|Scene Title||The Invasion of the Red Caps|
|Synopsis||The peace and quiet in the great hall is shattered by magical creatures. Snape saves the day.|
|Location||Great Hall, Hogwarts|
|Date||Dec 04, 1994|
|Watch For||Bean grumping about the wizarding world, Bat Bogey Hex.|
The quiet lull just before one of the main meals of the day, the Great Hall plays host to only a handful of students for the time being - some studying during free periods, others simply spending that same free time hanging out and waiting for a meal. Although the sky above is the pale grey of winter, everything seems quite peaceful … serene, even.
That quiet is what draws Julian to the Great Hall. Normally, it's not a place he chooses to study, but today, he's chosen to find a spot on the Slytherin table and spread his homework out, scribbling quietly on an essay. He's aware of his surroundings, but much less so than normal.
Ginny also arrives with an armful of books, parchment and inkwell balancing precariously on the top of the stack in her arms. With the students so scarce, the usual cacophany of student voices has lessened considerably, and could now more accurately be called a hum. Ginny spots Bean at the Slytherin table, and though she has no free hands to wave, she gives a vigorous nod of greeting and calls, "Bean! Hi!" as she makes her way to the Slytherin table.
Suddenly, a loud bang followed by a cacophonous stream of cursing, laughter and cries of terror can be head from the dungeons - tearing through the calm Great Hall. A few of the students in the Hall stand up slowly, looking curious as they wander towards the closed doors to the Entrance Hall. One young Hufflepuff asks aloud of nobody in particular what the noise is.
Julian gives the Gryffindor girl an absent-minded wave as she sits down at his table. "Hullo, Weasley." He continues working, trying to figure out the right word for this, when the loud bang hits. He startles harsh enough to knock his ink bottle over. "Damnit. What was that?" Luckily, with swift intervention, neither his work nor his book are affected by the spill. He grumbles to himself about inefficiency and backwards cultures and things of that nature.
Ginny blinks, though she's not nearly as startled as some of the younger students. Such shenanigans are not entirely rare at Hogwarts, and after three years, she's gotten a bit more used to them. "Probably Peeves," she answers both the Hufflepuff and Bean with a shrug that she tried to make look careless.
Most likely Peeves by the sound of it, although it now sounds as though a crowd is rushing up the stairs from the dungeon and into the Entrance Hall itself. Closer and closer they rush, the din of numerous voices shouting different things becoming clearer now and -
The Great Hall's doors are flung open and through them dives a diminutive creature, not much larger than a goblin though much stockier and dressed in crude armour. He wears a white cap upon his head, although it appears to be stained a ruddy brown. Having flung himself at the door with both feet, he lands on the tiles and is soon followed by a number of similarly-dressed creatures of the same general, bearded look and stature.
"GEDDUM, MEBOYOS! FREEDAAAAAAAAAAHM!" cries the one at the front, raising a club that is about three sizes too big for him over his head and charging at a gaggle of First Years who flee towards the opposite end of the hall.
Bean gets the lid on his ink bottle just in time to be invaded by … something. He looks up at the girl sitting across from him. "That's not Peeves." The first-year has met the poltergeist. "What are they?" He narrows his eyes, but he's interested, too. "What are they doing?" He spots his classmates, but isn't sure how to help them without getting into the middle of it himself.
Ginny does a double-take. She had been expecting Peeves, perhaps an angered group of students, or even a teacher. But a Red Cap invasion? Not so much. Ginny gets to her feet, her hand getting her wand out of its pocket in her robes. "Red Caps," she says simply. "Nothing a few good hexes can't cure, but they shouldn't be here. Go find a teacher, Bean, please." There's no room for argument, and Ginny casts the first hex she can think of - a Bat Bogey hex. It's not entirely effective in repelling the little buggers, but the ones nearest her will soon be deeply uncomfortable.
"Me face! Me face bin witched!"
The Red Cap nearest to Ginny collapses to his knees as unpleasant things involving bats and his nasal cavity happen, tugging at his beer in anguish as he kicks around. He does not like magic all that much by the look of things. The other Red Caps aren't deterred however, swinging their clubs at the backs of fleeing students - some of them occasionally falling over as they are struck by curse, hex and jinx.
"Get th' firehead!"
Julian is deft, and climbs down from the table with relative ease. "Red Caps?" He's never heard of them, and there's a high-pitched squeak to his voice that is extremely embarrasing to a boy just hitting puberty. He steps around the back side of the table, and sneaks around to the door, scurrying off to find the first teacher, prefect, ghost or other helpful being he can find.
Ginny decides to follow Bean's example, and with a few quick motions, she scales the table and stands on top of it, careful not to step on anything. "Back!" She cries emphatically, waving her hands at the Red Caps, though how effective this technique will be is up for debate. To seal it, she begins to cast various jinxes in her repotoire with varying success.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one's view), Professor Snape is the first such helpful being that Bean runs into. He's already on his way from the apparent source of the Red Cap invasion, wand drawn as he moves towards the entrance to the Great Hall swiftly.
"How many?" he demands of the young Slytherin, hissing through his teeth.
Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall, the Red Caps run this way and that attempting to bludgeon students with their clubs. There is little success in this regard, although they are making a great mess of things.
"I didn't stop to count, sir." Bean answers saucily. "More than five and less than fifteen, I'd say." He frowns, trying to assess if that's correct. "Something like that. What can we do to stop them?" Other than sit back and watch the older people at work. "I don't know that I know any hexes to …" He's babbling. Then, it hits him. "Oh, sh-" He scurries toward the Great Hall again. "My homework!" This is called out rather loudly. He's worked hard on that essay!
Ginny glances over as she sees motion from the gigantic doorway, expecting it to be Bean returning with a teacher. She was half right. "Your homework is safe, Bean," Ginny says, slightly amused. "Red Caps don't tend to prey on parchment." Just then, a Red Cap gets a bit too close to comfort to a nearby first year, and Ginny casts a hex on him that has him floating in mid-air, tumbling about wildly.
Hmph, students. Some help they are.
Snape watches Bean flee in fear of homework and quickly storms through the door, lifting his wand and immediately casting a series of hexes and curses. It is as though someone has just set off a fireworks display. Red and green lights whistle loudly through the air, strike different Red Caps and cause them to collapse, float towards the ceiling, drop unconscious or be bound up in ropes that seem to form from wispy smoke. All these spells coming from Snape in a matter of moments.
Reassured, Bean sighs in relief and watches pretty amazed as Professor Snape hexes the little critters left, right, and center. "Wow," he breathes. "That's amazing." He cranes his neck to look up, up, up at the ones floating near the ceiling. "What did they want, sir? Why did they attack?" He moves to gather up his homework possessively, hoping to prevent anything else from possibly getting on his homework or books. They're precious. "Why are they called Red Caps?" The battle is over. All that's left are the questions.
Ginny also looks impressed at Snape's actions. Though, when she first spots her Professor, a look of panic threaded with doubt when she realizes that she's standing on not only a Hogwarts table, but the /Slytherin/ table. Unsure of whether to dart off and hope he didn't notice, or stay and try to look like it was perfectly natural. Ginny compromises by getting down, but gracefully and with a good deal of tact. When Bean fires off his questions, she glances curiously at her Professor.
"A prank," Snape assumes, although he does not sound as though he is guessing, "a Red Cap is considered harmless … this isn't the first time the local population have been convinced to go to war."
He sets about transporting the bound and stunned Red Caps out of the Hall, sneering at Bean, "They are called Red Caps because they dip their caps in the blood of their victims."
That said, he makes his way out. If he's going to punish Ginny for dancing on tables, he'll do it another time.
Interested, Bean nods at his teacher. "That makes sense, actually." He watches the man collect the creatures. "Wasn't too smart, though." Doing a prank like that. He's curious who would want to do such a thing. He watches impassively as his teacher strides out of the Great Hall with the bound creatures. "I guess we'll just have to watch who's got detention for the next century." He snickers, turning in time to see Ginny scramble the final bit off the table. "You're lucky he was focused on getting them out."
"Probably some older students with a prank. Kids get restless this time of year." Ginny says 'kids' as if she herself as someone separate from them, though when she realizes this, she belatedly grins. "It's hard when the weather's like this. Just wait until you see spring in Hogwarts.. it's magical," she says playfully. When Bean mentions Snape, she grins. "Yeah, I got lucky there. He might retroactively punish me for it at some point." Can't be a bad example to the younglings.
Extremely late night scene for most. Lots of fun.