Helga’s Hill, birthplace of Helga Hufflepuff, is a quiet hamlet in the valleys of Wales. The village has long been a bastion of Hufflepuffs and Welsh Wizardy alike, but has lately begun to draw residents from all over Wizarding Britain seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of Diagon Alley, the harsh winters of Hogsmeade, and the sky-high real estate prices of Godric’s Hollow. In early 2001, both the population and the business community in Helga’s Hill are growing, but it still remains one of the lesser known Wizarding havens in Britain.
In 2001, that is all about to change.
Xavier Orpington, shrewd businessman and great-nephew of the great Minister for Magic Evangeline Orpington, has set his sights on Helga’s Hill. Long fascinated with the concept of the Muggle High-Rise, Orpington intends to build the first ever luxury Wizarding apartment building to attract Britain’s best, brightest, and most wealthy. He views Helga’s Hill as the perfect location to develop a resort-style town centered on his opulent building, to be called Calliope Heights. In mid-2000 he arrived and began questioning locals about buying businesses and homes while quietly looking for investors among the more affluent residents.
Orpington has been met with mixed reception. Many locals are against the Calliope Heights project. They wish for Helga’s Hill to remain the small, safe, quiet home that it has always been and do not desire to give up their homes and livelihoods no matter the price tag. Those who remain neutral on the project have often been offended by Orpington’s manner, snobbery, bigotry, sexism, and other charming habits. Those who have supported the project have watched as Orpington spends their investments on fast racing brooms, expensive meals, and designer robes.
Needless to say, no one in Helga’s Hill is very happy with Xavier Orpington.
But a pleasant distraction is on the horizon. May 1st, 2001 marks the 1,078th anniversary of Helga Hufflepuff’s birth. The town will hold its yearly Badger Festival with pride (though it will be another twenty-two years before anyone outside of Helga’s Hill bothers to show up). But beware, amid the revelry and joy, something ugly is lurking.
Around 11pm, Orpington will be found murdered in town square. No one saw it happen. No one was seen fleeing the scene. Suddenly Helga’s Hill will find itself the center of the biggest Wizarding intrigue since the end of the Second War.
Everyone is a suspect. Everyone has a motive. Everyone has a theory. But who is guilty?
Could it be you?