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Ghosts by DumbledoresArmyOfOne
Chapter 1 : Ravenclaw
 
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Her whole life was not quite good enough. Always overshadowed, always overlooked. She grew up in the shadow of her mother, her dazzling, powerful mother who was so beautiful she outshone even the precious diadem that sat permanently upon her brow. By the time she reached the age of eighteen, she understood that she was destined to live her life behind the stage, just another piece of the background.She understood that she was not quite as clever, not quite as beautiful and not quite as talented as her mother was before her. She understood, of course, but acceptance had never been her strong suit.

There was once a man who saw her differently. He knew he wanted her the moment he laid eyes on her and pursued her with all the passion of his nature. The Baron Sangfen proposed upon their second meeting, and her straight, dispassionate refusal only intensified his longing. He consulted with her mother, who encouraged him to chase her for as long as it took to break her resolve, but she was as icy as a glacier and twice as steady.

At eighteen, she became as cold as a winter’s day without sun, dissatisfied with her place. Her greed and envy grew and a storm brewed under her blank face. Deep inside her obsidian eyes, a spark ignited. When she looked upon her mother, an ugly greed stole over her and the spark turned to fiendish fire. She sought to make herself more powerful through any means, learning dark spells and evil potions, but still she wanted more. One day, when she looked upon her mother with the usual envy, her gaze turned to the diadem, perched on her fair head and a plan formed in her mind, unraveling with a cunning worthy of Slytherin himself.

That night, the 2nd of February, she stole into her mother’s chambers and seized the diadem for herself. The moment she placed it on her head, her muddled thoughts became clear and logical.
'I must leave Hogwarts', she thought, 'I will wear my warmest cloak and bring little with me. I will keep my hood up to hide the diadem'.

Her last thought before she left the edge of the forest was: 'I will never return, as long as I live', and it was more true than she knew.

Away she ran, the pilfered tiara hidden deep inside her hood, never stopping for more than a night, until she deemed herself far enough away so as to never be found. She was in a land called Albania, where she meant to use the diadem to bring herself fame and fortune, to be more glorious than even her mother. She set out to do so, demonstrating her stolen wit to anyone who would hear her, but her own mind began to work against her.

The diadem’s constant presence took its effect upon her brain until she relied on it completely, almost unable to think for herself. The only feeling that remained was guilt. Guilt for betraying her mother, for her sins: envy, greed and pride. Pride was the worst of all, it was the cause and result of all her wrongdoings. The guilt overcame her, and she fled to the forest near her lodgings. She worked powerful magic and hid the diadem away, grown into a hollow tree deep in the woods. It would not be found for nearly a thousand years.

 

 Her privileged life left far away, she became a waif of the forest, cursed to wander for the rest of her life. Those who saw her told stories of the mysterious Grey Lady, whose cold beauty lured in lost travelers so that she could suck their souls. How long she wandered there, no one knows, but for her it ended all too soon.

On a cold day in winter, the first of a new year, the Baron Sangfen found her. She saw him approach, in his fine red robes and tall black mare, but she was unprepared for the news he brought. Her mother was on her deathbed, being slowly devoured by consumption and wanted to see her daughter one last time. She had told no-one but the Baron of the missing diadem, embarrassed as she was by her inability to protect it, but instead had pretended that it was still with her. He handed her a letter from her sick mother, and she reluctantly took it from his hands. She broke the familiar seal, an eagle surrounded by the motto: ‘Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure’ and read:

My dearest daughter,

I write this as I fear it will be my last chance to speak with you. My life is coming to an end and I wish to see you once more before I am gone from this world. This letter brings my forgiveness, my love and my hope. I forgive you for your betrayal, though even I, in all my so-called wisdom, do not know what brought it about. I love you, for all your faults and all your merit, as any mother loves their daughter, and I hope for you, who must be at least six and twenty by this time, to find a husband in my messenger.
Stay strong, my daughter, and bring honor and renown to the Ravenclaw line.
With my love,
Your Mother


Without a word, she crumpled the letter and dropped it on the ground before beginning to walk away. She was stopped by the Baron’s vice-like grip on her arm.

“Let me go,” she said, her voice cold.

“You will not leave until you answer the letter.”

“You wish for my answer?” she asked.

“Yes, that. Among other things.”

“No.” she said, and walked away.

“You will come back now.” His voice was dangerously soft, as soft as the whisper of his hunting knife being drawn from its sheath.
She showed no fear, indeed, she showed no emotion at all as she said: “I will not come back, I will not see my mother and I would not marry you if Circe herself desired it.” Her words pierced him as surely as any dagger and madness gleamed in his eyes as he raised his knife.

“Well, then that is your choice. But know that the alternative is here in my hand." He waved the knife like a mad man before her face.

“My decision remains unchanged. You wouldn’t dare kill me. And what have I left to live for?” she answered calmly and with an animal cry, he brought down the dagger and stabbed her, right in her heart of stone. As he watched the blood pool around her prone figure, the enormity of what he had done crashed down on him, and he felt the weight like a mountain on his shoulders. Rage, his enemy, had won over reason once again.

“Oh Salazar. What have I done?” he grieved, as he attempted to stem the flow of blood, far too little, far too late. Just before her mouth closed forever, she spoke three words.

” I… regret… everything” she breathed, truth in every syllable, and a flicker of light came into her empty eyes before they were extinguished, never to see again.

“I’m sorry, so sorry,” sobbed the Baron, planting a soft kiss upon her dead lips. “I loved you,” he whispered, before plunging the knife into his own chest.




When she rose, she found herself floating in her mother’s chambers in Ravenclaw tower. It was empty and the dank, hopeless odour of death filled every nook and cranny. She looked at herself in the spotted mirror and saw that she was a cloudy grey colour.

‘How fitting,’ she thought, ‘ Not quite white, not quite black. Not quite alive, not quite anything, really. Just like I was’. She went to the window and saw a funeral procession in the grounds, accepting her mothers death with a characteristic lack of emotion. She tried to lean against the window frame, but her fingers went through the solid stone as if through smoke. She regarded her form with dispassionate curiosity.

“Ah,” she sighed, “So this is death. Not much, but at least I am alone at last.” She had just voiced this thought when the clank of ghostly chains made her turn.

“Not quite, Helena,” said the blood-spattered Baron, “Not quite.”





Edited 19.10.13. Let me know what you think :) Thanks!

 




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