Story-time Saturday: Vølurheim : Professor Hulda Kvænangsdottir

Context: Artist Even Amundsen felt that it wasn't entirely fair that the Scandinavian countries missed out on a magical school in the Harry Potter Universe, so he crafted some amazing art for the staff of this school, called Vølurheim. I've taken it a few steps further and whipped up some quick fiction based solely on my own impressions from his amazing, amazing art. The story is mine, the art and characters are his.

     “It's tradition, Professor Hulda!” Sven protested shrilly as he levered himself up on the stretcher.

     Hulda Kvænangsdottir looked up from her patient, Albin. The large boy was in his final year of schooling. Nearly a man. Nearly dead. Her fierce blue eyes glared back angrily at the Quidditch Captain as her hands continued to apply salamander oil to Albin's exposed, frostbitten skin. “Tradition!” she spat back. “Like the Healer having to save one of you foolish boys every year from certain death.”

     Sven blinked nervously. No one doubted that the current Head of the Healing Hearth was the best the school had seen in almost a century. Neither did anyone doubt that she had a temper as fierce as her looks. Though she would heal any wounded brought to her, the healing process itself could become a most painful lesson. “Well, no one's died in...years...” he trailed off, his voice fading as quickly as his confidence under her withering stare.

     “In the years since I came to this school to discover the most dangerous thing here isn't the dragons, or the magic, but your own foolish traditions!” she shot back, her jaw clenching in rage.

     Sven shivered despite himself. The Yule Quidditch Match was one of the school's longest-standing traditions, and like the Berserkers of old, the Beaters traditionally went bare skinned for the game. Normally this just led to an excess of broken and fractured bones from the lack of padding, coupled with a mild frostbite. All of them easily cured. This year there had been an unexpected storm from the east, and nearly a meter of snow fell before the game itself.

     Not that anyone would call off the game on account of weather. Hulda's protesting yell when it was announced the game would continue as planned was nearly louder than the rest of the crowd combined. Albin had been not only hit square in the chest by a bludger, but it catapulted him out of the stadium and into a snow drift. He had been barely breathing by the time he was brought to the Hearth.

     Wiping the excess oil from her hands on the dull red apron she wore everywhere, Professor Hulda slipped her wand from it's leather case across her waist. Fifteen inches, elm, with a dragon sinew core, the large wand never looked out of place in her hand. Muttering a spell quietly as her wand twisted and arced in deft movements, her features relaxed as the boy's breathing evened out and the blue tint began to fade from his lips.

    Sven wisely decided not to notice the tear of relief that trailed down her cheek as she met his eyes once more.

    “So,” she said with a smile more suitable to the wolf whose fur shifted over her broad shoulders. “You have injuries, too?”

    Sven swallowed audibly. “Yes, Professor.”

    Professor Hulda chuckled ominously as she slipped her wand back into its case. “Then let us begin by setting those broken bones. Traditionally.”


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