The email arrives a day after the letter.

It’s a simple welcome, followed by a link.  The email is from someone calling themselves “MBR”, but there is no other hint as to who sent it or how they know who to contact.

If you are a Muggle who follows that link, you’ll get a 504 error message.  This is a precaution, instituted early in the website’s genesis after an email was forwarded accidentally to a non-magical friend.  The creator would prefer to minimize the number of Memory Modifying Charms they have to perform.

If you are the proper recipient, you’ll arrive at website and feel a frisson of energy.  It’s nothing that can be explained by logic or reason, it’s simply there.  Push a little with that deep wellspring of magic inside you, and the website unfurls.

It’s a message board, simple and straightforward.  There are topic threads on where to get used books, what the Houses are really like, advice on classes to take after third year, career options for after Hogwarts.  There’s tips on how to jailbreak your iPhone to make it play music within the castle, candy reviews from Honeydukes and comparisons of the offerings from Zonko’s and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. 

All of those who receive the link to the website are Muggle-born.  They are children raised on the web, who think to go to Google before the library, who write with a word processor rather than a quill.  They are entering a world that is, in many ways, decades behind the one they were born into.  The message board was designed to ease that transition.

Whoever MBR is, there are hundreds of students who would like to thank them.

(Source: boardhost.com)

notyourexrotic  asked:

DUDE, THE THING ABOUT MAGIC AS ELECTRICITY. I've long felt that I have a greater affinity to technology than nature and have long been curious about technopaganism and the use of electricity as magic. Maybe there are modern-day wix who have figured out how to harness magic & electricity so that they don't combat each other but instead can enhance each other? Or they're sensitive to electrical fields but have learnt how to not get overwhelmed by them?


essayofthoughts and I were on a mad headcanon binge the other day and they came up with the idea, what if wands (in addition to helping weaker wix channel their magic better) were used as punishments to help extremely powerful wix contain their magic so that they didn’t accidentally end up causing too much damage etc with the great amount of magic they were channelling through them.




Happy Birthday, ppyajunebug!

June 16 - Darcy Lewis and Kate Bishop friendship fic, possibly with the prompt “the team will never be the same” for @ppyajunebug

Written by @ozhawkauthor

“Go here, Darcy. Do that, Darcy. Fetch this, Darcy,” Darcy grumbled to herself as she staggered up the last few steps. “Why the fuck can’t Clint just live in Avengers Tower like a normal superhero?” she groaned, getting her breath back. A fifth-floor walk-up in Bed-Stuy was pretty anonymous, though, she had to give Barton that. Though she was going to kill him for never answering his phone or his email. Maybe she’d just staple his phone to his arm guards. That could work.

Finally deciding that she had enough breath back to shout at Barton, Darcy pushed off the wall she’d been leaning on, resolving for the thousandth time that tomorrow was the day she’d go to the gym and start a proper exercise regime, and headed down to the end of the hall to apartment H, banging loudly on the door and yelling Clint’s name.

Keep reading

It started as tea in Neville’s cottage. 

Ron would drop by unexpectedly for a chat when he had been called in to discuss Rose’s latest exploits.  Neville was one of the only professors safe from her more elaborate pranks, given the fact that she’d known him since she was a child and she knew that he would go straight to her mum, rather than contacting Ron first.

Ron would collapse into an armchair and give a brief but hilarious recounting of what, exactly, Rose had done this time.  Sometimes he would leave directly afterwards.  But sometimes he would stay.

When he stayed, they would talk.  They would talk about the war and the year that their generation lost to fear and torture, the uncertainty they still felt about their children being in the castle that they saw be torn to rubble by the force of evil.  They would talk late into the night, tea growing cold and the fire burning down to ash, and the next morning the sky would seem a little brighter.

Soon, Ron started to bring Harry with him.  Harry brought an entirely different perspective to their late night reminiscences, and allowed them to speak of how the war had never left them.  How they still sometimes could barely stand to hold a wand, how certain noises could send them into a panic of fear, how there were days where going into the world seemed simply impossible.

These talks were not spoken of outside the safety of the cottage.  Before long, others began to join. Dennis and Lee, Seamus and Dean, Ginny and Luna, other students who they barely knew during their time at Hogwarts would all gather and speak of that which they never talked of before.  There were tears and choked voices, some who could barely speak and some who spoke too much.  Everyone had their burden to bear, their invisible scars that marked their soul.  They were all survivors of a war that sometimes felt all but forgotten by those who had not fought it.

But they had each other.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, when we take time to remember and honor the sacrifice that those who serve in our military have made for us.  This piece is inspired by that gift.

There were not many books allowed in the Black household.  While the girls were certainly raised reading about the family history and the accomplishments of the great pureblood wizards of the past, popular books were not allowed to cross the threshold.  Druella worried about the influence that too much reading would have on her daughters’ future prospects, and certainly they should only read the Right Books.  None of this romance nonsense and certainly never, ever a book by a Muggle author.


How the mythology book ended up in the Black library, Andromeda did not know.  Possibly her mother had purchased it to ensure that the constellations she had chosen had suitable backstories.  She never asked, for to ask would be to have her mother question why she was reading it, and then she would lose it forever.


She lost herself in those myths.  In the tales of heroes and gods, of villains and creatures, and especially in the tales of the nymphs.  These women were free, free to pursue music and dance and lovers as they chose.  They were immortal, desired by men and gods alike, forever beautiful and young and an integral part of the world around them.  Andromeda would imagine herself in their place, guarding an twisted old tree or a hidden grove, luring handsome passersby to stay with her a while and bidding them farewell with a mournful song. 


She read the book until it fell to pieces.  She never dared to replace it, fearful that her mother would catch her sneaking it into the house and watch her even more carefully than she already did.  But she never forgot her nymph dreams, and when she had her own daughter, she gave her a name she hoped would give her the best chance at a free and beautiful life.


If only her own Nymphadora had been as immortal as those of her childhood.

A wizard says “Words are magic.”


A Muggle says “Words have magic.”


Who speaks the truth?


A wizard uses his words to transform matter, manipulate the mind, alter reality.


A Muggle uses his word to touch the soul.


A wizard says “The wand is stronger than the quill.”


A Muggle says “The pen is mightier than the sword.”


A wizard learns from Merlin, Agrippa, Circe, Morgana.


A Muggle takes his lessons from Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Austen.


Words can slow time and speed fate.  Words can topple mountains and heal wounds.


Words are magic.  Words have magic. 


Who speaks the truth?

On her wedding day, Bellatrix wished for nothing more than to be alone.

She wanted the guests to flee from the hall, for her family to slip away from her side, for her groom to leave quietly and never come back.

She stood and pledged herself to Rodolphus, wishing that it was another, greater man beside her.

And if not him, then no one.


On her wedding day, Narcissa felt totally and utterly alone.

Her mother fussed over her silver-trimmed robes, her aunt fastened the pearl choker that encircled her neck, her cousins giggled and gossiped and filled the room with useless noise.

But her sisters were not there.  The two people she needed and wanted most in the world and they were not there.

She said the vows, thanked the guests, smiled at the speeches and joined the dances.  She surrounded herself with friends and family and acquaintances and unknown but vaguely important guests.

There might as well have been no one.


On her wedding day, Andromeda was alone.

Well, not totally.  Ted had a large and boisterous family.  They were all unspeakably pleased to meet her, something that they made clear with booming voices and raucous laughter.  Ted had childhood friends who clapped him on the back and neighbors who kissed them both on the cheek and Hogwarts classmates who traded inside jokes and memories and who smiled at her politely and warily.

Andromeda sent no invitations.  She had no attendants, no one to button her dress or place her veil or fix her makeup.

Andromeda had no one except Ted.  And her love for him.

It would have to be enough.

There are few British Muggle artists as widely known as J.M.W. Turner.  Today, he is primarily known for his exquisite and detailed landscapes, most with only a solitary figure or two.  He is thought only to have painted a small number of portraits.  While many simply believe he did not care to paint them, he in fact left a condition in his will that they be destroyed upon his death.  He never could figure out why the subjects kept moving after the paint had dried.

There once was a manor on a hill.  The manor had sprawling gardens and a sweeping terrace and was filled with fine art and elegant furniture and servants for every room.


There was also a girl.


This girl lived with her father, a wizard of old blood and high standing.  Her mother died when the girl was very young, and her father doted upon her.  She never wished for a single thing, not a doll or a book or new robes or shoes.  Her name was Ella.


When the girl was reaching school age her father began to dread the thought of his daughter going so far away.  So he employed a governess, one well-versed in all the classes his daughter would have attended at Hogwarts. 


The governess was not beautiful and she was of Muggle birth, but she was very, very clever.  It soon became apparent that the little girl’s father had fallen under the thrall of a love potion.  Before long, they were married, and the woman brought with her two daughters from her first marriage.


These daughters took after their mother in looks but sadly not in talent- they were both Squibs.  Ella at first tried to befriend them, but they refused to play the magical games she knew and snubbed her when she tried to join their Muggle ones.


Now, it is known that eventually a strong and powerful wizard can overcome a love potion if exposed to it at length.  After a year of marriage, it became apparent to Ella’s stepmother that her husband was beginning to fight the effects of her potion.  So she ensured that her final batch included a few special ingredients.


After her father’s funeral, Ella turned to her stepmother and sisters for comfort.  She found none.  She was stripped of her fine clothes and jewelry, forced into the servants cast-off clothes and set to work in the manor.  Her wand was locked away in her stepmother’s room and she was forced to clean every fireplace in the manor of ash and Floo residue.  Her sisters, now wearing her beautiful robes and living in her opulent bedroom, simply laughed and began to call her Cinders-Ella.

And Ella curled up on her cot in the cold, dark attic and cried.

~Part 1 of the Cinderella story as told to pureblood children

(Source: nohamahmoud.blogspot.com)

Neville’s office isn’t in the castle.  Well, there is technically a room assigned to him (third floor, fifth door on the right, mind the re-located portrait of Sir Cadogan).  But if you needed help with your Herbology assignment or were sent to see the Head of Gryffindor House about that parakeet you snuck into the fifth floor girl’s toilets, you would never find him there.

Neville had a small cottage near the greenhouses.  There had been some grumbling about its creation when Neville first started teaching, but it was hard to argue with the Minister’s favorite advisor who just happened to be a hero.  So the cottage was built and young Mr. Longbottom and his new wife moved onto the Hogwarts grounds.

There was a steady stream of students coming in and out of the little house during class breaks.  Some carried odd potted plants, some looks of guilt etched on their faces, and some simply dropped by to say hello.  The windows had bright curtains and the chimney always cheerfully puffed smoke.  It was hard not to feel welcomed by the cozy exterior.

Things were different after night fell.  Students still weren’t allowed to wander the grounds at night, but everyone turned a blind eye to those who knocked on the cottage door under cover of darkness.  These students carried no gifts and bore no cheery smiles.  Their faces were tear-stained or bruised or fearful.  They were hunched over, trying to make themselves as small as possible.  They knocked on the door with shaking hands and trembling lips. 

When they entered they would find a crackling fire, a squashy armchair, some of Hannah Longbottom’s famous ginger biscuits and a steaming cup of tea.  And they would find Professor Longbottom, smiling kindly.  He heard stories of homesickness, of bullies and taunts, of fears and failures.  He dried tears and patted backs.  And most importantly, he listened.  

He might quietly find a bully and intervene.  He might Apparate from the Three Broomsticks to the nearest Muggle town and place a call to a concerned parent.  He might consult with Madam Pomfrey on the best way to help manage the anxieties of an overwhelmed fifth year.  He might simply sit and give a firm and thoughtful piece of advice.  But this is not why students came to Professor Longbottom’s house when life was bleak and Hogwarts was too much to bear.

They came because he had once, so many years ago, been like them.  And because they, unlike him, would never have to be alone.

(written and submitted by ppyajunebug. This is another very sweet submission from this author. ppyajunebug’s wizarding world always feels like ultimately a good place, where wrongs are righted and people do kind things. It’s an inviting, pleasant look at canon; thank you, ppyajunebug!)

The Muggle Studies classroom is always locked. In fact, there are few rooms in the castle with as much magical protection. There’s a special password needed to enter that’s distributed carefully to the year’s students on the first day of classes. They are sworn to secrecy and, to date, no one has broken that trust.

There’s more to this security than just fear of vandalism, though there has been that. Charity Burbage spent more than her fair share of time scrubbing nasty messages off her office door when she first started teaching. For a while it was a point of pride that she used her own effort to remove the hateful words. Then came the morning when she fell asleep next to a bucket of soapy water and was nearly late for her first lesson of the day. After that, she cast a Repelling Charm on her office and tried not to feel guilty about it.

The real reason for the layers of charms wrapped around the classroom is what goes on after hours.  If you were to stroll by on any given night. you may see a tearful first year or a stressed out fifth year or even a cool and confident prefect strolling up to the door.  You’d see them execute a complex set of wand patterns, whisper a word, and look around furtively before they enter. 

If you were to follow them in (and I would not suggest this, for the room has its own way of dealing with intruders), you’d see students of all Houses and years, talking and studying and reading. But you may miss what they have in common: they’re all Muggle born. This classroom is the after-hours refuge of those who feel as if they don’t belong, those who find themselves trapped between the magical and the mundane, their parents and their classmates. Here there are shelves of magazines whose covers don’t move; there are stacks of textbooks on science and math, heavy tomes of Shakespeare and thin volumes of poetry.

In the corner you may see Justin Finch-Fletchley studying for his A-levels. He had promised his mum that he would at least try for them, even if he wasn’t sure he would ever leave the magical world. Sometimes Hermione Granger joins him, and they teach each other calculus and world history and pore over the periodic table. 

By the fireplace you could find that tearful first year sitting with the calm prefect, their heads bent close. You might hear the first year pour out his heart, outline his fears, confess his insecurities. The prefect could respond in kind, admitting to the knot of confusion that lies underneath her placid exterior. They might then take out their wands and practice a spell, or pull out a child’s fairy tale collection and read aloud.

If you were a Muggle-born, this might be your sanctuary. It might be the place you miss most when you go home for the summer and try to fit your square peg into a world of round holes. It might be what you defend at the Battle of Hogwarts, fighting for your right to be confused and not fit in. It might be why you come back as the new Muggle Studies professor, why you create an after-hours class to help others get their A-levels and apply to university.

But then again, it might be just another classroom.

(written and submitted by the lovely ppyajunebug. There’s a tremendous sweetness to this that I find very appealing, something comforting about knowing that the Muggle-borns have their own space. This blog often explores the horrifying and strange, but sometimes it’s nice to consider good things, as well.)  

Michael Finch-Fletchley did not go to Eton.

He had always known his father was odd, though no one ever actually told him that.  No one wanted to insult a Member of Parliament.  But Michael could hear their whispers, even when he was so far away that he could not see their faces clearly

Their grass was always too green, they said, and too perfectly cut.  The lawn never became a muddy mess when it rained for weeks without end.  No one ever came to clean the chimney or the gutters, no exterminator ever set mousetraps or bug bombs.  Their house was simply perfect.

They did not see what was inside.

Inside there were mirrors, mirrors everywhere.  Everywhere you went, your reflection followed you.  No corner was left hidden, no place not illuminated.  His parents had company over often, and no one ever commented on the oddness of the interior.  During these times, if Michael snuck out of bed to go to the loo or get a glass of water, the mirrors would seem to flicker in and out of existence, his face coming in and out of view as he crept through the unusually dark house.

He got the letter on a Saturday.  It was heavy, made of some kind of paper he had never seen before, and had his name and address written neatly in green ink on the front.  He showed it to his mother, who turned white and she handed it to his father, who turned whiter.

His father sat him down after dinner and told him the whole truth.  How there was another world hidden from view, a world of magic and dragons and a school high on a hill.  How he had chosen to go there and it had been the stuff of dreams and nightmares.  The friends he’d made and lost.  The power he’d felt run through his body when he cast his first spell.  The giant basilisk who turned him to stone, the death of his childhood hero, the years his family spent in the States outrunning the most evil wizard in generations.  Justin Finch-Fletchley held nothing back.  And he gave his son a choice.

Like father, like son.

(written and submitted by ppyajunebug. This is our final story post, and it seems fitting that it be a look at a minor character, one not explored so much in the text, moving on and making an interesting life for themselves. I’m very happy that ppyajunebug submitted it, and am pleased to announce that they are now running their own fic blog: flourishandblottsstories. Do go check it out. I can’t think of a better candidate for this, as ppyajunebug plainly loves the canon and handles it well. Oh, and they take submissions!)

If you go behind the Herbology greenhouses, down the gentle slope and away from the massive shadow of the castle, you may stumble across it. Then again, you may not. When the vegetables are just about ready to be harvested from the warm earth, the garden seems to fade into the landscape, unseen by all but the few who tend it.

Helga Hufflepuff was always the most practical of the Founders. It was she who started this garden and who laid the enchantments around it.  There are never maggots or aphids here; no fungus preys upon the tomatoes and no beetles make holes in the lettuce. They always seem to grow in quantities just right for the number of students at the castle; and during the Second World War, there was just enough extra to bring to the rationed families living in and around Hogsmeade.

The exact location of Helga’s garden has been passed down from Herbology professor to favored students for time immemorial. Most of these students are Hufflepuffs themselves, and very rarely is Herbology taught by someone other than these chosen few. Neville Longbottom was brought to the garden early in his second year, the first non-Hufflepuff in five generations to tend to it. He loved the garden more than he could put into words, and never breathed a word of it to his fellow Gryffindors. Even if he hadn’t been sworn to secrecy, he would have kept the spot sacred. No one could see him cry there. No one could hear the secrets he confessed to the carrots or the stories he told to the squash. And if Professor Sprout ever came by while he turned the soft earth and laid bare his heart, she let on.

Neville has been teaching for several years before he brings a student to the garden. Lorcan Scamander is the quiet twin, the one who remains still and pensive as Lysander bounces from scheme to thought to deed. Lorcan is a Ravenclaw, but Neville notices his gentle touch with the shrivelfigs, the way he seems to understand exactly how to handle the fanged geranium without being bitten. On the first day of Lorcan’s third year, Neville brings him out past the greenhouses, down a winding path and off to the left several paces. He speaks a word and the garden comes into being around them. The reverence and light in Lorcan’s eyes, so like his mother’s and Neville’s own, tells him that he made the right choice.

(written and submitted by ppyajunebug, this is wonderful on both worldbuilding and characterization fronts, is very very believable, and is beautifully written, besides. Thank you, ppyajunebug!)

There is a bench now under the beech tree by the lake. It appeared one day without any fanfare, as if it had been there always. And maybe it had been. No one in the castle seemed to recall a time before it had sat in the leafy shade.

On rainy days, birds perch on the back and shake the water from their wings. In the snow it becomes a home base for the lucky few who first claim it during snowball fights.  When the sun shines, students can be found spreading their books and papers across the seat, or eating lunch they hastily grabbed from the Great Hall, or simply lounging about and watching the giant squid swim laps.

No one ever looks any closer, except one. On an early spring morning, Teddy Lupin is walking back from the Quidditch pitch when he sees the dew sparkling on the back of the bench in an odd way. Leaning his broomstick against the arm, he sits down and takes a closer look.

There is a carving there. Two deer, a stag and a doe, are galloping alongside a large dog and an even larger wolf. At their heels is a small rat.  Teddy knows the meaning of this engraving. He knows who put it here. And he cries as he hasn’t since he was a small boy, since his grandmother first told him the story of his parents and their best friends. 

When his tears have run out, Teddy picks up his broom and hurries towards his room in Gryffindor Tower. It has been a long time since he’s written a letter to his godfather, and he suddenly has a lot to say.

(written and submitted by ppyajunebug. ppyajunebug has a distinct and powerful voice. Simple, not overly-sentimental, but always, in the end, moving. Cutting right to the core. The kindness they reserve for the characters, and their clever, honest way of presenting it, delight me every single time they submit.)

ppyajunebug  asked:

What are your feelings on Christmas carols?

Little Drummer Boy fucking rules

otherwise, meh? I have ~very complicated feelings~ about Christmas. LET’S TALK ABOUT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND NOG AND HOT CHOCOLATE WITH MINT IN IT INSTEAD. oh god i might get to pick a tree out this weekend for the first time IN OVER A DECADE


Tagged by: The Swimming Potato Alchemist


Rule 1: Post the rules
Rule 2: Answer the questions the tagger asked you then make 11 new ones.
Rule 3: Tag 11 people and link them to your post
Rule 4: Let them know you have tagged them

Arachne answers the Swimming Potato Alchemist

1. If you could have any fictional character as your actual real life best friend who would it be?

I thought about this for a while, and my conclusion is none of them. Not because I don’t like any of them (some of them I like quite a bit) but because I don’t know if I’m suited to have friends, much less best friends. 

2. So a portal to another universe opens in your backyard (if you don’t have a backyard… just pretend you do) and a mysterious stranger hops out of it and invites you to journey to his world (which he promises is a wonderful and peaceful place, but on the other hand you only just met him and have no reason to trust him) with the caveat that it’s a one-way trip. You can never come back. Would you accept the invitation and take your chances or stick with the life you know?

I would stick with my current position. I’ve learned what happens when I take the “wonderful and peaceful” position, which is to say, it never is so wonderful or peaceful. 

If, on the other hand, the stranger had said, “And there will be many problems to solve, problems that I feel fit your skills and knowledge like hand in glove,” I would be so there. 

3. To make up for the length of the previous question: cats or dogs?

KITTIES! >^_^<

4. If you could get any musical artist to record a soundtrack of your life, who would it be?

Definitely the Within Temptation folks. 

5. If someone offered you a million dollars but you had to wear a very silly hat every day for the next 10 years (like a hat that looks like a cheeseburger or the planet earth or something) would you take it?

HELL YES. I am currently hatless, and miss having a hat.

6. Harpoon hammer: awesome or ridiculous?

Well. I’d have to see its DPS first. 

7. Who is the most attractive person you can think of? 

I can’t think of anybody. It’s hard for me to remember people (especially when I’m tired, which I am right now, heh, oops). 

8. You’re having the best meal of your life? What is it?

DF/GF foods with no chickpeas and no guar gum! In particular, mac & cheese, dumplings of ALL KINDS, I mean, like chicken dumplings in soup, to gyoza/potstickers, to chinese soup dumplings, to shumai, to perogies… I LUV DUMPLINGS YES. And to drink, ALL THE GREEN TEA I LIKE IN AS MUCH VARIETY AS POSSIBLE. Dessert: chocolate mousse and coconut ice cream. 

9. Rainy days: Yay or nay?


10. If you could gain the ability to shapeshift into any creature what would it be?

Lion. Definitely lion. 

11. And: You find yourself waking up in a field and suddenly a half-human/half-aardvark hybrid dressed up like Gandalf the grey and singing Queen’s “Somebody to Love” is chasing after a salamander/werewolf hybrid in a lumberjack outfit. Will you help the human/aardvark or the salamander/werewolf?

I would tell the humanaardvark to give up on the salamanderwolf because they are probably a serial killer looking to absolve themselves of their sins, and help the humanaardvark sign up for an OKCupid profile. 

Arachne’s Questions for the next people:

1. Garlic. y/n? 

2. Vampires. y/n/werewolves?

3. What’s the smallest fandom you are/were part of?

4. Halloween, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day? 

5. What are three of your favorite games? (Board or video)

6. Mario Kart or Laser Tag?

7. What kind of food or drink do you currently wish you could indulge in?

8. What is the first book you remember reading or being read to?

9. When in a restaurant, do you usually order a beverage or are you fine with the ice water?

10. If you were going to take long walks every day and could choose songs or a podcast to listen to, what would you choose for an example day?

11. Spiders: friends/foe?

ppyajunebug replied to your post: ppyajunebug replied to your post: So. You, me,…



Ooh, I found the article. Here’s what he says:

“In the first season we have this weird bromance between Will and Hannibal, season two is the nasty break up and the third season would have a fugitive angle to it.

“The fourth season would be Red Dragon, the fifth season would be in the realm of Silence Of The Lambs, the sixth season would be Hannibal.

“In the seventh season it would be interesting to see Will Graham and a Clarice Starling type character come together for an adventure with their nemesis, Hannibal Lector.”


Ella lived this way, a servant to her own family, for a year before she saw hope for escape.


She was serving her stepsisters breakfast when the envoy came.  He wore the uniform of the servants of the Minister.  Bowing to the butler, he handed him a thick piece of parchment and asked that it be delivered to the lady of the house.  Ella had only seen an envoy appear at the house once, when the Minister had requested her father’s presence at a dinner.  The fact that this mysterious letter had been brought by person rather than owl meant that this was a matter of utmost importance.


As her stepmother read the message at the table, her eyes begin to shine with delight.  “The Minister’s son has arrived home from his Grand Tour and has decided to seek a bride.  All eligible witches of good birth and breeding have been invited to attend a ball.  That includes you, my dears.”  Ella’s stepsisters dropped their silverware and began to clap with glee.  Reading further, their mother frowned. 


“The ball is in three days time!  Why, that’s hardly any notice!  We must go and purchase new dress robes and shoes, we must find ornaments for your hair and fans and jewelry…Ella!  Come here my child!”  Ella stepped cautiously forward.  “You must run and inform the robeswoman that we will be visiting her at once.  She must close her shop immediately and have all her seamstresses on standby.”  Ella pulled off her stained apron and hurried toward the door, but stopped before leaving the room.


“Stepmother…” she ventured cautiously.  Her stepmother glared at her.


“What is it?”


“May…may I go to the ball?  It says all witches of good birth…and my father…” Her voice trailed off and she gazed hopefully at her only remaining parent.  Her stepmother’s lips quirked into what may have once been a smile.


“If you do exactly as we say over these three days, and if you perform to my satisfaction then yes, you may attend the ball.”  Ella’s joy gave her feet wings as she rushed from the room to do as her stepmother bade her.


Ella barely slept over the three short days before the ball.  She dressed and undressed her sisters, fixed their hair into endless arrays of curls and braids, clasped bracelets around their wrists and necklaces around their throats.  While her family ate, she swept the house from top to bottom and scrubbed every floor until they gleamed with polish.  She collapsed into a fitful rest long after midnight and arose before the dawn to make her stepmother’s tea.


As Ella fastened the last clasp on her stepmother’s sumptuous robes, she stepped back.  “Stephmother” she ventured tentatively.  “The ball is in a few hours.  I’ve done all you’ve asked of me these past three days.  Please, oh please, might I come with you?” 


Her stepmother turned and gave her a cold, hard look.  “Look at yourself, Cinders-Ella.  Your face is covered in soot, your robes are torn and filthy, and your shoes are not fit to be seen in the scullery let alone the Minister’s mansion.  What makes you think I would ever allow you to humiliate us in such a public fashion?  Go back to your attic and don’t ask such a foolish thing ever again.” 


Ella fled.


She was curled on her cot, exhausted from her sobs, when she heard the carriage leave the house with her stepfamily.  The thought of three such unworthy persons gaining the attention of the Minister and his son brought Ella to tears again.  But before she could lose herself in grief, a loud crack echoed through the attic.  A plump witch with inky black hair and purple spangled robes now stood in the center of the tiny room.


“Merlin’s beard, I thought I would never break those wards.  Your stepmother is a dab hand with protection spells, but she never did know how to tie off the ends properly.  What your mother would say if she could see you in this state!  Ella my dear, you are a sorry sight.”


Ella was agape.  She had seen no one from outside the house since her father died, and now this loud woman was standing in her room and speaking to her as if they’d known each other all their lives.


“Excuse me Madame but…who exactly are you?”  The plump witch sighed and pulled her wand out from her pocket, polishing it vigorously with the corner of her robe.


“Why, I’m your godmother child.  Your mother and I were the same year at Hogwarts.  Now, would you like to go to the Minister’s ball or wouldn’t you?”

~Part 2 of the Cinderella story as told to pureblood children

(Source: Millicent Sowerby via Flickr)