First After The Founders - Part 1 | Teen Ink

First After The Founders - Part 1

January 25, 2023
By Books_And_Scribbles PLATINUM, Adelaide, Other
Books_And_Scribbles PLATINUM, Adelaide, Other
20 articles 13 photos 12 comments

Greta had been cleaning out the mucky chicken house when the messenger arrived.
It was dreadfully unfortunate timing. She was quite annoyed when her mother yelled to her in the middle of her job. Most likely, all her mother could want was another chore finished, or to try and fail to sell a hopeless Greta as a yard worker to a passing Knight or Villager. Reluctantly, she went to move. Knees to the ground, dressed in dirt smeared rags, and spitting chicken fluff, she squeezed her way backwards from between the rotting wood planks that constructed the coop. She got to her feet and trekked her way round the overgrown garden to the front of the hut.
“Greta! Get ya butt over here!” Her mother’s loud gravelly voice carried across the yard once more.
“Comin’ mama!” Greta called back, rolling her eyes.
The house, if you could call it that, was so small and run-down that the chicken coop she had just been clearing might seem a more inhabitable structure. A few young children flew around in the long grass, either laughing and playing, or yelling and hitting each other. It was hard to tell. Several older boys and girls harvested the small patch of produce the family owned.
Soon, her mother was in view. A short, wide woman built tough and sturdy, she had been as hardworking as her children once, until she exhausted herself with near to twenty of the brats, and used them all as workers or income. She was talking, relentlessly, to a young man on the front doorstep. Her guest seemed quite unusual to be visiting a peasant household. He wore clothes that looked far too expensive – a long fur rimed cloak, a glittering red tunic, and an intricately hilted ivory cutlass strapped to his thick leather belt – an expression far to aloft, haloed with groomed golden locks, and a chiselled face far too beautiful to be from around those parts. He was holding a rolled-up scroll of parchment in his hands.
“Well, of course he wanted a hefty ransom, then I said, I told ‘im, “You can keep the girl, she ain’t no use for me anyway,” So e did, poor chap, an ‘ats how I married away ma first daugh’er.” Gretas mother chuckled hoarsely at her own story.
“Uh… very well,” said the young man hesitantly. He seemed to be leaning away from Greta’s mother.
“Hey, there’s ma daugh’er Greta!” Her mother said when she rounded the corner. “Ya wanted to see ‘er, yes? Not planning on marryin’ ‘er, are we? She’s a right mess, that un.”
Gretas mother gave her a hearty whack across the back. Greta grunted from the blow but didn’t protest.
“Ah, no, ma’am. Of course not.” He cleared his throat. “We’re here for the new magic school invitation. Apparently, owls don’t reach this way, but we knew of a promising young witch living here, and –”
Suddenly Greta’s mother grew dark and stiff. She lunged a calloused hand forward and gripped the man by the collar, bringing her red and pulsing face close to his whitening one. “Who told ya about a witch? There ain’t no magic in this house, and if you’re planning on takin’ any one of ma kids, even poor Greta here, you’ll be mistaken.” She dropped the gasping man and spat at his feet. The man’s beautiful green eyes where bulging wildly, and he breathed deep and echoing, with a hand massaging his throat. He managed a white-toothed smile.
“Of course, ma’am. But you must understand, I also belong to the magic folk. We won’t harm any of your children. Nor will you be burned for practicing witchcraft. The castle is filled with all the best security, and surrounded by anti – muggle spells. I’m here to ask your daughter if she would be honoured in being part of the greatest wizarding academy in all the lands,” At this he turned to Greta, who shrunk under his bright-eyed gaze. She was suddenly very aware of the chicken dropping on her hands, and the knots in her curly red hair, and the mud on her face.
“Well,” He looked down at the scroll in his hands. “Greta Ann Weasley, what do you say?”
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Her going to a magic school, of all things! She had known about these sorts of things since she was small, but she also knew the dangers of it, and magic had always been forbidden. They couldn’t be seen or heard doing anything suspicious – and if anyone in the family slipped up, they would cop it hard from her mother.
But apart from all that, Greta was struck dumb by the way he wanted her to choose. People never asked her opinion on anything, much less anything important. And that was what this was. Something important, something that might change the course of her life.
“I...” She didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t sure she was allowed to say anything.
“Don’t bloody ask her!” Her mother interrupted, “She doesn’t know what’s good for her.”
“And you do?” The man’s voice had a hard tilt to it.
“Listen here, mister. I gave up witchin’ stuff an age ago – ma very own mother was killed for doin’ magics. I ain’t never ever risking nothin’ anymore!”
“I understand, ma’am, but she really would be safer at Hogwarts Castle than anywhere else –”
“I ain’t sure you do understand! She stays! Be off! We have nothin’ more to do with you!”
Her mother turned towards the house, grumbling.
When she made up her mind, nothing would waver her.
“Greta! Come!” came her mother’s voice from the house. Greta hesitated. She could feel the opportunity slipping from her grasp – and she could do nothing about it.
The man met her eyes, clear and undeterred, waiting, watching. Something balanced, and for once she knew exactly what she wanted.
“Wait! I… I want to go.”
A glint appeared in the man’s eyes. I knew you would come around, he seemed to be thinking.
“Greta?” Her mother called from the door, “Greta! What are you doing?”
“Your mother is right,” The man told her quietly. “It will be dangerous. Risky.” A knowing smile dawned on his lips.
Greta breathed, deep and quick. “I don’t care if it’s dangerous,” Her mouth was so soft she thought he might not hear her. She summoned her courage, and thus, her voice. “I want to go.”
She did. She really did.
She felt it like she’s never fully wanted anything before. And in a way, she never had. Her life was far from perfect, far from gold and castles and princes, but she had long before accepted that there was nothing more to it. That she would live and work and die here, and that she would be perfectly fine with that. She wasn’t overjoyed with her life exactly, but she was satisfied, and satisfied was good. Satisfied was a constant – happiness always ended, and when it did, everything would seem much worse than before.
But wasn’t it worth it?
She wanted to see what was out there. She needed to fly, like Icarus.
This strange new goal took hold of her, like sticky mud from the marshes, and before she knew it there was no going back.
“When do I leave?”
(“Greta? You are not going!” Her mother snapped.)
“Right now, if you wish,” The man replied, “I’ll give you time to pack your bags – but we mustn’t tally long, I have more students waiting.”
Greta looked down at her messy cloths, and tangled hair. “This is all I have,”
The man frowned. “Hmm.” He pulled a long thin stick from his sleeve and pointed it at Greta.
“What’s that going to –”
Multicorfors –”
There was a flash of red light, and by the time Greta’s eyes had cleared of fuzzy grey light spots, she discovered her dirty brown garments had converted into fresh clean clothes. Instead of her usual buttonless smock dress and oversized cardigan, she was dressed in a long coal black cloak, a sleeveless sky-blue tunic over a white shirt and soft brown boots, and a black leather belt with an empty scabbard hanging on the side.
“There,” The man nodded, tucking the stick into his belt. “Much more presentable. Of course, I’ll still have to acquire a few extra things for you on the way, but this should do for now.”
Greta looked down at herself in her new costume.
“What did you do? What was that?”
That was just one of the many handy little tricks you might learn at Hogwarts. Rowena showed me that one not long ago. Between you and me, she’s a bit of a show-off.” He grinned good-naturedly.
“You mean – I could do that?” Greta asked in awe.
“Well, yes, with a bit of practice. But a strong witch like you should learn in no time.”
Greta unconsciously looked down at her hands, which where now clear and clean. She didn’t feel especially magical. Although in her new attire she was somehow braver and readier – perhaps the clothes were sewn with enchanted cloth?
“Let’s get out of here,” The man gave her a smirk. “Somebody’s not very happy.”
That was an understatement.
Greta’s mother was storming with rage. It was all over her, reddening her face, twisting her hair out of its knot, squeezing her fists, pushing her limbs into a fairly steady collision course with the mans face.
The man laughed, actually laughed with mirth, at the sight. “Grab my arm,” He called, his face still split open in a grin despite the ten tons of out-of-control woman charging angrily towards them both. Greta gripped his left shirtsleeve with both hands, glancing up at him in panic with wide ocean blue eyes. “What now?” She yelped.
“Now we pirouette!”
What?” She was beginning to doubt her decision.
“Spin, Greta!”
Her mother reached out towards them –
They turned on the spot, dragging clumsily through the air, Greta’s boots scraping on the pebbled ground, and suddenly they were swirling slowly into darkness, tendrils of time and space wrapped around Greta’s middle and whisked her away. She let out a squeal of strangled joy and panic and dread at the last glimpses of her mother’s face as she grappled for thin air, at the spectacular feeling of adrenaline in her blood, at the strangeness of being whisked away from safety by a mad wizard in the best possible way ever.
They arrived on the banks of a large dark lake, collapsing out of the darkness and stumbling on the sand. Greta stood, shakily, her head pounding, her stomach filling with late nausea, her brain barely processing the view her eyes told her she saw.
A castle rose up on the far side of the lake, made from smooth cut stones. Its turrets twisted into the sky, like vines on a pea plant, reaching up to the blanket of clouds above. The sun glinted gold from beyond, bouncing on the castle walls.
Whoa,” The whisper came involuntarily.
Her head felt heavy and dull, her insides gulped, and before she knew it she had closed her eyes and leaned wearily on the man, who gladly took her weight.
Dimly, she felt embarrassed that she had to be held up, and even more so that one magic wizard travel had exhausted her so much, but right then, it didn’t matter.
This was the start of her new life.
This was the beginning of everything.
This was Hogwarts.

The author's comments:

The first chapter of an ongoing fanfiction about the first people to go to Hogwarts. 😊

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