It was Headmaster Tobias Morgan’s absolute favorite time of the year: the Opening Feast.
He wouldn’t want anyone to get him wrong - summer holidays were absolutely lovely. Toby got to visit his daughter and her friend, who were both living abroad (well, insofar as anything was ‘abroad’ after a lifetime spent working at different schools run by the International Wizarding Council on Education). There was also extra time to spend catching up on his reading, which he often did with his sugar gliders perched on a shoulder or in his mildly messy hair. But once that reading was done and Toby had quite exhausted his welcome with Tima and Sara, he could barely stand another minute without the halls of RMI as bustling and cheery as they were during the year!
So Toby adjusted his bottle-green robes in the mirror, gave himself a friendly grin, and set out toward the Finer Diner with a cheerful hum and a bounce in his step.
He walked through the entrance hall, where students had just begun to appear by Portkey. It was 6PM on the dot, Colorado time, so all of the dreamcatchers they had received via owl with their acceptance letter had activated, bringing the students and their belongings to the home away from home. Toby waved at a few of the students, but was not offended that not all of them waved back, recalling his own inclination to be quite sick following a journey via Portkey. Even the occasional Apparition could be a bit too bracing for him.
Toby entered the Finer Diner. It was all ready to go: the room was lit as though it were dusk in the prairie, and on the walls were images of tall prairie grass passing by as they might have been seen out the window of a train. There were five fires: four in the House colors (seafoam green and brown for Lyra, blue and silver for Cetus, red and gold for Draco, cream and gray for Aquila) and one the standard colour for a fire on a raised dais at the front of the room. Most of the staff were already seated around or standing by the staff fire on the dais. Above the Lyra fire hung a giant, sparkling dreamcatcher, indicating that the House had won the Inter-House Points Competition the year before. He heard the noises of students pushing their trunks against the walls of the entrance hall, knowing that the school house-elves would make sure that each students’ belongings ended up in the correct room. The older students began trickling in through the door, each heading to the fire corresponding to their House. The first-years and transfers, of course, were standing by the door with Bellamy Fell, the Deputy Headmaster.
Everyone settled in and his Deputy led the new students in to stand against the wall by the door. Toby grinned at the group, then amplified his voice so it could be heard over the murmur of friends greeting each other after the long break and the crackling of the fires.
“Welcome and welcome back to Rocky Mountain International!” he announced in a strong Welsh accent. The hall quieted. “For those of you new students, my name is Toby and I’ll be your Headmaster!” Toby beamed around the room, happy to see the students all so enthusiastically back for a well-had year of learning. “First-off, I’d like to invite our new students to take their dreamcatchers out,” there was a rustle as the gaggle of first-years pulled out the jet-black dreamcatchers that had been sent with their acceptance letters. A moment later, each dreamcatcher slowly morphed into the colour of one of the RMI Houses. “The colours your dreamcatcher have turned are the colours of the House you have been sorted into - congratulations! Please make your way to the appropriate fire.” The older students cheered as the first years and transfers walked over to the fire that matched the colour of their dreamcatcher. “I know you’ll all make great friends this term,” Toby smiled over the students. Last year’s first years had been relievingly calm after the year preceding them, and he had high hopes for this year’s as well.
“Now for our announcements! First, let us all congratulate Marley Chapman and Leopold Harris on being our new Head Boy and Girl!” General applause from the room as the two students came up to collect their pins. It would have been lovely to have different Houses represented in their Head Students - two from one House was a bit much, and two from Lyra was almost as perplexing as two from Aquila - but the rest of the student in that year had just a touch more growing to do before they would be ready for that kind of responsibility.
Once Marley and Leopold had seated themselves, Toby continued. “As for our new prefects, congratulations to Darlene Knight, Huburt Park, Mikael Lundqvist, and Yazmin Al-Lehaibi!” The prefects came to collect their pins as well, which Toby handed over with a cheerful ‘congratulations’ clearly intended (and failing) to be a whisper, as he had quite forgotten the amplification charm he’d placed on himself. “And now,” Toby said, clapping his hands together, “let us all eat and celebrate another year of magical education!”
With a pop, a small horde of house-elves appeared with platters full of foods from across the world. Toby hummed to himself as he took a small bowl of rice and kimchi, thanking the house-elf bringing the platter by. He did so enjoy this RMI tradition. It was a celebration of the international nature of the school, but even though Toby had taught at IWCE schools for goodness quite a long time now, he had yet to run across another school that celebrated the diversity of student origin in quite this way. Yes, RMI was a truly unique place indeed, and with his first bite of dinner, Tobias Morgan found himself feeling inspired and enthusiastic for the rip-roaring year that was to come.
Welcome and welcome back to RMI! Please remember that you cannot leave your House fires and go to your Commonrooms until after your Head of House posts their welcoming speech—a few days from now. Until then, enjoy yourselves around our traditional bonfires! And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the Sortings!
Cetus: Maeve Ashworth
Draco: Madeleine Tennant, Mia Raven