The Sugar Quill
Author: AmyWeatherwax  Story: Custodiam Meum - I Will Protect What Is Mine  Chapter: Chapter One: South Wind & Stars
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Custodiam Meum - I Will Protect What Is Mine: Chapter One

South Wind & Stars

This is where I first discovered my OC, star-gazing and looking North over the desert sands. This is immediately post PoA. It all of course belongs to JK Rowling (the good bits anyway).

Eden yawned loudly. She was not a morning person and dreaded the pre-dawn Astronomy lessons compulsory for all third years. A cold wind blew the sand far below into shimmering silver waves, breaking against the worn cliffs of the rock-carved fortress. Shivering, she drew the thin cotton of her school-robes around her more tightly and peered over the balcony hoping to see a few glimmers of light piercing the thick rock walls below, indicating that the kitchen genies were also starting to think about breakfast.

‘Eden!’ a voice tinged with long-suffering patience called her back to her task. ’I don’t believe you’ll find the Dog Star down there.’

Eden glanced across the telescope-cluttered Astronomy Terrace to the tall, tired-eyed teacher, still as a pale statue though the morning breeze was catching his white robe and puffing it out behind him like a sail. Concern showed in her grey eyes. He’s looking too thin again.

‘Sorry, Dad . . I mean, Master.’

The class giggled at her slip, but Eden turned back to scanning the skies, unembarrassed. Even after a year of Advanced Astronomy she wasn’t quite used to having her father as a teacher, though they’d lived together in the school all her life. ‘Exiles in the desert’ was her father’s favourite phrase.

She slowly scanned the wide arc of the heavens, a velvet cloth strewn with diamonds overhead, fading in brilliance where the curve met distant mountains and a sketch of cloud hovered on the navy-purple border. Soon the saffron of dawn would pile up behind the eastern hills that were now hidden in night and the plain below would flood with the white heat of day. Low over the shifting sands to the north a large lone star twinkled strangely green. Eden stared at it uncertainly, consulting her scroll in the dim light, but the confusing web of interlocking curves seemed finally to be making sense to her – must be the one. She added a new line with her quill.

Another shiver suddenly passed through her, though the wind had died. The dawn was suddenly still as if the desert held its breath. Her start made the boy next to her glance sideways.

‘You all right, Eden?’ Abdul muttered, his dark brows pulled together in concern under his turban.

‘I don’t know . . there is something.’ She frowned back at him and then peered north once more, a certainty growing in her mind. ‘Something’s coming.’

Eden gripped the rough stone balustrade and leaned out over the treacherous drop, eyes straining, searching the ever-lightening horizon.

‘What is it? What’s the matter?’ her classmates hissed around her.

Abdul followed, rolling his eyes, ‘Oh it’s nothing, just Eden having one of her funny turns again.’

‘No, no, idiot!’ She grabbed his wide sleeve and shook his arm, ‘look . . keep looking,’ she managed thickly, the urgency of her premonition too strong to make explanation possible.

The class and the Master looked north as one. An expectant moment passed, then another. Someone drew breath to speak, but Abdul’s hand shot out, ‘There! I see it!’

All eyes followed his pointing finger and found at its end a tiny smudge of black on the pink band of dawn. It grew quickly in size, obviously whatever it was was moving at some speed, and suddenly sprouted wings.

The class let out a collective breath, releasing their unrealised tension in laughter. ‘Eden! You really had us going. It’s only a stray hippogriff making for the rookery,’ the gangly Sudanese boy behind her complained, patting her condescendingly on the shoulder.

‘No, no, it’s . . ,‘ Eden replied weakly, wanting to insist . . something, but her head was filled with a confusing blur of darkness, a rush of air. She was tired, her shoulders ached, but it was dark below, grey rocks in grey sand, where could she land? . . Where could she land?? Eden suddenly understood. Her shoulders weren’t tired - it was the hippogriff she was feeling! Its eyes were searching the landscape below, desperate to land.

She drew her wand quickly. ‘Everyone, “Lumos”, now!’ her tone was so commanding even her father obeyed. The hippogriff part of her mind suddenly flashed relief. She closed it off quickly as she experienced its sudden dizzying plunge towards the faint white circle of ‘landing lights’ below.

It was her father’s turn to shout: ‘Move the telescopes!’ and a mad scramble ensued, students whipping out of the way just in time before the giant talons touched down, their robes and hair blown every which way by the beast’s last weary wingbeat.

The hippogriff folded its wings and stared steadily at them with huge lamp-like eyes. It was a moment before she noticed the bundle of rags on its back. The bundle moaned faintly and slid to the floor. Her father rushed forward and lifted one end of the heap, which resolved itself into a bedraggled, knotted head of hair. Eyes opened like silvery slits in the lined and dirty face. They looked up at the Astronomy Master, whose blond hair gleamed faintly in the first pale rays of the morning sun.

A cracked voice spoke: ‘Bloody hell, Judas Malfoy. So this is where you’ve been hiding!’ and Sirius Black slid into surprised but sweet unconsciousness.

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