Chapter 19 : Changing the World
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Changing the World
Beautiful new chapter image by heartplague @ tda
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...
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