Rowena Lovelace looked out the carriage window at the skyscrapers, at the Victorian houses and the small cottages that made up Shroudfort. She had lived here all her life, yet it never ceased to amaze her. It was a wonderful mix of eras, beginning in the 1500s and stretching as far as one could imagine. Though they should have clashed with each other, they did not, and instead melded into one beautiful collage. And the pride and joy of town topped it all off.
The carriage turned a corner and then Row saw it. Shroudfort Girls’ Boarding School was a huge almost-castle which housed all manner of teachers and students of magic (and more traditional academic courses). Row was returning there from summer break, and was eager to see her friends, Lavinia Winter and Tempest Delacroix. The carriage slowed to a halt by the school gates, where several other buggies and cars were parked for the students returning to school. Row dropped out onto the cobblestone ground with her luggage, paid the driver, and stood looking around.
The entrance was bustling with girls, just as it had been last year. This time, though, Row was familiar with the process. She walked through the gates, careful not to jostle anyone, made her way through the courtyard, and entered the wide open door. Inside were the students, neatly arranged by grade, a table for each. Row looked around at the sophomore table for her friends, and saw Tempest at the far end, who had saved a seat for Lavinia and Row. Tem had strawberry blond hair down to her shoulders, and had on a yellow and white plaid shirt. Its ends were tied in a knot where it met her jean shorts. She walked up to her and gave her a hug from behind. Tem gave out a startled squawk and then laughed when she saw her face.
“Row! Oh my gosh, I missed you! How was your summer?” she asked in her southern accent.
“It was great, I went to stay with my grandparents in Washington. I hadn’t seen them in forever. How was yours?”
“Aw, it was the best! I went to stay at a ranch in Georgia. Jackie and I got in some great practice. Hey, is that a new dress?”
“Oh, yeah. I made it with Grandma’s sewing machine. Is Jackie in the stables?” Row blushed slightly at the mention of her dress. It was simple, and all black, with a white sash around her waist. She had embroidered the sash with runes that slightly enhanced her spells. She had never made a dress before, and was proud of how it had turned out.
“Yeah. She wanted to run around a while more, but I figured it was time to head inside.” Tem was referring to her familiar, a brown, wild spirited unicorn. “Hey look, it’s Lavinia. Hey, Lav!” She waved her arms to show Lavinia where they were, as she tended to be nervous on the first day of school.
Lavinia approached them and sat daintily. She had long, light brown hair that went to her hips and wore a pale lavender dress from the 1800s. But Row’s eyes immediately went to the small form perched of the top of her head. It was Lav’s familiar, an orange hamster named Mika. Lav blushed and smiled a bit when she saw Row staring, and gently placed Mika in her lap.
“I thought it would be better than carrying a hamster cage around.” she said.
Just then a woman dressed in all black, very professional looking clothes, stepped out into the front of the room. She had long, straight, vivid orange hair and wore a tall witches’ hat with an orange bow around it. The freshmen looked terrified of her, but everyone else recognized her as Headmistress October. She began calling out freshmen’s names from a clipboard, to which they responded with a small, ”Here.” Row laughed. “I remember being as shy as that around her.”
“Yeah, we were. You weren't. When she took role call you’d just let out this big-” Lavinia said before Tempest interrupted her with a loud whoop. Lav gave her a look.
“Hey, when you’re a liberal from the 60s it makes you wanna shout.” responded Temp. People were looking, but when they saw it was her they smiled knowingly. Lav put her face in her hand, embarrassed. She had been born in 1892 and had been raised by non-magical parents who had taught her to be seen and not heard. Mika again crawled onto her head, and Lav promptly scooped her up and placed her in a pocket.
The Headmistress arrived at the sophomores and began calling names. When Tempest was called she gave a loud whoop.
Finally, the roll call was over and they were assigned their roommates. At Shroudfort’s everyone had a roommate, but people could request a specific person if they wanted to. The three had agreed that Lavinia and Tempest would request each other, and Rowena would take the dive and get a random roommate.
“Rowena Lovelace and Saga Latimer.” called the Headmistress. Row looked around for her roommate and her eyes landed on a girl on the other side of the table who was doing the same thing. She had light brown hair that went to the middle of her back, and wore a deep blue dress that looked to be from the mid-1800s, but only went down to her mid-shins. Black panels lined the bodice and skirt. Their eyes met and she gave a small wave to her roomie.