Founders era, Black family
G, 1000 words
Notes: For omniocular's June challenge, prompt 78 Family-tree tapestry-makers for officious pureblood. Not quite what the prompter had in mind, I'm sure, but my bit of speculation about how the Black Family Tree came into existence (and others). Forgive the overt rhetoric and speechifying within.
They came, the head of each family. Heralds stood at the side of the hall, wands extended to declare each new entrant. Old ribbons floated down the chamber as whispered names. Rosier… Wenlock… Prewett…
They stepped up proudly, anxiously, greedily, reluctantly, but they all stepped up. It was Midwinter’s Day, and every wizarding family in Britain had sent a representative to this draughty ruin in Scotland.
A tall man strode to the dais, wand still in hand despite the threats of the guards. He kneeled perfunctorily, head still level with the woman.
Hands shot out and clasped his face, nails digging into the nape of his neck. Black did not flinch, merely stared impassively.
Gold threads emanated outwards, twisting and weaving, spirals of light darting through the air. Sounds could be heard, channelled in from another time – horses hooves and children’s screams and hoarse curses. The night sky suddenly flared bright overhead, entire constellations cresting the sky. The woman was chanting under her breath, ‘Bellatrix… Auriga… Orion… Procyon… Sirius…’
The sounds faded. The names ceased. The weary winter sun resumed its usual place in the firmament. There was a dull thud as a roll of heavy fabric landed next to Black. He seized it, standing quickly.
‘What did you see?’ he hissed. ‘Tell me what you saw!’
He was not answered, and one hand raised was sign enough his audience was over. Snarling, he left the hall, robes billowing around him.
Outside, and the others stood silent for the most part, some exchanging a word or two with a friend. Many were tapping their new acquisitions with their wands, muttering for signs of spells. By their frustrated expressions, Black could tell they were unsuccessful.
He chose not to do anything at all, merely stood aloof, fully aware that he was the sole representative of his house. He did not know why the others did not conduct themselves with more dignity. Weasley was laughing at a joke from Lestrange – a newcomer from Normandy who had still managed to gain an invitation, much to Black’s disgust.
Gryffindor walked out, face drained. He held on to an empty rod, which he stared at for a moment before letting it fall out of his hands, where it rolled down and disappeared into the lake with a distance splash.
Black might have been imagining it, but he thought he saw something move and drag it under.
Gryffindor appeared to have been the last, for the iron entrance gates were slowly fully opened and Salazar Slytherin stepped out. Beside him stood two women, and Gryffindor broke free from his reverie to join them.
The woman from inside the hall moved forward first, and pushed back her cloak. Black breathed in sudden revelation. Rowena Ravenclaw raised a muting hand to an already silenced crowd.
‘Witches and wizards. We thank you for making this journey today – some of you have travelled a long way.’ She surveyed her audience for a moment before continuing. ‘It is here, all gathered together, that we are strongest. These tapestries you hold we record our unions, our lives, our names. There is strong magic in them, they will not fray and fade. They will carry your names through the ages, so that you will be remembered. Treasure them, keep them safe.’
Helga Hufflepuff took over. ‘Take these home with you, show them to your families. We have a great deal to be proud of, a great deal we have accomplished. Through these tapestries, our names and deeds live on, and these symbols of unity will outlive us all.’ She smiled, and even Black felt that the day seemed a little warmer. ‘We have much to celebrate on this bleakest of days.’
Gryffindor, seemingly bolstered by her, was the next to speak. ‘Go forward, my friends, knowing this – we are brave, we are strong, we will not be defeated! The magic that courses through our veins will not stand for that. I look at you all, and my heart fills with pride. We will fight on, and we will be remembered in the stories of our descendents – these tapestries mean nothing less than that.’
Slytherin extended his arms, and Black felt an unfamiliar inclination to bow.
‘Friends, fellow wizards and witches. You have come here today, and you have received your destinies – you hold them in the palms of your hands. Guard them well, and they shall tell generations immemorial of our great names. They will remember us, we who fought Muggle tyranny, we who were branded and burned, we who died in the name of our gift! For we will be victorious, my friends, in the end, and the day will come when the Muggles will have to answer to us, when we shall take our rightful place as rulers of this noble isle. So long, we have waited in the shadows, so long, we have been denied our freedoms. Now is the time when we shall found dynasties, create legends – soon, the time will be come when the Muggles will be forced to hide from us.’
With that, and to rapturous applause, the four departed. Many began to Apparate away, but Black decided to walk down to the village. Mind full of all he had heard, he did not note the stone he passed with HOGG WORT carved into it.
When he reached the bottom of the hill he unrolled the tapestry, marvelling at the smoothness of the fabric and the gossamer embroidery which proclaimed across the top ‘THE NOBLE HOUSE OF BLACK. A thin line joined him to his wife, and upwards to his parents, his sister, but beyond there was vast empty space.
Black changed his mind and spun himself home, suddenly acutely aware that he was in need of an heir.