* Dec. 6 - *Mandatory* The representatives of Hogwarts, Durmstrang, & Beauxbatons will be arriving to Cordova. Everyone will meet in the Dining hall, in uniform, and sit with their respective Covens. The schools will be introduced, the tournament explained, and the Goblet of Fire presented. Students will have the chance to begin entering their names into the Goblet after the introductions.
We stood with our noses pressed against the cold window, breath fogging the glass, trying to catch the slightest glimpse of the Triwizard students arriving. The Durmstrang boys held particular interest. They were dark, dangerous and pureblood, or so Ophelia informed me , which coincidentally was my favourite combination. I’d been second guessing myself ever since the gala ‘incident’ with Bertrand and a distraction of the handsome male variety would be the ideal tonic for recovery.
Since Headmaster Everhart had announced our inclusion in the tournament Cora had been almost constantly pestering for me to enter, Bernice had mentioned it a couple of times too, but only casually, which gave me a sneaking suspicion she rather fancied herself as the Cordova Champion.
Cora started her relentless bugging again. “I mean, who better to be our contender...you actually /are/ a Cordova, you don’t have to do advanced transfiguration to work that one out!”
I smiled. The idea really was growing on me, being the first ever student from Cordova to participate was something even Art couldn’t take away from me and I /was/ a gifted student, not to mention ridiculously competitive. Nevelyn Cordova - Triwizard Champion, it did have a certain ring to it.
The heavy wooden doors to the Main Hall swung open, allowing a cold draft in, it also signalled a mad dash back to our respective places whilst the faculty entered one by one. Professor Fields was last, with ruddy cheeks and crazy hair, she looked like she’d just returned from flying fifty laps of the quidditch pitch. Professor Everhart took his place, the other teachers filtering around him. The hall hushed to a soft murmur.
“As you well know” spoke Everhart loudly “Cordova Academy of Sorcery will be playing host to our brother and sister schools throughout the rest of the academic year. Whilst these students are amongst us I fully expect you to treat them with the upmost courtesy, kindness and respect, despite the fact that three of these guests will be battling with our very own Champion in the hopes of winning the fabled Triwizard Cup”. Cora nudged me with her elbow grinning.
“The representatives from Durmstrang, Beauxbatons and of course Hogwarts, will be joining us shortly, so again I will remind you that during their time at Cordova, and as always, Morwood Forest /remains/ strictly out of bounds.” He looked at Van who squirmed slightly under his gaze.”Furthermore, in view of the sad turn of events during the final stage of the last Triwizard Tournament, the security around this academy will be doubled... this includes a detection spell which has been placed upon the boundaries of the forest, it will, of course, alert me to any unauthorised activity.” There was an audible groan at the last sentence; we all knew Van would be planning a killer party but with our venue taken away it would, at the very least, have to be postponed.
A sharp knock sounded and the state of silence resumed. “Alas, a sure signal that my moment is done” said Everhart. “Without any further ado, please welcome our friends from afar,” His voice raised. “Durmstrang Institute for Magical Learning, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” Everhart raised his wand and the doors flew opened.
As one, our heads turned to take in the entering numbers, applause erupting to fill the hall. The first to enter were Durmstrang. Ophelia was right, there were more than a few that would get a second glance. Flames shot from their wands circling above our heads and exploding with an almighty bang that made me jump out of my skin. Bernice muffled a giggle but her shoulders shook, giving the game away.
Hogwarts were next, though there was no flash show of pyrotechnics for them, their stern looking Headmistress lead the way. They had been the last host of the tournament and we all knew how that had ended, shame really, that Diggory boy had been quite the looker if his photograph in Magic Weekly was anything to go by.
Beauxbatons were the final school to enter the main hall, each student walked as if they were stepping on air, their long limbs both graceful and elegant, and their faces the epitome of serene composure. One or two waved discretely at Louvel as they passed. The giant woman who strode behind them left a lot to be desired but her conjured bluebirds fluttering in and out of view went some way in making up for her lack of attractiveness.
Once they had all reached the front of the hall and greeted the faculty, Headmaster Everhart took centre stage for the final time.
“Welcome, welcome” He smiled. “We are so very happy to have you here and trust that your stay will leave you only the sweetest memories of our dear Cordova Academy” He gestured for another applause which was loudly answered. When the ruckus had died down he continued.
“To our newest friends and my own valued students I will say merely this. The Triwizard Tournament is no simple display of childish fancies. It requires courage, skill and dedication in equal quantities. The tasks you may meet will require a strong character and an agile mind. I would also take this opportunity to advise you that should you wish to be considered as Champion for your respective school, entering your name into the Goblet of Fire will constitute a magically binding contract. The minimum age for entry is seventeen years old... and before /any/ younger students attempt to replicate the hiccup which allowed young Harry Potter to take part in the previous tournament, I would sagely counsel you to employ your intellect and reconsider. There will be no exceptions. The Goblet has been most arduously guarded by myself and the other faculty present and the consequences of an endeavour to defy our charms will be severe and, likely, uncomfortable.”
Several grins faded at this warning, though there remained those who, already, were evidently and rebelliously considering which enchantment to try first.
“And now” said Everhart swishing his wand until a large upright trunk appeared before him. “The Goblet of Fire”. He tapped his wand twice on the solid case and section by section it vanished, leaving only a worn golden cup perched upon an old stone column. With one more wave the Goblet was engulfed in large blue flames, flickering menacingly to a cacophony of ‘oooh’s’ and ‘aaah’s’.
I looked to Cora who was entranced by the spectacle. Taking in the room I realised she was not the only one. Timber looked on, eyes narrowed like she could somehow will herself as Champion while Lance and Louvell whispered conspicuously gesturing to Dorian who nodded at their unspoken question. Half of Exuro were clutching each other in excitement – apart from Sadie Vanderville who stood apart, her usual wan face lifted slightly.
I made my decision then and there. I was going to enter. Immediately I weighed up who the strongest Cordova contenders would be – Raulyn Weasley for sure and perhaps Rue Grace, Bertrand definitely , and, though I didn’t want to admit it, Emily Timber was bound to give me a good run for my money. Who else? Maybe that quiet Piper girl in Ventus and a few of the older boys. I took a deep breath and nodded to no one in particular – my odds were pretty good, I mused.
(Sorry if it's a bit long, there was so much I wanted to fit in. I used a bunch of you, though mostly indirectly @gabinoonoo2011 @radio-surgery @brightobjects-hypnotizedminds @fleetingfanfan @clairedear @cate-in-the-sky @strawberry-girl @oedipus - apologies if I missed anyone :))