What You Missed
By Justin "Dresden" Theriault
Arriving at Hogwarts, I found a once fun, open and competitive learning environment had been transformed into a land of rules and consequences...
Trouble soon came in the form of a student being lost in Forbidden Forrest, having been sent their on detention by one Delores Umbridge- head of the inquisitorial squad. Why, you ask? Well during one of her lessons a student sneezed, and the lost student had said 'bless you' which apparently counts as "speaking out of turn" with Ms. Umbridge. Heading into the Forest, the other students kept the perilous creatures at bay long enough to find some fairy eggs. (At this point the humidity of the forest got the better of me and I went back to the Slytherin common room). I learned from the fine upstanding Slytherin, Swoop, the fairy eggs were fed to some creatures, which got us to a line of fire elementals that needed to be doused with Auquamente. The lost student was found with no voice (it was stolen by ghosts) A puzzle needed to be solved to free our classmate and return her voice, while that was being solved ghosts were possessing people and there were wolves. The students made it back to Hogwarts. Everyone was told to meet for class with Delores Umbridge at Noon sharp.
The next day, we met with Umbridge, promptly at Noon sharp (1:30 or so Hogwarts time) who was very disappointed in us interfering in her 'punishment'. She went on to tell us that if we thought that was rough, it was nothing compared to what was in store for any of us who broke the rules. We were then told to sit through a two hour lecture on the history of Magic, and that there would be a test. Thankfully before the lecture could even begin, Luna Lovegood and Professor McGonagall pulled us for a more important task... We were to find the Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw.
Shortly after, there lay before us a perilous quicksand pit that could only be traversed by leaping from rock to rock. All around, doglike creatures barked and clawed at us. With quick thinking, a student (probably a Slytherin) discovered that the creatures responded to good old fashioned fetch. With a healthy supply of sticks, we managed to distract most of them, and looking back I believe I noticed Janus rubbing two of their bellies, crying out "MY ARMS ARE GETTING TIRED MOVE QUICKLY!". The students made it through and we made it to what seemed to be a set of crude tolls set up by trolls. Vesper paid the toll first, walking unscathed by the first set of trolls and on to the second. Out of money and with no allies, the second toll promptly killed him. It seems pretty apparent that we had to pay the troll toll, if we wanted to get to that boys soul (vesper), or otherwise just massacre every troll that stood against us. Given the choice between parting with our coin and showing an utter disregard for the life of living things, the choice was more clear - they never stood a chance.
Moving forward, we helped some endangered species find their nest so that they could lay eggs and moved on to an area that required us to fish for bait to lure some wild cappa in to use their 'fluids' to open the next path. There were some sharks and through the use of some complicated magics one of the students had, for a short while, a shark mount. It was slain when it became clear that his mount was just swimming around killing students.
We made it to a sea monster, and discovered we'd need some supplies to properly capture it (nothing else was working and it was swallowing our students). We headed to Diagon Alley, where a pudding shoppe was set up to give many of the students a much needed sugar spike. We found the tools we needed to complete the task, and went forth and captured the sea monster.
Shortly after, we were led to Rowena Ravenclaw's ghost. She told that only the pure of heart could be given her Diadem, and that none of us could be implicitly trusted with it - so we must undergo a series of tests. We were split into seven teams relatively even in terms of house. This was done by letting the prefects serve as captains and do round picks (being the brave and talented Slytherin that I am, I was one of the first four chosen). We fought off birds, solving a puzzle that helped us to silence their confusing and alarming cries, and made it to the next test. Random puzzle pieces were distributed, and trough teamwork the correct pieces were traded off and seven puzzles were solved. the next test was a riddle, followed by blindly forming a square with some string. finally Rowena's ghost was satisfied, but she could not choose who to grant the Diadem to; so it was left to the us to decide. the student needed to be pure of heart and must have never had a dark mark. The students came to a consensus and the Diadem was bestowed upon Red from Gau Dring. Dumbledore appeared and told us all that we would be venturing into a horcrux come nightfall to destroy it.
Nightfall came, and we went out in groups of six students, we encountered challenges (highlights include Sarix briefly becoming immortal and someone eating a baby). The horcrux must've had its own immune system, because the skies opened up and torrential downpours and viscous lightning hit us unrelentingly - which is how the night ended. The next day we reconvened in the horcrux. its immune system now taxed,we finished the task and destroyed the horcrux. We faced a few other challenges, one in which the mighty Slytherin Grebinar retrieved some special flames that burn eternal (almost symbolic of the eternal superiority of house Slytherin).
We came upon a barrier that could only be taken down if special creatures were killed by special means (thank you Enlon for that boost) and we fought through some more trolls (apparently Umbridge let them in the castle as her personal guard), making it back to Hogwarts. Dumbledore then confronted Umbridge, claiming that she didn't even work the ministry and was just insane. He took Umbridge away and we ended our term.
Overall it would seem this years term was more about the unification of houses for the common good, and less about posturing and house rivalry. Hopefully next year things go back to normal. I travel pretty far from Neden lands to reach Hogwarts, and I barely got to cause any mischief. Maybe next year we can all get back to our beloved Patronus vs Patronus.