AUTHOR'S NOTE: This "fic" evolved out of backstory material pertinent to the setting of Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin (and its sequels, on AO3). I decided to put it into the format of excerpts from various magical textbooks and other media for the benefit of followers. While not necessary to follow the main story, the information herein may provide better context for the main fic. Likewise, it is not particularly necessary to follow the main story in order to understand these excerpts, they may seem rather pointless otherwise.

Excerpts from THE HISTORY OF MAGIC, 12th Edition*
*(i.e. the 1984 "Banned Edition")



While some of the information contained herein is not suitable for publication in Britain due to a variety of parochial concerns for which I have much disdain, they are nevertheless included for historical accuracy and completeness. As such, certain details which the British Ministry of Magic would prefer to see occluded will be discussed to some degree. But I am an old woman, so the Ministry can lump it.


Roman Origins

The true history of the Durmstrang Institute for Magic and the magical culture of Eastern Europe which gave rise to it long predates the founding of the school itself and, like so much of European wizarding history, begins with the decline and fall of Rome. According to Muggle history, in 330 CE, the Roman Emperor Constantine chose to relocate his capital from Rome to Constantinople, which was more centrally located within the far-flung Muggle empire. Simultaneously, Constantine began the process of Christianization across the Empire, a process later accelerated and largely completed under Justinian I. While Muggles believe all sorts of silliness about Constantine's embrace of Christianity, the doctrines of early Catholicism made it the ideal state religion for exercising social control over a truly massive area with diverse religious and cultural beliefs.

However, Constantine did not journey to Constantinople alone. Wizards came with him, not all but most. Prior to this point, there were two classes of wizards to be found in Rome. First and foremost were the Ancient Families, seventeen large patrician families which could all trace their magical heritage to the old Roman Republic and, in some cases, much, much earlier. Many of the Ancient Families held hereditary seats in the Roman Senate. All of them could back up their claims to power even in the Imperial age and the resulting decline in the power of the Senate and the patrician class because their magic was intrinsically tied to the ley lines which crisscrossed Rome and Italy and which stretched out across the length of the Empire. Simply put, the Ancient Families could not be dislodged without Rome itself falling with them.

But the Ancient Families, though potent, were by no means the only wizards of Rome. In contrast to the patrician Ancient Families, the plebian Imperial Magi consisted of both foreign-born wizards and witches and Roman-born wizards and witches who were of unknown lineages (or in modern parlance, Muggleborns, though that term was meaningless before the advent of the Statute of Secrecy). The Imperial Magi were all considered citizens of Rome upon demonstration of magical potential followed by completion of an apprenticeship to an established Imperial Mage. The Imperial Magi were accorded positions of influence in the growing Roman bureaucracy, but those benefits were contingent on magical vows that they would remain loyal to the position of the Emperor. And when the Emperor decided to move the capital a thousand miles to the east, the Imperial Magi had little choice but to come with him.

Indeed, some theorists believe that Constantine's true objective in relocating the Capital was to break the power of the Ancient Families. Let them have the decaying husk of Rome, he thought, while true power fled to another part of the globe where no single wizard or family of wizards claimed title to the ley lines and the power that came with them. In time, the Imperial Magi became the masters of the bureaucracy that undergirded the Eastern Empire (as Muggle historians later called it) and, under some of the weaker Emperors, the true power behind the throne.

In 392 CE, Emperor Theodosius I formally banned pagan religions throughout the Roman Empire. Of course, "pagan religions" in the pre-Statute era was for the most part a euphemism for cults and cult-like religions where magicals ruled over nonmagicals, often holding themselves up as gods over isolated peasant communities. Back in Rome, such religions were more civilized affairs, and consisted of mystery cults which had been controlled by the Ancient Families for generations. But despite the distance of the Emperor's throne, his influence over the Eternal City was still absolute, and the Roman military soon turned its hands and swords to ending those mystery cults. This assault on the dignity of the Ancient Families led them to consider what had previously been unthinkable: abandoning Rome entirely to establish some new society elsewhere.

In 473 CE, Rome fell. That is a simplistic way of describing a complex process that took decades to play out, but most historians date the end of the Western Roman Empire from that year. And among magical historians, that year is also relevant because (not coincidentally) it was the year in which the Ancient Families moved—lock, stock, and cauldron—to a cold, wet island at the fringes of the Empire: Brittania.

It would be many centuries before the greater magical world understood what instigated that move, what treasures they found in Britain, and what power they claimed for themselves rather than on behalf of some Muggle ruler. Regardless, without the magical might of the Ancient Families or the backing of the Imperial Magi, Rome was magically defenseless against nonmagical barbarian armies, some of whom were themselves backed by rogue dark wizards, tribal shamans with strange unconventional powers, or intelligent magical creatures who allied with humans. While Emeric's Lycanthropic Curse would not be unleashed on Europe for many centuries to come, that Dark Lord's foul research was no doubt informed by the now-extinct line of shapeshifters who could transform into wolves at will and who ran alongside Atilla the Hun. The barbarian warlord Odoacer, who history credits with the Sack of Rome, was such a skinchanger, though Muggle stories have all forgotten.

In the Shadow of Constantinople

The next six centuries or so are not terribly relevant to the discussion of Durmstrang. On the Muggle side, they were marked by continual conflicts between the Byzantine Empire (as the Eastern Roman Empire came to be known) and other regional powers. On the magical side, Byzantium and the Imperial Magi who ruled it in the Emperor's name fought constantly with local wizards, from isolated shamans serving nomadic tribes to dark wizards holding themselves up as minor deities to organized wizarding groups such as the League of Drakonova (Hungarian wizard-warlords who rode dragons into battle) and the Bolyarin (the magical aristocracy of the Bulgars). At its height, Magical Byzantium held dominion over all the magical folk of Anatolia, Greece, the entire Balkan peninsula, and parts of Bulgaria and Hungary, plus the Levant, Arabia, and Mediterranean Africa. The northern border of Magical Byzantium was usually demarked by the Danube River. On the other side of it was the Hungarian Empire (with whom the Empire had many conflicts, both magical and non-magical), the Bulgarian Empire (which alternated between being a Byzantine principality and an independent kingdom), and Romania, which consisted mainly of isolated villages under the control of local dark wizards and powerful vampires.

Meanwhile, back in Britain, Hogwarts was founded sometime around 920 CE. Immediately, the Ancient Families, now organized into the Wizards' Council, took up arms against the Founders, but even their powers and arcane lore were no match for the quartet of legendary wizards and witches who laid the foundations of Hogwarts. Eventually, even the most recalcitrant of the Ancient Families realized that the benefits of having an actual school to train their young in the ways of magic outweighed any possible benefit to seizing Hogwarts for their own purposes, even assuming they could ever overcome the Founders. And reluctantly, all parties settled their differences by magical treaty. The Ancient Families still grumbled, but by the middle of the 11th century, the Wizards' Council would have much more to worry about than the Founders of Hogwarts as William the Conquerer lived up to his name, backed by the might of what later became the 29 Noble Families of the Wizengamot.

Back in the Near East, Byzantium defeated the Bulgars in battle over the course of nearly a century of conflict ending (more or less) in 1145. This formally brought a sizeable chunk of Bulgaria into the Byzantine Empire, along with portions of Armenia, Georgia, and Kiev Rus. However, a Bulgarian "emperor' would officially rule the land during this era subject to Byzantine dominion. But while the Bulgarian Empire mostly retained its territories on the non-magical side, the cost to the magical peoples was greater. As part of the peace treaty, each of those magical nations was required to pay Constantinope a tribute in the form of a set number of magical children every year.

The conscripted children were then memory-charmed by the Imperial Magi to believe that they were rescued from cruel parents who hated them for their magic. This appears to be the first widespread and government-sanctioned use of both the Memory Charm and the False Memory Charm in European history. Poor security led to both spells becoming widely known across Europe by the time the Statute was enacted, and most ICW member nations enacted regulations governing their use (with varying degrees of prosecution depending on the nation). Rather than sacrifice the children of the Boyars (which essentially meant Pureblooded wizards in pre-Statute Bulgarian), the Bulgarians initiated a practice of targeting Muggleborns upon their first showing of accidental magic, taking them from their parents (who were usually executed) and shipping them off to Constantinople for reeducation. This would eventually have consequences that the Bulgarians and the other magicals of Southeastern Europe would deeply regret.

Other Schools

By 1023 CE, news of Hogwarts had reached the Near East, and in response, the Empire founded the House of Magic, an Anatolian school for the study of magic near what is presently the Turkish city of Adana. It was sponsored by the Empire and meant to be a companion to the House of Wisdom, a storehouse of ancient (and non-magical) scientific and historical writings that were being translated into Arabic in the city of Baghdad. The staff of the House of Magic were high-ranking Imperial Magi who were of older years and saw spending their declining years as teachers preferable to the cutthroat world of Byzantine politics. While influential, the House of Magic never achieved the fame of Hogwarts during its brief existence mainly due to lack of independence. In particular, patriotism and loyalty to the Empire (and to the Imperial Magi who controlled the magical side of it) were inculcated at all levels, but especially among the Wards of the Emperor, the children offered up in tribute and raised in Anatolia to be totally devoted to the Empire.

In 1185 CE, the Bulgarians threw off the yoke of Constantinople for a time and achieved independence as the Second Bulgarian Empire. It would only last two centuries, but during that span, this empire would be a major regional power and a source of nationalistic pride for Bulgarians unto the present day. Desirous of proving themselves a match for both Hogwarts and the House of Magic (and also of obtaining magical fighters capable of doing toe to toe with the fanatical Wards of the Emperor), the Bulgarian Empire founded its own somewhat notorious school of magic in 1205. Called Scholomance, it was hidden within the Carpathian Mountains, where its teachers and students engaged in certain areas of magical research forbidden by modern society, including weather magic, techniques for enslaving dragons for use in warfare, biothaumaturgy, necromancy, and even darker arts I will not dare to describe in publication.

The Black Khan

The year 1229 marked the dawn of a magical Dark Age in Eastern Europe. Muggle historians note it as the year of the invasion of Volga Bulgaria by the Golden Horde of the Mongols under the leadership of Temujin (more famously known as Genghis Khan). What Muggles do not know is that Temujin, which was not his real name, was a wizard. In fact, he was the last prominent Dark Lord to be mentioned by name in Muggle history books, though, of course, the magical aspects of his regime have been occluded. Possessed of an exceptionally long lifespan, even for a wizard, the Black Khan faked his own death repeatedly and then passed himself off as one of his own descendants over the course of several centuries. Ruthless and incredibly powerful, the Black Khan was, among other things, a necromancer of fearsome strength, and throughout its existence, the Golden Horde was bolstered by armies of Inferi.

While the invasion of Volga Bulgaria happened in 1229, it was but an initial skirmish, and the Bulgarians, the Empire, and the other regional powers utterly failed to appreciate the danger of the Golden Horde. The Black Khan (now under the guise of Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis) returned in earnest in 1236, leading an invasion of both Second Bulgarian Empire and the territory that would become Romania in future ages. Along the way, the Black Khan shocked the Bulgarians by seizing control of Scholomance and brutally executing every faculty member and student who would not swear allegiance to him. Only the wizard Perkunas, Scholomance's Instructor of Weather Magic, escaped along with a few of the younger students.

The Horde continued westward, culminating in the Siege of Vienna in 1241. Unexpectedly, the siege ended, and the Horde withdrew from Austria. Muggle historians claim this was because of the death of Batu Khan's uncle, Ogedei, the Khan of Khans over the Mongol Empire, and Batu had been summoned back home because of a succession crisis. In fact, the Black Khan had no interest in the imperial succession because all the potential claimants were actually No-Maj lackeys under his control, just as Ogedei himself had been. The true reason for the Khan's change of course is unknown, but Austrian wizarding lore is just full of outlandish theories.

Instead, the Black Khan withdrew to Scholomance to study the forbidden tomes held there while his armies consolidated his holdings. In 1258, the Black Khan renewed the Horde's advance. That same year, the Mongols sacked the city of Baghdad and destroyed the House of Wisdom (the Grand Library of the Abbasid Caliph of Bagdhad), a tragedy which effectively marked the end of the era Muggles refer to as the Golden Age of Islam. The next year, the Golden Horde pressed its advantage with an invasion of Poland. After that, however, the Horde faced heavy resistance from the Byzantines and the Wards of the Empire, which both outnumbered the wizards in the Black Khan's service and benefited from more rigorous training in battle magic. The affected parties would remain stalemated for the next five or so years, in part because the Black Khan was unexpectedly forced to spend time suppressing an attempted revolt within the Mongol Empire. Apparently Hulaga Khan, one of his No-Maj minions, somehow broke from the Imperius Curse and led an uprising against the Black Khan (now wearing the face of Berke Khan, Batu's younger brother and Hulaga's uncle).

It took until 1263 CE to quell that revolt, but once he did, the Black Khan turned his attention to Constantinople with a vengeance. In 1266, the Black Khan somehow destroyed the House of Magic with an unknown spell so powerful that it instantly killed over 60,000 Muggle inhabitants in Adan. (After the Statute was imposed, those deaths were deemed the result of an earthquake, and as a side effect of the Statute, several magically important historical dates around that time are "fudged.") In response to the loss of its primary school of magical instruction and a substantial part of the battle-trained Wards, the Byzantine Empire sued for peace and formed an alliance with the Black Khan for the conquest of Europe. Regions threatened by Mongols rapidly turned against Byzantine Empire for this treachery, and several powerful magicals from across the region joined together to create a training center for wizards who wished to take up arms against Black Khan and the Empire

Thus was Durmstrang born.

The Founders of Durmstrang

The meaning of the name Durmstrang is obscure but is thought to be the name of a village somewhere in Southeastern Europe whose location is long since lost to history. There, the Founders first met in the summer of 1296 to lay the foundation of a magical military training facility. Please note that some of the Durmstrang Founders have names of dubious historicity. In those days, there were many superstitions regarding the magical implications of names, and most powerful wizards used false identities rather than birth names, often changing their identities repeatedly. This was consistent with the Founders of Hogwarts, all four of whom used false names during their years in the British Isles. Such practices were also common in ancient times among those wizards who set themselves up as pagan deities to rule over Muggle peasantry or perhaps were worshiped as deities or folk heroes after the fact with their chosen names entering into legend. This may have been the case with several of the Durmstrang Founders, though the evidence is inconclusive.

For purposes of this paper, the Founders will be identified as follows:

The Three Bogatyrs (Illya, Dobrynya, and Alyosha). The word bogatyr refers to a sort of wandering knight-adventurer and is of Russo-Slavic origin. While the three wizards known as "the Three Bogatyrs" claimed no land as their home, various Muggle legends about a heroic trio with the same name associates them with Kievan Rus'. The original Three Bogatyrs were all wandering knights errant who owed no loyalty to any crown but had perfect loyalty to each other and to those to whom they swore oaths of fealty. Of the three, Dobrynya seemed to be the leader and was both the wisest and most level-headed, Alyosha was more a trickster and merry maker with a penchant for jokes and lechery, and Illya was the most quiet and gentle, though he was also prone to terrible berserker rages when provoked. In addition to spellcasting puissance, all three possessed superhuman physical strength and regenerative abilities.

The Trio arrived at Durmstrang with a company of thirty fellow knights (12 wizards, 7 witches, and 11 highly trained Squibs who the others treated as equals) who also claimed the titled of "bogatyrs" (small "b"). The surviving names spoke of a range of ethnic heritages and at least one of the bogatyrs came from as far as France. All the witches were from Scandinavian and Germanic regions and referred to themselves as "shield-maidens."

The bogatyrs and their leaders all lived by a code of chivalry and pledged to use their arms and their magic against "the Darkness" and to protect the innocent against monsters and dark wizards. With the gradual transformation of the Durmstrang League (a military training center) into the Durmstrang Institute (a more traditional school for magic), the Trio was credited with the founding of House Bogatyr. House Bogatyr has a strong martial bent and, in many ways, resembles a military academy to the present day. Its House culture places a strong emphasis on loyalty, personal excellence, and a complete rejection of fear in any form. To a Hogwarts graduate, it might be said to roughly parallel Gryffindor House, albeit a more disciplined version. The members of House Bogatyr are, unsurprisingly, called Bogatyrs. Their symbol is the double-headed eagle.

The Bolyarin. The original Bolyarin were a quintet of Bulgarian wizards (Asparukh, Tervell, and Kormisosh) and witches (Vasiletsa and Yana) who came to Durmstrang as representatives of the Tsar of Bulgaria. As noted previously, before the Statute, the terms Boyar (sing) and Bolyarin (pl) were simply terms used in the Slavic language to denote high-born wizards and witches, or "Purebloods" in today's parlance. The five Bolyarin were all skilled at diverse areas of magic, though none seemed to excel at the more "exotic" (i.e. "dark") schools. The five Bulgarians are jointly credited with the founding of House Bolyarin, the largest of the Durmstrang Houses as of this writing. According to some scholars, this is because Bolyarin eventually became the home of all Durmstrang students whose Sortings did not direct them to some other house specifically because of ideology, personality, or a particular magical aptitude. Accordingly, the modern House Bolyarin has many cultural similarities to Hufflepuff, albeit Hufflepuffs who are highly ambitious, politically adroit, and historically but not aggressively committed to Blood Purism. Alternatively, one might think of them as "nice" Slytherins.

Modern members of House Bolyarin are referred to as Boyars, and their symbol is the golden lion. In addition to a broad understanding of most of the commonly studied forms of magic, House Bolyarin expects its members to have a keen grasp of politics, diplomacy, finance, and culture (both wizarding and Muggle). Among the strongest supporters of the Slytherin Solution, the Golden Lions often combine a strong belief in blood purism with an evangelical fervor for assimilating Muggleborns into wizarding society as young as possible.

Perkunas. Perkunas and his sibling Velinas (see below) were of unknown ethnicity but were believed either to be either from the Baltic regions or from modern-day Greece or Albania. If the latter, they were expatriates as, in that era, those territories were effectively synonymous with the Byzantine Empire, at least among magicals. Both siblings were magically powerful but with very different specialties. Perkunas was an expert in the obscure branch of magic known as Weather Magic, a subject which he taught at Scholomance before it was captured by the Black Khan. There are many stories about how Perkunas came to be the only adult survivor of Scholomance to escape without swearing fealty to the Khan, but none have ever been verified. It is generally believed that his sibling Velinas played some role but that the younger siblings' actions in doing so drove a wedge between the two which lasted for the remainder of their lives.

Perkunas is credited with the founding of House Keraunos, named for the fabled lightning bolt of Zeus in Greek myth (although Western Europe runologists often note that it more closely resembles the Elder Futhark rune Sowilo). Members of the House call themselves Storm Kings. House Keraunos has a reputation for engaging in highly destructive (but not necessarily dark) magic, and before the practice was banned by the ICW, it was the House most associated with Weather Magic. Indeed, many suspect that House Keraunos still teaches weather manipulation spells on the sly, and the Durmstrang faculty turn a blind eye to Storm Kings who seek such knowledge … if they're not secretly overseeing such instruction. A Storm King likely shares many similarities with a Gryffindor who has more boldness than sense but who is comparatively humorless (the "arsonist Gryffindor," if you will). On the other hand, the House's reputation for pursuing magical power regardless of risk brings to mind some of the more reckless Ravenclaws. While members of other Houses have been excellent flyers, the majority of the most famous Quidditch players to have emerged from Durmstrang have been Storm Kings.

Velinas. Velinas was the younger sibling of Perkunas, though it was never confirmed whether Velinas was a brother or a sister, as they were a master of illusions and shapeshifting and regularly switched genders (and perhaps even species; Velinas claimed to have spent five years living as a dragon just to see what it was like). Velinas was almost certainly a Metamorphmagus, and the legends about them say they could also assume any animal form desired. Obviously, contemporary magic asserts that it is impossible to become both a Metamorphmagus and an Animagus, let alone an Animagus with multiple forms, but we attribute the same sort of tales to Merlin, so who really knows.

Velinas was said to have a mischievous, easy-going personality compared to their stoic and often violent older brother, and they were the founder of House Zmeyevich (after a name Velinas supposedly used during the siblings' time spent traveling in Kievan Rus). The symbol of House Zmeyevich is the Dragon, and members refer themselves as such. While modern Western wizardry tends to view dragons as dumb beasts terrifying only because of their power, ancient tales of Eastern European dragons depict them as being far more intelligent and even able to cast spells, though such tales are more likely borne of the exploits of powerful wizards like Velinas who supposedly could assume a dragon's shape. Indeed, there are several tales involving the Three Bogatyrs and various intelligent dragons they fought, dragons known more for trickery than brutality. None of these tales have any historical basis I am aware of. But then, I can't actually prove that Merlin and Morgana were real either, so there we are.

House Zmeyevich seems to take the boldest and most good-natured elements of Gryffindor and marry them to the cunning and "flexible morality" of Slytherin. Among the many rumors about the House Zmeyevich are that it produces more Metamorphmagi and Animagi than any other House, that it secretly teaches Parseltongue classes, and that it is also the House which helps its students to develop contacts in the Magical criminal underworld.

The Zorya Sisters. The three sisters (Oksana, Svetlana, and Ludmilla) were powerful witches with great prophetic and healing powers. Originally from Ukraine, they claimed to have had a vision of red star that shone both day and night. Compelled to follow it, the star led them to a valley in the Carpathians where the first foundation stone of Durmstrang was eventually laid. It was their peerless knowledge of Arithmancy that allowed for the magic that lets Durmstrang shift from one foundation stone to another.

The youngest sister, Oksana, was a redhead skilled at fire magic. The middle sister, Svetalana, was blonde highly proficient at Transfiguration. Finally, the eldest, Ludmilla, had black hair and was an expert in curses and the psychic arts. Many Muggle legends from Eastern Europe about "triple goddesses of fate and magic" arise from the exploits of the Zorya sisters. They are collectively the founders of House Zorya, whose symbol is a Red Star. Most Red Stars excel at the more esoteric magical arts such as Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Divination, and both Occlumency and Legilimency. Imagine an outgoing Ravenclaw more interested in practical magic than theory, and you basically have a Red Star. It is said that in the school's 800-year history, every single True Seer to have studied at Durmstrang has been Sorted into House Zorya, and the majority of Durmstrang students who pursue Potions or Healing Masteries are said to be Red Stars.

Taltos Kampo: Also known as "Kampo the Wild," this Hungarian wizard was master of an odd shamanistic style of magic very unlike traditional Western European magic. He was known for using a handcrafted staff instead of a wand, but despite that, he was a master of wandlore and produced wands for young wizards who came to Durmstrang without them. Irascible and uncivilized (he strongly believed that regular bathing would diminish one's magical strength), Kampo and his unrefined "peasant magic" constantly brought him into conflict with the elitist Boyers. But he was seemingly the only one who could calm Perkunas out of his rages, the only one who could bring Velinas to heel when the trickster's pranks threatened to upend the fragile alliance between the Founders, and frequently the only one who could interpret the more cryptic prophecies of the Zorya sisters.

The longest-lived of the Durmstrang founders (unless one believes certain unsavory myths about Baba Jaga), Kampo was active well into the 15th century, when he was the magical advisor to King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, despite his refusal to wear anything other than rags to court. Kampo was the founder of House Taltos (taltos being a proto-Hungarian word for wizard/witch). The symbol of the House is Turul, a giant falcon which was Kampo's familiar and which was large enough for him to ride as a flying steed. Members of House Taltos call themselves Falcons in honor of Turul.

House Taltos tends to attract wizards and witches from more rural and isolated parts of the modern Balkan Alliance, especially those who have the greatest fear and distrust for Muggles and who want no part of their society. Falcons generally excel at Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures, Potions, and Divination. Many of them have a flare for wandlore, and most members of the Gregorovitch family attended Durmstrang and were sorted as Falcons.

Baba Jaga: By far the most notorious of the Durmstrang Founders, the Polish witch known only as Baba Jaga (if that was ever her name) was, with the possible exceptions of Circe and Morgan Le Fay, the most infamous Dark Lady in magical history. The other Founders were shocked and angered when Baba Jaga approached them uninvited and asked to join in the founding of Durmstrang and the fight against the Black Khan. Opinion was deeply divided, with the Bogatyr Illya immediately drawing his sword and preparing to attack before the Dark Lady invoked the right to parley. After protracted discussions, the others reluctantly admitted that defeating the Black Khan might require the aid of someone equally knowledgeable about the Darkest Arts.

Finally, Ludmilla Zorya asked the Old Woman of the Woods why she wished to join them. Baba Jaga explained that she was advanced in years, and she believed that her magic would soon fail her, and she would die. Before that happened, she wished to accomplish two things: play a role in the defeat of the Black Khan (about whom she would only say that she "knew him of old") and pass on her knowledge of dark magic to future generations, whether for those who would use for ill or for those who simply wished to understand dark magic so that they could better fight against it. To the surprise of all, Baba Jaga freely offered to swear oaths that she would not betray the others in their quest to defeat the Black Khan, and reluctantly, the most fearsome Dark Lady of the last millennium was allowed joined in the founding of Durmstrang.

Nor did Baba Jaga come alone. She was accompanied by a trio of armored horsemen named Czerwony, Bialy, and Czarny (Red, White, and Black, in Polish, which described each man's armor and the color of his Abraxan winged stallion). These three riders never revealed their true faces and rarely spoke to any but their mistress. Baba Jaga also brought with her a pack of dire wolves with fur the color of midnight, all of whom were intelligent and even able to speak human languages. She claimed that they were the last survivors of the skinchangers who ran with Odoacer at the Fall of Rome, now trapped in their animal forms and bound by ancient oaths to obey the Old Woman of the Woods.

Baba Jaga was the founder of House Czarnobóg, whose symbol is the Black Wolf, which is also the sobriquet for House members. In Slavic Muggle mythology, Czarnobóg is considered to be a evil being locked in eternal struggle with his counterpart Balebog ("the White God"). However, House Czernbog is not necessarily an "evil" House, as it attracts many members who feel that they must understand dark magic and successfully resist its temptations to truly fight against the Forces of Evil (whatever that might be under the philosophy of each individual Black Wolf). To the chagrin of her co-Founders, Baba Jaga insisted on naming her House after the Black God to instill the lesson that "dark does not mean evil" and that it is a wizard's actions that define them rather than the magic they choose to wield. And to this day, a surprising percentage of the most famous and heroic Aurors of Eastern Europe once bore the title of Black Wolf.

Once the Founders were in accord, they formalized their agreement with a magical contract and then set about the construction of the Headquarters of the Durmstrang League (later to rechristened the Durmstrang Academy). Their efforts were split between building the structures of the facility (which consisted of a massive fortress and several smaller structures would eventually become student dormitories) and fixing its locations. Initially, Durmstrang could relocate itself to any one of seven different locations throughout Southeastern Europe at the Headmaster's will. Centuries later, three additional capstones would be laid when Durmstrang consented to allow magical children from the Baltic and Scandinavian regions to attend.

Since its founding, Durmstrang has been cautious if not paranoid about outsiders learning where Durmstrang was located at any given time, an understandable precaution when the most dangerous Dark Lord of the age would soon declare war on you. Even after all these centuries, only four of the ten sites where Durmstrang may be at any given time are widely known: one sits atop Bilov Peak in Central Bulgaria; one lies in a hidden valley fifty miles north of Krakow, Poland; one rests on Ultima Thule, a magically concealed island far to the north of Scandinavia, and finally, one puts the school adjacent to the magical settlement of Kernavė in what is presently Lithuania. The latter two were not part of the original seven locations but were added centuries later, as events both Muggle and Magical forced the Institute to broaden its base for potential students.