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I poked my head through the trees to see what they were. To see, what kind of creatures were lurking around our home. For a while now, we had heard low mumbling voices that sounded like no other creature known native to our forest.

Through the trees I could see four humans. A satirical laugh nearly escaped my lips – this was what everyone was worrying about! A bunch of humans! Defenceless animals, which in this case, carried no weapons and walked around on merely two feet! It was so easy to shoot them and be rid of them. But nevertheless you had to be careful. Mankind were one of the most destructible beasts that roamed the planet.

I kept quiet and kept to the shadows, making sure none of the humans could see me if they ever bothered to look. Which was doubtful, seeing as humans were very inattentive, especially since they believed themselves to be the most superior species on Earth. That just made them more susceptible. It gave them another weakness.

Two females and two males formed the group. Both of the males were standing while the adult females were in a position where their rear ends rested on a log. I do not claim to be an expert on humans, but I believe that is what they call ‘sitting’.

“…what do you suggest we do then? We’ve just escaped the muggles, our faces have been posted everywhere, and we’ve been kicked out of our home!” one of the females screamed.

“Oh stop fussing, you’re giving me a dreadful headache,” one of the males said.

“Stop fussing?” the female jumped from her perch. “Excuse me, but we’re stuck in the middle of a forest with nowhere to go! I mean, we cannot exactly prance into a muggle village any time soon without the stupid muggles chasing us and screaming, ‘Witch!’”

“Well calm down a little, at least,” the male said.

“Personally, I think she has a few valid points,” spoke the other woman. The others looked at her. “We have to go into constant hiding now. I mean, we cannot go anywhere anymore; we cannot talk to anyone but ourselves anymore! I do not mean to offend you three or anything, but talking to you three for the rest of my life…”

“There are others like us you can talk to you know. It is just that we cannot reach them. We are all separated…” said a second man, who had been silent until now.

“All right, what are you talking about Sly?” the first male demanded, his voice even lower and gruffer than I thought possible.

“Whatever do you mean by that Gryff?” the one called Sly asked coyly.

“Don’t bother to play games with me, I know you too well for them. Just say what you want to say,” the man called Gryff said.

“Well… Remember when you were growing up and how you always felt so alone?” Sly asked everyone, entertaining what was to become a persuasive speech. For some unknown reason, I had a bad feeling about this. Maybe it was his haughty demeanour.

“Oh dear goodness, yes,” one of the females said gullibly, following his act. “I spent my entire childhood playing by myself because I was too scared to play with the muggle girls. Always scared that I might frighten them by revealing my ‘abilities’ and how they might fear me, or hate me, or both…”

“Well Helga,” he said. “think about this. Thousands of other children are reliving your childhood, hiding away, and feeling alone because no one they know shares their ‘abilities’. But what if they all managed to get into contact with each other? Then they would have plenty of others to talk to, others who share their abilities, to actually use them in front of each other? That would be something.”

“Yes, but sadly impossible,” Gryff said.

“Rowena, where do most children make friends?” Sly asked quickly and cunningly.

“Why, in the schools,” said the woman, a little surprised.

“Exactly. Schools. How about we create a school for people like us? Then we would be able to teach them how to actually use them. Not only that, but they would feel like they actually belong somewhere!”

The man was clearly getting excited now. I did not like it. At all.

Gryff was the only one who did not follow the rest’s foolish eyes into believing him. He was the only one who seemed to have no hope for it, to be able to find fault with the idea, to be reluctant to go along. Therefore, he was the only one who was capable of putting down Sly’s parade.

“But my dear friend, how on earth are we going to do that? It’d be impossible to recruit students – many would be afraid and discouraged from using their powers. And it’s not like we can find them all. Let alone that, what if the school is found? Then we’re all tied up like a bundle of kindle and all that’s left for the muggles to do is light the match. And where are we going to build it? There is no place remote enough and at the rate trees are being chopped down, there will be no place left!”

“Gryff, have you completely forgotten who you are?!” Sly exploded and rapped Gryff roughly on the head. “You. Are. A. Wizard! Anything is possible! Remember?”

“Yes, but there are going to be complications.”

“I never said there were not going to be. Come on, what do you think? We can build it here! It is far away from the muggles’ prying eyes! No one here to find us! Come on, what do you say?”

Gryff stood still for a moment, a frown evident across his features. Then, unexpectedly, a smile broke through onto his face and he beamed. “Great idea Sly, great idea.”

And with that, Gryff clasped Sly into a massive hug.

I turned around and left. I had heard enough to know it was not any good news.

“Chiron!” a voice yelled as I approached them. I looked up. Clan leader Eston, was marching towards me. I quickly squared my shoulders and straightened my back.

“What is your report on the creatures?” he barked.

“Negative sir,” I replied. “They are humans.”

“Damn.” He looked around furtively to make sure none of the others were listening. He beckoned me closer. “We are in some deep trouble here.”

“I know,” I muttered back.

Both of us looked around. Then he gestured for me to follow him to somewhere more secluded.

“How many of them are there?” he asked briskly.


“Well that is not too many, I think we can cope with them.”

“Do not be so sure. They can perform magic.”

“Have you seen it with your own two eyes? Do you know how powerful they are?”

“No sir. I only overheard them talking, but you can never underestimate the enemy.”

“Do you know their intentions?”

“They intend to build a school here. And you know how humans tend to go about it when they are ‘building’ things.”

Eston simply stared into the lake in silence. Yes, he did know. You see, whenever humans want to ‘build’ things, they always destroy things in the process. The little village closest to us is called London. Once, it used to be a beautiful patch of forest. Nymphs, kneazles, and all sorts of beautiful, ugly, wonderful and horrendous creatures used to live there. Then the humans came along. Away went the creatures, down came the trees and up came the hideous structures the humans call home. It was bound to happen in this case too.

“Maybe we could get them to go away peacefully,” Eston suggested.

No one said anything. We both knew the truth – a fight would be inevitable.

“So what is the plan?” I asked.

Eston stood thoughtfully for a moment. “So far, there will be none. Just spy on them longer.”

And so here I am, standing awkwardly behind the shadows, once more trying to spy on the humans without being seen. I found it extremely difficult to hide all four of my legs in the patchy darkness and be comfortable. So I had to give up on the comfort.

The humans were well organised today. They seem like they are only out for camping, as they have set up tents and a campfire, which was burning strongly. I caught sight of Gryff walking back to the clan with plenty of fish in his net. He handed them to the two women who were tending to the fire and the cooking. Sly was missing.

They look so peaceful right now. It was hard to actually imagine them running around, slaying as many creatures as they could. For a moment, I thought that we could live in harmony of each other.

Snap! I twisted my neck around. Someone else was here in the shadows. The footfall was too heavy for it to be a small creature, and too close for comfort. No creature in this forest would dare walk up on a centaur like this, unless they were naïve or just stupid. Maybe it was Sly.

There! There was something moving in the shadows with me. I looked at it more closely. It was one of my pupils.

“Adrastos, you damned fool, keep quiet!” I hissed at him. The young centaur took slightly better care in his steps but they still sounded awfully loud to me. I dared another glance at the humans. They were too meddled in their own affairs to notice us. Stupid creatures.

“What are you doing here?” I scolded him. Unfortunately, he was still too young to notice the consequences of his actions; he did not have a hint of remorse in his voice.

“You weren’t at session today and I was curious to what you were doing. What’s going on?” Adrastos asked peeking at the humans.

“A situation you should not meddle with,” I said briskly. “Go back to the clan.”

“Gee, is that a human? They don’t look dangerous to me,” he snorted, taking no notice to what I had said.

“Adrastos, I can see our sessions have taught you nothing, as you seem none the wiser since I have first met you,” I sighed. “Do not let appearances fool you. Humans are one of the most hostile species you can ever hope to encounter. Just because they may seem weak without fur, scales, teeth or claws, does not mean they are not so. Now shh!”

Three of the humans were eating the fish when Sly returned to them. He was carrying parchment and he appeared to be sketching as he walked.

“Where were you Sly, we were worried sick that the muggles somehow caught you!” the raven-furred headed woman snapped. I recoiled slightly.

“I have been getting the lay of the land. Exploring,” he replied without looking up from his drawing.

“See, I told you so,” Gryff said, spitting out some fish bones. “Well, what have you seen?”

“Nothing too interesting. Though, there seemed to be a civilised camp southwest of here. It looks as though someone or several people have been living there for a fair while. I think there might be wizards or witches here. There were several magical ingredients scattered all over the place!”

“Did you see any people there?” one of the females asked.

“No. The people of it seemed to have gone hunting or something. I did not bother hanging around long enough to check.”

I tensed. A camp southwest of here… It was very possible he may have seen our camp. My heart quickened and my stomach had gone icy cold. This was not good.

“See that star over there? That is Mars.” I pointed out to my students.

The younger ones all stood around me, amazed. I smiled. This was the part I love about teaching – it was the fact that you get to pass on your knowledge to others. I treasured how they actually learned something from my experiences.

“Excuse me! May I have your attention please?” Eston asked clearly so everyone could hear him. He was not standing on a platform, nor was he wearing or doing anything special. He was not even speaking that loudly. Yet every head turned in his direction. That is what I think a true leader is: Someone who can take control.

“We have found the source of all those strange sounds you heard only recently,” he announced. “There are intruders in our forest. Humans.”

A sea of muttering took over his audience and their expressions grew wary and worried.

“What kind?” one bellowed out. “The magical or the non-magical type?”

“The magical,” Eston replied. “So we must practice great caution about them. They may have already sighted our camp.”

The mumbling became louder, more high-pitched, and fearful. Looks of worry took upon many faces.

“How many are there?” the same voice yelled.

“Only four, but – ” Eston began.

“Four?” he snorted. “We could just kill them!”

There were numerous nods and shouts in agreement. “Ah, Nadroj, this is why you will never be a leader,” Eston said and shook his head. “Always ready for the most rash actions.”

“Who cares, they’re humans!” he shouted angrily. “They’re the ones who destroy things!”

“Not every single human being is like that. It would be childish to believe every single stereotype there is,” Eston said quietly and looked down his nose at him. Nadroj slouched a little in shame.

“Now, since they are here, I think our best bet is to lie low – ” Eston said.

“What? And basically give in? It’s like surrendering and letting them to walk over us!” another one interjected.

“It may only be temporary,” Eston lied. I raised my eyebrows at him but said nothing. “Anyway, as I was saying before I was interrupted again, we are to lie low. Keep your activities as quiet as possible and hide if you see a human approaching. There is to be a guard around each side of this camp at all times. If you see a human coming, cast this net over the camp.” He held up a corner of the huge camouflage tent behind him. “Do not worry, it has various charms and other magical properties to hide it and to deter humans from coming near. Do not go near any of the humans if you can help it. Do not try to harm or kill any of the humans. If any of these new rules are breached, you will have to see to me.”

The meeting was over. The large group dispersed into many smaller groups, all of them discussing about the humans and the new rules.

“Are humans really as savage as they say?” Adrastos asked me.

“Maybe. But remember, it is important not to believe in every rumour you hear. It is essential to remain neutral. Do not to let your biased opinion cloud your judgement, for you will not make a wise decision.”

“Do you think these humans in our forest are savage?”

I thought for a moment. “No, not really. I have observed them on various occasions and they do not seem that savage to me. Unlike the tales, they are not hunting down everything they see.”

I suppose their intentions were good too. Teaching their own kind and passing down their knowledge to them. There was nothing wrong with that.

Later on I saw Eston.

“Why did you lie and say it was temporary?” I whispered in his ear.

Without a word, he led me into a dark area of the woods. Making sure no one had followed us, he said, “We do not know enough to actually hurt the humans but we do know enough to know they may have seen us. We must take precaution but we must not go into frenzy. You know how they would react to the news about a human school being built here.”

Yes. I did. It was not right to lie but it would not be a good situation if he told the whole truth either. Or else things would be looking very ugly for the humans.

Mars looked bright tonight. At least, I think it was bright. Mars is also the name for the Roman god of war. This is important symbolism when it came to reading fortunes in the stars. When it glowed slightly brighter, it meant Mars was nearer, so we can see it more clearly. It also meant war was coming closer.

I stopped looking at the sky and focused back on my job. It was important I do it with full attention. Little details were significant.

It had been a few weeks since the meeting. So far, as far as the humans had travelled, they still had not entered our camp, although there were many close shaves. However, this incited greater anger in those who had protested at the meeting, complaining that they were getting too close and that they had been here for over a month.

“I am done!” Sly cried out in triumph and pushed his sketching underneath his companion’s noses. He had been drawing on some parchment for several days now, day and night, for hours of time that were not healthy, hunched over his work with his nose so close to the parchment, the feather he was writing with kept tickling his nose. He screwed up his poison green eyes as he observed every detail he drew with the utmost scrutiny and he easily became disgusted with the standard of his work. On countless occasions he screwed it up and threw it aside. Finally, he was done.

“Wow Sly, you have thought of everything!” said the woman with curly bronze fur on her head, whom I have come to know as Helga over the past few days.

“I can’t believe you’ve managed to think of this whole design in merely days!” Gryff commented.

“This idea has been in my head for years. Decades even,” Sly said. “I have been planning this for quite some time. There just never seemed to be a right time to implement it.”

“Well it is most certainly is impressive,” said Rowena. “Though, you do realise this is going to take a long time to build. I mean, look at it, it is going to take a massive amount of space!”

I leaned my shoulder against the tree trunk. I needed to see those plans. We needed to know how much land the humans were planning to take before trying to negotiate with them. It was best to know your enemy before confronting them.

Clip-Clop. Not again! I glared at Adrastos, who still remains undaunted as he interrupts my expeditions.

“What’s the matter Chiron?” he asked innocently. I was about to hit my head against the trunk but I restrained from doing so.

“They have plans on the school they are about to build,” I answered. I had given up on scolding Adrastos long ago. “I need to see them.”

“Well why don’t you allow me to help you?” he said and trotted off. I stared at the space where he once occupied. That was odd. Never before had he decided to leave me when I asked him to, yet he was doing so now. I decided to take my mind off it and kept watching the humans.

All remained peaceful until I thought I heard some faint galloping. For a moment I thought the humans had summoned up horses, but they looked as startled to hear the noise as I was.

“God, did you hear that?” Helga asked.

“Yes. I wonder what that is. D’you think the muggles have found us?” Gryff asked.

“No, it just sounds like only one four-legged creature,” Rowena said with a slight frown. “If it were the muggles there would be a barricade of them trying to take us down.”

“Well I’m going to take a look, is anyone else with me?” Gryff asked as he brushed the earth off his rear and looked at everyone.

“I think we should all check it out,” Rowena stated and she too got up. Helga followed suit without a word. They looked at Sly, who still stood there clutching his plans.

“Come on Sly, you can leave them here, we have not encountered anything here so far that steals things,” Gryff said. At this he grasped them tighter.

“Sly, we need to keep track of the creatures of this forest,” Rowena said reasonably. “We need to work out where it is safe to build and where it is not. We can learn about them.”

‘Come on, follow them,’ I urged him. Hesitantly, Sly placed his parchment down. Then he followed the others.

Once they had gone far enough so they would not hear my hooves, I stepped out of hiding and rushed to the plans. I struggled to make sense of them in the firelight. But soon I understood them. I was shocked. They planned to make the school from the cliff point to the lake. That was how much space they were planning to take. Not good, not good…

“You are a centaur are you not?” one of the females asked in the distance. I froze. For a moment I thought she had seen me. But she was nowhere to be seen.

“Yeah, you are one of those drunken lads aren’t you?” Sly laughed.

“If you choose to believe those foolish unfounded rumours that we’re drunks that gallop about the forest then you’re more stupid than you look.” Oh no. I recognised that voice. Damn you, Adrastos.

It must have been him running about there as a distraction. The only problem was that he was stupid enough to get caught. He underestimated them.

I looked at the stars for guidance. What should I do, get the clan or save him myself? Who knows, maybe he could talk him out of it himself. But at this rate it seemed unlikely.

“Hey you, what are you doing?” It was Gryff. He was standing right behind me. Oh dear.

“My name is Chiron,” I said, dropping the parchment and raising my hands. It was not our way to beg for mercy from humans but there were no other centaurs around to help me. “I mean you no harm at all. I was just looking at your plans.”

“Your friend was telling me your kind wanted us gone,” he said fiercely drawing his arrow up to my chin. He may have seemed kind to humans, but he was not to me.

“Please, I know you are a kind person. It is just that we disagree on the fact you are planning to build a school here – ”

“How long have you been spying on us?”

“Ever since you came here. I am sorry we have not been more open but we were wary of you. Like you are of us.”

“You’re not planning some sort of attack are you?” he asked.

“No!” I grabbed his forearm. “Now you have got to listen to me. I may have nothing against you but the other centaurs do. If you do not leave, they will try to kill you. So I suggest you forget these plans right now – ”


“Aaaarrrghhh!” I screamed and let go of Gryff’s arm. I felt myself fall, and my vision went all blurry. It felt like I was in my body, yet I was not there at all. Like I was floating above it. I looked at my arm. An arrow stuck out of it. But worse still, it was tainted with the blood of a Hydra – lethal to centaurs.

I stared listlessly above me. Now, two males looked down at me, one of them, I am guessing was Sly who shot me. I was too far-gone to be angry. He must have thought I was attacking Gryff since I was grabbing his arm or touching his plans…

Above them were the stars. Ah, so pretty. They laid out maps of the future in which we were to abide by. I read them one last time.

Despite the upcoming clash between human and centaur, the school was going to be built. Nothing was ever going to change that, not even us. I suppose we should have consulted the stars earlier but no one thought of it.

I could see the future passing me by. These four were going to build the school, stone by stone. It was going to be magnificent. Human students were going to come and go, these witches and wizards guiding them all the way. Oh how it reminded me of my sessions with my students.

Years had gone by and Sly had walked out of the picture. I had a bad feeling about him from the start. He had even started to discriminate against certain kinds of humans. I watched, as he sealed off a chamber only accessible to his heir, then left.

The rest of the years were a blur. Now, here I am, not from the ground looking up at the stars, but from the stars looking down.

I focus my attention to one specific centaur, who is closest to me. He stands at the astronomy tower, bordering to the heavens. He is looking up at me.

“Hello Sagittarius,” he says quietly.

He is the only one who talks to me anymore, but I cannot answer him. I am powerless to do anything now. I see all. I know all. But I cannot stop things from happening. That is the price I pay for my knowledge.

He is a lot like me in some respects, I believe. Unlike the rest of the centaurs, who hold even more of a grudge against humans these days, he remains unbiased. He tries to keep an open mind.

But most of all, I watch over him because he teaches. Just like I once did

“Hello Firenze,” I think to him, hoping he could hear me. “Difficult tasks lie ahead of you.”

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