We are pleased to bring you the third of our four House “origin stories” written by Joshiah Warbaum. Today, we learn about Rupert Rundlehoof and his quest to bring peace to his people with his wise words.
Giving peace a chance simply wasn’t in the ideals of most rams. Butting heads was literally a founding part of their culture, and if there was a way to incorporate physical violence into a conflict, it was sure to happen, even if they had to be creative about the process.
Hand-to-hand combat was of no interest for one ram in particular, however, despite his body being the most suited for the task in all of his village.
“If you don’t take up our cause, there won’t be a village left to fight for, Rupert! We need you to wake up and smell the flowers, here!”
It was an argument that Rupert Rundlehoof was used to hearing, by that point, and almost every day, he turned a deaf ear to the concerns of his fellow rams, as they battled about in the village of Hargrove.
“Your conflict has gone on for years without me,” Rupert would always reply, picking the same words, no matter which side of the conflict tried to appeal to him, “And it will continue, with or without my influence!”
“Enough! You’re scaring the birds,” Rupert yelled, as he dismissed his countrymen. “If your only cause is to win a war through bloody conflict, I’ve got no time for you and your petty battle!”
Learned as he was, even Rupert didn’t know how the conflict between the Rams of Hargrove began. It existed before he was born, and he deeply feared that it might continue long after his bones had turned to dust, but he was beside himself about getting involved.
From the long, curled horns upon his head, down to the chitin of his onyx hooves, Rupert was thick, owning a body that was so riddled with power that his presence alone shook the earth beneath him.
Despite that fact, it was all too common to see birds, squirrels, and some of the other, smaller denizens of the forest gathering around him. For those who had no quarrels to settle, Rupert had a deep compassion, and the very few friends that he kept in the village were those other rams who refused to take part in the combat that plagued their society.
Those numbers were dwindling, as dissent spread through the village like never before. The conflict grew worse by the day, and as Rupert watched his fellow rams hobbling back to their houses every night with fresh injuries, he wondered how much longer Hargrove could continue on.
Most mornings, Rupert would settle down in a wide, open meadow that was just outside of the reach of the shacks and houses in the village of Hargrove. Before combat started for the day, it was the perfect place for someone to sit with their thoughts and enjoy the peace of the world…
Until the first pair of rams butted horns that morning, scaring all of the small, peaceful creatures that Rupert kept as friends back into their nooks and homes. It was like clockwork, and as Rupert let out another heavy sigh, he contemplated what options he had left, anymore. His size created a terribly intimidating aura about him, and the struggle of getting past that was simply too much for most critters to handle. Other rams weren’t terribly afraid of Rupert, knowing that he hated conflict, but outside of the village of Hargrove, Rupert didn’t believe that he would ever find a real friend.
He didn’t want to give up on his people; he knew that he couldn’t just abandon them, after they gave him a life of safety and protection in a secluded village.
That afternoon, when the sun was just beginning to set, and the twin armies of rams lay exhausted, battered and bruised in the fields outside of Hargrove, Rupert delivered a speech that remains engraved in the hearts of every resident of the village.
Panting and gasping, rams watched with wide eyes and gaping jaws as Rupert Rundlehoof, the eternal pacifist, made his way onto the battlefield. He carried no weapon, and even after decades of watching his fellow rams beat each other to a senseless pulp, his face carried no grudge, but instead, a bright, peaceful smile, one that spoke of the clarity he’d achieved.
He was lined on both sides by small parades of squirrels and birds, and his presence upon the battlefield caused such a hush that to this day, rams would claim that they could hear the tiny, rhythmic flapping of wings, and the hurried, frantic beats of rodent hearts, even above the powerful, deep thumps of Rupert’s own hooves.
“My brothers,” he spoke, his voice carrying to the very edges of what was once a beautiful, unstained meadow, “What hath your violence wrought? Seeds sewn with blood cannot bear a useful fruit!”
Grass that once shined with golden beams of sun and viridian youth was permanently stained orange and red with the dried blood of fallen warriors, and it pained Rupert to think that they fell in vain, but he would sit by no longer.
“You who entered this conflict as children…you need not embrace the sins of your fathers! You fight for a cause that you cannot possibly attain!”
Those rams, the very same who would have scoffed at the idea of peace, looked across the battlefield at their opponents and noticed that, through the lenses that Rupert provided, they couldn’t see what the birthright of their conflict was. Seeing their injuries reflected, it was as if Rupert held a mirror, but he didn’t force them to look into it; he could only guide their eyes and minds toward a path of peace, but it was still up to the rams themselves if they wanted to walk down that path.
“You see yourselves as being so different, but look at me: I walk surrounded by creatures who embrace peace, the same as I do, though physically, we couldn’t be any more different! You all look the same, but you think your hearts are different, because you refuse to express them to each other!”
“That isn’t true!” cried a voice of dissent from one of the crowds. “Look upon us, and tell me you can’t see the differences!”
“I see only friends who have lost their way,” Rupert answered, his voice calm. “For friends to bicker is ordinary, but for them to feud as you have is a rare thing, indeed.”
“To think that I’d ever call myself a friend of those rams…”
Rupert chuckled at the prospect. “Which rams? Do you even know which side is which? Can you even tell me the nature of your conflict?”
The silence that followed Rupert when he entered the meadow was like an endless thunder, compared to the hush that came thereafter. Among those who still fought so passionately, none remained who could explain their dedication to the battle.
“If you applied yourselves even a tenth as much to resolving this conflict peacefully as you did to fighting each other, there’s no limit to what you could all accomplish! The reason for a war will always be lost to the sands of time, but the reasons for your friendship will be innumerable if you simply trust in it. This, I believe to be true, above all else…and if you rams can learn this lesson, then perhaps, other people might learn it, as well.”
With his intentions declared, Rundlehoof offered a final bow to his fellow rams, but even as he left, accompanied by the peaceful creatures that shared his spirit, his presence spread throughout the battlefield, and slowly, throughout the whole of the village. His words, however brief, carried a message with a greater strength than his muscles could ever muster, and the rams, for their part, looked upon each other with a mixture of shame and sorrow, as they saw what terrible damages their pointless war had caused.
Without further words to offer, many of the rams stood up, leaving their weapons upon the ground. They walked away with Rundlehoof, carrying only what little supplies they could hold on their backs, and joined him in his mission to spread the principles of peace across the world. They would be his first followers at Dogwarts, and despite their intimidating appearance, they were known as the friendliest of the four houses, even at their inception.
The metal from the weapons left behind that day was collected and stockpiled. Those rams who decided to stay and preach Rupert’s message of peace erected a statue of him with the weapons he encouraged them to cast away, and in the base of the same, his famous words were forever enshrined: Seeds sewn with blood cannot bear a useful fruit.
Once a tiny, secluded village, Hargrove opened to others that day, welcoming in all kinds of creatures, from all walks of life. The rams, moving past their pointless conflict, found that friendship could blossom much easier than war, and the fruits of the same were much sweeter, a secret that Rupert knew all along.
Joshiah Warbaum is a professional author hailing from the frozen wasteland that we now call the “Midwest.” His experience spans over a decade, and his skills with a wand pale in comparison to his skills behind a typewriter. When he’s not spinning tales of mystery and wonder, he can often be found concocting another batch of the mythical Elixir. (By concocting, we mean drinking.)