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Thread: Start of Term

  1. #11
    Eve Travers
    Hogwarts - Great Hall


    Eve's first thought was, They must not know who I am.

    Surely they had just spotted an unfamiliar face, and been kind enough to pass around some generic friendliness. Had they known, surely they would have reacted the same way the others had.

    But no, this professor - Rosemary - knew her name. So Eve's second thought was, They must be mocking me.

    That had happened at her very first feast in this Hall, too. A couple of older girls with expensive shoes had pretended to want to be Eve's friends, only to laugh at her eagerness with their real circle. Eve had experienced many such moments as a Hogwarts student.

    She knew the smart thing to do would be to make an excuse and stay where she was. But Eve suddenly realized... she didn't care. There was nothing left to lose. Nothing left to mock. No sliver of pride left that could be torn away. She couldn't be hurt; she made too small a target.

    "Alright," Eve said softly, and followed them to the seat they had saved. Belatedly, she added in an almost whisper, "Thanks."

    Though she didn't trust their intentions, she was genuinely grateful for a moment of human contact, even if it was an illusion. Eve realized how much she missed those moments.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #12
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Rosemary Bain

    Rosemary’s easy gait led the three along the rear of the dias to the far end of the long head table. She made certain to walk between Eve and the chairs of those already seated. The woman didn’t need any more of their attitude. Evidently not all the professors put as much faith in their Headmistress as she and Cambria did. Correction: she, Cambria and Eve. It was clear that the line in the sand had been drawn and the three of them had crossed it. The glares the trio received as they passed were proof.

    Still, the temporary disapproval of a few wizards wasn’t enough to deter her. Tucking her hands into the outer pockets of her robes, she allowed her movement to cause the bottom of them to swish back and forth. She was prone to these moments – small pleasures unnoticeable to most and obnoxiously childlike to others. Taking the seat furthest to the inside, Rosemary smiled at Eve, determined to make contact.


    “You know, we went through school here at the same time. I’m not sure I can place you yet, but you might remember me. I was the one who showed up to Transformations Class wearing a bathing suit and carrying a live badger. Kinda embarrassing – I’m a bit surprised that the Headmaster accepted my application after that one!”


    Rosemary clearly viewed her story as a moment of hilarity and was not in the least bit embarrassed to recall the event. Maybe it was a silly thing to bring up, but it was the one thing she could think of that had had the whole school talking. It had been an accident, true, but it had cost her house a lot of points that she’d spent the rest of the year making up in study hall.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  3. #13
    Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

    One side effect of how little Eve had conversed with other people in the past two decades was that her brain didn't process conversation as quickly; she wasn't used to following the flow of it, and she had to make a conscious effort to string the meaning of the words together.

    So, for just a moment, Rosemary's words hung unacknowledged in the air. Cambria was just about to fill the awkward silence when abruptly Eve caught up.

    A small smile curved the Potions teacher's lips upward, a ghost of an expression but the most Eve was currently capable of.

    "I heard about that," Eve said. She briefly seemed startled by the sound of her own voice, as if she hadn't expected to hear herself over the low hum of various other unrelated conversations taking place around the Great Hall - but she recovered herself. "But I never heard exactly what happened? How did you end up that way?"

    Cambria smiled, pleased that Rosemary had apparently managed to engage Eve's interest and distract her from staring eyes and judgmental whispers.

  4. #14
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Rosemary Bain

    Her grin widened, pleased that she'd successfully hooked her audience. Rosemary's eyes danced as she drew her robes up around her so she could turn in her chair to face the two of them.

    "Well, at the time I was in the habit of swimming every morning before class. I was a bit behind that day, so when I got to shore and didn't find my robes where I'd left them, I didn't have much time to think. Understand, I had read ahead in the course work for Transfigurations and had come away with one thing: anything could be turned into a badger. So really, it was quite natural for me to jump to the conclusion that the badger sitting next to the rock was, in fact, my transfigured robes. Having no luck with 'Reparifarge', I decided that the spell must have been far too complete for me to undo, scooped up the badger and ran to class - I didn't want to be late! Honestly, I had hoped I'd be early enough to catch the Professor before class started, but I was not so lucky. I will never forget the look on Professor McGonagall's face when I walked in that door. It was a mixture of surprise and supreme displeasure. The latter won out when the badger wiggled out of my arms while I was trying to explain the problem. The damage one angry badger can do to a classroom in but a few short seconds...."

    Here Rosemary stopped, shaking her head at the memory. "So, the short of it is, I lost points for: one - impropriety, two - being late, three - being too stupid to see if the badger had any magic about it and four - for allowing said badger to rampage through Hogwarts. And so began my illustrious career of capturing wild animals. I mean, really, for the badger to let me pick it up in the first place was quite the thing...of course, it was much heavier as a cauldron..."

    The Professor had saved the classroom by turning the badger into a cauldron, then instructed Rosemary to carry it back out to where she found it and cast the appropriate spell to return the badger to its old self. The badger had taken things rather well, Rosemary thought - it didn't even try to bite her for all the trouble she'd caused it.

  5. #15
    Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

    Cambria burst out laughing, and nearly choked on her pumpkin juice. Such an unrestrained display of emotion was beyond Eve's current capabilities, but the Potions teacher did smile again, and genuinely. That made twice. Eve couldn't remember the last time she'd smiled twice in a row. Smiling at all was rare.

    "Because anything could be a badger..." Eve murmured. "The other students told some pretty wild tales about it, ranging from dark magic to some sort of..." She had to pause for a moment to find the phrase, but it came to her after a moment. "Some sort of strange performance art. Some of them claimed they understood the symbolic meaning as social commentary."

    That was the most Eve had spoken at a stretch in awhile, and the effort left her a little winded.

    Cambria's laughter had drawn some unwanted attention, and she now found herself glowering at a pair of ancient-seeming professors to her right as they stared and whispered, making little secret of it.

    "Oh, stop that," Cambria said with frustration, not caring if she was being rude to her elders. Seniority was no excuse to act this way. "Eve is our friend, and you need to just butt out and leave her alone!"

    'Friend' was a very generous definition to give someone they had just met. It wasn't really merited. But even so, something inside Eve's brain slipped a cog.

    No one had considered her a friend in a long time. It felt strange, but as necessary as oxygen. If Cambria was willing to call her a friend, Eve would give her anything she had in return.

  6. #16
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Rosemary Bain

    "If only I could have blamed it on dark magic! I might have escaped many long hours in study hall." Rosemary chuckled along. She hadn't minded the notoriety, though she hadn't been buoyed by it either. It simply happened. Rumours simply were. Of course, rumours weren't always benign.

    Rosemary glanced over her shoulder at the professors Cambria had addressed. Her look was inscrutable - there was a measured flatness there that would have more of an impact than outright consternation. There was no drama and nothing a student would detect as anything out of the ordinary. While her look may not have been immediately readable, her words would not have been mistaken for anything other than what they were.

    "There is little to gain from building presumptions upon nothing but what you allow yourself to see. Until you understand that, please keep your opinions to yourselves."

    With that, she turned back around to face Eve and Cambria. Her face was once again relaxed and her disposition amiable. Hoping to keep things rolling, she addressed Eve.

    "So, where have they put you up? I'm guessing if it's like most of the rooms, you're going to need some decor. We should hit up Hogsmeade as soon as possible!"

  7. #17
    Eve Travers

    Eve really had to concentrate to follow this conversational string. Maybe if she broke it down one piece at a time...?

    Where was she living?

    "My room is in the dungeon," she said. "Near the Potions classroom."

    Next came decor. She couldn't remember how that related to the first thing. She also couldn't remember exactly what decorating entailed. It had been more than half her life ago that she'd had any opportunity to affect her living space, and she only vaguely recalled what it felt like. It meant things that were hers, right? There was only one thing that was hers, so she took a stab at following the conversation logically.

    "I have a pet rat," she told them. "Her name is Shelby."

    There. She had checked the decor item off the list.

    On to the next thing.

    Hogsmeade. Why Hogsmeade? Eve wasn't sure how - or if - that related to the first two things. She decided the safest response was a noncommittal one.

    "Hogsmeade is nice," Eve commented, and breathed a sign of relief that she had fulfilled her conversational objectives. She wasn't sure why Rosemary wanted to go to Hogsmeade - and it had completely gone over her head that the trip was intended to include her - but surely that response should cover it.

  8. #18
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Rosemary Bain

    She exchanged several glances with Cambria as Eve responded to her question. The dungeon? They set someone who had been living in Azkaban for nineteen years in the dungeon? That was thoughtless. Rosemary's mien changed from concern to something more kindly. She totally supported having pets and the fact that Eve had either managed to smuggle a rat out of the tightest prison in the world or had made friends with one in the short time she'd been here. Either option was impressive.

    Rosemary would never judge Eve for her speech or her vague answers, but she felt it necessary to clarify her last thought. Eve seemed non-committal, like she hadn't realized that it was an invitation.

    "I'm glad you like Hogsmeade - we should all go together as soon as we can get away! Hopefully this year's batch of students won't be too much trouble so we can nip out for a few hours. I'm sure we can rustle up a spare broom for you, Eve."

    At that moment, a jackdaw alighted on the back of Rosemary's chair. It made a strange chirping sound as it appeared to assess Eve before jumping down onto its mistress' shoulder. Smiling at the bird, Rosemary offered it a bit of jerky she'd pulled from her robes and whispered into the bird's ear before looking at Eve once more.

    "This is Lucie. She says hello."

  9. #19
    Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

    "You want me to go to Hogsmeade with you?" Eve asked, sounding rather incredulous.

    They were being generous by letting her sit with them. Eve was aware that this was a kindness, and was grateful for it. But what Rosemary had suggested was above and beyond. Spending time with her outside of the school was surely more than the collegial relationship McGonagall had doubtless asked them to maintain with her.

    "Of course we do," Cambria said enthusiastically. She sympathized with Eve's doubt, but didn't want to embarrass her by calling attention to it, so she decided she would simply offer reassurance instead. "It'll be fun. We can shop for anything you need for your room, Eve. I'm sure you don't have much yet, right? And we'll stop at Honeydukes, of course, then round it out with butterbeers at The Three Broomsticks. How does that sound?"

    "Good," Eve whispered, pressing her hands together in her lap over and over till her knuckles turned white. They were treating her like... like she was ordinary. Just a regular person who didn't have to be distrusted by default. No one had treated her as ordinary in such a long time. Even before Azkaban. She was surprised at just how good it felt. Maybe... maybe being back at Hogwarts would be a good thing after all.

    Eve smiled genuinely when Rosemary showed her the bird. "Hello, Lucie," she replied directly to the jackdaw, addressing her as though speaking to a fellow human. Having spent so much time with only a pet rat for company, Eve was more used to making conversation with animals than she was with people.

  10. #20
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Rosemary Bain

    Eve's response to Lucie made Rosemary's day. She was so pleased to have someone around who understood that animals were much more aware of what was going on around them than most people gave them credit for. The jackdaw cawed and bobbed its head twice - an especially good sign. It would have been a good point of conversation if the side door hadn't opened abruptly, heralding the arrival of the first year students. Now was a universal time of gravity - at least on the part of the professors.

    Rosemary always felt the excitement of sorting day. Perhaps the novelty would wear off with time, but she didn't think so. It was a first glimpse at these young people she'd be helping shepherd through life - and she found it interesting how each student handled being defined so publicly. She tried not to make decisions on aptitude concerning her course at this time. Really, it wouldn't be fair. Not that she didn't make a few mental notes while the youngsters found their seats.

    Speeches. Unsettled squeaking of rears on benches. Then finally, the food. Rosemary was just tucking in when she noticed something rather odd. There appeared to be a tail sticking out from behind her pud. A lizard tail. A very small lizard tail.

    "Uh oh." she muttered quietly as she peeked into her pocket. All hatched. She must have been more focused on the sorting than she'd thought... Rosemary quietly plucked the tiny moke hatchling off her plate and delicately tucked it into a more secure pocket. Glancing at Cambria and Eve, she whispered out of the corner of her mouth,

    "We'll be done for if they think we're looking for them. They're small enough as is, nevermind them shrinking. Let me know if you spot any of the other five, yeah?"

    Hopefully she could keep this quiet long enough for her to collect them all.

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