And here is where it gets naaaaaaasty.
This week the brawlers set the prompts for each other. And, wow, what a merciless trio you are!
So, lovely voters, when you vote will you please take into account not only SPaG, characterisation and the drabble content, but also how well you think the brawler dealt with the actual prompt.
Also, you need to pick 2 favourite drabbles and 2 least favourite.
Hope that makes sense.
Read and vote
I will close this on Thursday 16th August at 8PM BST
Title: Had He Done Good Toward God and Toward his House?
Warnings/Ratings: 1st-2nd, character death
During the Battle of Hogwarts we know what the Order and Hogwarts are fighting for, but much less about the motives of individual Death Eaters or their allies. And who said they were the ‘bad guys’ anyway? Tell us the story of a member of Voldemort’s side before and/or during the BoH: why and how they came to be there, and what they are fighting for. Make us feel empathy for our ‘hero’.
Word Count: 499
A/N: I didn’t create Harry Potter or the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The Death Eaters were originally called the Knights of Walpurgis according to JK.
He is fighting a mere slip of a girl. She could be his granddaughter. (He will never have grandchildren, his only son was murdered in the last war.) She’s too young for this hell.
He knocks her against a wall, but she gets up, head bleeding. He tightens his grip on his wand. He has to remember what this is for.
Never go out alone. If they hurt you, we are powerless. We’re not allowed to defend ourselves from them. The Statute of Secrecy takes precedent over our safety.
He tries to disarm her, but she blocks him. Her blonde hair reminds him of someone else.
Ariana... his father’s voice broke as tears poured down his face. They’re less than us, but they destroyed her. She could never use her magic again. They outbreed us. They rule over us. Not through skill but with numbers.
(He never actually met Ariana. She had died before he was born, but he feels like he knows her anyway. She hangs over him, a bleak reminder of their place in the world.)
He blocks the girl’s spells. She hasn’t known fear like he has.
In their ignorance they are allowed to torture us and we have no redress.
He keeps attacking. They don’t understand how it feels to be an outcast in your own country.
I could be defending you and them and the Ministry would only care that the Statute of Secrecy was broken. They would throw me in Azkaban for protecting you, my child.
He spits out his spells, keeping her on the defensive. She is young and ignorant. She doesn’t realize what they fight for.
Your brother died for the King. A king who isn’t even allowed to know we exist!
(His brother is buried somewhere in France under a false name. He used to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey and mourn for the brother who was determined to prove their father wrong about Muggles.
(He read the words over and over, “The Many Multitudes who … Gave the Most that Man Can Give: Life Itself, for God, for King and Country, for Loved Ones Home and Empire, for the Sacred Cause of Justice and the Freedom of the World … Greater Love Hath No Man Than This.”
She hexes him and he falls.
His body aches. He is too old for fighting. But he has to keep going.
I vow to protect wizarding kind, to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. I am a Knight of Walpurgis. The government refuses to protect us, so we will protect ourselves!
(The pain of receiving the Dark Mark was intense, but worth it. Nothing important comes without pain.)
He pushes himself up, then stumbles. His vision blurs.
His allies are old men, and they are fighting children.
Where had they gone wrong?
Somehow, the world had changed... and he had not.
Title: Hogwarts: A Tale
Write a drabble about the Founders of Hogwarts and their construction of Hogwarts. All four must appear, be sympathetic and there must be no romance between them. No flashbacks. None of the future Horcruxes can be mentioned. Be canon compliant. A Fwooper must have some significance in the scene.
Word Count: 496
A surprising amount of work was needed to prepare a castle to become a school of magic, especially when the castle wasn’t exactly in the best condition to begin with. It was incredibly satisfying, though, to watch it slowly morph under hands and wands, until it matched the dream conjured in four minds. More than once, one of the four became so engrossed in a particular task they went days without seeing the others.
But it was only a matter of time, and eventually, when each could find no room, corridor or staircase in need of repair, the four gathered and prepared to inspect their work.
They walked the castle. Four sets of footsteps rang through the corridors; accompanied by the echoing steps of the imagined students yet to come.
Progress was slow, with many stops to examine each other’s work, yet their pride grew with every step. The imagined castle had become real. Reaching the beginning of their tour, the four turned and congratulated one another.
But it felt like a hollow victory. The work was done, but something was missing. None of the four knew exactly what. They left the castle and went their separate ways, hoping the answer would be soon become clear.
Returning the next day, three of the four were despondent; no answer had come to them. The fourth, however, knew what had been overlooked.
“This castle is like an owl,” Rowena Ravenclaw declared, “when it should be like a Fwooper.”
She had even brought the two birds with her in order to make her point.
“An owl is practical.” Here she gestured to the bird in question. “It is kept strictly for a purpose, and while it has a certain grace, it is plainly coloured and built. And so is this castle. It has rooms and corridors and towers, but they are plain and functional.
“Now a Fwooper is a different matter.” She gestured to the other bird. “It is bright, striking. There is more to its song that first seems – the beauteous melody bringing madness. And so should be our castle. It should be filled with objects to interest the eye, and there should be more to it that what first appears.”
Helga Hufflepuff’s eyes lit up. “Yes, character is what this castle needs. I shall tend to the grounds and the forest, too. With just a little care, they could be as grand as that Fwooper’s feathers.”
Godric Gryffindor’s lips curved into a smile. “Yes, the castle is simply too bare. I shall decorate it, inside and out – a great collection of paintings, statues, tapestries. It could be just as intriguing as that Fwooper’s song.”
Salazar Slytherin’s eyebrow rose. “Yes, the castle needs to be more ingenious. I shall add secret passages and false doors and all manner of tricks. It will drive the unwary into madness far faster than any Fwooper.”
Rowena beamed. “Let’s get to work then, my friends, and turn this owl into a Fwooper!”
Title: Confessions of a Young and Old Gryffindor in the Night-Time
Warnings/Ratings: 1st-2nd years; Mild Profanity
Write a drabble about Charlie Weasley and one of his nephews at the Burrow. Must take place during that nephew’s first year at Hogwarts. No mentions of dragons, Quidditch or Charlie’s relationships (or lack thereof) are allowed.
Word Count: 498
He wakes with a dry mouth and a desperate need to be out of the dark. Charlie shifts the sticky sheets back and winces as the winter night hits his bare skin. He hasn’t stayed at home for such a drawn out length of time since the Battle. There is something about sleeping in this room, the way it is too quiet and still, which puts him on edge. The room above is silent, and his childhood memories of lying in here with Bill while listening to the strange bangs and clunks from the twin’s room upstairs shine far too bright.
Charlie needs a drink and he needs to get out of this bloody room. He pulls on some jeans and a woolly jumper before stumbling downstairs to the kitchen.
The Christmas lights on the tree glow dim and soft and it is just enough light for him to breathe again.
He turns to see Fred hunched over the kitchen table, an empty cup in his hands.
“Hey, Fred. What are you doing up?”
Fred blinks at him and doesn’t reply. Charlie frowns. Fred has always seemed completely unaware of the concept of peace and quiet, just like his dad. Just like…
“You want a hot chocolate?” Charlie walks over to the kitchen bench and prepares the drinks, ruffling Fred’s hair as he passes the table.
“You’re quiet, tonight,” he says, planting two steaming mugs on the table before sitting down. Fred shrugs, avoiding Charlie’s eyes.
“I couldn’t sleep,” he mumbles. “I’ve got to go back to school, tomorrow, and Mum and Dad have to work so Granny and Grandad are taking me and Roxy back to the station and—”
He stops, suddenly, as if he’s said too much. Charlie takes a sip of hot chocolate and sits back in his chair.
“You know, I miss home when I’m away. I love my friends and my work back at the reserve but there’s nothing like home.”
Fred looks up, eyes wide, and mouth slightly open.
“Really? But your job is so exciting. And Hogwarts is, too, but—”
Charlie nods, smiling.
“It’s normal, mate. I happen to know James wrote to Harry and Ginny three times a week in his first year.”
Fred’s lips twitch at this and Charlie’s smile widens. He points at Fred’s untouched drink.
“Go on, I haven’t poisoned you. Your dad, on the other hand… Did I ever tell you about the time he once put some gnome poo in my pumpkin juice?”
Fred snorts and picks up his mug. Charlie closes his eyes for a second, remembering George and Fred as they sat beneath this very table, sniggering at their unsuspecting older brother. The night doesn’t feel so lonely, anymore.
“No. That’s a good idea, though!”
The Christmas lights flicker across Fred’s face, but they are not as bright as his smile.
“Yeah, yeah. Just don’t tell your mum where you got the idea from. I rather like my buttocks.”
Title: What Maudie Saw
Warnings/Ratings: 1st-2nd. Just a little implied Knockturn Alley, er, unpleasantness
A time-travelling Hermione ends up in Knockturn Alley. How did she get there? Who is she supposed to meet? And what does young and fresh-out-of-Hogwarts Tom Riddle do when she wanders into Borgin and Burkes? Your drabble must be from the perspective of someone other than Hermione and Riddle, and cannot feature any dialogue.
Word Count: 498
A/N: Maudie might not know exactly what happened, but can you guess?
The letter came first; addressed to me, clear as day. Maudie
. Got worried as it was from the Ministry – never good when Ministry folk come nosing– but it only said some witch needed a room. Not the first time I’d been asked to house someone who couldn’t stay at the usual places, but never by the Ministry. Could’ve knocked me over with a quill when it said she was coming from the future
with some new-fangled spell.
Looked pretty normal when she turned up –like your everyday Portkey – but when I looked at her I could tell. She’d tried, but any blind Squib could see she was an outsider. The tangled hair was too clean. The way she held herself – oh, she’d handled herself in rough spots before – but she didn’t duck into shadows like us Knockturn folk. And how she spoke, more educated than all my girls put together.
I fixed her up – dirtied her down a little – and asked her business. She was Ministry after all. Ministry bring trouble, and I keep trouble away from my girls. She rattled on about this lost book, last seen ‘round this time in Old Man Flint’s place, so she was to go see him and copy it. Plus all this rubbish about not changing things I didn’t understand. Figured she actually knew what she was doing.
She still didn’t quite pass for Knockturn folk, so I followed her to know if trouble was coming. Figured she’d head straight to Old Man Flint’s, but when she got to Borgin and Burke’s she stopped. The place meant something to her, it seemed. She looked in the window, dithered about a bit before going in.
Young Tom was working. That boy could charm gold out of goblins – he’s charmed half my girls to pieces. Never fails. But the most he charmed out of her was a polite smile. Tell the truth, she looked downright uneasy. That was peculiar. There’s nothing in Young Tom to make a body upset.
He got all bothered at that. Bit silly of him, really. She was obviously searching for something in particular so he hardly needed to charm her into buying. Couldn’t make out what they talked about though – perhaps something she said put him on edge? I don’t know.
He took her through to the back of the shop, which was more peculiar. No one ever goes into the back.
And that’s the last I saw of her. No idea what happened, but I tell you now, I won’t ever believe Young Tom was involved, he’s a good lad–Head Boy at Hogwarts, you know.
But I’m not about to go looking. Plenty of people disappear ‘round here, after all. Enough trouble ‘round here without sniffing after more. And I was only supposed to give her a room. I did that, didn’t I, even if she never properly used it? I keep my girls out of trouble, but push come to shove, she wasn’t my girl.
Something is Rotten in the Middle Kingdom
It’s not often that we get to see the wizarding community outside of the British Isles. Your drabble must be set outside of Britain and Ireland. The only canon character you can include is Snape, although you do not have to feature canon characters if you don’t want to. There must be a death under mysterious circumstances, a botched potion, and a kite featured somewhere within the drabble, not necessarily as prominent plot points, though.
3rd-5th, character death, sexual innuendo if you squint and turn your head in just the right way
Kites were first invented in China, 2,800 years ago. I do not own Harry Potter or Judge Dee, I’m just playing in the world of the former and have borrowed the name of the latter.
When Dee arrived by Portkey, the sky above the Phoenix Tear Academy was filled with kites. He admired the colorful silk creatures fluttering in the sky, magically bound to the ground without strings. Most of them were phoenixes, their long tails trailing multicolored flames, though a few dragons, unicorns, and tigers were among their number. None of them were turtles.
He frowned and fingered the embossed turtle on his glass wand.
Everyone knew that the Turtle and Phoenix clans were traditional enemies, but the emperor believed that Dee was the best investigator in the Middle Kingdom. So here he was, a son of the Turtles, assigned to investigate the death of Guo-zhi, a Phoenix and the (former) headmaster of the Phoenix Tear Academy, the exclusive Phoenixes only school. The Phoenixes believed that certain clan secrets were forbidden to outsiders. The separate school was one physical manifestation of that idea: it was huge and forbidding, with a massive gate.
The gossips in Chang’an said that Guo-zhi had ingested a botched tiger organ potion. Certainly, it was very difficult to brew correctly, but Dee dismissed the notion of such a salacious rumor actually being true.
Finally, an officious man hurried up to the gate. “You must be Dee of the Turtle Clan! I am Hui of the Phoenix Clan. I was the one who found the headmaster. Such a tragedy.”
Dee was shown inside. Hui was almost running through the school in his haste. “These were the headmaster’s rooms. He was found here on the floor.” Hui indicated the spot and then scurried away.
Nothing was right about the situation. First, the Phoenix Clan actually obeyed the emperor and let an outsider come and investigate. Guo-zhi was the emperor’s uncle by marriage, but it was still unusual. Second, Dee had not even met the current headmaster before being set upon his task. Third, he had been left to complete his task unobserved. Fourth, he had been dispatched to search the room without looking at the body.
He looked around. The room was well furnished with many antiques. Phoenixes were carved into the furniture, into the walls, almost everywhere he looked. He rubbed the turtle on his wand, then he started searching.
Everything was astoundingly well ordered, almost unlived in. Dee frowned.
Then he checked under the bed. Maybe they had missed something. He squinted. An empty potion vial had rolled under there.
Dee Summoned it and looked for the Potion Master’s mark. A stylized set of three orchids had been stamped onto the side: Zhu-ge Liang’s symbol. The headmaster of the Dragon Pearl and his radical experiment were the talk of the court.
Now he was implicated in the death of his ideological rival. Guo-zhi had opposed the experiment from the start, claiming it was much too dangerous, though the emperor had approved the test.
Dee knew this was no accident. He clutched the vial tightly. He would get to the bottom of this. The future of the nation might be at stake.
Warnings/Ratings: 1st-2nd years; no warnings
Many important events have taken place in the Headmaster’s Office at Hogwarts, witnessed by the portraits of former Headmasters and Headmistresses. They aren’t shy about expressing their opinions on such events, either. Write your drabble from the perspective of one (or more) of these portraits, in any era, as they observe a particular canon situation in the Headmaster’s Office.
Word Count: 490
We watch, we listen, we wait.
This is what we are built for.
From living hands, we come alive upon canvas, although ‘alive’ is a loose term. We are reinvented, rather, with magic and little pieces of old soul. We are spread across blank space, our faces moulded with brushes into something that faintly resembles who they think we are supposed to be. Who we were doesn’t seem to matter.
A portrait is not so much a prison as it is a mirror.
Things never change, not really. People come and go, disasters happen, happiness slips into despair, life ends. Then, it happens again. We must watch this, over and over.
It’s not easy to watch time shifting past. Sometimes, it feels like a gramophone stuck in loop, the skip-skip-skip tearing through the dusty air. Sometimes, it is like the crackle of radio static, not quite reaching our ears because when you’ve heard it before, it all sounds the same. Sometimes, it is silent.
In his time, Albus Dumbledore has known noise. He has also known the soundless drip of seconds into minutes into hours. We have watched him for too long, we know him too well. We don’t know him, at all. Now, he is on his way to joining us on the walls.
We have seen many men and women pass through this room, but none like Albus Dumbledore. Time moves around him in unrelenting currents, as if he is trying to rewind what has come before. Now, as he staggers to the floor, blackened hand clutched tightly to his chest, he slows. He moves backwards and forwards, rocking, rocking, rocking and hissing a name that we’ve never heard slip from his mouth.
The ring on the desk spins, and as we listen, it whispers silent vitriol. Some of us gasp and titter, others look on with the solemn frowns of knowledge, lips pressed tight. Some of us are too tired to do anything but watch.
Severus Snape arrives in a flurry of black robes and dispensable trust. We know him, too. He thinks he knows us, he thinks that he is above us and our unwelcome comments. He doesn’t know how much we’ve really seen. He doesn’t know how naked he is.
The ring stills, and the two men murmur hushed words, deliberately soft and hard to catch. We have seen this moment many times through the centuries, when time starts to bleed, when the end begins and the beginning ends. Albus Dumbledore will soon hang above the desk and Armando Dippet will move to the side, but this is slightly different. The walls seem to tremble, the air seems to still. The castle knows something that we do not. And as the future falls into place, the men look graver than we’ve ever seen.
But, whatever is coming, we will watch, we will listen, and we will wait.
This is what we are built for, after all.