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.
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,
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.
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