Chapter Three: The Meeting With the Muggle King of Moray, and Its Initial Consequences

In the winter of 1040 the Weyard sisters grew more focused on the task of creating a Portkey, though why is not certain; Nian writes of no particular motive, and while Dian expresses a wish to flee from Hogwarts and go out and live on their own, it seems unlikely that her three sisters would have been willing to go along with this plan. By their sixteenth birthday that February they were using weak semi-Portkeys to travel all around the forest, and chosen the place to which they planned to transport both themselves and their cauldron with a stronger one as a certain part of the Great Glen, where they believed, mistakenly as it happened, that lacewings were abundant, and they could gather a supply to brew several potions they had been working on.

The day they made their journey to the northern part of the Glen, Nian described the weather as “foule one moment and faire the next, it was early Aprile and we did agree before that we did not feare to get wette, though as it did happen, we did not face more than the lightest of rains.” It was a day when the illness of the Charms teacher left them free in the middle of the day, and so they went then, and though they did not discover their expected lacewings, they instead gathered several herbs and a pair of slugs, with which they combined the horse’s blood they had brought with them to create a potion in common use at the time for increasing an individual’s speed, before the increasing comfort and convenience of broomsticks caused it to fall largely out of use. Both Nian and Dian describe their mood as downright giddy with their success, and how they were continually dancing around their cauldron and singing with their excitement.

One imagines the sight they were doing so. The swiftness potion they were working on tended to send out lightning when boiling, and Nian describes them as almost screaming, and getting faster and wilder, as time went on. To a pair of Muggles who may have never before met with a wizard or witch, they must have been an awesome and terrifying sight, one that would confirm all the stereotypes they had of witches as being as dangerous and uncontrollable as they were powerful. And so that must have been the impression given to the pair of Muggles that did indeed happen upon them.

At this time, Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, more commonly known as Macbeth, was the king of the local area, which the Muggles called Moray, and included the northern section of the Great Glen, and was at war with the then King of Scotland, Donnchad mac Crínáin, also known as Duncan I. It seems that day, for reasons known only to the Muggles, he went riding out towards the southern border of his lands with one of his captains, whose name, sadly, remains unknown; the two men certainly did not give it to the girls and nor did any of them discern it through their abilities.

The potion was in full boil when they came upon the Weyard sisters, and perhaps they were fortunate that the two men did not draw their swords and fall on them in their distraction, as Muggles often did when they found stranger wizards and witches in such a situation where their powers were obvious, especially if they were seen as intruders. But it seems MacBeth and his captain were too stunned to think of attacking the sisters; instead the king simply exclaimed his astonishment, alerting them to their presence, and the girls simply turned, and according to Nian, “for some time, we did only stare, alle six of us struck dumbe. Then my minde tolde me he was King Mac Bethad, and I spake his name.”

The king does not seem to have reacted very much to Nian knowing his name by supernatural means; likely he expected nothing different from a quartet of mysterious young women dancing around a cauldron. Instead, almost playfully, he asked them what else about himself they could tell him.

Nian, Cian, and Dian were all able to tell him quite a lot about himself. Nian described his history coming to her even as she recited it, how his father had been killed twenty years previous by MacBeth’s own cousins, and he had avenged his death by killing them one by one, burning down a house with the last of them in it with fifty of his men, with the aid of the man's widow who after became his own wife, how he had submitted to the authority of the King of Denmark, and then to Duncan I when he had claimed the throne of Scotland, and how he had recently grown angry with the young Scottish King’s difficulty with dealing with the invaders from the south. Cian then advised him that Duncan I was intending to attack Moray, and she was able to give him what appear to be accurate dates for the event. Finally Dian proclaimed that he would win the battle, Duncan I would be killed, and MacBeth himself would claim the throne of Scotland.

Fian, however, apparently experienced no foreknowledge of MacBeth’s life, and while the other girls talked, simply stood there silently. Years later, she would claim that her pride was hurt by this, and that it made her too eager in what happened next, when she instead had an outright vision of the future, which was less common for the girls, who when they were awake received knowledge directly to their brain far more often than “seeing” or “hearing” something from the future with their senses. This is strange, as it was neither consistent with her general character, nor the general way the Sight is known to work. It is hard to believe she would lie about such a thing, but it is possible she was remembering her motivation wrongly.

The vision seems to have been triggered when the captain, having noticed Fian’s lack of participation, asked her gently if she saw anything. Both Nian and Dian describe how all her features flew wide before her eyes rose up, clearly looking at something in a place where there was nothing to see. It was not the absolute first time this had happened to one of them when conscious, and they recognized the state of vision quickly enough. Dian even told MacBeth she would no doubt come out of it with the entire history of his future. But as she said this, Fian came out of her vision, and said, “No, I see him not. I see too far away and ahead.” Pointing to the captain, she said, “I see a woman of his blood. I see the thrones of England and Scotland combined under her sceptre. She rules the Welsh too, but that is not to notice, because she rules so much. All of the Emerald Island, and then lands in Africa and ones very, very East of here, and even cold plains on a land beyond the western sea that the great Vikings have barely discovered, and none else shall for hundreds of years. All of them hail her as their Queen. She is an Empress also, and her Empire is so vase and great that ne’er does the sun set on it. And her children shall claim not only her own throne, but shall marry into all the royal families of Europe, though a secret curse in her own blood shall make many of them weak and vulnerable to the wounding. Ah, captain, your own life shall pass away unknown, but your blood shall live forever.”

Those familiar with the history of the British monarchy will be quick to identify the woman in Fian’s vision as likely being one Queen Victoria, ruler of the British Empire from 1837 until her death in 1901, during which the Empire was indeed spread so far over the world that a common phrase was “the sun never sets on the British Empire,” and whose nine children and their children married into most of the royal houses of Europe, until she was nicknamed, “the grandmother of Europe,” but who also was almost certainly the origin of a gene that made her male descendants susceptible to hemophilia. One may assume she was somehow descended from this captain, who as will be discussed later was survived by one son about whom we know very little. Many tales have in fact since sprung up about him, and when his descendants may have married into the British royal line, or the German nobility from where Queen Victoria herself was descended, or even of the blood being introduced into her line through adultery, but there is simply no record of when it might have happened.

It is unlikely, however, that even Fian, let alone any of the others present, could have understood the full scope of her prophecy. None of them save MacBeth would ever travel outside Britain(he late in life would make a religious pilgrimage to Rome, the center of the Muggle Church that at the time dominated Europe), the two Muggles likely never learned in their lives to give much thought to what might exist beyond Western Europe, and even the girls never seemed to have any real notion of geography outside of Europe; in one of her letters, Cian even expressed a belief that Rome and Constantinople(modern-day Istanbul) were only about 50 miles apart from each other, even though she could foretell plenty of the goings-on of both cities, including the infamous sack of the latter during the Crusades a century later.

In any case the captain did not seem to put much importance in Fian’s words, at least that day. To the contrary, he laughed and said his son, apparently a toddler at the time, would be quite jealous if he ended up with a sister like that, but for the time being he had no daughters that he knew of. Meanwhile all four sisters were quick to surmise that the woman in Fian’s vision was a little further descended from him than that, but none of them said so; both Nian and Dian speculate that all four found themselves too unimpressed by the limitedness of his mind. Also, while neither writes about feeling any particular fear for their safety around the pair of armed Muggles, sixteen years of being taught that such men were dangerous probably left the sisters less than inclined to remain in their company for very long. So when MacBeth began to barrage them with questions about the finer details of Duncan I’s attack, not all of which, Nian was quick to note, she even knew the answer to, she decided they should abandon the potion and flee, and to this effect cast a thick fog around everyone. The other three girls seemed to agree with her plan, as they helped strengthen the fog, and under the cloak of it they managed to get out of eyesight of the two men with the Portkey, and remained so until it activated again and returned them to Hogwarts Castle.

Both Nian and Dian describe their words to the Muggles as something they did not give much thought to in the weeks immediately after, and they did not think Cian thought much about it either. “Withe Fian,” Nian writes, however, “it did stay more; ne’er before had she suche a vision.” While the other three spoke of it to no one, Fian it seems told at least one or two of her friends, because it was known that the sisters had foretold it when news reached Hogwarts months later that Duncan I had perished in battle against MacBeth, and then that the King of Moray had become the undisputed ruler of all of Scotland.

It was not something that impressed every last witch and wizard in the school. Many saw even the biggest affairs of the Muggles as being insignificant to wizards, and certainly the change of power did not seem to affect Hogwarts or even Hogsmeade that much. A decade and a half later, a Muggle war would have results that would ultimately have a deep impact on everyone, wizard and Muggle alike, that lived in Great Britain, in England especially, but even as late as 1040, such a thing was still unfathomable to British wizards. But they were aware even so that MacBeth’s rise was a big and important thing to a lot of people, and that the sisters had been participants in it, because Fian had told her friends enough to admit her sisters had given the king guidance, was enought that from most the school’s population the girls suddenly found themselves receiving the kind of respect they had never gotten from anyone before. The teachers especially treated them differently; Nian records on how all four of them were scolded and punished a lot less.

Three of them were not pleased by such an about face by a population that had scorned them when they had seemed less big and powerful, but Dian, by her own admission, reaped and enjoyed the benefits immensely. “Now those who did treat me badly I coulde give curse to,” she writes, “and if I did not make any too stronge, the teachers did not punish.” Even most of her housemates seemed to forgive her for such misdeeds; she was constantly invited to be in everyone’s company and given precedence and the best chair or treats. In such an environment, too, her divinatory ability grew stronger and stronger, and she especially gained more ability to see on subjects she had an active desire to know about, so long as she was not too emotionally invested, thus alleviating much of her worry about not being able to answer her housemates’ questions about the future; previously fear of not being able to and their potential reaction to that had impeded this.

This also changed their relationship with the two Ollivander siblings still attending Hogwarts. It would have less time to change it with Gaineda, who was finishing up her final year of schooling, but even she, who still had not been much in company with the girls when they had all been at Hogwarts, began seeking out the company of Fian again, and to a lesser extent the other three. Meanwhile, things with Grianne changed completely. In Ravenclaw Tower, she often tried to shadow Nian, and outside it she would often seek out Cian or Fian, though she still kept some distance from Dian, possibly due to the influence of her other friends; although there was some distance between all four houses, there was more between the other three and Slytherin. These three sisters were more indulgent to Gaineda and Grianne then they were to the rest of their classmates. They still felt very strongly a sense of debt towards Gaius-Claudius Ollivander, and of course they still anticipated one of them, whom they still generally believed would be Fian, would be married into the family, and any chance to remain on the strongest of terms with them, as far as both Nian and Dian were concerned, was to be taken.

How it influenced things with the older three Ollivander siblings is less clear, except that it does not seem it changed things with Giuletta very much. There did not seem at the time to be much contact at all between the Weyard sisters and the two Ollivander boys, and indeed, at this time Gaius-Marcus was frequently traveling abroad, having become the main gatherer of woods and core materials for the family business, to the point that even the island-wide news of the time was not something he necessarily took notice of. But it is impossible to believe he took no notice at all, and that it had no influence with his later interaction with the sisters. For Gecundus, meanwhile, it seems to have become something to brag about to his friends, that he had one of four powerful sisters promised to him as his wife, but not something that made him see any need to have further contact with them before it was time for the marriage. He had, of course, already spent a number of years anticipating marriage to a Seer, and seeing them publicly recognized might not have caused him to think much new of them.

Down in London, word managed to reach the Wizarding Council just as the girls themselves returned to London during Hogwarts’ autumn break, and especially attracted the notice of a certain Horatius Beckett. The future head of the Wizarding Council had not been on it when they had first interviewed the Weyard sisters ten years back; he had been accepted as a member in 1038, at the age of thirty-eight, not at all a young age for wizards at the time, but still a young one for membership on the Council; everyone else was at least in their forties. Even this early in his career, everyone who knew Beckett described him of a man of very high ambitions, and one who took interest in anyone or anything that might prove an advantage to him. It was he who urged the Council to see the girls again. Most of the others saw no point to it; they had seen them, taken the actions they believed appropriate, and saw no reason to fuss over their predicting a Muggle-related event, however significant. He would later claim he argued with them about it for three weeks, although he was prone to exaggeration on these subjects. However long it took him, he did eventually persuade them to summon the Weyard sisters once again.

They appeared before the Council on September 17, and most of the questions put to them were from Beckett, and related to high level politics, some of them related to Muggle leaders, but most to wizard ones. Here, however, he encountered considerable disappointment: the sisters foreknew very little about the subjects he was most interested in. Indeed, it appears from some of the comments from the other Council members that the affair was arguably an embarrassment for Beckett, at least in the eyes of those of them who had grown annoyed with his ambition and wished to see him embarrassed. Nian commented to Gaius-Claudius Ollivander, who accompanied them to the meeting, that the Council wouldn’t contact them again, “Until one of us receives an offer of marriage, I think.” However, to his mild disappointment, her foreknowledge did not include which of them would receive the proposal.

He likely would not have been entirely happy either had she been able to tell him it would in fact be her. While Beckett’s interest in the girls had been entirely in their powers, another member of the Council, Jason Crabbe, a wizard in his 50s whose history had mainly been as a duelist and whose presence on the Council, on which he would only sit three years, history does not adequately explain, was seemingly taken by Nian, whose beauty would be spoken about in more than one other source later in her life. One of his friends, Gorlios Emilion, describes his behavior the following night, when they were in each other’s company, “Alle the night, it seemed he talked of naught but her, his words getting cruder the more he drank, though ne’er did he stop comparing her to divinity.” At the beginning of October he sent a letter to Gaius-Claudius requesting her hand.

Gaius-Claudius was of two minds about it. On one hand, he was aware if he played it right, to marry Nian off to a member of the Council could be very advantageous to him. On the other, he confessed freely he did not like Crabbe very much, and he was still nominally planning to marry Nian to Gecundus, though he was very aware now he that with four options of bride for his son, he could easily give one of them up. It appeared he sent no response while he was attempting to make up his mind, nor did he tell the girls, perhaps rightly unsure if they would see him as having the right to agree to a match their father had had nothing to do with at all.

But Crabbe, as it happened, was not a patient man. On the contrary, when his letter went unanswered, he saw himself as being scorned and insulted, and decided to take revenge for it. On October 14 he presented to the Council a letter supposedly from a grieved old wizard accusing Gaius-Claudius of having deliberately sold him a defective wand. Practically all historians agree this letter was a forgery, and indeed those that knew him and knew how things stood between him and the family must have at least suspected it might be. But when the spells that would now prove it had not at the time been invented, and Crabbe was able to produce a disgruntled old wizard, known only as Trilion, whom he presumably paid off, they were obliged to investigate the complaint. When they summoned Gaius-Claudius to answer before the Council, Crabbe also apparently talked them into summoning the sisters as well, saying that if their guardian was coming anyway they might as well take the opportunity. Nian, Dian, and most of those who have considered the matter since then believe his intention was probably to humiliate Nian’s guardian in front of her.

Unfortunately for Crabbe, though fortunately for Gaius-Claudius, Trilion, who was supposed to attend and make his complaint to the offender’s face, for reasons no one has ever been certain of failed to show, and the questioning was delayed as they attempted to find him. All four of the Weyard sisters were so distressed by the whole sequence of events that they were unable to divine much in relation to them, and could gain no knowledge of Trilion’s whereabouts, or anything about him at all. While several members of the Council argued how much of an effort they should make and if they should go forward without him, Gaius-Claudius took advantage of the pause to inform Crabbe he had still been considering his request, but now the answer would certainly be no. This angered Crabbe greatly, and he called Gaius-Claudius “a liar, through and through,” and stalked out and did not return. With neither of the men willing to make a complaint against him present, and receiving confident denials from him of any wrongdoing, the Council eventually asked him a handful of questions before apparently deciding to ask the girls more instead.

As it became clear their guardian would not be suffering any serious consequences from Crabbe’s allegations, the girls recovered, and though they still were apparently able to please Beckett very little, they were able to tell the rest of the Council more about their own lives, including a warning to one member, young Peyton Lazarus, that his wife would receive a snakebite, which he would eventually credit with saving her life, as it caused him to stock antidote in his home. Most vitally, they warned the Council that there would be a Goblin rebellion the following year; everyone on the Council would later agree that they were much better equipped to deal with this rebellion when it did indeed happen because they had been told this.

Even then, they were aware the warning might very well prove useful, and for the second time the Council discussed whether they should act in response to the Weyard sisters. This time they agreed they would take measures to keep them in London once their schooling was done, and might even call them back occasionally from Hogwarts before then.

The girls were made aware of this before their return to Hogwarts for the winter, and while Fian was not happy about it, the other three, by Nian’s admission, all developed a bit of arrogance over it, bragging to their housemates and looking forward to a possible summons back to London with the arrival of every owl from the south. When throughout the entire winter one never came they were taken down a few pegs, with some even accusing them of lying about it. The girls were dismayed, humbled, and confused. Dian throughout her life would even express skepticism the Council had ever had any attention of having anything to do with them until they were eighteen.

This is particularly strange of her when the Council’s public records make clear it was far more complicated than they, away at Hogwarts, had any idea of. For one thing, it would have cost more for the Council than they likely realized. For another, not all of the Council supported the decision that had been made about even keeping them in London once they were done at Hogwarts, let alone doing anything before then. Crabbe was in particular against it, and while everyone was aware this was probably because of his perceived snub, the multiple angry speeches he made on the matter probably could not but have some effect on them. Also, at heart several more members were wary of knowing too much about the future, either because they believed knowing only some details would cause them to be imprudent in reacting to it and not think about possible complications they had not been forewarned about, or simply because they were not comfortable with having this kind of power.

In any case, no summons came at all before the girls’ eighteenth birthday, after which it had become understood that they would leave Hogwarts, and one of them would be married to Gecundus, and husbands might also be sought for the other three, though Dian, at least, continued to consider defiance of Gaius-Claudius Ollivander against any arrangement not approved of by their father. As it approached, in fact, Gaius-Claudius began to give the matter more thought, and as noted earlier, he had already worried about such a possible objection. His solution, however, was quite simple: he decided that as their parents were now traveling to London in the spring when they knew their daughters would be there, and the girls were to finish school then as well, he would get Arthur Weyard to delegate his authority to decide his daughters’ marriages. When writing about the matter beforehand, he expressed a belief that the other man would have no objection to doing so, assuming that the wandmaker knew better than him what was best for the girls-indeed, Gaius-Claudius believed this to only be the sensible thing for Arthur Weyard to do.

However, this would prove a more complicated matter than he had anticipated, and the opinions and wills of multiple people would ultimately going into determining the marital fates of all four sisters, which would be the next factor in setting their lives up before the Council finally contacted them again.