Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Old Locket

She thought this would be one of the easier ones, the locket from the founder of the House she loved, but it was proving more complicated than even the Sword had been.  I need just the right thing, she thought, closing the lid of her jewelry box, where she had spent a long and fruitless hour rummaging.

Nothing presented itself, nothing said power and sentiment at the same time.  Nothing drew her eye.  The Nagini-slug had been no help either. Probably because it's an "I'll know it when I see it." problem  If I could describe exactly what I needed, it might be able to turn something up*  She sighed, putting her hands together and resting her chin on her thumbs.

"Problem?"  She looked up, startled.  Dimo was there in the room.  She hadn't heard the door open, nor shut, he was just suddenly there.  Times like this, she could understand the superstitious dread the people of Schadelthron had of the Hounds -- something that large shouldn't be able to be that silent.

"It's -- this school project I'm working on.  For extra credit."  That was kind of the truth, if you looked at it sidelong in a dim light.  If the staff knew we were doing this, they'd shut us down in a heartbeat, and institute policies about student gatherings that would make Umbridge's Headmistresship look positively liberal by comparison.  She'd already skirted the prohibition about talking to non-Order members about the false Horcruxes pretty deeply in talking to Totenberg and Sascha.  Which probably means Dimo already knows most of it.  I'd swear they had some kind of limited legilimency going on among them, but they aren't wizardly.

"Tell me 'bout it. Mebbe that help."  He leaned against the wall, not coincidentally between her and the door.

"It's  . . . part Transfiguration, part Confundis,  So it involved putting two charms on one item, a little more advanced than the work we normally do."

He raised one bushy eyebrow, nodded.

"I need to  . . . create a locket that looks like a different locket, some.  It can't be a positive exact duplicate, but it needs to have the same sort of  . . . resonance, on the level of magic."

"So how it need to feel?"

"Powerful.  Sentimental.  Maybe a little greedy -- no, a lot greedy.  Covetous,  avaricious, miserly.  An object of longing, maybe even desire that can't be slaked."  She was surprised that the description came so easy now.  She'd been trying to explain to the slug, but had gotten nothing but some bulgy-eyed blinking in response.

He looked at her long and hard, on hand on his chin.  Pondering, weighing some course of action. Dimo had always been the cool, stoic, distant one of the three.  Sascha was a sweet pussycat in his own way, full of fun and mischief.  Totenberg was ruled by passion and moody, sometimes high and often low, but Dimo -- she'd never been quite able to read where he was coming from.  She would have thought he didn't feel at all, had she not seen his reactions after visiting Herr Scherblocken just before term started.  He dug a hole and pulled it in after him for several days, didn't say a word.  Sascha had been nearly manic, Totenberg even more watchful and wary, but Dmitri had been silent and absent in a way, looking into the middle distance as if watching a Muggle movie on a screen in his head.

At last he nodded, unwound the stock from around his throat.  "What are you --"  He grasped something at the base of his throat, gave a swift savage yank.  "Dimo!"

He crossed the room in a heartbeat, pressed the tiny silver medallion into her hand.  "This do?"  The silver faces winked up at her, the Mother and her Child, faces entwined in a yin and yang.  The only human faces in the pantheon, unless one counted the hooded countenance of the Stranger, whose face was never seen in the shadowed folds.

"Yes, but --"  He had worn that around his neck since forever, she could dimply remember the pain of cutting new teeth waking her in the night, and then something cool and soothing in her mouth, hard and textured and comforting to rub on the sore places.  "I can't --"

"You can.  You need it more than I do, now."  With that, he turned, tapped on the door, and left.

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