Chapter 1 : They Meet in a Tree
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His name. Not his grandfather’s. Until now, all of Rolf’s published works had been revisions of Newt Scamander’s work on magical creatures. Rolf was no longer content to follow his grandfather’s exact trail across the world and update his original text with a few footnotes. No. Rolf was going to write his own work.
He jotted a few notes in his journal. The fkejjow were a very jumpy species. Rolf had to take extra care to remain completely unobtrusive to his subjects. But it was getting harder to contain his excitement. He had recently observed a mating pair raising its young from a hatchling. The three would soon be making the trek to the ocean and Rolf had to decide if he would follow them or stay behind to observe the other two mating pairs that had taken up residence in two adjacent trees. He grinned at his good fortune. No one had ever been able to observe this much of the fkejjow rituals and this was the exact research he needed to start his own book.
“Oooo!” the sound roused Rolf from his latest sketch of the female fird. Her round red and blue body was currently covered in downy feathers, but Rolf was determined to see the change to scales and gills once they made their voyage to the sea. He looked around to take note of the other pairs of fkejjow in the two other redwoods that stood on either side of his makeshift camp. This was not a sound he had heard the firds make to date. Perhaps it was a warning noise, or a new mating call.
“They really are quite extraordinary, aren’t they?” said a wispy, light voice.
“Wha- what?” Rolf found his voice, but was stammering to make a sentence. Who could possibly be here, interrupting this important research? He had put in weeks and weeks of studying before choosing the perfect location and then had to remain completely still for another six days before the fkejjow accepted his movements as part of the natural surroundings. This was all going to be for naught if this person (at least he assumed it was a person), scared away the firds.
“Did you know the carmella birds have feathers that can be used inside of wands? You must pluck only one from each bird and then it must be only on the seventh day after it hatches. The feather, when combined with the wand of a redwood tree, makes the wood more pliable and the wands are known for aiding witches and wizards who wish to become animagi.”
“Who’s there?” Rolf whispered harshly. “What is this nonsense you are spewing? I’m doing research and you are going to destroy all the work I’ve put into this location! I don’t care who you are or what useless facts you have, just leave. Now!”
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” the gentle, sing-song voice continued and a blonde haired, petite woman appeared before him. She was wearing electric blue robes and had red ribbons tied in her hair. She also had something red floating about the sides of her head. “I was using a disillusionment charm,” she explained. “So the carmella birds wouldn’t see me. But since you don’t seem worried about it, I guess it’s okay for us to be visible,” she looked around at the plethora of notes and sketches tacked to the makeshift wall of his current habitat.
Rolf was dumbfounded. He didn’t know if he should set this witch straight about her assumption of the magical animal he was studying or begin to berate her for interrupting his countless hours of work. After several moments of flustered silence, he decided on the former.
“Wha- what… what do you think you are doing here?! This is a research facility and I’m in the middle of an important investigation and analysis of this new species.”
“It’s not a new species,” she said matter-of-factly. “My father has written about the carmella birds in at least three issues of his magazine, The Quibbler. Hello, I’m Luna Lovegood and I’m-”
“I know who you are,” Rolf growled. He did not have any use for Xenophilius Lovegood, his daughter, or any other person for that matter. People were a waste of time. They were unpredictable, acted with passion rather than reason, and undoubtedly disappointed you at every turn. “I don’t want to ask you again to leave this area!” he raised his voice as much as he would allow himself, so that the firds would not be alerted to their presence. Too much was at stake right now.
Rolf turned back to his notes and began scribbling furiously. If he wasted any more time with this Lovegood woman, he would most likely miss the important molting of the fird family from feathered beasts to scaled marine life. To be sure, he peered into the eyepiece to locate the nest once again.
They were not there. This was odd. The family had not left their nest since the baby had been hatched three days ago. Did he miss it? Had they left to travel to the sea? He began to adjust the focus and lens of the piece. Perhaps he had just jostled the scope and his alignment was off. Rolf was getting frantic. He moved to the other side of the tree to find the second mating pair and they too, were gone. Desperate, he grabbed his binoculars and tried to make out the only other family of firds in the final tree he was observing, but to no avail. All three sets had vacated.
“I don’t think they’ve left for the ocean just yet,” her sing-song voice continued. Why did she talk like that? It was like she was part of another world and only visited this one for brief moments. She was incredibly calm considering he had just been completely rude to her.
“How did you even know what I’ve been looking for?” Rolf couldn’t help himself from asking, although his gruff tone had not changed one bit.
“I’ve been following you,” she replied simply, in the same light tone. “I have been sitting in that branch,” she pointed to a branch higher up in the tree, “for the past six days. I’ve been watching the carmella birds and watching you.”
Rolf just stared at Luna. He was a scientist. He prided himself on noticing things that no one else could see and finding small details and observing behaviors that went unnoticed by almost everyone else. How had he not perceived that Luna had been mere feet away from him the entire time? And why hadn’t the sneakoscope gone off?
Rolf decided to ignore everything else and focus on the facts. “They are not carmella birds. They are fkejjow firds. It is a new species. They differ by small amounts, but I would not expect someone with an untrained eye to notice,” he paused. “By the by, how do you know they haven’t left yet?”
“Because they’re right up there,” Luna pointed up to the branches above them in the redwood. Simultaneously, Rolf and Luna raised their heads to see all six adult firds and one baby perched on one section of the tree, staring down at them with glinty, golden eyes. From this perspective, their pointed beaks and sharp, green talons looked threatening.
It happened in an instant. The firds attacked, pecking and poking at everything. It was all a blur of feathers, beaks, talons, papers, books and shards of wood. Luna screeched and Rolf covered his head for protection. He reached into his pocket to grasp his wand and heard the incessant sound of flapping combined with screaming. As he saw his journal of notes teetering on the edge of the platform, Rolf dove to rescue it. He overestimated the distance and lost his footing, slipping clumsily over the edge.
Falling, falling, falling hundreds of feet down in a trail of parchment, quills and other supplies, Rolf regained his senses and shouted, “Arresto momentum!” just in time.
The sneakoscope landed and exploded first, just next to where Rolf hovered above the ground. Next came his books and journals, followed by the fluttering parchment. Finally, Rolf was dive-bombed by all six fkejjow firds, as they each took their turn pecking at his face and hands.
When the assault had ended, Rolf released the charm on himself and flopped the last few feet to land hard on the ground. Before he had a moment to collect himself, he heard a crack and the face of Luna Lovegood drifted into his view. Her blonde hair was framed by the sunlight that filtered down between the tall trees.
“Rolf, I think you may be correct,” she looked down at his battered and bruised body. “Carmella birds are much more peaceful and would never attack. I’m so glad I followed you!” she reported brightly. “This is incredibly exciting, isn’t it?”
Rolf couldn’t get up just yet, so he began his tirade from his position on the ground, although, he had to admit, it was much less effective. “Listen here, Hurricane Luna,” he growled. “Don’t follow people like me. I’m a scientist and need to be left alone to work and research. Others simply get in the way. Now I know why storms are named after people!*”
*A/N: This fic is based on the quote by Caitlyn Siehl "Do not fall in love with people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave, you will finally understand, why storms are named after people."
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