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Hello everybody! Sorry it's been soooooo long since I updated BUT I have a good reason. I did have a little bit on writers block, but more importantly I have other exciting things going on in my life! I'm now studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland where JKR, the queen herself, wrote most of the Harry Potter books! So now that I'm here and settled, maybe I can channel some of her talent and creativity into my writing, and hopefully get more chapters out faster :) Thanks for being patient with me, and hope you like this chapter (and if you do please review!)

I had been dreading this day. I willed the time to pass by slower, but it only sped up. I have been at Hogwarts for one week, which meant that today the competitors would be chosen for the Valor Championship.

I woke up easily, before the rest of the Ilvermorny girls. The dorm was quiet and the sun had just started peeking out from behind the horizon. I quietly walked to the bathroom.

My hair was messier than usual, probably because I had been tossing and turning in my sleep all night. I looked determinedly at myself in the mirror - I decided I needed a pep talk, and who better to give it to me than myself?

I looked at myself sternly in the mirror, “Ella, you have to enter. You came all the way here from fucking Massachusetts, don’t let it be for nothing. You probably won’t even be chosen anyways so you’re getting freaked out over nothing. You don’t have to stay invisible.”

There was a knock at the door and I snapped to attention, hoping whoever it was hadn’t heard me talking to myself.

“Sorry, just a minute!”

I scrambled to throw my hair into a messy ponytail. I splashed some water on my face, and opened the door. A very tired looking Katie was waiting on the other side. I looked at her uneasily.

“Good morning Katie?” It came out more like a question than a greeting.

Looking at anything but me, she awkwardly said, “Morning,” then proceeded to scurry into the bathroom.

Quickly closing the for behind her, we didn’t have a chance to actually speak. Of course she did this purposely, as she had been avoiding me all week. 

Back in the dorm, the other girls were waking up. Not wanting to deal with the inevitable excitement and chatter of the day quite yet, I pulled on my robes silently and made my way downstairs for an early breakfast. 

Most of this week I had been eating meals with Scorpious and Albus. Today I sat alone, barely able to get down a piece of toast. I didn’t want to talk to anyone today, it would only stress me out more. The worst part was not knowing how the champions would be selected; would we have to duel? Would we have our talents tested already? Or would it be as simple as a sorting ceremony? 

The great hall was quickly filling up. The air of anticipation throughout the whole school was obvious. The younger students were excited to see who would be chosen and what the competition would entail; the seventh years were excited but in a different respect. 

I saw Katie and Vanessa sitting closely with their heads together, probably discussing which boys they hoped would be selected. I look towards the Slytherin table, where Albus is animately explaining something to Scorpious. They both see me and give me enthusiastic waves. 

Potter was sitting alone at the Gryffindor table. I would have expected him to be bragging about how he was sure to be chosen, loudly and with an audience, but instead he had nobody around him, not even Fred. Interesting. 

Once the entire school was in the Great Hall and nearly everyone had finished eating, McGonagall stood up and the food immediately vanished. Professor Thisbon gracefully rose from his own seat at the staff table and accompanied McGonagall in addressing the students. 

“We know we did not give you all very much information regarding the Valor Championship,” McGonagall took the lead, “and we won’t be able to tell you everything until our champions are chosen. What I can tell you all now is the winning prize of this competition.”

Everyone quieted down, we were all curious as to what the elusive prize was for the Valor Champion. The school had been buzzing all week with guesses and ideas about the prize. Scorpious realistically guessed it would just be gold, Albus hoped it would be a dragon.

“The winner of the Valor Championship will receive 1000 Galleons - or the American equivalent. Of course they will also gain glory and recognition for winning such a tournament. This was the only prize for the Triwizard tournament. However, this time we have added another prize. If the winner decides to study at a secondary institution or apply for a selective program after graduation, we have been working with both the British and American ministries to ensure a spot will be given to the champion wherever their future leads them.”

I hard some impressed whistles, and chatter broke out after hearing this news. Winning the Valor Championship could open so many doors for me. I hadn’t thought about my future too much because I knew my fathers reputation would hinder what I could do, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But if I won, nobody would turn me away. I leaned forward in anticipation, I was anxious to know how the champions would be chosen.

Thisbon took over, “As you all know, the ceremony to decide the champions is happening today.”

This statement was greeted by enthusiastic applause, almost entirely made up of the younger students who would get to enjoy the championship rather than potentially take part in it. 

Thisbon put his hand up to quiet down the room, “Yes, yes, I know. Very exciting.” He paused, “And although it is exciting, the seventh years should take note that it will be difficult and it will be dangerous. They should not enter this competition lightly. With that in mind, I will let the lovely Professor McGonagall explain how the rest of today will work.”

She nodded at him. “As soon as we finish giving out instructions, we will all proceed to the black lake together. All seventh years who wish to enter the competition will be asked to step forward once we are down there. Then, we will begin.”

Both Thisbon and McGonagall made their way towards the large oak doors. The students quickly responded and stood up, following the leaders of their schools. Automatically, I followed the crowd out of the hall and across the grounds. 

I was getting more and more nervous as we approached the lake. The dark glassy surface was eerily still. The gray clouds above me were haunting and there was a slight chill in the air. I pulled my robes tighter around me. As we got closer I noticed there were seats surrounding one side on the water, and a very small platform floating in front of them. 

The teachers sat in the first row, and the students filled in behind them. The seventh years awkwardly stood aside as nobody had instructed us on where to go. All McGonagall had said was to “step forward”, but step forward where? When?

As if reading my mind, McGonagall looked at the group of us and waved her wand, conjuring a narrow bridge connecting the floating platform to the shore. The rest of the students were still getting situated in their seats, and in our group nobody moved. I sure as hell wasn’t going to be the first one to go.

A tall girl from the back made her way to the bridge. She flicked her long, silverly-blonde hair over her shoulder and almost like a model walking down a runway, strutted down the bridge. That was everyone else’s cue.

One by one the seventh years walked across the bridge, and I noticed all the people who were entering. Right after the blonde girl Katie and Vanessa went. I noticed Fred Weasley go, then Chase. David followed Chase, and after him followed the rest of the Ilvermorny students, besides me. Some more Hogwarts people went after that but I didn’t know who they were. 

The only people left on the shore were me and James Potter. We both seemed to realize it at the same time. We made eye contact and I could tell he was nervous, there was fear in his eyes. I glimpsed that other side of James Potter for split second, then he want back to normal. He gave me his signature glare of hatred, and not wanting to be the last one on to “step forward” James nearly ran to the bridge. 

The time had come, it was now or never. My heart was pounding, and I nearly walked the other way. Against every instinct of mine to run, I put one foot in front of the other and walked across that bridge. Once I stepped onto the platform the bridge disappeared behind me. 

The platform seemed to have expanded with every new addition. We stood facing the rest of the school in a single line. Everyone was watching. I was stranded in the middle of the lake with a group of people all more deserving of being champions than me, being stared at by an even larger group of people, most of whom did not want me to become one. I had never felt more alone. 

“GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU,” Thisbon’s voice rang out, magically enhanced, “AND MAY THE BEST CHAMPIONS RISE.”

Before I had a chance to think about what his words meant or what was going to happen, the platform dropped from under me. I thrashed around in the water, unable to breathe, my robes weighing me down. I didn’t know if this was part of the competition or not, my only thought was getting back to the surface. 

I kicked as hard as I could, trying to propel myself upwards, but I felt stuck. I was panicking, surely this was not part or the plan - drowning your champions before you even picked them? 

Just as I was about to give up, I felt myself being lifted out of the water. I could tell it wasn’t a person helping me though. I felt like I was floating, almost like I was flying. I wasn’t scared anymore, I knew this force was safe. It lifted me gently back onto the platform. I was completely dry and felt so alive.

The sound of cheering and applause brought me back to reality. I started to notice my surroundings, and I tried to figure out what had happened. 

Immediately I saw of mass of sopping wet, coughing, sputtering people back on the shore. I made out Katie and Fred Weasley in that group. So deduction, not everybody was left on this platform. 

I look to my right and standing with me were David Calder, Chase Rester, and that blonde haired girl who crossed the bridge first. With a shudder of dislike, I realized Vanessa Wood was also on the platform. When I saw James Potter standing haughtily at the other end of the line, his previous fear apparently gone, loathing radiated through me. 

As I looked back along the people still on this platform I was awestruck. So astonished in fact, I forgot about my feeling towards Potter, and finally understood what had just happened. 

The people standing next to me were quite literally glowing. We were in our line, and a subtle but beautiful bluish light was emanating from every person. I looked down at my own hands and saw that I was glowing too.The six of us were standing here on this platform, glowing - we must be the champions. I smiled and looked back up at the cheering crowd. I raised my hand up and waved to them, the cheering got louder, they were cheering for me.


Vanessa smugly waved, basking in the adoration of her school and her house.


Potter looked ridiculous as he puffed out his chest and took a bow, his applause was almost deafening. 


I could finally put a face to the name. Dominique curtsied daintily and winked at the audience. I heard a few wolf whistles from the male members of the school. Inwardly I rolled my eyes at them.


I noticed McGonagall give Thisbon a look which very obviously meant to move on, “ALRIGHTY THEN, I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE OUR CHAMPIONS - CHASE RESTER,”

Much applause and a few girlish squeals.


More applause, but a few less squeals.


My applause was the weakest and most halfhearted, unsurprisingly. I smiled and waved despite the school’s ill enthusiasm. I was still excited and I was still proud. Potter was staring at me yet again, and I willed myself not to immaturely stick out my tongue at him. I just looked away and hoped maybe now he would leave me alone, but I sincerely doubted my wish would come true. 




This was our cue to head back inside. Without any of us noticing, the bridge had reappeared, but this time instead of rickety wood, it was made out of what looked like solid glass. One at a time we walked across the bridge where McGonagall was waiting. As soon as we stepped off the bridge our outer glows died out, but I still felt a warm glow burning inside.

McGonagall spoke, “You six now have a binding magical contract - you must compete in these challenges, you do not have an option.” She looked at us sternly, “Do you understand?”

A chorus of “Yes ma’am” and “Yes Professor” chimed through our group. 

“Good - we understand that this will be no small feat and want to give you all the best chance of success. So, three times a week instead of your free periods you will be given time to prepare. We have set aside an empty classroom for you to research, practice, and learn what you feel you need to work on. You will not be supervised, so please act like champions and be responsible, don’t make me regret this.”

McGonagall finished her mini-lecture and gave us a rare thin-lipped smile, “Good luck to all of you, now head back inside I’m sure your classmates will want to celebrate.”

I was giddy. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be picked over almost every single other person at my school to be champion. I was even picked over Katie, I’m sure she wasn’t thrilled about that. I’m sure nobody from Ilvermorny would have expected me to win, Chase sure, even David who everyone knew was smart, but me? The notoriously lonely girl with the evil dad? Never. But, against all odds, here I was.

Even though I was now a champion, my social standing was still the same and I figured nobody would really be looking to celebrate with me, so in no rush to get back into the castle, I decide to take a walk through the grounds instead. I look up and realized the gray clouds somehow seemed almost cheerful now. I looked back at the black lake; the still water didn’t scare me anymore, it weirdly calmed me. Everything looked better in the light of being a champion.

“Hey wait up!” A girls voice called from behind me. It was Dominique Weasley. I looked to see if there was anybody else she could be calling out to, but I was the only one around. Confused, I stopped and waited for her to catch up. 

She confidently put out a hand, “Hi! I’m Dominique, but my friends just call me Dom.”

Still unsure of why this was happening, I cautiously take her hand, “I’m Ella.”

“Look - I know you don’t have many friends here -”

Why did she feel the need to run up to me, going out of her way to try to intimidate me?

“If you want to insult me, your cousin already has that handled but thanks,” offended, I start walking away.

“Wait! Shit, sorry! I didn’t mean it like that!” I turned back around, annoyed but willing to listen, and faced her. 

“What I meant was, I want to be your friend. I know we’re competitors and probably supposed to hate each other, but you seem like you need a friend here and I happen to need a friend too.” She gave me a dazzling smile.

Anyone could see she was beautiful, I knew the boys here loved her, she was a newly appointed Hogwarts champion, and she was a Weasley. Definitely more popular than I ever was or probably would ever be, I couldn’t put together why she was reaching out to me. 

I was suspicious, “Is this a trick?” 

She rolled her eyes, “I don’t do that, and even if I wanted to I’m not subtle enough to get away with any double-agent, backstabbing scheming thing. You seem cool and I want to be your friend; you’re feisty and I need some spark in my life,” she shrugged, “but if you have too many friends and can’t fit me in then I guess I’m out of luck,” she sighed dramatically, leaning back and putting a hand on her forehead. She looked at me expectantly and despite myself I smiled.

“Fine,” I gave in. “How do I even know if I like you enough to be friends with you? We literally just met,” I asked, only half-joking.

“Oh, dearest Ella,” She slung an arm around me, “there’s no need to worry, everybody likes me - it’s a gift and a curse.”

I just scoffed but followed her lead when she started skipping back to the castle. I could tell she would be a handful, but I was willing to give this friendship a shot. And even if we ended up not getting along, being friends with one more member of James’ family would just piss him off more, so either way I would win. 


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