The Great Hall looked as splendid as usual decorated for the start-of-term feast. Golden plates and goblets gleam under the candlelight of hundreds upon hundreds of floating candles in midair. The three of them take a seat and politely nod to the Bloody Baron sitting a distance away from them. The pearly, white, transparent Bloody Baron nods his head at them at having been given his proper dues, unfortunately, this caused the silver stains on him to eerily move.
Terry scanned the staff table and said, "Spot the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor yet?"
"There he is! He's sitting next to Professor Kettleburn," Severus pointed out causing Rowan to glance in the direction. The tan figured of Professor Kettleburn was speaking to an older wizard with deep lines under his eyes and dimples. From the looks of it the new professor seemed to be rather serious and experienced, but with a good disposition.
"He doesn't look too bad," Terry commented as they all nodded in agreement.
At this juncture, the girls arrive as they begin to catch about what happened during their summer. Tiffany most happily talked to Rowan about her vacation in France and Italy, while Silvia and Bethanie discussed the Quidditch cup with Terry and Severus.
Glancing upward, Rowan half-listened to Tiffany and muttered appropriate responses at regular intervals. The enchanted ceiling had never looked quite so stormy. Black and purple clouds were swirling across it as another thunderclap sounded outside. A streak of lightning flashed across the terrible night sky.
Feeling a wave of pity for the poor 1st years, Rowan hopes that their boats didn't capsize in the wind and fierce waves while sailing across the black lake. Probably not, but still it would be just their luck. She idly wondered if it would be better to drown slowly or quickly. Quickly she would hope would be less painful, but then again, drowning was one of the worst ways to go.
Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster stared into the distance, while his sweeping silver hair and beard shined beneath the candlelight. His magnificent deep green robes were embroidered with many stars and moons. The tips of Dumbledore's long, thin fingers were together, and he was resting his chin upon them. His blue eyes were rather somber behind his half-moon spectacles as if contemplating some great thought. But then again, he might just be hungry.
The Great Hall fell silent as the doors opened to reveal Professor McGonagall and the long line of utterly drenched first years. The poor 1st years looked as though they had swum across the lake rather than sailed. The 1st years were all shivering from the cold. And not a single professor had dried the poor things. At least none of them had drowned or fallen off the boat and that was always a good thing all things considered. After all, safety was always considered secondary while attending Hogwarts.
The sorting hat began its usual song, which Rowan blocked out with her earplugs. Once it was done, she subtly removed them and tuned out most of the sorting. She'd politely claps when needed and faintly cheers for those sorted into her house. At last, the sorting was done when Professor McGonagall picked up the hat and the stool to carry them away.
Professor Dumbledore rose to his feet and smiled. "I only have two words for all of you this evening," he loudly said. "Tuck in!"
The ravenous students instantly dig in as food appeared on their plates. With a happy smile, Rowan picked her favorite bits as she enjoyed the rich flavors. She must admit the House Elves were superb at their jobs. They really did deserve a pay raise.
Finally, the last of the desserts were cleared away leaving the dishes sparkling clean. Albus Dumbledore rose to his feet again as the buzz in the Great Hall faded away only leaving behind the howling of the wind and rain from outside. "And now that we are all fed and watered, I must ask for a bit more of your attention, while I give out a few notices," Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eye.
"Firstly, Mr. Filch, the caretaker has asked me to tell you that the objects now forbidden to the castle this year include Fanged Frisbees. The list of banned items so far comprises of some one hundred and thirty-two items. The full list can be naturally viewed in Mr. Filch's office if anyone wishes to check it." Quite the number of students make a fact at the remark, because, who in their right mind would ever dare to visit Filch's office of their own free will and choice?
"As usual I would like to remind you all that the forest on the grounds is out of bounds as is the village of Hogsmeade to all those below the third year," Dumbledore mouth twitched as if to hide a smile. "And that the Whomping Willow is to be left alone."
Turning to the side of the room, Dumbledore says, "It is with great honor I introduce Professor Lye, a retired Auror, who will be the newest professor for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position." The entire student body politely claps as the older gentlemen stood up and waved at them, before sitting back down. The clapping quickly fades away as everyone returns to staring at the figure of the headmaster.
"Now it is also my painful duty to inform you that the Inter-House Quidditch Cup will not be taking place this year!" Gasps of shock fill the room especially from the Slytherin side as they were counting on Regulus Black to avenge them this year.
"This is due to an event that will be starting in October, and continuing throughout the school year, taking up much of the teacher's time and energy but I am sure that you will enjoy it immensely. I have the great pleasure to announce that this year at Hogwarts-."
Rowan's stomach flops as she quickly begins to do math in her head. The Triwizard cup was theoretically every five years with the last known tournament being held in the future, 1994. Counting backward from 1994, exactly four years consecutively, she gets the following years: 1989,
1984, 1979, and 1974. Her face turns sickly green for a moment, of course, this would be the year.
Taking a deep breath, Rowan calms her nerves. Everything would be fine. She was in her fourth year and couldn't participate. And by the time, 1979 rolled around, she'd have graduated from Hogwarts. What could possibly go wrong?
"-We are to have the honor of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held in over a century. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year." The room is filled with scattered applause as most of the school body seems to be utterly crushed.
"The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang.
A champion was selected to represent each school and the three champions competed in three magical tasks. The schools took it in turns to host the tournament once every five years, and it was generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities until, that is, the death toll mounted so high that the tournament was discontinued." There is a heavy silence as even the Gryffindor's are unnerved at the words, death toll.
"There have been several attempts over the centuries to reinstate the tournament," Dumbledore continued, "none of which has been very successful. However, our won departments of International Magical Cooperation and Magical Games and Sports have decided the time is ripe for another attempt. We have worked hard over the summer to ensure that this time, no champion will find himself or herself in mortal danger."
"The heads of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang will be arriving with their short-listed contenders in October, and the selection of the three champions will take place during the Halloween Feast. An impartial judge will decide which students are most worthy to compete for the Triwizard Cup, the glory of their school, and a thousand Galleons personal prize money!"
Excited whispers sprang out between the older students as they seemed rather enthusiastic at the prospect of glory and riches. Rowan, on the other hand, shook her head. Even if she'd been able to participate, she would have never attempted it. Who'd willingly put themselves into a Death Trap?