Gwyn Swann and the Sorcerer's Stone
by Lady Dawson
Chapter One: How it Started
On a quiet avenue in a quiet street in a quiet village in England, a small cottage lay on the very outskirts of town. To the naked eye, it appeared to be quite normal in all respects, nothing abnormal about it. But inside of this house lay a secret, a secret that made the occupants of the house very different from their average, ordinary neighbours.
The Swanns were just as average as they could come, as long as nobody looked closely at them. William Swann, the head of the household, owned a pub downtown and was well-respected throughout town. For him, at least, the normalcy was not pretence. He was, in fact, a completely ordinary fellow and had it not been for his wife Aurora, he would never have even known that another world even existed.
No, it was his wife that was the strange one. A tall, engaging woman with long blonde hair and open, bright brown eyes that showed the depths of her soul, Aurora Swann had opened the gates of the magical world she inhabited to her husband. Marrying a Muggle, she was spurned by her family and cast out, refusing to even consider letting her back into the fold. Although saddened by her family's rejection, she felt warmth and happiness at the choice she had made. Not only had it given her a man that she loved with all of her heart and soul, it had given her the one thing that she had longed her entire life for: a beautiful daughter.
Almost two years after she had been rejected by her family and cast out, Aurora gave birth to William's child, a daughter to be named Guinevere. Although the birth of their daughter gave the couple great joy, they were also fearful for their daughter's life, knowing the dangers that she had been born into, the dangers all around them. For the dark times were still upon them and even though their friends and neighbours did not know the strange occurrences that were explained away through accidents, William and Aurora knew what was happening. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had destroyed so many of their own . . . what would become of their daughter? Would she live a short life, always afraid of what may happen to her? Or would their hopes prevail and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named be destroyed?
It was on Halloween night a year after Gwyn's birth that the news that had been awaiting for had finally arrived; Lord Voldemort had fallen, destroyed by his own killing curse while trying to murder the Potter's son Harry. Aurora was filled with joy and sadness when she heard the news. Lily Potter had been her dear friend. They had gone to school together and taken the same classes. She had been maid of honour at Lily's wedding to James. It broke her heart to know that she was gone. But she rejoiced when she thought that there would be no more lives taken, no more friends to be mourned. And Lily's son had survived. That filled her with more contentment that she would have thought possible.
Despite the downfall of the Dark Lord, there was still much damage to be fixed in the wizarding world. Aurora worked night and day at the Ministry of Magic, helping with what she could to send every Death Eater that had ever hurt an innocent man, woman, or child to Azkaban.
William worried for her safety, asking her to stay at home as much as possible. "There are still those who would see You-Know-Who rise again, Aurora," he told her as she held Gwyn in her arms, rocking her back and forth in her rocking chair. "Until they are all imprisoned, it isn't safe for you to be out in the streets so much."
"You worry too much, my love," Aurora told him with a smile. "The danger has passed, there is no need for you to worry about me. Now that their master has gone, the Death Eaters have scattered and are struggling to put up the appearance that they were working under his control or that they hadn't been there in the first place. And you said it yourself; the streets aren't safe until they are all imprisoned. It won't be safe for our girl to be out in them while so many enemies walk freely." She smiled at her husband's concern. "Don't worry, William, I'll be fine."
Unfortunately, her predicament turned out to be a false hope. Not even a day after she assured her husband that she would be safe, a Death Eater attacked a crowd of people within Diagon Alley. Aurora, rushing to aid the witches and wizards there, was caught in the crossfire and killed. The Death Eater was captured and imprisoned for the murder of Aurora Swann and for following Lord Voldemort.
When they brought news to her husband, William was heartbroken, grief-stricken, and inconsolable. The weeks following his wife's death were the hardest in his life and had it not been for his little daughter, he might have been lost completely within the darkness.
Gwyn Swann was the reason her father was alive at all. If she hadn't been there, then he might had taken a knife to his wrists.
Although deprived of her mother at such an early age, Gwyn grew up as normally as she could have possibly done so. Her father was graver than he had been before his wife's death, but occasionally she would manage to make him crack a small smile at his young daughter's antics. But she was completely unaware of the magical world that was her heritage, because after her mother's death, William had refused to let Gwyn occupy the world that had killed his wife and caused so much destruction.
But as much as William would like to have stopped her from ever knowing about the world that her mother loved so much, Gwyn's heritage never would truly escape her. And eventually, the truth would be forced to confront her in ways she never would have imagined.
Because no only would she face unspeakable dangers, a evil wizard that was so terrible many feared to speak his name, and creatures both good and evil and beyond powerful, she would encounter friends beyond her imagination, adventure that she never could have envision, and learn magic that she never even dreamt that she would be trained to learn.
And Gwyn's story begins on that fateful day when she learned that everything she had ever imagined was real and the things she was able to do, things she thought were only part of her imagination, were a part of her mother's history . . . and a part of who she was destined to become.
"Dad?" Gwyn Swann called as she pushed open the door to her house, closing the door behind her as she dropped her book bag off by the door, shrugging off her coat and hanging it on the rack. She looked around for any sign of her father, but the house was still and quiet. "Dad, you home?"
Wandering into the kitchen, Gwyn climbed onto the kitchen table, finding a note by the batch of cookies freshly made by the housekeeper, Mrs. Harris. Picking up the note, she unfolded it to find her father's unruly handwriting on it.
Had to go to work early, so Mrs. Harris will be by later on to make dinner. Don't cause any trouble for her and be in bed by ten. Lock up as soon as you get this and don't open the doors to strangers.
With a small sigh, Gwyn folded up the note delicately as she took one of the cookies, munching into it as she stood up and headed towards the door to go lock it, noticing as she did so that the daily mail was lying on the mat. Picking it up, she didn't even bother glancing at it as she dumped it onto the table, thoroughly annoyed at her father. "It's like he didn't even remember it was my birthday," she grumbled as she grabbed her bag and headed upstairs to her bedroom, closing the door behind her.
As she looked around the room, she released a sigh as she walked over to her bed. Things had gone from bad to worse ever since that morning. It had started with waking up in a sweat by the dreams of her mother being murdered. She had always known that her mother had been killed by a monster, by her father had never elaborated on the subject. It was too painful for him, she supposed. But in the dreams, her mother was always killed by a man wearing a skull mask and brandishing a piece of wood at her mother. The dream always made Gwyn wonder what it meant. Why would her mother be killed by a piece of wood?
She supposed she should probably just go ask her father what the dreams meant, but every time that she brought up the subject of her mother, he would avoid the subject altogether and tell her to go outside and play or do her homework or something that would get her away from him. She never really did get much information about her mother.
Days were always harder to get through after she'd had gone of those dreams of her mother, because she was usually thinking about it for most of the day, but this one had been worse in particular. First, she had gone over to her friend Isabelle Cleveland's house and her mother answered the door, telling Gwyn harshly that Isabelle would not be able to see her anymore. "I won't have my daughter running around with a delinquent," she said harshly before slamming the door in her face.
While it was true that Gwyn did get in trouble sometimes, she could never explain how the things happened around her. There were just unexplainable incidents that occurred around her, things that couldn't be explained with normal circumstances.
When her plant at school had suddenly blossomed with colour while the day before it had been dying . . .
Isabelle's hair turning bright pink instead of its natural red . . .
Shrinking one of her mother's old dresses so that it would fit the doll that her mother had bought for her as a child . . .
Gwyn never understood how any of these things had happened, but they always happened with her around. And if she asked her father about it, he switched the subject.
After she'd left the Cleveland house, she had gone to the park and was sitting by herself on the swings, pushing herself back and forth when two boys from school started strolling over and started picking her, tugging on her blonde hair when the unexplainable thing happened again. Buckets of water suddenly dumped on them, soaking both of them through.
To come home to find her father had gone to work early wasn't exactly the topper of the day. Sure, she loved Mrs. Harris and the kind, widower was the best housekeeper that her father had ever hired—the first two were complete abysmal and that was putting it lightly—but Mrs. Harris actually took pity on Gwyn and helped her with her homework and listened to her when she need to talk things over. But still . . . Gwyn did only turn eleven once.
Climbing onto her bed, Gwyn plucked one of her books off of her shelves and opened it up, beginning to read. It was about an hour later when a knock came on the door. Knowing it was the housekeeper, she called, "Come in!"
The housekeeper poked her head in the door and smiled at the eleven-year-old. "Good book?" she asked and Gwyn nodded. "Well, that's good, but there are other ways to enjoy a birthday. Happy birthday, by the way."
"Right, are there any requests for your big birthday dinner, since your father isn't going to be home?" Mrs. Harris still looked at her with a smile. Gwyn looked down and shook her head, not saying what was on her mind. Mrs. Harris could tell, because she walked over, placing an arm around Gwyn.
"Your father loves you, dear one," she told her softly as she brushed Gwyn's blonde hair off of her face. "It was just so hard for him after your mother died . . . he loved her so much. She was his whole world, his light. Having that taken away . . . it would be hard on anyone."
"Yeah, I know," Gwyn sighed. "But would it hurt for him to at least be here on my birthday?"
"Well, why don't you talk to him when he gets home?" Mrs. Harris suggested, patting her on the back. "There might be much for you two to talk about this evening anyway." She stood up. "I think that tonight calls for a deep dish pizza, extra cheese, and maybe some chocolate ice cream for dessert," she suggested, naming Gwyn's favourite foods.
Gwyn laughed for the first time that day. "Thanks, Mrs. Harris," she told the widower, who nodded as she turned to leave the room.
She was almost to the door when she suddenly turned around, looking at Gwyn. "Oh, and by the way, this came for you in the mail," she added, handing a letter from the mail that Gwyn had brought in earlier.
Gwyn frowned as she walked over to the housekeeper; who could have written her a letter? It wasn't like she had any friends who would be writing to her and from what little she knew about her mother's family, they weren't fond of her mother and hadn't even acknowledged her birth. And her father was an only child, his parents dead and forgotten by now. So who could possibly be writing to her?
Taking the letter from Mrs. Harris, Gwyn turned over the yellow parchment letter that was written in green ink.
Miss G. Swann
The Second Bedroom
1327 Forest Road
Curious despite herself, Gwyn didn't notice that Mrs. Harris had left her alone in the room with the letter as she walked back over to her bed. Climbing onto her bed, Gwyn slit open the envelope and unfolded the letter, which was made of parchment, same as the envelope, and began to read.