Founders Four: Pillers of the Ages by Shadowkat678
Disclaimer: I'm only putting this here once. I am not J.K. Rowling, and I do not own the rights to the Harry Potter Franchise.
Now, you've all heard of the Four Founders, I'm sure. The brave Godric Gryffindor from Wild Moore, the wise Rowena Ravenclaw from Glen, the kind Helga Hufflepuff from Valley Broad, and the cunning Salazar Slytherin from Fen.
Together, as you know, they became the founders of one of the most prestigious magical schools in history: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But Hogwarts is only one part of a much larger story. Be warned, dear readers, for I cannot promise that the tale you're about to uncover is a happy one, I can only promise that it's true. If you dare, however, feel free to continue...
The day with which we begin was a pleasant one, the afternoon air blowing warm and gentle as the sun shone bright in a blue summer sky. Birds chirped up in the trees and laughing children chased each other around the village square. Yet, there was one boy who would not be seen with the rest. So it was that we find young Salazar in his normal hideaway this fine evening, far from the laughter and play of others and sitting quite contentedly up in an oak, his head trapped firmly and predictably within a book.
"Salazar!" He jumped, barely catching himself from falling out of the nook he'd wedged himself into. His book, however, wasn't nearly as lucky, and landed face down with a thud ten feet below.
With a slight scowl, Salazar glanced down to see his mother gently picking up the leather bound tome. Little wisps of chestnut hair had escaped the bun she'd attempted to trap them into, and her gray eyes were tired, the heavy bags making her seem far older than her thirty-five years. Yet, as she raised her face to look at him, he saw that she was smiling, and his scowl lessened…if only a tiny bit.
Her name was Amara.
"Reading out in the woods again I see," she said, and her mouth quirked upwards. "Thought I'd find you up there. Must be a good story…I called three times before you'd so much as look up from the dratted thing."
He merely shrugged, muttering a quick, "Well, you didn't have to yell,' before beginning the short climb down, jumping the last few feet and bending his legs to absorb the impact as he landed. Straightening and brushing off, he took his book as it was held out to him and inspected the pages for damage before snapping it shut. Salazar frowned and raised an eyebrow, blankly looking up at her knowing grin. "What?"
"Nothing," she answered dismissively. "I was just thinking how like your father you've grown up to be...both of you always stuck in some dusty pages." Amara reached out to ruffle his hair and bit back a laugh as he hurriedly shook her off. She smirked as he went back to checking his book, frowning as he spotted a speck of dirt on it's cover.
Amara inclinined her head toward the general direction of their cottage. "Come on, there's still some things I'd like help doing before nightfall. The book can wait a short while longer."
Salazar simply nodded and contented himself to follow without reply, book still held firmly under his arm.
Godric let his gaze wander around the crowded, cobblestone streets, allowing his feet to take him in whatever direction seemed best at the present moment. He imagined he likely seemed all the world as lost as he truly was, blundering around aimlessly as he was doing. In his own defense, it wasn't as if he'd been there long enough to know where everything was.
After a hard a hard two week's ride, including about a dozen different instances of backtracking and multiple moments spent contemplating just how badly someone could mess up a simple map, it was a welcome relief when he finally spotted dark clouds of chimney smoke rising in the distance. He rode into Florin a hour after, leaving his horse with a weary-looking stable boy on the outskirts of town and spending quite a bit more coin then he would have liked. So now he'd arrived, and with absolutely no clue where he was headed.
He'd pay that stable sum all over again, he thought, if someone could just give him some blasted directions.
Now, however, Godric found himself wondering if the town wasn't the wrong place to find his old mentor entirely. He hadn't seen him since age fifteen, after all, and a lot had happened in ten years time. For all he knew, the man might not even be living in the same town his informant had told him he was, could have moved a dozen times over in those past years, just as he'd done right after Godric left.
Godric casually sidestepped a few children that nearly rammed into him chasing each other in some sort of game, smiling as they rushed off.
His mentor had a son, he recalled, around six years old at the time he left. That would mean he was sixteen now, almost seventeen. Salazar...he'd always thought it a strange name. Probably something his father had pulled from one of those books of his,he mused.
He looked around, searching for someone he could ask for directions, but anyone else who might have known the man were lost in their own business, jostling about in the daily rush of a market place.
It didn't matter much, he supposed. Asking around wasn't always a good idea for a stranger to do coming into a new town nowadays...especially one who was a good six feet tall and stood out like a troll in a room full of pixies. He'd already gotten a fair share of suspicious glances tossed his way, even with the disguise of a common traveler. Though...it could be his sword that caught their attention. It always did attract unwanted eyes, even relatively plain. Many just weren't used to someone carrying such a big weapon around, he supposed.
Although, it was certainly proving a better option than carrying around a wand and getting chased about the countryside with pitchforks and torches.
'Blast Corial and his vague instructions, clear as mud...which is exactly what I'll be turning his drink into as soon as I get back.'
He smiled at the image. Maybe he'd actually do it this time. Oh, Corial would be mad, but maybe next time he'd think twice about those rude remarks he was always throwing out...and remember to give him a better map.
Godric stopped dead in his tracks almost as soon as the thought had crossed his mind. Swinging in the light breeze above him was a sign...a sign with a fairly explanatory image of a book carved into it's surface. A grin split across his face.
'Now, why didn't I think of that one earlier?'Godric chuckled to himself as he strode inside, a bell chiming softly as the door swung open. The moment his foot passed the threshold he found himself assaulted by the scent of musty paper and dust, bringing back memories of long nights and ancient texts read by candle light.
If anyone knew about Ingvar, he'd bet every last possession on him that it would be whoever owned the local bookshop. What he didn't bet on, however, was seeing said mentor right inside…and as what seemed to be in the position of the owner himself.
Ingvar stood with arms crossed across his chest, his pale face expressionless as a man, at least head taller, (though shorter still than Godric by a good few inches) glowered down at him. At the moment, neither of the men seemed to have noticed his entry, their gazes locked on each other as if they were children caught in a staring match. But, Godric highly doubted it was something as innocent as that.
The stranger was tense, his grey eyes narrowed and stance practically radiating aggression. He couldn't be much older than Godric himself, he observed, maybe thirty at the most. A head of dark blond hair was tied back neatly by a strip of leather, his clothes were cleaner and more of a much finer cut than what he'd seen of many in the town. All in all...Godric's instincts told him that what he was looking at was a bigoted, pampered fool.
"I'm warning you for the last time, Marcus, to leave. You are not welcome here, and I'd advise against throwing treats at me...especially ones involving my family." Ingvar smiled coldly, and Godric couldn't help but smirk at the sight. Whoever this Marcus fellow was, he almost felt sorry for the man. Almost. That wasn't a smile you'd want to be on the receiving end of...
He leaned back on the counter, but his eyes stayed locked on the other's. The casual stance didn't make him appear any less intimidating...in fact, it was likely the exact opposite, as if his presence had expanded to fill up the entire room, dwarfing everything else around it despite his physically small size.
"What was the word you called me when you came bursting in? A coward?" His smile grew colder. "There's only one coward I can find in this room, Marcus. I suggest you leave and find yourself a mirror. While you're at it, maybe you can find some common sense to boot..."
The younger man's face flushed. Whether in anger or embarrassment at the lack of effect he seemed to be having I, even as the teller, couldn't say. In that moment he almost looked like he would lunge across the space between them and throttle the shorter man.
However much the stranger seemed to think he was in control previously, anyone who knew the older man for more than a few hours could clearly see it was a different case. If there was anything he knew about Ingvar Slytherin, it was that he'd always had a knack for gaining the upper hand in conflict situations, unless, of course, he chose otherwise. Which could possibly be just as dangerous.
When Marcus finally seemed to regain his ability to speak, it was between clinched teeth. Ingvar still sat back calmly.
"Ingvar, you're a fool...don't think for a moment this entire town isn't aware that there's something foul about you and your precious family. Rumors spread, old man. I suggest you watch your back...I have eyes in this town, and it'll do you well to remember that!" That said, the stranger turned sharply on his heel, shoving past Godric and out of the shop.
The seconds ticked by, and when Godric finally turned from the door it was to see a set of dark eyes casually watching him.
"I apologize for the spectacle, the man thinks himself quite intimidating...even if he's really not." Ingvar was standing back behind the counter, hands clasped behind his back as dust swirled in the space between them, and a feeling of ad nauseam rose within Godric. The old snake was still smiling, but this one wasn't cold, and there was a spark in his eye the younger man hadn't seen in years. "It's been awhile, lad. You've grown.."
In that moment, it almost seemed as if those ten years away had never passed at all. It was rare to see such real and honest casualness in a man like him.
He almost hated to ruin it...almost.
Godric grinned. "It really has been a while...but that man was right about one thing." He smirked at the questioning look on his mentor's face and laughed. "You do look a tad old."
Just in the nick of time, Godric spotted the warning gleam spark up in Ingvar's eyes, and hurriedly dropped down to the floor just as a thick book shot like an arrow over his head. He heard footsteps walking over and turned over on his back to see a slender wand pointed directly at his face, birch with a core of unicorn hair, thirteen inches if he remembered correctly. Funny, he thought, what thoughts bubble to the surface at the strangest of times.
But from experence, he knew that even grouchy Slytherin could only hold back a smile for so long. Experience held true.
"You always did say the most foolish things boy, at least that hasn't seemed to have changed. Among all your antics, that might have been the most annoying by far." Ingvar lowered his wand and slipped it back up his sleeve where a concealed pocket was stitched and hidden, holding out a hand to help his former pupil to his feet.
"To you, maybe," he countered. "But there have been quite a few others that've called that same trait endearing. Sounds a lot more flattering to me. I myself tend to consider it a compliment."
The smile on Ingvar's face vanished, but Godric's didn't. In fact, it likely only widened. He could never seem to help himself. There were times that you just couldn't resist poking at a coiled snake, especially after so long...almost like a Godric version of a welcoming present.
It was always worth it, even if the said snake always did have a famous temper. No,especially if he had a famous temper...after all, that was what made it so much fun. Even more so with the added enjoyment of being one of the few that could bring it out.
"Godric, you always did talk too much. I'm afraid to inform you that those young girls you always showed off to don't count." Ingvar scowled, but Godric only laughed.
After all that had happened it felt good to be back.
But inside, a cold hand tightened around his chest. If only he was just there for a casual reunion, but dark times brought darker news. No matter how much he wished, Godric couldn't delude himself of that...but maybe he could imagine, until tomorrow night at the latest.
A/N: Since there is an astonishing lack of stories for these characters, ones which I'll remind you there would be neither Hogwarts nor fandom without, I'm taking charge of uncovering their history myself and taking any who wish to join along for the broom ride. I'm probably not going to be near as good as J.K. Rowling, but I'll do my best. I promise, not a single chapter will be put up without an extensive amount of editing, you have my word. ;)