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Chapter 18

Alexis hoped her first night at Hogwarts would be peaceful, instead she tossed and turned in bed. The dreams came back, Alexis thought everything had been resolved, she hadn’t had a dream since she came to England. Why now, her first night away from her uncles home?

Once again she was back in her grandfather’s creepy house. Not in his bedroom as before, but in the dining room, or maybe it was a study? There was a long table with five people sitting around it, all wearing dark hooded capes that covered their faces. Alexis stood at the head of the table, their hoods pointed towards her but it was as if they couldn’t see her. She was like a fly on the wall, or ghost in the corner.

“The Heir is a problem,” one of the hooded figures said.

“I thought you would look after it?” A second one questioned. They seemed to talk to a sixth person, someone who stood behind her. She tried to turn, but the dream wouldn’t allow her. Could it the same man from her last dream? The one the Fox Spirit told her to stay away from?

“I am,” he replied. “leave her to me. You all focus on the tasks I’ve given you.”

With a sudden lurch, Alexis woke. Her mind felt fuzzy, her body shook with fear. Where they talking about her? The Rune Heir? It was all too vague, and it could be a simple dream, right? Alexis pouted, when did she ever have ‘just dreams’?

Lifting the scarlet coloured curtain aside, she saw the other girls still sound asleep. Outside the window, the dark sky gave way to grey light. Dawn had broken. Alexis dropped the curtain and fell back into bed. She couldn’t sleep, her body wouldn’t relax after a dream like that. Alexis pulled herself out of bed, dressed silently and grabbed a pair of running shoes from her trunk. She found the parcel Kaylee mentioned, hidden away in her old Kitsune school bag. Alexis wasn’t in the mood for Crow’s attempt at caring. She took her runners down to the deserted common room and finished getting ready before exiting through the portrait.

The hallways were empty, deserted, even the portraits were still asleep. It gave Alexis the chance to gaze upon the beauty of the castle without looking like a tourist. By the time Alexis stepped outside into the fresh morning air, her anxiety from the dream left her. Her jog around the yard seemed endless, quite and still. It gave Alexis a sense of peace and confidence. She may be the new girl at the school, but she wouldn’t let it change her. She was Alexis Rune, future Shinto Priestess.

Alexis passed the main gates and made her way over towards the looming, dark forest. She assumed it was the one Headmaster Miel had spoken about the previous night. A hut had been built next to the woods, with small puffs of smoke coming out of the chimney. The fresh air and physical exercise helped Alexis’s mind to settle down to logic. The dream was just her sub consciousness, she couldn’t let these dreams work her up so much. Still, Alexis missed the Fox Spirit, and its wisdom, she hoped the divination teacher here would be similarly helpful.

Alexis stopped a few feet away from the hut to look into the forest, curious at what lurked within. All her mind could make out were possible targets to practice her archery skills. Alexis made a mental note to return here later this week and send some arrows flying into the woods.

“Miss Rune?” The voice surprised Alexis as she turned to look up the hill towards the greenhouses. Looking down at her from the row of greenhouses stood Professor Longbottom. A bashful expression crossed the teenager’s face as she climbed the hill towards the professor. Was she in trouble? Will he punish her for being out so early?

“I’m sorry… I just needed to get some air.” Alexis apologized, her words stumbling out over her hard breathing.

“No, it’s all right, it’s actually a lovely morning.” Longbottom said, then looked into her eyes. “Not even twenty-four hours and already homesick?”

“It’s not that.” Alexis said.

“Did you want to talk about it?”

“No, not really.”

“Well, I am Head of Griffindor House, if you ever change your mind you can come to me.” Longbottom said, a serious note in his tone. Alexis nodded her head.

“It’s just…” Alexis started, turning back to the Professor. “Is someone’s heritage really what counts here?”

“Ah, you mean the Rune’s legacy at Hogwarts?”

“Yeah, I heard things last night, and I don’t understand where it’s all coming from.”

“Do you think the Hat sorted you into the wrong house?” Longbottom asked causally. “Because I know it doesn’t. It reads your heart and mind, and makes the choice on the individual, not their bloodline or past. Don’t let the others get to you. You’re a Griffindor, brave and loyal, it may take time but the others will see that in you.”

“I must prove myself first I think.” Alexis sighed.

“Maybe, but don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.”

Alexis laughed at the comment. “Don’t worry Professor, I don’t give into peer pressure.” She saw the edges of the middle aged man’s lips turn into a smile.

“That’s good. You should head back to the castle, breakfast will be served soon.” Alexis nodded her head as Longbottom entered another greenhouse.

By the time Alexis made it back to the dormitory, everyone else was already up and in their school uniforms. Without a word, Alexis moved to her bed and changed into her uniform.

“Where did you go this morning?” Amelia asked louder than expected.

“Just a run.” Alexis answered defensively. She did her best to ignore the other teenager and continued get herself ready for her first day of school. To her surprise there was a parcel waiting for her on her bed.

“That arrived this morning,” Lily said, jumping onto Alexis’s bed. “By a crow no less. I’ve never seen a crow deliver mail, it’s even early. It must be your colours. Go a head open it up!”

Sure enough, Alexis unwrapped the brown paper bag to find a scarf, tie, and Griffindor patch. Included was a note written with her uncle’s handwriting: `So you haven’t found my gift yet.’

Alexis wasn’t in the mood for games or codes and tossed the empty box and letter into her trunk.

“Who delivers with crow’s anyways?” Evelyn asked with a curious tone.

“Someone who can’t afford an owl.” Amelia teased before she exited the room. Lily right behind her leaving Alexis with the other fourth year girls.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“Amelia’s part of the King family. They lost a lot of family members during the last war with the Dark Lord.” Zoe explained, her eyes watching the door making sure Amelia didn’t come back.

“I think she’s jealous.” Sarah White pointed out.

“Of me?”

“Well… you are new and from a different magic school. Amelia’s always been the crowd pleaser, you know the centre of attention.” Sarah continued. “Not to mention she and Lilly have always been BFFs since we started.”

“This has to do with Lilly?” Alexis asked, pulling on her robe.

“Maybe, I’m just saying you’ve stolen the lime light from her. Once your newness wears off, she’ll come down.” Sarah added with a shrug. “I’m starving, let’s get breakfast.”

Chapter 17                             INDEX