Who could spot something so small in a space this size? Something so small, stretching and fluttering its little wings? For all that that was a challenge that was frequently laid down here, it would have still taken some fairly sharp skills to achieve it, were it not for the fact that to be manifesting it meant that someone had to be nearby. That was one way it differed from the usual quarry. Another was that it was silver rather than gold, and further still was the fact that, although this was a place associated with flying, it was rare to see birds here.
Two of them perched, side by side on a spectral branch, about the right height off the pitch for a tree. As if someone, touching down after flight, had looked back and thought about them. Thought about feeling good, for once. Or if not good, at least powerful. At least not helpless.
It was a recent memory. The only such moment there had been since Christmas, except for the weightless moments spent up in the air.
A light broke the sky. Like lightning in reverse, it burst up from about head height towards the branch. Rendered in silver, it was hard to tell what colour it had been originally. Maybe red, maybe green - all that could be said for certain was that after it hit the branch, one bird leapt up, flapping away in alarm, whilst the other dropped to the ground, unmoving.
Valentine was determined to make a better showing for seeker try-outs next year. She had to! She had to reclaim Mama's position on the team! That just meant she'd have to beat Jeremy or Anya next year, which meant she'd have to be really, really good. To that end, she was taking any scraps of time that she could find and practicing flying about on the pitch. She'd swoop and dive, toss small balls about and practice catching them again before they hit the ground. As full as her schedule was, she could never practice for long stretches at a time, but she did her best with what she could get.
This was another one of those times. As she dove, her eyes caught sight of something strange. Something silvery and glittering where there shouldn't be anything. She adjusted her dive to get a closer look, what was it? She hurtled toward the gleaming thing, focused upon it. It was still plenty far from the ground, nothing to worry about. Was it one of those mist things people had been talking about? She hadn't seen one yet, this looked like.. birds? They'd be insubstantial and just about the right size as she reached out to see if she could grab one as she flew past....
Then came the flash of light, the instinctual pull to twist away, a tumbling sensation, the ground. There was a crunch and a gasping for air followed by pain, pain and darkness and nothingness.
Bonabelle knew that Val was practicing for Quidditch because she did a lot of that. They had a good understanding that Bonabelle was going to love and support on her friend but only play if she really had to and as such, would not be practicing with her most of the time. Sometimes she'd join her for some evening practice or weekend activities, but less often in the middle of her schedule because she just didn't like to get so worked up. Plus, this way she could spend time with her uncle, read a book, or whatever else it was that she was currently interested in. She'd read a book on relationships and dating over the winter break - the cover removed to avoid anyone seeing what it was about of course - and it hadn't helped her get any less confused, as evidenced by the fact that she'd needed to tell Valentine about her feelings. Ideally, she would've just stopped having any. But that didn't seem to be working out; dating still didn't make sense to her.
There was still a little bit of time left before she was expecting Val to return from the Pitch, but Bonabelle decided to preempt her friend by surprising her with a visit as she finished up her practice. Making her way down always took longer than she wanted it to but it was nice to get a good walk in and she arrived in time to hear a horrible scream. She didn't remember dropping her things, but they weren't in her arms when she started running toward the Pitch. Her friend was crumpled on the ground and as she drew near, there was a ghostly appearance of birds on a silvery branch.
Was this an omen? Was this something like Professor Duell would normally conjure up to see the future or something? She screamed herself, surprised when a burst of lightning suddenly struck one of them dead. There had been a mysterious mist on campus, she remembered. But she didn't know what to make of it taking this particular shape. Her blood ran cold but she pushed the feeling aside, refocusing her eyes on her friend.
"Valentine?!" she said anxiously, dropping to her knees and wishing she had picked Jean-Loup's brain a little better. She knew better than to start moving the Teppenpaw though, so she merely put her hands on her shoulder and gave a small shake. "Valentine, are you okay? Can you hear me?"
Somewhere someone was calling her name. They sounded pretty far away though, it was just a whisper. When she tried to focus on it, to pull herself from the dark, soothing abyss, there was pain. An awful lot of pain. Instinctively, she began to sink back down again. Away from the pain.
Then she heard it again as some fleeting bit of agony washed through her again. The words were lost to her, but something about that voice pulled her back up. It was a familiar voice, it sounded... worried? The pain stung at her, but she did her best to push it aside when she finally recognized the voice. Bonabelle! Was Bonabelle in trouble? She had to help!
Valentine willed herself up out of the abyss, her friend needed her! As she emerged, she felt what must be terrible injuries in her arms and legs. The throbbing ache pounding at her head made it difficult to concentrate and her breath was coming in ragged gasps. Everything that moved hurt. The tears were welling up in her eyes and when she finally forced them open, the world was blurry around her. Still there was a fairly familiar looking blur right nearby. She tried to smile, but that hurt as well. "Bonn..." she forced out with a gasp, "you... okay?" Valentine really hoped Bonabelle was alright, she had the feeling she was pretty low on hit points herself after that lighting bolt. How many d6s had that been? No... that was fireball... lightning bolt did d12s.
Bonabelle felt dark, nauseating panic bubbling in her throat and threatening to pour out in the form of tears as Valentine groaned and flattered to her own anxious state of consciousness. Relief flooded her whole body as she found that her friend was not dead, but that was only one of her fears and Valentine seemed to be only barely clearing the 'not dead' bar.
"I'm okay, it's you," Bonabelle said with a sob, wrapping herself protectively around Valentine's poor body. She still wasn't exactly sure what was wrong. Which made her think . . .
Fumbling for her wand, she blinked to clear her eyes and looked up at the sky, shooting several showers of red sparks as high as she could manage, hoping to alert someone who could do something properly or else set off an alarm at the Pitch. She looked back down at her friend then, curling up still closer.
"Please be okay, Val," she said quietly. "You fell and I think you're really hurt. You're going to be okay though," she added, realizing that 'reassure the patient of their severe injuries' was probably not anywhere in any of Jean-Loup's studying materials. "Help is going to come and you're going to be okay. Try to stay awake, okay?" she added.
22Bonabelle RowPlease be okay, you have to be okay. 148805