Carrying the principal's ward in his satchel was easier than Will had imagined. She was quiet and content, uttering no sound except to tease him on how delicious his cookies were, and on how filthy his bag was.
Duelling class was held in the armoured hall, so named because of the terrifying array of wall ornaments. There were weapons ranging from small daggers to morning stars, sorted by type of fighting, interlarded by heavy tapestries rumoured to hide splatter marks too tough to scrub. Stripes were painted across the floor to show students were to stand in duelling. A small collection of wands were encased in glass cabinets either side of the door, belonging to famous witches who had donated their old items. The whole room doubled as a gathering area, but for class, the wooden tables and chairs had been tipped over and pushed to one side of the room.
Will, Tayna and Andrel arrived later than anticipated, all three of the classes in Draíochta second form were waiting for the lesson to begin. Apart from Study Hall, Duelling was the only lesson in which all classes were assembled, so Will noticed Arlamus sitting amongst the talkative children, his head down in another book. He wondered if the Spéir, Talamh and Farraige had the same kind of class, and if they could duel with wings, hooves and fins.
One of the two doors into the room, which led onto a bustling hallway with a panoramic view of the ocean, opened, and through came Professor Conway, wearing a dark cloak and suit with a neat silver necktie. Resting in the crook of his shoulder was his cane, the end was sharp and diamond-tipped. Realising his presence, the class hushed and faced him, though his expression was less moody and weary than when Will had seen him last, there was a trace of severity in his eyes, one not to be taken lightly.
Pleased by their alertness, Conway smiled gently and nodded in mutual respect. 'Welcome again to Duelling class,' he said, sounding calm and rehearsed. 'You have all been very enthusiastic in previous lessons, and now your zeal will be rewarded. Today, you will all be given the chance to duel.' The class murmured excitedly. 'All you're going to need are your wands, and a partner. When you have both of these, find a space on the main floor, each of you near the back lines.'
Before Will could scan the room for his friends, he felt Tayna's arm slide through his, and he turned to see her beaming excitedly at him. The students began to drop their bags at the end of the room, and as Will followed, he saw Anala nuzzling her head out of the pocket flap. 'Get back inside,' he said through gritted teeth. 'Somebody will see you.'
'Naww...you're no fun,' Anala grumbled in his head, obeying and obscuring herself as Will set his bag down amongst the others.