The Valley Broad
Avalon stood nervously beside the Volva as Godric explained the rest of how Apparation felt.
“Think of it as being pulled thru a very small hole, though it is not painful, make sure you do not let me go.” Godric held his hand out.
The chief of the Anexus rose a brow, “Should I be concerned if I do?”
“Lets just say if yer let go, yer may not arrive in one piece.” Madison added to the alchemist’s worry. She was coming as well, rather she did not take no for an answer, at least she could take Fenrir with them.
The Volva voiced her disapproval of Avalon’s use of the sorcerer’s apparation not only because it could be considered not of the natural order, but also because of the danger of it. Godric assured the Volva her fears would not come to fruitation, that he has apparated numerous times and with numerous people. Madison was simply trying to rouse a reaction--accidents like splincing rarely happen to experienced witches and wizards.
Avalon breathed out and stepped from the Volva’s side, taking Godric’s hand.
“I leave the clan in your hands.” Avalon said.
Godric looked to the alchemist, “Hold your breath.”
The trio vanished with a loud pop. Avalon felt herself twist around Godric’s arm. For a moment her vision failed her and all went black. The feeling of being squeezed and pulled thru a tiny hole made her beyond uncomfortable and unable to control her body. This hole pulled down her chest pushing her eyes, ears and nose into her head as though her head had been smashed in. Yet it had not, and she was in no pain, but it was certainly an uncomfortable feeling that reached her gut. All of this happened in a matter of a second, but it did not feel that way. They landed on their feet and once safely feeling the ground beneath them Avalon let go, dropped to her knees and emptied the contents of her stomach. A meal of chicken eggs, pork and bread she would certainly never look at the same again. Fenrir had the same problem.
“Do not feel bad.” Godric said, rubbing Avalon’s back, glaring at Madison who laughed, “Vomiting is normal for the first time. Most people experience it only the first time, after that it will get as easy as breathing--”
Another round of emptying ended his comforting attempts.
“By the tree--” Avalon cleaned her mouth, “If it was always like that I would rather walk.”
Once Avalon regained her equilibrium she was able to see they truly had arrived in Hafan. Godric had not been here before, though he was the one to apparate, it was by Avalon’s knowledge of the market that allowed them to arrive here. Madison simply followed in the cloud their travel made, but did not admit she was taken back by the alchemist’s ability to have them arrive correctly. She half-way expected them to land in a tree or over a cliff. The witch was grateful neither happened and was also relieved to be on solid ground.
“Shall we?” Godric motioned to the path, leading to the mountain range.
The presence of the group brought great attention, but it was to be expected. Though they had an official alliance for only a few months, it was known far and wide of this unity of this gathering of those standing against the Dark Ones. At least...those who had a chance against them. Avalon knew of where to go, deep into the mountain where the thickest amount of people walked the lines of shops, littered with goods of all kind and making. Godric and Madison took a moment to look to the walls of shops and when they looked back only Fenrir stood in front of them.
Hafan was a city who helped those who needed and deserved it. It could show many things: items, paths, places--for Avalon Hafan knew there was little it could help her with. She already knew where she wanted to go, down an ally, much smaller than she remembered, a bit of a tight squeeze with Caliburn on her back she nonetheless arrived. The Goblin Ally was a private street of trade and craft, a quiet and secluded place where those who sought or needed the skills of the goblin people would come to. Many years ago Avalon was drawn to this same place, brought almost by fate to the one who helped her on this path.
“Master Kloog!” Avalon called, kneeling down to his workshop entrance, realizing she had grown since she was last here.
The fire of the furnace was blazing with hunger as it consumed the recently placed metal and digested it into liquid. A grouch voice replied from within the shop, coming closer with an annoyance until he came into view. The old Forge Master could not believe his eyes, in fact, he was so taken back he removed his glasses and cleaned them to ensure this was not some test of age or spell.
“Avalon! Let me have a look at you!” He expressed with a smile, reaching his hands to cup her face and take in her changes of appearance.
The other goblins, not known for their warmth towards humans; muggle, witch or wizard; were drawn to their former resident. All had heard of her deeds and exploits in the open-world as well as the news of her not only becoming Chief of the Anexus, but also fostering an alliance between sorcerers and alchemists.
Master Kloog circled Avalon, taking a longer moment to inspect Caliburn who had been well cared-for despite the frequent use in battle. The sword was removed from her back and placed in front of Avalon as she also removed a wrapped pack and revealed the broken shards of Berserker. The Forge Master stared at the weapon and shards of for a long time, taking in his own work.
Carefully, but with no doubt in his friend the goblin asked, “I heard Tali passed...did you--”
Avalon shook her head, “I challenged him for leadership then I spared his life, but...” She also looked at the shards, “He exchanged his life to save mine.”
There was a pause between the next exchange of words. A moment of silence for the fallen warrior who had altered the lives of so many...for good and for bad.
The master said sincerely, “As it is taught in the ways of your Great Balance: all returns to its roots in the end.”
Moving on from the subject of her father’s death, Avalon addressed one of her reasons for returning:
"Berserker and Caliburn are goblin craft weapons, are your weapons. As it is taught in the ways of the goblin...” Avalon held the shattered axe before Master Kloog, “At the death of my father, who Berserker was forged for, I return it on his behalf.”
The goblin nodded and took the blanket, placing them on the table; he had the perfect place for it to be left on display. The shards of Berserker would serve as a reminder to all goblins to know the consequences of pride and arrogance. He expressed his gratitude to Avalon for adhering to their traditions, but remarked on the fate of Caliburn once the young alchemist passed from this world. Goblins may choose to adhere to their traditions of ownership, or they may have it known of their relinquishing of it. Avalon held true to her beliefs and even began a path for her clan to travel towards a peaceful time. The peace and prosperity she sees is certainly something not of this era, but it is indeed a possible dream. She will not live to see it though, as the ravages of time to heal scares from centuries of pain is that which will take more than a single lifetime. That is fine though. Avalon had already begun building a strong foundation, even at such a young age, by the time she passes it will be something unbreakable that future generations may build upon.
Avalon was grateful to have Caliburn’s ownership be granted to her. It was no small deal for a goblin, nonetheless a Forge Master to pass ownership to one they crafted their weapon for. Still from where Master Kloog stands, Avalon is a much a part of the sword’s creation as he was. Without her efforts to retrieve the fallen star, Caliburn would not have been born. There is none to fear from Berserker now. Avalon’s destruction of the axe and the death of her father have rendered its ability to be the weapon it was impossible. In fact, even if the blade could be reforged it will be nothing as it was originally, for its magic has already been broken.
Master Kloog went into his workshop and returned with a jug of his wine and two glasses. He had Avalon bring two chairs and poured them both a serving, “Surely you did not come only to visit an old goblin and return his possession?”
Their glasses clanked when brought together.
“Godric Gryffindor is here with me, we came as representatives of our new alliance. We hope to persuade the Head of the Hufflepuff House to join our cause.” Avalon explained, taking in the sweet wine she grew to enjoy quite a bit.
“A gathering of the sorcerers and alchemists...I never dreamed of the day such a thing would happen...well...” The goblin chuckled, “I thought you all would gather to kill each other.”
Avalon spit a bit of her wine. He was not exactly wrong.
“Who do you have in mind?” Master Kloog asked.
“We have decided on the Five Great Families: my clan the Anexus; the Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw Covens.” Avalon cautiously sipped her drink, watching to ensure the goblin did not say something else to have her choke.
The goblin became serious, “You and the Gryffindor boy are have already been friends for a long time, but as Slytherin is the elder brother of Gryffindor you may have resistance.”
Avalon nodded in agreement. She had been assured by Godric of Salazar’s loyalty to his people and regardless of his approval of allying with the Anexus he would see the logic in joining forces. Helga Hufflepuff was now the leader of her family, though the tasks of the market remained with other members of the family and coven she had become quite famous in cooking and healing. She had been studying herbology for quite some time since Avalon left and now is seen as the foremost expert in all the lands. People from all across the isles comes to be healed by her: she is said to heal their bodies with her magic and herbs and fill their soul with her food and heart.
Avalon giggled at the memory of meeting her. The child protege was well on her way to mastering her craft even at such a young age. The alchemist was always fond of Helga, she reminded her of one of her siblings born before Sid. Helga always helped those who needed it, hopefully that would remain true for the alliance that would chance the course of this war against the Dark Ones.
Master Kloog said Avalon should not keep her friends, that there was much to do and once they ended the war to come and visit. Should she need help, they would always come to her aid, this the goblin guild of Hafan swore. And so Avalon did return to her friends. She found them sitting at a table in the main circle, engaging with a man as they indulged in Soup-in-a-Bread-Bowl.
“Hello Heilar.” The alchemist said warmly, opening herself to the cheery man.
She was met with two massive arms wrapping around her, lifting the chief off her feet in a hug. It was good to see an old friend.
“Come! Sit! Eat! Let m’daughter’s cookin’ sooth yer tired feet!” Heilar said proudly as he called for his house elf to bring another serving.
This was true home-cooking.
Neither Godric nor Madison were aware of Heilar’s identity until Avalon made it known. This came as no surprise, he never found a need to tell everyone who he was because being the leader was not his everything. Truthfully things almost always ran smoothly in Hafan and there was never a need to have any tight control over matters that were set up to run themselves. He found joy in walking among the common people as an equal than being positioned as above them. No one in his family enjoyed being seen as someone unapproachable and has passed the skills and habits to be friendly, warm, and welcoming to any and all.
For Avalon this place was a second home, a place she knew, even when the world feared and hated her people she would be welcomed. She learned of the magical world here, had her horizons broadened thru her studies of reading, writing, and magic. In Hafan, the alchemist was able to realize the fault in her people’s view toward sorcerers. She witnessed the beauty of birth, the birth of her nephews; the will of a Granian to find its foal; the kindness of sorcerers and the cruelty of them; the skill of goblin craft and the warmth of friendship. Avalon enjoyed everything she experienced here, everything in the valley broad.
“Helga ‘probably at th’midwife’s house.” Heilar stroked his beard leaning back, “I’ll take yer’ to her in a bit, tell me ‘bout yer’ adventures!”
Avalon consumed three loafs of the famous Hufflepuff cooking. Every bit filled her with warmth and fuzziness, but most of all, it replaced the hunger caused by the emptying of her stomach when they apparated. Madison could not believe the alchemist still had an appetite after losing her breakfast. She certainly did not after the first time.
“How are yer’ nep--” Avalon shouted for Fenrir, cutting off the man’s sentence.
Distracted, Madison and Godric turned their attention to the wolf. Avalon and Heilar locked eyes, the alchemist shook her head, bringing her finger over her lips. Heilar and Master Kloog are the only people to know of the nature of Elene and Avalon’s relationship, nonetheless the kinship her sons have to Avalon and the Anexus. This alliance was new and still an infant; the existence of two, six-year-old sons of Falcon Anexus to the Witch Elene Weasley could not be known. It would question Avalon’s motivations, her leadership, threaten the lives of Elene and her children both from the Anexus and sorcerers. Now was not the time to make it known, not when the world grew more dangerous by the day.
Heilar corrected himself, “Yer’ Niffler? The grabby little bugger’ that likes ye’ shiny things’?”
Avalon had not the slightest idea what a Niffler looked like, though had heard of them in the past. They were sometimes house pets, but most certainly troublemakers in large cities. They are attracted to all things shiny, Avalon knew that much.
She shrugged going along with the lie, “With how much we were traveling, we did not want to cause him stress. We found him a proper home shortly after leaving Hafan.”
Satisfied with the covering, Heilar stood and motioned for the group to follow. After a short walk they came across the familiar midwife’s house where were nephews had been born six years prior. Their birth was magic itself. Helga came from the door at the call of her name, happy to see her father, her smile doubled when seeing Avalon beside him. Just as her father, the teenager ran to the alchemist and embraced her in a hug.
“You are quite popular.” Godric said with a smirk, cross his arms across his chest.
Madison was less than amused and did not show any warmth towards the alchemist.
Helga released Avalon and proceeded to jump up and down in excitement. She had hoped she would come back, to see Helga again not only to eat her food, but also to see her progress in her skills, inspired by the one who had saved her. That day, when a rampaging Granian threatened to harm people, Avalon put her life on the line to help calm it. She found the reason for its anger and fears and upon seeing the suffering foal and seeing such an innocent beast as it was, put Helga on her path to help others. The witch promised herself that should Avalon ever need her help, she would give it, not out of a life-debt, but out of friendship and gratitude.
Avalon and Godric explained what it was they were doing, what they sought and what they must do. The Dark Ones must be stopped, but it was not something that could be done alone. Helga could save hundreds of people, with her skills in healing magic, they would be able to recover faster and stronger. Avalon knew of the Hufflepuff family traditions, they were people who were willing to befriend anything or anyone that deserved it. Their coven's unity to each other was something that could not be put in words, it was an idea that no matter what, when, how, or why a Hufflepuff would stand beside you.
Helga consulted her father, but both their minds were already made: they too would join to create this better world. To create a world were children no longer had to fight in an adult's war. This they would live and die for.