The other lords would be trouble. Sal had anticipated that.

Still, now that she was confronted with the frowning faces of Lord Black, Lady Malfoy, and Lord Longbottom - all heads of prominent magical families and at least ten years in her senior, Rowena couldn't help but feel a little unnerved.

"I still find it hard to believe," began Lord Black scathingly, "This decision of yours… is positively shocking."

Lord Longbottom, meanwhile, was almost gentle. "We all agree that a school for magic would be beneficial. But to invite the offspring of those filthy muggles to learn alongside our children? I especially did not expect this from you, Slytherin. And you, Ravenclaw."

Rowena flinched slightly at the accusary words: 'You are high born, heirs of two well respected magical families. You are one of us. Why are you betraying our interests?'

A glance at Salazar showed that his face was impressively blank. He had always been better at this than she was.

"My lords and lady," Salazar began their defence in a smooth voice that did not waver, "We understand your concerns perfectly. But we also must realize that without guidance, without being taught to control their gifts, the muggleborn wizards are a liability. They may grow resentful against us - for why should we be able to learn and rise above the squabble that is the muggle society while they, who are equally magical, cannot? And if they attempt to learn magic on their own, which would be very slow but possible, they would risk being discovered. The largest part of the muggle paranoia of magic is fuelled by the accidental magic of inexperienced muggleborns, my lords and lady. And that, for the safety of our own children, is something we should try to prevent."

"Their parents may be muggles, but we cannot deny that they are magical. We must find these children and educate them so that they can truly become one of us," finished Godric. This was the most effective argument to use against the concerns of the lords, they'd decided beforehand. Assure them that it was for their own good. Be calm and collected, as was expected among the upper class. And most of all, convince them that they were all still on the same side.

Right. Rowena clasped her hands together to stop herself from fidgeting.

"Yet the offsprings of those uncouth beings might corrupt our children with their beliefs!" Countered Lady Malfoy. "I will not allow my son to pick up their revulsion toward learning, their disrespect for basic literacy, and their fear of anything beyond their tiny circle of understanding!"

"My lady, we have a system in place to sort the students by what they want out of life and the type of education they desire. I can assure you that if your son strives for greatness, he will be taught among like-minded individuals." Once again, Rowena marvelled at how Salazar could sound so assuring. Especially when just yesterday he'd looked so worried frowning over a list of possible arguments from the lords and a noticeably shorter list of counterarguments.

"But wouldn't the muggles notice if their children are removed from them?" Lord Longbottom tried a different tack.

"No they will not, milord," Rowena explained earnestly, "The parents of the boys will be under the impression that their son is at a faraway castle, assisting some lord on his hog hunting trips. It would be a fortunate enough position, so they likely would not speak of it much to their neighbours."

"And meanwhile the girls are supposed to be assisting a warts doctor," added Helga cheerily, "Which is true to some extent, I suppose, since I am indeed a healer and they will indeed be learning charms to treat warts among other things. And I can personally go and pick them up, to make it more authentic."

For a minute they stood there, staring each other down.

"They must be taught," said Salazar, "for the good of all of us." Through years of watching him operate, Rowena knew that his tone was carefully controlled to sound at once respectful and insistent.

"I suppose your decision is not entirely mad," Lord Black grumbled, "but I still don't like this."

Giving the four one last haughty glare, he swept out of the room, followed by Lady Malfoy. At the door, Lord Longbottom paused.

"So you will insist on teaching the spawns of the mundane? Is that what you want to be known for, heir Ravenclaw? Heir Slytherin? The hogs-and-warts school of wizardry and witchcraft?"

Rowena saw Godric and Helga glance fleetingly at her with concern. Even the corners of Salazar's lips twitched minutely, breaking his well-practiced mask of polite blankness. (What expression her own face was displaying she knew not.) Lord Longbottom was, once again, pressing on a sore point, and Rowena couldn't help but wonder what her ancestors would say. House Ravenclaw - proud, noble, illustrious - becoming connected with something so mundane? Would they be ashamed of her for sullying their reputation?

Or would they be proud?

Rowena took a breath and reminded herself of the real reason they were doing this. Every magical child deserve to learn to use their gifts, no matter their background.

She drew herself up and stared back defiantly. "Then, milord, I suppose Hogwarts is as good a name as any."

A.N.: What if the name "Hogwarts" was not a drunkard's decision, but a testament of the Founders' resolve?