As October passed by the leaves turned orange as the grounds grew that much chillier. Early bursts of frost could be seen across the lawn in the early mornings that would melt by the noonday sun. The closer the 30th drew nearer the more that the topic of the Triwizard Tournament seemed to become the sole topic of conversation. Rumors were flying about who was going to try for the Hogwarts Champion. Which house the Champion was going to be from? Or if there were going to be any deaths this year? Not to mention, what were the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students like?
Rowan had noticed that the castle seemed to be undergoing an extra-through cleaning. Not just from seeing several grimy portraits cleaned to the displeasure of the inhabitants. The suits of armor were suddenly gleaming and moving without squeaking. Argus Filch, the caretaker growled at any student who dared to forget to wipe the mud off their shoes. More than a few first-year girls as a result had ended up in tears. But more importantly, she noticed that the house elves were always rushing about even at night when she went to visit Nadira.
Although the members of the staff seemed to be oddly tense. Rowan hadn't been present as she no longer took herbology. But she'd heard from Severus and Terry that Professor Sprout actually snapped at one of her Hufflepuffs after a Bouncing Bulb escaped and attacked one of the other students. Even her own house students were in shock as Professor Sprout never snapped at them. Needless to say, the errant student not only received detention, but even lost them ten points. The poor thing was in tears by the end of the class.
When they went down to breakfast on the morning of the thirtieth of October, they found that the Great Hall had been decorated overnight. Enormous silk banners hung from the walls, each of them representing a Hogwarts House: red with gold lion for Gryffindor, blue with a bronze eagle for Ravenclaw, yellow with a black badger for Hufflepuff, and green with a silver serpent for Slytherin. Behind the teacher's table, the largest banner of al bore the Hogwarts coat of arms: lion, eagle, badger, and snake united around a large letter H.
Rowan happily ate two plates full of delicious crepes with chocolate hazelnut spread and whipped cream for breakfast. Never mind the sugar, she was sure to burn it off by noon! Though she wasn't the only one who was a bit twitchy that day for entirely different reasons. There was a feeling of anticipation in the very air that day. Nobody was very attentive in lessons, being much more interested in the arrival that evening of the students from Beauxbatons, and Drumstrang.
Since Professor Dumbledore had did indeed canceled their Mermish lesson for that day, Rowan and Severus were playing chess in the common room, when the four-year Slytherins emerged from potions. Luckily unlike the Gryffindors who had to climb all the way up to the tower and then come back down again, the Slytherins only had to make their way to their quarters. Severus was winning, when Terry burst into the common room ran upstairs to the boy's dorm to deposit his school bag, before running back down.
"You'll never guess what happened in Potions today?!" Terry breathlessly exclaimed as four-year Slytherins trailed in and stopped at the snack table to grab a cup of tea and biscuits for themselves, before retreating with their goodies in hand, and having a seat.
"Someone got hurt?" Rowan and Severus answered in unison without even glancing up.
"No!" Terry frowned. "Professor Slughorn invited Lily to the Slug Club."
"Really?" Severus brightly said as he glanced up. If that was the case, he for sure going to attend Slughorn's dinner parties!
"Yup and she said, yes," Terry said with a twinkle in his eye, before retreating temporarily to grab himself a cup of tea and preparing just the way he liked it. Sipping on his hot tea, he takes a sip in satisfaction, before returning with a plateful of biscuits to share.
Rowan nods her thanks as Severus is happily smiling to himself with a crooked grin at the good news from Terry. Seeing that her twin is distracted, Rowan mercilessly took advantage and took his Queen. With a smirk on her face, Rowan shares a knowing glance with Terry. If Severus still didn't get the guts after this, then he was totally doomed. Severus would never escape the friendzone.
Within the next three moves, Rowan took Severus's King as he was much too distracted to maintain a proper defense. Seeing the time was close, they put their teacups and plates away, before making sure to brush any crumbs off their clothes and faces. Grabbing their cloaks, the three of them as instructed headed out to the entrance hall. The Heads of Houses were already ordering their students into lines.
Rowan, Severus, and Terry chatted as the girls arrived not long after. The three of them chatted about random things as they heard Professor McGonagall in the line over snapping at her students. Professor Slughorn was much demure about the entire situation as he merely just pointed out what needed to be fixed. Finally, everyone was in line according to their years with the first years at the front.
"Follow me, please," said Professor Slughorn. "Remember, we are Slytherins and as such as I expect all of you properly comport yourselves. And first years, please no pushing no fidgeting. We must show proper decorum no matter how bored one might be!"
They filed down the steps and lined up in front of the castle. It is a cold, clear evening dusk was falling, and a pale, transparent looking moon was already shinning over the Forbidden Forest. Standing in the fourth row from the front given their year, Rowan stood between Terry and Severus. Terry, on the other hand, stood next to Tiffany as both Bethanie and Silvia were taller than him.
"Nearly six," Terry commented as he glanced down at his watch and then at the path to the front gates. "How do you think they are coming from, Rowan?"
"Why are you asking her?" Severus said with a frown.
"Because Rowan always seems to know about these things and is never wrong," Terry matter-of-factly stated. "So, Rowan, what will it be?"
"Beauxbatons will come from the sky and Durmstrang from the lake," Rowan replied causing Severus to choke as Terry looks on with interest.
Puzzling out her answer, Terry says, "Sky? So probably a flying carriage of some sort. And from the lake? I'd hazard to guess an enchanted boat of some kind. Interesting."
"They could always portkey!" Severus hissed as Rowan stared at him as though he was stupid causing Severus to redden like a tomato.
"You can't apparate inside Hogwarts ground, mate," Terry smirked as he clapped Severus across the shoulders. Severus sullenly begins to pout as Terry and Rowan don't bother to hide their snickering.
"Know it all's," Severus grumbled under his breath as Terry and Rowan rolled their eyes at him. If anyone was a know it all, it would be Severus!
"Aha!" Dumbledore could be heard saying form the back row where he stood with the other teachers. "Unless I am very much mistaken, the delegation from Beaxubatons approaches!"
"Where?!" Said, many of the students eagerly glancing around in all different directions.
"There!" Screamed, a sixth-year pointing in the direction over the forest.
Something large, very, very large was hurtling across the deep blue sky towards the castle, growing larger with each passing second. "It's a dragon!" Shrieked one of the first-year girls.
"Don't be stupid, it's a flying house-," remarked a second-year behind her.
The second-year wasn't too far off the bat as a gigantic black shape skimmed over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest as the lights from the castle finally came upon it. It was a gigantic, powder blue, horse-drawn carriage with large flying winged horses, all palominos the size of elephants, soaring towards them.
The front three rows of students drew backward as the carriage hurtled ever lower coming into land at a tremendous speed. The third-year girl in front of Rowan jumped back as Rowan easily caught her. The third-year girl blushed and stammered an apology as she straightened back up.
A second later, the carriage landed, bouncing upon its vast wheels, while the golden horses tossed their enormous heads and rolled their large, fiery-red eyes. The powder blue carriage doors bore a coat of arms (two crossed, golden wands each emitting three stars). The door opened causing everyone to hold their breaths.