The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF Mullvaney  Story: A Risk Worth Taking  Chapter: Default
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A Risk Worth Taking, cont

A Risk Worth Taking


Magellan Ollivander had not had such an intriguing customer in a long time.  The boy had tried most of the ordinary wands in his shop, and even some of the rarer ones, with now success.  Ollivander was now in the back room, where he kept his most interesting wands.  He reached to the back of the shelf and pulled out a very dusty, slightly cobwebby box.  He had not taken this wand out for years; it had singed the fingers of everyone who had tried it.  He studied the box.  This wand had always seemed slightly sinister to him.  He would certainly never forget the day he had made it…

    In the days when Voldemort was at the height of his power, Ollivander did a brisk business replacing wands that were lost or damaged.  He was almost out of materials; unfortunately, it was not safe to go roaming about the country searching for the woods and magical substances he needed.  So he wrote to his old friend, Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts’ school.  Might he come and search the Forbidden Forest for the materials he needed?  Dumbledore replied of course, it would be wonderful to see his old friend.  In fact, if Magellan could come tomorrow, he would accompany him into the forest.

The next day, Ollivander arrived at Hogwarts’ at the agreed upon time.  Albus Dumbledore was waiting for him in the entrance hall.                                        

“Magellan!  How good to see you!  I wish this could be like one of our old rambles, but I fear it will be just a shadow of those good times.”

“It has been a long time, my friend.  I am afraid that it will be quite a while longer before we can have a carefree day again.  How are things at Hogwarts?  Have you had any luck engaging a new Divination teacher?”

“Yes, just last week I hired a most qualified young lady.   It is a glorious day for a walk in the woods, shall we get started, then?”

  Ollivander and Dumbledore spent an enjoyable morning wandering around the forest, stopping occasionally to gather items that Ollivander needed.   Dumbledore was a great help.  He was most adept at distracting Bowtruckles with wood lice; he occupied a unicorn long enough for Magellan to collect some of its tail hairs, he even convinced a wood nymph to give him a lock of her tresses. 

 They were quite far into the forest now.  The trees grew so thickly that they shut out the sun.  Suddenly, they emerged out of the thick undergrowth into a small, grassy clearing.  Sunlight slanted down through the surrounding trees, striking a magnificent Holly that grew at one end of the oval space.  It was the largest Holly Magellan had ever seen; it’s shiny green leaves looked as big as his hand.  On the other side of the clearing stood a circle of close set, tall stones.  The tree’s shadow fell directly into a gap in the circle, disappearing into the darkness within.  He stood gaping at it for several minutes.

“ Albus, why have you not shown me this before?” He whispered.

“One does not come here without great need.  It is an ancient, hallowed place.”

As they stepped into the clearing, strange things began to happen.  The light faded, as if the sun had gone behind a cloud.  Fawkes appeared in a burst of smoke and flame, dropped a feather at Ollivander’s feet, and settled on Dumbledore's shoulder.  As he bent to pick up the feather, Magellan noticed an aged centaur standing in the gap in the stone circle. Her snowy white hair fell to the ground around her front hooves, which were also white.  She wore a crown of Holly upon her head.  

“Who comes unasked to the Heart?” Her voice was clear and imperious, but not unkind.  Upon closer inspection, Ollivander realized that she was blind.

“Maithair, It is I, Albus Dumbledore.” Dumbledore replied.

“Albus Dumbledore.  You have another with you.  It is time, then.”  Her voice had become sad.

“Yes, Maithair, it is.  You are willing to make the sacrifice?”

“Yes.  I have always given when there was need.” She smiled, as radiant as the sun.  “However, you still have not told me what you require, Albus Dumbledore.”

Dumbledore bowed.  “My deepest thanks to you Maithair.  What we ask will perhaps be the most difficult to give.  For we need a branch from the Heart.”

Magellan was beginning to feel as if he had wandered unawares into an important meeting.  Then he realized what the branch was for.

“Albus-“ He began, but Dumbledore silenced him with a wave of his hand.

The centaur finally spoke again.  “What you ask, it may have a great cost.”

“I am sure it will, in the end.  I am willing to pay it.”  Dumbledore replied gravely.

 “You do not understand.  The cost may not be yours to pay.  It is possible that it will be paid by another.”

“It is a risk worth taking.  It may save us generations of strife.”

“I see you will not by swayed.” She sighed.  “It has always been so with your kind.  Very well.”  She went to the tree and placed her hands on the bark.  The tree began to quiver.  Then, quite suddenly, a small branch fell from the top of the tree.

“Take it, and leave this place.  I must rest now.” And she turned and disappeared into the stone circle.

Ollivander picked up the branch.

“The Phoenix feather…it is meant to go with this Holly.”

“Yes, it is.” Dumbledore sounded as if a great weight had fallen on his shoulders.

“This wand…. it will be very much like…” His voice trailed off

“Yes. It will.  It is time, now, to go home.”

The two men turned and left the clearing.


“I wonder now—yes, why not—Holly and Phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple.”

Ollivander handed the wand to the boy.  He would be able to do wondrous things with it; he might even save them generations of strife. He remembered that it was a risk worth taking.

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