Chapter One: The Birth and Early Lives of the Weyard Sisters

If it had not been for an accident approximately four months into their mother's pregnancy, the four Weyard sisters would have been born as just one Weyard baby, or at least it is commonly believed so. According to popular legend, Sinead Weyard was working in her garden, and liking the look of one particular bush, attempted to split it into four, but she accidentally flipped her wand around and instead aimed the spell at her womb, causing her unborn baby to split into four instead. Whether, in fact, this is even possible, or if the spell probably would have induced a miscarriage, has been debated by experts. Either way, there is no way this story can ever absolutely be proved. The one piece of concrete evidence towards it happening is an indication, towards the end of their lives, that the Weyard sisters quite literally drew strength from each other, and were physically weakened by each other's deaths, and this might come from any number of causes.

What is known for sure is that identical quadruplets Nian, Cian, Fian, and Dian Weyard were born, in that order, to Arthur and Sinead Weyard, sometime before the early evening of February 2, 1024, when their names were noticed as having been added to the records of young witches and wizards that has been kept at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since the early 1000s. The ink was observed to be dry, suggesting that it had at least been some hours since the birth of the four of them, who according to Nian Weyard all came in very quick succession.

Like the majority of British witches and wizards in the early 11th century, Arthur and Sinead Weyard lived in an isolated spot in a cranny of Britain overlooked completely by Muggles, separated not only from them, but from most other wizards. Both the general and wizarding population were much lower then than they are now, and there were less places in Muggle society where they could easily blend in. While the richest of wizards had the option of mingling with Muggle nobles, and some individual wizards and witches also chose to spend their lives involved in the Muggle Church, which will be discussed later in this book, for the Weyards, a poor family, to live among Muggles would have meant living as serfs, or slaves to the Muggle owners of the land they lived on, which for obvious reasons did not suit them, and the only ones who lived in such a way were those that truly had no other options.

Most wizards did not group with each other either, for reasons of safety. For most of history Muggles have been afraid of magic, but during the Middle Ages this fear was at its height. Most Muggles lived short lives in extreme poverty, at the whim of the owners of the land they worked, circumstances that made it easy for them to blame any problems they had on anything they didn't understand, such as magic. The Muggle Church encouraged their fear, as it made them easier to control. In theory, the use of magic could protect witches and wizards from Muggles, and the standard Muggle punishment for witchcraft, being burnt at the stake, could be easily thwarted with a simple Flame-Freezing Charm. But in practice, it was far from unknown for witches and wizards to be overwhelmed from sheer numbers alone, and/or to be deprived of their wands, without which they suffered an agonizing death. Out of a very real fear of being identified and persecuted by Muggles, wizards preferred not to form groups which might make them suspicious.

The exceptions were the wizarding community in London, the inhabitants of Hogsmeade, just outside of Hogwarts, and Magic's Hollow, now known as Godric's Hollow. The latter two were mostly inhabited by the children of Muggle serfs, Hogsmeade especially, as they were unable to return to their parents and typically stayed at Hogwarts even when the school was not in session. There was much more hostility in wizard society towards Muggle-borns then, which also resulted in them keeping themselves together in places where they would be accepted and supported.

Arthur was English by birth and Sinead Scottish, but like most lower-class couples at the time, they had met at Hogwarts and married upon leaving school. Somewhat more unusual, but hardly unique, was their decision not to return to either of their parents' homes, which were set to be passed down to older brothers, but to instead strike out on their own, and find a place where they could raise their own children safe from Muggles. Their chosen location was on England's west coast, on a rocky area surrounded on all sides by cliffs; it was impossible to get in and out of by non-magical means. Unfortunately, it was not a spot easily habitable even with magical aid. The Weyards ended up bartering most of what little they had in return for aid in breaking up the rock into soil and rendering that soil fertile enough to be used as a garden.

They learned to subsist on what they could grow, and what fish they could retrieve up from the rough waters hundreds of meters below their small home. Their strategy was to use charms to lure sea animals towards the shore, than to Summon them into their nets. With the waters so rough, luring a catch into their range could take hours each day. As with most witches and wizards of the Middle Ages, and most people all together of the Middle Ages, almost all of their time was spent working for their survival. By the time they were five, all four girls were put to work by their parents, either in the garden or on the shore. In was here, in these practical settings, that not only did they begin to show normal initial signs of magic, but the first signs of their rare Divinatory gifts.

None of the girls realized at first that what they could do was at all unusual, since noone had told them it was; they thought little of it when they so often knew beforehand that there was a fish about to come in range, or a gnome was about to invade the garden. Nor did their parents seem to notice their daughters' unusually good luck for possibly half a year; they were too grateful that they were benefiting from it to ask questions. But in time, they could not fail to feel that something odd was going on. All four girls would later recall waking up in the middle of the night to overhear their parents talking in whispers while continually glancing at them. For all their late night conversations, however, Arthur and Sinead seemed unable to come up with an explanation until the girls were nearly six.

What finally made it clear, according to both Nian and Dian, was an incident one evening in late December. All five members of the family were gathered closely around the cooking fire, and Sinead was chopping up the day's catch, when Cian said, "Careful, mother, you're going to cut yourself."

Sinead looked up in surprise, and cut herself due to the distraction, at which point Cian said, "Oh, sorry, I shouldn't have said that; that's why you cut yourself, because I did. But I didn't know that."

Realizing that Cian might have Seen her cut herself, Sinead began asking her daughter questions, and soon she and Arthur were convinced that all four possessed the Sight. This left them with the question of what they were going to do about it. They knew that something ought to be done when their children were so uncommonly gifted, but they had little notion of how to handle anything that was not likely to occur within the normal 11th century wizarding homestead. Since their daughters had no control over their gifts at the time, Arthur and Sinead were convinced they were unlikely to be able to make constant precise predictions for anyone outside their family they knew, and the more powerful figures whom they fancied might be willing to try their daughters' abilities were only the vaguest shadows in the world they lived in.

Once a year, in midsummer, Arthur and Sinead had, before their daughters' birth, left their tiny hut and journeyed to London to meet with people, trade what they could, and gain news of the outside world. For the first five years of the quadruplets' lives they were uncertain about traveling such a distance with them at such a young age, but in the summer of 1030, the family embarked together, the first time any of the girls had gone beyond the cliffs. It was not an easy journey. Though they traveled most of the way by a primitive version of the Floo Network, to get to the nearest connected fireplace was a week with the six of them scrunched up on a broomstick that was barely charmed for flight, and not at all for comfort, with an unvarnished handle originally built for four riders at most. After the first day, Nian admits in her writing that all four girls were constantly whining and fidgeting, and that their parents' tempers were flaring at them. Even so, all four experienced thrills at seeing new sights, especially so as it brought with it an increase in the scope of their visions, as is often the case for young Seers who gain more knowledge of the world. For two weeks beginning with the first night, all four had vivid dreams of the landscapes they passed through and of who would be present on them at points in the future. Unfortunately, testing the accuracy of these visions was impossible, but they led the Weyards to believe that the girls' visions were not necessarily as limited as they had first thought.

When they arrived in London, Arthur Weyard met with a friend who, on hearing of the quadruplets, urged him to present them to the Wizarding Council, which preceded the modern-day Ministry of Magic. Arthur, who would later be described by his daughters as a shy and cautious man, hesitated. But when word of the Weyard sisters passed around London, Gauis-Claudius Ollivander, head of the Ollivander wandmaking business and friend to most of high-ranking figures in 11th century Wizarding Britain, took a particular interest in them. He was at the time looking for a possible wife for his second son, Gecundus Ollivander, since the Ollivanders, like all aristocratic wizarding families up to the very late 19th century, arranged marriages for their children prior to their attendance at Hogwarts. He had not found anybody suitable for the ten year old Gecundus, and the idea of marrying a Seer into the family had appeal to him.

Arthur and Sinead Weyard, on hearing Gaius-Claudius Ollivander's offer of a betrothal, were excited, but somewhat wary. On one hand, it could mean a rise in rank for the entire family, and the offer itself made clear how much their daughters' gifts could affect all of their lives. On the other, Arthur thought he perceived a lack of respect in the way Gaius-Claudius spoke to him, and seemed to think the betrothal a foregone conclusion. Ultimately he gave Gauius-Claudius an encouraging response, but much to the other man's disappointment made no promises.

Gaius-Claudius also spoke to the members of the Council, and on June 30, 1030, the Weyard family was summoned to a meeting. They presented themselves before about half the Council members "in ragged clothes, the girls' long dark hair unkempt" according to the official account of the day's proceedings. Council member Helenus Odoner, who was an expert on Divination, questioned each girl in turn, starting with Nian. She very articulately described first her early experiences of reacting to something that had not yet happened, then the dreams she had been having, but admitted to Odoner that there was no proof of anything. This admission angered Dian, who boldly informed Odoner that they were Seers, and they did not need to prove themselves to anyone. When he replied that they in fact ought to be able to prove it to him Cian got angry, and told him they were going to have their visions with or without his permission, and added, "I hope when that cauldron lands on your foot all your bones break!"

After this exchange, neither girl would answer any questions. Fian attempted to cooperate, but was deeply distressed emotionally, and after a very short time Odoner gave up, and the family was dismissed. However, that night, a cauldron did indeed fall off Odoner's shelf and onto his foot. He immediately notified the other members of the Council and suggested the Weyards be summoned again.

The second meeting took place on July 3, and this time the entire Council was present. The girls were all more talkative, especially because their dreams had now featured the Council members. Some of them were confirmed as accurate; more would be later, which made the possibility of fraud look less likely. By the end of their interviews Helenus Odoner were more than satisfied that they were genuine. Again the Weyards were dismissed, this time with the instruction to return the next morning.

Once the family was gone, the Council debated for two hours what course of action to take. Though none expressed serious doubts about whether the Weyard sisters truly were Seers, many wondered why they should do anything about it. Others pointed out both the rarity of the quadruplets' gift and the poverty in which they lived together meant something should be done for them. It was eventually decided that the members of the Council would offer to take the girls and place them where they could be raised in more ideal circumstances, and properly educated and trained in their ability.

Knowing this would give their daughters a better life, their parents agreed the next morning. Gauis-Claudius offered to take the girls in under the condition that the betrothal be made, and again Arthur and Sinead consented. It was promised that Gecundus would marry one of the girls, and implied, though not absolutely stated, that he would marry Nian, the eldest.

During their first days living in their new home, the girls were deeply distressed to be separated from their parents. Gauis-Claudius would later complain, “The girl Fian will not stop crying, Cian begs to see her parents again, and Dian is disobedient and refuses my admonishments, saying she will not listen to a man who makes her sisters so miserable.” Nian was calmer, and tried to persuade her sisters to behave better, but she too was angry with the him, as she would later express in her writings: “He took us away from our home, our parents, and everything we knew, and thought us ungrateful because we had trouble feeling joyful. At our young age it was not easy to truly understand, much less always remember, that our lives would be better for what was happening to us now. He ignored this, expecting thoughts of us our minds were not capable of.”

A widower, Gaius-Claudius five children of his own: two sons, Gauis-Marcus, 12, and Gecundus, 10, and daughters Giuletta, 14, Gaineda, 8, and Grianne, 4. The Weyards would not meet Giuletta or Gauius-Marcus until the autumn, as they were at Hogwarts; the school’s calendar at the time followed the agricultural season, as many of the students, Muggle and wizard-born alike, were needed at home during both the autumn and the spring, when the crops were planted and harvested, respectively. They befriended Gaineda and Grianne, however, playing with the two girls and eagerly looking to the older for help on learning how to read, help which she seems to have given.

With Gecundus there was relatively little interaction; he did not seem to think the girls were worth paying any attention to, and once he had made his indifference to them clear they were left feeling as if they did not have the right to his attention, even though one of them would have to marry him later. However, Nian wrote about their first conversation, “I knew then I would never marry him.” She did not elaborate about this sentence either there or anywhere else, leaving it difficult to tell if this was an actual premonition on her part, or a decision made in anger. It may have even been both; the tendency of Seers to sometimes warp premonitions to fit their own desires and/or expectations is well documented, and the Weyard sisters at this young age had no clear distinction between their divinations and the other thoughts of their brains, thinking it natural that the former should direct the latter without their even consciously thinking about it. It is even possible Nian herself was not sure where her belief came from.

The greatest discord, however, did not happen until that autumn, when Giuletta and Gaius-Marcus came home from Hogwarts. Gaius-Marcus viewed the girls much the same way Gecundus did, and he paid even less attention to them, as he was already betrothed to one Rowena Star, and thus saw it as unlikely he would be married to any of them. But Giuletta was made jealous by the affections given to the Weyards by her younger sisters; apparently she had previously enjoyed their undivided attention and admiration, and hers had been the only influence on them. She frequently complained to her parents that the girls were trying to steal her younger sisters from her, and to the girls themselves she was outright cruel at times. Twice she talked Gaineda and Grianne into hiding from the Weyards, then told them that her sisters in fact hated them, and didn’t want to see them any more. The first time she was believed. Fian cried for an hour, which made Cian angrily go and confront Gaineda and Grianne. On learning that Giuletta had lied to them, Cian went to her father, who punished his daughter for lying, and when Giuletta tried the same trick again, she was not believed. Nonetheless she continued to try to make the Weyards unwelcome any way she could.

In winter the two older children returned to Hogwarts and there was once again peace in the household. But in spring they returned home again, and ill feeling returned. Shortly after their return, Dian grew so angry with Giuletta that she yelled at her, “You’re going to die next week!” Giuletta, who had no doubt already seen enough to be aware that the girls were certainly able to see the future, seemingly believed her. All through the next week, she continually cornered Dian and demanded to know how she would die. Dian, gloating, refused to say any more, telling Giuletta that she should have been nicer, because now she didn’t get to find out more. Too frightened to tell anyone, Giuletta spent all of the following week in considerable distress. But when the week had passed and she was still alive, she told her father the story. On being asked about it, Dian admitted she had made the prediction up.

This made him angry enough that he whipped Dian, and seriously considered throwing the girls out. When he threatened this, Nian begged him to at least wait until midsummer when their parents would return. He eventually agreed to keep the girls if they behaved well until then.

Nian described the rest of the spring as “full of nothing but fear and pain. Emboldened by the consequences of Dian’s folly, Giuletta thought up new and cleverer ways to hurt us and try to get us in trouble. Her father was no fool, and did not assume she was truthful, but usually investigated and discovered the truth for himself, but often we wished he had not, because there were days when even being thrown out seemed to be a better fate than living at the mercy of our young tyrant.”

To further distress the sisters, when they attempted to use their powers to determine whether they would remain with the Ollivanders after midsummer, they were unable to gain any visions or knowledge on the matter. This is a another commonly noted phenomenon among Seers, who, wanting to know something too much, are unable to know it. It was, however, the first time the girls’ powers had failed them in any manner. Cian blamed it on Giuletta, and made her opinion on the matter clear to everyone, which obviously did not help the general mood of the household.

It was this that made Gaius-Claudius Ollivander aware that none of them knew much about how the girls’ powers worked, and that they ought to learn more. As a wandmaker he was able to contact other wandmakers from all over Europe, as well as parts of Northern Africa and Western Asia. From the time exploration, trade, and warfare have brought populations into awareness of each other, wandmakers have sought each other out, and for over three millennia they have kept up an informal network of communication, exchanging tips for wandmaking, information about materials, and pieces of wandmarking lore. Wandmakers are often curious people, and most had no other source of information from which to find out anything they wanted to know, so it was very far from unknown for them to exchange information on other subjects as well.

So when Gaius-Claudius chose to seek information through this route, he received a variety of responses, some accurate and helpful, some less so. One thing he was told by all his more knowledgeable sources was that being anxious about some future event made it harder to predict, answering his immediate concern. He was given factual information about Seer development, and pure fiction about how talents could be accentuated by the use of amethysts, and kava root, and similar items, and he and his young wards accept both the true and untrue with equal credibility. Nian and Dian relate experiments with inhaling fumes, brewing potions, and sitting in a room with the letters from Gaius-Claudius’ correspondence in hopes of inducing premonitions relating to their authors.

Of more use was the advice to continue to actively broaden the world of the girls. Whenever Gaius-Claudius had company, he would bring the sisters in and present them to his guests. The reactions were mixed at first. Not all those whom their guardian brought to them appreciated being told what would be happening to them, or even what they themselves would be doing, sometimes within years, sometimes within hours. The wizard David Cassorass, newly appointed to the council when he first paid a visit to the Ollivander household, wrote of the girls:

They did seem to me almost like slyphs, not in their aura, though their skin was pale and their hair blonde, but in how they echoed each other in appearance, and how they troubled the mind for some time after. The girl Cian did proclaim to me that my son had broken two of my household chairs and that I would thrash him twice within three minutes of my stepping past my threshold. And she did speak naught but truth, for when I did enter into my dwelling, I found my best two chairs broken in front of me, and my youngest son standing by them with his face unable to conceal his guilt, and I was disturbed as much as angry when I twice thrashed him in about the time predicted. I did feel then that my arms and legs were taken beyond my control, as if it had been dictated to me by some external force. It haunted me throughout the evening, and at night I suffered all through the most disturbing of dreams, that I was running my way through a great cave of fire and water, and I knew at the end I would be burdened and drowned, or placed on a stake and burned, but I could not stop myself, and in my ear, there did chant the voices of the four girls as one, “You will be taken and killed. You will not save yourself.”
The next day I spoke of this to good Pylades, who told me that his daughter did meet with them when she chanced to deliver a message to the Ollivander household, and that they did tell her she would meet with someone important by the river that day. She avoided the river for days after, and prevented this prophecy from coming to be, and thus, he told me, these Weyard sisters were not always right.

The inevitable falsehoods of some of their premonitions and the complicated behavior of people told about their future was made known to the sisters themselves and their guardian as well, via the letters they received. Their reactions were mixed. Cian and Dian were both very dismayed, and Nian expressed belief later that the former made fewer predictions for years after learning this fact, insecure in her possible accuracy. She also attributed fewer predictions to Fian, but there is little doubt that she who was the humblest of the four sisters had the opposite reaction. As a boy, her son Tuck Ollivander, eventually the Fat Friar ghost, heard her say more than once, “The most relieving day of my life was the one on which I learned I was not always right about the future.” Others who knew her attributed similar sentiments to her. Dian, meanwhile, wrote extensively on her sister’s excessive humility, saying of her, “She seemed practically afraid of being better than somebody else, particularly someone her superior in rank, and certainly power frightened her more than anything. She especially did not like to be the cause of things; not of bad things, certainly, but even causing good things on too big a scale made her wary.”

As for Nian herself, she proved perhaps the wisest of the four when she, from all accounts, took it in stride. “It threw my sisters thoughts all into stormclouds,” she writes, but relates no such thoughts from herself. Instead, she wrote, “It was of little use, however, to cry out so on something so far beyond our control or even our full understanding.” Dian, too, wrote of Nian, “She always took our gifts as they came; never asked for more as Cian and I did, never begged for less as Fian did.”

Giuletta, as it can be imagined, was not pleased by the Weyard sisters thus being elevated over she and her own siblings. Her behavior towards them grew worse still as a result, but that was not all. Three weeks before midsummer, as she prepared to return to Hogwarts, she begged her father to insist their parents take them home. Instead of throwing accusations that she knew her he might not believe, she declared that he wronged his own children by giving so many of their resources towards the support of these four. When reminded of the marriage contract, she suggested only Nian be kept and the other three sent home, and this is an option Gaius-Claudius may have considered, though as far as anyone can tell it never reached the ears of the sisters, who would have certainly reacted very badly to the idea.

However, it was for more than charity or even a marriage contract that Gaius-Claudius was now inclined to keep the Weyard sisters under his roof. Word of them had spread around London, and they had turned into a great curiosity, and almost every wizard in the town and some even from outside it sooner or later found an excuse to see them and hear them speak their prophecies. Gaius-Claudius had also noticed that his business had increased, and he attributed it to the further notice of his existence. Both Nian and Dian voiced their beliefs that his biggest ambition in life was to make his business and the Ollivander name as big as possible, and he was reluctant to part with four useful assets to it, no matter even the discord they caused in his house.

When one of the girls mentioned to him the exact time Arthur and Sinead Weyard would arrive in London, Gaius-Claudius placed himself at the communal arrival fireplace to greet them, and it is known that he immediately broached the topic of his daughter’s discontent. It is not known exactly how he portrayed it, though it is a safe assumption he made no references to the girls themselves being unhappy, though he must have known they were. Arthur and Sinead’s reaction was exactly what he hoped for; they begged him not to turn their daughters away. He assured them he did not at all wish to part with them, but he may have also said something to leave them anxious.

Anxious they certainly were, when two hours later they were reunited with their children. Unaware that the girls themselves might have preferred to go home, the two of them spoke to them as if there was no question that they needed to stay with the Ollivanders if at all possible. At seven years of age, the girls never imagined their benefactor might have deceived their parents, and assumed that this was what they wanted, and what was to be done even if they did not like it. Feeling an obligation of obedience to their parents, they made no protest, and spoke no words about their unhappiness.

Talking amoungst themselves when they were alone, the girls decided that it was necessary for them to be as obliging and as little trouble to the entire Ollivander family as possible, in order to make sure they were not sent away in the future. At first this was easy; with Gecundus having now started his schooling at Hogwarts, during the school term there was noone in the household with whom they did not get along exceedingly well. Grianne Ollivander especially would speak of them very glowingly later in life, saying, “To my young mind, there were no kinder and better creatures, and none besides Nian who did more not only teach me my letters, but how especially to write, telling me that it would be important later that I know, which it was, of course.” The parents, too, noted an increase in their helpfulness around the household, and Gaius-Claudius also guessed at their motivations, saying, “I had, through only a little cleverness, gained a bit more than I had been giving; already I was selling a greater average of wands every week thanks to the attention they had brought me, and now, they were providing me also with the most loyal of servants, paid only with their keep. I am a very wise and very fortunate man.” As can be imagined, this only increased his determination not to give them up until it was time for their schooling.

When Giuletta and her brothers came home, they thus discovered the Weyard sisters having successfully solidified their position in the household, and in Grianne’s affection, and availing themselves to the three of them the same way. The two boys saw the benefits of these new circumstances as weighing out the drawbacks. But everything that was happening only increased Giuletta’s anger. To her, their expressing wishes to please her was no more than a strategy to insinuate themselves into the hearts of her family and lull them into complacency. It seems, however, that she soon came to realize she had no hope of ousting the intruders from her family home. Both Nian and Dian voice suspicions that she had some sort of meeting with her father that made this clear, for she came to them one day in tears, and told them angrily that, essentially, though they had won the war, she would make it so they could not enjoy the spoils of victory.

While she was at home, it was a promise she made good on. Within a couple of months, the girls were divided on how to deal with her. “Dian accused Cian and Fian on wishing to play the martyr,” Nian wrote on the matter, “and it was not an inaccurate comment. Even she knew we could not actively offend any member of the family, but she did not wish to further kiss the hand that continously slapped us. For my own part, I found I myself loathed the part we acted to our savage lady of the house, but it was my deeply-held belief that to act on our emotions alone to the possible detriment of our actual interests would only give our enemy aid, and I feared I was the only one who did not advocate a course of action based off emotional response. But what the practical course of action was I could not tell. Giuletta might still be a danger, or she might not be.”

Fortunately, the girls would only have to deal with Giuletta for a few months out of the year, and otherwise, as they grew more used to their new life, there is evidence that they grew to like it. All four spoke of Grianne with as much affection as she did of them, and they were no worse than indifferent to everyone else in the household. They especially developed a rather overgenerous affection for their benefactor, which both Nian and Dian were embarrassed by later in their lives: “We were his dogs,” wrote Nian, “He might have taken the stick to us from morning to night, and we would wag our tails and praise him for the attention he deigned to pay us, and we would mean it moreover.” Dian accused Fian of treating him as a god, but did not elaborate, and Nian records nothing special about her particular behavior.

One undeniable benefit of being fostered by the wandmaker, besides the obvious improvement in standard of living, was that the girls thus received a well-rounded education, which they certainly would not have otherwise. Half a century earlier they might not have anywhere; at the end of the tenth century only the most elite young wizards even learned to read and write; often even their sisters were not taught. But the influence of Hogwarts School, and its promotion of learning, was beginning to be felt on the higher echelons of wizarding society. Hogwarts co-founder Rowena Ravenclaw once famously lamented she could take hardly any students, for she insisted all those she taught either already be able to read to gain the ability almost quicker than was humanly possible. By the time she died, however, a new wave of thought had left the parents of many of her prospective pupils convinced their children would benefit immeasurably from being able to receive instruction from her, and from the likes of her.

Gaius-Claudius Ollivander was at the forefront of this quiet revolution. Knowledge has always been prized by wand-makers, for it is one of the most complicated sciences in existence, and the ability to read and write was necessary for the kind of contacts he kept. Although not all his siblings had even learned to read, let alone write, there was no question he would teach all his children both, and he wrote with considerable pride of his generousity to the Weyards in extending this attitude to them as well. He complained, however, that it might have been wasted on Cian: “for she takes an hour to read but a short length of parchment, and her writing, even after months of practice, is so poor that she might as well be unable to write at all.” Cian’s writing would improve in later years, but to the end of her life she would have difficulty; the letters that survive in her handwriting have excessively big lettering and the spelling makes them sometimes nearly incomprehensible, even in an age where Old English had no consistent spellings; she apparently never was able to manage written French.

Nian, on the other hand, apparently learned very rapidly, quicker than even the older boys, provoking jealousy and resentment on their parts, and in her view, making her undesirable to them as a wife. “They could neither of them bear a witch smarter than them,” she wrote, and this was an all too common attitude at the time.

As well as literacy and divination, the girls were instructed in magical basics beyond the practical spellcasting that most medieval homes were still restricted to. Gaius-Claudius took his children to herbologist’s gardens and brewed fancy potions in front of them. They learned how to not only read runes, which were the common script at the time, but how to use them, and how to speak Gobbledegook.

This was the environment in which the Weyard sisters finished their first ten years of life, accepted as part of the Ollivander household but not as part of the family, somewhere above the position of the servants but not always distinguishable from them, meeting with their parents once a year and slowly growing away from them emotionally. By the time they were ready to go to Hogwarts, this had caused an extremely intense bond to form between the four girls. Dian waxed poetic about it on at least one occasion, describing her and her sister’s feelings as they traveled with the Ollivander siblings to the castle’s location:

“We were afraid for the first few minutes of the journey, of the great big carriage where we were pushed together against the wall, jostled and lurched and not even able to sit down properly, and again when we thought of the vast strange place to which we had been told we were to go, where we only knew what the boys had told us in attempts to scare us, and we had taken them at their word for every tale no matter how absurd. But then all our hands touched each other, and our lips found and kissed each cheek, and each of us knew the other three to be her solid ground, her warm fire in the bitter cold, her shore when the sea crashed around her. Strength flowed between each of us like the blood through our bodies, and when we spoke of the future, in tiny whispers no one else could hear above the great carriage din, we saw only one thing, ourselves together, enjoying what fruits it bore, taking what blows it dealt.
It is rather strange, and a testament all in all to how little the boys knew us even after five years, that they never left us with even any idea that we might face something more dreadful than all the monsters and tortures their fancies created to feed our fears, that we might be separated.