Where am I? thought Firenze
frantically as he galloped past an old oak tree for the third time. I'm going to be late for the ceremony!
Firenze felt heat rise to his face as he realized that he quite simply didn't
know where he was. He stopped for a minute to get his bearings and calm down;
he couldn't arrive at the ceremony looking like this, not now that they were
finally letting him participate. He took a few deep breaths. Ok, he thought, I was on the east side of the forest with Hagrid, then I left headed
north-west, that's when I thought I saw the faeries, but it was a blasted
Hinkypunk. After I passed the bog, I realized what was happening…
"That's it!" muttered Firenze, "If I passed the bog I must be
far south, near Acromantula domain." He wasn't particularly frightened of
the large spiders, but he wasn't keen on walking around in their private domain
either. I'm still just a foal after all,
thought Firenze, at least I am until I
complete the ceremony, like they should have let me do a few seasons ago… THE
CEREMONY! Blast it, he was fast running out of time! Quickly
getting his bearings, Firenze set off at a steady pace towards where the
clearing should be. He had only gone a few paces when a bloodcurdling shriek
chilled him to the bone, startling him so badly that he plowed right into that
same old Oak tree he had passed before, and sending a mob of angry bowtruckles
swarming over him. As he swatted the feisty little tree-gaurdians off his
pelt, then looked up and identified an Augurey as the source of the alarming
cry. Wonderful, just wonderful, brooded
Firenze, now it's going to rain too! What
else could go wrong? THIS IS ALL HAGRIDS FAULT!
"Blast Hagrid," Firenze mumbled after
resuming his journey, "Why did he need my help anyway? and why did I even
agree to help him look for a gytrash, when I knew full well that I didn't have
time?" It's not as if he even needs a
gytrash pup, he speculated furiously, he just wants to have a spectral hound for a pet. Why can't he be
content with a normal dog, like a boarhound?
He galloped on through the
thick foliage of the forest; eventually coming back to the bog he had passed
while following the hinkypunk. As he leaped over a narrow gap in the swamp, he
couldn't help but notice that the place was infested with dugbogs, and his
first thought was that he should tell Hagrid.
"Well, why should I?!" he fumed, I am a centaur, I should observe and not interfere, I
shouldn't care! but as he loped on through the heavy undergrowth,
he realized that he did care, and however much he hated to admit it, he liked
being with and helping Hagrid. Deep down he knew this was the aspect of his
personality that had kept him a foal in the eyes of his elders for so long.
All the others had completed the coming-of-age ceremony seasons ago, but not
him, he lacked the proper attitude. I'm
just different, he thought, I'm
not like them, but why aren't I? Why do I have to be different? What makes me
"WHY?!" cried Firenze out loud, catching
both himself and a nearby Jarvey by surprise. "Why do I have to be so
different" he said dejectedly, speeding blindly ahead through the forest.
"Awk, Oddball!" screamed the Jarvey behind
him, "Senseless four-footed fool! Outcast! Awk!"
Firenze knew that the Jarvey could only speak in
insults, but somehow that didn't make him feel any better. As its cries faded
into the distance, he slowed to a trot and couldn't help but admit to himself
that the bird was right. The old question came barging back into his mind, why?
It was because he cared what happened to Hagrid and
the others in this war that was raging outside the forest. He paused a minute
in his journey to glance up at the night sky, at Mars in particular. He knew
his lessons better than most, and could see clearly that this war would be
followed by a brief period of peace before starting up again. The thought
"I could help" came
unbidden to his mind, angering him and sending him galloping off again. This just brings me back to where I was,
he thought, WHY? Why do I have such a
fondness for them?
It started raining, as the Augurey's cry had foretold,
and with the rain came memories of another rainy night in the forest, the time
he had first met Hagrid… I was a young foal
then, he remembered, I had gone
looking for something when I ran, literally, into Hagrid. Hagrid was looking
for an injured unicorn. I was scared of him, I had never seen any intelligent
beings before that were not my own people, and he was so BIG. Ronan came along
while I stood rooted to the ground, speechless. When Hagrid asked Ronan if he
would help to track down the beast, something we Centaurs are quite good at,
Ronan volunteered my services. I remember Hagrid being so… respectful and kind
to me, something I wasn't used to, and I realized that I liked being around
him, so I started joining him more often… Firenze stopped suddenly,
his eyes wide, was that it? he
thought frantically, was that what had
started him on the path that had made him so different?
It was at this point that Firenze realized he would
have to make a choice between them and his own people. As he contemplated
this, he came to wonder at the way the world had conspired to give him this
choice and mess up his life so drastically. It
all boils down to choices, he thought, but not only mine. It was pure chance that I ran into Hagrid that
day, and it was Ronan's decision that led to Hagrid becoming my friend. It
just didn't seem fair. He wondered briefly if anyone else had ever
been in a similar predicament, and glancing up at the stars that foretold a
short time of peace, he was suddenly hit with the conviction that he would not
be the last to be given a choice based on bad luck and others actions.
He could see the clearing ahead now, and see the
faeries that decorated the trees for the ceremony. What do I do? What choice do I make? he wondered
frantically, there was no time to think about it. He had to decide now, or did
he? "Not yet" he murmured, "not yet, my time to decide will
come later, it will wait," and as Firenze walked into the clearing and
took his place in line, he glanced once more up at the stars and hoped that
when that time came, he would make the right choice.