Disclaimer: Not Mine.
The Journey From Oidhche Shamhna
Hanson held Helga's arm as they walked down the long hallway to the Great Hall to see the last of their sons receive his honours. They had not been back to Hogwarts in all these years and found that although it was the same, it was different. They had walked the grounds and inspected the gardens, seeing that at last the hogwart plants were under control.
Many more fires burned in the walls as the new style of fireplaces had been installed on the lowest floors. Many more tapestries hung on the walls, and Hanson was glad to see the old enchanted hanging from Salazar's family still on the seventh floor wall. Although no longer enchanted, it still fit the place and kept a small piece of the history of what had been. One of Gryffin's last tasks had been to build an escape tunnel to Hogsmeade from the room that would be required, and would magically reappear, in case the war came here again.
"I see Rowena's stairs still work and no doubt always will." Hanson smiled and looked up to the top, closing his eyes against the vision of Helena walking down with her thumb firmly planted in her mouth, pouting because he would not walk up to get her.
"Ah, so much is gone, so many lost." He patted Helga's arm as they continued to walk through the halls, stopping as the memories flooded back. He smirked to see the kitchen closed and warded against Helga. The elves had placed a picture of a pear over the doorway to hide it from the students, but Hanson knew it was to keep her from an inspection, and the flurry of changes she would want to make is she were ever allowed to step foot in her old haunt again.
"I sometimes think of Karra." Helga looked at Hanson from the corner of her eye. "How jealous I used to be of that witch. Those first few days that you were here, I thought you loved her. Then one day when I saw her with Marcus, I thought perhaps it was Bretta you favoured. She was always the strongest, and I thought you fancied her."
"She was as my sister. I still think of her as such. It is Marcus that has disappointed me the most of the fourteen I came with. Trading in potions of black arts and cursed amulets, setting up that shop of his in London is a disgrace."
"I am glad that Gryffin kept his promise to the goblins from the village. I never trusted them but they also need a place. They will do well keeping the treasures safe."
"They keep to themselves and are excellent at trade. With students from all over, and the different coinage, it was a logical choice."
"Would you have thought all those years ago that a place such as this would have need for money changers?" Helga shook her head. "When we first came it was only Salazar that kept the funds, the only one with wealth. Now the students come from so many places, I don't see how even the goblins can keep it straight."
"They still build underground as they did in the earthen enclosure," Hanson chuckled. "You would think they hide more than treasure the way they guard their entrances."
"When Salazar first brought his Alya I was even jealous of the way you would look at her. I wondered if they did not marry if you would want her instead."
"She was beautiful, easy to look at." He grinned at her. "Now, witch, it is not the looking that has ever gotten a wizard in trouble. You know I have never wanted another since that first day you brought us food in the Great Hall."
"What do you think of them appointing a headmaster and no longer agreeing on things?" Helga grinned and slapped his arm. "I do not think it right that one person should decide all. Too many, from too many ways, still must be accounted for."
"I have seen his office, in the room Elmira first thought to make a library. It is pretentious and overdone for what we intended, but times are changed. He seems a fair man."
"Father!" Laulen called out, running toward them. "You made it! I was worried you would change your mind and not want to travel so far. Professor Peska wants to see you."
Helga cringed and hugged her youngest son. "Laulen, I really wish you would not call him that. At least put his father's name to his. It is not appropriate to use a witch's."
"I agree with your mother. However, with no clan he does her a great honour to not only give her name to the gods but to keep it for his own sons."
"Be glad that we did not name you Peska after his mother." Helga grinned. "I am so proud to see you in those robes. The robes of a true scholar. To be selected at your age as a teacher is a wonderful honour. So young!"
"Still not the youngest, your Rowena still holds that honour. Have you seen the motto we carved for her?"
"I still cannot bring myself to go there, Laulen. Now, where is that professor of yours?"
"He sits in the classroom. He will not come to the Great Hall – you know how he is."
Helga frowned and shook her head. "I thought he had all that under control? Do not worry, he will soon."
"No, Mum, not that. Patience is bothering him again." Laulen turned red and kicked at the floor. "I think she was yelling at him again. You know how she gets when she is angry at him."
"Do we have time to speak to him before the ceremony begins?" Hanson grinned at his son's discomfort.
"If you hurry. He will come to the ceremony if you ask him, Mum, I know he will."
"We shall see. Now run along. Get ready to pretend that this witch of yours, that just happens to have the seat next to mine, is nothing special to you."
Laulen turned even redder and looked at the floor again. "Mum? Umm, you…. she is really nice, Mum, she…"
Helga worried her lip and looked at Hanson. "Say something," she hissed. "Tell him she is not the right one."
Hanson looked at her, surprised. "What am I to say? He has already told me about her. Just think how angry Salazar will be when his little angel is your daughter. If you think he was angry before, wait for this."
"Laulen? Why did you not…you have spoken for her?" Her eyes filled with tears. "You are my …"
"Do not say it, witch." Hanson smirked. "Trust me, if you call him a baby he will hex you even if you are his mother. He is his mother's son, after all."
"You do not mind?" Laulen looked at his father and tried to smile. "I want to ask her after the ceremony. Her parents did not come, but I sent an owl and asked them to meet with me. She has hinted things to them and seems to think they will not mind. Well, not too much."
"Take your eldest brother when you go to see him," Hanson said seriously. "Sal is the best healer of the lot of you, and Salazar will have a hard time saying no with him there."
"Off with you now, I need to see your teacher." Helga looked around, making sure no one watched. She kissed him quickly on the cheek before hurrying to find Laulen.
"Helga! Hanson!" Laulen rose to meet them, standing behind his desk. "You must excuse me if I keep my distance. Tonight the students are so excited and emotions run so high I find it easier this way."
"I hear it is my daughter that makes it difficult," Helga said bluntly and sat across the desk, scowling at him.
"Helga, she tries my soul and at the same time makes me look forward to being irritated more. I cannot bear to be near her and at the same time do not want to be away."
"A lot like her mother," Hanson quipped as he joined them at the desk.
"So, when are you marrying my daughter, Laulen?" Helga cut to the chase. "For eight years now you have avoided us. Ever since my own Laulen has come here you have stayed distant. It is obvious what is going on. Hanson and I…"
"Helga." Hanson's voice was soft, silencing her instantly. "I am sorry, Laulen. This is not why we came."
"It is why I came! You hush if you are not going to help me," Helga spat and crossed her arms. "She needs to give me grandchildren and stop hiding what you do."
"It is not that easy, Helga, you know that," Laulen felt colour rising to his face as he leaned back in his chair and ran his fingers through his hair. "I would have spoken for her if there was a way. As I get older I am less able to control what I feel, and less able to separate myself from the others. Bloody hell, I anger her now when I cannot … Listen, this is not a conversation I am willing to have with her mother. Suffice it to say, I am too old for her and cannot control this thing that sets me apart."
Helga took out a vial and slammed it on the desk. "This, young man, has taken me six of these last eight years to get right. Rowena left the notes that she was working on it in the library, thinking someone with more intelligence would find it. Merlin, it took me two years to figure out what it was for and the rest in the brewing. Now, I expect you to take that, march yourself out to the ceremony and if it works, make an honest woman of my daughter. If not, then walk away from her bed and let her find happiness elsewhere."
Helga stood up and walked to the door before turning back to him. "Laulen? I have always thought it was your pain that kept Helena from accepting you. She knew by being close she would only hurt you, and she was too young and too spoiled to know better. Patience is not like that. She will wait as long as it takes, then add a day just in case. She has earned her name. It is time for you to step up or leave."
Laulen, who was by now a scarlet red, looked at Hanson incredulously. "She knows that… well, that Patience and I…and she does not hex me?"
Hanson grinned at him and nodded. "You would have to know Helga better to understand. She told me eight years ago."
Laulen fumbled as he opened the vial and drank it with a look of disgust.
"I think she chose to make it taste vile on purpose. She kept muttering about horse's body parts and how you deserved happiness at a price. This is her price," Hanson laughed, watching Laulen grab the desk and gasp for air.
Laulen scowled at him, trying not to vomit. "Fine, let's go watch my godson take highest honours. Then we need to see Saul. I intend for him to stand with me when I drag her daughter to our joining."
"After you, Professor Peska." Hanson opened the door and stepped aside, waiting for his future son-in-law to step out first.
Alya welcomed Helga's Laulen, convincing Salazar of the purity of his blood and his intelligence. She reveled in the six grandchildren that followed and even Salazar felt comforted when Laulen lifted his first newborn to the gods and whispered Jonas as his name. He was followed soon by his golden haired Kista of the blue eyes and lilting laugh.
Salazar buried his parents in the burial mound the same year that the last of the six were born. They lay together with his two sons and his own Kista. Alya's parents followed soon after. He watched as the non-magical men cleared the land closer each year for their herds and grains, until one day he watched as the sheep grazed on the sacred mound and knew it was again time to move.
He watched as the sons of non-magical men looked at the daughters of his clan, and saw the way the wizards lusted after the women of the cities. Gathering up as many of the old Slytherin clan as he could convince, he left to the north again. Finding land far away from others, he hoped to shelter what was left of them from the shifting times. He found spells to hide their homes, making them impossible to plot on a map, and invisible to see from the air.
Alya stood by him as he became old. As the children grew and left, she saw her husband grow more distant, turn inward and become sullen. As the last of their three sons took his bride and travelled to the land of her parents, he felt a rage Alya could not control. His last son, the head of Slytherin, his clan's blood his inheritance, had left him alone.
He spent the rest of this life walking the meadows at night, talking to the gods that he could not find, trying to remember what he had not forgotten. He grew old before his time and angry with the world. When he could no longer gather his clan around him, and could no longer look at his wife and see his Alya, she would answer to the name of Kista, and as she walked beside him, she would brush the hair from his eyes and lead him back home when he became confused and lost in the night.
Gryffin had been buried in a grave that over looked the lake, high on the summit that Bretta could see from the tower. Every night she would light a candle and place it on the sill, then offer up a simple prayer to the god of Marri. In the mornings their four children from the land of Peska, and the daughter he had never seen in life, would come and take her to climb up to the top of the ridge where they would sit and eat the midday meal supplied by elves.
Bretta had mourned his passing, but knew she would once again be with him. The new god would allow such a thing, and although the children chided her, she knew it was true. Sometimes on cold nights, she would see him in the castle with Helena, walking together as they used to, as if they were going to class. Sometimes, they were followed by Lawrence, who would fold his hands behind his back and walk by her other side. Gryffin would turn to Helena and smile, then place his finger to his lips, begging her silence and letting the young Baron join them on their walks.
Bretta had lifted Gryffin's child to the gods, still bloody from childbirth, and waited until he leaned to her ear before she said her name for the others to hear. It was the father's right to say the name first. Only Helga seemed to understand that he had, as the name spilled from the mother's lips.
Rhowena knew her father by his unfelt touches and shimmering smiles as he watched over her from the time she first took milk at her mother's breast, to the time she walked to her own groom and held out her open palm in the old way. Never knowing who this silent ghost was, but always feeling peaceful when he was near, she bid him goodbye as she walked to her own hearth.
It was only on cold nights when Bretta could not sleep, and sat by the window looking out, that he would come to sit with her and talk until the sky turned grey with the morning light. He would lean over her, and place a whisper of a kiss on her cheek, and try to wipe away her tears, only able to watch them fall. He spoke of peace and great meadows untouched by battles and free of blood-soaked soil.
He spoke of his village and his brother's dwelling. He showed her how his life had been and listened as she spoke for the first time of hers.
When she grew old, and lay in the bed she had shared with him, he came to take her home. He wrapped his arms around her as she took her last breath, and smiled that she was now his again. He took her to his dwelling built in the old way in his village of Godric. She ducked when she entered the low-slung door, and took up a handful of herbs for the fire, and saw his brother standing near and heard the laughter of children from the square.
The next morning, she was found at peace in her bed. Her children washed her body, rubbed oils and perfumes into her skin, and wrapped her body in a shroud made from homespun linen, made on Marri's loom, and placed a golden coin in her folded hands. They laid her next to Gryffin, high on the summit, as she watched with his arms around her waist and his breath in her hair.
Ten centuries later, the children of their children joined with black-ebony willowy beauties of the south, and the almond-eyed gentle ones in the west. They would take their clans' blood to the broad-faced wizards of ocean islands and mix and blend it with the clan destroyed by Mave and named Peska, in honour of her strength. The line of Bretta, Kista, Karra and Hanson and Elmira's would be remembered in theirs, and in time the blood of the fourteenth tribe, carried through the line of Helena's father, would join with the blood of the founders and bring them into a conflict that would once again spin their world upside down.
Two dark-haired children of Slytherin, one mixed with the forgotten tribe of Vortigen, the other with the blood of Godric, would stand over a girl with the red hair and the eyes of Helga, put there by a book charmed by the spells of Rowena, in the chamber sealed by Salazar, and protected by a tribe's familiar. Three would see the beginning of the next great conflagration.
One day their clans would meet again, unknown and unrecognized by each other. They would stand in the meadow that had held the circle of fires of the forgotten Oidhche Shamhnas, and lift their wands in battle. One would slay the beast, and one the monster. Two would stand with them and lend strength and support. The four would stand together, as the four before them had, and would put their trust in each other, not aware that the gods still watched, and still cared. In Harry, Hermione, Ronald and Neville, the Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff blood would at last be back together, and once again make the magical world safe.
AN: I hoped you enjoyed this as much as I have writing it.
Thank you HebeGB for the help making this much more readable and for the kind words of support.
And to Hungarian Witch who on occasion was the only thing that made me get out that next chapter and for sticking with me to the end.
And to Sometime Selkie who has beta'ed this wonderfully making it not only acceptable at other sites, but much easier to read.