A Severus Snape story, part 1.
Any non (modern) English words (used for spells etc) will be Old English, Welsh, Latin, German, Norwegian, Welsh or German. doubtless incorrectly..
A 'fell' is an Northern English term for a type of hill.

dark night.

part 1.

The rain, snaking in torrents down the windowpanes, made alternate soft shushing and pattering sounds, tossed by high winds. Inside the house, the drawing room fire was whipped intermittently by the wind driven down the chimney, it rose and fell in the grate, crackling. Occasional squalls of rain reached the fire, at which it hissed. The only other point of light in the room came from a candle filled lantern hung from the ceiling, which threw a small, gently swinging yellow pool of light upon a spindly table below.

A man with long black hair sat motionless beside the fire, until a scurry of wind through a gap in the window frame stirred the curtains, and broke his reverie. He leant forward in the chair, his elbows on the arms, and placed his finger tips together, bent his head down to his fingertips. He pressed his mouth against them.

The fire hissed again.

Severus frowned, staring down at his feet, which twitched as though he contemplated movement. It was the 22nd of December, deep midwinter, and the coldest winter for over 60 years. The rain might melt the snow if it continued, though there would then be flooding, he reflected. The house was well above the river, though, it would be unaffected.

'This house.' His frown deepened.

Such an odd decision, in many ways, to keep the house. A.... reminder of the past. But so many types of magic, and dark magic, in particular, depended on such nuances.

His mouth twisted; 'Dark magic.'

Was it, though? Just a reading, a controlling of elemental laws, a power that slipped through life otherwise unused. To- ah- harness it- was not really dark. It was just... misunderstood. It was Old Magic, though long fallen into disuse. The union of time, and of the past; events and places bound together. Old Magic and the trymder gaeaf.

All that, of course, would now come to nothing. His eyes glittered. A moment of folly; weakness. A lifetime spent biting his tongue, stilling his fist over his wand, sealing his mind against.. intrusion. Almost full control until this- abberation. The fire had fallen almost to embers- he picked up his wand, waved it, and the fire rose, warming his feet again. His recent plans, long laid for this midwinter, had died in one moment of stupidity; an uncalculated action.


Severus grimaced, biting the word out.

The firelight continued to flicker softly on the book lined walls. The doors from the room were hidden behind the shelves, so that the room, broken only by the small window and the fireplace, felt subterranean, a dark sett beneath the earth. It smelt of dust, and of apple wood smoke. Apart from the quietly cracking fire, there was silence.

A floorboard creaked in the room above. Severus closed his eyes, let his hands fell to his lap, where they curled briefly into fists.

'Kindness,' he repeated, a little louder. He closed his eyes tighter, as though willing the noise to have been imagined. Further reproach or speculation was fruitless; action could no longer be postponed. The sound had been real, and could not be ignored.