Mortimer Brockert

March 05, 2021 9:38 PM
Once the older students were assembled at their tables and the first years filed in, Mortimer cast Sonorous on himself and rose ."Welcome to Sonora for the new first years and welcome back for all older students. First years, you should have received a blank badge at the end of Orientation. You will dunk the badge in the Sorting Potion and it will turn the color representing your house which are blue for Aladren, yellow for Teppenpaw, red for Crotalus, and brown for Pecari. Afterwards, you may join your house table." He noted that Amethyst was sorted into Crotalus, which was good. That was what she wanted and he predicted. So far his predictions had been one hundred percent right about where his grandchildren were sorted.

After the first years had been settled, Mortimer continued."Would Katerina Vorontsov and Evelyn Stones please come up and get your Head Student badges." He continued. "In addition I'd like to call up Ellie Alperton, Dathan Fischer, Jezebel Reed-Fischer and Anastasia Delachene to receive their prefect badges. Congratulations." Honestly, he was less than thrilled with these selections as Topaz and Allegra hadn't gotten Head Girl and Sapphire hadn't gotten prefect although he might not have had a huge problem with Miss Reed-Fischer otherwise. It was just that she was against his granddaughter who was obviously the better option. Mortimer would have objected to Miss Delachene-and objected strongly - but there hadn't been any alternative. As for Head Student, well, Evelyn Stones was the kind of Pecari who seemed to demonstrate the worst judgement.The only plus side was Miss McLeod not winning which was good both because that would have upset Topaz and because, well, that girl did not want anything good for the purebloods of Sonora.

Once the new prefects and Head Students had returned to their tables, Mortimer continued, "Our Midsummer event this year will be the bonfire. Information to follow."

He cleared his throat for the next announcement, which was one that pleased him even less than the Head Student and prefect choices. "As you can see, we have two female Head Students this year due to lack of available male students in our seventh year class. We are currently considering making this a regular occurrence and having future Head Student elections be ungendered as well. Anyone with concerns has until midterm to bring them to the staff." And he hoped to Merlin that someone did. Mortimer was less than thrilled about the idea of ungendered Head Student elections which could only lead to discrimination of one gender or the other. And thank Merlin that there were no fifth year Teppenpaw girls or it might only be female students in leadership, leading to nobody for male students to go to with problems that they would not want to talk to a female student about. That is, if male students outside of Teppenpaw would want to go to a different house's prefect. Not to mention having to listen to Eustace whine about it. Even though it didn't have anything to do with him.

"Now we will sing the school song." Well, they would anyway. Mortimer did not sing . Lyric sheets were passed around and the song began.

Every day we strive
Learning to survive
Life’s hardships and to solve its mystery.
Learning to defend
Our honour and our friends,
Flying high to meet our destiny
We will stand and face those who want to harm us.
We won’t let the world transfigure, jinx or charm us
I won’t fight alone, as long as you are with me.
Sonora be my home, my tutor and my spirit

Vasita quoque floeat; Even the desert blooms.

That done, he dug into his steak and bourbon.

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11 Mortimer Brockert Opening Feast 6 1 5


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Xavier Lundstrom

March 06, 2021 5:53 AM
Orientation had been okay, but Xavier was super excited for the opening feast. First off, it was called a 'feast' which sounded like something out of a story. The only time Xavier had 'feasts' was midnight feasts when he is cousins stayed over, and really that was not so much a feast as them all sneaking chips and cookies back to his room. Secondly, the feast was where they got sorted. The house system seemed like a big deal, and it was also meant to put him in with the people most like him, which seemed like he'd have a better shot at having stuff in common and making friends.

The school tour had been sort of mind blowing, and he still wasn't really sure what to think. The library smelled weird and he wasn't looking forward to doing homework without Google. His parents told him about having to do that like it was a horror story, or a warning to be grateful for the ease of his own life. Back in my day, we didn't have that... But, on the other hand, there was a set of magic rooms that could be whatever he could imagine. That had definitely been the most magicky thing. He just sort of wanted to stand there opening and closing the door repeatedly whilst thinking different things.

The sorting ceremony was pretty magicky too, given that there was a great big cauldron. For a second, he wondered if they would have to drink from it, but luckily all they had to do was dip their badges in. His turned brown. Not the most exciting colour but it definitely sounded like the most exciting house, and Xavier went to join Pecari table. He glanced around at the people who would allegedly be like his family whilst he was away. He felt a little pang thinking about his real one back home, but for now he was having too much fun for it to really hit hard.

There was a bit of an intro from the headmaster, and some students from their table went up, so he clapped politely along with everyone else. He assumed he was exempt from singing a song he'd never heard in his life, and then it was time to eat. Wow. They hadn't been kidding with the word 'feast.'

"Whoa," he stated, looking at the spread before them. "This is wild." He was talking sort of himself but also sort of to everybody, or anyone who wanted to listen, and one of his neighbours seemed to turn his way. "Hi, I'm Xavier," he smiled. He figured they could probably figure out for themselves that he was new here, given that they'd just seen him dip his bag, be clueless about the song, and amazed by the feast.
13 Xavier Lundstrom New Pecari, coming through 1529 0 5

Iris Cobb

March 06, 2021 9:23 AM
Iris was in a state of near perpetual stunned amazement. The orientation had taken outside and that had been pretty and impressive. However they then went on the tour of the school, and everything she laid her eyes upon looked fantastic. She had naturally heard about some if it from Billy, but his general response to her questions had been, 'You'll see yerself when ya get there'. Needless to say, she did not particularly like that answer. Now that she was here though, and seeing it for herself, she thought any description her brother may have been able to give her would have been severely lacking. She attempted to commit as much of the tour to memory as she could, but found herself quickly overwhelmed by the experience and was glad when they at last arrived at the Cascade Hall for the feast.

The room was filled with students and it alone was a sight to behold. She did her best not to stare at the waterfalls and the other spectacular sights of the room, Iris didn't want her fellow classmates to think she'd never seen anything like this before. So she simply filed to the front of the room with the other first year students and took her place for the sorting ceremony. Butterflies in her stomach fluttered as she wondered for the thousandth time what house she would sorted into.

Headmaster Brockert, an older gentleman, stood and welcomed everyone to the school then explained the sorting ceremony. Iris took her turn when it came and held her badge above the potion for just a moment as she thought 'not Pecari' and plunged the artifact into the solution. It emerged red and she smiled in delight. Crotalus! She found her way to the proper table and took an empty seat. She applauded for those students being awarded, even though she didn't know any of them. She did take note of the girl that stood from her own table, Jezebel Reed-Fisher, to go forward. Ooo... they were going to have a bonfire at the end of the year? Bonfires were always fun!

Headmaster Brockert's next subject was one that Iris wasn't sure what to think of. The information she'd read about the school talked about the Head Boy and Head Girl positions. They had two head girls this year because there weren't any boys.. that made sense. Likewise if there weren't any girls, there would be two boys. Although, if that happened... the head students were someone you were supposed to go to if you had problems. She could go to a boy, but she might go to another girl quicker. She wasn't sure she wanted to make any waves her first year here by talking to one of the staff about it, but it sounded like she only had a short amount of time to make up her mind before the rules could be set, if she wanted any amount of say in what they were... she would need to decide.

A sheet of paper landed in front of her and pulled her from the train of thought. It was a sheet of music. Everyone started singing and she did her best to join in with the unfamiliar turn and lyrics. it wasn't a bad song, she could learn to like it.

Then the food appeared, and they weren't kidding when they had called this a feast. As people around her began to dig in, she did likewise, trying to pick out some of the most familiar looking foods for her plate. Satisfied with her selections, she watched he fellow Crotalus students as she began to eat. It didn't take her to long to decide she should strike up conversation with her neighbors. She was going to be living with these people and should do her best to get to know them.

Turning to her neighbor she smiled and, sticking with Billy's instructions which had turned out to work fairly well, introduced herself. "Hello, I am Iris Cobb of the Kentucky Cobbs. I'm pleased to meet you." It occurred to her that she should probably have something more to say than just her introduction, "Are you looking forward to this year?"
2 Iris Cobb Let's get started! 1526 0 5

Hansel Hexenmeister

March 06, 2021 9:38 AM
Hansel had two older siblings. One had been an Aladren. The other was Pecari. Hansel did not think he was particularly like either of his siblings, and he did not expect to find himself in either of their Houses, though neither was completely outside the realm of possibility.

He was smart enough to know three languages fluently (though he wasn't sure that he'd ever actually learned Parseltongue so much as he just knew it). He enjoyed sitting with Uncle Karl doing his reading and math lessons, and he was familiar enough with the concept of reading for fun (especially during the cold and dark winters) that he didn't think Aladren would outright refuse him.

He had adapted to his new home and caregiver and language far better than Hilda had, despite her being in the house for the adaptable, though he was ready to admit that was probably as much due to his relative age at the time as any personal affinity for adaptability. He preferred being outside and active to being cooped up indoors, so he hit some Pecari checkmarks, too.

He liked almost every person he had ever met. He liked nearly ever snake as well, and that had a much larger sample size and variety of personalities. And Freddie and Johana Leonie were in there, so that would be kind of neat, to be with them. It wouldn't be hard at all to imagine himself as a Teppenpaw. All things being equal, Freddie being there would make this his first choice.

All things were not equal.

Now at his first Opening Feast, dunking his blank badge into the potion for his sorting, it was "Please turn red, please turn red," that he muttered under his breath. He believed in following the rules, in not getting in trouble, in being nothing like the birth parents he didn't remember and didn't want to, who made their own rules and did their own thing and hurt people. Rules helped society function and Hansel wanted very much to be a respectable member of that society, to blend in and not make a fuss. But that wasn't why he wanted to be a Crotalus either.

Crotalus was the latin genus name for the collective of the American rattlesnake species, and unsurprisingly their House mascot was a rattlesnake. Being a Parselmouth, and having quite a lot of friends who were rattlers, he wanted to be in the snake House.

Hansel pulled badge out of its submersion and his face dropped in obvious disappointment as it was very clearly not red, but vibrantly yellow. "Oh."

Teppenpaw. Not Crotalus. Well, he'd been right that he hadn't gone into either Heinrich or Hilda's House.

He headed over to the table for Teppenpaws, his spirit buoying as he saw Freddie there. He waved almost cheerfully at the older German boy as he took a seat. He was not going to be upset by this. Teppenpaw was a perfectly good House, and a perfectly good match for him. He already had some people here who would look after him if he got homesick and needed somebody with a German accent to talk to.

"Looks like we're prairie dogs, not rattlers," he told Cori as he put his pet's carrying case down on the table in front of him. He was extra careful to use English and not Parseltongue with this many people nearby. Cori just tilted his head in confusion at him. Tell you later, he silently promised in his head. He hadn't seen any other boys get sorted here yet, so chances were looking good that he'd at least have his own room. If he did that would be one less worry, and he could talk to Cori freely whenever their door was closed.

The rest of the first years were sorted, and then the Headmaster called up some older kids. He was a little surprised by their being two Head Girls and the possibility of that being permanent, but Hilda had said something about a petition to that effect last year, if he recalled correctly. So that was kind of interesting.

As the school song started, Hansel instead tried to figure out where to put Cori for the Feasting part of the feast. He eventually decided on a spot under his chair, knowing enough about how this worked to at least suspect food would be coming soon and his neighbors probably wouldn't want an animal on the table while they were eating.

He was right. As soon as the lyric sheets vanished, the food began appearing right where Cori had recently been. He filled his plate with both the familiar and unfamiliar, and turned to his neighbor. "Hi," he greeted them in a friendly German-accented voice. "Do you know what this is?" he asked pointing to something on his plate that wasn't something Uncle Karl regularly fed him.

OOC: No preference on what the foodstuff is. There are a very wide range of foods Karl doesn't cook.
1 Hansel Hexenmeister This was not what I was hoping for 1524 0 5

Billy Cobb

March 06, 2021 10:15 AM
Ugh. Iris was here now. Billy still wasn't sure what to make of that particular situation, but it wasn't like there was much he could do 'bout it anyway. He was, however, fairly certain that she would not end up in Pecari. He desperately hoped she wouldn't. He'd been having quite a bit of fun last year with Oz and Gus and if she was hanging around Ma and Pa would probably hear all about it. Not that they were doin' stuff that was 'bad', but it probably wouldn't fit into the list of stuff that Iris thought they 'should' be doin'. Which was one of the primary reasons he figured she probably wouldn't wind up in Pecari in the first place.

He wandered about until the last minute before finding a seat at his table. It has been nice being back home for the summer. He hadn't been chained up to these inside places and could run about as much as he wanted, or at least as much as Ma and Pa let him, or at least as much as he could get away with despite what they let him. He'd been a bit glad that the concert had taken place just before summer had started. During the Christmas break Ma and Pa had wanted to see what he'd been learning and he wasn't allowed to show them. Normally not being allowed to do something was only a minor deterrent from stopping him from actually doing it, but in this case it sounded like he really, really, really wasn't supposed to do it. Also it sounded like he could get into some real, actual, serious trouble for doing it. So, he'd been able to satisfy their curiosity a bit at the concert and apparently they'd seen plenty to keep 'em happy. That meant he hadn't needed to worry about not doing stuff over the summer.

Billy Cobb nearly cheered when Iris revealed a red badge. She was going to be over in Oz's brother's house. That was fine. The rest of the stuff he didn't really pay any attention to, but he did catch the word 'bonfire'. That sounded like a lot more fun that then concert had been. It had been fun voicing the giant and all, but... bonfire! A music sheet drifted in front of him and he grinned and purposefully sang as far off key and out of sync as he could.

When the food appeared, he quickly began loading up his plate with anything he could reach. While doing so, he grinned at the first year that had sat down next to him. "Yeah, it's great, ain't it?" Huh, the boy hadn't followed the proper introduction protocol. He was new though, he'd need to be taught the ropes of the place. "Pleased ta meet'cha Xavier. I'm Billy Cobb of the Kentucky Cobbs." He gestured at the food before them, "What's yer pleasure?" That apparently was a fancy way of asking someone what they wanted.
2 Billy Cobb Welcome to the house of excitement and fun! 1519 0 5

Martin Crosby V

March 06, 2021 10:41 AM
Martin arrived in a somewhat pleasant mood this year, although with underlying nerves he was doing his best to disregard. It had been a decent enough summer. Spending time with his family, easily the most tolerable group of people he knew, was always enjoyable, and his little sister, his favorite person in the world, was finally getting old enough to be actual solid company. Samara had always been sort of his soft spot, and it was nice to feel this growing more and more valid as she developed into a wonderful young person.

Now that he was back at Sonora, though, there was a new unsettling reality facing him: Advanced classes. Martin did well enough in his academics, but as he had not yet selected what career path he wished to pursue, he wasn’t sure what to drop and what to maintain, so after receiving adequate CATS scores and permission to proceed, the sixth year had decided to continue, for now, in all available core classes. He expected a sizable increase in his work load, but he just… didn’t know what to do. That unsureness made him most uncomfortable, so for now, he ignored them.

He was pleased to hear his friends’ victories. Katerina and Jezebel would make excellent student leaders, he felt, despite their femininity. Martin felt very progressive in that way. He wasn’t sure how he felt about the idea of non-gendered requirements for head students in the future, mostly since it widened his competition pool next year, but as long as he was still a viable candidate, he supposed he didn’t truly care. It stung him to see a convention change, but that was among his only complaints.

Seeing Katerina walk up there and fully process her upcoming departure - he often forgot that she was a year his senior - inspired a thought in him. Martin did not know her as in-depths as perhaps he should have, after having taken her as his date to the previous ball, but she would probably make a good wife. It would certainly please his Russian (and nosey) great-grandmother. Briefly, another girl popped into his mind, trying to force her way into this thought, someone else with a shiny new badge, but he didn’t think…. No, that one was impossible. He would consider pursuing Katerina, but not the other.

“Here we are again, hm?” he commented idly to a neighbor moments later, after the song and bonfire announcement had passed with little reaction from him. Loathe as he was for idle conversation with random persons, Martin definitely needed something to occupy his thoughts, and while the mashed potatoes he scooped onto his plate did look appetizing, he didn’t think that food was going to be enough to cut it alone.
12 Martin Crosby V Get me out of my head. 1439 0 5

Osvaldo Alamilla

March 06, 2021 11:15 AM
OOC: Mild sexism BIC:

The summer break hadn't been long enough. Osvaldo suspected it never would be. He had worked all summer getting the school back into shape again. The grounds had been easier this time though since he didn't have the aftermath of the fair to deal with. The concert had thankfully been easier on him, other than all of the insistences that everything be in pristine condition for the parents to see when they arrived. That had made his end of the year work more difficult than his summer work though. Thankfully the prairie elves were capable of getting the normal wear-and-tear back into order with minimal overseeing. That left him to work on re-balancing the weather charms. Charm work was not exactly his specialty, but he managed.

One of the bigger things that had come up during the summer was Manola. Apparently she had decided she was getting bored simply taking care of their small residence and Edu. Frankly, he couldn't blame her, that would drive him mad, he wasn't a woman though. Even though it had been two year now, neither one of them were comfortable with straying out into the public eye more than necessary. As such he'd promised to ask the Deputy-Headmistress, as it seemed like she dealt with this sort of thing which allowed Headmaster Brockert to focus his attentions on the more important school matters, whether there might be some small position for Manola to take up here at the school part of the time.

He did not find a chance before the term began. As such he found himself sitting at the staff table while the children attempted to settle themselves. Thankfully they quieted down when Headmaster Brockert began speaking. Osvaldo couldn't help but sigh again as he watched the sorting ceremony. He really shouldn't let it bother him, he really shouldn't, but... this version of the sorting potion was just inferior. He had to assume it worked but it just didn't have the effect as the original. For his own amusement, he contemplated possibilities of replacing the new potion with the original for next year while the Headmaster announced the new student leaders.

The midsummer event did not make him happy. A bonfire?! What in Merlin's name are they thinking? Mixing children and fire on his carefully restored grounds? This was a recipe for disaster! It'd be worse than that cursed fair! He felt as though all of the things he'd accomplished so far had gotten drained away with that simple statement.

Fortunately, he was quickly distracted from such thoughts as the Headmaster continued with this ridiculousness of 'Head Students'. There had been staff meetings about it, and naturally there was a problem with there being no seventh year male children. At the time he'd thought about the possibility of a gender switching elixir he'd run across during one of his research projects years ago. That could have solved the problem, but he'd gotten the feeling that the staff in general wouldn't think it was as brilliant of a solution as he did for the problem. So he hadn't brought it up, but he may still look into it again. Just in case. He really didn't see what the problem was, if both were available have one of each. If not, you just had to work with what you had.

Finally they were on to singing, which he did not participate in, and then the food appeared. He filled his plate and began eating while pondering his various options for this coming year.
2 Osvaldo Alamilla Here we go again 1503 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

March 06, 2021 4:35 PM
OOC: CW classism/snobbery BIC:

The kid next to him introduced himself in a weird and overly elaborate way. 'Weird' was an overall accurate descriptor for him, but 'overly elaborate' was not. He looked and sounded like a Kentucky farm boy. And not in the tropey sense where farm boys were muscled and hot, but in the literal sense, like he lived on actual Kentucky farm without access to proper dental or haircuts. Maybe the intro was some rural Kentucky thing, where everyone was meant to know who everyone was.

Xavier tried to reel in that train of thought because whilst it was accurate it wasn't particularly kind. One of mom's favourite Bible verses (especially to quote at him) was 'Judge not lest ye be judged.' On the one hand, he couldn't see it mattering much. If Billy wanted to judge Xavier's attractiveness, he doubted he would come off the worse here, and even if he did, he didn't really care if Billy found him unattractive cos that feeling was definitely mutual. He thought though that it wasn't necessarily just the other person that might judge you back, but also that Jesus didn't think much of people getting real shady.

"Nice to meet you," he smiled, because the boy was at least friendly, and for all his snippy thoughts about the superficial things, Xavier did know that other qualities were much more important. He surveyed the dishes in front of him, wondering what his pleasure was, as Billy had put it. He saw pasta, which instantly made his heart happy, but he kind of knew that for all it probably tasted good, it wouldn't taste like his mom's. He gestured to a plate of pork chops just out of his reach but well within Billy's. Meat was meat. It was sort of hard to go wrong there.

"Those look good," he stated, helping himself to some mash. "So, you been going here a while?" he asked. Billy didn't look much older than him but it was probably safer not to venture an actual guess.
13 Xavier Lundstrom Yes! Sign me up! 1529 0 5

Billy Cobb

March 06, 2021 5:56 PM
This boy had good taste. Billy grabbed himself one of the pork chops from the plate as he passed it on to Xavier. "Sure thing," he replied as he did so. "The food sure ain't Ma's home cookin', but it ain't to bad neither." Then he ran into a problem, there was no room on his plate for the recently acquired pork chop. Well, alright, it would have been a problem if he weren't Billy Cobb super wizard and master of problem solving. He used the pork chop as a scoop to take a bite of both it and his mashed potatoes. Yeah. Problem solved. This process would not only make room on his plate for the pork chop, but by the time he had the space he wouldn't need it! He could put something else there. Brilliant!

Billy nodded at his neighbor, still grinning, "Yup, I've been going here ages." Man, if he thought about how much time he'd spent here locked up in them classrooms, it seemed like an eternity. "I started here last year, so if'n ya got any questions I'm sure I can get you some answers." Billy tried to think way, way back to his first opening feast. It seemed so long ago. What questions did he have at the time? He'd sat next to that Leonor girl and they'd talked about where she was from. Huh, he still didn't know where Xavier was from, maybe somewhere far away and exotic as well!

"Where are you from?" He asked the other boy. If he had to guess, Billy'd have to say he was one of the city folk, but that was alright. Oz was a cityboy as well and he was.. what was that word Gus had taught him..? Right, dope.
2 Billy Cobb Excellent! 'cause you don't have a lot of choice anymore 1519 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

March 06, 2021 8:43 PM
His mom, he was pretty sure, would not have approved of Billy's table manners. She would never have let Xavier eat like that. His mom wasn't here though. And that looked sort of fun. Also, whilst he was well aware what table manners were expected, he was still debating which ones he believed were actually real things that mattered versus things that adults just said. Like 'elbows off the table.' Why? Who were his elbows bothering? He took a bite out of his pork chop the same way, before feeling a little too self conscious and guilty and putting it down on his plate. Maybe he'd take a few more role models than just this guy before he decided which rules were safe to break.

Billy had been going here 'ages' but also just since last year. Xavier was young enough that years still did seem like a long time, so he didn't see this as a contradiction. What did he want to know? Well, sort of everything...

"Minneapolis," he answered the easier part first. Admittedly, Billy had only given his state, but that was probably because he wasn't from a city. Xavier didn't even know whether Kentucky had cities, not real ones anyway. It felt weird and rude not to ask the question in return but he had already been told. "Wherabouts in Kentucky are you from?" he asked, figuring he could at least raise his total geographical knowledge of Kentucky up from exactly zero places to one, even if it was one no one else would ever have heard of.

"What's it like here?" he asked of the school, not really sure how to distill his current, vast lack of knowledge down into any more specific question. Professor Wright and all the books had told him a lot of facts about the school, but they somehow hadn't managed to answer that.
13 Xavier Lundstrom Let's hope it works out 1529 0 5

Billy Cobb

March 07, 2021 7:57 AM
Minneapolis. Minneapolis... dangnabit Billy wished he had his maps with him. Pa certainly wasn't going to need them, so he'd brought them along this year so he'd have them. He knew that place, he was sure he'd seen it. It weren't a state, he was pretty sure it was a city.. somewhere north? That sounded right. His face screwed up a bit while he fought to dredge any sort of fact about Minneapolis from his brain. In the end, nothing more was forthcoming, he'd have to look it up later. So instead he just ventured to confirm what he thought he remembered, "That's up north, right?"

Billy grinned at Xavier's first question for him. "We live on our mountain," there was a slight stress to the word 'our' his family had lived there for generations and as far as anyone was concerned, it was their mountain. "It's not far from Woolum." He wasn't sure how Woolum compared to Minneapolis, but figured they couldn't be that different, cities were cities after all. They didn't really go into town much anyway, unless they had to.

Xavier's next question made him think again. The first words that sprung to his mind were 'caged' and 'penned-up' and 'kinda boring'. None of these things seemed to be a great answer to give to a new kid, still he weren't one for lying either. "Well... there's lotsa classrooms and learnin' goin' on." His voice clearly conveying that those were not his most favorite things in the world. "The best of them are Professor Marsh's critter class and the plant one taught by Professor Xavie..." He trailed off as he suddenly realized that he had a Professor Xavier and was currently talking to an Xavier. Huh. Oh well. "Quidditch is pretty fun as well iff'n you like flying around on brooms outside. For some reason people didn't think we should be flying around on his broom inside the school." He paused to think again, "Oh, the other cool thing is the MARS rooms. Some of them can be nearly anything ya want 'em to be. You can fly around in them if you make 'em big enough."

A thought struck him, "Do you like flying?"
2 Billy Cobb I'm sure it will, what could go wrong? 1519 0 5

Anya Delachene

March 07, 2021 12:05 PM
Anya paid more attention to the ranks of first years than she really had any genuine interest in doing. She could do math though, and counting to one was the easiest math there was. Counting to five wasn't hard either. This was her fifth year. She was the only Pecari who could say that. That meant it would soon be her name getting called to be given a badge she didn't particularly want.

It would probably surprise the Headmaster to know they had exactly the same opinion about her getting that badge. She had a pretty good idea they were of the same mind about it though, and she counted it as maybe the only thing she and Headmaster Brockert had in common.

Not wanting it didn't mean she wouldn't do it though, so she cheered for the new Pecaris and told them, "Welcome to Pecari and Sonora!" whenever one of them walked close enough to her on their way to an empty seat at the House table. It was the prefectly thing to do, making the new kids feel they belonged.

And sure enough, once the first years were all distributed to their new homes, Head Students and then Prefects were called. Anya followed Evelyn toward the staff table, silently fuming that the Headmaster had called her Anastasia.

She tried to be gracious though. She tried to smile politely as she was given the shiny weight of unasked for responsibility. She tried to not scowl at the Headmaster any more than he was scowling at her. She offered congratulations to the other people roped into this along side her, because that's what everyone expected, because this was supposed to be an honor. And if the ones she gave to Ellie were maybe a little more glad than the ones she gave to Dathan and Jezebel, well, at least one of her friends was doing this with her. Ellie would know not to expect Anya to fit all of the molds of being a prefectly prefect.

She returned to her seat at Pecari, dropping heavily into it at frowned dourly at the people sitting closest. "I will take points off of anyone who calls me Anastasia," she promised warningly. "It's Anya," she added, in case anyone who didn't know who she was was sitting close enough to hear.

And that was probably not the most prefectly start to her prefect career, but she'd gotten it by default and it was probably for the best if everyone understood that.
1 Anya Delachene Don't any of you dare call me that. 1453 0 5

Stanley O'Malley

March 07, 2021 5:41 PM
After the altercation, Stanley had not let Mom or Dad heal his lip with magic. He decided to just let it heal on its own, giving him a chance to reflect on the puffy-mouthed boy in the mirror. And even now, with his body having repaired itself, he could hardly believe Wally had actually hit him. There was always rough-housing, but it was never intentional when somebody got hit a little too hard. Did blood in your mouth always taste so bad? Stanley had banged his face on a number of things before, but this stung differently. And the wound kept getting salted, both by his saliva and by the loneliness in his bedroom. His life-long roommate had moved out.

Stanley hated that more than anything. He hated having his own room. It was maddening. The empty space seemed to taunt his smallness, which in turn made him even smaller still. There was no one to talk to, no break in the silence. At least at Sonora, he and Theo could pseudo-share, popping between their dorms and hanging out as they wanted to between their two Pecari rooms. But Wally didn’t feel like sleepovers. He didn’t want to hang out with Stanley. He didn’t want to talk at all anymore.

Stanley tried not to think about it too much for the moment. At least they were back at Sonora now, where there were more kids to see and more things to do. He pulled himself back from his brain just in time to see something unusual at the Teppenpaw table, and a light clicked on inside him - a fact, maybe, that even he had been dense to miss - but had no opportunity to digest it, as he heard Anya “Anastasia” Delachene vaguely threaten the lot of them.

“Can you do that?” Stanley asked genuinely, with some interest. “Take points away? That sounds dangerous to let Prefects do. You could just say ‘Sorry, random Crotalus kid, no more points for you guys’. Easy way to go mad with power. Do me a favor and remain equally mad as you are now, huh?” The third year found a hint of his old smile. “Congrats, by the way.”
12 Stanley O'Malley Sure thing, That. 1491 0 5

Wally O'Malley

March 07, 2021 5:51 PM
Wally just couldn’t stand it anymore.

Whether it was for the better or the worse, he had spent thirteen years getting pushed around by Stanley: letting his brother talk him into stupid plans, following Stanley’s dumb ideas, getting into trouble with him, or barely managing to keep him out of it. Well, this time, Stanley had done something really dumb and probably hurt somebody who didn’t deserve it, and Wally just couldn’t take it.

So, yes, he had hit him. It was the first time ever, and no one had been more surprised than Wally himself. But admittedly, it also kinda felt good. What felt less good was the rest of the summer, which he had spent primarily alone, in his new single bedroom. Unlike Stanley, Wally had a roommate at Sonora, so he had never in his life had his own room before. It was peaceful, but also a bit empty. Had the summer been longer, he might have had enough time to hate it and go apologize to Stanley and ask to move back in, but for just these few weeks, he had held his resolve, and with it, his anger.

Even now, as the Headmaster spoke, Wallace couldn’t quite pay attention. He just kept looking at the Teppenpaw table and longing for… something. To check on Valentine. Make sure she was okay. Tell her… tell her what, exactly, he didn’t know, but he just had to go to her.

And so, when the speech concluded, the Crotalus broke a tradition.

Wally noticed an open seat remaining next to Valentine, perhaps an extra not filled because the new first year group was so small, and he just couldn’t help himself. He got up from his seat at his own table, walked silently over, and seated himself next to her.

“Hey, Valentine,” he said as he sat down. “Look, I just wanted to… I guess apologize.” The irony of apologizing to her on Stanley’s behalf, when he himself owed Stanley an apology, was lost on Wally in the moment. “Stanley’s an idiot, and he shouldn’t have done that to you.” There was no mediation of the statement, no but I love him to soften the blow. Wally didn’t feel like saying that stuff. He said what he meant.
12 Wally O'Malley Table hopping [Tag: Valentine] 1492 0 5

Grayson Wright

March 07, 2021 8:01 PM
The school tour complete, the first years were shown into the Cascade Hall and into Selina’s very capable hands for the Sorting. His duty discharged satisfactorily, Gray gave the Deputy Headmistress a respectful nod and went to join the staff table and watch the show.

Nothing too interesting had happened during the tour despite the new Mr. Hexenmeister having a snake in a box along with him, and while that could be cause for concern under the right circumstances, Gray was cautiously inclined toward giving them the benefit of the doubt. At least for tonight, anyway. He could start making judgments tomorrow, except for in one case…He watched with interest as Constance Melcher stepped up to the cauldron with her badge, and nodded to himself, not terribly surprised, when it came out blue. He then inclined his head to her in acknowledgment in case she was looking, as he suspected she might relish the moment of having been proven correct.

He then applauded politely for the prefects, giving Ellie an approving smile as she took her badge, and then came up the moment he’d been waiting for tonight – the announcement of the Head Girls.

There would be trouble about them both being girls, and about the proposed changes to the system which this occurrence had lent support to. Some comments might be made by students, but he expected far more would be made by parents. Some of those parents would be important donors. In the past few weeks, Gray had fretted over that possibility more than once – but at the moment, he didn’t think of it at all. At the moment, he was too busy beaming proudly at Evelyn, keeping his applause polite rather than enthusiastic only with effort.

Sentimental fool, part of his mind – mainly the middle-aged part – said, but he ignored it. He didn’t think he could have suppressed the feelings of pride and affection even if he had wanted to, and frankly, he didn’t want to. To think of how she’d been just a few years to, and then to think that she would accomplish all she had…the child he had (at the time, reluctantly) undertaken to help learn to control her magic had been in a horrible position, angry and frightened and alone, unable to trust even those she should have been able to rely on absolutely. And now, here she was, a top student, with a seemingly loving family in place of the old one, with a circle of friends who seemed like good kids, and the world was at her fingertips. It was an amazing thing, nearly miraculous.

It was very much a secondary matter, but he thought the journey had changed him, too. He had been reluctant to take on the task of mentoring Evelyn. In part that had been because he’d known how little he knew about the subject of prolonged accidental magic and how to address it, from the fear of failure that came with that – but if he was to be honest with himself, he had to admit that part of it had also been nothing more than selfishness. He’d not wanted more work, especially difficult work, had been a little irritated, too, that his effort to do the right thing by reporting the issue had resulted in it becoming his problem….

He was ashamed of that, now, of course. He had learned many things, and not only about accidental magic. He thought he was a better teacher now, and (odd and slightly awkward though it was to use such a phrase at his age, and in his specific outfit and work persona) a better person. He cared more about the students on the whole, paid them more attention, registered them as actual people – something he’d thought he’d done all along, of course, but which he might have initially given himself too much credit for.

He knew Evelyn still had a lot of challenges left to face: going out into the world on her own, choosing between her passions and setting career goals and pursuing them, her relationship with her brother…but those were challenges he supposed most people had to face sooner or later, to greater or lesser degrees. And even if she stumbled along the way and made mistakes – which was nearly inevitable, to one extent or another – he couldn’t imagine it detracting one jot from how proud of her he was now.

His good mood carried over into a good effort at singing the school song, and he was still smiling as the Feast appeared. “Good evening,” he greeted a colleague cheerily.
16 Grayson Wright It's a very good evening. 113 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

March 07, 2021 8:31 PM
"That's the one," Xavier gave Billy a thumbs up when he named the broad geographical location of his home city. "We're right on the border with Canada, so we go there quite a lot. You're middleish and right a bit, yeah?" he checked. Or right by quite a long way if you were talking about politics. Kentucky was probably one of those places that was just guaranteed to vote Republican, right? But Billy couldn't vote yet, and maybe coming somewhere as diverse as Sonora would rehabillitate him. There was no reason to hold it against him just yet, although maybe he was one of those people Xavier needed to be a little more cautious of. That sucked. Caution was boring and complicated and mostly involved just not saying true stuff or not doing fun stuff.

Xavier had never heard of Woolum. It did not sound awesome. But it didn't escape his notice that Billy had said 'our mountain.' He was pretty sure that he just meant the one where he and his community lived, or maybe just his family because it was such a spread out nowhere place that there was just one family per mountain. Geez, who would you talk to or play with? He was pretty sure Billy didn't literally mean that he owned a mountain. But then again, he had heard that real estate was cheaper in all those places cos no one wanted to live there. Maybe you could own a whole mountain. His eleven year old brain struggled, grappling with the idea of whether he would give up easy access to IHOP and a skate park to own a whole mountain. It maybe depended on whether there were any good rock formations to skate on instead, and whether anyone delivered, but he thought that kind of compromising might be cheating. Either way, it was the first thing that Billy had said that sounded vaguely cool or impressive.

"Sounds interesting," he acknowledged. "I like mountains. We go hiking a lot, and skiing in the winter. Guess yours doesn't get much snow though, right?" he added. Right? Kentucky was one of those places that never even got winter. He couldn't quite wrap his head around that. Snow was so much fun.

Billy's first remark about the school was a bit of a non-answer. There were classrooms and learning. Well, duh. It was a school. Even with it being a magic school, that seemed sort of expected. Hopefully what they were learning in the classes was a bit more fun though. It seemed Billy was just getting warmed up though because he went on to give some actual detail (people for real used the word 'critter?') and-

"There's a Professor Me?" he grinned. "Which one?" he asked, scanning the staff table, hoping it was one of the cool ones.

"I've only ever flown in airplane," he answered, "But yeah, I can't wait to fly on a broom! That sounds so cool. And we saw the MARS rooms. They look awesome. Can you do tricks and stuff on your broom?" he asked.
13 Xavier Lundstrom Nothing ever has for me, so I reckon it'll be fine 1529 0 5

Alexei Vorontsov

March 07, 2021 9:07 PM
The school tour had been interesting, but Alexei felt most of the information he had absorbed during it drain from his head bit by bit as the first years were lined up for their Sorting. He ran through the childhood rhymes in his head to remind himself to keep his hands still and not fidget with them as he waited, acutely aware of how likely he was to have a long wait, considering what his last name was….

He was being irrational, of course. It did not make sense for him to be nervous about dipping a piece of inferior jewelry into a potion. It required no skill on his part to do that, and he was one of many who would do it in rapid succession. He was not on display in any real way, and while he would be the only person in front of the crowd for one moment, it would only be…one moment. That was not scary. That was nothing.

And yet, he was nervous.

One by one, students were Sorted and the line dwindled. He tried to commit names and faces of his new classmates to memory to occupy his mind while he waited, though he did not think he got very many of them down firmly. Hansel went into Teppenpaw, and Alexei raised a hand to wave to him. Katya, at the table Hansel was headed toward, must have thought he was waving to her, because she waved to him with an indulgent smile, so he waved more to her as well.

Time, it seemed, moved strangely at Sonora. In the gardens and on the tour, it had seemed to move normally, just as it had in Alaska, but since the Sorting had begun, it was…all wrong. At first, time had seemed to slow down alarmingly, but as the line reduced itself to very few other people, it abruptly sped up all at once and then it was his turn. He resisted the urge to take a deep breath, swallowed instead, and stepped forward to find out what a cauldron of who-knew-what thought he was.

He did not know exactly what he had expected, but when the badge came up brown, his composed expression was altered by a slightly raised eyebrow of surprise. Pecari. Really? He was enough like Tatiana that he had been Sorted into Pecari?

This was food for thought – but not right now. He made a shallow, grave little bow to Professor Skies and went to join the table was that currently clapping.

The announcement of the prefects, almost immediately afterward, got no reaction from him, but his politely attentive expression abruptly broke into a huge smile when the two Head Girls were called up. Beaming, he bounced up to his feet again to applaud more as Katya, her delight also obvious to him even though she was maintaining a more dignified manner, walked to the front. She saw him when she turned again, and gestured hastily for him to sit down, but she cracked a smile as she did it before rustling her way back to Teppenpaw, her pale face flushed.

He was impressed by the scale of the operation which conjured the food and the many serving dishes it rested on onto the tables from apparently thin air, but eating was far more interesting than admiring a well-run and efficient kitchen or household for an eleven-year-old boy. He looked around for a moment, though, to see what the manners here were before he attempted to get any food; observing that it seemed to be every man for himself, he prepared to join in when he realized that it felt as though some of the general babble of noise which had broken free at the end of the school song was directed, and more specifically directed toward him. “Eh?” he asked, looking for the source and blinking. “I am sorry, I did not hear you well?”
16 Alexei Vorontsov Food for thought, food for me. 1531 0 5

Evelyn Stones

March 08, 2021 4:19 AM
OOC: Please let me know if Katya and Alexei do not look enough alike for Evelyn to take a guess that they're related. BIC:

They'd done it. The guilt of knowing that Ness hadn't gotten head student was vastly overshadowed by the overwhelming sensation that they'd done it. She'd done it. Professor Wright, Heinrich, Ness . . . they'd saved a little girl and they'd done it. As she made her way to the front to collect her new badge, the badge that meant she had a shot in this world after all and the badge that meant that she'd made an impression on at least a secondary majority of her peers, she shot the widest, beamingest grin at Professor Wright. She didn't have to hope anymore that he was proud of her because she knew he was, and because she could see it in his face that he was. She'd made him proud. She even thought that maybe he'd be proud of her even if she hadn't gotten it, but this was extra nice. She shared a happy smile with Katya too, happy that it was a friend who'd gotten the other badge even if not the friend she would have preferred it be, and was pleased to see the girl smiling back at someone at the Pecari table. Based on the resemblance between a boy who'd just been sorted there and Katya herself, Evelyn could take a guess on who.

Returning to her own seat at the Pecari table did bring some of the bitterness of the school year to mind as she cast an exuberant smile at Ness (one that was half-cocked on one side both with sympathy for the Aladren and with sadness that they weren't in this together as they might have been) and only at Ness. Ness who had Lyssa still. Heinrich was not here. Would not be here. She'd been able to help him get a little bit settled over the summer but she couldn't help feeling the weight of his absence tonight especially when she knew that this exciting news was something she'd have to write to him to tell him about rather than simply being able to share with him. Since he had not gotten head boy in his own year, she also worried about sharing such news without being able to read his expression, and the whole thing frustrated her. It was especially frustrating since the two of them were the same age to the day and yet here she was, her own presence at Sonora a reminder of bad days.

Her excitement couldn't be abated though and she took her seat with a happy feeling in her chest and a warmth that could only be described as pride. She was proud of herself. She shot another happy, grateful expression towards Professor Wright before setting into her meal and finding that she was seated close to the boy she thought Katya had smiled at.

"Welcome to Sonora," she told him brightly, scooping some random food on to her plate since everything was good and she didn't care and it was wonderful. This was her last opening feast after all. "Are you Katya's brother?"

When he didn't quite respond and then confirmed that he hadn't heard her entirely, Evelyn offered another smile, understanding the weight of the din in the room. She scooted a little towards him, although considering the way the students were packed into their tables and her own smallness, she didn't get very far. "I said 'welcome to Sonora'," she repeated. "And I wondered if you and Katya are related. If so, congratulations!"

OOC: Heinrich and Evelyn summer mentions approved by his author.
22 Evelyn Stones Careful, some people say you can't leave this world once you eat it. 1422 0 5

Billy Cobb

March 08, 2021 5:24 PM
Canada Billy recognized. Neat, last year at the opening feast he sat with someone from Mexico, and this year he was talking to someone who practically lived in Canada. Dope! He wondered if next year he'd find someone from... hmm.. east and west were oceans... Hawaii maybe? That'd be neat. He nodded in agreement with Xavier's general area for Kentucky.

He grinned broadly when Xavier said he liked mountains. I mean sure, what wasn't there to like? There were trees and critters, streams and rocks, plants and sunshine. It was all great. Hiking. That was the term city folk use to describe what he did to go visit his cousins, or generally anything else. That pretty much confirmed what he thought, but he wouldn't hold it against Xavier. The boy could learn, he was still young. "We do get some snow, usually we get more 'n the folks down in town. Last winter break we actually had quite a pile of it." He shook his head a bit, "I ain't gone skiing though, but..." he nearly laughed as a memory popped into his head. "A few years back me 'n Cleason, that's one of my cousins,decided to give it a try. We found us some nice lookin' branches, stripped 'em clean and strapped 'em to our feet with more twine than we shoulda. Then we throwed ourselves off the top of Master's Ridge and tumbled the whole way to the bottom!" He finished the tale with laughter, "You shoulda seen us. The snow was packed into every stitch of clothes so tight we was to numb to realize how bad everything hurt till the next day!" Ahh.. fun times.

"Yup, that one, right there." Billy pointed out the Herbology professor for Xavier. "He's alright, probably one of the nicest professors, but not exactly the most excitin'. He knows his plants though." Since they were on the topic he looked over the staff table and pointed at the DADA professor, "She's probably the most excitin' teacher, Professor Brooding-Hawthorne, but ya gotta be careful in that class, she teaches Defense against the Dark Arts."

Billy had no idea what it was like to fly in an airplane, he figured it was pretty much like the wagons that brought them to school, 'cept a bit bigger. "Brooms are great! Yeah," He glanced around quickly, "Well, I wasn't allowed to do to many crazy tricks," he said, stressing the 'allowed' bit, "But yeah," Billy continued with a mischievous smile and a lowered voice, "I can do some fun tricks." He glanced around again, "Although one of the girls had a pretty bad broom accident last year and that's made it a little tougher to have that kinda fun afterwards."
2 Billy Cobb Great! Hopefully the streak continues! 1519 0 5

Alexei Vorontsov

March 08, 2021 8:03 PM
Alexei understood what the girl – why, this was the other Head Girl! – was saying to him, but for a moment, he wanted to laugh at the idea that she was congratulating him solely on being related in some way to Katya. Katya was a good sister, of course, certainly there was nothing about her make him be at all ashamed of being her relative, but….

“Thank you,” he said politely instead of laughing, giving her a friendly smile. “And yes – Katya is my relative. She is mine sister. I – “ if he knew how to say that he was proud of her, he could not recall that information just now – “am happy that she won the prize – congratulations to you also, for your prize!” he congratulated her, recalling his manners rather than continuing to wade through English in search of exact words.

Alexei made the effort to scramble for some food out of the serving dishes, and came back to his plate mostly victorious. He was fairly sure he had seen a drop of gravy fall from his spoon to the tablecloth, and he had winced at the sight, but it could have been much worse. He turned his attention back to Evelyn.

“My name is Alexei,” he added to his earlier speech as he settled again into his seat. “I also have another sister…well, I have three other sisters. But one other sister was once in this school. She was Pecari also. Her name is Tatiana. Do you know her?” he asked curiously, wondering what sort of reputation he might be wandering into. Of course Tatya was Tatya, but…could she have been even more so when she was not held back by Mama’s occasional frowns?
16 Alexei Vorontsov Should I want to leave? 1531 0 5

Graham Osbrook

March 09, 2021 9:31 AM
Graham couldn’t put his finger on why, but he felt as though this year was…significant, somehow, or at least like it would become significant in some way before it was over. One obvious explanation was just that he was now a third year. It was his first full year as a teenager, his first at all in the intermediate classes. It was a big chance, as he’d been told over and over (and over, and over, and over…) over the summer. Somehow, though, he wondered if it might also have something to do with something that was going to change, but hadn’t done so yet – specifically, his status as the only Osbrook at Sonora. It was the last year he’d get to claim that utterly meaningless distinction, and he was unsure how he felt about it.

He blamed the memory things from last year. For one thing, it had made him really…think about the idea of Claire being here, as a thing. For another, it had sent him on a merry round of self-analysis, trying to figure out – well, a lot of things. Why he must have remembered Claire wanting to make birthday cards for Mom one year, why his brain had bothered to remember that one specific day at all, when they had made cards for their parents regularly several times a year when they were younger….

No matter how much he nagged the issue in his head, though, he had been unable to pick it apart on his own, and he would not be caught dead asking for assistance in his family. His mother would not, of course, ever analyze him formally herself…which was why she’d go to the trouble of referring him to a colleague, and pointedly not mentioning it at home ever, and altogether blow the whole thing massively out of proportion. He would have to fear a lot for someone’s life before he brought all of that down on his head.

Whatever it all meant, though, things were sure to be different once Claire was here. He guessed he might as well make the most of things while they were still the way they were. Whatever that, in its turn, meant.

The first formal collection of the student body for the year began very normally and unremarkably: Sorting, announcements, applause, more announcements, school song. A first year offering him a full formal pureblood introduction immediately after the song, though, that was a little unusual.

“I guess so,” he said when asked if he was excited for this year. “It’s my first year in new classes,” he added. “I’m Graham Osbrook, from Texas. Welcome to Sonora. Do you think you’re going to like it here?”
16 Graham Osbrook Here's hoping it goes well. 1498 0 5

Morgan Garrett

March 09, 2021 9:55 AM
Summer had not, for Morgan, been the most restful of seasons this year. In fact, as she had slumped off the wagon toward the dorm she shared with Josie and Mara, she had almost felt a little relieved at the thought of long swathes of time with nothing more taxing than essays to occupy her mind.

Then, of course, she had really thought about that and had laughed, because it was silly. Summer had been very busy for her, but she had had a blast for almost every moment of it.

Once again, Dad had pulled together the money for her to attend theater camp. She suspected he had had ulterior motives beyond just giving her a treat this year – in a copy of the schedule of workshops, he’d circled one about tricks to improve script memory, and it was a very Dad thing to do to think ‘memorizing scripts, memorizing stuff for CATS, worth a try to see if they’re the same’ – but she had happily accepted the gift nevertheless and had taken advantage of several workshops. One had been about analyzing the structure of a script, which she had picked on a whim but which had then moved her into the rest of her summer: first, she had started trying to convert some of her DnD scribbles into short scripts, though she had quickly realized that some were more appropriate than others for the task, at least by the standards of the class – she could imagine the instructor there critiquing some of the dungeons as causing problems for the sake of problems, without contributing to an overall arc. Then, after she’d gotten home, she’d then resolved to try to make up a story out of her own head, instead of just rehashing one of Gary’s or Ness’ or Valentine’s, and had just…started scribbling. One thing had led to another, and she still wasn’t entirely sure how it happened, but she’d just kept scribbling until she had filled three marbled composition books before today.

She was, of course, under no illusions about the quality of the contents of either her scriptlets or the three composition books. She’d only started dabbling in trying to write anything last year, for one thing, and she was Absolutely Nobody, and besides that, she was…fourteen. None of it was anything remotely approaching good. She was kind of proud of it, just a little, despite that, and it had definitely served the purpose of keeping her at something close to the same pitch of creative energy she had had at camp.

Now, though, summer was over and she had to come down. It was back to fumes and flashing lights and understanding maybe half of what was said by her teachers. In a way, that sucked, but in another, it was…safer, she guessed. And anyway, even if it had just sucked, what in the world was she supposed to do about it?

The new kids got Sorted, and some of the older kids got recognition. Morgan clapped especially hard for Evelyn out of club loyalty, and also because Evelyn was one of the coolest people around Sonora in her opinion and totally deserved it. For just a moment, she let herself imagine what it would be like if she was up there next year, in Ellie’s place – but that was never going to happen, so she let the image go quickly in favor of hearing about the Bonfire and signing the school song. Then the food appeared, and she grinned at one of her classmates.

“I knew there was something about this place I was missing’,” she joked as she began to serve herself. “How’s it been going?”
16 Morgan Garrett Back to the daily grind, whew. 1470 0 5

Janis Rosemary Silver

March 09, 2021 1:08 PM
There were few things in life more enjoyable than hot bread. No, that wasn’t true, hot bread with people you knew and liked. That is what was enjoyable, and Janis could not wait for it. All summer long, she’d been craving the bread at Sonora. She couldn’t explain why it tasted different. It just did.

She was so engaged in the thought of bread that she learned how to make it. In multiple ways. She learned multiple muggle ways of making bread, which dealt with a lot of waiting around, not a specialty. Her mom also taught her some of the more magical ways of making bread.

“Just like potions J byrd,” she had said as she cracked something into the dough that wasn’t an egg or yeast but held the abilities of both.

She’d actually learned a lot about cooking and making potions since she had to sit around and wait with her mom. Still, none of the outcomes had tasted as good as Sonora’s bread, and so she’d been overly excited to get to the feast this year. So much so that she hadn’t brushed her hair or done any of the “maintenance” that she had heard other girls talk about. Still, she was hungry. She knew that “old man Morty”, as her dad called him, wouldn’t take long. He never did, so she sat down smiling and hearing her tummy rumble.

She clapped super hard when she heard Evelyn’s name called. Janis couldn’t say she knew Evelyn well, but Pecaris girls were Pecari girls, and they all knew each other. Also, she was a bad a. She seemed to be everywhere, in the gardens, in dueling club, classes, the library. It felt like Evelyn just looked at the world and said, “Yes please.”. It was something that Janis aspired to. Also, Evelyn was friends with Ness, who was dating Lyssa, and Janis had still not talked to one of the Fitzgeralds about their… relation, and this would be the last year she could do so.

She turned to the person between her and the fresh bread that appeared.

“Hi, can you pass me the bread? I’ve been looking forward to it all summer,” she said as she pointed in the general direction of the bread.
41 Janis Rosemary Silver Bread Brain 1493 0 5

Augustine Reed-Fischer

March 09, 2021 2:08 PM
Gus hadn't had an exciting summer . . . he'd had an exciting LIFE. Nothing had actually happened but so far the attitude had been good for him, so he kept it up. either way, school was way more exciting than home. At home, he had to make up for missed Masses (a thing he was pretty sure wasn't possible but since he had been pretty good about privately observing Mass, he could get away with it) and at home he didn't get to share a room with Billy and Oz. Billy and Oz were way more exciting than his siblings.

And food. Sonora had food. The best food ever. He was grabbing a slice of roast beast (that's what the Grinch called it so that's what he called it because the Grinch was hilarious) when a classmate spoke to him about the bread and he responded with a huge grin.

"The bread is the bomb," he agreed, passing it to her. He was excited to get his own piece now that she'd mentioned it but it seemed rude to take one as he passed it along so he waited until she was done before grabbing his own. "You excited to be back?" he asked with a grin. "I'm Gus," he added, pretty sure they knew each other because this school was tiny but also pretty sure he'd never properly introduced himself.
22 Augustine Reed-Fischer Foooooood 1509 0 5

Nathan Xavier

March 09, 2021 6:39 PM
Once upon a time, Nathan had considered First Year Orientation his thing, but that had been pre-children. Now it was pretty firmly Gray's thing. Nathan felt vaguely guilty for dropping that ball into his colleague's lap and then leaving it there, even after his family things became more manageable and sleep was restored as a thing that happened in sufficient quantities almost every night again. Dora was five now. Otto . . . well, Otto was still a handful (and the reason why sleep was common but not a guarantee), but Isis was trying to make up for missing so much of Dora's first year and change by making sure she was there for all of Otto's, so Nathan could manage a couple of hours talking to the new first years if necessary. But when the Faculty meeting this summer brought up the Orientation, nobody had even looked his way, and Gray had agreed to do it again like he'd expected it.

And Nathan hadn't said a word, because he kind of liked having those last few hours to spend with his family before the school year began.

Gray turned over the charge of the first years over to Selina, and then took the seat beside Nathan. Nathan offered a polite nod of greeting. The first years were sorted, and he noted the ones that went to his House. He applauded for the new Prefects and for the new Head Students as they were given their badges. He was particularly pleased to see Katerina up there, and he gave the seventh year Teppenpaw a warm smile and a nod of acknowledgement in case her gaze happened across him.

As the Headmaster mentioned the unusual Head Student situation of the year, and the petition to keep it this way, Nathan contemplated the idea's pros and cons, and decided that with class sizes as small as Sonora had, especially the last several years, it was probably for the best to just pick the best two. Prefects being selected by default were not uncommon. They had just graduated two of them in the same year, and another two had been crowned today. Head Students, he thought, ought to be elected. So far there hadn't be a Head Student chosen by default, but it was certainly possible. Had Ness identified as male rather than as 'Gender is Stupid, I'm Not Playing' they very well might have had a Head Boy by default this year, and not one the majority of students would have chosen, given the outcome of today's badges.

His musings were interrupted by the school song, and he hummed/mumbled his way through that, before the feast began in earnest. "Hello," he returned Gray's greeting as helped himself to some corn.

"I noticed I picked up a Hexenmeister," he remarked conversationally. "Did you notice during Orientation if his English is any better than his siblings' had been at that age, or do I need to choose easier words for my Head of House speech?"
1 Nathan Xavier Indeed it is, and hello. 28 0 5

Reighleigh Mae Thorn

March 10, 2021 11:21 AM
Ray allowed herself a devious grin as she dunked her badge and it came out the color of good times. Based on the information she'd received already, she knew this was the House her mother would be the least interested in having her in and that made it the best House she could possibly be in. She reattached the badge to her chest and made her way to the Pecari table amidst their cheers, flashing a rock-on hand at someone when they caught her eye. She took her seat and listened to basically the most boring old dinosaur she'd ever heard give a speech, clapping when one of the head students turned out to be from the table she'd just sat at. The idea of gender neutral head students seemed like a 'duh' to Ray, who was pretty sure that gender was basically a lie and that anywhere who hadn't gotten behind gender neutral student elections was stuck pretty hard in like the third century or something.

When food appeared, Ray couldn't help gaping a bit at it. Her normal instinct at school would've been to mess with it somehow or to otherwise make a sideshow of what a great sense of humor she had, but she was mostly just too shocked at the abundance to do anything like that. Plus, she didn't know these people too well yet and as much as she wanted to make an impression on them, she wanted to make the right impression. That was very important because pranks were great but they only got you so far if you played them on the wrong people. The headmaster, she already knew, was totally the right person to play a prank on. But what about some of these other weirdos?

Everyone mostly seemed to be digging into their food, which was great because it meant the no one would judge Ray one way or the other if she dug into hers too but it did mean it was harder to make a statement about the patriarchy and oppressive body norms for women. Ray was the sort of person who very much liked to be on the right side of social issues, even if she went about it all the wrong way, and there was no wrong way to go about it right now so she'd have to wait. For now, it was dinner time.

She wasn't exactly sure which items were properly vegan, so she focused on items she knew were safe, like roast vegetables without butter, and dug into her meal. It wasn't the most exciting thing she'd ever eaten just because some of the other stuff that she'd normally eat - like rolls and pies - weren't trustworthy just yet. She'd have to ask about that later on. Still, for roasted vegetables, this stuff was pretty stinking good. Spearing a baby carrot on the end of her fork, she glanced around to see who was who. Iris wasn't here, having been sorted somewhere that made much more sense for her (although Ray was privately a bit disappointed to have lost her only possible connection already), so she'd have to start over. Ignoring the urge to adjust her tiara, Ray leaned towards the student nearest to her, offering a wicked grin.

"Do food fights ever breakout here? Endless ammo, right?"

OOC: I wasn't sure if Sonora labels food items for allergens and dietary restrictions? I assumed not unless asked probably.
22 Reighleigh Mae Thorn This is going to be fun. 1525 0 5

Dathan Fischer

March 10, 2021 6:46 PM
Dathan had entered the Cascade Hall feeling pretty confident about how the whole ‘prefect’ thing was going to go. Ellie and Anya would win by default – which he actually thought kind of sucked, because then anyone who was jealous could make snide remarks behind their backs, and they were both cool people – and Jazz and Freddie would get the other two, probably. Maybe Jazz wouldn’t get Crotalus, in which case there would be ice cream of consolation in her near future, but Freddie, he thought, had it in the bag.

On the whole, he’d decided he was okay with that belief. He was just sort, after all. He passed his classes, but if teachers noticed him, it was on an occasion when he spectacularly misunderstood something. He was on the school sport team, but could not say he had ever exactly distinguished himself there. He got along with most everyone, but wasn’t a particularly magnetic personality, or even interesting, unlike Freddie. And he was okay with that, and fully prepared to applaud for his roommate when the names were called.

He suspected, therefore, that he got a very dumb look on his face for a moment when the headmaster called out his name instead.

“Hey,” he said to his cousin as they took their badges. “We match.”

Still bemused, he went back to the Teppenpaw table to listen to the rest of the announcements, and then get to the real point of the evening – food. Lots and lots of it appeared. A first year - hey, it was the boy who'd been carrying some kind of plastic or glass box with him - with an accent like Freddie’s asked what something, a dish of sharp-looking pasta tubes and shrimp.

“I don’t know what it’s called,” he admitted honestly, “but I’ve eaten it before, and it’s good. There’s lemons in it, or lemon juice, or something. It’s good. Welcome to Teppenpaw, by the way,” he added.
16 Dathan Fischer It's a pretty decent place, though. 1457 0 5

Katerina Vorontsov

March 10, 2021 7:04 PM
Katya had come south with her hair in a sensible plain bun and stud earrings, not seeing any good that could come from traveling in a state any better than ‘presentable.’ As soon as she had seen Alexei safely off to Orientation, though, she had all but flown to Teppenpaw, to make the absolute most of the time she had to get ready for the Feast in.

She did not, she told herself sternly as she unpinned her hair and began brushing it out vigorously for re-styling, have the strongest chance of winning Head Girl, or Primary Head Girl or Secondary Head Girl, or whatever they were going to call it this year, even with two slots to contend for. She had friends in her own year, of course, but in this context, they were competition as well, and she was not terribly close to anyone in the now-sixth years. Evelyn and Ness were, she thought, the most likely people, since they shared a support base and such. Her odds, though, were not so bad that she thought she would look ridiculous for being prepared for the possibility she would win, and so, she prepared.

She took care to go downstairs and to the Cascade Hall at a more decorous pace than she had gone upstairs before. She did this in part for the sake of her dignity, but in an even larger part because she was now about an inch and a half taller than before, wearing pretty heeled, embroidered shoes instead of sturdy traveling flats. Her hair was up again, but this time braided into a more elaborate style, and long earrings, delicate gold chains set with multicolored bezeled gems, swayed gently on either side of her face. She smiled brightly around at everyone in sight, focusing on keeping her expression correct to keep her nerves in check.

And then…it happened.

Her eyes widened, and it took an effort not to bounce to her feet in excitement instead of rising smoothly. She was still smiling so widely it hurt as she made her way to the front, to make a bow to the Headmaster and then acknowledge Professor Xavier’s acknowledgement, and that was something which didn’t change until she turned back and saw Alexei making a scene of himself. Even then, though, she was still smiling as she gestured hastily for him to sit down again, and the genuine smile persisted as she returned to the table and the announcements were wrapped up and the Feast appeared.

“Good evening,” she beamed at someone.
16 Katerina Vorontsov Ever so happy. 1418 0 5

Grayson Wright

March 10, 2021 7:19 PM
Gray nodded as Nathan asked the question about Hansel. “I didn’t get to hear all he said,” he warned his coworker, “since I spent part of Orientation arguing with Miss Melcher about whether she was guaranteed to be an Aladren, but from what I did catch, it sounded like his English was pretty good. He was talking to Isis’ new Vorontsov,” he added, tilting his head toward the Pecaris for a moment. “They both sounded…well, better than what I remember their older siblings usually sounding as first years.”

The Hexenmeisters and the Vorontsovs were interesting cases, he thought. Heinrich had started school with very little English, and Katerina’s had been stilted at best, but they had both greatly improved their grammar and vocabulary at reasonably brisk paces. Meanwhile, Hilda and Tatiana had…well, they had both improved over the years, in one way or another, but not to the extent of their siblings – if anything, he thought Tatiana might have made less of an effort with her spoken grammar, at least, in later years. It was not, he thought, a matter of intelligence in either case, though. He supposed it could be a Pecari thing, with Alexei either here to prove that hypothesis or be an exception to it….

“I suppose they both would have had more time to study and practice, after the older four they’ve got between them had all started school and had difficulties,” he offered. “Congratulations on your Head Girl, by the way. It may be a little unconventional, but I think we have a good pair this year,” he added.
16 Grayson Wright Hello. How goes? 113 0 5

Giselle Duell

March 10, 2021 8:00 PM
Somehow, Giselle found herself still employed at Sonora Academy as Divinations Professor. Despite assurances that things were fine, she wasn't convinced. She would really like to think that last year had been an unmitigated disaster, but compared to the rest of her life so far, it had been one of the best years of her life. That realization had nearly broken her. Only the few years they had been in Greece together had been better. Did that mean things could only get better? No, that just meant she actually had something to lose again. She had to make this work, she had to do better, she had to prove that she was not just the frightened, screwed-up, little girl that Lia had always made her feel like.

Deputy-Headmistress... Professor Skies, Selina, seemed so different. She knew logically that Selina was a very different person than Lia had been. Yet she still held the same position, the same power over her and that gave her a feeling of unease. The idea that anything she might mess up, could cause the woman displeasure and she would be punished for it. It was irrational she knew, but it was just too ingrained in her psyche yet. She'd dodged through her review at the end of the year by trying to make as few waves as possible. 'Everything was going well', 'Sure there are areas I need to improve upon' (that horrid crystal ball), 'Can we experiment on some first years with the mirror stashed in my brother's basement?' That one had been a calculated dodge to change the subject which hadn't entirely worked to her satisfaction. In the end she had somehow still emerged with her job intact and with some plans for this year's curriculum.

That thing from the summer still bothered her, and she hadn't been able to learn any more about it. If things like that were going to keep happening, Andrew was going to need to keep up with his Greek. She thought she should probably say something about it to Professor Skies, just in case it was something about the school. But she also didn't want to look like an uninformed raving lunatic. Still trying to make up her mind, she found her way to the hall for the opening feast.

Giselle found an empty seat at the staff table and sat. As expected, she remembered how last year's feast went. She had tried to be social, been deserted and then had a terribly awkward conversation with Mr. Row. Not looking to repeat the events, and shying away from the unfriendly auras pouring off the Headmaster and the groundskeeper, she'd taken a seat next to the Defense against the Dark Arts professor. She wouldn't have minded conversing with Professor Wright again, he had been pleasant enough, but Professor Xavier was there currently.

Still, just a quiet time would probably be better. Thankfully the headmaster's speech was short again and she nodded along with the new student appointments. If only she had Seen the situation last year as easily. Hopefully things will go better this year. She may need to invite Valentine for tea soon to learn if there would be any more broom related incidents this year. Except her niece would be in her classes, so maybe she would start the year with the tessomancy unit.

Then there was singing and finally food. A subtle and well practiced wave of her wand revealed the shapes to go along with the aromas that had abruptly formed before her. She selected a few nearby things to transfer to her plate and began to eat. That was followed by a minor grimace and another wave of her wand over the table. "Excuse me," she started addressing Professor Brooding-Hawthorne then stopped herself and flushed a bit when she realized that had come out in Greek, "Oh, I'm sorry. I just," she gestured toward the two identically shaped containers on the table, "Could you pass the salt, if it's not to much trouble?"

OOC: Selina bits approved by her author.
2 Giselle Duell We're off to a better start [Tabitha] 1517 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

March 11, 2021 2:53 AM
Huh. Kentucky did get snow, at least up on its mountains. Well, who knew? Cool. He'd not even officially started classes but he had already learnt something new today. It was not particularly magical, but it was interesting - way more so than any of the stuff that Professor Wright had told them, even though that was at least tangentially associated with magic. He suspected the degree of tangent may have been the problem with its ability to be interesting though.

"No way!" he exclaimed over Billy's story. "You actually did that?" he asked, a tad skeptically. Not so much because he didn't believe that people were that adventurous/stupid but because he'd never met anyone his age who claimed to be able to strip down a branch. He guessed it was similar to some stuff they had done at Scout camp...

His name-sake professor neither looked nor sounded terribly exciting, though at least he didn't have a reputation for being horrid or flatulant or anything else actively negative. Niceness was good, but Xavier had to agree that Professor Brooding-Hawthorne sounded cooler (though not to the extent that he wished either of those words was his first name. Those would be weird...). He sort of wondered how common dark arts were, to need an entire class defending against them. He wasn't sure whether its existence had been reassuring to his mom (in that they were defending against them, not practising them) or freaked her out (dark arts being mentioned, however protected-against, was bound to be a parental alarm bell). He didn't want to sound like a wuss though, so he refrained from asking, figuring he would find out soon enough.

The subject of brooms and broom crashes also allowed him to probe another subject he was curious about, but hadn't wanted to just bring up out of nowhere. 'What's the school nurse like?' was not a normal question.

"They can't just magic stuff better then?" he asked. "That sucks."
13 Xavier Lundstrom Why wouldn't it? 1529 0 5

Constance Melcher

March 11, 2021 3:06 PM
It occurred to Constance briefly, with her badge dangling inches from the sorting potion, that there was technically a possibility that she could be wrong. It was fairly rare for her to be wrong about, well, most anything, but it was still a potential. And in that moment, Connie nearly froze, paralyzed with fear. It took all of her willpower to force her hand to bob down into the liquid. As she finally managed to do so, she squeezed her eyes shut.

She felt the cool liquid against her finger and knew she had dipped just a little farther than necessary, so she pulled the badge back out and slowly opened her wide eyes. Mercifully - or perhaps, as she should have never doubted - the badge was blue. Connie grinned a coy and gloating smile, stretching up to maximum height to try to make eye contact across the room with Profesor Wright. He seemed to be doing the same, looking over at her, and her grin stretched to its full maximum, teeth cheerfully shining. I told you so, she thought as loudly as possible.

Constance found an open seat at the Aladren table and seated herself politely, pulling out her skirt beneath her. She obviously didn’t know any of the Head Students or Prefects, but she made a mental note as to their identities, in particular the Aladren Prefect. A bonfire sounded like it could be nice, although fire was a dreadful light sort for reading, so she would have to make sure she had gotten really good at Lumos by then. It was a pretty basic spell, though, and she had all year, so it was hardly a challenge, as far as she could tell. The real difficulty would be managing to hold up the wand and also hold her book. She had a habit of sticking a quill behind her ear, so maybe she could balance her wand there, with the glowing tip facing out, something like a miner's helmet.

The food soon appeared, and she noticed a neighbor seeming to reach for a dish on the table. Constance noticed that the dish seemed to be closer to her than them, so she reached for it as well. “Here, allow me,” she said good-naturedly. She picked it up and presented it to them. “There you go.”

OOC: Mention of Professor Wright taken from his post.
12 Constance Melcher I knew it. 1523 0 5

Lorena Abernathy

March 11, 2021 3:26 PM
The wagon ride was happily familiar by now, and Lorena didn’t feel too uncomfortable bopping around on the way back to Sonora. It was strange how different her pre-Opening Feast time would be spent this year, and in fact, she almost went to the “welcome first years” sign again, just out of habit. She got about three steps in before she remembered that she didn’t have to re-do Orientation. It wasn’t a pass/fail experience, and even if it was, she thought she would have passed, based on having retained the information and had a pleasant time talking to Gus last time around.

So instead she went ahead to her dorm room to start unpacking and maybe catch up with her roommates. She missed Rosalynn and Isla while she was home, although she wrote as frequently as she could over the summer. She hoped her constant letter-writing hadn’t been too annoying. She also hoped a summer spent with a pen in her hand hadn’t ruined her taste for the quills they used at Sonora. When she was packing up her stuff, she still thought the quills seemed pretty cool and magic-y, so she felt pretty good that it would be okay, although she might need to readjust her grip to avoid dipping her sleeves. She hated to make any especially difficult stains for the Prairie Elves, although they were exceptional at their jobs. Lorena had experienced some other stains last term that were usually considered quite difficult, but the elves had tended to them discreetly and masterfully.

At the Feast, she watched the first years be Sorted from a new perspective, idly wondering if she had also looked that small this time last year. Probably not, because she had such gangly legs, and that redhead Aladren girl seemed pretty short. Lorena applauded their ceremony, and again for the Head Students and Prefects, even though she didn’t really know any of them, although the school was small enough that the names all at least vaguely seemed familiar to her. She liked that feeling - like she belonged here.

The song came and went, and the food appeared, impressive and magical as ever. The girl next to her - Morgan something? - even commented on it. Lorena chuckled. “Definitely. The food is so great here,” she replied.

“It’s been going well,” she answered good-naturedly. “How about you?”

“I think the bonfire sounds fun,” Lorena stated a moment later. “What do you think?”
12 Lorena Abernathy Whew, indeed! 1510 0 5

Valentine Duell

March 11, 2021 6:51 PM
Valentine was feeling much better as the wagons touched down at the school again. She still wasn't entirely sure she was ready to go talk to Stanley, but she knew she would need to soon. His letter had been, at least temporarily, pushed to the back of her mind as she once again immersed herself into the swirling masses of students. She had a quick word of greeting and a promise to talk and reconnect more later to each of her friends that she saw along her way. There was Lavender, and Esme, and Sadie, and Alexander, and Morgan, and Ness, and Evelyn, and so many others! She was a third year now! She was an intermediate student! She'd be back in classes with her friends from two years ago again! But... she wouldn't be with her newer ones from last year. They'd catch up next year though and they'd all be together! Plus now she could finally take Aunt Giselle's class! There was just to much to be excited about to let one bit of sad, disheartening news ruin.

Finding a seat with plenty of open spots around it for newly sorted first-years she sat and watched the sorting. Hexenmeister? Heinrich and HIlda had another brother? Had she known that? She couldn't remember and it didn't matter. She welcomed the new Teppenpaws to the house and table, then settled back down to listen to the headmaster's speech. She cheered loudly for both Katerina and Evelyn as they collected their Head Student badges, as well as the newly appointed prefects. She tried to suppress a giggle at Dathan's reaction, but he returned to the table and sat with Hansel which proved he was going to be an excellent prefect.

The announcement about the bonfire was exciting. She wasn't sure she'd ever been to an official bonfire before. Hopefully there would be marshmallows. Val wasn't entirely sure what to make of the ongoing 'Head Student' situation. Maybe she'd have to talk about it with people, get some good viewpoints. She sang the school song along with everyone else, and then the food appeared.

A Wally also appeared. She jumped just a bit as he slid almost silently into the seat next to her. For a brief moment she had thought it was Stanley, and she wasn't sure what she was going to do. She thought Stanley might, in his truly Pecari fashion, abandon his table to find her. But, it was Wally... and he was apologizing to her? Oh, on Stanley's behalf? For Stanley? Had Stanley sent him over? No.. it didn't sound like it.

Valentine gave Wally a sad smile, "Hi Wally, it's..." alright? No. 'fine'? Not really. 'Okay'? "...not your fault." She finished rather weakly. It hadn't been nice, it had hurt. She'd been lucky that Bonabelle had been there treat her wounds. Bonabelle was a good healer and Valentine needed to repay her kindness. And here was Wally. She gave him a more pleasant smile, "Bonabelle was with me when I got the letter. We were away and Papa only remembered it when we were climbing on the wagons." She cast a casual look towards the Aladren table, "I would be a terrible mess right now if she hadn't been there." Val looked back at Wally while she talked up her friend, hopefully it'd help him to go talk to her some more. She didn't want to make it to obvious though so she thought perhaps she should change the subject. "Anyway, are you looking forward to this year?"
2 Valentine Duell Are you being a rebel? 1490 0 5

Ness McLeod

March 11, 2021 7:37 PM
Ness took a seat at the Aladren table, tingling with nerves and excitement. It really felt like there was a good chance here… Ness had run the petition last year, and of the handful of signatures it had got, most of them were in the voting population. Admittedly, Ness’ position had won by default, but the important thing was that Ness had engaged in the process, had thought and cared about this enough to do something about it. That had to count for something, right?

There was actually every chance that Ness and Topaz would both get it. There was a solid block of ‘pureblood’ voting that would go to one of those girls, and then the non-butthole vote which would go to someone else. In both cases, there were enough candidates that those votes would get split though…

The first years were sorted, and Ness dutifully applauded and smiled for the new Aladrens, one of whom had super cool hair. But then it was time and- and it was not Ness. The tiniest little silver lining was that it was not Topaz either, but it still hit like a slap to the face to not be called up. Ness hitched a happy smile up for Evelyn, just in case she looked over, glad that she probably wouldn’t be able to spot the tears that had sprung to Ness’ eyes at this distance.

It wasn’t fair. Ness had really tried, really cared about this… And it wasn’t like the Aladren was going to be allowed to be upset or have any of those feelings because that would take away from Evelyn. All of the emotions and issues and accusations from their fifth year fight came swirling back. Ness didn’t want to go through those again, but it was all the same feelings, underlined by the fact that Ness’ own head of house was looking delighted with the result. Because his favourite had won. Because Evelyn was everyone’s favourite.

Ness did not track Evelyn’s progress to the Pecari table, letting the smile drop once she was out of range. The look that Evelyn threw over hit Ness’ back.

Last year, she had comforted Heinrich when he had been in this position, but had he still been here, he would have been… Well, it was hard to imagine Heinrich doing anything as effusive as dancing in his seat, but maybe he would have been. He would have been delighted anyway. And everyone who Ness had to write to about this was going to have mixed sympathy for Ness whilst still being delighted for Evelyn. It wasn't like Ness hadn't wanted Evelyn to get it, of course. The ideal outcome would have been the two of them together.

Ness used the school song as a chance to swallow back tears before they made it out, even if the lines ‘Every day I strive’ and ‘I won’t fight alone’ made it harder.

A neutral expression greeted the people around the seventh year as the food appeared. Ness scooped up some vegetarian lasagne feeling less enthusiastic about that than usual.
13 Ness McLeod Everyone's going to be so happy 1419 0 5

Rosalynn Tellerman

March 11, 2021 7:59 PM
Rosalynn had started her summer on a high note. She'd had the lead part in her skit (well, as the narrator, she'd had the most lines anyway) and her parents said she'd been fantastic. That was especially high praise from Dad, given that she'd suggested the Spritely Tailor as a fairy tale to perform precisely because she loved hearing her Dad tell the story. He hadn't just said 'Good job,' either. He'd given a solid review of her timing and dramatic voice and everything and said she'd nailed all of them.

The summer itself was nice. It was quite the contrast to the winter break where she'd done all her visiting to basically everybody she knew in the space of less than two weeks, and over the summer she met up with all the same people again, but this time she got to do it over almost three months' time instead. It was much more pleasant that way. And it seemed like every time she was starting to get a little bored or lonely, a letter would show up from Tommy or Lorena or Isla and cheer her up again. She had gone through a lot of pretty stationary and colored ink writing to them as well.

Finally, it was time to return to Sonora and see them all again in person. Interestingly, Tommy picked up the wagon in Colorado with Theo, and Isla was in Utah, so the three of them shared a wagon in, though she was one of the later stops, so there wasn't a super lot of time to catch up. Still, it meant she knew where Tommy was when they got to Sonora, so she promised Isla she'd be up to their room shortly, spent a little time hanging out with Tommy and taking a walk around the gardens, holding hands, and remembering how to be a couple again. Then, she'd headed up to Aladren to unpack and get ready for the feast and catch up more with her roommates.

Now, it was Feast Time! She'd come down with her roommates, but there was an empty spot to one side of Rosalynn, and one of the new first years took it. Rosalynn smiled warmly at her new Housemate, but there was a Sorting Ceremony going on, so she spared only a quick "Hi!" before she was watching to see who else joined them.

She wasn't quite old enough to know any of the older kids earning badges - the one much older guy she'd met for the concert skit had graduated, but she thought maybe one of the new prefects might have the same last name as the actor who played the tailor? - but a bonfire sounded fun. There would probably be s'mores, and maybe ghost stories. She'd have to write to Sully and see what he had to say about them. The Headmaster was frustratingly short on details.

Rosalynn had much better knowledge of the school song this year - it had been one of the songs Dad had taught her to play over the summer, and now it sounded weird without banjo accompaniment - so she sang along confidently. She wondered if she'd get in trouble if she brought her banjo along next year to add some chords to the vocals. Her fingers twitched, trying to fulfill the habit of the motions that had gone with the words.

Then there was food, and she reached for a dish that looked really good, and smiled in gratitude as the first year helped move it closer to her. "Thanks," she said, spooning out some of the steamed mussels on linguini. "This is the best food Sonora makes," she said in recommendation as she handed the bowl back to the new Aladren. "If you're not allergic to shellfish, that is."

Deciding this was enough conversation to warrant an introduction, she added, "I'm Rosalynn Tellerman. I'm in second year."

OOC: Can be edited if the walk in the gardens idea is not OK with Tommy's author.
1 Rosalynn Tellerman An excellent precedent in an Aladren! 1520 0 5

Ellie Alperton

March 12, 2021 8:10 AM
Ellie had had a pretty good summer. Seth had been bubbling with excitement about his various robotics projects, and last term’s trip to Sonora seemed to have been the final underlining that emphasised that this was not a world that he could belong to – not just because it didn’t want him, but because he had come to realise he didn’t want it either. During the break, he had wired up various Lego creatures to move by themselves whilst Ellie had spread her spellbooks out around him. Each of them would give the other curious glances and ask the occasional question. Humans were sweet when they were excited about things, and Ellie loved seeing her brother’s nerdy passions even if she couldn’t fully understand them. She was pretty sure he felt happy for her finding her niche too.

Now she was back at Sonora, and she took a seat at the Aladren table, wondering what was going to happen. It wasn’t like she’d never seen a prefect elected by default before, and she hoped she was deemed at least as good a Heinrich had been, and he’d been the last person to have that honour. There was just the little nagging thought at the back of her head about how humiliating it would be to be passed over in that situation. There was the very slight worry that it could happen to her, but there was also the question of what was going to happen in Pecari. It had not escaped her notice that Anya was the only viable candidate, and whilst Ellie believed in her many good qualities, she couldn’t exactly say she was terribly perfectly.

But both of their names did get called, and she smiled both with happiness and relief, as she made her way to the front of the room. She would have liked to have a chance to prove herself properly, and to have been chosen but it was good to have not been overlooked, and she was relieved that Anya hadn’t been either. They would probably have to work twice as hard, to prove to the chosen prefects and the staff that they were worthy of these spots, but that was alright. She could definitely do that. And Anya was kind, approachable, and loyal – all of which were excellent qualities and ones which Ellie would be sure to emphasise if she heard anyone doubting Anya. Hopefully she could show up to prefect meetings on time and not sit on the tables at them, otherwise Ellie’s touting of her good qualities was probably going to look a little ill-informed.

She smiled with Anya, and offered a friendly smile and a thumbs up to Dathan too, because they’d occasionally talked and worked together last year, and he seemed generally to be a decent, solid sort of a person. A glance towards Teppenpaw had shown her that Freddie was enthusiastically applauding them all and didn’t look like he minded in the slightest, so that was alright. She smiled at Jezebel too, because it seemed rude not to, though she’d never really had occasion to talk to her, and her degree of blatant Catholicism was a little concerning.

Speaking of people who were against people like her, that was the one part of the appointments that she was disappointed with. It would have been nice to see Ness awarded a head student badge, for reasons beyond Aladren solidarity. Seeing an openly gay student get head boy in her third year had been inspiring, and she would have liked to see that trend continue. It was hard not to wonder why Ness hadn’t won – whether Evelyn and Katerina were simply more popular, and whether it had been pro-them qualities, or whether there were anti-Ness qualities at play too.

Still, there was nothing Ellie could do about that right now. If there was a glass ceiling when it came to non-cis people, then she would just have to smash it. She had already planned to bring up ongoing opportunities to strengthen the position and security of queer students at the first prefect meeting, and this merely heightened her resolve. For now though, there was the feast to enjoy. She glanced around, spotting some tasty looking soup just out of her reach.

“Hi,” she smiled at her neighbour. “Would you mind passing me that?”
13 Ellie Alperton I'll do my best 1456 0 5

Iris Cobb

March 12, 2021 4:21 PM
Iris smiled brightly as Graham introduced himself with what she had to assume was a variation of the traditional wizard greeting. If he was starting in some new classes, that meant according everything she had read he was either in his third year or his sixth. Judging by his age, she guessed he was starting his third year. "I think so, Mr. Osbrook." she responded to his question remembering how Lydia had stuck with the formalities at the concert. They had been dispatched with soon enough, but Graham Osbrook had not yet done so. Iris figured she'd better stay on her very best behavior and see where things went. She thought about telling Mr. Osbrook to just call her Iris, but he hadn't called her anything yet and she though that would sound a little odd until he did. Plus, he was the older of the two of them and it might be prese... presum..? To bold of her to do that. She would just follow his lead.

Continuing with answering his question, she nodded in the general direction of the Pecari table, but avoided anymore specific directions when she saw her brother stuffing his face while talking to another boy. He really had no manners at all, she felt like she was going to have quite a list to send home to Ma. She was once again glad that the sorting potion had sent her to a civilized table. With any luck Mr. Osbrook wouldn't know exactly who she was indicating at that table.

"My brother," she continued, "has been telling me some things about the school since he started coming here." Not as much as she would have liked though. Maybe she could get some more information from Mr. Osbrook. She didn't want to sound like she didn't know anything at all, so she would have to ask properly. "Tell me, what is your favorite thing about the school? Is there anything you think I should be looking forward to?" She took some small and proper bites from the food on her plate. Unlike some people.

She wondered if Mr. Osbrook had a similar problem. "Do you have any family here?"
2 Iris Cobb A positive attitude is a key factor 1526 0 5

Billy Cobb

March 12, 2021 7:02 PM
Billy laughed at Xavier's reaction to his story. "Absolutely," he promised. "What's the craziest thing you ever done?" He then asked. If they were swappin stories, fair was fair. "Though..." he paused a moment to review some of his past adventures, "I'm not sure that was actually the craziest. But anyway, it's yer turn if'n you got a good tale." He grinned encouragingly and wondered what sort of life Xavier may have lead up in Minneapolis.

"Yeah," he sighed at Xavier's sentiment on magical healing. "I mean they can fix a lot. Val,the girl who got hurt, from what I heard anyway was pretty bad. There was some weird stuff going on last year and the rumors were that the stuff caused her to plow into the ground from a decent speed." He wasn't really sure if they were supposed to talk about that weirdness from last year, but he couldn't remember anyone telling him not to, so... eh. "Anyway, she was up and going back to classes in a few days." He wasn't sure what he woulda done in Val's position, he could have avoided classes for a while for milking that injury for longer... but then he'd probably be stuck in bed in the hospital wing which would have been worse. "Back home..." if things had been as bad as he'd heard, she may not have made it. "... it woulda taken a lot longer 'for she coulda been up and walkin' around again. I got me my own fair share of cuts an' bruises and such, but nothin' that needed magical fixin'. That just comes with playin' Quidditch."
2 Billy Cobb Dunno, but expect the unexpected 1519 0 5

Tommy Jamison

March 13, 2021 2:30 PM
Tommy had said his goodbyes to his parents about a week ago. Since they lived in England, it was a lot easier for him to adjust to the timezone for school if he did it a little in advance. Last year, he had gone over to Stanley and Wally’s to stay there for the last bit of summer, and this year, he went to Theo’s. Tommy had a great four man squad, but it was nice to get to spend some time with just Theo. He saw and thought about things so differently, and it was always interesting to see where they would end up.

Still, the O’Malley boys would be getting on the same wagon for the ride. But the moment they got on, Tommy could tell something wasn’t right. He was already sitting next to Theo, but there were seats nearby. Stanley joined, but Wally didn’t sit next to his brother. He went farther back onto the wagon. Stanley told him that Wally was mad at him, but he didn’t really say why. Tommy was going to have to talk to Wally about it later, but for now, he just caught up a bit with Stanley and kept chatting with Theo, as well as getting to talk a bit to his girlfriend, Rosalynn, who also rode their wagon, but she had one of her roommates, too, so he didn’t feel too bad about talking with the guys. They could really catch up later, and did. When they got off the wagon, he said a temporary goodbye to his friends and followed her for a nice stroll.

It was pretty weird being on this side of the first year Sorting, but as the ceremony came, Tommy was glad to see it. There was something so cool about passing this moment onto the next group, even if it wasn’t exactly a process they chose or anything like that. To no longer be the youngest group in the school was interesting. Tommy was always the youngest in his friend group, but he liked to guide people and take on that sort of helping, mentoring role whenever he could. Hence why despite being younger, he did a lot of uncle-ing for the O’Malley boys. They needed him.

The announcement of the bonfire sounded fun, and he was reflecting on that topic so long that he almost forgot to sing along with the song. It was nice seeing how familiar the school music was, even though the Opening Feast was pretty much the only time they ever sang it. It was something that had hidden in the back of his brain for the last calendar year, that was for sure.

Then he noticed something odd: Wally, getting up from his seat and walking over this way. Tommy blinked, wondering if he was coming to talk to him about whatever the issue was between him and Stanley, but to Tommy’s surprise, Wally didn’t come over to him. Instead, he went and sat by…. Valentine Duell? Stanley’s girlfriend? Or, well, recently-turned ex-girlfriend. Tommy couldn’t say that breakup really caught him by surprise, although he sort of thought Valentine might be the one to do the dumping. Stanley just wasn’t ready for girls yet. But if Wally was going over to her, with something so important that it inspired him, a Crotalus, to break tradition and switch tables, then…

Oh. Oh.

Tommy was sort of watching this play out a little farther down the Teppenpaw table, so he didn’t process what was said to him, just that a neighbor was speaking. “Sorry, what was that?” he asked.
12 Tommy Jamison Second verse, not the same as the first. 1518 0 5

Wally O'Malley

March 13, 2021 2:44 PM
She smiled, but it wasn’t like her normal one. This one seemed heavier, weighed down with a wound she didn’t want to show. Normally, Valentine shined so bright, with the cutest smile he had ever seen. This was her, but that wasn’t this smile. It took her a moment to figure out how to respond to his apology, which was fair. What was she supposed to say to that? Wally didn’t even know what he was doing, let alone how she was going to respond. Obviously, he knew nothing Stanley had done was his fault, but somebody needed to apologize to Val, and he doubted Stanley was going to be the one to do it. Wally couldn’t stand the idea that Valentine was hurting or sad, especially knowing that his stupid brother had caused it. So no, it wasn’t Wally’s fault, but he always had to clean up Stanley’s messes, because like always, Wally cared about the fallout more.

“Oh my gosh,” he thought aloud. Valentine had just now seen the letter on her wagon ride? That had to sting. “I’m so glad you had Bonabelle there with you, at least.” The weird, forced Bonabelle date last year had been… well, weird - yet another example of Stanley only thinking about his own goals - but she did seem nice, at least. “She seems like a really good friend,” he added politely. He thought it seemed a little odd how much Valentine was emphasizing her friendship with Bonabelle, but then again, Valentine was such a wonderfully positive person, so of course she was looking for the highlight of the situation, which in this case was her friend having her back.

Val changed the subject, so he didn’t push the issue any farther. “I guess so, yeah,” he answered, a bit surprised by the abrupt switch. But again, positive Valentine was probably eager to discuss something happier, so Wally decided to remind her of the better days ahead. “We can finally take your aunt’s class, so that should be fun, right?” he smiled softly.

OOC: Prof. Skies and I discussed OOC that Selina would be involved at some point to tell Wally to return to his own table. In her HoH speech she mentioned sending over a note to him. We decided, since most of posts are narrative and therefore threads tend to happen pretty quickly IC, Val and Wally can have a thread and then later on I will incorporate Selina's interruption.
12 Wally O'Malley I didn't really mean to be. 1492 0 5

Constance Melcher

March 13, 2021 2:54 PM
OOC: Rosalynn's walk in the Garden approved by Tommy's author. It's me. I'm also Tommy's author. BIC:

Constance scanned over her neighbor quickly, assessing the person with whom she was now engaged in conversation. The girl seemed to be not too much older than her, so probably a second year. “Thank you for the input,” she said as the dish was handed back to her. “I am not allergic,” she added, scooping some of the mussels and linguine onto her own plate. In fact, she was rather fond of seafood, and had she not seen the other girl reaching for it, she might have helped herself before offering it up to anyone else at the table.

Then the girl introduced herself as Rosalynn Tellerman. Connie committed the name to memory while suppressing another confident grin at being correct again, as Rosalynn confirmed that she was in fact a second year, just as the younger witch had hypothesized. “My name is Constance Melcher,” she returned good-naturedly. She intended to mirror the structure of Rosalynn’s introduction, so she forewent any type of Pureblood formality, but she did not offer her year as a part of it, since being a first year was pretty obvious.

“What are your thoughts on the curriculum here?” Constance inquired. She realized her personal focus on academics might not align with the goals of other children around her age, but Rosalynn was a fellow member of the intellectually-driven House, so her opinion was probably a bit more fleshed out and complete than, say, someone from Pecari’s might have been. “Do you find any classes more challenging than the rest? I’m excited to see what they’re like for myself, but I would like to know a bit of what to expect.”
12 Constance Melcher And now I'm 2/2. 1523 0 5

Valentine Duell

March 13, 2021 3:51 PM
If it hadn't been in reference to a fairly recent, unhappy moment, Valentine most likely would have giggled at Wally's reaction. Things being what they were, she managed another sad smile that was made a bit brighter than before by his acknowledgement that Bonabelle was a wonderful person. "She is," she echoed, then ventured a suggestion, "Maybe we can all hang out again sometime, but..." she paused, "Maybe without Stanley?" That felt terrible in her mouth... She hated, absolutely hated excluding people. It was wrong and terrible and bad and she shouldn't have done it, but... She wasn't sure she wanted to be around Stanley right now. Was she a bad person? She was pretty sure she didn't want any sort of boyfriend right now... but she could still help Wally and Bonabelle. That would be good. She could still do that for them. They were both being very nice to her right now.

The mention of Aunt Giselle's class helped her to brighten almost immediately. "Yes!" She looked up to the staff table to see Aunt Giselle sitting there eating and almost waved to her. That wouldn't really work though. "I was looking at the book for it a little bit when I got the chance," she shook her head slightly, "I didn't understand much of it, but I guess that's why we have classes." Val thought for a moment, "I think it's going to be a good sized class as well, it sounded like a bunch of people are taking it, plus all the fourth and fifth years continuing from last year."
2 Valentine Duell Well, do you have a cause then? 1490 0 5

Wally O'Malley

March 13, 2021 4:02 PM
Maybe we can all hang out again sometime, but… Maybe without Stanley?”

Wally kept his reaction internal, but he was quite surprised by this suggestion. It wasn’t like Valentine to exclude someone, although she definitely wasn’t under any obligation to hang out with her now ex-boyfriend. But he was also kinda surprised that she wanted to talk to him, after how dorky he’d been basically every single time they’d spoken ever and also being Stanley’s brother at all. Plus, while Wally was still a little too young to make much of it, technically, a girl had just invited him to hang out, just the two of them and another girl. In a couple of years, however innocent as Valentine may have meant it, that may have been a dream scenario coming true.

“That sounds awesome,” he commented, managing to remain mostly appropriately neutral, minus a slight upturn of one side of his mouth.

Val was as excited to talk about her aunt’s class as Wally had hoped, so he let the conversation steer that way, temporarily letting go of the idea of him and two girls hanging out. “The book is definitely confusing out of context,” he agreed. He had also taken a few minutes over the summer to page through the new subject’s textbook. He was sure Stanley hadn’t done that, although now that he was no longer dating Val, Wally’s brother may well have been planning to drop the class.

“Do you know if your aunt had a lot of students last year that we’ll be joining?” Wally asked casually. “I wonder if a lot of people are interested in Divinations. It seems really different from the rest of our classes, that’s for sure.
12 Wally O'Malley Absolutely. 1492 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

March 13, 2021 4:30 PM
What was the wildest thing he had ever done? Uh... It was probably along the lines of conspiring with his sister to swipe extra cookies. He maybe had the reputation amongst his siblings of being the one who was most likely to get into trouble, but 'amongst his siblings' was a pretty tame group, and there were usually enough supervisory eyes on him to curb his stupider ideas. Usually... He guessed if they substituted 'wild' for 'stupid' he had a couple of answers, although they were things that other people had ended up feeling stressed or worried about, so they weren't exactly fun stories he wanted to brag about. Of course, Billy's parents probably had vastly different impressions of the tree skiing incident than Billy himself. "I broke my wrist falling out a tree once," he said, deciding that the thing that had ended in the most injury qualified as the biggest adventure. He still wasn't sure it was as good a story as Billy's even though the injury was bigger. Maybe because falling out of a tree was such a normal thing to do, maybe because he just wasn't much of a natural story teller.

The medical thing sounded like one great big question mark. Faster, sure, but not totally like 'zap, all better.' That was kind of the answer Mom had got from writing back and forth with school. They could try various potions on him when he got a migraine, and they usually worked, but they would have to wait and see... Given that no medication he'd ever taken had made the slightest dent in them, he wasn't optimistic but at least there was something new to try.

"Quidditch is that broom sport, right?" he asked. He had read about it in the materials about school. "It sounds fun." He tried not to sound too hesitant. It wasn't like he was completely risk-adverse, he skated after all, but the higher the risk of serious injury the less interested he was. He already felt like he kept missing out due to his health without landing himself in hospital on purpose. Still, if lots of people played, and it was just bruises, or anything serious could be fixed up easily...
13 Xavier Lundstrom What, like some malevolent force that relishes chaos is governing my life or something? 1529 0 5

Valentine Duell

March 13, 2021 5:25 PM
Valentine felt a wave of relief wash over her, he did want to hang out with Bonabelle some more. She could even spot the little smile in the corner of his mouth that he was trying to hide. Oh good, maybe some good could come from all of this after all. She knew Bonabelle had very mixed feelings about these sorts of relationships, but Wally seemed like a very good person. Here he was apologizing for his own brother's actions and tying to make her feel better. She thought Bonabelle was lucky to have Wally interested in her. Hopefully everything would work out. They would need to do something different than a picnic this time, maybe even something that would allow her to slip away from them so that they could spend some time together. She would have to think some more about this.

Val had naturally investigated this aspect of divinations class earlier, so the answer to Wally's question was fairly quick. "If they keep the class, I think she will have Anya, Alexander, Mab, Mara, Sadie and Leonor." She paused, "Then coming into the class would be Bonabelle, you, Stanley and... me?" The last bit was more of a question directed his way, asking if he knew of anyone else that was going to be taking the class. "Lavender as well, maybe?" She couldn't remember if her friend had said she was going to join or not. Was there anyone else she was forgetting? She hoped not. She did not like forgetting people.

OOC: Class roster taking from the elective sheet and the previous year's postings.
2 Valentine Duell It is good to have purpose, so I have heard 1490 0 5

Oz Spellman

March 13, 2021 8:56 PM
Oz was so, so, so glad to be back at Sonora. He felt a little bit bad about that, but he had got used to feeling a lot of really opposite things at the same time last year. He sort of knew that it didn't mean he didn't miss mom, and there didn't have to be a "winner" between his feelings but it still felt confusing to feel them all at once, and it was sometimes hard to accept the logic that said it was okay.

He took a seat at Pecari table. After working out that he could sit with Henry again last year, and a whole summer together, it felt weird to split up now, but that was a rule. Wasn't it? Shortly after the song, Wally went to another table. Did the rule only apply during the sorting, or for first years? But no one else was moving. And anyway, Henry was probaly glad of a break. Being home had not brought out Oz's best side (except when Mom was directly observing) and he had been snappy with Henry way more often than he was when they were at school. Though often he had just taken himself out of Henry's way when he could, leaving Henry to have the run of the living room or even the whole apartment...

The feast began, and the table swelled with an uncomfortable amount of food. Enough to feed who knew how many people. Enough to make yourself sick on, if you weren't careful. The person next to him had other ideas though. Oz looked up. It was a girl. In a plastic tiara. What the heck were you even meant to do with one of those, and why was she talking to him at all, let alone suggesting a food fight?

"I've never seen it happen," he answered cheerfully enough whilst hating literally everything about the idea. Food fights were one of those things you saw on TV that were supposed to be fun and cool but just made him and Henry cringe. The thought of having so much food you could waste it was just unfathomable and disgusting, and there was nothing fun about watching a food fight whilst feeling hungry yourself. Except the girl had a point. There was infinite ammo here... It was wrong to waste food. That was a fact, and one he knew well. But he was pretty sure the food here was magicked out of nowhere, and more than half of it just disappeared again at the end of the feast. But maybe they kept it as left overs for future meals, so then it was still wasteful to throw it. But if they didn't then it wasn't. And part of why food fights on TV had always stung so much, at least to him, was that they did look fun. He was pretty sure that Henry would have said it was wrong no matter what. Oz wanted to be that certain, but it felt like when he started thinking about it, there were all these shades of grey.

Still, whether it was morally right or wrong, he was pretty sure the staff would not be impressed. Most of his peers probably thought he was enough of an idiot to start that kind of nonsense, but he really wasn't. He was just enough of an idiot to get caught up and swept along when other people did, or to bow to the peer pressure because being cool was a valuable currency, especially when you had very limited amounts of actual money. But Professor Carter-Xavier thought he was good and could do well. It was stuff like this that almost made him wish she didn't. It was good, to have a little voice inside his head, making him double check his stupid ideas, but it also meant there was someone to be upset and disappointed in him when he inevitably caved or made a wrong decision. He had a lot of stupid ideas, and it was probably beyond the capacity of a single person to hold them all back.

"Tastes better if you put it in your mouth though," he grinned, demonstrating (one arm curling defensively around his plate as if Tiara might be about to snatch his food, and like there wasn't more to replace it if she did). "And if you eat something other than vegetables," he added, nodding at her under filled plate.
13 Oz Spellman Good, clean fun 1514 0 5

Billy Cobb

March 14, 2021 9:41 AM
"Ouch," Billy responded with a grimace in automatic response to Xavier's rather short and straightforward story. He'd been fortunate enough not to have broken anything so far. Sprained, sure. Bruised, lots. That time with the axe... well, that didn't really qualify as 'broken'. "Trees can be tricky at times," he added in an attempt at a wise and sagely tone. "Branches are strongest right near the trunk, and it don't hurt none to make sure they can hold ya first." He'd been climbing trees as long as he could remember and had, in his opinion, mastered the skill. It'd been a long time since he fell out of one, and that had been more of 'pushed' then 'fell', 'cause Daryll'd been a jerk and had got what came to him afterward. He wondered how much practice Xavier had climbing trees, were there lots of them in Minneapolis? "Do ya climb lots of trees or to ya got more exciting thing to do in Minneapolis?"

"Yup, it is tons of fun." Billy grinned wide. "There's balls and folk flyin' all over the place. Last year I was a beater, I'll probably do that again this year. The beaters get to fly around with bats defendin' their team mates against the heavy attack balls, bludgers, and making sure them bludgers keep attackin' the other team." He lowered his voice just a bit, "It's an important spot on the team. I heard a tale from some of the other team about a player who got hit with one early in the game and woke up two weeks later in the hospital wing!" Then he looked just a tad bit smug, "That ain't happened at all while I was playing beater."
2 Billy Cobb Yep, just like that. 1519 0 5

Morgan Garrett

March 14, 2021 2:52 PM
“Pretty good,” said Morgan agreeably when her question was returned to her. Happily, it was even true, though she would have given the same answer under most circumstances short of a funeral even had it not been true. Her emotions, she could almost hear her mother and grandmother saying, were not usually other people’s problems, so she should therefore usually keep them to herself.

Her stepmother seemed to see things differently – she sometimes got frustrated with how Dad usually only expressed emotions from behind a sort of partition of self-deprecating humor and deadpan sarcasm, with the emotions themselves filtered through that combination. As Dad had said in a self-deprecating defense once, though – they had both come from a family where the usual way to concede that you’d lost an argument was to casually threaten violence. They were doing well to kinda sorta do the whole sincerity thing with a concentrated effort every now and then, at least with Sage herself.

Lorena (the girls’ side of Aladren was not really that large), however, was a virtual stranger, so in this circumstance, she would have gotten a show of neutrally positive emotion to basically anything short of the announcement of a death, or a straight-up insult in response to Morgan’s greeting. Happily, then, it was true this time.

“The Bonfire, yeah, I’ve heard it’s really cool,” she said with more expression when the topic came up. “I think this is the one where we get to stay in tents out on the Pitch all night, and the school brings in different entertainers…or maybe that’s just the Fair?” She paused, trying to rack her brains, but having felt doubt, she now wasn’t sure of anything. “There’s definitely some time when that happens, but now I’m not sure which,” she confessed. “This’ll be my first time at the Bonfire, I’ve just heard about it from older people in DnD and Quidditch, and some from my dad – he went here back in the Dark Ages, though,” she joked, “so the club people are probably better sources. Do you do any of the clubs?”
16 Morgan Garrett Was your summer super busy, too? 1470 0 5

Graham Osbrook

March 14, 2021 3:05 PM
There were several reactions to his surname which Graham would have regarded as normal and unremarkable. Immediate loss of interest from a snob, for instance, or polite indifference from the majority of humanity, or even a oh – the stationers! from people familiar with the family business, people who perhaps bought their parchment and quills and ink from one of the Osbrook shops. All perfectly ordinary reactions.

Being called ‘Mr. Osbrook,’ though, that was…not part of that list of ordinariness. That was just…odd, and for a moment, he wondered if Iris was making fun of him. He looked at the first year in bemusement as he said, “Well, that’s good.”

He glanced toward Pecari automatically when she waved toward it, then back to the Cobb – Cobb! Yeah, he recalled a Cobb from last year, a first year who had been in his classes last year, that guy was on the Quidditch team! – who was actually speaking to him. Bit of a contrast with her brother, wasn’t she….

“Um,” he managed, in a stunning display of eloquence, at first when asked about his favorite things at the school. Did he have favorite things about the school? “The grounds are really nice for a walk outside, and if you’re inside, some of the portraits can be a lot of fun to talk to. And there’s Quidditch – I think I might know your brother, actually, from Quidditch. Billy, right?”

He shook his head when asked about any family here. His mom was kind of the on-call psychologist for when something went Very Wrong with a student, he thought, but that didn’t count, and wasn’t something he thought Mom would approve of him announcing to a first year at the dinner table even if it had counted. “Not yet,” he said. “My little sister should be here next year, though. I was just thinking about that earlier, actually, I was wondering if it’ll seem weird to have her here. You’ll have to let me know how it is, being here at school with one of the family.”
16 Graham Osbrook I do my best. You? 1498 0 5

Iris Cobb

March 14, 2021 5:35 PM
Iris noted that Mr. Osbrook gave her a strange look. She wondered why. Maybe there was some aspect of these social interchanges that she hadn't picked up on just yet. This would be so much easier if she could just ask people what the rules were, but she was pretty sure that was against the rules. Billy had been right about something else then after all, some of these folk were odd. Well, she would just have to make do with what she had. Maybe she'd just have to wrestle Billy to the floor sometime and make him tell her more. She could do it to.

Her fellow Crotalus seemed taken a bit off-guard by her question. Had it been wrong somehow? She couldn't see how. Maybe something else was wrong. Did he not want to talk to her now? Had she really messed something up? Then, as he continued to answer, her heart sunk. He knew Billy. Shucks. Well, if he was in third year now, that means he would have had classes with Billy as well last year. Iris tried to smile pleasantly, but it was hard to hide her disappointment that they'd been connected. She couldn't deny it. "Yes," she confirmed reluctantly, "He is my brother. Do you play Quidditch as well? He tried to explain it to me and..." frankly the game sounded ridiculous and complicated, "...I can't say I understood it very well."

Wait... Billy. Mr. Osbrook had called her brother Billy. That means they must have dispensed with the formalities as well last year. She wondered how he'd done it, but then realized that she was thinking about Billy and he probably hadn't gone in for proper manners at all.

She gave Mr. Osbrook a smile, "I guess you will be in a similar situation to us then, but with a few more years between you." She did nod politely at his request, "I can try but the situation may be different enough. I will be stuck with my brother in classes, I don't believe you will be?" That was partially a question for herself. Intermediate classes had three year groups, but if she was doing her figuring right, Mr. Osbrook would be leaving that class as Ms. Osbrook joined. "Do you get along well with her at home or are there times you'd just like to toss her in the crick?" She got the feeling that Billy wouln't mind doing that to her at times, and the feeling was usually mutual.
2 Iris Cobb I try, but sometimes it is hard 1526 0 5

Bonabelle Row

March 15, 2021 6:17 PM
Bonabelle took her seat. Bonabelle listened to the headmaster. Bonabelle watched the prefect and head student votes. Bonabelle looked around as the food appeared. She did it because she was supposed to. Because that was the right thing to do. Because it didn't matter that her best friend was sitting at another table and that the stupid boy who was stupid was sitting at still another table (where he was, unfortunately, out of hexing range without the risk of collateral damage) and that the stupid boy's brother (who apparently maybe liked Bonabelle) had switched tables to go sit with her best friend and that none of it was right. Bonabelle mentally took a breath and forced herself to relax, mindlessly shoving peas and corn onto her plate. No, none of it mattered.

She was sure she wasn't the only irritated one in the room at that point because there were always irritated people around - Uncle Killian had been trying to help her understand how empathy works and apparently part of it was trying to understand that other people also felt bad feelings sometimes - but she didn't particularly care just then. Except that one of them was maybe sitting next to her. One of the people she knew Val played DnD with was beside her, looking every bit as excited about life as Bonabelle was just then, although her fellow Aladren arguably looked less murderous about things than Bonabelle was feeling. The older student was older enough that the fact that they'd not yet gotten up and that their only badge was a prefect badge meant that was probably why they were looking less-than-thrilled. Bonabelle wondered if they could be less-than-thrilled together and maybe Bonabelle could learn about DnD. Or some new hexes.

"Hi," Bonabelle said, looking at Ness with a bit of a blank expression; she only knew the older student from Val's tales of DnD and didn't have the energy to try for something like enthusiasm at meeting the famed player firsthand. "That sucks a lot and I'm sorry," she said, nodding at the prefect badge and notably absent head student badge. "Val says you're great and I think you probably deserved it."
22 Bonabelle Row We smile because our friends need it. 1488 0 5

Alexander Pierce-Beales

March 15, 2021 7:12 PM
Alexander was not about to start grinning but he sort of felt like it. Although all the papers were still being processed, Alexander was that much closer to being adopted. To having a family. And soon, to having a name that was his and not just one that was given to him. It was enough to make anyone grin but it wasn't so immediately in his face that it actually drew a proper smile from him as he entered Cascade Hall and took a seat. Plus, Winston Randall was being sorted tonight. Alexander had given up on the idea of thinking of the younger boy as his brother, in large part because he really wasn't, even less so than Evelyn was his sister, and in possibly even larger part because Alexander had come to understand that family was who you picked, not who you were born to. That was true for himself and that was true for Evelyn, but he also thought it might be true for Nathaniel and Mab and people like Valentine, who were just too full of light to limit themselves to a nucleic family.

Winston got sorted into Crotalus and Alexander breathed a sigh of relief, not realizing he'd been worried about being stuck in the same House as the younger boy. Considering the House difference and the number of years between them, there was a good chance that Alexander would never have to interact with him at all, and he had no problem with that. Happy to settle into the familiar of life at Sonora - a familiar which he had been sure for a long time was far too good to be true - Alexander clapped uproariously when one of the new head students was his own Housemate. And the other was Evelyn. He had more complicated feelings about that but clapped for them both regardless. Evelyn's eyes didn't turn towards him as she returned to her seat and he had the distinct feeling that he wasn't the only one of the two of them that wasn't entirely convinced they needed to be siblings at all. Another sigh of relief.

Katya returned to the seat she'd occupied near him and they listened as the headmaster finished his speech before she turned to him, still beaming. She looked so happy that Alexander couldn't help smiling back a bit, especially since the expression was relatively foreign on the foreign girl's face. It wasn't unheard of for her to smile, but it was rare. Alexander was completely sure he didn't look that pretty when one of his rare smiles showed, but he did wonder if people thought it was as special.

"Good evening," he returned, thinking that Katya and Nathaniel probably had gotten along pretty well if they were both this formal about dinner with peers. "Congratulations! You earned it."
22 Alexander Pierce-Beales Grinning ear-to-ear. 1475 0 5

Ness McLeod

March 16, 2021 5:39 AM
The person who greeted Ness sounded about as excited about this whole Opening Feast as Ness did. Or, given that the first words out of the younger student’s mouth were commiserations, it was possibly just sensitivity to Ness’ mood.

“Thanks,” Ness stated. The comment about Val stopped the words from feeling totally hollow, as they might have done if it was just stranger to stranger. Or at least made Ness feel a little loved. At least two people probably thought Ness was a good enough candidate, it just sucked that they were below voting age. Maybe that should have been another campaign… The head students represented the whole school, after all. But then you looked at the first years, and how young and stupid they seemed and it was very hard to trust them with democracy. “She says the same about you,” Ness added with a slight smile at Bonabelle.

Ness knew Bonabelle a little bit. Partly because they were housemates and it was a small school, and also it was hard not to notice someone with a name as ridiculous as ‘Bonabelle’ (even if the third year was not to blame for that). Partly from having signed up and flaked out of Quidditch. Mostly though from Val. Who generally assigned Bonabelle she/her pronouns, so it probably wasn’t too presumptuous for Ness to do the same, unless otherwise corrected.

“I’m pleased Evelyn got it,” Ness stated, even if this still wasn’t evident in tone of voice or facial expression. If Bonabelle knew who Ness was, via Val, she probably knew who Evelyn was too. “She deserves it,” Ness stated, the emphasis suggesting that maybe someone else who had the same badge did not.
13 Ness McLeod Will they sulk with us if needed? 1419 0 5

Mara Morales

March 17, 2021 10:29 PM
Fourth year. Precisely halfway through her years at Sonora, with three behind her and three yet to come after this one. If this one was supposed to set the tone for the next three, then Mara hoped that the only resemblance between this year and the past three years involved her grades. Somehow, in the midst of all the madness, even when her conscience had been put through the wringer by being blamed for something awful nearly happening, or when she had actually made a friend just to have the girl end up getting with someone openly racist against Mara and (bizarre though it seemed) her sister, or when she’d been caught up in whatever dysfunction Jessica had had in any given week, she had always kept up her grades, even in first year, when the subject matter itself might has well have been hieroglyphics from outer space.

Surely, she thought, the world could throw her such a microscopic bone as allowing her a year without anything weird which still didn’t affect her grades? It was not really that much to ask….

The year was beginning on an interesting note, but that was totally unrelated to her, and so she merely watched with interest as two Head Girls were installed instead of a representative of each of the two majority genders.

She made the qualification because of the petition she’d noticed in the library last year, which Brockert brought back to mind when he said it was actually being considered. Mara rested her chin on her hand as the prefects were called up, her dark eyes absent with thought. She had been inclined to ignore the whole thing, not least because it had seemed highly unlikely to do anything except annoy the people in power – she spent a lot of her free time reading wizarding history, and as far as she could tell, the society she had been dragged into against her will was endlessly byzantine, deeply conservative, and civil and human rights were more like someone’s mom saying ‘maybe’ than like anything one could count on having – but…here they were.

Jessica had told her about the ballot, and that was another interesting factor. Mara didn’t really know any of the seventh years, but from what she could see from the outside looking in, it seemed that the students had picked…fairly moderate options. Evelyn was not really a moderate by most standards, and Katerina had been one of Sylvia Mordue’s ladies-in-waiting, but they weren’t the most extreme options, either – that would have been Ness and Topaz, probably. But had that happened for a reason, or just – at least in the case of Katerina – because having cousins on the ballot had caused problems for both Topaz and Allegra?

At least, she thought, it didn’t matter that much in her own year. It was possible that having gender-defined roles would slightly benefit Mara, if the purebloods (mostly third years) were split between Esme and Leonor, but between Leonor’s general unpopularity and the…quirks…of most of the other candidates (thinking about it dispassionately, even she was mildly surprised to realize that if only one girl in her year was going to get a title, it arguably ought to be Morgan, of all people – she was more involved in stuff than the rest of them, she didn’t go around making enemies and such, she was socially competent enough to carry on a conversation, and while she and Josie both stood out in Aladren sometimes like misplaced Pecaris, she had to have some brains, otherwise she’d have never been Sorted the way she had. It was just really easy to sort of forget about her, though, because of her accent-grammar combo, and her goofy overdone mannerisms, and the costume jewelry – she just didn’t present as someone to take seriously), though, Mara thought her own odds of becoming Head Something (she was utterly indifferent to the specifics there) were pretty nearly even either way. Which was good, because she did not think she was cut out to be a genuinely political animal, openly throwing gauntlet-ideas onto the floor, and here there weren’t any campaigns to make quiet donations to in exchange for support.

She looked up when the new prefect spoke to her, and then smiled warmly. “Sure, no problem,” she said, then suited action to words, providing the soup. “And congratulations, by the way,” she added, with a slight nod to Ellie’s new ornament. “Nice of them to hand out extra work to people who are in their big exam years, right?” she joked. She had always kind of wondered about that…
16 Mara Morales I'd say that's all anyone could ask, but knowing people.... 1472 0 5

Katerina Vorontsov

March 18, 2021 7:11 PM
Katya did not know the boy she had spoke to very well – she was not quite sure they had ever really properly met beyond common room passing pleasantries – but she knew who he was. In part this was because he had been part of that group which had made a scene at the Concert last year, with a girl apparently wanting to attack what Katya assumed was her mother, but mostly from seeing him in the common room. For one thing, his own behavior had not been particularly indecorous, so he might not have stood out on his own from last year. For another, he’d seemed to have some sort of relationship with the former (and perhaps last) Head Boy; based on how similar they had looked, she would have assumed they were related, had Sylvia ever shown the slightest indication she knew Alexander existed.

“Thank you,” she said warmly. “I hope that I can be a good Head Girl to everyone. Or whatever you call me this time,” she added, supposing that ‘Head Girl’ was too confusing when there were two of them around. It would be difficult to tell, in passing, if someone was talking to or about her or Evelyn that way. “A good Head Katerina,” she improvised in a rare moment of humor. “You are on fourth year, yes? Next year you will be prefect. Do you look forward to that?”
16 Katerina Vorontsov Me, too! 1418 0 5

Graham Osbrook

March 18, 2021 7:35 PM
Graham had no doubt that he would never rival his mother in the department concerned with noticing the fine details of people’s moods and expressions (not least because he didn’t regard it as at all likely that he would follow in her career path), but he got the distinct impression from Iris’ tone that she was not overly fond of her brother. That was too bad, he guessed, but, given their Houses and the differences in attitude and behavior often found between them, perhaps not entirely surprising…

“It’s a pretty complicated game,” he said, to partially excuse Billy from having not explained Quidditch well. “I’ve always tried to stick to just playing Keeper – that’s one of the five positions on a team – because it’s pretty straightforward – the Chasers try to throw the red ball through a hoop, I try to intercept the ball before they can score. Simple – not how like the rest of the field is usually eight people all scrambling around in each other’s way, with the Seekers sometimes just shooting down in between them to shake things up even more while they’re looking for the ball they need to catch to end the game – it’ll probably be easier to understand once you’ve seen a game, though. And there’s a book – “

He was about to recommend Quidditch Through the Ages when something about the question he had been answering clicked with him, and he looked at her in surprise. “You’ve never seen Quidditch before? Or heard anything about it except from Billy?” he said, obviously having not considered this possibility before. “Are you guys Quodpot fans instead?”

He tried not to smile at the formal, serious answer she gave his offhand remark, wondering if he had ever been like that as a first year. Then this formal, polite little person asked, utterly matter-of-factly, if he ever felt like throwing Claire in a ‘crick’ and he had to crack an indoor-voice laugh at that, as much from the contrast between ‘crick’ and everything else she had said as from the delivery. It didn’t occur to him that she might think he was poking fun, as they were, after all, neighbors, even if his accent wasn’t as pronounced.

“I don’t think I’ve ever thought that,” he conceded. “Though it might help that we don’t have any creeks near the house or the shop, as far as I know. We’re only near water when we visit the family in Louisiana, and that usually means it’s a holiday and we’re too busy trying to steal extra desserts to bother fighting with each other,” he smiled. “I think me and Claire…no, wait, you’re right, we won’t overlap at all. I thought for a second that maybe she’d be in third year when I’m in fifth year, since third through fifth take classes together, but that’s your year, not hers. Huh. I’m guessing my math skills are one of the reasons I have to try really hard in Potions sometimes.”
16 Graham Osbrook I think that's kind of universal honestly. 1498 0 5

Lydia Priory

March 19, 2021 10:58 AM
OOC: CW-Appearance-based judgement and allusion to eating disorders. BIC:

It was now time for the Sorting and Lydia was petrified. Or rather, still petrified, as she'd been extremely scared ever since she'd gotten on the wagon. Or actually before that. She was terrified of all the things that could go wrong for her and Orientation had not gotten off to a good start. Iris had went and talked to some decidedly scarier than normal looking-just about everyone looked scary to her- girl and left Lydia on her own,much to her dismay.

It wasn't as if she didn't want Iris to have other friends or that she didn't want to personally have them herself. It was just that...this was a new situation and the other first year was the only person she knew at Sonora aside from Sophia and Bridget, who were sixth years and obviously not atttending Orientation and Lydia was feeling extra nervous and uneasy. Social situations, which Orientation had been at that point were not something she was used to and she was not comfortable going up and talking to someone new. Iris had been the one to talk to her at the Concert last year.

Fortunately, her friend had rejoined her for the tour and Lydia majorly appreciated that. Though she'd been massively confused as to why Iris had not stuck with her the whole time-and slightly hurt. However, she'd gotten over it when the other first year had walked with her on the tour.

That did not mean that Lydia felt better overall though. Now, she was so anxious that she felt a bit like she was going to throw-up, which she hoped didn't happen as it would be both gross and humiliating. It was time to be Sorted and Sorting was a very big deal. What House you were in sort of defined you. It formed the basis of what others thought of you, and who you would live with for the next seven years of your life. What if Lydia had a roommate she didn't get along with? She thought again of the girl Iris had been talking to as well as the vaguely familiar confident looking blonde girl. Both seemed...more intimidating than usual. Plus, what if Lydia and Iris were not in the same house? She'd be on her own again!

She watched as Iris was Sorted into Crotalus. Which Lydia knew was really a house with a wide variety of personalities despite their somewhat snotty reputation. Her cousin Arianna was generally snotty but Connor and Uncle Adam most definitely weren't. And Iris wasn't.

So maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to be in Crotalus. Lydia dipped her badge into the Sorting potion and pulled it back out, only to see that it was yellow, not red. She took her seat at the Teppenpaw table, feeling like she was going to cry. Yes, she'd wanted to be in Teppenpaw, they were nice and Bridget was one and Mommy had been one, but she'd wanted to share a room with her friend. Now, it looked like Lydia wasn't going to have a roommate at all, which was good in that she didn't have to worry about having a roommate who was mean to her, however unlikely that would be in Teppenpaw, but at the same time, well, what if everyone else bonded with their roommates and she was left out? That would be awful too.

Lydia looked down the table miserably. She had no appetite whatsoever but she had to at least look like she was eating something lest someone think she had a problem like her cousin Autumn. Now, she had to figure out what she could have that was gluten-free since she had a gluten intolerance.

It looked like there was some roast chicken not far away, but too far away for Lydia to reach. She cleared her throat and asked timidly, "Can you pass me the chicken please?

The boy asked her to repeat herself and the first year flushed, assuming she hadn't spoken loudly enough. "Would you please pass me the chicken?" Lydia asked again.

OOC: The "vaguely familiar confident looking blonde girl" is Amethyst, my other character. Iris's actions approved are by her author
11 Lydia Priory Not the same all right 1533 0 5

Reighleigh Mae Thorn

March 20, 2021 12:41 PM
Ray scoffed a little as if the entire question had been a dare that the boy hadn't accepted and she was just the most disappointed in him for it. Her tone remained challenging and enticing as she replied: "That means you haven't started one either?" She grinned as she spoke, smushing a piece of carrot as if she were merely prepping her first flingable spoonful, although she wasn't about to actually cause such a scene just yet. "I'll keep that in mind when I'm recruiting sidekicks."

He looked way too happy about eating a big stupid bite of dinner and Ray wanted to roll her eyes, but at least she was talking to someone so that was worth something. She hadn't yet decided if he was a very interesting someone but it was better than being the loser that sat alone and didn't even meet anyone on their first day. She took a bite of her now smashed up carrot, raising her eyebrows in a you happy now? way before swallowing it and looking at him with a much less pleased challenge on her face. "I'm a vegan," she replied dryly. "But you enjoy your flesh and baby animal food," she added. "The vegetables here are good though," she admitted, looking a bit sideways at the boy as she considered. "You don't like them? Just too fancy for your five-a-day?"
22 Reighleigh Mae Thorn But getting messy is more fun. 1525 0 5

Oz Spellman

March 20, 2021 5:39 PM
OOC: CW slight vegan taunting
(also, I am aware what vegans are - Oz just isn't)

She was trying to intimidate him? Or goad him? One of those tactics. He recognised them as the kinds of things boys who were bigger than him or who had actual influence said. It was much more effective when it was coming from them than from a first year girl in a plastic tiara. He laughed.

"Oh no. That's a tragic loss," he mourned the sidekick position. Honestly. Sidekick? He couldn't keep his face straight for more than two seconds.

"Cool, I will," he stated, when she told him to enjoy eating flesh and baby animals. 'Vegan.' What the heck was that? He was pretty sure it was just an even posher way of saying 'vegtarian.' He had seen it in some of the way over-priced cafes in Phoenix that they would definitely only ever walk past, never go in. He was pretty sure some of them sold vegan cake. He didn't get it. Cake didn't have meat in it. It just seemed like an excuse to charge rich idiots twice as much. Though he had noticed some major fast food chains starting to have 'vegan chicken' or 'plant-based burgers.' It had only ever been something that existed in his peripheral vision though. Honestly, anyone who cared so much about what they ate rather than whether they ate, was clearly way too priviledged for him to have much of an interest in their dietary issues. "Mmmm, tasty," he underlined his most recent bite.

"Got peas," he answered, gesturing to the other side of a small pile of mashed potato, though not moving anything to make it easier for her to see. His food was none of her business. The idea that he was 'too fancy' got a confused look from him (veg, at least fresh ones, were fancy - they took prep time, could go off, and needed you to be free to make more trips to the store), but no further comment.
13 Oz Spellman But getting expelled isn't 1514 0 5

Tommy Jamison

March 20, 2021 6:07 PM
Tommy considered himself to be pretty perceptive. He was definitely a lot more aware of his surroundings, peers, and emotions than a lot of other twelve year old boys he knew. Still, he didn’t think it really took much ingenious perception to dissect the look on the first year girl’s face. Clearly, she was nervous about the whole thing. Tommy felt bad; he was a rather calm person in general, and with as much knowledge about Sonora as he had coming into it from the guys and from Sophie, he hadn’t really been very worried at all.

And actually, “nervous” now seemed like kind of an understatement. She seemed miserable. The fact that any amount of sadness was visible on her face at such a big and fun celebratory event like the Opening Feast was a pretty clear sign that even more waves were rocking underneath.

Every instinct inside of him wanted to help. Tommy was the baby of the family, but he had kind of always wanted a little sister. However, he was kind of a surprise to his parents, who were a bit old to be raising him - as evidenced by his sister having kids older than him - so the chances of any more coming along, especially now, were pretty dang unlikely. He did have his niece, Charlotte, but she was just not quite the right age for him to feel like he could help much. If she were just a hair younger than him, they could more easily play together, and he could show her things. If she were a baby or toddler, he could help out more with the primary needs of a tiny person. Instead, Charlotte was, like, eight now or something. Just the wrong age for him to do much other than play pretend or dolls. And that was fine in moderation, sure, but just not what he wanted.

Tommy passed her the chicken she had patiently requested now twice of him. “Here you go,” he said with a gentle smile. “Sorry about that,” he added a second apology. “My name’s Tommy, by the way. Welcome to Teppenpaw! Everybody is really nice here. What’s your name?”
12 Tommy Jamison It's a whole new world for you! 1518 0 5

Iris Cobb

March 20, 2021 6:46 PM
Oh goodness. He was on the team with Billy. Iris sighed inwardly as Mr. Osbrook began to talk about Quidditch, but managed to keep her 'pleasant and interested' face. Many of these words she had heard come from Billy's mouth, Chasers and Seekers and such. Oh.. there was a book about it? Great. She certainly wasn't against reading and learning about new things, but it helped if they were interesting or useful things. Things other than how people beat each other up midair with bats and balls. Her conversation companion stopped before he actually got to name the book, how unfortunate.

He looked surprised that she didn't know anything about Quidditch? Was it really that popular of a thing that everyone knew about? "Quodpot?" She asked before she could stop herself. Oh well, it wasn't like she would have tried to act like she knew what that was either. "No," she responded officially to his question. "We don't have games like that up on the mountain." She thought for just a moment about the things that did go on around home before adding, "At least not that I know about."

Her smile turned a bit uncertain as he laughed quietly at her response. Perhaps it had been inappropriate? It regained a bit of its former confidence as he responded. He didn't live near any creeks? Perhaps he had a well nearby then... oh, wait. Maybe he lived like the townfolk did back home, she'd heard they had streams of water running through their houses that they could turn on and off. It sounded a bit strange, but now she was sitting in a room with waterfalls on its walls, so... it just must be magic. He was a wizard, perhaps unlike her, his parents were also wizards.

Stealing extra desserts was an activity that she was familiar with. Primarily because she had to stop Billy from doing it. She did catch Ms. Osbrook's name, Claire, and made a mental note of it for next year. "Do you think your sister will be in Crotalus as well?" It sounded like they got along better than she did with her brother. Then another one of his statements caught his attention. "Is math a big part of Potions class?" She did okay at math, but she wasn't great at it.
2 Iris Cobb I hope you are right about that 1526 0 5

Wally O'Malley

March 20, 2021 7:23 PM
Wally grimaced briefly at the inclusion of Stanley on Valentine’s list. Val said it somewhat casually in there among the others, so maybe it hadn’t pained her too much, so that was a good thing. But Stanley had definitely only planned on taking it to make her happy, but now that he clearly couldn’t care less about her happiness, Wally wasn’t entirely confident that Stanley’s name was going to remain on Professor Duell’s roster very long. He might have known, had he spoken to his brother much in the last couple months, but he didn’t.

The list of names Valentine rolled off wasn’t an especially big group, all things considered, but for an elective spanning only three out of seven yeargroups at a school as small as Sonora, Val’s aunt could definitely do a lot worse. “I hope so,” he commented, mostly referring to Lavender, whom Valentine had added at the end of the list, evidently unsurely. Wally didn’t remember specifically discussing with his cousin whether or not she planned to pick up Divinations this year, but given that she was also a friend of Val’s, he imagined she probably was.

“It should be an interesting subject, anyway,” he added with a smile. Wally wasn’t sure how he felt about Divinations as a concept; whatever truth or validity there was to “The Sight,” he had not experienced it personally in his life, so he had no backing on which to base an opinion, but it seemed like a fairly controversial practice, as far as he could tell.

Around this time, Wally happened to glance at the table in front of him, and he noticed a small piece of paper that he had not seen there before. It was clearly meant for him, though, and sent by a teacher, a subtle but firm message that his table-switching had been noticed and did not carry their approval. His cheeks flashed red, and he eyed the professors’ table nervously. It looked like Professor Skies was returning his gaze, and he gathered that she was not happy about her House members going rogue. “Oh, um, I… I think I have to go back now. Sorry.” He wasn’t sure if he should offer to show her the note or not, but if she leaned to look, he was not going to hide it from her. The exchange in eye contact between him and his Head of House, in any case, was not easily missed.

OOC: Mentions of Prof. Skies discussed with her author/taken from her HoH Speech.
12 Wally O'Malley I've heard that once or twice. 1492 0 5

Ellie Alperton

March 21, 2021 3:41 AM
"Thanks," Ellie smiled when Mara passed the soup, scooping some of it into her bowl and spooning some fresh cilantro on top.

"Thanks, I'm going to do my best to prove I earned it," she promised, regarding the honour of prefect. She supposed Mara was one of the students she was now responsible for, as well as one of the people who would have a say in whether she was eventually elected as head girl. Ellie could not say she had ever got to know her particularly well. There wasn't really the excuse there would be in non-magical school of being in different grades, as they had shared a class as well as a house often enough. She supposed she felt like Mara, Josie and Morgan had really ever needed extra friendliness, seeing as when they wanted company, they had each other. At the times when they weren't together, perhaps it was because they wanted a break... She hoped it had never been perceived as unfriendliness on her part. Still, no time like the present, she supposed, especially given her new status as a house ambassador. She hoped that, and not the future head girl votes, was her main motivation here, though it was a little hard not to doubt herself.

She was a unsure how to handle Mara's other comment. It was clearly a joke, so perhaps she should just laugh along, but she also didn't want to seem like she couldn't handle her responsibilities or didn't take them seriously.

"It's probably going to be a pretty busy year," she agreed, her tone definitely not suggesting that she minded, though she stopped short of saying she was sure she could handle it, as she neither wanted to brag nor tempt fate. "I also have to decide what classes to keep at the end of it," she added. That, rather than exams, sounded like a challenge. "I know you're a year further off, but do you have any thoughts on what you'll do for that?" she asked, figuring it was a better way to get to know a fellow Aladren than the usual 'How was your summer?'
13 Ellie Alperton They are sometimes hard work 1456 0 5

Valentine Duell

March 21, 2021 8:45 AM
Valentine nodded in agreement at Wally's hope that Lavender would join them in class. She would have to ask the Crotalus girl when they actually got to speak in length next. Although, she would find out soon enough when she got to class. Would it be more fun to be surprised? Yes.. if she did arrive. It wouldn't be so great to be disappointed if she didn't walk through the door at all when the time came. In that case she thought it would be better to know ahead of time.

"Yes, I can't wait to start learning about it." Her smile turned a slight bit uneasy, "Aunt Giselle has said that it is a difficult subject. Hopefully..." her voice trailed off as she thought about her previous 'difficult' class, Transfigurations. If this was just as hard, or even harder...? Nope. She gave her head a little shake to clear it of the negative thoughts, they would not help at all. She would give it her best, just like she was with Transfigurations. Her smile brightened again and was about to say something to bolster them both for the class when she noticed Wally looking up from something in front of him and scanning the staff table.

He looked unsettled and her gaze followed his. She saw the Deputy-Headmistress looking at them. Her face drained of color while her stomach sank. They were doing bad things. She tried to make the most apologetic look she could back toward the Deputy-Headmistress before swiveling her head back to Wally as he was preparing to leave her. She caught sight of the note in front of him and felt another wave of guilt wash over her. "No, no, no.." she responded to him. "It's my fault. I'm sorry. I kept talking and made you stay here. I'm sorry, if she gives you any sort of punishment, tell her it was my fault and I should take part as well. I'm so sorry. I'll talk to her as soon as I can. It's not your fault.." Suddenly she realized she was babbling and that was likely to get them into more trouble because he still couldn't leave. "I'm sorry, go!"

Then she turned away from him to look back up to the staff table again with an anguished apologetic look, then turned to stare down at her plate. What a start to the year this was turning out to be... She was supposed to be setting a good example for the new students. She risked a glance up towards them, and saw them interacting with some of her other housemates like she should have been doing instead of flaunting the rules. She sat then with empty seats around her, picking at the food she had put on her plate, not terribly hungry anymore.
2 Valentine Duell I will need to find one myself 1490 0 5

Lorena Abernathy

March 21, 2021 9:24 AM
Lorena was glad to hear Morgan’s positive response - not knowing the older girl very well at all, she had little personal stake in her feelings, but Lorena was always a fan of people feeling good and being happy. After all, what was gained by anyone else’s sadness? It wasn’t like happiness came in a measurable or finite supply, so someone else’s lack of joy did not allow Lorena a bigger share. She never understood those types of people, the ones who gained energy somehow from other people’s upsets.

She had been hoping Morgan might know a little more for sure about the bonfire, honestly. Lorena knew the school cycled its end of the year events, but she couldn’t remember how many options there were, or how many years between the same event there would be. She just knew Morgan was older than her, so maybe she had experienced them all by now. Alas, no, but that was okay. She accepted Morgan’s hearsay experience as it was still more information than the second year had on her own, and she nodded along as the information was conveyed.

Having drawn many of her resources from her clubs, Morgan then transitioned and asked Lorena about school involvement. “No, I’m not in any clubs yet,” Lorena replied neutrally. “I’m only a second year, and last year I thought maybe I should wait and try to figure out the whole boarding school thing before I jumped into anything new.” Also, Lorena kinda wanted to wait and see if people received her well here before willingly isolating herself in an even smaller group of her peers, but that was a little too personal to just drop on Morgan like that. “Maybe I’ll get more involved this year, though. There seem to be a lot of cool clubs here! What all do we have, anyway?”
12 Lorena Abernathy I'm more just relieved to be back. 1510 0 5

Wally O'Malley

March 21, 2021 9:36 AM
Oh jeez, this was, like, officially the worst choice Wally had ever made.

When he got up from his table, he hadn’t even considered things like rules and consequences. It was uncharacteristically un-Crotalus of him, but all he had been thinking about was Valentine and her hurt feelings and also his feelings about her and her hurt feelings. All he knew in that moment was that he had to go and say something, anything, to make sure Valentine was going to be okay.

Then things got okay, and they were chatting casually, and with Professor Skies’s gentle reminder, the whole “rules and consequences” thing popped right back into his brain, where it should have been from the start. And all that was fine - Wally was an honorable young gentleman, and if he had done wrong, he would accept the punishments that befell him - but not if it made Valentine feel worse. And from her apologies and claims of blame, that was obviously the case.

“Oh, no!” Wally refused with gentle firmness. “Totally not your fault. I came over here to make sure you were okay, and I stayed because… because I like talking to you,” he admitted, fortunate that he was already red in the face with the embarrassment of getting into almost-trouble so he couldn’t now begin to blush. He was speaking a little too quickly, a little too nervously, to really monitor his words, so he was also fortunate that he managed to keep his declaration of affection that mundane. He kept glancing now between Valentine and Professor Skies. “But I really do need to… I mean I’d better… but I just wanted to… Yeah, okay, I’ll, uh, I’ll talk to you later!” he finished gracelessly, standing up from his seat. Wally scurried back to the Crotalus table with his head ducked, finding his original seat but not much of an appetite.
12 Wally O'Malley There's plenty of time for that 1492 0 5

Anya Delachene

March 21, 2021 11:01 AM
Anya shrugged as Stanley challenged her threat. "Dunno. I've never been a prefect before," she admitted, though she vaguely thought one had docked points for her climbing a fountain in the gardens once. But maybe he had just referred her to a professor and the professor had docked the points. She couldn't remember exactly. Also, there ought to be signs against climbing the fountains if that was against the rules. Well, more signs. Apparently there had been one, but she had missed it, and it had just said 'stay out of fountain' not 'do not climb the fountain'. Though she guessed she had gone into the fountain to climb it. "I guess they'll tell us more later about what we can and can't do as prefects, and what we're supposed to do. And if we can, I'd guess we'd probably need to back it up with some pretty convincing proof that they broke a rule."

She shrugged at his congratulations. "Thanks, I guess. Didn't really want it but there's no one else. Dad'll probably be proud though, and Mom was a Pecari Prefect, once upon a time, so that's Thing Two we have in common." With the continued family counseling sessions they'd attended over the summer, she had discovered there were actually way more things than she'd imagined possible that she and Mom had in common, but it was kind of bitter habit to believe there was nothing, and the comment slipped out before she could stop it. She didn't take it back though. That would just draw more attention to it, and even if things were getting better between them, slowly, her mom was not Anya's favorite topic of discussion with her friends.

"Theo's actually got some competition next year." There were three Pecaris in the year between herself and Stanley. "Wonder which one of those is gonna get it?" Anya kind of suspected it would be Leonor. Not that Theo wasn't awesome, but . . . he seemed about as prefectly as Anya did herself. And Mab was pretty stand-offish, and she'd kind of attacked somebody at the concert last spring, so that was probably gonna go on her permanent record.

But it would be kind of cool if it could be Anya, Theo, and Stanley when she got to seventh year.
1 Anya Delachene You are in big trouble, Mister. What did I just say? 1453 0 5

Hansel Hexenmeister

March 21, 2021 1:16 PM
The foodstuff on his plate was doomed to remain unnamed, but at least he had been assured it would taste good. "Thanks," he accepted the welcoming by the older student who had gone up to collect one of those prefect badges. Hansel guessed that made his neighbor a fifth year then. Hilda had gotten hers last year.

"I'm Hansel," he introduced himself. "Hansel Hexenmeister," he added, after a moment, because there were two German families here, and being a Teppenpaw, the older boy probably knew more of the other one. Actually, Freddie was a fifth year, too, wasn't he? Hansel was pretty sure of that. "Are you roommates with Freddie?" he asked. Thinking this might be a weird question to get asked by a first year, Hansel added, "My sister and his are best friends, so we met a couple times when our families visited each other over the summer." One of them was a much littler little brother than the other, but Freddie had been really cool about hanging out with Hansel anyway. It was really no surprise at all that Freddie turned out to be a Teppenpaw.

The more he thought about it, the more getting sorted here seemed like a compliment.

He took a bite of the shrimp pasta stuff (he could recognize what a shrimp was, but not through personal experience), made an odd face while deciding whether or not he liked it, then chewed and swallowed and nodded. He was glad he'd been warned there was lemon in it, but nothing could have prepared him for the shrimp's texture. "A little weird," he admitted, "but not bad. I think I could get used to it."
1 Hansel Hexenmeister I'll take your word for it 1524 0 5

Tabitha Brooding-Hawthorne

March 23, 2021 5:22 AM
Tabitha was pleased with herself when she managed to make it to Cascade Hall on time for the Opening Feast. Dressed in her best (she had come to enjoy making an impression on the returning and new students alike), her dark blue coat billowed behind her as she walked through to the staff table, the embroidered silver dragons upon the fabric looking like they were flying as she did. She dropped down in her usual seat next to her wife, greeting Mary with a kiss on the cheek and a hand squeeze before turning her attention to the Headmaster's speech.

Tabitha agreed wholeheartedly with the announcement that Head Student elections should be ungendered and dearly hoped that anybody with an issue would not come to her. She doubted they would anyway. She had never made herself that available to the students. She was happy to discuss her subject, their studies, extra tuition... but external issues relating to gender? It was safe to say she was just glad that Kir McLeod was no longer one of her students. She was sure he'd have some opinions on the subject.

She helped herself to the delicious mashed potatoes, gravy and sausages once the speech and song were over and was content to have a quiet meal and enjoy looking around at her surroundings and the new students. She was never sure who would excel in Defence until they actually started lessons but it was always exciting and interesting to find out. She also turned her thoughts to the future, to when Zeus was older. She would make sure that he had a very good grounding in Defence, no matter what but if he didn't want to pursue it as a career, that was fine too. It would be interesting to see where her son's magical talents would lie.

Something she wasn't expecting that evening was to hear Greek and for a moment, she didn't respond as she tried to work out what was going on. Tabitha knew some Greek from what Darius had taught her but it was mostly words like 'please' and 'thank you' and she dearly hoped that she wouldn't have to make conversation in Greek because it would be very short-lived.

It was the Divination professor, Duell. Tabitha hadn't really spoken to her much, mostly due to being absent across the last year but also she had never been entirely sure how to start a conversation. Tabitha didn't really place much stock in Divination as a subject. She had never been very good at it in school and had never used it since finishing her own education and starting a conversation with the professor teaching it with, 'I don't think much of your subject' seemed somehow rude and not very nice. Mary would have probably scolded her for such a thing. Tabitha did recall, however, that Mary had mentioned in letters that the professor had also lent her expertise to the Defence lessons while Tabitha was away. That was something Tabitha could easily start a conversation on.

"Oh," she said, realising that the Greek greeting was simply an accident. "Yeah, of course."

Tabitha picked up the salt and gently passed it to the woman, slipping it into Duell's hand. She wasn't sure if that was the right thing to do but she had been asked to 'pass the salt' which she had done... Could fault be found with that? Oh, navigating these social waters was always tricky. She was tempted to ask Mary for help but Duell would still be in earshot and that seemed even rude than insulting her subject. Oh, dear...

"I'm Tabitha Hawthorne, by the way," she introduced herself properly. That seemed a good place to start. "I'm sorry we didn't get properly introduced last year. I was away, researching. I believe you helped with my classes? I owe you my thanks."
20 Tabitha Brooding-Hawthorne Better starts are always an improvement. 1417 0 5

Giselle Duell

March 24, 2021 5:52 PM
Giselle felt the shaker in her hand and she closed her fingers around it. "Thank-you," she responded automatically. As she brought it in, she instinctively brought it close to her nose where she could get a good whiff of the smell of salt emanating from the container. It was at that point that she realized what that may look like to someone new. "I'm sorry," She said with an apologetic expression on her face. She had no reason to think that the professor... the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, no less would try to do anything terrible, but old habits died hard. "I've just gotten into the habit of making sure, these containers tend to all have the same shape." She had 'found' so many 'interesting' things inside these types of containers during her own time attending school. Apparently, 'Who could get the poor, cursed, abandoned, blind girl to put the nastiest stuff on her food' had been a fun and popular game at Delphi. She hadn't enjoyed it much.

She shook her head slightly to clear the memory while she sprinkled perfectly ordinary salt onto her plate. Giselle gave a slight smile back to the woman as she introduced herself. Oh, she wanted to talk more. Okay, that was fine. The mental image of her therapist all but ordering her to have social interactions with normal people flashed back through her mind. What was the normal, proper response? Oh, right. "It's a pleasure to meet you properly, Professor Hawthorne." Giselle was a little bit proud of herself, she thought that probably almost had sounded convincing. She should probably reciprocate. "I am Giselle Duell." She probably already knew that, should she add anything else? Divination teacher? She probably knew that already as well. Maybe she could just pick up from Professor Hawthorne's comments. That might be for the best.

"Did your research go well?" Research was good. Giselle liked researching things, that was a fine topic. However gaining the woman's thanks for teaching a class was mildly embarrassing and her face showed it. "I just taught one class," she replied a bit mildly, "It was just trying to teach them to 'see' without using their eyes. I'm not sure how well it went over." She really wasn't. She knew Valentine had had difficulty with the lesson, but some of the others seemed to have gotten it at some level. That reminded her of Nevaeh's visit. "Professor Carter-Xavier's daughter came by as well to learn it." She hoped this was going well, she wasn't very good at this socializing thing.
2 Giselle Duell That is true, hopefully the trend continues 1517 0 5

Dathan Fischer

March 31, 2021 10:08 PM
For some reason, Dathan was delighted to find out that there was really a person called Hansel in the world, even if it was kind of weird for such a person to also be a wizard. He knew the name only from the story of Hansel and Gretl (Gretel? Gretal? He had never thought about it before, but it occurred to him that he had no idea how that name worked, how it would look written down…) and had never imagined they were real names that real people had, any more than he had ever imagined he’d meet someone named Cinderella or Snow White in real life.

He was distracted, though, when his roommate was suddenly brought up. “Freddie? Yeah! He’s a good guy,” he said approvingly. “Honestly, I really thought he was gonna get this instead of me,” he added, indicating his new prefect badge with a flash of guilt. He didn’t know how he had gotten the badge, but here they were. He hoped Freddie wasn’t too upset.

“Cool,” he said with a smile when Hansel said he thought he could get used to the mysterious pasta and seafood with lemon dish which was under discussion. “One of the fun things about the feasts is that there’s always all these different things to try from different places during them – one time, I talked to this girl who had lived in Greece for a while, so I tried some Greek food…it had lemon in it, too, so that might be Greek food,” he added, momentarily flitting back to the dish. “Any good German dishes you’d recommend?” he asked.
16 Dathan Fischer I am a trustworthy source. I have a badge. 1457 0 5

Morgan Garrett

March 31, 2021 10:40 PM
Morgan nodded understandingly to Lorena’s reasoning for her lack of previous experience with Sonora’s extracurricular scene. “Yeah, that makes sense,” she agreed. “Smart to do that instead of trying to jump into everything all at once and maybe getting overwhelmed. It’s a big transition, coming here at first.”

At least, it had been for Morgan, and if it had been for Morgan, she could only imagine how much of one it would have been for her dad. She had never been away from home on her own overnight before, had never had to do homework without someone standing over her shoulder or share a room with other girls or any of that. She had, however, at least known that magic existed for a few years before she had been sent off to magic school, and she had physically left the state of Kentucky – indeed, even the South altogether – more than once before that, too. Dad had not really had either of those advantages; he might have left Kentucky once on vacation, but never to an entirely different region of the country, and she suspected he had been outside of Industry very, very few times at all before he’d come to school. She knew that none of the other adults in her family had done so very often, after all, so it seemed reasonable to assume, though she couldn’t imagine how much that must have sucked….

“Mm – off the top of my head, there’s Quidditch, and there’s the art club – I think that covers a lot of different kinds of art and stuff – and there’s the Dungeons and Dragons gaming club in the library. And most years there’s, like, temporary clubs doing stuff for that year’s midsummer event. And I might start a new one – you don’t happen to like acting, do you?” she asked, half-jokingly and half-hopefully.
16 Morgan Garrett I'm a little worried. You okay? 1470 0 5

Graham Osbrook

April 01, 2021 4:28 PM
No games like that on the mountain. Just…’the mountain.’ The plot thickened. Either her family basically owned a mountain, and thus was very rich…or they were lurking in land the Muggles mostly found inaccessible because they were very poor.

Graham felt kind of badly about being inclined to think it was the latter just on the basis of her speech to date. To him, coming to Sonora hadn’t involved much of a linguistic shift – he just had had to adjust his understanding of tone somewhat, as compared to the voices he’d been used to before Sonora, it had always sounded as if most of his classmates were either extremely stressed or just overexcited. The words all sounded essentially the same, it was just that northerners used them so fast, so that it sounded as though they were being very intense even when they weren’t. However, he had always gotten the impression this was because his parents were both well-educated, well-to-do people who had quietly but firmly (as his mother basically did everything) discouraged him and Claire from drifting off from the mainstream of English, but who had also always strictly forbidden them from laughing at people who did. So now, he felt vague guilt about having made an assumption based on someone else’s usage, as if his mother could somehow sense him being Incorrect in some way; it was, he thought, really the kind of thing you might go to therapy about, except his mother was a therapist….

“Wow,” said Graham when Iris appeared to not know what Quodpot was, either. “I would have thought the mountains were the perfect place for flying – kind of isolated and everything, yeah? But I couldn’t say, I’ve never seen any. It’s pretty flat in our parts of Texas and Louisiana.” He took a few bites of his food. “Does it ever snow where you live?” he asked. He had seen snow before, of course, but only the kinds that came from artificial weather environments like Sonora, or which his parents conjured up in the house. Natural snow coming from the sky was something unfamiliar, but which he was pretty sure was supposed to occur in mountains a lot.

He thought about Claire when asked about her. “I don’t know,” he decided finally. “She knows how to act right and all, but she’s kind of a nosy know-it-all when it’s just us,” he admitted with a rueful smile. “I’m not sure what House best lines up with that.” He nodded about Potions. “It’s not too bad – but you do have to weigh and measure stuff a lot, and keep time, and sometimes there’s some problems with ratios and stuff. The professor’s kind of…” He struggled to describe her in a way that didn’t involve invoking ‘my mother, but far, far more smiley’. That wasn’t a useful comparison, or even one that really worked on more than the very most superficial of levels. “She’s more into the ‘how will you use this’ and ‘what do you think about the ethics of this’ stuff than about the other stuff,” he concluded finally. “Plus, people usually work together, so you have someone to help you out with the math if you need it.” Unless you and all your friends were equally terrible, but that was hopefully not the case. “My grandmother taught me and Claire most of our stuff – reading, writing, arithmetic,” he said. “How did you learn yours?”
16 Graham Osbrook Just be better than the next-worst guy and you'll be fine. 1498 0 5

Iris Cobb

April 03, 2021 7:56 PM
Isolated? Iris thought about the word Mr. Osbrook had used, but didn't quite seem to see how it applied to their mountain. Her extended family spread out over a sizeable amount of it, she'd never really thought of it as 'isolated' before. Apparently, according to the rules as given to them by Mr. Luceno, no one outside of Ma and Pa were supposed to know that they were wizards. She wasn't exactly sure why, as far as she could see from what Billy had told her, the school wasn't really teaching them to do anything that the townsfolk down in town were already doing. Well, she hadn't actually seen any of them flying around on brooms, but they sure had some fancy lookin' cars and such.

Mr. Osbrook turned the subject away from flying to where he had come from. Texas and Louisiana. She had thought he said he had been from Texas. "Our family is fairly large, and not all of them are allowed to know about, certain things." She assumed Mr. Osbrook knew about those rules as well. It hadn't sounded like they were just for their family anyway. She smiled, "I haven't seen much flat land until today." She considered for a moment, "It's a bit strange. We do get snow though, it varies a bit. Last winter we got more than usual. You don't get any in Texas?"

Iris gave Mr. Osbrook a bit of an unkind look for just a moment. She had heard Billy call her a 'nosy know-it-all' on more than one occasion. Was that just what big brothers thought of their little sisters? To his credit, he didn't seem to say it in a mean manner. She regained a more neutral expression, "Well, she may wind up here with us. Someone has described me in a similar way," she glanced quickly over at the Pecari table, "and this is where I ended up." She deliberately took a few bites from her plate.

Most of his description of potions didn't sound to bad, but she wasn't quite sure what 'the ethics of this' really meant. Working with people sounded nice, as long as they were focused on their work as well. "Our Aunt Hortense did most of the teaching for us, Ma helped quite a bit as well. Grandma used to be the teacher but handed over the role quite a few years ago." She paused for a moment again, "Now that I think about it, that might have been around the time that Billy started to learn." She doubted there was a coincidence there.
2 Iris Cobb How bad is the next-worse guy? 1526 0 5

Bobby Yu

April 07, 2021 6:39 AM
If orientation had been disorienting, the feast was a whole other ball game. Not that anybody here looked like they'd played baseball before.

Bobby was used to having a handle on things. After all, two of her favorite things were following comforting routines and playing games with clearly defined rules. That's not to say she didn't enjoy a bit of creativity and fun. There was plenty of room for chaos and spontaneity in a game of chess, but that didn't change the fact that the fundamentals of chess were fixed. This whole day, however, had felt like playing a game where Bobby didn't know the rules and where the rules kept changing arbitrarily.

Right now, she was sitting in front of some food and beside some people. She had been "sorted" into this house, although she was realizing she'd already forgotten the name. The boy she'd met during orientation clearly wasn't at this table, which meant she really was surrounded by strangers in a strange land. Already, Bobby could feel her old instinct to sit quietly and observe. But that wasn't what she was going to do. It was clear that if she didn't strike up a conversation, she could very well end up sitting quietly for the next seven years, with no allies to speak of.

Turning to the person on her left, Bobby did something she never did. She said the first thing that popped into her head: "Do you play chess?"
55 Bobby Yu A Tad Overwhelmed 1530 0 5

Mara Morales

April 07, 2021 10:20 PM
Mara nodded approvingly when Ellie promised to prove herself worthy of her honors. The world was a bit of a disaster area when it came to matters of fairness, people just…got or didn’t get things handed to them for no reasons in any way related to merit, but it was much easier to like the people who at least tried to prove they had merit even though they hadn’t needed it. At least, that was how it was for Mara; it was possible that she had her father to blame for that, and her own desire, to some extent, not to hate her sister just for existing. Still, she thought it was the correct position to take anyway, which had to count for something, didn’t it?

“I’m sure you will,” she said, leaving all her philosophical debating between her and anything that could read her thoughts, which she tentatively thought most things could not.

Then Ellie mentioned how she was on the brink of having to choose new classes, and Mara came close – so close – to making a mistake.

To nod at such a statement, that was normal enough, and it didn’t matter that she actually had done that. She bit her tongue, though, when she realized she had only just caught herself short of saying yeah, my sister just did that in reply.

On the face of it, that was about as innocent a statement as she could have made to someone she didn’t know all that well, but could she have talked her way out of it at need? She wasn’t sure. Maybe she could have claimed the sister was at another school – but Mara had normal parents. Why would a sister of hers who was also suitable for recruitment to the X-Men go to another school? How would said sister even know of one? And even if that comment was accepted without too many awkward questions, what if Ellie had – like – then wanted to pen-pal with Totally Not Jessica about the class selection process or something? Jessica enjoyed writing, but Mara was pretty sure there was a long gap between writing whiny poetry about cloudy days and creating a whole other identity from scratch and then writing its letters. And a lie that big, there would have been so many unavoidable holes and slips, a thousand ways to get exposed; that was why, after all, her family avoided outright lying as much as possible, instead sticking with just failing to tell the truth….

She forced her thoughts into better order as she winced over biting her tongue. Never mind how close a thing it had been; the point was that she hadn’t actually said it. Plus, now she was more on her guard, so she’d be less likely to slip up again.

“Sorry,” she said. “Bit my tongue – “ She took a sip of her drink as she thought about Ellie’s question. “Tough question,” she acknowledged. “I’ve tried to think about it some, but I don’t want to miss out on anything that might give me an idea to speed up the trip to my first mil, you know? Plus, all the classes where we don’t use the wands as much all link together – it doesn’t seem like Advanced Potions would work half as well without Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures.” She had spent a lot of time thinking about the applications of different magical disciplines to cosmetics. “Then there's Defense, I never know if I should think that that Professor Brooding-Hawthorne is trying to make us paranoid or if the whole world really is going to start trying to kill us the minute we’re adult magic people, yeah?” Though she guessed she would get some early insight into that topic, courtesy of Jessica…. “It’s a lot to think about. Where are you with it?”
16 Mara Morales You're not kidding there. 1472 0 5

Lorena Abernathy

April 11, 2021 1:54 PM
Lorena tried not to beam too brightly, but she was glad to be validated with Morgan’s approval of her plan. It had been pretty tempting to join a bunch of clubs and stuff last year, to throw herself into everything and try to make as many friends as she could, but really, the shock and adjustment of it all probably would have been too much. Sonora was already so different than anything she had ever experienced before.

She listened while Morgan rattled off the clubs she could think of, noting some with mild interest. Lorena had always kinda thought Dungeons and Dragons sounded fun, but it was also the sort of thing that people made fun of you for doing at her old school. Plus, even the “nerdy” kids had their circles, and if she wasn’t good at it, they might have made fun of her too. It sounded like it was pretty complicated to learn how to play, with a bunch of mechanics and role-playing elements, so thus far, she had decided just to hang back.

“It’s pretty fun,” she replied. Lorena didn’t consider herself much of an actor or anything, but she’d played Gepetto in Isla’s puppet act at the concert last year, and she thought she did an okay job, if she did say so herself. “If you start a theater club, I would probably come to that one.” That did encompass a bit more than just acting itself, but that was fun stuff too, she thought. Lorena had made a few props and stuff for the concert as well, and that was her initial inclination when she signed up. She just ended up acting to help out Isla.
12 Lorena Abernathy Yup. Mhm. Totally. 1510 0 5

Stanley O'Malley

April 18, 2021 2:13 PM
It made sense that Anya didn’t yet know the extent of her cool new Prefect powers, although she had somewhat contradicted herself if she thought they would need to have a convincing reason, since Stanley was pretty sure “he called me a name I don’t like going by” would not fly with the powers that be if she took points away for it. But then again, Anya was scrappy and older than him, and while he might have had a very slight size advantage on her, he figured even if she couldn’t take points away, she might still be able to beat him up, and that beating might also apply if he contradicted her. And honestly, as much as he enjoyed a good tussle, he had been punched in the face enough recently. He was good for now.

“Oh, cool,” he commented good-naturedly. He didn’t really know what she meant by “Thing Two”, but Stanley understood the drive to impress parents. “I don’t think either of my parents were Prefect or anything like that. My mom was Quidditch Captain, though.” That was the only one he knew for sure, but somehow, he didn’t really see Mom as Prefect material. She told Stanley often how he was a lot like her, and he definitely didn’t see himself that way. Maybe Dad and Wally, though.

Anya mentioned the possibility of Theo getting it next year, and Stanley paused to consider this. The school was pretty small, so there were never a ton of options. It probably wouldn’t be Mab, because it seemed like she had a tendency to stir things up when she actually interacted. He didn’t know a lot about Leanor, honestly, but Theo’s particular Theo-ness and quirks sometimes didn’t mesh the greatest with authority. Not that he ever sought out trouble, but sometimes his Theo Brain did a Big Nope, and grownups didn’t always like that.

“It’d be pretty funny if it ended up being you two,” he grinned. “Then I could do whatever I wanted and not get in trouble. Or get into double as much trouble. Guess it depends on how generous you guys feel, huh?”
12 Stanley O'Malley "You are in big trouble, Mister"? 1491 0 5