The front door is covered in great mistletoe and holly wreaths enchanted to form wondrous shapes, no doubt, Dawn's handy work. Rowan stumbles up the stairs behind Severus and before they can open the door, Dawn wearing holiday livery opens the door. "Welcome home, young master and mistress!" Dawn happily squeaked as the little holly decoration in her hair shake from excitement.
"Thank you, Dawn," the twins chimed as they weakly stumbled inside.
Much like Hogwarts, the halls are impeccably decorated with tinsel toe, great Christmas trees, strings of holly, and so hundreds of delicate glowing decorations. Seeing Rowan and Severus's pale faces, Dawn knowing says, "Young master and mistress, please have a seat, while Dawn grabs you a hot tea to get you back on your feet."
Rowan and Severus gratefully nod in thanks as they slump down into chairs in the great hall as Dawn only pauses to take Owyn's cage away. Not long after Reginald enters the wonderfully decorated hallway followed by two floating trunks behind him. With a wave of his wand, the trunks neatly fall to the ground as the front door shuts behind him.
A shrill peac.o.c.k cry is heard in the hallway as Reginald narrows his eyes at Fidel. Fidel arrogantly struts down the hallway with his feathers in full swing. Suddenly Fidel trembles at seeing the two figures he most heated in the world, Reginald and Rowan Prince. Fidel's feathers fearfully snap shut as Fidel does a hasty U-turn and dashes back the way he came.
A simultaneous smile appears on Reginald and Rowan faces at Fidel's vanished back. "Well, go on and greet your grandmother and Georgine," Reginald said as he turned towards them. "They're in the parlor." Before striding off to the study.
Rowan and Severus wobbly move to rise, but just in time, Dawn appears with tea and two soft, huge rolls on a platter. "Please have a drink and a roll to help settle the young master's and young mistress's stomachs," Dawn said.
Rowan and Severus graciously accept as Dawn adds, "And when you're done, just leave the cups here on the platter. Dawn will get to them in a jiffy." With a wave of her finger, Rowan and Severus's two trunks follow her tiny figure up the stairs to the twin's bedrooms.
Rowan and Severus sip the warm cider with a dash of cinnamon and let out a satisfied, "ahh." The two slowly chew on the soft rolls that help settle down their stomachs. With a final gulp of tea, the twins set their cups down and trot down to the parlor.
As they stride through the manor, Rowan and Severus even find that the portraits seem to be quite festive. Rowan and Severus even spot an enchanted portrait that changes according to the seasons. The portrait at present reveals a warm glowing cottage with newly fallen snow and a mountain in the background. Tiny children like figures in mittens build snowmen and have snowball fights.
"Huh," Rowan and Severus said in unison, before continuing on their way.
Rowan and Severus pause to peek into the open door to see an elegant room furnished in light blues and beige colors. Aunt Georgine sits at the bench of the grand pianoforte as the keyboards play on their own. "Huh, not bad," Rowan remarked at the excellent playing as Sirsa Prince embroiders some sort of handkerchief.
"I'm more surprised that she's not smoking," Severus quietly commented. Ever since the tea party incident, Severus had never quite gotten over his dislike of Aunt Georgine. Needless to say, Severus and Aunt Georgine felt exactly the same way about each other.
Rowan and Severus glance at each other in understanding before politely entering the parlor and saying, "We're back, grandmother and Aunt Georgine."
Sirsa glances up as the pianoforte ceased to play as Aunt Georgine takes an unlit cigarette at her side and begins to smoke according to Severus's remark. "Excellent, the two of you seem well," Sirsa carefully remarked as she studied the twins. "And I've heard good things from the grandchildren of other friends that the two of you are excellent in your classes and have even earned your house points the very first week."
"Yes, grandmother," Rowan and Severus chimed together.
Sirsa nods in satisfaction and says, "Well, go on and rest now. We'll be holding a grand festival gala on Christmas Eve. But until then feel free to run around and enjoy your holiday break."
"Thank you, grandmother," Severus and Rowan gleefully said, before running off to visit Sir Knight Prince.
Sirsa smiles faintly to herself and says, "Hmm, they've grown a bit. I should have Dawn make sure their clothes are lengthened just in case. Now put that cigarette out, Georgine, you know the rules!"
Aunt Georgine sniffs and puffs out one last cloud of smoke, before putting it out in a silver ashtray. "Well, as long as they stay out from under my feet, I don't care."
Sirsa wryly shakes her head and returns to her embroidery as she begins to sew once more as the excellent playing of Aunt Georgine fills the parlor room.
Rowan and Severus make their way upstairs to a small tower-like edifice that Sir Knight Prince liked to haunt. Sir Knight Prince sits at a table playing wizarding chest against himself as his mouth instructs one side and his body gesture to the moving pieces, where to go. The dashing noble face of Sir Prince Knight looks up and says, "Well if it isn't my wonderful living descendants. How was Hogwarts?"
Rowan rolls her eyes at Sir Knight Prince as he was only their many-great uncle's and not their actual bloodline grandfather. "Good," Severus replied as he studied the match.
"So, what have you been up too?" Rowan cheerfully asked.
"Oh, you know the usual," Sir Prince Knight said. "Haunting the dungeon, scarring the tail feathers off of Fidel, nothing much to recount."
Severus shakes his hand at the body of Sir Knight Prince's head as the body tactfully paused to makes a different move. Which is utterly bizarre, when one thinks about it as the ghostly body is acting as a separate entity from Sir Knight Prince's head. But then again, it was a magical ghost. Who knows what can happen after a century or two? Maybe the ghostly body of Sir Knight Prince really had gained a conscience of its own.
"You know, we never asked you, but given that the Princes have been here for centuries, why aren't there more ghosts?" Rowan asked.
"Well, one must choose to remain as a ghost and the others didn't," Sir Knight Prince solemnly replied. "As for me, I remained behind out of duty as someone must protect the family. And I was taken away too early from my life, I resolved to watch over the Prince family until is no more."
"True, but don't you get lonely?" Rowan asked as she leaned against the wall.
"At times," Sir Knight Prince said. "But the house is always full of new things and with each passing generation, I find that it's not so bad. And besides, it's not though I'm here all the time."
Rowan's eyes widen with interest and said, "Oh? Do pray and tell."
"Sorry, it's a secret," Sir Knight Prince said with a rueful wink as Rowan snorts and crosses her arms over her chest in reply.
Still, Rowan is left with an interesting look as ghosts can travel to places they've been too before. However, following that line of logic, Rowan wondered, if a ghost qualified as a type of fragmented soul much like a Horcrux? And if so, this possibly may even enable her to find a Horcrux. But to practice, how does one even place a spell on a ghost in the first place?"
Rowan is left pondering this new train of thought as the wizarding game continues and the snow begins to gently fall outside. It was quite the warm atmosphere if one were to say so.