Hufflepuff were never known for their stellar quidditch skills. Their team was thought to be too unorganised, not focused enough, a mess. But that all changed when you discovered your uncanny skills as seeker and joined the team during your fifth year at Hogwarts.
You’d been messing around with some friends by the lake, enjoying the sun and cramming in some revision. One thing led to another and you ended up being dared to try to ride a broom, instantly discovering a new talent.
You could ride a broomstick, and you were darn good at it.
Come sixth year, you’d tried out for the team an instantly got on, replacing the past seeker and taking your new position as a pivotal part of Hufflepuff’s team. The streak of bad luck passed, your contribution going rewarded as you helped to win many matches for your team over the year.
Fast forward another year and you’re in your seventh year. Having been appointed captain by your teammates you’d set up a vigorous training regime to ensure you won the championship.
Everything was looking up until Ravenclaw, fellow house and quidditch rivals, decided to bring out their secret weapon.
A/N: Happy USUK Secret Santa, @magikatfish! I am your Secret Santa! I enjoyed all three of your prompts quite a bit, particularly the last two. So here you go! A Cardverse!AU set in the world of Pottertalia!
Summary: Enter the world of witchcraft and wizardry, of fabulous spells and high-flying broomsticks. Where Kings and Queens rule each House and Jacks represent. Follow the seven year journey of Alfred F. Jones, Quidditch player extraordinaire and once and future King of Spades. But of course, what is a King to the gods without his Queen?
They called the place the World Academy of Magic and Sorcery, whispered to be the foremost school of witches and wizards in the world. It was said that this legendary school, with its soaring ceilings and dark halls, stood even above Hogwarts in terms of prestige and might. This school only housed a single witch or wizard from any country in the world at any given time, and even then, it was if and only if that country could produce a witch or wizard whose skill was more than beyond those who would one day be among the millions of students who would one day walk through the halls of Hogwarts. To receive an acceptance letter from the World Academy of Magic and Sorcery was to receive destiny itself; its students, few in number though they were, were destined to become legends, the sort of great wizarding heroes whose songs would be echoed all throughout the world for eternity.
You might know it as 料羅灣海戰. No? Maybe Liàoluó Wān Hǎizhàn.
So back in the beginning of the 17th Century it was customary for a trading company to be set up only for the duration of a single voyage and to be liquidated upon the return of the fleet. Investment in these expeditions was a very high-risk venture: pirates, disease, and shipwrecks all had a nasty habit of ruining the bottom-line. But throw in the ever fluctuating prices in the spice market and if you did manage to haul some goodies back from Asia there was no guarantee of profit.
The solution was to form a cartel, control supply, and fix prices. The English - being devious little bastards - did this first, which put their competitors - the Dutch - in a bit of a pickle, because now they faced the very real possibility of ruin. So they did the right thing: they formed their very own cartel as well: the “Dutch East India Company.”
It was granted a monopoly over Asian trade, but also permitted it to build forts, maintain armies, and conclude treaties with Asian rulers. And just to give you an idea about how significant these guys were going to get: they were the first multinational company, the first to issue stock, had quasi-government powers, had the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiated treaties, coined money, and established colonies. They’d totally fit in a Shadowrun environment.
They ended up eclipsing the rest of Europe for manpower and ships in Asia, and netted millions of tons of trade goods, and they did so at the end of a pike, because if you didn’t fit into their bottom line or somehow boost the numbers in their Excel sheet, they’d pretty much curbstomp you until PROFIT! exploded from your skull.
In 1619 Jan Pieterszoon Coen was appointed Governor-General of the East India Company, and he had a vision that they could become pretty damn powerful in Asia: not just economically, but also politically. Which kinda sounds like the crap we have to put up with today, doesn’t it? The first move was the send 19 ships to Jayakarta and drive out the resident Banten forces there. ‘Cos that’s what mercantile companies do. Then while still sifting through the ashes they established their headquarters there and for the rest of the year starved to death or outright killed the native population. Because: PLANTATIONS!
Trade in the area bloomed under Coen’s guidance: silver and copper from Japan were used to trade with India and China for silk, cotton, porcelain, and textiles. These were traded within Asia for much coveted spices or simply brought back to Europe. Business was good and - on a day when maybe Coen was feeling less aggressive - a peaceful trading post was set up on an artificial island off the coast of Nagasaki, thus being the only place for 200 years where Europeans could trade with Japan.
But there was one market that was proving to be a tough nut to crack: China.
Now there had been a little trade going on as the Ming Dynasty had started to relax its policy of banning maritime trade. But that being said, the companies hold of the area was minimal and trading was far lighter than Coen would like. Additionally the Ming had really let their navy go, so piracy was rife. The East India’s man on the spot was the governor of Taiwan, Hans Putmans. Putmans decided to try and leverage favor from the Ming by helping in their anti-piracy efforts, believing that the Chinese admiral Zheng could help out by putting in a good word. He couldn’t, but he didn’t actually mention that when he accepted Hans’ help. Pissed off that he had thrown his weight in on the struggle only to get nothing out of it, Hans did what any governor would do: he attacked the Zheng’s base by surprise and elbowed it into the ground, sinking every single spanking new ship.
Which is probably not the smoothest of diplomatic negotiations.
The Dutch started to sail around the area like they owned the place, I’m talking Scumbag Steve stuff here; they pillaged at will, captured villages, and generally behaved like obnoxious tourists. Putman - amazingly - believed that this would get the Chinese to agree to trading with him, rather than … oohh … getting pissed off and attacking him. I’m still not quite sure *how* Putman came to this particular strategy for encouraging trade, but there we go.
What it *DID* do was to unite Chinese political enemies together and cause them to start planning a counter attack. And honestly who can blame them?
Zheng rebuilt his fleet: 50 large junks. But not the type of junk you’re thinking of here, I’m talking European style: bristling with cannon, reinforced gun decks, and side-firing ports. In fact Putman himself would later comment “Never before in this land so far as anyone can remember, has anyone seen a fleet like this, with such beautiful, huge, well-armed junks.” Zheng also got the local villagers to help out after offering a few coins and crammed them onto 100 small fireboats, and fireboats are always fun in naval warfare. Each fireboat was offered a reward: set fire to a Dutch ship, you’ll get 200 silver. Come back with a Dutch head, you’ll get 50 silver.
Talk about motivation.
The Dutch had 8 warships and 50 pirate junks and on October 22nd 1633 the two sides met. Zheng ordered his guys to ignore the pirates on the Dutch side and instead concentrate on the warships, and - understanding that he really couldn’t win in a cannon fight - he planned on using his fireships to do the heavy lifting.
The Dutch at the time the two sides met hadn’t even raised anchor and because they didn’t expect the large junks to come straight at them while shouting “come and have some, you bugger!” they didn’t have time to actually move and get out of the way. Fire ships started running amok - the sailors onboard jumping just before impact - and three warships were sunk.
Hans decided it was time to get out of town; negotiations were going badly.
Ming officials hailed the victory as a “miracle at sea” and it reestablished them as the authority in the Taiwan Strait.
Putman - of course - got into heaps of trouble.
His bosses basically just said “you better stay out of that area, just in case our ships get damaged.” And that was it. He quit his pirate activities, suddenly realizing that it wasn’t working the way he wanted it to.
Ironically, Zheng earned himself much prestige and power on his return to China. SO much so in fact that he ousted his former boss, took control, and granted the Dutch trade rights. He then went on to become one of the richest men in China with - and get this - an annual income estimated at three to four times that of the whole Dutch East India Company.
“The Baker shot of Operation Crossroads, Bikini Atoll, July 25, 1946. A navy fireboat washes down the battleship New York with seawater, to reduce radioactive contamination after the base surge passed over it.”