Chapter 21 : The New World
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The New World
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On the day after Adrian and Helga’s wedding, plans were made for the school. Adrian laid in his bed, the bed he now shared with his wife. It seemed strange that he was a married man, and to Helga, the girl he had not seen for years. Her blonde head rested on his chest, and he had one arm wrapped around her soft shoulders. He did not want to wake her, but Helga’s years as an attentive servant had turned her into a light sleeper, and she woke quickly, kissing him gently.
“Good morrow,” she said sleepily, holding him tightly, snuggling into the warm bed sheets. He stroked her hair absentmindedly before bidding her good morning also. In truth his mind was not entirely on his lovely new wife, and he looked away from her, his mind buzzing with thoughts. She looked up at him confusedly, her green eyes wide with worry.
“Adrian, are you feeling well?” she began, stammering slightly, “you’re not regretting getting married are you?” Helga could be so worrying some times, and he kissed her to reassure her. She gave him a little smile before saying, “you just look so concerned.” He laughed and stroked her hair, rolling over to face him.
“I’m just thinking about the school,” he said pensively, “I mean, it’s all very well us organising this school, and rooms being renovated and books being bought, but there is no students coming from anywhere, and the few of us can’t find them.” Adrian could see from the look of Helga’s face that she agreed with him, and clearly hadn’t thought about this problem.
“How do we get in touch with these students then?” she questioned, her great green eyes filled with confusion and worry. Adrian exhaled for a moment, trying to think clearly to allow his plan to fully form in his tired mind. It would be difficult, and it would be a lot to ask, but he couldn’t think of anything else.
“I’m going to have to infringe on Rowena’s luck again,” said Adrian slowly, with a hint of guilt in his tone, “with the money she has at her disposal, she can hire people to search throughout the land for magical students. They can visit covens, the most obvious place to start, but they could also go to Muggle settlements in the hope of finding magical children.”
“Have I ever told you how clever you are?” teased Helga, leaning on his chest again, the worry lines on her forehead totally gone. Adrian couldn’t help but smile at her, as he pulled her in for a kiss, thinking to himself that he truly was the luckiest man in the entire world to be married to such a wonderful woman.
Unusually, Rowena spent her morning alone in the library, compiling a list of all the books that the Castle Library currently had in stock. The basic classes that were to be taught had been drawn up, and Rowena thought that as the popularity of the school grew, they would be able to extend to subjects taught. Rowena herself would be teaching Charms, and it wouldn’t be long until she had recruited enough people to cover all the subjects.
Suddenly the quiet in the library was disturbed by heavy footsteps. Looking up, she saw who it was. Godric was awake and had brought her a new pile of books that Salazar had taken out for reading several weeks ago. They were piled high, and Rowena instantly walked over to help him. “Give me some Godric, I want to help,” said Rowena warmly, trying to take some away from him to alleviate his burden.
“I’m fine,” he said, clearly straining under the weight of the books. It was just like him to try and never show a sign of weakness, but she continued the way she was going. Rowena wanted to be helpful so she said, “no please let me help.” She soon found herself almost wrestling him for the books, and it wasn’t long until they clattered to the floor, their pages becoming bent and folded and making a huge thumping sound on the floor. Godric let out a dramatic sigh. He knelt down instantly gathering them up, in his strong arms, still not daring to look at Rowena.
Rowena laughed, copying him to speed up the job, “they are only books Godric,” she chuckled, “no damage has been done.” It was less than thirty seconds before they them had piled up between them, and it was at that moment that they both looked up, directly into each other’s eyes. Their faces were inches from each other, and Rowena suddenly felt everything come flooding back so intensely. She felt as if she had been engulfed in his emerald eyes and she watched him silently, her heart beating quickly in her chest.
It all happened so fast.
With one swoop of his hand, Godric had spontaneously pushed the books out of the way, sending them tumbling to the ground. He grabbed her shoulders, the silk of her dress snagging at his touch. He pulled her to him and it was as if they were seventeen again. He kissed her like he had in the lake and during that one glorious night. Rowena kissed back with everything she had, she had been waiting for this day, this moment when he would realise how much he still loved her.
But then he stopped suddenly. He pushed her away and stood up, not facing her as he paced away. It was as if he was angry with himself for what he had just done, “I’m sorry Rowena,” he panted, his face flushed with passion, “I’m so sorry.” Rowena stood up, looking up at him despairingly. Sometimes, she could not work out how his mind worked.
“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” said Rowena plainly, feeling that if they had both enjoyed it, there was nothing wrong with it, “you felt the same thing as I did in that moment.” She tried not to cry. Suddenly gates that had locked all her feelings for Godric away over the past nine months came open, and her feelings came flooding back.
“There is,” said Godric, his voice croaky, “it’s a sin what we have done Rowena. You’re my brother’s wife.” Rowena suddenly felt a stab of anger. How could Godric, one of the most irreligious people she knew, suddenly be worried about his soul and God’s divine punishment? It was as if he became a hypocrite whenever it suited him, and usually just to hurt her.
“You and I have not cared for sinning before Godric,” said Rowena sternly, “without our sins Helena and Bevan would never have been born to the world.” Godric turned to face her, his normally proud face crushed by the emotion in his heart. She wanted to kiss him again, and tell him that all would be well.
“It’s not fair Rowena,” he said angrily, tears welling in his eyes, “you should be my wife. We should be free to love each other the way Adrian and Helga do!” Rowena could not help but inwardly smile. Apart from Godric’s heartbroken confession nine months ago, she had no sign of a renewal of his love.
“My mother would never allow it,” said Rowena sadly, knowing the truth, “I would be disinherited. We would lose everything.” She paused for a moment, suddenly thinking of her distant husband who she never saw, the man whose face she could barely remember, “Harald may be open to the idea though,” she mused, “I don’t think he loves me at all.”
Godric let out a mirthless chuckle at the thought of his brother, “but Harald will proclaim he loves you more than life itself for your land and title, and to spite me.” Rowena could not help but feel trapped. There was no way she could ever love Godric the way she wanted, and the secret was gnawing at her insides. She wanted to be free of all the chains that kept them apart.
“I better get back to my work,” she said sadly, dropping to the floor to pick up the discarded books, “if Salazar finds any more, please let me know.” Godric nodded gravely as he turned away, not even bidding her farewell as he ran from the library and from the pain in his heart.
Guillaume Malfoy marched down to the stables later than he wanted to. Hogwarts stood at his side, carrying books and furniture down to the wagons which the servants were loading up. Guillaume had finally made up his mind; he would be returning to Paris vowing never to look upon Helga again. He thought his sister Bonne, even though she could be cold and harsh, would welcome him home, even though he had given up on her dream of him being a great man.
When he entered, he found the dirty peasant who looked after the horses carefully attending to the Princess’ horse, a magnificent black stallion. Guillaume found that his patience was being tested by this boy, and he snapped at him, “Get me my horse!” The boy look up in deference, his misty grey eyes alight with terror.
“Yes sir,” he mumbled, fleeing across the stable to collect Guillaume’s sturdy war horse. It was at this moment that Hogwarts came toddling up him, in his hands a bright red book. Guillaume recognised it instantly. It was a book of poetry. He had been compiling it for Helga only weeks before she met that Adrian fellow, and now she would never get to read it.
Suddenly he heard a couple’s laugh. His heart fell. He knew the woman’s laugh, that light airy chuckle had haunted his dreams. It was Helga and Adrian. They came into the stable, their arms linked clearly enthralled at the sight of each other. It made Guillaume feel sick to his stomach. Snatching the book out of Hogwarts hands, Guillaume stood up tall, facing Helga, his grey eyes burning into her skin.
When they spotted him, they both stiffened, and Helga seemed to tighten her grip on Adrian’s arm, her green eyes fixed on Guillaume, waiting for him to make his move like in a game of chess. He drank her image in, the last time he would ever see her as the trophy on someone else’s arm. He took a tentative step forward, at which she seemed to retreat into Adrian, resting her pretty blonde head against Adrian’s shoulder.
“I just want to give you something,” Guillaume said slowly, giving the book tentatively back to Hogwarts, “and then I will leave. You will never see me again.” The tension was palpable, so no one moved, not even Hogwarts who stood like a statue an inch from his master’s robes. In one moment, Guillaume channelled all his frustration at the little elf as he lifted his boot, kicking the elf right in the ribs.
“Go, give it to her!” Guillaume thundered, his grey eyes sparkling with rage. The elf look terrified as he ran towards Helga, the book in his outstretched hands. Guillaume turned away, not wanting to see her face as she opened it and glanced on those poems of love. He knew she was a married woman, just like he was a married man, but he couldn’t help but want her to leave Adrian.
Due to this, Guillaume did not see Helga take the book from Hogwarts, or the little elf trot away back to his master. He did not see her slip the glove off her hand or place it amongst the pages of the book. He turned round to face her, his eyes almost filled with tears. “Well?” he said, almost irritably.
“I don’t want this,” said Helga, her anger spitting through with every word. She held it out, and Hogwarts trotted obediently over to her. Guillaume looked up to the ceiling in desperation for one brief moment, so missed Helga’s mouthed instructions to the little elf to “open it”.
Guillaume did not look at any of them, and only turned round when he heard Hogwarts’ little voice. “Master, you have set me free!” His heart stopped as he saw what was in Hogwarts’ hand; a white winter glove, one that he had had bought from the north for Helga when he went on a hunting expedition. He looked at her, hate for her and Adrian bubbling in his chest.
“You wait,” he spat at them nastily, “one day I will have my revenge, just you wait!” With that he pushed past them, running up to his horse that the stable boy had just bought in, and leaping onto it, he galloped out of the stable changing his mind entirely. One day he would return, and Helga and Adrian would pay.
Cadmus just couldn’t believe it.
Only several days previously Antioch had been sitting in their house eating tasteless cabbage soup. He had spoken briefly to his brothers about his life in Alba, and then declared he was going back to Alba to the taverns to have some fun. Now he was lying in an unmarked grave on the road to Nottingham.
His only friend, Tom had left a garbled explanation. Antioch had returned to the taverns to find Tom and the two began to have a drink. They met a girl who Antioch took and instant fancy to. She tried to run from them and had pulled a Portkey from her pocket. Tom and Antioch had got hold before they disappeared and they ended up in a distant village.
The girl had run from them, and her brother had appeared, vowing to protect her. It had resulted in a duel in which a drunken Antioch had apparently killed the man. The two drunks had then gone to the local inn where Antioch had proclaimed himself the “master of death” as he was the owner of a wand that couldn’t be beaten.
Then Tom recounted how he woke in the morning and went to Antioch’s room. He had found him, as if asleep, lying on his bed, his throat had been slit and the Elder Wand was gone. Tom had explained that he hitched a ride home to deliver the unfortunate news.
Ignotus had been devastated. He had lain on his bed for days, crying his eyes out. Cadmus, on the other hand, sat by the table drinking to take away his woes; he found it dulled the pain. The misery was accompanied by long drawn out periods of silence when Ignotus fell asleep and he was left to his own feelings.
The darkness hung around him that night. Clouds had drawn in and there were no stars anywhere. There was even no moon. It was the blackest night he had ever seen. That was why he was surprised by the knock on the cottage door. His curiosity made him answer it; otherwise he would have abandoned the visitor to the cold night. Pulling open the door, he was instantly thankful of his decision.
It was Rowena.
He had to blink again to test that his eyes weren’t deceiving him. Then he believed it was her. He hadn’t spoken to her in months apart from slight questions and answers. He had to stop his quivering hands from holding her, from caressing her like he longer to do. He could not greet her, his shock leaving him rooted to the spot.
“Good evening Cadmus,” she said, her blue eyes twinkling with pity, “I heard what happened to Antioch, I wanted to come and offer my condolences.” Realisation dawned on him. It was a totally diplomatic gesture; he never realised she could be so cold. As far as he was concerned she could keep her pity to herself.
“I don’t want your condolences,” he said sharply, pushing the door closed with one hand. However, he found that Rowena pushed back, her intelligent eyes firmly on him. He couldn’t turn her away. Opening the door slightly, she walked in, making her way over to the table but not sitting down. Cadmus instantly thought her too grand for his humble home. Her diamond diadem twinkled seductively as he moved towards her.
“I know you don’t want to hear my condolences, but it may help,” she said almost sternly, as if she were chiding a child. He resented her; her life up in her fairytale castle with her new friends. It drove him mad with jealousy, and he could not have her return to his life whenever she felt like it; like a goddess finally giving her most faithful worshipper that long awaited miracle.
“What are you doing here Rowena?” he said viciously, “I thought you had new friends now, a new life. Why are you here?” She clearly felt shocked by this, and the hurt showed in her eyes. He instantly felt guilty and decided that from then on Rowena would never know how he felt, because he didn’t want her to feel pain.
“I wanted to make sure you were coping,” she said, putting one hand on his shoulder. He tried to ignore the fact that his body tingled where she touched him. He tried to imagine she was someone else, so his heart didn’t do somersaults in his chest. “Are you coping?” she added, squeezing his shoulder gently.
“No,” he said honestly, “I miss him.” Rowena had moved closer, and now moved her hand to his cheek. Cadmus felt like he was on fire, and he knew he was blushing in spite of himself. Surely she hadn’t forgotten what it had felt like when they were together. Then she did something totally unexpected; she pulled him into a deep hug. Her dark head rested on his chest, and it wasn’t a moment before he had wrapped his arms around her.
It was like they were when he had her heart. He rested his chin on the top of head. Cadmus wanted to kiss her, so badly, but he didn’t just letting her rest in his arms. It was comforting to have her there. They stayed like that in silence for a few moments, but eventually they broke apart, and she looked up at him, a new determination in her eyes.
“If you ever need friends, or people to be with,” she said slowly, “bring your brother along to the castle. A few of us are planning on running a school from there; it might give you some direction.” Cadmus watched her, considering for a moment. He would see her more often, almost reconnect with her, and maybe it would take away the loneliness.
“Okay,” he said cautiously, “Ignotus will probably come too. I think it will help.”
Helga and Adrian just lay on the bed. He had his arm around her, a contented smile on his face. Helga loved that smile; it filled her with confidence every time she saw it. It felt like it should be a serene calm moment, if it wasn’t for the manic house elf scampering around. “Can I get you anything!” squawked Hogwarts, “food, drink, a back massage?”
Helga couldn’t help but chuckle at the happy little elf, “no Hogwarts, we are fine don’t you worry.” The little house elf beamed, his ears lifting a little as he did, “that’s good to know,” he said, absentmindedly straightening the sheets at the end of the bed. Helga felt so happy for him; he was finally free from the tyrannical rule of Guillaume, just like she was.
“Helga,” said Adrian suddenly, not quite looking at her, “I’ve been thinking about something.” She looked at him quizzically. His forehead was furrowed in deep concentration, and his hazel eyes looked darkened by his own thoughts. Helga rested her head upon his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him, but he still seemed tense.
“These people we’ve sent to find students,” he mused, not looking at her, “they are going into every town, every coven in the hope of finding eligible students.” Helga nodded, not quite connecting the dots and working out what was worrying him so. She lifted her head and took one hand, resting it on his scarred cheek.
“Tell me,” she said sadly, “what’s wrong?” He looked up at her, surprised that she hadn’t realised what he was thinking. Suddenly she thought she saw anger in those eyes. “Hogwarts,” she said nervously, “can you get us some food and drink.” The little elf obeyed, and finally she felt relaxed enough to hear what Adrian had to say.
“Don’t you ever think about it?” he said exasperatedly, removing her hand from his cheek. She looked at him confusedly, what was this thing that she was meant to be thinking about? He could obviously see how lost she was, so leapt from the bed, gazing down at her sharply.
“About our home Helga,” he almost shouted, “the place you lived with your father! The place I lived with my parents and sister! The place that is being ruled with an iron fist by your hateful and vicious aunt!” Helga had to admit to herself, she rarely thought of it anymore. She could barely remember what it looked like.
“No,” she said pointedly, “it used to be my home Adrian, until I was forced to start my life again. Everything I loved in Dewsbury is gone.” He scoffed loudly, pacing across the room. Helga could not understand where this was coming from. Surely, he would understand why she never thought of it, as he had fled too.
“So you’ve given up the fight?” he asked, a sense of despair in his voice. He watched her for a moment, before sitting on the bed again, his head resting in his hands. “I’ve written to my sister, over the time I’ve been here. Hundreds of letters. I’ve written to my parents. I’ve not gotten one reply.”
Helga found this quite odd. The Hufflepuff’s had been very close, and Adrian spoke of his family warmly, so she assumed that they were still in touch. This was very out of character for his family. “Why have they not been writing Adrian,” she murmured encouragingly, sitting behind him and holding him tightly to her.
“I think it’s Petronilla,” he said calmly. That name still chilled Helga to the bone. She hated her aunt, and she was terrified of her just the same as when she had been a little girl of ten. “I think she’s stopped letter’s getting to the town.” Helga kissed the top of his head, almost cradling him to comfort him.
“We are going to have to go there,” whispered Helga, trying to keep her voice strong, “we have to get the children to come here to the school. It will get them out of Petronilla’s clutches.” Adrian turned round and kissed her energetically, all his anger finally abated. Helga held him eagerly, thankful at his sudden change in mood.
“We have to try to beat her Helga,” he said, gazing at her intensely, “we have to free them, and the only way for that to happen is for you to beat her in a duel.” Helga thought she had been secretly waiting for this moment all her life. She knew that one day she would have to return to Dewsbury, to fight Petronilla. It was written in the stars.
There was a loud crack, and suddenly Hogwarts appearing with a tray carrying a delicious plate of food. “No time for that,” said Helga, taking charge, “Hogwarts, I want you to go and tell some stable boys to saddle up our horses. Adrian and I are leaving tonight!”
The little elf looked shocked, his great eyes wide in disbelief. “I’m coming with you,” he stammered uneasily, “if you need something done, Hogwarts will be here for you.” Helga nodded; she knew that Hogwarts would never leave her side after what she had done for him. He smiled happily at her, and ran out of the room to fulfil his command.
“You know,” whispered Adrian, standing up and taking her hand, “you are the most amazing woman in the whole world.” And for one glittering, shining moment, Helga actually believed him.
I know this is what some people have been waiting for, and its coming next time... Sorry this was a bit of a filler, but this stuff needed to be said. I had a tough time writing this chapter, so I hope you enjoyed it!!! Next time....Helga and Adrian return to Dewsbury and discover what has become of their home...
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