We know not their identities, but where their blood may reside.
We’ll start with Ministry kids and work our way through.
To solve the Dark Lord’s riddles, our savior paternal.
Across the Atlantic to Hogwarts we go, to seek life eternal.
Professor Zorquel tapped impatiently on her chalkboard while waiting for the students to finish copying down the instructions for their mid-term exams. She was already in a foul mood to begin with, but the Syltherin head of house was in an extra special disposition today. Midterms were stressful enough for the students so they tended to act out more than usual, but four houses full of 5th years packed into her classroom was nearly too much to handle. There were more cauldrons, more things going wrong, and more whining kids trying to make excuses for their failures when she knew several students had the upcoming dance on their minds instead of their grades.
The exam itself was more complicated than it needed to be, but she wasn’t completely heartless for doing this; strengthening Solution was a common staple in the 5th year classroom. Indeed, O.W.L.s would be coming up at the end of the year and the potions portion was considerably harder than this. Plus, on the midterm, they were allowed to work with their normal partners. For the O.W.L. exam, there would be no such crutch.
“The ingredients cabinet is open to your disposal but you may not open your Moste Potente Potions book at any time. The Strengthening Solution will not be fully matured by the end of class, so you will not know your grade for a few days.”
Once she saw the majority of the class was finished copying, Zorquel pointed her wand in the cabinet’s direction and with a small flick, opened it up to reveal a massive corridor of varying components. The solution only required a few of these, but the open options tricked up many a student.
“This does not mean I will not be able to tell whether your potion was done properly or not now.”
In one of the twin desks closer to the front, Cillian finished scribbling the rest of the notes just as Zorquel finished her speech and cleared the board, sympathetically listening to the disappointed groans of students around him. The desk was situated in the middle of the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw ‘clique’ sections and was one of the few where the partners were not from the same house. Unusual as it was, after 5 years of having the same partner, it was just accepted the two wouldn’t be separated by House norms.
Waiting for some girls to scoot by their desks, greeting them with a reassuring smile and nod on the way, the Hufflepuff prefect rose from his seat and soundlessly moved to gather supplies and acknowledged ingredients like he had so many times before. Cillian would never be anywhere close to top of the class, not like his best friend was, but he knew he was honored to have the best tutor in Hogwarts helping him out and potions was one of his better subjects. Cooking, mixing paints and potions wasn’t too far off from each other.
He wasn’t the bundle of nerves a lot of his classmates were, but his lapses of uncertainty were covered by his friend, so when he finally set down the needed tools and supplies, Cillian waited for acceptance before settling into their normal rhythm. The prefect still wasn’t sure how he was going to complete the O.W.L.s on his own, but even so he always wanted to be able to carry his own weight when working with Trevor. The whispers by staff and students alike about him hanging onto the Ravenclaw’s coattails still prickled his subconscious.
The professor’s notion of wandering minds wasn’t far off from the truth though. Cillian caught himself smiling once or twice thinking about how he was going to set up his two best friends to go to the ball together. At the same time, he had to find some way to weasel out of the dance so that the two wouldn’t be honor bound into keeping his dateless-self company. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go and dance with a certain someone, far from it, but that just wasn’t possible in the current circumstances. So, after the midterms were over, he invited Trevor and Tasha out to go flying to celebrate finishing the tests, but the Hufflepuff wasn’t planning on showing up.
Okay, so that already looked suspicious seeing how horrible he was on a broom, but if this didn’t work, he was going to lock them in a room and wait for the invite to happen.
Nearly cutting half of his finger, he let out a small ‘eep’ and sheepishly smiled towards Trevor while trying to vanquish the thoughts of his scheming until the test was over. Cillian noticed a lot of the class was at a point in their tests where small chit-chat while waiting for things to stew was allowed, so he looked down at the pot hoping the budding turquoise color was correct.
“Someone told me that Julius Iverson was planning on asking a certain someone to the dance pretty soon,” Cillian offhandedly whispered, being the social, chatty one of the pair. Despite the goading attempt in his words, he was telling the truth and Trevor would know where the Hufflepuff got information about some Syltherin students like Julius. Sometimes it took less than subtle hints to get his best friend spurred into action. “I know she won’t say yes but I know her friends have been poking her about going with someone. The girls like having lots of time to plan before the ball.”
Trevor’s focus as always was on the academics. He didn’t pay much attention to the chatter in the classroom, his eyes and ears on the instructor as she wrote things down. He finished his transcription long before Cillian, but their pattern was for the Hufflepuff to fetch and carry. Most days Cillian brought everything over correctly. Today Trevor had to set one item aside that wasn’t needed. The random bottle was a clear indication that Cillian had other things on his mind.
It wasn’t the test. Trevor let out a sigh at the change of subject that wasn’t so subtle. He rubbed a hand over his blue grey eyes. Cillian was going to hurt himself with the sharp instrument. Trevor reached for the knife and gently put the implement out of reach.
“I think Julius and Natasha would make a great couple.” Trevor forced the words through his throat. It wasn’t a lie really. The two looked good standing next to each other. They had a few things in common. He’d seen them talking together occasionally, and if the other boy was thinking of asking there must be some sort of attraction there. Hadn’t he said as much the other day at dinner? He couldn’t recall if Natasha had agreed, but she certainly hadn’t said she preferred Trevor.
Trevor looked down at his own hands. Inspected for dirt underneath his fingernails. It had been too much to think that she liked him more than a friend. They’d been hanging out almost as long as Trevor and Cillian had; Natasha’s usual seat at the Hufflepuff table on the opposite side of Cillian so they spoke together every day. They too had a lot in common, particularly their love of quidditch. In hindsight, Trevor realized he shouldn’t have started sending her secret admirer notes. The whole thing was completely out of character and he was a horrible poet. Based on her reaction when she’d figured it all out, he knew he should have handled things differently.
Not that she’d confronted him. No, she’d looked horrified and run away. Now every conversation was stilted and broken. What he hated the most was that he’d lost a friend in the process. Trevor didn’t have that many. Too reserved and introverted. Cillian balanced his character with smiles and fun, but matchmaking wasn’t an activity he could let the other indulge in.
“Let it go, Cillian.” Trevor said. Natasha deserved to go to the ball with someone she really liked.
Not a pity date.
Trevor stirred the potions brew and sniffed. Rethought the mixture and went back to add a pinch of one of the ingredients. The color shifted to more of a teal color.
A quick glance to Cillian showed his friend probably wasn’t going to leave things alone. Cillian meant well, but Trevor already hinted that he’d made a mess of things with Natasha. She was uncomfortable with him and he wasn’t about to be put in a more awkward situation because Cillian was meddling – something the Hufflepuff did rather well. Cillian obviously was going to need more than his urging. Like a dog with a bone the boy hadn’t let up on the subject all week.
Trevor said, “Olivia asked me.” The Hufflepuff knew that Olivia and Sylvester were part of his alchemy study group. Despite the fact that he’d never shown warm feelings towards the Ravenclaw housemate, in fact, had been openly antagonistic at times, Trevor figured Cillian knew that proximity would make the invitation plausible.
Trevor didn’t go on to add that he’d said no. He'd remind Cillian later of their plan to go as a large group. That way Cillian could go and enjoy the music without there being gossip. Something he knew Cillian wanted to avoid.
Austin yawned a bit and stretched as he continued to look over the book he was reading, copying some notes onto a piece of paper with his pen. Most of the time, when he was in class, he would use parchment and a quill but when he was alone he usually wrote on pen and paper. Austin had grown up in America and even though Austin’s mom was a powerful witch, Austin’s father was a muggle and as such Austin was no stranger to technology and some of the products muggles used.
As Austin studied he softly sang to himself and rhythmically tapped his pen. He sighed and stopped himself knowing that it he did it much longer he would start to feel homesick. Austin loved magic and his home at Hogwarts but despite his love for these things he didn’t understand why Hogwarts was a stranger to technology. True, Austin had done great things at Hogwarts – he hadn’t become a Prefect on his charm alone – but Austin couldn’t help thinking that some things would be easier if Hogwarts wasn’t such a stranger to things like computers and smart phones.
Austin closed his books and put his notes away as he finished studying. Classes were almost over for the day but he and the other Quidditch players on the Gryffindor team were scheduled on the field 30 minutes after class was over. Austin looked out the window next to his study room and watched a unicorn graze in the gamekeeper’s pen. The unicorn was more than likely going to be used at the next Care of Magical Creatures class scheduled for tomorrow. Austin smiled, particularly fond of the class.
Austin was about to step out of his studying hall before he quickly ducked back in. A group of girls were walking through the hall, ones that Austin knew for a fact wanted to go the Winter Ball with him. Austin still hadn’t asked anyone but knew many girls were waiting to see who he would go with. Austin didn’t like the pressure he felt to ask someone else and wasn’t positive if he wanted to go. Unfortunately, as a prefect he was expected to go and he had to of course take a date. The only problem is that Austin wasn’t particularly interested at many girls in the school – perhaps it was easier for them to ask him even though it wasn’t customary.
After the girls passes by Austin quickly headed down to the locker room. One of the reasons that Austin was a prefect – other than his good looks and good marks, was also because he was very punctual. Back in the US the Grondin family had almost made an art of being fashionably late, so much in fact that when Austin started in Hogwarts he made it a priority to be early whenever he was scheduled to be somewhere. Austin was often the first one at class in Hogwarts which many if the professors seemed to admire.
Austin soon arrived at the Quidditch field garbed in his Quidditch Robes. He quickly started to do some push-ups as he waited for the captain and the others to arrive. Austin was definitely one of the stronger human wizards in Hogwarts. Part of being a beater was to have good upper body strength and most everyone agreed that Austin definitely fit that bill. Even covered by robes, Austin’s upper body physique was evident, the young wizard having always aimed to take good care of himself.
After Austin finished doing some push-ups he got on his broom and did a few wind sprints. Class must have ended by now so it would only be a matter of time until the others showed up…
Potions class, always her favorite and easily her best but today was sure to be ncomfortable. everyone was going to be in there for the mid term test and that meant she might have to face -him- today. Sitting as far back as she could in the ravenclaw section, her lab partner still chatting with her friends in the next table. It was a little depressing watching them laugh and talk about how excited they were for the ball. Talking brightly about their dates which just made Olivia want to bury her face in her hands and hide. She couldn't though. She had to maintain her usual quiet exterior and focus on her school work.
Thankfully, the potions exam was one she was comfortable with since she had helped her parents with this same draught to sell in their shop. Grateful for her parents letting her help over the summer and giving her the practice that strengthened her schooling. It was this reason really that her partner was unneeded, the girl sitting with her friends and only occasionally coming over to have Olivia give a quick explanation of what she was doing and why, helping with small tasks. Olivia was grateful for her quieter partner, the girl rarely talking to her unless they were in class but asking smart questions. She kind of enjoyed working with her and wished, for just a moment, that maybe she would stay and chat a little.
But no, she went back to her friends and offered to help using what Olivia had shown her but the friends glanced at the lone Deerly girl and gave small smiles. It wasnt unheard of for Olivia to go weeks without speaking but she could always be counted on for help in classes.
With classes over finally, an expected perfect score for Olivia, she snuck from the basements and through the grounds toward her greenhouses. It was calming there, and quiet, and she could watch the quidditch teams as well. She didn't like flying but they always looked so graceful and made her wish, for only a brief whisper of a second, that she could fly too. Then she remembers the disaster that was her first year flying and the following trip to the hospital wing. Gathering up her books and papers, she sighs and gives up on doing the extra homework and instead watched the flyers at their practice.
Cynder sat in her dormitory working on her muggle-studies homework, she was exceptionally good at it and the Professor's favorite student, well for an obvious reason, she was a muggle-born from an old fashioned farming family. The Professor obsesses over her country accent, and to be honest, it got quite annoying. As did The Professors constant asking of questions about farming.
She looked up from her homework and looked out a window towards the Qudditch stadium, she would be expected there soon for practice, being the Gryphandor team seeker. She closed her paper and pencil inside the book she was using and placed on her bed. She opened up her chest and grabbed her broom and robes, got dressed quickly and went to the stadium.
She arrived a short time later to see a wizard already there.
Last edited by Cynder-Shadows; 04-22-2014 at 09:45 AM.
Natasha’s quill scribbled messily as her cerulean eyes squinted and struggled to read Zorquel’s slanted script writing. She wondered briefly why professors weren’t required to have legible handwriting, but then again the athletic brunette would have copied much faster if her mind hadn’t been on the next Quidditch match. No longer could she dwell on the victory against Gryffindor, because they played Ravenclaw next, and that was going to be awkward. The Chaser let out an audible whimper as Professor Zorquel erased her notes. She had not even copied the majority of them. Eagerly, she glanced to her partner’s parchment.
Amelia rolled her eyes and shoved it towards her flighty roommate, twirling a strand of gold hair around her finger. “Daydreaming?” She glanced towards the center of the room where Cillian and Trevor sat, two of Natasha’s best friends. “I know it has to be one of them.” She smirked, moving to stand as the majority of the class went to assemble ingredients.
Natasha’s nose scrunched with distaste at the verbal guessing game that her roommate had been playing as of late. Amelia knew about the love letters, but she didn’t know that her little dark-haired friend had actually discovered the true identity of the anonymous poet. She hurried to finish the notes, and then tucked Amelia’s back in order on her side of the desk. The blonde witch returned with the supplies, and another guess,
“Was it that Slytherin boy? The older one?” Her eyes were big, assuming the guess was correct. Natasha’s freckled nose remained wrinkled.
“Are you joking?” She began to help her partner set up everything, mind now on the ball. Natasha had been thinking about it more than she would have liked. Procrastination didn’t seem to work on subjects other than school. “Julius doesn’t have the vocabulary or the interest to write so elegantly.” Her voice lowered as she glanced up to Amelia, “I’ve been avoiding him.” She seemed to have been avoiding everyone these days.
Truth be told, the Hufflepuff girl didn’t know what she was going to do about a date. Olivia had taken her advice about being courageous and asking a boy to the ball. Natasha had no idea that it had been Trevor she wanted to ask. The Ravenclaw boy already seemed to think Natasha was avoiding him because she didn’t return his feelings. If he heard that she had encouraged Olivia to ask him, then he would really think Natasha was uninterested.
But there was a snag here. She was interested.
Despite Olivia’s dear requests for advice with boys, Natasha had little knowledge on the part where she had to be cute and flirty with them. She only knew how to be competitive, quarreling and audacious around them, never charming or sweet. The exception to that was Cillian, whom resembled a brother more than a love interest. She was beginning to find out Cillian was a lot of exceptions.
She smiled to herself as she heard her dear friend and fellow house mate’s “eep!” from across the room. Amelia noticed, glancing the same way, then looked back to Natasha,
“It is Cillian, isn’t it?”
The whispered guess was returned with a playful glower from the Hufflepuff chaser. Natasha shrugged her shoulders and sighed. “Oddly enough, I would rather talk about this assignment. Will you just help me cut this?” She passed Amelia the knife, wishing there was a way to just slice the tension of the entire ordeal with it as well.
It was almost ironic the way potions used to be his favorite subject. Now, all the fifth-years, had for reasons completely incomprehensible to him, were stacked into one class making the already humid dungeon classroom even hotter. There were so many people in here; it felt like there was no air left. He was tempted to remove the black robe that was covering his green and grey sweater, but he refused to succumb to such a common attire. He would persevere through the humidity victoriously.
As he blocked out thoughts of water and swimming, he had copied down the instructions from the blackboard in his own, practically unreadable notes. He had magnificent handwriting when he needed to, but when the notes were only for himself and his potions partner to see, it did not matter how curved his letters were.
When he had put down his quill, and professor Zorqel unlocked the ingredient cabinet. Now, if potions had just been about mixing ingredients in the right order, it would be no different from cooking. That part was easy; it only came down to precision, something Sylvester was a master at. The difficult aspect was making sure the ingredients were as profound as possible. He began to powder the Griffin claw in the mortar. That was how he preferred doing things. In an orderly fashion, he first readied the ingredients, and then he started cooking the potion.
As the potion turned teal and was set to simmer by itself, chatter soon erupted throughout the class. He sat quietly at the stool and kept his eyes on the potion. Sylvester was not a gossip, most of the time rumors went right over his head. The puzzle of who going with whom might have been more interesting to him, had he had a partner himself. Alas, Sylvester was going to spend the Yule Ball playing music for all the couples to dance to. It was a great way of avoiding the whole dating-question.
Though the thought of all those dancing couples pained him, it also made him think of last Saturday night, and that made him blush ever so slightly; so much that he caught himself and quickly began thinking about something else. Potions, potions, potions.
When the class ended, Professor Zorqel came over to sign the potion off. “Good work, you two, as always,” she said. Sylvester was uncertain if Zorqel had any favorites, but if she had, he was pretty sure it was himself. Then again, Sylvester always had a better relationship with his teachers than his fellow students. He found comfort in the fact that the relation was professional, not personal. He hated personal.
It wasn’t unusual for their partnership to garner perfect marks, but Cillian was beside himself nonetheless. He waited until they were outside the classroom to cheer though and had an extra skip in his step walking down the corridors. Since potions was the last class of the day for students, clubs and practices would begin soon including the Quidditch players. Seeing that his best friend and awesome housemate were both on teams, Cillian usually spent this time buried in a sketchbook or canvas. With the Art midterm projects due soon, the Hufflepuff needed all the free time he could get.
But having looked out the window today and seeing how gorgeous it was outside, the bleachers sounded like a great place to hunker down and get to work. Plus, he’d be able to support his friends and maybe get some good action shots for inspiration. Cillian still hadn’t forgotten about their conversation but had opted to wait until after class and out of earshot from others before showing his amazement.
“That must have taken a lot of guts, her to come to you like that. Most girls wouldn’t even think to ask the boys,” he clamored. The answer was obvious, especially since the Hufflepuff had it ingrained in his head that his two friends would take each other if it killed him. “I’m glad she seems okay still though, I overheard Zorquel giving her straight marks too! I heard my dad say once that the risk of not doing something is far worse than trying.”
Cillian nervously scratched the back of his head and realized the last statement sounded a little ‘guilt-trippy’ in terms of Trevor’s feelings towards asking Natasha. He hadn’t meant it that way but inwardly thought it fit the situation more so than Olivia’s.
“And before you say it again, I won’t just ‘let it go’. Both of you seem frozen in this rut of awkwardness and misunderstanding. If nothing else, clear the air before you both freeze to death, tell her how you feel, and let fate decide…” he continued, being very careful with his words for fear of sounding like he was trying to manipulate him. His desire for the two to be happy, even if they just decided to remain friends, overrode everything else to him. Being the middleman was hard sometimes and he wouldn’t dare let them know that the rift was affecting him too.
“Anyway, I’ll be on the bleachers getting some sketch work done. Just… just think about it, okay? You deserve… you both deserve this happiness.”
One last smile and wave accompanied the boy before he veered off towards the ground-level outdoor seating. Since they practiced close to the ground to avoid injuries, he’d have a great view of the players and with both his sketchbook and camera, he didn’t want to miss much. Bouncily, he plopped down on the highest row and took out his sketchbook, absent-mindedly letting the pages filter through his fingers until they unconsciously stopped on one page. The headless body profile immediately brought a flare to his cheeks remembering the path of every drop of water glistening off the flawless skin of his ‘subject’. Allowing himself a reminiscent smile, he gently traced his fingers along the lines of the shoulders, only stopping when he heard others climbing about the stairways to other seats.
Sighing, he flipped to a blank page and twirled the enchanted graphite between his fingers like a baton. After he knew his friends were taken care of for the dance, he’d figure out all of the other details for himself He refused to be a burden to his friends without a date and he believed his presence might distract the one he really wanted to dance with.
Odette swore she would violently poison whoever had the bright idea to stuck four houses into a single stuffy dungeon room full of boiling cauldrons, filling the air with even more vapour. The heat wasn't particularly getting to her…. oh no, it was the noise that irritated her to no end. The Gryphindors were as loud and cocky as ever, the Hufflepuffs were feeling particular gossipy today and the Ravenclaws seem to have a knack for scheming and whispering. It was hell incarnate. She gazed towards Sylvester, who was speedily taking notes; she wondered if he would mind too much if she purposely dropped some Acrumantala pincers inside the poison and turned the whole thing into a poisonous cloud to finally drown out the chatter. She sighed; the potion was for evaluation. Even she would rather favour a good grade than commit the mass murder of the Hogwarts 5th year class. Although, she could always entertain the thought…
While Sylvester took the rest of the notes, Odette got up to fetch the necessary ingredients. Well, and some. She was running out of certain components for her own little concoctions and her stock needed replenishing. Over the course of 5 years in Hogwarts, Professor Zorquel had never caught up with who was nicking some of his ingredients from time to time. In truth, she was unbelievable careful; her stolen targets had never connected to one another for any peculiar potion and she was certain to mix ingredients up so she wouldn't be suspected. It was a brilliant art she had perfected. And the scurrying about of dozens of eager students going through the cabinet was the perfect cover she needed.
She returned to the table, ingredients in her arms (and trinkets in her robe's pockets) and handed half of them to her partner. They both got to work. They had a bizarre clock of synchronization between them when it came to potions; each knew exactly what the other was preparing and by which step and added ingredients at the precise moments, without needing too much communication. Sylvester was already powdering the Griffin claw so she set up to measure the salamande4r blood and squeeze the pomegranates for their juice. Ingredients added, he stirred the cauldron and let the solution simmer happily.
They had finished ahead of time, as usual. Now was the boring part: without work to distract her from the noise in the classroom, there wasn't much to do but gaze upon her uninteresting classmates for the rest of the time. She gazed upon the youth of Hogwarts at its finest trying to find something to entertain her. Her gaze eventually fell on Natasha. She was acting embarrassed at something her potions partners had said and was blushing. Something stirred inside of her, a moment's ponder, and then it was gone. Controlled. She held her gaze on her with the same blank expression she always wore. Her eyes held hidden curiosity, though. The other girl was gushing about something, poking Natasha to coax her into… something? A confession. It wasn't hard to figure out they were talking about the Yule Ball. Everyone was, really. She herself was rather surprised when two Slytherins and one Ravenclaw had actually approached her (in private, thank god!) about being their "date" for the evening. One of them now lied in the infirmary bed with a horrible case of toad acne pus. He should be out just a week before the Ball. She wasn't as cruel as making the poor guy miss the event. She smiled faintly at the memory of the deed.
Speaking of deeds… Her gaze turned to one Trevor Grant. … She still has unsure what exactly she felt towards the Ravenclaw. For now, perhaps contempt. A forced acceptance. She honestly had to hand it to Natasha: the girl certainly took her time to figure out who those letters were from. Odette waited. Odette was patient. Odette planned ahead and timed her actions. But… perhaps… she waited too much? Gaze shifted to Natasha. She remembered the moment when Odette realised Natasha had figured out who the letters were form… and the reactions she gave towards Trevor had left one of the more painful stings in her chest. She liked him. Gaze shifted to Trevor. This dance of anonymous poets, silent vigilance from Odette and confused speculation from Natasha had continued for months and over that time Odette had planned and calculated every single devisable method of torture she could think of for one Trevor Grant. She wanted him to hurt. She wanted him scarred for life. The thoughts had given her a breather from all this dancing around but now… Natasha had almost returned the sentiment. The feeling was mutual. Now… Odette couldn't even bring herself to desire the most gruesome of deaths upon him. Because she would be hurt. And with that thought, Odette sighed.
Class ended with the professor complementing both Odette's and Sylvester's work, as per usual. The two of them always went well together in potions. It was the last class so the rest of the day was free to indulge in many students activities. Odette casually asked Sylvester if he had instrument practice. She had first heard him when he had asked to a relatively empty common room if he could practice his harpsichord. No one minded and Odette had to admit: he had talent. It was a pleasant sound hat lingered and made reading massive school books more pleasurable (or at least bearable). "If you're practicing the harpsichord, mind if I come with you? I need to finish the homework for History of Magic. I'm still missing 25 cm of parchment." …It also didn't hurt that the practice room had a panoramic view of the Quidditch field and Odette knew for a fact that some of the teams would be putting their practice up to data. Perhaps she would spot a certain chaser in the mix…
Trevor only nodded at the Potions instructor as she accepted his and Cillian’s work with her usual praise. He was already gathering his things with the assumed confidence of one who had completed a task and was ready to move on. No regrets. If asked five minutes from now what her exact feedback had been he wouldn’t have been able to repeat it.
Cillian was busting with happiness. He had that bouncy rabbit energy about him as they walked out of the classroom. The twisted half smile on Trevor’s face was a result of his friends suppressed antics, reaping some joy vicariously. Unfortunately, Cillian’s excitement meant Trevor had to exit the room quickly to keep up. He only had a chance to glance in Sylvester’s direction. Secretly he’d wanted to have a word with the Slytherin about Alchemy and the pending mid-term, but he’d have to find another opportunity. Perhaps that was for the best since he was still with his partner, Odette. She wasn’t exactly one of his favorites. Showing weakness in front of her would be like waving raw meat before a wolf.
As the pair walked down the hall, Trevor began to regret not making the detour. Cillian had his own opinion about Trevor’s reserve. He wasn’t shy about lecturing. He’d deliberately not said he’d turned Olivia down. Cillian, of course, knew him well enough to know he’d do that, but it didn’t mean he was holding out for a better offer.
He said, “I don’t think Olivia really thought things through. She’s probably relieved I didn’t say yes. I think someone pushed her into it, although I’m not sure who.”
“I already have a date for the Yule Ball,” Trevor said, nudging Cillian in the shoulder. “I told you, we’re going as a group. Stop trying to pair me off like I’m headed to the ark.” He shook his head. “Besides. I don’t think I’d do ‘happy’ well.” He was used to glaring and intimidation. If Cillian was the irresistible force, Trevor was the immovable object: tall, broad shoulders, steely gaze and stubborn. The poetry had just sort of…happened. Cillian was the artist with talent.
“You’re going to draw?” Trevor acknowledged Cillian’s plans to inhabit the stands. “Good.” Trevor nodded thinking how best to keep an eye on his friend while making sure he didn’t get hit in the head himself during practice. “No meddling.”
Once outside, Trevor separated from Cillian and headed to the locker room. The Ravenclaw section was already active with teammates changing in to robes and gathering brooms. Walking by he’d seen the Gryffindor’s at the field. Austin had been running around. Cynder arriving. Trevor hurried through his own ritual feeling like he was late, even though practice wasn’t due to start until the top of the hour. Robes. Boots. Padding. He wasn’t the captain, but he was a senior member on the team, and as the others arrived he helped organize the group and gather the supplies, before leading them onto the field.
Cynder watched Austen run around the field and decided to kick back and take it easy until practice started. She walked over to the bleachers and sat on the bottom row. "I guess I'm not going to the Yule ball then," she said to herself. ano one had asked her to go, and she was fine with it, She didn't like large crowds that much anyways.
She watched some Slytherens walk by and glared, she heard bad stories about them from her grandmother, who was a witch, she had graduated from Hogwarts a year before the dark lord was killed and now worked for the Ministry of Magic. She was happy there was someone in her family like herself and spent a lot of time with her grandma during the summer.
Cynder yawned, somewhat bored and then saw Trevor walk past and waved. She then pulled up her long black hair into a messy pony-tail and thought that maybe no-one had asked her out because she had a somewhat creepy look. She dismissed the thought and grabbed her broom, practice would start soon.
Last edited by Cynder-Shadows; 04-22-2014 at 09:46 AM.
Austin was doing flying drills in the Quidditch stadium when he began to see people flow onto the bleachers, happy that classes were over to the day. Several fifth year students were among them, most relieved that their potions midterm was done and over with. Austin had taken the potions midterm with his partner earlier that week, a favor done to him by Professor Zorqel. Even though the potions mistress wasn’t really fond of the house Austin belonged to, she still seemed fond of the student. They had done well, even if his partner didn’t understand why they had to do it before everybody else.
He waved to Cynder as Austin saw her sit on the bottom row and turned to see some of his other teammates fly onto the field. That day the Gryffindors were supposed to be playing a small exhibition match with the Ravenclaws, though he wasn’t even sure if the rest of his team knew. The captain had told Austin but he hadn’t recalled the captain telling the others. Since the game was rather informal it didn’t count against or for anyone, but it was a good way to train and a good way to meet students outside of class.
Austin moved over to the students gathering and flew closer to Cillian who seemed to be sketching. “Hey there Cillian,” Austin called to him. “If you’re sketching the match, I’d like to see what you did after you’re done.” Austin winked at his classmate and fellow Prefect and flew back to the field, motioning at Cynder to follow. The whole team was assembled now but the match wouldn’t begin for another few minutes, which Austin used to beat a practice bludger with a fellow beater and captain of the team, Donghan Passano.
Donghan was a 7th year student that had been playing Quidditch by the time Austin started going to Hogwarts. Donghan and Austin got along pretty well, considering they were both beaters and many thought that Austin would naturally take up the reign as Quidditch captain after Donghan left, though there were a couple of 6th year chasers on his team. He beat the bludger a few times with Donghan a few times before his captain went over to greet the Ravenclaw team captain.
Austin stayed in the air and nodded to Trevor, who much like Austin was also a Prefect and beater for his Quidditch team. Austin didn’t really know that much about him, which was kind of strange considering all the parallels between them. They had taken many classes together and as far as he knew, they walked in the same path. The only thing Austin could figure is that they didn’t have the same group of friends, but perhaps they could build a bridge that year and become good mates.
He looked over at the stands and flashed Cillian a smile before he turned his gaze to the other team. It was great day to play…
Last edited by Morpheus; 04-07-2014 at 03:13 AM.
Natasha found Cillian after Potions, somewhat in dismay about her score, but it was better than her previous marks. Amelia followed her out of the class, a hopeful tone in her voice,
“I know you studied a lot. But we did well! Don’t be so hard on yourself.” She patted her friend on the shoulder. The freckled Hufflepuff smiled at her roommate,
“Thanks. I’m going to the Quidditch pitch for the match. Want to come with me?” Natasha knew Amelia would probably make up some kind of excuse. She wasn’t athletic, but she was quite good at maneuvering a broom.
“Are you supposed to play today? I had no idea!” She frowned, “Well, I suppose I could come watch…” The hesitation was painfully obvious. Natasha waved her hand,
“Nah I just want to go see how Ravenclaw fairs. We play them soon and I need to keep an eye on the competition.” Amelia seemed relieved, which made Natasha somewhat annoyed yet amused simultaneously.
“Oh alright, well, maybe next time.” She said as she headed off to the library. Natasha waved, turning to see Cillian and Trevor gone, probably headed towards the pitch. The little brunette hurried to catch up with her other housemate, hoping to snag a good seat and take some notes.
The pitch was somewhat populated, but because it was not an official match, there were some empty seats. Natasha looked around the bleachers for Cillian and spotted him sketching like always. As she started the climb to claim her usual spot beside him, a shout caught her attention.
Ellis Valerian and a few of the other Hufflepuff teammates had a small bunch sitting in the stands. Natasha pivoted, returning the wave. “Come to analyze the competition, have you Ivanchuk?” She smiled with a bouncy brunette nod. “Keep an eye out for Grant. Heard he’s off his game lately.” Her eyebrow cocked at the suggestion, and she looked out towards the field to see if Trevor were out yet. Off on his game? Could there be a specific reason for that? It was odd to hear. Trevor was a fantastic beater, and flyer. Then again, the two of them usually practiced together outside of their own house practice. It had been a while since they’d had one of their own sessions. Still, it was hard for her to believe.
A familiarity of competition kicked into the girl as she took a seat beside Cillian, eyes out for the players getting ready. The awareness had her feeling nostalgic. She missed the ever-present need to beat Trevor at anything athletic. They had always been so comfortable discussing players and new recruits for the World Cup.
She paid no attention to the taller boy’s drawing for now. She wasn’t easily distracted in this element. “Have they started yet?” Her answer came before Cillian could look up and guess. Natasha spotted Austin, Trevor’s competition for this match, and found herself sizing him up. They were both pretty evenly matched. She was interested to see what would happen there.
She’d watch Austin for the match and tell Trevor what she saw later. Just because they would be competition next match didn’t mean she would ever hold back helpful advice. Besides, it was more rewarding to play someone at his or her best. She picked up her Transfiguration book that she had brought along, glancing just for a split nanosecond to see Cillian sketching. They both knew there would be no Transfiguration studying.
Olivia sat curled up on the work table watching the quidditch flyers, smiling wistfully as her mind wandered. After a bit she realized they were building up for a quick bout and from the colors it looked to be her own house and gryffendor. Collecting her bag and cloak, she made her way over to the pitch and found an empty set of seats.
Sitting in the far back with her feet propped on the bench in front of her, her arms draped over her knees and cloak wrapped tight around her. Without looking to close you would barely be able see her and she liked that. Watching the impromptu game gave her a chance to mull over her idea for the ball and come to a decision as the first bludger flew threw the air.
Trevor turned her down but that didn't mean she couldn't go on her own. It would be the most daring thing, arriving by herself. She still meant to dress up in the robes her mother picked out and her grandmother's old jewlery. Her aunt was insistent that Olivia make friends and meet influential people but all Olivia wanted was to study. Her aunt felt that just because she worked in the ministry and was part of Important Things, Olivia should get ready to do the same thing.
Watching the teams fly in their complicated patterns and tight coordination, she smiled some and wondered what it would be like if everyone were dressed in their ball clothes while flying. Chuckling quietly at the thought, her smile brightened more as she leaned back in her seat with hands crossed on her knees. Her extra homework was safe to ignore for now and her next exam wasn't for another day. Watching the intense rivalry blossom into a close game while hidden in her little corner of the pitch, Olivia half watched the game and half planned how she wanted to do her hair for the ball.
After Professor Zorqel gave them their golden stars and went on to the Hufflepuffs behind them, Sylvester started packing his things. Not only was it unbearably hot in the room, but it was the class with most utensils. While he tossed the potion in the gutter, he heard the unbearable sigh from the Professor. That was her way; instead of yelling, or actually helping students, she would sigh and walk away with eyes rolling, leaving with the feeling of complete failure. When Sylvester and Howard left, he watched her behind her desk, reminding herself how she loved her job.
“I just need to put my things away and get my notes,” he answered Howard. The crystal phials were bumping around in the empty cauldron along with his copy of Advanced Potion-Making. The entrance to the Slytherin common room was not far from the Potions classroom. He had always suspected Slytherin to have some connection with potion making, as many of his housemates had a natural affinity for the craft.
A leather-bound folder held the thick stack of nodes together, which he carried under his arm as the two of them exited the dungeons. A large group was heading outside to enjoy, what might be the last day of clear skies and sun. Winter was very much on its way, even if today did not show it.
The music room was large, about half the size of the Great Hall. Instruments of all sorts were neatly placed in one side of the room, the drum set located the furthest away by itself. The harpsichord stood in the middle of the room, bathed in light from the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the Quiddith field. He noticed the flyers out there, though they were barely colored spots.
He played a few scales to warm up his fingers, nothing elaborate, just something to pass the time as the other members of the band that would play at the ball arrived. It was far from the full orchestra that had resumed the responsibility of giving music to the dancing couples. The Pretty Dateless, they had jokingly called themselves.
In a way, he was glad that he could not have a date for the ball. He would love nothing more than to hold Cillian in his arms all night and rock to the tunes of the band, but he also loved being on stage, and there were very few occasions for that. He took honor in in his schoolwork, and most people would probably think he enjoyed it, but his hidden passion (that he would never admit to) was performing.
“You’re going to do Inferi by the Whining Vampires, Sunsnitch?” Today they were discussing the set-list. He had agreed to simply, play his instruments for most of the songs, as most of the singers needed it to back-up their tones. He nodded simply from the stool behind the harpsichord.
“I will also be performing True Patronus.” It was not a question; it was a formality of informing the rest of them that the song was to be put on the set-list. He was not asking for much, everyone else already had, at least, three songs to sing, and he had not minded.
“Uhm, I don’t think we have room for more songs…” Adrianna Hogwell began, the seventh-year Slytherin cellist and self-proclaimed leader of the group.
“I perform True Patronus, or you lose a harpsichordist.” Sylvester knew the power he had over them. They could not find a replacement at this point. Also, he was the best the school had to offer, and they had limited melody instruments. Sure, a cello could play a melody, but it really was much more suited for harmony.
“Well, when you put it like that,” Hogwell muttered and made a face as she went over the list to find room for the new addition.
“No meddling…” he playfully muttered to himself, imitating his stubborn friend with a smile while starting the outlines for a Quidditch player. There was only so much preparation he could do before having to come up with an actual subject, but knowing the intensity of these practice games he was sure one would come up.
The Hufflepuff had nodded when his friend made the comment though, so he’d lay off the subject… for the rest of the day at least. A part of matchmatching was keeping the seeds he planted cultivated, so Cillian made it a point to mention the Ball or Natasha in some fashion daily. Once he saw the signs of Trevor locking up on him though, he backed off to not truly upset him. With Natasha heading up the bleachers towards him though, he knew this would be easier said than done.
Luckily, he had a welcome distraction in the smiling face of one of the Gryffindor players and the wink especially brought color to his cheeks despite himself. Cillian was just as friendly to him as anyone else, but he was surprised to see someone take interest in his drawing and relished the attention.
“Hello Austin! I’d be happy to show you, just come find me after the game!” He grinned back, waving when he took off.
He knew what he was going to draw now and had already started the lines when Ellis’s voice and a familiar body next to him lured his focus away. Not noticing anything in particular about Trevor’s play made his disappointed in himself, but Ellis might just be yanking Tasha’s chain. But, if his friend’s academics certainly hadn’t suffered in the past few weeks, he doubted his Quidditch play would either. The chance to play against the well balanced Gryffindor team would spark his competitive spirit and both teams had something to prove; the Gryffindors were coming off of their loss to Hufflepuff and if Ravenclaw couldn’t beat Gryffindor, they wouldn’t have a chance against his house either.
It was a great time to be a Hufflepuff fan!
Nudging his lost-in-thought friend, Cillian smirked to her and pointed out towards the game which was about to begin now that all of the Ravenclaws were ready.
“They are about to, so get ready to analyze! And don’t listen to Ellis, he’s just nervous about your upcoming game against Ravenclaw and looking for problems where there are none.”
Reassurance aside, the Hufflepuff brought the graphite to the parchment again and lowered his head, only raising his eyes when he needed another detail glance. His photographic memory made sure he didn’t have to often though. Taking breaks intermittently to grab a few shots with his camera too, Cillian carefully split his time between both teams but may have unconsciously spent a little more time on two particular beaters.
Three-way post between Morpheus, -Numb-, and Stephano
Trevor worked with his teammate Jordon to carry the crate of quidditch balls onto the field. They set them down in the center and then gathered their brooms. Apparently they were going to scrimmage with the Griffindors. That suited him fine. Drills were boring.
"Let's roll," Trevor said to his team mates and flew up into position near the goal.
Cynder watched Trevor and Jordan walk to the middle of the field with the crate and followed. Looked like they were going up against Ravenclaws. She stood up her broom next to her and whistled for a second and then flew up above the crate. "So, ya'll ready," she yelled in her thick country accent.
Austin nodded and flew to his position as well, rotating his arm a bit. He watched the Ravenclaws, and flashed them a smile, being ever so polite. He braced himself as the crate was pried open and the quaffle was thrown into the air, starting the game. He watched as one Gryffindor's catchers caught the ball, but turned to face the crate as the bludgers and the snitch flew out at top speeds. Austin flew forward and knocked one of the bludgers as it almost collided with the chaser who had the quaffle, knocking it towards the Ravenclaws.
It was while Austin played that he showed why he was a beater. Austin was extremely strong, and the way he hit the iron bludger was done with so much precision and strength that it seemed to fly faster until it collided with something. He flew around and batted both bludgers as they flew around the stadium, watching the scoreboard for a split second when he made sure his teammates were safe. It was a great day for play Quidditch.
Trevor didn't mind having both hands on the bat and none on the broom. His sense of balance was excellent, and his ability to anticipate where the bludger would be equally good. He swooped down on his broom to save the Ravenclaw seeker from a hit sent by Austin.
Another swing and the bludger was aimed at the Gryffindor seeker instead.
"Heads up, y'all." Trevor muttered to himself as he watched the bludger make its way across the arena.
Cynder watched as the Golden snitch was released and watched as the Ravenclaw seeker went after it, then she did. She dodged a bludger and continued to chase the snitch. She got close a couple of times and lost sight of it a few times. "Dang, that thing is fast," she said.
The game was growing more and more intense by the second. Austin could hear both cheers and groans as points were scored by both houses but even though he did wish to see the score, the flying bludgers were keeping him and Donghan busy. Trevor was a good beater, but Austin proved to be just as good as he was, mimicking him by using his two arms to beat the bludgers, yet keeping his balance. Austin has found flying exceptionally easy when it was first taught and his skill was shown vividly as the game progressed.
The game needed a tipping point though – something unexpected that would throw the other team off. Austin had done this tipping point in other games, such as standing on his broom to fire rogue bludgers at the other team, surprising them long enough for them to be stunned by him. However, Austin couldn’t think of anything at the moment, especially with the Ravenclaw beaters defending as they were. That’s when Austin got an idea…
Austin flew up near Donghan and pointed his bat at Trevor’s teammate, Niles, the other beater on the Ravenclaw team. Donghan understood as Austin dove and fired a bludger at an opposing chaser on the other team, who dodged it easily. Biding their time, they finally got to a point where both bludgers were fired towards the Gryffindors. Austin locked eyes with Donghan as they both batted the bludgers at the same time, the bludgers rocketing towards Niles.
Niles scrambled and knocked one back, but was helpless at the other bludger pounded into him, knocking him off his broom. It was somewhat of a barbaric but effective strategy but Austin knew that it would prove to be effective. Honestly, a team had used the move against Austin two years ago, and Gryffindor unfortunately lost that game. Since then, Austin had become a much better flier, which if why Austin chose the Niles. Trevor was much too good of a flier to be knocked out of the game by such a strategy.
The only female player on the Ravenclaw team was the keeper. She could more than hold her own. Rowe had a flair for divination and perhaps that showed in her ability to play the position. Like Trevor she seemed to have an ability to predict the trajectory of the quaffle and deflect it from the goal. Due to her defensive work, and the precision of the Ravenclaw chaser Jordon, the Ravenclaw team was up by thirty.
Trevor wasn’t a diviner, but he thought later that he should have seen it coming. He wasn’t flattered in the slightest to see the target of both bludgers was his roommate Niles. The fellow fifth year deflected the first, but couldn’t manage the second. The flying object hit him square in the number 5 on his chest and sent him falling off his broom.
Trevor didn’t have time to swear. He dropped the bat in his hand and grabbed his wand. “Aresto Momentum.” The spell was uttered in time to save Niles from a nasty injury, but the strategy effectively took both beaters off the field for a moment. Trevor would call for the bat to return to him. He was tempted to have the charm swing wide and wack one of the Gryffindor’s in the head on the way, but he tempered the urge. His glare however spoke volumes.
This was supposed to be a friendly game.
Cynder continued to chase the snitch around the field. She kept losing track of it but find it again a short time later. She flew as fast as she could towards the snitch but it was just out of reach. “Time to pull of one of my flying stunts,” she thought. She then put both hands on her broom in front of her and pushed herself upwards. She balanced both feet on the broom stick and tried her best to hold steady and stood up straight. Cynder then reached out for the snitch and grabbed it. "Yes!" She then quickly sat back on her broom and flew in a wide circle around the field holding up the Snitch.
Austin sighed in relief as he saw Trevor saw Niles. Austin himself already had his wand in hand, ready to save Niles if Trevor wasn’t fast enough, but he was glad to see that the Ravenclaw was compassionate. As he tucked his wand behind his boot he saw a Trevor give him a cold glare and nodded, knowing he at least deserved that. Perhaps it was Gryffindor’s recent loss against Hufflepuff, or maybe it was the way Ravenclaw was playing, but Austin’s competitive spirit was brought out by the game.
At the same time, things way worse than what Austin and Donghan had done to Niles happened to him at exhibition matches. The last time they had exhibition match, Austin had been hurt so severely that the nurse made him sit out their next Quidditch match, which forced them to find a replacement beater that they couldn’t quite train and by the time the match was over several of his teammates were sent to infirmary, not only to see him, but to treat their own wounds as well.
Austin was pulled out his thought as he saw Cynder start to circle the field, holding one of her arms up victoriously as she has successfully caught the Snitch. A quick look at the scoreboard had told Austin that Ravenclaw had scored more goals then they had, but Cynder catching the Snitch put them well in the lead. Austin flew up and gave Cynder a quick hug as he helped Donghan stun the bludgers momentarily, just with enough time for them to be put back into the crate.
Landing, he made it a priority to check on Niles, wanting no bad blood to be spread among the two of them. He knew that a lot of students would be speaking about what happened for the next few days, though would probably forget all about it by the Hogsmeade trip. Austin wasn’t a bad person and most of the students knew this and well, the fact that he decided to check on Niles after the match was a good indication of that.
After Austin checked on Niles he quickly flew back into the locker room to change back into some other clothes. Austin wanted to find Cillian before he went back to the Hufflepuff common room. He actually was interested in seeing what he had drawn, not to mention the Austin actually did find Cillian attractive. He wondered if anyone had asked Cillian to the ball, though Austin wasn’t sure if he was bold enough to ask him himself. It would be quite scandalous and very unbecoming of a prefect…
The snitch was caught. Trevor’s anger cooled slightly as the sense of competition faded. Niles wasn’t harmed – so perhaps he didn’t need to find the Gryffindor beaters in the dark hall corridor after dinner. Austin seemed to have some class. He’d acknowledged Trevor’s look and checked on Niles. Donghan wasn’t quite as sportsmanlike, laughing and walking on to the locker room, something Trevor and his teammates noted for later. The Ravenclaw’s hovered around their goal for a few moments, heads together for a debrief. The seeker took the brunt of the criticisms. The team was the same as last year and played well together, moves coordinated and drilled, but the seeker relied on their solitary eyesight to finish the game. This was a point none of the others could help with and perfection was required.
Niles retrieved his broom from the pitch and flew up to join his teammates in conversation. The blame for the incident fell to Trevor. The Ravenclaw captain advised, “Learn how to say that spell without your wand, or let him fall next time. You took the pressure off Cynder. Unacceptable.”
Trevor’s back straightened, but since he’d already decided he’d be up late practicing the spell he ignored the second part of the coach’s advice. Niles wasn’t his favorite person, but he viewed his teammates as something more than expendable objects.
The group put their hands in the middle and gave a house cheer before flying in formation down to the field. Trevor glanced around. Cillian was easy to spot in the stands. Natasha was next to him, so Trevor decided he wouldn’t go and see if his friend had any advice to offer.
Niles patted Trevor on the back, bringing his attention to the field. “Thanks.”
Trevor shrugged. No point in saying ‘you’d do it for me’ when he knew that wasn’t true. He looked away. If Cynder was still on the field, he’d offer a word of congratulations and a ‘good game’ before heading to the locker room to change.
Natasha watched the match intently, her eyes following both beaters as they whizzed about the stadium. Not a detail was missed about the doubled-up bludger play. An annoyed “Tch” left her mouth, the corner twitching before her lips pursed. The entire stadium seemed to inhale as Niles toppled off his broom, Gryffindor students in the stands cheered.
“That was dirty...”
”…yet brilliant.” She muttered, she couldn’t help but admit that it had worked well in Gryffindor’s favor. Natasha was pleased to see Trevor thinking on his feet, or in this case, on his broom. He caught Niles before any harm could come to the other Ravenclaw boy. Just as expected from the talented wizard. If Niles had fallen they would have been short a beater.
Natasha caught the seeker reaching for the snitch, and let out a mumbled swear word. Ellis had been wrong about Trevor. She’d been watching to see if there was any suggestions she could make but the boy seemed just fine with his playing. Niles could brush up on his aim. She wondered why he hadn’t just smashed the first bludger into the second to divert it. Perhaps later it would be mentioned to him. Gryffindor had upped their game since previously playing the Hufflepuffs. Even still, their match had been close and well rivaled. She was pretty pleased with all of the teams this year; each match was a challenge.
At the end of the match, she stood and clapped, because Gryffindor had rightly won. She turned to Cillian with a shrug, “Well, they played exceptionally. Can’t win them all.” Her Welsh lilt was cheerful, though she wouldn’t have felt the same way if she’d been Ravenclaw. Natasha was a mental player, always in her own head.
She pulled her winter robes close to her, the wind chill had picked up during the match. Natasha smiled at her housemate, “Want to see if we can scavenge some hot chocolate in the kitchen?” One of the many benefits of being a Hufflepuff was the convenience of the kitchen. She and Cillian had always bummed leftovers off of the elves that worked back there. A nice hot drink would warm them up in no time.
Cally heard the babble of voices leaving the quidditch pitch, and muttered a curse. She'd been so caught up in giving Motley, her Siamese cat a nail trim she'd forgotten about the quidditch scrimmage between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Even though she'd ran as fast as she could, she'd arrived too late.
Slowing down her pace to a walk, Cally scooped up Motley and placed her on her shoulder to wrap around her neck, purring. Well, the impeccable efforts of Cally Dunnem strikes again. Cally felt her face, which was probably as red as her hair, start to cool down as she continued walking.
Breathing in the cool winter air, she smiled, her frustration with herself dispelling. But I still need to find out who won. Then I can get back to my book. Coming into sight of the stands she saw her fellow Hufflepuffs. Cillian, with his drawing supplies and Natasha, his best friend.
"Cillian! Natasha!" Cally called, the frigid hair biting at her throat. "Who won?" Cally tried hard not to laugh out loud as she realized how odd she must look, with Motley curled around her neck, bright red hair flying around her face, and robes buffeted by the wind.