Chapter III – A Ravenclaw Review
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.
The train gathered speed as it pulled away from the platform. The others leaned out the window still, barely enough room for all of them. Claire was the first to return to her seat. Everyone else sat back down when the station was no longer visible, obscured by long rows of houses as the train began the journey north.
“So, what’ll we do first?” asked Zack to the rest of the compartment. “Trolley won’t be here for a while, we could play games ‘til then.”
“I got an Exploding Snap deck,” said Snow, pulling a pack of cards from his pocket. The other boys agreed enthusiastically, but Cloud was wary.
“‘Exploding’ Snap?” he asked.
“It explodes if you’re too slow, or sometimes just because it feels like it,” grinned Zack as Snow shuffled the deck carefully. “You in?”
“Careful, Cloud,” said Claire. “Only join in if you’re prepared to get singed.”
“I think I’ll be okay,” replied Cloud. “You gonna play?”
“Black eyebrows wouldn’t suit me, I’ll pass. I’ve got a chess set instead.”
“I’ll play chess with you,” smiled Aerith. “I’m not very good, but playing Snap with Zack and Kunsel is dangerous for my delicate hands,” she giggled, wiggling her fingers.
Cloud played Exploding Snap with the other boys for over an hour. He even managed to win a round, before losing the next one miserably and having the tips of several blond spikes blackened. Hurriedly brushing as much soot off as he could, he turned to watch Aerith and Claire playing chess. Aerith had just moved one of her knights, and Claire was eyeing the board.
“King’s bishop to E5,” said a voice from the compartment’s doorway. Everyone looked around. A girl with long dark hair was standing there, already wearing her school robes, which were lined with dark blue.
“Hey! That’s not fair, Lulu!” said Aerith, sticking out her tongue. The other girl seemed not to hear her, thought, as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a few large pieces of parchment, holding them towards Aerith.
“Here. Apparently Genesis spent most of the summer thinking of ways to promote his beloved clubs. He wants these up in the Hufflepuff common room first thing.” Lulu said, as Aerith took the pieces, unfolding the top one. It was a poster with the words ‘Singing Group’ across the top in large red and purple letters.
“Sure thing, Lulu,” Aerith answered with a smile. Lulu nodded, then looked around the rest of the compartment.
“So, some new first years. Any idea which House you may end up in? I wouldn’t say no to some new Ravenclaws.” She asked.
“Sorry, but I’m aiming for Gryffindor!” said Snow, jabbing a finger at his chest. “The House of heroes!”
“Yeah!” echoed Gadot enthusiastically. Lulu raised a curious eyebrow for a moment, before turning to Cloud and Claire.
“Ravenclaw would be nice. I don’t mind much, so long as my dormmates aren’t annoying,” said Claire with a shrug. Lulu nodded again, a faint smile on her lips.
“I don’t know. What’s the difference between them?” asked Cloud.
“Each House favours different qualities in its students,” replied Lulu. “Ravenclaw prefers students who are intelligent and willing to learn.”
“Gryffindors are brave and strong!” interrupted Zack, brandishing an invisible sword. Aerith giggled and caught his wrist before he was able to injure anyone.
“Hufflepuff House values people who are loyal and hardworking,” she said, turning back to Cloud with a smile.
“Those all sound good,” he said. “What’s the fourth one?”
“Slytherin. Ambition and resourcefulness are its qualities,” said Lulu.
Cloud nodded. “I see,” he said. He was about to ask another question, but froze as he caught a glimpse of a huge, dark figure in the corridor behind Lulu.
“Excuse us, Lulu,” said a deep voice. Lulu moved further into the compartment, turning to face the person as she did so.
“Sorry, Kimahri. Congratulations, by the way,” she said, smiling slightly up at the figure. Cloud got a glimpse of a dark-furred, lion-like face at the very top of the doorway, and his eyes widened in shock. He barely had time to register this fact before he saw a second figure almost completely opposite the first. Had it been standing, it would have only reached past his knees because of it’s very long rabbit-like ears. It was not, however, standing, but hovering just above Lulu’s head, thanks to it’s small dark purple bat-like wings that contrasted the cream coloured fur all over it. Both were wearing blue lined robes like Lulu’s, though of drastically different sizes.
Aerith seemed to notice Cloud’s astonishment first, and quickly made introductions. “Everyone, this is Kimahri, one of the new Ravenclaw prefects. And Horne’s a Ravenclaw in Lulu’s year.” The little creature waved excitedly, causing it to drop a few inches in the air, revealing a long thin antenna protruding from the top of it’s head, ending in a purple pompom. Cloud also noticed it wore a tiny pair of pince-nez. They all greeted them in return, before they moved off again down the corridor, Cloud managing to spy the end of a long blue tail below the hem of Kimahri’s robes.
“What – uh, I mean, um…” Cloud started lamely.
“Kimahri’s a Ronso. They live far in the northern mountains.” Lulu pre-empted his question. “He’s one of the first to attend Hogwarts, Ronso mostly keep to themselves. And Horne’s an Ivalice Moogle, there’s a number of them at school.”
“Wow,” said Cloud. “Are there any other, uh…”
“Beings.” Lulu provided.
“Sure there are!” interjected Zack. “There’s Viera and Al Bhed and Seeq and –”
“You’ll see when we get there,” laughed Aerith, leaning over to cover Zack’s mouth with her hand. “It’s part of the experience, seeing everything for the first time.”
“Well, I’ll head off then. See you later, everyone,” said Lulu with a wave as she closed the compartment door again. They settled back down to their activities, Cloud more excited than ever about his imminent arrival at the magic school.