Chapter 13 : Godric's Discovery
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Meanwhile, just down the corridor, Helga sat at the end of Godric’s bed, facing him with narrowed eyes. She looked nervously down at the two pieces of straw he had grasped in his hand.
“Okay, here goes,” Helga muttered, bracing herself.
She pulled one of the straws from Godric’s hand and watched nervously as he opened out his hand to reveal just how long the other piece of straw was.
“Yes!” She beamed.
“So how long do I have to keep her out of your way?”
“A few hours. I’m sure you won’t find it too tedious!” She laughed, clambering down from the bed.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” He demanded.
“I know you like her,” she replied, as she made her way to the door. “It was so obvious the way you were staring!”
“Helga - !”
“Have fun, Godric!” She giggled, before exiting the room.
Godric suddenly felt nervous. What was he going to do? How on earth could he keep Rowena occupied for that amount of time?
“Godric!” Rowena called, making her way up the main staircase just as he emerged at the top.
“Oh, good morning, Rowena,” he replied, trying to sound casual. “Where are you going?” He asked quickly, dodging in front of her.
She stared in puzzlement.
“I was going to see Helga.”
“Why ever not?” She asked, looking rather surprised. Godric hoped she couldn’t see straight through him.
“She’s sick!” He explained, saying the first thing that came into his head.
“Sick?” She said, looking worried. “What’s wrong with her?”
“Er…flu,” he said quickly. “It’s really quite bad. She’s all…er…pale…and feverish.”
“I should go and see her,” Rowena muttered anxiously. “Catching the flu at this time of year can be very dangerous!”
“No!” Godric said quickly, darting in front of her again. “You don’t want to do that!”
“What do you mean?”
“Er…” He stammered, glancing away. “Contagious!” He said, a little more loudly than he’d meant to. “It’s very contagious and you could catch it. Why put yourself at risk?”
“Oh, I was hoping to see her today. What about Salazar. Where’s he?” She asked, glancing up the stairs.
“Salazar? He’s er…said something about talking to Lord Hufflepuff. Yes, he’s talking to Hufflepuff.”
“I’ll keep you company if you like,” he suggested, after a short pause. “If that’s alright with you.”
“Of course it is,” she said, looking up the stairs one more time.
“Let’s go outside, shall we?” Godric beamed, offering her his arm and steering her in the direction of the grounds outside.
“This really isn’t as easy as it looks!” Salazar exclaimed, as Helga tried to help him practice a simple hovering charm.
“Hmmm, we’ll try something else!” Their tutor said. “Let’s see,” she muttered, looking thoughtful. “How about the disarming spell?”
“Yes. Try it on Helga. It will simply stop someone from attacking you and disarm them of any weapons. Just say expelliarmus.”
“Expelliarmus?” He repeated uncertainly, as the tutor turned him to face Helga.
“Yes. Now, don’t expect anything big at first. Just practice. Ready?”
“I think so,” he replied, holding his hands out. “EXPELLIARMUS!”
He made himself jump in shock as a flash of luminous red light issued from his fingertips, causing Helga to be thrown backwards into the desk behind her. Whatever he’d been expecting, it certainly hadn’t been that!
“Helga!” He said worriedly, hurrying over to her. “Are you okay? I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“But that was great!” She beamed, as he pulled her to her feet.
“It…it was?” He stammered, staring at the tutor for reassurance.
She nodded in reply, staring at Salazar in slight puzzlement.
“You sure you’ve never practiced this spell before?” She asked quietly.
“Well, I must say,” she said, sounding rather breathless. “That was quite something for a first attempt. I’ve never seen anyone grasp a spell like that so quickly!”
“So…I did well?” He said nervously.
“Of course you did!” Helga giggled.
“Indeed,” their tutor smiled. “It very much seems that you are gifted in the art of defensive spells. A very useful thing to be good at too!”
Salazar smiled and felt his insides warm with pride, despite the fact that the castle was rather draughty. He couldn’t believe he’d achieved this so quickly and he felt very content in the knowledge that he’d found something he’d probably be quite good at.
“So princess,” Godric grinned. “How about a snowball fight?”
“No, I’m not going to fight with you!” She replied, looking rather shocked.
They carried on walking through the snow. Godric had found it rather difficult to know what to say to her so far.
“Afraid you’ll lose?” He laughed, glancing sideways at her.
“No. I just don’t think it's mature to do such a thing. My father wouldn’t approve,” she said coldly.
“Since when have you cared what he thinks? The last time we met it was you that made me ride off through the fields on a horse with you!”
“Since I’ve grown up,” she said shortly.
Godric stared at her as they walked for a moment.
“You’re not the person I used to know,” he muttered.
She spun round to face him, looking rather angry.
“We were barely in each others company for a day so you have no right to say that you know me!”
“Well, I like to think I’m a good judge of character,” he retorted.
She glared at him for a moment and then they continued to walk alongside each other through the snow.
“So are you going to tell me then?” Godric asked after a long silence, in which only the distant crows could be heard cawing loudly.
“Tell you what?”
“What’s wrong,” he replied, looking seriously at her. “I can tell there is.”
“It’s not your concern,” she answered.
Godric was suddenly struck by how much her personality had changed. Before she’d been playful and eager to break rules, go wherever she felt like…but now…now she wanted to be grown up and proper about everything. This wasn’t the Rowena whose spirit he’d admired all those years ago. Now she was like a shell and he was saddened by this.
“Rowena, please. You can tell me, it’ll go no further. I have always been told that if you share a problem it makes you feel better.”
She kept her eyes facing the ground for a long while but then looked up, fixing him with that piercing stare.
“My father is making me marry a man I hate,” she said simply.
“You’re getting MARRIED?” He demanded, feeling his heart sink and knowing it was too late to disguise the look of pure disappointment on his face.
“That’s terrible,” Godric breathed. As he looked upon a disheartened Rowena he just couldn’t bear the thought of her being unhappy for the rest of her life - she deserved better.
“You know something,” Rowena said after a long silence. “I shouldn’t be miserable because these may be my final weeks of freedom from my parents and my new husband,” she muttered, saying these last two words with pure hatred in her voice. “I should be doing this.”
“What?” Godric asked, turning towards her.
Before he could say another word he’d received a face-full of snow. He shook it out of his eyes and looked up to see Rowena beaming widely. It must have been the first true smile she’d cracked in months.
“You said you wanted to fight with the snow,” she laughed.
Godric grinned menacingly and scooped up a pile of snow. Rowena squealed and started to run towards the fir trees at the edge of the grounds. He chased after he, laughing as he went.
“I’m a fast runner!” He called, dodging after her through the trees.
When he got a good shot of her he threw the snowball as hard as he could. He stopped in his tracks as it hit the back of her head, sending her catapulting out of sight. His eyes widened in worry and he ran to the place where she had fallen, sprawled out in the snow, her deep blue dress fading into the white.
“Rowena?” He said, his voice shaking with anxiety as he turned her over. “Are you alright?” He demanded, shaking her shoulders slightly. “I didn’t mean to.”
He gasped as he was suddenly thrown sideways. He hit the snow, lying face up and Rowena came into view above him, giggling amusedly. She pinned him down to the ground and Godric dreaded what was coming next.
“You’ll be sorry,” she laughed. She leant down towards his face, so that their noses were almost touching. Godric could feel his heart racing against his ribs. His breathing quickened as he felt her soft breath against his face. “Do you like the taste of snow?”
Before he could argue or protest she had smashed a great deal of snow upon his face. He gasped once more as the cold of it hit him like needles. Rowena jumped from over him and started dashing through the trees again. He immediately jumped up and gave chase, feeling his face turn red with cold.
“Oh dear,” Godric grinned. “Looks like you’re cornered now.”
He had chased her into a clearing surrounded by thick bramble bushes. She spun on her heel to face him and they both stooped to the ground to retrieve the snow at the same time. Rowena was the first to rise and she threw her snowball at Godric. As he looked up a loud cracking noise sounded, echoing through the trees around them and he stared at Rowena in shock as a streak of green light shot from her. She shouted out in surprise and fell backwards into the snow. Godric dodged to the left just in time as the snowball she’d thrown shot straight at him.
“What was that?” She demanded, looking fearful and quite shaken.
Godric knew there could be only one explanation for it. He had no idea Rowena could do that. The only way that could have happened was due to magic…but he thought Rowena was as much of a muggle as her parents. He moved towards her, where she still sat in the snow looking rather confused and shaken. He knew it’d be risky to do what he was planning but he thought Rowena would be understanding about it. He bent down and knelt next to her in the snow, the hem of his cloak becoming sopping wet.
“You don’t know what that was?” He asked.
“No. Should I?” She said hysterically.
“No. It’s just that…” He trailed off. “Has that ever happened before?”
“No…I don’t think…wait,” she said, looking scared. “Yes. One other time at home. I was alone and the same green light just…shot out of my hand.”
Godric’s eyes widened. He wanted to run back to the castle immediately to tell Lord Hufflepuff.
“Godric?” She said worriedly, watching his facial expression closely. “What is it?”
“I think you’re a witch,” he said quietly, bracing himself for the reaction.
She stared for a moment and then leapt to her feet, looking mortally offended.
“How dare you!” She roared. “How could you say such a thing! I come from a long line of RESPECTABLE people. I certainly don’t dabble with black magic. What a thought!”
“No, Rowena…wait!” He called, followed swiftly after her.
“Get away from me!” She shouted, as he grabbed her arm to stop her from running away. He was suddenly gripped by fear as the prospect of what her father would say if he found out actually hit him.
“Please Rowena, you have to understand!”
“Understand what?” She demanded, wheeling round so that her hair came loose from its bun. “That you’re accusing me of being a witch?”
“No. Look, they exist - ”
“Oh, I know they do! People like that get torched alive…or…or…thrown into the sea! How dare you accuse me of being such a thing!”
Godric knew he had to do something quickly before they were all in danger of being discovered. As Rowena made to storm off again he grabbed her by the shoulders and pinned her to the nearest tree.
“Get your hands off me!” She snarled, writhing to break free.
“Rowena, stop!” He hissed, trying to make her be quiet. “Look, I’m a wizard!”
She stopped wriggling about and gaped up at him, astounded.
“You do…magic?” She asked, looking terrified. He nodded cautiously. “Get off me!” She squealed, afraid he might try to curse her with his dark powers. She knew magic was something to fear and intended to get as far away from him as possible.
“Stop, Rowena…please! Salazar and Helga do it too!” He said quickly.
“No. I’d know and they wouldn’t do something like that. They’re respectable people, unlike you!”
He was now forced to pin his entire body against her to stop her from getting away. He had to do all he could to make her understand.
“Let go of me,” she pleaded.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” Godric replied, sounding offended.
“Please. I just want to go back. Don’t curse me,” she said fearfully, her eyes shining with tears.
“I wouldn’t,” Godric muttered, his face close to hers. “ I can teach you,” he whispered into her ear. He could feel her shallow breathing against his neck and wanted to try all he could to calm her down. “I can teach you to use your magic.”
She shook her head in defiance, making the tears leak down her cheeks.
“No. Magic is a sign of evil.”
“No, it’s not!” Godric murmured. “We do good things!”
“Like what?” She asked, now starting to sob.
“All sorts of things. We learn to make potions to heal people’s wounds. We can cast many spells that come in useful. Rowena, you mustn’t tell anyone about us or yourself.”
“Will you curse me if I don’t keep your secret?” She sobbed.
He moved back slightly so that he could see her tear-stained face and felt his heart give a painful thump. He hated that he’d made her cry and wiped her tears away gently.
“I would never do that to you,” he said quietly. “Listen,” he said, looking her directly in the eye. “You’re a witch. You have the power and there’s nothing you can do to change that. Someone will find you out soon enough when you accidentally cast magic. If you learn to use your magic properly there’s less chance that’ll happen.”
“But I’m scared,” she whispered, looking up at him with shining eyes, a fresh wave of tears threatening to spill down her face.
“You don’t have to be,” he said, pulling her close. As she rested her head on his chest he felt his heart thumping painfully again. “I’ll be here for you, I swear.”
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