Most of the talk that evening in the
Gryffindor common room was about the words people were going to choose for
their Medallion. It seemed that the fourth and sixth years were also making
Auris Medallions. First, second, and third years were apparently not advanced
enough in their studies to handle the spells required, and the seventh years
were working instead on counter curses so complex they made Harry’s head reel
just overhearing Fred and George discussing them.
“So what are you going to choose,
Harry?” Ron asked, prodding the silver disc in his lap with his wand. Harry
thought prodding it like that might not be the best idea, but didn’t say
anything about it.
“I don’t know,” he answered. But
that was a lie. A word had come to him during dinner in the Hall, and he knew
immediately that it was the right word for him. He just didn’t want to share it
at the moment, not with other people around. He liked Fred, George and Ginny
very much, but this was something he’d rather keep just between himself and Ron
and Hermione. It felt personal.
“I don’t know what I’m going to
pick, either,” sighed Ron. “Moody was so intense about it. I feel like I really
have to think about this one.”
“You should,” Hermione said
seriously. “Making an Auris Medallion is complicated. All the Aurors make them,
you know. That’s where the name comes from.”
A thought came to Harry then.
Moody’s class had inspired so much talk that he had almost forgotten he hadn’t
yet told Ron and Hermione about what happened in Dumbledore’s office that
morning. They needed to go somewhere private.
“You’ve probably read about them in
a book, right?” Harry said to Hermione.
“Yes,” she said, a bit defensively,
probably expecting to be teased again.
“That’s great!” Harry enthused as
convincingly as he could, and Ron shot him an amazed look. “Can you show it to
us? Won’t hurt to study on such an important assignment. Maybe we can take it
to the library and look it over. And maybe you can both help me with my Potions
assignment, since I missed it.”
Ron’s eyes widened
in understanding. “Oh! Yeah! Maybe that’s a good idea.”
Hermione shot up. “I’ll run up and
get the book. Be right back.” And she dashed up the stairs to the girls’
Ginny was looking
at them oddly, clearly suspecting something. But at that moment, Fred
managed to put a levitation charm on George’s chair, and just barely grabbed on
to his twin’s hand as it lifted them both into the air. The entire common room
erupted into shouts and laughter, and Lee Jordan began using his homework, and a few other people’s as well, as makeshift
projectiles with which to try to peg the floating chair and its occupants. In
the commotion, Harry and Ron made it out through the portrait hole without
being noticed. Only a few moments passed before the portrait of the Fat Lady
swung up again and Hermione burst through, a book under her arm.
“Where should we go to talk?” she
“Let’s go outside,” Harry suggested.
“It’s still early enough to be out for a walk. I don’t want anyone to overhear
They hardly said a word to each
other as they made their way out over the grounds, skirting the edge of the
lake. Eventually they stopped under a large tree. The view of the lake and
castle really was spectacular, with the sunset painting the sky all shades of
red and orange. But Harry hardly noticed, he was so
excited about what he had to say.
Ron and Hermione listened carefully
while Harry told them everything that Dumbledore had said, trying to recall all
the details about the Wizard Shamans. Whenever Ron tried to interject with
something, Hermione shushed him, her face screwed up in concentration as she
listened. Finally Harry finished, and sat down on the grass next to them.
“Wow,” Ron said, shooting a glance
at Hermione to see if she was going to shush him again, but she was clearly
lost in thought. “Wow, Harry. I mean....if this Night can do what she says,
then you’ll get to live with Sirius!”
“I know!” Harry grinned. “I really
hope it works.”
“It all sounds a bit weird to me.”
Ron shook his head. “Everyone says predictions and visions like that are really
unreliable. I mean, look at Professor Trelawney!”
Hermione spoke up. “The Wizard
Shamans are different, Ron. All the books that mention them say that their
magic was really strong, and very reliable. I read about You-Know-Who hunting
them down. They really did a good job keeping hidden,
everyone thinks they were completely wiped out. I wonder what the reaction
would be if the truth got out. Some people were pretty afraid of the Shamans.”
“Afraid of them?”
Ron repeated incredulously. “Why on earth would you be afraid of them? That’s
got to be the most useful power I’ve ever heard of, seeing the future!”
“Because they can
see into your past, Ron, just by spending time with you. How many
things have you done in the past that you don’t want anyone to know
Ron’s expression changed
drastically. “Oh. I didn’t think of that.”
“What I don’t get,” Harry said, “Is
if the Shamans can do all that, why didn’t the Wizard Courts ever use them to
get true confessions out of people? If there’d been a Shaman around before
Sirius got thrown in Azkaban, he never would have been convicted!” Always
assuming, of course, Harry thought darkly, that they’d given him a trial in the
“The Ministry tried, Harry,”
Hermione said. “They tried to convince the Shamans to come and serve in the
Courts, but the Shamans refused. None of the books I read really explained why
they refused, but I think it had something to do with their teachings.”
Ron shrugged. “Why don’t you just
ask this Night person?”
“We can all ask her,” said Harry,
“because Dumbledore said he wants the three of us to show her around the
Ron gaped. “The
three of us?”
even gave me permission to tell you both everything he told me.”
“Well,” Hermione said matter of
factly. “We have been able to get ourselves out of all sorts of scrapes
by working together. I’m sure Dumbledore respects that.”
grinned, though he rolled his eyes a bit at Hermione’s tone. “We’re quite a
team, all right.”
“He said it was good that I had
people I could trust,” said Harry, thinking back on his entire conversation
with Dumbledore. “He seems to think I’ll need that from now on.”
Harry regretted having said anything
of the sort when he noticed the way Ron and Hermione’s expressions changed.
They were looking at him suddenly with a great deal of concern, and casting
serious glances at each other.
“What?” Harry snapped, suddenly
irritated. “You two have been doing that for days! Would you stop it?”
Ron flushed, but Hermione met
Harry’s gaze and said calmly, “Stop what, Harry?”
“Stop looking over my head with
these worried expressions, like you’re expecting me to keel over and die at any
minute! Like you’re expecting Voldemort to come charging over the next hill and
chop my head off!” Harry realized abruptly that he was shouting, and that he
was very angry.
But Hermione, while her eyes were
wide, did not look particularly fazed by his outburst. “Yes, we’re worried. And
no, we can’t stop, Harry. We won’t stop worrying, because we care
about you. You’re our friend. And don’t try telling us you’re not
worried, otherwise you wouldn’t be so angry.”
Harry opened his mouth, furious,
ready to argue, and then he hesitated. Because Hermione was absolutely right.
He wanted to deny that he was worried about Voldemort. He hadn’t even talked to
them about his nightmares this past summer, though he felt certain Ron knew
about them anyway, as they had been sharing Ron’s room at the Burrow for weeks.
But he hadn’t said anything to them, because he didn’t want to talk about it.
He didn’t want to bring it all up again. Part of him wanted to deny that the
end of last year had ever happened.
But he had just been talking about
what Dumbledore had said about having friends he could trust. He realized he
had been keeping his closest friends at a distance, at
least in regards to his fears, and that was no way to keep their trust.
Hermione’s impassioned words made him rather guilty for yelling at them.
“I’m sorry,” Harry said quietly. “I
shouldn’t have yelled. I’m just... you’re right... I’m worried, too.”
“Yeah, we know,” Ron said, frowning.
“Do you think we’re blind?”
“No. I’m just... sorry...”
“Don’t be sorry, Harry,” Hermione
said gently. “You can trust us, remember? Even Dumbledore said so.” She smiled.
Harry smiled back faintly. “Thanks.
And I do trust you, you know that. I just.... I just don’t know if I really
want to talk about it.”
Hermione said, shooting Ron, who looked like he was about to protest something,
a silencing look. “Just remember that we’re here if you want to talk, okay?”
Harry nodded, then forced a more cheerful smile. “And
hey, if I get to live with Sirius next summer, I promise I’ll invite you both
to stay with me for a change.”
The next morning, as Harry, Ron and
Hermione left the Great Hall after breakfast, they
were stopped at the base of the main stairs by Professor McGonagall. Standing
next to her, now wearing black robes over her unusual clothing,
was Elizabeth Night.
“Good morning.” Professor McGonagall
greeted them, giving stern looks to passing students who seemed to want to stay
and eavesdrop. People were looking curiously at Elizabeth, but they moved along under
McGonagall’s warning look.
“Good morning, Professor,” Harry
said. “Good morning, Miss Night.”
“Good morning, Harry.” Elizabeth smiled,
“Potter, Miss Night will be
attending your classes with you for the rest of the day,” Professor McGonagall
said. There was an odd tension to her voice, but she continued, “I expect you
to be a good host, and to help her acquaint herself with the grounds.”
McGonagall turned to Elizabeth. “Remember,
contact Albus or myself if anything... happens.”
Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged
quick, curious glances. What did she mean? But Elizabeth merely nodded. “I will, Professor.
Thank you. I’m sure I’m in good hands with Harry and his friends.”
McGonagall nodded curtly, then headed off to prepare for her lessons. Elizabeth turned back to Harry and the
others, smiling again, and said in a quiet, conspiratorial voice, “Is Professor
McGonagall always so serious?”
Harry grinned. “Always.
“Can you introduce me to your
“Oh! Yeah. Sorry. This is Hermione.”
Hermione stuck out her hand eagerly.
“Harry’s told us all about you. I have all sorts of questions about... about
what you do.” She seemed to have stopped herself on the verge of blurting out
something obvious about Wizard Shamanism; there were still students tromping by
them going to and from breakfast, after all.
Harry wondered if he only imagined
that Elizabeth hesitated a moment before taking Hermione’s
hand, but she did take it, and was still smiling as she said,
“I’ll answer what questions I can. As long as you’re willing
to answer some of mine. I hear you’re the best student in your year.”
Hermione blushed with pleasure.
“And this is Ron,” Harry said.
Ron stuck out his hand too. He was
looking at Elizabeth with a vacant sort of expression similar to
the one he had worn last year every time Fleur Delacour walked into a room,
though nowhere near as severe. “Uh.... hello.”
“Ron.” Elizabeth gave him a curious look. “Would I
be correct in assuming you’re Ron Weasley?”
Ron’s eyes widened a bit. “Yeah. How did you....”
“Professor Dumbledore did tell me
Harry had a friend by that name,” Elizabeth said, then grinned. “But I’d
recognize that Weasley hair, anyway, I think. I just recently had the good
fortune of meeting your brother Bill.”
Ron gaped. “You met Bill? How? Where?”
“A story for a later time, I think.
Shouldn’t we be heading to your class?”
Harry nodded, and Elizabeth walked beside him as they continued
through the Hall. Just behind him, he could hear Ron muttering, “I’ll kill Bill
for not telling me!”
“If anyone asks,” Elizabeth said quietly, and all three
strained to listen, “I’m visiting Hogwarts for ideas on which to found a school
in the States. We’ll talk more about our business later.” She looked
meaningfully at Harry.
“All right,” said Harry. “We’ll have
the whole afternoon free after Care of Magical Creatures.”
But first was their Herbology class
with the Hufflepuffs. When they arrived at the greenhouse complex, the other
students gave Elizabeth very curious looks and whispered among
themselves. Dean Thomas nudged Seamus in their direction, no doubt to ask
questions, but just then Professor Sprout appeared. Unlike the students, she
seemed entirely unsurprised to see Miss Night.
chaps. Let’s go.” She herded the class forward, then paused as she passed
Harry, Ron, Hermione and Elizabeth. “Good to see you, Miss Night. Very good indeed, in these times.”
Elizabeth’s easy smile looked a bit sad.
“Thank you, Professor Sprout. I hope I won’t be an inconvenience in your
“Oh, of course
not! As a matter of fact, I have some Wisdom Weed that’s been doing
rather poorly, I was hoping you might help me with it
a bit. We’ll chat later in the lesson, then.”
Harry wanted to ask about Wisdom
Weed, and how Miss Night could help with it, but he kept silent. She had said
that she didn’t know much about magic, but he had a hard time believing that,
all things considered.
Elizabeth joined Harry, Ron and Hermione at
their table, in the corner of the greenhouse work area. Professor Sprout
informed the class that they would be working on harvesting pods from mature
WhistlePod plants, which would emit a loud, piercing whistle to scare off
predators unless the pods were stripped properly. She demonstrated the
procedure, then promptly deposited a potted WhistlePod on every table and set
them to work. Almost immediately, shrill whistles started echoing throughout
the greenhouse, and Professor Sprout began making hurried rounds, quelling the
Hermione set to harvesting their Pod
perfectly, and Harry and Ron watched her at work for a good few minutes before
feeling sure enough to help. There were always good things about having
Hermione at your table, Harry thought.
Elizabeth made no move to participate in
their task, but she did watch their work closely, and asked many questions
about Herbology which Hermione was happy to answer. She told them that many of
the magical plants they worked with at Hogwarts could not be found where she had
been raised. But when Hermione asked curiously what State she lived in, Elizabeth’s open expression closed off, and
her pale eyes grew a bit more distant.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you,” she said quietly.
Harry remembered that Dumbledore had
said there were very few Wizard Shamans left, but a few meant more than one. If
these other Shamans were hiding in the same place Elizabeth had been hiding, it made sense that
she wouldn’t speak of it. But it made the three of them very curious.
Just then, Professor Sprout came to
their table, carrying a small brown pot with a sickly looking plant in it.
“How are you three doing, then?” She
peered at their WhistlePod, then nodded with
satisfaction. “Very good. Good technique, Miss
Granger. Now, then.” She turned to Elizabeth. “Shall we step over here for a
moment and see what we can do for my Wisdom Weed?”
Elizabeth rose and followed Professor Sprout
to an empty table.
Harry was craning his neck to get a
better of view of what they were doing, when he saw a girl from a neighboring
table lean over to whisper to Hermione, “Who’s that?”
“Miss Night,” Hermione said in a
perfectly normal voice that didn’t even hint at anything unusual. “She’s doing
research on Hogwarts for forming a new school in the States.”
Harry recognized the girl as Susan
Bones, a fifth-year like themselves, and a newly made Prefect from Hufflepuff.
“I understand why she’s with you, then, Hermione. You’re the best in the year.”
Susan didn’t seem to mind praising Hermione (maybe it had something to do with
the trademark Hufflepuff modesty). But she frowned afterward, and said in a
tone very reminiscent of Percy’s, “But I would have thought they’d inform the
Prefects about a visitor like this! We could help. And, hey
Hermione!” Susan suddenly leaned even closer to Hermione. “Why aren’t you
a Prefect? Terry Boot, the Ravenclaw Prefect, he told me that they offered it
to you, and you turned it down. I would have thought you’d want it for sure!”
Harry and Ron gaped, and turned
stunned looks on Hermione. Hermione ignored them both and said, “I just wanted
to focus on other things, that’s all.”
At that moment, one of Susan Bones’
partners slipped while pulling off a pod, and their
WhistlePod plant began to whistle piercingly. Susan quickly turned her
attention back to her own table.
“Hermione,” Ron began, still staring
at her in shock, pod-pulling tweezers forgotten in his hand, “You were made a
Prefect? And you turned it down?”
“Why?” Harry asked.
“I already said,” Hermione snapped.
She was clearly very touchy on the subject. “I wanted to focus on other things.
What difference is it to you? Besides, with all the rule-breaking you two get
involved in, I couldn’t be in a position of responsibility and look the other
way, could I?”
Harry gaped again. Was that really
why she had turned away the chance to be a Prefect? He felt sure that it was an
honor Hermione must certainly have coveted. Had she really turned it down
because of him and Ron?
Professor Sprout bustled by them
then, on the way to Susan Bones’ table to quiet the shrill WhistlePod. Harry
glanced back to where Elizabeth Night now sat alone at a table with the sickly
potted plant. Then he saw something that made him nudge Hermione and Ron.
They saw Elizabeth staring intently at the little
plant. It looked ragged around the leaf-edges, and definitely off color. She
murmured something under breath, then lifted one of her hands and held it in
the air just over the plant. A soft, white light began to glow around her hand.
The glow slowly expanded, and when it touched the plant, the tired-looking weed
suddenly stiffened; leaves unfurled and shaded quickly to a healthy green.
Ron whistled very softly under his
breath. “I’ve never seen even Professor Sprout heal a plant like that. And she
didn’t even use her wand.”
“She said she doesn’t have a wand,”
“Well she didn’t need it for that,
whatever she did,” Hermione said thoughtfully.
Care of Magical Creatures followed
Herbology, and Elizabeth accompanied them across the green. She talked
to them very casually, asking questions about the grounds and their experiences
at Hogwarts as they drew nearer to Hagrid’s hut. Even after such a short time,
Harry felt that there was something particularly trustworth about her, and he
could tell by the way that Hermione and Ron spoke to her that they felt the
same way. They all wanted to ask her about the magic she had used on the weed
in Herbology, but they had agreed to wait until the afternoon when they would
have complete privacy.
They arrived at Hagrid’s cabin to
find the huge gamekeeper already outside, peering into a large wooden pen. From
the sound of scuffling inside of it, Harry guessed that the pen contained
whatever strange creatures they would be working with this term. He hoped
fervently they weren’t skrewts or Flobberworms or anything else slimy, and that
the creatures at least had distinguishable heads.
“Well there yeh are! Why haven’t yeh
come ter visit me afore now? I thought fer sure I’d see yeh before classes
started.” Hagrid came over to clap Harry, Ron and Hermione on the shoulders,
and then seemed to notice Miss Night for the first time. “Eh? Hullo. Yeh’d be
Miss Night, would yeh? Dumbledore said yeh’d be comin’ ter some classes. Me name’s
Hagrid. Good ter meet yeh.” Hagrid stuck out a huge
hand, and Miss Night shook it without hesitation, which Harry thought rather
brave considering how small and weak her own hand looked in comparison.
“I hope yeh like animals,” Hagrid
said to Miss Night, smiling eagerly as he looked back at the pen.
“I do,” Elizabeth said. “I have a good touch with
animals and plants.”
Hagrid dragged them over to the pen
and proudly showed them what looked like a mound of huge fuzzy worms with
ant-like legs. “Prismapillars,” he announced. “If we feed ‘em right, and build
‘em a good den ter live in, they’ll be moltin’ soon, and we can see ‘em fly.”
Several of the other Gryffindors had
also clambered curiously around the pen, but they didn’t get the chance to ask
him any questions about the strange creatures, because at that moment the
Slytherins arrived. Harry had hoped that they would somehow have managed to
escape taking Care of Magical Creatures with the Slytherins. Potions
with them was bad enough. Unfortunately, here they were, and the first
voice they heard as they approached was Draco Malfoy’s.
“What abysmally stupid monster are
we going to be burdened with this time?”
Hagrid, who seemed to be taking a
leaf from Hermione’s book, completely ignored Malfoy’s comment and turned
instead to put on a pair of thick gloves. While his
massive back was turned, the other Slytherins edged closer to the pen to see
what was inside, and Malfoy saw Miss Night. His cold gray eyes narrowed and he
looked her up and down, then allowed his gaze to
travel over Harry, clearly noting the company she was keeping. That was all he
needed to make his decision, and a sneer formed on his face.
“Who’s this?” Malfoy drawled. “A
nanny for you, Potter?”
Harry stiffened in surprise and anger.
Draco had never before been quite bold enough to openly insult adults at the
Ron also stiffened, and they were
both on the verge of uttering angry retorts when Elizabeth laid gentle hands on their
shoulders, shaking her head slightly to caution them to silence. She met
Malfoy’s insolent gaze and actually smiled faintly. “Just a
guest at your fine school, Mr Malfoy.”
Malfoy’s eyes narrowed again when
she spoke his name, and he looked suddenly put off his stride. “Or maybe -” he
started, but at that moment Hagrid began to call out for the class’s attention.
“How did you know his name?” Ron
whispered to Elizabeth.
“Dumbledore told me about him.”
Harry felt a surge of relief at
those words. He had been worried about the fact that Draco was still strutting
around the school like nothing had happened. “Then Dumbledore’s watching him.”
“Very carefully,” Elizabeth said, her
expression once more serious. “What’s the old saying? Keep your friends close,
and your enemies closer.”
The class passed rather uneventfully
after that, though it involved a bit more hard labor than they were used to.
Hagrid told them that the Prismapillars liked to sleep in dark, damp places,
but that they fed on grass and leaves during the day. So the class needed to dig
a den area, which they would then cover with boards, with a tunnel leading out
to the surface so the Prismapillars could come out and feed. He assured them,
however, that when the time came for the creatures to molt, seeing the end
result of their metamorphosis would be worth all the work.
The Slytherins grumbled about being
forced to do manual labor, but Hagrid’s patience with the Slytherins’ attitude
seemed to have come to an end over the summer holiday, and he tolerated none of
When class was dismissed, Harry, Ron
and Hermione lingered to say their goodbyes to Hagrid.
“We’ll be by to visit soon, Hagrid,”
Harry assured him.
“Come by soon as yeh can, then,”
said Hagrid. “I’ve got some stories ter tell yeh about what I’ve been doin’ over
They headed back up to the castle. Elizabeth said she’d join them for lunch, and
actually sat with them at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. This
attracted attention, though Elizabeth seemed not to mind. She seemed, in
fact, rather oblivious to all the looks and curious whispers, though Harry
doubted she was truly as oblivious as she seemed.
At one point, when Elizabeth was listening attentively to
Hermione spout off a long list of interesting facts about Hogwarts, Fred and
George Weasley sat themselves next to Ron and Harry.
“Who’s she?” Fred whispered, nodding
“Elizabeth Night,” Ron said, with a
hint of something like pride for being privy to the information.
“American, is she?” George asked.
“Yes,” said Ron.
“She’s here to get ideas for forming
a new school in the States,” Harry added quickly. He trusted Fred and George,
but Dumbledore had warned him about keeping Elizabeth’s secrets quiet.
“What’s she doing with you?” Fred
“How long is she staying?” George
asked right on his heels.
Ron narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
“Why do want to know so bad?”
Fred and George cracked instant and
“Well,” said George, “we need to
know how long we’ve got to win her over.”
“And how to go about doing it,” Fred
Harry held back a laugh. “Win her
over? Are you serious?”
“Absolutely,” said Fred.
“We’re always serious,” said George.
“How could she resist?” Fred grinned
easily!” Ron hissed. “She...she’s...she’s not going to -”
“What?” interrupted George, still grinning. “Afraid of a little
Ron flushed. “Don’t be stupid!”
“Sorry to interrupt,” Elizabeth’s low voice cut into their
conversation. “But could you please pass the potatoes?”
Even Harry blushed as he hurried to
oblige; he really hoped that she hadn’t overheard the discussion. Fred and
George, however, seemed to think this was a marvelous opportunity to introduce themselves, and pounced on it with enthusiasm. Elizabeth greeted them with a bright smile
and said, “The hair really does run in the family, doesn’t it? I quite like
Fortunately, the twins had class
immediately after lunch while the rest of them did not, and so they weren’t
able to follow as Harry, Ron and Hermione led Elizabeth back out onto the
grounds, back to the same isolated tree where they had come yesterday to
Elizabeth’s comment about the Weasleys’ hair
seemed to have reminded Ron of something she’d said earlier, because as soon as
they were sure of their privacy, he asked, “So how did you meet my brother
“Dumbledore sent Bill to find me in
the States,” Elizabeth explained. “Your brother went to great
personal risk to escort me safely here. I’m very much in his debt. He’s quite a
remarkable man, and an excellent wizard.”
Ron seemed not to know how to take
this statement at all. Familial pride and a touch of definite envy seemed at
war in his expression. Hermione noted his awkwardness with a slight frown, but
came to his rescue nonetheless with a question of her own. “Miss Night, how did
you heal that plant in Herbology?”
“Ah, you were watching, then.”
“Well, yes, I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.”
“It’s just....” Hermione hesitated, then glanced at Harry.
“Well,” Harry said, “You told me the
other day that you don’t know very much magic, and that you don’t even have a
wand. So I guess we’re just curious...”
“About what I can
actually do?” Elizabeth smiled. “Understandably.
What I told you was true. I don’t own a wand, though Professor McGonagall is
taking me this very evening to purchase one. It seems prudent that I should
learn to use one as soon as possible. When it comes to the type of magic you
study here at Hogwarts, I am a complete novice. You’ll find that I’ll be a
disaster in classes like Charms and Transfiguration. I’m sure I could use your
help there when the time comes. The training I have received as a Wizard Shaman
is very... different.”
The friendly, open expression on Elizabeth’s face began to fade, and she
looked increasingly somber as she continued to speak. Harry thought her eyes
seemed almost sad.
“To be sensitive to the spirit aura
of others, as we must be in order to summon visions of their past or future, we
must first understand the nature of our own spirit. We need to understand how
all living things join in the Sacred Hoop, the pattern of all life. We must
learn to feel, to open ourselves, to see with clear eyes. I have been trained
all my life to be sensitive to the spirit energy of living things. Plants and
animals also possess this energy, though not in the same way as humans. It is
still enough for me to sense, however, and because of that I can affect them.
Before coming to Hogwarts, did any of you ever make things happen by magic?”
They all nodded, Harry quite
vigorously, thinking of the boa constrictor at the zoo.
“You did that without knowing any
spells, without wands. I do the same, except that, in a way, I’ve trained that
ability. It’s not much - not compared to what you learn how to do here,
anyway.” She waved a hand at the castle. “But it’s something.”
Harry had a feeling that it was
significantly more than ‘something’, but he knew better than to press people
for answers when they were being deliberately vague. Elizabeth’s way of answering seemed to have a
lot in common with Dumbledore’s.
Hermione, however, seemed eager for
more details, but a change in Elizabeth’s expression kept her quiet. Elizabeth was now regarding all three of them
very seriously, and she said, “There are a few things I must, in all fairness,
warn you about. You know why I’m here, of course.”
Ron and Hermione nodded.
“I told them how you’re going to try
to conjure a vision to clear Sirius’ name,” Harry explained.
“And how for that I must spend time
with you?” Elizabeth asked.
“I must say now, then, that it is
not necessary for Ron and Hermione to spend time with me. I know Dumbledore
suggested you all be my hosts here, but I feel… a personal obligation to warn
you. The more time I spend in your company, the more familiar I will become
with your spirit aura. I will not, you have my word,
deliberately call up any visions of your past or future without your clear
permission. But as a result of my training, I cannot help but absorb certain
images, and those images may sometimes appear in my dreams. That is out of my
control. Now that you know this, I will understand if you would prefer to keep
Ron and Hermione glanced at each other,
but hardly a moment passed before they looked back at Elizabeth.
“Not a chance,” said Ron.
“If Dumbledore trusts you to be with
Harry, then we trust you,” said Hermione.
Elizabeth smiled at them, and then at Harry.
“You have highly discriminating friends, Harry.”
“Yeah,” said Harry, and he remembered the
conversation they had had in this place just the day before. He smiled.
Ron and Hermione both smiled
faintly, but said nothing more about it. They didn’t need to.
“So...um....” Ron said, awkwardly
breaking the moment, “How much time do you have to spend with Harry before you
can conjure a vision?”
“With Harry, a few
days. It is important that this vision be very detailed and completely
accurate. Getting from you your perceptive memories of
another person’s aura... that’s difficult. Very soon, though, I’ll have
to leave to spend time with Mr Black. That will take quite a bit longer.”
Oddly, Harry realized that it made
him somewhat jealous, to hear Elizabeth talking about spending all that time
with Sirius when Harry himself couldn’t be with his godfather so freely. He
hadn’t seen Sirius for months now, not since the night of the Third Task, and
had no idea when he’d see him again. Sirius had sent him letters, of course.
But it wasn’t the same. Still, he told himself it shouldn’t bother him. Miss
Night was doing this for him, after all. At least partially.
If she could clear Sirius’ name and enable Harry to live with
his godfather, then that justified just about anything. Even having his own memories possibly show up in someone else’s dreams.
“So then,” Ron said to Elizabeth, “You’ll be leaving in a few days?
Are you coming back?”
Harry saw, out of the corner of his
eye, that Hermione was now glaring at Ron. Ron, however, didn’t seem to notice.
“Yes, I’ll be leaving in a few days.
But I think I’ll be coming back eventually. There are... other things I am
doing for Dumbledore as well. But I’m afraid I’m not supposed to talk about
“Do you think -” Hermione began
suddenly, looking as though she were struggling with herself about something. Elizabeth looked at her with raised eyebrows,
waiting for her to continue. Hermione plunged on, speaking very fast, “Would
you be willing to show us how you conjure a vision? I’d love to see it. You
see, I read some things about the Shamans in Lost Arts of the Wizarding
World, and I have so many questions.”
Elizabeth frowned thoughtfully. “That might
not be a bad idea. It might be a good test, to see how well I have gathered
impressions from Harry. Can you think of an incident in your past, which
involved Sirius, that you would be willing to have me
Harry was trying to think of a time
when he had been with Sirius when nothing terrible had been happening. The last
time he’d seen Sirius came first to his mind, just after seeing Voldemort…his
parents… just after Cedric had died....
But Ron’s voice interrupted his dark
thoughts. “I know! How about when you two helped Sirius escape
the castle? I was unconscious, remember. I’d love to see you two stealing
Buckbeak and Sirius flying away from those Dementors!”
“Oh, yes!” agreed Hermione.
It was settled. Elizabeth asked for no details about the
night in question, she merely said that before she left Hogwarts she would do
her best to conjure a vision of the past for them. Harry found he was just as
excited about seeing it as Hermione was.
Perhaps it was because of all the
talk of memories and dreams, but that night Harry had the first nightmare he’d
experienced since arriving back at Hogwarts. It started, like so many of them
had over the summer, in the maze. He was running through the hedges again, only
now he wasn’t looking for the Triwizard Cup, he was looking for Cedric. Always looking for Cedric. And, as always in his nightmares,
he would finally find Cedric at the center of the maze, and Cedric would start
to plead with him. “No, Harry, please, just leave
me here. Take the Cup. I don’t want to die.” But Harry grabbed the Cup, every time, and
forced it into Cedric’s hands, because it was his fault, and they were
sucked away into a whirlwind of tombstones and green light and red eyes.....
The nightmares were never quite the
same as the real experience had been. They were significantly worse in some
places, and some of the events or the words had become hazy over time. But
always there was pain, and Cedric, and fear, and his parents, and Voldemort’s
But this time there was something
else, something new. As he was fleeing, running past the headstones, he tripped
on something, on Cedric’s body suddenly beneath him, and fell headfirst… into
He looked up, and realized that he
had collided with Elizabeth Night, and she was now holding him steady. Her grip
was frm, but he saw that her eyes were wide with surprise.
“How is this possible?” she
asked. “You should not be here, Harry.”
And Harry woke up, breathing hard,
soaked in his own sweat. He sat up, throwing the sheets off, and pulled the
curtains of his four-poster open, desperately wanting light. Moonlight poured
into the room through the window, and Harry fumbled for his glasses with
shaking fingers and put them on, relieved to see the room come into focus and
to find that there was nothing lurking in the shadows. Neville’s snores filled
the room, and someone, it sounded like Seamus, mumbled in their sleep.
Harry sat on the edge of his bed for
a long time, until his heartbeat slowed and he felt he could breathe calmly
again, thinking all the while on Night’s strange appearance in his dream. That
part at the end had felt real, like the dreams of Voldemort he’d had last year.
The rest of the nightmare had been like all the others he’d had over the
summer. Just a nightmare, terrible though it was.
He really wanted to go find Elizabeth and ask her about it. But a glance
out the window told him it was the middle of the night. He could sneak out with
his Invisibility Cloak, but he had no idea were Miss Night was sleeping. And
maybe he was just over-reacting anyway.
With a sigh, Harry laid back down
again. But he stared at the underside of his canopy for a long time, lost in
bad memories, before sleep finally returned.