Building the Foundation
“Repeat the word again.” Avalon asked with a raised brow, after all these years of studying sorcerer and English languages she thought she would have learned them all.
“School.” Rowena repeated, “A magic school to be more precise.”
Avalon sat at the head of the table, the Volva beside her as Godric and Madison sat beside Helga and her father to the right and Salazar with Saraphine and Rowena to the left. This was one of many counsel meetings conducted over the weeks, but the first where all members were physically present and not by using other means of communication. Their forces had stabilized now, falling into a routine of building now that the tasks of recovery from the aftermath of the Battle of Castle Walpurgis were mostly over. Now they looked to the future, to realize the dream of creating a safe environment to teach, learn, and practice magic.
Avalon and her Volva looked to another temporarily discussing different words in their own language that would relate to the term ‘school’. They had no such word.
“It is a building then?” The chief questioned for clarity.
Salazar rolled his eyes when answering, “In a sense, it is an organized and set place where people called ‘teachers’ instruct young boys and girls in magic.” He changed his annoyance to slightly less, “Volva...you teach young Anexus the laws of alchemy yes? How to perform it, how to use it in combat?”
The silver-haired woman nodded, “It is in my title as Volva, in your tongue it means wise-woman and to the Anexus we are aged alchemists who have more value in passing our knowledge to the next generation that dying on the battlefield. It is how we preserve our culture and history. ”
“A teacher in our language is much the same, they pass knowledge onto the next generation. A school is essentially a place where numerous teachers and young boys and girls, called students, are gathered--it is a place of learning, a safe place where we of magical blood may teach, learn, and use magic in peace away from muggles.”
Avalon interlocked her fingers and leaned her elbows on the table. A school then, that is the name given to the place Godric and her envisioned all these years. It makes sense, by what the four explain it would be a place where young sorcerers and alchemists would live during a duration of the year and practice and learn magic and then return to their families during holidays or other selected times. It would be protected, it would allow parents to be at ease to know their children did not need to run or hide away their entire lives; living in fear of persecution or death. For the children they would learn outside of their families to know a larger understanding of magic and to be exposed to unbiased.
If this ‘school’ is known to be connected to the Five Great Houses of the Magical World then the chances of parents allowing for their children to come would increase. Avalon thought deeply about this and thought of different subjects to be taught, to give knowledge, but also prepare young ones for the outside world.
“What would be taught?” The Volva asked curiously, finally finding an interest in this place they speak of.
“All the basics of magic of course, but we also want to expose them to new and different properties of the magical world safety.” Rowena answered.
“Herbology’s important.” Helga spoke up, “Helps ’em know what’s good to eat or stay ’way from.”
“Potions and charms are also essential.” Rowena added, “The fundamentals of magic...” She looked to the Avalon.
“I believe the Anexus should instruct it.”
Everyone looked at her in surprise, even the Anexus themselves.
“To understand the history of magic and where our magic comes from is an important lesson we must all know. Everything starts with understanding the fundamentals and who better to enlighten young sorcerers and alchemists of the origin of magic than the ones who use magic in its most natural form?” The Enchantress said confidently, but with a logical demener.
“I could not have said it better myself.” Godric chuckled deeply with a wide smile, “Then have we come to an agreement?”
Salazar spoke, “If we are to discuss the creation of the only magical school in the isles, might I ask where such a place of no doubt enormous size is to be built?”
“Where my coven and I reside in the glen, there is a lake and a cliff bordering the Dark Forest that has more than enough space build anything of great scale.” Rowena offered, “The region is protected by the spells and charms that conceal Hogsmeade and they would do the same for anything built within its boarders. It is well protected and difficult to not only find, but also get to without being noticed, there are ample supplies and magical creatures within in which that maybe studied.”
“Have the herd of Centaurs consented to this? They are quite territorial and I would much rather avoid conflict that may injury people.” Avalon probed.
“They have, so long as we respect them and their laws they will harm no one.” Rowena remembered an added detail they asked to pass onto Avalon, “They asked me to extend an invitation to you as well Avalon, it seems the Forest Guardian’s return you promised has been fulfilled.”
Avalon smiled in relief. Once the meeting was concluded, Avalon and the Volva returned to the continuously unknown location of the Anexus Clan village. There Fenrir greeted his companion while the Volva spoke her and Avalon could discuss what it is she wanted later on after the clan meeting. Avalon chuckled, she had thought she had become better at being unreadable, but against a woman who had raised the alchemist her entire life that was a foolish idea. She was happy for that, in the very least at least one person could tell her true motives, that was a balance every chief should possess in an adviser. Perhaps if Tali had chosen to had an adviser he would have been more open to reason rather than keeping his own counsel. That was all in the past now.
In the clan’s secret meeting place, beneath the Temple of Yggdrasil gathered the Anexus for the first mass clan meeting in months. Their chief called this meeting, desiring to inform, not discuss the future of the clan. Discussion was a time long gone, since they gave their blessing to believe in the sorcerers and join forces, Avalon had led with a firm hand. Now that hand has turned to an iron fist.
“The leaders of the alliance, the heads of the sorcerer houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw have decided the creation of a single place of learning magic. This place, in their tongue, called a school, will be where those who possess magic, whether it is the ability to use it or create it, will live under the same roof. There they will learn and practice magic in a safe environment, away from muggles and out of harms way.”
The crowd whispered among themselves, uncertainty of what this school would have relation to them. Avalon explained it would be there children that would attend, they would go for a duration of time and return during different parts of the year. This invitation would be extended to all children of magic throughout and only in the isles. This would not be for a few more years as the school, one whose size will be quite extensive, must first be built; the remainder of the function or placement of training grounds or such will be decided during construction.
“The Anexus have been requested to be the builders, as our alchemy surpass their own magic. Our relation to the physical and natural world allows us to alter material into the necessary tools we need, something not even they could accomplish.” Avalon pointed out oddly derogatorily.
The clan agreed in this and began to make sounds of approval.
“This school, it is the Anexus’ chance to teach future generations of sorcerers the true nature of magic.” The chief was proud and tall in her statement, “They will no longer be corrupted by the mistakes of their ancestors and we shall be another step closer into bring the Great Balance back onto its correct course. With that, the leaders of the Four Great Houses have asked me to be an instructor in this school, but to what this entails I am not certain. However, my first priority is and always will be the Anexus Clan and any do try to defy that order will be dealt with swiftly.”
This was a change in an otherwise passive Avalon, she often desired to see things thru diplomacy and discussion, but lately...she has become quite assertive as a clan leader. Her priorities have shifted noticeably, to the priority and welfare of her clan above the needs of the alliance. Despite the war’s end and the Anexus now without being engaged in conflict with others, she has not suspended or ended any training, has continued to push for the enhancement of combative skills and the sharpening of alchemy. She was not preparing, but rather continuing the tradition of Anexus strength: peace makes for complacency and complacency creates weakness and weakness has for people dying. This would not happen to them, the sorcerers will allow this to happen and it is this weakness that will give rise to the next Dark Lord. The Anexus will be ready, they will fight the enviable evil that exists in the sorcerers and will eventually rise above them, expanding their influence beyond these islands. Antares was right about one thing: muggles are a disease upon the world. A disease can be something that can be lived beside while its effects of minimized. The cost of advancement is indeed sacrifice, but their greed has them consume far more than they should. The Anexus would continue their roles as Guardians of the Great Balance and help the development of the muggles and sorcerers from the shadows. This school...will be the first step in healing not only the sorcerers, but the muggles as well.
“If there are any here who would question my decisions let them step forth and either voice them or challenge me.” Avalon scanned the crowd and found not one moved, rather they all looked obediently to their chief.
“Very well, further details will be passed from the captains. If there are concerns brought in the future come to me directly.” Avalon held her hand up, “Dismissed.”
The hundreds left in pass conversation and there was a great amount of noise until they departed, leaving the Volva and Avalon alone. The wise-woman came to Avalon to stood at the clan’s mural, observing their carved history. She had her arms folded behind her back and if the Volva did not know any better she would say she was looking at a younger version of herself--much younger. She stopped beside Avalon looked herself at the history of the Anexus immortalized in this stone. It was the same story they were taught and were able to recite from memory--the proud history of the Anexus Clan, Guardians of the Great Balance, the True Heirs of Yggdrasil.
They were nomads originally, sage people who left little evidence of their presence wherever they traveled. They followed the beasts and creatures of magic who gave them nourishment and warmth. They followed the mighty Sky-Shadows, the Great Dragons who flew where they could not, dreaming of the day they may also have wings to carry them off to the land of their ancestors. As they traveled they became closer to nature, felt the flow of energy, the changes of it as it took one form to another and followed it to its source. The closer they walked to its source, the louder the hum was heard. They came across a valley shelter from the rest of the world, full of life, water, shelter; a home of many and soon the nomads. Long has they walked the earth, no longer--a massive tree, larger than the mountains themselves towered over, casting a shadow even greater than those with wings.
The nomads entered this valley following the magic until they arrived at the base of the tree. The moment they placed their hands upon the Great Tree they were filled with warmth, light, and knowledge. The Great Tree, Yggdrasil, bestowed upon them the knowledge of how to use the very energy they sensed their entire lives. It was a gift for their devotion, to be the ones to seek out knowledge and truth in a world of uncertainly. As it is said. The rest of history is taught by when the Betrayers came, other humans who stole the Divine Fruit from Yggdrasil and stole the Great Tree’s ability to create magic, becoming abominations of nature and defiling magic; bending it to their will, exploiting natural magic in its purest form. That is as it is said.
The Anexus could do little against the power of Yggdrasil and ask the tree began to fall the last gift the Great Tree bestowed was the task of Guardianship. Protecting the Great Balance protecting the beasts and creatures of magic from the Betrayers, but they would not do this alone. Known by few, Yggdrasil game the Anexus the chance, to awaken the ability to transmutate magic into their own, to house it in themselves and unleash it upon their enemies. To protect themselves form becoming apart of natural magic was to exchange the lives of the Betrayers to extend their own. That was the history they had been taught, but that is not at all the impression Avalon got from her encounter with the Elder.
“Gwyndolin.” Avalon at last spoke, “The Elder Dragon I fought and freed in the glen--the history spoken about was different than the one I recall us being taught.”
Avalon watched the wall, her eyes lightening yellow, “What else have our Volvas hidden from the clan?”
“We have always done what is necessary to ensure the continuation of the clan, never doubt that.” The Volva assured, observing the tree, “We have never altered our history, but there has been neglect to mention certain aspects of it...what was written down in the texts was the product of the oral history spoken from one generation to another. It is muddied and watered down compared to the original, but it will always contain a greater truth than what the sorcerers or muggles could or would do. We are and will never be a people built on lies.”
Avalon’s empowered voice sounded, “Then tell me what it is the Volva have neglected to mention over the years.”
“You wish to know about the war that brought those who would become the Betrayers to our lands.” The elder confirmed. She turned and walked away, “I will tell you, one day, when your time comes.”
Avalon’s blood and eyes called out to the Volva’s, “I wonder, will it be the clan’s history, or your own you tell?”
The elder stopped, turning the scared side of her face she looked to Avalon than resumed her path, “They are one in the same.”
Rowena and Avalon walked from the Dark Forest the hospitality and festivities of the pack of Centaurs far different than either was expecting. Though the Chief of the Anexus was the only one to be invited to what she thought was to be nothing more than to be given thanks for reviving the Forest Guardian it turned out to be more. The pack kept away from the affairs of humans, secluding themselves in the Dark Forest, but now that the war between sorcerers and alchemists was officially over there was a cause for celebration on all fronts. Peace and the seeking of understanding were what the pack desired in their new relationship, to be respected as equals and not inferiors. The alchemists, they trusted, would always ensure this respect was upheld else there would be grave consequence and punishment carried out suitable for the offense. It was also a time to mourn for the lose of a friend to the Centaurs...Finlay fell in battle bravely and the pack wanted to immortalize him in their own way for his deeds.
After the celebration, the two women walked thru the forest, meaning to return to Hogsmeade, but the witch swayed them from their intended path. Exiting the wood, they came to the opening that eventually led to the cliff that overlooked the loche. This was to be the place the castle would be built upon, but for now it remained untouched, its original form untouched and unaffected by the presence of humans for the time being. Avalon pushed her concern for maintaining as much of the land as possible in its original state, refusing to interfere with the harmony of the land. It was indeed a powerful land, an ideal place where many lay lines converged--in a sense it was as the five; united from different place across the land into one central location. The alchemist felt as peace here, felt sincerity here and wanted the students and teachers who would come after her to know and feel the same. Above all else, she wanted those future generations to feel safe.
“To think, not long ago I was teaching you to apparate and now soon you will teach others the history of our gift.” Rowena said with a small satisfied smile.
“I wish you would not have recommended me for such a position without my consent.” Avalon gave light growl, “I do not care for being reminded of things that will never be.”
She went ahead of the witch stepping to the edge of the cliff and seeing the twinkling lights of the faeries dancing across the surface of the lake. They would be wise to not dwell long near there.
“I recommended you because it is something that will be.” Rowena said from behind.
Avalon continued to watch the faeries on the lake.
“No.” The alchemist said simply, “Generations of my people have lived with the Old Blood by extending their lives thru the sacrifice of another--I will die before I follow their example.”
She watched as the water demons crept from below the surface towards the fairy who dwell too close to the abysmal waters. The natural order--those who defy it, those who try to overcome it are doomed to suffer an unfortunate fate. The water demon strikes, taking a fairy into the waters no doubt to be its next meal.
“You will not have to--the spell I am developing, it will sever the Old Blood from you and with that stop your body from absorbing and converting natural magic.” Rowena walked to the Avalon’s side seeing that her words had a shocking effect on the alchemist.
Avalon still possessed doubt, “How are you certain it will work? My people have never found any other method--”
“Your people are not me.” Rowena said confidently, “Do not forget who you speak to--I am the Enchantress of the Glen, the knowledge on magic I possess is equal to none.”
Avalon had never thought she would be saved, that she would have a chance to live beyond what was granted by the Old Blood. She knew she was to become a part of nature, but that did not mean she was prepared or even accepting of what was meant to happen to her. Avalon wanted to live, she wanted to see the foundation grow with her own eyes and watch her family prosper and know a happiness they would never thought possible. She wanted to teach the next generation, she wanted to learn, wanted to connect with more witches and wizards...she was happy. For a moment she forgot about what Antares said, forgot about how she desired for the Anexus to control the flow of development to be the supports that held up the society of the magical world. She forgot all about it because the only thing present in her mind was the hope that she would be able to live with everyone even longer than she thought possible.
The other four were always there for Avalon and she often forgot how far these proud and powerful people would go for their friend. At the lake, the group of faeries dove into the water, returning to the surface with their friend alive and unharmed. Avalon often forgets, that she is not alone, she is not secluded and neither are the Anexus. The alchemist thought what her being alive would mean...she would be able to do everything she was to leave the Volva to carry out within the clan. She would be able to truly see this foundation blossom--how could such a possibility be outside the laws of nature? The laws of alchemy? How could giving life be without a price? Why were sorcerers given this ability of magic seemingly without restraints as alchemy was?
Avalon smiled, then chuckled at a thought.
"What on earth do you find funny?" Rowena rose a brow.
"To think...you were prepared to erase my memory of the glen and return me to where as I came. If you had done that--"
"I was very much prepared to, you changed my mind when you stepped outside my barrier when the dragons first attacked." Rowena recalled, "You knew Caliburn would weaken my barrier and put yourself at risk to ensure it would hold for others."
Avalon shrugged, "If we are being entirely honest: if you had tried to erase my memory, I would have fought back."
"I expect nothing less from the woman who was brave enough to called me a terrible mother." The witch eyed an Avalon who chuckled nervously.
"You and I certainly did not care for the other's presence." Avalon laughed, sitting on the cliff edge to have her feet dangle over the edge, "It is amazing how things can change in such a short time: relationships, people, lands."
Rowena waved her wand and cleared the leaves and dirt before tucking her dress under and taking a spot beside Avalon. They certainly have come a long way from despising and hating another to becoming close friends. Avalon leaned back tilting her head up to look up at the night sky, she wanted this to last a while, before they must go back to their duties. For the next few years they would be without break as the construction of the castle would dictate the majority of their time. Neither minded, Rowena would be in her homelands and Avalon had traveled her enough to consider this place homely enough. Rowena has even had a room within her home be given to Avalon for use when she visited.
Avalon often worked herself to sleep at a desk or in the library researching and studying, but her stiffness and tiredness are all too obvious. Rowena cared about Avalon's well being, more than she cared to admit, but she nonetheless admitted her care was deeper than with the others. The alchemist could care better for others than herself, a flaw in her otherwise charismatic personality. Rowena pulled herself away from trailing thoughts.
"Now that the war is over, we can raise our children in peace. You will be able to start your own family no?" Rowena looked out to the lights of Hogsmead in the distance, then glanced for Avalon's reaction.
Avalon was quiet, unusually quiet, she has seemed to always have an answer to anything, but not she was without words.
"Avalon?" Rowena leaned forward and turned slightly to face the other.
The woman's face was expressionless, "My nephews are enough for me."
"You are avoiding my question." Rowena said patiently, "Do you not want a husband? Children of your own blood; do you not want to continue your line?"
Avalon shut her eyes with a slight smile, "The Anexus clan are all from a single line, I am but a branch of it. As chief I have a responsibility to protect that line, there is nothing that states I must add to it."
She was avoiding the subject, Rowena would have normally pushed further, knowing fully well she could get the answer she sought. Avalon though, this was different than the secret of the Old Blood that granted her her abilities. She kept that a secret for the sake of the clan, but this...was very personal. Avalon continued to keep the silence between them, then she sat up and lifted her shirt to show the scar on her abdomen.
Avalon placed a hand over the scar, "Magic...cannot fix everything..."