Floo Network

🌷 Spring 70
A silent kite against the blue, blue sky

Started by Lincei, September 07, 2021, 11:19:00 pm

Lincei

September 07, 2021, 11:19:00 pm Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 11:19:30 pm by Arantor
Lincei was out on a morning patrol loosely around the northern part of the Forest - the "Forbidden" Forest as the humans called it. It had been a while since he had seen any of the humans, though the village elders had reminded him that the 'two-legs' were not to be trusted, although there was one among their number that was recognised for his efforts to work with the centaurs. He had granted them the space in this Forest and directed his own people to avoid the Forest. And so it was Forbidden to them. He wondered if the human was recognised by the stars. He had to assume so.

The occasional troll was of no concern, dispatched swiftly with a crossbow bolt in the correct place. His accuracy had improved since an injury had forced him to remain in camp while his leg healed, and he had put that time to training with weapons. No troll would best him again.

But there was a unicorn foal that he had heard, fleet of foot and silvery mane, spotted bounding through the forest with not a care in the world. Young, feisty, filled with life and boundless energy. Lincei remembered this from his own youth until he had learned the ways of his people, and of his responsibilities within the village, to himself, his village, his people.

And so it was with a pain in his heart that he heard the cry of a foal to the south, in much distress and if he was any judge, pain. He hoped the two-legs were not responsible, the youths in the castle were innocents that must not be touched, but the castle held other things, grimmer things, fouler things than innocent younglings if the tales were to be believed.

He stowed the crossbow across his back, and made across the forest with the shortest of the paths he knew headed south, while careful to avoid some of the things that even he knew to avoid in the forest.

As the trees thinned out to the south, and the path up toward the human castle, Lincei found himself in relative awe. The castle was, of course, always in the backdrop whenever he looked in its direction but it was always far off and obscured by the trees. Closer, unobscured, it was a more impressive sight, and a daunting one for a structure of high towers would be unnavigable for a centaur.

The unicorn had left the safety of the forest grounds and was roaming further south in its distress. No doubt the two-legs would harm it in trying to help it. Lincei took the horn that was also stowed on his back with his crossbow, and gave it a loud, resounding blow, hoping another centaur could come to his aid, not wanting to venture any further into the two-legs' territory than necessary.

Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore was in his office, looking over some letters he had received from his contacts - rumours of attacks on Muggles and muggleborn families, isolated, and yet something lurking behind it, suggesting just the lightest hint of organisation, when he heard the horn blow.

A centaur's warhorn. It had been a number of years since he had heard the call and he had spoken with the herd's elders in recent weeks, so this was something else. He had assured them students were staying out of the Forbidden Forest except for the agreed times, such as the groundskeeper and keeper of the keys going forth as needed. But the groundskeeper was off on an errand, so Dumbledore considered the fact he would need to visit in person - for the centaur's warhorn to sound, something important must be afoot, and in the interests of co-operation with magical creatures, he made a noise and Fawkes looked up.

A gesture of his wand and the window opened, and Fawkes made a beeline for it - with Dumbledore catching Fawkes' tail in a practised manner, and they flashed out in a burst of flame, reappearing somewhere near the edge of the Forest.

Fawkes flew low, and Dumbledore landed gently a short distance away from the centaur, arms raised, wand not drawn.

"I don't believe we have met, I'm afraid. I am Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of the school - the castle. How can we be of assistance?" He was expecting to get the lecture about the humans and their interference not being wanted, but clearly the centaur was concerned.

The centaur, however, merely nodded his head and pointed off to the west. Dumbledore followed the outstretched arm and saw the wounded unicorn.

"Oh." He said, rather perfunctorily. "That rather complicates matters. Of course, you must understand that I cannot readily permit you free reign of the school grounds - as your elders agreed, but I will get our foremost local expert on unicorns to attend to its needs and we will accompany it back to its herd. I believe some of your village are familiar with Professor King, our Care of Magical Creatures lecturer?"

He fished a small piece of parchment out of a pocket, made some marks on it with his wand in lieu of a quill, and gave it to Fawkes who had settled nearby. "I'm sorry to treat you as a messenger, my friend, but it is urgent that we get word to the Professor." Fawkes made a noise, a touch petulant but mostly understanding, and was gone back to the castle.

Turning back to the centaur, Dumbledore said, "Are you the centaur that was injured some weeks back? I believe the others referred to you as Lincei - may I call you that?" The centaur, if he had heard, stood by, stony-faced. "Ah, well, the good professor will no doubt be here shortly, and we can all go on our way."

Molly King

That morning had been rather lackluster for Molly. After the usual breakfast in the great hall, helping to oversee the students she had found herself in a rare moment with nothing pressing to do. Having caught up on all her grading, and organized her lesson plans for her upcoming classes, she had decided to settle in on the couch in her chambers with a cup of tea, and a good book. Leisurely she turned the pages as her black cat, Susie, curled up in her lap for her morning nap. Fully consumed by the words of her book, Molly nearly jumped out of her seat when a loud TAPTAPTAP came from her closed window. Susie let out a startled meow before leaping from her owners lap and hiding under the nearby chair.

"What on earth...." Molly began as she turned to see what had caused it. The site of Fawkes perched on the outer sill left Molly's jaw on the floor. She had only ever seen a phoenix two of three times in her career, and even then they were hardly hands on experiences. Collecting herself she approached the window and opened the latch. Fawkes gracefully swooped in and perched on the arm of her couch, barely making a sound as he flew. Unsure of the circumstances of the birds arrival, Molly slowly approached him. Impatiently Fawkes put the scrap of parchment in his beak and flicked it in her direction.

"Oh...I take it this is for me?" Molly said, reaching out and carefully taking the note from the bird. The note was short and simple. Dumbledore was requesting Molly meet him by the forbidden forest immediately. Molly's eyebrows came together in a bit of confusion as she read the letter for a second time. This was all very odd. The headmaster rarely ever asked to meet with her, and certainly never like this. Rather sick of waiting, Fawkes nipped at Molly's sleeve. "Ok, ok, I'm going!" she said to the bird, who in turn immediately left her, having completed his task.

As Molly made her way towards the forbidden forest, she could see Dumbledore standing closer to the forest's edge along with....Molly could hardly believe what she was seeing. A centaur? She had heard of them living in the forest, and heard rumblings of an incident with an injured one and some students, but never thought she'd ever be able to see one in person. Trying to keep herself composed as she approached her boss and the centaur, Molly was internally doing backflips with excitement. Had she not been so wrapped up in keeping her cool, perhaps she would have noticed the flash of sliver off to the west.

"Good morning." she said, greeting them both in a friendly tone and nodding to both of them. "Headmaster, I received your letter. Is there something I can be of assistance with?"

Albus Dumbledore

"Ah, Professor King, thank you for joining us. This is Lincei, one of the centaurs who lives in the centaur village in the Forbidden Forest. He came out of the forest chasing what looked like an injured unicorn, and as our resident Care of Magical Creatures professor, I could think of no-one more equipped to assist."

He turned to Lincei. "I appreciate you would be... disinclined to let more outsiders be aware of the unicorns in the forest, but Professor King is regularly in the forest with our groundskeeper and regularly assists in caring for the creatures within the boundaries of the castle. In the pursuit of the distressed unicorn, you may trust her as you would trust myself."

His eyes flashed over his glasses. While the words may have seemed pleasant, the vouching of Professor King here was very much a necessity and it was only too clear to Dumbledore that the boundary between the school and the centaurs must stand firm. The centaurs were protective of their territory and this was in no way a concern for him, but if they were prepared to venture outside of the forest, it was entirely likely that hostilities might ensue, and that would be untenable.

Vouching for Professor King here was of no concern to him either - he trusted her to do what was necessary without any issues, but he had to be sufficiently firm with Lincei, lest he bring some of the more... conservative voices of the camp. He just hoped that the stern tone in his voice was understood.

Lincei

Lincei watched, stoic on the outside but bristling on the inside. Dumbledore he was prepared to listen to, and he had nodded assent to assistance with the small matter of the unicorn, but he had expected Dumbledore to be involved personally. He had heard stories of Professor King, she was generally well regarded within the village, but to him, he would prefer fewer people were involved in either knowing of the centaurs or the unicorns.

But, the eldery wizard man had mentioned she was a professor in 'caring for magical creatures' but inside he doubted how much wisdom the two-legs would have about unicorns. They were always the province of the forest and the forest guardians and yet, here he was, allowing his failure to keep up with the centaur to become a problem for the two-legs.

However, after Professor King had arrived in person, Lincei found himself softening in stance. Dumbledore was vouching for her, and the village elders had made it clear that those Dumbledore trusted should be trusted, at least in principle, by the village. He had earned that much, and it was clear to Lincei that Dumbledore was not swept with hubris and knew his limitations. This, to Lincei, was worth respect. He had encountered those who spoke of what they knew, but never showed it, and when tested, were found wanting.

"Greetings, Professor. I was patrolling the forest when I discovered a unicorn, wounded and in distress. I followed it through the forest until it came into the open. Your professor Dumbledore... does not permit our kind on your grounds."

He paused. Diplomacy had never been his strongest suit. "There is much bitterness amongst my tribe, my kind, for how your kind have treated us in the past. I have found some of the stories wanting, but it is hard to set aside the old ways."

Lincei cocked his head slightly, as if to view Professor King from a different angle. "The stars have been unusually bright of late but they do not entreat us to work alongside your kind, but neither do they warn us away. I... would appreciate your help in finding and tending to the unicorn foal. It is in distress and may injure the innocents in the school."

He turned to Dumbledore. "In return for your assistance, I will tell our people that the humans and the centaurs can do better than tolerating one another."

Molly King

"Pleasure to meet you Lincei." Molly said with a friendly nod. Carefully she listened as Dumbledore reassured the centaur of her skills when it came to magical creatures. It was nice to here her boss had faith in her abilities as a magizoologist. Certainly he wouldn't have called on her to aid in this situation if there was even the slighted bit of doubt in his mind that she could handle this.

As Lincei expressed his concerns when it came to dealing with humans, and how people had been less than kind to the centaur community in the past. It was a horrific and cruel past that the centaurs and humans shared. Molly had done extensive research on the situation in school and through out her travels. It was a shame that humans had caused such a divide to form between them and centaurs. She had found it heartbreaking how awful people could be to the magical creatures of the world.

"I understand your concern." she said to Lincei. "However, I can assure you the actions of humans in the past do not reflect my views and beliefs. I have the utmost respect for your kind, and I will do my very best to assist you. We both want the best for this unicorn."

Molly looked at their surroundings. Unfortunately over the course of their conversation, the unicorn had dipped down hind a hill and was no longer visible. All was not lost though. Faintly you could still hear the panicked cries of the poor creature, but it was hard to pinpoint it's exact location.

"Lincei, it seems our friend has gotten away from us. Would you be so kind as to point us in the right direction? If it's seriously injured, it's best we get down to business..."

Lincei

Lincei bristled a little, but this new human seemed genuine and sincere. Part of him wanted to talk about the prejudice of the two-legs. Including the claims he had heard from his village that the two-legs thought themselves more wise than the centaurs. Lincei may have been young but he had seen the wisdom of his village, their readings of the messages written in the stars and their coming to pass.

He thought about the newly arrived female wizard, in an attempt to not rush to judgement. His tribe talked about taking a pause to take stock of a situation before acting - and he was still young and headstrong, wanting to act was his reaction. There had been something about the tone of her voice. He wanted to trust her but it was hard for him; so many years had passed, so many stories from his tribe of the treachery of the two-legs. But she seemed sincere and earnest.

And he was here on a mission of mercy, not a military one. He squinted, and pointed. "The unicorn last headed west, but it is running erratically, and not in straight lines. You may find that while it may have headed west, I fear it may have started to turn south, towards the lake."

Lincei humphed and frowned deeply. He had not meant for his words to sound ominous but there was the unspoken assertion: a unicorn, even a foal, would not ordinarily be troubled by even the Hogwarts lake, but in a wounded state, all things were unfortunately possible. And even as he thought it, he found himself adopting a more dire tone, one usually reserved for the gravest of messages from the elders.

"I cannot hear the wounded animal. It is either very far now, or it is too badly wounded to cry out."

He turned to Dumbledore, gritting his teeth. "Is there any... magic... you can perform to locate it?" He did not want to ask but his concern for the animal was greater than his distrust of human magic.