(1940-09-01) Hogwarts Start-of-Term Feast 1940-1941
Details for Hogwarts Start-of-Term Feast 1940-1941
Summary: The students are all welcomed back to Hogwarts at their first meal of the 1940-1941 school year.
Date: September 1st, 1940
Location: Hogwarts - Great Hall
Plot: Centaur Civil War



Through the doors, along the wall and then towards the familiar wooden benches of his beloved Gryffindor table. Offering a kind "Hello." as he passes a few of the other Gryffindors, Terrance finally stops, tossing his legs over and slidding into a seat, watching as the rest of the students file in.

Alicia made a bee line right to the Hufflepuff table. She wanted to sit as close to the head of the table as possible: there was no where else she would rather be. Alicia sat down and let out a relaxed sigh. "Home at last," Alicia said aloud before saying, "Well, home-away-from-home at last."

Sierra slips into a seat next to Alicia, after a final cheerful word to Amber. She rests her elbows ont he table and her head in her hands, waiting for things to get going.

Abraxas is near the end of the pack, owing to his 'discussion' with Gabriel Ward. He makes his way over to the Slytherin table, scooping up any younger students that he passes - figuratively speaking - and directing them over towards the House table. Then he takes a seat near his friends.

Madeline careened into the hall, drops into a seat at the Gryffindor table near the front-ish, expecting Felix and others to drop into place near her. She cranes her head up to look at the sky - the full moon shining brightly - and smiles. She can't wait to talk to- oh there he is. "A werewolf! Wow!" she calls across to Adam, waving cheerfully. They'll have to talk about it later, though.

Stanley bounced lightly on his toes as he made his way to the familiar Gryffindor table, sliding into a seat on the bench beside his friends and grinning as the hall quickly filled up. Ahhh, Hogwarts smell! He couldn't wait for the feast! Craning his neck, he looked around to see if the first years would be coming in yet. He remembered how excited he was on his first day last year, so he knew just how a lot of them felt. He would give them all a huge smile and a wave to make them feel welcome!

Susan makes a point of standing near the entrance to the hall, helping to direct people and occasionally giving a disapproving glance to quell some enthusiastic merriment or brewing quarrel. You would think that with no Firsties in this group yet, no one would need directing, but no. Once the stream thins to an occasional trickle she leaves her post and heads for the Ravenclaw table herself, snagging the seat next to Elspeth, whom she smiles at shyly.

And Gabriel comes in right behind Abraxas, expression carefully neutral. Responding to greeting from people he hasn't seen all summer with waves and smiles he makes his over to the Ravenclaw table, taking the first empty space he sees on one of the long benches.

Taking advantage of the last few moments she has before start of the year and the /real/ work begins, Elspeth enters the hall, giving a quick look around. She gives a wave to one of the other seventh years as he heads towards Slytherin, and continues with her best friend to Ravenclaw's table. Although it's no longer necessary, for some reason of her own, she takes the very last seat on the end closest to the door. She claimed it last year, and a for some reason, seems inclined to continue to stake her claim to that seat.

Samira meanders over the Slytherin table, smiling at perfect ease. Centaurs? What Centaurs. She settles down next to a younger student - Tom Riddle. "Not too shaken?" she asks him with a smile. As Abraxas settles down on her other side, she grins up at him.

Josie drops into a seat near Madeline, and says, "I know! That was amazing! Except the centaur shooting at Gabe. That was scary."

There's not a speck of sanity to Finley in all outward appearances. Instead the lad seems to be all laughs and smiles, even as the Muggles go to War. Then again he didn't exactly seem to be too affected by the goings on before with the nasty business in prior terms. "'all Maddie!" He says stepping up besides Madeline. "Have a good summer?" He asks cheerfully. Fingers run through his unruly mess of hair as he takes a seat at the table, having enough decorum to not put his feet up on it. Although chances are he'd consider doing it.

Quite and calm as ever, Cathal's grown a little over summer term but the boy seems to be as utterly emotionless as he has ever before. Settling himself down at the Ravenclaw table, he shakes his head a bit. Fingers toy with a small silver sphere, rolling it around in his palm as if testing the material that it is made from.

Alicia smiled at Sierra. Alicia knew that Hogwarts wasn't quite the place Sierra wanted to be, but it was just too hard for her to hide her enthusiasm. Overhearing Josie and Madeline talking a few tables over, Alicia couldn't help but call over, "Gabriel was quite brave. I'm not sure where I'd be without him!"

"But he was alright!" Madeline answers - which is the key thing, really. If he'd been shot, well. That'd be another matter. "Finley - hi!" She greets the boy. "I did - it was great! How was things with your family? What did you see? Where did you travel to?" she asks.

Erica is still a ball of nerves and is still breathing uneasily, but at least she's not screaming for her Mummy anymore like she was in her carriage when things went … different. Trembling like a leaf in a tornado she shakily sits down at the Hufflepuff bench and practices some deep breathing.

Augusta is wondering allowed, "Do you think it could be arranged to get that werewolf pelt? I could make the most fascinating of fascinators with it. It's a shame the Centaurs are being so uppity. I mean really, what did we ever do to them?"

Samira receives a cool head shake from Tom, "No, and you?" Around Riddle is his typical clustering of Knights. But he smiles to Antonin and juts his chin and Antonin immediately slides over making room beside Riddle, "Care to sit?"

Similarly to Erica, Akilina is quite a bit dismayed, this is the start of her first year without her big brother protector!? "Goodness." Is a barely inaudible whisper as she settles in at the Ravenclaw Table. Since the segregation at the tables last year, Akilina has still chosen to remain in the same area. Not out of submission, but silent rebellion.

"An exciting opening to the year. And yet, things have started off much the same as previously." Abraxas remarks, nodding to Tom and Antonin in greeting.

Alicia smiled at Erica. Alicia was glad that she wasn't the /only/ person who went full panic mode when the carriages got attacked. "Still, though… it's going to make an interesting entry entry in my diary tonight," Alicia said, trying to look on the bright side as she folded her hands over the table, "First time I ever saw Centaurs. Or a Werewolf, for that matter."

Samira smiles back at Riddle. Shaking her head. "No. Although-" She glances to Abraxas. "I'm fairly certain that if Ward hadn't 'done something stupid' that Centaur would have shot at /you/."

Pringle comes in looking grumpy as always and moves to the High Table to whisper something to Deputy Headmaster Black. Sirius gives a grateful nod to what is spoken and then rises from his seat and stoicly glides towards a side door to go fetch the firsties.

Looking at the table around her, Elspeth catches the smile from Susan. "Congratulations, Carmody<" she tells the newest Ravenclaw Prefect with a warm smile. Her fingers flicker a bit towards Evelyn, but it's brief with a tilt of her head. "Were you having a good holiday?"

"That, Samira, we will never know." Abraxas responds, "Nor is it for some little fourth year to be making that decision, especially not one with his questionable ability to make decisions."

"Thanks." Susan leans back in her seat, brushing her fingertips against the edge of her new badge impulsively and managing to look simultaneously embarrassed and terribly pleased. "Congratulations to you too, Head Girl." The question is one she doesn't seem to know how to answer, and when she does, it's vague and unsatisfying. "Oh… I was, pretty good, considering the circumstances."

"It was brilliant. We saw all kinds of thing. Made up me mind about where I was gonna go that's for sure." Finley says grinning at Madeline,"Had to limit ourselves a bit cause of the whole Muggle war but we still got to travel and see things." He says excitedly. "I wonder if this year'll be as exciting as other years."

Shortly after Professor Black has gone does Dumbledore simply rise and pat his hands in the air to get everyone settled and quiet. "Let us make a good first impression on our First Years. I know there was quite a bit of excitement, but everyone is safe and unharmed now. Calm and silent, let's welcome our new students with warmth and smiles."

Samira just laughs softly and nods a bit at Abraxas. "Quite true." She settles comfortably on her elbows, gazing off to the table of profesors. She tilts her head as Dumbledore addresses them all. "It's interesting watching from this side," she remarks. Most may remember that she had been sorted the previous year with the firsties as a transfer student.

"Sounds grand!" Madeline says eagerly to Finley - only to fall silent as Dumbledore speaks. She does give her friend another broad grin, however, as they wait for the firsties to file in.

Round-faced Druella Rosier comes into the room with the batch of fresh First-Year students, hair braided into two plaits down her back. She looks excited rather than nervous, a distinct contrast to some of her fellow students, and after taking a minute to marvel at the enormous, elaborately decorated interior of the hall, picks out the Slytherin table and gives Calig a bright wave, in the infuriating manner of baby sisters everywhere.

Alicia lets out a sigh of relief. "Good. They didn't get eaten," Alicia said, showing off some of her dry humor, "I hope their trip wasn't as "exciting" as ours."

Lissie freezes as she comes to the threshold of the Great Hall. She shudders, staring around at all the people. For a moment it is more than she can bear. And then she gives a little squeak and lurches forwards, looking fixedly down at the floor.

Gabriel leans back on his bench to get the best look possible at the Firsties, giving them all a big grin as he watches them walk by.

Alex shuffles into the hall amidst all the other first years, his head lowered nervously even while his eyes take in everything around him. He memorized faces and smells, and the look of the Great Hall. This was the first step in his magical education.. He had to be strong. He had to show the Sorting Hat his true colors, or it might sort him into the wrong house!

From her seat at the end, Elspeth has a clear view of the entering firsties, and also an opportunity to give them a quiet, reassuring smile. Her hands are folded neatly in her lap, and she watches them file past without comment.

Samira lifts her chin, peering across the hall at the 'ickle firsties with keen interest. Her lips form an amused smile as she watches the adorable little things as they look so terrified.

Eutheria files in near Alex - her eyes lifting to study the sea of faces. She did have a few family members in there somewhere, after all. Like her cousin - Felix. He was a Gryffindor, wasn't he?

"It's more comfortable from this side. Though the ride on the carts is less awe-inspiring than that first time coming up on the castle across the lake." Abraxas says, turning a bit as the firsties come in. "A few future Slytherins in there, I hope…"

Alicia smiled in the direction of the first years. There were a few she had met, and a few she hadn't met. She lifted a hand and gave those that she knew a small wave. "Gosh. I hope I didn't look that scared last year," Alicia murmured to herself.

Samira glances back over at Abraxas and nods. "I expect so. But, probably not as many if some have moved to the continent." She pauses, tilting her head. "So, do the carriages always take flight or was that new?"

Felix bounces excitedly in his seat as he recounts the tale of the carriages' encounter with a Second Year that was walked in by a parent. "We almost died! There were arrows everywhere!" As he looks around for more audience, his eyes land on a pale girl among the First Years. "That's my cousin! EUTHERIA!" He hollers, waving frantically from his place at the Gryffindor table.

The Sorting Ceremony

Deputy Headmaster opens up the double doors with a wave of his hands. Like some mother duck he strolls down the center aisle of the tables leading the gaggle of First Years to where the Sorting hat is set up upon the puplit. When the firsties are all gathered the ragged old sorting hat does a bit of a dance while it sings:

"In days of yore when times were old,
I was young under the sun.
Now I am old and you are not,
Your journey's just begun.

Into my fabric and my seams
Was mighty magic wrought.
The proper way to find a house
For each new student sought.

In Hogwarts welcome will be found
And refuge amidst strife,
For all who seek to call it home,
For wisdom transforms life.

In Gryffindor the brave will go,
The chivalrous and true.
If courage is your boldest aim,
the Lion is for you.

In Ravenclaw the intellect
Is deemed a mighty prize.
If wit and knowledge are your love,
The Eagle will arise.

In Hufflepuff the patient ones
Persevere within our walls.
If you are unafraid to toil,
The steadfast Badger calls.

In Slytherin, that canny house,
The cunning achieve their ends.
If a deep ambition drive you on,
The Snake will find you friends.

Divided like the compass rose
To North, East, South, and West,
Apart and yet we make a whole;
United we are best.

Upon the front of the pulpit is a place to sit when a first year is called up. Sirius Black takes up a scroll, the seal is broken and he unfurls the thing and begins the sorting with the first name. The usual very neutral faced professor actually looks quite pleased, almost affectionate, almost. "Orion Black." When the boy sits down and the Professor puts the hat on his head, the child's large ears don't have to hold up the hat long before, "Slytherin!" Is called out in a 'what else, of course!' tone by the sorting hat. "Eutheria Flitwick." Is called up to be sorted next.

Hearing her name, it's easy to fix in on her cousin's waving him. The pale girl smiles, though her lips never part, and she offers a more reserved wave in return. But then the sorting begins, and Eutheria looks to the hat as it sings, and calls out the first house. Then her own name is called and she gently bites the inside of her lower lip as she makes her way to the stool, turns around… and sits. The hat settles on her head, and to her surprise she hears it's voice musing in her mind. Gryffindor is immediate dismissed, as is Slytherin - she knew they would be. In the end, the hat calls out, "Ravenclaw!" And with a smile the girl quickly gets off the stool, hurrying towards the blue and bronze table.

Samira joins the tumultuous cheer from the Slytherin table as they recieve the first new student of the year. Orion is welcomed with great enthusiasm and much congratulations to their table. Samira's attention doesn't linger long, soon focusing on the next first year to put on the sorting hat.

"Awwww, she's a Ravenclaw." Felix pouts for a record-breaking three seconds, then claps for Eutheria nonetheless.

"Wilhelmina Grubbly." Professor Black announces. The girl boldly strolls up and sits down on the seat after giving the golden owl that spreads its wings atop the pulpit a little pat-pat petting. She's all smiles as she plops down and reaches up to make sure to pull the brim of the hat down so it's firmly on her head. "Hufflepuff!" The next up has the sorting hat's folded mouth hanging completely slack open as Black calls up, "Rubeus Hagrid." "Oh, dear… I can already feel my stitches bursting…" The hat lets out a sound quite like something one would expect from someone being stretched out on a tortuer rack as it is placed on Rubeus' head.

"Oh, well done." Druella joins in the clapping for Eutheria, flashing the girl a reassuring grin, when she next catches her eye. She also mouths something exaggeratedly, which might be 'homework' or might be 'house elf.' It's hard to say from afar.

Elspeth cheers to welcome the new Ravenclaw, and smiles as room is made for her. She looks up with an almost avid curiosity to see where the largest firstie will be sorted.

"A singing hat. Unbelievable," murmurs Lissie. Still…." She swallows hard and closes her eyes.

Akilina claps for the new Ravenclaw as well, finally she might not be the palest member of their house!

Alicia cheered nice and loud for the new Hufflepuffs!

Samira shifts to sit on her folded legs, trying to get a better view of the sorting hat as the half-giant boy approaches the hat. She brings a hand up over her smile, trying to stifle her giggle at the poor hat's shriek.

The most voluminous student in the school makes his way carefully up between the aisles, trying not to bump into students on either side of him. As Rubeus sits on the stool, it creaks painfully, threatening to shatter at any moment. "It's alright, I already know I'll be a Huffle-…"

"GRYFFINDOR!" the Sorting Hat announces with certainty.

"What? Me, a Gryffindor? But…I'm not brave at all. I think there's been a mistake, sir…" He tries to explain to Professor Black, but the Deputy Headmaster is hearing none of it, and quickly ushers Rubeus toward the Gryffindor table, where Professor Pettigrew is already clearing considerable space at one end to make way for the oversized Firstie.

Riddle welcomed Orion to the table as well, it seems an empty space had been reserved for Orion before the hat even fell on his head. "Welcome to Hogwarts Orion. I'm Tom Riddle." Then it's back to paying attention to the rest of the sorting. "Someone should make a space for Druella, Calig, move over for your sister."

It is now Terrance's turn to stand up, offering a hardy applause for the newest giant-of-a-boy to the Gryffindor house. As he approaches, the table, Terrance calls out, "Way to go, Hagrid."

It is now Terrance's turn to stand up, offering a hardy applause for the newest giant-of-a-boy to the Gryffindor house. As he approaches, the table, Terrance calls out, "Way to go, Hagrid."

Josie frowns a little as the hat seems to make fun of Rubeus' size, "That's mean." Then, though, she's cheering, clapping for the huge kid as he makes his way for their table. "Welcome!"

"You're up next, I think," Dru leans over to Lissie, nudging her gently. "Or - no, I forgot about Olive Hornby… you're after her, maybe?" She rocks back on her heels, evidently finding it hard to stand still and wait patiently.

Rubeus finds a smile amid his confusion when Terrance, Josie, and other Gryffindors welcome him. "Thanks. I can't believe I'm a Gryffindor!" Squeezing in to sit on the bench forces it out at least a foot, giving several other Gryffindors a little ride.

"Well," Lissie murmurs to Druella, "There's the rest of H, then I and J and then K. I don't know," she murmurs softly. "What if we don't belong at all?"

Before Lissie is called up, it is "Olive Hornby." that is called up and as she goes up there is a 'accidental' knock of shoulders as she passes by Myrtle. The glasses from Myrtle's face are knocked off and Olive doesn't even give a second glance as she takes her seat and very straight backed and primly accepts the hat and claps for herself when the sorting hat announces, "GRYFFINDOR!" Olive skips over to the lion's table to find a seat and then it is time for, "Lissie Kier."

Lissie squeaks as her name is called, and she practically leaps forwards. Unfortunately, she catches both feet in her long robes, and she falls forwards, landing on her hands and knees. She gets up and shakes herself, then scampers up to the Hat. "Hullo," she whispers to it, then seats herself. The hat is too big for her, and only her wild mane of hair keeps it from slipping down to her chin. She rubs her hands on her lap as the hat thinks…. and thinks…. and thinks. She tilts her head one way and then the other while the hat thinks again. And then, finally, it cries out….. "Hufflepuff!" Lissie leaps up once the hat is off her head and heads towards one of the tables. Then, tripping on her robes again, but not falling this time, she turns away from the Slytherins and heads for the *right* table this time. Flushing, she moves to sit with her fellow Hufflepuffs, her cheeks flushing scarlet.

Alicia beamed brightly when Lissie was accepted into Hufflepuff. "Welcome," Alicia beamed at Lissie, "We're glad to have you!"

Druella gives Lissie a piercing look. "Of course we do," she says firmly, just as Lissie gets pulled away to her own fate. Eyes widening, she watches, then grins as the little redhead finds her House after all.

"Hello," Sierra adds in kind. "Welcome to the best house. Not that it's a competition, of course." Except that it very blatantly and officially is. She grins at the girl, before looking back to the sorting hat again.

Samira glances from the sorting hat to Riddle, watching with interest as the charismatic boy makes sure there's room for the new firsties at the heart of their table. She glances off again at the sorting hat. After a while and no further Slytherins are called yet, Samira grins up at Abraxas. "Looks like most of our firsties did head south."

"But every house must have value, right?" asks Lissie to Sierra. She grins and waves at Alicia, then looks at Sierra again. "The Hat said we make a whole, after all. So every house must be the best…."

"It's alright." Abraxas says, as he applauds and joins in welcoming the Slytherin firsties, "The ones who were meant to be here are here. The ones who left… they won't have the same connection we will."

"Oh, that's clearly a distorted way of thinking," Sierra counters with a grin. "Right, Alicia?"

Black next calls up "Alexander Lavigne."

Alexander swallowed deeply when his name was called. This was it… His legs felt like lead, but he forced them to move, placing one foot in front of the other in a march of courage. The hue of his face almost matched that of his red hair, if not a bit darker by the time he finally stood in front of the three legged stool, like it was the hour of his judgment. And when he thought about it, it really was.

Alex turned slowly to seat himself, feeling the surprisingly warm weight of the hat cover his ears. And then, like a small voice in his head, the Sorting Hat began to think… 'Well, look at you,' the hat nearly jeered, seeming to tease Alex for forcing this show of bravery. 'Oh, no need to be afraid.. I can only see into the very depths of your mind, everything that makes you tick… I daresay I know you better than you know yourself… Ah, curious, I see… And a sharp mind you've got… But how will you use it…?' The hat went on like this for what seemed like several minutes - and perhaps it was - but eventually, its mind was made up, and Alexander heard it bellow in a loud voice which rang through the hall, "RAVENCLAW!"

Alexander finally released the breath he had been holding, his shoulders visibly slumping with relief. That had been the house he had most anticipated being placed in. Sliding off the stool, the first year walked a little taller as he made his way towards the table clad in blue and bronze, proud to have his intellect recognized over his shyness. He just hoped the house would be welcoming to him, and that /somebody/ would want to be his friend.

Alicia giggled. "Well, every house has their good and bad wizards but… Well," Alicia said slyly inbetween clapping for the students being sorted, "Let's just say I wouldn't change houses even if they offered me the fastest broom in the whole world."

As Alexander is chosen for Ravenclaw, Cathal gives the boy a polite nod of his head. "Just so." He says softly under his breath. Really he's not much for saying empty words. He leaves talking to his cousin.

Riddle claps when Professor Black calls up "Druella Rosier."

And another Ravenclaw! Elspeth leans close to Evelyn, clapping, and grins to Susan before she directs her attention to Alexander as he comes over to find a place at the table. She gives him a wave if he glances in her direction.

Finally! Druella all but bounds across the floor, perching herself on the stool and settling the Sorting Hat onto her head. Her eyelids lower over her eyes and she seems to be listening as her fingers fidget in her lap, but it's only for a few (albeit long) seconds that the silence stretches. Then the hat is shouting out, "Slytherin!" and Dru's hopping to her feet, laughing with delight, and barely remembers to leave the hat before she skips over to the table where Calig sits, giving her a begrudging nod as she drops into a (conveniently empty) chair. "Hullo, Cal," she sings blithely. He must be delighted to have her!

Lissie cheers for Druella, who was, after all, just talking to her not long ago. "I figure…. whatever makes someone happy, that's the best house for them, right?" Then she leans back and sighs. "I love badgers."

Eutheria greets the boy with a small smile as he's also announced as a Ravenclaw, clapping her hands. She also scoots over a bit - so he can slide in next to her. After all, then they can be alone together.

"See!" Abraxas says, as he applauds for Druella, "No other place for a Rosier than in Slytherin." He lowers his voice and says, "The other houses can keep the riff-raff."

Alicia nodded her head at Lissie's comment about badgers. "I've never been bit by a badger, that's for sure," Little miss animals-don't-like-me said in her matter-of-fact tone of voice.

There are of course plenty of names to get through and each house is rather nicely padded out with new arrivals. Towards the end of the scroll Myrtle has finally found her classes though they have a crack in them, perhaps from Lissie's fall. But she wears them like they were perfectly fine as she takes her turn at the podium and gets sorted into, "RAVENCLAW!"

Samira laughs and applauds with the rest of the Slytherins as Druella joins their table. "Congratulations, darling! Welcome to the Slytherin house. Although, I expect it's been your house long before that hat sat on your head."

"I thought so," Druella tells Samira with a laugh. "But it's nice to have it confirmed, isn't it? And it's nice to sit down. My goodness, -so- many stairs."

Professor Black rolls up the scroll and slides it back onto the podium and then he rejoins the High Table in his place beside Dumbledore's chair.

The Headmaster's Speech

As the last of the new First Years takes a seat at the appointed house table, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore steps up to his podium. His soft, yet resonant tone fills the chamber, calling for attention. "Students, welcome, welcome. Welcome to our new First Years. We are delighted to have you, and we will all do our part to make Hogwarts a second home for you. Welcome to our returning students, how these halls have missed your presence over the summer months.

"I needn't tell anyone that these are exciting times, and that excitment isn't always the fun we hope it would be. To those of you that reside in London and other target cities of the war, our thoughts and hopes have been with you and your families. Should anyone feel the need to talk about what they have experienced, we are all ready to listen.

"It seems our Second through Seventh Years have had their own bit of excitement just now as well. I am pleased to see that you are all safe and unscathed. This frightening incident will remind us all how dangerous the Dark Forest has always been, and how much more so it has become. It seems than many centaurs are no longer honouring the boundaries that have traditionally kept them secluded by their own wishes. I advise caution, and know that it remains against school rules to even approach the forest.

"Any student traveling to Hogsmeade will require a faculty chaperone along the path to the village, as it runs very close to the forest's edge. On Hogsmeade Weekends, regular chaperoned groups will be arranged for."

There is a bit of grumbling from the students, particularly the older ones that clearly don't feel they need adult supervision.

Chaperones? But then - at least that means they're not canceling Hogsmeade weekends? Because that would be horrible! Madeline watches Dumbledore with curiousity as he speaks. Of course - she can't really blame the teachers for that precaution. Not after what they just saw!

"Faculty chaperones? What are we, firsties?" Abraxas murmurs to his companions, with the surety of one who is sixteen and, legally speaking, a man grown. Why, he even got to vote for Minister, however that works. "We shouldn't be letting a bunch of beasts push us around like that."

Alicia herself doesn't grumble. "Oh it's not that big of a deal. There's so much on campus to keep busy with anyway," The Hufflepuff says to herself: it's easy for her to say since she's too young to go on the weekends anyway.

From her spot, Elspeth listens, hands now in her lap again. She lets out a breath slowly as she hears the edict, and then looks around to gauge the other responses. As usual, the Ravenclaw doesn't look fussed about something new changing things, and glances around to the prefects and Head Boy to see their reactions as well.

Gabriel just watches and listens quietly.

Lissie's eyes go wide, but she remains silent. However, she does turn towards Alicia, mouthing 'what happened' to her. Then she shakes her head, turning to glance back at Dumbledore. Hogsmeade…. she doesn't even recognize the name so she isn't twitched.

Samira tilts her head, listening with keen interest as Dumbledore addresses the centaur attack. She blinks as he confirms it wasn't a misunderstanding of some kind. Glancing to Abraxas, she grins, not particularly fussed whether they have chaperones or not. "I wonder what's got the centaurs aiming arrows at us though."

Susan exchanges a glance with Elspeth, one eyebrow quirking upwards, but she doesn't look terribly surprised, or upset.

"They're extremely territorial, or so we've been told every year since we got here." Abraxas explains, to Samira, "But no one tells Wizards what woods they can or cannot pass through." A beat, and a slight smile, "Well, except Dumbledore, who tells us, but there's a good reason the forbidden forest is forbidden, and not just the centuars. Two students were killed a few years back. Before the Centuars started getting more aggressive, Professors used to take classes out there now and again."

Alicia looks at Lissie and says, "Oh it was just the centaurs chasing a werewolf. But don't worry, nobody got hurt. Hogwarts is a safe place." Alicia hoped.

Dumbledore clears his throat. "Now to move on to lighter things. I imagine few have heard that just recently our Professor Galaxia Lunet has chosen to retire to spend more time with her children and grandchildren. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to our new Professor of Astronomy, Professor Hesper Starkey." He gestures to the head table, where a handsome woman with extremely long brown hair waves with a sober smile.

"Professor Starkey will also be taking over as the Hufflepuff Head of House, allowing Madam Hooch to focus more fully on her duties to the school's athletic programs once again."

"One last thing. Please be advised that Peeves, our resident poltergeist, has taken to replacing the contents of inkwells with chocolate. While delicious, it is not suitable for writing. Be certain to check your inkwells before taking exams."

The Feast Begins

Dumbledore lifts a hand in the air. "Now, as I am sure that you are all quite hungry, let the feast…begin!" He drops his hand, and suddenly the tables are filled with delectable meats, delicious cheeses, soothing soups and stews, crunchy vegetables, bowls full of freshly baked bread, and carafes of juices both sweet and tangy.

As Dumbeldore speaks, Terrance listens. His eyes did not seem to leave the headmaster as he spoke about the war, both in the muggle world and the forbiden forest, unable to hold back the frown at the immediate impact that it had taken on his family. Then the bit came about the chaperones…that would be new he thought. But, after tonight's events this did make sense.

"Chocolate inkwells! Peeves best idea yet!" Madeline exclaims with a laugh, as she starts filling her plate with meats, and cheeses, and all the things a growing girl needs. Perhaps a bit more than she needs - but it is the opening feast, after all!

Alicia let out a little "aw" noise. "I wanted to meet Professor Lunet. Miss Fancourt spoke awfully highly of her," Alicia said to herself. And then there was food. "Thank heavens. I'm famished," The lanky, bookish girl said as she carefully laid out a napkin on her lap.

Riddle welcomes each new Slytherin with a nod of greeting and a proper introduction. When Dumbledore starts his speech he listens attentively. Slight little nods are given as he listens. A neutral near blank expression on his face. "Not all the upperclassmen are as competent as you Abe. Until they are handled it is good to err on caution."

Erica is only just now really coming out of her jitters, welcoming the new Hufflepuffs each acting to cheer her a bit more. With Seamus having graduated she has taken up the time honored responsibility of presenting each firstie that is sorted Hufflepuff a sugar badger cookie. MMM black icing!

Augusta is not really paying all that much attention as she's sketching out a new hat design that is based around a werewolf head. A moment of owlish startle comes when she's suddenly in shadow and she blinks up at Hagrid. "Hello, and welcome. Would you terribly mind leaning back a touch?"

Akilina has taken Myrtle a bit instantly under wing and whispers to her as they work at fixing Myrtle's broken glasses. Akilina has great experience with this sort of issue. Only last year did she get new glasses that cause less of an issue.

"At least no one is likely to bomb my house. All we have is sheep…." She blinks and then stares at the suddenly-appearing food. "Oh…. my…" she gasps, then utters a few murmured words in bewildered and yet happy Gaelic before recovering herself again. "I…. oh!" She grins as Erica comes by with the badger biscuit. "Thank you. Oh. Oh I really *am* going to like it here. Can we eat as much as we want? And… well, when comes time to do the dishes an' all, I can do washing, drying…."

"Not being a surprise, after the carriage ride," Elspeth comments lightly to Evelyn and Susan, a nod acknowledging the upraised brow. There's a little chuckle about the Peeves, and then the Feast has arrived. She places her choices on their separate little plates, making sure everything is properly separated before she lifts her knife and fork.

Alicia smiled at Erica. Alicia was glad that Hufflepuff had a little tradition to make the first years feel especially welcomed. "I don't think the students do the dishes here," Alicia said to Lissie, "Although you will learn things that make doing chores a breeze. I bet there's even a sheep shearing spell… Hm. I may have to look into that."

Terrance gives a cheer for the new Astronomy teacher before laughing lightly at Peeve's little joke. And then comes the best part of the evening, the feast! As the food fills up the table, he immediately starts to pile different things on, "Ah Hogwarts, how I missed you." he says, before starting to eat.

With the arrival of the food, Rubeus's face lights up with hungry delight. He piles it on, creating a mountain of meat and cheese on his plate, with just a sprig of lettuce on the top for garnish and the illusion of vegetables.

Erica nods interjecting herself into the Hufflepuff conversation, "Yes, Domestics Club teaches all sorts of useful spells like that. I think you'll have to take Care of Magical Creatures to learn any shearing things though."

Josie smiles happily as the food arrives, filling her plate and pouring herself some juice before digging in. She grins to Rubeus and says, "The food here is always the best."

"Yes," Susan agrees simply, as she fills a bowl with potato-and-pumpkin stew and takes a steaming bite. "Ahh. It's good to be back."

Rubeus smiles over at Josie, his big round cheeks stuffed with food. He nods, chewing. "Mmm hmmm!" When he finally manages to swallow that particular mouthful, he says, "This is great! We never have this much food at home. Dad's always sayin' how we're gonna eat up everythin' in the Forest of Dean jus' to feed me."

Gabriel looks around at the new Ravenclaw firsties and, with a grin, says, "All the food is delicious! But just make sure you don't eat too much because the desserts are even better and you definitely want to leave some space for them!" Then he dives into the taks of filling his plate with all his favorite wizarding foods, including a large goblet of ice cold pumpkin juice.

Augusta has moved onto a blank page which she soon finds having a bit of parsley and gravy splashed onto it. "I say." She starts to confront the large student but then she tilts her head at the shapes the splashes have made and she draws lines around the shapes and slowly what looks like a large hat starts to take shape.

Looking at the platters of meat, Eutheria uses a clean fork to look at some of the slices - until she finds the reddest one. It's not as rare as she'd like, but it'd do. She sets this on her plate, before adding some vegetables, and pouring herself a of juice. "It all looks very good," she says to Gabriel politely.

Erica offers to the firsties, "I can put together a sample plate for you every dinner for a week, so you don't miss any of the best bits. Everything here is good, but something are better than others. Of course." Yes, she's fully calm now, and by the time it's lights out, she'll be telling the story of how an arrow zipped past her head and her face nearly got slashed right off by werewolf claws in her usual gift of gab.

Samira seems pleased as the feast materializes before them. While she had been a bit hesitant the Western fare the year before, she now helps herself quickly to her now familiar favorites. Nibbling on a hot, fresh-from-the-oven roll, Samira grins, glancing from face to face at her table. Dark gaze settling upon Druella, she pauses to ask her, "You've looked through your books, yes? Is there a class you're most eager for?"
Dumbledore has disconnected.

Druella chats pleasantly at her table while eating bread and butter, sausages and kidney pie, and a heaping pile of carrot mash. "I did take a look at my books, yes indeed. I don't have much sense yet where my interests lie - charms, maybe? I'm interested to try potions, also. Cal says it's a very precise science."

"Somehow…" ponders Lissie, "I doan think my Da would be keen on me shearin' sheep wi' magic, even if it saved time. And money. He's none too happy I'm here as 'tis," she says. "He was right prood of my war-garden, and said I'd be better off laernin' at home an' knitting for the soldiers than this… nonsense." She actually takes a bit of haggis. "But my Ma put her foot down. Literally. Kicked his hind end, she did."

Alicia couldn't help but laugh! "Well, I quite like your mom. Some muggles just don't understand. And I mean no offense of course," Alicia said, trying to be as amicable as possible as she ate her food in a prim and proper lady-like manner, "Then again, I suppose you wouldn't be able to /do/ any magic for your sheep until you were of age."

Abraxas helps himself to something to eat, but it eventually registers that Riddle said something he didn't quite agree with, "We're all students - none of us is Merlin. But by the time you get to be an upperclassman, you should know at least the basic defensive spells, Tom." He pours himself a glass of punch and continues, "I recognize that the school has to protect the students, but why don't we do that by ushering the Centaurs back into their traditional preserve. Or relocate them to Lapland or something where they can be Grindelwald's problem. RCMC should get on that."

Samira nods in confirmation at Druella. "That's true. You have to read the instructions so, so carefully. The potions master is our head of house though. Professor Slughorn. He is an excellent teacher, so you will be in good hands."

Riddle simply makes a few gestures and the platters he need are passed his way. He gives genteel thank yous when they are and he takes a polite portion before passing the platter back. "The food at the Avery house was very good. Niles' family has some wonderful help." Riddle nods his gratitude towards his best friend for bunking him over the summer. "But I have so missed this fare. I am surprised I've grown so fond of the more Northern cuisine." Then to the talk of classes with Druella, "Oh, Viridian is the Charms teacher. Be a bit careful with him. He tends to have a bias against the Green and Silver. Not drastically so, at least if you mind your manners with him." He nods to all that Abe says, "I didn't say I disagree with the fact that it's not been handled. But until it is, you know that there are students who would be a liability if left unattended in the face of Centaurs. It's much easier to make rules that affect everyone than it is to single out certain people and assign them chaperones. It's also just a small portion of the way. We'll still be as free as we usually are in Hogsmeade once we are there."

"My mum's a Squib," answers Lissie. "So she understands some…. because she grew up with wizards. She was… a disappointment, she told me, an' her Da's not goin' tae be happy I got Sorted Hufflepuff. He was hoping for Slytherin or Ravenclaw. My gran, though, she's *amazing*. She is just so happy for me… and my mum. She's helping my mum wi' the school things, an' she got me my ferret…"

Samira listens with a smile, glancing from Malfoy to Riddle as the two go back and forth about the centaurs. "What's it matter if the professors want to follow us past the forest? It'll make them feel better and once we reach the village, we're off on our own again."

Alicia listened to Lissie. "Well, being in Hufflepuff is nothing to be disappointed about," Alicia said, "And if someone tries their best, they aren't a disappointment. At least that's how I look at it." Alicia then sipped her drink.

"Isn't that why we have a Ministry? To take care of things like this. They could just send a few rangers out and move the animals wherever." Abraxas seems to have already moved off the subject of the chaperonage and into the issue of whether they should just 'handle' the centaurs.

Gabriel rolls his eyes as he catches snippets of Abraxas and Tom's conversations. He starts to turn his head but changes his mind midway and instead leans a bit into his table to talk to Elspeth after swallowing the bite he'd been chewing on, "Elspeth, am I remembering my classes wrong or am I right in thinking the ministry wanted to classify centaurs as Beings but ended up classifying them as Beast only because the centaurs complained about having to share the Being classification with hags and vampires and such?"

"I'm looking forwards to starting classes," murmurs Lissie. "My Grandfather says I'd have been better off here last year. My Gran was a bit twitched aboot that. Aight, a lot twitched." She sighs, then reaches for a bit of stew. "If I'm dreamin' doan' wake me…." She smiles, then glances over at Sierra, too.

"Last year… was a bit of a rough year. You're better off skipping that," Sierra says dismissively. "This is probably a good year to start." But only time will tell. She's eating eagerly - spending little time talking as she concentrates on her food.

Alicia nodded. "This is a fine year. And I'm looking forward to starting classes too. I was looking forward to Astronomy, but I also can't wait for Transfiguration and potions. Oh! And Quidditch," Alicia said, a fair bit of enthusiasm when compared to her usually matter-of-fact self, "And you'll love the common room, Lissie. It's quite lovely."

"You are being correct, Gabriel," Elspeth says mildly, keeping her voice to a conversational level for their table, not intended to carry. "I am not blaming them. Who would want to be classified with hags and vampires?" She takes a bit of cheese from her dairy plate, and then reaches out for a roll to break it apart and then take a bite from that as well.

Lissie reaches for a bit of ginger cake, though she looks about ready to fall over. "So much good food. Mmmm… but if I eat too much more I'll need tae be rolled off tae bed…"

"So - your mum's a squib, and if your dad doesn't want you using magic… Muggle, is he?" Sierra asks in a friendly, conversational tone. After all - the Higgins are never ones to put weight in blood purity.

Alicia ate her food in silence as she listened to Sierra and Lissie talk. Alicia was careful not to talk about blood purity; possibly she wasn't sure how people would react to her views. For now she just listened.

Samira just shrugs at Abraxas, apparently not having particularly strong opinions on the matter of centaur control. Abraxas doesn't find much in the way of dissenting opinions when it comes to the topic though. Wizard supremacy reigns at the Slytherin table. But, now full of dinner, Samira is getting too drowsy to follow it. At a lull in the conversation, she says, "I wonder if I'll get to patch up any arrow-punctured students in the Infirmary this year…"

Abraxas is, by now, helping himself to a slice of cake. "We probably don't want anyone to get pierced by an arrow. But there's an arrow-shooting spell, isn't there, so I'm sure you can learn how to pull them out if you have to."

Olivia has been very quiet this evening, paying more attention to who's sitting with whom and listening to nearby conversations than focusing on her food, not having engaged anyone in conversation herself.

"Aye, he's a Muggle. I think it embarrasses him, somehow. Dunnae why, exactly. But then…." Lissie pokes at the cake. "I suppose he's ne'er quite forgiven me for turnin' his best ewe yellow. Looks jus' like buttercups, now, in bloom, an' th' yarn makes pretty jumpers an' all…." She laughs. "Mum said any one of her family could o' put it right, but I think she's rather fond of the yellow, herself. Oh! It's Hufflepuff yellow!"

Samira's grin widens. Surely she isn't imagining puncturing a few poor students so that she can practice healing them. Right? With an impish laugh, she takes a bite of rice pudding. The chatter continues around her, but for the rest of the evening, Samira seems content to simply listen. When at last Dumbledore calls an end to the feast, she slinks off sleepily in search of her long lost bed.

"We ought to get special scarves knit from it!" Sierra agrees warmly. She takes another bite of her meal then adds, "But it's best that you started this year. There's some folks that don't, err… care much for students who were raised as a Muggle. Has anyone… explained any of that to you yet? Because forewarned is forearmed and all that."

Alicia giggled. "Hufflepuff yellow is a good color," Alicia said before looking at Sierra, non-verbally questioning if /now/ was the right time for that.

"If by explained, y'mean called a mudblood an' my mum a blood traitor, well, aye, my grandfather rather summed it up," answers Lissie, tensing a little. "I don't understand it, not why nor how it's my fault, I don't get *everything*….. but I sort of understand."

Sierra meets Alicia's gaze with a shrug. What? They should leave it off until after she's been ambushed by it - from some student with mischief on their mind? "Yeah. That's… basically what I mean," she remarks in a wry tone. "It's all bullocks, of course."
"Higgins!" a nearby Prefect hisses at her, earning a sweet smile from the girl, before her attention turns back to Lissie. "Just know, we don't all think that way, alright? A housemate's a housemate. A witch is a witch. And I'm sure your family is fine folk."

Alicia blinked a bit at Sierra. "Well… magic /is/ a gift," Alicia says diplomatically. Beyond that, she doesn't offer her opinion and instead goes back to finishing her food. After all, the /last/ thing Alicia wanted to do was cause trouble on the very first day of the school year.

"They are fine folk," answers Lissie. "An' I love my mum and my da…." She smiles. "Besides, I was born a witch. I can always learn. But they…. were born manky gits. So much too bad for them."

Sierra laughs at this. "Too right!" she agrees. "Always got to keep things in perspective, huh?"

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