Again, I own NOTHING!
A big Thank You to pazed for the editing.
And as always, READ! ENJOY! REVIEW!
Because that is the only form of payment received for the stories I write.
Hermione slipped down the stairs of the guest quarters and into the kitchen. She hadn't expected anyone else to be awake at 4:30am but found a man standing at the counter pouring a cup of coffee. He glanced up as she came in, then back at the cup as he said, "Good morning, you must be Hermione. They told me you and your family would be arriving. Can I fix you a cup of coffee? Tea?"
She shook her head, "No thank you." She reached for the refrigerator, and looked inside for a moment, settling on orange juice and pulling one of the small bottles from the six pack.
After he finished pouring, the man walked over and presented his hand. "Sirius Black."
"Hermione Granger. Pleased to meet you Mr. Black," she said shaking it.
"And you. Call me Sirius, please." He headed toward the door. "There is cereal in the cupboard," he pointed, "but I'd recommend breakfast up at the Fairgrove office, if you have your pass that is." He tapped the laminated card with his picture attached to his belt loop.
She nodded. "Mr. Silverhair had them done for us last night. What time do they start serving?"
He looked at his watch. "Hmmm… There is usually someone there by now with coffee and pastries…that sort of thing… out, but breakfast will start about six." He opened the door and stepped out. "I'll see you at the meeting, have a good morning," he said, as the door clicked closed.
It didn't take Sirius long to walk to the main building, where he swiped his card, pulled the door open and walked into the brightly lit hallway making his way to the gym locker room.
In the days since his arrival he had found this was one of the best times he could spend with his godson. He changed quickly and joined the group warming up in the gym.
"Morning Sirius," Harry said as he stretched. "How do you like the workouts?" he asked.
"I think you guys are sadists," he chuckled, "especially after Tannim said this is only part of your physical training."
Harry shrugged it off. "This is strength and endurance training, as well as team building. Racing is more physically demanding than people realize, for both pit crew and driver… besides this is less than what we do during the season, so you're starting off light," he said as he led the pack of ten runners plus Sirius outside as they began to run. "You think you can keep up this time? Or are you going to cheat again?"
"Hey I ran the entire course!" he retorted.
"Using your animal form, so it doesn't count!" Harry jibed back. Sirius chuckled.
The Grangers and Luna filed into the main conference room of the Fairgrove office and sat across from six others. Chinthliss stood. "Good morning, and welcome to Fairgrove. Now I know that you have questions but first I feel that a full set of introductions is in order."
"You met Lady Ako," he indicated the woman on his right, "as well as Keighvin Silverhair." The man at the head of the table nodded. "This is Tannim and his wife Shar," gesturing to the couple to his right. "Next is Sirius Black, and finally Joe Brown head of security, on the end."
"Now I know that I have put off some your questions for a while, and that is one of the purposes of this meeting, to give you those answers. The other is to talk about how you and your family wish to continue with your education. So, questions first I believe."
Robert Granger looked at his wife then the two girls, his wife shrugged, and he almost began to speak when he noticed Luna lifting her hand. "Luna? Do you wish to go first?" he asked.
Nodding slightly she looked up and down at the people on the other side of the table. She started on Joe's end but finally ended up on Chinthliss. "I-I hmph…" She looked confused. "What are you?" she finally asked.
Chinthliss smiled. "Well that was one of the things we were going to discuss today at any rate. Tell me child how can you tell some of us are different?"
"…your corona… aura…my mother was still teaching me when she died..." She quieted.
Hermione's eyes widened. "You can see auras!" she blurted out. "Sorry!" she said.
Chinthliss chuckled, "No problem, Hermione, this isn't a class. Luna how much had she taught you about auras?"
She shook her head. "Not much, she died shortly after she figured out what I was seeing."
He nodded. "Luna what you are using is known as Mage Sight, in most circles. I expect that you can also see wards and shields? Like those around Hogwarts and the property here?"
She nodded. "I see a rainbow of domes around Hogwarts… what I see here is different, it almost looks like crystals."
Chinthliss's smile grew. "Yes, you may have a natural affinity toward Mage Sight. It is a wonderful gift, if not a little distracting at times." He looked at the Grangers and explained. "Mage Sight is the ability to actually see the magic in use around us. Most magicals need to be trained to access the ability, but to Luna it comes easily…. This is something we will revisit shortly, as she will need some specialized traning to help her avoid sensory overload. As for your question… I think we will start from the beginning. Keighvin if you will."
He stood as Chinthliss sat, he seemed to shimmer, his appearance shifting to that of his elfin form as he spoke. "Welcome, and be at peace. Please accept my hospitality as the Liege-Lord of Fairgrove."
He waited, as the Grangers and Luna gathered their thoughts. Hermione was the first to speak. "B-But all the books said that you left…"
He nodded. "We did, we began our exodus to the Americas, about the time the castle your school occupies was completed, and were gone shortly after the tragedy that befell the families of some of your school's founders."
He continued. "Here we made a new life for ourselves and worked to integrate ourselves with the non-magical world, but that is something we will cover as part of your lessons… at a time when your parents can hear it as well, if they wish." Both the elder Grangers nodded.
He sat and Lady Ako stood along with her daughter. "My full name is the Lady Ako Halanyn, Matriarch of the Kitsune clan, this is my daughter Shar." Their real forms faded into view, along with their nine tails.
Staying seated, Tannim waved. "Human, Mage."
Sirius chuckled, and followed suit with a wave. "Wizard."
Joe nodded. "I'm what is known as an Adept, I can only use one aspect of magic, my gift includes a sight enhancement that is something similar to yours Luna."
Chinthliss stepped in. "As for me… I am a dragon." His eyes flared bronze, and they gasped.
Hermione stuttered, "L-like the ones at the tournament? But the books said they aren't… intelligent." Her voice trailed off.
He chuckled again. "Those were drakes… distant cousins. Kind of like a chimpanzee is to human. This form is similar to what I understand you know as an Animagus… but in reverse. Sometime I will take you and your family to a place where you may see my true form if you wish."
The girls looked at each other then nodded vigorously as he continued. "Now then, let us speak about your schooling shall we? Things are quite different here. Your standard subjects, the same as your non-magical peers, for those you will have tutors for the remainder of the year as well as the summer. Their job is to see that you are caught up with your peers before next fall if possible. They will continue if you wish or need additional help.
"For now you are listed as part of the pilot program in the UK now known as Stanfield Primary, as exchange students from Canada. The creation of which by this tournament has been seized upon by the British Government as a chance to give first generation magicals, or as they are known there, 'Muggleborn', and any others an additional choice when approached for their magical education.
"Up till this time graduates from the Ministry of Magic approved curriculum, first generations especially, have come back to the outside world because of the rampant discrimination, and/or lack of opportunities. Only to find that they are woefully under educated in the things they need for the non-magical world. It is their hope to adopt the model that is in use here in the Americas as well as elsewhere, allowing you to continue on to University level education, or obtain gainful employment directly after your graduation.
"Activating dual citizenship with Canada offers you a margin of protection when we return for the remainder of the tournament. We will also be traveling with a security contingent." He looked at the Granger adults. "I assure you they will be adequately protected, and protections will be made available to you as well.
"It is hoped that by the end of term enough headway will have been made to allow the program to continue, but if it does not you will continue your education here."
He continued. "On the magical side, there are some decisions to be made, mainly the type of magic that you wish to pursue." He raised his hand to stave off the questions forming in the young girls' minds. "Usually an introduction is made over time, but that is not an option we have at the moment. So I am going to give you the 'lowdown', as Harry would say, about the types of choices that are available… and remember these are generalizations, and the disciplines quite often overlap."
"We'll start with what you are familiar with, being a witch or wizard, or focus dependant magic. Focus can take on many different shapes, but the two most common are the staff and the wand. While the staff is rarely seen in civilian use, as it is mostly used for law enforcement and military applications, they do have their uses in heavy construction and other instances.
"The wand however, is quite common. It allows for extremely fine control, and conservation of the magical energy from the user's core (think of it as their magical battery). As long as the user knows the appropriate 'spell', and has sufficient power left in their 'core' they can accomplish all kinds of things… It is a versatile multi-purpose tool.
"Next is magic manipulation without use of a focus, a mage. A mage is also very versatile, but the majority of their 'spells' will take more time and energy to form, as they do not benefit from the natural governing of their discharge of magic provided by a focus when they are casting. Only a spell that they have spent a lot of time working to perfect will be anything as fast or as efficient as a focus user's. This is usually limited to a handful of spells.
"On the other hand they are more adaptable, as they can mold magic without the use of a prepared 'spell', custom magic created for a specific need. The only thing limiting them is their imagination and the amount of magic available.
"Then there is what is known as ritual magic. It is exactly what it sounds like, magic using magic circles, runes, etc… Ritual magic is by far the most adaptable, but most often the slowest; some of them can take years to design and complete. It is the most time consuming of the disciplines, but by far the most powerful as magic can be added in small doses over time if desired.
"The last type of magic you need to be aware of is Guardian magic, but that is more of a calling than a conscious decision. They are chosen by magic itself and trained by a Guardian that is drawn to them. While this is rare, in my life it has been my honor to know three Guardians and call them friend, it is a possibility that you need to be aware of. We will speak more about Guardian magic in your studies, as well as how to recognize them if you encounter one."
He slid a small stack of books across the table. "These will explain a little more in depth, read them and talk it over. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. A decision does not need to be made at this moment, but the sooner you settle on a main discipline the more time we will have to arrange for instruction. Magical lessons will begin Monday January 3rd, starting with an assessment by the instructors.
"In the mean time we will focus on non-magical subjects. Monday after the holiday weekend, you will meet with your tutors and they will assess your current grade levels." He smiled softly at Hermione as a panicked look crossed her face. "Just do your best, and don't get too worked up. This is a holiday weekend… enjoy being with family and new friends." She looked up at him and returned his smile with a slight nod.
"Now most of this group, along with a few others will be accompanying us back to England when we return. Keighvin will be traveling back and forth to the States but will be with us at least two days a week.
"As for your schedule, we have made arrangements to stay on the grounds of Hogwarts Monday through Friday. Weekends you will spend at home with your parents, if you wish." The Granger adults each reached over and hugged one of the girls, all of them smiling. "The weekends of a task they are invited to join you at Hogwarts."
They talked for a while longer till Chinthliss asked if there were any further questions, and none were forthcoming.
Keighvin sat forward at that point. "Tomorrow is a holiday, Thanksgiving, a celebration of family and freedom. Please join us. You are family now, so have a lot to celebrate!"