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Thread: Start of Term

  1. #1
    Start of Term

    Start of Term

    Eve Travers
    Azkaban Prison


    The prisoner stood staring through the small barred window, watching the endless waves angrily tossing the surface of the sea. She didn't turn around immediately when the door opened and closed behind a newcomer.

    "Hello, Professor McGonagall," the prisoner said. "Or Headmistress McGonagall now, I suppose, isn't it? Even I've heard that news, and I don't hear much."

    Belatedly, Eve remembered that you were supposed to face someone in conversation, so with a great effort she tore her eyes away from the breaking waves. McGonagall was just staring at her. Eve wasn't surprised by the stare. She looked very different than she had as McGonagall's pupil. Rough prison tunic, dry and unkempt hair hacked off at the shoulder, sunken eyes, sallow skin that hadn't seen the sun in nearly two decades.

    "I... yes. Yes," McGonagall said, hastily recovering her composure and continuing as though nothing was amiss and they were talking over tea in a sitting room. "I've come to ask you a favor, Eve."

    Eve blinked a few times. "A favor?" she repeated, feeling a little stupid as her brain tried to catch back up with the conversation. What favor could she possibly do in here?

    "I need you to create a potion. I have a teacher who suffers under a curse. More specifically, a hereditary blood curse from the maternal line. A Maledictus."

    "I can't do anything," Eve said bluntly.

    McGonagall pursed her lips. "You're refusing to help...?"

    Eve shook her head impatiently. "I didn't say I won't. I said I can't. I'm not... unwilling... to help you. Bring me a solvable problem, and I'll come up with a recipe for you. But a Maledictus? It just can't be done. I'm sorry, but it's better not to give her false hope. Let her spend the time she has left getting her affairs in order."

    "Oh, I know a Maledictus can't be cured," McGonagall replied. "Everyone knows that. But with a very skilled maker of potions, perhaps the process could be... delayed?"

    Eve looked thoughtful - and for the first time in the conversation she actually seemed engaged, rather than as if her attention was halfway wandering elsewhere. McGonagall could practically see the calculations being made in Eve's head as the younger witch began to plan. Finally, Eve was showing a glimpse of the intelligent, creative young person she had been during her time at Hogwarts.

    "I think... maybe," Eve finally ventured. "Can you get me parchment and a quill? I'll write you instructions for how to brew it. The first try probably won't work, but tell me what failed about it and I'll refine it..." Eve was starting to speak faster, more intensely, as her interest in the subject kindled.

    McGonagall shook her head. "I'm not asking you to come up with a recipe for me, Eve. I'm asking for you to come to Hogwarts. I have a teaching position available for you. Potions. You'll have time to work on the potion for the Maledictus, observe and make the adjustments yourself."

    "They'll never let me..."

    "I already cleared it with the Ministry. The Aurors aren't thrilled, but I still have a certain sway."

    "Why? Why me?"

    "Because I believe you're capable. Because this Maledictus is worth saving."

    McGonagall didn't say so aloud, but she had always thought the woman standing before her was worth saving, too.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-05-2019 at 06:35 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #2
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Rosemary Bain
    Hogwarts - Care of Magical Creatures Outdoor Classroom

    Above her, the patter of raindrops on a slate roof. Behind her, the gentle swishing of the broom as it pushed the dust out from under the tables and out into the forest from whence it came. Before her, the unmistakable sound of chalk on a chalkboard - the fresh stick moving on its own to inscribe notes Rosemary had prepared the month before. Under her robes, the feeble trilling of a half-dozen tiny heartbeats. She smiled and pulled the cloth around her a little more tightly, removing any chance of a cool breeze from entering the makeshift nest of moke eggs she now housed on her person. The other half of the clutch lay under a burdock leaf next to the shelter.

    As she watched her introductory lesson appear before her, she sent a feather duster whirling amongst her collection of fossils, minerals and completely ordinary stones. The guppies she fed by hand, taking a moment to enjoy their bright colours before returning her attention to her lesson. The chalk came to rest even as she finished reading the copied letters. Satisfied, she turned to survey the rest of the room. It was tidy, but not orderly. It was also distinctly lacking in creatures. Rosemary firmly believed that to understand magical creatures, one had to meet them as they would find them - which meant that all her lessons depended on wild creatures making themselves available. The last three years had gone well enough and she expected much of the same unpredictability in the fourth.

    Rosemary stepped out into the rain and put up her wand to shield herself from the downpour. She felt a little silly doing it as rain was something she embraced as part of living, but it wouldn't do to let the moke eggs get a chill after all the effort she was putting in to raise their temperature. Her boots sent up droplets of muck to spatter her slacks up to the knee as a testament to the utter misery of the day. Rosemary didn't see the clouds, though. Her mind was on the future. The new students she'd be welcoming to the forest. Her returning students who undoubtedly had learned a new trick or two over the summer. New staff members. And her friend Cambria, whose future was certainly hanging in the balance - and possibly on that of the new Potions professor.

    She took a roundabout path to Cambria's classroom, almost certain that the other professor would be preparing for the new year much as she was. Not bothering to knock, Rosemary announced her arrival by a tunefully whistled rendition of a folk song known to the two of them and perhaps to frequenters of the midnight streets of Hogsmeade. Smiling, she took a moment to send the mud from her clothing scurrying out a window. Smiling, she seated herself on the edge of a student desk.

    "So, ready for the new year?" It was a loaded question, perhaps, but only as loaded as Cambria wanted it to be.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  3. #3
    Cambria Morehouse
    Hogwarts - Muggle Studies Classroom


    Cambria smiled when she heard the folk tune wafting into her classroom; she set aside the drawings she was fastening to the wall with a sticking charm and turned to face her guest.

    "Well, I wouldn't have turned down another week at the seaside," Cambria said lightly. "But it will be nice to see the students again."

    She truly enjoyed teaching, and while summer offered a pleasant opportunity to rest and recharge, by the time term started she was always ready to be back in the classroom. At least she had been so far, in the few years she had been teaching.

    "As for the rest of it..."

    She sighed with a half-shrug. Rosemary was one of only three people - along with McGonagall and the Matron in the Hospital Wing in case of medical emergency - who knew that Cambria was a Maledictus. The other staff had merely been told that Cambria suffered from some unspecified illness, as an excuse for her occasional absences.

    "It varies from day to day, I suppose. Sometimes I feel I can accept the inevitable. Sometimes I still feel hope. The headmistress told you that she was bringing in someone to help me, didn't she? A former Death Eater who has been in Azkaban, but who McGonagall seems to have great faith in. It... can't be an easy adjustment for her. We should do what we can to help her."

    Earlier in the afternoon, Cambria had ventured down to the dungeons to put a vase of flowers on the desk in the Potions office. It was a small gesture, but she wanted to make Eve feel welcome and show her gratitude.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-08-2019 at 06:03 PM.

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

    She had nodded in agreement to both of Cambria's opening statements - Rosemary always longed for the sea salt on the wind while inland, but she too enjoyed teaching a little too much to stay on the shore. As her friend continued, she let out a slow breath. She was relieved that Cambria was forthright with her feelings about her condition, partly because it meant that Cambria trusted her and partly because she knew that talking about something big often helped put it into perspective. It was one of her personal objectives to make sure that hope stayed alive in her friend.

    "Yes, she did. Eve Travers...funny, I am pretty sure we were in school at the same time, but I can't quite picture her. I'm sure I'll remember her once I see her, but I also know that I didn't get to know very many students outside of my House." Rosemary paused, suddenly thoughtful and more than a little mindful of the less savoury bits of information they had about the woman.

    "Of course, I don't think reminiscing about school is going to be on her mind. I can't imagine what would drive someone to become a Death Eater - nor can I imagine what confinement in Azkaban must do to a soul. I think you're right, though. Coming here is going to be a big adjustment for her. I trust the headmistress' judgement implicitly, but not everyone knows why she's bringing Eve here. We're probably going to be the only ones in Eve's corner."

    While not exactly mistrustful, she was understandably a little concerned about a former Death Eater experimenting on her friend. She wouldn't say as much to Cambria, not when she had no personal reasons to think ill of Eve nor a will to take a pin to this particular balloon. Rosemary had always somewhat prided herself on being friendly with anyone and everyone - so why should Eve Travers be exempt? The characteristic smile returned to her face as she stood up and straightened the desk she'd pushed out of alignment.

    "So, help her we shall. I wonder if she drinks coffee or tea. She's going to need her own mug. I'm sure that Peeves spits in all the ones in the staff room."

  5. #5
    Eve Travers
    The Hogwarts Express


    Eve knew she should be focused on the Auror who was talking to her, but it was very hard to do so when there was scenery flowing so freely past the train window. She could see more in a few seconds on the train than she had seen in nineteen years in Azkaban, and it was mesmerizing, almost intoxicating...

    She gasped when he grabbed her arm so hard it caused pain, bringing her attention back to him. Then he reached across her and snapped the curtain shut.

    "Travers. Listen to me."

    "Yes, sir."

    They hadn't trusted her to apparate. Not even with an Auror accompanying her. Because you couldn't apparate directly to the Hogwarts grounds, there was just too much scope for things to go wrong. So Auror Barclay had insisted on delivering her to Hogwarts personally. The train was his decision - Eve thought rather peevishly - so really, he was the one to blame for her looking out the window. But he was still talking, and she forced herself to absorb the words.

    "...And you will not speak to the students any more than necessary. You are not their mentor. You are not fit to be a role model. You will have no contact with students other than teaching lessons and providing tutelage that is absolutely required and directly relevant to the study of Potions. Is that clear?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Nor should you engage in extraneous conversation with your fellow staff. None of them want to be your friend, Eve. They won't like you. They will not welcome your presence. You are being sent to Hogwarts with a job to do. You will perform it. That is all. Otherwise, you will keep to yourself."

    "Yes, sir."

    That one was easy, at least, Eve thought. Who at Hogwarts would want to speak to her anyway? Better to just keep her head down, close herself off, and avoid angering anyone enough that they decided to send her back to Azkaban.

  6. #6
    Cambria Morehouse
    Hogwarts - Muggle Studies Classroom


    Cambria chuckled. "It's true!" she said. "No drinking vessel is safe. We'll need to warn her."

    Turning serious again, she went on, "I know Voldemort was a monster, and the Death Eaters were his minions. But she was so young then, and nineteen years is a long time. I heard some of the older faculty talking, and it was as if... well, they've already decided. They aren't even going to give her a chance. There are plenty of people who wouldn't want to give me a chance either, not with this curse. But Eve is willing to. She's willing to try. It seems only fair for me to try to help her too. I'm glad you're in - you are still in, right?"

    From what she had overheard in the corridors, some of the older faculty were actively planning to exclude Eve. It stank of bullying, and Cambria wouldn't tolerate that. Eve might have had a hard time at Hogwarts before, but Cambria would do her best to make sure history didn't repeat itself.

  7. #7
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    Rosemary Bain
    Hogwarts - Muggle Studies Classroom

    For a moment, she felt bad for letting her concerns show plainly enough that Cambria would worry about whether or not she was with her on this. 'This' being the fact that the two of them had sort of become the unofficial welcoming committee for new staff and had actively planned to include Eve in all things professorial. The older faculty were wonderful, true, but they weren't the most outgoing bunch. The natural aversion of the old to the new coupled with the reputation Eve was dragging along behind her was going to make for a potentially hostile workplace - and not just for the woman in question. Putting her arm around Cambria's shoulder, she gave her a light squeeze before releasing her. Just a quick physical assurance to go with the vocal ones to come.

    "Of course I'm still in! We're the Welcoming Committee, aren't we? I'm not willing to judge Eve on the basis of her reputation - I know you felt my concern, but really, my only concern is for you. It's hard on my heart knowing that someone is going to be experimenting on you, even though I know it is the best option and that you are in 100% agreement. I want my friend to be safe and well, that's all. No matter what, I am in this with you whatever happens, okay?"

    She hoped Cambria understood that it was a basic protective nature that made her pause earlier. Rosemary really did want the best for her friend - hopefully Eve did too. Forcing her mind to turn to brighter things, a mischievous glint appeared in her grey-green eyes.

    "Besides, I'm looking forward to having a new prof come in - we need to bolster our newbie numbers! We can't let the tenured ones get too settled in their ways, now can we?"

  8. #8
    Cambria Morehouse
    Hogwarts - Muggle Studies Classroom


    Cambria smiled and leaned into the shoulder squeeze. "I know you want to protect me," she said. "And I'm grateful for that. You're such a kind friend. I'm not scared for myself, though. At best, this may help, and at worst... well, there isn't much she could do to me even if she did have ill intent. It's not like I have a lifetime ahead of me. Well, I do, I guess, but... not a lifetime of being me. There's nowhere but up to go from here, so we might as well be optimistic."

    Even if Eve managed to kill her, that was still just the inevitable in a different form. Death, or losing her mind and becoming a beast - what was the difference? That thought didn't frighten her, though. She'd had plenty of time to absorb it and make peace with it. Instead, it gave her a shred of unadulterated hope.

    "We are indeed the Welcoming Committee! Eve will feel so at home here that she'll never want to leave, and we'll keep the old crowd on their toes."

    At least, Cambria hoped that was the case. If Eve was helping her, she wanted to help Eve too.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-10-2019 at 04:35 PM.

  9. #9
    Eve Travers
    Hogwarts - Potions Teacher's Quarters


    Auror Barclay left her in her quarters with instructions to settle in - but not before lecturing Eve on a dozen more subjects and a hundred ways she could ruin this chance. It was exhausting. Eve lost track of it all, and the takeaway message she arrived at was that she would somehow end up back in Azkaban no matter what she did. Might as well enjoy a reprieve while it lasted, then.

    Eve had nothing to unpack. She didn't really own anything anymore. They'd provided her with simple black robes and the school supplies she would need. The Potions stores were well-stocked with ingredients, and the shelves were packed with books. Eve wasn't really lacking for anything, she decided.

    She only wished they'd given her quarters above ground. Living down in the dungeons made her feel like she was halfway back to prison. She couldn't exactly ask for that, though - beggars couldn't be choosers, and she didn't dare appear ungrateful. Still, she hoped to avoid spending much time in her room. There was always the library to hide in, or out by the lake...

    Eve took her pet rat out of her sleeve. It had been hard to hide Shelby from the Auror the whole train trip, but she knew he wouldn't approve. You weren't supposed to steal rats from prison. But it wasn't like there had been a shortage, and Shelby had been her only friend for a long time. "Stay here!" she said, and let the rat loose in her room. "Hide if anyone comes. They might think you're vermin rather than a companion."

    It was time for the start of term feast, and Eve could delay the inevitable no longer. She remembered the way to the Great Hall quite well, but walking up to the raised dais where the teachers sat was an odd feeling.

    The situation became all too familiar, though, when one professor said "This seat is taken," then another set her hat on the seat next to her to make sure Eve couldn't sit down, then a third blocked her way and waved her past...

    Exclusion. So it was to be just like old times at Hogwarts, Eve thought with a wry smile.

    Well then, she just wouldn't partake in the food, she decided. She could always grab something from the kitchens once everyone else was done. She gave up on trying to find a seat and stood at the back of the dais with her arms crossed. Eve planned to stay only until the Headmistress introduced her to the students, then she would make her exit.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-10-2019 at 04:58 PM.

  10. #10
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    Rosemary Bain
    Hogwarts - Great Hall


    She and Cambria had arrived early enough to select seats near the edge of the dias, reserving an extra seat for Eve. The two of them had a feeling it might be necessary to have a seat prepared and also thought that being off to the side might be less intimidating. Once the students all filed in, the Great Hall would be overwhelmingly loud - especially for someone used to silence and solitude. Besides, she still had the moke eggs in her robe and if they started hatching, she'd have to make a dash for it without causing too much of a scene.

    Rosemary had honestly thought she'd recognize Eve when she came in, but even her great imagination struggled to form an accurate picture with the information it was presented. The woman was...sickly. Her robes seemed to swallow her even as her skin's paleness stood out in sharp contrast with the dark fabric. Eve's hair was dull and her cheeks were hollow - but her eyes were not. While not outwardly enthusiastic, the quickness of her look and the way she seemed to absorb everything around her were signs of life from the new Potions Master and that in turn gave Rosemary some hope that they'd be able to make a connection.

    Of course, they should have been a little quicker on their feet. Some of the other professors had already set the standard and it was precariously low. Eve had clearly gotten their message and was willing to let it slide, but Rosemary and Cambria couldn't let her. Besides wanting to include Eve and start off on the right foot, they needed to set a good example for the staff members still on the fence. Rosemary's easy pace brought the two of them to the other end of the dias in a few moments and she gave a slight wave with her left hand to try to gather Eve's attention. Her demeanor decidedly friendly, she smiled in greeting.

    "Hello! You must be Eve. I'm Rosemary and this is Cambria. We've saved you a seat if you'd like to join us?"

    She had left out many of the usual formalities finding the atmosphere stuffy enough without last names and professorial pronouncements.

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