Wizarding: A History
Lily sat down next to James on the couch in the common room, Sirius rolled his eyes as James beamed a smile at her.
Sirius was playing with the camera he'd gotten as a Christmas present a few years back, pretty sure that he could improve it with just a little bit of magic. Probably not something he should be doing in the middle of a full common room, but hey, after all the stuff he'd done throughout his years of Hogwarts, no one was going to tell him off for attempting to enchant a camera. Lily watched him for a while trying not to be disapproving, at least he was using his time on something productive for once.
That and she was beginning to understand the strange and twisted mind that made up Sirius Black. Something that even after James and her three month anniversary still scared her a little bit.
"What are you going to do with it?" She asked curiously, she had after all promised James that she would cut Sirius a little slack and the prat was starting to grow on her.
"Not sure." He said looking at the parts curiously. "Maybe nothing."
"You know there's a law against that." Remus reminded, it would be the only thing he said about it. He had a little system with how to deal with them... or rather how not to deal with them. He would say they shouldn't do something once and they would continue on as though he'd said nothing, even he didn't even listen to what he was saying half the time. Remus was a Marauder first and a prefect second.
"It's not the first law I've broken, and it won't be the last." Sirius said waving it off and continuing to examine the lens of the camera.
"Why though?" Lily asked turning to look at Remus who she thought would be the most likely to know.
"He's got no respect for rules." Remus shrugged.
"No, I mean why is there a law against it. It's not like Sirius is going to make it hurt anyone." She explained.
"You don't know that." Sirius said giving her a smirk.
"Maybe he won't, but someone else might." James explained giving a light laugh at Sirius' joke.
"But why don't they just ban using them to hurt people, they can do that, can't they?"
"Well they could, but that wouldn't help much. Not that it helps much now." James leaned back on the couch closing his DADA book and putting his arm around Lily, he wasn't in the mood to study anyway.
"It's partially to keep the secret of our existence from the muggles as well." Remus said shifting his position in his chair to get more comfortable. "If a muggle finds a camera that takes pictures by itself, or something, they are bound to notice."
"But why? Why is it so important to keep magic a secret? Why can't I tell my next door neighbor, or even my grandmother?" Lily leaned away from James so she could look at him in the eyes. James gave her a shrug.
"If they knew they'd never leave us alone. They'd want us to fix all their problems for them."
"And what is wrong with helping them? We have the ability to make their lives easier. Why should we have to keep it from them?" she questioned, it seemed rather selfish to her.
"Like I said they'd never leave us alone."
"So, what? They aren't worth it or something?" she asked getting a little frustrated at James' attitude about the whole thing.
"It's because we're afraid of them." Sirius said suddenly breaking up the argument that he knew was coming before it even began. Lily was under the impression that he had a sixth sense about that sort of thing.
"What?" James said, looking at Sirius, whose gaze didn't leave the camera parts, as though he'd gone mad. "I am not afraid of muggles."
"I am." He said without hesitation before finally looking up at his friend, eyes moving from James and Lily before moving to Remus and ending back at James. "And you should be too."
"And why exactly should I be afraid of something that's strongest weapon is their fist?" The quidditch hero asked holding up his fist as though it proved his point.
"Because that isn't their strongest weapon, Prongs." Sirius said, the way he looked at James made it clear that Sirius wasn't kidding. "Because I know for a fact that your next door neighbor could kill you with a slight movement of his pointer finger and a decent amount of aim, and even the aim isn't necessary if he's willing to give it more than one try. Because even the preacher in your neighborhood could have killed me when he caught me breaking into his church easier than my own mother could have when she found out I gave you that mirror.
"All he needed to do was move his finger and I would have been powerless to stop him, despite the wand in my pocket. My mother is a very powerful witch... but the fear I felt running from the house as she threw curses at me, even the killing curse she tossed at me, was nothing compared to how I felt looking at the barrel of that gun he had... The killing curse can be avoided, but you can't dodge a gun."
"Sirius, we're like a hundred times stronger than them, they lose the gun and they don't stand a chance." James argued.
"Yeah, we are stronger than them, but they are smarter than we are." Sirius retorted looking back down at the pieces of the camera on his lap. "Look at this thing, James. I'm sitting here staring at the pieces... everything that makes this thing work is right here, and I still have no idea how it does what it does. I know how to put it all back together, and I know that if I do that it will still continue to take pictures just as well as it did before... but I haven't the foggiest idea how it works. How does it take a scene from real life and stick it on a little piece of paper? Who thought of something like that? It certainly wasn't a wizard. These things that muggles make? Most wizards are just amused by it, as if they are like children thinking of creative ways to steal cookies from a cookie jar... a little over thirty years ago those 'children' invented what they called the Atomic Bomb... and well over a hundred and fifty thousand people died, James. How many spells do you know of that can do that much damage? Don't tell me we shouldn't be scared of them." His eyes met James again as he spoke, though James' fell.
"Sirius, just because they have the ability doesn't mean that they will use it. They wouldn't..."
"Yeah, Lily. They would, and they have tried too also. And don't try to use those stupid witch burnings as a defence, James." Sirius said noticing James about to interrupt. "Those had nothing to even do with us, the only reason wizards were even involved is because they either felt threatened or thought it was amusing. That was just a bunch of muggles who were paranoid about their neighbors."
"Maybe so, but they were still ineffectual against the wizards that they did catch." James defended.
"For a while" Sirius gave a little bit of agreement before arguing. "They assumed from the number of muggles they killed that burning them worked... had it gone on for a few more years they would have realized that something was weird, and that it wasn't working. They're smarter than we give them credit for, James. They don't notice the things we do because they don't believe, not because they're stupid. Give them a chance, let them know we're here and after a while the amazement at what we can do goes away, then they get scared. They begin to realize that we could do that to them if we wanted to, so they do it to us first. It wouldn't be the first time they've done it."
"What do you mean it wouldn't be the first time?" Remus asked. "I never heard anything like that from Professor Binns."
"That's because it was before the textbooks begin. Around the time the first wizard appeared, sort of before written history, passed down as legend mostly. Binns only believes in cold, hard facts, stuff of legend means nothing to him."
"In other words there's no proof it actually happened." James said skeptically.
"I have proof, just not proof people like Binns would accept." Sirius replied. "My family is old, and I don't mean the people in it, I mean in general, our family records go back a thousand years, but even they don't show the beginning. But the stories do."
"You're family is a bunch of loonies. You said so yourself." James replied, surprised that Sirius actually believed them, normally Sirius would scoff at anything they said.
"They are nuts. But this is different. We have a lot of stories, being from a family as old as mine that tends to happen, most of them are tales of pure-blood supremacy, or tales that honors the family, but this one, this one's different. This one wasn't so easily passed down, the family is hardly even mentioned and only a passing name. My mother kicked my uncle out of the house for a month for telling me this, and it's easy to see why." Sirius said, his gaze fell on the fire and they saw a side of Sirius he hardly showed, in fact it was Lily's first time. But every once in awhile, a rare moment indeed, Sirius looked like a Black in more ways than just his black hair and gray eyes. He looked older almost, like there was far more going on in that head of his then he let on.
"What's so different about this one?" Peter asked, like a little kid who was about to be told a bedtime story.
Sirius' eyes flickered to Peter as he answered before quickly moving back to the fire.
"In this one we're not as strong as we want to think we are."
*possible chapter break*
"It's not a story they like to pass down, but it gets passed down all the same. It begins with a war, a king who needed the power to protect his kingdom, an honorable king whose faith rested in God. Being a faithful and honorable man he asked God for the power he needed to protect his kingdom. God respected the man and honored his request, he gifted the king with magic. A power greater than any man had seen since God had walked on Earth Himself. The king used this power to protect his people and nothing more. He resisted the desire to abuse this power and God blessed him further with a family, a wife and children. God even allowed him to pass this gift onto his children…
But men are weak, and easily corrupted. The human race, muggle and wizard, cannot be trusted with power.
"The sons of the father began to fight. The second son believed that since he was highly skilled in magic, more so than his elder brother, that the birthright should belong to him. That he should be the one to lead the family in the event of their father's death. The father reminded his sons who had given them this power and why, but ultimately he failed to change the heart of his second son. Many, many years later the father died. The magic God had gifted them with gave him unnaturally long life, but no man lives forever.
"Before the father's body became cold in the ground the second son slew his elder brother with the very magic God had granted them.
"The fighting among the sons of the king grew, eventually the second son was killed as well, but even that didn't end the fighting. And after much time, time that was given as a show of His mercy, God's judgement finally came. The sons of the king had so much power as a result of their father's blessing that taking the magic from them would have done little good, He could have simply taken the kingdom from the sons, could even had killed them all, wiping the magic from humanity forever.
"But God had not have forgotten the faithfulness of the father.
"He allowed humanity to keep the magic He'd given them, but at a cost. In allowing them to keep the magical power he took from them the gift he'd given them when he first created them. Knowledge. In his mercy he allowed them to keep the ability to learn, but the gift of knowledge was taken from them. Today the lack development in the magical community is attributed to a lack of need, but before the lightbulb did the candles not work just fine? Before the invention of the car were muggles not content with a horse? Muggles don't need half the things they invent, they invent things that they want and then the wants become needs as their culture and society change and develop.
"Forever wizarding culture would remain roughly the same, and what they did develop would be a direct result of what the muggles had invented long before.
"God banned any muggle attempt to use this magic. So they would not suffer the same fate as the sons and their kin.
"The muggles took this ban farther than God had meant for it to go, as humans are prone to do.
"They used it as an excuse to destroy the sons of the king.
"In a mixture of jealousy and anger they sought for anything they could use to destroy them and corrupted the words of God.
"The power of the sons was great, but they fell all the same. The muggles could create, could adapt far better than the sons, their strategies far out matched the sons who relied solely on their raw power.
"They were all destroyed... all but one.
"God remembered the father, and in the midst of the battle he led the youngest son to safety.
"A small family opened their arms to the young man and took him in as their own. He grew in power and the muggle family he lived with taught him much, he thanked God for sparing him, and God blessed him. Eventually he married the daughter of the family that took him in, and had children of his own, and in time his line was able to repopulate the magical comunity all over the world.
Six wizards and witches that most matched the father's skill from different parts of the world came together to take names of their own, names that would forever be etched in the history of the wizarding world.
The one from a wild moor took for himself the name Godric Gryffindor
His truest friend began to call himself Salazar Slytherin
A fair mother chose the name Rowena Ravenclaw
And a woman from valley broad chose Helga Hufflepuff
The most skilled of the friends became known by the name Percival Peverell
And the youngest of them all? He picked the name Baham Black
As the youngest son of the king's life began to come to a close he worried for the magical gift that had been given his father. A small number of his children had not inherited this gift. He was unsure if it was better for them to never receive it at all, but in the end he did not wish for this gift to die. He did not ask for the gift to continue, but God heard his concern, and knew that good could come from the world of magic. He did not promise the kings line would continue for ever, but he allowed the gift of magic to continue for all generations. This was done though muggle-born witches and wizards.
The six magical heirs followed in the father's footsteps. Even after the youngest son of the king died. For their loyalty and honor God granted them further gifts, he allowed them to choose their reward, so long as the motive was good.
Godric Gryffindor asked for strength, a special strength that comes from within. The strength needed to look even death in the face without fear or regret. A bravery that had no equal.
Salazar Slytherin was given a sharp mind, and a charisma that could charm a savage beast. A cunning unmatched by any other.
Rowena Ravenclaw simply asked for the removal of the dreaded curse that plagued her mind, a return of the knowledge that had been taken as punishment. Knowledge that surpassed anything even a muggle could comprehend.
Helga Hufflepuff only wished that others would be able to see her and her family as someone they can depend on, she wished to never have to turn anyone away from her side. The world could never have too much loyalty and kindness.
Percival Peverell asked for the ability to create. To use this magic to create things far beyond what others could even dream of. To this day the discoveries of the Peverell family are told in legend and myth, even as bedtime stories to young children.
Baham Black worried he would become overshadowed by his elder and more talented friends. All in all not a particularly unfounded fear. He wished for his name to continue, to continue even farther than the others. He wanted this not because of a desire for power, only for him and his family to remembered, despite being the youngest son of a youngest son. He wished for his blood and his name to to always be one of legend.
God judged their requests and deemed them honorable, giving them the desires of their heart.
"And well, the rest is in the history books." Sirius concluded looking away from the fire, his faraway look finally vanishing and he laughed at their surprised faces.
"You made that up didn't you." James accused.
"No, no. I swear it's a real legend, whether it actually happened or not I can't say for sure, but honestly I believe it."
"Wow, that's pretty cool, Sirius. I'm surprised you even remember it." Lily teased.
"What can I say? I like history." Sirius shrugged, before reassembling his camera, with his own personal touch.