Helena: Latin variation of Helene, Greek female name meaning 'bright', or 'light', with the origins pointing to either word 'el(e)ne', meaning torch, or 'selene', meaning 'moon'.
Helena Ravenclaw had always been a very bright little girl. Her mother, who had nearly died bringing her into the world, fiercely loved her and was very proud of her daughter's accomplishments. Helga and Godric doted on the little child, since none of them had a child yet.
However, Salazar was a bit more reserved in showing his affection to the small girl.
"Why did you name her that?" he asked Rowena as she cradled Helena, cooing to get her to sleep as the waxing moon shone through the newly built castle's windows.
"Because I want her to be a light to guide those who lost their way," Rowena answered, her high brow quirked. "You are bothered?"
"She was born under the new moon, Rowena." Salazar crossed his arms, his dark eyes focused on the baby. "She has no right to the name derived from it."
"Goodness gracious, Salazar," Rowena laughed quietly, trying not to wake her daughter, "I had no idea you believe those old midwife tales."
Salazar shook his head. "On your head, dear Rowena, but do not say I did not warn you." With those words he stalked off, hissing to his pet Lamia, who followed him out of Helena's nursery.
Years later, as Helena was dying in the Albanian forest underneath the full moon, the Baron lying next to her already dead and the diadem hidden in the hollow oak tree, she had to admit maybe there was something to the old tales and careful looks Uncle Salazar was giving her before he and Uncle Godric had that nasty row which made him leave. Maybe her mother had cursed her to an unlucky existence.
Helena quickly realized Tom Marvolo Riddle was a fascinating boy. There weren't many who actually bothered researching about her, and even fewer who didn't start a conversation by either needing her help in finding their way to the classroom or covertly trying to wheedle out the location of the Ravenclaw diadem.
"Helena Ravenclaw," he always addressed her by her real name and not by that ridiculous moniker some idiot - she had forgotten his name, but she could still be angry - had given her back in 12th century. "I hadn't known you kept yourself abreast of all the changes in our world."
It did help he was charming and handsome, with the tongue which reminded her greatly of Uncle Salazar. The corridor they were talking in was not well lit, her ghostly light and Tom's wand being the only true illumination.
"It does help, being here," Helena preened slightly at the praise. "The children and portraits talk a lot, and we ghosts like to listen."
"So you know a lot about the families who are descendants of the Founders." Tom posed this as a statement, but Helena knew he actually meant it as a question.
"Yes, I do. Ravenclaws are extinct," obviously was left hanging, unspoken, "Hufflepuffs are near extinction - Smith family, if I recall, but the only one from the main branch should be quite old - Uncle Godric's never had a clear line of succession, and Uncle Salazar's children..." Here she shuddered delicately, remembering those mad, mad eyes of Corvinus Gaunt. "They've become quite unstable. The last of his descendants came here nearly a century ago - their magic has become very… irregular."
"And the family name?" Tom asked, this time with an eager glint in his eyes.
Helena laughed scornfully. "You'd be better off not knowing, Tom. But if you wish to know, Gaunt family."
"Thank you, Helena." Tom turned to leave, but paused, turning back, eyes shining as if he'd remembered something. "Can you tell me about the Founders?"
Many years had passed since she had someone who was living talk properly with her. Tom had disappointed; he too, only struck up a rapport with her to get the diadem's location out of her, something she would always be ashamed of. What he had done to his mother's precious heirloom only added fuel to her shame and anger, as had his 'exploits', as she had heard Albus Dumbledore once call raids on Muggle settlements and murder of anyone he disagreed with.
She remembered the current Headmaster as a wee schoolboy, a dedicated, if slightly biased teacher and a man who had to swallow his own fear and pride to go and face off his former love to save everyone. In a way, Helena pitied and envied him; he had settled most of his debts and grievances before his death, and would not stay here like herself, Baron, Friar and Nicholas, but he had to give up so much, he was nearly unrecognisable from his younger years.
One thing did irritate her about him: he never seemed to know what was going on in the castle, or if he knew, he willfully ignored it. Harry Potter from Nicholas' house and her own Luna Lovegood were the prime examples.
"Hello, Luna," the ghost called out to the first year Ravenclaw, wincing inwardly at the irony. "Do you require my help?"
The blonde child turned, her blue eyes wide, and shook her head, despite her feet only being clad in socks and her school blazer and skirt looking like someone had dumped paint over it. Helena sighed.
"Tergeo will help you with the stains; I don't believe, however, that you have enough experience with Transfiguration to make yourself shoes."
Luna's eyes widened to a comical level.
"Thank you, my Lady," she answered in her dreamy voice, waving her wand and whispering Tergeo! "Mummy and Daddy had not told me how helpful you are."
Helena smiled lightly, remembering the odd pairing of Xenophilius and Pandora Lovegood.
"Only when I see my help is truly necessary and not a way for the lazy," she answered. "How are Pandora and Xenophilius?"
Luna's eyes saddened. "Daddy's often sad and doesn't talk a lot," she whispered. "He's been like that since Mummy died a year and a half ago."
"Oh." Helena truly had nothing to say to make Luna feel better. Pandora had been a wonderful, if slightly reckless witch, but Helena didn't know her that well. "I am sorry."
"Daddy will get over it," Luna was smiling now, most of the stains vanished. "He always does. I have to go to Potions now, my Lady; it wouldn't do to be late. Professor Snape has been quite irritable last couple of days."
"Indeed." Helena paused. "My name is Helena Ravenclaw, not my Lady, Luna."
Luna's eyes brightened.
"Okay, Miss Helena."
"And Luna?" Helena couldn't stop herself. She had to know. "What phase was the moon in when you were born?"
Luna stopped in the ascent, her face scrunching in deep thought. "Waxing gibbous, I believe, just after the first quarter."
Helena sighed in relief. It seemed this child will have a bright future. "Thank you, Luna. Hurry up now, the bell's about to ring."
The night of May 1st, 1998 was marked by the distinct lack of moon in the sky. The lunar charts placed it as the night of waxing crescent, nearly impossible to see, but with the amount of darkness and the blinding light caused by the attacks on Hogwarts' shields, it was impossible to see the night's sky.
There was no light in the corridor where Helena watched the attack from, so the light Harry Potter brought with him made him easy to both pinpoint and recognise.
"Helena? Helena Ravenclaw?" he asked her breathlessly. He probably ran down the stairs, Helena noted off-handedly.
"Harry Potter," she replied in the same way, suddenly struck by the similarities to the talk she had with Tom all those years ago. Lightless corridor, light of wand, her own light… she had to step back for a bit. "You're a friend of Luna's."
"I am," he blithely confirmed before forging onward. "Please, can you tell me where the Ravenclaw diadem is?"
So like him.
"Many have asked me that question," she answered coldly, crossing her arms. "I am afraid I cannot help you." She turned to leave.
"I don't need it for myself!" the boy stopped her dead in her tracks. Oh? "I want to destroy it!"
"Another boy swore to destroy it, many years ago," Helena whispered, shame rising up in her chest.
"Tom," Potter said with utmost certainty and Helena's heart skipped a beat. He sounded as if he knew Tom. Maybe... "But he didn't. I know he returned it here, but I don't know where!" She couldn't see his face, her back turned to him, but she could sense his desperation, how close to begging he was, and despite herself she felt a little pang of pride. She had all the answers this time. "Please, Helena!"
That cinched it. She had been a ghost for ten centuries, she knew when people were honest, and Harry James Potter meant what he said. Every word of it. She turned around to him, hoping to impart her hope onto him. "It's here, where everything is hidden. If you need to ask, you will never know. If you know, you need only ask."
His eyes widened in shock and understanding, and Helena allowed her hope to bloom.
"Thank you," he breathed out and ran up the stairs. She followed him all the way up to the seventh floor, where he entered the Come and Go Room.
After the battle was over, Helena approached Luna and Harry. Luna had smiled at her, but did not seem up for a conversation. Harry looked tired, but happy.
"I did it," he forestalled her question. "It was destroyed by Fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement."
"Thank you, Harry Potter," she said, finally feeling free of the terrible burden she'd carried for over fifty years. "I guess Uncle Salazar was wrong."
Harry narrowed his eyes, peering at her. "Uncle Salazar?"
"Do you know what my name means, Harry Potter?" The boy shook his head. "'Bright' or 'light', derived from either 'el(e)ne', meaning torch, or 'selene', meaning moon. Uncle Salazar thought it a bad luck, since I was born under new moon. Mother disagreed. She said it was good luck, since I would be be 'the light to guide the way'."
Harry laughed. "We make our own destinies, Helena," he said warmly. "Our names and circumstances of birth mean nothing. There is magic in such things, but ultimately, we make our own choices. We have nobody and nothing else to blame."
Helena smiled and nodded before floating off to find Bloody Baron. Maybe it was time to forgive and forget.