Wednesday, March 9, 2016

HPKCHC : Quidditch Match XXII (F15) - Throwback

Are you ready?  I said, are you ready?!

With the Tri-Wizard Tournament running at the school, the Quidditch matches became all about the great and glorious hedge maze that the Quidditch pitch got turned into (just like in the book).

The formidable hedge walls of The Triwizard Maze stand before you, where the Quidditch pitch used to be. The coaches’ faces are set with grim determination, knowing they have trained you as well as possible but from the sound of the cannon, it is all up to you.
In The Maze, foes lurk around every corner and you have only your wand to defend you. You will need to make quick decisions, work difficult spells, and keep your wits about you at all times.
The sights and sounds of the fans cheering all around you are almost too much to bear: you are the great hope for the glory of Hogwarts.

Task 1: The Sphinx

You anxiously wait outside of the maze with the other tri-wizard competitors for the competition to start.  BOOM!!! The cannon fires and off you run into the maze. There are a few twists and turns, but it takes you a while before you come to the first fork in the path. You slow down as you begin to see the shape of something waiting for you. You see a lion with the head of a woman: a Sphinx. As you approach, the Sphinx assesses you with cold eyes and begins to speak.
Two paths through the maze you’ll find. Choose left or right your path to bind. Answer my riddle, you may proceed. Answer me not, you must concede. For each path a different riddle I say. Give me an answer and you’ll be on your way.
You regard her for a moment and then understand the riddle you have to answer will depend upon the path you choose. You look carefully towards the left and then the right, seeing no hint as to what the riddles might be. You decide to go…

RIGHT:  The Sphinx swishes her tail and intones:
What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats?
LEFT: The Sphinx flicks her ear and recites:
Feed me and I live, give me drink and I die. What am I?

So, a choice I had before me, and a choice I made; I went right.

VelvetKey shrinks at first from the sphinx’s penetrating gaze, her heart fluttering wildly in her chest like a trapped butterfly. Her hands ball into fists—she has to give an answer, but riddles had never been a strong suit of hers.

Where are my friends when I need their brains? she thought desperately, looking left, then right. VelvetKey could see sparkles at the edge of her vision, sparkling in time to her pounding heart. And then, deep in the pocket of her Hufflepuff robes, she felt a little twitch. Then another.

Of course, like any good student with too many projects and not enough room in her schoolbag, VelvetKey had enchanted her pockets to be ‘bigger on the inside’. From within her right pocket, she withdrew her little blue cuttlefish, who waved his enchanted feelers at her.

And suddenly, the answer crystallized in her mind. VelvetKey took one shaky step forward and said loudly, “A river.” She held the cuttlefish up for inspection. “Rivers are blue, and have many unique creatures in their flowing depths. In fact, whole pods of these magical…quidditch-cuttlefish…quiddlefish?—can be found all over the world. I should know, I had four.”

And her quiddlefish turned a knowing, beady eye at the sphinx, as if daring the other magical creature to contradict her.

Task 2: To the Right

 Having correctly answered the Sphinx’s riddle, you begin past her to find a river in your path. Unable to see the bottom or anything that might be living, you chance swimming through. You safely arrive on the other bank, dry yourself with your wand, and continue down the Righthand path. After a few more turns, you come to yet another fork in the maze. To the left, you hear lots of noise and you swear you smell something burning. You face the corridor turning right. You can’t see or smell anything there and it’s quiet. Very quiet. Much too quiet!
You decide to…

Thinking back to the past Care of Magical Creatures class with Hagrid’s new creatures, you shake your head violently and head down the much quieter path. In the distance you see a large wardrobe. You slowly walk towards it, unsure of what it could possibly be. When you get closer, you realize that one of the doors of the wardrobe is slightly open. You feel chills run down your spine and you get the sudden feeling that…something…is watching you. You gulp as a…thing…starts to emerge from the door. Then you realize what you’re up against – a boggart!
For this task, you must craft something that looks difficult to the untrained eye, but is surprisingly simple. Things like self-striping yarn, easy lace patterns, mock cables…anything that makes a project look more complicated than it actually is. But don’t pick something too simple. Bogarts can still be tricky beasts if you don’t keep your wits about you.

You shudder when you imagine the creatures that could come crawling towards you on the quiet path and quickly turn left. With those Blast-Ended Skrewts you at least know what you’ll be up against after all those hours trying to feed them during CoMC classes. Bravely you walk on to face those nasty animals.
For this task we ask you to craft something that is so fiddly it seems to bite, burn and sting at the same time. Explain in your turn-in why this is fiddly to you.
I am not crazy, nor did I have a death wish.  I went towards the quiet, quick as I pleased!

Dripping and shivering a little from the river’s cold temperature, VelvetKey quickly scrambles up the opposite bank and uses a quick air spell to get most of the water out of her sodden robes. The path continues on clearly, and she clutches her wand tightly before venturing forward.

At first, it is eerily quiet, and Velvet’s own heartbeat is the only noise she hears. She swallows hard and forces herself to keep moving. Her imagination begins to get the better of her, and she thinks she begins to spy shadowy, dancing figures at the edges of her vision. Velvet shakes it off and quickens her pace.

A few twists later, and there is another fork, and a rush of sound to accompany it. Acrid smoke hangs in the air, and Velvet doesn’t even pause to consider. Fire? Nopenopenopenope.

The second-year Hufflepuff student all but runs down the opposite, much quieter and not-on-fire path. She stumbles over a root and has to pause and regain her footing. Then Velvet sees the wardrobe, perhaps fifty yards away. It is an old piece of furniture, with a cracked mirror that shows Velvet her own, scared-looking reflection.

Velvet glares at herself for a moment before standing up straight and brushing a few stray twigs off of her robe. “I did not face a sphinx and swim through a river to turn back now,” she tells herself sternly. “It’s just a boggart. It has to be just a boggart. And I know what I fear the most.”

She steps closer, raising her wand as the loose door of the wardrobe creaks and then swings wide. The wardrobe rocks back and forth for a moment, and then a pink ball of fingering-weight yarn in alpaca rolls out, its tail trailing across the ground. It’s course is somewhat impeded by the knitting needles poking from it, and Velvet draws back with a subvocal whimper.

“Riddikulus!” Velvet shouts, leveling her wand at the knitting. The boggard-turned-knitting dodges her spell, and Velvet backs up. The boggart slowly begins to fashion itself into a long length of gorgeous, knitted cable, and Velvet straightens in anger.

”I’ve met many kind and talented knitters in my house, in classes, and in the castle,” Velvet says aloud. “I am not afraid of them. I am not afraid of cables, even though I can’t knit!” She tries again. “Riddikulus!” She clips the boggart with this spell, and the knitting needles waver. The yarn becomes blue, worsted. The knitted cable shrivels up. Instead a much simpler, crocheted mock cable appears, and Velvet starts to giggle.

“And again, riddikulus!” The boggart shoots back into the wardrobe, now a ball of blue worsted acrylic yarn impaled with a crochet hook, and Velvet laughs wholeheartedly in triumph. “And take your mock cables with you, you jerk!” she shouts, sealing the wardrobe with a spell.

I was actually a little ahead of the curve on this one...

Task 3: Facing the Boggart

 You see it, your blood starts to turn to ice, and a cold sweat appears on your brow. Terrified, you think back to your Defense Against the Dark Arts class and begin to pull yourself together. You remember two spells as the boggart slowly takes shape and starts to turn itself into your worst nightmare.
You shout…

You shouted the spell loud and clear! And…suddenly…a giant ACME anvil falls straight from the sky, crushing that dreadful thing into the dirt! You’re a little stunned at first as ACME anvils aren’t usually seen in the wizarding world, but you know your muggle lore. Then you realize your face is in a surprising amount of pain and you feel short of breath. What is this coming out of your mouth? Laughter?! Of course! This is quite literally the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen all year! Haha! You’ve done it! You got that boggart all right! You let out a whoop and then continue down your path, giving the anvil a loving pat as you walk on by.
You have defeated the boggart with laughter, the best weapon of all! Craft something that will make us laugh.

You remember your happiest moment in life and you draw your strength from it. Your silvery patronus guardian charges down that creepy dementor-boggart and it withdraws back into the wardrobe, the door closing with a loud snap. Your patronus circles the wardrobe a few times before giving you a sweet look, reassuring you that the boggart is dealt with, and then it slowly fades away. You feel…good. Like you could do anything. With this new found confidence, you race past the wardrobe and on through the maze.
You have defeated fear with happiness and warmth. Craft your corporeal patronus or something that evokes your happy memory.
This could have gone either way, but I summoned my patronus!

The wardrobe gave a renewed shake and black tendrils of dense, cold fog seemed to roll in from under the hedges as the door swung wide. This time, it wasn’t pink, lacy knitting coming to get her; no it was a dementor.

“Velvet, you ninny, of course it’s only a boggart playing dress-up as a dementor,” she chastised herself aloud, swallowing hard and tugging her Hufflepuff hat down further over her head. She wracked her brain furiously, her wand still out and at the ready.

The dementor floated serenely towards her, oozing deadly menace with every inch it advanced. Velvet scrambled backwards, until her shoe caught in a root and she tumbled over backwards.

“What would Hermione do?” she whispered furiously, scrambling to her knees. “Or Harry?” Her heartbeat thudded loudly in her ears as the creature drew closer and closer; so close she could see every detail of it’s hooded appearance.

And then suddenly, Velvet had it. She recalled with a giggle how Legolas Greenleaf (prince of Mirkwood and all-around studmuffin) looked in the cowl she had made for Flying homework last month. The memory warmed her as Velvet remembered the summons MadMoon had given her for the Trophy Room—for her very first trophy nomination ever!

With that happy thought firmly in mind, Velvet drew back with her wand and let out a piercing cry:

“Expecto Patronum!”

Blinding white light erupted from the end of her wand and a large, killer rabbit patronus materialized. It took one look at the dementor before batting it aside with one huge paw. The boggart fled for the wardrobe, and Velvet let out a giddy noise of relief.

“That’ll do, bun,” she told her patronus. “That’ll do.”

(Yes, I was nominated for the Flying Trophy in September!  I did not win; but it was cool anyway!)

Task 4: The Portkey

 It worked! Your spell worked perfectly! You clear the obstacle and head down the path at a near sprint. You can see something glowing directly ahead of you. As you head into a clearing, you can tell the glowing is coming from the Triwizard Cup. You look around and see no one else. The Cup is yours! As you grasp the handle, you feel the familiar tug of a portkey behind your navel. When the howling and swirling finally stop, your feet slam into the ground and you find yourself…
Tell us where the Triwizard Cup portkey takes you and craft something to represent that place. It could be anywhere in the world, or even beyond.
Anywhere I wanted to go?  There's one important place that comes to mind: Shadowmoor!

VelvetKey landed in the middle of a dusty road with a thump! followed by an “Ouch!” as she tripped over what looked like an elf.

She did a double-take. Well, he had the pointed ears of an elf, but his coloring was all wrong for a house elf. That, and he was wearing normal clothes (by wizarding standards), and he was holding a shield and mace. Upon closer inspection, it was rather evident that his skin had a marbled, pebbly texture.

“I…uh…yikes!” The stone-like elf swung at her unexpectedly, and Velvet did the first thing that came to mind: she blocked his downward blow with the Triwizard Cup! Thanks be to Merlin, the Cup was made of strong stuff and his mace glanced off. Velvet took the opportunity to roll to one side and scramble to her feet in a flurry of black robes.

“What magic is this? Teleport? Are you one of the dark witches that has haunted Shadowmoor these last few months?” the elf demanded.

“What are you talking about?” the second-year Hufflepuff student demanded. “I got…” she bit off the word ‘portkey’ before she could reveal too much about herself. “This is all an accident! I didn’t know where the teleport would take me!” VelvetKey insisted, very carefully not reaching for her wand.

“Audrick!” came a new voice, and Velvet whirled to see a group of odd folk clad in bright red and yellows. “Stay your weapons,” the woman in front ordered. “Allow me to cast a truth spell before you begin caving in skulls.”

“Hey, no, wait, I’ll just tell you the truth,” Velvet said insistently. “I got a bad…teleport spell and ended up here. Where is here?”

“The oasis known as Shadowmoor,” an armored fighter said from behind the leading lady. “I am Boaar. This is Kelyn, leader of the Battle Healers’ Guild. She means you no harm, strange traveler.”

For the moment, Audrick the stone elf had lowered his mace, which Velvet counted as a good thing.

“Ah, okay then,” Velvet replied after a moment to catch her breath. “I don’t suppose you’d have a portal or something back to…England?”

Confused looks crossed the Battle Healers’ faces, but one elf with spectacles spoke up. “It might be the strange portal the shaman conjured last night holds the answers you seek. No one has dared enter it; the magic it throws off is dark and mysterious.”

“Sure, I’ll try that!” Velvet said, still clutching the Triwizard Cup and trying to look more in control of the situation than she felt.

“First, the truth spell,” Audrick spoke up. “The truth spell or I shall have no choice but to defend the oasis of Shadowmoor from this unknown threat.”

Kelyn, so called, scratched at the base of one of her little red horns that poked up through the honey brown curls on her head, and sighed. “Very well,” she replied. “Miss…what is your name?”

“Velvet. VelvetKey,” the Hufflepuff student responded quickly. She told herself she could put up with a truth spell; she had nothing to hide; it would be fine!

“Miss Velvet. Hold still.” And Kelyn murmured a spell verbal quietly before placing her hand on Velvet’s shoulder.

“All right, Audrick, what do you want to know?” Kelyn asked the stone elf.

“Are you a dark witch?” Audrick said immediately.

“No,” Velvet answered honestly.

“See? Now can we take her to the portal? Perhaps she’s the one who is meant to enter it,” Kelyn said, snugging a red and yellow capelet around her shoulders. When there appeared to be no objections, she signaled to the rest of the Battle Healers.

Shortly, they approached a long, low building, from whence issued merry singing and (from the sound of it) some good-natured brawling. VelvetKey quirked an eyebrow and wondered if they served a butterbeer as good as Madame Rosmerta’s.

“There,” said Kelyn, pointing to a strange, black archway. “Look into the mists and tell us what you see.”

With a gulp, Velvet did as she said. The gray mist in the doorway swirled at her approach, but nothing appeared. Her grip on the Cup began to slip from the sweat on her hands, and Velvet knew she had to do something. Perhaps something simple, something to shed a little more light on the situation…

She took out her wand before thinking it through. “Lumos!” she said, and a bright light appeared.

Audrick’s mace was in motion before Velvet knew what was happening. “A witch! She must have a cloak versus truth spell on her!”

The spectacled elf stepped in the way. “Run!” he shouted to Velvet.

“This should protect you from whatever’s through there,” Kelyn said, whisking the capelet from around her shoulders and settling it over Velvet’s. “Be safe, and remember the people of Shadowmoor!”

Without time for pause or thanks, VelvetKey jumped into the portal. It was like stepping through a waterfall; an invisible substance seemed to pour over her, and the entire time Velvet thought to herself, I wish I were back in the Den, I wish I were back in the Den!


She landed in an armchair, and the Triwizard Cup clanged to the floor. She was home again, fresh from the oasis of Shadowmoor, with a red and yellow capelet to remind her forever of her visit.

(Author’s Note: Shadowmoor is a LARP chapter I participate in, located in Kings Mountain, NC, USA! It’s tons of fun and it’s always a nice vacation from ‘the real world’! The players I mentioned, Audrick and Athelas (spectacled elf) are pictured below, and you can see a member of the Battle Healers’ Guild watching the fight on the left side.)

So in summary...

Quidditch was basically a choose-your-own-adventure trip through the Triwizard hedge maze!  It was so much fun; I really enjoyed having the choices and the story to go along with it.

As to whether or not Hufflepuff won the Quidditch Cup...tune in next time for the End of Term Summary!

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