The quiet clinking of cutlery on china plates filled the dining room, echoing off the beams on the ceiling and reverberating through the iron chandelier hanging above the oaken tabletop. As per usual, Dorothy was sitting and peering at the Daily Prophet. The unusual part was her expression – usually rather peaceful and a little bit sleepy in the morning, today her lips were pursed as she scanned through the front page for the third time. The title rang out strong and true: “DUMBLEDORE: DAFT OR DANGEROUS?” above a moving image of the Headmaster of Hogwarts walking through the iconic front doors. This was not uncommon in the Prophet. All year, story after story had been discrediting the Boy Who Lived and the headmaster of Hogwarts, and it was clear that Dorothy was starting to become a little restless over the slander thrown at her ex-employer and one of the most famous wizards in the world. For some reason, it occupied her attention even more today, for she folded up the paper and slid it towards Sylvester, Luke and Amarisse whilst forgetting to do the Arithmancy Sudoku on the back page like every other morning. “I do hope you do not believe any of this tripe,” she sighed wearily and dug into her lukewarm porridge. “Strange times indeed...” Once again, Dorothy kept largely to herself about her musings. The trio assembled around the table knew well enough to avoid prying, lest they wanted extra chores to do after breakfast. Aside from the rather pensive mood hanging around Dorothy, 47 Lilystone Road couldn’t have been any livelier; the departure of more than half of the Association a year ago in the wake of the Death Eater attack in the Quidditch World Cup had not only made it much harder for the Wilborough Helpers Association to keep up with the tidying, but the influx of new missions and the low member count proved to be an incredibly difficult year for the regulars. Dorothy had been adamant that she would not hold any of her Helpers back if they felt they wanted to remain close to their families after the Death Eater scare, but when Dorothy’s family were the Helpers...it was undeniable that she found the near-desertion of her Association to be a little bit difficult. But the day was turning out to be warm and bright, and the first hints of summer had started to hang in the air. Some of the windows were open, allowing a pleasant breeze to float through the dining room. Birdsong punctuated the ticking of the grandfather clock and the clunks and scrubbing of the enchanted kitchen equipment whilst Dorothy shook off her ponderings and looked over at her three Helpers with that familiar, childish and excited glint in her eyes. She finished her porridge and pushed the bowl to the side, placing her hands on the table as she did whenever she would make a speech during a mealtime. It was an unspoken signal to listen. “I know this past year has been very hard on you all,” Dorothy started gently. “I want to remind all three of you that I am-...eternally in your debt, for sticking with little old me when you could have left. I don’t know what I would have done without you.” She smiled and inclined her head slightly – a small action, but nevertheless a very sincere gesture of immense gratitude. Such was the way with Dorothy – the short, polite and swift actions held more gravity than any flowery speech she could have woven to boost their spirits. “Today we welcome our newest members, and we shall spend the day doing our utmost to help them settle in. Listen carefully to their wishes, try to memorise their names and make sure to learn as much as you can about them. Be open, and honest. Teach them and help them. Do not let them feel lost and alone; some of these greenies have been trying very hard to be accepted into the Association...I wouldn’t want them to feel like they shouldn’t be here.” Dorothy rose from the table. The term ‘Greenies’, or ‘Greens’, better known as ‘Greenhorns’, was a reference to all of the newcomers who had yet to learn the ropes. It was an affectionate, albeit teasing nickname. “The schedule has not changed, and I shall be inspecting your rooms before they arrive.” Breakfast was drawing to a close, and all the Regulars could do is stall until the newcomers arrive so that they can get away with fewer chores to do. Dorothy pointedly excused herself without explicitly telling them to get to work as she usually did – the old woman knew the way it worked on the 28th May and silently granted them these free moments. She took her bowl and teacup to the kitchen sink where a floating sponge eagerly set to work scrubbing them clean before idly strolling upstairs to check the rooms. 30 minutes later... Dorothy called out from Amarisse’s room “Here they come now!” jovially, a full 5 seconds before a buzz of magic settled in the Regulars. 47 Lilystone was a fortress of magical charms and shields, too many to count, making it practically unplottable and an utter nightmare to infiltrate. Only those who were invited could even get close to it, and only Dorothy can alter the intricate spellwork to allow the newcomers to have ‘Regular’ status and be able to apparate to the house via the street where it should be. Many arguments were held over direct apparition into the house itself, but for reasons Dorothy did not feel inclined to fully explain, the inner shields around the country cottage itself kept 47 Lilystone Road blocked from anyone hoping to suddenly appear in its halls. For the newcomers, it would have taken a while to actually find the house. Yes, Lilystone Road was situated in Kent and they may have hovered around 46 and 48 confusedly until an actual invitation was produced from one of their pockets, at which point a little cobblestone road became visible. The muggles seemed oblivious, an elderly man pottering around the garden, completely ignoring the collection of wizards. It lead through a thicket of trees and then broke into a vibrant garden, wildflowers and herbs sprouting from all angles but not quite reaching the stony pathway and slate steps towards the cottage itself. Dorothy padded down the steps and opened the front door, eyes twinkling with delight. “Welcome, dearies, I hope the journey wasn’t too hard on you all...come in, come in!” she cooed, eagerly beckoning in the group of people gathered outside. The hallway was small and cramped and lead up a creaky stairway to what must be the rooms. “Your room number should be on your invitation – Emily, darling, it’s so good to see you; you’ve got your usual room, everything should be up there already for you.” The old lady gave her granddaughter a quick peck on the cheek, chuckling warmly. “Please, settle in first. Your room key is on your pillow and I opened the windows to freshen the place up a little. Once you’re all good and ready, come downstairs to the living room, it’s...just in that door on the left, see? If you need any help, just yell; one of us will come upstairs to assist you.” All of the rooms were identical in space and size, save for Emily’s room which was slightly larger, with pale pink walls and little flying butterflies. Some of her old drawings from when she was a child were still taped to the walls and her toybox was placed above the cupboard...it looked like a child’s room, the only change being that the bed was made larger with an engorgement charm. Furthermore, Oleg’s pillow held a key and a note, reading: “Dear Oleg, I did not know which bathroom you would prefer to use, so I put you in between both. Knock on the door of the one you would prefer to use and remember it will be assigned to you unless you ask me for a change. –Dorothy.” The cupboards were empty with some coat-hangers. There was a chest of drawers in each and a lockbox on the bedside table. A vase of flowers sat on the drawers, along with a mirror and a chair. A pile of extra blankets and towels sat at the foot of the bed, and the windows were open just enough to allow a cooling breeze to drift through.