An unmoving staircase
Author’s note: And so begins the intermingling of these two universes in a manner I hope will be found amusing, interesting or at least moderately entertaining. Luna Lovegood and the Dark Portrait Chapter one: An unmoving staircase
Luna Lovegood was different. This was obvious to all who met her. She saw things differently from other people. She read the same words, but got different meanings from them, spoke the same sentences but said other things.
And that was the reason Luna Lovegood was climbing the Forbidden Staircase to the High Mezzanine of the Great Hall of Hogwarts to find a legend.
The Forbidden Staircase was not actually forbidden. It was just very long and very boring and led to, according to Hogwarts, A History, rather unimportant piece of Hogwarts architecture, an eight foot strip of floor stuck on the wall just below the marvellous ceiling. It didn’t even move and the view from the ground was much better. So no students or teachers ever went there, ghosts saw no need to go there, Peeves found nothing to annoy there and only the occasional House elf, driven by their need to be of service, would venture up the stairs or on the mezzanine to dust and clean.
Except for Luna Lovegood, who read different things and knew all truths. She’d been at Hogwarts for less than a fortnight and she knew that there, on the Mezzanine, must be the finest view. Not a view of the ceiling, but one of the floor; of her Housemates and the staff and the people who made Hogwarts, well Hogwarts
. And since Luna could not fly a broom or apparate, she had to walk, up the Forbidden, very boring, non moving staircase.
Boring to others that is. Luna stopped every other step to look at the elaborate but fading and soot covered frieze that ran along it. Or knelt to study the intricate carving of the banister and balusters which showed woodland scenes in which magical animals flittered and darted around. It took her almost two hours to climb the stairs but she did not mind: there were wonders to discover on the way up.
She arrived at the top of the stairs and took in the unprepossessing landing she’d arrived on. Somewhere here there had to be a colony of Ottoline Flitterfairies. She just knew it. Nothing else could explain the strange occurrences that happened up here, way back when people still visited it.
She looked up, and searched between the balusters and ran her hands over the wall, trying to find the cracks that the fairies liked to hide in. That was when she noticed the dark space. Darker even than the rest of the walls…it looked like a shrouded form, dark cloak, dark sky, set in a dark, stone frame chiselled out of the very stone of the castle. The whole shrouded with soot and grease and the detritus of ages. She poked it and it very slowly moved, to face her. Deep shadows looked at her.
“Quis operor vos volo?”
Luna took a step back. “Errr I’m sorry for disturbing you…I’m Luna Lovegood…I’m i-in Ravenclaw…Umm…Who are you?”
There was a moment of silence and then the painting gestured. Luna felt a soft touch on her mind and she gasped as it delved deep into her knowledge of language, uncovering memories long lost to her, of her mother reading stories, of books she’d read ages ago.
“Oh…that must be lonely…”
“I mean...everyone you meet dies…”
The portrait chuckled. “I assure you that you too only meet people who must someday die.”
“Oh…no I meant…you’re Death…”
“And you’re Lovegood. It is not a family I have heard of.”
Luna sat down tailor fashion in front of the portrait.
“But you took my mother…”
“I never took anything from you girl. I’ve not left this portrait in seven hundred years.”
“But…who took my mother then?”
“There are more of you?”
“Do you know who killed You know who?”
“I do not know who you are talking about.”
Luna leaned forward and whispered. “Voldemort.”
“Voldemort? Never heard of him.”
“Oh…I just thought…well Harry Potter is here…and well…everybody says he killed Voldemort…I mean, You-Know-Who…”
“Use his name girl…fear is power…if you fear him; you give him power over yourself.” The portrait spoke testily.
“Oh…If you say so.”
“I do. He hardly can be worse than Pulchritudia Black, or Gregory the Enchanter, Or Emeric the Evil or Herpo of Thebes or even Owle Bullock.”
“Ummm…I don’t know any of those people…I’m only a first year…”
“Really? Back in the day only the Headmaster came here…”
“Oh, I’m sorry…I’ll leave…”
Luna rose and the shadow watched her. “Miss Lovegood…If ever you need help, for instance with learning about Emeric the Evil…come to see me.”
Luna blinked. “Oh…Thank you…I was actually just here to look for the Ottoline Flitter Fairies…”
“Ottoline Flitter fairies?”
“I know what they are girl…they don’t live inside buildings.”
“Oh? B-But they’re supposed to pull pranks on humans…”
“Only in areas with natural rock…there used to be a colony or three in the Forest…you should find one if you follow the creek to the hill.”
“But I’m not allowed to go into the Forest…”
“Ah…that will make it difficult to get to see them…”
“But if they don’t live here…who pushes people off? Turns them into brittle bats?”
“Oh, that would be me…can’t stand most people.”
“Oh…sorry for disturbing you then…”
“I do not mind being disturbed by intelligent
people, young Lovegood. I look forward to your next visit.”
“Oh…very well then. Good night Mr. Death.”
“Good night Miss Lovegood. Sleep well.”
“Don’t you sleep?”
“No Miss Lovegood…Death is ever vigilant.”
Luna nodded and started down the stairs. The old portrait looked after her, its dark, dark eyes shadowed by the deep dark folds of its hood. End note: Harry Potter, Luna Lovegood are the intellectual property of J.K. Rowling. Quis operor vos volo? = What do you want?