Checkmate

Checkmate

1.

They didn't get many cars in that part of the world. As Vivian slammed the car door shut a crowd of bats rose from the nearby trees in a frightened cloud, and vanished into the turbulent darkness. Vivian looked curiously around her, but all that could be seen through the torrential rain was the dark outline of Hogwarts.

"Come on." Said Vivian's cousin Lucy, who had managed to heave Vivian's trunk out of the car boot, "they're waiting for us."

It was true: by the Hogwarts gates stood a tall figure wrapped in a cape. It was Dumbledore. Vivian recognised him from a picture in one of her books on great magical achievements - her mother and father had amassed a huge library of books, which were her most prized possessions. Lucy had been trying to drag the trunk across the drive, but Dumbledore strode over and put a hand on her arm.

"Allow me." He shouted through the shriek of the wind. He muttered some words under his breath and the trunk was suddenly as light as air. Lucy gave a gasp of delighted amazement, which was lost in the wind.

Dumbledore smiled cheerfully at them through the sheet of rain, and lead them up through the gates and into the school. They followed him up a moving stairway and into a warm room, which they realized must be his office.

Dumbledore removed his dripping cloak and said

"Welcome, welcome. You must be exhausted!"

Lucy shook his proffered hand.

"I'm Lucy Slane, Vivian's guardian."

Lucy was taller than Vivian, but she could not have been more than nineteen or twenty at the most. Vivian knew she was bursting with excitement. Lucy had no magic powers herself, but she was wildly enthusiastic about all things magical, and a trip to Hogwarts was like a dream come true.

"You look after Vivian alone?" asked Dumbledore.

"Well…. since the tragedy." Replied Lucy, with a cautious look at Vivian, who pretended to be tying her shoelace. "I'm a music teacher," she continued, "so it's quite easy for me to work from home."

"Of course." Said Dumbledore, with a kind smile. "I'm very pleased to see you at last, Vivian." He added, looking at Vivian, "I was glad to hear of your recovery."

"Thank you." Replied Vivian, feeling suddenly shy. She was somewhat in awe of Dumbledore, having read all about his achievements, although he seemed nothing like the dignified wizard she had pictured.

"We have an accomplished potions master at Hogwarts, who will be able to make up your healing draught each evening." Continued Dumbledore, "I'm sure after a term here your cousin won't recognise you!"

Lucy smiled distractedly, Vivian could tell she was memorising the details of Dumbledore's office, and certainly there were enough curious and beautiful things to catch anyone's eye. Suddenly Vivian remembered something.

"Um, excuse me Sir," she said, "Do you think I could try on the sorting hat?"

"Yes of course." said Dumbledore cheerfully, "You don't have to call me sir by the way, in a few weeks you'll be calling me an old codger like the rest of the students - and some of the teachers if truth be known."

Vivian laughed nervously, and crossed to the other side of the room, where the battered sorting hat lay. At once she heard a buzzing voice in her ear.

"Well, if it isn't Vivian Leroux…. " Said the hat cheerfully, "Now what do we have here? Brains, good lord yes. Courage? If necessary. Ambitious too…. Where shall I put you?"

Instantly Vivian saw herself in Slytherin. She felt the familiar surge of longing, to access the power which lay within her. How tempting it was…

Not Slytherin, She though resolutely.

"Not Slytheirn? Are you sure? You have that power you know." buzzed the hat. "Well then, better be RAVENCLAW."

Vivian removed the hat.

Dumbledore and Lucy were watching her proudly.

"I'll show you to your dormitory, as everyone seems to be asleep." Said Dumbledore. "I've invited your cousin to stay the night here, seeing how terrible the weather is." He added with a smile.

So that was what Lucy was looking so pleased about. At this rate she might actually be able to see some magic. Vivian grinned to herself as Dumbledore showed them down the labyrinth of corridors to the Ravenclaw common room, a cheerful, pentagonal shaped room, with a fireplace on each side of the pentagon. She was finally coming to Hogwarts! She had dreamed about it for years, but only now was she actually there at last.

When she finally reached her dormitory, which had clean beds ready for her and Lucy, Vivian fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow, and for once she was untroubled by nightmares.

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