THE FIGHT FOR THE FIR TREES
by Illyria Pffyffin
“You are right, Hagrid,” said Firenze, his eyes
fixed on the object on Hagrid’s lap.
“This is a picture message.”
“I figured as much, Firenze,” said
Hagrid. “I’ve made sure nothing is
changed or moved.”
They both stared at the object
again. It was a round patch of earth,
freshly dug. Grass roots peeked from
under it and an earthworm was wriggling its way between Hagrid’s massive
fingers. On top of the soil there were
three fir cones, a cracked beech acorn, two sycamore leaves, a tiny ball of
amber and an ash twig. They were coated
with thin, hard, honey-colored film.
“What is this, Hagrid? It looks like glass, but it has the color of
amber,” said Firenze, touching the smooth, clear surface.
Hagrid chuckled. “It’s rock candy. I was making ‘em when I saw this. I figured rock candy’s as good as amber to save these kinds of
things. Set beautifully, ain’t it? Hard enough to keep everything in place,
and clear enough to see through.”
“As long as the ants do not find
it,” said Firenze smiling.
“Well, now,” said Hagrid. “What does it say?”
“The amber means that a tree has
been wounded to the core. It can also mean
that The Forbidden Forest has been violated, right in its very heart. The acorn speaks of strong evil mind. The ash twig means a wizard, so we know
there is a strong evil wizard in the forest now. The sycamore leaves can mean fire or come in a hurry. Then the fir cones…” Firenze paused. “They sometimes mean mountains, or snow. But it’s summer now. And there are no mountains around here. They can only mean… But it can’t be…”
“What Firenze?” pressed Hagrid.
Firenze looked at Hagrid with fear
in his eyes. “I hope I read this
wrongly, Hagrid. But there is nothing here to dispel my worry. I am afraid we have to do something.”
“Come on. Firenze? What do the fir cones mean?” asked Hagrid.
“Deep in the heart of Forbidden
Forest there is a cluster of fir trees, very old, much older than anything that
grow and live in the forest, older even than the forest itself. They contain great powers, because they have
endured many crises in their life; ice, fire, earthquake, claw, teeth, beak,
magic. They hold the balance of the
whole forest in their powers. If
anything should happen to them, the whole forest will crumble. Trees and beasts will kill each other
needlessly, and magical powers, stranger and deadlier than anything known to
wizards and witches, will be unleashed, to the ruin of all.”
Hagrid frowned. “And yer saying that these fir trees are in
“If we act quickly,” answered
Firenze with quiet apprehension, “we may still have hope.”
The forest was oddly silent.
“They knew we are here for the fir
trees,” said Firenze. “No one is going
to stand in our way tonight.”
“Perhaps they don’t want to be in
the way when whatever it is kill us?” offered Snape.
“Firenze’s right, Severus,” said
Lupin. He was looking up at the canopy,
the thin light from his wand illuminating the huge branches of a beech
tree. “This is the Bludgeon Beech. In different circumstances, it would’ve
crushed you to the ground.”
Snape looked doubtfully at the tree,
but he moved a few steps away.
“Are you sure we’re going the right
way, Firenze?” he asked.
“Yes,” said the centaur. “Normally the trees don’t let wizards go
this far. They will cover the tracks
and lead you out, if they haven’t killed you yet. We are near the heart of the forest now.”
Hagrid who walked in front, slinging
his crossbow, suddenly stopped. “Look,”
he said, lifting his lantern. In front
of him there was a patch of scorched earth.
There were remnants of trees and vines, coal black and dead, lying in
smoky, ugly heaps.
“This is where they broke into the
forest, most probably from above, on broomsticks,” muttered Lupin. “Look.”
He pointed at the barely identifiable human remains on the ground. “Not all of them made it. The trees fought them.”
Snape ran the light from his wand
around, his large nose puckering in disgust.
“Doesn’t look like a fair fight to me.”
Firenze looked sadly around at the charred and broken
trees, the trailing blackened vines and the brittle skeletons of bushes. “This used to be a very serene and beautiful
place. The trees will remember this
wound for a long, long time.”
screech, followed by a furious roar and a sudden blaze of light jolted them
all. Soon, a curtain of fire was raging
in front of them, the reek of burning resin stinging their noses. Amid the noise of fire they saw the huge
looming shadow of a dragon above them.
The trees seemed to bristle in anger
and fear, their leaves rustling and their branches creaking.
“They will not be able to hold this
much longer,” said Firenze. “We have to
They rushed forward, ducking under
fallen burning branches and blinding, suffocating smoke. Finally they arrived in the outskirt of a
tree-less, fire gutted clearing. In the
middle of the clearing a cloaked, hooded man stood alone, his back to them, his
hands stretched up, speaking in harsh hisses and barking commands.
“He’s talking to the dragon!” hissed
“Look!” said Firenze, pointing at a
row of fir trees standing like fiery pillars across the clearing. “Do something!”
Lupin looked at Snape. Snape closed his eyes and took a deep,
shuddering breath, then looked up at the dragon, still whirling above
them. He pointed his wand at it and
whispered, “Magna legilimens!”
Firenze and Lupin, his wand ready,
rushed to the man in the middle of the clearing. The wizard whirled and loked at them, his eyes burning with
insanity, reflecting the flickering fire.
“You think you can stop me?” he screeched and raised his wand. “How dare you attack Rolf Byrnisson! Take this!”
A flood of liquid fire spouted from
the end of his wand. Lupin, frowning
with concentration, waved his and cried, “Deflect!” and the flow was
scattered as though it had hit an unseen umbrella. But Lupin turned pale and staggered back. Hagrid
raised his crossbow.
“Ye got no righ’ to be here, yer
not,” he said.
“Hagrid, no,” whispered Lupin,
raising an arm.
The wizard laughed shrilly, “Too
true, filthy giant. You can’t stop
me. And when I get the heart of the fir
tree for my wand, no one can stand in my way!”
“If it’s the wood you want, why do
you burn them?” demanded Lupin, he was trembling, but his voice was firm.
“They’re refusing to yield,” spat
the wizard. “But they won’t be for
long. Once I got to their saplings,
they will have to give in!”
But just at that moment his face was
contorted in pain and anger. He looked
up in panic and saw his dragon staring malevolently down at him.
He tried talking to it again, but
the dragon didn’t seem to listen. “What
did you do?” he screamed.
“Go now,” said Lupin quietly. “Leave and take your dragon away, or we will
turn it against you.”
“You can’t!” screeched the
wizard. He waved his wand and… Suddenly a shaft of glowing, fiery air shot
down from above and engulfed the wizard in flames. He howled in pain, flailing his arms, moving in a demented death
dance, before crumbling down, dead. The
dragon reared up, roared and flew ponderously away.
Lupin whirled around and saw Snape
sprawled on the ground with Hagrid by his side. Lupin and Firenze ran toward them.
“Is he all right?” asked
Firenze. Snape looked very pale and
worn out, his eyes were shut. His wand
had fallen, his hand was shaking.
knelt beside him and called him. Snape
slowly opened his eyes and managed a hoarse, dry whisper, “I can’t stop it. Sorry.
It was too angry, too confused.”
all right,” said Lupin. “It’s gone
now. He’s gone. It’s all over.”
looked around at the burning trees. The
fire was mirrored in the tears in his eyes.
Firenze stood beside him and touched his arm.
least we saved the saplings, Hagrid. We
still have hope,” he said.