- Story Summary:
- Sibyll Trelawney is a daughter and granddaughter of Seers, yet her Sight has never been clear.
- Author's Note:
- This story was written for the "A Picture is Worth 1000 Words" Challenge, and as such is exactly a thousand words. My assigned picture is
She is a daughter and granddaughter of Seers, the great-great-granddaughter of the famous Cassandra Trelawney. Yet her Sight has never been clear: neither the blurry world she sees through the distortion of her eyeglasses nor the world beyond, veiled to her and silent behind her cards and tea leaves and her crystal ball.
Several times, Sibyll has been told, she accurately foretold the future, including one prediction so important that Albus Dumbledore hid her away at Hogwarts to protect the secret. Yet she can recall none of her prophecies, not even the one that sent a Dark Lord on a quest to destroy a little boy. She does not remember the words she spoke that night any more than she remembers her childhood vision of her mother's death -- a nightmare that woke her years before the awful event came to pass, just as she had anticipated it.
During those years, she learned to hate her Gift.
Sibyll did not attend Hogwarts, so she could not identify it when it began to appear in her dreams. Nor did she recognize Dumbledore until their meeting in the Hog's Head Inn. When he appeared, a figure she had seen only with her inner eye, she felt that she had something important to say to him. But the interview went badly. He had already politely rejected her as a teacher when the world turned gray before her eyes.
Cassandra's Sight had been true. Though many considered her a madwoman, always falling into trances, speaking languages not her own, she understood exactly what her predictions meant and called for others to heed her warnings. With Sibyll it has always been the reverse: until someone repeats her own words back to her, she does not know that she has spoken, and then she cannot separate future from past, prophecy from revelation.
Since no one has bothered to educate her, she possesses only a rudimentary understanding of most of the wizarding disciplines, and avoids the other Hogwarts professors lest they should discover the truth. Yet she remembers her dreams, though she tells no one -- not since the last time her mother slapped her face and told her to stop making up stories.
Long before she met Dumbledore, she dreamed of the black dog...sometimes running beside a lake in which she could see a giant squid, sometimes in the forest with a stag, a rat and a silvery wolf. She knew that one of them was a dark creature, yet the dreams were confusing. Once, the wolf nearly frightened a boy to death. Once, the rat crept to a snake and hissed into its ear and Sibyll woke up screaming, screaming.
In time she learns that the dog who haunts her visions is not the Grim, and that the place of its confinement is not a terrible, otherworldly realm, but Azkaban prison. It is later still before she perceives that the animals in her dreams are not symbols but Animagi, that the rat has betrayed his friends and that the stag has died. She might have foretold everything that came to pass, but nobody asked her the right questions.
Sometimes she wonders whether she might have stopped it, had she understood what she had Seen. A blurry vision keeps returning to her: three boys at the edge of a body of water she could not then distinguish, but which she now knows to be Hogwarts Lake. And a fourth boy, watching like her from a distance, face pinched and rat-like, bitter with envy. One of the boys, dressed in white and gold, waits on a broomstick; a second holds a winged ball in his hands; the third carries a timepiece. At a signal from the tallest boy, the golden one takes flight, chasing the Snitch which has burst from the hands of the one who held it. Higher, higher he soars, until the wax has melted from the golden wings and he falls, as the Grim leaps and the werewolf howls. But the boy in the distance, forgotten by the others...that boy smiles, his face distorting, elongating, teeth protruding, he is the rat, but no one else can see...
She is screaming again, but no one ever climbs to her rooms so late and there is no one to hear, no one who can know. Dumbledore has always believed her to be worthless: a woman whose sole value as a prophet had been used up, and now a burden on his school, teaching a subject in which he finds little worth. Hogwarts, the place of her dreams, has become her home, yet she has no devoted friends here, no allies but the few students whom she manages to frighten with prophecies that require no divination to spin.
She is no impostor. I must warn you at the outset that if you do not have the Sight, there is very little I will be able to teach you, she tells them at the start of each term. Books can take you only so far. Always there are skeptics -- those who will not accept that beyond the tricks she teaches with palms and coins, the currents of the past and future move and swirl. How could a girl who tempts fate with a Time-Turner refuse to believe in the magic that governs time itself, laying its mysteries open to those who can See?
Sibyll has always Seen too late. She prophesied for the headmaster when he had already spurned her. She arrived at Hogwarts the year after Black, Potter, Lupin and Pettigrew had left, past the time when she might have spotted and recognized them. She knows what she saw in the teacup of the Boy Who Lived: a falcon, a club, a skull, the black dog. Death walks in his shadow, death is coming for him...the only thing she does not know is when.
She is a daughter and granddaughter of Seers. Her Sight has never been clear, but in time, it has always proven true.