By Chiron's Light
Note: All characters and settings belong to JKR.
This is dedicated to all the Sagittarians out there. We ROX!
I looked up at the sky.
Scattered clouds obscured the stars.
I would just have to do without Sagittarius, then.
I trotted through the forest, hearing a
nightingale call, smelling the leaves, and feeling the breeze of the night on
my body. I came to a clearing with a
fairly large pool, and much of my herd was bathing there. On one side, all the male centaurs were gamboling
and laughing heartily. On the other
side, the female centaurs were whispering amongst themselves and combing their
thick hair. Ronan was not there. He was possibly off somewhere with his
mate. Again, I looked up at the
sky. The clouds had shifted now, and I
saw Sagittarius shining in the sky. He
had given me strength in the past, and he strengthened me now.
I took a deep breath. "Friends," I said.
The centaurs all looked up, and smiled at
me. "Come on, Firenze, join the
party!" called Magorian.
I smiled weakly and shook my head.
"I have come to make an announcement."
I hesitated. 'It's now or never,' I told myself. Finally, I said, "Dumbledore has offered
me the position of Divination teacher up at the school, and I have
There was silence. Then one bay female laughed out loud.
"Surely you jest?" she asked
incredulously. The rest of the centaurs
also started chortling, except for Bane.
I shook my head. "No, Macha," I said. "I'm serious."
Bane came up to me and looked me straight in
the eye. "You are not lying?"
"No," I said, trying to make myself
Then Bane reared up and struck me down by the
shoulder. I fell to the earth, and heard
myself crying, "Aah, aah,"
like a helpless foal.
"You pathetic scum!" Bane
cried. "Do you see what you are
doing? You are betraying us, betraying all of our kind. You are reducing yourself
to a common slave!"
I tried to bring myself up again, but Bane's
hoof pressed down on my injured shoulder, and I cried out again in pain. I heard the centaurs crying out in anger,
whether at me or Bane I could not tell.
"Do not help him!" Bane
roared. "He deserves what he is
getting, and more…"
"Bane," I said weakly, "Bane,
listen to me. I divined that I would
meet the Potter boy again. And the stars
-- you know that they speak of a great battle to come. The humans…"
"The humans can fend for
themselves!" Bane shouted.
"You do not need to disgrace yourself, and your herd, in this …
" Bane stuttered with rage, and before he could finish his sentence I
wrenched his hoof from my shoulder, turned around, and savagely kicked him with
my hind legs.
"I know what you feel of me now," I
said, "and I wish things were different.
But they are not. You have seen
what the planets foretell. How Orion has
risen in the sky opposite the Dragon, and of the battle that shall sweep all of
the stars into its pull. The humans are
strong, but they do not know how to use their strengths, and I am going to help
them however I can."
There was complete silence. Then Magorian
charged out the pool and attacked.
Before I knew what was happening, all of the
males and most of the females had surrounded themselves and were kicking at me,
and someone delivered a terrifyingly strong kick to my chest, and the wind was
knocked out of me -- I was dying, dying
-- I cried aloud, and I heard a thunderous noise shake the ground, and
the cries of other centaurs, and then a deep voice yelling over the noise,
Everything froze. The herd
leader, Cimbaith, an old, immensely large chestnut
with white socks and a creamy tail, was standing there, breathing hard. I recognized his daughter, Epona, standing beside him, panting heavily as though she
had been racing, and wringing her hands.
The centaurs parted as Cimbaith approached the
center. He pulled me to my feet, and
then asked me, "What happened?"
At once shouts came from the entire herd, telling what they had seen.
roared. "Why are they attacking
I took a deep breath, and told him that Dumbledore
had offered me a teaching position at the school, and that I had accepted. When I was done he stared at me, and then
stooped down so that we were eye level.
"Firenze," he said, "son of Vosegus, you are in earnest about what you have just told
"Yes," I said.
"You understand what must be done?"
He sighed, and was silent for a long time. "Then," he said, "I have no
choice but to banish you from our herd.
Go. Go, now, and never
I nodded, cast one last glance at my former friends, and then turned
and ran. Many times before I had run
through the forest, rejoicing in being one with nature, one with the wind and
the stars and the shadows. Now I was a
stranger to it, and it was strange to me.
I broke through the edge of the forest, and caught my breath. I was alone now.
I looked first to the school lights -- it was so domestic, so warm, so…
safe. Behind me, the forest was wild and
cold and free. It was my home.
Next half-moon would be the Ceremony of Bonding, in which all the
centaurs who were old enough would mate.
This year, I could participate. I
could find my mate for life.
I could turn back, beg forgiveness, and continue as before.
A cloud obscured the moon, and my eyes made the familiar trek to
Sagittarius the Archer. 'No,' I finally decided. 'If I do
not help the humans, then every hope and dream may be lost, every centaur be
made a slave. If one must be broken so
that all others may be free, then so be it.' With that in mind, and
with Sagittarius watching me, I raced toward the school.
So be it.