A/N: This story was written for the Hogwarts Games 2012, category Relay. As such, my team members and I will each be writing a part of the story, a 'quadrology' on the Foundation of Hogwarts, vue from each of the Founders POV. My team consists of Under the weeping cherry tree, TwistedTale, TheTwoDL and of course me. My part will be from Helga Hufflepuff's POV.
This is also written for the School Subjects Competition, category History of Magic (write a story about anyone older than Trio-gen).
"Scotland," Salazar said decisively.
"Scotland?" Rowena echoed. "Why Scotland?"
"Think about it. There's a lot of barely populated land there so we won't accidentally get caught by Muggles."
"I don't know," Helga said with a frown. "It seems like an awfully long distance from London. How would the students even get there?"
Salazar smirked. "They would be wizards, no? The fireplace network has worked well so far, so I don't see any reason why that wouldn't work here as well."
"I'm still not really convinced Scotland would be the right place," Godric interjected. "But I'm willing to go with you and find out."
"As would I," Rowena agreed.
"And I," Helga added.
"So we all agree on this?" Salazar asked.
The other three nodded.
A week later, the four of them went to Scotland. They used fireplaces of befriended wizards and witches, but the further north they came, the sparser their contacts became. They had to rely on contacts of contacts, which proved all the more to them the use of installing an overall magical academia.
Once in Scotland, they chose a more low profile way of travelling and proceeded on horseback. They rode across the country, travelling from place to place. The known places of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen were like London: too crowded. Inverness had a large clergy. Banchory seemed okay since it also housed magical inhabitants, but they found the atmosphere wasn't quite right. People seemed hostile towards the small troupe of strangers that were overall to well-dressed to be commoners, and the people of Banchory weren't too keen on nobility.
One late evening, they entered a small hamlet in Banffshire to spend the night. It only had eleven houses, four farms and an inn.
"Did you notice there is no church here?" Rowena whispered once they were at the inn.
The others nodded.
"Curious, isn't it?" Godric asked.
So far, every village, every town, every hamlet had had at least one church and clergy aplenty. But not this one. They were intrigued and decided to find out more about the hamlet the next day. In daylight, it proved that indeed there was no church. They learned that the hamlet was called Hochme'ad.
"This really is very a small place and there is absolutely nothing to do," Helga commented.
"I doubt we will find anything of interest here," Godric added.
"I don't agree with you," Rowena objected. "Haven't you noticed how everyone around here seems less worn out than people in other villages we have been to? How they are older but don't appear their age?" Her eyes shimmered.
Salazar was the first to catch on to what she was saying. "It's an all-magical community."
"Which would explain why it has no church…" Helga said. It all made sense to her now. Why hadn't she noticed it before? Her enthusiasm for the place augmented. If this was an all-magical community, no matter how small, there might be a possibility of building their academia in the vicinity.
"Let's split up to see if we can find a proper location around here," Godric suggested. They borrowed four horses of the local inhabitants, since the horses they had come on still needed time to recover from the journey of the previous days. They split into two smaller groups of two; Rowena and Godric would go westwards and Salazar and Helga went eastwards.
The countryside was wild and unexplored and Helga and Salazar crossed the Highlands in a steady pace.
Suddenly Helga halted her horse and pointed at a valley in the deep. "Now that would make for a fine location," she said. "It's deserted enough so that people won't come asking questions, yet it is close enough to Hochme'ad to establish it. The lake would provide for food. It's a shame those ruins are in the way though."
"Ruins can be transformed," Salazar noted.
"You were right about Scotland, Salazar," Helga replied and spurred on her horse towards the valley.
The ruins were rather big, bigger than it had appeared from atop of the hill. The original building must have crumbled over a century ago. The water of the lake was of such a deep shade of blue that it looked almost black, there was an enormous forest behind the ruins and the valley hold a large variety of herbs and grasses.
"That will be perfect to teach our students about the medicinal use of herbs," Helga said enthusiastically.
"Or how to use them in potions," Salazar added, growing enthusiastic too. "It could be done if we did a lot of rebuilding."
"It should be possible with our magic, right?"
"It should be possible if we managed to get the help of the community, but it would still take a lot of work."
Helga thought for a moment and contemplated this. Would it be possible for them to get the community of Hochme'ad to help them? So far, the inhabitants had been friendly, but there was no indication they would think their academia a good idea.
"We should head back and tell the others," she decided. "Then we can talk this through."
They rode back to Hochme'ad and waited for Godric and Rowena to return.
"We should ask some of the locals to come with us, they'll know whose land it is," Godric said immediately after they had told them.
That sounded like a good idea and they tried to describe the scenery to the townspeople.
Some of them caught up on what they were saying. "Tobhta cill-mhanach à Hochwairth na Loch Donan," he said.
They looked at him, not understanding what he was saying.
"Manaistear," he tried.
"I believe what he's trying to say is that it are the ruins of an old monastery," Helga tried to translate.
The man nodded. They made it clear by hand gestures that they wanted to see the place and perhaps buy the property. The man nodded again. He understood gold.
He brought the four of them to the ruins and Godric and Rowena were as enthusiastic as Helga and Salazar had been. "This is a perfect place," Godric said.
"But we can't all four go to negotiate with the landlord," Salazar brought up.
"Let me go," Helga said. "You and you," she pointed at Salazar and Godric, "can be hot-headed at times, so it has to be either me or Rowena."
"You can go," Rowena offered. "Seeing as you discovered the location in the first place."
Salazar and Godric agreed, albeit reluctantly.
So it was Helga who went with a local townsman to see tighearna Fergus McLachn, who owned the valley and the lake. She smoothed down her dress and asked Rowena to put her hair in an elaborate braid to make her look more presentable. She stored her wand safely, for she did not know whether or not the tighearna would be magical as well. The language barrier was too big to figure that out.
She was nervous. Their entire project would either stand or fall with her ability or disability to buy the land of the tighearna. But she needn't have worried. Fergus McLachn proved very open to female charms and a large bag of gold. He resided in a small castle and kissed her hand when he saw her. Helga curtseyed and made sure to follow the proper etiquette.
"We would like to buy the land in the valley near the lake," she said.
He gave her a response that she didn't understand.
She looked at the elderly inhabitant of Hochme'ad and remembered that he had said something along the lines of Loch Donan.
"Loch Donan?" she tried.
It was a phrase he appeared to recognise, because he nodded.
She was once again looking for aid at the older man. He spoke to the tighearna, his head bowed and after his words, Fergus McLachn eyed her suspiciously. He held out his hand and Helga understood the gesture. She needed to show him something to prove what she wanted. She opened the bag she had brought with her and which contained a large pile of gold coins. His eyes grew bigger with greed and he took one coin out and bit it. His teeth left a clear bite-mark and the greed in his eyes grew larger.
He hesitated a moment, then he spat in his hand and held it out to her. Helga shuttered. It was a custom she would never get used to. But she had to do this if she wanted to buy the property. So she spat in her hand as well and shook hands with him, in the presence of the elderly man that had brought her before him. She knew the presence of the inhabitant made their deal legal. She propably overpaid him - a bag of golden coins for a piece of land the tighearna had undoubtedly added to this grounds when the clergy fled the monastery: he must be laughing. Helga didn't really care. They had enough of it and if a bag of gold ensured the man's cooperation, so be it. She had succeede in her mission: The four friends were now the owners of the land near the lake.
She returned to Hochme'ad in a victorious mood. They were one step closer to realising their dream and she just knew that they could bring it to a good end.
"I succeeded," she said smiling when the others looked up at her expectantly.
"Well done, Helga!" Godric said.
"Salazar already said that we needed to rebuild the entire place but then the students can arrive," she continued happily.
"But which students are we going to teach?" Salazar asked.
"I'd say we only teach those that are ambitious."
"The ones that are really smart."
"Those who are brave and daring."
"We should teach the ones that are willing to work hard."
They all spoke at the same time and they looked at each other.
"This is not going to work," Helga said. The bubble of elation she had been in for the past hour began to show creaks.
"I have an idea," Rowena said.
They all looked at her.
"Why don't we all pick the students we think fit and then we can see which of them will do best."
They agreed that this would be the way to proceed and they also decided that each of them would be teaching.
"I'll teach our students about the use of herbs and grasses," Helga spoke first.
"I think it's important that they also know how to brew potions," Salazar said.
"And know about the influence of the stars," Rowena added.
"Aren't we forgetting something?" Godric questioned. "Shouldn't they be learning spellwork first?"
"I think those are all vital ingredients to the education," Rowena stated. "There's four of us, so why don't we each teach the subject closest to our heart?"
"That sounds like an excellent way to go about things," Helga said. "How many students will we pick?"
They all pondered this for a moment.
"I'd say ten each sounds about right. Five girls and five boys. That way only the most talented will get in," Salazar suggested.
"And we'll only be taking in pupils from England and Scotland of course." Godric said. "I would be impossible to travel further to scout for them."
They all agreed on that and they felt that, once again, they were a step closer to realising their academia.
The next day, they were standing on top of the hill, once again overlooking the valley they now owned. They knew it would take them a lot of work to built the academia they had in mind, but they were confident they would succeed. The community of Hochme'ad had expressed interest in their plans and had offered to help, under the condition that their children would be among the pupils. The four friend had agreed on that. There weren't many children in Hochme'ad and there still was plenty of room to scout pupils from other places as well. They were content. Come harvest, the first students would start at what they had agreed upon would be called the Academia Hochwairtha. In years to come this would degenerate into 'Hogwarts', but they had no way of knowing that aforehand.
A/N: Since Hogwarts was founded about a thousand years ago, I sought to stay as close to medieval customs as possible. Also, since they originate from England and Hogwarts is founded in Scotland, there were bound to be some language barriers as they had no way of knowing Gaelic. The phrase the old man uses means 'The ruins of the monastery of Hochwairth, near the Black Lake' and 'tighearna' is Gaelic for Lord. I also took the liberty to 'gaelicise' the names of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, since it fitted the setting better.
This was the first part of the 'quadrology'. The story will be continued by TheTwoDL, who will be writing from the POV of Godric Gryffindor. This is the link to her part: /s/8322050/6/Moving-On