Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I’m not JKR.
Thanks to Lockie for helping me with Sorrow’s wand!
The Sorrow of
shadows of night fell over Hogwarts, the students of the school sleeping
soundly in their beds, Sorrow crept from her chambers, cloaked in
invisibility. She held her breath as
she passed her father’s study, hearing the familiar hiss of his snake
within. Silently, she wished him a
night of deep sleep, with no midnight desires to walk through the corridors.
walked up the steps quickly, her bare feet slapping the cold stone, matching
the pattering of her heart. The halls
were silent and dark, but her eyes were accustomed to the dark, and the silence
only soothed her, to know no one was near.
destination was known to few. It was
one of the castle’s many secrets, a favorite of Sorrow’s. Rowena had told her about it on her sixth
birthday, but she had been eight the first time she had discovered it. She remembered that day quite clearly, must
as clearly as her first visit to the forest.
But this memory was a happy one.
times she passed the wall, the picture clear in her mind of where she wanted to
go. As the door handle appeared, she
smiled, feeling a sense of accomplishment.
pulled on the door handle and stepped into the room, still smiling. Several lamps were lit on the stone walls,
casting a low glow on the table in the center of the room. Two bookshelves crammed full of books,
scrolls, and yellowing bits of parchment stood against the far wall.
dropped her invisibility cloak onto the floor and closed the door behind
her. From beneath her cloak she pulled
a small bag that writhed as though alive.
She turned it upside down and held out her hand to catch the toad that
fell from the bag with a load, unhappy croak.
sorry,” she whispered, grasping the toad as it attempted to flee. “I need your help…” She patted the toad’s head gently
and placed him on the table. “Please
looked at her with large eyes, as if asking, “Why me?” but did not hop away.
another pocket came yet another bag, this one soft and round. Gently she pulled from it what appeared to
be a ball of cloth, and began unraveling it in her hand. Inside was a perfect, white, chicken egg,
stolen from the kitchen earlier that evening.
heart pounded within her chest, and her hands began shaking. Suddenly, the toad gave a loud croak, and
the egg fell from her hands onto the floor.
A small snake slithered from the broken shells, heading towards her as
she backed into the corner…she tried not to look, tried not to give in, but she
did, and she saw the huge yellow eyes of the King of Serpents…
scream erupted nearby, shaking Sorrow from her sleep. Darkness surrounded her, but the scream continued. A moment later she realized that the scream
was coming from her own mouth. Sweat
poured from her face as she tore her covers off her body and sat straight
up. The screaming stopped abruptly, and
Sorrow could suddenly hear movement in the corridor outside her chambers.
“Sorrow!” The door opened suddenly, and two large boys
in their nightclothes sprung forward, wands out ready to attack.
of the two boys, Jan, blinked and looked around the room. “Where is he?” Jan demanded. “Where is he?”
still breathing heavily, shook her head, unable to speak.
boy, Andren, stepped forward, a kind look on his handsome face. “What happened?” he asked, touching his cool
hand to her warm cheek. “Did you have a
bad dream?” He spoke as if to a baby, and Sorrow detested it.
her covers and pulled them around her.
“I woke and thought there was someone in my chambers,” she replied
loftily. “I was obviously mistaken. Pardon me for waking you.”
his head in annoyance. “Of course you
were mistaken,” he muttered. “You’re a
“What was that?” Sorrow asked. “Perhaps you two should return to bed. My apologies.”
Still muttering, Jan departed
quickly, Andren at his heels. Once
alone, Sorrow hugged herself. The eyes
of the basilisk haunted her mind…
It was wrong and she knew it. The serpent would kill with those eyes, they
would glare at one of the students and kill.
Basilisks were made to kill.
Yes, the first had been an accident, but after that?
Why did Salazar want a murderous
beast? Why did he need the ability to
kill? He complained about the
Muggle-borns, true, and about the women, but he didn’t hate them. He lived with them, even
taught them. He wouldn’t kill them,
surely not. And why had he asked her to
do the task? She was ten, a child. Children made mistakes, children were not
worthy, in Salazar’s eyes. Why entrust
the creation of the King of Serpents to a child?
An ache ran through Sorrow’s
head. There was no way she would be
able to sleep after that dream. The
basilisk would follow her now, making peaceful sleeping nearly impossible.
Sighing, Sorrow swung her legs out
of her bed and stepped onto the cold floor.
From her bedside table, she took her wand, a slender piece of ivy with a
single strand of unicorn hair inside. A
set of robes, the color unknown in the darkness, lay on her chair, and she
picked them up and slipped them over her head.
The noise in the hallway had
subsided, and no one was seen as she slipped out of her room. She hurried to the stairs and climbed them
to the main floor of the castle.
Moonlight streamed through the high windows, creating squares of white
light on the ground.
Holding her breath, Sorrow
approached the giant doors that led to the outside. She pushed on them and slipped through.
The night greeted her, and before
her, the forest. A content smile
crossed Sorrow’s face as she stepped onto the cool, damp grass and began to
run. All thoughts of her father, of the
basilisk, of Rowena, left her mind as the wind blew her hair out of her
face. This was happiness.
She approached the forest and halted
abruptly. The dark trees loomed before
Three years ago. She remembered now. Three years ago from this day. This time.
The moon had shone bright above her just as it did tonight. She shivered, looking at the nearly-full orb
in the sky. It had been full that
night…but the werewolves had not bothered her…
A twig snapped and a hand touched
Sorrow’s shoulder, scaring her. She
jumped away, her heart pounding.
Moonlight streamed onto the pale face of Rowena, who stood a foot away,
her blond hair falling down her back, not in its usual braid. She had not put robes over her nightclothes,
and the thin white fabric shuddered in the night breeze.
“Do you enjoy this night as well?”
the pale woman asked, her voice soft and her blue eyes on the forest.
Sorrow nodded, staring at
Rowena. Two days before, she had
watched the woman lose her sanity on the landing. She had returned to her classes amid whispers, saying little and
looking frightened. And now, in the
middle of the night, she stood like a wildwoman before the forest.
“I did not mean to frighten you on
the stairs,” Rowena whispered. “I had
not intended on…certain events.”
Sorrow remained silent, unsure what
to say. A soft breeze swept through her
hair, but she pushed the stray locks aside.
“I…I realized something.” The woman sounded almost frightened as she
spoke, but her eyes did not move from the forest. “I realize things which will come, and am haunted…”
Sorrow shivered as the eyes moved
from the forests to stare directly at her.
“I looked into my crystal after dinner today…Sorrow, you know you may
speak with me? Anytime. Your father-”
“Speak with you?” Sorrow interrupted
as her heart thudded loudly in her ears.
She knows, her conscience
whispered. She knows, but wants you to say…
Sorrow, I know your father,” Rowena said, no longer whispering, concern
spread across her face. “I have known
him for years…he has a way of influencing people, making them do as he
pleases. He spoke to you, and I have
watched you since. You are quiet,
spending more time in the Library than is normal for even you…and now you stand
before the forest, prepared to enter the dead of the night. He has asked something of you, something
which your mind tells you is not right.”
Her blue eyes, full of concern for the ten-year-old, watched Sorrow
carefully, waiting for a response.
“He spoke to me of my sorting, as
I’ve said,” Sorrow managed to say, avoiding the blue eyes that would know the
lie. “He was concerned.”
Rowena’s face relaxed slightly, but
she continued to stare at Sorrow. “He
has reasons for concern. For months, we
have argued about you, where you fit in at this school. Born a Parselmouth, friend to all, lover of
books, yet unafraid of the forest. All
of us have our own claim on you, and it frightens your father. But there is more?”
Sorrow shook her head. “No,” she lied. “He simply expressed concern and interest.”
“I see…” Rowena did not seem
convinced. “If that is all…may I ask
why you are going to the forest at this time of the night?”
“I had a nightmare…” Sorrow looked at the forest, her heart
longing to be with the animals within, away from the overly curious woman who
knew too much.
“Nightmares plague the dreams of
many,” Rowena said soothingly. “Even as
grown persons, we see the things we fear the most. So you come to seek consolation with the forest.”
Sorrow nodded silently, unable to
describe the urge within her that had been present since birth. From within the forest came a howl, causing
shivers to race up her arms. Not werewolves, she told herself. Not
“You should return to your bed,”
Rowena said, her eyes returning to the trees.
“A ten-year-old is no match for the creatures of this forest…”
Too tired to argue, Sorrow nodded
and turned her back on the forest. She
would return in the morning.
“Do as you wish, not as your father
wishes,” came Rowena’s voice from behind.
“It is your life. Your mother
would wish you to think on your own.”
Sorrow turned, but the woman had
already stepped into the forest, invisible in the night.