Uric the Oddball and the Great Goblin Uprising
Chapter 1: Strange News
Disclaimer: Uric the Oddball, Hogwarts, badgers and all related characters do not belong to me. They belong to J.K Rowling. Certain professor's names and characteristics belong to the group Rockapella. All other characters are my own. You may use them, just let me know first:)
A/N: This is the sequel to Uric the Oddball and the Wild Hunt (along with various other small Uric the Oddball stories excluding Uric the Oddball's Fantastic Adventures). You do not have to read any of those to understand this story, but I guarantee that if you like this story, you will like those as well.
The name Gundalf is not taken from Gandalf. I found the name in my history text book when I was looking for a Scandinavian name and decided to use it (though I was taking the piss out of Gandalf when I let Gundalf smoke funny shaped smoke rings.)
"Why can't humans be house elves, Ferry?"
"I do not know, Sir."
"Why am I the only one who can hear the words in a fwooper's song?"
"I do not know, Sir."
"Why don't people naturally have purple hair, or hair with green and yellow polka dots for that matter?"
"I do not know, Sir," said the house elf in her squeaky voice. "But I do know one thing, Sir," ventured Ferry. Uric Beaufolle's face lit up with a brilliant smile.
"What do you know, Ferry?" he asked happily.
"It is time for dinner, Sir." Uric nodded genially and shifted so that he fell off the edge of his golden bedspread to land in a heap on the nundu fur beside his bed. Uric stood up to his full six foot height and brushed off his robes. Ferry rushed to help him. He noticed what she was doing and took the time to politely dust her off as well. Ferry started to have hysterics about getting Uric to dinner on time.
"Sir must brush his hair, and wash his face, and his hands. And Sir must not slide down the banister like last week. And Sir must not charm his bed to ride it like a horse like yesterday," she said in one big rush. Uric just stood there, regarding a spot behind her with his hazel-eyes. "And Sir must hurry!" This last comment finally galvanized Uric into action.
The light-brown hair at the front of Uric's head was brushed out, while the longer hair in the back was pulled into a braid. Uric tied it off with a tiny badger tie that his friend Mena had given him for Christmas a few years ago. Uric stopped to stare at the badger and wonder if it was as hungry as he was. He would have to remember to feed it. Ferry hopped about his feet, wringing her hands.
"Sir will be late! There is company! Hurry!" Uric washed his hands and face in the water closet attached to his room, then stared frowning at the tap. Did the water get to decide how it was going to be used? Perhaps the water drew lots to decide who ended up in the toilet? He noticed that someone was tugging on his robes.
"Yes, Ferry?" he questioned.
"Dinner, Sir!" she squeaked, regarding him with huge, anxious eyes.
"Thank you." He smiled at her, then headed out of his room. Behind him, Ferry collapsed onto the floor with relief before disappearing with a small pop.
Uric reached the top of the main staircase. He pulled out his wand and waved it around so wildly that the tip hit the back of his hand. Mrs. Ollivander had said it was bendy – very bendy. Uric sometimes folded it up to put it in his pocket it was so flexible.
The waving had an effect, and the carpet coating the staircase sprung up to hover a few inches above the stone before pulling itself taunt. Uric regarded his carpet slide happily and dove on top of it so that he was sliding down head first. He narrowly avoided hitting the wall where the stairs turned. At the bottom, he caught himself with his hands and rolled neatly over his head. He dusted himself off again, and returned the carpet to its previous state.
The Main Hall was entered through a short, opulently decorated corridor. Uric walked down it, and pushed open one of the large wooden doors. His father and mother sat at the long table opposite him, along with a silver-haired wizard who Uric had never seen before. The wizard was very tall. Even while sitting, he towered over Uric's father.
Uric bowed to the table. "Good evening, Father. Good evening, Mother. Good evening, Mr-" He paused.
"Holmstein," supplied the silver-haired wizard.
"-Holmstein," finished Uric.
"Come closer, Uric and sit down," said his mum. She was dressed in her best red robes, and had her hair pulled up into an intricate mass of ringlets. Mr. Holmstein had Uric's usual seat at his father's right hand so his mother had moved down a seat to allow him to sit on his father's left side instead. Uric paused before sitting down and wondered if the table would be upset if he sat in a different place.
"Sit down, Uric," said his father firmly. He sat down. Uric stole a glance at his father. His dark brown beard sported a line of white just down the middle matching the line of white that had appeared across his father's head in the past few years. Uric wondered if he should start growing a beard, like his father. He tried to picture himself with a beard, but he couldn't stop thinking about his theory of using beards as pet cages. It certainly would be easier to carry his bird-lizard, Simon around. He glanced at his father again. Perhaps he should ask Mena first.
Soup appeared in the bowls before them and Uric was glad he wore his badger hair tie, since it looked like they were going to have a formal dinner. He wouldn't have wanted to be underdressed.
"Looking forward to your final year, Uric?" asked Mr. Holmstein.
"At the moment, Sir," said Uric politely. It would be hard not to look forward to it since it was in front of him. Once it was over, he would have to look backward at it. Mr. Holmstein chuckled.
"Try not to sound so enthusiastic young man. I bet you're worried about your BATS? They're not as bad as everyone makes them out to be." The BATS stood for Burdensome Aptitude Tests of Studies. Every seventh-year had to take them. The results determined if you were a wizard, and good results could usually guarantee a good job after school.
"How bad does everyone make them out to be?" asked Uric curiously. Mum started coughing, and Uric gave her a puzzled look. It almost sounded like she was laughing.
"Uric is at the head of his class," said his father proudly, interrupting them. Mr. Holmstein nodded.
"Head Boy then, I expect?" he said. Mr. Beaufolle made a show of shaking his head sadly.
"Unfortunately, Uric was absent so much last year due to illness that the Headmistress refused to consider him for the post despite his qualifications," said Mr. Beaufolle smoothly.
That wasn't exactly true, though Uric had learned a long time ago not to correct his father when he lied. He had been absent so much last year because he was lost in time. And his friend Louis stoutly maintained that Headmistress Kurze would have to be dead (with a stake through her heart to prevent resurrection) for Uric to become Head Boy.
"My condolences," Mr. Holmstein said to him. Uric nodded, though he didn't know why they were being offered. The soup changed over to roast pork in plum sauce with a side of sweet onions. Uric's father changed the topic of conversation just as easily.
"So how fares the north?" asked Mr. Beaufolle. The silver-haired wizard glanced at his father.
"The islands are beautiful at this time of year, as you well know." Uric began to rearrange his food. There was a great plum sauce flood being predicted by the seers of the Onion King. Unfortunately, the Onion King was a prideful vegetable and refused to move his village.
"That wasn't what I was asking," said his father. He patiently cut up his pork while waiting for Mr. Holmstein to answer. Uric cut up his pork as well. The plum flood would carry huge boulders that would smash the Onion King's kingdom to pieces.
"There's been an unusual crop of the Purple Primula this year. My wife's been very pleased." Mr. Holmstein waved his fork at Uric's mother. "These onions are delicious, Lydia. You must train your house elves well."
"Nothing like your wife's sage chicken," she responded. Uric noticed his father looked annoyed. The Onion King was annoyed as well, up until the point where Uric ate him.
"This isn't news to be discussed over good food," said Mr. Holmstein cheerfully. "You've always been so impatient, Alaistair."
"After the meal then, Gundalf," said his father curtly. Mr. Holmstein didn't seem to mind.
"Have I told you about the summer your father spent at our castle when he was younger?" he asked Uric. Uric didn't see how he could have since they had never met before. He told Mr. Holmstein so, then wondered why the man laughed.
They were entertained for the rest of the meal by Mr. Holmstein's tales about Uric's father's time on the Isle of Leodhais. His father seemed to want to pretend they didn't exist as they discussed him messing with Mr. Holmstein's cattle herds and playing with monsters. It made Uric wonder why his father was so angry with him when he ended up playing with monsters. At least Uric had never baited a dragon in its own cave.
When those tales ran out, they were told about how Mr. Holmstein's ancestors came to the island. An unsuccessful wizard turned raider had accompanied one of the Norse expeditions, then settled on the isle with a hedge witch as his wife. Their children were not as unsuccessful at wizarding, and their lands prospered until the present day.
"We have met once, young man," said Mr. Holmstein near the end of their pudding. Uric looked up from where he was carefully edging his plate away from him. The pudding had been looking at him funny. "You were on Leodhais for a week when you were four." Uric tried very hard to remember.
"Was there a pot of sage honey there?" he asked. Mr. Holmstein gave him an odd look.
"No. I don't think so," he responded.
"Then I was there," said Uric happily. Next to him, he could hear his father sigh. Mr. Holmstein just laughed.
"Well, our cats certainly remember you. There hasn't been a one born without two tails since you gave old Barnacles two to help him balance."
"I'm sorry, Gundalf," said Uric's mother. Mr. Holmstein shook his head.
"It's no trouble, dear. You should see the muggle's faces whenever they catch a glimpse of one though. Next they'll be saying we're witches," he said with a straight face.
"Is Mr. Barnacles okay?" asked Uric. He remembered that cat. It had been huge with blackish-brown fur that was missing in great patches all over his body. One brilliant yellow eye had stared at him out of a face that was a mass of scratches as it limped towards him on three legs, hissing a menacing warning. Mr. Barnacles hadn't seemed to know what to do when Uric hugged him tightly and called him a pretty kitty.
"I'm sorry, Uric. Barnacles wandered off the land one day. Some animals do that when they know they're going to die."
"But you didn't see him die?" asked Uric.
"No. I didn't," responded Mr. Holmstein. Uric gave him a smile.
"Then he's not dead. No cat is dead until you see it dead." And that was the truth as far as Uric was concerned.
Uric's father pushed his plate away and stood up, signalling the end of their meal. A house elf, Olly by name, appeared in front of the table.
"Will Sirs and Madam be wanting anything else?" he asked in a squeaky voice.
"Brandy and water in the Inner Room," ordered Mr. Beaufolle.
"Good night, dear," said Uric's mother. She didn't like politics, despite being the wife of a Council member. She liked to retire early rather then listen to his father's friends and their talk.
"Good night," said Mr. Beaufolle. He watched her walk out of the room. Uric made to follow her, but his father stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. "Stay with us, Uric. You're old enough to hear and Hogwarts is too far north for you not to know." Uric nodded. He was curious about what his father always talked about in the Inner Room. "Let's keep the comments to a minimum though, shall we?" his father suggested wryly as they headed out of the Main Hall.
The Inner Room was in the very centre of the Beaufolle Manor. It was a circular room that could only be entered by walking three times widdershins around it. The third time around, the door appeared. Uric had thought it was brilliant when he was younger and spent days on end, running around it. He had never told his family that on the fortieth run around it, the door appears again, but this time it leads not to the floor, but the ceiling of the Inner Room. Uric had yet to decide why it did that. And he didn't want to talk about what he had found on his thousandth run around the room.
Mr. Holmstein and his father made small talk as they circumnavigated the room. Soon enough, the door appeared, and they all entered. The room smelled of centuries of smoke and earnest discussions. The walls were lined with old books and parchments. A fireplace crackled cheerily on one round wall, illuminating the old, ornate, and largely uncomfortable furniture. Each master of the house had added a chair since the 1400's. Consequently, the room was crowded and filled with bad taste. Uric loved it.
He took his seat in his favourite chair. It was carved out of wood to resemble a strange monster crouching over whoever sat in it, ready to devour them when they leant back. Uric had named it Mr. Daisy and sat in it every chance he got. His father took a seat in a green and yellow leather-backed chair near the fire, while Mr. Holmstein sat in a chair with a painting of a phoenix rising from the ashes on its back. There were three glasses, a bottle of brandy and a pitcher of water on a small table near the fire. Mr. Beaufolle poured them all some brandy, and watered down his and Uric's. Mr. Holmstein took his straight.
"Mind if I smoke?" asked the white-haired wizard. Mr. Beaufolle nodded his assent, and an intricate pipe carved in the shape of a man was produced by Mr. Holmstein. He lit it, drawing his smoke through the carved man's feet. Uric watched with curiosity as he blew smoke ring after smoke ring, then switched to more complicated shapes like squares and polygons. Uric had met a dwarf once who smoked like that.
"To business, Gundulf," said Uric's father, taking a sip of the brandy.
"Are you alright, Alaistair? Where is that young man I remember terrorizing our cattle?"
"That young man had a lot more energy and idealism then I have," said Uric's father in a tired voice. "I've lost a lot of my support since Owain died and Cian has been seen talking to Nachleen too often for my tastes. If he becomes Council Head, the Council will die soon after. I can guarantee it."
"Well, then you'll have to train up young Uric here to take your place," said Mr. Holmstein in an attempt to lighten the mood. Uric saw his father look at him and was disturbed by the disappointment he saw in his eyes. He looked away.
"Uric will never go into politics," said Mr. Beaufolle flatly. He poured himself another drink, not even watering it before he drank it down. "What news of the north, Gundalf?" Mr. Holmstein gave Uric's father a long look before speaking.
"The goblins have started raiding again, in numbers we haven't seen for over fifty years. The raids are meant to look sporadic, but there's a pattern to them. Each one has hit a magical centre, either one of the natural places where magic gathers, or an enclave where our kind live. They leave few witnesses, but it seems they've been taking captives. Any muggles who see them are killed. The muggles are beginning to whisper about the return of the King of the Wights."
"Is there any truth in what they say?" asked Mr. Beaufolle.
"The goblins have definitely gotten themselves a new leader. Someone with twice their natural cunning and all their ruthlessness," said Mr. Holmstein grimly.
"And these reports? About other creatures?" Mr. Holmstein shook his head.
"Not other creatures. Other types of goblins. There are groups of them who speak a different dialect. They're bigger, stronger and uglier. They usually lead the raids, unless their leader is there."
"Is their leader one of these new goblins?" asked Uric's father. He had forgotten about the drink in his hand in the same way that Mr. Holmstein was forgetting to smoke his pipe.
"No one knows. I managed to talk to one muggle who was a victim of their attacks before she died. All she could say, over and over, was the word 'blood'. It wasn't surprising really since they had ripped her apart. It was a wonder she survived as long as she did." Uric felt sick at the horrible description. He hated that people could do things like that to anyone.
"What do you think their purpose is?" asked Mr. Beaufolle in a whisper. Mr. Holmstein shook his head so hard that his white hair flew from side to side.
"I don't know, Alaistair. But I do know one thing. They are moving south. Slowly, but they are moving. My castle is safe against the occasional raid, but if they start massing armies like last time-" His voice caught. "They've been breeding under those hills for fifty years. Growing stronger and planning while we squabbled over unimportant issues. We should have been preparing for their return!" he thundered, slamming his glass down hard on his chair arm. Mr. Beaufolle gave him a sharp look. The lost look had disappeared from his eyes at his friend's outburst.
"It won't be like last time, Gundalf. I will do everything in my power to stop it, as will anyone else I can gather. They won't stand aside for long once the first casualties start reaching the news. Until then, we prepare and wait for them to praise us for our foresight."
"And if it doesn't make the news?" asked Mr. Holmstein. He was staring bitterly into his glass, looking as drained as it was. Uric wondered where the happy wizard who had walked into the room with them had gone to. His father gave the man a grim smile.
"I'm a politician, Gundalf. If it doesn't make the news then I will. There will be no more massacres." The white-haired wizard bowed his head.
"So be it," he murmured, and Uric shivered slightly, wondering where that sudden cold wind had come from.
A/N: What does everyone think of the first chapter? Exciting enough for you? Leodhais is the present day Isle of Lewis for all who want to know. I'm going to try to keep to schnoogle length chapters for this story so each chapter will be 1-2 pages longer than your average Wild Hunt chapter was.
I am planning at some point to write a short (let's say four chapters) story about Uric's sixth-year and how he got lost in time. I'm also planning a short story dealing with the summer of Uric's fifth-year when he goes to visit Mena in Muggle London.
Thanks to my reviewers on the Wild Hunt: Mistri, Sailor Book/Water Mistress, NM (Narcissa Malfoy), Ozma, Giesbrecht, Gred Weasley, Indigo Ziona and Tidmag.
NM (Narcissa Malfoy): I was ROFL when I read your ps:) And I've been smiling at odd moments all weekend just picturing some of the things you described…Yes, Thacher and Beaufolle were in the same year at Hogwarts and good friends, even if their chosen paths in life have pushed them away from each other by Uric's time. I might get around to explaining how Beaufolle owes Thacher twice…and I might not. Uric's father will definitely feature in this story, though I can't guarantee too much interaction with Thacher. Stewart let his pride of house get in the way of the real world, and thus miscalculated. He wouldn't have let Varys wander around if he thought the boy would get hurt.
Ozma: I'm pretty sure that Mr. Kurze was in Hufflepuff. You'd think I'd know since he is my character, but he does what he wants, as do most of them. I was trying to make the weird places they visited for Founder's Day unique, but I just couldn't get Gryffindor's study out of my mind so I used it anyway. I bet you Filch has found some of them… 'and then there was that old broom cupboard. I've been trying for years to get that damned snake off the wall'…I'm glad someone knows what story I was talking about. I read it in my English textbook a long time ago, when I was supposed to be paying attention to class, and it has always stuck with me.
Giesbrecht: The satyr managed to find his way out of the labyrinth and made his way out into the world, there he found his way through an old wardrobe and…sorry, wrong story:) The satyr was fine though, even if Uric never saw him again. Thank you for your hearty endorsement on schnoogle btw.
Gred Weasley: Thank you so much, and your review was very sweet:)
Indigo Ziona: Alice in Wonderland wasn't written until the 1800's unfortunately. Louis found whatever muggle novel he could get his hands on in short notice (he got it off a third-year Ravenclaw) and didn't pay much attention to the title since Uric will read anything once.
Tidmag: Binns mention of the Goblin wars in his class is actually what inspired the main plot of this sequel, though it has since gone far beyond that. I might eventually write a story that takes place after Uric and co. graduate. Uric's Fantastic Adventures is an AU from all my other stories, therefore the Uric in that story would have no knowledge of Louis and Mena…which probably explains why he turned out to be so much madder than this Uric.