A/N: So this took longer to update than I had planned! Here's the next part: Rowena Ravenclaw and her diadem.
As ever, reviews are lovingly received! Thanks :)
Rowena began work on it the day after they lowered her husband into the ground.
She decided she would make something beautiful to remember their time together. Something that, when she wore it, would give her wisdom and guidance. It was easy to gain all she needed: her husband had been a wealthy man and many of his friends flocked to her side in support after his demise. But that day she sat by her window and found her mind blank. She did not know where to start.
That night she dreamed she stood over his grave in the dusk, her sadness covering her face like ice. The new grave parted and where his body should have been, stood an eagle. She stared into its dark eyes and it spread its wings. It soared into the grey sky, its bronze feathers gleaming in the dim light.
The next morning she rejected all offers of food, company and offers to see her baby daughter. Her mind was filled with the joy of last night, where she had spent hours flying with him over mountains and lakes.
The silver was moulded into an grand eagle to sit upon her crown. She detailed the wings with small, sparkling stones and left a gap at the centre for a large sapphire. She thought about his skin, lifeless and blue with cold, as she set it into the silver.
By the next evening, it was done. She placed it on the table in front of her, watching the fire light catch the sapphire and turn it slightly purple. It was beautiful and no doubt a worthy tribute to her late husband.
Her eyes narrowed as she studied it.
But it lacked something. It lacked the warm soul he had possessed.
Just like a child, it needed words to give it life.
She dreamed of him again that night but it was no Seer's vision. She dreamed of his small, kind smile. She remembered how he admired her wit. She saw the surprised joy on his face when he found out she was with child. She heard his words to her as he held their newborn daughter as he leaned over to kiss her sweaty temple.
'You and she are my greatest treasures.'
The sun had not fully risen but she sat at her table by the window and set the final, most precious piece into the diadem.
Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure.
"It is very beautiful."
Rowena did not jump at the sudden words.
Helga's presence was easy to detect even though she moved quietly. Rowena looked in the mirror and saw Helga coming to stand behind her, a curious mixture of wonder and caution on her face.
"Thank you. You are kind."
Helga looked surprised. "I was merely speaking the truth. It is very beautiful."
Rowena studied Helga's open face. There was much warmth in her eyes and she had small lines next to her mouth from smiling. "I was not just referring to your words. You are kind. To all you meet."
"Oh." Rowena watched her think. "I suppose I am. Unless they give me reason not to be."
She could feel the diadem heavy on her head. It whispered more questions to her, wanting to soak up all knowledge about this lady from the valley. She saw Helga's eyes dart towards it. Rowena's mouth twitched and she slowly took it off, turning to her friend.
"Would you like to try it on?"
Helga stared at it for a moment before nodding and smiling. "Why not. I do not often get the chance to wear such a fine jewel."
She placed it on her blonde head carefully and looked into the mirror. Rowena knew immediately that Helga would never touch the diadem again. It looked strange on her head, far too grand for sweet Helga who prided herself on equality and unconditional kindness.
Helga shuddered suddenly and pulled the diadem from her head quickly. Rowena took it back from her. For a while, they simply looked at each other.
"It is a heavy burden." Helga said at last.
Rowena gave another small smile. "I do not find it a burden. In fact, I find it grounds me. It encourages me to ask the right questions and seek the best answers."
"You do that by yourself."
Helga's tone wasn't judgemental but there was an air of discomfort about her. Rowena placed the diadem on her mantle. She touched Helga's shoulder.
"You are very kind."
"Can I see it again, mother?"
"If you wish."
She handed the diadem to her daughter, now grown and beautiful herself. Helena's breath fogged the sapphire and her fingerprints clung to the silver.
Rowena would clean it later.
"Can I put it on?"
She hesitated. Helena watched her with her father's eyes but they did not possess the same warmth. Rowena wondered if that was her fault.
"For a moment."
Helena's face broke into a wide smile and she placed the diadem on her dark head. There was a mirror to her left but she did not look in it. Instead, she closed her eyes and her fingers moved slowly by her side. Rowena read it as impatience. For what though, she could not fathom or See.
"Do you like it?" Rowena found herself asking, the silence making her usually wary.
"Yes." Helena said, her eyes still closed. "I feel better with it. Like the path ahead of me is clearer."
Rowena stood and took the diadem from her daughter's head. Anger flashed in Helena's dark eyes but it was gone quickly. Evaporated or disguised, Rowena wasn't sure.
"That is enough, Helena."
Rowena decided to not wear the diadem again today. She walked over to her mantle and placed it in its carved wooden box. She felt her daughter's eyes at her back.
"I must change for dinner." Rowena said over her shoulder.
Helena understood and walked to the door, her skirts dragging on the floor behind her. Then she paused in the doorway.
"I should like to wear it again, mother."
The door snapped shut and Rowena shivered.