Chapter 6 : Salazar Slytherin
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Title: Gone By September
Rating/Warnings: 15+ (mild violence)
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Salazar Slytherin pushed open the door, walking up to the sinks. He looked into the mirror, smiling at his reflection as he combed his hair with his fingers.
He pulled out his wand, aiming it at the tap that had never worked. “Imperium.” The tap glowed a nasty, snakelike green. Salazar smiled to himself and said “open up,” in the language that he was known for, that so few were able to speak. As the tap glowed white instead of green, Salazar thought about how useful it was to be a Parselmouth. Only he or his true heir would be able to use the password. It was brilliant. Once the faucet was normal, he hissed menacingly again. “Open up.”
This time the faucet glowed white and started to spin. The tap started to descend, along with the bowl and the pedestal of the sink. A man-sized pipe was now visible. It had been Salazar’s idea to build a large underground chamber.
“If we build a pipe large enough for a man to slip into, leading to a chamber, we could keep all of our beloved students out of harm’s way if danger were to…present itself,” Salazar explained.
“I don’t think that is necessary,” Godric replied. “Why would we need to hide the students? There is no danger with the four of us around. Hogwarts is a fortress and already well protected, as you know. When we are gone they will be safe enough within its walls.”
“I still think that...”
“Leave it, I don’t think we need one, the students are safe. There is no danger that can penetrate what we have now.”
Salazar had built the chamber anyway. He had built the chamber out of anger and spite, with no particular purpose in mind. Now it was the perfect place. Now there was a way. Salazar heard someone in the corridor; someone small. Probably a student, he thought. Salazar turned from the sink just in time to hear it clunk back into place and see the door begin to open. With the turn of his heel he disappeared from view.
“Where have you been?” His teeth were gritted, his plate clean.
“What’s it to you, Godric?” Salazar asked smoothly, smiling at his beloved table of students as he took his seat at the table in front of the Great Hall.
“I told you to be here at the start of breakfast,” Godric replied. “I told you that we needed to discuss your treatment of the students.”
“And what, may I ask gives you power over me?” Salazar demanded, stabbing a potato with his fork. Who does he think he is, my superior?
“Not power over you, just an even balance on the same level as you. When we built this school we agreed to treat all of the students equally.”
“No,” Salazar corrected. “Rowena, Helga, and you agreed to treat all of the students equally. I have never been inclined to lower myself that way. I knew from the start that letting those Mudbloods in was a disastrous idea.” And I was right, he added silently.
Godric’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Regardless of your standing on bloodlines Salazar, Muggle born children are part of this school. I expect you to treat them as such.” Godric managed to keep his voice at a calm whisper, not wanting the students to catch on to their argument. If the two blew it out of proportion again, the students might panic, and Rowena would come running to reprimand the two of them.
"You EXPECT?" Salazar roared as he shot out of his chair. Who is he to expect anything from me? he thought as he glared at his colleague, his anger and power rippling through the air around him. The students noticed this and quickly gathered their things, scurrying out of the Great Hall like mice.
“Yes, Salazar. You knew our standards of acceptance and you chose to stay. We do not force you to take any students into your house that do not wish to be in your house. Now please calm down.”
“CALM DOWN?!” Salazar roared as he stood, his voice raised and his hand on the hilt of his sword. Why does he think he can instruct me like a common Mudblood student of his? I won’t stand for this! Salazar thought, his outrage now flooding his face.
The forced calm tone of Godric’s voice was all it took to set Salazar off. He drew his sword.
Gritting his teeth, Godric stood up and drew his sword as well. He was thankful that there were hardly any students left in the Great Hall; most had taken their toast elsewhere. “I don’t want to use this, but if you force me to…” Godric was shaking as he tried to control his own anger. He knew there was no way to stop this. Another fight was going to happen, all because his old friend, who he had known for most of his life, was small-minded.
“Force you to?” Salazar spat, taking aim and swinging his sword. Godric blocked it, the clanging of metal echoing through the hall as their blades met. “You know bloody well that I…am…right.” Salazar and Godric were in a full fledged sword fight now. They ignored the screams of Helga and Rowena, concentrating on keeping their lives.
“You? Right?” Salazar panted, drawing breath quickly after every word with each swing of the deadly blade. Their swords met again and again as they moved around the room. “You…have never been…right. You are…a disgrace. To this…school…and…to wizards…everywhere.”
“I…am…a…disgrace? What…about…all…of…those…Mudbloods…mucking…up…society? What…about…everything…we…stand…for?” I can’t believe he still thinks those who have dirty blood at the same level as us. We’re far more powerful, we have far more magic in our blood. Those mudbloods don’t deserve equal treatment. They’re scum. Salazar thought as he fought to gain the upper hand, both physically and mentally.
“We stand for?” Godric Gryffindor laughed, even though he wasn’t amused. Their swords met again and this time Godric grabbed Salazar’s wrist, holding their swords together before thrusting him away. Godric held his sword out, keeping Salazar at bay while he talked. “I don’t stand for anything you stand for. You are a coward. Too afraid that there might be a Muggle-born who is better than you. Who has more courage to fight the raging battle that we are in; courage to stand up against witch and wizard oppression. You are afraid that the muggle borns are going to take the world by storm, and you’re going to be left here in the dust, pure blood and all. You want to stay in your safe little bubble. But you would be safe in what? Blood. That’s all that you have. All that you have is “untarnished” blood. Have you ever stopped to think that there is more to a person than their bloodline? You said yourself that some of the muggle born are better at magic than some of your pure blood students.” Salazar let out a roar as he lunged at him in a spurt of anger. He was no longer willing to listen, only wanting to fight.
Salazar slashed at his former friend, barely noticing the screams of the other Hogwarts founders. Godric fought hard, but not out of anger. He fought to protect the school and the students.
“Get out of the way!” Godric yelled at Rowena, Helga, and one of their visiting friends. He led the sword fight to a small room off to the side of the Great Hall. It didn’t take long before Salazar was backed into a corner. “Drop your sword.”
Salazar realized that he was like a snake pinned by a lion with no hope of victory. He spat as he threw his sword to the ground the blade clattering on the stone.
“I will not let you endanger my students again,” Godric said. “I don’t care about their house or their bloodline…”
“Serves the mudbloods right if they are in danger. The filth.”
“No. Regardless of bloodline, of family, our students’ safety is the top priority. I will not fight you about this again, Salazar. If you can’t treat all of the students here with equality, regardless of their background, you are free to leave.”
“Fine. Are we done here? I have Pureblood students to teach.”
Godric pursed his lips as he regarded his colleague silently for a few seconds. Salazar held his gaze, his eyes narrowed until Godric finally spoke. “Yes, we’re done. I suppose you should go teach them, I don’t know how much longer you’ll be teaching here.”
“Did I stumble over my words?”
Salazar glared at Godric for a moment longer before he pushed past him, storming out of the Great Hall, straight past rows of students who were lined up against the corridor wall. They had learned that their Professor Slytherin had slight anger issues and was likely to lash out at any and all who stood in his way.
An hour later, Salazar had calmed down and locked the door to the girls’ bathroom on the second floor. He smiled to himself, as he called out loudly.
He hated messing with lowly creatures, but it was the only way to get the task done quickly. The head house elf appeared at his side, bowing. At least these creatures knew their place on the chain. “What I am about to tell you is secret. I forbid you to ever tell anyone except the other house-elves. Especially,” he paused, taking a deep breath as revenge flooded his thoughts, “the other masters.”
“Yes sir,” the elf said, bowing deeply.
“Good. Now, come with me.” Salazar walked up to the sink, easily summoning his darkest powers and saying in Parseltongue, “Open up.” The sink began to descend through the floor again, and the pipe was revealed. Salazar muttered, “Scourgify,” and the pipe was clean. Salazar climbed in and lay down inside, closing his eyes as he slid down the pipe. He could hear the small elf just behind him. When he hit bottom he saw several large rats scuttle away. His expression twisted into one of distaste as he pulled himself quickly to his feet and dusted himself off.
Salazar started walking. He knew that the stone passage went on for miles under the school, the grounds, and then the small village. He knew that the three houses and couple bars of Hogsmeade village would not dig down, so he didn’t have to worry about the chamber being accidentally discovered.
“Now,” said Salazar, turning to the elf. “You will need to secretly open the quarries used when building the school. I want several carvings of snakes. Two for this,” he pointed at the door as they walked through it, “and one for each of these pillars.” Salazar pointed out several of the pillars that were holding the ceiling up. Salazar knew this meant they were under the black lake. Especially since a puddle was forming near the edge of a protuberance of rock in the wall. “And this,” Salazar said, looking up, “is going to be a giant statue of me. Think you can handle that, Elf?”
“Yes sir,” the elf assured him, bowing again as Salazar rubbed his hands together from the cold. “We can, sir.”
“Okay. This is how it is going to work. The snakes must be carved by the time school lets out. Carve them between meals, at night; whenever you toe rags aren’t working. Then, during the summer, I will let some of you in to install them and carve the statue of me. Can you do that, Elf? Can you keep that a secret? Or should I just do away with you?”
“Oh no sir, I’m ready sir. I will do it sir. I will not tell anyone sir.”
“Good. I will get jewels for the eyes and I need you to get me a chicken’s egg and a toad by tomorrow. I expect you in my office after lunch. Fail and I will have my extra clothes waiting.”
“No sir, please no sir. I will not let you down!” The elf looked like it was in pain. “I promise sir! Not the clothes!”
“Good. Now go.” Salazar watched the elf scurry away, smiling to himself and turning on the spot.
“Can I help you, sir?” The shopkeeper emerged from the dust, brushing himself off and looking into Salazar Slytherin’s shadowed face.
“Show me your precious jewels.”
The shopkeeper was taken back by the abrupt coldness of his customer’s voice, but he started to walk towards the back of the shop.
“This way sir,” he replied, gesturing for Salazar to follow him. “They are just behind the curtain.” The shopkeeper led Slytherin into a small room. Salazar was vaguely surprised; he had thought that the curtain was simply covering an ugly wall. The room was full of glass cases. There was dust layering each pane of glass, but Salazar could just see through enough to make out a gold and black ring on a blue velvet pillow.
The shopkeeper muttered a charm and all of the cases were instantly cleaned. Gleaming stones of every shape and color sparkled at Salazar. He wandered past the cases of jewels, stopping every now and then to look at one.
“And this?” Salazar asked, pointing at the ring he had seen earlier.
“Sir, you won’t want that. It’s merely a ring. A black onyx ring set in gold. It is poorly made,” he said as he led Salazar over to a case of more beautiful rings that did not glow as the onyx one did. “Wouldn’t you want a ring more like this one? With your own coat of arms, rather than the Peverell family one?” The shopkeeper bit his lip.
“No,” said Salazar Slytherin simply. “I wish to purchase this ring. How much for it?” The shopkeeper gave him the price. There was something in the set jaw and the manner of Slytherin that made him uncomfortable. Something that was slightly odd. Salazar seemed to have some sort of connection to this ring, and the shopkeeper knew that it would be no use to argue.
“Sir may I ask why you…”
“No. We are not here to discuss the nature of this ring or why I am purchasing it. As for the rest of my purchase, I am looking for some fine jewels. Unless I should go somewhere else…?”
“No sir, we have a very fine selection. What about these emeralds? They are excellent in quality and texture; a bargain for a man such as yourself!”
“I shall take them. The large ones here,” he said, pointing at two large emeralds jewels at the back of the case, “and also, make these rubies into a set of silver rings.”
“Yes sir,” said the shopkeeper, gladly handling the money and packaging the precious jewels, “anything else, sir?”
“No that is all.” Salazar took his change and his packages, wearing the black-stoned ring on his left hand, and walked out of the shop without another word. The shopkeeper wondered for the rest of his life why the great Salazar Slytherin, co-founder of Hogwarts, was buying such large emeralds and setting them in nothing. No gold, no silver, not even bronze. Even stranger, was the ring he had bought. The shopkeeper didn’t realize it would be passed to his descendants for years to come.
Salazar finished his potatoes and walked calmly to his office. When he arrived he found the elf from the day before standing straight upright with packages in both hands.
“Good,” Salazar said as he took the egg and toad from the elf. “Here are the emeralds for the eyes of the snakes on the door. Don’t break them.” Salazar walked away, leaving the elf in slight confusion, great expensive jewels in hand.
“Open Up,” Salazar hissed. He slid down the pipe and walked briskly to a pipe that was secluded and off to the side.
Salazar placed the egg down in a few leaves that he had brought from outside. He knew that once the basilisk hatched there would only be just over a month before its amber eyes opened to kill. By that time, it would be late August.
Salazar snapped out of his reverie when he reached the end of the smaller pipe, glancing back just in time to see the toad hop away and a small miniature serpent poke its head out of the shell.
Salazar had avoided Godric since their sword fight, but he knew that Godric was taking a holiday just after the students left, so he decided to stay civil for the students’ last day.
The four founders stood side by side at the gates of the school as the carriages slowly took their pupils away. All four waved merrily, smiling at the students and one another falsely.
As soon as the last carriage was out of sight, Godric turned to Salazar. “It would be best, for yourself and the students,” he said tightly, “if you left before term starts in September.” Godric left Salazar no time to fight. He turned with his last words and disappeared with a pop to go on a holiday. Salazar crossed his arms over his chest and turned his cold eyes on Rowena and Helga. They had the nerve to look uncomfortable, unable to fully meet his gaze. Salazar sniffed, rolling his eyes and turning his gaze back to the school he had helped to build. They left him quickly, making their way back through the gates. Finally out of my way, he thought as he watched them go. Now I can work in peace. He knew they too would be leaving for the holiday by the end of the week. If they want me gone, I’m gone. But not before I’ve finished my work.
“Elf!” Salazar called as he walked through the empty castle. The elf who had given him the egg and the toad appeared at his side. “Gather your carvings, your tools, and my crew. Today is the day.” The elf nodded and immediately disappeared.
By the time Salazar arrived in the bathroom, fifty to sixty elves and several stone carvings were assembled, ready to enter the chamber.
“Open up,” Salazar hissed in Parselmouth. The slide-like pipe opened and all of the elves, along with their carvings, quietly made their way down the slide.
The snakes on the door were installed. The two were intertwined and glowed oddly; the emeralds were still freshly cut. The elves put snake carvings, all with places to put a jewel if Salazar desired, onto the pillars. Elves were already wetting and cutting the protuberance of stone into the shape of feet. Salazar could see that the fifty to sixty elves would be done with the statue that afternoon, so he left for lunch.
Halfway through lunch Rowena turned cautiously toward Salazar, abandoning her meal. “Salazar, I think you aught to consider Godric’s proposal,” she suggested softly.
“Proposal?” he replied incredulously. “He’s kicking me out of my own school!” Salazar threw down his fork with his words, angry that Rowena could propose such a thing.
“He’s not kicking you out, but…”
“He’s kicking me out and you know it,” he spat back. When she didn’t respond he shot up from the table. “You want me to leave too! Admit it; you want me out of this place!” Rowena opened her mouth but Salazar didn’t wait to hear what she had to say. He stormed out of the Great Hall and straight to the bathroom, seething. Within seconds he was in the chamber where the elves had been working non-stop all day. They were all exhausted, but the statue was finished.
Salazar double checked all of the snakes and his own personal statue carefully to make sure that the elves were no longer needed. He stood before them all, ready to order them not to say anything. They all looked at him expectantly, waiting for their next order.
“I will soon be leaving this castle, but I order you, even when I am gone, to never say anything about this chamber or the work you’ve done in it. Understood?” The elves all nodded, bowing lowly before they left the chamber under his orders.
Several weeks passed, but Salazar hadn’t left. Perhaps a small part of him wanted to try to salvage his position, or maybe he merely wished to make things hard for Godric until the last possible moment. A week before school was to start the three other founders returned to Hogwarts. Godric Gryffindor wasted no time in sending letters to all of the students—including, much to Salazar’s disgust, the Muggle-born.
“I told you that this school needs to rid itself of Mudbloods,” Salazar said as Godric addressed the envelopes. “We are wasting our time on those unworthy of magical learning.”
“And I told you that if you want an only pureblood school you need to start one somewhere else. I told you that you were no longer welcome in this place. Hogwarts School is for all who wish to learn magic, not for those you would select. If you are not going to accept that, then get out of my way. These letters are late and the students will be returning in two days.”
“Fine,” Salazar said, “but you should know that one way or another, now or sometime along the road, this school will be cleansed of dirty blood.” Salazar strode out of the room and went to his office.
Salazar packed all of his things, sending some by magic to lodgings he had already procured, but leaving two bags to carry out. After his office, study, and room were cleaned out, Salazar went to bed, knowing that he had a trying day ahead.
Salazar ate breakfast alone, not wanting to speak to Godric. After breakfast he wrote a letter to each of the three other Hogwarts founders. He wrote letters to Rowena and Helga, explaining why he was leaving and thanking them for their understanding. He told Rowena that she was the smartest witch of her age. .They were formalities really, since everyone already knew why he was leaving. The letter to Godric took a significantly longer time. After several drafts and crossings-out, Salazar ended up with a very short letter.
We have been friends for a very long time. It is my sad duty to inform you that I will be leaving the school, as you have already informed me. I hate to follow your orders, but I can not stand and watch the undeserving gain magical knowledge. I cannot stay here any longer and watch those with dirty blood enter the school that I helped to create. I am afraid that the rift between us is growing too great, and I don’t want my students to have to watch us fight and me eventually kill you, because you know that I would. Please divide the pure students of my house between Rowena and Helga. Their learning should not suffer merely because you drove me out of my own school. When my true heir returns to Hogwarts, the Chamber of Secrets will be opened, unleashing a horror unknown to even you, and Hogwarts will finally be cleansed of mudbloods. There will be nothing you can do to stop it.
Wishing you the best of luck with a word of warning,
Salazar awoke before dawn, picked up his bags, and walked to the girl’s bathroom where the chamber was hidden, hissing for it to open one last time. After sliding down the pipe, Salazar walked to the door with the intertwined snakes. “Imperium,” he said, pointing at the door. As soon as it glowed green, he hissed, “Open” in Parselmouth. It glowed white and then back to its original color. “Open,” Salazar hissed again and the door slid open. Salazar walked through the chamber, past the columns with the snakes. He took one last look at his statue and walked out of the chamber. The door and pipe closed behind him, sealing the chamber. Salazar pointed at the broken faucet, and a small snake was engraved on it.
As Salazar walked back through all of the school halls, he seethed with rage again, thinking of how he had been kicked out of his own school. Stopping in the Great Hall just long enough to leave the letters to his former friends in their breakfast places, Salazar walked out of the school, shutting the door behind him and walking to the gate. He turned around. One last time, Salazar looked upon the Hogwarts castle. Instead of feeling pride, as he had the first time he had looked at it, Salazar felt only anger and resentment. Without another look he turned around, and kept walking towards the carriage that would take him to his new home in Bulgaria. “You win for now, Godric,” he said to himself, his breath rising in the chilly September air. “I followed your orders. I’m gone. But you just wait, my heir will return and I will win in the end. Even if I leave before term starts. Even if I am gone by September.”
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