The Sorting Ceremony was a tremendous event, where over 70 new students were sorted into the four houses. Professor Greywolf summoned the Great Eagle of Avistrum, and all four Heads of House invoked the light of their house to bring the Lights of Sorting to life. Each student stepped forward in turn to be examined by the lights and placed into one of the houses – Parador, Enigmus, Lobostro, or Colubrae.
After being sorted, the students sat at their tables to listen to the Headmaster‘s welcoming address. The first thing he did was quite a surprise. Professor Ward, who also plays professionally for the Toledo Terrrors, was honored by having his number 42 retired. This was the first time in school history that such an honor had been bestowed on a former student.
As the Headmaster continued with his remarks, Secretary of Magic Filbert Falstaff burst into the Great Hall, warning the Headmaster that he had hidden the Medallion of Akpuch inside the school, and that She was after it. He then hurriedly left, leaving the entire school perplexed as to what it all could mean. Nevertheless, the Headmaster continued his remarks, until suddenly the Great Hall began to grow very cold. Professors Ward and Aberfoyle were headed for the main gates when the lights went out, and Headmaster Dowling instructed the staff to protect the students. As quickly as it began, the disturbance ended, the lights came back up, and the room returned to normal temperature.
Attempting to continue his remarks, the Headmaster was once again interrupted, this time by an owl, also from Secretary Falstaff. With dark wizards or witches unknown in the area, he was grounding all brooms for the weekend, effectively cancelling the Quidditch tournament. Professor Ward, however, offered an idea to use a non-magical combination of devices, the television and the PlayStation 2, to stage the event after all. As the Headmaster warmed to the idea, Professor Bloodthorne calmly said that he had forseen the occurence and had already prepared the necessary equipment and posted rules for the tournament. When Dowling looked at him skeptically, he simply said, “I am the Divination teacher, after all.”
Penning a quick owl and summoning Cynthis Scriba, the school secretary, to send it to Fineus Alivan, the headmaster continued on again. The rest of his introduction went smoothly. Literally only minutes after he sent the message, a package came back from Mr. Alivan. It was a Scarlet Falcon racing broom, which was to be awarded to the winner of the Quidditch Cup.
Finally, the start of term feast began, although the students did have to serve themselves due to a small labor dispute with the house elves who run the kitchens. During dinner, several students overheard Professors Dowling, Aberfoyle, and Ward discussing whether the rest of the Dark Hunters should be summoned. The Headmaster agreed to summon them, but he would instruct them to keep a low profile.
Before dismissing the students for the evening, Professor Dowling revealed that the earlier disturbance had been caused by Dementors, and that the students should be extremely careful.
In Charms class on Saturday morning, the students learned the Unlocking Charm, practicing on a small locked cabinet that Professor Kobiyashi had set up. Each student took a turn casting “alohomora” to open the cabinet. Near the end of class, the Professor grew very troubled, and told the students that she was very worried, lest any of them come across the Medallion of Akpuch. She told them of its power to raise and control the dead, and how it amplified and focused dark magic powers. She warned that if any of them, so young and untrained in their powers, were to touch it, they might very well lose their magical abilities entirely. She showed them a drawing of the Medallion so that they would not be tempted to touch it.
After lunch, the students came to Divination class with Professor Bloodthorne. They learned about the history of Divination, the various methods of the art, and constructed divination boxes. Near the end of class, the Professor gave the students a very curious assignment – he told them he wanted an essay on how to catch leprechauns. As he was giving the assignment, Headmaster Dowling had come into the class. Seemingly suspicious of Bloodthorne, he told the students to go ahead and do the assignment, but that he, not Bloodthorne, would pick it up in Professor Ward’s Care of Magical Beasts class and grade it. He also told the students that Fineus Finbarr Fergus Flannagan Fitzgerald, the school’s resident leprechaun, had lost some of his gold, and that any student who found some of it should bring it to Cynthis Scriba, the school secretary, and they would be rewarded.
The next class for the day was Defense Against Dark Magic with Professor Dowling. Very shortly into the lecture, Professor Ward rushed in, telling the Headmaster and Professor Aberfoyle, who was present, that a Cave Troll had made its way up from the dungeons. The troll, only a baby but still extremely dangerous, came lumbering into the room, and Professor Ward immobilized it. Professor Dowling had him bring it in front of the class, and then had the idea to allow the students to practice a simple stunning hex, the Sunburst Hex, on the troll. Each student, it turn, got in position while Professor Ward held the troll in check. When they were ready, Ward released the troll, and the students cast “Solaris!” to temporarily blind and stun the troll. While the rest of class proceeded without incident, with the students making Patronus protectors, near the very end, another troll, this one a larger, adult Forest Troll, found its way into the room. The three Professors together stunned the troll and bound it, but Professor Aberfoyle was very concerned. He asked permission to search the dungeons with Professor Ward and Professor Greywolf, since two trolls within an hour was hardly coincidental.
As they filed in later that afternoon, students overheard Professors Dowling, Aberfoyle, Ward, and Kobiyashi discussing the results of the search. While the dungeons appeared to now be secure, there was no evidence of the troll’s footprints, indicating that someone had magically erased the evidence. Professor Aberfoyle said, “I don’t think it’s Her, but I have my suspicions as to who did do this,” looking wary as Professor Bloodthorne skulked in. Professor Aberfoyle’s Transfiguration class proceeded, as the students practiced reversing a transfiguration by changing rocks back into mice. In the middle of class, one of the school groundskeepers was chased into the room, wounded by an orc that had found its way onto the grounds. Professor Aberfoyle acted quickly, stunning the orc and chasing it from the castle, while Nurse Kayenta tended to the wounded groundskeeper. The presence of Dark Magic could be felt more and more. Seemingly worried, the Head Girl asked of Professor Aberfoyle and Professor Dowling, who had come in after the orc incident, “We keep hearing rumors that ‘She’ is after the Medallion. Who is She?”
The Headmaster fielded this question, telling the students about Persephone, a powerful Dark witch. She has named herself after the Greek goddess who spent half the year on earth and half in Hades. When she was above ground, the Earth had spring and summer. When she returns to spend the other half of the year with her husband Hades, the world turns to autumn and winter. This modern-day Persephone, whose real identity is unknown, fancies herself the bringer of light and warmth, Professor Dowling explained, but all she really brings is death and decay. The Headmaster then excused himself to go see how the orc had managed to get in.
At the end of class, the air once again grew cold, and the lights flickered. Already on edge from the orc incident, Professor Aberfoyle turned to the doorway and shouted “Expelliarmus!” knocking Professor Bloodthorne’s wand from his hand. Aberfoyle asked, warily, “Bloodthorne, what are you doing here?” to which Bloodthorne replied that he was simply there to announce the four finalists who would represent their houses in the Quidditch Tournament, which was starting in a half hour. Aberfoyle reluctantly lowered his wand and dismissed the students for the Quidditch Tournament.
The Tournament was a terrific event, with very evenly matched contestants. In the semi-finals, Sean Morris for Lobostro, down by 30 points to Stormy Cone of Parador, managed to catch the snitch and snatch a win 150-30. In the other match, Colubrae’s Matt Sumpter downed T.J. Howell of Enigmus to set up the finals. In the finals, Morris scored seven goals to go up 70-0 when the snitch made its appearance. Racing neck-and-neck, Sumpter executed a well-timed bump to knock Morris’ seeker off course and catch the snitch to give Colubrae the championship. In the consolation match, Howell defeated Cone to take third place for Enigmus. With the points from the Quidditch Cup figured in, Colubrae had taken a prohibitive lead in the House Cup standings as Saturday concluded.
Potions class with Professor Greywolf began normally on Sunday, but was interrupted by Professor Ward, who had caught the King of the Doxies planting Doxy eggs throughout the castle. The Headmaster asked Professor Greywolf to modify his lesson, and have the students help him make a Doxycide Potion to destroy the eggs.
By the time Professor Ward’s Care of Magical Beasts class came around, he had reached a bargain with the King of the Doxies, who calmly stood at the front of the class as the Professor pointed out his unique features, and told the class how Doxies can become more human as they grow larger and have increased contact with humans. Professor Ward then released him, allowing him to continue to make mischief so long as he didn’t plant any more eggs. As the class worked on constructing fairies of their own, Professor Bloodthorne came striding into class demanding the students’ essays on capturing leprechauns. Professor Ward said, “I thought the Headmaster was taking those.”
To this, Bloodthorne replied, “The headmaster has left, and no one knows when he’ll back.” Professor Ward reluctantly collected the essays and gave them to Bloodthorne, who stormed out again. Summoning Professor Aberfoyle, he sent him to find out what happened and send a message with Professor Dowling’s owl, Anubis.
Coming back a few minutes later, Aberfoyle told him, “Ms. Scriba said that he received a owl, apparently from Secretary Falstaff, just before your class. He left in a tremendous hurry, and he took the other Dark Hunters with him. It’s just you and me, Tyler.”
As the students filed in a couple hours later for the End of Term Cermonies, the faculty, all except Bloodthorne and Dowling, were assembled at the head table. Professors Ward, Aberfoyle, and Kobiyashi were having a troubling discussion. “Did you receive a reply from Clark yet, Polonius?” Professor Ward asked cautiously.
“No,” replied Professor Aberfoyle, “Anubis came back, but without a response. I would assume that means he got the message, but I’m worried.”
Fineus was chatting happily with the students at the Enigmus table, when Bloodthorne entered the Great Hall, and casually scattered several gold coins on the floor. As Fineus stooped to grab the coins, Bloodthorne surreptitiously picked up Fineus’ shoe shine box and started toward the front of the room.
Despite the Headmaster’s absence, Professor Kobiyashi stood to begin the Ceremony. “Students, I regret to inform you that the Headmaster has been called away on important Department of Magic business…”
“Dowling is probably gallivanting about, trying to make himself even more famous,” Bloodthorne sneered as he reached the front of the room. “But I have done something even he couldn’t do – I have found the Medallion of Akpuch!”
“Liar!” cried Fineus, running toward the head table.
“Oh yes? Then how do you explain this?” asked Bloodthorne, holding the shine box aloft. He set it back down, preparing to open it.
“Don’t do it,” cautioned Fineus, but Bloodthorne was determined. He grabbed a shoe that he had hidden underneath the table and threw it. Fineus, cursing under his breath, was forced to go retrieve the shoe and start polishing it.
“Bloodthorne, if the Medallion is in there, leave it sealed!” commanded Professor Kobiyashi.
“No! I’m going to expose Clark for the fraud he is!” cried Bloodthorne, ripping the box open and holding aloft the Medallion of Akpuch.
“Kraven, this is insane!” shouted Professor Ward. “Don’t let your old rivalry with Dowling cloud your judgment!”
The lights instantly went out, and the room began to freeze. Bloodthorne seemed as surprised as anyone else. A dark, hooded figure, clearly a Dementor, loomed in the doorway. All of the Professors at the head table stood to face the creature, but as they began to cast the Patronus Charm, they were overcome by two more Dementors who had entered through a secret passage in the back of the great hall. Professor Bloodthorne, his strength fading, threw himself in front of Professor Kobiyashi. As they both crumpled, he gasped, “He’s here!”
Headmaster Dowling strode into the Great Hall, thundering, “Expecto patronum!” As the room flooded with silver light, the Dementors were driven back, fleeing through the rear passage. As the lights returned to normal and the heat returned, the Professors slowly rose to their feet. Dowling helped Professor Kobiyashi stand up, and then offered his hand to Bloodthorne, who ignored it as he struggled to his feet.
Picking up the Medallion, Headmaster Dowling placed it back in the shoe shine box, and handed it to Fineus, instructing him, “Put this under the you-know-what, and don’t let Lysander see where you put it.” Fineus nodded and scurried out.
“Well, students, I think we can safely say that the Dementors have been driven away now, and you are safe. So, let’s get on with it. It’s time to award the House Cup!”
The shroud over the scoreboard was thrown back to reveal the final standings – Parador with 395 points, Enigmus with 445, Lobostro with 475 points, and Colubrae in the lead with 485 points. “Well done, all of you,” Professor Dowling said. “However, there are some final points that still have to be tallied. Four of you found some of Fineus’ gold and returned it. You still need to be rewarded. To the three students from Parador who found gold, 20 points each.” This raised Parador’s score to 455, moving them into third place ahead of Enigmus. “And to the student from Lobostro who found three different coins, plus one of the missing shoes, another 20 points. And if my math is correct, we should all applaud our House Cup winners, with 495 points, Lobostro!”
The room thundered with applause, even from some of the more generous Colubrae students, as Professor Bloodthorne looked on in dismay, apparently not having foreseen this turn of events.