Prologue: The Dawn
Disclaimers: This is a Harry Potter fan fiction. I do not own Harry Potter or anything J. K. Rowling wrote in the books. If you see anything from the books, it's a quote.
Warning: According to what I wrote, Salazar Slytherin's past is a dark story without a happy ending. It's a tragedy, and I'm not lying. This short story contains character death. I added some original characters since the story happened in the Hogwarts Four era and there are few details about it in the Harry Potter books.
Harry James Potter was once again standing at the end of the long, dimly lit chamber, his emerald eyes reflecting the white light from the tip of his wand. He didn't know why he had returned here after the Battle of Hogwarts, nor did he know what he was trying so desperately to find out. A mysterious feeling had been haunting him since the day he had opened the Chamber of Secrets in his second school year at Hogwarts. And when he had learnt about Ron and Hermione's re-entrance with the purpose to acquire the Basilisk fang for destroying Voldemort's Horcrux, that feeling became even stronger. He knew that the huge Basilisk would not possibly be the only thing in Slytherin's chamber-although he had no idea what was making him believe in that. He could feel the desire to explore further in the Chamber once everything was settled down again, so here he was.
No doubt, re-entering the girls' lavatory had been an extremely awkward and weird experience. Harry had had to use his invisibility cloak in order to avoid other people's suspicious glances. The secret tunnel was dark and terrifying as he had remembered. He had lost his ability as a Parselmouth right after the fragment of Voldemort's soul had been taken from him, but that didn't stop him from mimicking that single word which could open the greenish door.
Once he was inside, he felt the whispering darkness and buried mysteries crawling around on the floor; he heard the sound of water dripping from the ceiling and saw the gloomy shadows covering everything. The fear was growing in his body and it made him uncomfortable, but his Gryffindor courage and curiosity finally overcame his common sense. He swallowed hardly and decided to keep moving, his footsteps echoing on the stone cold floor and his ink-black robe rustling in the air. There was no other sound. The chamber was like a huge closed coffin and everything was in dead silence. His heart was pounding louder and louder, quicker and quicker like endless drumming as he approached the statue of Salazar Slytherin. He could tell in the dim light that the remains of the dead ancient Basilisk were still lying there. Looking around cautiously, he stepped forward and touched the statue-
Nothing happened. The stone was still hard, cold and a little rough under his fingers and he started searching impatiently for some secret entrance of a passage way. However, after a while he detected no change anywhere and he groaned in frustration. Sighing heavily, he stepped back, ready to leave this place after one final look…
It wasn't until his hands hit the floor hardly and a jolt of pain pierced his arms that he realized he had stepped into a small pool of water and had fallen down. Cursing silently, he looked up to see something with a silvery colour shinning softly on the stone surface which he had never noticed before. Curiously, he examined the pattern closely and found that its shape was like a curled snake. The excitement came and he couldn't help poking the pattern with his finger, then everything went black.
Harry found himself lying on the floor facing the ceiling, and he opened his eyes. The ceiling was not so high above and green candlesticks were burning on the wall. Sitting up and picking up his wand, he looked around. To his disappointment, it was just a perfectly ordinary room with a wooden desk, multiple shelves full of thick books, a dark-green armchair and a small bed. Everything here was elegant, yet prosaic. There were writing instruments and neat piles of parchment lying tidily on the desk. The pieces of parchment looked ancient and the letters on them were written in a beautiful old-fashioned style. The room was very clean and things were extremely well-organized. Harry could tell that the owner had cast some spells on his furniture to prevent them from looking dusty. He decided that this chamber had definitely been one of Salazar Slytherin's properties since most of the ornaments were either silver or dark-green. There was an obviously abandoned fireplace near the armchair and above the fireplace, a framed painting caught Harry's eyes.
It was a portrait of a young, dark-haired man. The man looked no more than thirty years old. He was gorgeous, and that word wasn't even close to enough to describe his striking appearance. It was the kind of handsomeness that would make any superficial girl fall in love at first sight. Mysterious and charming were the first two words that popped up in Harry's mind after looking closely at the man in the painting. He was wearing a dark-green robe, his skin ivory-white and his black hair long and straight. Harry couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the signature on the bottom left corner because this man almost looked nothing like the monkey-like statue standing outside.
Okay, great. Taking a deep breath, Harry tried to calm down. He believed that he was the first one to discover this place in many years since if Tom Riddle had found his ancestor's portrait he would never have kept it a secret. He didn't know what he was supposed to be feeling right now. Should he be excited as if he had just won the lottery, or should he be afraid of what might happen to him after the unconscious wizard in the portrait woke up?
He was facing the magical portrait of Salazar Slytherin, one of the most dangerous dark wizards in centuries, "the greatest of the Hogwarts Four ".
The young man in the portrait was obviously asleep, his eyes closed and his figure still. Staring at the painting with half-opened mouth after exploring the room, Harry wondered which version of artwork actually looked more similar to Salazar Slytherin's true self. The books were protected by some sort of charm so Harry had simply looked through some of the titles. Most of them were about spells that were considered dark magic, which wasn't really a surprise. Harry was even more eager to learn more about the founder of Slytherin House now and he wanted to know what exactly had happened in the past. There was a huge gap in the history record of the magical world during the time when Hogwarts was built and people could only guess what had happened through fragments of books, rumours without actual evidences and stories told by old wizards. Harry was proud of being a Gryffindor, which made him interested in knowing more about his House's founder, too. What had people been like back then before Hogwarts was constructed? Harry couldn't wait to find the answer.
He didn't like the House of Slytherin in particular since most of his enemies - a. k. a. people who hated him and were hated by him at the same time - came from that house. However, that had nothing to do with his interest of knowing the stories from hundreds of years ago. While he longed for actually talking to Salazar Slytherin, waking a person from his peaceful sleep seemed very rude so Harry hesitated. He didn't expect the portrait to really start talking anyway because he thought that the magical power on it must have vanished long ago.
The green flames on the candle sticks trembled slightly and winked at him. The room was getting darker and darker as the magical power that provided the lighting was fading slowly. Harry drew out his wand without thinking twice and did what had immediately come to his mind.
The white light began to grow. As soon as the spell was cast, he froze, hearing a inhaling sound that was not possibly made by him…
The portrait was breathing. To be precise, the man in the portrait started breathing like some switch had been suddenly turned on and the time was flowing again. All of a sudden, the chamber was illuminated. The man began to move. Coughing and gasping, he slowly opened his eyes.
Harry was staring at the dark-haired wizard, amazed, stunned and shocked. Salazar Slytherin's eyes were red like the finest rubies. They had the dark-red colour of the rose petals and wine. Salazar blinked, looking a little confused but conscious.
"Who are you?"
The voice was a little hoarse, but velvety and fascinating at the same time. Harry swallowed nervously before answering carefully.
"It's an honour to meet you, Professor Salazar Slytherin…" He said, his voice trembling, "My name is Harry Potter."
"So, my Chamber was finally opened, which means Hogwarts still exists," Salazar stared at Harry for a while after his brief explanation and made the conclusion, "And you are not even my heir… What a surprise."
Harry remained still, not sure about what to say, while Salazar continued to speak, "Before you start talking again - please don't tell me about today's magical world, Mister Potter. It doesn't matter to me because I am long dead and I don't belong to this era. The dead should remain in their times forever. Now, why did you come here and what is your real purpose?"
"I am so curious about what happened when Hogwarts didn't even exist that I came here for answers. Why was there a gap in the magical history that nothing was recorded in any books? How did the Founders of Hogwarts meet and what did they experience? I have to admit that before I got in this room I had thought that I would find some…" Harry blushed before finishing the sentence, "I-I'm sorry to intrude, that was not my intention."
Salazar chuckled softly, "Find what, something more interesting and precious than boring books and dull furniture? No, Mr. Potter, I didn't create this room for it to be found hundreds of years after my death. I created it as my study and one of my bedrooms and laboratories. I can tell you everything you want to know right here and right now. I can tell you the story of my past and how Hogwarts was founded. However, you have to be very, very sure…"
"To be sure of what, Professor?"
Salazar's face darkened a bit and his expression hardened, his voice serious and cold, "You have to make sure that you really want to know the truth of everything. You have to make sure that you really want to hear the story from my perspective, because sometimes you regret hearing the truth, Mr. Potter… Sometimes the truth hurts, and you would hope that you have never learnt about it."
Harry hesitated. Indeed, nobody knew who exactly had Salazar Slytherin been and no record had much information on the Slytherin family. And even the history books would lie and Harry was well aware of that. The history was written down by people, which meant it was not necessarily the truth. What had been the real reason for Salazar Slytherin to leave Hogwarts? What had happened to him afterwards and why nobody had seen him since then?
There must be secrets lying deeper in the past than Harry had thought. He knew there could have been more darkness, more mysteries, more truth and more lies. Looking into the founder of Slytherin House's eyes, Harry knew this could be his only chance of knowing everything and he finally made up his mind.
"I'm ready. Please tell me what had happened. Please tell me your story."
Salazar sighed heavily, "The Sorting Hat was right to put you into Gryffindor… You look like Godric, I can see your similarities just by looking at you. He was always impatient like a child, but brave and determined… Be prepared, for this will be a very long story to tell. You might not believe it after hearing everything, Harry Potter. You can choose to think of it as a made-up tale told by a lying man, and you can choose to forget what you hear and what you see in this Chamber and pretend that you have never been here. But also, you can choose to remember, and that will be the most painful way."
Harry nodded, listening carefully and sitting down in the armchair. Then Salazar began to recount his tale.
Hello everyone! I am so sorry for my English. I'm a English learner and I'm not good at grammar. If anything confuses you when you read this chapter, please let me know. Any way, this is the prologue and I hope you enjoyed reading!