watched the mighty wizards rise and fall like the tides. For a thousand years I
have walked the corridors of the castle I helped build. They come and go, the
children, and the castle shelters them and teaches them. They come here to
learn, they come here to fight, and they come here to die.
And still I
that any of them know me for myself. “The Bloody Baron,” they whisper,
and scurry by on the other side. I am a ghost, insubstantial, less than
nothing. I am my memories. I am a thousand years of history.
I keep away
from the main part of the castle most of the time. There are too many memories
to be found there. In the great hall, I see Godric
pushing his hair out of his eyes as he stands on a ladder, creating a painting
that would last for centuries, ever changing and yet still the same painting.
Rowena discusses magical philosophy with a group of her Ravenclaws
in the library. Helga runs up and down the corridors,
her hat slightly askew and her hair a mess, searching for a misplaced tool.
Around every corner another memory lingers.
ghosts are visible.
I lived in
my cellars, my cold, dark dungeons. I created my spells and charms – I was once
a master of charms – and I was silent. The last of the Hogwarts
Four. The Parselmouth. The Dark wizard who planned to
dominate the world.
bothered to correct them. True, I practised the Dark Arts, but I had no
ambitions to be any kind of Dark Lord. Dark Lords are too easily unseated, and
beneath every one are half a dozen ambitious underlings. The correct method of
promotion in Dark circles is to step into your superior’s shoes, having
previously emptied them of their occupant.
practised the Dark Arts because I wished to understand them. There are far
better ways of achieving immortality. I wished to be remembered as the greatest
of them all – the most powerful wizard of all time.
Give me charms to play with, and from them I will build new charms
that will make strong men tremble.
Avada Kedavra, for example. That was one of mine. A
masterpiece, I always thought –quick, clean, and painless. I advocated its use on criminals. Perhaps you
disagree, but I always felt that nothing any Dark Lord has done compares to the
imprisoning of petty criminals in a building full of ravenous Dementors. Then, there was the added benefit that only a
wizard of very great power could perform it, so those capable of casting the
curse could always be kept under strict control. Alas, it has been greatly
Avada Kedavra was the beginning of the argument, if a
beginning has to be chosen. Godric had never liked
me. He disagreed with my views on Mudbloods. I merely
pointed out the essential stupidity of making it known to Muggles, who had grown up without any education in proper magical
etiquette, that Hogwarts existed. Far more sensible
to simply keep a watch on them, and if necessary remove them. Muggles, I have
found, are rather similar to dogs. They may appear intelligent, but they have a
tendency to make mistakes at crucial moments. To let loose one with mixed blood
on the world is as bad as releasing a rabid dog in a hospital. I could name
several people of mixed blood who committed truly horrendous crimes – Elizabeth
the First of England, for example, who created storms that sank an entire fleet
of ships with their crews when the Spanish Armada invaded Britain.
of course, was a sentimental fool about all this. He thought that if a wizard
had any pure blood it would somehow nullify the Muggle taint. Current thinking, of course, states that
he didn’t care about the taint, which only proves that people rewrite history
for their own consumption. Godric was a noble, and
very class-conscious. I will not tell you some of the things he did to Muggles
who strayed on to the Hogwarts grounds in the early days. Everyone needs their
But then, Godric was a sentimental fool about many things. He
disliked Avada Kedavra
because it ‘gave people too much power’. Instant, unstoppable death – was this
in any way worse than the Mortis Cruciatus,
the Council’s favourite method of execution at the time? You died slowly and painfully, and most
Councillors combined it with a Wakefulness Charm, which meant that you were
unable to lose consciousness even when the pain reached horrendous levels.
It is odd
how many things have been done in the name of good, which even the most
depraved of Dark Lords would balk at.
accused me of crimes too numerous to write here. He blamed me for everything
that went wrong in the school. The fool could not see that sheer bluster and
bellowing could not replace actual wisdom when attempting to co-ordinate so
many young people.
quarrels disturbed Helga and Rowena. Rowena dealt
with it in the manner of all the
well-born, by not dealing with it; she went and hid in the library. Helga tried – and failed – to be a peacemaker. It was
because of Helga that Godric
and I agreed to keep our quarrels secret. Neither of us wanted to hurt her. Godric was in love with her. You might say that I was too,
in a way. Helga was a very rare person.
agreed to fight it out-one final duel on All Hallows Eve, in the Hogwarts Forest. I suspected that Godric
had some foul play planned before the duel began, so I created a legacy, in
case any should ever come to Hogwarts fit to continue
my work. I filled a room, accessible only to a Parselmouth,
with all my scrolls, books and equipment, and set a Basilisk to guard it.
Perhaps this was a little extreme, but some of my work could be extremely dangerous
in the wrong hands. I also sent an owl to my eldest son, carrying a scroll with
the password to my Chamber of Secrets on it. Sigmund, alas, was not a Parselmouth, but he would pass the secret down and
eventually someone worthy of the title of my heir would find it.
much later – I realised how stupid I had been to let anyone at all know the
secret. Better by far that all my work had perished with me.
in hooded robes that would hide my face and stop Godric
from learning anything about my next move that way. When I entered the clearing
at the heart of the Forest, Godric was waiting for
me. He had gone for the grand look, in ridiculous golden plate armour and a red
velvet cloak. Pointless. There were only the trees to see.
We did not
bother with any of the conventions of duelling – this was no game. We did not
use children’s curses either. We used Dark curses, which I shall not describe
here. Many of them have now been forgotten, and it would be better if it
remained that way.
and I were evenly matched. He had more raw power than I, but he never bothered
with the finesse that would have given him a quick victory. I had studied far
more than he had and knew and knew a great many more curses, and far more
defensive charms. Godric always relied on the sheer
muscle of his attacks to protect himself, never bothering with shields.
continued to fire curses at one another for several hours. I thought I was
winning. Godric was beginning to use less power. He
seemed demoralised and without any kind of strategy. Eventually, I managed to
disarm him and bring him to his knees.
agreed on a fight to the death. I stepped forward to cast Avada
Kedavra. I remember that his golden plate armour
shone in the light from the end of my wand. I hesitated before I killed him.
without warning, he jumped to his feet and barrelled into me. He was a great
deal bigger than I, so I was unable to defend myself, and too shocked to use my
wand. As I regained my sense and began to speak the words of the Killing Curse,
he grabbed his wand from my hand and performed a single charm, the simplest.
a huge white shape that glimmered in the moonlight coming pounding through the
trees and skidding to a halt in front of me. I remember finishing saying the
curse and watching in horror as the green light sped towards the beautiful
To kill a
unicorn is to destroy purity. To kill a unicorn is to destroy yourself.
smiled at me as he raised his wand and said the words, “Mortis Crucio.”
against the side of the unicorn I had killed, and watched as my blood spread
out over the glorious white body in dark red puddles and soaked into my robes.
The pain was unbearable. I felt as though my blood had turned to hot lead
inside my veins. Godric’s smile seemed to be coming
from a great distance, through a thick mist.
woke, still in my bloodstained robes, I watched from the shadows as Godric told Helga and Rowena that
I had fled the country.
And here I
years have passed as I watched from the sidelines. In a way, I have achieved a
kind of immortality. It is the immortality of death. The students come, the
students go, and I am still here. The history of these stones is my history.
I am the
Bloody Baron – the nameless ghost of the Slytherin Dungeons.
But once, I
was Salazar Slytherin.