Chapter 12 : The Loudest Cheer
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The Loudest Cheer.
Back at Titch Marsh cottage everyone who had been in the procession was gathering in the back garden. As they arrived, each spoke with and commiserated with the twins, some even told them memories of Maggie and Eli as young people.
The two children stayed close to Harry and Ginny next to the path into the garden, whilst everyone arrived. Once they had arrived, they went to kept Teddy occupied on the verandah of the Summer House where Molly and Andromeda sat. It was, after all, far better being with the toddler than putting up with the sad looks many of the women present were giving them.
People mingled in the garden, some standing talking, others sat on one of the numerous conjured chairs around the grounds. Others found tables, and waited for refreshment, whilst a few took the opportunity to see what Ron and Hermione had done with the garden. Rosemerta and her staff, together with Kreacher and Winky, could be seen flitting between people with jugs of Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice, glasses and tankards of stronger drinks and plates laden with food ensuring each guest had the opportunity of refreshment. The two elves made sure the twins and Teddy were not left out
Harry and Ginny were chatting with Dudley near the Summer House. Maria had been unable to get time off work for the funeral. Ron and Hermione joined them.
“It went well.” Hermione commented, glancing at the twins.
“ Yes, thank goodness, the poor twins they have been through so much.” opined Ginny. “ So how are you settling in here, sorry we haven't been able to visit yet.”
“ Oh it's wonderful” Hermione smiled “ There will be chance for you to come soon, you know you're welcome any time.”
“Dud likes it don't you fella” Ron grinned elbowing his Muggle colleague jovially in the ribs.
“Sure do, Ron.” Dudley laughed “It's great to have people I know so close by, mind you, everyone in the village has welcomed me warmly. Still, it's good to have people here I already knew, and Maria comes most evenings after work too, and sometimes we Floo to her house and join her parents for dinner. Other times we pop here or just stay in the flat, she's a great help with the lessons Minerva set up for mum and I.”
“I hear her Dad is taken with you too Dud, says his wife fusses over you and worries about you being on your own in the flat.” Harry teased lightly.
“Oh yes, almost as much as Mrs. Weasley does over you Harry.” winked Dudley. “She sends Maria with food parcels for me at least twice a week. I am getting quite a taste for her cooking, she makes a mean apple pie. I am being careful though, I want to keep my new figure.”
It was true the potion had been effective, he liked his trimmer profile, as did Maria, he was determined to keep it too.
They continued to chat and mingled with others in the garden, introducing Dudley to people he had not yet met. After just over an hour people began to leave and soon it was time to take the twins back to school.
Hermione and Ginny were talking about the village as Harry gathered the twins, and Hermione was talking about the grave she had seen.
“Ginny, remember the Huntrodds at Whitby? Well, I spotted a very old grave today, it was a Huntrodds too, an Utred Huntrodds and his wife Frayja. The Post master has told me of the story that he was Gryffindor's first student, and saved the village. Apparently, there is a legend that after a thousand years his family would re-emerge and settle in the village. The villagers would know when the family had returned, as they would be the ones able to read the runes on the grave. It also says the one who does is the one who alone has the power to save thousands. Well, he thinks that as I could read the runes, long faded as he described them, that the one with the power is me. It sort of fit's in with what Firenze said, remember that day we met him on Hogwarts driveway. I need to find out more about this Utred; could you see if there's anything on him in the Hogwarts library for me? I'm going to check the Ministry one, and try to trace the family.”
Ginny looked awkward. “Well actually, we have a book which has quite a lot about Utred in it, in our library. I'll lend it you if you like, I'll send it down to you with Tiberius later.”
Hermione didn't seem to notice her friend's discomfort, she was to thrilled to have a definite source of information to follow. She nodded her agreement enthusiastically as Harry arrived with the twins and they had to go.
Once the twins were back in Gryffindor tower with their friends Harry and Ginny retired to their rooms.
They settled on the sofa, Ginny snuggled up to Harry.
“Hermione started talking about the Huntrodds today, she saw Utred's grave stone. I said I'd send her the book.” She told him.
“It's started then, her path to her destiny.” Harry suggested
“Looks like it.” She agreed.
“Well the book is in my office love, best send it now, then she'll know as much as we do.”
Ginny went to collect the book and returned to find Tiberius waiting.
“He's just arrived.” Harry commented “Just like Hedwig, he seems to know when we need him.”
Ginny smiled as she tied the book to the Owls leg. “Of course you do don't you Tiberius” She cooed stroking the proud owl's head with her finger, her tone became more serious as she give him his instructions. “Not far to go boy, just to Hermione in the village all right?
The owl hooted and took off as she finished.
“The twins coped well today I thought.” she said as she snuggled back up to Harry, again.
“Yes let's hope that continues this weekend, at the will reading.” He replied yawning.
Ginny grinned.”Come on then my love, you've done well today, you are staying awake longer and longer each day. Still, I know it took a lot today, lets get to bed.” She stood and held out her hand to help him up.
Harry nodded and gratefully accepted her hand and stood, she led him to the bedroom.
The following Saturday, after breakfast, whilst the students were either enjoying the freedom of the weekend or working on their homework assignments, Harry and Ginny walked with the twins to the headmistress' office. Kingsley and Oliver were waiting for them there, for the official reading of Eli and Maggie's will. It was unusual for the reading to be held outside Gringotts, but the bank had agreed with the minister to hold it in the headmistress' office as the only beneficiaries were students; Kingsley had also agreed to pay a fee to the bank as well of course. As the group entered the office, a Gringotts Goblin turned to watch them approach. His expression didn't change, nor did the Goblin offer any greeting as he watched them cross the room from his seat next to the headmistresses desk. Further chairs were arranged around the room, enough for those now in attendance.
Kingsley smiled a greeting “Good to see you all, Delilah, Tarquin; how are you settling in to your new house?”
“Very well thank you for asking Minister.” said Delilah, a trace of a smile briefly breaking through her sombre expression, she sat down in a chair near the shelf that held the sorting hat; Tarquin sat next to her silently, both looking very serious.
“Good, well as you know we need to read the will of Mr and Mrs Symonite... er... Maggie and Eli. I understand they deposited their last will at Gringotts only a few weeks before they died. Elrond is here”, He indicated the Goblin, “to ensure everything is done as it should be, and to facilitate any transfers needed as a result of the will.”
“Now, you two are you happy for us to proceed at this time?” Oliver asked.
Both twins looked to Harry and Ginny, who smiled back reassuringly. The two children nodded their agreement, and everyone sat down. Elrond clicked his fingers and a small black chest appeared on the desk. He opened it and took out a scroll which he handed to the minister.
“Minister this is the last will of Mr and Mrs Symonite, which they jointly made in the bank some weeks ago.” The Goblin announced.“ I have the necessary authority to, if necessary, distribute any gold held in the bank's vaults, and conduct any business required immediately on conclusion of the reading.”
“Thank you Elrond. Twins, are you happy that I read it or would you prefer some one else.” asked Kingsley.
“No, it's fine for you to do it, minister.” Tarquin finally found his voice.
Kingsley smiled, nodded, then broke the seals, both wax and magical, unrolled the parchment, took a deep breath and began to read.
“This is the last will and testament of Eli and Maggie Symonite, both being of sound mind though of elderly body. Delilah and Tarquin we want to thank you for helping us enjoy our last months together. Through you we re-found our youth and enthusiasm for life, we are only sorry we didn't know of your suffering earlier, however life is for living and hope you will live yours to the full. Don't live life in regrets, you have some very good and influential friends who care about you, we know they will help you.
You are wonderful children who did more for us than you will know until you are older, and for that we thank you. Never lose that curiosity to find out that you showed us. Harry, Ginny and Mr. Gresley are your trustees, along with Healer Gilbert, they will look after things for you until you come of age, but everything we have is now yours, our beloved twins. You deserve it all, and we hope it will go some way to helping you to be happy in the future. We hope you will remember our short time together fondly, but ask you not to dwell on how it ended; think of the good times and perhaps one day, you will be taking your children to some of the places we took you. We will always be with you in your hearts, and wait for you wherever we are now, but hope it will be a long time until you join us here. Enjoy your lives, we shall be watching and always with you in your hearts, and remember, we love you.”
There was a pause as Kingsley finished the will, which both Eli and Maggie had signed, before he slowly rolled it up then handed it back to Elrond.
“Thank you, Minister.” The Goblin bowed.” I shall see to everything required, a copy of this will be deposited with the Wizangamot and in the vaults concerned. I shall forward a complete list of properties, and inventory of artefacts and gold added to the trust, to the trustees on Monday.” He turned to the twins. “Unless you have any questions, I shall take my leave.” Receiving a negative response from them, he nodded, said. “May your gold always flow.” He stepped to the fire and in a flare of green, was gone.
Once the Goblin had gone there was a few moments of silence, before Oliver gently spoke “There is something more you need to know, twins.”
The children looked up at him, tears that had started during the reading staining their cheeks.
“More? But, I thought wills were supposed to cover everything?” asked Delilah, wiping her eyes on a handkerchief, as her brother did the same on his sleeve before he loudly sniffed.
Resisting the urge to laugh at the disgusted look Delilah shot her brother, Harry reassured her.“This is something a will cannot cover.”
Ginny grinned at Delilah's antics. “You see, while Maggie was ill, she realised that after she had died, you two would be on your own, unless she did something about making sure you would be part of a family who would welcome you, that you already know well, and you could enjoy being part of.”
Kingsley looked at the twins puzzled faces. “She signed some papers, to allow you to go to be part of this family, if you want, but it is your choice if you let them adopt you.”
“Hang on! Does that mean we would be their kids?” asked Tarquin dubiously.
“Yes, Tarquin, that is what Maggie hoped you would want, and she gave authority to happen if you wish. That said, even if you want to be part of this family, you could keep you surname, but you might not want to.” Smiled Minerva. “They have agreed to take you in, and you would be the youngest, but it does mean having more brothers Delilah, and another sister or two to buy Christmas presents for.”
Delilah's face lit up.“Oh... I think I know who. I think Weasley would be a good surname for two new Gryffindor's”
Tarquin caught on. “That means we would be related to Harry, Ginny and George. Are Mr. And Mrs. Weasley sure?”
“Why not ask them yourselves?” Said Minerva smiling. She opened the office door, and in walked a smiling Molly and Arthur. “Tarquin was asking if you are sure?” she told them.
Molly looked at the twins, they could see the sincerity in her eyes.“Of course we are. If you want us, we are here for you and couldn't be happier to be.” she smiled
“It's up to you two, really.” Smiled Arthur. “We would love to have you as part of our family, we have already agreed to it with Maggie. But, I must warn you, it will take you a while to get used to all the Weasleys, Potters and Grangers when we get together, and you will be expected to pitch in with everyone, you know.”
The twins stood and ran over to Molly and Arthur, and hugged them happily. “We don't mind that, we would love to be Weasleys, even if we haven't got red hair” the twins cried happily in unison.
Harry laughed. “George knows a spell for that if you like twins.”
“Harry, behave! They don't need red hair.” Giggled Ginny, taking a playful swipe at his arm. “Looks like I have another brother and sister though. Two more for the Christmas party. Kreacher and Winky will be pleased.”
“Well, in that case Oliver,” said Kingsley “I think we had better go and finalize the adoption for them, and officially change their surnames.”
“Yes please” called the twins.
Oliver and Kingsley left soon afterwards, Kingsley would be back the next day, for the arrival of the Romanian Quidditch team. Arthur, Molly and the excited twins went for a walk in the grounds.
The staff and students were oblivious to the events in the palace at Jorvik, for the time being at least. Though news of the movement of the saints remains would reach them soon enough, staff and students had other, more enjoyable activities to occupy them, whilst the Northumbrian hierarchy attempted to control each other.
The grounds of the castle had a light dusting of snow, crisped by the overnight freezing temperature, which rose only slightly during the day, leaving the grass to give a satisfying crunch underfoot. By the lake, the hunting lodge from Tang had been greatly expanded, and mounted on the new foundations dug after the demolition of the old school houses, affording a clear view to observe school, lawns, lake and forest edge. The perfect location for Erik and Egil to watch the activities the staff and students were competing in today.
Most in the school knew that even though the Creaftas were now part of the staff of the castle, any plans they might have, or suggest, outside lessons and established school activities, especially if they were trying to get others involved, should be approached with a healthy dose of caution. Similarly, if Godric and Salazar overly-excitedly suggested an activity would be great fun for everyone, it usually meant that it had not had the calming, considered influence of Rowena and Helga, ensuring that at least a semblance of common sense had been applied to what ever mischief was planned. Not that it always ensured the safety or sensibleness of the activity; the two lady founders were just as capable of pranks and mayhem as their male counterparts. However, in general, their ideas were not usually as inherently dangerous as the males – especially the Creaftas, were likely to suggest. Add the Creafta's Ladies into the mix of such plotting, then even new students, who had not been at the castle any more than a day, would hide to avoid getting embroiled in the scheme; they were usually wise to do so, if they valued their lives, sanity or both. Only if it was known it was not initially the idea of Helga and Rowena, could there be some assurance that participants were expected to survive such an event.
This all being true, when Utred came up with the idea for a day of competitive sports, the whole school forgot the usual caution, despite the fact that all Founders, Creaftas and their Ladies, were extremely enthusiastic about organising it. Godric announced the events they had organised for the day, and most of the students excitedly signed up; the rest, mostly Slytherin's were more cautious, but were soon persuaded, by peer pressure and thoughts of bringing glory to their house. Even the staff were able to participate if they wished; by the morning of the events everyone was taking part in at least one activity, except the two Muggles and one Squib who planned to watch and encourage participants in their own way from the Lodge.
Erik, Ulf and Orin sat on the newly created platform outside the Lodge, watching as Founders, Creaftas and their Ladies tried to create order from the chaos as they directed the apprentices and other staff to the different areas in which they could participate in their chosen event. This was the first inter-house tournament, various competitions and games were to take place in different parts of the grounds and lake. The house with the most student wins at the end of the day would win the tournament, most of the games were well known at the school, but there were two eagerly anticipated new ones which no one had been able to practise before today.
These two events had not been available before at the castle, due to the lack of essential equipment. Both relied on the availability of ships, which until recently they had not had, as there seemed little point. Although the lake was large, it was also land locked so there was nowhere to sail to. However Erik, Ulf, and some of the villagers had decided it would be good to have some, so that those who knew how to control a vessel could pass this knowledge on, and built two eight oar vessels. The Creaftas had been involved in that project, but Utred remembered his father's ship that had been on the Ouse at Jorvik, so they had transfigured several trees into a large forty oar sleek, fast warship complete with large sail. They had proudly sailed it across the lake the day before, much to the surprise and amusement of the mermaids inhabiting the waters. The three vessels were now moored at the edge of the lake, the two smaller would be used for rowing and sailing races in the afternoon, with the larger vessel hosting an oar walking tournament for personal glory. Despite this being Utred's idea, it had proved surprisingly popular amongst the male population of the school when entries had opened. Especially considering the likely hood of discovering just how cold the water had become at first hand. However, before that event, the other tournaments had to be started.
The least active competition was the Hnefatafl tournament, each house putting forth it's strongest player of the strategic board game. This event was not a spectacular spectator sport, however a few whose events had not yet begun stood watching the opening games in an area near the steps to the castle, sheltered from the wind and away from the noise generated by the first sprint races taking place near the forest. The first round of sprints over a measured 100 paces were fast and furious, this had been a popular event, and there were to be a number of rounds before a champion could be declared; a gap between heats enabled the endurance race round the perimeter of the grounds and outer boundary of the village to be started. The distance of some eight miles was expected to take some time to run, the route was marked, and watched over by a number of villagers in case any competitor was injured, and to ensure they did not stray out of the wards. Another popular event, much to Ulf and Eric's pleasure, was Muggle duelling, using shields and swords. The duelling areas were marked with branches of willow; two participants entered the ring and fought until one was declared the winner either by forcing their opponent to yield, drawing blood, or by forcing the other to step outside the marked area. Ulf and Eric watched with pride as each competitor performed well, a testament to their teaching. As the heats were concluded, and the number of rings needed for this competition reduced, the wrestling tournament began in the vacated combat areas. Across the grounds Tigelwotta was overseeing the axe throwing competition, scoring each participant depending on where the axe stuck in the target marked on a log some three feet in diameter. The axes used were thrown two handed over head with quite some force, the targets were arranged backing onto the castle wall in order to stop any axes that missed the logs.
By lunch time, all the running events had been completed, as had the Hnefatafl, Muggle duelling, Wrestling, and Axe throwing tournaments, and Orin, Ulf and Erik retired to the Lodge to eat.
“Young Toki did well in the running and Axe throw Orin, he's a good lad that.” Eric observed as they helped themselves to the stew in the pot over the fire, and grabbed a hunk of bread before sitting at the table with spoon and knife to eat.
Orin grunted his acknowledgement as he sat, then added “ Aye he's a good lad, I hear you dissuaded him from the Muggle duelling though, he was disappointed about that.”
Erik nodded. “He's good Orin, just needs to bulk out more to have stood a chance. I hear he practises with Utred too, but still he needs more meat on him. It'll happen as he grows, he won the axe throw though, that's two for Godric's house, with the Muggle duel thanks to Guthred.”
“The lad from Salazar’s house won the Hnefatafl though, and Helga's students won the sprints up to 300 paces and the endurance race, they are in the lead so far for the house cup.” Ulf added.
Erik nodded. “Aye, Salazar's pissed that his lot aren't doing better, he thought they would win the wrestling, especially with that great lunk Ethelwold winning through to the final.”
Orin chuckled. “He were twice the size of that young un o' Rowena's, what were his name?”
“Steapa.” Ulf replied. “He doesn’t look much, but he's a powerful lad that, quick with it. Ethelwold couldn't keep up, Steapa won by tiring him out. Good strategy really, if Ethelwold had got hold of him properly he'd have snapped him in two.”
“Well, with that, and the win in the 400 paces, Rowena's lot are level with Godric's at the moment.” Orin commented absently “Could be fun this afternoon.”
The three men chuckled, knowing that none of the founders could stand losing to the others where their apprentices were concerned.
In the great hall the founders were in slightly heated discussion of the morning's events; Salazar feeling particularly hard done by. The Creaftas were cheerfully encouraging the rivalry, while the rest of the staff were simply grinning over their food, knowing that whilst the contest was on the four would argue black was white to favour their own. Once the games were done, then they would all praise the winning students as if they were their own; until then they would leave Utred and his friends to winding up the founders.
Oblivious to the goings on at the staff table, the students were cheerfully looking forward to the afternoon events, encouraging those who had yet to compete from their own house whilst cheerfully insulting those from the other houses throughout the meal.
The first event to start in the afternoon was the sailing; the oars were removed from the two smaller boats, and masts erected ready for each house's three person crew. There were to be two heats, followed by the final, racing round a course circumnavigating the lake, lots being drawn to decide which of the houses would compete in each heat. Once the heats were done, the swimming race was started to give the sailing crews a break. The swimming was a mass race across the lake, with all thirty competitors starting at the same time, each having used an insulation charm on themselves against the cold; such charms could not be used later, on the oar walk, as they would affect balance on the rounded surface of each oar. The race was frenetic, churning up the water of the lake, creating a choppy surface for the back markers; it was won by a Slytherin girl to the delight of her mentor. The spear throwing had begun in the same place as the mornings axe throwing contest. New targets were erected, and the distance thrown was greater; even so, it proved to be one of the closest contests of the day. Beside the lodge, a magical shield had been erected to stop stray spells as the wizarding duelling tournament began with five courts at once. The first heats had just been completed when the sailing final started on the lake. The two boats were very well built, and evenly matched; it would be up to the two crews of three to make best use of the wind in order to win. The finalists were from Hufflepuff and Slytherin, each having won their heat, the course was the same, and a crowd had gathered to watch as the race progressed. The two boats were neck and neck until the final turn, and a mistake allowed the Hufflepuff boat to gain the lead, a lead it kept to the finish line. The crowd dispersed to watch the other two events whilst the boats were prepared for the rowing, their masts taken down, and stored on frames above the hull, and oars put back in place, four on each side.
The wizarding duelling tournament was progressing, with each heat narrowing down the competitors. This competition had been another popular one, and several rounds would be necessary to narrow the field; many of the matches were short in the early heats as the more skilled defeated their opponent. Other than the stipulation that only non lethal spells could be used, the bouts were unrestricted except by ability. After the initial heats, round two began, further narrowing the field; though the matches were generally lasting longer as the combatants were more skilled and more evenly matched.
Meanwhile the four rowing teams, one for each house, competed in a series of races across the lake. Each crew was made up of eight people, one to each oar, pulling the through the water with surprising speed. Each team competed against each of the others in turn, the intent being the winner of the event would be the house that won most races. The result was a tie between Slytherin's house with a team of muscular but heavy seventh years, against the lighter, but physically weaker Ravenclaw team of fifth and sixth year students. A straight sprint race, between the two, rather faster than the previous one they had had earlier, saw Slytherin house win. The spear throwing contest drew to a close a few minutes later with a Ravenclaw victory, leaving the duelling as the last final of the inter house competition, and then the much anticipated last event could begin. The final bout was therefore watched by the majority of the school, and was between a Gryffindor girl and a Ravenclaw boy, both very evenly matched. The bout lasted just over twenty minutes, with both contestants exhausted by the end. The girl from Godric's house won in the end, after the Slytherin mis-aimed due to sheer tiredness, whilst her shot found it's target and his wand left his hand. All those watching loudly cheered the pair, showing their appreciation for their efforts, whilst Helga and Rowena went to check on them as they lay panting on the ground. A few minutes later both competitors drew themselves slowly to their feet, the Slytherin retrieved his wand, and they walked unsteadily towards each other. They met half way and grasped each other, each helping to prop the other up.
“Well done.” the boy gasped. “That was a hell of a match.”
She managed a weak smile. “Good fun too, thanks, I really enjoyed it.”
The two founders led the pair towards the lodge where Eric and Ulf stood to make room on their bench for the pair to rest whilst they watched the final event.
Utred and Godric had repositioned the large warship alongside the bank whilst the duel had taken place, ready for those who were competing in the oar walk to board. Over one hundred of the students, all male, had entered the oar walking contest, as well as a few of the staff; all would need to be aboard the ship for the contest to start. There were so many wanting to take part that the ship would be crowded and at first the oars on both sides of the ship would be used. It took a few minutes for the foolhardy, or brave, depending on your point of view, to board, then Salazar undid the stern mooring allowing the back of the ship to swing out into the lake. He then used his wand to control the bow rope, allowing the ship to float back out to deeper water so when competitors fell they would not hit the bottom of the lake, but not so far out that those who did fall could not easily reach the shore. Whilst Salazar had remained ashore, Godric and Utred were on board to keep some semblance of order to proceedings... at least that was the theory.
Once the ship was in position, Godric ordered “Stick your oar in” at the top of his voice and the oars were slid into position.
A hush of anticipation fell over the spectators as they saw Godric and Utred position the first competitors at the stern; the two Wesele twins waited at the bow to help get the successful contestants aboard again. The boat was steady and oars held steadily in position, as with a yell, Godric and Utred started the contest. The students leapt from the undecorated stern to step from oar to oar, which were held horizontally above the water, as fast as they could, until they re-boarded the ship at the stern, or, as most did, they fell into the lake and were thus eliminated from the contest; the one to make the most successful runs would win. The spectators cheered and laughed when the a competitor landed in the water, and simply cheered a successful run. Those who had made their run, or who had got wet but been dragged back aboard, held the oars steady for those making their run. The activity was as much about trust as strength, speed and balance, which was one reason this event was for individual glory instead of house honours.
Many of those who fell in simply swam to the shore, where they were met by the Lady Creaftas with drying and warming charms. Utred and Godric both ran the oars; being the most successful of the non students at the event, they raced each other until on their third run Godric fell in, whilst Utred leapt back aboard and laughing, levitated the soggy founder back aboard. The spectators were laughing, though none more so than Salazar. It was after this round that the number of competitors had fallen sufficiently for the use of only one side of oars to begin. Godric did his best to distract Utred, without any success, as the young Lord made two more successful runs, until on his sixth run Godric had, unknown to his apprentice, replaced a student holding an oar. Carefully watching as Utred drew closer, he released the long piece of wood just as Utred placed his foot at the other end. Utred plunged into the lake as Godric threw himself back to avoid the handle end as it flew upwards to slam violently upright against the inside of the hull, then fall back on the bench with a loud crack. The founder quickly stood and looked over the side, and burst out laughing at the spluttering Utred who had just resurfaced. The young lord responded by calling into question his parentage, and sexual prowess, along with numerous other insults, even as he was hauled back aboard grinning at his mentor and promising revenge.
All who witnessed it sighed through their laughter, they knew another prank war was probably imminent; the next few day's would be interesting.
The events had lasted all day, some not starting until the afternoon,all completing in good time for a celebratory feast that evening. The food was, as usual, consumed at a reasonable speed and was followed by some prize giving. All winners were cheered by all, regardless of house. The time for competition was over for today at least; the winners had won fairly so there was no point ignoring that; now they were simply recognising the achievement of the victors. Some of the prizes were appropriate, a sword was given to the Muggle duelling champion for example, others bore no resemblance to the event won. The loudest cheer went to young Toki, surprise winner of the oar walking; he had completed eight runs and had not fallen in, to beat off the opposition. Finally the founders had provided a large gold and silver cup to be awarded to the winning house.
Utred brought the cup forward, and placed it in front of the founders then turned to the students and raised his arms to request silence, which he soon got.
“This cup, provided by the four founders is for the house with the most victories in the games we held today. It is to be known as the house cup, and will, in future, be given to the house that achieves the most during the year and so will be kept in the head of the winning house's office until this day one year hence, when they will pass it to the winner of the events next year. However, as any of the four founders could have won it, and two of them couldn't agree which of them was to award it for the first time, it has fallen to me by agreement of the other two founders to present it.” He paused as the students laughed, knowing it was Godric and Salazar who had argued, and Rowena and Helga who had put Utred up to this mild prank on them. Once the laughter subsided, Utred announced. “It gives me great pleasure, though not as much as it would have if Gryffindor had won, to present this years house cup to Hufflepuff.”
That house's students erupted with cheers, as Utred handed the cup to Helga, who held it aloft for all to see.
She and Utred returned to their seats as the students settled back into their relaxed chatter. Utred reflected on the latest reports Tigelwotta and Hilde had brought from Northumbria a few days earlier. They regularly visited the region to discover what Styr was up to, they had even managed to cultivate a contact within his council, and were due to return the next day. Utred was now co-ordinating the training of villagers in Muggle style defence and battle techniques, they were all a part of the entire community's defence, along with the students. Utred had also visited Godric's Hollow with the founder who it was named for; he had discovered a few there who were good swordsmen, both magical and Muggle, they had agreed to train others there.
Many of the women of both communities were also trained. Utred knew from experience with the Creaftas ladies that they could be at least as formidable as the men when needed.
Utred's thoughts were interrupted as Leoforwic came through the door. He, his brother Egil, and Skorri had been on guard duty at the gate since the tournaments end. He walked over to Utred.
“Problem?” the young lord asked.
“Come with me, my lord.” Leoforwic replied, grave faced and turned to head towards Godric.
They both walked up to the founder.
Leoforwic leant over to them both, and quietly informed them. “My lords, the King is at the gate.”
The games used in the tournament are known to have been part of life 100 years ago, mostly from the surviving writings and art (carvings). I have however changed the formats in which they have been used in order to create a Tournament. I am aware of no known records of such an event, however it is at least in the spirit of the period where men especially are known to have duelled for honour and competed for cudos, and money. Spectators would bet on the competition, gambling seems to have been a very popular activity. The Oar walk I have adapted into a competition, that said an Oar walk would be used to show off the balance and skill of the warriors aboard a vessel.
The famous heads on longboats were removable, it is thought they were displayed to scare the spirits of lands they were about to raid but, hidden in the hull when their intent was peaceful.
The Scandinavian ships were very advanced compared to their Saxon counterparts, wide bodied with a sharp keel, they sat low in the water and were fast vessels. They could be sailed, or if there was no wind rowed at great speeds. Navigation seems to have been by the stars and a rudimentary compass made of Lode stone when crossing seas, or simply by following coastlines when they were visible.
Happy new year to you all, I hope 2012 brings you all the best possible.
Another chapter done hope you enjoyed it, the next is already with my Beta. I will update progress on forthcoming chapters on my page.
My thanks once again to Jascott for going over my ramblings ensuring they make sense.
Thanks also to all those who took the trouble to review the last chapter, I look forward to reading any reviews of this one.
My Meet the Author page on the forum has gone due in an admin clean up of the site, it hadn't in all honesty been used for a while, the last post was a reply I had made to some questions. I am still pondering on if I should create a new one and would value your views on if it would be useful for you or not. Please let me know either in any review you might leave, or via the forum messaging system (my name is the same there as my author name here), thank you.
Next chapter will be up as soon as possible, my thanks to you all for reading and for being patient as I write this story.
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