He had been weak from the journey over the damp hills. Hell, Jaleth was weak from malnourishment and neglect. His hygiene was poorer than he’d ever had it, save the time after Amana passed. For miles he walked, in boots barely holding their soles to the tops, carrying the girl in his arms. She was more comfortable when she had the energy to hold herself up on his back but she had fallen asleep again so he held her to his chest, his arms carefully placed in the crooks of her knees and neck, her head nestled safely in his shoulder. Every so often he heard her stirring, whimpering or whispering cries that resembled her pleas from their prison cell.
The sun was gone and the darkness covered the path with a blue hue he used to love so much. Jaleth would take time to practice skills like potions or study the realms entomology up in one of the highest towers at the Hogwarts when he was in attendance there and even as a teacher. He wondered if the school left his office the way it was, mostly because as peculiar as his mind was it thought about the arrangement of his thick, leather-bound books. It took him a long night of drinking the swill from the cellars deep beneath the school to find the right arrangement and alignment on the shelves. He was meticulous then, as much as he could be with one of the smaller offices compared to the rest of the faculty.
He missed the comfort of those confines even if he described them as a hell-closet of endless assignments. The smell of fires from the out door pit often wafted into his window. Jaleth had a nice view of the fountain in the courts, the very same courtyard where he and Kara used to spend their time studying or watching the sunset or just sitting and enjoying each other’s company.
He didn’t know how long he must have dozed off but before he knew it, he was inside the hedges of a long maze. He turned to look behind him and there was no entrance in sight so it was quite possible that the had strolled in some time ago. Jaleth remembered the maze, Kara described once as a “necessary deterrent” for security purposes but he had no idea the extent. He shook the girl lightly to stable her in his arms before pushing through to find the exit.
As a kid he always figured he could just push through the foliage, rip through the thick leaves and branches. If it was anything he learned watching the Tri-wizard Tournament, it was that pursuing this method was a surefire way to being destroyed by these shrubs. Jaleth moved swiftly, as quick as his tired steps could take him. Right. Left. Left. Right. Back around. Straight ahead. He was just so exhausted, yet was troubled with maze.
“Professor…” The thin girl said, weakly.
He turned his crystal gaze down to her, but it did not interrupt his concentration as he walked.
For days now she’d been complaining about her pain for several weeks, claiming her head pains ranged from minor throbbing to migraine level and it concerned him. They had lower than a prisoner of Azkaban’s set of rations, and the food tasted like rot but it got them by without thinking to turn on each other. Mr. Darque was right to suggest finding her a healer, and he figured this safe house would be his best option. He was not trained to fix anyone’s wounds, or treat internal pain.
When Jaleth came out of his daydream, he saw the end of the path, straight ahead. There was a house at the end of this pathway, an estate separated by a courtyard. The bigger building resembled had more lights on, dim as they might be, along the walls near the windows, and brighter illumination by the door. He breathed out a sigh of relief and moved as quickly as he could towards the end of the path, trying not to trip on any rocks or debris, or roots protruding from the dirt. His footsteps slowed as he nearly fell once he stopped just a few feet before the entrance.
“I…we’re here Diana…we're here. You’re going to be okay, please stay with me okay?” He pleaded.
His eyes looked around, but there was no one in sight. It was possible with their dwindling numbers—at least as much as he remembered—there weren’t many lingering here at the compound, much less wandering after sunset. He fell to his knees with his grip on the girl intact before breathing out a sigh.
Merlin, help us…