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Term 57: January - April 2021 Term Fifty-Seven: TBA (Sept 2103 - June 2104)

 
 
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Old 12-22-2020, 03:54 AM
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Default The Boathouse



Every September first, the first years arrive at Hogwarts via boat, traveling from Hogsmeade station across the Black Lake and into the boathouse. The boathouse has three official entrances: the path outside the courtyard, the hidden stairs going down the cliff from the Great Hall entry, and, of course, the lake tunnel that also runs beneath the castle.

The boathouse stores the boats for the arriving first years and departing seventh years, but with permission from the Groundskeeper, you may be permitted to use one of the boats for an afternoon adventure. Life vests, oars, fishing tools, nets, and everything else you might need are either hanging on hooks on the wall or lying on the splintery wooden bench.

Please put everything back in its proper place, should you move stuff around. It's common courtesy to treat this old structure with respect.


Old 01-06-2021, 05:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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With all that had been said and done recently, Nem was not entirely sure this little meeting would go ahead, but who knew. Perhaps some aggressive Gryffindoring might come into play. They'd sent a note to Grantham through via grabbing some kid in the appropriate house and getting them to pass it along, and that was that. Nem would have preferred to send an owl, even within Hogwarts, but obviously that wasn't possible any longer, and the corridors were a bit too unpredictable, so the hand-delivered note had had to suffice.

Inside the boathouse, Nem stood with their back against a wall, arms folded across their chest, staring intently down at the water, ostensibly deep in thought. The note for Grantham had indicated that Nem had got hold of some information she might be interested in, and where they wanted to meet, and when, but no more than that. Only time would tell if that hint of temptation would be at all effective, but they thought that maybe it just might.
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Obviously Bernadette wasn't going to ignore a message from Nem.

With her hood pulled low over her dark hair and a fire in her blue eyes, she stomped down to the boathouse. She COULD have been more subtle and sneakier, but she had a BONE to pick with her friend. She marched right up to him and gave him a hearty PUNCH on the shoulder, or at least as high as she could manage. If Bernie could reach Nem's face and weren't afraid of cutting her hand on his ridiculously sharp jaw, she would have SLAPPED HIM.

So the punch would do as a greeting.

"What's this about Muggles being the reason wizards had to go into hiding?" she demanded, her fists on her hips now as she GLARED at Nem. "Why did you send a note to me? You don't believe these... these... NEM, YOU CAN'T GO ALONG WITH THIS STUPID NEO-NONSENSE STUFF. YOU CAN'T."

Bernadette was in FULL GRYFFINDORING MODE. She felt like blowing something UP. Maybe she'd BLOW UP THIS WHOLE BOATHOUSE!!!!
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You could always count on Grantham, for some things at any rate. Nem was unlikely to start relying on her for anything of real value unless they were forced to, not that they expected that to happen ever.

But Grantham had showed up. Predictably dramatic. Gryffindoring with the worst of them. Yes, you could always could on Grantham.

Nem bore the punch to the shoulder without flinching, only rocking slightly with the hearty force of it, and levelled a look at her as she bellowed for all the school to hear. Loud, too loud; Nem was taking a risk, meeting with a muggle-born, and while risk-taking was perhaps the one thrill of life they found any merit in, this was an abraxan of a different colour. There were eyes and ears all over, they had no doubt, and Nem wanted to be careful, especially this early on; what they were not planning on announcing to all and sundry, however, was exactly who they were being careful around. Those who needed to know could find out where Nemesis stood easily enough, and as to dealing with everyone else, it was almost like a game, one that stretched their mind further than any school lesson ever had.

"Are you done?" they said to Grantham, quite calmly, when the chance came. "I swear, there's not another kid in this place who has two brain cells to rub together; you're all going to get yourselves killed." No skin off Nem's nose. The Neo-Alliance weren't the only ones who wouldn't lose any sleep over that stuff, but no point making that public. "Trapped in a castle with a group who doesn't hesitate to throw around torture curses, and everyone is doing their level best to try and tick them off. Anyway, the statute stuff was true." Public knowledge. Read a book. Et cetera. "I did find some of that other information for you, but it was going to be owled in, and I have a feeling it's not going to make it through. You're probably a little preoccupied at the moment anyway, but there is something else I wanted to say to you." There was... some truth mixed in there. Some.

They would have liked to remind Grantham what they'd said about having friends in the right places, only that had been more about Auror friends, and though the concept still applied, it might take too much explaining. Again, walls and ears; if someone came spying, Nem could probably explain their strategy to Rosier, but who was to say what might happen before they could talk to him in private? Shame, really, as it might have got Grantham a little closer to being back on-side, but maybe the mention of information would trigger a memory of last term's conversation.

Nem wouldn't hold their breath.
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Was she DONE? Was she DONE?!

"You have some nerve, Upstead," Bernie spat, albeit quieter this time. "If I go down this year, I'm going to take as many of them with me as I can." Them and their supporters. Students, adults... she didn't care. Her nostrils flared as she whirled away from Nemesis and stomped over to a boat. One of the boats she'd probably scrubbed in detention her second year here. Back when times had been simpler and she'd known who she could trust.

She sighed as Nem kept talking. Bernie sat in the boat with her arms crossed, deliberately not looking at them. No, he wasn't the only kid in here with two brain cells. Bernadette was almost certain she had at least six to her name; she had walked out of their first day of classes unscathed, after all. She absorbed Nem's little speech and it did trigger a small light in her brain. Might've been more like a candle than a light, but she didn't know who to trust or what to believe these days. Like... had Nem even kept the hat she had crocheted last year? Something made her doubt it.

"Fine. Say it." Bernie's voice was tired from her earlier shouting, so this was said in a much much softer tone.
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Curtis was here... somewhat. He was on a walk pondering over things and checking out the areas for.... something or someway to alieve his own situation. Plus, it was old habit to walk the grounds expecting to see his old man when he wasn't here anymore. He could hear some shouting along the way though which attracted his attention to the Boathouse area. He recognized that voice for sure, it was good ol' Bernie and... huh. Nem.

He hid behind one of the structures to peek through the other side to see them to going at it. Was it some lover's quarrel? He didn't know they were dating and by the looks of it from what Nem said in class they were on the rocks. Bernie made it loud and clear... then he realized the situation. If some visitors came checking on the noise they'd see not only them but himself. He would be involved.... Welp, no use risking that.

"Muffliato," Curtis conjured quietly aiming in their direction. Nope, he didn't know what they were up to at all. Nope, nope, nope. He walked on intending to leave the scene.
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"I'm aware." Really, practically a Gryffindor.

Nem said nothing to that little hero declaration, wondering if perhaps their best bet here would to be let Grantham rant and rave and burn herself out - how long did it take for a Gryffindor to do that? well... how long was a piece of string? - before speaking up again, but it turned out not to be necessary.

Standing in place, arms still folded, Nem watched Grantham go off in a strop, but only as far as one of the boats. Not until she was settled inside it did they push away from the wall and follow, hands now in pockets, tread light, and came to a halt a few steps away, allowing her the space she sought while remaining at conversation distance.

"Bernie, I think you should-"

Suddenly, Nem stopped. A tiny crease appeared in their brow, and they tilted their head almost imperceptibly, and clicked their fingers by one ear, then the other, eyes still fixed on Grantham to see if this was the kind of buzzing she could hear too, though they weren't certain why it should be.
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Old 01-07-2021, 06:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hmmph.

Bernie said nothing, crossing her arms in a self-hug as she sat there in the boat. It was docked and still on the water, so as she thought of it, it was ready to get back out there on the lake. She had been planning to check out that little island in the middle of the lake anyway, so if Nem got on her nerves too much, Bernie would just row row row herself away.

First she had to swat away these mosquitoes or whatever kept buzzing in her ear. "What?" she looked up at Nem to see what they were on about. "What are you saying?"

Could Upstead SPEAK UP for the love of---- wait, that was a... weirder-than-normal expression on their face. There weren't more of those watchers... ah, watching them, were there?! She swallowed the lump in her throat, staying very still and very quiet for the moment to see if it really was bugs or something else making that buzzing noise.
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It seemed Grantham heard it too, and given that a sudden bout of tinnitus coming on at exactly the same time was rather unlikely, that suggested there was someone nearby, casting spells their way. Why that one though? The Hug-a-Hoodie Brigade wasn't likely to tip anyone off with a spell like that, if they even needed to have quiet conversations out by the boathouse. The great unwashed? Maybe... but still not too likely. Perhaps students, or professors, possibly there was someone already planning an uprising, casting on the boathouse as a precaution while they spoke outside, but why not come inside, especially if they'd seen Grantham - Most Likely to Join a Rebellion - enter?

For a moment there was some mulling over all this, swiftly followed by a firm conclusion that it simply did not matter. Not to them. Not right now.

Nem drew their wand, murmured a quick, "Finite," and the buzzing died down. Confirmation of something at least. Their frown deepened, ever so slightly, and stared at each of the three entrances in turn as the moments passed, straining their ears to hear anything that someone might have wanted to cover up.

"... Whatever," they muttered, and tucked the wand away again, ostensibly brushing off that little incident. Back to Grantham. "Anyway, Bernie, this Neo-Alliance. You should join them, at least as far as they let you." If they let her. Sure, that too.
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh, wonderful. Someone was watching them and sending mosquitoes or whatnot after them. Bernie passively watched the spellcasting and then, all too quickly, they were back to talking about the scum of the earth currently operating their school.

Bernie scowled, not just because of what Nem was suggesting. She had already volunteered herself to starting a revolution, or whatever. She'd given a speech in the Gryffindor Common Room on the first night back. It was going to be pretty difficult to carry through with the promises of said speech, but she knew she'd never forgive herself if she didn't at least try.

"You and I both know this isn't possible." A small, irritated sigh escaped her mouth. "They hate Muggleborns. They probably have a list of us, from those forms? At the feast? Remember?" She looked up at Nem, a look of sad resignation on her face. "They're probably going to snatch us from our beds at some point in the next two weeks and then murder us in the Forest. Make it look like we never existed."

In which case, she was sorry for punching him earlier, she supposed. She should have been going around and saying her goodbyes, most likely.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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"Muggles more than muggle-borns, though," Nem replied, hands back in their pockets as they stared off at the lake water which flowed into the tunnel. Suitably dramatic solemn for the situation. Maybe. "If you came around to their way of thinking, showed you could be trusted to cooperate, not make waves, it's probably true that they wouldn't let you join, exactly, but you'd live. The younger kids would follow you, and they'd get through it too." Who knew, maybe they'd all legitimately fall in line, even if they initially shaped up because they believed they need only sit tight until some sort of help arrived. That could work. Underground rebellion was entirely more likely, but still, plenty of possibilities to consider. "At least consider it. Talk it over with someone, quietly, and try not to mention me." Or do. Or don't.

Or do.

It was a shame, really, that in all those extra lessons with the Big Man, Nem had not yet learned one particular skill that would have been perfect for this moment. Frustrating, even, but then didn't all games end up boring once they became easy? Plus, it was always better to keep one's specific skills and ability level on a need to know basis. That was just common sense.

... Maybe not so common, mind.

Even so, it was in Nem's best interests to see the Big Man sooner rather than later, so they could talk a little more freely to kids like Bernie, who might still be receptive to them, and not risk the Hug-a-Hoodie Snitch Brigade materialising if the wrong thing was said. At the very least, they'd be in a position where they could vaguely anticipate it, and whatever the hoodies might have to do.

For now, Nem frowned again, as though in subtle disquiet. After a moment, they spoke again. "Did you know, Bernie, that Becca - my mother, I mean - is muggle-born?"
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Old 01-10-2021, 12:05 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yes, Muggles more than Muggleborns, though Bernadette wasn't sure she believed these goons knew the difference. She was still stewing on those forms from the feast. Obviously, they'd read them, see? Some kids had been given forehead tattoos because of them. Plus... if they took away her wand, wasn't she just a Muggle then too?

She blinked a few times and turned to frown at Nemesis. "Talk it over with... whom?" Bernie had a feeling Nem was overestimating her right now. Getting younger kids to follow her? Yeah right. She thought she'd given such a stirring speech in the Gryffindor common room about being smart and working together to start the rebellion...and then several of the ickles had lost their mouths the very next day. Even Phoebe had literally been knocked out by these bad guys. So what good could Bernadette do really?

Add in the fact that Nem didn't want to be mentioned; THAT was suspicious. She narrowed her eyes at the Slytherin. "What do you know about these people, Nem? Do you really want to just... get by this year? Don't you think we could be doing MORE to... to... I don't know, infiltrate and destroy them?" Bernie was of the opinion that instead of joining them, or pretending to, it would be smarter to stop the numbskulls before they destroyed the entire magical AND mundane world. "Surely they have to have weaknesses...." Even the so-called Headmaster, that great weirdo, hadn't killed a kid yet. Had he?! He had to have a reason for keeping them alive...

But who knew if it was already too late to stop this crazy train?! Bernie tried hard to not panic, to keep her thoughts short and sweet and rational and also, to herself. She knew they were just a bunch of kids (but kids who outnumbered the bad guys, right?!) and what could kids do, really. But there had to be a way to stop these fools. She couldn't give up hope yet!!! She swallowed a lump in her throat at Nem's last question.

"I did not know that." Oh, Nem. Bernie looked down at the boat, pulling the oars in toward her suddenly. "I should have made you write out your whole family tree, huh? Last year?" She smiled a little to herself. "What are the chances your dad's going to come storm Hogwarts if he doesn't hear from you or siblings soon?" Was it too much to hope for that?
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:46 AM   #13 (permalink)
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For the love of... "I don't know. A friend, or whatever. Someone else who might also benefit from doing something smart." Which, by the way, was everyone. Merlin knew most kids here needed their hand held all the way up to the threshold of anything vaguely resembling wisdom. "But it's up to you. I just wanted to say my piece."

Nem looked at Grantham a little longer, into those giant blue eyes of hers, not unlike their own... but as she went on, they allowed their gaze to harden. "For certain? Not much at all, just deductions and guesswork." And only those based on world history, plus information the Big Man had seen fit to let filter through to the students thus far, but could anyone really just blindly accept whatever was put in front of them? There was technically nothing to make Nem think that there might be more to it all than flipping the system and instigating a new order, other than the fact that it was a possibility. It was possible too, of course, that Nem was simply projecting. "But I know they're perfectly capable of having eyes and ears everywhere. And I know that's not a line of conversation I'm willing to entertain." They looked longer, right at her, thinking hard, waiting to see if she would take, and then accept, the hint that they offered: that they were not talking about it in favour of self-preservation, and even a touch of implied paranoia. It wasn't so terribly important that she got there, only that Nem tried to get it across, at least once. For that reason, they didn't wait to look for any sign of understanding, and suddenly looked out over the water again. "So no. I don't."

Aaaaand cue dramatic tired sigh. Best not to lay it on too thick, given that to all intents and purposes, Nem had always been a rather light-hearted yet worldly soul, prone to melancholy silences but not to wallowing, and who was quick to embrace humour in times of tension. It made little sense to turn too far from that road now. They quirked a smile back. "I guess. Might have been there a while, mind." Nem let the smile slide off their face then, shrugged their shoulders, and attempted to look like they were attempting to look unconcerned. It was a whole thing. "Pretty high, except for those forms." Aka yes. Nem had remembered them. "Jake and Becca both work for the Ministry. The Neo-Alliance will be stepping in there, count on it. You've seen how well hostages and threats work." She'd been there, after all, in Defence Against the Dark Arts. "Unless they just go ahead and..."

Nem let the implication hang in the air.
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Old 01-11-2021, 03:38 AM   #14 (permalink)
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'A friend or whatever.' Oh, so Nem didn't count as a friend anymore? Or whatever. Bernie briefly thought about Blake, but she knew without even talking to him how this would go. He'd probably be too nervous to even talk about other options besides playing along with their captors. It was a shame she didn't know more Ravenclaws in her year, besides Heath, and he was too close to her ex-best-friend for her liking; Ravenclaws were the kind of strategists she needed to get on her side.

Maybe Schmoe could be one to talk to? Hmmmmmmm. Bernie shook her head as though she were having this internal discussion out loud and kept her narrowed eyes on Nem. "Right..." Just wanted to say their piece. Sure, Nem. Whatever helped you sleep at night and maintain your bubble of self-absorption. Bernie could have snorted.

But there it was, the expected answer, the classic shut-your-mouth-if-you-know-what's-good-for-you standard response. Did Nem REALLY think the hoodie-wearers were lurking out here, at this hour, to spy on two nobodies? Well, she considered herself a nobody; Nemesis was likely on the Headmaster's radar after that Defense class if he hadn't been before this year. What had Rosier called them? An utter delight? A perfect pupil? A wannabe Death Eater? No? She had a feeling they were grooming Nem already.

She blinked once, as though absorbing Nem's gaze, and looked away herself, muttering under her breath something that sounded like, "We'll see about that." It was still early in the game, wasn't it, and Bernie was one of those thickheaded fools who didn't give up or give in EvER. But even she could bide her time.

She wasn't buying what Upstead was selling, except that the continued use of his parents' first names had her considerably amused. She remembered a little of this disdain (OR WAS IT?) from History class last year. "Noooooooo," she replied quietly, with more confidence than was, perhaps, wise. "I mean, no, the Neo-Whatevers seem to be too resourceful and obsessed with magical blood to just go spilling it willy nilly."

Bernie eyed Nem again, deciding to add a bit of a comforting thought, her eyes sparkling a little: "I'm sure your parents are the capable sort. Apples don't fall far from the tree and all that." That was a compliment, obviously. Nem was one of the brightest in their year without even trying; everyone knew this. And please, she didn't want ALL the limited wizard connections she had to die before she had a chance to meet them.
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Old 01-14-2021, 04:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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For the record, Bernadette Grantham - but actually off the record - Nem did not necessarily think that Rent-a-Snitch were out here, but they didn't not think that either. It just made sense to assume as much, to act as though anyone were watching, monitoring, or playing the scene back in any way, for any reason. That made it so much more of a mental workout, and was the careful way of doing things, of course, but it also might not hurt to seem even a little bit... shall we say, overly suspicious? For reasons.

All the time Grantham sat talking from her boat, Nem made no reply, no attempt to interrupt, not even to make a quip or remark about the little mutter that just about reached their ears. They only stood and listened patiently, eyes fixed on her, and as she mentioned the part about being capable, simply nodded, slowly. One, twice, thrice.

Now was, of course, not the time to express any scorn over the suggestion that any of Nem's ability, specifically their power of thought or the other highly useful aspects of their mind, had come from their parents. That it had been either nature or nurture. That it had been granted to Nem, especially in part by that bumbling idiot. No, best not to linger on that point right now.

"I guess you're right," they said after what constituted a thoughtful pause, allowing a small smile, successfully comforted, before staring right down into the water again, to watch it lap gently against the boat. "Might not even hurt a muggle-born, if she doesn't tick them off." Nem looked up again, right at Grantham, as they went on. "Not openly, at least. Not with us as hostages." A pause. A beat. A shake of the head, a straightening of the spine. "Thanks Berns, you are right, I suppose. They know what they're doing. I do too. And you should think about my advice. It comes from a very capable background, you know." Another smile, bigger this time.

Full circle. Beautiful stuff.

"I should let you get to your voyage," Nem remarked, nodding towards Grantham's boat.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:37 AM   #16 (permalink)
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So many highly suspicious smiles from Nem! So much pretending! Maybe one day, she'd get a fully honest response from this one. Bernie kept her thoughts to herself, only her eyes twinkling again as she flapped the oars like little flippers and put a hand over her eyes, shielding her gaze like a sailor of old as she glanced out over the water.

"I'm heading out to that island there in the middle of the lake," she informed her classmate unnecessarily. "You're welcome to join me if you wanna." Though she was certain Nem could only tolerate Gryffindors in microdoses, she had, at least, offered.
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Old 01-15-2021, 12:12 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Please, Grantham, there was none of that here. Pretending was for four year olds. Make-believe realities too. Just saying.

Or not saying.

"Some other time, maybe," Nem replied, taking half a step back and turning slightly in the direction of the exit. A sort of stony desolation seemed to weigh down directly upon them for a moment, and Nem allowed it to sit very briefly before shrugging it off, and continuing as before. "I should go talk to my brother now. He's struggling." Actually, all that was true. Ezra was in better hands with Pax, and she was better situated to keep an eye on him up in the Ravenclaw tower, but it was a good idea if Nem checked in with them too. "You have fun, Berns. Be careful making waves."
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:23 AM   #18 (permalink)
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...and adults, and authors, and actors, and LARPers, and even demon-spawn Slytherins engaged in pretending sometimes.

But no, there was no pretending here, none at all. This was a nonfiction, Nemesis!!!!

She nodded at the bit of rejection, nothing new there, and pulled her oars in further so they weren't hitting the wooden dock. She realized now that she needed a bit of a push start to get out of here, or maybe some kind of propulsion spell would be helpful? She was suddenly full of regret for sitting and getting comfortable in this boat without launching it properly and closer to the exit first. She didn't wanna drag it out to the edge and then hop in. She wanted to zoooooom out in style.

Bernie chewed her lip at her self-made quagmire. "Good luck to you." Yes, she knew there were other Upsteads here but they were boring in comparison to this one. The one perk of being the only witch in her family was that she got to leave all the family drama at home. She looked over her shoulder at Nem and hesitantly called out, "Before you go, do you know a spell that could rocket this boat out of here?"

Oh yes, she was going to be VERY careful making waves. Not. But if Nem COULD be a dear and help her out, she could lay down in the bottom of the boat and pretend to be a dead viking being sent off to the underworld on a funeral pyre. Minus the fire, of course.

SEE, PRETENDING WASN'T JUST FOR BABIES.
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
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"Thanks." Though, really, what did Nem need luck for? Or, rather, seeing as luck could be helpful sometimes, maybe the question was: what did Nem want to rely on luck for? Seemed stupid.

All said and done, Nem made to leave, but barely got to the doorway before Grantham's question had them pausing to look back. Rocket the boat out, hm? As it happened...

"Ventus Tria could be fun," they called back. Maybe even effective, but mostly fun. Not exactly fitting for what she intended, mind. "As long as you keep it under control. Try holding your wand under the water." Also try not to drop it, but even Grantham didn't need reminding of that. Anyway. "Peace."

Leaving Grantham to her adventure, Nem took their leave. The would have liked to see how that little venture turned out, but again, little brother. Perhaps they'd get a look at the rocket-boat while they made their way up the steps back towards the castle.
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Old 01-17-2021, 02:02 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Okay but couldn't Nem just do the spell FOR her so Bernie could live out her Viking fantasy? Come onnnnnn.

She frowned as they left and then repeated the spell under her breath. It was a wind charm, yeah? Why didn't Bernie think of that? Ventus Tria didn't even sound difficult. She was pretty sure this was a duelling spell, so... obviously, she'd be capable of it.

Bernie made sure the oars were secure and then stuck her wand underwater, at the back of the boat, only leaning her arm out. She didn't want to send the boat rocketing away without her! She pictured how she wanted this to go, and then cast, "Ventus Tria!"

With confidence, of course. All the Gryffindor confidence in the world.
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