A few months passed and Sofia's fourteenth birthday came on the first of March. She sat in her bed that evening, just wanting to be alone after being surrounded by her friends all day. They had smothered her with attention and gifts, and she had found it truly exhausting.
She was holding the ring her father had given to her, the one that had belonged to the White Wolf. She felt the power it radiated, felt the blood that pulsed through her own veins pulsing through the diamond as well.
Everyone kept telling her things that she would learn, or discover, or be able to do, but no one would show her how, or tell her why. Everyone said she would figure it out on her own. They said they were helping her, but really they were just showing her more obstacles, raising the pressure and the expectations.
She needed answers. Not 'you'll figure it out' or 'you can do it' answers, but 'this is what you do' answers and she knew where to go to get them.
She put the chain back around her neck and tucked the ring beneath her robes as she stood up from her bed and slipped on the invisibility cloak James had given her for Christmas. She pulled it over her head and snuck down to the common room, almost running into Hermione on her way down. She crossed the common room as quietly as she could and slipped down the passageway. She hurried down to the hidden passageway on the fourth floor.
In a few minutes she emerged from the passageway just outside the Forbidden Forest. She crossed the grounds quickly, the light of the sun fading behind the mountains across the lake, casting a soft golden glow across the sky. She found herself wandering down the trails to Hogsmeade.
The streets if the village were eerily empty and quiet. Sofia looked at houses and shops as she passed them. There were only a few lights flickering through the windows. The town might as well have been dead.
The valley at the end of the village was quiet and lonely, as was the tattered house below. Sofia walked down to it an knocked once on the broken door. Then she stepped back and took off her invisibility cloak.
The door opened, and Sofia nearly shrank back under the fierce look that the enormous bear-like man gave her.
"What the devil are you doing here?" Origant growled.
"We need to talk," Sofia replied as her courage returned.
She pushed past him into his house as he grumbled in protest. She walked into his sitting room and sat down in the chair she had sat in last time.
"Are you mad?" Origant snarled as he walked in behind her. "You have no business coming into my house like this! Get out. Get out!"
He walked over and glared at her.
"I'm not leaving until you give me answers. Real answers."
Sofia matched the fury in his voice, clearly catching him off guard. He stepped back and watched her curiously for a moment, seeing if she was bluffing. When she did not move, he turned and walked to the chair across from her. He sat down and gestured towards her.
"You have a lot of nerve, Girl. Get on with it then. What do you want to know?"
Sofia removed the chain from around her neck and held it towards Origant.
"What powers does this possess?"
Origan took out his wand and summoned the ring to him. He held it in his hand and studied for a moment.
"I remember this. Oh yes, I remember it well. I gave it to my son before I disappeared. It served me well for many years."
"Yes, but what does it do?" Sofia demanded.
"Why not ask your father? Wasn't he the one who gave it to you?"
"He won't tell me anything. No one will and I'm tired of it."
"What do you expect, someone to hold your hand through this? Come
girl, you're smarter than that."
Sofia did not reply. She just glared at him.
"Oh fine," he said after a moment. "If it'll get you out of my house I'll tell you anything I can. Now, this ring," he flew it back to Sofia. "It holds the powers that the White Wolf was most known for. I assume you know of the White Wolf."
Sofia nodded and he continued.
"The possessor of the ring can read other people's minds, stop their own from being read, and can dream walk. The White Wolf was the first one to conquer the mind."
"What is dream walking?"
"It's the ability to travel into people's dreams. It's another form of Legillimency except your not actually impacting their thoughts. You are literally just becoming part of their dreams. You can see what they dream about or talk to them through their dreams."
"And are you saying that I can do all of this now, with the ring?"
"Yeah. Don't go trying it on me though. My mind is too inhuman for something like that to work."
"How does it work though?"
"Just put it on and focus on who you want to invade. As long as you wear it, no on can invade your mind, and you should be able to get around almost every defense someone throws at you."
"Would I be able to invade Voldemort's mind?" Sofia asked.
Origant looked at her with a frustrated expression.
"Did you not hear me when I said I'm too inhuman to be read? He's less human than I am! Until he is mortal again, you won't stand a chance."
Sofia leaned forward.
"So he will be mortal again?"
Origant rolled his eyes and pulled away and leaned back in his chair.
"You are too curious for your own good. It's going to end up getting you killed. Hasn't your father told you that Voldemort's mortality is none of your concern?"
"He might have mentioned it."
Origant brought his fist down hard on the arm of his chair. It hit with a crack that made Sofia jump.
"You don't listen to him and you're clearly not listening to me. You're going to end up getting everyone you love killed."
"Well maybe if people would stop hiding things from me then I would start listening to what they say!"
Sofia's temper was slipping away from her. Her voice was rising and she felt her face growing hot as the blood pounded through her veins.
"You want the truth?" Origant demanded. "Fine, here it is. Harry Potter is the one who has to kill Voldemort. He's the only one who can. That was decided the day Voldemort decided to kill the boy all those years ago. If he can't do it, no one else can. You want to kill Voldemort, you have to keep the boy alive. Why else would I live this close to people? Think I want to be near wizards and witches? Think I like this? No, I do it because someone has to keep an eye on the boy. Someone has to keep him alive. Yeah, Dumbledore is powerful but he can't watch the boy all the time. So I do it. Think I enjoy it? Think this is how I chose to spend eternity?"
Sofia did not reply. She stared at him, waiting for him to go on.
"Want to know what your role in all of this? Nothing. Your job is to stay out of the way. Stay alive, and keep your family alive. Otherwise you jeopardize everything that I and other powerful wizards and witches have worked at since the Dark Lord came to power. I have kept the boy alive since he set foot inside the castle. I called Dumbledore back from the ministry when he Voldemort and had Harry trapped to try and get the Sorcerer's Stone. I sent Fawkes the Phoenix to take the sword of Gryffindor to the boy in the Chamber of Secrets. I informed Dumbledore of where Barty Crouch Jr. took Harry on the evening Voldemort returned. I told Snape of Voldemort's plans to lure Harry to the Department of Mysteries so that the Order of the Phoenix would get there to save the boy."
Sofia was stunned. She had thought Origant wanted no part in the battle against Voldemort.
"But...why? Why are you helping him. I thought you didn't want any part of this war."
"I don't. But I won't sit around and let an innocent boy be killed, not when I can help it."
The two sat in silence for a little while. Sofia could tell that he was holding something back, and she hesitated before asking.
"What aren't you telling me?"
Origant looked away, avoiding eye contact. He was fidgeting in his chair uneasily.
"Well...I can tell that you aren't going to leave until you get all of the answers you want, so listen carefully. Last time you came I told you that you must learn how to join your human body and animal soul together so they work in harmony. You asked me how and I told you that you would have to figure it out on your own. Well, that's not entirely true. You see, only the most powerful force in the world can do that. There is only one force in the world that join the two together."
"What force is that?" Sofia asked.
Origant squinted at her.
"Can you not think of the one force that the Dark Lord cannot understand, the one thing he fears?"
"Love," Sofia whispered.
"But...how? How will love join the two?"
Origant sighed and stood up. He walked over to the window and stared out into the now dark night.
"My love for Padara drove away my humanity. Your father made a sacrifice for you, your brothers, and your mother that joined the two in him. If you wish to join the two, it could only be done by an extreme act, either by you or that affects you in a similar way that Padara's death affected me."
"What sacrifice did my father make?"
Origant turned to face her, his face shadowed.
"He gave up his life."
Sofia felt her heart racing.
"What do you mean?" She asked.
He took a deep breath, avoiding her intense gaze.
"Your father did some of the most advanced magic I have ever known. He took part of his life and stored it in that ring. That stored life is what he used to save you last year when you almost died. He saved it so that if anything like that ever happened, he could protect you. However when he took this part of his life, he considerably shortened his own natural lifespan. This act joined his soul and body together."
Sofia was shocked. She knew her parents would do anything to protect her and her brothers, but was stunned by the lengths her father had gone to, shocked by the revelation that his life was now significantly limited.