Chapter 1 : Wit Beyond Measure
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The short and balding healer bowed respectfully to his patient and left. Rowena Ravenclaw sighed as she absentmindedly played with a loose thread on her bed cover. She had researched her ailments exhaustively in the past weeks and she had come to the same conclusion as the healer, but still she had hoped...
Many times Rowena had been complimented on her intelligence and wit. She was glorified as being the most brilliant witch of the age. But all things must come to an end, and Rowena was well aware that even a mind as great as hers could not live on forever. If only there was a hope that other great minds could carry on her research and continue to better the education that took place within Hogwarts. Yet, Rowena lamented, it had been a great many years since she had seen intellectual promise in any of her students. It was true that there were a number of great minds in her own house at Hogwarts, she could not deny it, but none showed that promise of true brilliance. Not even Rowena's own daughter lived up to her expectations.
Helena Ravenclaw was not completely devoid of brains, but she had proved to be average in most of her academic pursuits. Rowena found her daughter to be a great disappointment. Often Rowena had commented to her that it was fortunate she was beautiful to make up for her lack of wit.
Rowena threw back the covers on her bed and slipped her robes on. She sat down at the small wooden desk by the large airy window in her room. Rowena closed her eyes and inhaled the fresh air that blew in through the window. With the fresh air came a fresh idea into Rowena's mind. She was determined not to let her intelligence go to waste after she was gone. She would devise a charm that would give intelligence and wisdom to the person wearing the charmed object. But what should she charm?
Rowena looked around her small neat room for something appropriate. Her eyes came to rest on the goblin-made tiara given to her by Godric for her birthday last year. A pleased look settled upon her face. The tiara would be perfect. After all it was fitting that an object charmed to give intelligence should be placed upon one's head.
Rowena worked all night and the next day perfecting the charm until finally she was satisfied. Rowena looked upon the gleaming diadem with a great sense of self-satisfaction. It was her most brilliant work to date. In fact it had surpassed even her own original expectations. There was just one final touch she wished to add. With a flourish of her wand, several words etched themselves into the tiara:
Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure
Helena Ravenclaw entered the room just as Rowena placed the diadem back upon its shelf.
"I'm so pleased you are here, dear daughter," Rowena smiled, "I must show my brilliant creation."
Helena's face showed a glimmer of resentment that went unseen by her mother. For too long she had stood in the shadow of her mother's brilliance while she herself had been described as dull. Anything her mother had created was only likely to cause more jealousy on Helena's part. However, she grudgingly allowed her mother to present her with her latest brilliant creation.
"I have charmed this diadem so that anyone who wears it can be possessed with wisdom and intelligence to match my own," Rowena gushed with great enthusiasm.
"How lovely," Helena replied dryly, eyeing the diadem critically.
Rowena retired to her bed that night with plans to reveal her creation to the wizarding population the following day.
When Rowena awoke the following morning, however, she found both her diadem and her daughter were gone. It did not take her long to realise that Helena had stolen away with the diadem. She sent a messenger for the Baron, who she knew bore affections for her daughter.
On his arrival, Rowena pleaded with the Baron to find Helena and bring her back, so that she might explain to Helena how much she loved her before her illness took hold and it would be too late.
Rowena was never to see her daughter again, however, and she died with the worst kind of knowledge: the knowledge that her daughter would never know how much Rowena valued her daughter and that she would have given away every ounce of her intelligence just to be able to look upon her daughter's face once more. At least she would never know of the terrible tragedy that was to befall her daughter within only a week of her death, because that knowledge would have torn her apart.
A/N: If you enjoyed this one-shot, I have written another Founders one-shot based upon their idea of creating Hogwarts titled Croton Capitatus which can be found as part of the HPFF United collaboration. (Just type HPFF United into an author search to find the collaboration or copy and paste the url I've provided at the top of my author page.)