Chapter 6 : Chapter VI
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In the eighteen years since Hogwarts first opened, faces had come and gone, children had grown up, and newly educated witches and wizards had left Hogwarts to pursue other endeavours. Hogwarts had become a landmark to magical people all over the country, and a few years previously a man called Hengist of Woodcroft had even begun building a small village near the castle. The town of Hogsmeade was becoming very popular among the students as a social space outside of class, where all four Houses could mingle.
The families of all four founders had eventually relocated to the town of Hogsmeade, their old lives in faraway villages left behind. Godric sometimes went back to visit his old village of Sorrel Hollow, where he was still friendly with many of his old neighbours, and they’d update him on the situation between Muggles and wizards. Refreshingly, there had been a few years of peace between the Muggle Vikings and the wizards in the land surrounding Godric’s town.
And in recent years when he’d gone back to visit, his magical neighbours and friends had come to regard Godric as something of a hero, due to the incredible success of Hogwarts, and the many children returning from school back to Sorrel Hollow as talented and capable witches and wizards.
But Hogwarts was where Godric spent most of his time. He, Laudine, and their son Roland lived in a small house in Hogsmeade, and although Roland was not yet enrolled at Hogwarts, he spent a lot of time there, as both Godric and Laudine taught there, and several of the other founders’ children attended. Roland had just turned eleven, and was going to start school in the autumn.
Recent discussion among Godric, Salazar, Helga and Rowena had circulated around what age students should be admitted to Hogwarts, because they didn’t want to start the kids at school too young. So far, no one under the age of nine had been admitted, but some new students had been as old as thirteen. To find students of magical ability, they had enchanted a quill to detect the birth of a magical person and write their name in a book, but then the question was what to do with the information. At what age would the child be sent an invitation to school?
Luckily, the quill had only been put in place last year; it would be at least nine years before any of the children in the book would be eligible, so they had some time to decide.
Besides the new quill, the running of Hogwarts had not changed significantly in the intervening years. Godric’s hat had proved to be effective for Sorting, and the kids seemed happy in their houses. All the turmoil that had occurred towards the beginning of Hogwarts had passed now; Godric was thankful it was all over, because it had strained his relationship with his best friend. But Slytherin House had accepted a few Muggle-borns over the years, and Salazar no longer held a grudge, at least not outwardly. The years had been good to him; although his hair had turned grey, he had become much the same person he was before he ever met Maeve.
One afternoon, Godric was teaching his intermediate Transfiguration lesson, a class that was always hampered by two troublemakers who thought they could get away with anything because their parents taught at the school. Salazar’s oldest daughter Edith, and Helga’s son Rhys, who were both thirteen, had the unfortunate habit of playing practical jokes in class. Godric could only hope that Salazar’s other two kids Patrick and Morgan, and Helga’s daughter Gwendolyn, would be better behaved than their siblings; fortunately none of them were old enough for Hogwarts yet.
Outside the window of the classroom, he could see Roland and Patrick flying around on broomsticks outside. This was rather distracting while Godric was trying to teach his class, because the classroom was on the third storey of the castle, and it surprised him to see the kids so far off the ground. What with Edith and Rhys creating large bubbles in the back of the classroom during the lesson, and Roland and Patrick just outside the window soaring about at a great distance above the ground, Godric’s attention was constantly being diverted away from the lesson at hand.
Flying broomsticks weren’t a particularly recent development – Godric remembered around twenty years ago when Helga had been dabbling in it herself – but it had only become popular as of late. Many children now had flying broomsticks.
After Godric had finished his class and dismissed the students, he went out into the corridor where Salazar was just walking by. Godric fell into step beside him. “How was your class?” Salazar asked. “Edith didn’t disrupt classes by breaking things again, did she?”
“No,” Godric responded. “But there’s always something to thwart lessons at a school of magic. And today, it was our sons. I could see them out the window the whole time, far above the ground; they’re both getting very good at flying on broomsticks.”
Salazar smiled. “As long they’re not playing Creaothceann.”
“Thankfully, they weren’t,” said Godric. “Not this time, anyway.”
The game Creaothceann was a recent development as the flying broomstick had become more common. A player in this game would strap a cauldron to his or her head, throw a great number of large, heavy rocks into the air, and then zoom around on a broom, attempting to catch as many falling rocks in the cauldron as possible. It was popular in many other areas of the Kingdom of Alba as well, and Godric had heard stories of fatalities. He knew that as a teenager he would have found this game to be fantastic, but as an adult – a parent whose son kept sneaking out to play Creaothceann – he rather wished the game had never been invented.
Rowena’s fifteen-year-old daughter Helena was far too grown-up and sophisticated for such pursuits, but Roland, Edith, Rhys, Patrick, and Gwendolyn all liked to play Creaothceann together, much to the chagrin of their parents. It was a constant battle for Godric and the other founders to stop games of Creaothceann before they got started.
As they sat at their table near the top of the Hall some time later at dinner, Rowena brought up her own concerns about flying. “I’ve been thinking maybe we should put a rule in place that forbids flying broomsticks at Hogwarts,” she said. “I find them to be an incredible distraction from learning.”
Godric looked at her in surprise. “I don’t think that’s necessary,” he said. “Flying doesn’t seem to be that dangerous. It’s just something to do for fun. I’m fine with them flying.” Only if he found students playing Creaothceann would he have a problem.
“That’s all fine,” said Rowena, “except for when fun gets in the way of education. They’re here to learn magic, not to learn broom tricks. One of my students skipped class yesterday and I saw him outside on his broom! A student in Gryffindor House, I’ll have you know.”
Helga, on the other side of Rowena, laughed in response. “We certainly never saw this coming as an obstacle to Hogwarts,” she said, setting down her golden two-handled cup. “Rowena, I think flying broomsticks are the one thing you’ve ever been wrong about. You initially said nothing would ever come of it!”
Salazar left the women to their conversation and turned to ask Godric, “So how is Patrick at flying? What sort of broom tricks were he and Roland doing this afternoon?”
“They were just chasing each other,” said Godric. “Roland had figured out a sort of loop-the-loop thing, and Patrick seemed to be pretty good at dives.”
“Is he?” asked Salazar with a grin. “I taught him how to do a dive.”
“I have no idea where Roland picked up his loop trick,” Godric mused. “Maybe it’s a natural talent.”
“That wouldn’t surprise me,” said Salazar. “Didn’t Roland make that broom himself?”
“He did. At least he built it himself, although I helped with the flying charms.”
When Godric and Salazar turned back to face the others at the table, the discussion of banning flying was over, and Rowena and Helga were talking about food now. Maybe Rowena had given up her idea of disallowing flying.
The following morning, breakfast was interrupted by the arrival of a former student who had been in the very first class at Hogwarts. “Is that Joan?” cried Helga in disbelief, and got up from her seat to greet the former member of Hufflepuff House. After a quick embrace, the two stood and talked in the centre of the Hall for a few moments and then headed up to the teachers’ table. Godric moved a seat down on the bench to make room for the new arrival, who apparently would be joining them for breakfast today.
“How great to see you after all these years, Joan,” said Godric. “So what brings you back?”
Joan smiled as she sat down, momentarily becoming distracted by the view of the hall from this new angle. “I’ve come back to see if you need new teachers, actually,” she said. “I’d love to teach a new class. Have you given any thought to the art of divination?”
“Have you any experience with divination?” Salazar asked, his tone sceptical.
Joan nodded. “Ten years ago, soon after I left Hogwarts, I had a vision. I constantly saw images of a fire in a field, and I thought I was going mad. And then a month later, I woke to find my farm ablaze. I realised that what I’d been seeing was the future. Since then, I’ve managed to control the visions, to understand what they mean. They’re not all as simple as predicting a fire.”
“That could potentially make a good class,” Rowena began, “but wouldn’t a student already need to possess this power? It doesn’t sound like something you can teach just anyone.”
“I think I could,” said Joan. “I didn’t have the power while I was at Hogwarts. I’d been experimenting with divination for a while before I got that first vision, and then I got to understanding them with the help of a herbalist in my village. So I think it is a power that can be learned, not necessarily one that a student has to be born with.”
“That’s wonderful, Joan,” said Helga. “I think it’d be a great idea to have you teach here.”
Joan beamed, and looked around at the other three founders hopefully. Godric saw no reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to teach at Hogwarts, and gave his approval; Salazar and Rowena were quick to do so as well. As it was spring, however, they advised her that she’d not be starting until the following autumn for the new term.
Godric’s morning Transfiguration class was for advanced students. There were no habitual mischief-makers in this class, which was a relief. He watched as the students transfigured rabbits into hats, all the while subconsciously thinking of what these hats would say if given the chance to speak. Luckily, they had no such chance.
Helena Ravenclaw was the first to master the transfiguration assignment, and did it with such ease that Godric gave her a more difficult task to attempt so she wouldn’t be bored for the rest of the class. But there was no chance of her being bored; the boy seated beside her saw to that.
Perceval, a member of Slytherin’s House, was the son of a wealthy Baron. He seemed to have taken a shine to Helena and spent the beginning of the class period trying to get her to help him with the assignment. When Godric stopped by the table to offer assistance to Perceval, he found out that Perceval in fact already knew how to turn his rabbit into a hat, and did so with a grin and a lazy flick of his wand.
Surprised, Godric gave Perceval another assignment as well, and again Perceval appealed to Helena for help turning his cat into a statue. Helena was tolerant and helped him, although she didn’t encourage him. She seemed to have control over the situation, so Godric returned to the front of the classroom, Perceval and Helena’s discussion still within earshot as they sat near the front.
After Godric had dismissed class, Perceval held open the door for Helena, and she paid him no mind as she went through it. Godric laughed, forcefully reminded of Rowena’s behaviour towards Lord Redwald twenty years ago. But Perceval wasn’t bad, and seemed to genuinely like Helena. Helena took after her mother in many ways – no man was proving to be up to Helena’s high standards, and she spurned the advances of Perceval and apparently a few others as well.
Godric walked into the corridor after the students had left, to find Helena briskly walking away from a rather displeased looking Perceval. Helena’s demeanour changed as she saw Godric. “Hello,” she said. “Good class today, the assignment with the cat was very challenging and I loved it.”
Godric couldn’t help but laugh. “You are so very like your mother,” he said.
Helena looked at him sharply. “Am I?” she asked, a slight crease between her eyebrows forming the hint of a frown.
“It’s a good thing,” said Godric, surprised at her reaction. “She’s the smartest witch I’ve ever met. You should be proud to be like her.”
“That’s all I’m ever going to be,” said Helena dully. “Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter. I’m just living in her shadow. I’ll always be compared to her. But I don’t even want to be like her.”
“Why not?” Godric asked. “You’re a brilliant witch and so is your mother, is that so bad?”
“It’s not just that,” said Helena. “I want to be known for my own accomplishments, not hers. And I don’t want to end up like her… I want to be happy. I don’t think she is, not entirely.”
Godric was speechless. Rowena never gave any indication that she was unhappy with her life, but then again, she had never been one to let loose her emotions. And Helena would have seen a different side of Rowena than he had.
Helena’s face flushed as Godric failed to come up with a response. “Don’t tell her,” pleaded Helena. “I don’t want her to know that I know.”
After a moment’s pause, Godric nodded. He hated keeping secrets, particularly ones like this between a mother and daughter. But Helena was like a niece to him, and Rowena was one of his best friends; he didn’t want to hurt either of them. Telling Rowena would accomplish nothing. Keeping silent was the noble thing to do.
Helena put a smile on her face again and continued walking down the corridor. Godric turned the corner towards the main hall, whereupon he saw Edith sneaking out of the gates with two cauldrons she clearly had just stolen from the Potions classroom. Behind her was Roland, also carrying cauldrons and a broomstick, and when he saw his father, his face took on a wide-eyed, guilty look.
Godric confiscated the cauldrons and brought them back to Rowena’s Potions classroom, all the while wondering if many other cauldrons had been smuggled away for stealthy games of Creaothceann after classes. When he got to the classroom, the cauldron cabinets were emitting a high-pitched noise. Godric set the cauldrons down on a nearby table and stooped to investigate the cabinet door, and moments later Rowena entered the room as well.
“Thanks,” she said, eyeing the retrieved cauldrons.
“Good thinking, putting an alarm jinx on the door,” said Godric. “I can’t figure out how to make it stop, though.”
Rowena waved her wand and the sound died. “After simply locking the cabinets proved unsuccessful, I knew I had to do something else to ensure no cauldrons could be removed without my knowing about it.”
“This seems to have worked,” said Godric.
“Until the children find another way, that is,” said Rowena. “I can’t decide whether I’m annoyed or very proud of them. I hate that they’re playing that game, but I do like to see such determination and creativity to accomplish their goals.”
Godric laughed. “That is true. If only they had safer goals than trying to catch falling rocks with their heads.”
“They’re children,” said Rowena, shrugging. “I can only hope they’ll grow out of this phase before they hurt themselves. Anyway, I’ve decided not to push my broomstick rule, because you’re right – the problem isn’t flying broomsticks. If it wasn’t that, they’d have something else to distract them. And if it’s one or the other, I daresay I’d much prefer ordinary flying to Creaothceann.”
Godric and Rowena walked into the Great Hall together after having restored the stolen cauldrons to the Potions classroom. Godric looked around at the many happy students. With eighteen years of success so far at Hogwarts, Godric was quite proud of the way things were turning out. Things were constantly changing, but always seemed to be getting better; next year there would even be a new class subject. And for the time being, wizard-Muggle relations were somewhat friendly again, so the hardest task in Godric’s life was to stop Roland and the other kids from playing Creaothceann.
Historical notes: If anyone is wondering about Rowena Ravenclaw not changing her name when she married… From what I can tell, surnames were not common in the early Middle Ages and often people just had a first name then “of (a place)” – but Rowena had a surname, so Helena kept the name Ravenclaw from her mother.
Also, to anyone not familiar with Scottish history, the “Kingdom of Alba” was the medieval name for Scotland.
So, I know nothing actually happened in that chapter, but in the grand scheme of the story it makes sense… two more chapters to go, and big things are coming up. Thanks for reading! Please leave a review if you have time :)
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