The next morning, everyone was up early, chattering excitedly as they made their way to the Great Hall. To their surprise, it had been transformed. In place of the teachers high table was a dais, upon which four elaborate, yet empty thrones sat. The banners of the four Houses were gone, as were the individual tables. Instead, an assortment of pillows and blankets covered the floor, of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
King Arthur stood in the middle of the dais, his throne the largest and gilded in the familiar warm gold and blood red of Gryffindor. His crest, however, was that of a dragon, wings high and spread in flight. He watched the students and teachers approach, his sapphire blue eyes cool with an assessing gaze. He was dressed as he had been the day before, in chainmail of old, leather belt, gauntlets on his arms, leather leggings, and well worn leather boots. A rich red cloak hung from his shoulders; a band of beaten gold adorned his head, and a sword, simple but for the larger garnet in the handle, hung off of his hip. This was the warrior, the once and future King of Albion. His power was palatable, and the air hummed with it.
To his left was Queen Guinevere, her smile welcoming and warm. If Arthur was the warrior then she was the noble, resplendent in a deep royal purple gown that glittered with an overlay of crystals. Her rich chocolate curls fell loose down her back, adorned only by a delicate gold crown of filigree lace. Her throne and crest, surprisingly, were that of a wolf, silhouetted against a full moon, her colors the dark blue and bronze of Ravenclaw House.
To her right, the Lady Morgana stood proudly, pale green eyes sharp. They narrowed slightly at Dumbledore’s appearance, and her chin lifted slightly in challenge. He avoided her gaze. She was dressed in a simple deep green gown of rich velvet, her only choice of jewelry was a necklace shaped like a serpent coiled around her neck, silver chips for eyes glittering in the candlelight. Her was also that of a serpent, like Slytherin, but one coiled and winged, like a wyvern rather than a mere reptile.
To King Arthur’s right stood Merlin Emrys. At first glance, he faded into the background. Plain. unassuming. Dressed more as a servant instead of the most powerful and well known wizard of the magical world, he wore a simple tunic of cobalt blue, open at the neck and held by a simple leather belt. A ragged red handkerchief was tied around his neck, sturdy boots covered his feet. Unlike the others, whose crests echoed the color schemes of the Houses, Merlin’s was not yellow and black for Hufflepuff, but rather silver and gold. His crest was of a winged creature in flight, a sun in glory directly above it.
At the base of the dais stairs was a table, though this one round in shape. There were chairs there, exactly twelve of them. At what would be the four points of the table were slightly larger chairs, each marked with a traditional Hogwarts House crest.
“Will the following people please be seated at the table.” Arthur said. “The Four Heads of House: Minerva McGonagall. Severus Snape. Filius Flitwick. Pompra Sprout.”
The four teachers moved to sit, each choosing to sit in front of their own House crest without prompting.
“And the following students: Harry Potter. Hermione Granger. Draco Malfoy. Daphne Greengrass. Penelope Clearwater. Padma Patil.”
There was a quiet murmur as the two female students glanced at each other and moved through the crowd, taking a seat on either side of Professor Flitwick.
“Cedric Diggory. Susan Bones.”
Glancing around, Harry noticed with a pang that there was not a seat at the table for Dumbledore, though he hovered just behind McGonagall’s shoulder.
“Albus Dumbledore.” Lady Morgana curled her lip. “This no longer concerns you directly. “You may sit with the others and observe quietly, or you may leave. Rest assured that no one will know about this ,including your nemesis. It would take stronger magic than you or Voldemort posses to override my wards.”
“Begone!” She thundered, the enchanted ceiling rumbling with her words.
“Morgana.” Arthur chided mildly.
“Don’t take that tone with me, Arthur Pendragon! That meddling old fool has singlehandedly undone over three centuries worth of work!”
“Like a meddling old dragon…or a former king.” Merlin mused idly.
Arthur glared at him.
“You twelve are seated at this table as representatives of your Houses, blood, and magic.” Guinevere once more took up the thread, ignoring the byplay of her companions. “Pureblood. Half blood. Muggle born. Witch. Wizard. Other. Maiden. Mother. Crone. It will be up to you to remember and tell this story to the others, as you may. Hear then, the true History of Magic.”
Arthur took over, his voice dropping into the song like cadence of a storyteller of old. “I am, to use your terminology, a half blood, despite my royal linage. I was born of magic, but am not myself magical. Merlin is magic. He is a warlock, not a wizard. his powers are so great that if he doesn’t practice magic, he becomes a danger to himself and others. Merlin is an anomaly, one extreme side of a spectrum. Guinevere is the the other end, possessing no magic except that granted by nature, with a natural keen mind and healing talent.”
Merlin floated two pieces of parchment to the table. “Everyone has an affinity for magic. But the problem lies in your definition of what is magic, not who has more of it.” He transfigured a piece of parchment into a rose with a wave of his hand, then looked at Penelope. “Can you do that?”
She did, after a moment of furrowed concentration, followed by Professor McGonagall. When they were finished, Guinevere held up the fourth piece of parchment and smiled triumphantly at her paper rose, just as perfect as the others.
“You see? Same trick, different methods. We fly on brooms, which only carry one or maybe two people at most. Muggles created airplanes, which can carry sixty to a hundred people through the sky at once. I was born of magic, but I am not magical myself. Yet my children, and their children, carry that potential. Do you know why?”
“Because,” Merlin answered quietly. “You are the symbol of an allegience between two peoples – magicals, and non. Your mother, High Queen Igraine, was a Daughter of the Old Religion. Her sister Nimue was Lady of the Lake, High Priestess of Avalon. Your father, King Uther Pendragon, was a warrior of ancient royal blood, though non magical. Uther drove out the Saxons and united the Five Kingdoms, including Albion. Because of this, Avalon offered Igraine to be his bride. Their child – you – was to be raised of dual faith, magic and non, to further merge the worlds. Instead…”
“Instead, Igraine died in childbirth, an unknowing sacrifice to Uther and Nimue’s meddling. Uther, mere mortal that he was, grieved and craved revenge over something he could not comprehend. And because of that, magic wielders bore the brunt of his anger and blame.”
“There was more to that bargain than we ever knew.” Merlin murmured. “it was three fold. A pure magical child, born to a dragon lord and his mortal, non magical wife.
Another, born to two magical parents – the Lady of the Lake, and Igraine’s brother, Tristan, who was a Druid.
And you, Arthur. A child with potential for magic in his veins, depsite non magical parents.”
Merlin paused, his gaze travelling over each person at the table. “The non magical – muggleborn – becomes the High King. The halfblood, the most powerful warlock in the world. And the ‘pureblood’ witch is the balance in between, related to both sides.”