Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Crumbling Pedestal :: 03 :: Revelations

03 • Revelations

“I didn’t say I’d deny the children entrance,” protested Salazar. “I’m just saying it’d be easier to let only pure-bloods in.”

“Then what exactly is the problem?” asked Godric.

“I already said. The parents! Perhaps I’m too imaginative, but I’d be willing to bet they’ll be storming the castle at some point, waving pitchforks and starting bonfires.”

“What do you suggest, then?” asked Helga.

“I don’t know.”

“Why don’t we worry about that if and when it happens,” said Heru. “I’m sure a solution can be found if it becomes necessary.”

Salazar stared at him.

“What? If you worry yourself to a thread over it, don’t expect me to experiment on potions with you anymore. One accident was enough, thank you.” Heru crossed his arms over his chest and huffed. He didn’t bother to say aloud that he knew exactly what they’d come up with.

“We have more pressing issues to attend to. For example, a new wand for Heru,” pointed out Rowena as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“What’s wrong with the one I’ve got?” protested Heru.

Rowena gave him a patient smile. “Heru, if you end up going back at some point, and I expect you will, do you honestly think no one will recognize the wand you have now?”

Heru sulked for a moment, then said, “Sure, be reasonable and logical. See if I care.”

“Well, then, I suggest you and Salazar get to it.”

Is she always this bossy?” hissed Heru, darting a glance at Salazar.

Salazar blinked innocently and stood up. “Come along, brother. We’ll go see Ollivander.”

Unlike in Harry’s time, the Ollivander making wands in the founder’s time did not have a shop filled with shelves of boxed wands. The magical population wasn’t large enough to require it, and some families had a tradition of creating them personally.

The current Ollivander, who looked suspiciously like his descendant to Heru’s eyes and who did not admit to a given name, instead had shelf upon shelf loaded with various kinds of wood and a plethora of core ingredients. After being graciously ushered into his workshop, Salazar and Heru sat down to have a spot of tea while Ollivander quizzed them on the school.

Once the tea had been drunk and the biscuits eaten, they got down to business. Heru was bidden to stand in the center of a circle of wood samples and close his eyes, which he did, feeling a little foolish for it. Ollivander simply requested that Heru lend his hand to the wood that felt most comfortable to him.

In Heru’s case his hands eventually found their way to both a shaft of black birch and of linden, which caused Ollivander to make curious noises in his throat and jot down some notes. After that, when Heru was once again seated, Ollivander began to ask a series of questions about his likes and dislikes, not to mention any odd abilities he might have.

In the end, after finding out that Heru was a parselmouth like Salazar, and that he thought flying was the most freeing sensation in the world, Ollivander decided to use one of his highly-prized snidget feathers, coated in the dust of an expired ashwinder.

The resulting wand was stunning. Highly polished black birch was inlaid with spirals of the much lighter coloured linden, and affixed with an even darker handle, at a total length of twelve inches and quite rigid.

The price was 1½ galleons, which Salazar gladly paid for.

Nearly a full day later the brothers returned to the castle, and were still arguing over the cost when they rejoined the others.

*

“How many children are lined up so far?” asked Heru, idly tapping his newer wand against the table.

“Forty-two,” supplied Godric, “three of which are muggle-borns.”

Salazar made a moue of distaste and flipped his hand. “I suppose it could be worse.”

After giving his brother a harsh stare Heru said, “Then we’ll have plenty of room, won’t we, when they come.”

Speaking of room, dear brother, we need to do something about you,” hissed Salazar.

“Pardon?” Heru responded.

“This topic bores me, friends. I need to drag Heru here off to discuss something else lest I become irascible.” To Heru he hissed, “Come along. You and I have some work to be getting on with.

Heru stood as Salazar sauntered out, casting a confused look at the remaining founders, who responded with almost identical shrugs, and followed his brother. Once through the door his arm was latched onto and Salazar dragged him off toward the dungeons, eventually slipping through a door Heru had never noticed in his days at school, which was guarded by a very subtle snake inlay of stone in stone.

“What’s this about?” Heru asked the moment he was seated.

“As I said, room. Specifically, your rooms. You didn’t honestly think I’d stick my brother in a guest room forever, did you?”

“Er . . . it hadn’t occurred to me?”

Salazar snorted and flung himself into a chair, sending a dark look his way. “It must be those damned muggles you had to live with. Rooms, Heru. Yours! You know, like the Chamber, but with decorating more to your tastes? Perhaps under the lake with a lovely one-way ceiling?”

Heru stared at him blankly.

“And on a related topic. . . .” Salazar snickered. “You need to be thinking about producing an heir.”

“What!? Salazar, I’m not quite sixteen!”

“Don’t be foolish. Most men get handfasted at fourteen. Muggles only live to their mid-thirties or so. They’d have died out by now if they didn’t start young.”

“But we live longer!” Heru protested loudly.

“Yes, we do. So?”

“Salazar, we don’t even know how long I’ll be here.”

“All the more reason to get started,” Salazar said with a firm nod.

Heru groaned and placed his head in his hands. “I’m not sure I even like women,” he mumbled softly.

“We’ll find you a nice girl and—” Salazar’s mouth snapped shut, then opened. “What was that?”

“Nothing,” Heru muttered.

“Well unless you plan on brewing one in a cauldron I suggest you listen up.”

Heru gave him a pleading look and said, “About those rooms. . . .”

“Right, change the subject. You won’t get me off track that easily, dear brother.”

“You changed the subject first, may I remind you,” Heru shot back.

“Stow it. You have a duty as a Slytherin to produce at least one heir. Preferably several. I intend to do so myself just as soon as I find a likely girl of high magical talent, with wide hips, and who doesn’t squint too much.”

Heru gaped at his brother in a mixture of shock and mild disgust.

“There, see? You’re stunned at my forward and practical thinking. You should take notes. Now, about those rooms. . . .”

*

As it turned out, creating a flat for himself—with Salazar’s help, of course—wasn’t all that difficult. It did, however, mean expending huge quantities of magic between the two of them. In the end Heru had a set of private quarters under the lake that anyone would be envious of.

The ceilings were, indeed, of a magical one-way substance which gave him a watery view of the lake, nearer to the shore so that the sunlight could filter down to some degree. All in all, his quarters were approximately the size of a small manor house. The lowest level contained a vault and rooms for a potions lab and storage. The middle level, in which the door leading to castle was located, consisted of things like a kitchen, library, lounge, dining room, and a necessary. The upper floor was comprised of bedrooms, each with their own facilities, more storage, and a private library and study which led off the master bedroom. It went without saying that the storage rooms had normal ceilings.

When Heru asked why he needed a vault, Salazar simply gave him a look which said everyone of importance needs a vault, and a few days later snuck in long enough to fill it with gold and jewels. Heru didn’t notice the change for weeks, and by then it was too late to protest the phantom gift. It did, however, raise an important point in his mind, one which he planned on addressing in the future, just as soon as he figured out the logistics.

The entrance to the complex, which was located deep within the bowels of the dungeons proper, was guarded by a portrait of himself, which Heru insisted be left unlabeled except for the surname “Slytherin.” A matching portrait was placed inside the entrance hall—which extended two floors high—so that his painted self could move between them and announce who was on the other side if necessary.

A secondary entrance, located at the end of one of the lower floor’s hallways, led to a spot deep within the forest located to the east of the castle itself. To Heru’s eye the forest was much smaller than he remembered it being, but that only made sense. If the scenery was anything to go by, his rooms were on the east-most side of the lake. Heru had insisted on the addition after a discussion about Salazar’s Chamber, which also had an alternate, outside entrance.

It wasn’t until several weeks later that Salazar finally noticed something odd about the arrangement. He and Heru were heading in to make some last minute changes. When they stopped at the portrait, Salazar looked at it closely, then at Heru, and back again.

“Am I imagining things,” he asked, looking at Heru intently, “or have you changed?

Heru hissed the password then said, “I don’t know what you mean,” as he waited for it to fully open.

Once they were inside Salazar conjured up a mirror and stuck it to the wall temporarily. “Look here. Your face, and the portrait’s.”

So Heru did, a number of times. “Why don’t we look the same anymore?” he finally asked.

“I don’t know. Why do you think I brought it up?”

“You’re asking me? Is it the blood bond?”

“It’s never done that before. At least not that I’ve seen.” Salazar squinted at him. “It certainly affects the appearance of any children, but never the one who goes through the ritual.”

Heru shrugged helplessly.

“We’ll just keep an eye on it, then. If you keep changing, we’ll have to check you over for mysterious maladies.”

Heru was not comforted by the pronouncement. Not in the least.

*

Heru’s sixteenth birthday finally arrived, and as a gift from his four friends Heru received a portrait of each of them, which he promptly hung in his study. This occasioned a small party, which brought on comments from all of the founders on his appearance, and resulted in an interruption of said party while they went over Heru again with every test known to see if anything was ailing him.

Nothing was.

Later that evening, after the others had left, Heru went to bed unable to get the mystery out of his mind.

When he awoke and was in the middle of going about his normal routine, he was brought up short in front of his mirror. He looked like himself again. He stumbled out into his bedroom, dressed, and drifted off to the castle proper in a daze.

The others noticed immediately and crowded around him, pestering him with questions he couldn’t answer to their satisfaction. After he had been led through an excruciating account of his evening after they had sought their own beds, they all sat back, lost in thought.

Finally, Helga spoke. “Heru, you were concentrating really hard on this last night, correct?”

“Yes,” he allowed. “It was really bothering me and I kept thinking of how I looked when I first came here.”

“Did you feel anything strange?”

“Not really.”

“And you woke up like this. Hm. . . .” After another period of silence she said, “All right. Think about how you looked before you went to sleep, Heru. Concentrate on that for a few minutes.”

Heru shot her an incredulous look, then closed his eyes, building an image of himself against the grey canvas of his mind. He opened his eyes when he heard a gasp and said, “What?”

Rowena conjured a hand mirror and turned it to face him.

Somehow, Heru wasn’t surprised at his reflection.

It was a week later when Heru remembered about the potion accident. He had been assured repeatedly, to the point of having to dodge the hexes of a very irate Godric, that there was no such ability. The only thing out of the ordinary that had happened to him was the explosion.

So he went in search of his brother, finding him sitting at the edge of the forest conversing with a small snake.

“Salazar?”

His brother looked up and nodded a greeting.

“Do me a favor, would you?”

Salazar arched a brow and tilted his head to the side.

“Just for curiosity’s sake, form an image in your head of Godric and concentrate on it really hard?”

Salazar straightened up, gave him a look as though to say he was daft, then closed his eyes. A short time later, his features shifted abruptly.

Heru conjured a mirror and coughed; Salazar passed out. Heru told the snake to keep an eye on his brother, then left to find the notes that Salazar had put in his desk almost a year ago.

Several weeks after that, when everything was ready and settled—including the slightly sullen look on Salazar’s face—the students arrived.