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Chapter 2 : The Fourth Pillar Breaks
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Helga walked the corridors of Hogwarts on her way to the headmistress’s office. It was a bright June morning the day after school ended and Hogwarts closed for the summer after the seventh successful year in a row. She stood on the moving staircase and let it transport her to the headmistress’s door. She reached for the knocker, when she frowned. On the other side she could hear people dueling. This can’t be good, she thought as she pushed the door open and stepped in the middle of the fight.
“What is going on here?” Her voice was so forceful everyone froze. She looked around in disapproval, surprised to see the other founders standing around her with their wands at their sides.
“Rowena’s aunt is retiring, and we’re deciding who is the most powerful to take her place,” Godric said. Helga was well aware the headmistress was leaving after this school year, and it had caused some friction among the founders; several heated discussions over who would be the best Headmaster of the four. But Helga had hoped they were above attacking each other with magic.
“But –” She ducked as a spell whizzed by her ear aimed for Godric. Then it was as if Helga hadn’t entered the room. Streaks of light went every which way, many of them hitting the walls and bookshelves. She waved her wand to make everyone else fling to the nearest wall as if imprisoned there by invisible chains. “Now STOP THIS! If we attack each other now we’ll crumble from within! There is a better way.” She let the spell lift and turned to her first true friend. “Why do you think you’re suitable?”
Rowena drew herself up to her full height. “It was my aunt. After me the title can go to my daughter, Helena.”
“This isn’t a monarchy like in the Muggle world!” Godric exclaimed. “But my house has won the House Cup for the past three years!”
“But as you’ll notice, I’m the oldest,” Salazar retorted.
“By one year!” Rowena interrupted.
He continued loudly as though she hadn’t spoken. “And I’ll be the one to do the most good to the school. Something I’ve allowed to go on for far too long.”
“Purifying Hogwarts!” He screamed, his pointed beard (now pure white) bouncing in his anger. “If this continues to go unchecked, this school will have more Muggle than wizard blood!”
He had forgotten again. “Salazar, we need to teach everyone who wants to learn, no matter their blood. After all, I – if you’ll remember – came from a muggle family. If it weren’t for Muggles, this school wouldn’t exist.”
But this time Slytherin wouldn’t give in to Hufflepuff. He sneered at her. “You know, for years your power and charm distracted me from what you are. Now I’ll never forgive myself or any of you for letting this filthy Mudblood influence me.”
Godric shot a hex at him. “Apologize! Now!”
“You’ve gone too far Salazar,” Rowena said, stepping forward to stand between him and Helga. “I hoped you would have seen through your petty dislike for Muggles and anything they produce to notice that Helga is much greater than all of them put together. Why, she’s twice as powerful as any precious pure-blood witch!”
Helga put her hand on Rowena’s shoulder and stepped forward. “Thank you, but I can fight my own battles.” She looked Salazar in the eye. “As for you, I’m terribly sorry you feel otherwise, but Hogwarts will continue to instruct any magical child that comes to its doors. Your house may continue to take only pure-bloods, but this is as far as the muggle-born exclusion will go.”
“This school originated with a muggle-born’s idea, you know,” Godric said sternly. His sword glinted at his side. “I don’t care how many times you ask me to begin excluding non-pure-bloods in my house or discuss your idea to rid the school of muggle-borns, I won’t have it.”
Salazar’s eyes narrowed. “Then I’m leaving. I should have done this long ago. But my heir will return and purify Hogwarts for good!” He whipped his robes around and the Parselmouth was never seen in Hogwarts again.
Helga’s temper broke. “Fine!” She shouted at his retreating back. “Leave then! We don’t need you!” She became very weak and collapsed. Godric caught her and half-dragged her to the nearest chair. She was still wrapping her mind around how horribly the three’s friendship with Slytherin ended. “You knew?”
“Most of our more heated conversations were over my support of teaching muggle-borns.” Godric sighed. “Although you were the first to bring them in, he saw me as his strongest opponent of getting a pure-blood school.”
“I shouldn’t have yelled at him.”
“What’s said is said. He was probably going to leave soon anyway,” Rowena said. “Professor Bennett can become the new Head of Slytherin. As for the Potions teacher –”
“We can use the Ravenclaw boy who graduated a few years ago,” Helga suggested. “He wanted to work here, remember? But we had to refuse because he was too young then and Salazar was still here.”
“And what about the Headmaster?” Godric asked. “We should also make a Deputy Headmaster, someone who can take over if the current Headmaster retires or somehow becomes unable to manage the school. I think the Herbology teacher will do.”
Rowena nodded. “We considered your cousin for Headmaster, Godric, before we decided on my aunt didn’t we? Why don’t we ask him to take over the Headmaster position?”
“There. That’s taken care of,” Helga sighed. “I’m going to my common room. I need somewhere cozy to relax before I leave this place until next September.”
Rowena gave a start. “It’s occurred to me we still haven’t seen each other’s common rooms yet. Don’t you remember? We planned to tour each common room, but then we forgot with the opening of Hogwarts.”
“Of course. We’ll visit Slytherin’s first.” Godric stood and lead the others out of the Headmaster’s office. Rowena and Helga cast uncertain glances and followed him.
After going down a few flights, Rowena spoke. “Er – do you know where it is?”
“Yes, I saw him come out of it several times.” This didn’t answer the main question Helga had, but she kept silent. They finally stopped in front of a blank wall.
“But – don’t you have to know something to get in?” Helga knew it was almost impossible to get into the Hufflepuff common room without being a Hufflepuff.
“Do you know what the password is?”
Godric smiled. “What else has been on his mind lately? Pure-blood!” The wall shifted aside and they entered.
Each common room reflected the maker’s personality perfectly. Slytherin was rather dark with a strange green light Helga supposed was from the Black Lake. Its furniture was very sleek, like the chairs in his mansion. Both Ravenclaw and Gryffindor were in towers, but were still very different. Ravenclaw was a circular, airy room with midnight blue carpet. It had a lovely view of the mountains and the ceiling was starry. Gryffindor was a warm room with a very large fireplace and plenty of comfortable armchairs and soft rugs. Hufflepuff was something else altogether. It was a sunny, earthy underground room with circular doors and round windows showing grass. It had large yellow couches and lots of burnished copper. The three stayed there for a while before leaving Hogwarts for the summer. They said good-bye in the traditional end-of-the-year Hogwarts fashion. “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus. Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus. See you next year!”
Helga sighed as she shut the large wooden doors. Although her friendship with Salazar didn’t last, Hogwarts would still stand for centuries to come. And it all started with a muggle-born.
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