Ronan paced uneasily through made his home at the edge of
the centaurs’ settlement. He was the leader of his herd, and was concerned that
Firenze had still not returned to the settlement hours after the first hints
of morning had blocked the stars from view. Firenze had always been somewhat
rebellious, and had more than once caused the elders to question his loyalty to
the herd. This time, however, Ronan feared Firenze had overstepped all
boundaries. He had been carrying secrets with him recently, and tonight he had
set off with a strong current of defiant resolve beneath his casual exterior.
As panic set in, Ronan heard the
trotting of hooves nearing his cave. Peering out, he saw Firenze approaching,
looking uneasy. Ronan charged toward him.
“Where have you been?” he demanded.
“The stars went out hours ago!” Firenze met the older centaur’s eyes, and
brushed past him.
“Answer me, Firenze!” Ronan snarled.
“I know you’re planning something!” Firenze froze as the heads of other
centaurs peered out of their dwellings. Ronan slowly trotted to where Firenze
stood. “Are you against us?” He questioned intently.
“No!” Firenze responded quickly. “I
would never betray the herd!”
“Is it not true” challenged Ronan, “that
you endangered yourself for a mere human child against the old ways?”
“He was a mere foal. I could not
let him die.” Firenze defended.
“It is against our ways to
interfere.” Ronan said firmly. “We are vowed but to observe.”
“No good could come of that boy
dieing.” Was the quiet response.
“THAT IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE!” Ronan
shouted. “WE DO NOT QUESTION THE OLD WAYS!”
“Well perhaps we should.” Firenze
Ronan was taken aback. Firenze was
still young, not ten seasons past his one hundredth year, and he was defying
the traditions that went back an untraceable amount of time. Ronan drew himself
to his full height and bore down on Firenze with all the authority his position
as herd leader gave him.
“You dare defy the old ways?” He asked,
anger clear in his tone. Firenze shook his head.
“No. I merely seek to question-”
“You are in no position to
question. Where have you been this night?” Ronan cut him off.
“I have been consulting with Albus Dumbledore.”
Ronan paused to collect himself, then returned to Firenze with a forced
“Albus Dumbledore is wise, as his
people go, but he has no business with the centaurs. Why did you meet him?”
“His people approach a war”
“We have no business in human wars”
Ronan countered immediately.
“This war is not just human.” Firenze
insisted. “The Dark Lord recruits dark creatures of all kinds, and though Albus
Dumbledore looks for allies where he can, he cannot find them even in his own
“But why is this our concern?”
Ronan countered angrily. “You know centaurs do not ally ourselves, and so does Albus
Dumbledore!” Firenze hung his head.
“I feel” Firenze stated slowly, “that
much destruction will come from this war, and that unless we ally with Albus Dumbledore
we will aid the Dark Lord.” Raising his eyes to meet Ronan’s, he continued,
“This war was foretold in one of the rare true prophecies of humans. The
outcome will greatly affect the balance between good and evil.” Ronan snorted at
Firenze’s faith in human prophecy. Then he realized—
“What have you agreed to do for
this human?” He accused, his eyes flaring with his temper.
“I have agreed to teach” admitted Firenze,
“at the Human School.” The air filled with angry, indignant cries. Ronan
angrily bore down on Firenze.
“Our ways are not a craft to be
peddled! The knowledge we bare is ours and ours alone! You, Firenze, are hardly
past your foal-hood. How do you think you can know better than innumerable
years of the wisdom of your people?” Ronan paused to collect himself, then
continued. “Because you are young yet, you may be redeemed after a time if you
renounce your actions now.” Firenze shook his head.
“I stand by my decision, for though
I love the old ways, in these times of trouble I feel obligated to lend
assistance where I can.”
“Then there is no choice.” Ronan’s
voice was resolute. “Henceforth you are banished from the herd, the forest, and
the centaur ways.” He reared on his back legs and delivered a mighty kick into Firenze’s
chest, sending him reeling to the ground. The others immediately joined in, for
this was the old way. Firenze recovered his balance and ran deeper into the
forest, away from their home. The other centaurs followed, throwing stones and
sticks after him. Bane, an enemy of Firenze’s from youth and among the harshest
of all, was quickly gaining on Firenze. As the banished centaur fell and the
others descended on him, a booming human voice interrupted
“WHAT DO YEH THINK YER DOIN’?” Boomed
Hagrid, stepping between Firenze and his attackers.
“Stand aside, Hagrid!” Bane
passionately returned. “This does not concern you!”
“I’m not gonna let yeh kill Firenze!”
Hagrid’s own anger rose as he fended off the attacking centaurs. He aided the
wounded centaur to his feet and moved him quickly away from the herd and back
toward Hogwarts. Bane started after them, but Ronan held detained him.
“Let them go.” He commanded. “It is
out of our hands now.” Bane consented, but he did call a warning after the
“Hagrid, you are no longer welcome
among the centaurs!” he cried. “And if you ever set foot in this forest again, Firenze—”
Ronan stopped him once again.
“He knows.” Was all the older
centaur said, before turning back to the settlement with much on his mind.
Perhaps Firenze had been right to act, despite the old ways. No doubt
this human war would weigh heavily on the world’s balance, but centaurs do not
interfere. The old ways forbid it, and Ronan had never known the old ways to be
wrong. So why did this time feel different?