. Below him, dressed in black, devoid of their usual colour, were the coffin bearers. At the front were Ignotus and Cadmus, looking almost identical in their matching outfits. Their faces were solemn, and there were tears glistening on Ignotus’ cheeks.

At the back stood Godric and Salazar. Fairly tall and similar in height, the two of them bore the weight on their shoulders. Both looked resolutely forwards, almost a glazed expression in their green eyes. Were they contemplating what they had done or were they silently cursing one another, putting the blame on the other’s shoulders, like they regularly moved the weight of Adrian’s coffin?

Soon they arrived at the ancient chapel. It was here that Helga had become Mrs Hufflepuff, and she inwardly cried when she thought of it. The streets had been lined with people that day, that sunny day ten years previously. They had smiled and congratulated her then, now they cried for her. The people entered the chapel, Helga dismounting her horse and taking her children by the hand, leading them inside.

Soon, she settled the students, and this was followed by the entrance of Rachel and Rowena, practically identical barring a glistening diadem as they walked into the chapel. They soon made way for the coffin bearers, who brought Adrian down to the front of the church, next to the priest. They placed him down, as gently as they could, as if he could still feel what they were doing, as if he were a baby they were laying in his crib. Walking in a line, the four of them squeezed next to her. Rachel and Coventina instantly leant on Ignotus’ heaving shoulders. All three of them were sobbing.

Rowena’s fingers were gently wrapped round Cadmus’ as the two of them gazed at the front of the chapel, silently watching as the priest came forward and started to talk in rapid Latin. They were children again, only finding comfort from the harsh world from each other. Godric stood beside them, his face white, and even though he was not crying, Helga could see the grief and pain in his eyes. However, Salazar stood as still, his face as passionless as ever.

Helga managed to keep the tears at bay as the priest said prayers for Adrian’s soul. Her children wailed, clinging at her skirts for some semblance of comfort, but she could offer them none. She felt dead inside, everything was numb. Adrian was gone, and she had absolutely nothing left to live for. But she did not cry, she had cried too much and her tears dried up like some barren desert.

It was not long before it was time for Adrian to be taken into the churchyard for burial, but only a select group of people were to witness it. The students left the church, huddling in groups to weep over the loss of one of the most popular and inspiring teachers. Without Adrian, Helga was not sure that those who survived would have the strength or resilience to continue with the school.

The coffin bearers stepped forward again, and, followed by the priest they bore Adrian out to the yard, followed by Coventina, Helga, Rowena, Rachel and the children. The willow trees leant over them, creating long shadows on the grass. Now, all the women and children, bar Helga herself were crying. For once, Helga felt utterly selfish. She had lost the most, she had lost the man she loved, and she had lost her partner in life. Only his sister and children had the right to cry other than her.

The hole to place Adrian’s coffin in was already dug, and there were already men waiting to lower Adrian into the ground. As the priest began to mumble more Latin, Helga watched in horror as Adrian’s coffin was trust up and slowly lowered into the ground. It was then that it hit her; he would be cold and alone in the dark ground, and she would never be able to hold him and tell him that everything would be alright, that she would be with him until the day they died, because they had finally reached that terrible moment.

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust,” murmured the priest, as the men who had lowered Adrian into the ground began to throw shovels of dirt onto him. Then Helga knew she couldn’t keep it in anymore. He was gone. When she was young she had thought she had lost him, but there was always a hope. This time it was final, it was finished. The dream of happiness with Adrian was over. She was no longer a married mother with a life ahead of her. She was a dead, forgotten widow, only thirty three years old.

“Adrian,” she sobbed falling to her knees, her red hot tears blurring her vision, “please don’t go!” As she cried, she did not notice that her skirts were becoming dirty and muddy. She did not care for anything other than the man she had lost. It was then that Rowena dropped to her knees, her beautiful dress becoming messy as well. For once, she too lost her decorum as she treated Helga like her child. She stroked Helga’s hair and wrapped her arm around her shoulder, and they cried together, finally equal in death’s eyes.

 






 

Weeks sped by, and Helga’s pain felt as fresh and acute as it had the day of Adrian’s death. She did not mark work, and instead indulged herself, eating and drinking as if it was the last day on the earth. Nobody tried to talk to her, and she kept herself to herself in her chambers. She poured over everything she had of Adrian’s; his letters, his clothes, even the papers he had been marking before his death, just so she could run her fingers over the neat little handwriting and imagine she was holding the warm hand that had written those words.

There was a knock at the door, and the noise shocked her so much she dropped the essay she was holding. Hurriedly picking herself up, she marched over to the door, pulling it open as quickly as she could, wiping away the tears that had been flowing down her cheeks and straightening her dress. She let in a little intake of breath when she saw who it was; it was Salazar.

He gave her one of his weak little half smiles before saying, “Oh, Helga, I’m so sorry.” Then before she could do or say anything, she felt him envelope her in a tight embrace which she reciprocated enthusiastically. It was so comforting to be held like this. He stroked her back as if she was a baby, and she sobbed into his shoulder. “I’m sorry for what I did,” he whispered into her ear, “it was an accident.”

“I know it was,” she cried, harder than she had cried since his funeral, “I don’t blame anyone. I just miss him so much. I want him to be here! He’s going to miss so much! He is not going to be here to see Coventina and Edward grow up!” Salazar did not say anything; he did not judge her, and the warmth of his body against her was the greatest comfort in the world. She broke apart from him when it felt natural, but she kept hold of his hand.

“So what have you been doing up here all on your own?” he asked, squeezing her hand gently. She gave him a little smile. She did not want to admit what crazy and ridiculous things she had been doing so she could pretend to have Adrian back, so she tried to distract his attention. Walking over to the mantelpiece, he followed her, and with her free hand she pointed at the little golden cup that took pride of place in the centre.

“That was Adrian’s,” she said, the tears again threatening to sting her eyes, “it was a family heirloom, but he gave it to me as a wedding present. See, it has the Hufflepuff Crest on it.” Salazar scanned it with his eyes, but only for a second, as Helga had burst into tears. She turned around, giving him a half-hearted smile.

“Do you mind if I’m left alone?” she sobbed, memories suddenly having rushed back at her, “it’s not that I don’t appreciate your company, it’s just…” Salazar gave her a quick nod, and kissed her quickly on the cheek. She was astounded at how generous and caring he had been. He turned away from her, suddenly shielding his face from her.

“I understand,” he said, pushing the door open with one hand, “I understand what it’s like to lose the person you love most in the whole world.” With that, he left Helga’s chambers, and she watched him go, silently puzzling over his final words to her.

 

 






 

 

Godric watched as Rowena fussed around over trivial things. She talked about organising a party, to remember Adrian, to help everyone cope. It may have been her way of coping, but it was not the way forward. She was just bandaging up the wound, but not dealing with the infection that festered beneath the flesh. To him there was only one course of action, only one way they could forget the past and move on, without this ominous black cloud that hung over their heads, like the threat of plague.

Salazar had to go.

He supposed the thought had been slowly dawning upon him for years. Now, Salazar stood for everything Godric despised; elitism, blood purity and the Dark Arts. Godric could only imagine what would happen if Salazar discovered that Alfhild Gryffindor had in fact been a Muggleborn. He would reveal it to everyone, even Rowena.

Halfbloods and Mudbloods were a touchy subject, even amongst the educated elite like Rowena. It was an ethical question whether Muggles and Wizards should mix. For Godric, all people were people, their blood and their souls joined them together, no matter if they could do a hovering charm. But he did not know where Rowena stood on the issue; although she tolerated halfbloods in her kingdom, would she be so accommodating to the man who shared her bed?

Salazar was becoming more dangerous by the day. It was clear he could now use Unforgivable Curses, and Adrian had paid dearly for it. Godric had to stand up for Adrian, see that his killer did not go unpunished, see that Helga and her children had some peace of mind that his murderer would not be able to maim or kill again.

Rowena’s voice suddenly came into sharp focus, “are you listening to me Godric?” she asked tersely, slamming herself into the seat next to him in annoyance. Godric turned to face her; now was not the time to be thinking of frivolous ways of lightening the mood in Alba when there was a way to cure all.

“Rowena,” he said gently, taking her hand in his, “I’ve decided what must be done.” She looked a little taken aback by this, and raised one sculpted eyebrow at him. Godric continued; he was sure she would speak her mind honestly when he had finished explaining all. He thought it best to give her a little smile as he pressed on.

“Salazar has to go,” he said, a little forcefully, “it has been coming on for years now. More and more opposition from him over his house to trivial issues and I am tired of it. Enough is enough, his dark magic and his plotting and scheming is far too much and I say he must leave. His home is not within Hogwarts’ walls anymore.”

Rowena’s pretty mouth dropped open in shock. She pulled her hands away from him, a grey cloud crossing her face as she stood up, folding her arms in anger. “How can you say that Godric? Salazar has just lost his way. He is full of remorse for what he did and he may find redemption yet. His home is here, with us, like it has always been. He is your friend just as he has always been, and you cannot give up on him just when the going gets a bit tough!”

Godric leapt to his feet, his temper flaring up as he usually did. Why did it seem she was always trying to undermine his authority when it came to Salazar? “No friend of mine would discriminate on the basis of birth, no friend of mine would use dark magic and no friend of mine would murder someone he considered a brother!”

“How can you be so hypocritical!” she moaned, her voice rising in volume, “you, the Warrior Prince of Alba, flitting around fighting wars whenever you fancy. He stays here while you go off and live your dreams of playing generalissimo and killing people and he is a pillar of this school and of this kingdom that you cannot just pull away without everything crumbling!”

“Oh,” bellowed Godric, pointing an angry finger at her, “here we go again! Salazar can do everything I cannot! Just because he is efficient, it does not mean what he is doing is right! In case you have forgotten he murdered Adrian!” There were glistening tears in her eyes as she spoke next, her voice husky.

“Don’t use that word!”

“But it is true!” shouted Godric, flinging his arms to the sides, a laugh in his voice, “he murdered him! He lifted his wand and used the Killing Curse and Adrian died! Helga is a widow and his children are fatherless! He needs to be punished for what he has done! I want him out of the castle by tomorrow! This is no longer a place for him.”

In case you have forgotten,” mocked Rowena viciously, “You are not in charge here. I am. I am the Queen, and you only have power as long as I say you have power. This may be your school, but this is my kingdom, and you cannot exile someone without my say! He is staying, and that is the final word on the subject!”

With that, she span round and stormed out of the chambers and away from Godric. He silently watched the door through which she had just left. When he was seventeen, he thought everything would have been wonderful if she was just part of his life. Now he was thirty three and knew that she was slipping from his fingers, and his life would be empty and black if she was gone.

 






 

She could feel the warm body next to her in bed. Godric was snoring, and Rowena could not sleep for anything. She had edged away from him and was balanced precariously on the edge of the bed, pulling the scrap of cover over her that she could wrench from Godric’s grasp. But at the same time, she was glad he was snoring, because he could not hear her tears.

Rowena was not entirely sure why she was crying, but all she could think of was Salazar. Fleeting thoughts of that single kiss she had shared with him many years previously floated to the surface of her mind. He had been gentle, whereas Godric was rough and heavy. He was quiet and calculating, whereas Godric was loud and impulsive. He was studious and patient whereas Godric learnt from experience and was brash.

Salazar was the ice to Godric’s fire. Godric was the day to Salazar’s night. Rowena knew she could not live without them both by her sides. Each of them commanded part of her, and it pained her so to think that they would fight and wound each other when once they had been such close friends, almost brothers.

Pressing her eyes shut, she tried to let Godric’s rhythmic snoring soothe her as she pulled her cover over her, and thinking of how young Artemisia was learning simple spells and was progressing very well, she eventually lulled herself into a restless sleep.

 






I was having such a hard time writing this chapter that I decided the best thing to do would be to split it in half. I suppose the next chapter will focus more on the more minor characters and their reaction to Adrian's death. I hope you liked it. PLEASE tell me what you think in a lovely review! Who do you think is really to blame for Adrian's death? Salazar for casting the spell? Godric for not trusting Helga? Or Bonne for stealing the letter? Or someone else entirely! I will try to be as quick as I can with the next chapter! Next Time...Bonne and Guillaume come to blows over the final steps of their plan as Ignotus and Coventina make a momentus decision...
 


Chapter 33: The Power Behind the Throne
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The Power Behind the Throne

 

 

 








Wonderful new chapter image by aim.moon @ tda

 

 

 






On the day the Malfoy’s argued, old friends left the school. Bonne lay on the sedan in her chambers that evening, twirling her sparkling engagement ring on her finger and smiling to herself. Everything was going wonderfully. It would not be long before Salazar made her his wife, she could see that, and she also knew it would not be long before Salazar would have toppled the other Founders and taken over the school, and even Alba itself.

Then she would no longer be a widow who had to scrape and steal for everything she had in her life. She would be a Queen, and she could reform the Wizarding World exactly the way she wanted to. She chuckled at the thought of it; stupid, gullible and easily led Salazar would take her to the pinnacle of human achievement. And it had all been so easy.

Salazar had fallen at her feet like a little lovesick dog. It was laughable that he was one of the most powerful wizards in the world and he had not been able to withstand a little sex appeal. The Founders were willingly tearing themselves apart. Rowena and Godric were barely looking at each other anymore, and Helga was inconsolable over Adrian’s death, hardly a formidable opponent.

Adrian’s death was regrettable, as it was not part of the plan she had slowly been clicking into place over the last few years, but it was only the means to an end. He had been an obstacle these last couple of years; he had been the paternal father-like figure to these orphans who had stopped them warring with each other by keeping the tension to a minimum. Now he was gone, there was a whole can of worms that were just going to burst open, Bonne was sure of it.

The door opened suddenly as Guillaume strode into the room, his arms laden with papers. He threw them down on the table and then laid back into his chair, not looking at his sister. Bonne had to admit this was rather an unexpected problem that had cropped up; Guillaume was not so willing an accomplice now things had got a little messy.

“Where have you been brother?” she asked nonchalantly, continuing to gaze at her ring, only talking to make a highly unnecessary conversation. His enthusiasm for the plan had gone, so now they could not even talk about Mudbloods and Halfbloods and their own purity. He did not even enjoy discussing their noble ancestry. She gazed at him with her cold grey eyes, and he turned to face her, a sense of sadness on his face.

“Helga is inconsolable,” he said pointedly, gazing at her in the most intense way he ever had, “you’ve ruined everything Bonne. Part of the deal was that we did not hurt anyone. What we are doing does not justify the death of a man, and a man that Helga loved so much!” Bonne gave an exasperated sigh, before standing up and leering over her brother.

“I thought you hated Adrian!” she snarled, pacing around him, “I thought you wanted your revenge on him for stealing Helga away from you! I thought that getting revenge on the both of them was what this was all about!” Guillaume stayed rooted in his chair as Bonne continued to circle round him like a bird hunting down its prey.

“I do…I did…but not to the extent that I wanted to see him dead! I wanted to play with hearts – not with lives! But you, you do not care who you stomp over and hurt, you will get what you want no matter who you destroy. Like Salazar, you are going to break his heart! You are going to make him miserable.”

Bonne was riled, “Salazar is just a means to an end. I will have a powerful husband and he will bring down the school. Don’t you see that now is the perfect time to strike? With the grief over Adrian, emotions will be heightened, and none so much as hate. Godric and Salazar did not like each other before this; now they have gone beyond that. Now they loathe each other because they blame the other for Adrian’s death. Can’t you see what I’ve done is helping us!”

“Helping?” spluttered Guillaume, a look of incredulity on his pointed face, “how on earth can you be making it sound like a good thing? Adrian was a good man, he was a Pureblood! There is nothing in this world that justifies his death Bonne! Not even our plan! For this, for this terrible thing you have done Bonne, I am sure there is no redemption for you! I am sure you are going to hell!”

Her grey eyes flickered with fear for a moment, but then she composed herself. She was working towards a higher cause; she would not be punished for her actions. “Brother,” she whispered, the whisper of a threat colouring her tone, “those are dangerous words not to be used lightly. If I am going down, you are coming down with me. You are the one who brought be here, and you have been complicit in the whole plan. If I go to hell, so are you, Brother.”

He watched her for a moment, before saying, “Is this what it has come to Bonne? My own sister blackmailing me to keep me on her side? If those are the depths you have sunk to achieve your aims, you are no sister of mine anymore.” She gave him a ferocious stare, but he ignored her, and turning on his heel he exited the little room, leaving Bonne totally alone.

 

 

 

 

 








It was the first Saturday after Adrian’s funeral, and therefore, the first day in which Salazar did not have something to take his mind off his sadness. He lay in his bed, his mind whirring with incoherent fears. Adrian was dead, and nothing would ever be the same again. The youthful dreams they had made together were extinguished. They were now old men.

The door to his room clicked open and Salazar looked up curiously. Bonne was strolling into the room carrying a tray laden with food. Her face was alight with sympathy, and Salazar was suddenly glad for the company. She was the only person in the world who had ever understood him, who thought the same way as him. She would not be judgemental.

“I brought you some breakfast,” she said cheerily, perching herself on the end of the bed while handing the tray to Salazar. Until that moment her had not noticed how hungry he was, and tucked into his food like a starving animal. She watched him for a moment until her face flooded with concern.

“Salazar,” she said coaxingly, stroking one of his legs through the sheets, “are you alright? You look slightly ill!” Salazar gazed at her and smiled. She really was the most caring and considerate person he knew, and was thankful every day that soon he would be able to call her his wife. Her eyes washed over him concernedly, so much so that he knew he could not lie.

“Guilt,” he said sadly, pressing his hand just above his heart, “does it ever go away? Do you ever gain redemption for what you do in life?” Bonne looked at him in utmost confusion, so Salazar continued to speak, “I killed Adrian, one of my best friends, will the burden of his death ever leave me?” At this she shook her head.

“Salazar,” she cajoled, “it’s not your fault. It never was your fault. Yes, you were the one who cast the spell, but you were aiming for Petronilla, not Adrian. It was Godric’s fault. He was the one who refused to release men from the army to protect them as he did not believe Helga. It is him that has to carry Adrian’s death on his shoulders forever more, not you!”

Salazar sighed and laid back down on his pillows. It was true that what Godric had done had made the whole thing much more dangerous. It also showed how suspicious and untrusting he was. He did not even believe Helga’s word. All he cared about anymore was the power he had as Prince Consort, and the fact that he had got one of the most powerful women in the world wrapped round his little finger. It made Salazar sick!

Rowena was too blind to see the truth. While she was presenting the image of being firmly in Helga’s camp – one of absolute neutrality – it was true that she secretly supported Godric. After all, she did still get into Godric’s bed every night. They had children together, and although Bevan, Helena and Artemisia spent their time with an entourage of attendants and tutors, their royal parents still occasionally saw them. That also annoyed Salazar, if he was lucky enough to have three children with the wonderful Rowena, he would see them every day and love them more than life itself.

He had almost forgotten that Bonne was there, until she pushed the tray of food closer to him, “Eat Salazar, you have nothing to feel bad about. You must not let Godric’s guilt rub off on you.” Salazar nodded, and began to nibble the corner of the hunk of bread that was sat on a plate. It was at this that Bonne began to talk, her voice smooth, almost like a lullaby.

“Salazar,” she cooed, “you must not let Godric push you out of your claim to this school. Remember, it was you that encouraged Helga to pursue this idea. He initially abhorred it. He has eventually taken over this school; seducing Rowena, subduing Helga and Adrian’s voices. Only you stood up to his tyranny, and these unfortunate circumstances must not prevent you from continuing to rebel against him.”

Salazar dropped his bit of bread curiously. Bonne’s face was flushed with passion, and she continued breathlessly, “You must make your feelings known! You must confront him!” Salazar thought she had gone slightly mad. It was probably the upset of Adrian’s death that was making her a little delirious. She was a very delicate woman after all.

“Bonne,” he said weakly, “this is no time to confront Godric about anything!” Bonne however, seemed to think it was, and she grabbed his hand, knocking the breakfast tray off his lap in her fervour. Her eyes were wide, almost with desperation as she squeezed his hand, a demented look contorting her beautiful face.

“I can help you!” she spoke, her voice breathless, “I know things that can help you above all things. Together we can bring Godric down; together you will be able to get everything you want!” Salazar sat up and put his hand on her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her, to reassure her that everything was alright.

“Bonne, I can’t. Now is not the time.” She froze, her grey-blue eyes fixed firmly on him. It was clear her mind was whirring, but he could not tell what she was thinking. As ever she was totally unreadable. Then she broke her eye contact and looked down at her hands, playing with her engagement ring as she went.

She nodded sadly, “I know, it must be the mood around this place. I am getting delirious.” She stood up, a contented smile on her face as she turned away from him. “I must go and get ready myself,” she said as she walked towards the door. When she reached it she blew him a kiss, and Salazar couldn’t help but feel a hot blush rise in his cheeks.

“I will see you later,” she smiled as she exited the room, shutting the door tightly behind her. He watched the door for a moment, almost willing her to come back. Bonne was the most gentle and wonderful woman he knew, she was his fiancée, the one he would be pledging himself to for all time. She was his beautiful rose without a thorn, and she would never hurt him.

Not like Rowena with her secret smiles and her one enthralling kiss that she had deigned to bestow upon him all those years ago. Bonne was not a tantalising mystery like Rowena, who was a force of good in the world, a figure who stood for the protection of magical people from everywhere. How could anyone ever compare to the fair Rowena?

As he nibbled on his bread he resolved to clear his mind of thoughts of her. She manipulated and controlled by Godric like everyone else here. If he could just free her from the chains that bound her so tightly, causing her to bleed, he knew she would be his forever. He sighed and pushed the thoughts out of his mind. Today, mundane trivialities would take over, not grand dreams of Rowena finally being in his arms.

 

 

 

 

 










Bonne marched angrily back up to her room. Not only was Guillaume being an insufferable fool, Salazar had actually refused to do something she had suggested. It was infuriating, and she stomped up to her bed and threw herself upon it, letting out a mighty thump, her hair and dress billowing out as she did so.

Salazar’s independence was scaring her. For her plan to succeed, she needed him totally under her control, and some days, it seemed as if he was. He would be loving and attentive, dedicated solely to her. Other days, however, he seemed distant and drawn, as if he was torn away from her by someone else, looking for another life.

He had not taken her advice on Godric, and it worried her. What could she possibly do to make sure that Salazar would do what she wanted? Then suddenly, she remembered. She crawled towards the drawers next to her bed, and slowly opened the top one, pulling out a folded piece of parchment that lay within.

She unfurled it slowly. This was her weapon. If she used it at the exact right time then she would be able to unravel Godric and the whole school with him. Salazar would be furious when he read this letter, but she was sure it was not quite the right time to use it. She had had it for a long time now, but the correct moment had never come, and she read it with the same enthusiasm as she had the first time.

Dear Mademoiselle Malfoy,

            I was interested to read your letter. It is true, my brother Godric has been a thorn in my side for many years, and I would like for him to get a taste of his own medicine, for him to feel the pain he has put my mother and I through, so of course I will assist you.

            You inquired about secrets he had. I will start with one that could significantly damage his relationship with my wife, the famous Rowena Ravenclaw. He has, in fact, entered into a secret betrothal with one Kristiana Eriksson, the daughter of our castle herald. The aforementioned Kristiana is now dead, dying in childbirth several years ago, but it still warrants a significant betrayal of dear Rowena’s trust. Throughout this period he was also a notorious womanizer, a habit that I conjecture he did not give up in later years.

            The second secret is that he is a thief. The sword that he carries around his belt was destined for me, as the son and heir of my father, but Godric manipulated our poor sick father into handing over his most precious heirloom, leaving myself and my mother quite disheartened. I long for the return of the sword from that unworthy thief.

            His third secret is the most terrible of all, and I’m sure if you were to make it known it would lead to the end of his career and his expulsion from Alba. As you know, our father, the Almighty Leif Ravenclaw, God rest his soul, was married to my noble mother, the Lady Mikayla, and I was the only lawfully begotten heir of his body. Godric was born of a sordid relationship between my misguided father and a woman named Alfhild Gryffindor.

            Alfhild Gryffindor was one of the most infamous women in Svalbard. She had misguidedly been accorded the position of medicine woman by my grandfather, and during the period became involved in all sorts of Dark Arts, including the enticement of my father away from my faithful and loving mother. Her evil spells and potions resulted in Godric’s birth, which took place a few hours after my own.

            Most scandalously of them all, Alfhild Gryffindor was an orphan when she came to the notice of my grandfather; her parent’s having died in a terrible house fire. Her parents were common tanners in the Muggle district of Svalbard, making Alfhild herself a Mudblood. I am sure that when she first arrived in my grandfather’s service she did not have any magical powers, but instead stole her wand from a real wizard. This shameful heritage of Godric’s of course means that he himself is a halfblood, and his unwillingness to share this secret ultimately proves his guilt.

            I hope I have enlightened you,

            Harald, Jarl of Svalbard

 

She had to wait for the ideal moment to give this to Salazar. At the moment, he would accuse her of consorting with the enemy. She had to wait until the tension blazing with a cursed fire to hand this letter to Salazar. She had to wait for him to be so furious with Godric that he would overlook her schemes and see what Godric was doing. She had to wait for the right moment to push Salazar over the cliff.

 

Standing up, she thought she would distract herself for the day, so she walked into her office and stowed the precious letter in the topmost drawer of her desk, securing it with an advanced locking spell. She did not want to think of her plans for the school for a moment, but instead enjoy her day. She planned to go into the Hogsmeade district of Alba as it was now known, notable for its beautiful silks. She needed to find a wedding dress after all.

 

 

 

 

 








The sanctity of night brought a hushed silence across Alba. Guillaume knew it was time to act. He knew his sister, and all the protection she would put up, and so had managed to sneak into her room and take the letter, the precious letter of Maud’s whose absence had cost Adrian his life. He knew what to do as he pocketed it.

Along the dark winding passages of Hogwarts Castle he met no one. Not a sneaking student or a frantic teacher. It was quite unnerving, but seemed the perfect setting for what he was going to do. It was, he thought, the right thing, however right betraying your only sibling could be. Bonne would never forgive him for this, but it was a sacrifice he had had to make. She had gone too far.

Out of all the people he could see he knew it must be her. Only Helga may be sympathetic. The years he had known made him understand that she was the most forgiving person he had ever met. It was only right that he should betray Bonne to her, and not leave his sister in the jaws of the vicious and snarling Rowena and Godric. She would never get redemption from them.

He soon reached her chambers. They were bolted tight just as he expected. Helga rarely wanted to see anyone anymore. Her grief pushed her into isolation, fulfilling her duties to the school then hurrying her back to her room to sit in solitude, only allowing Adrian’s precious children to come close. That was why he had to wake her up, to make her see that her grief was getting her nowhere when others were willing to tear her dreams for the school apart.

He knocked briskly, rushing so he would not become afraid and back down. From behind the door he heard footsteps, and then the clicking of the bolts coming undone. The door swung open to reveal Helga. Although it was very early in the morning, she was not yet in her nightwear, and the room was still lit by candlelight, making it evident that she had not gone to sleep.

Helga looked at him irritably, “what do you want Guillaume?” As he looked down at her, something registered in his mind, making him hesitate before replying. Helga did not look as she once had. Gone was the svelte figure that had so entranced him when he had first laid eyes on her, replaced by a rounded, heavy set frame forged by motherhood, and supported by grief. Her eyes were tired and drawn, and there were wrinkles appearing on her face. There were even flecks of grey in her curly blonde hair.

The epiphany hit him like a tonne of bricks. All the love he had for Helga was gone. The girl he had desired and chased once had disappeared into time, replaced by this dour stout lady. She vaguely reminded Guillaume of his wife, Lady Heloise. It struck him that his entire motivation was not to reclaim his love, but to bring revenge on Helga and Adrian. He suddenly felt ashamed of himself; he was an adult pureblood wizard who should not be acting like a petulant child. It pushed him to speak.

“I need to speak to you,” whispered Guillaume directly, “it’s urgent.” Helga paused for a moment, but then widened the door, allowing him to step into the room. The room, once full of light and the happiness of an expectant mother and wife was dark and brooding. Shadows danced along the wall in a way that Guillaume was convinced they had not done before.

“Guillaume,” sighed Helga, “what is so important that could not wait until the morning?” Guillaume did not wait a moment to react; he stepped forward and held out the letter, his sister’s secret that would probably lead to her disgrace and ruin. It was extreme and a dangerous game, but he knew what he was doing was the right thing.

Helga’s eyes alighted on the sight of the letter, and she extended a hand forward. “What is this?” she mumbled, knowing full well what it was. She ripped it open mumbling the words written there, “it is so difficult for me…she is coming for you…I know Adrian loves you dearly…you must protect him at all costs.” The tears were welling in her eyes, but she wiped them away furiously.

“Why do you have this?” she growled venomously, “this could have saved Adrian’s life. If it wasn’t taken from my table then Adrian would still be alive!” She was pointing an accusatory finger at him, her lip wobbling as she looked at Maud’s letter. Guillaume was sure it only highlighted her own failures to her more than ever.

“It was Bonne,” he said slowly, at which her eyes dawned in comprehension, “you told her about the letter as you rushed to find the other founders. She snuck into your office as you left and took it from under your nose, before running to find Salazar as you requested. Bonne is good at hiding her emotions, so you would have never suspected her.”

“But why?” sobbed Helga, her voice cracked and broken, “why in God’s name would she do something so terrible? Now Adrian’s dead doesn’t she feel any guilt at all? What is that important to drive her to ruin lives like that?” The desperate look in Helga’s eyes signalled to Guillaume that he had to tell her, he had to tell her Bonne’s whole plan.

“I came here,” he began slowly, “with the purpose of getting some justice for what I thought was a slight,” Helga blinked in shock, but Guillaume continued, “When Bonne arrived, she was just looking for a home, and was keen on helping me get my revenge on you and Adrian. But then it morphed into something different. She has big ideals. At first she wanted a pureblood school, and now a pureblood Alba. You have to understand, Salazar was the key.”

Helga did not say anything, so Guillaume continued, “I went along at first, but she became more and more power hungry, while I realised my appetite for revenge was not as big as her ambition. She wanted the world. And Salazar, he was already discontent with his lot, already seething at his treatment by Godric and Rowena and ripe for exploitation by my sister. Taking this letter was just another step in the plan, to throw more fuel onto the fire for Salazar’s hatred for Godric. She didn’t want Adrian dead but…her ambition…was monstrous.”

She froze her eyes wide as Guillaume continued, “she wants to use Salazar to rip down the school. She is manipulating him into turning against Godric. You have got to do everything in your power to stop her. You must make Salazar see the errors of his ways, break of his engagement with her if need be. Helga, your dreams are ruined if you do not act!”

Guillaume watched as she stared at him, then spoke, her voice low. “Why are you doing this Guillaume? You wanted your revenge on Adrian and I, I thought you would be glad at his death. Why have you essentially betrayed your sister this way?” Her eyes were full of confusion and pain, something he rarely saw on bonny Helga’s face, at least not before Adrian’s death.

“Because what she is doing is wrong!” said Guillaume forcefully, “she is capitalising on his death, something that should never be done!” He sighed heavily and then put a hand on Helga’s shoulder and shook slightly. He needed to convince her. To his surprise she did not flinch. “Heed my warning, Helga. Do not let Bonne outwit you the way she has done to many others.”

Pivoting on the spot, he turned to face the door and marched out the room, determined not to say any more to Helga, leaving the letter, and the fate of the school, in her hands. But she spoke, her voice gentle, “you will be protected for this Guillaume. I will protect you from any storm that is coming.” He turned round and gave her a brief smile, silently assured in his actions, before turning away and leaving the room.

 

 

 

 

 








The next morning dawned bright and early, and Godric decided he did not want to be cooped up in the castle any longer. It was becoming more and more like a gilded cage, and his glittering life was suffocating. There were days when he longed to have no responsibility, to be free as the wind, fighting dragons with Rachel, Salazar and Adrian. But those days were gone, and they were never to come back.

He left Rowena asleep, wrapped up in her blankets, as he changed hurriedly and made for the door. He needed some and air and some peace of mind. Leaving without waking her, he padded out into the open grounds. The cool air hit his face and shocked him awake. He always felt tired and groggy now. It was the daily stress of life in Hogwarts castle. No longer was it some idealistic youthful dream, but a realistic living hell.

It was only then that he spotted something. Over by the Peverell’s old house, adjacent to the stables, was a cart laden with belongings. Furniture, books, papers, clothes, children’s toys and magical equipment were all piled up high, and he could see a silhouetted figure heaping more and more on top. Squinting, Godric changed his directly and jogged down to the Peverell’s, his curiosity overtaking him.

“Godric!” came a gleeful childish voice. Antioch Peverell ran toward him, his arms wide and Godric lifted him up and span him around. The boy screamed in laughter as Godric put him down, then suddenly shouted, “are you coming with us Godric? And what about Uncle Cadmus and Aunt Rachel, and Aunt Helga and Queen Rowena?”

Godric looked at the little boy bemusedly for a moment. Where was he going? Where was Ignotus planning on taking his family? And most of all, why were the Peverell’s leaving? As Godric and Antioch drew nearer the house Godric saw Ignotus loading up the cart, with Coventina having emptied their internal quarters, was now ransacking their abandoned house.

“Ignotus, Coventina,” called Godric. Ignotus looked up, shielding his eyes from the early morning sun. He gave a reserved little smile as Godric stepped forward; close enough to finally talk to him. “What is going on?” asked Godric, trying to keep his composure. Had things finally got too much for them? Had the constant tension and Adrian’s death finally pushed them away?

“We are leaving Godric,” said Ignotus resolvedly, as Coventina hovered by the door. She stepped into the light, before moving next to Ignotus, taking his hand as she gave Godric a resolved stare. It fleetingly reminded Godric of Adrian. Godric could not quite comprehend what they were saying. It was if it were all some elaborate joke.

“Why?” questioned Godric, his eyes moving from Coventina’s peaky resolute expression, to Ignotus’ teary one. It was as if the foundations of Hogwarts were slowly being eroded away by a river, first Adrian, quickly followed by Coventina and Ignotus, fleeing the carnage that was just waiting to happen fearing if they looked back they would be turned into a pillar of salt.

“Why?” said Coventina, half laughing, half crying, “Hogwarts is not what we dreamed it to be. Adrian is dead, and the memory of him lingers here. The students miss him so, and Helga is half the woman she once was. Even Rachel cannot give us a smile anymore. The lifeblood of this place left when Adrian died…and I can’t…I can’t…”

She dissolved into a fresh bout of tears, collapsing onto Ignotus’ shoulder. “Look Godric,” said Ignotus consoling, picking up the train of Coventina’s words, “the memories here are too strong, for the both of us, and it does not mean we do not care for you all deeply. It’s just that Hogwarts is no longer a home for us, and it is time to move on.”

Godric could not help but feel a shiver run up his spine. He himself had been experiencing those exact same sentiments recently. Home was no longer by Rowena’s side, with his children and friends around him. His life was fracturing, in a way that the loss of Kristiana to his seventeen year old self had been. Sometimes, the call of the open road was just too strong and maybe the love of his friends and family was not enough to counter his instincts.

“Where will you go?” asked Godric cautiously, looking from one to the other. There were not many safe places for Wizarding Families anywhere he knew. Maybe they would live a reclusive life on the outskirts of a Muggle Village. Yes, he could see that being the perfect place for Ignotus, Coventina and Antioch, wanting to forget their pasts, never having to explain themselves to anyone.

“The Hollow,” said Ignotus quickly, “it is a farmstead down south. It was in the possession of Sir Bedevere when he married my mother, and as his only two children died it was entailed to Cadmus and I. We have joint ownership. As Cadmus is staying here, he will not begrudge us the lodging.”

Godric could see there was nothing to do to dissuade them but suddenly Coventina spoke, having lifted her head from Ignotus’ shoulder. “If it ever gets too much,” she said, looking up at the looming grey castle, “living here, you are always welcome with us. The reasons for us leaving have nothing to do with you or Salazar,” she paused briefly, “or Rowena or Helga.”

It was clear from her pause that their reasons for leaving were to do with the increased hostilities between Salazar and himself, but he did not like to rebuke them, seeing the warmth in their eyes. “I will help you pack,” he said, almost mechanically, “then you can get on the road south before the real traffic starts.”

And together, they finished loading the cart and as Ignotus began to drive his family away, off into a new life, Godric was the only one to see them go. However, as they disappeared into little specks on the horizon, Godric had the strangest feeling this would not be the last time he would see the Peverell’s.

 

 

 

 

 








Hooray! I finally finished this chapter...I'd been getting real writer's block with this story, so had done a bit more on some of my other's, but I finally got it done. The next chapter may take a while as I've got a busy life at the moment but I assure you it is the BIG one that you have all been waiting for.

In the run up to the next chapter, I want to ask you who you think the best villain is in Legendary, your choice is: Lady Mikayla, Harald, Queen Emma, Petronilla, Maud Penny, Lord Guy, Guillaume or Bonne (or anyone else you think is particularly villanous). Also please tell me who your favourite good guy is - it helps me get the inspiration to get this story written!!! Please tell me in a lovely review! Next Time...Bonne puts the final stage of her plan into action...

Katti x
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 34: The Day of Reckoning
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The Day of Reckoning



Beautiful new image by (sol) @ tda




On the day that Helga’s dream ended, Salazar left the school. It was a bitterly cold afternoon, and the wind howled along the empty corridors. It was like a crypt. The students looked blank and uninspired, tired with the end of the day, reduced to flitting around like ghosts. The teachers kept their heads down, not daring to look the formidable Salazar Slytherin in the eye as he stamped his way towards the Founders Meetings.

For some unknown reason, Salazar had awoken early that morning in a biting mood, even snapping at Bonne as she tried to greet him. He had apologised after as he knew it was not her that was causing his discontent. In reality, it was this Founders Meeting. It was the first to be held after Adrian’s death and he knew the weight of guilt and unsaid fears had weighed on his shoulders all day.

On arrival, he discovered that he was the third Founder to arrive, and he was two minutes early. It was clear that the others present were trying to avoid an argument. Helga sat at her usual seat, looking determinedly at her hands, which were reddening as she wrung them. Rowena sat opposite her, a stack of papers in front of her. They were laws, and essays to mark, and Alban accounts. They were everything she had that would be successful in distracting her from the undercurrent of grief.

On his arrival, Rowena gave him a brief smile of greeting, and then went back to her paperwork, her scratching quill the only sound in the little room. Salazar took his seat, and pulled his wand from his belt, carefully twirling it in his fingers. It felt warm in his hand, and nobody commented on his actions, so he continued to do it. He knew it could be seen as a threatening gesture.

Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.

Rowena continued to write hurriedly, not daring to lift her pretty head for twenty whole minutes. The tension was gradually building, and Salazar could feel the knot tightening in his stomach. Adrian’s empty seat drew Salazar’s eyes towards it, but he tried to look away. Godric’s entrance was so widely anticipated; it seemed so much had happened in such a short space of time. Ignotus and Coventina had fled after all, fearful of the reprisals from Adrian’s death.

The door burst open, and Godric appeared dressed in all the regalia of his position. He had a silken tunic, silken stockings, with ermine embroidering his thick cloak. Harlequin colours decorated his outfit, but red and gold defined him most clearly. His lion emblem had been carefully embroidered onto his cloak, and the ruby rings on his fingers caught the light as he strode into the room.

The sight of him disgusted Salazar.

Gone was the genuine warm man who had been his best friend, his trusted ally, his brother even on their adventures. Gone was the excitable, chivalrous youth who did not have a care in the world. In his place stood a middle aged man who had expanded round the middle and now styled his hair. The power had gone to his head, and the love of a woman who was all too willing to give him everything he desired had glutted him on wealth. Her black love had corrupted him.

“You’re late,” said Salazar tersely, trying not the let his annoyance overcome him, but Godric seemed to ignore him as he sat down in his ordinary seat. His green eyes lingered briefly on Adrian’s empty chair, but then he began to talk loudly, not daring to look at Helga, who had clearly see his quick gaze towards the ominous presence of Adrian’s absence.

“What’s on the agenda then this afternoon,” asked Godric hurriedly, turning to Rowena so he could look away from the elephant in the room. She acted quickly, rummaging through her piles of parchment until she brought out the immaculate sheet that she always prepared for these meetings. Today, there were only a few points. It was clear she did not want to stay long.

“The first item is the budget for the school this year,” she said, wrinkling her nose ever so slightly, “we need to discuss what percent of  the Alban budget should go to the school.” In normal years, it had been 10 percent. This went towards upkeep of the castle, hiring the teachers, looking after the students, the inevitable search for pupils and the never ending defence of the castle. Salazar thought he saw Helga opening her mouth to offer the suggestion of “ten percent again” but Godric trammelled over her.

“It needs to be reduced,” he said authoritatively, “we cannot keep spending lavish sums of money on the school when there is a war to fight. At the moment, only twenty-five percent of the Alban budget is going towards the war in Northumbria, it needs far more than that. I am talking thirty-five percent. We should not take the money entirely off the school, but cut the budget down to five percent. Do you all agree?”

Salazar opened his mouth instantly in anger, “you can’t do that! The school needs this money! Haven’t you realised how much this operation costs Godric? We can’t just keep throwing money at your pet project in Northumbria. You should pay for it out of your own pocket, not the royal coffers! If anything you should withdraw from Northumbria!”

Godric let out a derisive hoot of laughter before turning back to Salazar, his lip curled into a snarl. “Pull out of Northumbria?” he said incredulously, “you have no idea how important controlling Northumbria is! It will protect us indefinitely! There will be no chance of an invasion from down south with Northumbria subdued!”

“It is not helping any of us! The school will be our lasting achievement, not some meaningless military victory. We need to find more students, more books, more teachers and some of the castle is not suitable for being a school. We need to rebuild and remodel. I, for example, would like one library, not fifteen separate ones with all the books we need all over the place! And the dormitories are in terribly bad shape, we must rework them. If you reduce our budget to five percent, how can we ever improve?”

“I…” began Godric, before suddenly realising what he said and corrected himself, “Rowena has been giving this school too much money for years! It’s time we saw sense again. This school is not the be all and end all. It is just part of the services that Alba offers, and for me, the protection of Alba’s citizens is far more important!” He slammed his fist on the table in fury, but this did not intimidate Salazar, who stood up pointing an accusatory figure at Godric.

“Oh, that’s right!” Salazar shouted, “you care about Northumbria above all things! You enjoy playing generalissimo far too much! You don’t even care about the repercussions of your selfishness! You don’t care who you tread over to get what you want! Northumbria is not the most important thing! Adrian died for your love of Northumbria, in case you have forgotten!”

Only Rowena looked over to see Helga wipe a tear out of her eye. Godric stood up, his voice furious and his green eyes burning with a fury unlike Salazar had ever seen. “How dare you! It was you who cast the spell! It was your obsession with the dark arts that killed Adrian! You have become soulless Salazar, you have been twisted by black magic and you are a murderer and…”

“Stop it!”

Rowena had stood up, and her ferocious stare quelled them both into silence. She stood by Helga, a comforting arm round her shoulder, “Adrian’s death was a tragedy, and you should not be using it to throw mud at each other. Think at how insensitive you are being! And in case you have forgotten, I am the Queen, and I will choose how to spend the money!”

Salazar’s nostrils flared in quieted anger. “The school’s budget will be cut to five percent for the protection of Alba” said Rowena tersely, looking at Helga and not daring to see the expressions on either Godric or Salazar’s faces. Salazar could feel the gloating smile grow on Godric’s face, and he almost screamed at the injustice of it all.

“But…” yelled Salazar.

“No buts!” said Rowena forcefully, “it is my final decision on the matter. We must move on, the second item on the agenda is that boys have been sneaking into the girl’s dormitories and…” Salazar had heard enough. He was sick of the favouritism and Godric ruling Rowena like a puppet on a string.

So he got up and stormed out the room.

 

 







Bonne’s embroidery was coming on well. That was all she really spent her days doing, as there was not much a woman of her station could do. She thought it quite beneath herself to dabble in running the school when she had no position in authority, like Rachel did, but to undermine the school and control it subtly, that was her sort of thing.

She had just nearly finished what she was doing when Salazar burst into the room, his face reddened with fury. “I’m going to kill him,” he bellowed, “I’m going to kill him with the Basilisk! He doesn’t deserve to live; the spell I fired should have hit him not Adrian! I’m going to rip him to shreds! I’m going to destroy everything! I’ll run him through with my sword, I’ll…”

Bonne knew the time had come.

She stepped forward towards him, a concerned expression on her face. “Who?” she said, forming her words and manners perfectly to make him think she was curious, anxious and concerned about him all at the same time, “who has upset you so much Salazar to make me see you in this state?” Her voice sounded like honey, and she hoped that it would calm him, allow her to discover exactly what was wrong.

He looked around, his eyes blazing with a black fire; it was as if he could not see her. “Godric has taken everything from me! Every hope, dream and desire I have ever had he has crushed or claimed as his own. He is so selfish! I will be damned if I do not have my revenge.” Salazar was breathing heavily and pacing up and down the room in fury.

Bonne walked over to him and placed a delicate hand on his shoulder. He slowed instantly, before crossing his own hand across his body to place his fingers gingerly upon hers. She knew at that moment he was totally under her control, her plan would work and today would finally be the day when the breach between Godric and Salazar was irreversible.

“I’ve got something to show you,” she said quietly, trying to make her voice tremble to pretend she was fearful and nervous, “it’s about Godric. It is very important.” Running her hand down his arm, she let go of him, and she turned and walked to her bedroom, pulling Harald’s letter out of the drawer. Salazar had padded in after her and was looking at her confusedly.

“Several years ago, you had an argument with Godric. I thought you might need some ammunition about him in case he ever got nasty. Here it is.” Bonne held out the letter, and Salazar tentatively took it. His eyes lingered on Bonne for a moment, before he gingerly opened the letter, his eyes widening as he saw who it was from.

“Harald,” he whispered gently, reading who the letter was from. Then his eyes moved from the letter to briefly look at her before he began to skim through Godric’s digressions.“Godric loved another woman apart from Rowena! Why he can’t betray her trust so cruelly! And he’s a thief; he stole that sword, that sword that he boasts about on every occasion he gets! He is unbelievable!” Salazar looked up at Bonne, tantalisingly on the edge of the secret that would push him over the edge.

“Keep reading,” commanded Bonne, her voice still as smooth as honey, an internal smile rising throughout her body as she gazed at him. Soon everything would fall into place. Soon she may even have total control over this school, and maybe even rid Alba of the influence of the proud and boastful Godric and the short sighted and haughty Rowena. If only Salazar would read the rest of the letter…

“And,” continued Salazar, “and.” He stopped still, staring at the letter his eyes so wide they looked as if they would drop out of their sockets. Bonne knew what he had just read, and she could tell that his entire life was suddenly shifting in perspective. All the lies that had been hidden were coming tumbling out.

“His mother was a Mudblood!” whispered Salazar, his voice croaking, “making him a dirty Halfblood.” It was if a kettle had suddenly reached the point of boiling. Salazar threw the letter to the ground before shouting. “He lied to me! He lied to us! He lied to Rowena! He doesn’t even deserve magic, let alone being in charge of Alba or being her Prince Consort!”

He stormed out of the room, bellowing as he went, “that little traitor. I’ll kill him! I’ll kill him!” His fingers closed round the hilt of his wand as he stormed away, marching with all the anger in his taut body. She knew he was resolved to keep to his word. Pattering after him, Bonne let out some feeble untruthful protestations, but she knew she had to let him go.

After he slammed the door shut she smiled broadly; nothing would stop her now. She returned to her bedroom and picked up the letter; what was once so valuable to her was now incriminating evidence. She strode back over to her desk, and undid the various protection spells she had used to keep Maud’s letter hidden. Bonne decided it was best to burn them both together; there was no time to waste, Rowena would be quick to blame her after all.

Pulling the drawer open, she was suddenly confronted with the emptiness of the drawer and she hissed in fury. How could her whole plan fall apart for the absence of a scrap of parchment? If someone saw that piece of paper, if someone told on her, then her dreams would be ripped apart. The realisation dawned on her slowly; the name of the traitor slowly appearing in her mind.

Her brother had sealed her doom.

 

 

 







The sound of his footsteps marching down the corridor heralded the end like the ticking of the clock. Now was the moment of truth; finally Godric would be exposed as the fraud and the liar he really was. It would be proved that he was undeserving of everything he had in his life; his status as the hero of the people, his position as the de facto King of Alba, the students adoration for the unofficial head teacher and the love of the most beautiful woman on the earth.

He was a Mudblood.

He was dirty, stupid and did not deserve the gifts that had been bestowed on him. This very blood made him a liar and a cheat and the fact that he had kept the truth of his clandestine birth so very close to his chest just proved his guilt. Every day of adventure and night of laughing was a lie. Godric Gryffindor no longer existed for Salazar Slytherin.

The afternoon was coming to a close; the students would be in their dormitories and common rooms, and the people he wanted to see would be together in the Great Hall, most likely talking about him and how he had “changed”. It was all lies; he had stayed true to his basic instincts and motivations from the second he had arrived and not compromised his beliefs for power and might.

He rolled his wand over in his fingers. He was prepared; if Rowena and Helga did not immediately agree with the instant expulsion of Godric from Hogwarts and Alba he was prepared to use force. No longer would he be the second best. He would triumph and would finally prove that he was the better man than Godric.

Salazar was soon at the doors leading into the Great Hall. He took a sharp intake of breath before stepping forward and blasting the doors open with an expulsion jinx. Just as he expected he saw all the people he expected huddled on the teachers table at the end of the room whispering to each other in muted tones.

Godric sat in the centre in his magnificent chair. Rowena leant on his shoulder from the seat next to him, a worried look on her beautiful face. Helga sat on Godric’s other side, her face drawn and white, and it seemed that only Rachel’s reassuring hand on her shoulder stopped her bursting into tears. Next to Rowena sat Cadmus, his eyes firmly on the former, looking at her worried facial expression in concern. To his surprise, Guillaume sat the other side of Cadmus, his head in his hands, as if he had just told them all a terrible secret, and could not bear to look at him.

They looked up simultaneously as the doors burst open. Rowena was the first to react, and she stood up instantly her midnight blue eyes on Salazar. For once, her voice seemed to be quivering with fear. “Salazar” she said meekly, sensing the fury radiating from Salazar, “we need to talk. The situation has got unbearable…”

“We don’t need to talk about anything,” interrupted Salazar, his voice laced with quiet anger, “this is between me and him.” Godric’s emerald eyes lifted from the palms of his hands up to Salazar. He then lifted himself like a monolith off of his chair. Godric had always had a gift for intimidation, but this no longer worked on Salazar.

“This has gone too far Salazar,” said Godric authoritatively, his voice gravelly and strong, “you are compromising the core principles of Hogwarts with your blood purity nonsense. You are even violating the values and beliefs that make the Kingdom of Alba what it is; a haven for magical folk. You are going against everything I…we believe.”

“This is not what this is about, Godric,” spat Salazar, pacing backwards and forwards in front of his nemesis, not even attempting to keep his disgust secret, “this is entirely about the fact that you are a liar, and traitor and a tyrant.” Godric’s eyes clouded with confusion at these words. He really was as thick, stupid and ignorant as the rest of the Mudbloods and Muggles.

“What?” growled Godric, climbing up onto the teachers table and dropping over the other side to directly face Salazar, “you cannot accuse me of crimes like that Salazar without substantial evidence to back it up!” They began to circle each other; the other’s sitting in terrified silence, waiting to watch what would happen between the greatest wizards in the world, the two who had once been as close as brothers.

“I have plenty of evidence,” hissed Salazar, his voice rising in volume as he paced around Godric, his olive eyes not breaking from Godric’s emerald ones, “that you do not deserve anything you have in life. You do not deserve your hero status, your title, your position in this school or her you filthy little mudblood!”

There was a collective intake of breath from those who were watching, everyone except Guillaume. Rowena was the first to speak, and she stammered as the revelation poured over her, “is…is…is…it true Godric?” His eyes briefly flickered to Rowena, but he then continued to circle Salazar, and animalistic fury on his face.

“So what if it is true?” he spat, flinging his arms wide, the echo of a derisive laugh on his tongue, “so what if my mother is a Muggleborn?” He pointed at his chest in anger, right to his heart, “It does not make me a different person! I am still the man who was once your best friend, once like a brother to you!”

“You were never a brother to me you traitor!” bellowed Salazar, his composure finally breaking, “you have taken everything from me! You took my glory at the Battle of Alba, you claimed you saved Alba when it was me who planned everything, me who told you what to do! You’ve prevented my dream for this school and you took her!”

The cold silence that descended was one of realisation. Godric’s face flushed red and he turned to look briefly at Rowena. Turning back, his face lit up with cruel laughter, “Rowena? You seriously think Rowena would have ever wanted you when there was me! She’s always loved me, and you never had a hope in hell of getting her!”

Rowena had walked around the table, her eyes brimming with tears, and Salazar pointed at her furiously, “Something could have happened, Rowena kissed me! It could have been more if it wasn’t for you! If you had not been in the way she would have been mine!” Godric turned his head to Rowena, his argument totally defeated and his face crimsoning from her betrayal.

“You kissed him!” he whispered, his voice getting louder with every word, “when, when did this happen?” Godric was incandescent, and Rowena rushed forward to touch him, to comfort him and tell him that everything was going to be okay, but he slapped her hand away. “You did, didn’t you? You’ve let me believe you loved me exclusively all these years!”

“It was one time!” cried Rowena in despair, desperately trying to hold onto Godric, so he could not leave her, but he continued to push her away, “it was the day of the Battle of Alba. I was terrified; I thought I was going to have to leave you! I thought Harald would tear you away from me for good! Salazar was just there; he was a comfort to me. It meant nothing!”

“Nothing!” screeched Salazar, turning on her, all the feelings of rejection and inadequacy rushing to the surface after so many years, “yet you still took my locket! You still took the token of my love and have never returned it to me! Admit it Rowena, you are harbouring something within your heart for me!”

Everyone looked down at the locket around Rowena’s neck. Godric had never known where she had got it from, and now everything made sense. The locket bore the letter “S”, and it seemed to be a sign that Rowena was Salazar’s possession. Salazar could see it dawning in Godric’s eyes; he had never been the exclusive recipient of Rowena’s love, as she was a two man woman. Rowena crumpled in on herself, burying her head in her hands in shame.

“Who…” began Godric slowly, his red cheeks washed with his own tears, “which way do you chose!” Godric continued forcefully, attempting to divert the subject to hide his misery and shame. “Which image of Alba do you chose? Which school do you wish to be a part of?” he bellowed at Rowena, who persistently hid her face, “Mine or his!”

Her midnight blue eyes flicked between them, turning first to Godric who was glaring at her furiously with the sense of utter betrayal, and then to Salazar who gazed at her imploringly, as if he still had some hope. Her eyes were full of sadness; her heart was clearly being torn in two. It was striking midnight and she had to chose; her friend or her lover.

Her fingers closed round the locket, Bess’ locket, around her neck. She gave it a small tug and it came loose from her neck. Walking slowly towards Salazar, she opened her palm, gesturing to return the token of his love to him at last. “I’m sorry Salazar,” she sobbed breathlessly, “I cannot support your dream.”

His hand briefly brushed hers as he took back the locket. It dawned on him that that would be the last time he would ever touch her. He tried not to cry as he stowed the locket in his robes, but the minute it disappeared from sight he heard the steady beat of cruel laughter. Godric was laughing at him.

“I told you,” spat Godric, drawing up to his full majestic height, “she hates you for your views on the world, the views of blood purity which we will not allow to taint our vision of this school! You are…” Salazar had heard enough, and he acted so fast that Godric did not have time to react and defend himself as Salazar had already cast the spell from his wand.

“Crucio!”

Godric fell to the floor and screamed in pain. Salazar knew the effect; it would feel as if his bones were on fire and Salazar suddenly felt malicious pleasure wash over his body. This is what happened to people who crossed him. This was the only fate for stinking Mudbloods like Godric. The next step was death.

Godric was writhing on the floor and shrieking in pain, and the sadistic pleasure washed over Salazar. “Stop it!” shrieked a female voice, but to Salazar’s surprise it was not Rowena. Helga had stood up and her face was red with emotion. “Stop it right now!” Salazar knew he had to gain Helga’s allegiance; if he did there would be a small glimmer of hope that he would maintain his position at Hogwarts. Salazar followed Helga’s instruction as Rowena dropped to her knees to attend to Godric.

“Helga,” boomed Salazar, his voice ominous, “remember who encouraged your dream. It was me! These two were the last ones to agree with your plan! Without me, this school would just be an idea in your head! You need to remain loyal to the friend who has never belittled you the way these two have! You and I are in the same position!”

Rowena spoke next, her voice awash with tears, “Don’t listen to him Helga! He has been manipulated by Bonne! He is not the friend to you that he once was! He is not the man who is encouraging your dreams, he will ruin them forever!” Salazar suddenly cast a silencing spell at her, and stepped closer to Helga.

“Remember what you said to me, that night I found you alone in the library. You said that Rowena thought of you as nothing more than her handmaiden! She still sees you that way Helga! They both do! Nothing has changed; they will always put themselves above us as we are the commoners! They will forever be our superiors in their eyes. Please, Helga, come with me.”

Salazar extended his hand to Helga, praying she would take it. Rowena and Godric looked up at her, worried looks on their pale faces. Did Helga really believe they thought so little of her? The future of the school hung on her decision. “Salazar,” said Helga resolutely, “you’ve gone too far. While it is true that both mine and your ideas are often trammelled over, your ideas are dangerous and will damage this school forever!”

That was it; he knew he had no friends. The cold eyes of Cadmus, Rachel and Guillaume stared at him; they clearly wanted him to leave. “I think,” began Helga, her voice suddenly quivering, “you can find it in your heart to come back to us Salazar. Bonne does not need to control you this way; think of what you once believed in. Think of how you felt before your judgement got clouded by your passion for Rowena.”

Salazar’s fury came to a sudden head, “I am my own person!” he bellowed, “and I can do whatever I please without someone telling me what I should believe or feel! I have not been corrupted by her the way Godric has!” He lifted his wand, ready to blast Rowena away from Godric, to make sure they could never be together again. “This school is mine!” roared Salazar, “as is Alba, and as are you Rowena Ravenclaw!”

It happened so quickly that Salazar had little time to breathe. Godric reached his wand that was tied to his belt and withdrawing it, he disarmed Salazar without so much as a twitch. Salazar’s wand soared across the room and he roared in anger as Godric staggered to his feet. Salazar was sure he could do it; he was sure he could torture Godric without using his wand.

“Crucio!”

Godric fell back again in pain, and he let out a scream of agony. There were shouts of protest from the others, but Salazar ignored them. His anger, fury and pain poured out of his body and through his hands, directly at Godric. It was almost a relief after keeping them locked away inside his heart for so many years.

Godric managed to roll out of the way of Salazar’s curse and he lifted his own wand. Rowena tried to run towards him, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks but Salazar, in his torment, swung his arm which sent her flying across the Great Hall, crashing into one of the solid walls. She slumped to the floor, and Godric immediately retaliated. “You claim you love her! That is not love! Crucio!”

Salazar’s arm was pushed back slightly, but he did not feel the searing pain that should be expected from a well cast curse. “The Unforgivable Curses,” taunted Salazar, “oh, Godric, you’ve got to mean them when you say them! There’s got to be some hate behind them! Like this! Crucio!” Again Godric fell to the floor, but instead of writhing on the ground he managed to lift his arms, and in a second, Salazar saw Godric’s signature fireball burning straight towards him.

He rolled out of the way, but lifted his hands. He remembered the spell he had used so many years ago to kill Sir Guy. It had been instinctive; that had been the other time in his life when he had lost everything. He swiped his hand in Godric’s general direction and a long sweeping blade wound erupted on Godric’s chest. Roaring in agony, Godric stumbled forward and again lifted his arms. A gust of icy wind whooshed from his hands, pushing Salazar backwards, but he kept his eyes looking resolutely forward. He had to win.

Salazar lifted his arms again, ready to cast another Unforgivable Curse, but Godric was ready for him; raising his wand he shot a knockback jinx straight into the centre of Salazar’s chest. The force of the spell propelled Salazar into the air and he flew upwards, before crashing back down to the ground, his back cracking nastily as he hit the floor.

Feeling slightly dizzy, he tried to climb to his feet. When his eyes came back into focus, he saw Godric looming over him, his wand pointed at Salazar’s chest. His eyes were a little softer than they had been, and he seemed appeared to want to reconcile. “This ends,” growled Godric, his voice becoming gentler with every word, “this rebellion against the dream we made together. You are just as vital to this school as the rest of us. Just come back to us, forget about Bonne and everything she has told you. Come back to being my friend who I met in the forest all those years ago.”

Godric suddenly seemed to have a look of remorse on his face, but Salazar did not believe any of it. This was the man who had ruined his life, and he would never, ever forgive him. “I will never be your friend ever again Godric. You are a filthy, traitorous Mudblood and you do not deserve my friendship, the friendship of a Pureblood.”

Godric let out a little sigh, and looked about to drop his wand when it was propelled out of his hand, and it flew away behind him. Both Salazar and Godric turned in the direction of the spell caster. Bonne Malfoy had just entered the room, her wand raised. She looked at them all with the icy distain that was so familiar.

“I know what you did Bonne,” came Helga’s voice, shaking with sadness and fury, “I know you stole Maud’s letter to manipulate Salazar. I know you are Adrian’s true murderer!” Bonne’s grey eyes flicked over to Helga, so the latter continued, “You are not only a traitor to this school and Adrian, but you have betrayed Salazar by putting him in this mess!”

Salazar tried to free himself from Godric’s grip; he was holding dangerously onto his collar. He could see the others had stood up. Cadmus and Guillaume stood next to Helga, while Rachel shielded the unconscious Rowena. Bonne’s lip curled into a smile, “I am not the traitor. I had no loyalties to this school, or Adrian and I will be Salazar’s loving wife. The true traitor in here is my own brother.”

Her eyes slid onto her brother, who almost cowered under her furious glare. “You,” she spat, suddenly making that binding curse which he would never escape from, “will be punished for betraying your only sister. Baron Sanglante, Guillaume Malfoy, you will die in the pits of a hopeless love, unable to break yourself free. It will smother, strangle and choke you and until all the life is squeezed from your body.”

Guillaume suddenly looked at his hands as if he would be able to see the mark of her curse upon his skin. The other’s looked horrified, but Bonne did not seem to care. She turned to Salazar, a hard look on her face. “There is no home for you here anymore,” she growled, “we have lost the war, and they are turned against you due to the actions of a traitor. I ask you, my betrothed, come with me. We can leave this castle together and pursue the beliefs that are truly in our hearts.”

Godric pulled Salazar to his feet. Salazar’s grey eyes swept around the room at Hogwarts the place that had been his home for eleven years, and he sighed. He knew what he would do. Pulling himself from Godric’s grip he growled, “there’s nothing here for me anymore. The people who I thought were my friend’s are dead to me.”

He turned away from them, and picked his wand up from the floor before walking back towards Bonne, taking her pale hand in his. They marched out of the room together, resolved that they would never look upon Hogwarts or its inhabitants ever again. Without seeing Bonne’s face, he knew that they would miles away from the castle by the next evening.

 

 







I really hope this was good enough. This is obviously the main "event" of the founders story, and I really hope it wasn't an anticlimax and I lived up to expectations. I'm not that good at writing action scenes so please tell me what you thought! This chapter was originally longer, and it was going to include all the aftermath, but it got too long. The next chapter could be a couple of weeks, but to give me the inspiration to write, tell me what you thought in a lovely review!
 
 


Chapter 35: The Eternal Lie
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The Eternal Lie



Gorgeous new chapter image by sjoeks @ tda




On the day Godric made a grave decision; Rowena told her greatest lie. Godric refused to even look out of his window the next morning, knowing he would see Salazar’s train leaving the castle. It angered him, but at the same time he felt terribly sad. Salazar had blamed him for every unhappiness in his life, and it broke Godric’s heart. All these years he had not realised what effect his actions had had on Salazar; he had been so unaware of his unrequited love for Rowena. He felt like a terrible friend as he had not prevented Salazar’s descent into misery.

Then there was the question of Rowena. She had stayed the night in the hospital wing, but Godric had not gone to see her; he could barely look at her. For all these years she had been playing the both of them, proclaiming that Godric was her one and only while leading Salazar on a merry dance and forever giving him reason to hope. It sickened Godric to the stomach.

He spent the whole day in his chambers, trying to sleep or doing anything to take his mind off his misery without having to see any of them. He couldn’t bear to be reminded of his lost dreams. Together they had planned the school and one by one they were crumbling apart as the dream dissolved into nothing; first Adrian, then Ignotus and Coventina, and finally Salazar.

As Godric looked up at the walls of the chambers he shared with Rowena; he noticed for the first time how resplendent they were. The walls dripped with golden tapestries, mirrors and souvenirs from his hunting expeditions. They symbolised to him how high he had risen in life; they were treasures that he would have never dreamed of as the natural son of a great monarch and an outcast. These were things that Salazar had said he did not deserve.

Godric knew in his heart that he had flown too high; too close to the sun. His pride had pushed Salazar away and ruined everything. He was no longer someone that would have made his mother proud, in spite of his achievements. She taught him that humility was important, and he was anything but humble now. He was the proud and ruthless Lady Mikayla, prepared to knockback anyone who was in his way.

He knew what he must do. There was no other way for him to shed the skin of his sins and redeem himself to come out shiny and new, when no one would judge him for what he had done in the past. Godric vowed he would be a new man, a man not cursed with haughty pride, vanity and glutted on his own self importance.

Jumping up from his chair, he rushed into the chamber he shared with Rowena. The room had dashes of her everywhere; her hairbrush lay on the dressing table, the bed carried the scent of her perfume and her slaving devotion to the school was shown by the mounds of papers everywhere. He sighed when he thought of the happy times, but then he moved on, running to the drawers and pulling out everything he would need.

His potion kits, his parchment, his quills, his plainest robes, his mother’s letter and his cauldron. His cauldron was just filling near the top with all the things he would need when he heard a voice, floating towards him from the antechamber. “Godric, Godric, are you in here Godric?”

He froze to the spot. In all his life he never would have believed that Rowena’s once soothing and loving voice could send an icy chill cascading down his back. Turning around, he nervously clutched the hilt of his sword, waiting for her to enter the room. The door burst open, and she entered, her diadem perched unyieldingly on top of her hair.

“Godric!” she smiled, as if it was the biggest relief in the world to see him. Rushing forward, she pulled him into a tight, loving embrace as if she was refusing to ever let him go. Once, he would have felt it a triumph that she loved him, a victory that they could be together, and would have longed to hold here forever. Godric would have been so happy to know that he was the only one in the world that was for her.

Now he knew that was a lie.

Gently, so as not to be too harsh, he prised her arms off his body. He wasn’t repulsed by her, in fact she was still as charming and alluring as ever, but at the same time she was tainted. She was no longer the seventeen year old girl who had taken his breath away that night at the feast. Moving back towards the bed, he continued to stuff things into the cauldron with a sense of newfound urgency.

“Godric,” said Rowena again, an edge of panic in her usually calm voice, “are you alright?” Rowena, to him, was not Rowena anymore. She was not the most glistening of prizes. He was sure that if he kissed her, her lips would taste of betrayal. Godric did not answer her for a moment, and instead paced up and down in front of her. “Please,” she whispered, her voice quickening, “tell me what you are thinking. It will be good of us to talk.”

“Talk,” purred Godric, as if he was mulling the idea over, “I thought we did talk. I thought we told each other everything, every inner working of our minds and hearts.” He was not angry, but stating it all coldly, as if he was slowly examining the evidence. “I thought we were above the petty intrigues of this place. I thought our love was above the trapping and lies that catch you here.”

Overcome with an expression of confusion, she stepped back slightly, as if to have a look at all of him. “Where is this going?” she asked, the first sign of tears coming in the tight sound of her voice, “I love you Godric. God, through all we’ve been through over the years I would have thought you would have known that by now.”

“I thought I did,” he said plainly, “but that was until I understood what that locket meant.” He spoke plainly, as if every angry feeling that had overcome him over the years was gently subsiding. Godric has spent too much of his life being angry; he resented his brother’s legitimate status, the untimely death of his mother, Rowena giving up on him and Salazar slowly slipping away. It was time to move beyond that.

“That locket!” cried Rowena incredulously, staring at him with her sensuous eyes, “it was nothing but a meaningless trinket! I got…I got it from him…I accepted it, just because I could not say no! We were in the middle of a battle!” She looked resolute, but Godric knew Rowena too well. She had refused to say Salazar’s name and from that he knew she was lying.

“Rowena,” he said, stepping forward and taking her hand tenderly, “you hesitated. When I asked you to choose between him and me, you paused. I watched you look between us, I watched you weigh up every feeling you had for the two of us. Yes, you say that locket was a meaningless trinket, but you never gave it back. You always wore it. So I know I was never the lone recipient of your love.”

“It was one kiss Godric,” moaned Rowena gripping his hand with passion, “one kiss on a terrifying, confusing night when everyone’s futures and lives were hanging precariously in the balance. You cannot blame me for having a slip of judgement then when you know how we were all feeling.”

“It’s not the kiss,” said Godric simply, “I’ve just realised that through all these years, I have given my whole heart to you, whereas you, while loving me, still had that place for him. I gave up my freedom not to have your full love; I thought Harald or Cadmus were my rivals, but really it was my quiet lieutenant, Salazar, who was silently stealing your heart without me noticing.”

She blushed incriminatingly. His theories were correct and all was written out. “I’m leaving Rowena,” he said gently, “I can’t stay. This castle is full of too many memories, too many guilty secrets. I tried many years ago to be free, when I was a stupid, idealistic dolt of seventeen. I’m three and thirty, and I’m going to try again.”

The tears came flooding down Rowena’s face instantly. “Godric, no you can’t! We’ve lost too many people, I can’t lose you too. Your home is here, your family is here; Bevan, Helena, Artemisia and I. There is no reason for you to go! The school will crumble without you, the people of Alba will mourn you, your children will miss you and I will be nothing if you are not by my side.”

She was tried to hold him comfortingly like she had so many times before, but he stepped away from her, not realising how far that little movement had taken him away from her. “No,” he uttered, “I need to do this, for me. I am not the man I once was, I’ve done too many bad things. Just look how I have ruined Salazar’s life!”

“You do not need to look for forgiveness Godric,” whispered Rowena, looking up at him imploringly with her sensual dark eyes, “you have done nothing wrong. What happened to Salazar was none of our faults. It was Bonne; she corrupted him, and twisted his love and respect for you into hate and revulsion.”

“I could have done something.” Godric turned away from her, determined not to be persuaded, “I don’t know how long I will be gone,” wearied Godric, “maybe a month, maybe forever but I need to find what I have lost before I can ever deserve to be the ‘hero of Alba’ again, let alone face the students, knowing what I have done to lead to Adrian’s death and push Salazar away.”

She wiped the tears away from her cheeks with the back of her hand, like a little lost child. For a moment, Godric thought he would crumble, but then he realised that he and Rowena had been selfish together. Apart they may be able to become the paragons of goodness that he thought they both could have been destined for.

“Will I ever see you again?” mourned Rowena, watching him with those bewitching eyes. Even her diadem did not have the sparkle it had once held. She was a shell of the proud Queen of Alba at the loss of him.

“I don’t know,” affirmed Godric, “but I want you to know Rowena, that I love you and there will never be anyone else but you.” Stiffly, she gave him a small nod of the head as she realised she could do nothing more to stop him. She turned away, desperately trying to hide the onslaught of tears that threatened to well up. Before leaving, she paused briefly to gaze into those jewel bright green eyes for one fleeting moment.

“I love you too.”

And then she closed the door.

 








She felt like she had just been thrown into an icy lake. Her mind whirred as she ran down the shadowy corridor. Rowena had no idea where she was going, but she did not care. With Godric gone, what really mattered anymore? Rounding corners and running down stairs through the gloom, the portraits tutting at her and gossiping about her as she went, she tried not to trip as she flew down the passages.

“As dramatic as ever that one!”

“I heard she’s had another lover’s tiff. Really, does that befit the Queen of Alba?”

Rowena ignored those snide comments as she ploughed onwards, wiping her tears away with her sleeve. Soon she was running she did not care who saw her. How could she ever be the Queen of Alba without her Prince Consort? How would the school withstand the destruction of three of its firmest pillars; Godric, Salazar and Adrian?

Nearing the dungeons, she fell to her knees and let her grief overcome her. How could he leave her after all these years? She thought the game was won, that they could be happy! Screaming in fury and despair she hit the floor with her balled up fists, “Why?” she sobbed, “why must he do this to me?”

“Rowena!”

Spinning round, Rowena caught sight of who was standing behind her. Plump Helga was gazing at her with a mixture of confusion and pity. Stooping down instantly, Helga wrapped one arm firmly round Rowena’s shoulder and began to rock her ever so gently. “Rowena,” whined Helga, “tell me what on earth is wrong?”

“Everything,” snapped Rowena instantly, “Everything is wrong. This is not what was supposed to happen. Salazar was never meant to change, Adrian was never meant to die and Godric…Godric was never meant to leave me.” Helga’s eyes widened in shock at Rowena’s last confession, and she tightened her grip on Rowena’s shoulders ever so gently.

“Leaving?” whispered Helga, as if she was talking to a small distressed child. “Why would he be leaving you?” Wide-eyed and whey-faced, Rowena looked up at her childhood friend. How could Helga be so calm? How could she ever understand what Rowena had done to push Godric away? Helga had been eternally devoted to Adrian, would never even have thought of loving another man. How could she comprehend that Rowena had had subtle feelings for Salazar all these years?

“He thinks I love Salazar,” hiccupped Rowena, “he thinks that my hesitation betrays the fact that I thought of Salazar as more than a friend.” She did not want to tell Helga that it was secretly true. Rowena was not entirely sure how she felt about Salazar, but it was definitely not just friends. Helga’s brow furrowed in a mixture of confusion and shock.

“How could he?” hissed Helga, suddenly insulted for her best friend, “surely something can be done? Surely he can be made to see sense!” Rowena looked up at her, not wanting to admit that what she had done was a good enough justification to push him away. Her loyal friend Helga would stand by her side until the end.

“I’ll go and get Cadmus,” assured Helga, standing up to march away, “he’ll bash some sense into Godric. Or I’ll go and get Rachel; she’ll be able to put him straight. He can’t leave you, he loves you, and anyone can see that by just looking at him.” She said the word love as if it was the most justifiable reason for him to stay. Rowena did not have the heart to tell her that sometimes love just wasn’t enough.

“No,” Rowena snapped, a little too forcefully, “don’t tell them. Don’t tell anyone.” Looking notably shocked, Helga knelt back down by Rowena’s side. Rowena could not help it, but her pride had rushed to the surface. She could not stand it if everyone knew that Godric had left her, that the Queen of Alba had been abandoned by her lover. It would prove all those courtiers right that she had a bad judgement in men.

“I don’t want anyone to know,” Rowena continued, grabbing Helga’s hand in desperation, “they would laugh at me, and I cannot stand anyone looking down on me. Hogwarts cannot lose any more people,” an argument was forming in her mind, “just tell everyone that he’s going away for a while, to fight on the Northumbria Front. He’s not left me!”

“Rowena,” consoled Helga, “you can’t lie to everyone. If he is leaving, it will be better to accept it and move on. A lie would so easily be discovered, especially one as huge as this.” Suddenly Rowena was defiant; nobody was to know that Godric had left her, she could not stand it. She turned to Helga and looked at her in such a way that she would know it was a command.

“Nobody is to know.”

 








Shadows flitted on the walls. They seemed like monsters, bearing down on him, trying to devour him whole. He could not stand to remain in his room, everywhere he looked he saw her, laughing at him, her face twisted in sadistic joy. Bonne; once his most trusted ally, had cursed him for his crimes. She had sent him to the grave.

“You will be punished for betraying your only sister. Baron Sanglante, Guillaume Malfoy, you will die in the pits of a hopeless love, unable to break yourself free. It will smother, strangle and choke you and until all the life is squeezed from your body.”

Death. She had cursed him with the most agonising death; at the mercy of an unyielding woman. She knew how angry and disgusted with himself that he had felt when he had been besotted with Helga; he had been weak and humiliated, and could not bear to live in that state again.

Evening descended in relative silence. Salazar and Bonne’s absence seemed to have destroyed the remaining joy in the school. Guillaume felt as if he was entombed in a giant grave, with no way of escaping; the breath slowly being sucked from his body. Guillaume had climbed stairs, ending somewhere up on the fifth floor. Retreating into a small alcove, he sat on the ledge, letting his head fall into his hands.

He loved Bonne. She was his sister. But she had done so much wrong. Relentless climbing had made her step on people, knocking them callously out of the way. Adrian Hufflepuff had been one of the greatest Purebloods of the age; but that had not mattered to Bonne. Part of Guillaume ached for his sister; she had taken the wrong path in life, and was content to drag Salazar with her.

Guillaume had not noticed that hot tears were pouring down his cheeks. What was he crying for? His sister or himself? He knew it was partly both; she had damned herself and had pulled him down with her, exactly her promise. In frustration, Guillaume flicked the tears off his cheeks. He could not cry; it was a weak thing to do.

There were voices, echoing up the corridor.

Guillaume froze. People were here. He instantly hoped it was Bonne and Salazar, coming back to beg his forgiveness, ready to give his life back to him. While it was true it was a man and a woman’s voice; the rhythms of her voice were too spontaneous and sincere, while his tone was slightly gravelly, the hue of a new broken youth.

Cocking his head and squinting, Guillaume suddenly spotted the two figures floating down the hall. They were the Ravenclaw children; the world knew them as the twin children of Harald Ravenclaw and Queen Rowena, but everyone in Hogwarts Castle knew the truth. Rowena had kept the name “Ravenclaw” to advance her sons claim to the Jarldom of Svalbard, but really, Bevan’s jade eyes betrayed the reality that he was Godric’s son.

Helena Ravenclaw walked by her brother; her hand resting courteously on his arm. She was sixteen, and everything that a noble young woman should be. Guillaume could tell she would make a handsome foreign prince a good and honest wife in the future. It was clear that she was made of the same cloth as her brother; but where there was good humour and enthusiasm in his countenance, there was the underlying snarl of the animal in her. It was the same look Bonne had always worn.

The shadow clearly was a poor cover for Guillaume, as soon Bevan and Helena’s voices quietened, and he could see her point one slender hand in his direction while whispering to her brother. For some unknown reason he sat stock still desperately hoping they would turn the other way, not wanting to disturb him.

However, they both made a beeline towards him, their eyes betraying their desperation to know what was happening. Sympathy for them clung to him; while it was true their parents loved them, they spent their time in an entourage of tutors, music teachers and attendants, rarely laying eyes on their royal parents. Bevan was in training to be the Jarl of Svalbard and the King of Alba, while Helena was being tutored in every feminine art, to make her all the more attractive prize for some fortune hunting prince.

Bevan was trying to speed up, but the Princess Helena was wisely holding him back, tethering him to her with her arm. It was not courteous to run in civilised society, no matter how some were willing to behave. Glowing with tutored beauty, Helena stepped ahead of her brother and came towards Guillaume. “Baron Sanglante,” she smiled, bobbing her head, “would you be kind enough to tell us what is happening?”

She spoke in hushed tones, as if her words were only gifts for him alone. While her face still had its youthful roundness, Guillaume could tell that one day she would be an angular Alban beauty like her mother; slender with shimmering dark hair. While Bevan at her side seemed to hum with Godric’s enthusiasm, Helena held her ground steadfastly like her noble mother.

“Yes Sir,” beamed Bevan excitedly, “what is happening? We saw Chancellor Slytherin and his betrothed leaving this morning with a train, there were rumours of an argument. The whole school is buzzing about it!” Helena nudged her brother gently; emotions were not best used when getting information that you needed.

“Professor Salazar is leaving,” said Guillaume forcefully, “because he can no longer stand to live in plain sight of your father.” The twins looked at each other, their movements like mirror images. He could tell that they had always been each other’s only constant source of comfort in their life. Helena looked back quickly, raising one sculpted eyebrow that she had inherited from her mother.

“Why?”

Why. It was the most complicated question in the world. The hate between Salazar and Godric would be remembered for years, Guillaume was sure about that. How could such friendship turn to such hatred in the cycle of a few short years? “Many reasons; power, war and love. Who knows what shaped his decisions.”

Helena’s eyes widened at his poetic language and she gave him a small concealed smile. “You have been crying Monsieur Malfoy. What bothers you?” Bevan was quite taken aback at his sister’s statement, but kept quiet, turning back to Guillaume to wait for the answer. Guillaume suddenly found he felt the reason so quickly; he was not sure why he had not realised it before.

“Because I have lost my sister’s love and respect,” he sighed, “and when Bonne loses her trust in you, it is lost forever.” Helena looked into his eyes understandingly, as if she understood all the pain that came from having siblings. Helena was very close to her brother, but only on the periphery of her younger sister’s world, and so understood both ends of the spectrum of love.

“It is not irrevocable, Monsieur Malfoy,” she smiled, “if you love your sister enough, she will come back.” With those gently words of comfort, she gave him another courteous nod and a saying of farewell, before taking her brother’s arm again and walking back down the empty passage. Remarkable that was the only way to describe headstrong young Helena Ravenclaw.

Guillaume watched her go and he knew he had seen something special in her.

 








The next day, Godric Gryffindor left Hogwarts. Rowena refused to see him go, remaining locked in her chambers to hide her tears. She would let no one comfort her, in spite of Cadmus’ frequent pleas to allow him to see her. Helga found that she was the one who bid farewell to Godric, wishing him a safe journey and begging him to stay in contact. Giving her his most sincere promise that he would, he had mounted his horse and cantered away into the distant. It was like the last time he had left Black Castle, intent on a new life. But this time there was no vision, and Helga had to resign herself to the fact that he would never be returning.

Helga watched as Rowena spent the next few days eagerly waiting for the morning post, hoping for a letter from Godric or Salazar, saying they had changed their minds and were returning for her. No such letters ever came. She would search out visitors to the castle, wanting them to be the two men she so sorely missed. Not knowing how to comfort her, Helga avoided Rowena. All Helga knew was the pain of her tragic separation from Adrian which should never have happened; she could not comprehend willing abandonment by two men that she loved.

Keeping her promise to Rowena, Helga only reiterated what she had been told; Godric was leaving to fight on the Northumbrian Front and would be back in no time. It was a terrible lie, but it had to be told, as one grace to Rowena. In the meantime, Helga found herself laden with more duties; she was doing cooking charms, organising the house elves and running extra classes. Helga found she talked to Rowena more, but it slowly dawned on her that the only thing the both of them had was each other, and they clung on tightly.

All Helga could do was observe, with Cadmus and Rachel, Rowena’s evident sadness. Cadmus and Rachel would attempt to cheer her, but nothing ever roused her. They silently watched as the days slipped by, from days into weeks, weeks into months and finally into slow moving seasons and years. Every day, Rowena’s light became dimmer as she mourned the loss of the men she loved.

And Helga knew there was nothing she could do about it.

 






I've always been of the opinion that Godric and Rowena are the "doomed lover" type, and I also felt there would be no way  that Godric's pride would allow him to stay with Rowena now he knows she also loves Salazar. Tell me what you think about my characters motivations, am I getting them right?

I also want to ask which characters you want to see more of, and I'll try and add them in a bit more in future chapters! Please tell me what you think in a lovely review! Next time...four years have passed and some life changing news is revealed, altering the situation for both Godric and Rowena...

 
 


Chapter 36: A Brother's Memories
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A Brother's Memories



 

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On the day some news arrived at Hogwarts; the inevitable happened. Rowena kept her eyes firmly closed. She did not want to rouse herself. She stretched out in her double bed, using all the room within now there was no one to share it with her, she felt so warm and sleepy. Ignoring the knocking she tried to go back to sleep again. She had been having a lovely dream; Godric and Salazar had returned and Adrian had never died and life was harmonious.

“Rowena!” came Helga’s unusually sharp voice, “I know it is a Saturday but there is news! We have to go and deal with it in the Founders Chamber!” Burying her head into what used to be Godric’s pillow, Rowena imagined him returning and taking her in his arms again, as he had so many times before. Just after he had left, the pillow had still smelt of him, but so much time had passed that it just lingered with her scent now.

“Please Rowena,” came Helga’s voice, “I have to do some things today, and the messenger won’t deliver the message without you being there!” Noting the pleading tone of her friend’s words, Rowena got up groggily throwing on her nightgown. She tended to disregard social rules now; what did anything matter anymore? She was the Queen; she had given birth to children as had been expected and she did not really care if people saw her in her nightgown.

Briefly blowing a kiss to the empty bed, as if Godric was still there, Rowena made her way to the antechamber door. Helga stood on the other side an amused smile on her face. “Rowena Ravenclaw I am no longer your handmaiden!” Rowena grinned at her friend before locking her in a friendly hug. Helga had grown round the middle in recent years, especially in the four years since Godric and Salazar’s departures, but Rowena still loved her.

“Cadmus and Rachel are already in the chamber,” Helga informed Rowena casually, “they were the ones who first informed me of the messenger.” Rowena nodded as she wrapped her night gown more tightly around her, then followed Helga’s lead to the Founders Chamber, laughing and giggling all the way.

By the time they arrived, Cadmus and Rachel were not the only ones there. Guillaume was present, and was smiling happily to himself, as if he had been blessed with a great fortune. He occupied his usual seat; previously Salazar’s, merrily talking to Cadmus about the merits of a self marking quill. Cadmus was seated in Adrian’s seat nodding along to Guillaume’s conversation dolefully, only turning to smile at Rowena and Helga as they entered. In the chair with the carving of the lion, Rachel looked up at them on their entrance.

It was a new school order. The four years since Adrian’s death and Godric and Salazar’s departure seemed millennia long, and in that time, the school had come a long way. Together, Rowena and Helga had picked up the pieces together. They appointed Guillaume, Cadmus and Rachel to their old friend’s positions in an attempt to create a feeling of continuity. However, Rowena knew in her heart it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t even her home anymore without Godric or Salazar.

As Rowena and Helga took their seats, the messenger stepped from the shadows. At the sight of his livery, Rowena had to stop herself falling off her seat. Emblazoned on his chest was a Svalbardian Silverback, the sign of Harald Ravenclaw. Rowena had hoped that she would never have to hear or see of her lawful husband again, but it seemed he had come back to haunt them.

“I am here to announce,” said the messenger in a grave voice, “that two weeks ago, Jarl Harald of Svalbard was assassinated by murderers with vile intent.” The sentence seemed so blunt, and many years ago it would have meant upmost jubilation for Rowena. Once it would have meant she was free to marry Godric; but now he was so far away it was not nearly as important.

“I have been sent to your kingdom to summon his successor, Prince Bevan Ravenclaw, to take his rightful position as Jarl of Svalbard.” There was a collective gasp, but Rowena was not quite sure why. Bevan had been in training for his destiny with an army of tutors and teachers since birth and Rowena was sure he would make an outstanding Jarl. Rowena nodded and stood up, offering the messenger accommodation until an entourage for Bevan could be prepared. Only after he had gone did Rowena turn to her friends.

“Today is the day he has been waiting his whole life for,” smiled Rowena half-heartedly, “I know he is ready for the challenge.” Inside, she was feeling a dull ache. Through the years, she had never been as close to Bevan and Helena as her youngest daughter Artemisia due to her various commitments, and it suddenly dawned on her that she would never get those moments back.

“What about Helena?” asked Rachel suddenly, her voice quivering, “she is so close to her brother, she will be devastated!” Rowena’s mind flitted to her eldest daughter. Nineteen years old with the love of a train of men, surely she could survive the departure of her brother? Suddenly, Rowena felt quite annoyed at Rachel’s maternal interest in Helena, so she looked away from her.

“Are you sure he is ready,” inquired Cadmus, the one who Rowena had entrusted the most direct control over Bevan’s education, “after all, there are several lessons that still may need to be taught.” It was at this point that Guillaume and Helga started asking their own questions until all four of them gazed up Rowena with questioning eyes, as if she knew all the answers.

 A regular pang of anguish hit Rowena at that moment. Salazar would know just what to say to comfort her and tell her that everything was going to be alright; he would reassure her that Bevan was ready, and would even be able to tell her details of the retinue that he would be taking to Svalbard. Talking to quickly cover her tears, she gave a little smile to her friends.

“I’m sorry this has been a short meeting,” said Rowena briskly, “but I really have to talk to my son. I am sure you all understand.” They all nodded, with Guillaume and Cadmus getting up and clearly stating they had lots of work to do anyway, while Rachel and Helga just gazed at Rowena with misty eyed sympathy. To avoid looking at them, Rowena darted out of the room as quick as she could.







Marching up to Bevan’s chambers took a remarkably short amount of time when there was a need for urgency. Rapping three times on the oak door, Rowena was surprised to see who answered, “mother, what are you doing up here?” Helena had a quizzical look on her pretty face, and it seemed she was partly startled. Bowling her out of the way, Rowena prowled into the room, noticing Bevan over by the window tentatively plucking at a lute.

Majestically, to reiterate the point in the best way, Rowena curtseyed low to him before saying jovially, “I honour you, my son, the new Jarl of Svalbard.” The reaction was instantaneous; Bevan stopped picking out chords on the instrument and looked up at his mother with absolute shock. However, it was Helena who had the more violent reaction.

“No, he can’t be!” Rowena was gazing at her son, so did not see the almost instantaneous tears begin to glisten in Helena’s eyes. She had drawn her hands to her mouth, and was fixing her brother with such an anguished stare, that Rowena simply ignored.

“Well, he is,” Rowena smiled, speaking a little sharply to Helena, “you are to pack instantly and we must get you to Svalbard as quick as we can before anarchy reigns.” Bevan had stood up, but was still appeared absolutely terrified. He was tall and intimidating, with Godric’s barrelling build, but he did not have his father’s nerve, and so stood quaking in front of his mother.

“I can’t do it,” stammered Bevan, “I can’t be a Jarl! I wouldn’t know what decisions to make, or how to talk, or how to be a good ruler. Will the people even like me?” He collapsed back down onto his seat, his head falling into his hands, the weight of his curse just starting to be felt on his shoulders. Rowena made an attempt to step forward and comfort him, but Helena beat her to it, running forward to put one arm around his shoulder.

“It’s going to be alright,” she said rocking him gently, like a baby, as if she were his mother, “you can do this Bevan. You have been in training for this your whole life. When you get there, you will just know what to do! It will come naturally; you have royal blood in your veins. And anyway, I am going to come with you to help you along the way.”

“No you are not,” said Rowena forcefully, staring at her daughter horrified, “you are staying here. It is about time we found you a respectable marriage, I am not letting you go gallivanting off to Svalbard where any man could take advantage of you!” She suddenly had an image of Godric the first night she had ever met him at the ball flashing through her mind. That was the type of Svalbardian she did not want ripping out her daughter’s heart and stamping all over it.

“You cannot tell me what to do!” squawked Helena incredulously, “I am not going to settle down and make a respectable marriage, as it is not in my blood. You did not do that, did you mother?” Helena looked angry at her mother’s presence, and Rowena could not quite understand why. Rearranging her diadem on top of her greying curls, she fixed her daughter with an angry stare.

“Get out of here,” hissed Rowena, recognising that Helena may be an impediment to her plan, “I am your mother and you will listen to whatever I say!” Snapping angrily up, Helena fixed Rowena with an equally angry stare before spitting, “what, like you listened to your mother you mean? Your brother-in-law, tut tut, I don’t think that was her idea.”

Rowena could not stand the rudeness and just bellowed, “get out, now. I will deal with you later.” Turning on her heel, Helena darted away across the room before glancing back to shoot her mother a vicious look, one of caged up fury, before leaving her brother entirely at her mother’s mercy.

Gingerly, Rowena took the seat that Helena had occupied next to Bevan, putting what she hoped was a consoling hand on his broad shoulder. “I know this is difficult news to take, but it is your destiny Bevan. All your life you have known that one day you would be both the Jarl of Svalbard and the King of Alba. I thought you would be rejoicing at the news.”

“It’s just,” sniffed Bevan, “what about Helena? I can’t just leave her here. She needs me, she’s my sister. We are twins; you cannot expect her to part from me. I need her!” Fixing Rowena with his emerald green eyes, Rowena shivered in spite of herself. She felt as if she was looking once again into Godric’s eyes.

“You do not need Helena,” commanded Rowena, “because you are the son of Godric Gryffindor, and he was no meek creature in the face of a challenge or adversity. Just like him, you have the heart of a lion, and can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it. After all, you have my brains.” Rowena had not planned on mentioning Godric; usually she liked to pretend that neither he nor Salazar had ever existed to dull the pain, but she knew his mention would stir bravery in Bevan’s heart.

“My father would never run away from things that scared him,” mused Bevan, “and neither would you mother.” Rowena nodded, but in her heart she disagreed. Hadn’t she run away from the choice between Salazar and Godric in fear that she would lose one of them? However, Bevan seemed comforted by this thought so Rowena did not argue.

“You will be fine Bevan,” smiled Rowena, her voice like honey, “I will go and ask the servants to pack your things.” After taking one more look into those piercing green eyes, Rowena turned her back on her son and paced straight out of the room, running away from the two people that most reminded her of Godric.






“Jane!” called Godric as he strolled up the path to his little thatched cottage. He had spotted her walking along the village green, and on the sight of each other, they had changed their directions to meet each other. Jane Davies was the prettiest woman he had ever seen, with pale blue eyes and tresses of curling blonde hair. The neat rounded proportions of her face were sweet and made her wonderfully lovely, but she was far too pretty to be beautiful. Godric had not realised it until he had come to the Hollow, but there was a large difference between being beautiful and pretty.

Jane swung her arms around Godric’s neck the second they met, and kissed him forwardly on the cheek. The kiss lingered longer than just a normal friendly greeting; it was no secret how Jane felt about him. Godric could see in Jane’s eyes that she was totally devoted to him. It was the gaze that Rowena had given him on the first night he met her.

“Are you going to Ignotus and Coventina’s house tomorrow for the meal?” asked Jane enthusiastically. The Hollow had originally just been the Peverell farmstead, but since Godric had arrived, he and Ignotus had put their mind to building it and expanding and it was now a small village. Magic folk who had lost their way had ended up here. Jane herself had been chased from her home when it was discovered she was a Muggleborn.

“Yes, I will see you there tomorrow.” At these simple words Jane sighed disappointedly. Godric knew why. Jane had fallen headlong in love with him since the first day she met him, when he had rescued her from a mob of scared muggles, but he could not reciprocate it. He cared for her, but there was not that longing, pleading love he had with Rowena, that still beat in his heart. Jane expected him to marry her, but he couldn’t. Rowena was the only woman he would have ever been willing to give up his freedom for.

Godric walked back to his cottage, glad to have a break from the general management of the small village. Even though it was the Peverell’s home originally, he had been such a prominent head of the town that his name had become synonymous with it, and the locals even joked that it should be called “Godric’s Hollow” after its famous leader. Upon entry, however, Godric discovered that both Ignotus and Coventina were inside.

“Ignotus, Coventina, what are you doing here?” They were so different from their time in Hogwarts; gone were there bejewelled trinkets and fine dressing. Now they wore plain clothes, and usually had large, broader smiles on their faces. Today, however, they looked very grave. It was Coventina who moved first, her hair whitened by years of stress; standing up to glide towards him.

“We got our letters from Helga today,” she whispered, holding out a scrap of parchment. Godric’s stomach soared into his mouth as he took it. Helga often wrote secret letters to them, begging them to come back or telling them the goings on in Hogwarts or asking them for advice. Normally it was quite light hearted trivial stuff, but it seemed it was worse than usual. Coventina held forward the piece of parchment, and Godric took it eying it ravenously for news.

Dear Godric,

                      We have received news that I think there is no point in hiding from you. This morning, a messenger arrived from Svalbard, informing us that your brother Harald has been assassinated for poor rule and abuse of power. To prevent Svalbard descending into anarchy, we have been asked to send Harald’s heir, the Prince Bevan, to Svalbard immediately to be crowned as Jarl.

Rowena is taking it very well; she has helped Bevan to pack and is, as I write preparing to wave him off. She is not going with him, and has forbidden Helena and Artemisia from going either. She is getting harder and harder by the day, and I know it is because she misses you. If you were to come here, maybe act as an intermediary between Rowena, Bevan and Helena, she would be so happy.

I know you think that Rowena loved Salazar, but I don’t think she did. Even if she had fleeting feelings for him, they were nothing compared to what she felt for you. I can tell, she looked at you the way I used to look at Adrian. Please come back, we all miss you and need you.

Love, Helga

“Dead?” spluttered Godric, looking between Coventina and incredulously, “Harald is dead?” They gazed at him, not sure what to say. Godric looked back at the letter, scanning it again to check he had read it right. Harald, the brother who had been his worst enemy, was lying cold in the ground. It did not seem possible. He had always been the unmovable obstacle in his life, the permanent fixture that would never go away. Godric did not know how to feel, a pang of sadness that he had not been close to his brother, and a fevered relief.

“Bevan,” mumbled Godric, “they are sending Bevan to take his place. Why is Rowena so willingly letting him go? It will be like throwing him to the lions!” Gazing into Coventina’s opalescent eyes, he saw as they widened ever so slightly in ill disguised shock. He knew why; it was the first time he had even said Rowena’s name in the time that had elapsed since their departure.

“What are you going to do?” asked Ignotus urgently, as if he could read Godric’s mind. In the years he had spent here, Ignotus was now Godric’s closest friend. Ignotus was what he was; the face he presented to the world was not an intricately decorated mask, not like Rowena and Salazar. Godric had invested his full trust in Ignotus.

“I am going to Svalbard of course!” Godric knew Ignotus already knew that, but Coventina looked as if it was the most stupid plan in the world. It took her a few moments to pluck up the courage to speak; Godric’s leonine temper was infamous after all. She stepped forward, shooting a warning look at Ignotus who seemed to be nodding understandingly at Godric.

“Do you really think that is the best plan?” asked Coventina, her eyes flashing from one to the other, “after all, you have been missing from his life for four years. Do you not think it will just bring up all that past pain and resentment that is best left buried, for you and for him?” Godric knew that she was right, but now he had made the decision he knew he needed to return to his childhood home.

“No,” said Godric, brushing her arguments aside, “he needs support, and if his mother is not going to give it to him, I will. After all, I know people in Svalbard; I know I will be safe.” He felt so sure that he had to go back to Svalbard that he was surprised he had not thought of it of his own initiative. He needed to go back to Svalbard; it had all begun there. It was there he had lost his mother and won his father from his brother. It was in Svalbard he had left the woman who had destroyed his young life. Lady Mikayla was still alive, and he knew he had to face her.

It was such a sudden realisation that forced Godric to draw his wand from his belt. He was going to apparate to Svalbard, straight into the city. By his calculation, Bevan’s coronation would be rushed through, and he had a feeling that it could even be today. “Well then I am coming with you,” confirmed Ignotus, “I will not let you go on your own. It could be hard for you there, you might need my help to get into the coronation.”

Godric did not argue back. He knew Ignotus was talking sense; Svalbard would be full of trouble, and he would need some help. He nodded, and extended a hand to Ignotus. Quickly, Ignotus dashed over to the little kitchen, to grab his coat and some bread before giving Coventina a quick peck on the cheek and telling her they would not be long. She looked slightly disapproving, but there was also a look of understanding in her eyes. Ignotus took Godric’s hand as the latter closed his eyes and it was not a moment before they had disappeared from the little cottage, transported hundreds of miles in seconds.






Godric had not realised how warm it was in the Hollow until he arrived at the icy tundra of Svalbard. The city was emptying; families had gone home and drunks had scurried to the taverns. “So this is Svalbard,” murmured Ignotus, gazing round the street in wonder. The castle was brightly lit; it was clear the party for Bevan’s coronation was in full swing.

“We’ll go straight to the castle,” said Godric forcefully, his eyes consuming the image of his childhood home. “Bevan will be in there; he has to know we are thinking of him. He has to know that his family has not abandoned him. Rowena does not understand what an inhospitable environment Svalbard can be, I need to make sure he is alright.”

Ignotus nodded in agreement, and then padded along at Godric’s side as they walked through the streets towards the intimidating castle. He listened as Godric pointed out various landmarks. He took particular interest when Godric pointed out the kitchens of the castle, “That’s where I was born; my step-mother had kicked my mother out of the castle, and she was going to die if it wasn’t for the kindness of those in the kitchens.”

As they got closer to the castle they started to hear dance music and bustling talking. It was clear that Bevan had been crowned and was now the star of the party. When they arrived they found the doors of the castle wide open, with two aging footmen standing by the door welcoming guests in. “No stragglers,” spat the younger looking of the boys at Godric, “this is the new Jarl’s coronation party.”

However, the other’s mouth had dropped open the second his eyes alighted on Godric, and he shushed his partner. “Lord Godric, I am so sorry, sir. You will be allowed straight in.” Godric smiled kindly as he and Ignotus were ushered in, straight into the blur of dancing men and women. As Godric pulled his cloak from his shoulders, the people around him noticed it was him. The Prodigal Son of Svalbard had returned home.

“Godric!” The cries came from more people, and they stopped and smiled, clamouring to hold his hand, or pat him on the back affectionately. More and more people spotted him, and soon the musicians had stopped to try to see him. People were clapping and shouting with joy. “Returned at last! His father must be watching down on him, blessing us. The bad son is gone only for the good to return.”

It was not long before the people at the high table were looking up to see the commotion. Godric turned round to see Bevan lifting his head, and their identical eyes met each other. Bevan broke into a brilliant smile reminiscent of his childish giggles in the past. “Father!” he cried, running from his seat across the great hall towards him. At this statement, there was a collective intact of breath. The rumour was true; Bevan Black was the son of Godric, but legally he was still the rightful Jarl as Harald’s only male heir.

Godric embraced his son and the years seemed to melt away. He was once again that youth who had returned to Black Castle to discover he was a father. Every stupid mistake he had made was just washed away as he held his son in his arms; he had not driven Salazar away, Adrian was alive, Hogwarts was thriving and he was by Rowena’s side.

The warmth inside of him only managed to keep at bay the icy stares of the crowd for so long. Bevan’s simple word had proved that the old Jarl was dead, and his flesh and blood would not be sitting on the throne. They would be going back to the glory days of Bevan’s grandfather, Leif Ravenclaw and even his great-grandfather, the transcendent Jarl Godric. The simple looks exchanged between father and son explained a thousand words, of why life was the way it was. Bevan gave his father a childish smile, “have a good evening father. Enjoy Svalbard, it is your home.”

The dancing started instantly; whirling colours and happy faces. Godric had always been seen to have more leadership skills than Harald, and hopefully he would have passed them onto his son. Godric however grabbed hold of Ignotus’ arm, and ushered him away from the hubbub of the music. “Bevan was not the only reason I came here,” Godric whispered urgently, “just follow me, it is only in the courtyard.” Ignotus quelled a confused look as he followed Godric’s orders.

The two of them cantered out of the hectic Great Hall and into the stillness of the evening air. Ignotus trotted quietly behind Godric as he led him through the darkness. It was not long before they came upon a white luminescent structure; ornately decorated with crying angels and doomed devils. “Lumos,” whispered Godric as he pulled his wand from his belt, pointing it towards the small building.

“What is it?” whispered Ignotus, drawing up beside his friend, lighting his wand to see through the gloom. Godric’s green eyes seemed to consume the mausoleum; it was here his ancestors were interred. It was with his mother and father that his life had begun, and he needed answers. He needed to know whether he had taken the right path and made his mother proud.

Ignotus followed Godric as the two of them crept into the mausoleum. Godric could only hear the gentle whispers of Ignotus’ breath as they moved inside, dusting thick cobwebs away as they went. Only the light from their wands enabled them to see anything as they descended into the buried necropolis. Silently they moved past long dead family members, barely looking at their faded names.

“Godric!” hissed Ignotus, moving his wand towards a newer sarcophagus, “this has your name on it! Here lies our eternal Jarl, Godric the Great, the slayer of the Saxons and the destroyer of the Danes. He preserved our life liberty and freedom, and his subjects will be forever grateful.” Godric stood beside Ignotus, peering at the ornate calligraphy.

“My grandfather,” he explained, “Godric Ravenclaw. He was a truly great man, something none of his descendants seemed to have lived up to.” Ignotus looked as if he was going to say something, but Godric had turned round, as if he had suddenly seen what they were looking for. Beckoning Ignotus over, Go