Chapter 2 : Chapter II
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Godric Gryffindor found himself wishing that Rowena Ravenclaw did not always have to be right. But she was. Again.
It had only been a few weeks since the four of them had been discussing the potential effects of the Muggle skirmishes over plates of delicious food at Helga’s place. And now, almost as if Rowena could see the future, it was happening just as she thought it might. Muggles in the community were appealing to wizards to help them out against invaders. But Godric couldn’t resist helping; it felt wrong to let his friends suffer.
Godric had been enjoying a quiet lunch at home with his wife Laudine when he heard noises from outside: the growing din of swords clashing and people shouting. With a mounting sense of dread, he approached the window and looked out to see about a hundred men engaged in battle in the distant hills. Spears flew through the air, and swords glinted in the afternoon sun. Many people lay motionless on the heather in the middle of the action.
“Should we help?” Laudine asked nervously, standing beside him. “We know some of those Muggles. You can see Baron Edwin over there – I am certain it is him, because no one else wears hideous feathered tunics like that. I know it is not our battle, but they are our friends.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” Godric agreed. “Edwin has been nothing but good to us, and it is only right that we should help him out.”
Just then a booming knock sounded on the door, and Godric and Laudine hurried away from the window to answer it. Godric pulled the door open quickly, and a young woman nearly fell into the house as her arm swung forwards to knock again on the door that was no longer there.
“I apologise,” cried the visitor as she straightened herself up again. “But – you must help us! The Danes are back and Edwin is fighting and he has been hurt! You are wizards, you can do something! You can save us and evict the Vikings from the land!” She was wringing her hands frantically, and looked from Godric to Laudine with fear in her eyes.
“Of course we shall help, Baroness,” Laudine said comfortingly. Godric dashed back inside and grabbed his trusty goblin-made sword, a beautiful work of art in silver encrusted with rubies, which had served him well in many battles. As he looked around for his shield, Laudine rushed to his side with her wand.
“What are you doing?” he asked her. “You cannot fight Muggles with a wand; that is unfair.”
“But it will drive away the Vikings, and that is what we need,” said Laudine.
“Yes, bring your wands, both of you!” the Baroness said urgently. “The Vikings have not wizards with them, so with magic on our side, we have a chance! And it will be over sooner and we will not need to lose any more lives.”
“It is not noble to fight with a wand against Muggles,” Godric insisted. “But of course we will come to help.”
Laudine relented, selecting a sword and shield from their stash, then quickly put her hair up under an iron helmet and followed Godric out the door. The Baroness followed a few steps behind them as they hurried out, crying “Thank you, thank you! I will go see if I can get more help!” and then disappeared down the path.
Godric and Laudine ran down the hill, the noise of battle growing louder every minute. As they approached the outskirts of the fight, where their good friend Edwin was collapsed on his side and clutching a wound in his arm, Laudine stopped. “If we’re not going to use our wands, at least let me do this,” she said, and pointed her wand at Godric and then at herself. “Repello ferrum – there, that should protect us from swords for a while, at least until it wears off. We are not using magic against the Muggles, but I see no reason why we cannot defend ourselves with magic.”
“They cannot,” said Godric, pushing her wand away and unsheathing his sword in preparation for the battle.
“They have also got chain mail armour, and we have not. This is what we shall use instead. It is fine, and still fair; stop trying to be so noble.”
This time Godric conceded. He performed a similar charm to protect the groaning Baron Edwin from any further injury before they both charged into the battle, their swords leading the way. Metal clanged all around them as swords glanced off shields, and spears flew through the air, always seeming to miss him by just a few inches.
Godric realised after a while that several other witches and wizards from the community were fighting right alongside him. The fretful Baroness must have knocked on every wizard’s door. Godric’s sword slashed here and there as he did his part, although he noticed that a few of his fellow wizards and witches were not quite as scrupulous. One wizard was shooting flames out the end of his wand, and a sword sliced through midair behind him, held in the hand of a nearly invisible witch under a Disillusionment Charm.
The battle gradually turned to chaos with the introduction of magic; a number of the invading force ended up with hooves, and one man turned to stone. The local Muggles cheered as many of the Vikings retreated. Then there was a shriek of horror; Godric turned to find a witch lying dead, a knife through her heart. A wizard was standing over her in shock.
“You killed her!” cried the wizard. “You killed my wife!” He drew out his wand and hastily pointed it at the Danish Muggle who had killed her, and then a colossal explosion split the air.
Godric found himself on the ground, his head spinning. With a sinking feeling, he stood up amidst the smoke and fiery heather and tried to see how much damage had been done. This was exactly what he had been worried about, and why it was poor form to fight Muggles with magic. How could they defend themselves against such a blast?
But it was worse than he’d thought. About twenty more people lay dead – both local Muggles and their assailants. And the Muggles they had just been assisting were now furious, as magic had caused them to lose many of their men; Godric was stunned to see his good friend John Badrick turn his sword upon him. He had never foreseen this as an outcome – he had only thought he’d stand alongside the Muggles to defend the land they shared. Now it was a fight against not only the Muggles who were trying to take their land, but also the ones who lived there already.
The skirmish ended long after the Danes left, when the wizards and Muggles had been fighting for some time and Baron Edwin, still prone on the ground, had brought everyone to their senses and asked what on earth they were still fighting about. Some of the witches and wizards involved had then tried to make amends with healing spells for the wounded, but not all the Muggles were willing to put their lives in the hands of magic after such a battle. It was with heavy hearts that Godric and Laudine returned to their house that evening. There was no celebration in the town about having driven away the Danes; everyone seemed rather subdued.
For many days afterwards, the townspeople were on edge; Muggles and wizards sought each other’s company much less than before. Some people tried to keep town relations as they had used to be, and understood that the magical explosion had only been an accident, but other Muggles wanted nothing to do with wizards anymore, and vice versa. Godric and Laudine were still generally respected by most Muggles in the community because of their lasting reputation as friends of Muggles, but Godric had to wonder how long even that would last. Would Muggles continue to ask for magical assistance? The Vikings had been driven away this time, after all. And Godric couldn’t really say what would happen if their neighbours requested help again. It was possible no one would want to help the Muggles anymore. Or they might help, only to have the same sort of disaster happen again.
Saddest of all, perhaps, was that it was affecting the children of the village as much as than the adults. Godric would walk through town and see young witches and wizards trying to learn spells by practising harmless charms on each other, but they’d hide away their wands away when anyone walked by, as if practising magic was something that merited a scolding. Muggle and magical children weren’t often allowed to play together in the streets anymore, because Muggle parents got uneasy that something would happen to their children.
One such day, when Godric was on his way back home from the village smithy with his newly shoed horse, he saw a girl around the age of eight chasing her younger brother with a swarm of colourful butterflies. However, the squeals of laughter stopped as Godric approached, and the butterflies ungrouped and flitted away. Both children looked up at him without a trace of laughter on their faces. They had been doing nothing wrong, but due to the recent conflict, magic even as harmless as this was considered reprehensible. Sadly he looked at the guilty faces of the children as he stopped walking.
“Mary, he’s a wizard,” said the young boy to his sister, relaxing as he recognised Godric. “We’re not going to get in trouble.”
“Oh – right, of course!” The girl turned to face Godric. “You’re Godric Gryffindor!” she said brightly.
“Yes,” Godric confirmed.
“Everyone says you are the bravest wizard who ever lived,” said the boy reverently. “Can you make it so we are able to do magic again?”
Godric could only stare back at him. If only it were as easy as that…
“My friend Mildred no longer wants to see me,” Mary whimpered. “Because she is a Muggle. Her parents will not let us play together anymore. But I never used magic to hurt her!”
“I am sure you did not,” said Godric, squatting down so his eyes were at the same height as the children’s. “Magic is not a crime, you know,” he said. “Remember that. You do not have to hide it. And keep your head up; the Muggles will come around.”
“What if they do not?”
This was a valid concern of Godric’s as well, and he didn’t know what to tell the children. He was trying to think of a way to reassure them in a way that wasn’t a barefaced lie, when the boy spoke again. “Are the Muggles angry with you too?” he asked. “Everyone’s always liked you, and you saved us last week. So of course you can make them stop being mean, right?”
Godric sighed as he stood up again. “It is… complicated.” The children continued to stare at him forlornly, the dusty rags they wore only adding to the pitiful sight. He couldn’t leave them like that, so he took out his wand and conjured more large, multicoloured butterflies.
“Ooh, how did you do that?” said another voice. A boy slightly taller than Mary had turned up just in time to see the large cloud of butterflies swirl about.
“Geoffrey!” said Mary in surprise. “I thought you weren’t allowed out anymore!”
“They are not aware that I got out,” he replied, then explained to Godric. “Me parents are Muggles. They’re trying to keep me away from all magic, like they can crush it out of me. But it will never work. So let us see, then, how did you do it?”
Godric was horrified that any child with magical abilities would not be allowed to make use of his talents – and by the rules of his own parents! So Godric explained to the children how to do the charm. Only Mary had a wand, which was actually her father’s, so the children took turns trying the spell. In the end, the Muggle-born Geoffrey managed to produce one caterpillar, which resulted in all three children shrieking with delight.
As Godric went on his way afterwards with his horse, he felt an odd mixture of emotions. Part of him was happy and proud for successfully teaching the children some magic, but mostly he was appalled by the things they had said and by what was happening between Muggles and magical folk.
After a couple of weeks it had become too much for Godric to handle. He needed to know if it was getting worse all over the country, or just in his village. And he needed advice. So he Apparated north to the glen where his good friend Rowena lived, in search of words of wisdom from a woman who was always right.
He was admitted immediately into the castle by Lord and Lady Ravenclaw, who were unfamiliar with Godric and assumed he was a suitor coming to see Rowena. They summoned one of their house-elves, who appeared and squeakily apologised that she had not gotten there sooner, and then Lady Ravenclaw sent the elf off to find Rowena. They led Godric into the hall and advised him that Rowena would be down shortly to see him.
It took a while for Rowena to appear in the hall, and when she finally did, she gave Godric a relieved smile. “Oh, it’s you,” she said. “Thank goodness. All I had heard was that someone was here to see me, and I worried it might be Lord Redwald again, because he has tried to visit me every day and I am sick of him.”
After a quick few minutes of small talk, he and Rowena sat down to discuss the most recent affront to Muggle-wizard relations. He told her all about what had been happening in his town as of late. Rowena was not surprised to learn that her predictions had been correct, but was far from thrilled about it.
“It’s terrible if children cannot even practise magic in peace,” she said. “Muggles everywhere are losing their trust in us.”
“We have always known that fights between Muggles and wizards are never good,” said Godric, “but it hurts to think that even friendly Muggles are turning against us. Now it looks like it is not England against the Danes so much as it is wizards against English and Danish Muggles. How can that be?”
“I wish there was something we could do,” said Rowena.
“That is why I came here. I knew that if anyone could think of something, you could.”
Rowena’s brow furrowed. “Hmm. You said you taught some children a bit of magic? Did it seem to make a difference for them?”
“I think so,” said Godric. “I suppose they felt less guilty about doing magic… at least they did for a short time. Not much has changed since then. And the Muggle-born boy – I have not seen him at all since then; he may be locked up in his house again.”
“Well…” Rowena said hesitantly, “this is a crazy idea, but perhaps it has value… what if we started our own school of witchcraft and wizardry? A place where children could be free to learn magic without fear of being hated by their neighbours?”
“Would that solve anything, though? We would just be isolating them. If anything, it would contribute to the separation of wizards and Muggles.”
“Can you not see that is the way it is headed anyway? Some people have an aversion to anything that is different from them. There will always be Muggles who do not approve of magic.”
“I want to change that, not just accept it without trying.”
“You have been trying, Godric,” said Rowena. “We all have.”
Godric sighed and tried to imagine what would happen if he took Rowena up on her offer. Certainly a lot would change. But in the end would it be a change for the better or for worse?
“It would not need to be a complete separation from Muggles,” Rowena continued. “They would not be in school forever. It would just be where they learn how to sharpen their skills, for maybe several months out of the year. Then they would go home again.”
A thought had just occurred to Godric. “Well said. Under our instruction, perhaps we can help cultivate the idea that Muggles are indeed our friends, and free the children from the grudges of their parents. Being away from fighting will be good for them.”
“That is a wonderful idea,” said Rowena happily. “You think you would be up for it, then? I only thought of it after you mentioned how you had been teaching those children. And now that I think about it, I could definitely see myself doing something like that as well. I feel I am just wasting away here, with nothing to do but waiting around and going to fancy dinners until I get married. But I want to do something meaningful.”
“You would be a wonderful teacher,” said Godric.
“So – you think it is a good idea?” Rowena asked.
“Yes, I do. But we will need more than just the two of us. Let us ask Salazar and Helga and see what they think about it. I think the four of us could be a great team.”
A/N: Thanks so much for reading! I'd love to know what you think of the story so if you're inclined to leave a review that'd be lovely :)
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