2016 – HP: Love is a Kind of Magic

Title: Love is a Kind of Magic
Author: penumbria
Fandom/Genre: Harry Potter/slash
Relationship(s): Salazar Slytherin/Godric Gryffindor
Content Rating: R
Warnings: major violence, character death, child abuse
Summary: Snippets/scenes from the lives of Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor (Part One of Two of the “Immortality of the Soul” concept conceived by Keira Marcos)
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I make no money from this.
A/N: I wrote this for April 2015 Rough Trade Historical Challenge. I know where I want to take it, I just hit writer’s block on how to get there. I hope to return to it someday. It won’t be soon. Banner art by Fanarts_series.


Muggle history tells us that the druids of what is now the British Isles disappeared while the Romans occupied the islands. There are scattered accounts after that well into the Middle Ages speaking of druids but they are referring to bards or entertainers. True druids were all killed off or converted before the Romans left. That is what the muggles think. But what are now known as witches and wizards know the truth.

 

The true druids – those who could use magic and commune with the gods – simply went underground. Or used flashy magic to appear as more charlatan than anything else, hence the accounts of druids as jokesters and bards. The largest concentration of druids that remained hidden from the Romans and later the Christians and the Vikings lived in central Wales.

 

It is in this enclave that a boy named Godric was born. Godric grew up with a large extended clan surrounding him, the third son of the high priest and priestess of the Gryffin clan. He was loved and taught magic and how to use it subtly when around muggles. He learned the wards that the clan used to direct the eye away from places and things that needed hiding from muggles. He was adept in magic and when he was a teen he went into the wide world to find his own path as his coming of age dream quest told him to do.

 

When a druid reached the age when they were physically a man or a woman, that is when a boy had their first wet dream or a girl began her menses, they went into one of the sacred circles and during a ceremony performed by the priests for the boys and the priestesses for the girls, a state of deep meditation was achieved whereupon visions were granted. These visions guided the new adult onto the road the gods wished them to take to their destined future. Some saw visions of joining the priesthood, some nature or growing things pointing to the life of a farmer, others were led to tools and became creators. And some few, some very few were sent into the wider world to interact with muggles and other magical users. Some returned to the clan with new knowledge and experiences and even new blood if they had found a mate. Others never returned due to misfortunes or simply destiny. Godric was one of those who never returned.

 

Godric left the clan and traveled into the east, using his magic to guide him along less perilous paths and to people who would be more likely to help a young traveler than to kill or harm him. He met many good people who had no magic and some few good people with magic as he traversed Wales. Most of those with magic were druids from other clans or descendants of druids who had left the clans to find their destinies in the muggle world.

 

After several years of wandering, Godric reached a more turbulent place and began to find children and adults who were capable of magic but who had never been trained and whose families had no history of magic that they knew of. It puzzled young Godric and he found that many of these magic users born of regular muggles were confused and frightened by their own powers. And those around them were often even more frightened than the ones born of muggles.

 

Godric found himself often spending a few months in a place, teaching a magic user to control their powers so they would not react so violently and accidently to the stresses of daily life. He wished that he could help more of these people but knew that he had not yet found his path.

 

His magic called for him to head north and over the course of many years of wandering and teaching, he followed the pull. He would sometimes stumble across small settlements of magic users who were not druids but followed different ways and had done so for years. He would take the time to stay with these communities for a while and learn what he could from them while teaching them some of the ways of the druids of Wales. But he never felt a compulsion to stay longer than a few months before moving on.

 

Then one day, he reached a large, deep lake in the middle of several mountains. The lake was so deep that it appeared that the water was black, except on the brightest of days. Surrounding the lake was an old growth forest and a large clearing filled with rocks and to Godric’s amazement, a stone circle. It was small but it was correctly aligned and built. And near the shores of the lake he found a cave and within the cave he met a man. And in that instant of meeting, Godric felt his magic settle and knew he had found his path, his future, the meaning for his life. It was this man. Salazar Slytherin.

 

A few years before Godric of Gryffin was born to his clan, a small wizarding settlement on the southern coast of present day France in the fens of Camargue (then the Kingdom of Burgundy) saw the birth of an incredibly gifted child who was named Salazar by his parents. The settlement of wizards was not hidden, it was simply not too near to any muggle settlement. Indeed, it was over a half day’s walk to the nearest muggle village, which the wizards undertook several times a year for the purposes of trading.

 

All of the villages in the area were in the marshes around the river and were prone to flooding. The wizards had thus many years before developed spells and rituals to keep their homes, families and crops safe from the constant creeping and often, violently flooding, waters. When Salazar was 11 years of age, this protection proved to be disastrous for the settlement.

 

After the last trading caravan had returned to the wizarding village, a new priest had arrived in the muggle area. He was fresh from his training and served a large number of muggle villages in the fens. During that spring after his arrival, there were several large storms that caused significant damage to the area and greatly delayed and even destroyed the planting season in some towns. But the wizards had been able to keep their fields and crops safe and had a normal spring.

 

When they went to the muggle settlement for trading, the priest found it highly suspicious, especially as he had never been to their village and followed the traders home, with great stealth. Once there, the religious man saw evidence of magic use as no one was aware they were near a muggle and he quickly returned to the muggle village. He preached that the wizards were demons and that they had called forth the storms and destroyed the crops so that they could control the people through their tainted and evil tradings. He riled the villagers of several settlements up and after such a harsh and lean few months, they relished having someone to blame for their misfortunes and losses.

 

A group of nearly one hundred villagers marched upon the wizarding settlement and in the middle of the night, put it to the torch, burning down the buildings and beating and stoning to death anyone who escaped the smoke and flames.

 

Salazar was in the marshes that night collecting ingredients for various potions that his father made to keep everyone well. It was one of his chores, twice a month. It was the only thing that saved his life. The young boy returned to his village when he smelled the smoke and hid in a tree not too close to the village when he saw the muggles. He watched as his younger sister, only 6 years old, was beaten to death, her head crushed by a hoe after she fled from the back window of their cottage. He saw his mother and younger brother burning as they fled the flaming house, unable to put the flames out, their magic more geared towards water control then fire control. He saw his neighbors meet gruesome ends at the hands of the brutal muggles, all the while hearing the young priest chanting in Latin and prodding the peasants on in the common tongue of the region.

 

After the muggles had finally tired of their destruction and left, Salazar made his way from his hiding spot and tried to find any survivors. But the attackers had been thorough and Salazar was the only survivor of the settlement. As he knelt beside his mother’s burned corpse, he made a vow on his magic to destroy those who had done this horrific deed. He knew who was to blame – the muggles and their filthy religion. And he would crush them and show them that wizards, too, could kill.

 

After spending the rest of the night performing the rites of the dead for his family and the rest of the village, Salazar dug through the rubble of all of the houses to find anything salvageable. He created a carry sack out of some cloth and leather that was scorched but not unusable and used some thread from the spiders in the marsh to stitch runes on it, making it weightless and expanding the space inside. He found plenty of food in the preserving rooms beneath many of the homes and the tailor’s workroom had several intact outfits, having been protected from the fire by the only room in town warded against flames.

 

Digging through the rubble of his own home, Salazar came upon the hatch to his father’s potion workroom and found a number of potions that had not been ruined and several shelves of ingredients that the heat had not damaged. Having been brought up to be his father’s successor, the boy knew how to make many potions with these ingredients and he carefully packed them up.

When he had finished finding what he could that he could take with him, Salazar turned his face towards the nearest muggle settlement and set out to follow those who had killed everyone and everything he knew. He knew it was over half a day walking at a good pace before the could arrive but he didn’t want to sleep in his old village. He knew there were no ghosts there. Even though the violence had taken their lives, all of the wizards and witches had accepted their deaths and moved on. But still, Salazar could not bring himself to spend any more time than was necessary in the place where he had grown up. He was barely managing to hold himself together as he planned his coming revenge. If he remained to sleep in the village square or even on its outskirts, he knew he would lose his strength and resolve and become a blubbering child. And he had sworn that he was no child, he was a man, a man with a mission of vengeance for the Christians and their priests who had murdered his home.

 

Approximately two thirds of the way to the nearest muggle settlement, Salazar found a small den created by several fallen trees. It was large enough for him to curl up in and stay out of the open and it was uninhabited, at least at that point in time. He laid down and pushed all of his pain, the emotional anguish and grief and the physical pain from his exertions collecting the dead and digging through the wreckage of the village, to the back of his mind. He refused to allow himself to focus on it and instead he focused his mind on the root that was closest to his head. He concentrated on that root, the striations, the shape, the texture, to the exclusion of everything else and drifted into sleep with a clear mind.

 

After several hours of sleep and a breakfast from the food he carried with him, Salazar resumed his trek to the village. Upon arrival he skulked around the rear of the main square and observed. He hid under cover of bushes and in the shadows of wagons and cottages. He listened to the conversations taking place in the homes and in the nearby fields. He bided his time. He was patient.

 

One of the first things that he learned was that the priest, the one who had goaded the other evil muggles to their murderous deeds, was gone. After spending the night recovering from his crusade, he had left with muggles from further villages to continue his normal circuit of the area. Salazar observed the behavior of the muggles whom he recognized from that fiery night and spent nearly a week watching and learning their routines. Every night he would return to his den two hours walk from the village and refine his plan.

 

Finally, Salazar acted. His plan had several facets. First, he was determined to kill all of those whom he remembered from the night of Fire and Death. He had observed that all of them were farmers and were working on preparing the fields for late planting after the flooding. The women brought buckets of water to the edge of the fields for the men to drink from over the course of the day so they could work longer without needing to go to the wells for breaks. It was perfect for his plan. Not one of the farmers had stayed in their own village on that night. They had all come to his home to destroy it. So they had sowed, so they would reap.

 

On the day before the day of his plan’s implementation, Salazar had brewed several potions in preparation. One was a powerful poison that the wizards of his home village had used on magical pests to keep them from harming the plants or houses. Diluted in the farmers’ drinking water, the poison would slowly – and painfully – cause their organs to shut down. It would take them days to die and their deaths would be agonizing.

 

After spending the day watching the doctored buckets being used, making sure that none of the guilty were missed, Salazar remained in the muggle village after sunset for the first time. It was part of the second phase of his plan of revenge. He had been forced from his home and could never return. He was going to return the favor for these muggles. These muggles who had traded with his people for generations, who had turned on their neighbors in such savagery. Most of the homes in this village had at least one, if not several of the guilty within them. He would not kill all of the others within the village as they had done but he would make sure this village was no longer habitable.

 

When the sun set and the villagers were all within their dwellings, consuming their evening meals and the farmers beginning to feel the start of their coming death, Salazar went to the wells and threw pre-prepared rune stones into their depths and carved other runes around the base of the well, covering them up with the dirt after. The rune stones would dry up the well water over the course of two weeks and the carved runes around the base would waterproof the stone connected to them, which would prevent the wells from filling again.

 

Once all of the wells had been prepared, Salazar proceeded to the food and grain storage barn. He climbed to the top and carved more runes that weakened the wood and encouraged water to rot it. Then he threw more rune stones into the piled food. These stones would call for pests to come and feast and ruin the stored food while the rotting roof timbers would allow mold and mildew to grow.

 

Salazar then entered the fields and a the four compass points of each field, he buried a rune stone which pulled the nutrients from the soil within the compass that was formed. It would destroy the fields and make sure that any seeds sowed there would never grow.

 

The village would die over the next several months. When the wells dried up and the food rotted and no more food would grow in the fields, the remaining villagers who had not been poisoned would leave for the next nearest settlement, bringing tales of curses and witchcraft.

 

Meanwhile, Salazar waited until all of the guilty had died and then proceeded to the next settlement. He spent the next year on the trail of the traveling priest. Any village or town he came to, he spent time in the surrounds and observing the inhabitants. Any muggles whom he recognized from that night of terror, he killed. Any settlement that contained more than ten of the guilty, he cursed as he had done the first village. That first village had contained 19 guilty men and only two other villages and own somewhat larger town contained more than a handful each, at 14, 17, and 31.

 

And at last, a year and two months after he had watched his entire life burn, Salazar finally caught up with the priest. He had been moving often enough that the man had not heard of the fate of that first village and was surprised to find it abandoned when he arrived. The man had spent the night in the largest home in the village, though it was still just a cottage, and an uncomfortable one at that having been empty for nearly a year. But that night of relative comfort allowed the wizard to find him and take his revenge.

 

In the wee hours of the morning, Salazar used a potion to put the priest into a deep sleep and then dragged him into the center of the abandoned town. He tied him to a post and piled kindling around his feet and used his knife to slice open shallow cuts on his arms and legs and stomach. He waited until the potion wore off and when the man woke up, he explained that this was his punishment for murder. He took several herbs that he had crushed and rubbed them into the wounds, causing great pain and then after an hour of the priest screaming and wailing and threatening him with damnation and hellfire, he lit the kindling at the priest’s feet. Stepping back, the young teen pronounced, “So mote it be,” completing his vow of vengeance as the fire consumed the man who had started it all.

 

For the next several years, Salazar traveled north through Europe, spending the springs and summers observing various muggle settlements and their inhabitants. During the fall, he spent his time preparing a winter dwelling. He would find a cave, ward it with runes to keep out bugs and pests and the weather, prepare a cold room for food preservation, hunt and gather from the forests and the muggle fields and orchards at night, and collect ingredients for his potion experiments which took up his winters.

 

During his wanderings, Salazar paid special attention to the religious men in the various muggle settlements and several times had to chastise them for persecuting others. Never did his chastisements reach the level of his vengeance on the priest who had killed his family but he could cause hallucinations which he could direct, or simple illness of the stomach, depending on the severity of the priest’s issues.

 

Salazar hated the churchmen and always was glad when he got a chance to teach on a lesson in tolerance. It usually took several months to sink in for them and it left the wizard in a good mood, being able to try to stop what had happened to his people from happening again.

 

Several times over the years, Salazar had come across other wizarding settlements but he never stayed long. He would replenish his supplies and learn the latest news of the region but he would leave within days. The only time Salazar had stayed longer than 48 hours within a magical settlement was when he traded his potions skills and runic work for armor and a sword from a clan of goblins.

 

It was gorgeous work. The armor was made from mithril and the links were so small as to cause the garment to appear to be one large sheet. It sheathed him from shoulder to knee and graves and vambraces made in the same manner protected his legs and arms. The sword was a magical one which could appear as a two handed broadsword or a slimmer rapier. The pommel was carved with snakes and inset with emeralds.

 

The snakes were in honor of his home village and the power over them that his people had developed with their proximity to the large number of deadly water dwelling snakes in the fens. Nearly everyone he grew up with was able to speak to and command snakes. Salazar had contemplated using this power to torment the muggles in his home area during his vengeance crusade but had decided that to do so would punish the snakes and cause many deaths among them. He valued snakes. He found them amusing and fairly smart for animals. And he found no reason to use them as simple weapons for the muggles to destroy.

 

In exchange for his armor and sword, Salazar taught the goblins the runes he used to ward his winter cave dwellings. He taught them the runes of his people that protected against water and flood and pests. He spent an entire season in their forest settlement and showed them how he created cold rooms with runes and how his privy worked, banishing the waste as soon as it entered the warded area. When he left, the goblins had begun to create a cave system under their forest. Their hereditary alignment with metal and stone allowing them to have it over a third finished before the season was over. When he had asked their reasoning, they had told him that a seer had told them the muggles would find this forest within a few generations and if they remained, they would be destroyed. They had been despairing because while they could dig and mine, their magic had never dealt with warding as a permanent underground settlement would need. So Salazar had changed their way of life and possibly saved this clan from extinction.

 

After a decade of wandering through Europe, Salazar came upon a muggle village that changed his life once more. Minutes after his arrival he had known something was different and had hastened through the shadows to see what he had felt. In the center of town was a stake and kindling, much like he had used on the priest in the fens. A crowd was slowly gathering around the stake and after a few minutes, Salazar saw a man in priest’s vestments leading a procession of men who were dragging a struggling and crying child. The boy could not have been more than 5 or 6 years old. He had dark brown hair and scratches all over his face and arms. His tunic was torn and bloody and his bare feet scrabbled on the hard pack dirt, trying to find purchase. His mouth was gagged and his face was streaked with tear tracks, current and old.

 

The priest gestured for the men to take the child to the stake and stood back. Once the child was tied, the priest began a sermon. It was a sermon on the devil and possession and demons, much like what the priest who had destroyed Salazar’s family had ranted that night of fire and destruction. Salazar could feel the magic in the child. It was reaching out wildly, trying to find a way to save its progenitor. But Salazar knew it would not work. At least, not for long enough to escape all of these muggles who were gathered around.

 

But there was no way the wizard was willing to hide in the shadows this time. He was grown and not afraid of the brutes and he would not bear witness to another wizarding child, obviously kidnapped, being burned to death. Salazar could tell, from the cadence of the priest’s speech and the fact that no torches were yet lit, that he had time to formulate a plan of action. He would save this child and return him to his family before punishing the filthy muggles who had dared to lay hands on him.

 

Salazar eased himself back behind the row of houses surrounding the incipient execution and knelt down. He opened his bag, the same one he had made when he was just a child, though he had since improved upon it, with glamors and more runes to keep it organized.

 

After a few minutes he found what he was looking for and brought out three vials of potions. They were each a different color and were almost too large for him to hold all three at once. Carefully unstoppering the first potion, a bright blue which shimmered in the light of the sun, he poured a few drops on the windowsill of the closest house. He then proceeded around the square, anointing each house in multiple places, mostly around the doors and windows, but also on any straw or plain wood.

 

When he completed the circuit and was again behind the first house, he closed the blue potion and placed it into his pocket. He then opened a potion which was dark green and thick, almost beyond being a liquid and allowed a few heavy drops to fall on the previously anointed spot.

 

Salazar did this for every spot the blue potion had been and then opened the final potion. It was oily and black and seemed to swallow the light rather than shine in the sunlight. He allowed a single drop to fall on the other potions and quickly moved away as the interaction between the potions and the flammable materials and the air caused a fire to break out. As he made his way around the square, he smiled darkly, setting over three dozen separate fires in the 11 dwellings.

 

By the time he reached the last house and set the final fire he could hear the muggles beginning to notice something wrong. The muggles closest to the first fires were smelling the smoke and calling out to their fellows. As the last fire took hold, most of the muggles were rushing to try to put out the fires, not knowing that adding water was just increasing the reaction and speeding up the spread of the fire and its destruction.

 

The priest had stopped his sermon, having lost his listeners and turned to the boy strapped to the post, taunting him and telling him that his evil would be cleansed and this pathetic demonic attempt at escape would not work.

 

Salazar frowned in anger before his quick brain came up with a new twist to his plan. The priest was the only one still in the center of the square, the other muggles trying to save the homes from the spreading flames. He slowly made his way to the priest’s rear and taking his sword, chopped off the man’s head with one stroke, the goblin forged blade and the magic it was imbued with cutting through the bones and skin like a hot knife through butter. Salazar wished he could have made the horrid man’s death more drawn out and painful but saving the child was more important to him then punishing the priest.

 

The boy tied to the stake stared at his savior with wide eyes, the tears halted abruptly and the gag sagging as the boy stopped fighting against it due to his slack jawed surprise. Salazar carefully cut through the boy’s bindings, including the gag, whispering to him to be still and quiet and he would get him away from the evil muggles.

 

The boy didn’t move his body at all, still in shock, Salazar supposed, as he picked him up and carried him away from the muggle village into the surrounding forest. The muggles were too occupied trying to stop the fires from spreading to the next rows of houses to even notice the dead priest yet, let alone the small boy and the wizard. The houses that Salazar had put the potions on were lost causes and fully engulfed and if the muggles were unlucky in the way the wind blew, the entire village would be burned to the ground within hours.

 

After walking for an hour, Salazar set the boy on his feet and knelt down to his level so their eyes could meet. The boy had yet to make a sound or say anything since they had left the village. “My name is Salazar. I won’t hurt you. I just want you to be safe. Can you tell me your name and where you come from, young one?”

 

The boy’s dark brown eyes blinked slowly and he opened his mouth, only to cough. Salazar cursed himself for not realizing the problem. He got out his waterskin and held it to the child’s mouth, allowing water to dribble in, wetting it and then letting the boy take a few sips, slowly so he wouldn’t be sick.

 

“I didn’t think what their tortures might have done to you, child. I will help you heal and get you safe, I swear. I am a master at potions and will make sure you are healthy. But I do need to know what to call you and what direction we should head in to get you safe.”

 

The boy nodded though he frowned as he did so. “Paulus. My name is Paulus. What direction do you think is safe?” The boy queried the wizard, his brows drawn down over his eyes.

 

“I can keep you safe even if we need to head back past that horrible village where they hurt you, Paulus. There is no need to worry about that. I got you away from them and you won’t go back to their evil and tortuous hands. And if we got lucky and blessed, there is no longer a village to go back to. It certainly had the potential to be burned entirely. And they were being stupid with how they were fighting the fires I started. None were realizing that the water was making it worse. Magical flames can be put out with water sometimes but the potions I used in combination, well, the water just added to their volatility. That is, to how strong they were,” he added when he saw the child’s confusion at his words, misunderstanding its source.

 

The boy simply looked at him with a blank stare, confusion still in his eyes. Salazar sighed. “Paulus. I need to know if we need to double back. I will keep you away from the muggles, I promise, Paulus. They won’t hurt you again.” He frowned at the boy. “Do you know that Paulus is a very muggle name. A very Christian name. A Christian saint’s name. But I suppose if your family interacts with muggles a good bit it is safer to blend in some ways, isn’t it?”

 

Paulus still stared, biting his lip and tugging on his tunic. After a few minutes during which Salazar simply remained silent and allowed the boy to think through whatever was bothering him, the boy whispered. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand. I don’t know where safe is. You are safe. You rescued me. They hurt me. Wherever you go is safe, yes?”

 

“Oh, child. Yes. I will keep you safe. But I meant, where did the muggles steal you from? Where is your home? Your family?”

 

The boy frowned. “You set it on fire. We came from there. You said it may be gone.”

 

“No, no. The muggle village is waht I burned. The muggles, the ones without magic who were hurting you. The priest and the others. That is what I set on fire. Do you know where you came from before you were in that horrible place? That is where we can return you to your family.”

 

The boy sniffled and shook his head. “I was born there. My family told the priest when I started doing demonic things and made things move and I fell from the tree I was climbing and I bounced. The priest came and they told him and they said I was evil and needed to be cleansed to go to heaven.”

 

“Your parents didn’t have magic, Paulus? They couldn’t do the things you did?”

 

He shook his head slowly. “No. They were good Christians. I was the evil demonic child sent to tempt them to hell.”

 

Salazar stared at the child in shock. This child, this magical child, he could feel the magic swirling around him and within him, it was so strong, but he was born from the filthy muggles. He couldn’t believe it. How could Lady Magic bless a muggle with her power? Why? But the boy’s power was definite. It was strong and full and free and Salazar knew he needed to figure out a new plan. The boy had no family to return him to and no one to take him in and teach him. They would need to do something. He just wasn’t sure what.

 

Even through his confusion, Salazar still felt compassion for the child he had rescued. Even more so now that he understood that it was his own family, the blood that bore him, that had tried their best to kill him at the behest of the religious leader.

 

Salazar gazed down at the small child, trying to ponder what to do now. There was no where they could go to return him. Salazar knew of precious few wizarding settlements and those few were wary of outsiders, what with the muggles being increasingly hostile towards those who used magic as the religion of the Christians spread and took a vicious hold of the people.

 

He knew that there was a goblin settlement three days journey from their location. When he had left the goblins who had made his sword and armor, they had called him “goblin-friend” and gave him a map that showed their holds. Though Salazar knew that he couldn’t leave the child with the goblins, not that they would even allow it, he hoped they would know of a less insular magical area where the boy could learn and grow.

 

The boy looked up at him, biting his lip. “Did you want to take me back, sir? Now that you know I’m infested with a demon? And I’m evil?” The brown eyes filled with tears.

 

Salazar huffed in response. “No, child.” He placed his hand lightly on the boy’s shoulder and knelt down in front of him. “I would never return you to those evil people. And you are not possessed by a demon. You have magic. You are a wizard. As I am. I do not know how you came to be gifted with magic when you come from the blood of muggles, those who are ordinary and not gifted by the Lady. But it is obvious that you are. And I would not go against the will of my Lady. So, a wizard of muggle’s born is what you are. Special. Blessed. Not evil. Certainly not demonic. A wonder and a treasure. And not one I would throw away. The Lady must have led me to you, to save you from death by superstitious, religious extremists. It was Fate that I found you.”

 

The boy’s mouth had dropped open during Salazar’s speech but he didn’t disbelieve the man. Of course, the fact that the man was glowing as he spoke of his Lady may have been what was so convincing. The man smiled gently at the stunned boy.

 

“”I had thought that the muggles and their evil religious leader had kidnapped you from a wizarding family or settlement. I was going to return you to their arms but since that is not the case, I will keep you with me. I do not have a home of my own, Paulus.” Salazar frowned as he spoke the so Christian name. It tasted like ashes in his mouth but he tried to keep his reaction to a minimum, knowing that to do otherwise would frighten the boy and he was in shock as it was. “My home and family was destroyed many years ago by muggles led by a priest much like the one who tried to hurt you. I have since been wandering the lands and following the pull in my heart to find my Fate as my Lady wills it. And, so, as I said, I truly believe we were Fated to meet. I will find us somewhere comfortable to stay, away from the muggles for a few days while you recover and while I teach you more about the gift that you hold within you. Then, we will see where we go after that. The Lady will guide us.”

 

Paulus nodded and tried to hold back a yawn. “Yes, sir,” he mumbled through the widening jaw.

 

“My name is Salazar, child.” And with that, the wizard rose to his feet and once more picked the child up in his arms, encouraging him to lay his head on the man’s shoulder and feel free to get some rest. He would be safe and protected. And indeed, within minutes the boy’s breath began to softly snuffle against Salazar’s neck as he lightly snored in his sleep. And Salazar continued down the road, looking for signs of a cave system to use for the next few days.

 

— — —

 

A week after rescuing the young wizard from the hands of his family, their village and the priest, Salazar and Paulus were again on the road. The child’s wounds had been cleaned and healed by the older wizard’s potions and he had learned the beginnings of wizarding lore, history, and control. And when Salazar had learned that the boy could not even read the language of the region, let alone the Latin that was used by wizards and the religious, he had started on the basics of both of those languages, as well as the idea and structure of runes. He didn’t try to push too much on the child but he was quite smart and eager to learn about his new life, so Salazar took advantage of his enthusiasm to make sure he had a foundation to build on in the future, wherever that might take the child.

 

He had decided over the past week that going to the goblins was the best thing to do. They usually kept track of the human wizarding settlements and also they kept track of the other magical creature areas. Salazar had hope that they would be able to guide him to the best place for Paulus. So, he made sure that the young boy had several lessons on magical races and how to treat them. He had no desire to be on the wrong side of the goblins (or anyone else) due to his ward’s ignorance.

 

While his ward recovered from his injuries and shock, Salazar prepared for their journey. He made a pair of shoes for the child. They were basic and did not look like much more than wooden soles and rope ties, but they were carved with runes for comfort and protection against falls. The shoes’ soles were also carved with runes for durability so that they were less prone to wear and tear. He also used special thread to sew runes into the boy’s tunic to repel water and keep him at the optimal temperature, not too hot nor too cold.

 

When they set out, Salazar carried the boy until they reached the road, for the cave they had spent the week in was nearly an hour’s walk from the main road through the region. And they had to traverse forest paths that were easily lost by a novice. However, once they reached the hard dirt road, he set Paulus on his feet and they walked side by side, with Salazar telling the boy more tales of wizarding history and lore and of the Lady Magic. Paulus enthusiastically took to these lessons and spent much of his time focused on them and formulating and asking questions to understand this new concept in his life.

 

It took the pair three more weeks to reach the area of the goblin settlement. If Salazar had been on his own, he knew it would have taken him but a third of that time but between having to match his stride to the shorter one of his ward and having to take longer breaks, the travel time had greatly extended. It somewhat annoyed the older man but he didn’t allow it to show. He kept his irritation to himself because he knew that the boy would take any criticism to heart. Paulus saw Salazar as his savior and mentor and that was not a bond that the wizard wished to harm. He had been led to Paulus and while he didn’t understand Lady Magic’s reasoning in gifting her blessing to a child of muggles, he would not scorn the boy for it. Scorn his family, most certainly, especially considering the situation he had found the child in. But he would not scorn Paulus.

 

The boy was magically gifted and strong in it, as well. It showed in the difficulty the boy had when trying to mediate and control his thoughts and emotions. Granted, some of that was his age and his recent circumstances, but much of it was the power of the magic within him. Salazar would watch him with his magic sight and the aura when Paulus mediated was grand and beautiful. The colors were strong and were constantly trying to reach out and touch the world around him.

 

Even when the child was not in his meditative state, Salazar could feel his magic reaching out to embrace Salazar’s own magic. It was a heady feeling for the man who had spent so much of his life alone, to be connected to a source of such pure magic that trusted him so much. And the lonely wizard had resolved within a day that he would not harm the bond between himself and the boy for anything. And he would encourage him to explore all of his magic, not restrict him to “safe” magics that could be used around so many muggles. He would warn him of using the flashier and more obvious magics when around muggles. But he knew that Paulus would never endanger himself that way. He knew what religious muggles would want to do to him. He knew the boy wouldn’t want to be in that situation again.

 

When the two wizards arrived in the area indicated on the goblin’s map, Salazar was both surprised and impressed. There was no sign of a settlement. There were no houses, no walls, no cultivated fields, and no sign that there had ever been any. At least, no signs to muggles. Salazar could feel the magic in the runes that protected the settlement and its entrance. He could see the aura of the wards that hid the crops from view and made them appear to be weeds and scrubby bushes and trees. When he looked at his ward, he could tell that he felt something, too. It was another confirmation of the boy’s magical strength.

 

Salazar took the boy’s hand and carefully walked to a certain tree, where he tapped on it in five places, five very specific places, pushing his magic into his fingertip as he did. After the final tap, the tree wavered as in a hot sun and there was a door set into it. Paulus’ eyes were wide as they opened the door and entered within.

 

The inside of the tree gave the lie to the illusion of the outside. They were not surrounded by bark and wood but rather stone on all sides. As the door closed behind them, the walls began to radiate a soft light. It was not nearly as bright as sunlight but it was much brighter than moonlight, even on the clearest of full moon nights. Ten paces from the door was a stairway leading down under the ground. As Salazar and Paulus moved with ease, though no rush towards the descent, they passed over and under a rune cluster and a glowing barrier appeared over the entrance to the stairway and a bench like protrusion appeared against the wall.

 

Salazar smiled as he pointed his ward to the bench. As they sat, the man pointed out the runes in the ceiling and floor and explained that they had read their magical signatures. If they had been muggles, they would have had a very different experience, a much harsher one, Salazar expected.

 

“But as we are magical, the runes simply barred our entrance until we can be greeted by a more aware guardian. The runes would have notified those in the settlement below that there are magicals here whose signatures are not known. I suspect if I had come on my own, I would have been able to proceed without the barrier appearing but the goblins do not know you or your magical signature. And so they protect their people. There are magicals out there who would wish to harm them or use them and their magics for their own gain. As I have told you, many, many centuries ago, goblins lived with wizards and elves and many other magical races in harmony. But some wizards and witches were twisted by a High Elf who was in rebellion against his king. And these wizards and witches forced the goblins to do horrible things and the goblins had no choice. They were not blackmailed into it, their minds were controlled and though they knew what they were doing was wrong, they could not stop themselves. When the war that occurred was over and the High Elf who began it all was killed, the majority of the wizards and witches who had been twisted by the elf were also killed. But the war had lasted for nearly eighty years and the original magicals had passed on their learning to their children and then grandchildren, and if they didn’t participate in the war, the Elven king did not feel it right to kill them as well. But they were banished. And they brought their knowledge of the twisted magic here with them. And the goblins left the elven realm as well, no longer able to trust the elves or humans to not abuse them. And eventually, the elves sent all human magicals away to this realm and closed off their realm to our kind.”

 

A voice spoke from the area of the stairs. “And to this day, we do not trust human wizards and have often been forced to protect ourselves from them. They call us trying to keep our people safe from their magic rebellions, young wizard. But now, this realm, it is being overrun with humans who have no magic within them. Your kind call them muggles. And they hate and fear humans with magic. Other magical races and creatures are not even considered as worth life. Several years ago, a prophecy was made that goblins would be exterminated by the non-magicals if they did not learn to trust the goblin friends who came to them in peace and would teach them the ways of the wizarding language. I tell you, wizard child, there were those who felt that death would be preferable to opening ourselves to the possibility of betrayal by the wizards. And when your companion came to us, to our people, they were open and recalled the prophecy and trusted him and he saved our people.”

 

While he was speaking, the goblin and had walked through the barrier at the top of the stairs and approached the pair seated on the bench. When he reached them, he inclined his head slightly to the older wizard. “Welcome Salazar of Slytherin. Well come thou art to the caves of my people. I am Gornok, the leader of the goblins here in Taksheel Parfan. Who doe thou bring with thee to our home, goblin-friend?”

 

Salazar bowed low from his seat. “This is Paulus. He was born to muggles but is a strong wizard. I came upon his family and their village and religious man attempting to burn him alive, claiming he was a demon. I rescued him, unknowing of his origins and am hoping that the goblins can help me determine what I should do next. He is a smart child and powerful. I cannot and will not return him to the family that wanted to kill him and I know of no wizarding settlement near here.”

 

The goblin clan leader nodded briefly. “You know that he cannot remain here.”

 

“I had no such thought. I simply hoped for direction.”

 

The goblin bared his teeth. “We can give you direction wizard, though I think not the direction you had meant. But this makes sense of the remainder of the words of the prophecy. As you shared your magical knowledge with us, it is now our turn to share with you. When a goblin’s family is killed, all of the parents’ lines and siblings and all blood closer than two generations, that goblin, if a child or in certain circumstances, an adult who has lost their family further out than that, there is a ceremony. It is a blood adoption. It binds the child to the line of the new clan and shares the family magics of that clan with the youngling so that they might not be alone. We will show you the way of this magic and you shall bind the child to you as your son. He will become as much your son as if he had been birthed from your loins. Any magical can be adopted in such a way. As long as they have no magical blood relative closer than two bloodlines removed, or if the parent in the ceremony is within that two bloodlines, to strengthen the ties of the blood for an orphan. You will take this boy as your son and the two of you shall disappear into the far north, not to meet with the goblin clans again until the child is well grown.”

 

Paulus stared at the goblin and then looked under his lashes at Salazar. The older wizard took a deep breath and blinked his eyes to removed the film of tears there. He would have family once more. Salazar nodded. “Thank you, Clan Leader Gornok. You honor me and my soon-to-be son, Paulus.”

 

The goblin noticed the wizard’s uncontrollable reaction to the child’s name and grinned with all of his teeth. “You and your soon-to-be son are welcome in our caves. He enters as Paulus, a boy born of muggles, filled with muggle blood. He will leave filled with the blood of your family, re-named by his new father, a new wizard born into the world.”

 

Salazar smiled. He looked forward to having a child, his own son, named by himself and not for some Christian saint.