Beyond the Foggy Path

Chapter 5: Sorting Hat!

Erela was taking a nap most of the trip to tune out the chattering students that had entered the room in the beginning of the trip. Eventually, the constant talking stopped and woke her up, noticing how dark it had gotten. How long had she been sleeping?

"Students, be in your uniforms before we arrive. We will be arriving at Hogwarts in ten minutes," a voice called from the hallway.

Well, that answered her question.

She sat up and stretched out before opening up her bag to get into her uniform. A grey sweater vest, white long sleeved shirt, and a dark grey skirt with long black songs and penny loafers. A very private school uniform, but that was to be expected from a great wizarding school.

Erela shut the blinds of the room and quickly slipped out of her casual wear into her uniform. Buttoned up her long sleeved shirt, leaving one button open, and pulled the short sleeved sweater vest over her head when the other girls came back in their uniforms. Erela pulled on her socks and penny loafers when the train hissed to a halt. Quickly, she stuffed her clothes into her bag and pulled her robe over her shoulders when she lifted the bag to take with her.

"Just leave it. The caretaker of Hogwarts will pick up everything," one of the girls told the first year girl before she left with her group of friends.

Erela hesitated and left her bag in its spot before joining the slow stream of students exiting out of the train. She squeezed in and took tiny steps with other students out of one of exit and out into the chilling European air that immediately hugged her. Good thing she was wearing a robe, the skirt wasn't helping though.

"First years! First years, gather over here!" a voice called out over the babbling students.

Erela stood on top of her toes to look over the older students that were taller than her, looking for the voice that called out for the first timers to follow. There she saw someone holding a lantern close to his face. He was scruffy, had heavy bags under hazel eyes, and rather grey with age. He was a tall middle-aged man wearing a heavy overcoat and boots to match in the sight of weight.

As Erela gathered with other first years, she looked around toward her classmates she would be seeing throughout the year, some of which would be in her house as well. Her eyes went to a freckled boy with brown hair that shared a glance with Erela for a moment before her eyes looked over to the grey eyes of Michael Hughes. The dark haired boy smiled at her and it was like his eyes brightened up crazy fast seeing her again. At least she knew one student.

"Hello students. I'm Libatius Kettleoft. I'm the Keeper of Keys and Grounds of ol' Hogwarts. That means I do important work to keep this school safe for students such as yourselves," he said. The students, including Erela, stared at the middle aged man before Libatius shook off the silence and awkward feeling that lingered in the atmosphere in the closed space between him and the first years. "Enough of that. Just follow me," he told them and started walking.

Erela followed the gamekeeper with the other first years and was immediately accompanied by Michael. "Hey," he greeted her.

"Hey," she answered shyly.

"How was the rest of summer for you?" he asked her.

Erela forgot how chatty the boy was. "It was okay, I suppose," she shrugged in response and looked ahead of her to watch where she was going. God, she felt like she and Michael completely towered over the other students. Like they were half giants, or a quarter giant. Overall, most of the students were three inches shorter or more than the two of them.

Her tallness made her more self conscious of her existence . . .

"You're really quiet, aren't you?"

Erela looked toward him before she pursed her lips and looked away from the grey eyed eleven year old. "I'm not exactly the talkative type . . ." she answered.

"That's okay," the boy smiled and stopped with the other students. Before them were rows of boats. The gamekeeper instructed the students to keep five students in each boat and to get in them quick before they miss the ceremony.

Michael joined in one of the boats with Erela and waited on other students taking their spots in the boat before they start moving without the use of an oar. Erela looked toward the other boats and toward Libatius the gamekeeper just ahead of all of them. Where were the returning students? Why did the first years have to go into boats?

"I'll also warn you kids. We have a squid living in the lake. It's best you don't fall in," Libatius called to their attention.

Erela inched away from the edge and uncomfortably closer to the Hughes boy. "Um, do you care what house you'll be in?" Erela asked since she never asked the boy back in Diagon Alley.

"Not really," Michael shrugged. "But I wouldn't mind being a Gryffindor," the boy answered all bubbly. "I've heard a lot of great things about them."

It was hard not to get positive feedback about that house.

The chattering among the new students stopped the moment they rounded a corner and the castle stood atop of rocky hills, towering over the lake with lit torches and bright windows from the Great Hall reflected off the water of the Black Lake. There were four large towers that were higher than the rest of the castle with pointed roofs, all built in stone and colored with age.

Erela's eyes lit up as her eyes soaked up the image of the castle before her. "Woah . . ."

The other students were pretty quiet as well, their attention was all toward the castle that slowly approached them until they were in a tunnel where the boats stop at the stone docks. Erela waited for the other students to get off first before she and Michael were the last to come out. Libatius looked to all the boats first and counted all their heads before he nodded and turned away toward the stairs that went up.

All the students, including Michael and Erela, were looking around their surrounding, trying to soak up as much as they could of the castle as if that day would be the only time they would ever visit Hogwarts.

"It's so dark here," Erela commented, noticing that the only source of light around them were torches, complimenting the age of the castle of its medieval texture. Anything modern would have ruined what the castle was originally made to be.

"It's kind of wicked," Michael said, his eyes were up at a gold statue with all the four mascots of the Hogwarts houses just before a giant door in the already small hallway the first years were standing in.

In the very corner, was a tall witch with her hair was braided and pulled in a tight bun, not a single strand could escape it. She was a large woman with a dark blue cloak hung loosely over her shoulders, her fat fingers were intertwined with one another as she waited patiently for the students to quiet down and draw their attention to her. Her hair was dark, just like her eyes and rather intimidating atmosphere she brought about.

"Welcome to Hogwarts. I am Rhonda Moon, deputy headmistress of Hogwarts. Before we walk through those doors, we have simple rules that each student is expected to follow," she started before going through the list. Rule breaking deducts points from your house, earning points for good behavior, impressing professors, and so on and so forth. Other rules that was too obvious that it wasn't even worth mentioning, but still had to be said because Rhonda Moon knew for a fact there were some bad eggs in the bunch. "All of you wait here while I go see if everything is ready," Rhonda said and left the first years in the small hall.

Erela took in deep breaths, getting sorted into their houses was just moments away. She knew there was no need for her to be nervous, she already knew she was a witch, so the tiny fear of her being kicked out for being normal was out of the question. But everything felt like it was going to fast. Just hours ago she said goodbye to her parents and there she was with other students being herded around like a bunch of sheep.

Rhonda came back out, her hands still holding one another like the professor figure that she was, as she slowly approached the wide-eyed students. "We are ready for you. Follow me," she said and turned her back from the students and toward the giant doors.

Both doors opened before them, revealing a long room with four long tables full of students from years two through seven looking to the first years with curiosity. The ceiling was filled with floating candles and sunlight shining through the clouds of the charmed sky just above them. Up ahead was another long table filled with professors and the gamekeeper, with the headmistress, Magaera Ridgebit, right in the middle of the table.

Erela looked to a stool that stood just up ahead with a raggedy old hat. If she recalled correctly, that would be the sorting hat. An old hat that determined what house you would be living in for the rest of your academic career. It would read your personality, your desires, and your goals and estimate to which of the four houses you were best suited for.

The tall, brown eyed eleven year old girl was thinking so hard on soul searching in her mind that she had missed the announcement that the headmistress had made as well as the sorting hat's song, she only noticed when the whole room broke into thunderous applause. She blinked a couple times and joined the clapping, just to pretend she was listening and not make a fool of herself.

"And now, we shall house you. Come up when I call your name," Rhonda Moon told them and looked to a parchment that floated in front of her. "Abera, Christina" she began when a girl with curly blonde hair stepped forth from behind Erela and walked up toward the stool.

The old hat was placed over the girl's head and the pointy hat came to life and cried, "Ravenclaw!"

The Ravenclaw table cheered for their new member as the curly headed girl jumped off the stool and joined the enthusiastic table. "Allenberg, Richard."

The list went on for some time, every once in a while Erela would come back from her trance from time to time just to listen to where the deputy headmistress was on the list before dozing off again. Last time she heard, a boy by the name of Stacee Eitheridge with purplish pink hair was introduced and was housed for Hufflepuff.

"Harris, Erela," the large woman called.

Erela blinked a couple times and looked up to the girl. Michael lightly nudged her to start going up and she easily responded and walked up to the stool. Erela turned around, facing the watching eyes of the whole student body, sat on the stool, and the dusty old hat was lightly placed over her head.

She felt as if she had been there forever. Thirty seconds? A minute? An hour? What was taking the hat's time? Was she that complex? Was something wrong? Oh god, did the headmaster make a mistake and sent the letter to the wrong child with the same name? Was she really ordinary? Was she honestly just a muggle with no magical talents?

"Hufflepuff!" The sorting hat awoken and called.

Erela's heart stopped for only a moment when the Hufflepuff table burst to life with applause and cheers. The hat was pulled off of her and she immediately went to her house table. Erela was immediately greeted with handshakes, names, and smiling faces. It was actually overwhelming.

"Hughes, Michael."

Erela looked toward the front immediately and watched the dark haired boy sit on the stool and wait for the sorting hat to call his house. It wasn't like they knew each other well, but a part of her actually sort of hoped he would be in Hufflepuff as well.

Time stopped for those five seconds.


Slytherin . . .?

The table filled that housed the Slytherins came to life as Michael made his way to that table, sharing glances with Erela on his way there.

Less and less first years were being sorted and all joined their houses after the hat determined for them where they belonged. Finally, one boy was left. The rather skinny freckled boy she had seen earlier when they had arrived at Hogwarts. "Wisenburg, Landon."

The boy, Landon walked up to the front, everyone's eyes all on him and she saw the little tint of fear in his eyes with everyone watching him. "Interesting. A very interesting individual," the sorting hat said and the boy froze in place.

Interesting how? And was it honestly so bad as to scare the boy?

"Let's see . . . how about . . . Hufflepuff!" the sorting hat called.

Erela clapped with the other students while the freckled boy joined the table.

That was that. The sorting was over and the feast began.

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