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Chapter 3 : Godric
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He held his wand aloft, lit as brightly as he could muster. In addition a lantern bobbed along overhead. Regardless, they were swallowed by inky darkness the moment he stepped beyond the trees. There was also the unanticipated effect of the surrounding woods looking even more sinister by contrast.
Godric didn't realize he was humming until he'd made it through two rounds of "The Jinxed Sphinx." The off-key notes floated around him, and he prayed that was as much company as he would get. The centaurs had been giving them problems since the founding of the school two years ago, and the Thestrals blended right into the darkness. For the first time, Godric found himself thanking the heavens that he'd experienced death. Otherwise he would've fainted if the invisible creatures brushed past.
The thing about darkness was that it hid everything you couldn't fight. Even Godric, the most accomplished of duelers, couldn't battle with just the idea of an enemy crouched in a tree. Or curse a monster he couldn't see.
A stroke of inspiration. Godric conjured up his Patronus, a sleek silver lion whose mane brushed his shoulder. The lion strode ahead, muzzle swinging side to side. Godric licked his lips and raised his aching wand arm higher.
A branch snapped off the to the left. Godric and his Patronus whipped around at the same time.
"Who's there?" Godric called. He supposed he was a huge beacon in the night, what with three light sources and a jumpy tune accompanying him.
"I'd ask you the same question, intruder," said a rumbling voice. A centaur emerged from the darkness bearing a bow, the arrow aimed at Godric's heart.
"You are the centaur Ajax?" Godric held his wand at the ready, allowing his light and Patronus to flicker out. Just the lantern floated above, casting a warm glow on the dark-haired beast. The darkness floated to the back of his mind, now that he had a target and a distraction.
"I am. What brings you through my forest tonight?"
"We intend to show the students a few of the magical creatures they'll encounter someday. I'm checking on the site we stayed at last year."
"Nothing in this forest is yours to take," snarled Ajax. "You act as if it is your own."
"We merely ask to share it. We'll not harm a thing."
Ajax nodded to the hovering lantern. "And what of your light, that shades our eyes from the stars we seek?"
Godric raised his eyebrows. There was no way to see the stars through this canopy, even on the clearest of nights. He was just about to respond when with a snick the arrow bled from the bow and shattered the glass of the lantern. It fell to the ground and was extinguished.
The darkness shoved Godric's eyes, and he stumbled backward, crunching the last of his lantern. Ajax chuckled, the sound soon muffled by the thud of hooves cantering away. There were far more than four legs receding into the night. Godric had been surrounded, unknowingly, the whole time. He fought the urge to scream and thrashed about wildly, his hand connecting with nothing but intangible darkness.
When Godric lit his wand, he could see only his trembling hands. As he turned and ran back down the path, he heard a thousand creatures snickering at the fear of legend's bravest man.
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