The Night the Stars Went Out

Disclaimer; I don't own Harry Potter or anything affiliated with it.

Chapter One

the night was dark and still, and with no moonlight to illuminate the path ahead, he found himself struggling through the thick foliage that would usually take him very little time during daylight hours. There were several advantages to the darkness, the cloud-cover provided useful shadows in which he could camoflage himself in, and the shelter of the hulking trees made his discovery in the Forbidden Forest highly unlikely. A storm loomed on the horizon, but just now it was keeping its distance, respecting the grieving of the wizarding world, adding its own silence to an already stunned and painful silence that shrouded everything. No moon, no visible stars, not even a single pinpoint of light to suggest the darkness would be penetrated. And for once, he didn't lift his gaze to the constelations and formations that were so familiar and comforting to him. The stars would provide no answers this night, for their was no moon to illuminate the sky, and a sky absent of stars seemed only fitting, since everything in his world was now so chaotic.

His eyes were cast in to the past where happier times welcomed him with gentle memories of the life he had known, an existance he had taken for granted until recent events had opened his eyes to the foolishness of that careless emotion. Now he felt the sharp pang of loneliness for the friends who had once shared his days, and for a man in particular who had extended his friendship and assistance when he had been in need of them most. But who would help him now? He couldn't return to his friends, they had neatly severed all ties to him, and he wasn't certain he wanted to remain at his teaching post at Hogwarts. He felt adrift on a sea of change, and he found himself unprepared and sadly lacking.

When had his attachment to humans become so strong? Why should he care about one dead wizard, and a war that seemed likely to decimate the entire wizarding world? It was none of his concern, it had never been his war to be concerned about, after all, such creatures didn't entangle themselves in the lowly petty affairs of wizards who seemed bent on repeating their mistakes rather than learning from them. The last thing he wanted was to aid in the defense of weak-minded wizards who knew less than they realized, they were forever shifting loyalties, forming alliances that would dissolve with the passage of time, and their arrogance led them to believe that magic would conquer all their fears and troubles. In the end, he knew their overconfidence would mean their downfall. The thought of that brought a twingue of regret to his already battered heart and valiantly he pushed the feelings aside, but they refused to so easily be laid to rest. He discovered with no surprise, that he would be sorrowed to see the wizarding community shattered, divided by good and evil, and where once they had stood united, they would soon be divided.

The storm drew closer, the clouds huddling against the gray tempestuous sky, it wouldn't be long before the darkness above released its tears, expressing emotions he wasn't permitted to feel. He should have realized that when Harry Potter survived a curse that had cut down even the strongest of wizards, that things would forever be changed, and that not even the isolation of the Forbidden Forest would remain unscathed, its inhabitants untouched. Everything had rearranged itself on that fateful night of the Potters' deaths, setting in motion a chain of events that had led up to this moment, to a great man's passing, and a friend's anguish.

The vibration of hooves on the soft mossy forest floor moved him swiftly to the entrance of the place he'd once called home, but now even this place could only offer more pain, pain he didn't think he could bear, not on top of the tragedy that had occurred that night. His heart thudded dully within him as the hooves drew nearer, and knowing he couldn't linger here, he stepped from the darkness and in to the light of a half-moon, wondering how things had gone so terribly wrong. A decision to help one man had transformed his entire existence, had separated him from the only life he had known, and the sadness welled within him anew. His old life could give him nothing, and the future spread bleak and lonely before him. But how could he have refused to help the greatest wizard who had ever lived? No demands had been pressed upon him, just a simple request for help, and after giving it considerable thought, he had agreed. No one had forced him in to teaching at Hogwarts, and even knowing the consequences of his choice, he hadn't gone back on his word. But now that great wizard was gone, those whom he had thought were his friends had turned against him, and the coldness of his life made him shiver despite the warmth of the night. Somewhere out there Voldemort schemed and plotted his evil plans, rejoicing in the suffering he had caused this night, while a shocked and grieving community mourned the passing of one of their own. He made his way to the base of the tower. It was here that a man's life had been extinguished, it was this very place where the wizarding world had been forever changed.

A flash of lightning, a roll of thunder, then a cloud shadowed the moon, leaving everything in inky blackness. A fierce wind stirred the trees, pushing the storm closer, making the coldness within him more bitter. A long night stretched before him, one night of many he would spend pondering his fate, his loneliness, his future without friends. Clouds now shrouded the sky, shutting out the starlight, and at last the sky broke, the rain began to fall, and Firenze cried.