Chapter: 2-The Great Feast
Title: In which Taela devises a plan, is envious, and wonders things.
Characters: Talea Ridgeway, Loretta, Verity, Desi, Petra (she is discussed), James, Brix, and Christian
Summary: Taela shares a carriage with Loretta and friends, thus devising a plan that involves them. She also notices some suspicious activity and wonders who Petra is.
Talea sighed as she sat in the carriage alone. It is better than being on the train with those impossible boys
, she thought to herself. She had been the first one off of the train, as she felt her composure would be unable to take another minute of their useless banter. You would think that they were the best quidditch players in the wizarding world. Of course, I happen to know that they couldn’t catch a Quaffle if it soared straight for their chest.
Her day did not seem to be getting any better than it had been starting out. She wondered if she had been the only Hogwart’s student who had no parent or loved one to wave them off to the school. “You’re a third year now, I think you can handle it,” she had been told. Of course she could handle it, but it did not hurt any less. Daddy would have been there for me
, her mind told her. Yet, he couldn’t because he had developed that horrible muggle cancer and had died. Taela shook her head before the depressing thoughts could take hold. She knew that losing the only person that had ever showed her any sort of loving affection was the main reason that she was so much the loner she was today. But, that’s going to change this year.
Her plan, which she had yet to tell anyone (as if there was anyone to tell), was to push against her impulse to resist human contact and allow herself to make connections with people at the school. She knew that if she ever wanted to come out of her shell and be happy, she would have to have friends to confide in and share thoughts with. It would be hard going against every instinct in her body that would be screaming at her to pull away, but she was determined to do it anyway. I’m not in Ravenclaw for nothing
, she reminded herself. She wanted to live up to her father. To make him proud. Clutching the locket that her father had given her, she prayed for the strength to do what she felt was necessary.
Lost in her thoughts, she did not realize that someone had opened the carriage door until she heard a voice say, “Taela, hope you don’t mind us barging in…” Taela looked at the girl from the corner of her eye and saw a Ravenclaw third year she knew to be Loretta Squab standing in the doorway, a cheerful smile upon her face. Taela was dumbfounded for a moment, unsure of what to say. She had always admired Loretta and was thus more terrified of her than she had been of any other student. She actually remembers my name?
Another girl, a Gryffindor and friend of Loretta’s named Desdemona Wraxton, seemed to feel that her silence was somehow a product of irritation at Loretta’s assumption, because she interrupted saying, “She means, Taela, that if this carriage is not already fully claimed, we would be grateful if you would allow us to share it with you.”
Taela knew she was blushing. She knew she should say something that would ease the tension, yet she was not ready to completely breach her old ways. Turning her eyes back to the window’s view, she shrugged. “If you want,” she mumbled, silently cursing herself for her cowardly ways.
“Sweet,” a small girl from Gryffindor named Verity Thomas said, sliding into a seat as well. “I wonder if Petra found Christian alright?” Who is this Petra girl? Taela wondered, as the carriages started moving slowly toward the castle. I’ve never even heard of her. And I would remember such a name. Sounds German or some variation of that.
She sat in silence until the carriage came to a halt. She allowed the other girls to exit first, all of them chatting happily to one another before she herself got out.
Following the large crowd of 2nd through 7th years, she walked into the castle and into the Great Hall. Taking a seat a few feet from Loretta, she awaited the normal speech from the Headmaster. She could see Loretta and her friends chatting happily, although she could not hear what they were saying. She watched as Loretta began a conversation with Christian and could plainly hear her ask, “We never asked Petra where she was transferring from. You know, right?” Although Taela could not hear his answer, she could tell he was uncomfortable. Now I know why I’ve never heard of this Petra. She is a transfer student. That is most unheard of, yet it could prove to be quite interesting.
Yet, at that moment, Headmaster Dippett began his speech.
This was the moment that Taela truly stopped listening. His speech was bound to be as dull as it had been the previous year. She took the opportunity to look around at her surroundings, take in the people, and listen to conversations. She was most interested in the conversation going on between Loretta and her friends, but she had chosen a seat too far away and could not hear what they were saying. They seemed to be talking about Professor Brix, as they were looking at him and talking quietly. Professor Brix had always given her a very odd feeling. She did not know what it meant, but there had always been something a bit…off about him. Apparently, the other girls thought so too, as they seemed to be viewing him very suspiciously. When he began to leave, Verity made as if to follow him. She and the other girls seemed to be arguing and Loretta grabbed her robes in what appeared to be an attempt to stop her. Both girls took a tumble and two other girls rose as if to try and stop the situation before it went further. When the hall became silent, Talea barely dared to breath. A boy named James offered the ladies a hand up, and it was a blushing Loretta who grasped it. Blushing more than ever, Loretta slumped in her seat, followed by a glaring Verity.
Professor Dippit made a remark that went unnoticed by Taela as she took in the state of the ladies, adding it to her memory, as she did with every other thing that she ever observed. It helped having a photographic memory. She turned away just in time, as Loretta seemed to be searching out any probing eyes. Instead, she focused on the first years filing through the doorway, wondering which one would be the mysterious Petra. How she wished to be a part of their group, to know just what was going on between them and Professor Brix. That sent her thoughts back to their mysterious attitude a few minutes before. What in the world are they up to? And do they know something about Brix that I don’t?
She didn’t know how hard it was going to be, but she planned to find out. And the first step was going to be the most difficult. Somehow, I have to become their friend. I just have to.