Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter...Tansiana is mine, though, as is Majicala...
Her fingers slid across the four names emblazoned at the top of the first page; four names, four people she had known so well, so long ago…
Rowena Ravenclaw. Helga Hufflepuff. Godric Gryffindor. And then the last, the one she'd been closest to: Salazar Slytherin.
Even after almost a thousand years, the pain was still there, to great to fade. That was the price she paid, for being a Guardian, the price for immortality, for the power she had. Oh, let her colleagues think she paid for it with the obvious disapproval of her elven people; she and the Wing knew differently. They, like no other Guardians before them, paid their price in pain, in grief, when the friends they made, friends close as any family member—friends that were family, through the Clan—passed away. And when they died in the manner that Salazar had…
"It wasn't supposed to end like that," she said abruptly, feeling the tears spring up behind her eyes. Albus Dumbledore looked up from the papers at his desk, but said nothing. Tansiana ignored him, still staring at the book beneath her fingers.
"I could have killed Godric then," she said, reliving the anger and grief that had comprised her feelings, that day a thousand years before. "I would have, too, if it hadn't been for the fact that anyone with half a brain could see that he was hurting as much as the rest of us. More, actually, because it was his own stupidity that killed him."
"Tansiana?" Albus said softly. She laughed, harsh and bitter, feeling the tears come cascading down her cheeks.
"They'd been arguing—well, that was nothing new, hardly a week went by when they weren't arguing about something, even something as silly as their chess game. I—I don't even remember what they were arguing about; Godric told us, after…but I don't remember. Don't want to, really…
"They'd been in Godric's tower; Salazar came storming out and stalked through the castle, paying no attention to anyone around him, and went outside, left…He needed to clear his head, to think without anyone around him…Godric may have been the reckless one, but Salazar's own temper was enough to stop him thinking, sometimes.
"He didn't come in again that night…A week went by without any of us hearing from him, but that was nothing new, either. He could disappear for months on end…usually didn't when there were students, but it had happened before, none of us were really that concerned…"
Part of her wondered how she could stand to tell this tale, with all its pain. Of all the Wing, she had been the one closest to Salazar, understanding his crafty nature better then anyone else could, simply because of what she had been before she had become a Guardian. The rest of her was in too much pain to care. She closed her eyes.
"Godric disappeared at the end of the week, and that we were concerned about, you never knew what would happen when he disappeared. More reckless and belligerent than any red mage I've ever known, even Gil, with his habit of pretending to get drunk and starting tavern brawls…
"Just as we were about to start out to search for him, he staggered in through the castle doors, covered in blood; thank God there were only a couple of seventh years there, any more and there would have been chaos…He looked at us like…like he was dead, himself, and the first thing out of his mouth was 'Salazar's dead.'…"
The memory swam into place before her with a clarity few other memories claimed. Dimly, she was aware that she still sat in the Headmaster's office, that it was the year 1972 and she was talking to Albus Dumbledore; but she was reliving that day in 997, a day of tragedy and pain…
Later, in Rowena's tower, Godric told them everything, in a voice flat and emotionless. Told them how he'd left the castle to deal with a rampaging dragon, despite the fact that they had all told him, loudly and on more than one occasion, that he was getting too old for heroics, that it was time to let someone else take on that role. He hadn't listened.
Salazar had found him before he'd engaged the dragon, had cursed him fifty ways to hell for a fool, and then followed him to the lair, Godric's intentions being in no way abated.
The battle had raged for hours, Salazar casting and recasting shield charms from just outside the battleground in an effort to keep his friend and Clanbrother safe. At last, Godric had felled the beast; he turned to Salazar and laughed, motioning him to join him, then began walking towards the dragon. Salazar was almost to Godric's side when he tripped and fell, suffering from exhaustion; his wand, still in his hand, had struck a particularly sharp rock with enough force to snap it in half. Godric turned to see what was taking Salazar; he saw his friend's eyes widen with fear and surprise, and then Salazar leapt up at him, knocking him out of the way as the dragon, not as dead as it seemed, had tried one last time to defeat his enemy. Salazar had taken the full brunt of the attack and died almost instantly.
"Godric never left the castle again," Tansiana said quietly, emerging from the vision her imagination conjured of the battle. "When he died, the last of the Founders, we cremated him and spread his ashes on the same ground where Salazar had given his life, and then we left, returned to Majicala, not to return until it was time for some of us to walk Hogwarts' halls as students…" Her voice trailed off into silence, and she lifted her head to meet Albus' sympathetic eyes.
"It is widely believed that Salazar left the school after a debate over muggle-borns and their acceptance to the school, and that he later challenged Godric to a duel to the death, which he lost," he said softly.
Tansiana laughed quietly, remembering. "Oh, there were certainly enough of those arguments between the two, especially in the early days of the school, but by the time of his death, arguments over that topic tended to end in laughter. After all, Salazar had accepted a half-elf as his Clansister," she gestured to herself, "it wasn't that hard to convince him that muggle-borns had a place at the school. He never really liked it, but he accepted it. Even at his worst, though, he was never as fanatic about pureblood as Sirius Black's family, for instance.
"As for the rest…" She closed her eyes against the tears that once again threatened to spill. "How do you tell a school full of students and all their parents that one headmaster killed another? I don't know what Rowena and Helga told everyone, but Godric and I never mentioned his death to anyone outside the Clan. There were plenty of rumors flying around, though, and that certainly wasn't the worst of them by any means." She sighed. "After all…those of us who cared the most knew it wasn't true. They were both Clan; they couldn't have killed each other even if they had wanted to."
Albus nodded; there was nothing he could add to that. Tansiana stood still for a few moments, hand resting on the heavy book, before shutting it resolutely and turning to the Headmaster, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
"Now, on to business. You were saying, about this 'Lord Voldemort'…"
So, my first fanfiction story! Slightly revamped, now that I've actually edited it...I know some of this won't make sense...It goes with a chaptered story I've been playing around with writing for...wow, a year now. I'll get to it at some point...probably within the next month or two, although I can't make any promises. This story was inspired after reading Loki Mischeif-Maker's A Sword for Gryffindor...
Reviews are always welcome...please drop a note on your way out and give me your impression!