Night fell on Hogwarts, a startling reminder that time continued even after everything that had come to pass in the weeks and months before. The triumphant but grieving heroes had retired to the common rooms following the battle that ended the reign of the Dark Lord Voldemort. The dead were resting on transfigured cots in classrooms, awaiting more permanent quarters.
The castle itself was wounded. Stones that had been placed centuries before lay in rubble. Rooms lay smoldering from fiendfyre. Floors were stained with dark magic, and blood. Still, some areas seemed untouched.
The gargoyle that guarded the passage to the headmaster's office was still in place, and no worse for the wear. Indeed, it seemed to have learned a new trick, evidenced by its choosing to stand and bow low, spreading its stone wings to honor the figure who stood before it wearing a long dark blue cloak. It was a woman, more shadow than form.
The gargoyle stepped aside and the wall behind it split open, and the woman moved onto the stairs which took her not up, to the headmasters' office, but down, to a chamber that no one had seen in over a hundred years. It was a large round room with four doors set into the walls. Apart from the circle where the stairs moved down through it, the cieling was enchanted in the same way that the great hall was, and so moonlight streamed down on the room and made galaxies of the dust that blew in the air and seemed to swirl around the woman as she stepped in.
She pulled back the hood of her cloak, revealing long dark hair and a pale face. Soon she began to speak.
"Speak to me of the Hogwarts Four," she said boldly," those legendary witches and wizards who, with but magic and dreaming, forged for the world a caldron. Such a grand tool is a cauldron. In its depths one may scry or brew, know or create, at will. It can hold fire even hotter and grander than the most enduring hearth, or heart. Many a man has stared into one and seen a future worth striving for, for glory can be brewed, and love, and truth. Yes, the Hogwarts Four created for the world a cauldron in the shape of a castle, and to it, and to those born with gifts that could make the flowers bloom and the stars fall, they dedicated their lives.
Speak to me of the Hogwarts Four, those tired souls who wanted nothing more than rest for hearts heavy with the ashes of children killed by cowards. Those strong ones who mourned for those who'd lacked the chance to learn, and longed for a place to make them safe, speak to me of them.
Speak to me of four friends, who became four legends. Speak, old friends, of us.
Our castle lies around us in ruins; the victim of old enmity come to final fruition. Our treasures lie burned and wasted, that this battle may be called 'won' as a loyal son of Hogwarts ends the long poisoned Slytherin line.
If ever there was a time when these stones have wanted for our renewed presence, for the light of what was lost when conflict and cowardice came to us, it is now.
I, in life Rowena Ravenclaw, come to remember truths lost to legend, that the castle's true foundation may be repaired, and the stones given the fulfillment that we taught them to hope for. Our legacy shall again know life."
"Always were quite the wordsmith, Rowena, were you not ?" another woman answered as she rode the stairs down into the room, removing the black hood she'd worn. "I will speak to you of those four. They planted roots so deep in earth made fertile by the blood of those who lived and died here before they came. Nourished by all that is most needed by things that grow, they sprouted a tree that gave safety, nourishment, and shelter all the days that it stood. Believe, My Heart, that it shall stand again."
She reached up and brushed the red hair from her pleasantly rounded face before taking Rowena's hands and finishing, " I, In life Helga Hufflepuff, Come to renew ties which must be made twixt past and present, that the castle's true foundation may be repaired, and the stones not left in longing. Our legacy shall never again abandon life."
A bald man of average height stepped out of one the doors set into the room's wall and the pair dropped hands and stepped back from each other so that they could turn and face him. A forest green cloak that seemed suitable for traveling hung about his shoulders. He raised his head and looked them both in the eyes before beginning his speech.
"I will not speak last. Long have those who bore my name been forced to suffer, in part due to my legacy. What selflessness I display in refusing to have the last word, can only serve to cancel the selfishness which bade me take certain actions both proceeding and following my departure from here."
There was a moment when it seemed as though he might turn and walk back into the room and leave the two women once again but his grey eyes shined with determination, visible even in the moonlight and he continued ,"It pains me to see my once home brought so low. For all that I left it, I have loved this school. That love was as deep as blood and bone, and soul, so deep that it flowed down my line. Even now I still love this bloodstained heap of torn tapestries, ashes, and broken glass.
I loved the years I spent here, amidst my students. They were cunning and sly, and destined for all manners of greatness. I still mark their progress with pride, though it seems that in recent years our old hat has made its feelings about our parting known in some of its choices. I've noticed an abundance of lost boys wandering about in my dungeons. Even our school's loyal son, as you dubbed him, Rowena, was nearly selected for my house because he was adrift in the newness of our world, and had such a need to belong, to show himself to be worthy."
He looked at Helga, his eyes lingering oddly on hers, his hands fidgeting at his side until she reached up and brushed the hair from her eyes in what the other two recalled now had been a nervous tick of hers. Salazar broke eye contact finally, and addressed both women.
"I will speak to you of those four. They came with ambition, those naïve witches and wizards, all lost in their own ways. They hid their lostness, and thought it gone. They were fools. It was never far from them and in the end it returned, like a scorned lover damaging new joys to punish for past slights.
I, in life Salazar Slytherin, come to achieve the goals that brought us together all of those years ago, to create a light so bright that none would be lost in the darkness, and to protect those most like us, that the castle's true foundations may be repaired, and that those blasted rocks may again serve our purpose."
A scoff drew their eyes to a man who seemed to have appeared from nowhere. He was large and imposing in his deep scarlet cloak, the hood pulled back to show narrowed green eyes framed by thick red hair.
"Will the pair of you hear him speak?" he began angrily, " As though he has any right, after what he did! As though we should count ourselves honored!"
He rolled his eyes and continued sarcastically as he strode up to them stopping a few feet away from the women so that they stood at the midpoint between him and Slytherin.
"Salazar Slytherin will speak of us? Oh the rapture, the joy, and wonderment! What right do we have, we blood traitors and fools, what right to even stand in the presence of Salazar Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts four? What goodness has bought this chance?"
"Godric, be a dear and do something about that bile streaming from your mouth, it is most unhelpful," Helga scolded him, " not to mention redundant."
"Indeed, the lady speaks truth," Rowena added, " three cannot reconcile four. Either you will speak of us and we shall work towards reconciliation or we can part for another thousand years or so and leave the school to heal slowly without our aid or crumble as it may. Perhaps once your towers have fallen and his dungeons have filled in you can stand on equal ground once more."
"Has death sucked the honey from thy breath at last, Rowena?" Godric replied with a touch of regret, " Alright then. I'll speak of those four fools. They were brave and they took what they knew, and what they hoped could be, and made more than a school; more than a friendship. When all of them got older and a little more selfish, and a little more blind, they stood to lose all that they had made. Stupid and stubborn they held onto riches that no one was ever meant to hold, and they broke under the effort and their differences. Two died alone and all died wanting, and lingered wanting still for what was never rightly theirs in the first place."
"Are you saying that we should abandon our attempt?" Salazar asked, stepping closer to the women between him and Godric. Gryffindor's eyes widened slightly even as he mirrored the step, so that they now stood at the four corners of a square, " Stop chasing what was never meant for us? I tell you as one who knows, there is no peace down that road."
"Nor down any road," Godric countered, " for I say not that we should give into fate, but that every moment of unity betwixt us is one snatched from the control of our stars. We must protect them with knowledge that without effort and courage, all shall fail.
I, in life Godric Gryffindor, come to renew our first courage and rebuild all that we strove for and lost; that the castle's true foundation may be repaired, and the stones stand in readiness with all the honor of the champions who shall rise to defend them. "
Above them in the headmaster's office, the burned sorting hat began to glow, a spark of life rekindled that matched another spark somewhere within the stone labyrinth of Hogwarts. Elsewhere in the castle the Ravenclaw ghost felt an odd surge of hope. A mother weeping in loss knew a moment's peace, as did a sister, and brothers. A woman contemplating borrowed memories let her worries stop for a time. A man with a lightning bolt scar found his nightmares soothed, his heart eased. Warriors became students again as sleep descended on the school.
As its founders prepared to begin, the castle itself, the stones and wards and enchantments, prepared her loyal daughters and sons for the work of rebuilding.
Hey guys, it's been a while, but I'm back and this time i'm posting a story that's already complete. The rest is coming over the next few days, and I look forward to hearing what you think of it. I may get back to work on my other Harry Potter fic soon, but this idea really grabbed a hold of me.