tirsdag den 14. april 2015

The story of Pheodora Knight

Last time I returned from College of Wizardry (Nov. 13.-16.) I tried writing about my experience. I couldn't quite choose the words then, my experience was still evolving, I wasn't done, but completely overwhelmed.  This is what I wrote:

18. november 2014: Secret passage ways, medieval castle in fog, running at seven in the morning with the other Durmstrangs, homework for Geomancy, hot discussions in Divination, Cruciatus curse in DADA2, dementors in the forbidden forest, fought undead in the forbidden forest, hunted death eaters in the court yard, Found a date for the dance worthy of any Hermione Granger, cruelly refused a junior with the words "He didn't really mean it, did he?" spoken to his best friend who retorted "Of.. of course not."  Broken heart and misery, wild chase after horcrux, ghosts, death eaters (no, arseholes), battle for the house cup, Roaring cookies in Libussa's common room, the Den, scheming,scheming, watching the quidditch try outs, messing with the juniors using Charming Chokolates and Obliviate, occult ritual and the summoning of the spirit of Gellert Grindelwals (whoops), Elixir of Euphoria, dancing on feet that can't walk. Followed by a constant adrenalin rush from Thursday night to sometime Saturday night, which stopped me from sleeping more than 3 hours per night and which made my heart almost beat itself out of my chest. Candles, heart break. Heart break. So much. My heart beating. Loving everyone afterwards. How the love goes on. How I don't want to return from it at all. Barely remember everything.
I felt immersed all the time. It's not like I ever forgot myself completely, I was busy scheming, visiting NPC's and organizers, but there really wasn't any difference in my mind set. I kept thinking the same way. I dreamt about the ritual and about the others and the castle.

This time around, as I went back, it was different. It took work for me to find my character, and I did so too late in the story. Now I miss her, and I miss her friends, her loved ones. I will write her story now:

Pheodora Knight-Alexeyev was a senior auror student at the magical college of witchcraft and wizardry, Czocha. Before then she used to go to Durmstrang, and she was proud of that and still adhered to the old ways from there. 
She was strong willed, stubborn, and loyal to those few people she truly cared about. She hadn't felt much love in her life, and perhaps that is why it came difficult to her to play the hero. It always seemed empty, not wothwhile. 
For a while it wasn't like that. She was hopeful and in love with someone who could keep up with her, who wasn't afraid to question her motives and ideas. On and off her and Robyert Markow saw each other for years, until he finally lost faith in her, deemed her unworthy of her path, unable to ever be truly good. It broke her heart, but she understood, and she still loved him.
It was the beginning of her senior year. She had become involved with a secret society, The Iron Brotherhood, whose members prided themselves in their search for power and who willingly shared secrets with each other in an attempt to gain influence in the magical community. These were times where purebloods like Pheodora were hunted and mistrusted by the ministry and all its representatives. The Brotherhood were fighting for autonomy, for themselves and their friends in a world where the future for witchkind was unsure. She was becoming increasingly fascinated with the possibilities, and as her only love proceeded to ignore her through the school year, it seemed like her only possibility to belong, was The Brotherhood, and she actively pushed the group towards grander and more risky experiments. Perhaps she hoped that Robyert, the hero, would try to stop them, would save her from herself.
Pheodora, always Knight to everyone else, never belonged anywhere. She cared deeply for her house but she wasn't one of them. She had many friends, but she never truly let them in. She would flirt and make fun, but behind the smile, she was always considering her possibilities, scheming, trying to foresee the future. And she was good at it.
She worked hard to push the Brotherhood forward. They had found a relic, with which they would be able to summon a great power and change the world forever. At the same time, she continuously tried to seek out Robyert, but it was as if he had always just left the room. When they were made in DADA2 to practice the Cruciatus curse on each other, something finally broke inside her. She wanted to hurt him so bad, while at the same time not at all.
The night of the ball was also going to be time for the ritual, the summoning of Grindelwald, history's most powerful wizard. Pheodora felt uneasy, she knew that it was wrong, but it was also far too late to turn back. She tried one last desperate act of reaching out to Robyert, and asked him to meet her after dinner. But when he came to her common room, she wasn't there, and when she went after him, he was standing at the bottom of the stairs with the other girl, the one who shouldn't have loved him, who already belonged to someone else, but who stood there anyway. She couldn't go to him, and she turned around, tears flowing from her eyes. He would be safe, he could have his happiness, and she, Knight, would go ahead with the ritual.
What she didn't know was that it was one of the castle ghosts, the Baron of Trolle who had been pulling their strings the entire time. The ritual was never intended to help the members of the Brotherhood. 
As she walked into the great hall at the arm of her date and class mate, Saari, she felt weak in more than one way. Excited, horrified. As the time approached, she saw their leader, Octavius, his girlfriend, Nikita, waiting at the stairs. She had prepared all the necessarities with the baron and she was the only one who knew where the cursed book was hidden. The group gathered and they silently went upstairs, through the secret passageway in Bombastus Bane's classroom, and all the way down to the dungeons. The new member, Xeno, swore the unbreakable vow, and the ritual could begin.

It all went wrong. A demon appeared, only half formed, bringing with him into life his lesser servants, and it was clear they couldn't hold him. Yet, they proceeded to ask for their rewards: the spirits of the houses. Pheodora was promised the spirit of Libussa, the gift and the burden of sight. In return they should bring the demon a sacrifice each, he told them, and he disappeared in thick smoke.
She knew what she had to do. She had something precious, but horribly unnecessary: her love for Robyert. But as she was running towards the lake, she could hear the sounds of battle. Their deed had been discovered even before it could be finished, and before her eyes numerous students destroyed the remnant of Grindelwald, and her only hope. She stumpled blindly into the chaos, weakly saw him fall and his servants disappear. 
After that many of her friends thought her mad, and she had perhaps half lost her mind. Back at the castle, her friends were being hunted down by the auror students, her class mates. She was broken, she had nothing left. Only still that love she couldn't use, that pain. She found Filip, one of the brothers, and he shared with her his addiction, Elixir of Euphoria. Madly they danced, and she ran through the castle without a care in the world. When they heard, Octavius had been killed, they laughed: He would never leave them now, forever a ghost at Czocha. 
She was utterly powerless and had even lost her wand when Robyert and the other aurors came to bring her in for questioning. She told him, or she meant to tell him, that she didn't want to do it, that it couldn't be helped and he held her and apologuised, but still he left her to the interrogation. In the staff room she saw Nikita being questioned. The professor speaking to her suggested, that now her boyfriend was dead, perhaps she should join him. She wanted nothing else, and was escorted to the top of the tower from where she jumped. 
Pheodora laughing and crying in the staff room. Most of the professors were managing the chaos, and she was alone for some time with Prof. Gregorius who gave her port, and the baron, who promised he would save her - in some ghostly rememberance of his own lost love many centuries ago.
When the staff returned, they let her go. The baron swore on her innocence. 
Filip was sent to Azkaban along with Kara, a member who had always tried to protect her friends, and Xeno, who wasn't even part of the plan until the very end.
Pheodora left Czocha for a few weeks. She was sent for by her father, a brutal pureblood who was proud at her for what she had accomplished and for not getting caught. She then returned, and proceeded to take classes like nothing had happened, like her heart wasn't broken.

Springtime. Pheodora was calm again. She would survive. Robyert had left school with his pregnant girlfriend, and Pheodora had been seeing the new Durentius prefect for a while, using him as a distraction. He finally found out that she didn't care about him - nor really about anything else anymore, and left her. 
Being the only living member of the brotherhood to stay at school, she had taken over the leadership and an apprentice, a junior and a fellow Durmstrang, Radoslaw. When Xeno returned she also took care of him. She felt she had to protect her brothers. She tried to leave Kara alone, and to avoid Octavius as much as possible. For a while her, Radoslaw and Xeno had been working on new spells. It had mostly been a project of interest: would it be possible to extract the bad blood out of a werewolf?

Pheodora had been feeling disinterested, disattached for a while. There wasn't much left for her to care about, and neither the midterms nor the local gossip could wake her up. It wasn't until Filip returned to school, and the last of her (living) brothers had been returned to her, that she began to feel something again. This time around she wanted to do better.
She tried to be the hero. She got along well with the other aurors, as she had always done, and when they were practicing, she felt alive and happy. When she was clearing hall ways and arresting bad guys with Jayden, she really believed that she could take on the world, that she could have a normal life.
In the evening a few days before the exam, the aurors and healers were called up for a mission. A nearby castle had been infested by something deadly, and it needed to be dealt with. Jayden had asked Pheodora to come and cover his back, and she had accepted without hesitation even though, that very same day, the three members of the brotherhood who had been to Azkaban, had recieved a very unsettling letter, and she suspected that something would happen. But she wanted to be one of the good guys, she wanted to save the day.
Unfortunately when it became time to go, her name hadn't gotten on the list. She couldn't go. She made Jayden promise that he would return alive, and went off to take care of her brothers. She had become increasingly close with them, and Xeno had even invited her to live in his family home. It was important that they were safe.
Filip and Kara had both been questioned by a mysterious looking strange ministry wizard, and she found him to demand answers: why was he bothering her friends?
Over a beer it was discovered that the strange supervisor was no other than Victor Storm, supporter of Grindelwald. He had earlier that year tried to kill Nikita, but Pheodora believed that more would be gained by working with him than against him. On behalf of the brotherhood she agreed to support him, and that very night she, Xeno and Filip swore alligience to the death eater.
In the meantime a desperate lycanthropy infected fellow student had approached them and asked for their help, and a ritual was set up. It was to be in full day light, before the midterm dance.
I don't think Pheodora remembers what she did between that decision and until it finally happened. What she knows is that the sky was grey, and that thunder shouted from the heavens as she and Xeno drew the lines on the ground. This time it would be different. Prof. Crumplebottom, who had fought in the battle of Hogwarts so many years ago, and who was so truly good, had even approved of the experiment and would be present, but still, it felt sinister. The victim, or rather, the volunteer had fear in his eyes - so did Xeno, who had pretty much developed the ritual on his own. 
Still, they did it, they called out the wolf spirit and trapped it in a flesh eating plant. Perhaps it would work? 

During the party this time, they only had to dance. Pheodora went with Filip and they spoke much about the old days, not without a certain longing. She had realized that the brothers were the only people she cared about (especially as Jayden had refused her invitation) and when Filip told her that he had hidden the plant in the forest instead of destroying it, she wasn't disappointed but gleeful. Together they would hatch new plans. Of course, this time, they would be careful, they wouldn't get caught - they would do it together, and she would protect them. This time around.

Octavius returned to life, many strange things happened that night. He brought Elixir of Euphoria which he gave to Filip and Pheodora and which they took. They went looking through the secret passageways, the same one that was used back then, in fall, and they found masks in Bane's classroom which they donned. They danced wildly in the great hall, they sang: "Octavious is alive", and trampling down the notes on the dancefloor which had been spread, the notes that said "Grindelwald is back", they pulled others into their dance. 
"What a neat bow tie," she said and dragged one of the younger students closer. Filip fixed it so it was straight, and told the boy: "You will make such a pretty corpse when you die tonight."

I will have to let go of her now. I am not quite ready. I just found her again, I just remembered what her body feels like, how she holds her back straight all the time, the way she smiles like nothing can harm her and everything already has. I can walk like her, I know how she thinks, how she reacts. What she secretly longs for.
I hope she gets it.

Photo by Christina Molbech