Child of the Forest

This was originally done for the Week in Hogwarts competition, but I couldn't post it on time, so here it is.

Set in Hogwarts in 2017 - the year that Rose, Albus, Scorpius and Malek Zabini, nephew of Blaise Zabini, join Hogwarts. I also join as part of a Ministry program to train muggles in the art of wizardry.

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4. Child of the Forest

I stumbled into my bedroom and collapsed onto my bed. I had barely made it through the introductory lessons of potions, charms and herbology, before skipping dinner and heading straight back down to the dormitory. No sooner had I touched the covers than I had fallen headlong into a series of nightmares. I awoke in a cold sweat, impaled upon  the piercing glare of Salazar Slytherin; I blinked and looked again at the portrait, but he appeared to be asleep. It was past midnight. As I stared at the now snoring portrait, my intention became clear in my mind.

 

I pulled my robes hastily, drawing the hood up to hide my face, and seized Slytherin’s wand from the tabletop. I strode through the empty common room and stepped onto the Slytherin crest.

“In Mortis, nos Vivere.” The crest slid away, the steps appeared–

“What are you doing?” I whirled around. Standing behind me was the tall redheaded girl that I had seen before – a muggle, like me, from Slughorn’s potions class. I hesitated for a moment.

“There’s something trapped underneath the school, and I’m going down there to set it free.” I waved my wand threateningly. She pushed it aside absently.

“Okay.”

“What?”

“I’ll just come with you then.”

“What? No, you don’t understand-”

“One moment.” She disappeared back into her bedroom and returned fully robed but barefoot. “Well come on then.” She tapped her wand on my shoulder impatiently as she wandered past and down the steps. “Let’s not wait for the grass to grow.”

“Right. Sorry.”

"I'm Lume by the way. Since you asked."

"Oh. Sorry."

"Lumos Rubris." A steady red glow illuminated the stairs as she held up her wand. "And stop apologising."

 

Sprinting ahead now, I led her to the cage where the skanak was waiting, pacing agitatedly, as it heard us approach.

“Wow,” Lume breathed, “What is that?” She moved towards the cage as the skanak rattled the bars.

“I’m not altogether sure. Scorpius said it was a living embodiment of nature or some-” A low howl came from the creature “No, wait!” The skanak stilled as she stroked its matted bloody hair.

“Scorpius? How is that creep caught up in all this?”

“He caught it. Or got someone to catch it, I don’t really know. Shoot!”

“What?”

“The cage – it’s locked.”

“It is a cage. You can’t blame Scorpius for having common sense. So, what’s the plan?”

“Well...”

“You did have a plan didn’t you?

“Um?”

Sighing exasperatedly, Lume tutted,

“Boys. Really. Out of they way.” Handing me the wand, she brought a small folding knife from inside her pocket, and inserted the blade into the lock, sliding it around until it clicked and swung open. Spluttering, the wandlight dulled into a sickly yellow. I shook it, scowled as it spat sparks in my face and handed it back.

 

The skanak scrambled out of the cage and drew closer to nuzzle her hand, clearly satisfied at its release. She bent down to its eye level and gazed thoughtfully at it.

“It’s pretty forgiving. If that had been me then I would be angry as hell right now.”

“Well, it is meant to be nature. Maybe nature is cool about it.”

“Mmm. Anyways, have you thought about how you’re going to get it out of the castle?”

“Not really.”

“Was there any part of this that you did plan for?”

“Not really.”

“I thought as much.” She looked back at the skanak, which had turned away, tasting the air. “Your luck seems to be in. Apparently nature knows the way home.”

 

The skanak was indeed heading towards the back of the hall. As we followed it I realised there was a tunnel at the back of the hall, only a few feet wide, but through which I could see the top of the forbidden forest. Though it scrambled through with ease, for me and Lume it was more of a problem. Breathless, we sat in still silence of the forest, watching the skanak through the shrouded pines until the sky behind the tips of the trees began to lighten.

 

What Scorpius showed me that day I will never forget. What I and Lume achieved I shall always remember. As I watched the skanak fade into the forest, I experienced a deep and profound sense of peace, of unity with the woodland around me. When my bones turn to ash, the wind will whisper it to the trees. When the trees burn and all that is good and green on this earth is gone, the fire will roar it to the sky. When the rains come and the fire is doused, the water will sing it to the earth.

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