“This way, Pecari first years!” Isis shouted over the crowd after the Feast had wound down, a Sonorus charm once again rendered unnecessary. She projected well enough on her own, and it was time to take her new batch off to see their new rooms.
“Welcome to Sonora,” she smiled once she was fairly confident she’d gathered the entirety of her brood. “My name is Isis Carter-Xavier, and I’m your Head of House. You’ll also see me in class sporadically, as I function as the substitute teacher around here. Just as a little background on me, I’ve been at this school for thirteen years, I’m married to Professor Xavier, who teaches Herbology and is the Head of Teppenpaw House, and if you see some small people running around, they either belong to us, or to the Brooding-Hawthornes.” She figured it would be easy enough to identify which was which just by appearances.
From the Cascade Hall, Isis led the first years into the Labyrinth Gardens. She wondered idly if they had passed by the entrance to their Common Room earlier, during their tour, before they even knew about it. Hopefully, if they had, the memory of the happenstance would help them remember the location. “Stick to me,” she said back to them. “And keep in mind that even if the Gardens seem a bit spooky at night, they are perfectly safe. Plus you don’t have to go too far.”
She stopped semi-abruptly beside a suit of armor. Gesturing toward it, she smiled. “This is the entrance to Pecari Common Room. Please keep in mind that its location is supposed to be kept secret from those who aren’t in your House, so don’t spread it around. If you happen to forget where it is or how to get into it, just find me or one of your Housemates, and we’ll help you get back in. This week, the password is Funny Phoenix.”
Immediately, the suit of armor sprang to life and leaped out of the way, revealing the path inside. As she had with the class before, she offered a half-merry, “After you,” to the student nearest her and let them enter in front of her. It was a good way to keep track of them, but it was unfortunate that she therefore couldn’t see their reactions to their new home. Pecari Common Room was tailored to its students. It was a warm place in both temperature and aesthetics, with plenty of comfortable seating, oak tables, and brown and gold decor strewn about. Physical heat was provided by the burning fire, set earlier by a prairie elf. “Welcome home!” Isis beamed.
“That way,” she continued a moment later, her voice returning to more of a tour guide style, “is the bulletin board. Be sure to check it often, because it will have the new password each week, as well as any announcements. Your House prefects are Evelyn Stones, Hilda Hexenmeister, and Anya Delachene. Evelyn is also one of our Head Girls. The other Head Girl, Katerina Voronstov, isn’t in your House, but she is also an excellent resource for help. If you need anything at all, you can go to any of those student leaders. Or me, of course; my office is right over there,” she added with a gesture in that direction, “if you need me. I’ll have a schedule of office hours posted on the door, but if you’re in trouble, I can always be found.”
Isis led the first years across the Common Room to the two identical stairways. “This way leads to the girls’ dormitories, and this way leads to the boys’. If you go down the wrong way, you’ll be re-deposited back out here in the Common Room. Curfew is ten o’clock PM; it’s up to you to go to sleep on time, but you have to be back to Pecari Commons before then. Otherwise, you will be locked out and will have to come to me to get back in.” She had never been very strict on timeliness, either in curfew or with class attendance, but she had gotten slightly more attentive to it since having Theodora. “Does anyone have any questions? If not, you’re free to go explore your new home.”
OOC: Welcome to Pecari! You are now free to post on any board except other houses and the staff/prefect lounge. You may continue your threads at the feast as well as posting here. This does not mean your character is in two places at once, as we operate under fuzzy time, whereby the time passing in the real world is not the same as Sonora - so long as threads are set at different times and do not have an effect on each other, you can be in multiple threads at once. You are not obliged to reply to this post but may do so if your character had questions to ask. Enjoy!
The feast had been good. Billy was fun company, even if he was pretty weird, and there had been no one to put a limit on dessert or make it contingent on having done his chores or being polite to his sister. Not that he often missed out for failure on those areas, but being able to have lemon meringue pie and chocolate cake and cherry strudel (even if just a small bit because it turned out there was a limit on how much dessert he wanted) all at the same meal and with no rules or strings attached felt like the ultimate freedom.
His head of house came to collect them, and introduced herself.
"Ha, no way!" Xavier laughed when he heard her name. "My name is Xavier," he clarified, in case she thought he was laughing at some other element of her life, like her being married to another teacher. He also wondered if he'd picked out the right person when Billy had pointed out Professor Xavier. The guy he had thought it was was way older than this lady. Maybe it was the cool young guy with the beard? "Hi Professor Carter-Me," he grinned, feeling like road testing whether she had a sense of humour was a very important thing to find out.
He followed her, noting with excitement that they were going outside. He was slightly surprised by the fact she stopped to reassure them because it would never have occurred to him to be concerned that anything on campus could hurt him. The idea that anything more serious than a migraine could disrupt his day had never been something he had to worry about, and he assumed any environment where adults were controlling things would be... well, under control. He guessed some kids might be easily scared but he doubted they would be in the adventure house if that was the case. He jumped slightly, but more with surprise than fear, as the suit of armour moved. Sure, he had seen some paintings and stuff moving on the tour, and he was pretty sure that a statue had hastily stopped scratching its butt just before they rounded a corner, but it was still amazing, and he grinned widely. He craned his neck, trying to see back behind Professor Carter-Him to see if he could see it stepping back into place... He only ever so slightly bumped one of the other kids as a result, and he mumbled a quick apology.
Then they were inside, and the place looked like a fancy painting. Xavier took a good long look at it, though tried to look halfway attentive as Professor Carter-Him explained stuff. He did not have any questions. He had noticed that they were a group of three and was debating whether to bother staying and hanging out with the girl. He knew what his mom would probably say, but there would be plenty of time to get to know her, and sometimes people just got left out of stuff. It wasn't his fault that there was a staircase rule, or that she was wearing a plastic tiara, or that boys were better than girls. It was like home - there were two boys, and one girl, and he was perfectly used to leaving Robyn out of what he and Joel were doing. Admittedly, this girl was his age, whereas as being younger as well as a girl was another reason why Robyn couldn't always play with them but also he just didn't care.
"Let's go check out our room!" he grinned at the boy. "See ya," he added to Princess, cos he wasn't totally rude. He scrambled towards the stairs, calling over his shoulder. "If it's bunk beds, bagsy the top one!"
It was not bunk beds. That was probably for the best because fairness and something and blah blah blah. Also, it was hard to complain at the set up they had here.
"Sweet!" he declared, poking the bed nearest the window and finding it decently soft. "Is it cool if I take this one?" he checked, because he had enough manners to know he was supposed to ask.
Alexei wasn’t sure why, but women’s hair was one of the things that kept driving it home the most about how not-home this place really was. Loose hair on adult women, short hair…now, with his Head of House, very, very short hair. He tried not to stare, as that was very rude, but it was just…strange, to him. He didn’t even remember Katya without long hair – it had been quite far down her back even in pictures from when Alexei was a tiny baby – and the only female person he could ever remember seeing with hair as short as the professor’s was his baby niece.
He followed the professor willingly enough, though, until he realized that she wanted them to go outside. At night. In the dark. Did they not have bears or wolves or the like in the south, then? It was true that the school, like his own home, was behind walls, but at home, every child still heard at length about not going outside after dark….
But then the south was different. He recalled Hansel’s expression when he’d been introduced to the idea of a place without reptiles in it. Perhaps the others would all be equally stunned by the idea of a place which did have wolves and bears in it?
Professor Kyarter-Ksav’er (he hoped she would just answer to ‘professor’ for the most part) seemed to think so – she said outside was ‘spooky’ at night, but while Alexei didn’t know what ‘spooky’ meant, it was apparently a quality which didn’t stop a place from also being ‘perfectly safe.’ So he followed on, a bit wary but also increasingly curious about where all this was going, until they reached the knight and learned his function. Alexei smiled in delight as the knight moved – there were pieces like it in his grandmother’s collection, and he had always been able to amuse himself for hours in her galleries. Before he could test if this knight would respond to anything other than the password, though, someone bumped him; a startled look and mumbled apology later, he was inside the common room, looking about.
Tatya, he thought, must have had mixed feelings when she had lived here. The gold touches would have pleased her (at her birthday, when Papa had called her a hummingbird, Grisha had earned himself a sharply disapproving look from Mama when he had quipped that she was more like a magpie), and the oaken furniture was fine enough, but all the brown-brown-brown brought to mind her complaints that Americans lacked all appropriate appreciation for color. Still, at least it looked comfortable. Alexei perched himself at the edge of a chair, opened his orientation folder, removed a small piece of pencil from his pocket, and wrote down fonny feniks, sounding it out to himself and writing it in Cyrillic characters in case the document somehow fell into the wrong hands, which he thought it unlikely that anyone here other than he and Katya would be able to read. Then he listened as attentively as he could to Professor’s speech.
He thought he understood most of it (and had straightened up just that little bit further with pride at the mention of Katya, even though Professor got her name slightly wrong) but was still glad that he thought most of the important information was already written down in the folder, allowing him some time to assess the two bizarre creatures who were to, in theory, act as his brother and sister for the next seven years.
He was still wondering at the girl’s jewels when the boy began to talk at him, very fast – then to the girl maybe? – and then to the air, apparently, this time in gibberish, as he ran toward the stairs. Feeling slightly dazed, Alexei looked at the girl and shrugged.
“I am Alexei Vorontsov,” he said. “I suppose, we get to acquaint ourselves more tomorrow? It is nice to meet you,” he remembered to recite before he warily followed Monsieur Loud up the stairs, where he ended up staring blankly when he was asked a question.
Sweet – that meant either ‘a taste in dessert’ or ‘a lovely person,’ like a baby, or a nice girl. Cool – that meant ‘cold, but only a little.’ What did either of those words have to do with the beds?
“Forgive me,” he said slowly. “I do not know if I understand correctly. Do you mean to say that this bed makes you cold?” If so, Alexei was concerned for the other boy’s health, plus that meaning didn’t seem to fit the rest of the sentence at all, but….
Oh, his room-mate was foreign. Foreign and now confused. Whoops.
"No, sorry," Xavier shook his head, offering an apologetic and friendly smile. "I was just saying... I like this bed. Is it okay if I have this one, and you have that one?" he asked, slowing down a little, and throwing in a couple of gestures to the beds as he mentioned them, but with neither his rate nor his gesticulating so pointed as to be patronising.
"I'll try not to use so much slang," he offered. Then wondered if 'slang' was itself slang. He was pretty sure it wasn't because it was a word teachers and parents used, but it sounded odd now, or at least like a word that might be hard to understand. "Weird words. Words that don't sound like what they mean," he clarified, feeling like he was potentially using a lot of words to explain the word, but then that was sort of invetiable right? You had to use more words to explain the hard words, even if that seemed like a potentially never ending cycle.
"I'm Xavier," he repeated, suspecting his roommate might not have caught that earlier, and anyway, he hadn't introduced himself specifically to this person yet. "I come from Minnesota. How about you?" he asked.
The other boy had meant to say that he liked the bed he was pointing at, so he had said it was ‘cool.’ ‘Cool’ meant ‘to like,’ then? No – it was still an adjective, here, just one describing an object his roommate had positive feelings about. He noted the new definition for ‘cool,’ hoping it would stick in his head without him needing to be reminded again.
“That is ok,” he said, noting also once again how odd it was, saying two letters to say a word as well as spell it. Ya was both a letter and a word in Russian, equivalent to the English ‘I’, but those were individual letters – or else he was just so used to ya that it had made it easier for him to accept ‘I’ than it was to accept ‘oh-kay’ as a word….
He was distracted from that line of thought by an offer he did not quite understand at first, which was promptly explained. He thought he liked Roommate-Boy so far. He was confusing, but he wasn’t unkind about explaining once he knew that he was being confusing. He shook his head. “Na – I like to learn new words. Or new meaning for words. It is…cool?” he said, looking at Xavier with a slight raise of his eyebrows to check that he had used the word correctly.
A remark that had sounded like gibberish earlier was revealed to have slightly dismaying meaning as Xavier introduced himself. He was going to have to work his mouth around that word, which was not an easy word, a lot, it seemed.
“My name – Alexei,” he said when asked about himself. If he was being formal, or was with his tutors, he was Alexei Andreevich; if he was with his siblings and parents, then he was usually Alyosha. He had gathered, though, that Americans usually had one name and that was that. Tatiana hadn’t done it that way, apparently, but Tatiana was Tatiana. Alexei didn’t think she minded other people not being Russian, exactly, but he thought she might think they’d be better off if they were. “I live inside Alaska, with the Volshebnaya Derevnya. Have you had roommate before?” This was a matter of some importance, he thought – Alexei had never done so, so if they were both equally clueless, it would be fine, but if there was a whole code of roommate etiquette that Xavier was familiar with while Alexei was not….
“Nice,” Xavier nodded, both to his roommate’s willingness to learn and his use of the word ‘cool.’ Xavier was not exactly sure that vocab study was strictly speaking ‘cool’ but if you were learning the fun words of English, the ones they didn’t teach you in class, then it probably was, and anyway he didn’t want to be discouraging.
His roommate was called ‘Alexei.’ Huh. Xavier found himself slightly surprised that they both had an ‘X’ because it was a pretty unusual letter. Okay, Alex was a common enough name, and it was just Russian for Alex so it wasn’t a big deal. If it was a big deal, then obviously his ‘X’ would be more important because it was his initial, which was way less common, even if his did make a ‘Z’ sound, but anyway it didn’t really matter. In a way, it was sort of neat and funny and weird.
“No,” he answered the question of ever having had a roommate before. He was sort of surprised to be asked it because having a roommate was a thing you did in college, and definitely not a thing people his age did. Unless they went to fancy boarding schools, but no one he knew did that. “I mean, I used to share with my brother, until he got too old and didn’t want to anymore,” he added, because he wondered whether Alexei actually meant roommate like roommate or just didn’t know how to express the idea. “And I’ve shared rooms with people a couple of times at summer camps and stuff. But this feels different. You?” he checked.
“And what’s Vozh….” His odds of having imitated the words he’d heard had been pretty close to nil had he been able to do it immediately but he had been distracted by Alexei’s question to him, and now the strange syllables he’d heard were long gone. “The thing you said before. You said you live with…?” He was going to say someone, but Alexei had said ‘The’ whatever. So maybe it was a ‘something’ not a someone. He ordinarily would have ruled out that being some kind of woodland pixie or whatever on the grounds that those didn’t exist, but now he wasn’t so sure.
Alexei’s narrow face flickered momentarily into a smile at the compliment – slightly odd though he thought the compliment was. It was not, after all, as though it was untrue; learning words and using them correctly was a polite behavior, and polite behavior was something that could fall under the incredibly broad pavilion of the English word ‘nice.’
“Thank you,” he said, pleased, and wondering a bit if that was the role he would fill here: the person who had very polite behavior.
He listened as Xavier spoke about his past, both to (continue to) be polite and from real interest in the subject. Even within his limited world of kin and family and the occasional neighbor, there were people with lives that seemed very different from his own, so how much more interesting might a true outsider’s life be?
“I have not had roommate before,” he said, after a short pause between Xavier’s question and the moment when Alexei realized that it was his turn now. Xavier, he thought, was going to be an excellent source for improving his English-in-action. “I have one brother also, but he – adult,” he added. “We do not share. Our sisters, though, there are four and once they all had two rooms. They are now all adult also, though,” he explained matter-of-factly. Two of his sisters still had no places of their own – one was here at Sonora, in fact – but that seemed like an excessive amount to explain. The point was that his sisters no longer all slept two to a room.
He had to think for a moment when asked what Volshebnaya Derevnya was, words momentarily dancing near the tip of his tongue. “You and I – we are volshebniki,” he explained, pointing first at himself and then to Xavier. “Wizards, you say.” Of course, it was really much more complicated in Russian, but he suspected this fact would not be helpful right now and so he omitted it. “It is our village – derevnya, that is village. Long ago, my people came from Sibir’ to Alaska, but it was not healthy, to be alone with one family. Then it was very bad to live there – little sun, little food, much bears, some enemies, then. So they all put houses together and give help together – you understand?” he asked, thinking he had just said a lot and should probably check.
Talking to Alexei was a bit like video calling someone with a really bad connection, in that there was that little delay before he reacted or spoke. Xavier nearly jumped in to repeat his question when that happened, but Alexei got there in time. He would have to learn to expect this, and give him time. He could do that.
Alexei had a much older brother, and several sisters who each had two rooms for some reason. His family had to be loaded to have a house that size.
"Wow, big family," he commented. He was used to people thinking that three was a slightly above average number of kids.
For a hot second, he knew a word of Russian, and one that described himself and Alexei, but then it vanished again. It definitely began with 'v' though. He listened intently, partly because he had to in order to follow, but also because the picture Alexei was conjuring was mesmerising, in spite of the sparseness of the words he was using. Little sun, little food, much bears. Wow.
This time, it was his turn to be on a delay, as Alexei paused unexpectedly to check he understood.
"Yeah," he nodded. He had meant to unpack but it wouldn't hurt to sit down on his bed for a minute and just listen. He sat, noticing that the bed was pretty darn comfy as he did so. "Go on, what happened next?"
"Da - yes," Alexei corrected himself when the size of his family was noted. Four children was not uncommon in the village, but six made up a large family. "Some say it is not good that there are so many sisters, but Papa says it is good to have much daughters, for who wants a small garden when he can have many beautiful flowers?" He assumed that the image of girls as beautiful flowers was universal enough to require no elaboration or explanation. "But few people I know have so many as we do."
He smiled again when it turned out that not only had he been understood, he had apparently been entertaining! At least, he couldn't think of any other reason why someone would ask what happened next.
Following Xavier's example, he went over to the bed which was now his and sat down on it, facing his roommate, before he continued - something which had the benefit of allowing him a moment to think through his response. He had not actually meant the remark as the beginning of a story, but no self-respecting person would demur when asked to tell a good story. It was an art, telling stories, a time-honored entertainment; in a way, it was comforting, seeing that some things were universal.
"First they made homes," he began. "But still - there were many troubles. Most had lived nice life in Russia, before Tsar Pyotr caused disruption - now, there were many things to learn. How to make houses, how to catch fish, and where people were to trade with. Then - people were found, but spoke no Russian, or German, or French, or any language we know. Sometimes we fight them, sometimes we trade, sometimes marry - and for a long time, we were all alone. Even children we had our own little school for - now it only teaches from books, of course, no magic there now. The village grew large - and then, the tsar sells all of Alaska to Americans!" He shook his head slightly in surprise, then shrugged philosophically. "Well, neither of them knows much about us, and we were ourselves, we did not change because of Muggle tsars. But then - people find gold near our village! There are many Muggles, many wizards, many goblins...our village grew more, and we begin to talk to more people, go outside more. More men learned some English to talk to American wizards...my family, it got gold, and Papa and my brother Grisha both know some English, not much. That was not strange. But my sister Tatiana wanted to learn also, and Papa, he has...excited ideas, sometimes, so - " another philosophical one-shouldered shrug. "He allowed her to learn, and finally Tatiana came to school here, even though her English was very bad then. And now I am here, and so is my sister Katerina - she is Head Girl now," he added proudly. "What is your home like?"
There were a couple of points where Xavier nearly interrupted. Who was Zar Piotor (or that's what it sounded like)? Why was there no magic? How recently had all this happened? It had sounded like ancient history at first, but then Alexei had talked about his father getting gold, and suddenly they had jumped right to the present day. He asked the last two of these when he finally got a chance.
The question was then turned back on him, and he quashed his first impulse which was to say that it was just 'normal.' It was to him, but he suspected he and Alexei had very different ideas about what that meant. He tried to look at his home from an outsider's perspective.
"I live in Minneapolis. Well, we live on the edge of it. It's the biggest city in Minnesota," he answered, not sure which of these terms if any he needed to explain further. Like, just cos Alexei wasn't from a city didn't mean he wouldn't know what it was. "So, uh, it's pretty well-developed. Like, there's lots of stuff. There's good skate parks near where I live, and a few movie theatres." Those were the important details. "The name comes from the Sioux, that's the people who had the land first. It means something to do with being on the water?" That was about all he could recall from the local history project they'd done. And that the big industries had been millings and chucking logs in the river to float off to other places, but that didn't happen any more, and was nowhere near as cool as Alexei's historical facts.
"We do have bears though! Black ones. But I've only ever seen them in animal sanctuaries. Do you still have bears? Have you seen them?"
Alexei made an apologetic face when he realized, from the questions following his story, that he had not been clear. “Ah, I am sorry,” he apologized out loud, too. “I was not clear. Most of this, it was long ago. It was – I think you say several greats-grandfather who was with the beginning of the town. Then less greats, then less greats, then grandfather, now Papa. Magic they had then, too, but magic – eh. You must know which magic to do, yes? You cannot make object come to you if you know not where it is. You cannot use a spell if you do not learn it first. In Russia they did not need those spells, very few knew them. It is employments – some people know good ways to make the house, some know how to make the land better. And we did not know what magic was in the land, until other people were found, and languages were learned for talking.” He looked slightly anxiously at Xavier. “Was I more clear now?” he asked.
He listened to Xavier’s story about his home with as much curiosity and not much more comprehension. Minnesota, he knew what that was – it was an American state. People had used names taken from the people who had been there first, that was common enough, that was like Kanada, sort of. Skate – he thought he knew what that was, but what was ‘movie theater’? He knew what a theater was, you went there to hear music or see the ballet or a play, and ‘movie’ – probably something to do with movement – did Americans just add an extra word to theater to indicate that the actors and dancers were moving, even though these things were fairly well expected?
When the presence of bears was mentioned, he started to smile slightly – ah, bears. The common denominator of, at least, this continent – but then tilted his head slightly before shaking it. “I have only seen bears in books,” he said. “I do not go outside the walls much. But skate, I know that! – I think. You move on the ice, and you wear – “ skates. Not helpful for making sure he was being reasonably clear. “Shoes with knives on?” he tried instead. “What is the ‘animal sanctuary’?”
"It's okay," Xavier waved off the apology, not wanting Alexei to feel like he had to apologise for anything. They were from such different places that Xavier thought there would be questions, even without the language barrier. Alexei did clear up the timeline part, but what he said prompted a whole new slew of questions. Xavier supposed the part about needing to know spells made sense, even to him. But then, was Alexei saying they had built houses by magic, or not known how so had to do it without? Was that supposed to be obvious, because could you even build a whole house by magic - or, in the other direction, would it occur to magical people that you ever might do it without? And magic in the land?? He had thought his magic was inside him. Were there different types of magic all around them??
"Yes, that's clear." He gave Alexei a thumbs up, hoping that opting for politness wouldn't come back and bite him in the butt later, in the form of 'But you said you understood...' Answering all his questions about magic was gonna take a while, and it wasn't fair to make Alexei responsible for that. Maybe if English had been his first language, Xavier would have prompted more, but it felt like a lot to ask him, and like it might make him feel bad - like he might think he was doing a bad job of explaining instead of Xavier just being curious.
"Your whole city- or... town?- is inside walls?" He couldn't help that question when Alexei dropped that fact in. It also seemed like his roommate had plenty of questions in return, so.hopefully it balanced out.
"Yeah," he confirmed Alexei's definition of skating, giving a slight chuckle to shoes with knives on. "That's a great way of describing them," he added, in case Alexei thought he was laughing in a mean way. "Though I'm talking about roller skating, and roller blading," he clarified. He didn't think he needed to explain that further; it didn't seem inherently non-magical to him - partly because nothing that he had grown up with seemed unusual to him, but also it didn't run off electricity, and if Alexei knew one type of skating, why wouldn't he know the other?
"An animal sanctuary is a bit like a zoo?" he tried, pausing to get confirmation that that word was understood. When it received a nod, he continued. "But like... a bit nicer? I mean, some zoos treat their animals really well, and care about things like protecting endangered species..." There was probably a solid overlap between a good zoo and an animal sanctuary. And obviously that was good, and he wasn't in favour of cruel zoos, but the lack of distinct little black and white boxes was making it hard to explain. He guessed the bear project they'd been to specialised in just bears, but he wasn't sure if that was true of all animal sanctuaries... "Like a zoo, but nicer," he shrugged, deciding that was the most nuance he was willing to attempt to give it.
"You skate much?" he asked, returning to the more interesting subject.
13Xavier LundstromBut do not attempt to drink 152905
I think they would eat us before we could make much of an effort.
by Alexei Vorontsov
Alexei nodded, unsure if Xavier found this strange or if he had used a word improperly, when asked to confirm that the village had walls. “Some new people, they live outside more, but old families are inside,” he confirmed. “It is more safe that way, yes? In the old times, it was most important that everyone be safe.” From freezing – bears – the sorts of feuds that went on between some of the great wizarding families back in Russia, which had at times amounted to small wars once those families drew all their affinities and associates into them, though that hadn’t been something that had ever really developed in their community, fortunately. “Much magic is on walls, so it takes a long time for someone to get inside if we do not want him,” he explained. “But it is very small – Mama says they called her ‘Peterburg woman’ for ten years! Easier to remember that than which Olga Petrovna she was, maybe,” he joked, though he was fairly sure that was not the real reason.
He nodded when silently asked if he knew what a zoo was; that word was one of those which was very close in the two languages, and easy to remember for that reason. He wouldn’t be surprised, in fact, if the American name was really zoopark, too, and they just used a short version of the word. A nice zoo. Nice was like little Anastasia – no, that was ‘niece.’ Nice was…’polite’ or something. So, a fancy zoopark. He nodded more, content with that.
“I skate much, the way I told you,” he said carefully when asked a question out loud. “I do not know…roller-skate? Do you skate on something which rolls? That sounds very dangerous,” he added in a tone of mild approval. Mama would not like it if he did things that were dangerous, but he knew from listening to adult wizards that a man worth the name would not flinch at something just because it was dangerous, which meant engaging in such behavior now was therefore to be admired in someone else his own age, who presumably also had a mama also keeping him on a short leash for the moment.
16Alexei VorontsovI think they would eat us before we could make much of an effort.153105