A Show of Ice and Fire

Ever since the Goldstein sisters became orphans after their parents had passed away, they had been looking out for each other on their own. When Queenie gets a pair of tickets to an amazing wizarding circus show in Canada, Tina can't help feeling excited about their first cross-border trip.

For a pair of young, parent-less girls, traveling across the borders to another country by ourselves was a pretty scary experience. Squeezing through the throngs of towering passengers scuttling around the platform was a challenge for us, so much so that I had to put my arms around Queenie to prevent her from being separated from me and drowned under the overwhelming rush hour crowd.

"Tina," I could hear Queenie whimpering next to me. "You're hurting me."

"I'm sorry, but just bear with it," I chided back. Now wasn't the time for me to succumb to the whims of my younger sister, no matter how painful her thin voice sounded in my ears. "We're almost there."

I forced myself through two gentlemen before us, who seemed to be taking their own sweet time to load their trunks onto the train. Returning their glower with an equally fierce glare, I dragged Queenie to our seats.

While Queenie was settling down with awe at the posh coach, I glanced down at the ticket in my hand. Calm as I seemed, I still couldn't believe that we would get the chance to see the famous fire-bending witch, Luminelle Devereux, at a wizarding circus carnival in Montreal. Tickets to her show were extremely hard to obtain, and it wasn't surprising to hear some willing to buy at ridiculously high prices from the black market just to see Luminelle and her eye-popping performances. I didn't know how Queenie got her hands on a pair of such rare tickets; I didn't want to know how she did it, either. I was very grateful that we could spend our Christmas vacation outside of America together for the very first time in our lives, and to a show I knew we would never forget.

I felt a thud on my shoulder, only to see Queenie sleeping next to me. Permitting myself a smile, I turned to look out of the window, at the blur of snowy white whizzing past as the train picked up speed and left the station.

Montreal was a shocking eye-opener to us, especially to Queenie, who kept bouncing around like an over-excited ferret as she waved her hands wildly around, gesturing at the town with too much vigor and enthusiasm that was hard for me to keep up with her. Greeting us was the huge cathedral Notre-Dame Basilica, the detailed design etched into the church building seemed to be alive even in coldness of the falling snow, and it was hard to peel our eyes away from the beauty of the Gothic structure. Even so, we had to, as sky became darker to welcome nightfall, and we had to hurry our way to an alley around the corner of the imposing church—which no one else on the street appeared to notice the existence of the alleyway.

As we reached to the end of the passage, I turned and frowned at my blond counterpart. "It's a dead end," I said, then narrowing my eyes at the obstacle before us. "With a post box stuck before a solid brick wall. Are you sure this is the right way?"

"Positive. I even triple-checked with Albert—oh, he's the one who gave me the tickets," Queenie replied, pulling out her wand and a piece of parchment. "The entrance is here." Tapping her wand on the parchment, she wrote her name on it, before dropping the parchment into the post box.

"Step back."

I heard a faint rumbling noise and the post box began to move, melting into the brick wall behind it. Then, the bricks collapsed into the post box, opening the path to a street that contrasted the Montreal we had just seen.

Even Queenie was breathless at yet another sightseeing delight. "So this is Allée d'Arc—the Alley of Arc, the wizarding area in Montreal."

Of course, the actual circus performance had to be the finale of our short trip around the snowy Canadian town. We reached the site as early as we could, but it was still packed with wizards and witches. I couldn't recognize half the conversations from the crowd around us, and some simply didn't look remotely native to belong here in North America. The staff had to fire cracking sparks into the air to maintain order among the attendants of the show, before ushering the people by batches into the huge, colorful tent. It was hard to see my way around the interior of the tent as the only sources of light were the dimly lit candles floating around us. I grabbed onto Queenie's wrist.

"Tina," Queenie said, chuckling. "I'm fine. I'll always follow behind you."

Though I wasn't that repulsive towards my sister's gift for Legilimency even at such a young age, there were times I still felt uncomfortable at the way she could look into my mind before I was able to voice out my thoughts properly.

Queenie's cheerful grin faltered. "Tina, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."

I shook my head. Exhaling slowly, I turned my attention to the stage. "The show is about to start soon, so let's have fun tonight."

The stand exploded with roaring applause and cheers when the spotlight shined onto the stage, bathing the star of the show in bright light. Decked in a pink dress adorned with white feathers, Luminelle Devereux spread her arms and bowed. The cheering became even louder. Plucking the feathers from her dress with a hand, she scattered them all around her while spinning on her toes. With a wave of her wand in the other hand, Luminelle magicked the feathers to levitate—almost like they froze in mid-air, as if time had come to a standstill around the tall lady.

Then she twirled her wand before her, flashing a pearly-white smile at the audience before she said the next spell with a clear voice, "Lacarnum Inflamari!"

A wisp of blue fire shot out from the tip of the wand, which Luminelle guided it to fly around her and ignite the hovering feathers. The azure flames seemed to flicker mischievously on the feathers, like dozens of will-o'-wisps dancing around the witch. The crowd clapped to the beat of the music playing from the backstage as Luminelle flicked her wand again, and the burning feathers orbited around her slender frame in a neat ellipse.

Next to me, Queenie suddenly stood up from her seat and shouted, "No!", but her voice was drowned out by the collective gasps of the other watchers in the tent as the burning feathers converged towards Luminelle.

I held my breath as I watched the witch burst into flames, and the tip of the fire even shot up towards the ceiling of the tent. I could feel beads of cold sweat trickling down the side of my face.

"What will happen to her?" Queenie whispered to me and clutched my arm. I felt her hands trembling against my skin. "Is she going to be alright?" Out of the corner of my eye, my poor sister looked like she was close to tears.

With a sudden bang, the top of the tent exploded outwards and specks of snow fell onto the hushed stand. The music picked up and pulled everyone's attention back to the stage, only to see Luminelle stepping through the fire unharmed, the blue flames caressing around her pink dress and turning it into shades of purple. She waved her wand again, this time siphoning parts of the blue fire to light up the snowflakes falling down on her from above, producing a witty performance where the tiny ball of flames disappeared with the melting snow into thin air.

It was the longest and hardest applause I had ever did in my life, and truly a wonderful show I'd never forget as the performance came to an end.

Inspirations and influences for this story include, but not limited to:
* "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin (title only)
* The first name, Luminelle, came from one of my fellow Gryffindor writers, Lumi; the last name, Devereux, came from a spy novel I used to like.

Forum: The Houses Competition
Year/Round: Year 2, Round 8
House/Position: Gryffindor, Prefect 1
Category: Short
Prompt: [Spell] Lacarnum Inflamari
Word Count: 1329 (gdoc; excludes title, summary and A/N)
Rating: K+