Author Note: Hey :) So I’ve had a busy week! Hopefully you’ll see that the story is in the process of being edited but only slightly. At some point tonight – if I’m not too busy – I should be putting up edited chapters 1-5, all that has changed is that Ch 1 has a few more sentences here and there, the punctuation has been un-shoddified and also Chapter Titles and quotes at the beginning are being added purely to jazz them up a bit. So the story is in limbo a bit, don’t worry though I’m still updating with new chapters, that won’t be disrupted just excuse half-editing as I work on it.
I also branched out and wrote a one-shot! So I’m doing some blatant plugging I’m afraid, it’s the first of anything I’ve written outside RC so I was pretty terrified but overall I really am pleased with it. It isn’t very long so if any of you can spare a few minutes and take a look I’d love you forever, it’s on my author page and called “Flawless”. I’d really like your guys’ feedback.
Anyway, enough ranting, here’s Chapter 15. Please enjoy, thank you so much for reading and if you have a second please leave a review because I love to hear what you think. Thank you all for being amazing!
15 – Unexpected Happenings:
“When danger approaches, sing to it.”
“Rose!” Albus shouted, his voice nearly drowned out by the sound of his clattering footsteps down the hallway as he ran after his red-headed cousin. Rose turned on hearing her name, rolling her eyes as she saw an eager Albus pursuing her.
“Hey Albus, everything ok?” she asked as he drew up beside her and adopted her walking pace. “Party...my birthday...next week,” he panted out, still catching his breath. Rose frowned at him before she replied.
“Next week, as in next Thursday, on your actual birthday?”
“Yep,” Albus replied happily.
“When we’re up in the middle of goodness-knows-where climbing mountains?” Rose clarified. Albus nodded hurriedly back at her, a grin commonplace on his lips.
“Me and James reckoned the “team-building” could do with a bit of livening up. So, seeing as it’s my birthday and all, we thought a party was in order.”
“Where?” Rose asked.
“Somewhere close by...” Albus answered, not entirely sure. Rose sighed but smiled at her cousin, knowing when he and James got together and planned something there was no preventing it. “Sounds good,” she said with a laugh, “I’ll be there.” Albus winked.
“I knew you wouldn’t let us down,” he commented with a laugh, slinging an arm around her shoulders and hugging her briefly as they left the warmth of the Hogwarts ship and found themselves walking over the Durmstrang grounds towards the area dedicated to Herbology class.
As they approached yet another area of the seemingly identical rocky, grass covered landscape they both stopped and Rose withdrew her wand. She flicked it at the ground beneath her feet, clearly saying “Recludo”. The moment the words had left her lips a heavy grinding sound was heard as the stony surface began to roll back like a carpet, revealing an earthy, worn staircase down into darkness. Albus sighed.
“Seriously, did they never think that maybe the secrecy thing was going a little too far?” he commented as they descended into the muggy humid air underground. Practically speaking it wasn’t possible to have Herbology lessons on the ship, it was much better in the open air so unknowingly Professor Quila had asked that the students be able to use the Durmstrang Herbology facilities.
As a result, Rose and Albus were only too used to joining their fellow students down in the underground classroom, hidden entirely from view, ready to pursue another lesson taught by the over-nervous Professor Kendler who at present was stood at the front of the “classroom” her eyes scanning the class with worry.
Albus and Rose sat down on one of the long benches which rested down the middle of classroom on either side of large work surfaces covered in soil, leaves and petals which were stained brown with bruises long dead. The walls were bare earth and light came from thin stripes cut into the ceiling of the room which reached the open air, although invisible from outside.
The slants of winter sunshine provided enough light to work by, but too little to be comfortable in and only increased the dark, dankness of the atmosphere.
The room was half empty; Professor Quila had decided after several...incidents... that Professor Kendler could best handle smaller classes and so split the Seventh Year Herbology group in half, leaving two classes of just over ten people each.
Consequently Rose settled herself happily on the wide expanse of bench she and Albus shared, nobody but a blonde haired Ravenclaw at the end making any claims on their space. Professor Kendler cleared her throat shakily which had no effect on the few people in the class who were talking.
“Class!” she said hesitantly, trying to increase the volume of her high-pitched voice and not succeeding.
“Class, I’m...I’m ready to begin.” Still failing to grasp any sense of control over the persistent students she tapped her wand on the table top before her and sent red sparks into the air. Reluctantly everybody turned to face the front and dropped their conversations until later as they eyed their teacher who looked like she regretted getting their attention now it was all focussed on her. Self-consciously she laughed to herself and coughed nervously.
“Well class. Today we’ll be looking at something new: the Fristleweed plant.” She swished her wand quickly through the air causing numerous plants to fly from low tables shrouded in darkness at the back of the room.
Two large pots landed thunderously in front of Albus and Rose who eyed its contents suspiciously. The top of the terracotta container was obscured largely by dark green vines which were covered, on closer inspection, by hundreds of miniscule furry hairs. Large yellow umbrella-like flowers bloomed magnificently from the top facing upwards in the vain hope of seeking out some of the illusive sunshine, small leaves decorating the many stems.
Rose smiled at the plant, craning her neck to see the flower more clearly and noticing its bright red centre which shone vividly in its lemon coloured petal bed. Gently she stroked a finger over the outside of the vines which felt soft like velvet, her plant made a slight noise almost as if purring at her touch.
She took this to be positive and traced the stem of the flower down to its base in a tangled pile of creepers in the midst of which she could see deep midnight blue petals gleaming against the green foliage. As her fingers neared it the vines suddenly whipped up in a frenzy, wrapping possessively around her arm and attempting to drag it down into the pot.
“Professor!” Rose called out, attempting to pull back her arm.
“In a moment, dear,” Professor Kendler answered, busy talking to somebody else in the class. Rose started to panic as the entire plant appeared to change shape before her eyes, the yellow flower flapping flimsily before it fell to the ground as a blue flower rose from the surface of the pot, opening its petals massively to reveal a bright coloured middle with two dots like sinister eyes.
Albus was laughing uproariously as his cousin struggled to avoid being dragged into the pot by a plant half her size whose ropey creepers seemed to be extending by the minute and covering the entirety of her visible flesh, the flower seemingly watching her.
“Professor!” Rose half screamed, throwing a handful of soil she scraped from the pot with a free hand at the back of the older woman’s head.
“Miss Weasley!” she said angrily, turning towards her.
“Oh,” she said, her expression changing instantly as she saw Rose’s predicament, “no need to panic! Just sing to it.” Rose stared incredulously at woman with jet black hair in front of her.
“Sing to it?!” she yelled. “It’s a plant!”
“Plants have feelings too,” came the insistent reply.
Suddenly the Professor cleared her throat loudly and sang triumphantly to the class; her voice stumbling over notes and screeching throughout the rhythm. Slowly the plant’s grip on Rose ceased and Rose hurriedly sat back on the bench, shifting herself backwards away from the plant which hypnotically, like a snake being charmed, returned to its pot, the blue flower hiding once more and a new yellow one shining brightly.
As the Professor finished her song amidst the Fristleweed’s happy purring Rose glared at her angrily. “So class, Miss Weasley has just demonstrated perfectly the habits of the Fristleweed plant. It is a very demanding plant, loving company and kindness towards it however if provoked it will change instantly, the feelers become much longer, the pot expands and the flower is replaced by that in navy blue.
“When this happens the person responsible for upsetting the plant will be dragged into the pot and suffocated, unless stopped by calming it down again. So you see, Miss Weasley, all you needed to do was act kindly.”
“I was acting kindly!” Rose defensively said. “All I was doing was having a look what was in the creepers.”
“Well then,” the impossible teacher replied, “there you have it, would you like people poking around in your pot without permission? I think not.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rose whipped the piece of parchment which had drifted slowly to the floor back up into her outstretched hand and scanned her eyes hurriedly over the list searching for anything she had missed.
She grabbed a thick blue pen off her desk and ticked beside every item accounted for, scowling at those not yet found. Her case was thankfully small due to yet another new charm learnt by Dawn which allowed Rose to shrink all her belongings before packing them. She threw a pair of socks into the open case, scrawling a number onto her paper as she kept count.
Only that morning, on the tenth of January, had itinerary lists been delivered to every student, telling them exactly what they needed to bring with them on their “venture” for which they were to leave in only a few hours.
Despite invariably ending up behind, Rose always liked to do things in advance, and the delayed start on packing did nothing to soothe her fraught nerves. She’d finally reached the end of the list, leaving her only with books to decide over.
Ever since she had entered the Triwizard Tournament she’d been reading up on as much as possible regarding anything which could come up; at the moment she was focussing on the books she had gotten from her parents at Christmas and so tipped them all into the bag she had laid out, twitching her wand to shrink them instantly.
On an afterthought she rifled through the dark wooden box she had also received from her parents and withdrew the silky smooth fabric of her invisibility cloak, folding it carefully up and adding that to her possessions as well, just in case of emergencies.
She looked through her list once more, making a final check and noticing she had missed something. She lay down on the floor and crawled under her bed, searching through all manner of things which had, over time, accumulated down there. She pulled out a broomstick, her Shooting Star 3000, and quickly decreased its size and weight, causing it to join her already packed things.
She frowned at the list and wondered why she would need a broom for this trip. Shrugging it off, she finally closed her full bag and threw it over the hook on her bedroom door laughing as it crashed loudly in direct contrast to its small size.
She walked over to her open window, she always found packing to be hot work and needed some amount of the cold breeze from outside to keep her sane through the process. She comfortably sat sideways on the wide window-seat, her knees pulled up to her chest as two pale bare feet rested against the soft cushions beneath her, her toes curling against the textured fabric as she rested a cheek against the chilly glass pane.
She listened as the wind whistled through the gap in the window, slightly rattling the frame as it did so; the Durmstrang grounds were otherwise immersed in a deep silence. Rose had never seen wildlife around the formidable institute, not a single bird, rabbit or even thestrals or centaurs like at Hogwarts.
The landscape surrounding the school had remained resolutely quiet since her arrival and she found it unnerving as she sat and found herself constantly expecting to hear the sound of birdsong tumbling over the air sweetly.
Deep hazel eyes sparkling, she watched undisturbed, hearing only the water of the lake lapping gently against its grassy banks. The statuesque trees across the expanse of pale blue rippling liquid barely seemed to be affected by the persuasive wind but still rustled strangely, sounding almost as if each tree were whispering to its neighbour.
Rose sighed heavily as she watched. She undeniably was enjoying the experience of being in a new place and being part of such a historic and monumental Tournament, she wouldn’t change this year for anything.
Yet, she couldn’t help but miss Hogwarts, there was something about the old stone castle which didn’t feel imposing or aggressive like Durmstrang, but comfortable and homey. It was a place she had never felt alone, out of place, worried or scared because there was something inbuilt in the very walls of the place – in the atmosphere – which was just so different from anywhere else she had been.
It had that uncanny knack of meaning everything to everybody, regardless of who they are or where they are from. It didn’t discriminate, judge, intimidate or attack; it was just there, experiencing the good times and the bad; the births and the deaths; the rises and the falls.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rose gasped loudly, shocked by the absolutely breathtaking sight in front of her. She had been transported in one of many groups by portkey to their trip destination, where they would be spending the next week. In front of her was a vast mountain range, she and her group stood at the bottom where the ground was still grassy and fresh, interrupted by pale brown muddy patches of chalky thick soil with sat in great lumps, heavy and solid beneath her feet.
Ahead of her was a deep crevasse in the ground forming a rudimentary path leading towards the snow topped mountain peaks ahead of them, the pure white snow startlingly bright against the dull earth.
The wind whipped around them as they stood on the open ground, waiting for the other students to join them. Dawn, Hannah and Rose were sticking together whilst they could, before they were separated for the week in-keeping with the school co-operation plans.
Various pops, thuds and shouts from behind her told Rose that people were quickly arriving at their location, all falling quiet as they observed their incredible surroundings.
“Maybe this won’t be so bad after all,” Hannah commented in awe as she eyed the snowy track ascending into the high altitude. Other people were obviously agreeing with her as they whispered excitedly together, a far cry from the previous less than enthusiastic reception this trip had received.
Soon the barren landscape was scattered with numerous groups and the three school Heads appeared, striding away from everybody to stand on a slightly elevated ridge in front of the beautiful mountainous backdrop; a natural silence fell.
“As you will all be able to see we have arrived at the mountain range where we will all be spending the next week, taking part in activities to bring together our schools,” Professor Arcenau began, his hands clasped together as he spoke.
“Firstly, we will announce the teams.” He took from Professor Volkov a long scroll of parchment and began to read, reciting a person from each house who would form a team. The people called reluctantly left their friends and awkwardly stood with their fellow team-mates.
It was a substantial amount of time before any of Rose’s immediate friends were called, it was Scorpius first who was joined with the stunning Clarette Laroche from Beauxbatons who look suspiciously like a Veela and a brown haired girl from Durmstrang, Savina Ortoff. Slowly but surely everybody began to be separated, Albus teaming up with two boys from the other houses, Hannah with a boy and girl.
Dawn was called soon after and quickly made her way over to the brooding Tristan Benoit and bubbly Lara Borodin, whose infectious giggles could be heard clearly by everybody. Rose was soon standing alone with the last few people, not paying much attention and picking insistently at her fingernails.
She was suddenly jerked out of her trance by the sound of Professor Arcenau’s soft voice saying, “Rose Weasley from Hogwarts with Jerard Chevalier from Beauxbatons and Ivan Litvak of Durmstrang.” He raised his head, smiling as Rose did the same, scanning around for her two team members.
A tall boy with rich chestnut coloured hair and bright amber eyes gave a smile as he walked confidently over to her, offering his hand as he got nearer.
“Jerard Chevalier,” he said in a thick French accent, a dimple settling into his left cheek as he smiled at her, his hand lingering in hers for a moment. The Durmstrang student, Ivan, sauntered over with his nose high in the air and an expression of distaste on his face.
“Ivan Litvak,” he said sharply as he joined them, not offering a hand or any kind of polite greeting. As soon as he had spoken he turned his back on them, firmly facing the hilly landscape.
The Beauxbatons Headmaster soon finished reeling off the list of names and Professor Quila took over speaking, informing them all that all of the teams would be split into three big groups – each led a different way through the mountains by a Headmaster or Headmistress as space would be limited meaning it would be near impossible to find enough ground to accommodate all the teams, particularly at night.
At this announcement Rose looked quickly across at Dawn and Hannah to see them looking equally worried as the teams began to be grouped together, separating Rose and her team members from all of Rose’s Hogwarts friends. Dawn and Hannah were soon guided off along with Albus’s team and numerous others by Professor Quila walking directly to the left, Hannah sending Rose a sad wave as she went.
Rose saw James across from her with two excited looking girls and Hugo just next to him as they too was taken away by a teacher – this time Professor Volkov along with various other students Rose vaguely recognised. This left her being led by Professor Arcenau, when looking around herself for any sign of a familiar face she groaned slightly in her throat, recognising instantly Eve’s dark hair a few teams away from her.
Professor Arcenau began to walk, leaving them to follow at he took a path directly in front of them which wound curvaceously through the gradual rise and fall of mountains large and small. The ground was hard and rocky and took time to climb over in the near vertical gradient; Rose soon found herself thankful for her small bag but wished she’d worn less winter clothes as she felt sweat slipping down her forehead.
Soon they came to even ground making the walk much easier now having more breath, people – although keeping largely to their groups of three – began talking much more to each other. Jerard was the first to speak in their small group.
“So, you are the ‘ogwarts Champion?” he asked Rose, his soft eyes fixed on hers as they walked.
“I am,” Rose replied, searching desperately in her mind for a question to ask in return before the conversation became awkward and dried up. Luckily for her Jerard proceeded as soon as she had spoken.
“I ‘ave ‘eard about you from my friend Alexandre and of course saw you in ze First Task. You did very well, you must be pleased?” Rose nodded, glad to have a distraction from the walking and the cold which had crept up on her.
“You know Alexandre? He seems very nice, I’ve spoken to him a few times. He did very well in the First Task too.” Jerard nodded his head in agreement. As the terrain became steep once more the conversation dwindled, all focus being on making their way resolutely upwards.
Rose glanced at Ivan to see his eyes fixed ahead, unmoving, as he walked on almost robotically. More snow was scattered across the ground the higher they got and Rose found she needed all her concentration just to carry on moving, her eyes dotting from either side of their path, choosing the safest, driest route.
As Rose heaved herself up onto a lump of rocky mud ahead it crumbled beneath her foot and she found herself stumbling wildly backwards before Jerard’s hand shot out, grabbing hers, and steadying her. She looked round at him as his hand still held hers.
“Thankyou,” she said, the relief obvious in her voice. However Jerard was slightly distracted his eyes looking in front of them and scanning anxiously over the crowd of people.
“Jerard?” Rose said gently. “Is everything ok?” His eyes snapped back to her. “Of course!” he answered, his smile once more in place, his eyes firmly on hers. “Everything is just fine.”
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