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Thread: Start of Term

  1. #21
    Eve Travers

    Eve just let the Sorting wash over her, half watching and half drifting. It was too much to focus on, the movement and noise and voices. If she just let it in slowly in parts, it was easier to process the moments - but that also left large gaps. Eve would not have been able to provide a coherent summary of what was going on. It didn't matter, though, because for the first time in as long as she could remember, she felt included. With Rosemary and Cambria as her new friends, Eve felt she was part of something at last, not just a removed observer with her face pressed hopefully against the glass.

    When Rosemary let them in on her problem, Eve was suddenly all attention. She was better when there was a problem to solve. Having a clear task made the path forward less murky, and she felt more grounded when she understood what to do.

    Find five lizards.

    That was a clear objective. It was a measurable goal. Eve could do that.

    Cambria had spotted one... the unfortunate fellow had fallen into a goblet, and the Muggle Studies professor was discreetly fishing him out with a spoon before he became too panicked.

    Eve saw another. It was crawling along the ribbon on the brim of Professor McGonagall's hat.

    I found one! she thought triumphantly.

    But the downside of having an objective was that it was causing some tunnel vision. She was so intent on retrieving the moke that she didn't stop to think what it would look like if she came up behind the headmistress and went in for a grab in the vicinity of her neck. Before she had time to think it through, she was face down on the stone floor of the dais, hit by multiple stunning and disarming spells at once.

    Well, Eve thought as she waited to regain feeling in her limbs. That could have gone better.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #22
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    Rosemary Bain

    She had been admittedly busy stuffing baby moke into her robe as Cambria passed her the one out of her water goblet to notice where Eve had gone off to. The sudden blast of magical energy surrounding the dais was hard to miss, though, and Rosemary turned to see Eve on the ground. A number of wands bristled around the table. While that angered her, she couldn't help but notice that not all the other professors had raised a hand against Eve. There was hope yet. Rising, she pushed toward Professor McGonagall.

    "Professor, please ask your protectors to release their spells. Eve was helping me collect young moke that had hatched on me during the sorting ceremony. She probably came over here to look for them."

    Rosemary bent towards Eve, unable to get close enough to her to reassure her by touch due to a wizard directly in her path. Still, she did her best to catch Eve's eye and spoke directly to her.

    "Eve, are you all right?"

    She could only imagine what the students were thinking right now.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  3. #23
    Eve Travers

    Eve found herself struggling to come up with a plausible explanation for her behavior - the other teachers would surely demand one. But what could she say? She couldn't get Rosemary in trouble. Not now that they were friends.

    As she was desperately trying to figure out some middle ground between 'make things hard for Rosemary' and 'back to Azkaban,' Rosemary surprised Eve by telling everyone herself. It had not occurred to Eve that Rosemary would do that, and intense gratitude rose in her unaccustomed heart.

    She nodded when Rosemary asked if she was alright. Eve would be a little sore from her tumble to the floor, but she wasn't seriously injured. Rosemary and Cambria were too far away to help her, but it was Professor McGonagall herself who took Eve's hand and hoisted her to her feet, brushing a trace of dust from her black robe.

    "There, you see?" McGonagall said, her eyes stern and steely as she focused on each teacher and student in turn. "There was a perfectly reasonable explanation, and had you taken a moment to consider the situation instead of leaping for your wands, you would have seen that too. I am not unappreciative of your desire to protect me, but I can assure you all that everyone under this roof has my full confidence. Including Professor Travers."

    It was clear from the looks and whispers that not everyone shared her trust - but after being so dramatically proven wrong, no one seemed to think this was the moment to continue to push the issue. McGonagall dismissed Eve with a nod and turned back to her pudding.

    Eve made her way back to her seat. "I found..."

    There were a lot of distractions in here. Eve looked around for a moment, trying to regain her focus.

    "...Your moke."

    She opened her hand carefully to Rosemary. The tiny creature had remained protected in Eve's gently clasped fist the whole time.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 08-25-2019 at 04:57 PM.

  4. #24
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    Rosemary Bain

    She retook her seat with small smile on her face. The moke needed to get outside, but they could make it through the rest of the meal before they joined their brethren in the forest. However, when Eve held out the last of the newly hatched lizards, she could hardly believe it. One, that the moke managed to get that far on its own at such a young age and two, that Eve had managed not only to see it but capture it. Rosemary gingerly took the hatchling from Eve's hand and moved it into her robes.

    "Thank-you so much for protecting this little one. Your effort on its behalf means a lot to me, Eve. I won't forget it."

    Rosemary was absolutely sincere in her gratitude. She finished up the bit of her meal that wasn't totally torn apart by lizard claws and excused herself, whispering to Cambria and Eve that she'd meet them later. The sky was clear and the wind light and warm despite the fact that summer was coming to a close. A perfect night for flying, particularly for someone who hadn't flown in awhile. Upon depositing the moke in the woods, Rosemary set about her secondary task - locating a spare broomstick for Eve. Normally she'd just borrow one from the flight instructor, but knowing them, they'd simply accuse Eve of stealing it. No, she had to find another broom and she had just the idea of where to look.

    When the other two women arrived in the courtyard, they'd find Rosemary in her usual attire, sans robes. Her trusty old broom was in her right hand and she held the one in her left towards Eve.

    "I hope you are okay to ride. This broom was most fortunately donated to your cause - and really donated - I didn't steal it from the classroom. Though I was tempted..." Rosemary winked and chuckled. Not that she was adverse to borrowing items as needed, but in this case, it felt better to give Eve something that she didn't have to return.

  5. #25
    Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

    "You're welcome," Eve said when Rosemary thanked her, and smiled.

    She had friends. She really had friends! And on her first day at Hogwarts, too!

    Granted, it was her second-first day, and nearly three decades after her first-first. To Eve, it still counted, and she still had a smile on her face as she returned to her room to prepare for their evening excursion. That didn't mean changing her clothes - all of her small stock of clothing was too similar to make it worth putting on something different - but she did tuck Shelby into the pocket of her robe. It didn't even occur to her to go on an adventure without her faithful rat.

    On the way back, she nearly bumped straight into one of the wizards who had knocked her on the floor in the Great Hall. "Sorry," she muttered softly.

    He gave an exaggerated, exasperated sigh. "I'm curious. What are you even doing here at Hogwarts?" he asked. "In all seriousness. What is the point of your presence?"

    Eve drew herself up to her full, if unimpressive height, and looked him directly in the eye. Her spine was like iron, and her eyes were hard as rocks. Her voice held more confidence than she'd had since leaving Azkaban. "I'm here to cure the Maledictus curse," she said, unwavering.

    The other teacher laughed at her. "Fine, be sarcastic if you want," he said, shaking his head as he walked away.

    "But I am," Eve said when he had gone, addressing no one.


    ***


    Eve stared at the broom with both excitement and trepidation. "Thank you!" she said. "I haven't flown in a long time. I hope I remember how!"

    "This is great of you!" Cambria told Rosemary. "Where did you get it?"

  6. #26
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    Rosemary

    "Well, I got it from a former student, actually." she replied casually as she handed Eve the broom. " Myrtle, to be exact. Her family left all her magical items behind at the school and the custodian tucked them away in some closet. She remembers you, Eve, and said she'd be happy to give you her broom."

    Rosemary had made a quick pit stop on her way back to the forest and Myrtle had of course asked her about what was going on in the Great Hall. The 'usual hubbub' had been interrupted and naturally, the ghost wanted to know what it was all about. Honestly, Myrtle seemed to like most of the girls who hadn't teased her or made of fun of her, and she was well accustomed to how life could be unfair. When Myrtle offered assistance to Eve, Rosemary had thought about the broom she needed to acquire and figured if anyone knew where there might be a spare - it was a Hogwart's ghost. It had been a profitable pit stop after all.

    Unfortunately, asking about moving Eve to an above ground room wasn't going to be possible until tomorrow at the earliest, but for the now they could focus on making what she did have more tolerable.

    "So, what would be the first thing on your list that would make your room feel more personal? A nice blanket? A desk? Artwork?" She sat sideways on her broomstick, hands on either side of her, and allowed her broom to hover an extra foot off the ground. Whenever Eve was ready to go, she'd be ready, but she wasn't going to just take off and leave her friend on a new-to-her broom. "I know I could use some coffee. Something tells me this is going to be one of those years where I need to stay on my toes!"

  7. #27
    Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

    "Oh! Myrtle!" Eve said, and smiled. She remembered Myrtle more fondly than most others from her school days. Eve had never known Myrtle alive, of course. Myrtle had died long before Eve was born. But even as a ghost, Myrtle had been more tolerable than most of the living students.

    The only person who likes you is dead, the other girls had said. Eve had never minded that, though. At least someone did.

    "Thank you, Rosemary," Eve said sincerely. "And I'll go thank Myrtle later too."

    Eve owed Myrtle an apology, also, since the dark wizard whose followers Eve had gotten mixed up with had caused Myrtle's death. But of course, Eve hadn't known that till many years too late to act on the information.

    The question of what she wanted to decorate her room stumped Eve. She couldn't think of anything. When she'd first been sent to Azkaban, she had dreamed of the comforts of the outside world. Over the years, those memories had greyed and faded away. Her desires had flattened and simplified, till all she wanted was respite from the cold and damp and loneliness, but she had forgotten how any of those things could be obtained.

    "Erm..."

    Eve was at a loss. Cambria realized it and said, "That's alright. We'll go look and see what you like, and help you decide."

    Ordinarily she would not have been so controlling, but her new friend seemed to need more guidance than most even when it came to her own needs. Eve nodded gratefully.

    At first, being on a broom was terrifying. Eve had never felt so precarious. Gradually, though, the muscle memory came back, and Eve laughed out loud at the unexpected freedom of the night sky.

  8. #28
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    Rosemary Bain

    All in all, it was a lovely evening. Eve seemed to have fun even though she seemed largely disinterested in shopping - Rosemary didn't mind, of course, because the reason she'd suggested it was for the part that Eve seemed to enjoy the most - hanging out together. They'd walked the streets, played with a stray kitten, and listened to some local music at the pub. Upon their return, Rosemary and Cambria walked Eve to her room and said goodnight.

    Rosemary wasn't quite done with the day, though. She had prepared her lesson, true, but she also needed to prepare herself. Brewing a pot of tea, she lit a glowing fire in the hearth and settled down to read novel she'd read a dozen times. It felt comforting, like an old friend, and it always put her head in the right place for a new season of life. It was early into the wee hours that she finally set her book down and went to bed.

    Despite the limited sleep, she rose at her usual time and made a strong pot of coffee. She did her warmup stretches, taking sips of the bitter brew as she changed positions, then headed out to the lake. Not surprisingly, there wasn't a single soul in sight and she got through her sculling in the usual time. So far, so good. A perfectly normal day.

    So why did she feel on edge?

  9. #29
    Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

    The actual shopping was lost on Eve - she found the sheer amount of sensory input in the shops overwhelming, and she had long forgotten what it felt like to have preferences - but she enjoyed trailing behind her friends, looking at the things they pointed out and not being alone.

    It had been years since Eve had heard music, and she was enraptured. When the time came to leave for Hogwarts, Eve saw a flash of motion out of the corner of her eye, and sighed faintly, because she knew she was about to start making bad decisions again. She only had to slip out of sight for an instant while Cambria and Rosemary were distracted.

    When she had said good night to her friends and returned to her room, Eve started unfolding the layers of her robes. She had lost so much weight in Azkaban; she was skeletally thin. It had been easy to hide the kitten, tucked against her skin. It had been easy to sneak away and take it, when she saw it again. The second time, it had been scrounging in a rubbish bin. No food and no home.

    Eve told herself that a better person would have left it alone. But she was an Azkaban-hardened criminal, after all.

    "Shelby!" she said. "We have another roommate now."

    The kitten was briefly interested in the rat, but realized that with the size differential, it had no hope of taking Shelby as prey. Shelby, for her part, seemed indifferent to the tiny cat. Soon, all was peaceful in the little dungeon room. Eve smiled and climbed into bed.

    She didn't sleep for long. Confused, patchwork nightmares plagued her. Eve wasn't sure how or why she got out of bed, but soon she was drifting down the halls in increasing desperation, searching frantically for a way out.

    Cambria emerged from her room in her dressing gown and slippers, her hair a tousled mess. "Eve, what's wrong?" she asked gently, putting her arm around her friend.

    "I think... they sent me back to Azkaban... because I stole a kitten..."

    Eve was confused, exhausted. Cambria opened her bedroom door, took Eve's cold hand, and pulled her inside.

    "It wasn't Azkaban. It's just the Hogwarts dungeon. But you don't need to go back there tonight. Here, lie down."

    Cambria pulled back the quilt, and tucked it over Eve. Eve seemed almost hypnotized by the process, and allowed Cambria to settle her in the large feather bed. Before long, she was asleep - a calm, dreamless one. Eve never saw that the Maledictus whose room she was sharing had spent the night as a sphinx.

    In the morning, Eve was rather embarrassed, but Cambria assured her it was nothing. "Go get dressed, and we'll meet Rosemary for breakfast," Cambria said.

  10. #30
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    Rosemary

    The chat with housing hadn't gone quite as well as she'd hoped, but she had faith that she'd won them over with regards to moving Eve's room. She avoided most of the students simply by still being early, but she also skirted the edge of the grounds, close to the comforting stone walls. Not only did she rather like the way the moss upon them, but Rosemary had also been privy to quite a bit of gossip from students thinking they were well hidden. This information had proved to be most helpful in keeping the students in line - she'd started another rumour that her jackdaw gathered information for her to keep them on their toes and from realizing that their professors knew all the best hiding places because they'd been students once as well.

    Today, it had been rather quiet, which she hadn't minded in the least. There had been a stray jack on ground, which was a bit odd as the game was pretty old fashioned, but she'd scooped it up without much of a second thought. It was liable to disappear into her cloak forever. The teachers' lounge was nearly as empty as the schoolyard. She made a bit of chitchat, but soon picked up the paper to busy herself. Setting the table with three plates, she waited for Cambria and Eve to come down for a bite. For her sake, she hoped it was soon as she was famished.

    Cracking open the window behind her, she leaned back in her chair and - against her better judgment - started on the daily crossword. The wind rustled the ivy leaves, which she knew was normal, but she turned her head and looked out the window anyway. Her eyes searched the surrounding brickwork and vines and finally rested on the overcast sky. What was going on with her today?

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