Under the Sic-em-more
Concept Contributed by: Angelbot and Poet
The Durmstrang lads were unnerved by the sound of the Augureys singing. They had all been taught some silly old superstition about the bird
being a harbinger of misfortune. Rigel laughed at the lot of them. If we havent got misfortune already, I want to see what its like, he
Slavik shuddered. You shouldnt say such things. You want more misfortune than you already have?
In the end, only Rigel and Merlin went out in the rain. They prowled through the woods, hoping to catch a glimpse of a great,
green-feathered bird. Once or twice, Merlin thought he saw a winged shadow flit past--but of the bird itself, he saw nothing.
Soaked and shivering, they crawled into the hut as the rain stopped. The next evening (they all thought of the rainy times as night) they
were out searching again.
After hearing the bird cry several times, and following the sounds of flapping wings and various other signs, they soon narrowed down the
location of the Augureys nest to one corner of the underground forest. By now Rigel had a nasty cough, and Merlin had lost his voice. While
Rigel was digging in his pocket locker for a throat lozenge, both wizards were startled by a sudden, deafening cry directly in front of them.
The rain started to come down, with a whoosh that flattened them both to the ground, a great swan-sized creature shot out of a hollow in the
crotch of a tree. The wind from the beating of its wings all but stunned them, and before they could get a clear look at it, it was gone.
Thatll be its nest, then, said Rigel, who for once was quicker to recover. He helped Merlin rise to his knees, and together they crawled
toward the opening in the tree roots.
Did you hear that? Rigel said, holding Merlin back.
Merlin shook his head, asking a question with his eyes.
It was as if the tree growled at me, said Rigel. Ha, ha! Im sure its bark is worse than its bite, what? Now come on, lets see what this
bird has left in its nOWCH! By Slytherin, what WAS that? Look what it did to me!
Merlin examined Rigels right hand. It had a strangely shaped cut above the thumb. Rigel thrust his other hand toward the base of the tree
tentatively. So rapidly that it could scarcely be seen, a low-hanging branch darted at Rigels left hand and gave it a vicious pinch. Rigel
swore loudly and added, It bit me. It actually bit me! Ow, ow, OW!!! It was like being hit with a hammer! What is this tree, some kind of
Merlin couldnt say it, but he thought the tree must be some kind of cross between a whomping willow and a devils snare.
Its a Sic-em-more, of course, said a tiny voice next to Merlins knee.
Both men started away from the voice, kicking up enough dead leaves to hide the speaker from view for another few seconds. Then the air
cleared, and they found themselves staring at a tiny gentleman wearing a bottle-green waistcoat, earth-colored trousers, pointy black boots,
and a busy red beard. A floppy hat covered most of his hair, but it seemed as bushy and red as the beard. He stood regarding them solemnly,
tossing a gold coin up and down with one hand, and wielding a minuscule rake in the other.
Rigel was as speechless as Merlin. All he could do was make a vague, choking noise.
Youll be wanting me treasure, then? said the leprechaun.
Why would we want fools gold? Merlin rasped, in a painful whisper.
Why, since youve found your way into this goblin gulag, Id take it youve had little success getting the other kind. Perhaps it would be
comfortin to you to feel some chink between your fingers. Eh?
We just want a few feathers from that birds nest, said Rigel, in a shaky voice. But the tree wont let us in.
Of course not! said the leprechaun. Thats why the bird lives there, isnt it? Doesnt want a body of sticky-fingered neer-do-wells
grubbin about in its glory hole, does it? Now shove off.
I beg your pardon, said Rigel stiffly.
Couldnt we just have one or two? Merlin squeaked. We only need them to make wands. Its a matter of life and death!
Well, in that case, you can still shove off, said the leprechaun, folding its arms across its tiny chest. I mean it. Shove it, or Ill
burn you. Better yet, Ill touch you with me green thumb. After that, you wont ask for another, please, sir!"
But-- Rigels plea was cut off short.
Away with you! Begone! Or Ill set me bowtruckles on you! See if I dont!
The two wizards exchanged looks of frustration and helplessness. Without wands, they could do little to defend themselves against even the
smallest magical being.
I give up, said Rigel, his shoulders sagging dispiritedly.
As he turned away, the leprechaun chuckled. Whirling about, Rigel grabbed the leprechaun with both hands and shoved him toward the crotch of
Yow! Murder! screamed the leprechaun, as the trees branches attacked him. Let meouch!go, yououch!cursed, cauldron-headedyowch!ham-
fistedhelp!wand-sucking broom jockey, you!
Rigel set his face grimly, enduring so much pain from the trees attacks that he bit his lip bloody. Tears ran down his face.
All right! the leprechaun screamed. Have mercy, and Ill grant your wish!
Rigel pulled the small creature out of harms way. The Sic-em-more branches stopped attacking. The leprechaun doubled over, panting for
breath for a minute, then stood up. His face was covered in welts; one of his eyes had already swollen shut. His hat was gone, and blood ran
down his face from somewhere on his scalp. However, the first thing he complained about was:
Ah! Me smart clothes! What have you done, you beastly wizard?
The leprechauns clothing had been shredded so completely that one piece could hardly be distinguished from another. Most of the blood on it
had come from Rigels arms, but that didnt make the creatures appearance any less ghastly as it stamped and swore and sobbed.
Honor your word, Rigel said firmly, though the wet snuffle that followed his words somewhat spoiled the effect.
All right, then! the leprechaun growled. Here, have your feathers. Have six of them, even! And dont look for any more favors from the
likes of me!
Six beautiful, velvety-green feathers appeared in Merlins hands. In his amazement at their appearance, he did not see the leprechaun
slipping out of sight.
That will do nicely, said Rigel, trying to sound unruffled. Then he snuffled again.
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