Sofia transformed into her human form again. She stood up straight and faced the shadows.
"Who are you?" She asked.
"You come to my house and dare to ask who I am?" The shadows growled.
"My father told me your name, but I do not ask for your name."
A tall man stepped from the shadows into then light that was creeping through a broken window.
He looked more animal than human. He stood as tall as a bear, his hair a wild curly brown and a matching beard. He wore a dark brown cloak that looked tattered and worn. His eyes were two honey colored balls of light, glaring at Sofia through the darkness.
"I am no one, yet everyone. I am the voice that whispers in the wind, the rays of sun that heat the earth, the shadows through which death walks. I am the water that cleanses the so, the fire that scars the earth, and the blood that runs through your veins."
Sofia said nothing. She did not like being spoken to in riddles, but something the man had said had caught her attention.
"Ah," the man said, "yes, you are quick. I am your blood and flesh, bringer of life to your father, his father, and many fathers before. I once carried the name Adema, but I long ago forfeited the rights to the bloodline."
"Do you know why my father wanted me to meet you?" Sofia asked.
"Did he not tell you?" Origant growled.
"He said there were things you could teach me," she replied.
Origant huffed loudly and held out a hand, motioning Sofia towards the sitting room. She walked into it and sat down in a chair next to an empty fireplace. He sat across from her and stared at her for a moment before saying anything.
"Two centuries ago, I was a young man, blindly in love with a girl I had met in school and extremely foolish. I was powerful and I knew it. I always swore I would be the one to break free of the family curse. In those days, there was an heir of Salazar Slytherin on the loose who daughters death and destruction. His name was forgotten long ago, and I am perhaps the only person alive who remembers the path of despair he left."
He took a wand out of his pocket suddenly and pointed it towards the fireplace. A flame shot from the end and leapt onto a log, and soon a fire was blazing brightly.
"The girl I was in love with, Padara, was beautiful, elegant and innocent. She agreed to marry me almost immediately, not once questioning the tattoo upon my wrist or the way I would disappear randomly and come back with injuries. You see, the heir or Slytherin used me as a slave, killing those who he thought too unworthy to be killed by his own hand. There were a lot, mind you, and with each kill I lost more and more of myself. You know how it is though, we physically cannot disobey an order. Somehow, the heir found out about Padara. He summoned me to him, and ordered that I brought her to him. I do so unwillingly, and was powerless as I watched him torture her in front of me. With every one of her screams, he only increased the pain, and only once she had nearly lost her mind did he stop. Then he looked at me and ordered me to kill her. I begged and pleaded with him, and with myself, for without her I had no reason to live. Yet I was unable to stop myself."
He stopped and looked into the fire. It cast a hot red light onto his dark face.
"To this day, when I shut my eyes I can still see her lifeless face gazing up at me, those clear blue eyes so dead and cold."
"I am so sorry," Sofia whispered.
"Do not be. I was foolish to take a wife, to create a family. I put others in the line of my curse, and I paid a heavy price for it. Yet so did the heir. You see, when Padara died, something in me broke. It was as if the human in me was suddenly lost, and the only thing left was my animal spirit. Even the strength of the curse was not enough to silence my pain and rage. I broke free from it, but also broke free from humanity. The heir fell before my rage. The curse should have died that day, but I had been foolish enough to bring a son into the world. At that point, I loved him too much, and so the curse lived on, just not in my blood."
"So then, it is possible for the curse to be broken?" Sofia asked.
"Yes, but if that is why you are here, leave now. It is not something that can be taught or learned. For all I know, it can never be done again. For your sake I would pray it does not, for the part of me that was lost that day nearly killed me."
Sofia herself turned to state into the flames. She thought of her two brothers, who Voldemort had already threatened to force her to kill. She would die before she raised a hand against either of them, but what if she did not have a choice?
"Why did my father send me here? Could he not have told me this himself."
"There is much more to the story. You see, I gave my son to my parents to raise and I disappeared. I his out in the mountains for a century, begging for death and waiting until all those who knew of my existence had died off. My name was forgotten and my grandsons children were old men. Only the. Did I come down from the mountains. I shed the name Adema. It was a cursed name to me now. Those related to me no longer knew I was alive. I was just another Adema who had lived and died. Only I wasn't dying. Nor was I aging any. I wondered why for a long time, but perhaps I already knew the answer. I was not human any more. Though I still had mostly human features, nothing else about me was human. My senses were those of the bear that had lived within me for so long. Once I finally realized what I had become, I knew I was lost to the human world. I moved here, close enough to keep an eye on the human world, but not too close as to be forced into human company. And so I stayed here alone, not seeing humanity until the day your father stumbled upon me."
"Quiet, girl!" Origant snapped. "Your father somehow found out I was alive. He came to me to learn how to break the curse. I could not teach him that, of course, but I was able to teach him something else. I taught him how to merge his soul and body, instead of having one rule over the other."
"What do you mean?" Sofia asked, ignoring his earlier scorn.
"You see, you are born with the body of a human and the soul of an animal. You and the rest of your family are born with the human body dominant and the soul submissive. I evolved into a dominant soul and a submissive body. I helped your father learn to balance these two, to get them to work in harmony and merge as one. Together, they create an even more powerful force than most Adema's can dream of."
"Is this what my father wanted me to learn?"
"I suppose so. Yet I feel you shall be disappointed when I tell you how."
Sofia have him a questioning look.
"Why would I be disappointed?"
"You see, they way to merge the two is for each to sacrifice half of the other?"
Sofia looked at him questioningly.
"What do you mean?"
"I cannot tell you any more. The rest you must figure out on your own. Otherwise you are not worthy of the merge. Now you must go. The hour grows late and you must return to the castle."