Finding Four

The history of the Wizarding World was a piece of clay that had been shaped throughout many centuries. Great witches and wizards carefully molded a delicate balance into it, while others left a dent, marring the smooth surface. Though these impressions all had their impact, whether good or evil, one fact would always linger, strong and certain.

Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, and Godric Gryffindor were the potters. They were the essence of all things magical, and there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the four had shaped the world as everyone knew it.

No one alive could imagine a Britain without Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It would have been like taking the butter from the bread, the horse from its rider. Everyone assumed that the fortress was immortal, that it had no beginning and would have no end.

No matter how time seems to ignore something, every story has a beginning. As the story of Hogwarts began to unfold, Britain was falling into various states of disarray, and young Rowena Ravenclaw could be found mourning the death of her sister…

The mountains were delicately capped with snow, standing out against the clear, blue sky. The wind whispered to the trees, ruffling their fresh green leaves. It seemed cruel and ironic that the sun could smile so brightly when Revera Ravenclaw had just been laid to rest.

A black veil hung over Rowena Ravenclaw's thin, tear-streaked face. In spite of the occasion, she was still vain enough to be grateful for the way the veil obscured her face; she could see, through the tears that clung to her eyelashes, that the other funeral goers were watching her. They cast guarded glances over their shoulders as they parted. Despite her sorrow, Rowena felt a feeling of mild disgust rise; the people had only shown up at Revera's funeral out of curiosity. A new branch of magic had been tapped. Someone had invented ways to kill people with words. People from all over Britain had flocked to the funeral to see the effects this curse had.

"Rowena?" asked a kind voice. Rowena snapped out of her reclusive thoughts to look over at the round, pleasant face of Helga Hufflepuff. Her usually bright appearance had been dulled by bleak funeral garb. Her gray eyes were wet with tears. Something about the sight of her lifted Rowena's spirits.

"'Twas kind of you to come," Rowena said politely. "My heart can tell that you are but one of the few who came to pay respects…"

Rowena felt her throat constrict, and she heaved a hearty, sputtering sob. She had never been good at controlling her emotions. She understood spells, potions, and theories with a competence most of her elders did not. There was just something so complicated about the way her heart worked with her mind.

Helga lifted the black veil that shadowed her face, and allowed the use of her shoulder as a handkerchief.

"There, there," she cooed soothingly. "I know you loved Revera, we all did, but—"

"'Tis an insult to her memory to have these stragglers look upon her!" Rowena said fiercely, pulling away from Helga's friendly embrace. "You know quite well that this lot was only present to see what had become of the body. They cannot comprehend it, Helga. Do they not realize that Revera was not the first, and shall not be the last?"

Helga's expression lost what little hope it had held before. Indeed, she understood the grueling times that were to plague the world. She realized, perhaps more so than her young friend, that the funeral was the inauguration of a dreadful era. Despite their magical abilities, people had begun to doubt. They doubted in themselves, doubted in their friends, doubted humankind.

"Do not expect them to comprehend," Helga said. "For not even you, Rowena, in all your intellect, can grasp the meaning of death."

Rowena did not respond. Instead, she fixed her sights on Revera's grave, desperately clinging to a thin strand of hope. If, perhaps, she worked hard enough, could she create a spell to give back the life that had been taken away by this new curse?

The wind flirted with her long, dark hair, sweeping the veil over her face. Gazing into the distance, Rowena felt her life as she knew it being taken away by the wind.

Days ago, she had dipped her bare toes into the icy water of the river, while Revera had been daring enough to hike up her skirts and wade into the knee-deep waters. They had picked wildflowers to hang in their chambers. Rowena could recall placing several of the flowers on her pillow. She had fallen asleep peacefully, taking in their sweet perfume. Now, the flowers sat atop her sister's grave.

"They've gotten out of hand," Rowena said softly.

"Begging your pardon?" Helga asked.

"The witches and wizards," Rowena breathed. "They've lost control of their magic. Their powers, their thirst for greatness… it's running away with their morals and minds."

Helga was silent, contemplative.

"If only there had been someone had taught them how to control their gifts."

"Yes," Rowena repeated. "If only someone had taught them."