11 ¼ inches Hawthorn with Sphinx hair core
7 September, 962
Lord Thomas Ravenclaw
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Rowena is beautiful woman. She is slender and pale with long, flowing dark hair and clear blue eyes. She has a smooth, oval face characterized by soft features, a thin, aristocratic nose, and full lips. She has excellent posture and comports herself with a quiet, contemplative dignity.
She generally wears dress robes of various fashions, often with wide, low hanging sleeves, favoring blue, bronze, gray, and white fabrics. She also always wears a personal signet ring with the Ravenclaw crest (an eagle Volant) encircled by stars. She only uses this ring for personal correspondence, favoring the standard Ravenclaw crest (the eagle Volant only) for more official letters and, recently, school business. She also has a very extensive collection of jewelry and is never seen unadorned.
Rowena is an accomplished lady in nearly every sense of the phrase. With a peerless memory, beautiful singing voice, extensive training on the dulcimer, and a deep love of reading, Rowena has excelled in nearly every area open to young women of gentle birth. She is well read in both Muggle and Magical classics, ranging from Homer to Pythagoras's Numerological texts to Circe's treatises on Transfiguration and the Sibyl's recorded prophecies, can play and sing beautifully, dances well, and is a skillful and knowledgeable hostess.
Rowena's marriage is rather cold and distant. Though she and Thomas have been married over ten years now, there is no real passion or even affection there. After the birth of their son, Edmund, Thomas gave Rowena permission to pursue her "charitable works," including the founding of Hogwarts School and they see one another rather rarely, Rowena being quite busy constructing the grounds for her school and Thomas's time being consumed by the day-to-day affairs of running a duchy.
Rowena tends to remain calm in trying situations, maintaining her poise and grace in the face of adversity. She tries always to remain logical and resist, whenever possible, the call of her emotions. Indeed, perhaps Rowena's greatest struggle is accessing her emotions. She's well aware that her children love their father and even Merry, the house elf who cares for them, more than they love her. Rowena has difficult being emotionally open and present with anyone having grown up in a court of highly formal and rigid manners. Her intelligence may have actually harmed her in this respect, internalizing these strict codes of conduct so thoroughly she is unable to acknowledge her emotions at all. She harbors the fear that breaking the rules with which she grew up will destroy the entire system which was built on those rules and everything from her aristocratic position to her scholarship will be called into question and invalidated.
Duchess Rowena Ravenclaw was born Lady Rowena Mac Alpin to Lord Robert Mac Alpin, younger brother to the Prince of Strathclyde, and Lady Mary Mac Alpin. Rowena is the second cousin of the Muggle King of Scots and grew up, for the most part, in the Royal Court. In the off season, she retired with her family to their estate in Strathclyde.
Rowena's exceptional intelligence was obvious from a young age. She was able to recall speeches (and even conversations) with the accuracy of a court scribe. Indeed, when a scribe and Rowena were found to be in conflict, it was assumed the scribe had made a mistake in his record. Rowena's mother focused on imparting knowledge of etiquette, music, and poetry to her daughter as well as Witchcraft. Though Mary was an able enough potioneer, she was not a very talented witch and most of Rowena's own skill with magic came from her readings in the family library.
Her grandfather, Duncan Mac Alpin, died when Rowena was eight years old, adding his rather sizeable (for the day) library to her dowry, with a total of about 200 titles, most of which were magical in nature. Rowena spent most of her time pouring over these books. By the age of nine, she was writing her own commentaries and even expanding obscure passages or altering spells.
When Rowena was thirteen years old, she was married to Thomas Ravenclaw, son of Edmund Ravenclaw, Duke of Sussex. The marriage was arranged through Rowena's aunt Morgause Mac Alpin. Rowena and Thomas conducted only four interviews before they were married, all under Morgause's close supervision, and they additionally saw one another at three social balls. When they married, Rowena knew very little of Thomas other than that he was a pureblood wizard of aristocratic birth. They had discussed her dowry and his estates rather thoroughly and had touched on classic literature and mutual acquaintances.
For the most part, Thomas and Rowena interacted very little during their marriage. She continued to summer with her family in Scotland and to spend the season overseeing the house for her husband. Her experience in the Scottish court prepared her well for her duties as a hostess. Always poised and perceptive, Rowena was quite an asset at her husband's side.
When travelling with Thomas to visit his various acquaintances, Rowena attended one of the most awkward dinners she'd yet encountered. The hostess was a very charming but rustic girl by the name of Helga Hufflepuff and seemed continually at odds with her mother-in-law. Far more impressive than Helga's abilities as a hostess was her spellwork. Rowena had never seen such well executed charms and made it a point to visit on her own shortly thereafter. Despite their difference in background, Rowena and Helga became fast friends.
About two years after her marriage, Rowena gave birth to her son, Edmund, naming her sister Agatha and brother William as godparents. When her daughter Helena was born, she asked Helga Hufflepuff to be godmother and her brother James to be godfather.
With the aid of the Ravenclaw family house elf, Merry, Rowena oversaw Edmund's education from the time he could crawl. Though she did not permit Edmund to hold a wand or practice magic until he was seven years old, she taught him reading, writing, basic arithmetic, Latin, and Greek as well as some basic Runes and the theoretical principles of magic.
After Helga's husband Heathcliff disappeared defending their lands, Rowena visited as soon as she heard only to be turned away without even seeing her friend. Quelling her irritation, Rowena decided to visit again a week later, only to receive the same response. She continued to visit weekly, sometimes Apparating from her parents' Scottish home, other times from the Ravenclaw estate or the homes of various other families she and Thomas were called upon to visit. The response was always the same: the Mistress of the house apologized, but she was unavailable. Rowena left notes after each visit, but only received erratic and vague replies from her friend. There were several times Rowena found herself on the verge of blasting down the door out of concern for her friend and it was only the fact that Helga was writing (if only briefly and sporadically) that kept her from doing this. Then, one day, quite abruptly, she was shown to Helga's chambers.
It was about a year after Helga had gone into seclusion when Rowena's best friend Helga Hufflepuff sobbed to her, grief stricken, that she needed a greater purpose than waiting indefinitely for a husband who might never return. Rowena, remembering her own mother's limited ability with magic, suggested that it might be worthwhile to found a school of magic for the people of the Isles, a place not only where wizards and witches could escape persecution, but where they could learn from some of the strongest and most accomplished wizards and witches.
Once the decision was made, Rowena threw herself into the project, eagerly drawing up the plans for a castle protected by the most ingenious magic she could fathom, protected not only by traditional enchantments, such as those preventing Apparition or deterring Muggle visitors, but also by an ever-changing floor plan to befuddle unwelcome guests and other protective enchantments of her own invention. She oversaw every step of the castle's construction, weaving her enchantments into every inch of the building and grounds. The summer before the school was to open, Rowen was seeking out the most intelligent and able students, believing their ability made them the most worthy of her tutelage.