When the last of the four towns had finally arrived, the Keeper of the Meeting, Eric, Godric's foster father, stood up and announced,"Well, folks it has been another year, and so far, I am very pleased to say that we have lost no one!" Everyone in the group cheered and clapped at this statement. "Of course we will still need to go over safety procedures. We don't want to break this winning strike!"
He paused, out of breath, and beamed around at them all. "I-yes, Godric?" For Godric had raised his arm in the air like a child in kindergarden.
"Umm, I have, a-a question." He father looked at him expectantly, so Godric took a deep breath and continued, "Why do we have to hide from the people?" He ignored the sudden outbreak of muttering and gasps, "I mean, if they saw that we could help them-" but the rest of his sentence was drowned out. All around them, Tiny rocks and miniture pebbles began to fall on the floor below. Dust was filling the air. Above them, they could hear many screams, shouts, and gales of sick laughter.
"Calm down everyone!" the keeper tried a few failing attempts to get their attention, be fore shouting, "Remember the evacuation plan!"
All the guests were hurling themselves at the entrance to the tree, Rowena pushed her self through, and shouted, "Ladies first!" She grabbed two random girls' hands, and magicked them up the tube. Salazar began to shove people out of the way, before giving up and apparating himself above ground. Meanwhile, Godric had drawn his wand, and was attempting to seal the entrance shut. "It's no use!" his father warned over the clamour. "Save yourself!" But Godric never wanted to save himself while leaving others in danger. He settled his problem by grabbing two young looking children, and apparating above ground. Rowena, who had accidently took Helga with her, pushed the other girl onto a cart, after Helga insisted she stay at the scene. All around them, the whispers of the silent night were broken by catcalls, jeers, laughter, and screams. Turning around, Rowena's eyes widened with shock as the old sycamore tree burst into flames. With a gasp, the many sky-reaching limbs quickly became charred and crusty. The leaves fell to the earth, alight with glowing embers, like some sick kind of parachute. Salazar had begun to run towards the shelter of the forest behind them, but an angry call made him stop. "You- hey, YOU!" Helga was yelling at him. "Help us!"
"Listen, those are the people, so I really don't fancy staying around long." He retorted angrily.
"Stop being such a prat! Dozens of people are still stuck in the tree, and meanwhile all you care about is not being seen!" Godric had joined the argument.
"Listen, can we please not argue? It only-" the rest of Rowena's words were drowned out by a fresh gale of screams. The sycamore tree was crumbling upon itself, down through the hole, and setting fire to the contents within. All they could do was stand there, stockstill, with tears streaming down their faces, as their entire foster families, friends, and local townspeople were burned to death.
She took a shuddering breath. "Come on. L-lets go." Helga turned heel and began to march solemly towards to safety of the pine trees behind them. One by one, the other three followed. They watched as the people threw their remaining torches into the dark, silent hole.
One of them said, "Ought to serve 'em right!" He spat on the ground near the hole. "Threatening our families. Why, they were probably plottin' murder!"
Rowena reached out and held Helga's wrist. Helga took Godric's hand; he grabbed Salazar's. Silently, as one, the four turned around and apparated to a deserted hillside. Without wanting to talk about the night's events, they pitched a small tent, and bade each other good-night.