"It wasn't supposed to end like that."

Albus Dumbledore looked up from the papers strewn across his desk at the voice. Tansiana stood over one of the heavy books lying on a table, her fingers caressing the page. He leaned back, lacing his fingers together, and studied her as her tale unfolded.

She appeared to be in her mid-twenties; no one would ever guess that she'd lived four thousand years or more. It had been only four years since she and the Wing had invaded his office; it had been only three since the Sorting of half of them.

They were a close-knit group; that had been evident within moments. Albus knew that they hadn't told him about even half of the storms they'd weathered together, but just knowing the little they had shared made him immensely privileged.

They were Guardians of Majicala, one and all of them; mortals who had been granted power, immortality, and godhood for various reasons, and they were unique even among that assembly, in that they were the monarchs of their land as well, and frequently left their responsibilities in more capable hands while they traveled from world to world.

Each world had brought them new knowledge, forms of magical power that made them formidable opponents. The culture of a dozen worlds was locked in their minds and shared freely among their people; the responsibility they had accepted in taking posts as Guardians spread even to those who had no ties at all to their homeland. With all they learned, they insisted that the best part of their travels were the people they'd met, the new friends and family…

"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…"

Albus had to smile slightly at that description of the third-year Gryffindor, even though he was slightly puzzled at the identification of Gilren as a 'red mage.' No doubt it is yet another type of magic they have mastered; from their homeland of Majicala, I believe. Perhaps one of them will explain that more fully at a later date…

"We left, returning to Majicala, not to return until it was time for some of us to walk Hogwarts' halls as students…" Tansiana's voice trailed off, leaving the room silent but for the soft whir of Albus' silver knickknacks. She raised her head from the book to meet the headmaster's eyes, her own green eyes dimmed with remembered pain and grief.

"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 offered, hating to bring up more painful memories, but feeling an intense need to knowing the truth. Her laughter, quiet and pain-filled as it was, proved that Salazar's death had not buried the rest of her memories of him. The arguments between Salazar and Godric had obviously brought a great deal of enjoyment to their friends.

"Even at his worst, though, he was never as fanatic about pureblood as Sirius Black's family, for instance." That did surprise Albus, although he didn't show it; after all, so many of the pureblood fanatics felt they carried on Salazar's work—the newest 'Dark Lord', Voldemort, certainly believed so—but if Salazar Slytherin had been as accepting as Tansiana made him seem…

Tansiana's voice grew in pain as she addressed the rumors that had abounded in Hogwarts following the Founder's death, but this time, Albus felt that her pain lay in the mangling of Salazar's reputation. Her last words seemed to confirm that: "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."

Ah, yes…the Clan of Majicala. Albus' hand raised automatically to his chest, to touch the warm metal lying against his skin. What he'd felt upon hearing the stories of the Wing was nothing compared to the honor he'd felt when five of the Wing members descended upon his office only a year ago and offered him the chance to join their Clan. The Clan of Majicala was a select group of people sworn to one another, tied with bonds even closer than those of blood. When Tansiana said that Salazar and Godric couldn't have killed one another even if they wanted to, she meant exactly that: the magics that bound the Clan prevented the death of one Clansibling (as the members of the Clan referred to one another) at the hand of another.

So Albus only nodded; he had nothing to add to that statement. His mind was reeling with the revelations his Clansister had presented to him. They remained in silence for a few moments before Tansiana shut the book and turned to him, wiping the tears from her eyes. Her voice, when she spoke again, was the same strong, businesslike tone he'd come to expect from her.

"Now, on to business. You were saying, about this 'Lord Voldemort'…"

Well, this brings this story to a close...I was originally intending it to be a one-shot, but then decided to include the same scene from Dumbledore's perspective and hopefully clear up a little confusion about Guardians and the Clan...

Still no promises as to when the main story will be up, sorry...

Once again, reviews always welcome.

Thanks, Tansiana