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Nolan could sense that Volker relaxed a little more now that their conversation went on and he wasn't entirely sure he liked it. He wanted to get younger elementals on his side. He really hoped to form a group of elementals that could put his ideas into action and reform the wizarding world and maybe even more than just that. However, he did not want those elementals siding with him to feel like they were his equals. They were supposed to be his subordinates.

Anyway, Nolan did not find young Council elementals that were willing to listen to him every day. Hence the old man decided to accept that Volker was starting to feel at ease and even work on making him trust him more – not that he had an actual idea how to do that. It was not Nolan's forte to make friends. All the man knew was how to get women to be interested in him but he was aware that this was due to his riches rather than his charisma.

“Yes, Scotland is a good place for a garth elemental,” Nolan agreed for he deemed agreeing to be a good way to make the other person feeling understood and at ease.

Volker, too, agreed with Nolan when it came to time and the risk of wasting it. There was definitely some potential in the boy. He could sense that the boy had big dreams. He was not one to be satisfied with little when he could get more or so the architect thought.

The next time Volker agreed with Nolan did not seem like he fully shared his thoughts. Therefore, the older elemental decided to be a little more careful. However, that was not exactly his forte either. After all, the man was rather blunt and did not usually hold back his opinion.

The boy enquired further, wanted a clarification of his previous vague comments. Nolan could not blame him for that. On the contrary, he valued the interest that the young advocate showed, the willingness to listen to what he had to say even though he felt certain that he still had to fight to get him on his side.

Nolan decided not to directly answer the question though. If he was too forward with his opinion he might scare the boy away and waste a chance. Although he struggled as he would have loved to start his rant on the Ministry and the Council, the old man searched for a more diplomatic way to reply.

“You see, we are all meant to believe that we make our own decisions and that we are free to do what we want. However, nobody is really free. Do you feel free yourself? Can you openly display your magic wherever you are? Can you speak about what sets you apart from muggles and non-elemental witches and wizards?” He paused only briefly, not really allowing Volker to respond just yet.

“I think that the wrong people set up rules. Why should elementals be forced to subordinate themselves? Why are there schools around the world for wand magic but none for elemental magic? Yes, we have the Council but even as a member of the Council students are forced to attend a school in which they are meant to wave a wand despite the fact that for us it's mostly just a wooden stick and nothing that's particularly useful. Our magic, however, is very powerful but at most schools they do not even address the topic of elemental magic.”

He fell silent again just for an instant and looked at Volker, trying to figure out if his speech had an effect on the young man.

“We live longer than non-elementals. Our magic is pure and more powerful. We are the born leaders and yet we are basically keeping a low profile.” His voice was becoming a little louder now, his temper flaring and the old man shook his head. He was tempted to ask Volker why they were supposed to be hiding their power but he thought that it was not the right time to ask another provoking question. Therefore, he decided to give the boy a chance to react to the things he had shared and hoped that Volker was seeing his point.
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Russia / Re: [moscow] anywhere, in between. [tag; arkadiy]
« Last post by Florence Malenkova on Today at 04:23:46 PM »
"Are these…all of your family?" Florence's question came out a little high pitched and squeaky and it was beyond her control. Whether Arkadiy knew it or not, she'd made flash cards with the names of his immediate family on them. While a lot of them didn't even know they'd gotten married, their first anniversary was quickly approaching. She'd never presume that they'd want to visit or send gifts to mark the occasion but Florence was damn sure she was going to meet as many of his family as she possibly could while she was here. Just in case.

They were like him, just less fun, he'd said. The tall blonde gave a snort of welcome laughter as the joke took the edge off somewhat. The place did look incredibly beautiful in the winter splendour. The soft lights caught her dress' embellishments beautifully and she felt like a walking disco ball.

But no. Everyone she'd met so far and been warm and welcoming and she had no reason to think that Arkasha's extended family wouldn't be the same. She was well versed enough in polite conversation to know that they wanted to speak to him in particular and she didn't want to get in the way. Her role tonight was to support him. Out of habit, her big blue eyes looked around for Arkadiy's mum. Their shared home in Paris felt like a million miles away.

His gentle touch was comforting at the warmth of his hand radiated easily through her dress and a bright smile was fixed on her face. It wasn't forced because it was a touch that no one else would be able to see. Without thinking, she leaned casually into his hand as her lithe body automatically sought out to fill the space between their bodies.

The first glass of vodka hadn't touched the sides before the mention of children popped up and she began to panic. In all fairness, they hadn't really had that conversation yet, which seemed a bit strange considering they were married. "Well," Florence said intelligently, shooting Arkasha a look that clearly said help me. She wanted kids. Or, at least she thought she did. Some day. Not right now. She didn't have the heart to let her husband know that she'd rather raise a dog than a baby in case they weren't on the same page.

"We're still just enjoying being married," the artist replied diplomatically with a dimpled smile that she was hoping was charming enough. Having kids would mean leaving their little love nest and moving to the suburbs, not necessarily the Parisian ones. They'd need space for their future kidlets to learn to ride their bikes and practice magic in a safe space. Then there would have to be the talks about which school to send them to, either Beauxbatons or Durmstrang as the children would be entitled to both. She winced. "And we have plenty of time to figure that out, don't we?" She asked her husband warmly as she tried to block out her mother's comment of you won't be twenty-something forever.

Heaving a sigh of relief, she practically sprinted away with Arkasha but not before necking her second shot of vodka and offering a very unladylike burp. "I'm sweating," she told the poet with a laugh as she fanned herself. It had absolutely nothing to do with the heat in the tent and all to do with the mini Spanish Inquisition they'd just been subjected to.

"God yes," Florence replied to Arkasha's offer to dance almost immediately as her eyes widened with thanks. She really hoped she'd handled herself in a polite and gentle way and she really hoped the same question wasn't going to be banded about. It might have been a good idea to come up with a solution before they'd arrived so they could have some sort of united front but it was too late now. "This is really nice," she told the Russian as she drank her third glass of the highly potent clear liquid. "I don't feel anything," she added as her pretty facial features clouded in confusion.

Placing her glass down on an empty table, she intertwined her fingers with his while placing her free hand on his opposite shoulder. Florence took a step closer and into Arkasha's body line, taking their embrace from classic to romantic as left a small gap between their faces. The last time they'd danced like this had been their wedding night. Most of the dancing they did lately had been in their kitchen to cheesy European pop music. "Ohh," she said softly as they swayed. "Now I'm feeling it," she told him with a giggle as the delayed vodka results began to show.
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Oceania / Re: all my dreams are running wild [hefin]
« Last post by Hefin Howell on Today at 03:30:16 PM »
“Wow, wow, wow.” Hefin voiced, in a theatrical voice, acting offended towards Angharad’s condescending tone. “Look who’s judging.” He teased, pointing out that, in fact, she was the last person out there to be entitled to judge him. It was obvious enough, yet, still, she had asked for it.

Hefin then offered Harri a somewhat cynical gaze in response to her rascally remark about keeping secrets from his girlfriends. Well, former girlfriends. “Anyway, let’s be honest here, girlfriends and boyfriends are passing. There’s no point in revealing too much of oneself to people you know won’t stick around forever.” The Victorian remarked on a playful tone, despite being serious about it. Surely his cousin knew that he actually meant each and every word. He placed his hand on Angharad’s chin, and added. “Family. Now that one’s forever.” Emphasising on his earlier words actually, as Harri hadn’t caught on it. Hef didn’t especially enjoy repeating himself, but he didn’t mind it with Harri. She was different, for she was family.

He offered his younger cousin a wider smile than before, and gently poked her nose, teasingly. Revenge for her condescending tone, mind you. “Let’s go then.” Angharad climbed up behind him, and wrapped her arms around his waist rather shyly. He hadn’t expected her to be so precautious, nonetheless, it was a nice sight to see. Once very effervescent, it was pleasing to know she had tamed a bit. Of course, Hefin would have rather this not happened due to her attack, and Harri would’ve been let to mature and grown on her own. Regardless, he guessed they could all appreciate how she had gotten indeed more composed. If only she hadn’t had to suffer throughout the process.

The ride had been quite nice. It was a sunny way, perhaps too warm and actually burning hot, but flying at that speed was more refreshing than anything. The ocean’s breeze could soon be felt, and Hefin carefully turned his gaze for a moment, catching a glimpse of Angharad admiring the ocean. It was a beautiful turquoise, with which he was used to by now, nonetheless, for that moment, he could also remember his own reaction when first seeing the beautiful colours of the crystal clear waters. It was truly a great sight to see, and he was glad to have brought his motorcycle to offer Harri the chance of seeing it in the best seat available.

“Yeah, this is the old shack.” Hefin shouted back, pointing rather nonchalantly towards his manor, before offering them a safe landing. His driving had been quite perfect that day, and Harri had no reason to complain. Hopefully. Actually, he had no idea if wolves even enjoyed flying. Well, she hadn’t whined about anything, so Hefin assumed there were no issues. As they landed, one of the maids helped Harri down the motorcycle, and another came up to Hefin. “Hey, ace. Just take her stuff to her room.” He handed over the keys to the maid and then encouraged Harri to follow him inside. Now that they weren’t flying, it was much too hot to stay outdoors.

He led her towards the drawing room, and upon reaching it, Hefin threw himself on the closest armchair, unbuttoning his shirt around the collar and up to the middle of his chest, later on fanning himself with his hand. “It’s so bloody hot.” As if timed, a maid soon Apparated with some freshly prepared peppermint tea – one of his cousin’s favourites. It was cold, and filled with ice, exactly what they needed. “Perfect.” Hefin commented, and took one of the crystal goblets immediately, to take a generous sip.

The maid later on remarked that they’ve prepared all of ‘young mistress’ Angharad’s favourite sweets, baked goods, along with several types of ice cream. Hefin didn’t interfere, and allowed Harri to ask for what she wanted, but later on asked for some sliced watermelon for himself, before the maid Disapparated back to the kitchen. “The tea is great.” He remarked, encouraging Harri to taste some as well.

“You know, Aled sent me a howler this morning.” Hefin said, biting his lower lip a bit teasingly. “Apparently he’s jealous I only invited you.” He laughed, shrugging it off quite dispassionately. “I totally him that not only that, but I also have a hot single friend to very casually and non-suspiciously introduce to you, to make this vacation for more fun.” He let out another laugh, especially enjoying joking around with his older cousin. Of course, while he did tease Aled, he was on the same page as his cousin; no guy was actually worthy of their cute and innocent Angharad. “Serves him right for being whiney.” Hefin nodded his head in disapproval. In the end, Aled did deserve it.

“But you were picking on me.” He recalled. “How about you?” Hefin asked, naturally curious. “Any boyfriends or girlfriends you’ve been hiding from me?” He inquired especially playfully, although not letting off that he wasn’t really expecting Harri to actually answer that question.

ooc; manor pinterest here
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Britain / Re: [cotswolds] we are legends {quinn}
« Last post by Hefin Howell on Today at 01:28:16 PM »
Chasers were a topic Hefin was always up for debating. As a beater, it was his duty to protect the other players, and while keepers and seekers were always exquisite, chasers were a different issue. Hefin did his best not to have them injured and facilitate their playing conditions, yet the fact that scoring came so hard to some of them was ridiculous. Chasers were ridiculous. What was so hard in scoring? Nothing. Easiest position on the pitch. He was thankful that his current team had really good chasers for once. Things were much better since he became captain. He didn’t comment on Quinn’s remark though, fully aware that it would perhaps result in a way too heated conversation which wasn’t suitable to have next to a baby, even if both were actually on the same side of things. Sometimes criticism was very passionate.

“Oh really now?” He remarked especially teasingly, absolutely certain that Quinn was just saying that. In the end, if Lula was going to pick Scotland over Ireland, Hefin was sure his friend there will have a heart attack. But he didn’t voice his thoughts, figuring out that his teasing words were more than enough. Plus, the quidditch player certainly didn’t want to deepen his friend’s worries. Right now, she was a mother for the first time, and that was what mattered most. Her accomplishments were something he was especially proud of, even if Hefin did enjoy teasing Quinn.

Well, at the very least he was going to behave as long as she will, which she wasn’t.

Rude, very rude, Quinn. He was the perfect gentleman, mind you. The Victorian arched his eyebrow, gazing in the Irish’s direction. “Excuse you, I’m Australia’s Prince Charming.” Hefin said seriously, but his disposition broke for even he found the appellative the local media had given him a bit too much. Not to say that he didn’t like it, because he sure as hell did, but that needn’t be mentioned out loud. She soon joined him on the sofa, pouring him some of the Tasmanian firewhiskey.

However, Quinn was reasonable. Thankfully enough, she was aware that Hefin had actually meant what he’d said, and didn’t take it as a joke. In the end, the Irish was aware, as his friend, that he would never actually share his true emotions with others, regardless of how close they were. It was something to talk about different issues and people, nonetheless, when it was about him, Hefin had always managed to diverge the subject. He never talked about himself, or his actual life, always leaving people to believe what they wanted to. He just didn’t care, as long as nobody knew what he actually felt. And yet still, now his cool-headedness was almost gone, especially in regards to the subject of Callista. Not that he openly revealed it, but Hefin was indeed having a turmoil within.

Giving Lula back to her own mother had been rather hard. He hadn’t held a baby in his arms for a long time, and he’d enjoyed having the little one so close to him. But if Hefin was going to drink, then it was obviously better not to have Lula still in his arms. Plus, he was sure Quinn was perhaps already having withdrawals. He knew his own mother had back in the day.

“Heh.” He commented cynically, at Quinn’s remark that Irish whiskey is superior to the Tasmanian one. It definitely wasn’t superior, but Hefin knew it wasn’t bad. He really just enjoyed all kinds of firewhiskey, for the differences in taste were something which brought him quite the thrill. However, it would be a lie to say that the former Hufflepuff hadn’t gotten accustomed more to the Tasmanian one. It just felt better on his throat. He drank the entire contents of the glass in one go, and gently placed it back on the table, before leaning against the sofa, crossing his legs in the process. He placed one of his hands on his knee, gently tapping it with his fingers, whilst he ran the other through his hair.

Hefin sighed deeply, and glanced in Quinn’s direction. “It’s just difficult. Having feelings.” He remarked in a rather cynical tone, despite a slight feeling of bitterness being felt in it. “Especially when I thought I was really over it.” Hefin believed that he never really had closure with Callista, which was definitely the issue at hand. However, he couldn’t even get closure, now could he?  It was taking a lot for him to even tell Quinn everything so vaguely, but ask Callista herself? And in an open manner? Never, no, not going to happen in this lifetime. Or next fifty lifetimes. At the very least.

He scratched his chin, and then stretched out his arm on the sofa’s edge. “How is it with you and Oliver? Dealing with this daily?” Hefin genuinely wanted to figure out how an actual properly functioning relationship worked, and, well, asking Quinn was the best option he had. Most of his other friends weren’t exactly in properly functioning relationships either, so Hefin didn’t deem most of them as worthy of giving advice per se.

“Ugh.” Hefin let out, deciding that this would be both the first and last time he would talk of something as gross as feelings out loud. It made his entire being shiver to his very core.
5
Asia / [kyoto] spotlights {kate}
« Last post by Hefin Howell on Today at 12:06:27 PM »
“This is so liberating!” Hefin said extremely cheerfully, as he stepped out of a local kimono shop in Kyoto. They had both purchased some yukata, after watching the first performance of the day. He and Kate were attending the Cherry Blossom Dances, an annual festival organised by Kyoto’s geisha. It took place at the same time with the muggle version of the festival, so it made it particularly easier for wizards and witches all over the world to blend in perfectly within the city.

Regardless of how well they blend in, the pair decided – after watching an especially thrilling performance with enchanted fans and origami decorations and agreeing that the magical side of Japan was bloody amazing – that they should try on some kimonos as well. Hefin himself purchased a yukata, dark brown with a golden model of a phoenix on the back. Kate’s was equally elegant, or perhaps even more, for the quidditch player insisted on his friend getting one of finer silk than his own. Kate deserved it, plus she, as always, looked absolutely beautiful, offering the kimono even more grace than it initially had.

Nonetheless, rather than being impressed by the superior quality of the material in itself, and the beautiful pattern, Hefin was much more enthralled by freedom the yukata offered his body. Not having to wear his usual (especially restrictive) boxers with this outfit was obviously also helping. “Don’t you just love it?” He loved it. He loved Japan. Before leaving, Hefin would have to make sure he would purchase several of these clothing items, for they were just perfect for him.

As they made their way on the crowded alley, filled with booths of Japanese items – masks, fans, several trinkets Hefin had no idea what they were – the two agreed to go to a quieter place, to get some rest (of course, only after they purchased some fans that matched their new outfits). They reached a less populated area, and agreed to enter a teahouse, which was rather busy inside, despite its quietness. For once, Hefin did not mind it, for he was sure that in the midst of the crowd, nobody would actually recognise him. Hopefully.

The found a free table and were now finally taking a break from their busy schedule. It had been relaxing, naturally, nonetheless still busy and they definitely needed a break. Hefin wasn’t sure as of how soothing the break would be, for there were no seats, the room being very traditional. Still, he as long as he wasn’t forced to sit the uncomfortable way in which the Japanese did, it was fine by him. He arranged his yukata so it won’t reveal much, as they quickly made an order, asking the waiter for a ‘surprise’; Hefin was genuinely curious what tea the staff would bring them.

“So…” He started, placing his elbow on his knee and letting his chin rest on the palm of his hand. “This a good break from organising all those meet and greets?” Kate has been working especially hard lately, hence why Hefin had suggested this short one-day break. “You’d better stop being labelled as ‘on-again off-again girlfriend of Baker’ after all of this hard work.” The quidditch player commented, quoting the Daily Prophet exactly. The fact that they’ve referred to Kate in such a manner irked him quite a bit, for his friend was a strong, independent, smart witch, who surely didn’t need to be labelled as someone’s girlfriend to prove herself. The article even said that she was working the band members hard for publicity; it had been a repulsing piece of shit, that writing.

He sighed, hoping that Kate was fully aware of how he’d felt about that article and that he wanted the best for her. Honestly, his friend’s skills not being properly recognised and acclaimed really pissed him off. “What did Charlie say of that article?” Hefin asked, genuinely wondering if Kate’s boyfriend was as disgusted by the media’s approach on Kate as he was.

@Kate Duenas
6
Dublin / Re: i wish i had a river [lorin]
« Last post by Lorin Odell on Today at 02:24:36 AM »
Lorin felt vulnerable, watching this. She didn't know what to say so she just stood there, watching awkwardly while he spoke. Did he do this often? Out loud? When he looked back up, she was looking everywhere but at him. She felt like she ought to give him some privacy, but he apparently didn't feel like he needed it. It was nice that he thought highly enough of her to do this in front of her, but also awkward. She didn't know what to say to him, whether she should comment or keep quiet. He was a little red-eyed, and she wasn't sure if he wanted her to pretend to not notice or if she should offer him some kind of comfort.

Usually talkative, she was silent as she sat. She took a long swig of wine, and then took the first bite of dinner. The food was good, but the conversation was a little lacking. After a very long, pregnant pause, Lorin cleared her throat and began talking. He mind was racing, full of things to say and things she shouldn't say, and people she wanted to be. This wasn't something she had accounted for. She didn't think the two of them were on that level of closeness. She wouldn't dare let him see her so vulnerable. She wouldn't dare let him see her cry.

“So, your mother must have loved Christmas, then. To have such a fantastic collection of decorations.” She began, still not looking at him. “I hope I did her justice, then. I'm not usually much for Christmas myself. Bad memories in my house.” She didn't elaborate on it, and wouldn't. “Of course, my mother and father adore Christmas as well. They try to keep things festive, keep the family together, things like that.” She was loosening up a little as she rambled on.

“Mother always insists on getting the family together whenever we can. My family usually has a reunion on New Year's Day, and all my cousins from both sides come over. I tend to stick by Theoren, though. My cousins aren't very close with me. I'm.... different from them, I suppose. Some of them refuse to talk to me because I'm a Slytherin, you know. They always have. They simply pretend I don't exist. When I was younger they used to pick on me. Now they just ignore me. It's very annoying. Of course, I'm not much better than them. Even last year, I 'accidentally' spilled ink on my cousin's white dress. I once turned the bow on their holiday presents into a snake, which then bit her. She cried for almost an hour from fright. I don't see the big deal, really. It wasn't venomous.” She smiled a little, playful.

“I suppose if they weren't as mean to me, I wouldn't be mean to them, but I think that 'turn the other cheek' nonsense is hogwash. They deserve what they get, and if they paid me any mind, perhaps I wouldn't feel the need to retaliate.”
7
Dining Hall / Re: [bunkasai] dark matter [ryu]
« Last post by Ludwig Baumann on Today at 02:03:33 AM »
“Right. Of course.” Ludo rolled his eyes too, though it wasn’t in commiseration. Instead he was rolling his eyes at the fact that the class -- the class specifically about donning the uniform -- lasted up to a month. And they expected Ludo to be able to know how to do it without any training at all. It made total sense. He tugged at the fabric on his neck, loosening it a bit, trying not to get upset that he had needed to ask for help in the first place.

He followed Ryūnosuke out of the room, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose as they slipped. Martial art of archery. Ludo didn’t think those words belonged in a sentence together; sports weren’t arts, arts weren’t sports, and ‘martial arts’ was a misnomer. He came close to snorting at beautiful shooting, but he managed to turn it into a cough at the last second. That may have been the supreme goal, but what was the point? Still, he nodded, showing that he had followed what had been said.

Ludo was at least very fond of learning, and very fond of putting effort into learning new things. This certainly seemed to be less ‘sport’ than other sports, so he had a slight chance at succeeding. He took the bow from Ryūnosuke and took the same stance, sans arrow, glancing sideways to ensure he was mimicking correctly.

Fluid shooting, correct shooting, becoming one with the arrow. Was this a sport or a modern art installation? He was glad Ryūnosukewas focused on his arrow, so Ludo could roll his eyes in peace. He was going to take a hard pass on any spiritual connection to the sport, but he continued nodding as he listened. He lowered his bow to watch the arrow sail through the air, and he reacted just as much as Ryūnosuke did: not at all. Ludo still wasn’t sure what the point was, what this all really accomplished.

“Right.” Ludo took the arrow and repeated the stance, coming close to mimicking what he had seen, keeping his elbow up. He let the arrow go, surprisingly flinching only the slightest bit as it flew across the room, landing just short of the target. “Ahh…” He at least knew that he should hit the target, and he was already taking another arrow before Ryūnosuke had a chance to ‘correct’ him. He aimed again, pulling his elbow back just a bit more than before. He let the arrow go again, and this time it hit the board of the target, at least, if not in the center. Good enough.

He had yet to learn why they had to dress like this, just to use a bow and arrow, but considering he’d probably need help getting the uniform back off, he didn’t press the subject.
8
Dublin / Re: i wish i had a river [lorin]
« Last post by Donncha Kearney on Today at 01:38:16 AM »
Donnie added his own presents to the small pile under the tree. He had wrapped some gifts up for his family, mostly for his brother's kids; a few for old friends at the Ministry, and even a couple for Lorin's family. He had known them pretty much all her life, after all. Her dad had once been his boss, and he'd been the one to get him out of the funk he'd fallen into when Hana died. He owed her parents quite a lot. He supposed it was that debt that kept him from immediately slamming the door when she had shown up at his doorstep for an interview. That, and her intelligence. She was a pretty face, but he knew there was more than that going on inside her skull. He was rarely wrong about this kind of thing and it looked like his record was getting better. Lorin had proved invaluable so far. Plus, he liked her company. It was not something he could say about many people.

He sat obediently at the table, grinning as she plated up food for him. "Haven't poisoned the pudding, have ya?" He teased, waiting for her to sit down as he took a sip from the glass of wine. He was caught off guard by the question, but he supposed he should have seen something like this coming. Reason for the season and all that. Donnie had never really been a man of faith, but his mother had believed. This was her favorite holiday after all, and he did have a few traditions.

"It's, well, something like grace," he replied, flushing slightly. He'd never done what he was about to do in front of anyone. He cleared his throat and clasped his hands, as if in prayer. He raised his eyebrows at Lorin. "No laughin'." Donnie closed his eyes, and took a breath. "Hey Mum," he started. "I'm back again, like I promised. Don't know if ya know, but it's Christmas again. Everyone is doin' alright. Dad is, well, Dad. Aedan and his brood are doing fine. Beacan and Coinneach and Eimear are doing good. Coin got a special recommendation fer his work on that growin' potion. We were all real proud of him fer that. Eimear has her first gallery showing in a month. Beacan is dating that nice witch from Germany still. Can't see why she puts up with him, but he's lucky ta have her."

Donnie paused for a moment before going on. "You might have noticed yer decorations are up this year. Can't take credit fer that. It was all Lorin over there, my new secretary." He grinned. "Secretary, nanny, housekeeper, tamer. Something like that. She did a right bang-up job of it, you'd be proud ta see how well it all goes together. Cooked up a proper meal fer us, too. I'm thankful that she took me up on this job, and that we have managed ta not strangle each other. Yet."

His face got a little more serious. "I miss ya every day, but especially this time of the year. But I know yer looking out fer me, and all of us, from wherever ya might be sitting. Maybe it was you that sent Lorin this way, and if that's true, I definitely owe ya fer that." He set his hands back down on the table and opened his eyes, his face still a little red from the feeling of slight nerves at doing something so personal in front of another person.

"Let's eat," he said, picking up his knife and fork. "Elsewise I might just start eating the place settings."
9
Where did they come from? “I think they reproduce just like humans do, Louis.” And he could only hope Louis knew how that worked, because that was not a conversation he was about to have with him, especially not in his sacred library. He shrugged, pulling another stack of books from the shelves and placing them neatly on the table. “Maybe they don’t know she’s left.” It was possible they had lost her in the crowd, right? “Or maybe she told them to stay.” He frowned, though he didn’t aim it in Louis’s direction. “Yeah, she’s ‘big boned’.” Ludo paused so he could use his hands for air quotes.

He straightened out the piles that Louis was making before continuing with his own. He raised an eyebrow at Louis’s reasons that the giants couldn’t stay. Quidditch and flowers, of course. Bringing Emilia into the conversation didn’t make Ludo any more sympathetic. There were real reasons, though, like using the school’s resources, not disposing properly of their waste, the agreement that they wouldn’t interact here in the first place. But still, he had lost his favorite reading spot to one giant’s foot. “They smushed my tree,” Ludo added with a frown, picking a stray piece of lint from the cover of the book in his hand.

Ludo rolled his eyes. “I don’t think Professor Blauvelt is all there, if you know what I mean.” He made air quotes again. He didn’t think very highly of the man, wearing all that jewelry, keeping the classroom that cold, letting students freeze just for his aesthetic.

“But Burgstaller…” He was older, was supposed to know what he was doing. He didn’t see the big deal about covering the Unforgivable Curses -- magic needed to be taught, even if you were supposed to avoid it. “You’d think he’d try to get rid of the giants, right? I can’t figure out why he’s filling in for Madame Maxime, besides seniority.” He was so, so, so old. “He’s not defending against any dark arts, that’s for sure.” Not that the giants had actively sought to harm them, but it was just too much that all of this was happening at the same time political things were happening in France. He couldn’t wait to get back to Germany. He shrugged, resuming his service work.
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Ludo pressed his palms against the panes of glass in front of him, his nose just a centimeter from meeting it, too. “My tree,” he stated again, still in German, unable to peel his eyes away from the destruction. The giant hadn’t even stopped, hadn’t noticed that it had happened, had just continued on his stupid giant walk. “My tree.” He looked over his shoulder at Jaspar, his hands still firmly planted on the window. “My tree,” he said, one more time, this time in French.
“This is stupid,” he agreed with a solemn nod. He peeled his hands off the window and slowly turned, finally resuming his seat across from his friend. He didn’t think twice before using his wand to clean his hands, getting rid of all the germs he had picked up from the windows, just shaking his head as he muttered his cleaning charms. “I’d say they’re about ninety percent paper, yes,” thought he didn’t really want to debate the composition of compositions right now.

He raised an eyebrow, chancing a glance across the table. He didn’t respond, suddenly understanding where Jaspar was going with his line of thinking. Slow nods turned to excited nods as Jaspar slammed his hand on the table. “Why not?” He knew why not; it wasn’t logical. It was a natural thing that had been destroyed and if it was that easy, there would never be any concern about the weather or natural disasters or anything like that. People would only be afraid of magic, and the majority of the world’s population didn’t even believe in it.

But he was suspending his disbelief. He wanted that tree back, he had to try. “Let’s go.” He pushed his repaired books aside and stood up to leave, but only made it a few steps to the door before thinking better of his rash decision and turning around to first reshelve the books, and then he was ready. His wand was in his hand as they emerged into the hallway, but the farther and farther Ludo got from his safe space, the less confident he was about this plan.

“Do you think it’s safe to go out there?” There was a reason he had been in the library in the first place.
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