by Marzia Sterling
The day was warm, an autumn sun basking the castle in it’s light. Students getting out of their morning classes likely made plans to go enjoy the last bit of warmth that the sky had to offer. The hopes for a relaxing day outside, or even any sense of relaxation at all, were dashed quicker than all the candles and torches, blowing out at once and leaving us in darkness.
Rain came in a harsh downpour, though thunder roared over it, lightning being our only way to see, in that moment. We were all gathered in the Great Hall, for what we had hoped would be a pleasant lunch. With how sudden the weather changed, and the immense darkness, came, we were immediately alerted.
Panic rose over the students, but the faculty was quick to light their wands and keep us calm, until the fog came, that is. Soon, we were torn between rushing to our common rooms, or simply staying put. I suppose trying to get to our common rooms could have been a safer option, than what ended up happening, but the chaos would have been unavoidable either way.
The screaming came from outside of the castle. We all anticipated for it to enter through the doors of the Great Hall, but we were quite wrong about that. She appeared high above everyone else, her screams filling the room. The sound was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and is truly unforgettable. I don’t think the Great Hall has ever felt so small.
Many people, upper years and professors alike, attempted spells against the creature, but nothing seemed to work on her. She was unhindered in her rampage, shattering all of the glass in the room. Dishes, windows, goblets – gone.
Being aggressive simply wasn’t a method they could use to be rid of the banshee. Professor Blackwell filled the room with the light from her wand, thankfully, while Professor Strix attempted to use the cheering charm. Professor Arrietty would send her patronus around the room, in an attempt to cheer up the students, trying to mask the screams with the peaceful sounds of a whale’s call. It made sense, considering banshees are attracted solely to sorrow and misery. The worst of bad omens, if I ever did see one. So this combination of light, and happiness, seemed to be the only means of defence.
The banshee was not affected by these spells, though Strix’s cheering charm seemed to turn her screams into unbearable laughter. It wasn’t long before the creature finally relayed her message. One that, while sounding somewhat cliche and macabre, still rattles in my brain as I write this. ‘All will suffer. Death is coming. All will perish when it comes.’
You would think that it’d ended there, that the banshee left once her message had been delivered, but no. She hadn’t caused enough damage, not just yet. Her horrid shrieks continued, until the very stone that our school is built from, began to shake. The Great Hall began to crumble.
There were many, who I’m quite grateful for, that cast shields. Professors and students alike used such shields to protect us as much as they could from the debris, as the ceiling began to fall apart above us. Our structure just could not withstand the banshee’s cries.
Thankful, we are, that Professors such as Reuter, Blackwell, Arrietty, Strix, DrachBlume, and others, I’m sure, were able to cast shields and do what they could to keep the debris from raining down on us. Even a few students, such as Neutron, Bloxam, and our Head Girl, were able to contribute to these shields, and keep us safe. Spells were used to assure the debris either fell safely, or was put outside of the castle, by those who had raised their magical defenses.
The banshee’s final act of violence, however, was to attack our very own Professor Priaulx, who was picked up and dropped from the ceiling. I refuse to write the horror that it was to witness, but I will say she was procured in the Hospital wing, though her condition is currently uncertain. All we can do now, is hope for the best.
I personally would like to thank the prefects, who so gracefully organised an evacuation of the Great Hall for the students who were unharmed. I would like to thank Professor Blackwell, for holding the fallen ceiling of our hall, and assisting the House Elves in its repair. I would also like to thank the students and professors who escorted those injured to the hospital wing, banding together in a moment of strife to heal injuries and bring comfort. Thank you to the matrons, who are constantly working to keep us happy, healthy, and healed. And thank you to the Deputy Headmistress, for banishing the banshee when it made it’s return to the Long Gallery. I’m told it only continued to scream at those gathered, before it was quickly removed.
Hogwarts is not Hogwarts if it is torn apart, and it quells the fears in my heart to see the kind of kinship we can weave. Let us remember, that in trying times such as these, our magic is at it’s greatest, when we use it together.