Tobbstone, School of Wizardy and Witchcraft
Long shadows stretched unto the grass as the light of the moon seeped through the arms of the trees. Somewhere in the distance, a lone tower clock struck midnight, a solemn bell ringing out twelve times to a slumbering village. The fields were succumbed by the night, the silver moonlight unable to completely chase away the darkness, only serving to illuminate the old twisted trees into monstrous figures with crooked fingers, reaching to the sky. The cry of an owl cut through the silence of the night, answered by another. The moon was full that night, the late-summer air still pleasantly warm, despite the absence of the sun.
The line of trees gave way to the shadowed green of a rolling hilltop, a crown of stone seeming to reach out towards the moon. A soft orange glow seemed to radiate from within its centre, the flickering flames of a large fire casting large shadows upon the ground, illuminating the cobblestone square the boulders encircled. A small crowd had already gathered around the fire, while through the large stone archways, more and more people flooded in seemingly from nowhere, carrying suitcases and bags with them. With each new visitor, a flicker of light could be briefly seen between the stone pillars, the slightest burst of flames flaring then fading away.
For most students, their journey to Tobbstone would start at their nearest Hearthub, where they would present the Tobbstone Pin to the hearth. Two months before, that little silver pin had been delivered by owl along with the acceptance letter. The letter had offered a modest congratulations, extended towards the new pupil, before listing off the instructions for new students. There were booklists and mentions of required items, to be purchased before the start of the year. Most importantly, it stressed, was that the Tobbstone pin was vital to be admitted into the Hedge. Without it, they would be unable to reach the square from which the final part of their Journey started. Until the pin was presented to the hearth, the fire wouldn't open the connection. Upon stepping into the fire, the entrance to the Hedge would be revealed to them, allowing them to emerge within the stone circle through one of the twelve arches.
Five wooden carriages stood within the Henge's centre, towering high above the crowd. Tall, heavy wheels lifted the wagon nearly five feet above the ground, stairs leading up towards the welcoming glow from its opened door. The carriages were shaped almost like log cabins, with sturdy wooden walls and a shingled roof. Small, cast-iron lanterns dangled from the sides, attracting the attention of a few stray moths. The lantern's lights seemed to differ from carriage to carriage, one casting a soft blue hue around the entrance, where the next one flickered a bright green. The carriage right beside that one sported a bright red flame, with it's neighbour flaunting a cleansing white. They were the four house-carriages, each carrying the students from one of the four houses.
Four horses stood before each carriage, the magnificent creatures the size of elephants. They were a deep grey, with long, black manes falling over strong, thick necks, leading to heavily muscled torsos. Each horse carried itself on eight, large-hoofed legs, which scraped over the cobblestone in impatience. They were an impressive sight to behold, strength and finesse combined into these twenty magnificent creatures. They were Sleipnirri – a race of horses known for both their speed and strength, though one needed a strong hand to direct them. They were powerful and spirited creatures, loyal, though difficult to tame.
“All first-years gather here!” A voice called out on the square, belonging to a tall, white-haired wizard. Standing at an impressive six foot and eight inches, the wild-haired man was easily spotted from a distance. Golden half-moon glasses were perched upon a steep, thin nose, from which behind equally golden eyes gazed around the faces gathering before him. Despite his white hair, the man appeared to be in his late twenties, early thirties perhaps. He was stood beside the fifth carriage, an ordinary flame flickering in the lantern behind him. A girl stood at his side, marking off names from a long list with each student that passed into the carriage, while the white-haired wizard levitated the marked trunks into the belly of the wagon.
All throughout the square, small orbs of light seemed to dance within the air, perpetually in motion. Even at “rest”, they seemed to quiver and jolt. They seemed to emit a soft, gentle song, a delicate melody sounding through hundreds of tiny voices.
Though the wheeled cabins looked small and humble at first, upon stepping through its door, a large hall stretched out inside it. A large fireplace flickered at the far end of the cosily decorated room, before which a few sofas and chairs had been arranged. The dark wood floor was largely covered by elaborately detailed carpets of a largely red colour, of which the edges seemed to retell a story if one would look closely enough upon the scenes woven into its borders in muted hues.
From the outside, the windows had appeared to be small, showing scarcely a peek of the interior. From inside, however, the glass seemed to dominate the centre of each wall, stretched nearly from floor to ceiling, allowing an almost full view of the scene around them. They were framed by heavy, red curtains, tied back with golden rope.
The left wall of the interior had a table stretched alongside it, from which a buffet of snack food had been made available. Bowls of punch in brightly hued colours stood next to dishes full of Butterflutters -the candy that flutters in your mouth!-, Rainbow Snaps and plates of assorted chocolates. A bit further along, a large oval plate boasted an impressive selection of fruit. With the long journey ahead, no-one needed to fear going hungry.
A flutter of balls of light streamed into the carriage, shooting up towards the ceiling to brighten the room. One of the balls of light perched itself onto the edge of a bowl of punch, right in front of a student, who stared at the creature in wonder. From closer by, the ball of light appeared to be a small, almost human-like figure, with slender limbs and a back curved in an almost exaggerated S. It's mouth was slightly pointed, almost beak-like in appearance, and two beady eyes hoovered above a pointed nose. Two wings sprouted from its back and, like the “hair” dancing around it's head, seemed to consist of pure flames. Tiny hands reached for the sugary liquid, the petite Fae's known for their love of sweetness. Moments later, it fluttered back towards the rest of its kin.
Of course, the first years were not left unsupervised. Scattered through the room, four third-year students mingled in the crowd, one representing each house. They were there not only to keep an eye on the younger students, but also to help answer questions and offer advice to those that wished for it. They had experienced all that Tobbstone had to offer for themselves, and could give an idea to the new pupils as to what they could expect.
Golden eyes peered at a clock, wide as they watched the small black hands tick. Come on, come oooon. The words fluttered through her mind as her eyes slanted a bit, head tilting as her lips pursed.Ever since recieving the letter of accentance, the girl had been eagerly awaiting the moment of departure. Not that she wanted to get away from her family - oh, no, she loved her parents. But the idea of being off and learning magic sounded splendid.
"You can stare at it all you want, Lee. It's still only ten thirty." The voice of her father sounded from behind the teenager, amusement peaking his voice. "You can't will the time to go faster."
"But midnight is forever away!" The seventeen year old whined in a rare moment of childishness. Flopping around in her chair like a fish out of water, until she reached a comfortable position. Kicking her feet up over the arm, she tugged a book over towards her and decided to pass the next bit of time reading. The passage to the meeting ground did not open for another hour, not allowing students to gather too early. So, she had some time to waste, and was far too stoked to relax or try to sleep.
The girl had been waiting for her acceptance to Tobbstone since forever. At least, it felt that way. Really it had only been for a year or so, since she realized she would soon be of age. Her mother had once attended Tobbstone as an Alerion student. She wore the fact rather proudly, one of the few things from her past she tended to be so proud of. So, when her daughter had recieved the acceptance letter, her family had been thrilled. Even though her father had never attended Tobbstone, nor any magic school, he couldn't have been happier himself.
What little extra money the family had over the next few months had gone to getting her school supplies. It wasn't much, her parents being a modest duo consisting of a beautician witch and a bicycle crafter NIMWIND. But, the girl was going off to school with fresh robes, decently-used books, and a 'new' wand she had picked up from a local shop. It had cost a fair amount, but her mother had simply insisted that she would not go off to the school without a wand of her own. The girl was already going to be mocked enough for her lineage, she didn't need anything else against her.
Finally, eleven-thirty struck, and the girl bounded off the chair. Quickly, the student tugged on her shoes. In contrast to her normally bright-clothed attire, the student donned her new Tobbstone vest, skirt, and socks. She fiddled with the slate tie. She looked forward to seeing the colors of her house painted across it the next day. The hopeful house was proudly displayed in her short hair, the strands of cinnamon red and bright yellow proudly shining. An earlier dollop of Whipping Winds Mousse had her locks dancing atop her head, as if in a violent windstorm, the locks appearing like a wild fire.
Walking over to the doorway, the family soon made their way to the nearby hearthhub. A few goodbyes and hugs later, and the girl was ready to go. Stepping into the hearth, it only took a moment for the magic to register her Tobbstone pin, and transfer her to the plateau where the students were scheduled to meet.
Landing shakily on uncertain feet, the girl stepped out from under one of the many stone archways. Her black leather Mary-Jane thudded on the grass as she look in the scene. It was unlike any other Leelee had ever seen. A large fire the size of a two story house blazed in the middle of the stone ring, fire reflecting against the five wooden carriages. A voice called out for all first-years, and Leelee followed it. Placing her trunk down, she offered up her name before it was levitated away.
Stepping inside, the girl's golden eyes looked around happily. From outside, the carriage didn't look like anything too spectacular. But, inside, it was huge, with candy and drinks ready for the students. Scooping a handful of chocolates, she plopped some of the candy into her mouth and allowed it to warm. She watched the lovely Fae above her as they hummed a gentle tune. Wow, this place was already impressing her. Looking around the carriage, she found an empty seat next to another first-year girl, with big green eyes and an aura that seemed to speak of shyness. Never one to let timidity step in her way, the redhead plopped beside the girl and smiled. "Hi," She offered, broad, slightly oversized, smile shining at the girl. "I'm Leelee. Excited about your first year?" She questioned.
Last edited by TehNemesis; 10-02-2012 at 08:16 PM.
Breathe a lie
The golden hair wound upon the top of Loraine Le Feuvre’s head shone in the morning glow like caged sunlight. It was what Poppy’s eyes seemed drawn to as she and her brother trailed behind their mother’s dark skirts like they were still small children and not fully grown, both standing taller than the austere woman.
Charlie, her sweet brother, her best friend, leaned his head toward Poppy and gave a cheerful grin. He was excited. Poppy was not, though she wished she could have been, for him. The letters they had received earlier in the summer meant different things to each Le Feuvre child. Charlie wore his entrance pin proudly, silver glistening against the black of his vest. Her own pin was left in her night stand drawer. There had been a time when Poppy had foolishly considered renouncing any magical claim, but no longer. Tobbstone was where she belonged, and she should have been elated, should have shared in her brother’s jubilation - perhaps there had been a time when she would have. But nothing thrilled her anymore, not since Oliver.
Realizing she had been doing little more than staring at him and drowning in self-pity, Poppy forced her lips into a smile, the action hurting her cheeks. She held tight her protesting facial muscles until Charlie’s attention was blessedly drawn to a cluster of women as they passed, corsets lifting ample bosoms. Summer’s warmth lingered despite the approach of fall, and the women made use of the pleasant weather.
“You know, mum,” Charlie began, eyes finally drifting back toward their mother as the girls rounded a corner down the street. “We don’t need wands. The school provides one for us, and-”
“Those pitiful things,” their mother cut through his words like a knife to butter, “are for the commoners. My children will not arrive at Tobbstone wandless. Nor will they talk back to their superiors. Silence, Charles. You shall both acquire a wand from Solomon’s. I will hear no more on the subject. Understood?”
Charlie’s face fell and he took to browsing the window boxes as he mumbled an “of course mother”, though he did not actually register what the shops held. To expect anything else from the woman who had bore him was foolish. She was, in a word, oblivious. Distant and frigid also came to mind. The woman did not understand anything outside of how it would appear to others of high standing, something Charlie had never bothered to care about.
Beside him, he noticed Poppy taking shallow deep breaths. It would have been an unnoticeable act to most anyone, but Charlie had watched her use them to steady herself emotionally since she was a small girl. Her hands were clasped in front of her, a seemingly relaxed state if you did not notice the white of her knuckles.
Charlie leaned over and their shoulders brushed slightly, offering a small smile which she returned with a brief but true one, far superior to the faux grin she’d given moments before. She rarely smiled anymore. It seemed the only one’s able to dredge any happiness from deep within her were himself or her mare, and even then the joy never reached her eyes like it used to.
They neared the shop, a grand expanse of dark wood and windows that occupied the street corner, a hanging sign above the door stating in flourished calligraphy that it was Solomon’s. No mention of what the store held, though he supposed there was not a soul who did not know of Solomon’s wands. Charlie hurriedly stepped around his mother, holding open the door for the women to enter like a proper gentleman.
Their mother strode through first, Poppy trailing along and Charlie bringing up the rear as he let the door fall shut behind them. Solomon’s was like stepping into another world. The sunlight outside did not quote penetrate, tall shelves holding long thin boxes that collected dust, motes kicked up with their entry. An ornate counter sat nestled between two rows of shelving, scenes of battling monsters carved into the dark wood face. A dozen more shelves stretched along behind it. A tall, reed-like man sat at the counter, receding gray hair slicked back, round glasses perched atop his beak of a nose.
Poppy had a moment to note how dour the man appeared, before his eyes peered over the glass of his spectacles and took in each Le Feuvre, one by one. Loraine first, as she was the one who stalked up to the counter, chin up, lips pursed, like she were some sort of queen. Charlie next, as he was a full head plus some taller than their mother, standing there with an overly pleasant grin. Poppy was last, those black eyes boring into her and reaching down to her soul. She would have shivered, had he not looked away just as quickly as his scrutinizing gaze had come
“My children are to attend Tobbstone, they are in need of wands,” their mother announced. "I would prefer we walk out with them today." The man let out a breathy “hmph” as his gaze returned to the brilliantly carved piece of red wood he held, settling the wand into a velvet lined box and replacing it's lid. “For Charles, something strong, like a mahogany, or an oak. For Poppy, perhaps something in an apple…” Solomon did not appear to be listening to the woman, his attention instead turning down a row of shelving. He stood, gray suit seemingly made of condensed dust, and wandered into a stack before Loraine had even finished speaking, her words trailing off into pursed lips and clenched jaw.
The man appeared a few moments later, carrying three boxes in his right hand, two in his left. He set them onto the counter and resumed his seat. “Children step forward,” he commanded in a voice that seemed far too deep to be coming from someone so frail.
Poppy obeyed, stepping up to the two boxes, noting that beside her Charlie now stood before the other three. Solomon began with her brother.
Charlie was unsure why, but he seemed to be holding his breath as the man standing before him lifted the lid off the first box. Inside sat a wand, thick, stout, made of a pale wood. It had a simple oval handle, and Solomon plucked it from the velvet lined box and held it out for Charlie to take.
“Oak, as the lady requested,” Solomon’s voice echoed around Charlie as he grasped the wand. It sent a tingle through his palm, an almost painful jolt. “This specific wand,” the man continued, “holds a dragon heart string core. How does it feel?”
The last was directed at Charlie, who gave a shrug. How was he supposed to know? It felt…like magic, he supposed. “It feels alright. I can feel the magic in it,” he replied honestly.
Solomon’s lips pursed and he plucked the wand from Charlie’s hand, nestling it back into its velvet bed before moving to the next. “Mahogany, Griffin claw core. How does this one feel?”
Charlie was given the long, dark wooden wand. Its handle was done in a series of circles, almost like beads. As he took hold of it, he felt…strange. It brought a frown to his face, and before thinking he said, “I don’t like this one,” and handed it back.
The third wand was a slightly lighter wood than the last, the only thing denoting it’s handle two rings, one at the base and the other a few inches down the wand’s shaft. Charlie took hold of it and it sung. “Hawthorn, with a Unicorn Hair core,” Solomon announced.
“It’s…better,” Charlie admitted, turning the wand over in his hand as he studied it, fingertips brushing over the smooth wood. “There’s still something…not right, though.”
Solomon nodded, tapping a pen against a pad of paper. He stepped suddenly to a shelf just to his right as Charlie returned the current wand to its box. He was handed another wand, this one made of some other pale wood, the entire thing done in a carved swirl. “Beech, with a core of Pegasus wing feather,” Solomon informed.
Charlie frowned as he looked down at the wand. “This one isn't quite right either,” he sighed, handing it back.
Solomon just nodded, said, “hawthorn, Pegasus,” and moved around the counter to peruse the shelving behind it. He pulled a box with an "aha!" and brought it forward, presenting it to Charlie with a slight grin.
Charlie took the box, pulling the lid off slowly to reveal a wand that was average in length, but rich in character. The thick handle was done in an elegantly carved swirl, caped at the base. A ring separated it from the shaft, which tapered elegantly. "It is beautiful," he heard himself whisper as he withdrew it from the velvet case. It settled into his hand like...magic.
Poppy had watched the wand maker while he worked with her brother, noting how he scribbled things down on a pad of paper as Charlie examined each wand. When he mumbled, "hawthorn, Pegasus,” she realized what it was he was doing. Gauging Charlie’s reaction to various woods and cores, deeming what would suit him. And the man was spot on. Poppy watched the light fill Charlie's eyes as he took hold of that wand.
When her turn came, she was nervous. She had done some reading on wand wood and cores, and knew hawthorn was a wood for a person of power, strength. It fit Charlie. What wood and core would fit her best? she wondered, as Solomon lifted the lid off the first box. Inside sat a pale peachy wood, done in a series of circles and ovals along the handle. “Apple, with a phoenix tail father core,” Solomon said softly, holding it out to her. Poppy took it tentatively, letting its slight weight settle against her palm. “How does this feel?” she was asked.
It felt…like nothing, really. It was smooth wood, well crafted. But she felt no tingle of magic as Charlie had spoken off. “I feel…nothing,” she said simply, placing the wand back into its velvet casing. Solomon wrote something onto his paper and Poppy worked to keep the frown from her face.
Solomon produced a second wand. This was a pale white, carved in a swirling pattern much like the last wand Charlie had been presented. “Willow, with a unicorn hair core.”
Poppy felt…something. It was slight, like a cool calm slowly seeping into her where she grasped the smooth wood. “I feel…something.” How did she explain it, exactly? "The wood is…pleasant?” That was not exactly right, but it would have to do. Another note jotted down.
The two fell into something of a repetitious dance, Solomon disappearing down an aisle, producing another wand which Poppy would take. Solomon would jot down notes on what she said of each wand.
They had been through nearly half a dozen, when Solomon nodded once again, wandering down yet another row of shelves. When he emerged, Poppy had tucked away the latest wand, setting its lid back in place. She was presented another wand, this one pure black and glistening despite the faint light. It was short, perhaps eight inches in length, and had no discernible handle. How odd, Poppy thought. A wand was supposed to have a handle.
“Ebony, with a serpent scale core,” Solomon informed her only after she had accepted it. She was not sure she’d have touched it had he said so beforehand. The wand sent strange prickles into her palm.
“It…tingles,” she said softly. Solomon wrote something else on his pad of paper before taking the wand from her and putting the tool away.
“I have determined a good match for both children,” Solomon told their mother. Now that the matches had been made he seemed to have little interest for either one. “The boy can walk out with his today, but I'm afraid the combination I have deemed suitable for the girl will have to be custom ordered. It will be ready in four weeks.” Just in time for classes. "Is this acceptable? If not I am sure we could find something in stock that would be passable..."
"Custom ordered is fine," Loraine Le Feuvre said, paying the morose old man before beckoning for her children to follow her back to the fresh air of the street outside.
Charlie's mind was on spinning with all that Tobbstone promised as he eagerly waited for the minutes to tick by, unable to stay still for very long. He paced before the hearth, as he had been doing for the last hour, back and forth, back and forth, impatient hands mussing his hair. He wore the standard grey attire the school required, white dress shirt tucked into pressed pants and covered by a matching sweater vest. For now his tie remained blank, but soon enough he would be placed in the appropriate house and adorned with it's colors. It made him wonder, not for the first time, what house best suited him. His father had been an Abraxen, hard-working and determined - a true embodiment of the house's characteristics.
Charlie's gaze fell to the portrait hanging above the hearth, where his father lay immortalized in thick paints. Charlie and his sister looked far more like the late Nolan Le Feuvre than their mother; tall in stature, with the man's strong jaw-line. Charlie wished he'd had more time with the man, and, silly as it might be, a part of Charlie hoped to follow in his father's footsteps and be of the Abraxen house. Jaculus would be his last choice - being like his mother was not something he would be extremely proud of. As much as he loved the woman, she was not the type of person one should idolize, in his opinion.
As Loraine Le Feuvre rounded the corner Charlie's cheeks flushed, guilt filling his stomach over the thoughts he'd been having moments before. "Where is your sister? Is she not ready?" The woman barked, tapping the glass of her diamond studded watch. "It is almost time you two be off."
"No, mother. She is nervous, I think. Shall I go retrieve her?" Charlie offered.
"No, I will send Harriet. Harriet!" The little old woman appeared, listened to her employer's instructions, and scuttled off. His mother's attention was now free for other things, namely Charlie's attire. He watched her eyes take in every aspect, looking for flaws as she would when he were a child. By now, however, he was quite adept at dressing himself and the woman found no faults despite her scrutiny being interrupted by the entrance of Poppy.
Poppy sat at her vanity, a large expanse of mirror encased by intricate white woodwork, brushing out her hair. She wore the base uniform of Tobbstone, crisp new white shirt tucked into the grey skirt that fell to her knees, somehow managing to be long enough despite her taller-than-average stature. Oh, the wonders of magic. Poppy set her brush down with a sigh, eyes falling to the silver pin attached to the breast of her vest. The schools emblem seemed to glow despite the low light, mocking her. Her eyes drifted up until she looked into her own face reflected back at her.
"I am excited to begin my schooling," she assured herself. "I am excited to learn magic, and move onto this latest chapter in my life." The mantra had little affect on her current emotional state. She felt no jubilation by merely saying it was so. Another sigh, and Poppy stood, picking up her brush to set it in the open suitcase lying atop her bed. She was clicking the locks shut when a knock sounded at her door. "Come in," she called out.
"Miss Poppy," Harriet's soft voice floated into Poppy's ears like a balm to her soul. The old woman had always been something of a grandmother in Poppy's eyes, taking care of she and her brother while their mother was off planning dinner parties and the like. "Your mother is expecting you downstairs, dear. It is time you and Master Charles were off to that school of yours." A NIMWIND with no magical abilities herself, Harriet had always been looked down upon, though Poppy had never seen her as anything less than wonderful.
A smile spread Poppy's lips and she tapped the suitcase over a little star mark on it's face, activating it's charm. The bag rose as she stepped forward and spoke, following after her. "I am coming." Her other two bags floated near the door, following along with the third as Poppy exited her room, giving it one final look over her shoulder before the door was pulled shut by Harriet. A hand landed on her arm and she turned to find the old woman smiling up at her, wrinkles more pronounced than ever as her face squished together.
"You quit worrying, now," the woman ordered kindly. She had always known what Poppy was feeling, despite how the girl tried to hide. "You'll do fine at that school." She gave Poppy's arm a pat. "Life moves on."
Downstairs Charlie stood before the fireplace, hands clasped behind his back, while their mother studied him. Upon entry her mother's scrutiny was turned toward her, taking in every fold and tuck of her uniform until the woman deemed her presentable. Atop the mantle a domed clock gave an excited toll, alerting them to the time: 11:45 pm.
"It is time you both are off," their mother stated. "I will write you both, I expect a letter in return once you are settled." With that she swept out of the room in a flurry of skirts, too busy to even see her children off. Poppy swallowed silly tears that threatened to run down her cheeks. Harriet was there, tugging both children into a hug. Charlie smiled at her over the old woman's shoulder and Poppy's feelings of despair dissipated.
"Are you ready?" Charlie asked as their nursemaid let them both go, eyes sparkling with unshed tears. Poppy nodded, taking his proffered hand. Behind them their bags hovered after them, as if tethered by invisible cords. In Charlie's other hand he held a gilded wire cage in which their owl, Hermes, sat perched. Hand in hand, together as always, Charlie with a gleeful grin and Poppy's face subdued, they stepped into the waiting flames and were whisked away.
As Charlie stepped forth from the flames he pulled Poppy along, her grip on his hand almost crushing bone. His sister never had cared much for traveling along the FireFlitting Network. He gave her a reassuring squeeze and her hold on his lessened as he pulled her away from the bonfire and through a stone archway toward a line of waiting carriages. He gave his sister a nudge as the massive equines pulling their second mode of transportation came into view. Beside him Poppy gasped, murmuring, "Sleipnir," in wonder.
Charlie watched as students shuffled about, those who were older and sporting house colors heading toward the carriages with corresponding flames. "All first years, gather here!" A voice rang out above the crowd, drawing his attention to a fifth carriage, this with a normal flame lighting it's lantern. Charlie tugged Poppy along, knowing she wished to go pet the mammoth animals and doubting it were allowed - not that something like that would stop her. They made it to the front of the crowd, where a young wizard with the hair of an old man stood near the fifth carriage. Their suitcases were whisked away to be stored with the rest of the student's luggage. He kept a firm grip on the owl cage, knowing Poppy would be angry with him if he were to let the animal be stored under the carriages as though he were nothing but another belonging.
Before he entirely realized what was happening Poppy's hand had slipped from his own and she'd wandered off toward the horses. He was more worried of her getting into trouble than her being injured by one of the colossal beasts. He might have been worried one of the thirty-two feet among them would trample her, were she not more skilled with animals than any he'd seen before - be it rabbit or horse or owl, Animals adored his sister.
"Name?" the wizard asked, pulling him back into the present.
"Charlie and Poppy Le Furve," he answered. The woman standing beside the wild-haired wizard quickly checked them off the list she held.
"I only see the one of you," the teacher stated. "Where is the other?" He followed Charlie's gaze to where Poppy stood beside one of the Sleipnir, hand reaching out to pat it's extended nose. A man approached her, and the tension eased from the teacher before him. "Ah, no worry. Silas will retrieve her."
Poppy could not resist any longer. Hand slipping from Charlie's she stepped around a group of girls dressed in the same basic uniform she wore, toward the magnificent horses before her. Sleipnir were immense in size, standing a good ten feet tall on their eight strong legs. They were uncommon and picky as to who they let tame them, though loyal to whomever found themselves so lucky. She'd long wished to meet one. Never had she imagined she would see twenty of them.
She approached slowly, hand extended as she cooed to the nearest stallion. "Hello, sweet boy." It studied her with one large brown eye as she drew closer. "May I pat your nose?" She asked him politely. They stood in a moment of silence, broken by the horse's huffing exhale as it lowered it's great head within her reach. "That's a good boy," Poppy said with a smile, hand descending upon it's silken nose. Thick hairs tickled her palm as she stroked him, letting the horse familiarize itself with her scent. Each was a dark grey with a thick black main and tail - exact copies if you did not look close enough. Poppy noted the scar upon it's inner front right leg, lighter grey and uncovered by hair. It had a white star on it's forehead, the one next to it a larger, upside down oblong teardrop on it's snout. Different, so very different.
Her examinations were interrupted by a voice behind her, a deep rumbling like abrading stones. "Please leave the Sleipnir alone, Miss. You could get hurt. Registration's over there."
"I meant no harm. I find most animals are quite gentle despite negative assessments," she mused as she stroked the animal's snout. "He wont hurt me." Her voice changed as she again cooed to the animal. "Will you, sweet boy?" She looked to the man over her shoulder, then, offering him the slightest of smiles. He was a short man, standing at least six inches shorter than herself, though he was easily three times as wide in the shoulders. He was too old to be a student, so that left only a Professor of some sort. She gave the Sleipnir one last pat before stepping away, not wanting to get herself into trouble before even reaching campus. "My apologies."
Eyes as deep a grey as the horses before her studied Poppy for a moment before he gave her a nod. "Indeed. Please, join the other first years in the carriage. We will be leaving soon."
She passed him with a nod and approached a frowning Charlie. "What is wrong?" she asked softy.
"You shouldn't flirt with a Professor," he scolded as they neared the stairs that led into the carriage. Poppy took them one at a time, a slight frown tugging at her lips. She hadn't been aware she were flirting.
Charlie did not like the playful smile Poppy wore as she spoke to the Professor who'd gone to collect her. He wished he could hear what they were saying. As his sister returned he knew he was frowning at her, and she asked him after his change in attitude. "You shouldn't flirt with a Professor," he hissed to her as they neared the carriage. She did not respond, though a frown pulled at her lips as she entered the carriage.
Inside it was ten times the size it had appeared, the wall to his right held a long table filled with an expanse of edible delights, the rest of the room scattered with furniture that was quickly being occupied by fellow first-years. He followed after Poppy, who quickly found them seats on a small couch on the far side of the buffet table that seated only two, with enough room to set Hermes' cage down in front of them without him being in the way of walking feet. Poppy's attention was all for the owl so Charlie wandered after the display of food, ignoring the meats and fine cheeses in favor of sweets. Returning to their seat he offered Poppy a Rainbow snap which she took, the fingers of her other hand pushed between the cage bars to stroke Hermes.
"You were mistaken earlier," she snapped at him finally. "I was not flirting, merely having a short conversation pertaining to the unfair assessment of animals," she bit out before placing the candy on her tongue.
Charlie put up his hands in surrender, not wanting to fight. "Sorry, my mistake. So, what house do you want to be placed in?" he asked around his candy, seeking a change in subject.
Poppy let the candy change from strawberry to orange in her mouth as she contemplated her brother's question. She'd given little thought as to which house she wished to be placed. "Whichever house you end up in," she finally admitted, pathetic as it sounded. She wasn't sure what she would do without her brother after having had him beside her for the last seventeen years.
Charlie just gave her a smile - he didn't think her pitiful, at least. "Even if we get stuck in different houses, you know I'm always there for you, Poppy," he assured.
She gave him a small smile as orange flavor continued to fill her mouth. "I know."
Last edited by Manic; 11-04-2012 at 01:49 AM.
It seemed the days since receiving his Tobbstone letter of acceptance had ticked slowly by for Zavier. The dreaded hours spent shopping, new clothes - to no real end, after all, the school required uniform - books and most important wands had been purchased. Parchment, quills, ink galore had sat securely fastened in a sleek leather bag, hung upon a hook in his room, awaiting the day they became useful. The sleep black bag shone his family crest, with a - prematurely added - small silver serpent stitched delicately into the lower corner. It was no doubt which house the young man was expected to be sorted into. Like all those Lazorin before him, the young man was expected to be a Jaculus. His father and mother had, as their parents had, and so on and so forth, blah, blah.
Zavier differed from his parents, though. He wasn't particularly ambitious, being a bit more laid-back than those in his family. He was far from cut-throat, tending to boarder on push-over. Whereas his family possessed drive and determination, he possessed apathy. His father, and his father's father and so forth had been part of the Parliament as long as one could remember. It had been many, many decades since a Lazorin had not occupied a seat in the Parliamentary house. His father seemed quite insistent that he should follow suit. But, if any of the Lazorin offspring of the latest generation were to end up perched in that spot, Zavier would be more willing to bet on his sister Olivia, over himself. Whereas he was quiet and reserved, leaning towards bookish, she was brash, outspoken and charismatic.
Stretched across his bed, bidding it a fond fare-the-well before his departure, the young man was scanning a beginners spellbook assigned for new students. Loafers on the floor, black-socked feet swished this-way-and-that as he read, chocolate eyes darting across the pages with interest. The faintest sound of his door cracking did not bring the young man from his intrigue, remaining unaware of his company until the one-hundred-and-twenty pounds of it plopped onto the firm mattress beside him.
The boy drew a breath of surprise, lowering his book. A grunt of annoyance followed.
"Whatcha readin' there?" Olivia asked, dark green eyes darting to see the pages. "Simple charms for Simple people?" She joked, plump red lips pulling back to reveal her pearly whites. They always seemed sharp to Zavier. There was a very cat-like quality to Olivia. While she looked sweet and cuddly, there was always a sinister air about her. It seemed if you trusted her, she'd soon be picking your shredded heart from her teeth with your dismembered finger.
"Har, har." Zavier muttered. "Just studying up." He added, sitting up on the thick blue duvet.
"Blah," The usually regal girl muttered, delicate hand swatting away the words. "We're about to be in school for several months, and you're spending your last few moments reading? What is wrong with you?" The girl mocked, before pushing herself from the bed.
"You're spending your last moments mocking me. What does that say about you?" Zavier replied with a smirk.
"That I am already utterly bored." The girl groaned, brushing her waist-length raven waves back. She, like he, was already decked out in her school uniform. A dark grey vest denoted her newly appointed position as Prefect, an honor bestowed upon her as she entered her third year at Tobbstone. It always amused Zavier to see his otherwise posh sister in the school uniform. Unlike his sister, the boy usually dressed in rather bland slack-and-top combinations, so it wasn't quite the change hers was.
A quiet ringing played through the house as the hour struck midnight. Standing, Zavier slipped on his loafers and shoved the book he had been reading into his bag. Grabbing the black and gray cloak from its hook, he draped it around his shoulders and headed downstairs to the hearth. His trunk was sitting, waiting to be dragged in, beside his sister's. She rushed down a few moments after him, having detoured to grab her cloak. A quick, curt farewell was said to his parents before Olivia stepped into the fireplace. Pressing her Jaculus pin into the stone, fire soon blazed around her and she disappeared. Taking a gulp, Zavier followed suit. Closing his eyes, he placed the silver pin in the recess, and held his breath as he was transported.
Landing in the stone circle, Zavier's eyes widened as he looked around. A fire blazed in the middle of the stones, lighting the way for all the students. Small, floated orbs of light danced around, before going into the carriages. Sleipnir stomped their hooves in anticipation. Students bustled by, elated screams of longlost friends sounding. Zavier looked around in amazement, taking in the sight. His first view of life at Tobbstone, and what a view it was.
Jumping, the boy looked to where his very peeved sister stood nearby, arms crossed. "Come on, dummy. Your carriage is this way." She growled, pulling at his sleeve. "I swear, it's like you've never bloody seen fire before." She muttered, stomping through the crowd towards a tall, white-haired wizard. "Hello, Professor Grephor." She spoke with a smile.
"Good evening, Olivia." The man offered with a smile, before a thoughtful pause. "Or morning, I suppose." He offered with a chuckle. "Jaculus carriage is just that way." He offered, gesturing.
"Thank you, I was just enduring my brother made it here without getting sidetracked." She spoke, giving Zavier a slight push forward. "I leave him in your capable hands, Professor." She offered, before leaving, dragging her trunk behind.
"Name?" The wizard asked.
"Zavier Lazorin." He muttered, and the trunk was carried away. The young man turned and stepped into the carriage. For a moment, he was taken aback by the sheer surprise at the size. It made him dizzy for a moment, before he stepped in, and moved to an empty seat, bag clutched somewhat awkwardly. The boy wasn't comfortable in new situations. Especially those that included many, many new people. After a few moments, he moved to grab a handful of Tribbles - tasty little chocolate orbs filled with toffee bits and nougat - and a glass of punch. Sitting, he plopped one of the small orbs into his mouth. The candy never melted - he had even left a bag in the sun one afternoon as a child to test this - until it was in your mouth. Once popped between lips, it seemed to liquify, nougat and chocolate flooding while the toffee gave the most satisfying crunch.
Glancing around, Zavier took in his surroundings. After a while, his eyes cut to the side, staring out the large window his seat was pressed against.
Midnight was approaching tortuously slowly. For it seemed like ages, the clock seemed to be stuck somewhere near eleven, refusing to budge even the slightest bit towards the witching hour. Anxiously, a small, brown-haired girl sat waiting on the couch, legs swinging in the air as she waited for time to pass. Black Mary-Janes popped and landed back on her feet as she arched and stretched her feet, impatiently shifting in her seat.
“Tawnara, will you stop that already?” Her father's voice hummed from his armchair, the man looking up from above his thick rimmed glasses. “Fidgeting won't make time go any faster, you know.” He chastised her bemusedly, before returning to the sports-sections of the Inquisitor.
A sigh escaped the girl's lips, feet stopping their movement for a moment or so. Once again, she turned over the small silver pin in her hand. The Tobbstobe crest. One shield, cradled by a lion, its four houses represented upon it. Caledrius. Alerion. Abraxan. Jaculus. Four houses, four different disciplines. She wondered which one she would be calling home. She didn't think herself particularly ambitious, or very studious. She wasn't adventurous or overly curious. She was just... average. Her father had been an Alerion, back when he had visited Tobbstone. The tales he used to tell about the castle had been riveting, filling the girl with the highest hopes for what her time at school could be like. He made it sound like the best thing he had ever done. Perhaps it was. He had never gone on into some high-flying, exciting career, instead settling for a simple job at the local Hearthhub. He claimed he liked dealing with the public, though Tawny wasn't always so sure how much of that she believed, when she'd hear him rant sometimes about some of the customers. Still, she guessed he was satisfied enough. He'd always left with a whistle on his lips in the morning.
Another minute ticked by on the clock.
Even a second seemed too long a time to wait. She had been waiting so long, already! Although technically, the girl knew she was lucky, in a way. Having only turned seventeen that very morning, she knew she would most likely be the youngest of the students there, even if it would be only a matter of days or months. Some had to wait until they were almost eighteen before they were admitted, having missed the cut-off days by a few dates. In that aspect, she was lucky indeed. She didn't have to wait a day too much. Seventeen years exactly.
Already, she was kitted out in the school's uniform, skirt and vest still showing the slight of where they had been ironed and pressed, ready for school, so new and crisp. A hand moved to tug at one of her knee-length socks, straightening it out where it had threatened to sag a little. Soon, it would be adorned with the colours of her house to be. Would it be purple and blue? Green and gold? Orange and yellow? Black and white? Somehow, she hoped against the latter, hoping for some colour beyond the monotone of white, black and grey. Not that fashion really mattered to Tawny, at all.
She hoped she would make some friends. Shy as the girl was, she found it difficult to approach others, and she worried what others would think of her. What if they didn't like her? What if they hated her? What if she wasn't accepted into any of the houses? Now the latter, that was a silly thought. In the whole history of Tobbstone, there hadn't been a single wizard denied. As far as she knew of, anyway. There was no reason anyone would deny her. Still, a little part of her did worry about it.
Finally, the clock struck , a little gnome jumping from its wooden house. Springing up, it let out it's odd little chuckle, declaring the time to be half past the hour. The time had come. Now, the hearth would open up, finally allowing her access to the Hedge. Suddenly, she wasn't quite so eager, the next step suddenly so daunting. There was no way back now.
“Well, Tawnara, guess this is it.” Her father spoke, putting his newspaper away. Raising himself, he pulled his daughter into a hug. “Make me proud, girl.” He spoke with a chuckle, ruffling her hair. A protesting yelp escaped her lips, the girl ducking her head against his chest.
Wordlessly, she nodded, embracing her father one last time before she offered him a brave smile. At least, she hoped that it was. She wasn't entirely sure if she could completely suppress the slight nervous twitch to her lips. The idea of leaving the familiar behind was scary. “Bye, dad.” She offered, pressing the pin against the indent of the fireplace. Instantly, the fire changed before her. Grabbing the bag she had left waiting beside the fireplace, she stepped in.
Eyes opened wide at the scene set before her. Giant flames danced and leaped in the sky in an enormous bonfire in the centre, casting large, wild shadows all over the cobblestone plaza. Throngs of students manoeuvred themselves across the pavement, laughing and joking as they found their way to their destination.
So much was going on! Sleipnir stomped and snorted before large, wooden carriages, fae sang and danced through the sky, while people hustled and bustled to get where they needed to go. Archway's lit up again and again as more and more students were admitted into the hedge, each and every one donning the Tobbstone uniform.
“First years over here!” A voice called out, her salvation. Grabbing the handle of her bag, she pulled it towards the source of the sound. A tall, white haired man sprung to view. Making her way towards him, she offered the man an awkward smile when he finally turned to her.
“And who might you be?” He enquired, returning her awkward smile with a warm smile of his own. His eyes were a vivid gold, friendly and warm.
“T-Tawnara. McKay.” She offered, stuttering slightly.
“Alright. Welcome, Tawnara.” He smiled, extending a hand to her to shake. She took it, giving it a light shake, his hand firm around hers. “Just get settled in the carriage, now.” He then offered.
Somewhat cautiously, she climbed the large stairs to the carriage's door, stepping through the doorway. Before her, a large hall stretched out, much larger than the carriage's exterior. Already, a fair crowd had gathered there, scattered in small groups around chairs, and near the buffet tables. God, where was she supposed to go now? Just walk up to some random people and chat? She wasn't all that good at that....
Punch. She could get punch, first. Make it look like she wasn't as awkward as she was, as she would be doing something, right? It wouldn't look like she'd be standing around like a fool, because she was just getting punch. Yes, that would do... for now.
But, that only took a moment. Looking around, she spotted a bunch of empty seats, the girl allowing herself to sink down on one, hands cradling the punch, shyly looking around as others chatted and laughed. Some were there with friends. Others just seemed to jump in and make them without issue. Tawny, however, wasn't quite so extroverted. The shy girl was a bit scared of making the first move. What if people didn't like her?
Her thoughts were interrupted when a flame-haired girl suddenly sat down next to her, offering a greeting with a Cheshire smile. Tawny almost jumped at her voice.
“H-hi.” Tawny stuttered in surprised, caught a bit off guard by the girl. “I'm Tawny.” She offered, smiling a little bit awkwardly. “And yes... But a bit nervous.” She chuckled, before falling silent. 'A bit nervous' didn't quite put it right. Her stomach seemed to have a life of its own, as if she had swallowed a whole bag of Butterflutters, which had now erupted and started a party in her belly. It almost made her feel sick.
“...I really like your hair.” she then offered, again with the awkward smile. “It looks awesome. Like fire.” she offered, realising how stupid she sounded. Obviously it did. She was pretty sure that was what the girl had been going for.
“,.. I guess you're hoping for Alerion?”
Almost five hours had passed when an excited murmur started to spread through the carriage. Students started to throng to the windows, pointing and staring at the vista that slowly came into sight.
The sun had started it's slow ascend to the sky, a soft pink-orange glow kissing the curves of a long mountainrange. Its gentle light sparkled and scattered over the streaming surface of a tall waterfall, rushing down a steep rock face, carving out a valley through the landscape to pool into a small lake. Fields of green stretched out from its riverbanks, fading into dark forest. Behind the creak of the mountains -so very faintly visible from the carriage-, the ocean laid in wait, dark and silent.
A white castle was perched upon a wide outcrop of rock, seeming to have grown out of the light stone itself, light roofs painted an orange-pink glow in the light of the morning sun. The pale stone seemed to glisten in the sun's rays, almost giving the impression as if it was set in diamonds.
Before them, the House Carriages started their descend in a wide arc, as the first-year carriage pulled into one last circle over the castle, allowing a brilliant view of the castle and its grounds. One by one, the four house carriages came to a halt in the courtyard, students streaming out onto the paved stone and grass. As the last students disappeared into the castle, Professor Grephor stepped up.
“Al right, hold on to your seats, we're getting ready to land” Professor Grephor's voice sounded through the excited chattered, the sound amplified as he spoke into his wand. Almost that very instant, the carriage dipped down a little, starting its own arc down to the castle. A few surprised gasps and murmurs sounded, students finding hold at chairs, walls, or each other as the whole room started to tilt.
The carriage touched down, rolling out onto the courtyard, shuddering and shaking as it came to a halt.
“Gather round!” Grephor's voice sounded, though his words needed not to be said twice. With a whole new experience waiting from them beyond the carriage's door, eager faces were rearing to get out and see the castle up close.
He swung the door open, the man leading the way outside. The courtyard was circled by tall, stone walls, paved light stone paths cutting through neatly kept grass, past trimmed bushes and well-kept flowerbeds, leading towards a tall door within the stone, almost sixteen feet in height. It's heavy wooden doors swung open as the group approached, revealing the entrance hall. Marble floors gleamed in the light of burning torches, suspended from stone walls. Two winding staircases framed the archway Grephor leaded the group through. More torches lit the way through the twisting corridor, twists and turns making it difficult to see what laid ahead, though in the distance, the sound of chattering voices could be heard, glassware clinking.
Finally, with one last turn, the Great Hall stretched out before them. A turquoise and golden runner stretched across the length of the room, leading up to a small podium. Four long tables stretched out along side the carpet, each seeming to be represented by a certain colour. On the right, one table featured candles with blue flames, the one behind it a bright red. On the left, green and white flickered above the tables.
As the group entered, voices seemed to hush some, eyes turning to meet the new arrivals. At the far end of the room, in the center of the podium, one woman stood as she overlooked the new students. She was tall and thin in build, standing straight and tall. Long, dusty brown hair curled over slender shoulders, streaked with a hint of grey. A shawl of lilac and green was loosely tied around her scalp, complimenting the vivid shade of the woman's eyes. She was dressed in an elegant gown in soft shades of blue and forest green, delicately decorated with silver tread.
“Greetings, all, and welcome to Tobbstone.” The woman spoke up, her voice both soft, yet strangely powerful. Murmurs dropped to silence as all eyes turned to the front of the hall. The woman smiled gently, hands folding before her as she addressed the hall.
"It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the start of Tobbstone's 239th year. To our returning students, we offer a warm welcome back. To our new students, we look forward to our journeys together over this year and the many to follow. I and all the staff members hope that you will come to look at Tobbstone as a second home, with us and your peers as a family.” She gestured behind her, where, spread over three long tables, the teachers were sat down. Some bowed heads in polite greetings, while others offered a small wave. A few merely gazed forward.
“Few changes have been made since last year. “ The woman continued. “However, I must inform you all that we have visitors amongst us this year. As you walk the halls, you will notice several members of Parliament moving around. They are here to help us resolve some minor issues. Please treat our guests with the respect they deserve, and offer help to any who may need it. It has been a long time since many of them have wandered our hallways as students themselves.”
“Now, as a reminder to our returning students and as a warning to our new ones, please remember that our curfew time is eight o'clock on week-nights and ten on weekends. This is no longer as lax as it once was. Headcount will be done at quarter-passed, and anyone not in their house commons or dormitories by half-passed will receive a weeks detention. No excuses will be accepted.” There was a certain serene, yet commanding aura to the woman, captivating and inspiring at the same time. Her words were friendly, yet, stern,
“Now for a quick refresher on our rules, then we can move along to sorting our new students and enjoying a well-deserved breakfast. No one is allowed off school grounds without a pass. This is usually not a problem, but in the last few years students have been able to charm forged barrier passes and sneak off grounds. If you are caught with a false pass, your punishment will be grave. Please remember that Darkwald Woods, the waterfalls, and shorelines are all off-limits as well, at all times of the school year. Those of you who are allowed to visit Tobblefields, please remember that the the Screaming Fields are strictly forbidden for students. Anyone who is seen crossing the fences will be banned from visiting Tobblefields for the remainder of your time at Tobbstone and will receive two-months detention. The fields are extremely dangerous, and are to not be trespassed upon.”
“As a final reminder, certain areas of our campus are also offlimits to the students. As a rule of thumb - if it is not a room in which you attend class, sleep, eat, or study - you have not business there. Our school has many catacombs, several of which are deteriorating and neglected. Only go to those areas in which you have reason. While you are more than free to wander the halls of this school and enjoy your time here - to not go where you are unwelcome.”
“Now if our newest students could please line up, It is time for the sorting ceremony.” She then stated, her hands folded together. “You will be sorted into the four different houses of Tobbstone – Abraxan, Caledrius, Jaculus and Alerion. During your stay at Tobbstone's, your house will be like a family to you. You have classes together, share dormitories and common rooms. Points will be awarded to your House for exceptional work, as they will be deducted for bad behaviour. At the end of the year, the House with most points will win a special price. Now, let us begin”
As the last words left her lips, an applause echoed through the halls. From behind the headmistress, Julius Grephor walked up, quietly exchanging a few words with Cerridwen as he handed over a long piece of parchment, detailing each new student that had arrived within the hedge. With a wink and a bow, he soon stepped back to return to his seat.
“Hannah Abbescon!” Cerridwen's voice called out, all eyes turning towards the firstyears in expectation. “Step forward, Hannah.” She encouraged the student, a small, red-haired girl stepping forward. She was small, perhaps five-foot-two, with a somewhat hollow face sprinkled with freckles. Her eyes glanced around nervously as she stepped up to the alter, ascending the stairs slowly. Tawny was sure she could see the girl's hands shake a little. The headmistress laid a hand upon the girl's shoulder, giving her a reassuring pat, before stepping to the side.
A small smile played across Cerridwen's lips as she slowly walked, -almost seemed to glide- towards a waiting pedestal, crafted out of heavy wood. A silver cloth was draped over it, hinting of something square beneath. A slender hand reached out, pulling away the fabric to reveal a box crafted of gold. Clasps came undone at the headmistress's touch, lid opening to reveal four gray stones, each a perfect sphere, laid upon a thick, plush pillow the colour of the sea. They seemed to be smooth, not a single imperfection marring their surface.
The girl looked a bit confused as she gleaned at the four orbs, unsure as to what to do with them. Almost as if they could sense her confusing, the orbs seemed to hum, quivering in their setting. A gentle glow seemed to emerge from their centres, colouring each a different colour. Red; green; blue; white, each seeming to hum and shake with more vigour as the intensity of their hue became more and more vibrant. Slowly, they rose up into the air, a slow, lazy spin as they circled up and around the girl becoming faster and faster in a whirlwind of colour, until those colours once again faded, stones coming to a halt before her. Once again, they seemed identical. Still, it seemed there had to be some sort of difference between them, for Hannah seemed to be drawn to one particular one, eyes drawn to it as it hummed and quivered before her. Somehow, it seemed to speak out to her, for she reached for it. Instantly, it turned white in her hand.
“Abraxan!” The headmistress called out, the table furthest left bursting out in applause, several students raising to greet their newest member. The headmistress's eyes turned back to her parchment, scanning for the next name.
Last edited by Mysticalminx; 10-20-2012 at 03:18 PM.
Leelee smiled at the girl by her side, who appeared quite frazzled. She couldn't blame the girl, really. This was something completely new for everyone on the carriage. Leelee's fears, however, couldn't quite cut through her utter excitement at being there, at the castle, learning magic properly. Sure, she knew a few bits-and-bobs her mother had taught her as she grew up. But, those were mostly either pranks or used for housework. Nothing particularly stupendous.
It wasn't long before the carriage took off from the ground, flying steadily through the air. Leelee leaned over to look out the large window, eyes wide as she looked across the moonlight ocean below. "Wow," She muttered. She had never really flown before. Perhaps a trip on her mom's broom to town for an emergency item, or something equally boring. It was only a moment before the girl had moved from her seat to nearly press her face against the window.
The hours dragged by as they headed to Tobb. Eventually, Leelee had taken her seat once more, and was chatting up Tawny happily as they flew, while nibbling away at the free snacks. These would be some of her last sweeties for the schoolyear. While she knew from stories that Tobbstone had snacks, but one had to pay for food not served at the proper meal times. Since her family was far-from wealthy, she would have to suffice with proper meals throughout the school year. So, she was going to snack her little heart content on the ride, and maybe store some in her bag.
Before long, they were swooping down to the school. Once again, Leelee was pressed to the window, several others at her side. When the descent started, she grasped onto the foot of a nearby bench, but remained against the window, watching as the schoolgrounds became larger as they flew down to meet them. A smile covered her lips as they lowered, eyes darting across the grounds, taking it in. Oh, how she looked forward to being able to soar up on a broom and see the grounds from the air, unhindered. Her view was cut short after not too long, the carriage landing, and the students moving into the castle.
They followed behind professor Grephor, through the castle's corridors. Before too long, they stopped in a large hall. Four long tables flanked the line of new students, who were standing on a turquoise and gold carpet. The Headmistress moved to speak, welcoming all the students to their year at Tobbstone, as well as laying out a few of the more important rules. As she spoke, Leelee could feel her heart race, hands knotting in her robes. Oh, the anticipation was killing her! Before long, the woman called up the first students. The girl stood, confused as the Sorting Stones circles her head. Before long, she reached out, grabbing one of the stones. It shone a clean white, and Abraxen was declared. Cheers rang as the student walked to her new house.
"Elyria Dansby!" The headmistress called.
Taking a breath, Leelee approached the stage. Within moments, the stones were twirling around her head. Four distinct voices whispered promises to her. Each had something to offer, telling her how they could help her achieve all she ever wanted, in their own special way. Images flashed in her mind - graduating first in the class, becoming a member of parlaiment, becoming a renowned Derby athlete, and a million other images accompanied by voices all speaking at once as they spun round and round her head. When they came to a stop, her hand immediately shot out, latching upon one of the stones before it had come to a complete halt. No sooner had her fingers touched it, than the bright red glowed from within the stone.
"Alerion!" the house was announced, her new peers cheering as a breeze seemed to ruffle her robes. As the breeze dwindles, the gray of her robe became the orange of Alerion, the color quickly brightening, as her socks, vest and tie changed to shine her house colors, the silver and gold Tobbstone pin morphing into the pin of Alerion. The stone hovered from her girls hand, her fingers reluctantly releasing it, before she moved to her new table.
Breathe a lie
Hours were spent listening to the chatter around her while she remained near silent, Poppy only murmuring answers to the questions Charlie posed to her. For the most part, however, his attention was all for the trio of girls sitting on a nearby couch. He had made formal introductions as he always did, introducing her as, “Poppy, my dear sister” so as to assure the girls that she had no claim on him and he was a free agent. They had relayed their own names, and she was sure Charlie knew them, thought she cared very little and had not really been paying attention during the little meeting.
When Charlie was not trying to pull her into the conversation – a task he had given up on within the first hour – or offering her sweets, Poppy’s attention was focused on the outside window. If she focused eventually the worst of the din around her would fall away and she could focus on the view as they flew and the soft texture of Hermes beneath her fingertips as she stroked him into sedation. The owl was rather cantankerous, especially when caged and surrounded by a large number of strangers. Poppy would have preferred letting the owl fly to Tobbstone like most others but their mother had been insistent, stating that she wanted word sent as soon as possible, and would not wait for ‘that vile bird’ to take it’s sweet time arriving at the school. The fact that Hermes was incredibly fast and had never dallied from his task that poppy had noticed seemed to matter little to the woman. He had bitten her once when Loraine Le Feuvre had tried forcing a parchment to his leg, and the woman now thought him a useless beast. At least Poppy had been able to convince her mother to spare the owl’s life.
When the castle came into view, Poppy had a few moments to admire its glistening white stone edifice before others began noticing the magnificent structure and suddenly every window was crowded, including the one she sat next to. As bodies vied for space along the expanse of glass Poppy shrunk into her seat, leaning against Charlie. He gave her shoulder a reassuring pat as he offered up yet another tribble. Poppy took the candy on a sigh and popped the little chocolate into her mouth, rolling it along her tongue as it melted.
When the wild-haired professor gave a warning to hold on most everyone shuffled back to their seats, giving Poppy a view of the castle and courtyard where the other carriages sat as they circled its shimmering rooftops before hooves and carriage wheels set down upon cobblestone. Poppy gave a relieved exhale as the carriage came to a full stop, not having realized her breath remain caught in her throat. The door was opened and students began filing out, Poppy taking hold of Hermes’ cage handle as Charlie grasped her hand and led her along.
Once outside Charlie shifted his sister’s hand so it rested in the crook of his arms, giving it a pat. The man they were to follow had introduced himself as Professor Grephor, Professor of Herbology and head of the Caledrius House - Odd man, that one – and Charlie fell into step with his fellow students as Grephor led them from the high walls of the courtyard through heavy wooden doors and into the school. He led them down torch lit corridors, taking turn after turn until Charlie was having difficulty remembering them all, wondering how on earth he and his sister or anyone, really, would ever figure out their way around. They passed beneath a grand double staircase and on through yet more twisting hallways, until finally the faint sounds of voices and clanking dishware could be heard.
Finally, the great hall. It was magnificent sight, a brilliant runner separating two rows of tables filled with students led to a platform where an elegant older woman stood behind a podium. She seemed to look every newcomer in the eye as they entered, delving into their soul before moving on to the next. It was rather disjointing, and he nearly missed a step as they filed in. As she spoke, her voice seemed to float on a nonexistent breeze and caress Charlie’s ears and he listened, rapt. The Parliament officers seemed an oddity, but he gave it little thought as he made a mental list of all the rules on curfew and detention, passes and off-limit areas.
When the time came for placement, he shifted nervously on his feet, gasping with many other first years when the first girl who was called forth was drawn into a colored tornado. She reached out , hand closing over a stone which shone white light as her skin came into contact with it. White and black flowed into her uniform like water filling a jug. “Abraxen!” The head mistress called out, and uproar from the house table filling the room.
Student after student was called, house after house greeted new student, until finally Charlie’s turn came. “Charles le Feuvre,” the head mistress announced. Oh, he was nervous. He wasn’t one to let his nerves get to him, but his feet seemed planted to the ground. It was Poppy, his anchor, who gave his arm a squeeze and pulled free of him, giving him the slightest of nudges. He found his feet drawing him forward. He was given a soft smile of encouragement, knowing instantly he very much liked this head mistress Cerridwen.
The stones took up around him, humming in a brilliant rainbow of color. They seemed to sing out to him, each a different melody, each a different voice calling forth different emotions. As they paused in their flight and hovered before him, one seemed to sing the loudest, a lilting soprano among the other’s alto, tenor and base. It reminded him of the few times Poppy had the courage to sing, and he found his fingers grasping a stone which flared deep blue beneath his palm, his pin changing and robing filling with bold blues and purples as the head mistress called out, “Caledrius!” and a roaring cheer filled his ears. Cheers for him.
Poppy watched her brother’s placement with nervous excitement. The stones whirled round him in a swirl of brilliant color, and she found herself envious and terrified of going through such an experience. Charlie seemed to have little hesitation, much as the others, when grasping a stone and cementing his house. Would she be equally as quick to know her place? She could only hope.
Her name was called as the cheers for her brother died away. She watched him disappear into a sea of blue and purple adorned students from the corner of her eye as she approached the headmistress and her fate. The stones rose, as they had for all others, beginning their trip around her lazily at first, gaining speed with each lap, until she was engulfed by blazing red, purifying white, energizing green, and calming blue. Each stone seemed to whisper, a buzzing above the humming vibrations of the stones, though she could not make out a single word.
Panic flared through her as the stones paused before her, awaiting her choice. On and on they whispered, seemingly both too quiet for her ears to decipher, and so loud she was tempted to slap both hands over her ears. Please, she begged the stones silently. Please, give me some sign. I do not know what to do… She felt herself on the verge of an emotional upheaval – she was going to cry, or possibly scream, she was not sure – when over the confusion one stone seemed to roar her name. “Poppy!” it called, voice like water crashing upon rocks. Her hand shoot out and she grasped it, the blue that seeped from her fingers nearly blinding.
Blue and purple swirled down her Tobbstone uniform, her pin shifting, drab clothing filling with brilliant hues of sapphire and amethyst. The word Caledrius drifted through her mind a moment before it was announced by Cerridwen. As she looked to the uproar that had risen from the house table – her house table – she grinned at her brother, who was smiling the widest and clapping and hooting the loudest.
As he watched the other students being sorted into their houses, Zavier's heart pounded. He could feel his heartbeat in his hands, his feet, his brain. There was no doubt the young man was nervous. A lot was riding on this, on his selection. If he were to not pick Jaculus, he would be the first member of his family tree in three generations to do so. He would be an embarrassment to his family, at least in their eyes. The other houses were weak, bookish, and had no idea how to achieve their desires. How many times had he heard his father and sister talking about just that?
When his name was called, he felt as though he would throw up. He was so nervous, he would be amazed if he weren't visibly shaking. The only thing that would make it better would be seeing that green glow from inside his palm as he clutched a Selection Stone. Stepping on the stage, it was only a moment before the stones were swirling around him. It was strange, but only two of the four seemed to be calling for his attention, the other two simply ignoring his pretense. But the other two, oh, they called to him. Screamed, even. He wondered briefly if this was what everyone experienced, but his thoughts were broken as one of them shouted loudly, angrily at him, though the words were gibberish. Only the tone and volume made any sense.
Finally, the stones came to a halt before him. They bobbed in the air, two of the gray rocks more aggressively than the others, it seemed. He stared for a moment, stomach knotting, head light. What to do? As the angry voice screamed once more, and Zavier's hand stretched out, grasping the other. From between his fingers,white shone so pure and bright it was almost blinding. With a slight gasp, he watched as the other stones shone their color, the green still bobbing before him. The white stone slipped from his hand as he realized that he wasn't sorted into Jaculus. His father and mother would be furious!
"Abraxen!" The headmistress's voice yelled, pulling him from his stupor. He glanced down, eyes sliding across the white of his robe, the impossible blackness of stripes on his vest. Cheers filled the room, the loudest coming from the Abraxen table, welcoming their newest member. As he walked towards the house, his eyes found Olivia's. To his surprise, there was no look of disappointment or anger. She looked almost pleased, though that air of evil still clung to her. Slipping into his seat, he forced a smile at his new peers.
“Everyone's going to be staring at you, you know that, right?” The blond boy's voice sounded teasingly as he glanced at the black-haired girl sitting across from him, her arms crossed tightly across her frame. Not a word crossed her lips, the slight arch to her brow making it clear she wasn't quite as amused as he was.
“They'll all be wondering what the hell you're thinking.” He then added, his mop of blond hair swaying slightly as he cocked his head sideways. “Wondering what the point is of you even being there.”
“Shut up, Lucas.” The girl spoke coolly. Her soft pink lips were drawn into a tight line, “I don't care.”
“I'm just saying, sis. You probably shouldn't go. It's not like there's a point to it, really...” Lucas shrugged, his joking tone having the slightest bit of seriousness to it. Although he was merely teasing his sister, he could truly not understand why she was so intent on coming along, considering her condition.
“Lucas. Stop picking on your sister.” Their mother cut in, sending a warning glare to her younger son. Though the two siblings were twins, one would not say so just by looking at them. Though Lucas was the younger of the two, the curly blond stood a good two inches above his dark-haired sister. They shared the same dark eyes, but that was were most similarities between the two ended. Even in personality, the two seemed almost polar opposites. Where Lucas was laidback, an easy going joker with not a care in the world, Lucinda was much more serious and to the point.
“Fine.” The boy muttered, eyes turning to the clock as he waited for the hands to fall upon 11.30. He was psyched, couldn't wait for the school year to begin. To finally learn magic. He had heard many stories about Tobbstone, from his older siblings, friends, cousins. He couldn't wait to see the castle all for himself, couldn't wait to meet new people.
In a way, he did feel a slight bit of worry for Lucinda. Though the girl was stubborn and though as they came, the fact was that she would be a “freak” at Tobbstone. No-one in the family understood how it had come to be, but, to much of their embarrassment, Lucy was a NIMWIND. A witch without magic. Not even the slightest spark.
Yet, he had to admire her for how she never let it stop her. To him, it hadn't come as much of a surprise when she had announced she, too, wanted to enroll at Tobbstone. Their parents had tried to dissuade her (What point was there to learning magic, if you had none?), yet, Lucy couldn't be swayed. She was going to Tobbstone, and no-one was going to change her mind. He just hoped she wouldn't humiliate him. Part of him did worry what it would do to his reputation. Being related to the NIMWIND. Well, there was little he could do about that. It wasn't like they were that close, anyway.
Finally, the time came. With a last hug goodbye, the twins bade farewell to their parents, Lucas disappearing through the hearth first, taking Lucinda by the hand. He didn't want to risk his sister getting lost within the Fleeting Network through some NIMWINDing fluke. It wouldn't have been the first time. The girl was a nightmare to travel with. Couldn't be left alone. The last time she had gone unaccompanied on her way to Ashire, she had somehow ended up in a backwards village on the Kakaw islands instead. He still wasn't sure how she had messed that up so badly.
Stepping out into the hedge, Lucinda bumped almost instantly into Lucas as he had come to an abrupt halt. “Move, you tweeb.” She grunted, giving him a slight shove as she pulled her hand out of his grasp, before her eyes fell upon the scene before them. Fire blazed up in the middle of the cobbled square, flames reaching high into the sky. Around them, students made their ways to large carriages, each fronted by large, grey horses. It was quite the amazing sight and for a moment, she felt entirely lost.
“Come on, this way.” Lucas spoke, the taller boy quicker to spot the man they were supposed to report to. Of course, with the man shouting that all first years were to come to him, he wasn't exactly hard to miss. Not too much later, they were checked in, luggage taken off them.
“Well. Here we are, sis.” Lucas stated as he looked around the room, a grin spreading on his face as he recognised a few of his friends. “See you later.”
The five hour flight felt like it lasted for eternity, though the vista was amazing. For most of the journey, Lucinda was glued to the window, watching the dark sea below. After a while, she had found Professor Grephor. The rest of the flight had been spend chatting to the man. It seemed he was already aware of her “condition”, but he still was friendly and welcoming towards her, treating her no different than the other students, really. Plus, he offered that regardless of what house she would land in, the door to his office was always open if she needed help with any school work. It was a relief to know.
Finally, the carriage tilted into touchdown, the white glistening stones of the Tobbstone castle sparkling in the light of the rising sun. The sight was breath-taking, simply stunning. Closer and closer they came as they circled down, until they landed upon the grass with a soft bump. They were called to group by Grephor, the man leading them into the castle.
Leading them through the two-story doors, a splended marble hall opened up before them, sweeping staircases passed by to instead enter a long series of twisted corridors, lit by the light of a hundred torches. From a far, the sound of clattering cutlery and quiet conversation could be heard, not too long before they spilled into the grand hall.
Listening to the headmistress delivering her speech, then leading into the sorting ceremony, Tawny anxiously awaited the events to come. Which house would be hers? So many faces around her, not a single one she knew. It was scary. How was she supposed to know? The ritual looked simple enough, but what if she picked wrong? Was that even possible? Well, if it was, trust her to do it.
“Tawnara McGee!” Her name was suddenly called out, and a cold shiver went down her spine. Well, that was it. Her turn. Half of the new students were already seated and she could feel the eyes on her back as she made her way towards the front.
Slowly, she made her way towards the podium, swallowing the lump in her throat. Well, here it was. Her turn. Slowly, the stones rose around her, twirling and dancing in their peculiar way as colours faded, a soft humming sounding. She could feel their energy pulse, cool, warm, comforting, buzzing. As they came to a halt, one in particular seemed to truly catch her attention. That comforting, warm stone that reminded her of the hot stones on the beach near her house. Almost as soon as she opened her hand, the stone shone white.
“Abraxan!” A voice called out, the white and black table erupting in cheers to welcome yet another member.
Upon the calling of his name, Lucas gave his sister a big grin, before jogging the few steps up towards the center podium. No sooner as the selecting stones lost their hue as they spun a round him, his fist shot out, grabbing hold of one of them. It was almost as if he didn't need to think at all. He just knew within that moment which one it had to be. No thought. A mere action. With a slight, almost whimperlike squeak, the stone fell still in his hand, turning a bright red.
Cheers erupted from the Alerion table as Lucas made his way towards it, sending his sister a big thumbs-up, before high-fiving a few of his new housemates. Within moments, he was sunk down onto a bench between a cute blondie, and another first year. He mouthed something at Lucinda, but the words were lost to her as her name was called.
With a determined nod, Lucy stepped forward, though nerves raced through her veins. Well, this was it. The big moment. What if the stones sensed she had no magic, and refused to sort her? What would happen then? Still, she forced a confident smile on her face as she stepped forward, soon coming to a halt before the stones.
They rose and spun and danced and hummed, but she didn't feel anything. Not a single thing. Nothing that helped her chose her destiny, nothing that guided her decision. What was she supposed to do? The stones kept spinning around her, torturous and slow, yet, not stopping as they drifted around her, as if they could feel her uncertainty. She was certain they hovered around her much longer than anyone else. Behind her, she could hear confused mumbling as people whispered. Oh god. She wasn't going to be sorted, was she?
No. She wasn't going to give up. Not that easily. She was already here, goddamnit, and she would stay. She would show them what she could do. She would show them she was just as good at that. Her hand shot out, snatching the stone that had hovered in the corner of her vision, straight out of the air. Green light peered from it's center. A relieved breath escaped her lips.
“JACULUS!” the house was called out and after a brief moment of silence that felt like eternity, her new house welcomed her with a warm applaus.
With only ten minutes until departure time, Victor sat in the east parlor of the Vandercorde estate, awaiting the clock to strike the half-hour and send him on his way. Seated in a large, antique leather wing chair, the young man had one leg slung over the overstuffed arm, his back pressed somewhat awkwardly against the opposing corner. His pale blue eyes, which appeared to be nothing more than two chunks of ice carved into the shape of irises, stared at a projection his mother was watching. A fire burned angrily in the hearth, blazing well into the chimney, warning the cold stone room.
The room was bleak and dark, much like the rest of the Vandercorde Manor. The manor bordered on two-hundred years old, and had been passed down from count to count. It was built of thick dark stone that seemed to be cold as ice even on the warmest days of winter. Everything was stone - from the walls, to the floor to the ceilings and the winding staircases. Only the rare tapestry absorbed the echos that fluttered through the stuffy, chilled halls. It was not one of those places one would miss upon leaving, that was simple enough to say.
The clock let out a single chime, warning of the half-hour. Looking away from the glowing projection, Victor's icy gaze fell upon the clock. Without a word, he slipped from his very un-regal pose and moved towards the hearth, gathering his trunk - stamped with the family name, crest, and various other insignia to mark it as his, and theirs. Well, here it was. He would be in Drexon within moments, off to the most prestigious school in existence, or damned close. He would likely be one of the few from another country, the youth hailing from Sylania, rather than Drexon. His parents had been fluttering his acceptance to Tobbstone before their friends and family's faces for months now. Bragging on how their son was accepted to the school, on scholarship even - though they would have gladly paid themselves, or so they bragged.
"Well, I shall be off, then." He simply muttered. His father let out a grunt that could perhaps be heard as a 'goodbye, child' if one listened closely enough, but did not look up from the paper in his hands. His mother's eyes moved from the projection to glance him over, the pale blue a mirror of his own. "Goodbye, Victor." She spoke in her regal manner. "Do write." She added, though they both knew it wouldn't happen. Standing at the hearth, Victor waved his hand over the fireplace. A slight breeze seemed to flow, and the fire was out within moments. He stepped back, allowing a maid to quickly clear out the fireplace, before stepping into the hollow himself. Pressing his pin into the stone, he was soon gone, no doubt with the maids rebuilding the fire as soon as he vanished.
Glancing around once his feet had touched soil, Victor took in the sight. A bunch of children running about unabashed. This was what the best school in the world had to offer? Wild teenagers dashing to and fro? Well, he was not impressed, that was for certain. And not even someone available to carry his luggage. How simply barbaric. Sighing, already regretting the decision, the young man stepped forward, charmed bags floating dutifully behind his every step. Being one of the few students to take a foreign slot, Victor was rather advanced for his age when it came to magic. He had been what is crudely called an 'early fizzer.' Magic seemed to bubble up in the boy at about the age of ten, and he was casting small charms before he knew it. His mother had hired a private tutor, who had trained him. While it was likely nothing compared to what Tobbstone would teach, it did promise the young lad a headstart in all his classes.
Finding the carriage where a tall man was shouting for first years, Victor came to a halt, bags obediently gliding to the ground behind him. "Name?" The man asked.
"Victor Grayson Vandercorde, Viscount de Serinshire." He spoke, the words flowing in his deep, practiced baritone. The long trail of words had been engrained into his brain as a young child, and now flowed simply, title accompanying name as if they were one in the same. They were, after all. The professor looked over his golden-rimmed glasses, eyes glancing at the young man for a moment, before his bag drifted away by the wave of a wand.
Moving into the carriage, Victor soon found a single seat and claimed it as his own, forearms draped along the chair's arms, feet planted on the ground. And, that is where he remained for the next five hours. Once the carriage settled down, the students unloaded. Victor followed the professor through the halls of the castle, which reminded him of his home a bit. Soon, they came to a halt in the Great Hall, where the headmistresses gave a quick speech, before the House Selection Ceremony began.
"Victor Vandercorde!" Was finally called, and the young man strutted his way up to the stage. Soon, the stones were swirling around his head, ruffling his pale blond hair. His eyes watched as the stones danced, a gentle, melodic hum sounding, sweet promises fluttering through his ears. As they slowed, his eyes glanced once more across the stones, before he grasped one. A bright green emitted from between his fingers, glowing proudly as his new house was declared. A cheer sprang from the Jaculus table. Victor released the stone, allowing it to hover back to the other three, before coolly moving towards his house, face as stone as if nothing had just happened, only the hints of a smug smile showing any change.
Last edited by TehNemesis; 11-13-2012 at 06:28 PM.