A young girl walks calmly between the sparsely populated trees in a much larger forest. A bit cool and damp, feeling like it recently rained and everything smells of rich moss. Looking around herself, the trees are surprisingly varied; there are massive, towering trunks as well as ones that are barely more than weeds. Peeking through the gaps between the overhanging branches on her left was a hill leading up to a outcropping of dark rock with a thin pall of fog. In front of her was a small creek winding between mossy rocks and a smoothed soil bank, small and brightly coloured butterflies lightly fluttered above the clear and cold looking water. Behind her, streaking though the leaves high overhead, sunlight fell on the the thick glass. Sprinkles of pollen danced in the nearly glaring beams; This place was alive. Heading towards the slight cliff, if only to get a better view, she moved with purposed between the trees, threading through the brambles, fallen trunks and protruding rocks.
In less time that she thought, she was gazing over the largest and most impressive forest she could ever dream of. The sun was gently hanging in the lightly clouded but still very blue sky. When she and her family were driving here, it was threatening rain and full of dark, oppressive clouds. Surely she couldn't be in the same place, weather changed quickly here but not that fast. There was still the faint smell of salt in the air so she was still near the sea at least but nothing her mother told her prepared her for this. The creek she saw earlier meandered it's way to an incredibly blue lake. Small birds were fluttering around the trees that were lining the shore and unlike the lakes she was familiar with, the shore wasn't a dark basalt sand. She could have stayed up there all day but she thought it may be best to carry on, even if she didn't really know what she was looking for.
Slowly making her way down from her perch, the air started to get noticeably colder. No longer could the birds be heard twittering and chirping and the trees themselves seems markedly more still. It was nerve racking, she didn't know if it happened while she was lost with herself as she watched everything from her peak but the sheer feeling of life of the forest had been replaced with a quiet and stillness that was pressing in on her. Deciding to head back to where she started, she couldn't stop thinking if she was waiting for something or if something was waiting for her.
16 October 2016
On the road between Akureyri and Dalvik, Iceland
The drive was getting a bit boring for Irena, even if the weather was nice for this time of the year. A bit chilly and with a damp breeze but cozy behind the protective layer of glass and the warmth from the car's heater. Still, they left in the morning while it was still dark and it has been some time but the sun is only just starting to properly rise. Sadly, that is just how it is in the middle of October this close to the Arctic Circle.
"How much longer Mom? We left Reykjavik hours ago and it is just barely bright enough to see, not that there is anything to see but mossy hills and sheep." Asked the older of the daughters with her head pressed against the window.
"We are about 20 minutes outside of Dalvik and then it will take about another 90 minutes to cross to Grimsey on the ferry."
Lovely, just want her daughter wanted to hear, yet another eternity will pass while her mother and father made small talk at the front and her younger sister asleep beside her. Not that Kria was going to really miss anything while sleeping but she could have provided a bit of company.
"I still don't see why we couldn't have came sooner, we are going to be heading home in the dark the whole way too." Her dad nearly whined.
"It's a tradition Reynir, we always always go on our 10th birthday to get our wand." Her mom replied in a tone that suggested that she has explained this quite a few times.
Yes, the reason the four of them dragged themselves out of their beds before the sun even thought of peeking over the ocean was so her can have a wand made for her. Sadly, she wouldn't actually be able to own it, her mother told her that today only the wood and core would be decided on but the wand itself would be waiting for her on her first day school next year. Her dad thought it was almost cruel to tease a child like that. Her mom had to assure him that it was always like that in her family. It was sort of funny how far he was out of his depth he was. As an engineer later turned manager, finding out his wife was a witch and that his two daughters could accidentally cause the furniture to float, he was hopelessly lost. It took some time but he eventually came around to the the fact that there is an entire culture, population... world even, separate from his own. His wife did become exasperated at times telling him that no, they couldn't be rich by waving a wand or let her magic cover up laziness around the house. Irena still laughs at her parents because for just how different they are; a witch and an engineer, but they really do live together nicely. Smiling to herself, she pressed her forehead back against the cool glass window.
"Uuuuhhhhhggggg... What is it Dad?"
"We're here sleepy head" came his smirking reply.
"What do you mean 'here'? Are we finally at the dock?"
"Oh no, that was hours ago. You and Kria slept right through it. No idea how though with how choppy the water was but I wasn't going to complain about some peace and quiet for a change. Other than your snoring..."
"I do NOT snore Dad!"
"Of course not love, of course not. Anyhow, let's get you inside, your mother is talking to the man inside."
The change was so gradual at first she didn't notice but she was sure that she now heard music. Following the creek that she remembered from the start, she was hoping it wold lead her to the lake she had seen from her vantage point on the high out cropping. The further along she went, the deeper and more turbulent the water became. Worryingly, the musical sounds of strings was getting louder too. She was finally able to properly hear the tune just as the trees gave way to the vast vista of the crystalline lake. The soft plucking of strings was hardy muted at all by the sound of the water cascading over a fallen tree that was brushed up against several boulders as the creek at last met the lake. Not quite as a waterfall but more like an arranged dam like an animal would create. As she made her way fully into the clearing around the shore, the music stopped and a boy's voice called out to her.
"Congratulations on making thus far young one, you are nearly there."
"Who's there!? Irena shouted, looking for anywhere to hide.
"You have nothing to fear girl, nothing here can hurt you. I am what the Old Ones called a Fossegrimen. I am here willingly as a sort of guide, if you will."
"A guide for what?"
"You may or may not know that you are in the realm of Corona, a very old and clever phoenix. He is the only one I know that stays around here from time to time, it is special because of that." The being told her.
"What does that mean? Do I have to go somewhere? Nothing was fully explained to me before I got here."
"No, you were drawn here. The whether it was the trees, the wind or even me; you are here for a reason."
"So what am I to do now?" She really wasn't sure what she was doing here and really wanted to get back to her family.
"There is a faint path, partially overgrown, leading away from this stream. It will take you a dense cloister of trees surrounding an grassy hollow. In it's centre there will be a single tree with a small stone plinth. On top of this there will be a small pewter figure of Corona. Once you find that figure, all you must do is pick it up and the wand maker will come to you immediately."
"Thank you, but why are you telling me this?" Was her questioning reply.
"Because I would just like to be able to meet the one that is destined to be paired with Corona. In time you will come to realize how special you are to be twinned with him."
"I'm not sure what to say. Thank you for your help but I don't think I am anything special."
"In time child, you will see. And no thanks are needed, the pleasure is all mine."
As the two of them walked in, the owner was explaining something to her mother in an appeasing manner. From what Irena was over hearing, an enchanted forest was likely in her near future.
"How out wand selection works is that there are regions or areas that exhibit the traits of each of the creatures that we are able to mould into our wands. A dragon doesn't inhabit the same sort of environment as would a herd of Unicorns and we try to reflect that."
"So she is going to be wandering around, alone and surrounded by dragons?"
"Of course not. The area is much, much smaller than what it appears to be. There aren't actually dragons or any other dangers like that here. Just like for your daughter, we almost solely work with people that are just starting their magical life. There is nothing that can happen here. There are high cliffs and hills, if someone should slip and fall, they would drop just like a feather."
"But why don't you just have wands here that she could try? It seems so much easier."
"The forest is actually a creation of the Ollivander family. I believe that is where you received your wand?" She nodded "You can think of this like a warehouse of sorts. The trees here are where the wood is collected for the wands that are made by them. When I was a pupil of Mr Ollivander, he was first thinking of this. After I finished my schooling, I came here and I pleaded with him to be able to use the best materials. As a personal favour, he allows me to make the wands I do. He still writes to me, he even comes by every once in a while as a friend in fact."
Within minutes that nearly forgotten trail lead her into an area so full with massive trees that the sun was completely out of view. The leaves high overhead filtered all of the light into a pale green gloom that contrasted starkly with the brightness she could begin to see through the trunks in front of her. Eventually the forest stopped and she stepped into the clearly special meadow. Just like the creature said, there was a just a single tree in the centre Just one tree in an entire forest full of them but even she could feel the quiet magic of this space. Even with the enormous trees all around her, there was enough of a gap around the ring of trees and the one in the middle that sunlight blazed down on her. Despite this, the slight was breathtaking. There weren't birds chirping, bugs creaking or leaves rustling. It was almost sacred.
She could just barely make out the small stone dais that she was told was there. Slowly walking across the plush grass towards it, the glint of silver became more and more noticeable. It was small enough to easily be held in one hand but did look lifelike. "Well, what is the worst that can happen" was the thought as she decided to grab the statue before she lost the nerve. She had just enough time to think to herself that the metal felt colder and lighter than it should before an indignant shout and the unmistakeable sound of someone falling in a heap broke the silence around her.
"Oh my god, you were gone much too long. I was getting so worried!" Her mother exclaimed as she attacked Irena with a crushing hug.
"I was just finding my way. Where are we?"
"I was just going to ask the very same thing. Jan, we can't still be in Iceland, the soil at home can't grow trees like this." Her father said after dusting himself off after loosing his minor battle with gravity.
"This is actually as small island in the Fanoe Island archipelago. You understand that we need a secluded space but you are right though, many things were done here and it is quite special. Most of the species of tree here can't survive with the varying amounts of seasonal light this far north. Even then, some need an even more involved helping hand." The wand maker explained.
"Not that am not still completely taken away by this place, why did I just do" Irena asked after prying herself away from her mother.
"My dear, you just collected the pieces of your wand. The wood of this tree will be the body. It is a species of larch and is more of a rare wood for wand construction. Very soft and smooth even though this tree is one of the oldest and strongest here. And" motioning to the figure in her hand, "his feather will be forged into the core. You will have a very special wand Irena."
"Now, if everyone would place at least their finger on to that figure, it is time to be heading back. It will be getting dark and it will be best for you to start your way back home sooner rather than later."
16 August 2017
Diagon Alley, London, England.
A bubble of silence was surrounding Harry as he lead his youngest son through the tightly pack tables of the Leaky Cauldron. Politely waving to people as they went and stopping to shake the occasional patron's hand and suffering Hannah Longbottom's strangling hugs, the two Potters slowly made their way into the back alley that was the concealed entrance to Diagon Alley.
"Thought it should be just you and I today Al. Your mom is taking James a bit later and she is going to grab all of the books the you two will need this year." Harry said while drawing his wand and moving to open the passage.
"It's okay dad, I know I have to be taken by the hand everywhere we go. You don't have to lie to me about James not wanting me to be there when he and his mates go strutting down the street to go shopping."
"No, I just wanted it to be us for now. You can go with your mother and James to buy the supplies that you will need for your course work and you know exactly why I am NOT going to go with you to pick up your school robes..."
Albus had to laugh at the memory of the whole family being hounded by a group of reporters when they came for the first time last year. James of course loved the attention right up until Mom dragged him in to Madam Malkins where the rest of them were taking refuge. They had to hide out so long that dad had gotten fitted for 2 robes, a dress robe and a full muggle styled suit to try and buy them some more time. Of course dad didn't have the heart to tell Madam Malkin that he really only wears regular muggle clothes while outside of work.
"Are you sure dad? You can always use a new dress robe. Being as famous as you are you must have plenty of parties which you must dress smartly for."
"Sorry, what was that? I thought you just said that you didn't want to go see Mr Fortescue for some ice cream." Was the flat reply with a quirked eye brow.
"So what are we actually getting right now dad? You said that mom was going to get my books and supplies so what does that leave?"
"Your wand and, if you would like, an owl. Which to you want to look at first?"
Walking into Ollivander's for the first time, Albus almost shivered. It wasn't cold, far from it actually, but it just caused a tingling feeling to run down his back. Looking over at his father, Albus didn't notice any strange reactions from him though. The shop was quite quiet considering the bustling going on just outside the door and Harry gave a half smiling look around the front area before ringing a small brass ball that was on the counter top. The voice of a younger man called out that he would be there in a moment. When the man did make his entrance, he looked stunned at who his patrons were.
"Mister Potter sir! I know my father would want to help you personally. Would you mind if I ran and got him? He is just in the back." The man asked frantically.
"Of course not, you do not have to hurry. I would love to have a chat with him as well, it has been far too long."
Harry and Albus laughed to themselves as the man really did run from the counter and into the back rooms. A few minutes later the Mr Ollivander than Albus remembered meeting years before came out. Albus and Ollivander's son stood back awkwardly while their fathers met like old friends, chatting about family and whatnot.
"Now, let us see if your other son can be as much of a challenge as you were. I must admit that your James was too easy. Very strong and open, just like your father, you named him well. If you will, stand forward young Potter." Said Mister Ollivander coming from behind the counter. "Now your brother had a cedar. 10 and 3/4 inches with a core of fine unicorn hair. Quite hard. I think we will start with something a bit different. Here, walnut 8 and 1/2."
Albus's first attempt with this wand makes such a loud bang that it causes him to drop the wand. Next was an Alder with Welsh dragon heart string; nothing. Maple with unicorn hair, Hawthorn and unicorn hair, Elm with phoenix feather, Spruce with dragon heart string, Ash with unicorn hair... all nothing. Mr Ollivander was slowly becoming more excited, handing Albus wands nearly faster than he would wave them. Without even bothering to really look at the an offered wand, just noticing that it was rather smooth and finely polished, he gives it a small wave. Blindingly bright pinpoints trailing white light to launch forward. They start to bounce around the room like shooting stars were skipping off of the shelves and walls. Mr Ollivander softly lifts the wand from Albus's loose hold and surveys it closely with his renowned deft hands.
"Well this is a bit of a surprise I must say..."
"Why? What is the problem Garrick?" Harry asked, obviously impressed with the results of the wand.
"There is no problem. It is nothing, just that my son forged this wand not but days ago. Have another go, if you would Mr Potter."
He quickly gave his father a nervous look, "It's okay Al, just give it a wave just like you did before" was the encouraging response, watching his son closely.
Albus gave the wand Mr Ollivander offered a small movement as if he was flicking a whip. The wall opposite that they were all facing nearly buckled under the force and deafening boom, like if Hagrid reared back and did his best to kick through the wall. The windows rattled, shelves wobbled and trinkets chimed. The two Ollivanders and Harry stared gobsmacked as a fine layer of dust settled into their hair. Albus quickly dropped the wand on the counter nearest him and backed away.
"I am so sorry, I swear I didn't mean to do that!"
Mr Ollivander silently walked over, picked up the hastily discarded wand and held it out to Albus. "Your wand Mr Potter. Exactly 12 inches, an Acacia body surrounding a tail feather of a phoenix I knew well. He was a resident of the small village in Slovenia that I used to take my family. I was only able to convince him once to let me take a feather. After that, I was never able to find him again."
"He left and never came back? That is a bit unusual, isn't it?" Harry asked the much older man.
"He always was a bit elusive at the best of times, most beautiful songs I have ever heard though." Replied Ollivander's son. "Take care of that wand Mr Potter; it will sure to be your most faithful companion."
Mr Ollivander shook Albus's hand then moved over to Harry. "A pleasure as always. On the house for old times sake and letting me remember my younger days. Take care Harry Potter" while shaking his hand. His son giddily grabbed Albus's hand in both of his and didn't seem to be letting go. After being sure that half of his fingers were broken, he released Albus and went to attack Harry's hands with a vengeance.
Finally escaping the Ollivanders, Harry and Albus were back to walking along the stores of Diagon Alley. Harry motioned to the friendly looking ice cream shop, "Do you still want some of that ice cream?"
"Yeah, maybe just for my hand though. I think Mr Ollivander's son broke some of my fingers." Answered Albus while stretching out his hand.
"I know what you mean, he got my hand too."
Quietly licking their respective cones, Albus broke the silence, "I take it James did a better job of finding his wand? I don't remember you and mom coming home last year with any bandages."
"No, that was a bit more, err... energetic than most people's reaction when they get their first wand."
"Great, I really am a freak. James is going to love this."
"You aren't as different as you think you are Al. You don't have anything to ever be ashamed of. Also, this can be our little secret if you like, it is part of the reason that I wanted it to be just us."
Track This Story: Feed
JOIN HARRY POTTER FANFICTION
Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.Register Today!