With a hum and a certain pep to his step, Headmaster Tobias Morgan strode down the hallways of RMI. They were always eerily vacant in the summer, but not for long - the students would be arriving shortly, sure to fill the hallways with bustle, noise, and perhaps just a touch of mischief.
As usual, Toby had visited his daughter and her friend in their current residence in North Africa, where they were conducting the sort of business that one simply did not ask about. It was a little concerning sometimes that Tima had ended up in that line of business, but she and Sara had always been quite adventurous and really, he ought to have expected it, hadn’t he? She was happy and that was really the important thing. It was also quite lovely to visit the exotic locales that the girls ended up living in. They had been in North Africa for several years now, which was a bit of a surprise - and no real hint of settling down from either of them, less of a surprise - and a part of Toby was expecting to get an owl any day now informing him of their new home. Yes, Tima did love a good adventure.
Other than that, the summer had been rather uneventful, as summers tended to be. He had attended the yearly conference for the International Wizarding Council on Education, this year held in Prague, and met up with an old colleague or two for a pint. Perhaps next year he would put together a presentation. Or perhaps not; administering RMI left very little time for other professional opportunities some years. One really never did know what a school year would bring!
This year he had treated himself to a new set of green robes trimmed with silver for the Opening Feast. The silver did bring out the strands of silver that were beginning to streak Toby’s otherwise dark hair, but he didn’t mind. He rather thought it began to make him look distinguished, which was not typically an adjective applied to him despite his many years as Headmaster of various IWCE schools.
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. As usual, Toby stopped to greet no few of the students, doing his best to avoid those who looked as though they might sick up. Portkeys could be a quite unpleasant method of travel. Toby would prefer a good broom ride any day of the week and it was truly unfortunate that was not a reasonable method of transportation to most wizarding locations.
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 Aquila 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 Magdalena Adler and Remington Burnham on being our new Head Gi - our Head Students!” General applause from the room as the two students came up to collect their pins.
Once Remy and Alena had seated themselves, Toby continued. “As for our new prefects, congratulations to JD Daegen, Ruth Fischer, Ella Franklin, and Grant Arrington!” 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 cheerfully thanked the house-elf who handed him a delicious-looking bowl of cold noodles and crunchy veggies. It was the most delightful of RMI traditions, really, and one of the things that set this school apart from the others. As he looked out on the bonfires surrounded by now-chattering students, the Headmaster grinned in anticipation. What a wonderful year it would be!
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—two weeks from now. Until then, enjoy yourselves around our traditional bonfires!