It's bloody cold out here,
tonight. Not a normal kind of coldness, either. It's a sweeping, deadening
chill, coming straight down from the sky like lightning. I can see Anchoret
over by the stream. The air is cutting through her like a knife, and I can see
her shivering and fluttering in the wind. She's not solid tonight...she looks
like a ghost, a shadow of herself.
I daren't go over
there...she looks deadly, tonight. Not whole, not herself...not here. Nights
like this I just want the whole thing to be over. Anything is better than this.
So cold...so dark.
When she looks at me
sometimes...well, I can tell that she misses Hogwarts. I can see in her eyes
that she's scared, too. When she gets like that...when her eyes get all liquid
and her hands start to tremble, well...at those times I don't know what to say
to her, and it makes me afraid. Afraid because I have never been at a loss for
the right words at the right time. Only she can render me useless and helpless
like this. Why won't she let me help? I don't even want to try. I don't know
what I could do, anyway, to make her feel better.
The thing is...I've never
wanted to make anyone feel better. Sometimes she knows though. She just looks
at me and she knows, and those are
the times I don't have to say anything. I just hold her, and she knows.
When I look at Anchoret I
don't see a heroine, I don't see a goddess or a flaming Firetah or whatever she
is. I just see her, as herself. I'm not blinded by her fire. I'm not consumed
by her flames. She needs me to be strong and I am.
Her hair gets in the most
terrible knots, sometimes. She's sitting under a tree just now, cursing and
coaxing them out. Her fringe hangs down into her eyes and I don't know how she
can see through it. She won't cut it though...she likes it all wild and
tousled, I suppose. It fits her, and I don't mind...in fact I find it hard to
remember a time when I did mind.
Yes...I see her as she
really is. Not like Potter saw her, not perfect. Just her.
Anchoret is angry with me
today. She scares me when she's like this...and I don't scare easily.
These are the times when
it's hard to be near her. Although I can't escape from the hold she has on me,
sometimes I want to. I can tell she does too, at times. I hate it when we shut
each other out...but it's like we don't know any other way to escape. Neither
of us has ever loved like this before. Actually I have never loved at all. I
have never loved at all...it startles me to write this. I never realized it
before. I have gone through my entire life not needing anybody, not wanting anybody. Until Anchoret. And
even now her presence suffocates me...it smothers us both until we can't stand
it anymore and we lash out. We'd better learn quick, though. Time is short.
Anchoret says we must work
with our bond and not against it, but it's like trying to assemble one of those
Muggle bicycles without instructions.
Days like this I want to just run away.
I still can't figure out why
she's angry with me. I only did what I thought was right, but then what do I
It all started when we went
to see Starling Rivlet, a bent and rather mad old wizard, at his house in
Dorset. How we got there I'll not write here. Anchoret had heard that Starling
knew things. "Old Things," Anchoret called them.
When we got to his house, I
wasn't surprised at all to see that it was old and weathered and grey. It fit
Starling perfectly, as I found out when he opened his door a few seconds later.
He looked genuinely shocked to see us. As if he never got any visitors at all.
I could tell why. "Do come in..." he told us. He had the raspiest,
creakiest voice I'd ever heard, and his eyes were of the most peculiar violet
color. He made me nervous right away. His house was full of dust and smelled
strongly of raisins, but Anchoret seemed not to notice. She just followed him
into his tiny lounge and sat down on the window seat. I had no choice but to
follow. Do I ever?
As soon as she sat down she
turned to him. She hadn't spoken before this, so when she did he was so
startled by her voice, which has always been rather...powerful, that he nearly
toppled off his chair, which was rather precariously balanced to begin with.
Anchoret let him recover, watching him with that tiny smile she gives when she
is impatient. After he had settled down, Anchoret said, "So tell me what
you know, Starling."
The old man turned and
looked at Anchoret then, sort of studying her face. Then he bowed his head
slightly. I looked at Anchoret then and knew that she had won his respect. I
almost laughed at Starling, paying his strange homage to her, but Anchoret accepted
it with a quiet dignity, because she knew that she deserved what he was
offering. All I could do was sit and watch them.
Then finally he broke into a
smile and started telling us, well her, really, what he knew.
"Have you ever heard of
the Wild Hunt?" I looked on dumbly, as he shifted in his chair and kept on
smiling that strange smile. Anchoret looked startled for a moment, but she
stilled and said, "Yes Starling, I have actually...why?" I saw her
flash him a smile that was more threat than politeness. She was getting
impatient and he knew it. He continued, slowly, as if to show her he wasn't
"There is a way,
Anchoret, to call the Wild Hunt down in pursuit of someone." He smiled
sneakily. Anchoret looked surprised. "There is?"
Starling dropped his voice
to a whisper."Oh yes, yes...if you know the right spell, Firetah."