They didn't really sleep, not like the lowland grizzlies that would shut down into a torpid state to survive, but they slept more than usual, like huge lazy cats dreaming away twelve to fourteen hours of each day. Spring would find them lean but not haggard, and ready for action
Past the stables but before the barracks was where the Scherblocken kept his offices. They were always cold, even in the summer, built of stone that hoarded the frost and chill of winter in their bones. "Easy to clean," he'd said, the one time Spike had mustered the courage to ask him a direct question. His eyes had twinkled like icicles in the sun; no warmth and nothing thicker than water. Certainly nothing as tangible as humor or even sharp as malice, just emptiness.
He was a round man, nearly as broad as he was tall, with a fringe of white hair thick around his ears and a matching handlebar mustache and tightly groomed beard where the point of his chin would be. Small wire-rimmed spectacles gave him the same squinting down his nose aspect as the bears he tended.
Spike wasn't looking forward to the interview; she'd had second thoughts in her room, and her ambivalence had only grown while they walked through the snow. But, if I want to do Care of Magical Creatures next term, and I want to create my own hybrid, then who better to discuss the matter with than the man who gave us the Hounds? Even though the Hounds had been a part of the family's retained beasts for generations, the Scherblocken had been the same man all along. Perhaps he repaired his won body the same way that he fixed the Hounds when they were injured and cared for the bears, extending their lives and usefulness. He'd be a Ravenclaw, thought Spike, but a dark sort of Ravenclaw, someone who doesn't think much about whether a thing that could be done ought to be done. A Slytherclaw, maybe. Brilliant and amoral.
They were at the door. Spike took hold of the ring and knocked.