Mortimer Brockert

May 14, 2021 8:02 PM
OOC: Parts pertaining to Osvaldo and his wife approved by his author BIC:

Mortimer was happy that the holidays were over and it was time for school to start again. Honestly, there was no atmosphere that was more of an anathema to him than one of happiness and good cheer. Not to mention the meaningless socializing that was crammed into a short space of time with not nearly enough of a break between incidents. He could not remember the last time he'd had a worthwhile conversation...then again, Mortimer was pretty sure that had been a longer ago time than just before the midterm break.

He'd even been dragged to the staff holiday party by his wife. He still was deeply confused as to why she would want to go to yet another party when they had to deal with all the ones they were obligated to go to among those of their social class. Vivien had seemed to think it would be nice for their four youngest grandchildren to come along and play with his colleagues' children. And admittedly, Mortimer had had his best conversation of the whole season grumpily complaining along with the school groundskeeper, Osvaldo, while their wives chatted pleasantly. It was nice knowing someone else thought all this festive merriment was a bunch of horse crap. That was such a rare find in another human being. Or at least it was rare to find someone who'd admit it.

Plus, the children seemed to have a good time, so Mortimer supposed that was nice.

Now though, it was time for the Returning Feast and he was going to have to make a few remarks.Preferably as few as he possibly could. But that was the nice thing about the Returning Feast as opposed to the Opening Feast. Mortimer didn't have to say as much.

Once all the students, or what looked like all the students, he didn't know-or care-if it actually was, were assembled, Mortimer stood. "Welcome back.I hope you had a nice break." There, he'd gotten it to less than ten words, a fact he was sincerely quite proud of. He sat back down and began to eat.

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11 Mortimer Brockert Returning Feast 6 1 5


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Xavier Lundstrom

May 15, 2021 7:17 AM
Xavier entered the Cascade Hall, trying not to look glum. No one would be friends with him if he was miserable, and friends might make this whole thing more bearable. It had been weird the first time he had set foot in this hall, and he'd been worried about being away from home for so long, but at that point, he had been riding a wave of adrenaline and hadn't been away long enough to miss them. There had been the thought of learning magic, which had held such promise.

Now though... Now he just wasn't convinced he was any good at it. He seemed to be progressing more slowly than everyone else in the class. He wasn't sure if he was meant to go ask for help during office hours or wait and see if it got better. Or wait for them to drag him in. How long were you meant to leave problems with school? He didn't know. He'd never had any. Mom had said she would write to check in with his head of house, and it made him feel a little bit better, in that someone was making decisions about what needed to be done, but the whole thing still just basically sucked.

It had been reasuring, being back in the comforting routines of home for the holidays. It made how unsettled he was at school hit him like a physical slap as he walked back through the door though.

He took a seat at Pecari table out of habit. This was allegedly where he belonged - where he extra belonged, in this even bigger group he was supposed to belong in, although he was starting to feel very much like he didn't all.

He blinked and missed the headmaster's speech, so much so that he assumed there hadn't been one, and that the tables had just filled themselves with food. He served himself some tomato soup, taking garlic bread to dunk in it. Those were good things, and it should have been hard to feel sad whilst having them, but he was definitely managing it. He wasn't used to having much sadness to hide, so it showed rather clearly as he sat and chewed. The fact he was doing so in silence was unusual enough in Pecari, and he stared straight ahead but not really at anything, with a rather downcast look to his mouth and eyes.
13 Xavier Lundstrom Back where I don't belong 1529 0 5

Rosalynn Tellerman

May 15, 2021 10:49 AM
Rosalynn dropped into one of the seats at the Aladren table feeling glad to be back. Christmas time was always wild in the Tellerman family, and needing to compress it all into the short amount of time allotted for midterm had made it even worse the last two years. A trip to Southern California for the Pierce Christmas. A trip to Middle California for the Quincy Christmas. Visits with her brother's and sister's families in Nevada. (Not that Sullivan had a family per se, but he had a 'just a friend' come with him this year that Mom couldn't stop speculating about since. Ros really didn't think she should hold her breath about anything coming from that. She was reasonably sure her and Tommy would be married before Sullivan was.)

She had barely turned her attention to the headmaster before he was sitting down again and there was food. She blinked a couple of times. Apparently the whirlwind of jumping from one thing to another wasn't quite over yet.

Turning to her neighbor, she asked, "I think that qualifies as a greeting, not a speech, right?" She'd only been here a year and a half, but she already knew not to expect anything extravagant from the man, but that was short even for him, wasn't it? Quite the contrast to her own father who could take twenty minutes to answer a simple question like 'what are we having for dinner tonight?'

"Anyway, did you have a good midterm?" she asked with an optimistic hope that she hadn't just stuck her nose into a terrible tragedy.
1 Rosalynn Tellerman Is that a speech or a greeting? 1520 0 5

Hansel Hexenmeister

May 15, 2021 11:17 AM
Hansel had gotten conflicting reports about whether or not it was allowed to sit at other tables during feasts. Heinrich had said it was absolutely not allowed, but Hilda said the returning feast was a less rigid, and it would be tolerated if not approved. Hansel was more inclined to believe Heinrich understood the rules better than Hilda did, prefect badge on her robes or not, so he stayed at the Teppenpaw table for tonight and just looked around to see if he could spot anyone else House-hopping, so he'd know for next year.

Of course, he didn't really have any particularly closer friends outside of Teppenpaw than he did inside of it. He had expected to make more friends during the fall term, but had mostly ended up spending his weekends out in the gardens and making friends with all the snakes out there. He was a lot more experienced at making friends with snakes than people, and that had just come easier, especially since he needed to bring Cori out anyway to get some exercise.

There were people he'd gotten along with, like Alexei, but not really anyone he was inclined to risk getting in trouble to sit next to. And there were nice people in his own House, too, of course, because he was in the nice House, and he'd even talked to some of them and gotten along with them already, like Ian. And Freddie was always cool, but Freddie had his own friends, kids who were older than Hansel. So, he was coming into his spring term with a number of good acquaintances, but not really any true friends, and he felt like this must be proof that he was failing as a Teppenpaw.

"Hi," he said to his neighbor after the Headmaster welcomed them back, and the food arrived. It didn't all look as foreign as it had for the Opening Feast, but it still looked plentiful and varied to his still largely untrained eye. At least he had a little better idea now of what he would and wouldn't like at least, and he began collecting some of the items that looked the most appetizing onto his plate. "Are you looking forward to the new term?"
1 Hansel Hexenmeister Time to spring ahead, right? 1524 0 5

Hilda Hexenmeister

May 15, 2021 5:45 PM
Hilda walked down the Pecari table, her prefect badge hanging heavily on her robes as she considered that next year, she would be the senior Pecari prefect. She did not think that Evelyn, as the current holder of that title, did anything particularly more than either Hilda or Anya did, but she thought she should probably ask just in case. Mainly, she thought, she would just need to set an example for the younger prefects, and obviously the rest of the House, but especially the younger prefects. She supposed that was why there were three years worth of them, so by the time they got to be the seventh year prefect, they'd had time to feel very comfortable in the role and would be able to answer questions.

Of course, answering questions was not exactly Hilda's strongest skill, which was why she was worrying about it. She could do the job of prefect just fine. She wasn't sure she could explain it. It was like, like . . . that boy. He looked miserable.

Hilda sat down next to him. She tried out a smile but wasn't sure he noticed.

The Headmaster gave a 'speech' that Hilda was able to follow in its entirety. It helped that it was a pair of phrases she had practiced as a pat thing to say to people when she saw them after a break. This probably meant she couldn't use them as her opening with the glum first year. Of course, with a sad person, it was likely their break had not gone well, and it might be upsetting to voice the hope that it had.

Instead, as she reached for a dish of sausages - Italian, not German bratwurst, sadly, but still good - she offered the platter to the first year. "Like you sausage?" she asked in a very heavy German accent. "It is Italian. It has spice."
1 Hilda Hexenmeister You do. 1433 0 5

Billy Cobb

May 15, 2021 5:48 PM
Billy dropped himself into a seat at the Pecari table. Home had been nice again, no schedules, no classes, no nothin' like that. Just him runnin' free once more. Well, after his chores been done anyway. Somehow they'd still been waitin' for him, well, sort of. From the sounds of things, his cousin Titus had been doin' 'em while he was at school. Frankly, as much as he hadn't like them before starting school, they were loads better than this. Well, in some ways. Most of his chores he could get done and then he was free to do whatever he wanted to after that. Here... here the stuff just kept on needing being done. He couldn't just do all his learning quick in the morning and then go flying and exploring the rest of the day.

On the plus side, some of the stuff they were learning to do was pretty keen, and flying was great. It'd be better if'n he could use some of it at home, but apparently not. Not for another five years. Frankly he wasn't sure if he'd make it through five more years of this. Especially since everyone back home was so darned curious about all this special schooling he and Iris were gettin'. He couldn't tell them anything about it either. Oh well, not something he had to worry about now, so he didn't.

The headmaster stood up and welcomed them back. Billy couldn't help but grin at the old man's brevity. Most of the old coots he knew back home loved to talk on and on and on and on. He generally avoided them. The food appeared, and that was another thing this place had going for it. Not to say it was better than Ma's cooking, he'd never claim such a thing. But it certainly was more diverse, especially at these feasts. His eyes roamed over the selections to see if he could spot something new and different. Oh... there was something that looked interesting!

Billy stood, leaned across his neighbor and reached for the weird foodstuff. He grabbed a hold of the dish and drew it back to where he could reach it properly, apologizing as he went. "Sorry, 'bout that." He grinned at his neighbor, "This sure looked interestin', whadda think it is? Think it's any good?" Then he winked, "One way to find out I suppose."

OOC: Feel free to pick some odd dish for Billy to have selected if you wish.
2 Billy Cobb Alright, we can do this. 1519 0 5

Anya Delachene

May 15, 2021 6:27 PM
The one thing Anya liked best about Headmaster Mortimer Brockert was that he didn't need to hear himself talk. Some people liked to go on and on and on like they measured their importance by how long people needed to listen to them blather but Sonora had been spared this trait in their Headmaster. The guy certainly had his failings but at least he was plenty secure enough in his own importance that he did not need to shove any of their faces in it with long droning speeches. No, he was above them and barely deigned speak at all. But in this particular expression of his perceived superiority, Anya was not going to complain.

She took a seat near some of her friends. She kept half an ear on their conversation amongst themselves while her eyes hunted for whatever it was she wanted to eat tonight. She didn't know what that was yet, though, which was why she needed to hunt it down. She was about to reach for some salad as a starter until she could figure out her main food to attack would be when the beginner kid on her other side all but climbed on top of her to get at another dish.

"Hey!" she yelped in surprise, and he apologized, pulling his chosen dish back toward him.

She eyed it as he asked what it was. "Oh!" she exclaimed in surprise. "That's tartiflette. My grandmere makes that! It's potato, bacon, onions, and cheese, I think. It's a French recipe." Or so she assumed because it was her French grandmother who was the only one she knew who made it. "When you're done, I'll take some too." It would probably be wrong. It wouldn't be Grandmere's. But she hadn't had any in a while and now she wanted some.

OOC: I am largely unfamiliar with French foods, so information about tartiflette comes from
1 Anya Delachene We absolutely can! What are we doing? 1453 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

May 15, 2021 8:37 PM
The girl next to him prompted him to take food. He knew from growing up in a part Italian family that trying to force people to eat was usually an expression of some kind of love or concern. Food was the way you greeted people, and the solution to all of life's problems.

"Thanks." He gave a very brief smile which didn't reach his eyes as he took the suggested food,even though it seemed like it would only exacerbate his homesickness.

"It's good," he had to admit, when he tried a bite, although part of that was maybe the appreciation of his housemate looking out for him. She was one of the prefects, so it was her job, but it was still nice to know that she actually would do it. He tried to think what else to say. 'I'm really homesick' seemed a bit much (and he was guessing that English was not her first language, which meant that using a word like 'sick ' might get confusing and concerning). 'I don't think I belong here' was just as bad in terms of being too personal. Just because she'd been given the job of listening to his problems didn't make it easier to know what to say about them.

"I'm Xavier," he offered instead, figuring it was best to start at the beginning, and to try being friendly.
13 Xavier Lundstrom How do you know? 1529 0 5


May 16, 2021 8:06 AM
Mab walked into the Cascade hall, feeling different. A name had power and hers had changed. Legally, the girl who had been Mallory Beales was now Mallory Pierce-Beales. There had been owls to her Head of House (and Alexander's) and the Headmaster and the Deputy Headmistress informing them of the completion of the adoption process and the name change. Mab officially had two moms, and two brothers. Bel had adopted her and Reilly. Both Bel and Mom had adopted Alexander. Mom got full parental rights to Mab back. They weren't a normal, traditional family, and they weren't without their problems, but they were everything Mab had ever hoped for, and it was good. And it was the best birthday present she could have ever asked for.

But Sonora looked exactly the same and she was kind of mad at it for not acknowledging that her life had been fundamentally altered.

She looked at the Pecari table and there was nobody there that she wanted to share this with and she felt like she needed to share it with somebody. Alexander already knew, he'd been right there signing the legal papers with her, so he was out. And that left only one person. Mab hadn't really gone out of her way to make friends at Sonora, and the one she had made she immediately turned into a brother, but she had one other person who might maybe qualify as a friend, so she went over to the Crotalus table to sit with Sadie.

"Hi," she said, before even sitting down. She stuck out a hand as if meeting Sadie for the first time. "I'm Mallory Pierce-Beales," she introduced herself. She had no idea of Sadie even knew her first name wasn't Mab, or if she'd known her last name had been just Beales before midterm. Mab had always been adamant not to speak her True Name here, even the professors had largely stopped telling her to write her full name on her homework assignments. But she needed to say it, to hear it, to make it real. It couldn't become her True Name if it wasn't real to her and she wanted this to be her True Name. And so she told Sadie, the one fey person she trusted above anyone else at the school, other than Alexander himself. "But you should still call me Mab," she added.

She sat down next to Sadie. "I got adopted by my foster mom a couple days ago," she explained, so she didn't just seem completely mad to the other girl for introducing herself by a brand new name, but then telling her to keep calling her by the name she'd always used. "And she got married to my biological mom over the summer. So it's complicated, but good, and now we all have the same hyphenated name."
1 Mab Hello, my name is . . . (tag Sadie) 1473 0 5

Philippe Delachene

May 16, 2021 8:45 AM
A year ago, Philippe's Christmas break had included a dinner conversation that got replayed a few times in the Cascade Hall. That conversation felt like a long time ago now, and though it had felt mildly mortifying at the time, and downright invasive when it got shown to people outside of his family, particularly the one person he would have chosen not to ever see it, it was almost certainly responsible for how happy he was now.

It was the memory of that conversation that had made Philippe and Freddie aware that they both liked each other. With that out of the way, they could get past the whole 'Does he like boys? And if he does like boys, does he like me?' dance of uncertainty and just get to know each other and maybe flirt a little without worrying about whether they'd be rejected or told they weren't interested in you like that. Philippe liked flirting. It was really fun. He wasn't confident enough yet to really be blatant about it, but little smiles and touches were really nice.

He didn't think he and Freddie were officially dating yet, though they'd come pretty close to having real dates, especially his picnic lunch just before midterm. He didn't think it was far off though. He was ready for it now, he thought, and he was pretty sure Freddie would like to be boyfriends, too.

Philippe had already checked with Jasper to make sure he wouldn't be weirded out by it, and though Philippe thought his roommate was maybe a little bit uncomfortable with it, Jasper was making a good effort not to be. He really wanted to be a friend and a support to Philippe and he was doing his best to be both, and Philippe respected him even more for that, that it didn't come easy with Jasper's family background, but he was doing it anyway.

And obviously, his family was good with it. The memory of them offering their support and encouragement, before Philippe had even asked for it, was what had set this whole thing in motion.

He walked into the Cascade Hall, his feet barely feeling like they were touching the ground in his happy anticipation of seeing Freddie again after a couple weeks apart. He didn't see him at the Teppenpaw table yet, so Philippe just picked a chair with several empty chairs around it, hoping that when he arrived, Freddie would take one of them.

He looked up in greeting and smiled cheerfully as he heard footsteps approach to claim one of the empty spots. "Hi! Good holiday?" he hoped.
1 Philippe Delachene A heart full of love 1489 0 5

Valentine Duell

May 16, 2021 8:46 AM
Valentine was really tempted to seek out Bonabelle at the feast, the wagon ride had been quite a bit more pleasant than her arrival at the start of last term even without the presence of her friend along for the ride. Yet the ride itself had reminded her of all that had transpired on that previous trip. For most of the trip she had reflected on those events, and while they had still hurt she thought she should talk to Stanley again as she had largely avoided him as much as she could last term. It hadn't been entirely fair of her, and now she felt a little bad because of it. However since she couldn't go the whole trip without interacting with anyone, she chatted with Iris Cobb for a bit until they arrived at the school.

That being said, Valentine was also tempted to find Stanley at the feast. As she looked around the hall though and spotted him, her resolution failed her. A slight wave of panic swept over her, she didn't know what to say or how to say it, so she slunk away to find the absolute safety of her friend who had helped her before. Bonabelle was soon found and dragged off to the safety of the Teppenpaw table without mercy.

"Hi! How...?" was all that she got out before the Headmaster began his 'speech'. Fortunately it was a traditionally short one like usual. Maybe even shorter than usual. The food appeared but Valentine didn't notice as she focused back on her friend again with an expression that was easy to see as a happy mask trying to cover up some worry. "How was your break?" She began again, then with a moment of actual joy, "I got a new broom for Christmas!" Then her eyes darted towards the Pecari table where she assumed Stanley would be sitting and the masked expression returned, "And..." she continued slowly and more quietly, "I think I should talk to Stanley sometime."

OOC: I can change up the Bonabelle bits if you don't see her getting dragged to the Tepp table in such a manner.
2 Valentine Duell A better return than the last one [Bonabelle] 1490 0 5

Martin Crosby V

May 16, 2021 9:18 AM
There were a lot of things to consider.

Martin knew his time for decisions was winding down. On one front, he needed to start really planning for his future. He felt completely lost as to what career path he ought to pursue. He had tried doing things with his father in the apothecary shop, but it just wasn’t for him. He was debating maybe spending some time in the infirmary this term, as Medic Willow seemed to adopt medical assistants as one might acquire a stray puppy. He found the woman’s bubbliness annoying, and he was loath to follow his Uncle Marcus in any manner whatsoever, but the medical field was a respectable path, at least, and he found himself in need of direction.

And then there was the other component of his future adulthood: the selection of a wife. Now, Martin knew he theoretically had some more time on that one - a lot of purebloods did marry right out of school, but his parents hadn’t, for example - but if he were seriously considering marrying Katerina, then time was of the essence. This was her last semester at Sonora, and while he did consider her a friend, he had some doubt as to whether or not they would remain in contact after her graduation if there was not a set expectation of engagement.

He glanced at the Teppenpaw table, evaluating this option as the light bounced off her blonde hair. Katerina would be an excellent wife to someone, that was for sure. Maybe it didn’t matter, but he didn’t feel anything… extra on that topic. It was purely a good choice from a technical standpoint. His eyes returned to his own table. Now Jezebel… Well, it would simply never work. Her background was not going to be cohesive with his, he imagined, but she was so different from anyone else he knew. She was… fun.

In any event, there was simply a lot to weigh through, and Martin continued to feel the pressure. To distract himself, he chose to mentally criticize the Headmaster. Now, it wasn’t that the sixth year felt especially inclined to listen to a huge speech - most often, adults were as dreary as children and had nothing good to say - but it was just silliness on its face to replace a speech with a one-sentence sentiment the man obviously did not feel.

Deciding he wasn’t feeling especially hungry or sociable today, Martin instead produced a book from his pocket and stuck his nose in it. He remained that way as long as he could, only looking up when he felt someone or something bump his elbow.
12 Martin Crosby V At a snail's pace 1439 0 5

Bonabelle Row

May 16, 2021 10:59 AM
Bonabelle was learning slowly but surely that family - good, healthy, normal family - was boring. It was sort of nice to be bored though. It had been a long time since Bonabelle had had to forge any signatures or send any payments under her father's name or anything like that, and she still got to go places and see things, primarily with Uncle Killian, but living with one's grandparents lent itself to a particularly slow brand of life and Bonabelle wasn't sure how she felt about it on the whole. It wasn't something she'd quite managed to be homesick for yet and she didn't exactly miss them when she came back to school, but she wasn't exactly relieved to be back at school either, except that she got to see Valentine.

Valentine, who promptly dragged her off to the Teppenpaw table (which, yes, was technically allowed but why). While the answer wasn't yet provided, the fact that there was an answer and that this wasn't merely a whim of Valentine's was made clear by the expression on the girl's face.

"Fine," Bonabelle said, clearly trying to skip through the greetings and catch-ups to whatever was wrong. She raised her eyebrows, happily surprised about Valentine getting a new broom; that clearly wasn't what was bothering the girl but it was more exciting than Bonabelle's break and she knew it meant a lot to Valentine so it warranted some response and Bonabelle gave it a small smile. "That's great!" she said. Maybe that was what was wrong actually? Valentine had fallen off her broom and been badly hurt the year before so it made some sense that there would be anxiety associated with a new broom. Perhaps she didn't know how to tell her parents she didn't really want it? Or perhaps she wanted help and someone to fly with? Bonabelle wasn't half so good at reading people as her uncle or father, even if she liked to think she did get a little of their intuition, so she waited for Valentine to offer more on her own.

When she did so, Bonabelle's expression was only barely maintained neutrality. Stanley had taken to bugging her periodically throughout the autumn and she wasn't sure what to make of that except she'd started to find his encroachment almost comforting for its familiarity. Only its familiarity.

"Why?" she asked, too many things competing for her tone to make it sound anything other than blank. Blank was good by her and she didn't expand on her question, instead numbly choosing a few items of food to fill her plate with because that's what you were supposed to do at feasts and it was an automatic reflex to do the next thing. Her eyes flicked to the Pecari table once or twice but that was only because she was curious about the boy and that was it.
22 Bonabelle Row That's a low bar. 1488 0 5

Hilda Hexenmeister

May 16, 2021 11:52 AM
Hilda nodded in approval when he took one of the sausages. She added several to her own plate as well. The boy tried the sausage and liked it, so she smiled a little and nodded in approval again. "I think so, too," she agreed when he offered his opinion that it was good. She collected some salad to add to her plate, and considered offering more to the boy but she didn't want to be overbearing or act like she was trying to make him eat his vegetables, so she just put it down on the table where he could reach it, and trusted him to take some if he wanted any.

When he introduced himself, she couldn't help an involuntary glance toward the Herbology professor sitting up at the staff table. She was a prefect. She'd seen the class lists, so she knew there was a Pecari first year named Xavier, but she still did it.

She did not compound the mistake by mentioning the Teppenpaw Head of House, though. Xavier probably got that a lot since coming to Sonora. She only said, "I am Hilda." He didn't offer a last name so she didn't either.

She was not quite sure where to go from here. He had not given her any clues to work with as to why he was looking unhappy. Of course, had a prefect attempted to figure out why Hilda had been upset in her first year, she would not have immediately shared all of her deepest misgivings either. She really hoped Xavier's parents weren't in a maximum security wizards prison for the rest of their lives, too.

She had two options. She could either reassure him that it was okay to not be totally happy to be at Sonora and things would get better, or she could try to get him to talk about his interests. She made the decision about which to go with based on how well she could express it in English.

"Do you like flying?" she asked.
1 Hilda Hexenmeister I am Advanced. I learn many things. 1433 0 5

Valentine Duell

May 16, 2021 12:03 PM
Bonabelle was a great friend. Valentine couldn't imagine what life would be like here without her. Bonabelle's casual dismissal of her break as 'fine' hopefully meant that her break had been actually fine and she wasn't trying to cover up something unpleasant. Either way, she didn't seem like she wanted to talk much about it at the moment. Val let the comment slide past while making a mental note to inquire further with her friend another time. She could maybe steer this conversation that direction if necessary. Most people weren't too hard to read, but Bonabelle had a pretty good 'poker face' if she wanted to employ it. Valentine was pretty sure her friend wasn't intentionally using it at the moment, so break most likely had just been fine. Probably.

Valentine also could help but giggle, just a bit, recollecting getting her new broom at Bonabelle's exclamation at her broom news. "Papa tried to convince me that it was my old broom that they had just 'fixed, improved and made bigger' for me." A warm smile spread across her face at the memory, "He knew how much I was attached to my broom, it was kind of nice and cute." She gave her friend a wink, "I played along, but I don't think either of us fooled Mama."

Then Bonabelle put on her poker face. She asked a simple question and went on to picking out some food. Something in Val hesitated, she knew that Bonabelle didn't think much of Stanley after that letter. But she had also noticed that they had on occasion talked. She had naturally assumed at first that Bonabelle was asking about Wally... but nothing much of that seemed to have come about. At least not yet. Had Bonabelle been talking to him because of her? The thought that Bonabelle might be seeking some sort of unrequested vengeance made Val a little uneasy. Bonabelle would know better than that, right?

Still ignoring the food on the table, Valentine sighed. "I... I just...." her voice trailed off again. This would probably sound stupid. Oh well, it was Bonabelle, she'd put up with plenty of this sort of thing. "I feel bad about avoiding him so much last term I guess." She gave Bonabelle a slightly pleading look, hoping for understanding. "I don't want to..." she made a generalized waving gesture in the air that was somehow meant to convey that she didn't want to get back together with Stanley, "But, I haven't really talked to him about... it. I was afraid that talking would only make it worse, make it hurt more." Val stared down at her empty plate for a moment, "But it's not really getting much better either." She looked back at her friend, "I think I need to work this out with him or I won't be able to move on." She sighed again, "Does that make any sense?"
2 Valentine Duell True... but still.... 1490 0 5

Iris Cobb

May 16, 2021 12:27 PM
Iris found a seat at the Crotalus table where she was supposed to sit. She had heard that this was not quite so stringently enforced as the feast at the beginning of the year, but she was a Crotalus so she would sit at the Crotalus table. She had on her best robes and had fought furiously with her hair to try and make it behave. The wagon rides were not helpful on that front, still she had managed to get it at least somewhat under control again.

The headmaster made his incredibly short welcoming speech, if you could call it that. From what she had heard, that wasn't unusual for the man. Iris didn't really want to sit through long speeches, but it really seemed like a feast should have a little more ceremony about it. Oh well. The food appeared and she began selecting things to put on her plate. With that task done, the next thing was to engage her fellow students into conversation.

This was what she was looking forward to, she had a lot to learn yet, and none of it was being taught in the classes. Sure, they were teaching her how to cast spells and mix potions and such, but she was still terribly ignorant as to the customs and such of the magical folk. If she was going to live in this world, far away from the mountain, she needed to learn more about it. The trouble was, just asking direct questions was tricky, and some things it didn't seem that folks agreed upon. So she went the indirect route and smiled at her neighbor, "Hi, do anything exciting over break?" She hoped that would get her a valuable insight into what sort of things magical people did when not at school.
2 Iris Cobb Back again! 1526 0 5

Sadie-Lake Chalmers

May 17, 2021 6:06 AM
Hi. I’m Mallory Pierce-Beales.

Sadie’s initial reaction to that statement would have been ‘yes, I know.’ Except the way it was being made wrong-footed her enough that she just about managed an autopilot handshake and slight goldfish impression. Meanwhile, her brain spun slightly, wondering if she actually had known that. It sounded familiar-ish, like maybe that was the full name that was on roll-call and which no one ever used for Mab, but also maybe not. The ‘Mallory’ on its own was enough to be unusual and she was pretty sure that Mab was just Mab Beales, when she wasn’t… well, just Mab. She was almost always just Mab.

O.M.G, wait, was she like ‘Mallory-Pierce Beales?!’ Had she found out about Sadie’s name and was attempting solidarity? Especially when she reiterated the wish to still be called by the shortened version.

Again, luckily, she didn’t have time to follow up on this thought before Mab explained herself. It was something very different.

“Oh,” she managed, because really Mab’s full name alone had been quite a lot to process in that short space of time and then the follow up details were a lot. “So you have two moms?” she clarified the probably really obvious point. “Which is totally cool.” It probably wasn’t cool to point out that you were cool with gay people, it was probably just meant to be fine. Obviously, cos it was fine. Sadie thought gay people were fine – great even. She’d just not met any. She had opted for just not mentioning anything about the ex-head boy bringing his boyfriend to the school ball because she hadn’t known him well enough for it to be any of her business, and that was about the closest she’d ever got. It sounded like this was a good thing though. Mab had said it was a good thing. “So long as you’re happy,” she smiled, “then I’m happy for you and your family too.”
13 Sadie-Lake Chalmers ...Slim Shady? 1480 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

May 17, 2021 6:26 AM
Xavier ignored the salad. He liked salad, but he was not gonna be mom-vibed by someone who wasn’t even any older than Joel into eating it. Just to show that he had a mind of his own, he added some salmon, peas and potatoes to his plate, and then wondered if this person was just on a mission to get him eating, and would regard that as her doing too. He wasn’t sure why he cared so much about feeling like he was choosing for himself. It wasn’t like he got to choose dinner most nights of the week at home. Sure, his parents would ask when they were planning for the week, but he had to take turns choosing with everyone else, and ‘you get what you get, and you don’t get upset’ was a solid house rule. But he wasn’t at home. He was at school, where none of the stupid rules made any sense, and nothing worked.

“Yeah, that’s Professor Me,” he answered her unspoken question as her eyes went to the staff table. It was potentially a bit of a teasing point to share a name with a teacher, but he’d leant into it rather than reacting against it so that he could laugh about it rather than being laughed at, if he needed to. So, far he hadn’t had to. The herbology professor didn’t seem to mind it either, judging by the good-natured reactions he’d given to Xavier greeting him that way.

She asked about flying. Xavier’s relationship with flying was getting less and less complicated. The broom, after a few failed first attempts, seemed willing to come to him, and it didn’t exactly require huge feats of magical exertion. And it was fun. When he took off and barreled through the sky – something he was getting both faster and more consistent at – it was such a rush. Ultimately, it really hadn’t made any difference that he’d missed his first lesson. It had only been noticeable in his first, everyone else’s second. He had quickly outstripped the reluctant flyers who didn’t seem to want to do more than hover anxiously a hand height off the ground. It still rankled just a little bit that he hadn’t got to start with everyone else though. That was unfixable, and was something he was never going to get back.

“Yeah, it’s really fun,” he nodded, offering her a bigger smile. She was trying, and he wanted to be nice. He was a little bit proud of the fact that there was one thing where he had effectively overtaken when starting from behind, and he tried to focus on that, even though the missing first lesson was an itch he could never scratch. “You?” He guessed she did, or else why would she have brought it up? It wasn’t like they could go right now. “You’re on the Quidditch team, right?” he asked. Sports players and prefects were both important to know, so he had a working awareness of who they all were. “And you’re Hansel’s… sister?” he guessed. They could have been cousins, but siblings seemed more likely.
13 Xavier Lundstrom Yeah, but did you start out knowing nothing? 1529 0 5

Freddie Zauberhexen

May 17, 2021 11:46 AM
Freddie's break had felt a bit more high stakes than normal for a number of reasons that Freddie thought were silly. For one, Hana was old enough now to be really talking at length about her plans for the future and she seemed insistent that those plans should include boys, even though the boy that she seemed most keen on including didn't seem entirely convinced about including her yet. Also, she wanted to come back to Germany and work in their little village but also wanted to be very fancy and live the high life. Freddie's parents mostly just thought she should figure herself out and go live life, village be damned, because their own choices for their own lives weren't meant to dictate either the choices or lives of their children. Which then brought them to Freddie's own high stakes conversations.

While they weren't the sort of people to suggest that liking boys was any sort of choice and they hadn't suggested anything negative about Freddie's interest in dresses (they'd had a conversation about whether he was a she and stuff, but it was all positive and Freddie thought that Ellie would like them a lot), they were still worried about their boy starting to possibly be interested in dating. Since the possibility of both of their kids dating boys was now on the table, it seemed like something that should be discussed openly. At the same time, the things Hana needed to know about dating a boy and Freddie needed to know about dating a boy were wildly different, so there was that. Freddie was really glad he didn't have to worry about some of the things Hana apparently did have to, although they assured him that if he dated a girl, then he'd have to worry. He was pretty sure that was incentive enough to never date a girl. He had asked about how that worked if you dated a girl who didn't have all the same girl bits as other girls and they hadn't really had good words for it but said that then some of the things to worry about would be different.

All in all, it seemed like dating people came with a lot of stuff to worry about and that made Freddie feel like he should be worried. But he couldn't quite manage it! Whenever he thought about dating the only person he was really interested in dating, worry was the last thing on his mind because he just felt happy. He thought that it might be because he just liked being around that person and dating mostly seemed like just being around each other a lot and then sometimes doing stuff that adults did but that wasn't a requirement for dating (his parents had made that clear too).

All of these things had contributed to the small wrapped package in his robe pocket as he entered Cascade Hall for the Returning Feast. He'd thought a lot about whether he wanted to bring it to the feast or wait until they were back at the Common Room, but since they didn't share a room, the Common Room seemed like a lot less of a private place than the Feast, where everyone was paying attention to their own business and the food on their own plate. Of course, he couldn't be entirely sure that Philippe would be available to sit with, or even really that he'd want to sit with him, although he was pretty sure he would. Still, at worst, he could just hold the package until later.

As it turned out, Philippe was available to sit with and Freddie took a seat with a beaming grin, keeping his arms to himself since he was not sure if a hug was appropriate or not. Philippe looked up at him as he approached, looking as cheery as Freddie felt (which undoubtedly contributed to Freddie's grin) and received a nod.

"Good holiday," he agreed. "Good to be back," he added, turning faintly pink.

The headmaster said some stuff real fast and then the feast began and Freddie leaned in towards Philippe for a moment - he'd taken a seat next to him instead of across from him - and pulled his robe pocket open to show that there was a package inside. "Is giving okay now? Or das ist not okay?" he confirmed, not wanting to embarrass his follow Teppenpaw. "For Christmas," he added with a smile.

He was ready to give it to him if he wanted it and was excited to see what Philippe thought of the gift. It had been something one of the Muggle shop owners in their village had made. He specialized in ornate beaded pouches and bags, and he'd accepted a custom order from Freddie to make a small pouch with the colors of the German flag on one side and the French flag on the other. Freddie's parents had gone the extra length to add a bit of an extension charm inside, although they said not to talk too much about that because apparently it wasn't something they were supposed to do and places other than their little village might care more about what they were 'supposed' to do with magic and what not. In any case, the pouch was smaller than a wallet but even cinched shut with its neat black ribbon would carry several fancy stones, buttons, or other knick knacks.

OOC: Feel free to assume that Freddie actually hands it to Philippe if he wants to open it now because "hey, reach into my pocket" is weird.
22 Freddie Zauberhexen You are doing romances? 1452 0 5

Billy Cobb

May 17, 2021 4:57 PM
Oh boy... Billy thought to himself as Anya yelped out at him. He hadn't really paid much attention to who it was that was between him and his food. Apparently it was a prefect. If he remembered things right, he'd heard it was a good idea to keep the prefects happy or else they'd do terrible, terrible things to you. Fortunately she seemed placated by the apology and more interested in the food he'd found than anything else. Whew.

"Tartyflet?" he began trying to pronounce the word the older girl had used, but his mouth bits didn't seem to want to cooperate much with the way she had made that word sound. It was a lot like sayin' the magical words right for class. Still if he was gunna be a world traveling explorer, he was gunna have to learn lots of different languages... and this girl knew some French? Dope.

"It sure sounds good anyway," He replied to her ingredient list and he flopped some onto his plate. "Are you from France?" He asked a bit hopefully as he moved the fancy cuisine her direction. France was really far away in Europe somewhere, he was gunna have to get a bigger atlas to find it.
2 Billy Cobb Schoolin' and such? 1519 0 5

Osvaldo Alamilla

May 17, 2021 5:20 PM
Osvaldo took his place at the staff table. He really did not like being on display in such a manner, but there was no help for it. Thankfully his position allowed him to sit off at the far end, out of the center of focus of the room. He pitied Headmaster Brockert a bit, the man was sensible and refined. Since his arrival, he had had a high opinion of the man, and their time spent together and the ridiculous festivities had not diminished that fact. Now he was forced to pander to the children again, he was very glad not to be in that man's situation.

Manola had been thrilled to attend the party and it seemed like she and the Headmaster's wife had gotten along amicably. Perhaps with some luck, Manola would be able to communicate with her more often, and then he wouldn't not have to hear his wife commenting so often about not having anything else to do other than watch over Edu. That would be nice. He was falling far behind on his plans, and her distractions were not helping things.

The Headmaster's speech was not long, and Osvaldo wondered if there had been something missing. The speech at the beginning of the school year had mentioned... oh, right. For some reason they had thought it wise to allow the children to play with fire this year. He sighed as he thought about the destruction that the fair had caused to the grounds two years ago, and now they were going to light it on fire. One thing gave him cause for hope. Headmaster Brockert hadn't mentioned it, perhaps it had been canceled? Curiosity got the better of him as he leaned towards his neighbor, "The Headmaster did not mention the bonfire, has it been canceled?"
2 Osvaldo Alamilla Really? Fire? 1503 0 5

Giselle Duell

May 17, 2021 6:21 PM
Giselle sat with a touch of unease at the staff table for the feast. Break had gone well enough, and the holidays had been enjoyable. She was still getting used to all of these festivities once again, last year she hadn't known what to make of them all, but this year she had been better prepared and had been able to enjoy them more as they were meant to be enjoyed. They had also come with the added bonus of her cousin Jhonice not being around once again. She hadn't heard an excuse this time, from the sounds of it no one had, but that didn't really bother her at all.

Rationally Giselle knew it wasn't Jhonice's fault, she'd been cleared just as Andrew had been. However, that did not stop her from wanting there to be someone somewhere to blame. It had been both of them originally, then it hadn't mattered so much while they were in Greece all together. Then it had become Andrew... then it couldn't be anymore. So it was just Jhonice now, irrationally being blamed for an accident that had taken so much from her.

All of that wasn't what was making her uneasy now though. She knew something new was coming, something powerful. She had been focusing on that before break, while the term was wrapping up. She hadn't made much progress, at least until she'd gotten back and had off-hand gave it another shot while getting her things organized for the new term. Apparently something new was going to be happening fairly soon, perhaps within a few weeks... or at least the first ripples of the event? There was still plenty of fuzziness, but something would be happening... something soon.

These were the things running through her mind as she sat without hearing the Headmaster speech at all. As the food appeared, the scents seemed to draw her out as the voices around her hadn't. Giselle quietly scanned the table and placed a few meager things on her plate, she wasn't terribly hungry at the moment. She poked at the food a bit without eating anything. She should probably go talk to Professor Skies again about this.
2 Giselle Duell I sense... something approaching 1517 0 5

Philippe Delachene

May 17, 2021 6:38 PM
Philippe would have grinned wider when Freddie answered that his break was good but it was also good to be back, except he was already at his widest grin, but he did feel his heart lift at the implication that Freddie was pleased to see him. He was also happy that Freddie sat next to him because that would make 'accidental' shoulder brushes and knee bumps easier. He lived with Anya. He knew what natural looking fidgeting looked like.

(He was less skilled at accurately replicating it, and it wouldn't be too hard for Freddie to realize Philippe's light collisions were done on purpose.)

Freddie showed him that he had a Christmas present for him, and Philippe grinned at him. "Oh! Now!" he said excitedly, because who didn't like getting gifts right away? "I have one for you, too, but it's up in my room. I'll give it to you later!" He realized this might be why some people might choose to wait to get their gift. "Unless you want to do them together? I can wait to open mine until then." It would be like, an hour. Hardly the longest period of time he had ever anticipated opening a present. Philippe could be patient.

He'd have to wait that long to see how well Freddie liked his gift regardless, and that might be the harder feat. He'd gotten him a nice set of magic combs that were supposed to be really good for helping spread hair color, and a magical hair dye that Jasmine had helped him find that slowly cycled through the rainbow.
1 Philippe Delachene Can we do romances together? 1489 0 5

Freddie Zauberhexen

May 18, 2021 11:52 AM
Freddie loved touches. He and Ellie spent a lot of time dancing and sitting close to do homework or read simply because touching was nice and it was comforting. This sort of touch, the sort of touch that Philippe seemed to be doing maybe not accidentally when their knees bumped under the table or their shoulders brushed when they adjusted how they were seated on the bench, was not comforting at all. It was like a lightning bolt and a cup of hot chocolate had gotten together and agreed that they should invent something that was in between them and that something was touches.

That was entirely not the point of this conversation though and Freddie wasn't about to start explaining his feelings on such things in this moment. It was more fun this way. It was like they were playing a game together but they hadn't confirmed to make sure their rulebooks were the same, so they were trying to play from each other's rulebooks without looking to see what they were. How did one win the game? No idea. How did one play the game? No idea. But they were playing nonetheless and it felt like maybe they were winning too. It was a very nice game.

"We can do together," Freddie agreed with a grin, pulling his robe closed again like a sneaky salesman. He liked any sort of opportunity to use 'together' or 'us' and he felt like he might be made of sap for all that oozed in his chest just then. "How was other Christmas?" he asked, realizing Philippe had asked him but he hadn't returned the question. "Your break was good also?"
22 Freddie Zauberhexen JA!!! 1452 0 5

Henry Spellman

May 18, 2021 12:44 PM
OOC: CW: Class-based and family-based antagonism, and generalizations geared at specific characters. BIC:

Henry had a hard time with the headmaster. He seemed like the sort of person that enforced all the white man's patriarchy crap his mom always had explained to them was bad news. So far, most people at Sonora seemed pretty okay and it was hard to blame them individually for the failings of their society but Headmaster Brockert was way easier to blame, so that's what Henry was going to do. It was people like the headmaster, he was sure, who hoarded all the magic and resources to make sure that people without magic kept starving and dying. Plus there were like a thousand Brockerts. Not that it was only the Brockerts... from what Henry had gathered, it was also families like the Mordues and some of the other ones who walked around like they were the most important thing in the world that were the problem. Henry had always hated those kids at his school in Phoenix and he hated them here too, even if he also had to acknowledge that he didn't know that much about the magic world yet and some of the dynamics. It just wasn't fair and he was still working through the anger part of coming to terms with that.

In any case, the headmaster didn't talk long (he was grateful and angry about it all at once) and then it was time to eat. Feasts were always hard for Henry too and he cast a glance towards his brother at the Pecari table, hoping to at least find one other set of eyes who understood why this kind of thing was so hard and gross, even if it was so good too. Then he added meager portions to his plate - a narrow slice of pizza, a small scoop of macaroni and cheese, and a few pieces of steamed broccoli - in time for another student to greet him.

She wasn't totally unfamiliar to Henry but she was . . . different somehow. Her eyes said she was different. And she was . . . well, she was really pretty. That wasn't a thing Henry particularly cared to think about but it wasn't that often that pretty girls talked to him so he couldn't help noticing it a little bit He was not interested in girls though, especially magic ones. Gross. He'd basically only ever made one girl laugh and it was weird and he mostly just wanted it to stop because he wasn't sure what to do with a girl who was laughing because she genuinely thought he was funny (mostly because he wasn't stupid and he knew for sure that he really wasn't very funny).

"Not really," he said with a shrug. "It was good to see my mom. What about you?" he asked, curious what a magic person's break might look like.
22 Henry Spellman Again and again and again. 1513 0 5

Johana Leonie Zauberhexen

May 18, 2021 1:29 PM
Johana Leonie was still not engaged to be married and she had gotten the impression from some of her wealthier classmates that that was a thing that she should be hoping for at some point. Of course, Fraulein Willow wasn't married and she seemed successful and pretty so maybe it wasn't strictly necessary? Still, it would have been nice to know that she was going somewhere after school and she'd like to be a little more settled. She was sixteen already and had no idea where her life was going, except that she had big dreams and was only taking small steps.

Such things didn't seem to bother Hilda, who hadn't really expressed an interest in any of the boys they went to school with (or the girls; that was something Johana Leonie was trying to be more open to now). Johana Leonie admired her friend for that but she still couldn't help looking at people like Jessica and Sapphire and wishing that she could be as pretty and soft as them. Pretty and soft like Jessica and Sapphire, but as confident as Hilda . . . that would be perfect. Maybe then she'd have a husband figured out.

Perhaps it was her thoughts dwelling on her friend that took her steps automatically to another Hexenmeister's side and she took a seat next to Hansel for the feast. She'd worn her hair up today in as fancy a style as she could manage, having drawn inspiration from Katerina, and felt like maybe she looked a little distinguished tonight. Her eyes darted automatically to the Pecari table to see if Kai noticed, and she was still thinking about him noticing her and what she thought of that when Hansel spoke up. In English. Well, back to it, she supposed.

"Yes," she agreed, scooping some salad onto her plate to start with. "Also nervous," she added with a small smile. "You have good fortune. You know English a lot. Classes are hard for me still. Are you looking forward to the new term?"
22 Johana Leonie Zauberhexen Not a lot please. 1432 0 5

Iris Cobb

May 19, 2021 6:49 PM
Henry. Iris tried to remember what she had learned about her housemate. It wasn't much, his brother was one of Billy's roommates. Hmm... that was about it. She now had confirmation that he had a mother? That wasn't much, but it was something. She gave him a sympathetic smile, "It was nice to see Ma again, I missed her." She let out a quiet sigh, then added quickly, "Pa too." She bobbled her head a bit, "Don't get me wrong, I missed him too, but.. not quite the same."

Iris thought about her own break, Henry's descriptive 'not really' hadn't been all that helpful. Maybe she could get him to reveal some magical life secrets with a tale of her own. Unfortunately, 'not really' described her own break excitement as well. Not that anything really exciting ever happened up on the mountain. She took a few bites of her food while she thought. Henry's plate looked a little bare, he must not be very hungry. All the food they had in front of them... she'd always been taught to not let anything go to waste if she could help it. She wasn't going to be able to put it all to use on her own, although by a quick glance over at the Pecari table, she could see that Billy was doing his traditional best on that front.

"Well, not much exciting happened on my break." She finally began, "I got to see some of my cousins again, we had a fairly traditional Christmas." There was really only one thing that had stood out much. "I'd noticed some of the folk 'round here know a lot about their family trees, so I talked to Ma about our some. I thought it'd be nice to have something to compare. She knew some, but promised to see what more she could find till I got back again."

Now, maybe she could get some more magical information out of Henry. "Do you normally do anything special over the holidays?"
2 Iris Cobb You don't sound thrilled 1526 0 5

Morgan Garrett

May 20, 2021 7:38 PM
Magic came with its headaches, such as the cloak and dagger stuff, and wondering what it had to do with how disinterested her mom seemed in her these days, and everything like that, but on the whole, Morgan thought it was probably for the best that she and one of her parents had it. Dad had made it absolutely clear that he’d never move back to Kentucky unless the entire rest of the planet caught fire, and if he and her stepmother hadn’t been able to appear and disappear at will, sorting out where to spend holidays would have been a massive headache even by person-with-unmarried-parents standards.

Since Dad could stand Industry, Kentucky in small quantities, though, and since he and Sage could both apparate, Christmas had been relatively straightforward. A day with each set of grandparents, plus chunks of Dad’s extended family on and off. On Christmas Eve, Morgan and a few of her cousins had spent all day convinced it was going to snow, but it had merely come the annual Christmas Eve night drizzle instead. The presents had been good – not exceptional, but good. On the whole, Morgan felt she had had a perfectly satisfactory break.

She didn’t know if Headmaster Brockert had, but if the extreme brevity was anything to go by, he…was grumpier than usual maybe, or sick, or something? Morgan deliberately raised one eyebrow, as it felt like the only correct response.

“Yeah, that was a greeting,” confirmed Morgan. “Even from him. Hope he’s not sick or something. At least we get the food quicker, though, right?” she added cheerfully, finding the silver lining. “Mine was pretty good! It didn’t snow again, even though we all thought it was gonna, but the presents were pretty good this year. How was yours?”
16 Morgan Garrett I'm pretty sure it's just a greeting. 1470 0 5

Mara Morales

May 20, 2021 7:39 PM
Mara figured she knew Jessica as well as anyone did, and probably better than most people. They were sisters close in age, and furthermore, they could trust each other and very few other people. It had always translated into emotional closeness, albeit sometimes marred by an intimate knowledge of each other’s flaws. Despite all that, though, Mara honestly did not know if Jessica had been joking or not when, over midterm, she had asked their father if he would buy her a private island and help her set up a micro-nation on it.

Joke or not, though (it had to be a joke – surely it wouldn’t be like last summer, when he’d promised Lola a trip to Italy to make up for not getting to come to Sonora, and had followed through with it….), it worried her a little. Mara had asked Jessica stuff about advanced classes, and about what kinds of stuff they got in the advanced sessions with Mr. Row, but Jessica’s answers were laconic at best, dismissive at worst, especially about the life classes. She hadn’t even seemed that enthusiastic when they’d been playing the situation game with Dad over the holidays, even though it was the first time Lola had been deemed big enough to play. Why wasn’t Jessica…freaking out, basically, the way she always had about the future? If it was that Jessica had achieved enlightenment, or gone on nerve pills, or something, then that was great, but if that was the case, why did Mara not know about it?

She’d felt like this, she recalled, once before – when Jessica had first gone to Sonora. It was…hard to put into words, though, whatever the feeling was. The closest thing she could think of was the (very few) times she’d ever taken a test and come to a question she could never recall seeing anything about while she was studying. It wasn’t panic, just a sort of…pre-panic. She was still in control, more or less, but she wasn’t sure how long she was going to stay that way, and that was unnerving all by itself.

Some things, though, never changed, and Headmaster Brockert was one of them. He was brief even for him tonight, though. Well, they did say that a good rep only spoke the words that were absolutely necessary….

“Good speech from the headmaster, huh?” she joked to one of her tablemates. “I’m really inspired to work hard and be my best this term.”
16 Mara Morales I'm so inspired. 1472 0 5

Bertie Jackson

May 21, 2021 7:35 AM
Bertie was relieved to get back to Sonora, where it was quiet. Numerically speaking, and perhaps by actual measurements of the decibels, it was probably not quieter here than at home, but here did not contain a minimum of three witches all of whom had personal interests in him/each other/in sharing every single thought they had/fighting vociferously over anything at all – so long as it was something that couldn’t possibly matter to anyone – and trying to drag him into the center of it. His sisters were annoying. His mother was annoying. The amount of annoying that they were grew exponentially when they were together.

He had got a very good space encyclopedia for Christmas, and a host of other books, all of which were perfectly good excuses to lock himself in his room and not talk to people, but he was still glad to be back.

He took a seat at the Aladren table (just because they could sit elsewhere did not make it appealing) and let the headmaster’s minimalist speech wash over him, far more concerned with the food and the person sitting next to him.

“I’m nnnnot sure there’s a-anything he could say that would inspire me,” he responded, with a laconic shrug at the headmaster’s lack of words. He was pretty sure they did not share the same values, so any attempt at inspiring speeches would probably be more off-putting than anything. Unless it inspired Bertie to be his best out of pure spite. But a grand speech about how Bertie ought to do his best for Sonora’s glory and time-honoured reputation… Bleugh. Bertie did his best for himself not for a bunch of stuffy dead white guys. He had a feeling Mara was the same. “Are you keen to b-b-be roused with a st-stirring speech about the B-Brockert family values, and your p-p-part in honouring and upho-holding them?” he asked, keeping his voice very quiet, and clearly grinning.
13 Bertie Jackson But can you imagine if he actually tried? 1497 0 5

Rosalynn Tellerman

May 21, 2021 7:47 PM
Rosalynn had not considered the possibility that the Headmaster might be sick, and she looked up at him in concern. He did not look sick. "I suppose," she agreed with the observation that they got food faster this way, though the man's usual speeches would not really have delayed that much more significantly.

She smiled as the older girl declared her break was pretty good and the presents were of equal caliber. The down point seemed to be rain instead of snow. "We didn't even precipitate at all," Rosalynn admitted. "But it's Nevada. We didn't expect it to." Desert and all that. "Even on the rare occasions we do get snow, it's Las Vegas and with so many lights heating things up, it all melts before it can amount to anything anyway."

"But yeah, I had a busy but good break. Got to meet the brother's not-a-girlfriend, and my niece is cute, as always - the niece is my sister's not my brother's. Practiced conversational Spanish with the Hernandezes - which I'm not good at, and that's why I need the practice - when we visited their place. They're cousins of a fourth-cousin, maybe? I don't know the whole genealogy but I'm related somehow, and that whole clan on my dad's side meets there for Christmas. It's a madhouse, and I bet the Hernandezes are really glad when we're all gone, but they keep inviting us back. And we saw Gram and Pops, too, my mom's parents, who are almost completely normal compared to everyone else I'm related to. So now that I'm back at Sonora, I'll be glad for some routines and quiet time again."
1 Rosalynn Tellerman That's what I thought 1520 0 5

Jeremy Mordue

May 21, 2021 9:12 PM
OOC: CW slurs about mental health BIC:

Jeremy took a seat at Crotalus table. Break had felt strangely close to normal. The Christmases that he’d had with his parents were dim and distant memories, and it had been a long time since that had been his expectation of Christmas rather than just something that existed in his head as a story to think back on. The thing that had made it feel like normality was therefore not in finally settling into that routine, which had been his normal for a very long time, but in the fact that he actually had his family – for whatever the word meant – around him again, as he no longer did at school. He didn’t know how to talk to Nathaniel, or how to deal with when he was there or wasn’t there, but at least over Christmas he had been more there than not, and neither of them had resorted to blows. It had been… nice?

Now he was back at Sonora though. It was frustratingly lonely at school, and he sorted of hated everything and everyone here. Case in point, his barely existent roommate. Martin was only considered the less annoying of his two roommates by virtue of just how low Felipe had set that bar. But the way Martin consistently ignored them all was deeply frustrating. Obviously, Jeremy would have ignored his roommates if they were Mudbloods, but Martin had the good fortune of rooming with people from decent families, one of whom (himself, obviously) was actually decent company and not screwed in the head.

Martin stuck his nose into a book, so Jeremy got stuck into dinner. To start with. Though as he reached for his water glass, he “accidentally” bumped Martin’s elbow, wondering how easy he’d be to ignore after that. Sure enough, when he turned, Martin was looking up at him.

“Good evening,” he nodded, as if nothing at all out of the ordinary had happened.
13 Jeremy Mordue Sounds boring, just like you 1443 0 5

Ellie Alperton

May 21, 2021 9:49 PM
Ellie’s main feeling over the Christmas break had been short. There had been other ones too, like joy, and excitement, and way too full of turkey. But short had been, rather ironically, a big one. She felt short at school a lot, which wasn’t surprising as her peers all hit growth spurts and she physically couldn’t. And then as the kids in the year below her started to, and even a few in the year below that… It was a whole other level of short feelings when it was your younger brother overtaking you in height though. She swore he was counting his hair, and as his had a bit of a bounce to it, that was totally cheating, but the fact it even needed to be a question was deeply frustrating. Okay, yes, as adults she could accept that she probably would be shorter than him, once she got her life sorted out and was able to go through the right version of puberty, but right now it was just a reminder that everything was on hold.

Of course, they were reaching the end of the period where that would be the case, which meant there were big decisions to be made. Not the ‘to do or not to do’ kind cos that had never really been a debate, but more the ‘how.’ Since gaining access to the magical world, she had been reading up on how magical folx transitioned, which meant that she had more choices than expected. On the one hand, choices were scary. On the other, she was just so ready to be done with being paused that she was pretty sure she’d jump at any of the options.

Anyway, that was a project for summer. And right now, that felt far away, and therefore frustrating once more. She felt like she couldn’t do anything, which made her want to hit the library in the morning, or her own personal library of resources when she went to bed, and reread the options for the hundredth millionth time… Right now though, she couldn’t even do that. Though, she had to admit she was hungry, so it being time to eat wasn’t the worst. She piled her plate with foods that had been neglected over the Christmas break.

“Got anything near you that goes with rice?” she asked her neighbour, scanning the table. “And how was your break?”
13 Ellie Alperton Hi. I'm short 1456 0 5

Mara Morales

May 22, 2021 6:34 PM
Mara grinned back, amused by the admittedly probably accurate point and the way it was presented. “Fair point,” she acknowledged. “I’m pretty sure it would not be in my best interests to get too inspired to, you know, start a revolution or something.”

Of course, for all she knew, Headmaster Brockert was a huge reformer who wasn’t that keen on his presumed background – was like Mara, maybe, discreetly biracial, or whatever the wizard-born equivalent of that would be – or any number of other things. On the whole, though, she doubted it. For one thing, he was kinda…old, and while there were cool old people in the world, the odds were generally in favor of old people being more conservative than their younger counterparts. Add in what she’d picked up from reading history, and the admittedly confusing pieces she’d put together of how power worked here, and it seemed…likely enough that Headmaster Brockert would probably find Mara and Bertie’s company even more distasteful than he appeared to find that of the student body at large.

“I mean, I know nothing about the man except that he gives really short speeches,” she acknowledged anyway, since it was a fact. “But I have a feeling you’re right.” She glanced at Bertie, though, as she had another thought. “Though…he doesn’t actually own the school, right?” she asked, just to check. “It’s not actually here just to promote his family’s values somehow?”

Yet another reminder of precisely how alone and in over her head she was in this world. She shoved that thought aside; it wasn’t productive to think that. “Anyway. Brockert’s boring. Was your holiday interesting?”
16 Mara Morales It would either be hilarious or scary. 1472 0 5

Morgan Garrett

May 22, 2021 7:42 PM
“Wow,” said Morgan, duly impressed by the mention of both Las Vegas and of how hot the lights apparently got there. “I’m pretty sure we’ve got so few lights in my town that the two stoplights might freeze water instead of thawing it,” she joked. “I can’t even imagine living in a big city, especially not Vegas. Is it hard to sleep with that much light and stuff? Or does it get hard when you come here and we don’t have all that?”

It took Morgan a moment to start following the tale of Rosalynn’s midterm, but soon enough, she was nodding along in comprehension. She didn’t know if the Hernandezes were Ros or her father’s third or fourth cousins, or have any reason to know a sister was associated with the niece instead of the brother who had a not-girlfriend, but she did know all about overly complicated family networks.

“I get that,” she agreed as Rosalynn came to her conclusion. “Most of my family’s all Muggles from the same town, so I don’t travel off anywhere much – Dad and my step-mom just Apparate down to Kentucky for a few days – but all Dad’s family already there, and so are Mom and all her family, so it gets crowded. You get all these…great-grandpa’s brothers’ widows, and their kids and grandkids, and my gran on Dad’s side was really close with some of her cousins on both sides of her family, so we get together with some of them…you get the picture. There’s probably some fourth cousins in there somewhere, but we don’t really keep track. I don’t have any brothers or sisters on either side, though. That probably helps it be a little quieter than yours is,” Morgan admitted. “Do you have family here?” she asked, curious, always sort of wondering what it would be like to have relatives who were part of her life more than two months a year.
16 Morgan Garrett Maybe it's really a trick to test our critical thinking skills? 1470 0 5

Zara Jackson

May 23, 2021 1:17 AM
Returning to school after a break was always sort of a letdown. Home was always buzzing, not only with the chatter of her immediate family but with cousins and friends popping in and out. There was always plenty going on, and also plenty of people who were pleased to see her, and wanted to know what was going on. At school, it was sort of sad to admit that there was really only Felipe. It would have been nice to have a few girl friends to hang out with too, but apparently Jessica had decided that everyone in their year group had to belong to her.

Zara was half tempted to go and sit with her boyfriend, not only because that was nice and he would be pleased to see her, but also because sitting at the Crotalus table and with him would probably annoy Jessica, which made it multiple birds with one stone. But she didn’t actually feel like being on her guard against racist snobs all evening, and the fact that she didn’t have that many other people to talk to wasn’t really going to get better if she only hung out with Felipe.

She took a seat at the Teppenpaw table, sliding in next to Bridget. As roommates, they all got on fine. There were times when she probably got on their nerves, which she was extrapolating from the fact that sometimes they got on hers. But there had never been a super, major fallout. Nor had they ever gotten particularly close.

“Hey. How’s it going?” she smiled at her roommate, helping herself to pork chops and mashed potatoes when the food appeared.
13 Zara Jackson Hey roomie (tag Bridget) 1444 0 5

Ness McLeod

May 23, 2021 1:35 AM
So, this was it. The last Sonora Feast. There were probably going to be other lasts that meant a lot more to Ness – last class, last Quidditch, last gaming club meeting. Part of the appeal of those was that they would be shared with friends, whereas this was probably going to be a bit of a solo rite of passage. Okay, technically, table hopping was allowed at the Returning Feast, but unless any of the gamers came to sit with Ness, it wasn’t going to help. Ness definitely wasn’t going to be abandoning Aladren for this occasion. Valentine seemed set on Teppenpaw, and Ness didn’t blame her – this wasn’t a Val-and-Ness kind of occasion. The wrapping up of their shared activities would be a more likely place to mark the end of this era.

Maybe Ness should bond with Topaz over this.

The thought caused a smirk to play across the Aladren’s face. There was not enough rose-tinted nostalgia in all the world to make Ness feel sentimental about the time shared rooming with Topaz, and if there were any tearful farewells they would be ones of sheer joy.

Ness took a seat far away from the other seventh year, waiting to hear the inspiring final words Headmaster Brockert had for this momentous occasion. Huh. Well, perhaps he was saving them up for the bonfire. Maybe they’d actually get a dependent clause or something out of him for that.

“Last feast. For me anyway,” Ness commented, determined to mark the occasion. And what better way than with vegetarian lasagne and potato wedges? Oh right, vegetarian lasagne and potato wedges with a little flag. With a quick wand wave, a little flag with the word ‘Woo’ stuck up from Ness’ plate. The vegetarian lasagne here was different from home, and for a while Ness had found it to be a poor replacement, but that had gradually changed to ‘different but both good.’ This was definitely the sort of thing Ness could drum up some sentimentality for. It would be sad to not have Sonora lasagne any more after this year.
13 Ness McLeod Last feast 1419 0 5

Bertie Jackson

May 23, 2021 1:57 AM
“If it is, it’s doing a r-r-really bad job,” Bertie observed, when Mara asked about the school existing to promote Brockert family values. “Our gay b-b-biracial teacher k-k-keeps bringing science into things,” he summarized everything that was ‘wrong’ with the school in a succinct sentence.

“But n-no, they don’t own it,” he confirmed. His family would definitely not have sent him there if that had been the case. They had been wary enough of school in general, and a school run by a Brockert in particular, but then the McLeods had come here, and they’d been fine, and so Zara had insisted she would be too, and then nothing had eaten her alive. It was odd though. What exactly was Headmaster Brockert doing here? The most likely reasons for someone like him being anywhere were money or influence. His was the kind of family where the money attached to a position like this was insignificant. If he was after influence, he either wasn’t getting it or wasn’t using it. Bertie was about to speculate on these things to Mara when she declared the headmaster boring, wanting to talk instead about his break.

“My sisters t-talked about boys and eyeshadow constantly,” he stated with a roll of his eyes. “I got a really nnnneat space encyclopedia, and a couple of spy novels. How about you?” he asked, referring to both her book haul and her break, as she saw fit. He suspected the one was the highlight of the other.

“And is h-h-he boring?” he asked, slightly wary of returning to a subject she had dismissed. But he thought he had some pretty interesting thoughts on it. He wanted to make sure Mara realized he was someone who could think things through properly. He was confident she did think that, but apparently Morgan had formed the impression he hung out with her for homework help. He suspected that said more about Morgan’s reasoning capacity than about his or Mara’s, but it didn’t hurt to reinforce the point that he was very capable at thinking things through. “The t-t-two best explanations I’ve been able to-to come up with for him b-b-being here are that the B-B-Brockerts don’t have as much mmmmuch money as they’re ‘supposed to,’ or that his fffamily hates him and he’s being p-p-punished for something”

OOC: Parts about Morgan taken from D&D sessions
13 Bertie Jackson Scarlarious 1497 0 5

Rosalynn Tellerman

May 23, 2021 8:13 AM
Rosalynn waved in a so-so gesture when Morgan asked about the ambient light transition between home and here. "Light isn't so much of a problem," she shared, "because Dad puts charms on the shades to help them do their job better, and we don't live on the actual strip anyway, so it's not quite so bad in our neighborhood. But sounds . . . it's disturbingly quiet around here sometimes. I'm glad I have two roommates so there's at least two other people breathing and moving around when I try to go to sleep. For me, that's the hardest thing about being in Aladren, I think. We're basically an extension off the library, and it is way too quiet most of the time. That was the toughest adjustment last year." There were definitely times when she'd had to hum to herself while working on her homework, just because the quiet was getting to her.

She nodded along as Morgan described what her family was like. She had trouble imagining not going out-of-state to visit family because neither Mom nor Dad had been born in Nevada, so most of her family other than Karen and Sullivan were scattered around California.

"Nah," she denied having family here, at least not currently and of the sibling variety. "Mom's side is all muggle, too, and so is my sister and, I assume, her kid. My brother has magic though, but he's ages older than me, so he was graduating around the time Mom and Dad were just getting married. Uh, Karen and Sully are technically my half-siblings," she corrected the misunderstanding she had probably inadvertently caused. "I'm dad's only biological kid. His side is magic though, at least somewhat. His parents are both squibs, but both him and my uncle Neil have magic. His cousins are about fifty-fifty on having magic. Some do, some don't, but they're so mixed with muggles that they can only figure out who's the muggles and who's the squibs by whether or not they can see Regina. She's the ghost of my great-great-maybe-another-great grandma's twin sister."

"Anyway, Sully was here at Sonora, in Pecari, but not since before I was born, and Dad was the groundskeeper here, way before even Sully came, before he landed his magic show gig at the Golden Goose Casino where he met Mom. I do technically have a some number of cousin here, also in Pecari, who I've met at the Hernandez Christmases and some other get togethers with Dad's extended family, but I don't know her very well. I think our dads are first cousins? Maybe? Or second cousins? That whole side just calls everyone a cousin and leaves it at that. Anyway, her name is Janis, and I think she's a third year?"
1 Rosalynn Tellerman It could be. This is a school. 1520 0 5

Morgan Garrett

May 24, 2021 6:11 PM
Sound. That was a thing Morgan hadn’t really thought about before, but it made sense. It seemed kind of noisy to her sometimes, when she stayed with Dad and Sage up north, but she imagined Las Vegas would be exponentially louder, now that she thought it at all.

“Maybe we should shake things up in the common room sometime,” she half-joked. “Just maybe not at sleeping time,” she quickly qualified. “Only thing I’m really used to hearing at night is the crickets. It was so weird getting used to Josie and Mara being around when I came here. Making a little noise on the weekends, though, that probably wouldn’t kill too many of our folks.” Probably, anyway….

Following the narrative of which of Rosalynn’s relatives were magical and which were not was a little less familiar for Morgan than talk of half-siblings and fourth cousins, but she nodded along nevertheless. In a couple of generations, her family tree might, she thought, look much the same, at least if she had kids, and probably if Dad and Sage had a couple of kids at some point. Her eyebrows lifted slightly, though, in surprise at the way Rosalynn’s family distinguished members.

“Squibs can see ghosts? Learn something new every day. Not that that’s hard for me to do with stuff about wizard families,” she acknowledged. “Dad didn’t even know I existed until I was seven, so I’m still kind of catching up,” she added with a philosophical half-shrug. “Doesn’t help that he’s Muggleborn, too.” Sage was from a magical family, but that only helped them so much; part of the trouble was that Sage just knew things without knowing she knew them, while Morgan and David didn’t always necessarily know what questions to ask until something came up.

She thought back through her classmates when a distant cousin of Rosalynn’s came up. “Janis,” she said slowly. “Yeah, I think there is a girl named Janis in my class.” It was one of those names that stuck out to Morgan’s ear; back home, it would have sounded like her parents had just time-travelled from the sixties and not caught up with the times. “I don’t know her too well, though, either,” she added apologetically. “Get where you’re coming from with everyone just being cousins, most of my family’s like that too. I don’t know why it’s so hard for all of us to keep track of the definition of a second cousin, but it’s too complicated to bother with. You said your dad does a magic show in Vegas, though? Like…for other wizards, or sleight of hand and cards and stuff?” Rosalynn had said that her father was a wizard, but also that there were a lot of non-magical influences in the family.
16 Morgan Garrett Stealth instruction. Would that be almost-anti-Aladren, or is it super-Aladren? 1470 0 5

Mara Morales

May 24, 2021 7:28 PM
Bertie wasn’t making a joke as such, but Mara still sort of chuckled through her nose at the description of Professor Brooding-Hawthorne. “Sorry,” she said. “I was just thinking – that’s pretty much the same stuff a teacher could get in trouble for back home, at least out in the sticks.” Especially if Mara was right in her guess about Professor Brooding-Hawthorne being of some form of Middle Eastern descent; that really could have caused the poor woman trouble back home. “Guess some things are universal, huh.”

She couldn’t help but grin at the description of his sisters. “I’d defend talking about eyeshadow, but I’m guessing they weren’t talking about formulas or market strategies,” she said dryly. “Mine was fine, too – I got a good number of books, a few different subjects.” Part of her holidays typically involved Dad handing her a few hundred bucks and turning her loose in a bookstore while Robert kept an eye out to make sure she wasn’t kidnapped or harassed or anything. She got other presents on Christmas, too, but that was where most of her books came from. “I spent a lot of time with my little sister – she’s just learning to read Spanish now, and helping her was helpful for making mine not feel so rusty, so it was a mutually beneficial situation, when she didn’t get too loud. Our mother says Lola got her share of energy and mine, too,” she added. “So sometimes she’s jumping around and speaking Spanglish fifty miles a minute at the same time, and sometimes I go hide with a book when that happens.”

Mara listened as Bertie elaborated on why the headmaster might be interesting after all. “One day I’ll finally get to the place where I’ll remember stuff like how families here work,” she said ruefully when he was done. “You’re right, that is interesting. You’d think even if he was being punished, though, that they’d make him…not do stuff like hire gay biracial teachers and their wives.” She glanced back up to the head table for a moment. “I guess there is a third option – maybe he’s secretly a rebel, and he just pretends he does not care at all about his job so nobody will call him out on not trying harder to indoctrinate everybody. I don’t suppose there’s some system for finding out if people who shouldn’t have them get real jobs after school, to investigate the family with?” she asked. It would get attention if, say, Jessica ever worked in even a charter school and with people who didn’t share her – or rather, Arvale’s; the extent to which the two things were distinct was something Mara couldn’t speak on with certainty – values, but as she’d just been reminded again, she was quite out of her depth when it came to the purebloods (why did they call themselves that? Could they really not come up with a better name for their answer to a master race? It sounded like they were a type of showdog...) and their customs, and not much better off with the wizarding world in general
16 Mara Morales So, laugh while running in the opposite direction? 1472 0 5

Bertie Jackson

May 26, 2021 4:57 AM
“Exactly,” Bertie agreed when Mara pointed out that Professor Brooding-Hawthorne’s identities could have caused a stir in a lot of places. Though, whilst he’d been aiming for evidence that Headmaster Brockert wasn’t really in control, she was apparently more drawing a comparison between the magical and the digital.

“Nnno, they weren’t,” he confirmed, when she pointed out ways in which his sisters’ discussions could have had intellectual merit. He was slightly surprised she’d been able to pull such specific examples off the top of her head, but Mara was a good Aladren like that.

“That ssssounds like a-a wise mmove,” he commented, grimacing slightly at the thought of a bouncing younger sibling. He occupied the position of baby of the family, but had the quiet good courtesy to just keep to himself for the most part. It was relatively easy to do when everyone else was tedious and didn’t want to talk about cryptography.

“Whatever the B-Brockert family deems a-a-acceptable is all on public record.” He smirked and gave a slight shrug that acknowledged that maybe wasn’t much and wasn’t what she was looking for. “There’s sssocoiety pages in the p-p-papers and these b-big ‘who’s who?’ volumes that get published every nnnow and then,” he added, remembering that she might not know exactly what resources were at her fingertips.
13 Bertie Jackson Something like that 1497 0 5

Mara Morales

May 28, 2021 6:15 PM
A family’s idea of propriety was a matter of public record. And here Mara had been, thinking that the junior league was a touch too much, when the Atlanta junior league wasn’t really all that bad – apparently there was a kinda vaguely culty thing where you had an Ambassador indoctrinate you into the Ways of the Atlanta Junior League for a year before full admission was possible, but they had dropped their sponsorship requirements and at least had an official statement about diversity and inclusion and welcoming any woman willing to roll up her sleeves (and cough up the application fee, dues, and Provisional training course fees)….

“Who’s who,” she repeated. “Is it more or less useless than that magazine list for colleges with all the manipulated statistics in it?” Mara was ambivalent toward such lists, or had been, when it had been relevant; Jessica had agonized over how making a B in fourth grade might prevent her from going to Princeton someday, just because that was where Mrs. H. had decided she should go to college, but while there were obviously schools that legit sucked and people needed to know that they existed and had issues, there was a lot of foggy grey area where two things might be equally good but one had better P.R. Normally, of course, she would have assumed that any social register would be totally useless, but here….

“You see books at home, sometimes – I’m from Atlanta,” she added, not sure if this was a thing that still happened in other parts of the country. “Families will write up a whole book about The Snotty-Do-Good Family of Gwinnett County, or History of the Descendants of Bob and Bertha Better-than-you, and send copies to a handful of libraries, but it’s…not that serious there, I guess. At least, not outside of certain circles…there’s places that even just a lot of money won’t get you into,” she acknowledged. “I guess that’s the case everywhere, yeah? I grew up hearing about how useful it is if you can build a ‘perfect family’ aesthetic to go with a business, but that’s not the same as this stuff. I'll have to read more into this.” She looked at Bertie. “Do you think much about what you’re going to do when you get out of here?” she asked. “No offense, if it turns out this is offensive, but I don’t really see you letting someone pick a punishment job for you,” she added with a grin.
16 Mara Morales Or we could start a revolution. 1472 0 5

Bridget Ferguson

May 30, 2021 5:48 AM
OOC: CW-Alcoholism, underage-by muggle standards-drinking BIC:

Bridget-rather surprisngly-had had a nice holiday break. Mama was doing....better. She still wasn't healthy-and was never going to be-but she was less sick. She was even semi-functional. So the Teppenpaw had spent lots of time with her mother, just hanging out and talking.

Of course, she had spent time with her father too. Which was very different than spending time with Mama, because, well, neither of them was exactly sober at the time. Bridget knew that this was her dad's way of bonding with her. In his screwed up view, he was...sharing something he loved-booze- with someone he loved-her. Of course, she had done the same thing to bond with Dad when she was a child but she wasn't drinking. Although she was sometimes making the drinks and playing bar with her dolls, stuffed animals, and Dad. But now, Bridget was old enough to drink herself and actually got to drink the stuff she made, which were actually as good as others had always said. (This wasn't a thing she trusted her dad's opinion on both because as her father, he was always going to say she did well and because his idea of a good drink was one that had alcohol in it. Period.)

That was another thing, she was now legally an adult as her seventeenth birthday was during the break. Which meant she could now do magic outside of school. Which was awesome. Bridget had celebrated this by transfiguring stuff. Because she could.

However, the best thing of all was spending time with Mama and Dad together, just the three of them as a family. Without all the other relatives, who she loved but could be a lot, just because of how things were situated on both sides. It was multiple holiday celebrations when Bridget just wanted to be with her parents only. And even if that hadn't been the case, it was still a lot. The holidays were supposed to be a break from school and despite the fact that she was happy to be with her parents, she still felt the midterm break was chaotic and too much in a short amount of time between the extended family stuff and the society parties. The sixth year didn't especially like being always on the go and busy. She liked her down time. Doing too much was stressful and exhausting even when she liked the people she was with and the activities she was doing. Bridget needed to just unwind with a good book or the wireless.

Fortunately, now she was back at school where despite the fact that she had to go to classes and do schoolwork, it was generally less overall hectic. Maybe because, even though the sixth year wasn't like the world's best student-albeit, not the worst, as she was at the very least a better student than Beau-but studying was less stressful than socializing, especially socializing with lots of people at once that she didn't know well.

Bridget sat down at the Teppenpaw table for the Returning Feast. Headmaster Brockert was as brief as ever and she couldn't say that she minded. She was glad to have a professor that didn't try to "inspire" them with some bullcrap that was utterly meaningless and fake. Of course, he probably didn't care one way or another if they had nice midterms either, but that was just what was said. If you went to a store and the clerk told you to have a nice day, they probably didn't really care one way or another or think about you at all once you left, but they still said it.

And besides, who wanted to listen to boring speeches?

Zara addressed her and Bridget responded, smiling pleasantly. "All right. You? Did you have a nice midterm?"
11 Bridget Ferguson Hey 1448 0 5

Hilda Hexenmeister

May 31, 2021 1:38 PM
Hilda tried not to wince when Xavier caught her looking at the Professor with the same name. She'd been trying not to make him self-conscious about that. Fortunately, he seemed unbothered by it. "I like Professor You," she told him, so he did not feel he needed to be defensive about the connection. She supposed if you were going to share a name with a professor, the Head of Teppenpaw was a pretty safe one to go with. Herbology was not one of the classes she had chosen to keep with studying for her RATS, but if she'd needed one more, that probably would have been it. Three was enough to graduate though, and dropping most of the others meant she'd have more time to work on her English lessons and really excel in the three she wanted to continue with.

She smiled more broadly and genuinely as he confirmed that he liked flying. "Ja! Flying is best! I am top Beater," she confirmed when he asked if she was on the team. With Nathaniel graduated, and her being the only returning first string Beater this year, she did not think Felipe would argue the point. She had been listed first on the Beater section of the roster, too, further confirming that the Coach thought so, too. "You can join," she encouraged. "We are small two players for practice games now and we graduate some Chasers at this year, too. Billy," she pointed out the second year down further along their table, "he is new Beater. He never play Quidditch or fly before year one. He is doing better now." She'd have him trained up very well by the time she and Felipe graduated, she thought, but he'd definitely need a partner by then, and recruitment was starting to look urgent. Chasers might be more urgent though. With both Ness and Evelyn leaving, both of the subs there would get promoted and leave no reserves.

And if Xavier was feeling unconnected to his new school, joining a team would be a good way of helping him forge ties.

"I make my brother join, too, if you not want join late alone. Yes, Hansel is brother. Coach be happy have more players."
1 Hilda Hexenmeister I speaked not even the language. 1433 0 5

Xavier Lundstrom

June 02, 2021 5:34 AM
“Yeah, me too,” Xavier agreed easily enough when Hilda said she liked Professor Him, though his smile was more because she’d joined in with the joke. It was good to be able to share that with someone, and he was sort of impressed that she was joking in her second language. Alexei was pretty easy going, and didn’t want Xavier to limit his slang or anything else, saying it was how he’d learn, but he did still sometimes find himself thinking something he thought was funny and just deciding not to say it because it wouldn’t be as funny by the time he was done explaining it.

Hilda was enthusiastic about flying. Very enthusiastic. She sounded like she was halfway to recruiting him, and maybe her brother too, and forcing them into being Quidditch players and friends. He was on the verge of saying ‘I can join by myself, thanks’ because he didn’t need hand holding and helping to make friends or to join a sports team, but then realized that sounded like he was agreeing to join at all.

“Maybe,” he shrugged. It wasn’t like he disliked the idea of being on the team (okay, it sounded kinda dangerous… but on the other hand, it sounded kinda dangerous!), or of being friends with Hansel (he had nice hair, even if he gave off an air of it being long more by accident than by being a rockstar). He could just do it himself, if he wanted to.

And if they wanted him. It wasn’t like he was unreliable. He only got really sick a couple of times a year. It was just that sports people always went on about dedication, and not missing a single practice, and he’d read the rules of Quidditch and you weren’t allowed to sub people so if he dropped out of a game, the team would just be screwed and hate him. And he was new to all of this, and probably barely even magical. Hilda pointing out Billy helped for about a nanosecond before it got swallowed up under the feeling that it might be fine for people who were just new, but that he, Xavier, was different and that it was harder for him in ways that other people just didn’t experience or couldn’t understand.

“So, did you go to Germany for Christmas? Or do you live here?” he asked, trying to push the conversation as far in the opposite direction from her fixing his life as it was possible for it to go.
13 Xavier Lundstrom And it's all better now? 1529 0 5

Hilda Hexenmeister

June 03, 2021 2:37 PM
He did not seem very enthusiastic about joining the team, and Hilda deflated somewhat. She could still badger Hansel about it, but with only one new player, that would not get them enough players to do mock full games. Maybe he had some friends she could badger to join with him? He was a Teppenpaw. They were supposed to have a lot of friends, right? Even Hilda had many friends and she barely spoke English. Hansel was much better with the English and he liked people more than she did.

Yes, she would badger Hansel and make him join with a friend. This would solve the twelve players problem.

She was just about to be pleased with this use of logic and family connections when Xavier asked about Germany and she visibly flinched. "No, we live in Utah with our uncle," she said simply. "We have Christmas there. It is small. Only four among us. Our largest brother. He is eighteen. We see again. It was good. I," she couldn't recall how to say she missed her brother, so she tried something close, "am sad that Heinrich is not now at Sonora. He was on the Quidditch team with me. Have you good Christmas?" she asked, hoping that by him asking her about it, that meant it was a safe topic.
1 Hilda Hexenmeister I would not that far go 1433 0 5

Bonabelle Row

June 03, 2021 4:36 PM
No. The easy answer was no. No, it did not make sense to think that the stupid boy who had made you miserable was the one with the magic cure to make you happy again. No, it did not make sense to feel bad for ignoring said stupid boy after he'd gone and made you miserable and then to think that perhaps you should try fixing something there. But Bonabelle had burned enough drafts of letters to her father to know that sometimes, stupid boys made you miserable and you still just had to try. Understanding that didn't help ease the feeling in her stomach or the urge to scream in her throat though, so she tried to force both down with a swig of pumpkin juice, to little avail.

"Yes," she finally said, "it makes sense." Another swig of pumpkin juice, swallowed past the lump in her throat that wouldn't seem to go away. "I don't think you need to feel bad, and I don't think talking to him is going to help you, but I do think it makes sense that you're feeling that way. And I think that . . . probably . . . you won't be able to move on until you at least try, am I right?" She frowned a little at her friend, wishing she wasn't right and wishing she could go back to the good old days of not understanding humans at all. Between Valentine and Uncle Killian, she'd learned a bit about human emotion and so far, human emotions were messier than a dungbomb and an exploding bon bon left errantly in the same pocket. "Do you think think that . . . maybe it's not Stanley who can make you feel better?" she asked, forcing stupid-head's name out. "But maybe . . . I don't know. Like maybe that just feels like it makes the most sense to start there? Maybe it's something you have to work through yourself? I don't know. I've never been in that situation."

And that was the crux of it all. Because no matter how much Bonabelle knew from books and from conversations with her friend and uncle, she had no frame of reference for relationships and romance and even friendships for that matter. Her experience was limited to what she'd seen in her time at Sonora. Because no matter how much Bonabelle knew in her head, she just didn't have the heart to find these things out herself.

"I'm sorry you're hurting so much," she said softly, really really meaning it and really really really wishing she could fix it herself.
22 Bonabelle Row You're better than this. 1488 0 5

Henry Spellman

June 03, 2021 4:46 PM
Henry gave in to a wry smile that crossed his face at the idea of Iris - her name finding its way out from the back of his head somewhere - missing her dad in a different way than her mom. Henry could understand that in his own way, although he wasn't about to tell this girl that. Instead, he just nodded. The conversation continued down the line of discussing families in a way that was not very comfortable for Henry, nor was the idea of a 'traditional' Christmas because about all that came to mind was Home Alone and Christmas Vacation, both of which he had gathered were meant to be viewed as part of a traditional Christmas but neither was representative of one and so he didn't really know what that looked like. Probably not anything like the lowkey affair his family had every year. Said affair definitely didn't include cousins.

"Do you have a big family?" he asked, guessing that she probably did just based on her accent. That was rude and stereotypical of him, but his understanding was that the more southern you sounded, the more conservative you were. The more conservative you were, the more likely it was that your family pumped out babies like it could afford to feed them, which often seemed to be true. He shook his head a bit to clear it, not sure why he was focusing so hard on such things these days. "That sounds really nice," he said before she could answer, giving her - and himself - an out if she chose not to go into details about her family.

"We live in the city," Henry said, trying to think of what would constitute as special to this girl. He did kind of want to impress her but we usually order Chinese takeout as our big splurge didn't seem like the thing that would blow her mind. "So we like to go on walks at night to see the lights displays and decorations and stuff."
22 Henry Spellman Thrilling things are rarely safe. Best not get too excited. 1513 0 5

Rosalynn Tellerman

June 03, 2021 6:16 PM
Rosalynn laughed as Morgan suggested shaking things up in the common room and making some noise on the weekends. "Jam night? Short skits? Open mic poetry slam? We should totally do Saturday Performance Arts Night in Aladren," she frowned, trying to sound out if that spelled anything interesting, "SPANIA." Not really. She shrugged and grimaced. "We can work on a better name with a cool acronym. My roommate does puppets! I bet she'd like to join the rotation, too!"

Ros shrugged in response to Morgan's surprise that squibs could see ghosts. "They seem to? At least, that's how we draw the line. I don't know if that's the official definition. Maybe only some squibs can see them and we're misclassifying some. Or maybe who we're calling squibs are actually witches and wizards who just have such small magic potential they don't get accidental magic or acceptance letters. But we have a ghost and some of us can see her and some of us can't, so that just seems the most sensible way to split the people who never got magic school letters into muggle and squib since a lot of them could go either way, genealogically speaking. The California Pierces are technically a wizarding family, just not pureblood by any stretch."

"Yeah. Dad is Simon the Magnificent!" She gave the name the gravitas and arm flourish it required. "Nightly shows at the Golden Goose Casino, except Mondays and Tuesdays, when he's off and somebody else has a magic show those nights. They're not nearly as good though," Rosalynn added loyally. "It's for muggles. It's . . ." she waggled a hand, "eighty-five percent slight of hand? The other fifteen percent is fake fake magic - which is, he does real magic and pretends it's just slight of hand. It's technically breaking the letter of the Statute of Secrecy - he's doing real magic in front of muggles - but not the spirit - cuz it's a magic show, so nobody thinks anything going on up on the stage is real - so he doesn't get in super huge amounts of trouble for it. Every couple of years, though, he gets pulled into court and ends up paying a fine. My dad, the rebel magician."
1 Rosalynn Tellerman Given that this is supposed to be a fun and relaxing feast: super-Aladren. 1520 0 5

Valentine Duell

June 03, 2021 6:20 PM
Valentine felt a wave of relief wash over her when Bonabelle said that she was making sense. She knew that Bonabelle was well aware of how hard it was to express some feelings with words. This was such a muddled up knot inside her that she knew she had to do something, but she just wasn't sure what or how and Bonabelle was really smart and might possibly have some good insights. If she could get her friend to understand. She listened intently for her friend's wisdom.

The Teppenpaw tried her best to process what her Aladren friend was saying. She would certainly like to not feel bad, and maybe she didn't 'need' to feel bad, but she did. She had gotten the feeling that she and Stanley wouldn't have really worked in the long term, but she couldn't be the one to end it. He had asked her, and for her to have broken if off seemed like a terrible thing to do just because he was... who he was and she was who she was. Him braking it off hadn't been good either though... She had been... unhappy, and she didn't miss that there was some strained relationship between Stanley and Wally. Part of her wondered if that was also because of her. She should have talked to Stanley more, they could have discussed things, maybe ended it better?

Val nodded quietly to Bonabelle in response to her question about moving on, and kept listening. Bonabelle was helping, she could feel some of the knot loosen a bit as her friend talked. "I will live," Val responded with a weak smile as she wrapped one arm around Bonabelle, pulled her a bit closer and leaned her head on her shoulder. It felt nice here. "You are wonderful." She sighed, "Maybe you are right, but I don't know, if I had been a better girlfriend... If we had talked more about... things, maybe it would have ended better. Maybe I'm just feeling like I want to try that to get to that point, even if it is to late now. I don't want to have to worry about things being weird or anything in classes or around school. We have a few more years of living with him here, I'd like it to be on at least somewhat friendly terms."

She exhaled again, not so much of a sigh this time, but short of an exasperated huff. "That isn't really part of the whole 'moving on' part though. That feeling is something different. Moving on involves looking for someone else?" That came out more as a question than anything else. She wasn't sure where she was on the 'looking for someone' spectrum. Stanley still hurt, but there were some other nice boys out there. But what if they all ended the same? Still it was kinda nice just leaning against Bonabelle here.
2 Valentine Duell I am trying to be. 1490 0 5


June 04, 2021 8:17 PM
Sadie was about as stunned as anyone trusted suddenly and out of the blue with a True Name should be, and Mab graciously allowed her some time to think about the significance of it. It was quite possibly a turning point in what was until now a pretty low-key friendship, if that's what it was at all. Mab didn't really share a lot of personal details with, well, anybody, and Sadie had just got dumped with, ah, not Mab's entire life story, but at least a cliff-notes version of the recent high points in addition to the True Name. It would probably change things. Hopefully not for the worse, though Mab wasn't optimistic enough to assume that.

The first reaction was promising at least. Mab hadn't even truly considered the ramifications of revealing she had two moms. Admittedly, this was because she assumed everyone already knew after the debacle at the concert, but Sadie must have missed that or dismissed it as unfounded rumor since Mab hadn't mentioned it at all in any of her letters. But Sadie thought it was totally cool, so Sadie was totally cool, too, by Mab's estimation.

"Yeah, we're happy," she confirmed. That was a little bit of a stretch. Bel was, by and large, not a generally happy sort of person. Neither, for that matter, was Mab. But the situation was good and they were all more or less happy with most of it. Mom liked PDAs a little more than Mab was entirely comfortable seeing exchanged between her mom and Bel, and Bel didn't even turn her into a toad or anything for doing it, which was surely some kind of sign of True Love or something. But Mab had developed good brain scrubbing exercises for those occasions, and it was all fine.

"It's weird," she added after filling her plate with the food that had just appeared. (Had the Headmaster said something? She missed it if so.) "For the first ten years of my life it was just me and Mom. And now there's five of us. Plus the other Pierces." They popped in often enough that they couldn't be ignored as part of her family now, not like mom's parents who Mab hadn't even known were still alive until the wedding last summer. To say nothing of how strange it was that she, a changeling, now was part of one of the Fey Families. At least it was a disgraced family. She wasn't sure she could have wrapped her head around becoming an important fey. And they seemed relatively normal, mostly. The Derries, for example, were a first grade teacher and a guy who worked at a souvenir shop, so it was kind of hard to be intimidated by them, not that Mab was easily intimidated even by Amelia or Bel, who were much less cuddly.

She suddenly realized she knew basically nothing about Sadie. "Do you have a big family?"
1 Mab Not exactly, but if I need a new alias, I'll consider it. 1473 0 5

Bonabelle Row

June 05, 2021 11:19 PM
Valentine smelled like Valentine, which made the next breath Bonabelle took after her friend leaned in close one of her favorites. It was a scent she always missed when she was home for breaks and things, not because there was necessarily anything special about the way Valentine smelled but simply because she smelled like Valentine. She smelled like Bonabelle's best friend and all the study sessions and walks to the Pitch and laughing about things she didn't nor was expected to understand. It was a very warm, comforting scent and Bonabelle wasn't at all sure why it didn't make her want to relax this time. Quite the opposite; she forced herself not to tense up, but to give in - and sink in - to the Teppenpaw's embrace, wrapping her own arm around her friend in response.

"I'm glad," she said with a weak chuckle when Valentine promised to live. That was, after all, both a very low bar and a very high hope.

Valentine continued, however, and Bonabelle couldn't help feeling a bit frustrated. Why did Valentine have to be the one going off making things right, fixing things, trying to do better or be better or whatever better? Why wasn't the stupid boy who'd gone and been a stupid boy over here making things better? Also, why did the stupid boy matter enough for Valentine to need to improve anything anyway? Bonabelle couldn't quite see how Stanley mattered enough to weigh so heavily on Valentine's mind, and that was as someone who had, in the past term, gotten to know him a bit more. In fact, she'd probably talked more to Stanley during autumn term than she had over the entire course of his and Valentine's relationship and she wasn't entirely sure why. She'd mostly given up on trying to threaten him or scare him or anything, so there wasn't any real reason to talk. Except, somehow, they kept talking. They weren't close, they weren't friends, they weren't even really acquaintances. They were classmates and yearmates in a school too small to make avoiding interactions possible. That was it. But yet, they talked.

Her throat seemed to seal up a bit and her train of thought crashed abruptly when Valentine suggested perhaps moving on included finding someone else. That wasn't really a thought that had crossed her mind, and she wasn't entirely sure how she felt about it or why she felt feelings about it. She didn't want to date anyone herself and she had almost come to terms with the fact that that was okay after talking with Ema, but now she was sitting here holding her friend who was ready to move onto partner number two, all before Bonabelle had made up her mind about a number one. Why couldn't friends be number one?

She swallowed the feeling as she nodded. "I don't think you have to find someone else if you don't want to," Bonabelle said in a half strangled voice. She took another drink of pumpkin juice and coughed as if it was only a matter of clearing her throat. "Sorry. I just mean that I think you can also move on and find yourself if you want to. But it's also okay if you do want to find someone else," she added, because that was what you were supposed to say. She thought of Ema and Uncle Killian and wondered about the conversations they had and whether they were ever weird like this. She knew Uncle Killian sometimes dated more than one person - what did Ema think of that? What did she herself think of that?

"Val... do you think there's something wrong with me because I don't want to date anyone?" she asked after a moment's pause, giving Valentine room to answer and the moment room to pass before she broached the subject. "Am I messed up or something?"
22 Bonabelle Row Perhaps it would be best if you stop trying so hard? 1488 0 5

Zara Jackson

June 06, 2021 5:46 AM
Alright. Well, that was not a super informative answer, but Bridget tended to be the one who avoided rocking any boats, or pretty much even speaking unless spoken to. Zara tried to offer her an encouraging smile, hoping she was leaning towards ‘good alright’ not ‘bad alright.’ She at least asked about midterm, which meant Zara figured it was fair game in response. The thing with Bridget not being super talkative was it was hard to feel out what she didn’t want to talk about. Zara wasn’t sure if she just wasn’t one for sharing, or whether there were specific topics which made her shut down.

“Midterm was nice. My family tends to make a big deal out of holidays. Well, out of pretty much anything. It’s hard not to with so many of us – I mean, once you count cousins and everything, and having to celebrate everything pretty much twice to juggle who’s allowed to know about magic and who’s not. It sucks that we can’t just tell everyone,” she shrugged, aware that that might not exactly be a popular view with Bridget’s family, but it was her truth. Her cousins on her mom’s side weren’t exactly going to do anything with the information. They couldn’t. No one would believe them, and it wasn’t like they were the kind to beg for magic fixes – especially as magic wasn’t something that could grant you anything you wished for. Honestly, the Jackson side had done more to poach from the non-magical world, pulling apart devices and trying to get them to work in different ways, looking for ways to hybridise magic and science. Those were all good things, it was great to update what was available and fuse the two worlds, but for as long as the strictest secrecy laws stayed in place, only one side was going to benefit from that. That felt dubious.

“How about you?” she returned the question, adding some green beans to her plate for balance or something, not that she really worried about weight or diets, but getting your vitamins and not dying of scurvy (or whatever it was green beans did for you) seemed like a good plan.
13 Zara Jackson So, break and stuff 1444 0 5

Iris Cobb

June 06, 2021 12:15 PM
Iris started to respond to his question about the size of her family when Henry cut her off saying that it sounded really nice. That had been a bit strange and rude, unfortunately she was accustomed to dealing with strange and rude boys. However, she was pretty sure that the tactics she normally used with her brother wouldn't be entirely appropriate here with someone else. Instead she gave him a mildly questioning look and answered anyway.

"Yes, it was nice." She began, "My family is... well, the size that it is I suppose." It was really the only family she knew extensively, and she didn't really have any other families to compare it to. It seemed 'normal' sized for her, but that was because it was her family. From talking with Amethyst, it seems like her family might be similarly sized, so did that make it not big, but normal sized? "I have quite a few cousins, and a number of aunts and uncles." She gave him an inquiring look, "How big is your family?"

Ooo.. he was a city boy. That was interesting. She'd only been to a city a few times in her life. She did know the city had some sort of magical kind of lighting that they didn't have up on the mountain. She wondered if he was talking about those, or some wizard magical lighting that must happen in the wizard cities. "Light displays and decorations?" She asked intrigued. "What do they look like?"
2 Iris Cobb There is truth to that, I shall try to restain myself 1526 0 5

Valentine Duell

June 07, 2021 5:22 PM
It was strange, Bonabelle almost seemed to tense up at her touch. Did she not want to be hugged? Valentine was worried now, had she done something wrong? She hadn't asked if she could give Bonabelle a hug, but they were old friends… they had hugged lots without asking. Val thought it was generally okay, but maybe it wasn't? Was something different? Had something happened over break? These questions whirled about in her head as Bonabelle put her own arm around Val. Was there hesitation there? Had she done something wrong?

The weak chuckle accompanying Bonabelle's response did little to lessen the girl's fears. This close to her friend, Val couldn't help but to pick up on Bonabelle's unease. Had that 'fine' really not been 'fine'? When Bonabelle did say something, Val thought it sounded a bit strange, not the words but the tone. Her second attempt seemed a bit better. It made Val feel a bit better. She sighed gently. "You're right, but... it, it feels like an open wound yet. It feels like I need to do something to bandage it, I'm not sure what but so far just ignoring it hasn't seemed to have worked. What else can I do?" Maybe Bonabelle had some good ideas, she usually did.

However, at Bonabelle's next question, Valentine pulled back from her friend, sat up straight and looked at her with an almost horrified expression. "What!? No!" She exclaimed, "How could you think that?" The expression shifted to one of concern. "There is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with you." Was this what had been bothering her? Had something happened over break? Val quickly returned to her previous position to give Bonabelle all of the comforting, supportive hugs she could manage. "Right now, I don't want to date anyone either." She confided, then added in a quieter voice, "I don't think I'm ready." But, this wasn't about her now. This was about something important, Bonabelle. She snuggled up just a bit closer to her friend. "To bad we can't just say we're dating each other," she sighed, "Then we'd have a good excuse to not have to worry about it until we wanted to."
2 Valentine Duell One should always do their very best. 1490 0 5

Sadie-Lake Chalmers

June 08, 2021 2:03 AM
“Pierces?” Sadie had been nodding along, offering quiet, smiling support for Mab being happy-if-overwhelmed, but this word caught her off-guard. Admittedly, she had heard it once already, but that had been in the context of ‘Hello, I’m Mallory Pierce-Beales’ and a lot of other very important information. Her friend Mallory Pierce-Beales sounded entirely different to The Pierces on their own as an entity. That was a name she knew, one that was connected with considerable power, money, and snobbery – the type which didn’t seem to go with accepting someone like Mab into their family.

“As in… The girl who was head girl last year?” she checked, trying to reconcile the images she had of them with Mab’s new-found cosy family happiness. She remembered too late that she was supposed to be smiling politely, and suspected that expression had vanished in favour of one of concern.

“No, not really,” she shook her head regarding her own family. “I mean, my immediate family’s about the same – there’s my- two parents, both my parents, and I have a younger brother. He turned out to be norm- not magical.” She bit her tongue, regretting as she usually did having opened her mouth without a solid plan of exactly what words she was going to use. It was really the only foolproof way of avoiding looking stupid, though she was worried that if she took too long to answer, she’d appear spacy. “I have like… grandparents and a few cousins and stuff, but we don’t have massive family get togethers or anything. I see my dad’s mom the most. She’s my favourite grandma. That’s allowed, right?”
13 Sadie-Lake Chalmers It might already be taken 1480 0 5

Bonabelle Row

June 08, 2021 7:00 AM
Bonabelle only hugged her friend a little closer, not able to offer any more advice than she had done on what Valentine should do to feel better. She wondered vaguely if there were healing potions for such things but thought that they'd probably be pretty emotionally stunting if not outright scarring, which was definitely not worth it. She shrunk some though when Valentine questioned how she could think something was wrong with her. How could she not think that? She felt like she was in trouble for a moment before Valentine reassured her and settled back into her side.

This was all very confusing. There was something wrong with her for thinking there was something wrong with her when there wasn't anything wrong with her then? Or there wasn't anything wrong with her for thinking there was something wrong with her, which meant there both was and wasn't something wrong with her? Why did this all have to be so hard? Ema hadn't exactly made things sound or look easy in the realm of dating but at least they'd been cut and dry: you dated people if you wanted to and they wanted to, you didn't if one or both of you didn't, you didn't have to date if you didn't want to, etc. Now those thoughts swirled in Bonabelle's head, mixed with all the confusing messages she received from schoolmates and observational study.

She relaxed some when Valentine said she didn't want to date anyone either, although her throat constructed against her will at the same time. Even her own body was sending mixed messages and she didn't appreciate it. Still, at least she wouldn't have to watch Valentine try to figure out dating again while she stood on the sidelines. Perhaps she should talk to Stanley more since that was the closest she was at making another friend now that Jean-Loup was gone; that way when Valentine did finally date (and now knowing it wouldn't be Stanley), she could have someone else to talk to. The idea of that someone else being Stanley was pretty revolting though . . .

All the tension she'd been holding onto came flooding back to her stomach and throat as Valentine made her (joking?) suggestion, and she was grateful that the shock of it meant she didn't tense up on the outside at all. On one hand, she was pretty sure that they didn't have to worry about dating until they wanted to anyway and Valentine's logic was clearly terrible. At the same time . . . well, there was something appealing about the idea, both practically and otherwise. A niggling thought in the back of her head told Bonabelle she was dangerously close to having to admit to some things she wasn't ready to admit to, but she pushed the thought aside with logic.

"I mean . . . it's not the worst idea," she said slowly. "Like Quidditch practice; you do it with different people than you're going to actually end up playing with. Why can't we?" she asked, noticing that Val had used can't rather than something less definitive. "We can do whatever we want," she added, taking a bold leaf out of her uncle's playbook and giving Valentine a slightly closer snuggle to underscore her point.
22 Bonabelle Row You're the best of all of us. 1488 0 5


June 09, 2021 9:46 AM
The girl who was Head Girl last year. Mab was only vaguely aware of her, being too young to have shared a class with her, and being in different Houses. Mab wasn't in clubs, so they had never run into each other that way either. But from random asides and comment or two from David, yeah. She was pretty sure there was at least biological relation there. The whole thing seemed very complicated to Mab, so she hadn't tried to sort out how anyone was related to anyone who wasn't actively living in Boston with them.

"That's the New Hampshire branch," she said slowly. "My adoptive mom got disowned from them. I'm not clear on why." There were many traits Bel had that would get her thrown out of a family like that. Mab didn't know which was the one that had done it though. "They seem to make a habit of disowning people, and when they get tossed out of New Hampshire, they come to Boston. There's a whole family branch of Boston Pierces now: some got disowned, some were born to it, me and my brothers got adopted into it, and some are . . . David." Mab pulled a confused look and shrugged. She didn't know exactly what was up with David. David obviously used to a New Hampshire Pierce with Bel and Amelia and the Derries; she was even ninety percent sure he had been a Derry himself (Bel did not call him David. Bel called him Two. Bel called the other Derries Three and Four. Presumably there had been a One once, but he didn't live in Boston, and given how old Two was, he was probably dead), but he was calling himself a Price now (weirdly, some of Bel's mail also came addressed to Linda Price so who knew what was going on with that), and there seemed to be a lot of tension between him and the other Boston Pierces. He also didn't get invited to most of their parties. "So it's the Boston Pierces I live with now."

Mab nodded along as Sadie described her family. "We don't know if Reilly will be magical yet," she interjected into the space after Sadie almost called her brother normal. "He's only two." If it was mom who carried the latent gene for it or whatever it was that caused changelings to pop up, he had a chance of it. If it was from Mab's biological father, or some fated combination of the both of them, it was likely Reilly would also be normal. She kind of hoped for his sake he wasn't. It would have to suck, being the only non-magical kid in a family. Being Mom had to be hard enough, marrying into a magical family when she didn't have any herself, but she at least got to make that choice.

"I think that's allowed," Mab confirmed when Sadie admitted to having a favorite grandmother. She was still new to the whole having grandmothers thing, but she wouldn't hesitate to name Amelia as her favorite, but that was mostly because Grandma Beales was still an unknown quantity, and she certainly had never met her paternal grandmother, nor planned to. Cole and Ben's grandma had also told them to call her Grandma, and she looked more like a grandma than Amelia did, but Mab wasn't sure if she counted since Jessica was technically . . . her adoptive mom's adoptive brother's biological mother . . . she didn't even know if there was a word for that. Oh, and also, her adoptive mom's biological cousin's biological mother, if they were going through the other Derry. That was a great-aunt, right? Family relationships got way too complicated way too fast.

"It's parents who can't have favorites," she said, being pretty sure of this rule. She was the favorite daughter though. That was easy. There was only one of her. Reilly and Alexander would have to share favorite son.

"Boston Pierces aren't huge by magical family standards either. It's just me and my brothers, and two cousins in our generation." 'Cousins' was going to have to cut it because she didn't know what else to call the kid of her adoptive mom's adoptive brother's biological brother. Bel and Four were cousins, not siblings, so did that make Cole a second cousin? Or was he a first cousin through adoption? Bel was siblings with Three who was siblings with Four. But Amelia never adopted Four, so did that break the chain?

She'd never had so much trouble defining her family when it was just her and Mom. She thought it was better this way, though. Just more baffling. That was the Fey for you. They would never do something simple and straightforward when they could do it complicated and full of confusing twists and backtracking.

"We all fit in the same room for Christmas anyway." Extra chairs needed to be transfigured, and the table charmed longer, but they fit. Even if David had come, it still would have only been fifteen people, counting Ben's girlfriend.
1 Mab That's okay. So was Mab. I stole it from the Queen of the Fey. 1473 0 5

Henry Spellman

June 10, 2021 8:57 AM
Henry grimaced a bit internally when he realized he'd accidentally cut off his housemate. He hadn't meant too; he'd just been caught up in his own head and slipped up. Mistakes like that were bad news because they led to reputations and reputations were generally best to be avoided, especially when your brother already tended to wear one like a pageant banner. Henry preferred to fly under the radar: keep his head down, follow the rules, play nice, and hope no one ever noticed him.

"Sorry," he mumbled, not wanting to draw more attention to his mistake but also not really wanting to just pretend he hadn't made it at all. He smiled a bit when she talked about her family, both because it sounded nice and because it sounded a bit like she wasn't sure whether it counted as big or not. "My family is just my brother and my mom," he said. "I think mine is small though."

He blinked, not sure how to answer her question about what the lights and decorations looked like. He wasn't sure if that meant she was from such an isolated wizard family that she'd never seen a light bulb, or if she just wasn't familiar with cities. Both were unfathomable to him but he supposed that most of what magic people did was unfathomable to him so it wasn't that unusual.

"Uh . . . well, most of the buildings have little lights on them. They're twinkly lights on strings that they hang up everywhere. And the trees and stuff. And then there's a lot of fake snow and trees and everything is decorated in red and green and silver and blue and stuff. Pictures of Santa and little displays of toys and stuff." Another thought struck him and he wondered at Iris' background in other ways. "Do you guys celebrate Christmas? Or decorate for it?"
22 Henry Spellman You and me both. 1513 0 5

Valentine Duell

June 10, 2021 4:02 PM
Valentine wasn't sure how to react when Bonabelle spoke again and snuggled her tighter. For some reason it seemed like her heart started beating faster. Her friend was very smart, and she wasn't wrong, and she'd even made a Quidditch reference. Bonabelle was wonderful, but… Val turned to look at her friend, "But," she continued where her train of thought had left off, "we're both…" her astute observation trailed off as she turned and her eyes swept over the staff table. More specifically, they swept over their Potions and DADA professors. It was as if she were seeing them for the first time.

They 'were both' as well… As much as Valentine was known for her verbosity, she was also known for her occasional propensity for staring off into space while she processed new ideas. This was just such an occasion. Though her eyes stayed upon the Brooding-Hawthornes, she wasn't seeing them anymore. There was no doubt in her mind that Bonabelle was certainly one of her most beloved people. She was smart, and kind, and helpful, and understanding, and supportive, and a good hugger, and all around wonderful. Still, something held her in limbo instead of immediately agreeing to her own plan. What was it?

Realizing she'd been stalled out, something Bonabelle must be accustomed to by now, she shook her head to clear it and gave Bonabelle a tentative smile. "I guess it really wouldn't be too much different from what we do anyway…" This was a super, carefully calculated statement, designed to hopefully see what Bonabelle thought was all involved. Because Val had no idea. Her experiences with Stanley were hanging out a bit more than normal (she wasn't entirely sure that was possible with Bonabelle), and those cheek kisses he liked to give her (which she still wasn't entirely sure about). "Plus," she added in a slightly more jocular tone, "Papa wasn't entirely thrilled when he heard I was dating Stanley for some reason. Maybe he'll like you better if he somehow hears about it."

Practicing was a good idea though. After that last attempt, she could really use some. Did that mean that Bonabelle wanted some practice as well? She hadn't heard whether anything had come up between her and Wally yet. Though now that she thought about it... Val had noticed her talking a bit more to Stanley than she had before. Was she still trying to figure out if she wanted to date Wally? Maybe this would be a good way that she could help encourage her friend to make whatever move she wanted to make in that direction. "I do think I could use some practice," she said with an odd mixture of encouragement and hesitation.
2 Valentine Duell That's some pretty high expectations... 1490 0 5

Bonabelle Row

June 11, 2021 11:34 AM
Bonabelle flinched some, her eyes widening as she blinked in dull shock at Valentine's near-assertion. The fact that they 'were both' anything hadn't crossed Bonabelle's mind. What would Valentine think of Uncle Killian or of Jean-Loup? Or of the fact that Bonabelle herself wasn't too sure if she wanted to date anyone and, if she did, that it needed to be a male person? Valentine seemed to collect herself and . . . say that they were basically already dating? Or that dating was the same as being friends? Bonabelle's confusion was only growing as the conversation went on and she suddenly found herself not so sure of this half-cocked plan they'd managed to brew. The hesitation in Valentine's voice didn't do much to encourage Bonabelle either; she hadn't exactly just asked someone out but she'd sort of done so and that level of hesitation wasn't exactly the sort of thing to hope for. Probably? She wasn't too sure how this all worked. If it worked.

"One problem," she said, speaking slowly as she calculated out each word coming out of her mouth. "If you do find someone you'd like to date, then you'd have to break up with me," she pointed out with a frown. It didn't cross her mind to consider that she herself might find someone to date so she didn't include herself in the hypothetical. "Who--" She cut herself off quickly. "What do you want?"
22 Bonabelle Row I don't have expectations, only fact-based statements based on observations. 1488 0 5

Valentine Duell

June 11, 2021 5:59 PM
Oh-no. She'd messed up. Bonabelle was upset. Her friend was not one to show emotions much, so Val had needed to learn the smallest signal from Bonabelle. Now she tried to listen as her friend talked in that slow methodical voice that she used when she was being careful with what she said. The problem was that Val wasn't sure what was going on behind them. Was Bonabelle angry with her? Was she worried or scared? Were they going to fight?! Nononono... that couldn't happen. She tried to contain the anguish she felt from reaching her face, but she wasn't entirely successful.

It also seeped its way out into her voice, "If... if we broke up," she shot an unconscious glance towards the Pecari table, "We couldn't be friends anymore?" She could not imagine going thought the rest of her time at Sonora avoiding Bonabelle the way she had been... not actively seeking out Stanley's company. There was no way she would make it. All the more reason to make up a little bit with him? Just to show it could be done? What had happened to this just being a scheme to keep other people from asking them out so they didn't have to date yet?

Valentine tried to pull herself back together. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "I don't know." She admitted, still quietly apologetic. "I don't know what I want" Then she gave Bonabelle a hopeful smile, "I do know I still want you around. More than that..." she sighed wistfully. "I just don't know..." She snapped herself out of her reverie and looked at Bonabelle with a look resembling determination. "What do you want? How can I help?"
2 Valentine Duell Well, to counterpoint. I think you're the best. So there. 1490 0 5

Bonabelle Row

June 11, 2021 7:55 PM
Valentine was sad and it was Bonabelle's fault. Bonabelle, the one who was supposed to be making her friend feel better, was doing a terrible job of it and missing the whole thing up. She'd gone and made it worse now and she gave her friend a more reassuring squeeze, forcing herself to breathe deeply and smile a little to show that she was relaxing. And to actually make herself relax but that was less successful than the theatrical part of things.

"I'll always be your friend," she promised, confident she could at least upheld that side of the deal and uncomfortable making a statement like we will always be friends when half of that was up to Valentine. Bonabelle wouldn't really want to be her own friend so she couldn't really blame the Teppenpaw if this didn't work out. "And . . . well, we can be girlfriends if you want," she said. She hated that she could do a lot to control her expression but very little to control the color that rose in her cheeks. "We can figure out what that means. Practice."

She smiled a bit more genuinely and openly when Valentine turned the question back to her, offering to help and trying to fix things in a very Teppenpaw way. It was weird and not very effective but hey, not everyone could be all about logic. "I just want you, Val. You're my best friend. I want you to be happy." It was one of the truest things Bonabelle had ever said.
22 Bonabelle Row No you don't. :( 1488 0 5

Valentine Duell

June 12, 2021 7:21 AM
Bonabelle knew her so well. Valentine returned her friend's squeeze and leaned into her a bit more. "I will always be yours as well," she promised in return feeling a great relief washing over her. Bonabelle didn't hate her. The thought of not having her first ever and one of her best friends around had scared her nearly to death. Val saw her friend color at the suggestion of being girlfriends and followed suit.

"I think I would like that..." there was still a bit of hesitation in her voice, "but I'm not sure I'm all that good of a girlfriend yet. I need lots of practice." Practice was good. Deep down she knew she loved Bonabelle lots, and not so deep down she knew she loved Bonabelle lots as well, but... she just wasn't sure if she felt that Bonabelle was her 'one true love' that all the storybooks talked about. She hadn't felt that way towards Stanley either, but she'd been curious and wanted to see what would happen. Well, she had learned what happened if you dated someone who wasn't your 'one true love'. It hadn't been the most pleasant experience in the world. She really didn't want that to happen with Bonabelle. But they had promised to always be friends, so she could count on that.

Some of the problem, she thought was that while she loved and cared for a bunch of people here, she didn't feel like anyone of them felt different, or 'more special' to her. Was her 'one true love' not here? Maybe she just wasn't quite old enough yet... even though she was practically fourteen years old. She blushed more when Bonabelle said she just wanted her, and she wanted her to be happy. It was so sincere that she couldn't help but to pull her friend even closer yet... if that was possible. "I'll tell you a secret," Valentine nearly whispered into Bonabelle's ear, "the thing that makes me happiest is when all the people I love are happy. So do what you can to make yourself happy and let me help you to make you happy as well."
2 Valentine Duell I absolutely do. <3 1490 0 5

Iris Cobb

June 12, 2021 8:31 AM
Iris causally wave away Henry's apology. "It's fine," she replied simply. At least he seemed apologetic for the minor slight, so that was okay. He only had his brother and a mother? She couldn't quite imagine a family that small. Who did the teaching and the doctoring? Who hunted and who managed the gardens? She thought about all of the different jobs that her various aunts, uncles and cousins had that made their little community function up on the mountain. She knew this is why it was a little odd for her and Billy to be gone for a lot of time. Even though they were young, they still had some jobs to do that other people now had to cover while they were here at school learning things.

It's true they weren't big, difficult, or important jobs, but they would be learning to do the work and keep the community functioning, and getting more important jobs as they got older. Now that they were here so much of the time though... what would happen? What would they do on the mountain once they had graduated? Well... she was pretty sure Billy was planning to run off and explore the world without looking back, so she suspected it didn't bother him none. What was she going to do though? She was learning magical things, but she couldn't use them around her 'muggle' relatives. What good was this education going to serve?

Those were thoughts for another time though, she smiled politely back at Henry, "That does seem a little small to me. But any family is better than none." She listened to him describe the decorations that he and his family went out to see. There was little doubt in her mind afterwards that he came from a magical background. Little, twinkly lights on strings, fake snow? "That sound magical. We celebrate Christmas." Iris nodded, "We've got our traditional tree that we decorate with some baubles and things. We do some singing, trade some simple presents." She shrugged, it was nothing terribly exciting, but something fun to look forward to. There was one question she had for Henry though, "Who's Santa?"
2 Iris Cobb Is there anything safe to get excited about? 1526 0 5

Bridget Ferguson

June 13, 2021 2:56 PM
Bridget knew that she was very different from her roommates. She lived a different lifestyle and while she tried not to judge them-she didn't really have the energy for it-she often worried that wouldn't be reciprocated. She knew there were those who didn't approve of the world she lived in and that there were stereotypes people had of purebloods and especially pureblood girls, such as that they were prissy and snobby. Which she didn't think she was and those who actually were didn't seem to really approve of Bridget, like her step-grandmother. Of course, that could also be because of the fact that the Teppenpaw was a reminder of Grandfather's indiscretions.

So, she genuinely said very little about going to parties and stuff like that for fear of how she would look. Which meant that she actually did sort of empathize with Zara about not being able to share parts of her life with people. That was why Bridget didn't say much. It was just that they were differents things that weren't shared. Everyone in her family knew about magic and nothing was really a secret-from each other. However, she didn't like to talk about her family not just because some people had stereotypes about wealthy purebloods, but because it was big and complicated and some stuff on her mom's side was structured weird to the point where Bridget had to take a step back to remember just how she was related to any given person.

"That must be hard." She replied sympathetically. Of course, when Zara mentioned multiple celebrations, she could understand that perfectly."It was the same here. I mean, everyone knows about magic, but just the part about having to get together with different parts of my family and being always on the go. Trying to pack a lot into a short period of time. It's...not terribly relaxing. The best parts were when it was just my parents and me."

Hopefully Zara would just take that as Bridget just being...the sort who preferred quiet down-time and not...ask too much about her family life in general. That was generally what she tried to avoid ever since the Challenges when holiday traditions had come up. She supposed it would be okay if her roommate asked about Mama's health, but she couldn't even remember if she'd ever alluded to even that being a thing she worried about in front of the other Teppenpaw.

Now what else could Bridget say? She wanted to get Zara talking about herself but not risk a question that could be turned back on her. "I'm sort of glad to be back though. Even with all the...schoolwork, it still feels less hectic somehow. Though of course I miss my parents." Missing one's parents was,she felt, a perfectly natural and acceptable thing. Bridget was sure, for example, that Lydia missed her parents and it wasn't at all a comment on anything unusual about a situation. "I'm glad we don't have tests this year though, it's nice to have a year off from that. Are you looking forward to the bonfire?"
11 Bridget Ferguson Yes, stuff 1448 0 5