The Sugar Quill
Author: Nayela  Story: Star-gazers  Chapter: Default
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Star-gazers

Disclaimer: I do not own any of this. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind it all. I´m just exploring her world, trying not to get lost.

 

~*~

 

Star-gazers

 

Firenze pawed the ground nervously. The time drew closer. He was alone in the clearing, but he knew the others would come soon enough.

 

His gaze lingered upon the moon. Her light was gently touching and turning to silver every twig and every leaf. It looked serene and peaceful. It reminded him of the unicorns. But it was far less vulnerable, nothing could alter the way of the stars. Nothing could stop the darkness creeping up on their world once again. The slain unicorns were only the first victims.

 

He breathed an inaudible sigh. What had happened the night before was the reason they were meeting, but there was a part in it nobody had foreseen. His part, and it had not gone unnoticed. There would be consequences. He was prepared. He had arrived in the clearing at moonrise, long before the others. To his surprise he found that he did not like waiting. Briefly he marvelled at the fact that after years and years of studying the heavens, he still felt as impatient as ever. But soon enough the others would assemble. Assemble to judge about him.

 

Firenze shook the dew out of his hair. He had never seen Bane more furious than last night, when he had “caught” Firenze rescuing the Potter boy. Are you a common mule? Firenze knew he had been doing the right thing. However the insult still stung.

 

He had managed to defend himself fairly well then, but all the time while he had been trotting through the dark forest, trying to make his steps as even as possible for Harry´s sake, he had been sick with worry. The last word had not been spoken yet.

 

Firenze started to feel nervous. What was the worst they could do to him?  We are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens…Their law was firm and merciless. It had helped them to survive in a merciless world. As long as history could remember, their knowledge had been their treasure and their curse. Their secrets were well kept and passed on over generations. This wisdom was the pride of their race.

 

He smiled to himself. Of course the humans, always trying to explain the world to themselves, had been bound to notice this. In the old times, they had often asked the centaurs for advice, only—if one believed the tales—to twist it to fit their own narrow-minded interpretation. With horrendous results…

 

Had it been in those times, Firenze wondered, that his people had acquired the habit of speaking in riddles? It was a wise approach, considering how everyone who had asked for counsel had sooner or later returned to complain about it. Not even centaurs could be sure of what they Saw. Watching the humans´ pathetic attempts to form the world according to their whim had perhaps taught them caution. Trying to change Fate was dangerous. Apart from futile.

 

However he had tried. There was no point denying it. Or had he just played his role, as written in the stars?

 

He only knew he had done all he could to fight something dark and evil. If nothing was sure, how could he just stand back and let things happen?

 

The crack of a twig behind him startled Firenze. He could make out shadowy forms between the trees, illuminated by a full moon high above them. The others had begun to arrive.

 

Bane was there first. Shooting Firenze a dark glare, he made his way to the great oak in the centre of the clearing. Magorian turned up right after him. Ronan suddenly appeared, out of nowhere as always, and he eyed Firenze with worry before he joined Magorian and Bane at the trunk of the oak. Slowly the clearing filled with over a hundred Centaurs, all of which looked at Firenze briefly when they arrived. He met eyes full of concern, anger, curiosity. He felt steadily worse.

 

He had never imagine he would be this afraid. He could tell the decision had been made already. They all gave him a wide berth, as if he was carrying some contagious disease. He was left outside the circle, outside the herd. This could only mean one thing.

 

Suddenly, Ronan pushed himself away from the trunk of the oak and strode over to Firenze, followed closely by Bane. The others were breaking ranks to make way for them, leaving a free space in the circle. Ronan beckoned him forward. Slowly Firenze mad a few steps, then a hand on his shoulder told him to stay where he was. In his place among the others.

 

Astonished, Firenze sneaked a sideways look at Bane. His expression showed that their disagreement was far from settled, but the knot in his stomach seemed to unclench. The last word had not been spoken yet, neither would it be spoken tonight.

 

Once again, silence fell in the clearing, punctured only by the occasional stamping of hooves, the swish of a tail. The tension in the air was nearly tangible. But when Magorian stepped into the centre of the circle to address the others, inclining his head in greeting, Firenze couldn´t help but to sigh with relief. He wondered if the others knew how hard he had tried, last night, to alter the way of the stars. And that, in this very place, he had helped Hagrid to bury the dead unicorn. It had been the only thing to do. Firenze knew he always would do anything he could, sure though he was that this had been the last warning.

 

~*~

 

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