The 1st years push their way out into the train corridor as they anxiously wait for the doors to open. Rowan motions for them to wait until the door open as the 1st years rush out onto the tiny, dark platform. When the crowd begins to thin, Rowan and the rest make their way out onto the platform. The chilly night air brushes their hair causing Lily especially to shiver with cold. A single lamp can be seen bobbing overhead as a loud, male coarse voice calls out, "Firs' years! Firs' years over here!"
Towering over the heads of the sea of students, a tall and lofty man could be seen smiling overhead. Rowan eyes glimmer in recognition at the much younger, Rubeus Hagrid, the groundskeeper and keeper of keys of Hogwarts.
"C'mon, follow me any more firs' years? Mind yer step, now! Firs' years follow me!" Everyone follows Hagrid down a steep and narrow path while slippering and stumbling every so often. It was quite dark on both sides of the road as Hagrid calls out over his shoulder, "Ye' all get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec, tis jus' round this bend here."
There are loud, Ooooh's and Ahh's made as the lake leads them to the edge of a giant dark lake. In the nearby distance an enormous, majestic glittering castle can be seen lighting the dark sky with the shady figure of mountains being seen in the background on the other side of the lake. Some of the students eagerly point as Rowan calmly turns towards the fleet of boats by the lake shores.
Hagrid points to the fleet of boats on the lakeshore and in a loud, booming voice says, "Alright, no more'n four to a boat!" The students instantly surge forward as Rowan clamps firmly onto the shoulders of Lily and Severus and shook her head at them as James Potter and Sirius Black end up in another boat. The three of them wait for a second as the rest of the boats quickly fill up, before Rowan nimbly grabs a boat with only a single occupant a nervous young witch. They nod rather friendly at the nervous young witch as the girl faintly smiles back in reply. But before they have a chance to introduce themselves, Hagrid bellows from his own sturdy boat, "Everyone in?"
A chorus of shouts echoes in the night sky in reply, "Yes!"
"Right thenFORWARD!" Hagrid proudly said as the boats instantly push themselves off the shore. The students excitedly fixate their gaze at the glowing castle before them as they glide across the mirror-like lake.
To Severus's surprise, he finds Rowan's gaze fixated on the sleek dark lake beside them instead of the castle before them. "What are you doing!" Severus softly hissed causing Lily and the other witch to turn to awkwardly gaze at Rowan and Severus.
"Did you know that there are mermaids living at the bottom of the lake?" Rowan darkly remarked. "I am just calculating the odds, that today of all days they decide to finally rebel and drag us down below to drown before ultimately feasting on our drowned corpses."
The young witch instantly snatches her hand back from the side of the boat and shivers with terror as Lily fervently whispers, "Don't jinx us, Rowan! I'm sure that won't happen!"
"I'm sure that's what their last victims said too," Rowan ominously said as she solemnly looked up from the lake at them.
Severus just rolls his eyes and quietly murmurs, "Ignore her, she tends to get rather pessimistic and paranoid, whenever she's nervous."
The young witch sighs in relief at Severus's words as a loud booming voice says, "Heads down!" Everyone heads duck down as their small boats pass through a curtain of poison ivy hanging overhanding from a cliff. The small boats pass through a hidden opening into a dark passageway for some time, before their boats gently arrive at an underground pier.
With care, they all climb out of their boats as Severus out of courtesy offer's Lily a hand down and does the same for the other witch. Of course, Severus wouldn't offer to do so for Rowan and given that Rowan had already nimbly leaped onto the pier, it would be a rather pointless action on his part.
"Stay close," Hagrid says as he and his brightly lit lamp lead the way through the mountains. In the end, they finally emerge onto a neatly trimmed grassy area in the shadow of the castle. Hagrid leads them to a massive door in the nearby distance, before scaling the front door stone steps.
Hagrid turns on the top of the stairs and says, "Everyone here?"
A chorus of voices replied, "Yes!"
Relieved, Hagrid turns back to the door and knocks thrice onto the doors. The doors swing open to reveal the thirty-five old figure of Professor McGonagall with dark hair and sharp eyes that have the beginnings of crows' feet. Her sleek hair is tightly pulled into a bun as a pair of square glasses neatly sit on the bridge of her nose. Her elegant emerald-green robes gently flutter behind her in the night breeze.
Professor McGonagall face and demeanor are strict as ever as she coolly eyes Hagrid. Hagrid hastily says, "The firs' years are all counted for and present, Professor McGonagall."
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here," Professor McGonagall said as she pulled the door open wide. The 1st years eyes widen at the size of the entrance hall that could fit an entire row of homes. The stone walls are lit with flaming torches with a ceiling so high that it can't be made out. Along the side is a magnificent staircase that faces them leads to upper floors.
Professor McGonagall motions for the children to neatly come in and form a line. Without any verbal instruction, the children neatly line up in a row as Professor McGonagall closes the door behind them. While everyone is amazed by the silver suits and the enormous brightly lit walls, Rowan eyes the castle with resigned eyes.
"So, this is where I will be spending the next few years of my life," Rowan quietly thought to herself. "Oh joy. Well, at least they have indoor plumbing. But what I wouldn't kill to have access to a cellphone and the web." Rowan bitterly thought to herself, knowing full well that the internet so to speak won't happen for another ten years, before it starts to pick up.