"There you are, Godric! I've a brilliant idea!" said Rowena. Darkness encircled the castle, bright stars twinkled overhead, and a chilly spring wind whistled in the corridors and through windows. Rowena was carrying a peeling, black dragon-hide book, bound tightly in rope, and a handsome Augurey-feather quill along with an empty silver ink pot. Her expression was exhilarating, she seemed extremely pleased with herself.
"Well, what is it?" he asked.
"You recall the other day, when we discussed ways to find and invite students of magical ability?"
"Well, I think I've found out how!" she exclaimed. "Come on, I told Helga to wait for us in the tower off the east end."
They turned and strolled off in the opposite direction, and Godric asked, "Have you seen Salazar? I'm sure he must come as well."
"You know," Rowena said, lowering her voice to a mutter and glancing around uneasily, "it's funny, I haven't seen him all day. You don't suppose something's happened to him?"
"No, I don't," Godric said slowly. "But I do believe the fellow's still a tad bit...disturbed...about letting non-entirely magical children into the school."
"I'm beginning to get the felling that we're losing our touch with him. It's like we're strangers to each other again, just like the night when...." her voice trailed off. They were both remembering that horrible night at the Meeting Place, when the people had murdered their friends. A few moments later the two arrived at the foot of the tower. They climbed the many stairs, and entered a small room. In the corner Helga stood looking out over the tops of the trees in the distance, her eyes glazed and unfocused. She gave a small start when Godric cleared his throat pointedly. "Erm..." Rowena said. "I'll send a Patronus to Salazar, shall I? Let him know we're here?" They nodded. She pulled out her wand and flicked it gracefully. The silvery form of an eagle soared through the door in a wisp of smoke.
A moment later the door was flung open, and there stood Salazar, sopping wet, coughing and spluttering, and rubbing at a large stitch in his side. "Sorry I-I'm la-late,' he gasped.
"Where were you?" Helga questioned, looking puzzled at this bizarre appearance.
"I- I've been- been...busy," he said, staring at the dusty floor, unaware that he was not fooling the others.
"Well, sit down, please," Rowena said airily. The three sat. "I've found a way to track down magical children. You see, this book," she held up the peeling book, "has been enchanted with a powerful charm. When a child whom possesses magical abilities is born, that child's name will be written down in this album. Now, this quill," she twiddled the feather in between her thumb and forefinger, "has been enchanted as well. It will put down the name of a child as soon as the child is born to at least one magical adult. The book, however, is very sensitive. If the child shows no signs of magical ability, however, it will erase the name, and the child will not receive a letter of acceptance into Hogwarts." She paused, the added tentatively, "I named them the Quill of Acceptance and the Book of Admittance."
They merely stared at her for a bit before Godric said weakly, "You're incredible, Rowena, you truly are." Rowena turned a deep shade of pink and turned to a wooden table in the center of the room. Gently she placed the dragon-hide Book on the surface, and next to it she put the silver inknpot, and inside that, the Augurey Quill.
For a second they lay quite still. Then the yellowing pages of the book began to flutter as though caught in high wind. They flicked to a page in the middle of the book. Then the Quill of Acceptance leaped from it's empty ink pot, and although there was no ink, began scribbling hastily upon the page. A thick, shining, silver substance was flowing from the enchanted Quill. The four immediately moved forward to see the first students of Hogwarts. Salazar stretched out his hand to point at a name.
"I knew that boy, I grew up with him in my village." When none of them responded, he continued, "He often came to my house for supper because his father was out working, and his mother had been killed in a fight."
Godric looked puzzled and depressed. "Why was she killed?" he asked in a whisper.
A wave of shock flowed over Salazar's face, but was quickly replaced by guilt. He looked down at the Book as if he could not bear to see their reactions to his next words. He said quietly and slowly,"She was....one of the people. Non magical. They thought she was a danger to her son." Deliberately he glanced up to face them. Their expressions were nothing he had expected. Godric's eyes were narrowed in a glare, Helga's cheeks had turned scarlet, her hands balled into fists, and Rowena's hair crackled with electricity as she towered in rage.
"Why," Godric demanded, cutting across Helga for she looked as if she might start shouting, "do you insist on bringing this up? I thought we had settled this arguement!"
"Because I am positive non magical children are dangerous! You saw what they did to us, to our friends and neighbors!" He protested. Outside, the clouds had turned a murky grey to camouflage with the dark sky, and a heavy rain had begun to fall.
"Salazar, you don't understand! They're not dangerous, but they will be if we don't educate them, show them how to control their powers, to conceal from the people!" Rowena said loudly over the pounding rain.
"Don't you tell me what I do or do not know!" Salazar had no idea why he was fighting back; he had long lost this battle, but it gave him a pure satisfaction to know how frustrated he was making his friends. If they were still called that, anyways. "I know the choice has been made, there's no use for me to fight! But you'll see!" he smirked at them, their faces filled with shock and helplessness, and an evil gleam flashed across his eyes. "One day, my rightful ancestor will come to free my spirit. He'll unleash my monster, and rid the school of your unworthy children! They'll be gone, never to return, and so good riddance!" he spat at their feet. "The children you put here, they don't deserve my school! They don't deserve to live! Look what they did to my family, they killed them! And if you lot teach them their powers, and show them true magic, they'll kill you too! They'll kill us all. I can't live in that fear. I have to protect myself." He glared at each of them in turn, his old friends, his friends... they had created Hogwarts together...created a bond of trust...had created a friendship. Helga's scarlet cheeks glistened with silvery tear tracks, and Godric's chin was clenched in a painful way.
It was silent, except for the howling wind that rattled all around them. The rain slashed at the grimy window, and the guttering candles sent soft shadows up the walls. The four of them simply stood there, staring at each other, Godric, Rowena, and Helga standing side by side, facing Salazar who had drawn his wand and was pressed against the far wall.
Helga spoke in choked voice barely above a whisper. "Go, and don't come back. Save yourself! That's what you wanted, isn't it?!" She was shouting now. Rowena suppressed a sob and dropped into a chair. She covered her face in her palms, as though she could not bear to see what would happen next.
Salazar stood pressed against the wall, the candle light reflecting in his eyes, his expression cold and stony. Godric stepped forward slightly, and pulled out his wand, which he directed at Salazar. "You heard her. Leave." Godric's expression was stony as well, although a faintest trace of pity and sadness lingered in his eyes.
Salazar whipped around and wrenched open the door. His black robes ripped as they caught on the edge, but he did not stop. He slammed the door behind him and flew down the steps of the tower. Rowena lept up and yanked the door open. "Wait!" She sobbed, yelling into the shadows. "Salazar, don't do this! Come back! Please!" She pleaded, and diminished into a storm of hiccups and tears. Godric grabbed her wrists and steered her into the chair, where she cried sadly into her hands.
Helga ran to the window and unlatched the sturdy, rusted lock. A gust of water and wind spilled into the room, drenching the hem of her dress and billowing her hair about. She climbed recklessly onto the ledge outside, her numb toes gripping the slick surface. She looked down to spot the dark silhouette of Salazar running towards the distant gates, his cloak flailing behind him. "COWARD!" Helga screamed into the night, her voice echoing across the snowy mountains and over the valley. "COME BACK AND FIGHT YOU--!" Godric forced her back into the room and slapped his hand across her mouth. "Shut it, Helga. He did fight, and he lost. He knows that. And in any case, you were the one who told him to leave."
Helga looked shocked and angry. "Don't you dare-" she began, but Rowena cut across her.
"No, no! We mustn't fight! Otherwise we'll end up like Salazar!" She said it firmly, though her eyes were red and she gave a small hiccup. She stood up and moved to the window, gazing down at the grounds. Suddenly her lip began to tremble, and she dissolved into a fresh wave of grief. "I'm sor-sorry!" she cried, after Godric and Helga had calmed her down. "It's just-just th-that I can't be-believe this would happen to u- to us! He's our friend, after all."
"He was our friend, Rowena," Helga corrected her, getting up to shut the window. She closed her eyes and turned to face them. "Just....try not to think about it. Everything's going to be alright. I promise."