The Oncoming Storm
In the heart of the valley the lake slept soundly. On the distant shores the castle was in a place of interlude. The sun had fallen away with its light and the moon had not yet ascended into its reign. Deep within the castle’s towers, turrets, and walls the school was empty. The young students would arrive on the morrow ready to begin a new year. On the grounds of the school the trees would turn to crimson and gold in the following months. In time they would become barren as snow covered the ground. The clouds would grow dense and the temperature would plummet. At the first sightings of warmth flowers would grow to speckle the earth, and soon the castle would feel the new rays of spring. When the shadows shrank back to near invisibility the time of summer would be at last upon them once again. But, for now, they were on the brink of autumn.
Over its millennium of existence Hogwarts had experienced countless events. During the years the school had witnessed empires rise and fall, generations of students enter and graduate, and headmasters and headmistresses come and go. The seasons passed, teachers were hired while others retired, it had seen tyrannical dictators in various forms meet their ends, and it had watched friendships begin and friendships break and fade away. Memories pasted into legends and some things were forgotten, while others would never be.
Now in light of the years following the Battle of Hogwarts the school had been repaired and there were several new staff changes to the castle. Inside the Headmistress’s Office six individuals were involved in an intriguing conversation. The four Heads of Houses, the Deputy Headmaster, and the Headmistress herself- Minerva McGonagall.
“Are they ready Professor?”
“A better phrase is ‘Will they be ready?’”
“That remains to be seen.”
They were in various spots around the circular room. Professor McGonagall was seated at her desk with a stern expression. Surrounding her were the trusted Heads; Professors Longbottom, Berry, Collins, and Ozpin. Her Deputy Headmaster was Professor Ohara, who performed the role of Astrology teacher.
The Charms Professor was a women of light blonde hair with icy blue eyes. She was also the Head of Ravenclaw House and Professor Collins had been in the same seventh year class that fought against Tom Riddle many years ago.
For the first time in any recent generations the History of Magic classes was being taught by a living being, this person was Professor Berry. His flamboyant ginger hair and overall flare for fine teaching had sent the morale for the subject skyrocketing into a surge of popularity.
Down on the lower office steps stood the Herbology Professor and Head of Gryffindor House. Neville Longbottom had entered the Auror training program within the Ministry of Magic and produced commendable results of success. Though when it was announced that the long standing Professor Sprout was retiring everyone alive knew who would replace her.
The last Head was of Slytherin House. He was a middle aged man with stark black hair and he had been at Hogwarts longer than any of the other Heads. Professor Ozpin’s subject was Defense Against the Dark Arts and his mission was to ensure that every student felt prepared and assured in their own abilities to defend themselves from dark forces.
“Their progress is commendable.” Professor Berry said. “We cannot forcibly pressure them for success.”
“They need to be capable of passing the exams.” Professor Collins stated.
“It is no question of them exceeding the tests, only by how much.” Professor Ozpin spoke from his place near Headmistress McGonagall.
“I think we may all agree that the four of them are well suited to pass the Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations. But rather, our concerns should be with how they will coincide with the other students and each other.” The Headmistress concluded.
Professor Collins scoffed, “There is only one who lacks in that behavioral sense.” With a glance at the Slytherin Head.
His eyes narrowed. “None of which she deserves.” Professor Ozpin said with a defensive manner. He had no appreciation for those who mocked his students, and especially her.
McGonagall looked to the Head of Gryffindor. “You are awfully quiet this evening, Professor Longbottom. Do you not agree with what has been said?” She asked him.
Quickly he looked up from where his eyes had been examining the floor. “No Headmistress, it’s not that.” Professor Longbottom began. “I feel that the social problems lie more in the other students rather than them. I think that the mistreatment of them has gone on for too long.”
“I agree with Neville. There is also too much special treatment afforded to them- and it’s not just from the other students.” Professor Berry added, voicing his opinions.
With a shallow sigh Headmistress McGonagall dismissed them from her office. “It is late, tomorrow is an important day that we should all be well rested for. We will have to continue this at a later time. Goodnight.”
Each of them said their parting remarks and in turn left the Headmistress’s Office in peace. Professor Longbottom headed for his quarters at a brisk pace, hoping he would not be disturbed. Ohara bid a goodnight to each of them before retiring to his chambers. Collins and Berry parted ways as they both turned in for the night. The Head of Slytherin lingered for a moment. He walked at a slow gait on the course for his own private room. Professor Ozpin ceased to move when he passed by a large windowpane. From the inside he could see the blackened sky were only the faint needle pricks of stars were visible. With a final glance he peered up at the moon above and turned away from the window. Within the hour all of the staff were fast asleep in their beds, the last preparations had been made for the start of school, and they longed for a good night’s sleep.
They knew naught what tomorrow would bring. There was no inkling of the gathering clouds, nothing of the swirling winds, no mention of the falling rain, no trace of the impending thunder, nothing to show the danger on the horizon, there was no sign to signal the imminent doom, nothing of a gesture to forewarn of the oncoming storm.