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26 April 2013 @ 03:08 pm
Based on a Myth or Legend  
Many SSHG authors have been attracted to myths and legends and some fantastic stories have resulted from that attraction. We are lucky enough to have many very well-read people amongst our beloved SSHG authors. Join us this week as we explore how Severus and Hermione mesh with ancient myths and legends!

Want to give Hermione a run for her money in the know-it-all field? Simply play the quiz by commenting on this post with your answers at any time over the weekend. All comments with answers will be screened until the answer sheet is posted on Monday morning EDT. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!

Match the quotes to the story titles without picking the red herring titles:

The Devil in Devonshire by melisande88
On Earth as in Heaven by duniazade
Pygmalion by pigwidgeon37
Between the Stars by apollinav
Stained Glass Shards by sandlappershell
Teind by ianthe_waiting
Only Cruel Immortality by bluestocking79
Pomegranate Seeds by death_ofme
That Which Survives by Nymue
Etude de Magique by karelia
Samhain's Destiny by southernwitch69
Third Time by Thestral by drinkingcocoa

1. 20th September, 1995

When I woke up this morning, I thought it’d been a dream. But I realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t. The necklace is real, solid. And my sight really has become more than three-dimensional; I noticed it when I looked at Lavender—her entire head is filled with boys and make-up and making out. It’s so hard to believe, though. Meeting the Lady of the Lake. It was an incredible experience, although I’m a bit scared of the future now. Of course I knew there’d be a war, ever since Trelawney’s prediction and the events in the Shrieking Shack at the end of my third year, and last year’s happenings only proved the prediction correct. But to actually “know”.... I hope Professor Snape will survive intact.

Severus moved straight on to the next entry.

13th January, 1996

It’s been almost four months since I first met the Lady, and although it’s been tough at times to get away from Harry and Ron for the training she suggested, I’m so glad I consented. My newly found ability to see people as a whole, not just from one side, is, at times, overwhelming. I also find it enlightening. The Lady was right, of course, when she suggested I look at everyone, not just my friends, for I would gain insight that way. I’m learning. I don’t know if I’ll ever be worthy of being a priestess like the Lady suggested, whether I’ll manage to pass all the hurdles, but all I can do is try.

Severus drew a sharp breath. As far as he knew, the Lady of the Lake had not shown herself to anyone in decades; his own great aunt had been the last one known to make her acquaintance.

2. "A trade," he muttered. "I was the one who was to be the tithe. I will go willingly in the place of the woman and child, but you must swear that neither will come to harm and after this night be unmolested by the Fae."

The assembly seemed to consider collectively, but it was the figure that sat above on a white horse that Severus addressed.

The Queen of the Fairies was as ancient as the hills that hugged the road, and as fair as the moon, but under the luminous, enchanted façade; time had made the Queen hideous and callous. 'Why would I want your soul when I can have one as pure as new snow and as precious as diamonds?'

"No!" Hermione screamed with a force laced with innate magic, and Severus was startled by the power of her voice. Even so close to death, a mother's protective instinct was strong, and in the corner of his mind, Severus was reminded of another woman, a mother, who had died because of his mistakes.

The Fae, trooping males and females clad in ceremonial garb, seemed to twitter in laughter though their mouths did not move. They found the mortal woman's magic amusingly thin, but knew in their age, not to underestimate witches.

3. Lenio was in the back courtyard throwing maize to the chickens when she heard the swell of children's voices as they came running from the other end of the village, then saw Vassiliki (Kyria Vassiliki, as she insisted being called) coming out on the porch. It happened so rarely – Vassiliki was very fat and didn't like to get out from behind the counter – that Lenio couldn't help moving stealthily forward to peep from behind the corner of the shed.

There were two strangers speaking to the mistress, and if they were asking for hospitality, they were sadly deluded. Vassiliki wasn't known for her soft heart, but Lenio herself, had she been the mistress of the house, wouldn't have let them in. They were the worst sort of backpackers, not the shiny ones with the flowery shirts, who might be swindled out of a pack of green bills for a night in the infested back room above the shop. The man had a tattered dark canvas sack on his back, and the woman an even more outrageous small beaded bag. They couldn't have much in those: they'd ask for a drink of water, then for a free night in the barn, and then, having already been twice conceded to, they'd ask if perhaps they could have something to eat, and all for the love of God, of course. Afterwards, you'd find the hay all messed up and a few eggs, or, the saints forbid, even a chicken, missing.

4. He found and cleared a suitably flat rock before placing a boatman's coin atop it, and with a quick deep breath, Severus stuck the coin with the cane using great force. The boatman's coin vibration permeated far below the surface, deep within the mountain, shifting past layers of stone and water. Its signal travelled like an echo in a hollow cavern, passing endlessly through layers of time. Sleeping primordials were aroused and subterranean deities were bothered, as the natural state was shaken by the call.

Severus stood, apprehensively holding the shepherd's cane, one hand fiddling with a stoppered glass bottle.

Below surface, in a space unseen by science, a choice was made to honour the request. A fissure appeared beneath the damaged coin and Severus held his breath as the bit of silver slipped into the crevice. He let out his breath as water bubbled up.

Not knowing how long Styx would flow, Severus hastened to bottle her waters. As he stood over the spring, the ears of the Gods were listening for any wish spoken aloud. He had dropped a coin into a fountain and tradition would not be denied. Be careful what you wish for, the nymphs giggled.

Severus quietly concentrated on his task, filling one bottle. Then, seeing the spring might provide enough to fill another, produced a second bottle from his pocket.

Would he leave the waters without uttering a request? Fearful voices whispered in trees and murmured on breezes. A true wish had not been made in centuries.

5. Still, the snow was nearly a foot deep in his garden, despite the charm's efficacy. He was going to have to unmake the charm, because so much thawing snow meant his cellar floor was wet with the seeping ground water. Better the drifts than a flood. (Damn the leaky earthen cellar. Damn it to hell and back several times. He'd had to move his Potions ingredients to an upper floor.)

As dawn came, grey and drear and uninspiring, he noticed a string of footprints in the snow. Not up the path from the garden gate to the door. Over the garden itself up to the second window of Snape's living room. He moved to the other window and looked down into the snow. Odd little U-shaped marks, something like hoof prints, one in front of another in an unwavering line. Evenly spaced, too. They were not deep in the soft snow, as if whatever had made them was not heavy enough to sink far into the drifts. They were distinct, with no marks between, no ploughing feet or dragging tails.

Offhand, he could think of nothing that would have made them.

He didn't like the idea of something coming into his garden without his knowledge, but none of his telltales had woken him in the night. Which only meant that whatever had made the tracks was not detectable by the telltales, or had the means to circumvent them. The thought gave him pause.

Severus Snape bundled his dressing gown tighter,

6. Black eyes gleamed as brightly as the fire that crackled beside them but unlike the flames, his eyes gave off no warmth. To say that Hogwarts' elusive and slippery Potions Master was livid would not be quite apt -- after all, Potter and Black were nowhere to be found -- but he was dismayed. And more than a little unnerved, a feeling which manifested itself through anger.

"Honourable," he spat as he launched himself out of the chair by the staff room hearth. "She's my student!"

"Only for a few more weeks," Dumbledore pointed out. "And even so -- she is of age, there is no denying that."

Snape snorted.

"Come, Severus," he sighed. "The Rites of Beltane are an established ritual within our world and to be chosen to enact it is a great honour, one very few witches or wizards ever receive."

"And how is it that I and that insufferable know-it-all, out of all of Wizarding Britain, were chosen to partner each other?"

Albus Dumbledore twinkled behind his glasses. "You know as well as I that no one is quite sure how the Well of the Lake works, but if you'd like to debate a few theories -- "

Snape's scowl deepened. "How the last remaining relic of Avalon works isn't my concern, curious though I may be. For Merlin's sake, Albus, why? Why me? Why me with her? Why not choose another partner for her?"

Blue eyes, though still twinkling, narrowed shrewdly. "You do not contest why she was chosen, Severus? Only why you were selected?"

7. The Minister of Magic came in person to Hermione's office, reducing her awed assistant to stammers. He closed her office door and sealed it behind him.

"Ms. Granger," said Kingsley, "what am I going to do about you?" He opened up his arms and Hermione, with a small cry, folded herself into their warmth, remembering how it felt to be a girl, remembering a long-ago night when Kingsley Shacklebolt had enveloped her in his powerful arms and protected her life as if it had been Harry's, kept her safe on a thestral that flew them straight into terror.

Kingsley outlined Hermione's new duties as they took the lift down. She'd be with the Department of Mysteries, guarded under the highest security. For the duration of the project, she would travel only between work and home. No one outside the Department would speak to her without special permission.

They turned down a long, windowless corridor toward a plain black door at the end. They entered a circular room Hermione knew well, though she had been there only once before.

"What will I research?" she asked.

"You won't be doing the research. You are the research," he replied as they stopped at a solid door, a door with no handle, no hinges, no keyhole.

"Kept locked at all times," Kingsley explained. "You'll be safe here."

Memories surged, flooding Hermione with old dread: frightened children, the smell of blood, an icy flight on an invisible thestral, a knife melting like candle wax.

"But you hadn't lost anyone you loved yet then, Hermione," said Kingsley, as though she'd spoken aloud. "You'll know how to open it now."

8. Hermione knew that the grant money she lived off of was just charity now, and it was only a matter of time before the funding would be cut and Ministry officials would put a lockdown on her research. She was toeing the line over to the Dark Arts too frequently to easily escape notice.

Hermione was hoping that would all end with her latest finding; it was an ancient tome and a potion alluded to in several legends and Ancient Runes texts. It had taken her years to decode all the cryptic scripts and finally piece together enough information to discover the potion’s true functions and its recipe. It went under several names, the one she liked using being the Tartarus Draught. According to historic references it had only been brewed twice before, and never used. If it didn’t work for her now, she could honestly wash her hands of the whole affair and call it quits.

Funnily enough, it had actually been Dumbledore who had helped her find the defining text. It seemed as a young man he had been preoccupied with the self-same notions as she, and had done large amounts of research on the subject as well, keeping impeccable records. Hermione had found them in the Headmaster’s Office (another favour from Harry) and pored over them. Dumbledore had given up the search after becoming lost in all the mythologies and symbols used—most information was found in obscure folk tales, myths and fairy tales.. Picking up from where he had left off, Hermione discovered that the trick was in interpreting the ancient stories literally.

9. Due to years of practice, Hermione was able to completely tune out her husband’s voice whenever she wanted to, and his overlong speech provided ample occasion to use this skill. Years ago, she had used these moments for daydreaming, but by now she simply freed her mind of any thought and enjoyed the feeling of blissful emptiness. She knew that to everybody else her appearance would be one of perfect composure—after all, she couldn’t fall asleep while standing—and that she could count on the applause to give her the signal for returning to reality and its duties. And so, when the crowd began to buzz and move, the smile was again firmly plastered to her features and she was ready to begin the procedure of greeting and small talk.

After about half an hour, she felt so exhausted that her former reverie about the possibility of having a nervous breakdown had come dangerously close to becoming reality. Much as a part of her would have enjoyed simply giving in, she was so ensconced in the routine of clenching her teeth and going through with it that she resisted the urge to scream and smash glasses and merely allowed herself to steal away from her husband’s side and seek refuge in one of the smaller rooms that had not been opened to the guests. It was unlit, and Hermione did not bother to light the candles, preferring to stay in the half-darkness that was interrupted only by the slivers of moonlight tiptoeing in through the slightly opened curtains. As soon as she had closed the door, the noise from outside had been almost completely shut out, and now the silence surrounding her made the throbbing in her temples painfully evident.

10. It had been several generations now, since the last full gathering of the daughters of The Five and their Knight. Only in the direst of times was the Carn to be called. Only three times since it was hidden, had the dagger been summoned and used. Over the years, legends faded out of mind and into the mist. The Old Ways were no longer practiced the way they were intended, the call was being ignored. For years, those with the blood turned away from their purpose, and eventually there were none left who could even remember stories of the Five or the Vale or Carnwennan. Even when the Dark Lordling, Grindelwald rose, the call was not recognized and the Vale lay undisturbed and untouched. Now, darkness was again crawling over the earth, both in the mundane and magical worlds. This time, the evil was imbued with ancient, dark magic, an new incarnation of that originally destroyed by King Arthur and Carnwennan, and one strong enough to disturb the slumber of the Nimue.

Nimue, the Lady of the Lake and Guardian of the weapons of King Arthur, crossed the mists from the Isle of Avalon and called to the spirits of The Five and their Knight. In turn, the restlessness reached out through the bloodlines and reached the Daughters of the Elements. It was time; they were being summoned. Carnwennan was needed once more.

morethansirius: Unicorn in the forestmorethansirius on April 29th, 2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
Congrats, my little quizzling! You have aced the SSHG Quiz. That deserves a pretty Hogwarts banner to prove your quiz prowess.


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