Chapter 4 : The Sorting: Part One
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The morning passed like a blur. It only seemed like seconds ago Ella had left the station, with weeping parents and a flock of butterflies in her stomach. Now the lady with the trolley of food had come and gone, leaving Ella and Cindy with piles of food that she ate so often back at home, like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans.
Cindy munched on a Cauldron Cake. “So, Lestrange wants you dead?” She asked in between mouthfuls.
“I’ve met her.” Cindy mumbled. “She came over to my place with the other Death Eaters last month. Plotting something.”
Ella leaned back and closed her eyes. Before she knew it, Ella was drifting off…
A high, cold laugh rang in the silence, and a man with red eyes like slits stared at his visitor, a heavy-lidded woman with a gaunt face that shone in the darkness.
“She was born three hours ago,” he said. “You must have her dead before she turns 17.”
“Yes, master,” The woman said, her eyes alive with evil. “I’ll kill the girl before she even realises I’m after her. I’ll kill her in your honour, my lord.”
He cackled evilly, and they both began fading, becoming pale and slowly disappearing…
“Ella, wake up!”
Ella opened her eyes and saw Cindy’s worried expression hovering above her.
“Are you okay? I mean, you fainted or something – you wouldn’t wake up!” Cindy said.
Ella got off the floor and shakily went to her seat. “It was scary – I had some sort of vision or something.”
Cindy was curious. “What was it about?”
Ella frowned – the girl they were talking about was obviously her. Ella gasped. “I only have seven years left to live.” She stated, feeling older than she ever had before.
With the vision pushed aside, Ella and Cindy talked about Quidditch, Hogwarts, the houses and their families until night fell and the girls changed into their robes, anticipating the arrival at Hogwarts.
Cindy was telling Ella about the Malfoy Mansion when the train came to a sudden halt. Cindy stopped talking, and looked out the window. “We’re here!” She shrieked, and the girls, leaving their luggage on the train, headed for the exit.
Outside was crisp and cool. A slight chill hung in the air and it was very dark; Ella assumed it would be about 9:00pm.
Cindy and Ella hung back from the crowd, unsure of where to go. Ella was about to resort to asking someone where to go when a voice called out “First years! First years, over here, please!”
It was Rose. Ella and Cindy followed her voice and blended in with the group of first years. She recognized Malfoy and his cronies, who were flirting with a girl with dirty blonde hair.
“Okay, first years, follow me!” Rose said and everyone stopped talking and followed her. Ella stumbled a bit, as she couldn’t really see where she was going. Then everyone stopped. Ella made her way to the front and gasped; there was a vast lake and, on the top of a mountain was a large castle. It was beautiful, with lots of turrets and towers.
So this was Hogwarts.
“Okay, everyone,” Rose said, causing everyone to stop talking and look at her. “Three in a boat!” She pointed at the small boats on the edge of the lake.
Ella grabbed a boat and she and Cindy climbed in cautiously. A girl stood uncertainly by the waters edge, watching Ella and Cindy.
“Um, could I share the boat with you guys? There’s none left.” She stated quickly.
“Sure!” Cindy exclaimed, moving so the girl could sit there.
“Thanks,” She said gratefully. “I’m Crystal Venezuela.” Crystal got in the boat, and it automatically sailed with the other boats across the lake, skimming the surface.
“Cindy Malfoy – but I’m not evil.” Cindy said in a rush.
“Didn’t think you were,” Crystal replied. She was very pretty, with shoulder length dark hair and hazel eyes.
“I’m Ella Weasley,” Ella said.
Crystal turned to her, her eyes widening. “Ella Weasley? You’re parents are famous! Your godfather defeated You-Know-Who! You’re like a celebrity!”
Ella shifted in her seat. “Not really…” she said, but Crystal was already describing in great detail everything she knew about the Weasleys and the Potters.
The boat stopped suddenly, and everyone was jolted forward.
“Oh, cool, we’re here!” Cindy exclaimed, jumping out of the boat and onto the grass.
Ella groaned, anxiety and nervousness overwhelming her. She clambered out, with Crystal following her.
The three girls followed the crowd of first years, led by Rose. They walked up stone steps and crowded around the large, oak door.
Rose knocked three times.
A hushed silence swept around the crowd as the door opened. A witch with a stern expression on her face stood there, wearing emerald green robes.
“Thank you, Rose,” she said.
Rose smiled pleasantly, her eyes sparkling. “Anytime.”
Then Rose disappeared.
Apparating, Ella dismissed. She’d seen her parents and relatives apparate so many times that to Ella it was normal.
The witch surveyed everyone. “I’m Professor McGonagall, your Transfiguration teacher. I’m also the head of Gryffindor, one of the school houses.”
Motioning for the first years to follow, McGonagall strode into the Entrance Hall.
Ella gasped. The hall was huge and beautiful. The walls were lit with flaming torches and a marble staircase faced the students. There were lots of doorways surrounding them and portraits with people moving inside them.
Ella looked around in wonder. What she’d seen so far of Hogwarts was beautiful, enough to make her speechless. Ella had never seen such a magical place in her life.
Professor McGonagall stopped outside a pair of double doors. Everyone crowded around her. “Welcome to Hogwarts,” Professor McGonagall said. “The start of term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting Ceremony is a very important ceremony, because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common room.
“The four houses are called Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn you house points whereas any rule breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honour.” Professor McGonagall finished.
Cindy leaned over. “I hope I’m in Gryffindor!” She whispered to Ella.
Ella nodded in reply. Gryffindor had always been her favourite house. All Ella had ever wanted was to be a courageous Gryffindor, like her parents and relatives. Everything she had always dreamt about Hogwarts included her being in that house. She knew the dream would turn to a nightmare if she weren’t sorted in Gryffindor.
Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. “Now, if you could please follow me as the Sorting Ceremony is about to begin.” She said simply, striding toward the pair of double doors, which opened at their arrival.
Ella gasped as she and Cindy entered the Great Hall. It was unlike anything she’d ever seen – lit by candles floating in mid-air, the high ceiling bewitched to look the night sky (tonight it was stormy) with four long tables where all the students were sitting. At the front was a long table; this was where the staff were sitting and talking merrily.
“A single line, please,” Professor McGonagall called out, placing a stool up the front, then putting an old, frayed pointed wizard hat.
The Sorting Hat.
Ella recalled her parents telling her stories about the hat. It supposedly could talk and see inside your hat, and what you were thinking. That was how it sorted you.
Cindy nudged Ella. “Ella, get in line!”
Ella realised she was the only one not in line. Blushing furiously and well aware everyone was watching her, Ella quickly pushed in front of Cindy.
“Thanks,” She muttered gratefully.
Everyone was now staring at the Sorting Hat, so Ella watched it too.
Then it began to sing.
“When I was only newly sewn,
One purpose did I serve –
To sort the newest Hogwarts students,
Put them were they deserve.
Might your house be Gryffindor,
Daring and so bold.
Gryffindor’s value courage,
They all have hearts of gold;
Or could it be Ravenclaw,
The smartest and the best.
Their intelligence gets them everywhere.
It’ll put you to the test;
You could belong in Hufflepuff,
Hardworking and so true.
They are always patient,
Hufflepuff will help you through;
Do you belong in Slytherin,
Where pure bloods all thrive.
Cunning and power hungry,
Slytherin’s value their lives.
All I now ask of you,
Put me on, I’ll see –
Where you belong, your destiny lies,
It’s that easy!"
The Great Hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song.
Ella was beginning to get nervous. She imagined being put in Hufflepuff, or worse, Slytherin. Behind her, Cindy was biting her nails anxiously.
When the hall quietened down, Professor McGonagall stepped forwards, a long roll of parchment in her hand. “When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted,” she said. “Anderson, Kirsten!”
The girl who Ella saw flirting with Malfoy stumbled over to the stool and put on the hat.
Ella watched as the girl took off the hat and headed for the Gryffindor table. She imagined herself sitting there and smiled, easing her nerves.
“Brown, Stephi,” McGonagall called out.
Ella blinked – this must be Lavender Brown’s daughter, she thought.
Stephi headed for the Gryffindor table.
The girl with the beautiful owl jammed the hat on her head eagerly.
Ella barely heard the next few names; to her they were no more than a distant echo. She was frozen with worry of being put in Slytherin, Hufflepuff or even humiliating herself.
Nikki Johnson was put in Ravenclaw, whereas Michaela Laurendet went to Slytherin.
Then there was a name Ella hadn’t expected.
Ella whirled around, facing Cindy, half watching as a girl dressed fully in black sauntered past her.
Cindy made a face. “I forgot to tell you about Druscilla, Ella, I should have warned you -!”
“Malfoy, Cindy,” Professor McGonagall called.
“Tell you later,” she whispered, and left the line. Cindy looked pale as she put the hat on and sat on the stool.
The hat took a long time thinking, before finally screaming –
Ella blinked, feeling alone, surrounded by strangers in the line of first years. Her mind was swirling with thoughts of confusion. Cindy, a Ravenclaw? Didn’t she belong in Gryffindor?
Oh, well, Ella thought. I’ll have to make some different friends when I’m in Gryffindor…
Malfoy swaggered forward and put the hat on. It had barely touched his head before screaming…
Malfoy looked pleased as he swaggered over to the Slytherin table.
Blake Smith, one of Malfoy’s cronies went to Slytherin and Susanna Starling was sorted into Hufflepuff.
Crystal stumbled out of the line and put the hat on. It took a long time to decide, finally shouting –
Crystal jumped off the stool and ran towards the Ravenclaw table, still wearing the hat. A blushing Crystal went back and gave it to McGonagall, tripping over the stool as she went past.
Now there were only three people left to be sorted. Malfoy’s sidekick Willis, Ella and a boy she didn’t know.
A/N: I was originally going to make the Sorting one long chapter, but then it would have been REALLY long, so I changed it to two parts (The Sorting: Part One and The Sorting: Part Two).
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