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Bellona Ahneta Venator

No- you may not call me Belle or Anne. Call me Bellona- plain and simple.


Bellona Ahneta Venator


Basic Info

Name: Bellona Ahneta Venator
Age: 17 years young
Gender: Femme
House: Arietem
Year: 5th
Pet: Fidus, her Fennec Fox
Patronus: A Male Archer
Birthplace: Was born in Rome but the Venators moved to New Jersey when she was 3 months old, reasons unknown

  • Hunting- it's in my blood
  • Archery- one does not need to be close to it's target to bring them down
  • Fidus, her loyal pet Fox
  • Rome- how she missed spending vacations in her birthplace
  • Physical activities

  • Storms- who likes getting drenched?
  • Incompetence
  • Disloyalty
  • Losers
  • Slow pokes


If there are three words that would perfectly describe the brunette, it would be her name. Taken from the dead language of Latin, Bellona stands for the Goddess of War, as she loves to get physical and active while her second name Ahneta means ambitious for Bellona will do anything in her power to become someone. And her family name, Venator stands for a hunter where in it grows pure in her personality.

This girl is also one of the most loyal friend one can have. She'll do anything for a great friend even if it means trouble.

The brunette is also as often as cold as the northern breeze, she'd give a warm smile either a cold stare of a cold shoulder and few friends, she isn't the type who'd hug someone and be all cheerful yet her loyalty cannot be questioned.


The Venator's have long traveled the world until they decided to stay put in the USA for Bellona's sake. Both part of the Magical World, Vectis and Amare Venator are respective wizard and witch though both attended Hogwarts when they were younger. Bellona got her ambitious genes from her father Vectis, who dreamt of creating infrastructure designs for Muggles so he aimed to become an architect while she got her calm and loyal features from her mother Amare, who opted to support her husband while maintaining a household. Bellona happened to become an only child, though her parents had lost a previous child before her, the reason- Bellona still has no idea.

Bellona, having the need to move to a new country when she was but a baby, had no problem. Unfortunately, her parents' hearts still beat for Mother London where they spent most of their lives. They would tell little Bellona the fascinating featured of Platform 3/4, Hogsmeade, etc. But the little girl can only deal with so much, that she asked them if she could see what they were talking about. Unfortunately again, they couldn't explain why they can't go back.

So Bellona, grew up wondering what her parents have always missed. No internet could supply any information or pictures for the benefit of her eyes. Which is why she always thought that Magus Rex is not good enough for her.

And now for her fifth year at Magus Rex, Bellona still hasn't felt she really belonged in the West and still hoped she would be able to experience her parent's childhood.


Do you know much about the Harry Potter Universe?: A lot ^_^ And that Nagini is the snake at the zoo in the 1st book
How often do you get online?: Almost everyday since I need it for work while during weekends, I check my accounts if I have to/
How often can we expect you to be able to post?: As much as I need to
Password: Copper Cauldron

So begins...

Bellona Ahneta Venator's Story

#, as written by throne
Justin Hardy – Vulpes House

Justin just couldn’t help himself. He was elated to be back. The so-described ruckus, well… with a bit of Transfiguration and Charms work, the lanky young wizard had set most of the unused silver and flatware at the Vulpes table to performing an impromptu rendition of the beloved Disney musical number “Be Our Guest”. Forks hopped about, weaving between the dishes heaped with food with their tined heads bobbing back and forth. Spoons and knives spun gracefully around one another, occasionally colliding with a metallic clatter then falling inert to the table as his spell-work was broken. Plates rolled on their edges, making neat turns at intervals. It was a fairly impressive display, and yes, quite noisy, but he just couldn’t help himself. Brilliant though he was, he hadn’t worked out a means to shake The Trace just yet (not for lack of trying), and an entire summer without magic had nearly done him in.

The Muggle-born students of his house seemed quite amused as he swayed in his seat, using his wand like a baton to conduct the affair as, in a terrible French accent, he sang the song. Students from wizarding families were a bit perplexed, and more than a few were rolling their eyes at his antics, but he couldn’t help smirking as he watched them try to figure out exactly what combination of effects he was using to achieve the feat. It was pretty much the only reason that the bookish-by-large Vulpes were so accepting of a reprobate like Justin; lazy and goofy as he was, he was undeniable one of the finest wizards in the House, and his skills with Charms and Transfiguration paled in comparison to his Potions work.

Throughout his little performance, he did his best to catch two particular pairs of eyes; first Emerson’s, then Felix’s. They, surely, would have appreciated his showmanship and the raucous results it had. It wasn’t long at all before Professor Hutson arrived and “politely” asked Justin to discontinue… which he did, mostly because he couldn’t remember all the words to the song anyway. Besides, he had business to conduct. He’d noticed several of his more regular customers eyeing him since they’d been seated, and since he wasn’t all that hungry, he decided to get business out of the way so he could move back to pleasure. First, he slung a quick, one-armed hung around Bliss, then shot off a quick salute to Teiver. With that accomplished, he slipped from his seat, slinking down the aisle between his table and the Arietem table after slinging his messenger bag over his narrow shoulder.

What followed looked more or less like old friends catching up; he’d clap his hand on a shoulder, or shake hands, grinning and laughing and joking like a fool. Anyone watching very closely would note that vials of various colored liquids were changing hands, along with plenty of sickles and even galleons. The Arietem were his best customers- small wonder, there. When he caught sight of Bellona, he paused for just long enough to blow her a cheeky kiss before continuing on his way. He often wondered why he hadn’t been sorted into that House; he certainly had plenty of friends there. Like most things, it didn’t bother Justin for overlong. He had much more important things to think about.

This way the year. He’d decided it that summer in a fit of loneliness. This was the year that he would finally tell Emerson Caldwell how he really felt about him. This was the year that he snuck or begged or trampled his way out of the friend-zone and into the arms of one of his oldest friends. Wearing a crooked smirk that wasn’t at all indicative of his intentions, he changed course… making his way toward the Cervus table, where his not-so-funny crush could be found.


Vance Abernathy - Arietem House

“She’ll be finishing out her education at Beauxbatons, for the umpteenth time,” Vance drawled, his patience wearing extremely thin. His sister’s little coven was abuzz with Nevaeh’s absence, and they couldn’t quite seem to grasp a year at Magus Grex without her. They have no idea how little she thought of them. They were little more than tools, stepping stones, but even with her gone, they go through these motions, feigning how upset they are that she’s gone. “She’s lucky, frankly. The education in Europe is much better, there’s more… tradition. I’d hoped to transfer to Durmstrang myself, but… there’s something of a legacy regarding Abernathy men and this school, and I can’t blame Father too much for keeping it alive.”

He’d been rehearsing this little song and dance all summer long. It was all he could do not to grind his teeth as one of the little sycophants went on and on about how they should dedicate the first party of the year to Nevaeh, sort of as the going away party they’d never gotten to throw. Generally, that sort of party is called a wake, he thought grimly. Beneath the table, he flexed his right hand, working his thumb and fingers a bit. The craftsmanship of the mechanical replacement was goblin caliber, but he still didn’t trust it, even if the big-eared little things were renowned for this sort of thing.

As he looked across the table, slowly scanning the faces of Arietem House, he could see the way they were looking at him. The way they were sizing him up. Without Nevaeh, his stature in the school was halved or worse. They were wondering if they had what it took to unseat him and rise to the top of the social food-chain. He almost laughed aloud. It was a testament to what was left of his composure and his breeding that he managed not to. Let them have it; he wouldn’t even fight them for such an empty honor as to be the biggest fish in this dismally murky pond.

Could he actually trust them? Trust anyone? Nevaeh couldn’t have been the only student recruited for… whatever it was his grandfather and those hooded cohorts of his had been planning. There had to be others. Being at school might keep Vance safe from the adult wizards who might want him killed, but their student-pawns? Those he’d have to remove from the board by himself.

He watched his peers carefully, looking for any indications of ill-intention. Most of them smiled at him, but their eyes were unsmiling. Vance had no illusions about his status. It was built on fear and respect, not affection. Not a one of these cretins was a tenth as adept at playing the game as he was, though. Not a one of them had blood half as pure.

He was dragged into a conversation regarding this year’s Quodpot team. ”Well, Zinkley is out,” he put in quickly, almost automatically. ”We’ll have to hold a try-out to fill his spot, but otherwise, the championship roster will go untouched.”

”And who says you’re captain again this year, Abernathy? It was starting already. The querent, a brick-faced wizard of middling heritage who certainly could have beaten Vance in a Muggle-fight, was staring at him hungrily.

”Ah, no one did, that’s true…” He took that opportunity to cut his meat, revealing his dragon-skin gloved hand in full for the first time since he’d sat down. With deliberate precision, he dissected the ham he’d taken for himself into tiny pieces. The smile he directed at the other 7th year, Barstowe, yes, Barstowe, he recalled now, was absolutely pleasant… but there was murder in Vance’s eyes. ”But of course, it simply goes without saying. Do try to keep up.” He shone his smile around the table, and most of the Arietem began to laugh on cue. Outplayed and intimidated, Barstowe stared at his plate. Let them come indeed, he decided, spearing a rectangle of ham with his fork and levering it into his mouth.

As the crowd hushed, the Headmaster started his annual opening speech in an elevated podium that looks over the whole faculty and students. Some acted bored while the first years listened with eagerness and doe-eyed looks. Personally, Bellona wouldn't care about anyone talking but she knows her manners and decided to give the Headmaster a respective attention and she was right, it doesn't usually last very long and soon hungry students attacked the food as if they haven't eaten for days. Bellona give each one of the hungry looking students a raised eyebrow, a shaking head and a judgmental look. She waited until everyone was satisfied with the pile of food on their plates. Luckily, Vance and some of her so called "friends" in Arietem were as composed as she was.

She was forking some fresh fruits on her plate when Vance gave a weary sigh and spoke, "She’ll be finishing out her education at Beauxbatons, for the umpteenth time,” Then he paused and continued, "She’s lucky, frankly. The education in Europe is much better, there’s more… tradition. I’d hoped to transfer to Durmstrang myself, but… there’s something of a legacy regarding Abernathy men and this school, and I can’t blame Father too much for keeping it alive.

And inside her mind she couldn't help but agree. She had always dreamed of attending Hogwarts instead of Magus Rex, she would have if her parents haven't attempted to disown her when she challenged them with her decision. She couldn't quite understand why, many years have passed and they still didn't want to talk about their reasons for not wanting to move back to London.

Bellona decided to speak up for Neveah's drones have been annoying the hell out of her as well. They've been talking and asking about Neveah since she saw them again from Summer break, "Ladies, relax. Can you not properly function without Niv? Has she accidentally brought her controllers with her back in France?" She gave them a mocking smile and took a bite of her strawberry. Then all of a sudden Justin started singing and performing for the crowd, Bellona couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy when he suddenly gave her a blow of a kiss. She looked at him with disgust and turned back to the girls.

"Really girls, I'd sooner than not advice you to work on your grades rather than wallow in sorrow for Niv's decision and realization that she is better off at France than in her with you." The blonde girl who regarded herself as Neveah's "right hand" suddenly sat stiff as the others looked at her with shocked look in their faces. Only Bellona dares defy their small group of "society girls", they would let Vance or Neveah talk mockingly to them but never other people. But somehow Bellona always does. She particularly disliked Neveah's little army of whiny girls and in fact she never got along with the girl herself. Yes the Venator's and Abernathy's are particularly close but since she was in diapers, Bellona never understood the fascination of other people with Neveah. Vance is another story, she really doesn't have a problem with the guy. As long as he doesn't harm her she plans to play civil towards him. His aura is a whole lot different than that of his twin sister but she'd rather talk about with other people than her best friend, Summer

Speaking of her best friend, the short time she get to spend with her before the great feast was too short for catching up. Not that she didn't spend some time with her over the summer but because she has a lot to say to share with her regarding her family's short vacation in Rome.

"How was your summer Vance?" She felt like she needed to ask him that. It was part of what her parents taught her. "Father and Mother wanted me to send their regards for your parents. They said that it has been too long since they've invited them over for dinner. They were wondering if the three of you would be willing to have dinner at the house on my parent's anniversary. Just a small dinner." She took a sip on her goblet and suddenly the flavors of rich Italian summer filed her taste buds with tang.

And as she savored the fine taste a small thought had entered her mind, it is indeed peculiar that she hasn't seen a single shadow of Neveah's. She would often see more of the girl than Vance during breaks but this recent has been very different. She shrugged and assumed that she was indeed busy with moving to France. When suddenly almost everyone's attention was interrupted by a wild cajooling from Justin's antics. Bellona rolled her eyes and instead continued to create a conversation with the only bearable person around her, Vance.

"I believe Father and Mother would like to send their regards to your sister and grandfather as well," Bellona smiled towards Vance and spoke again. "Now if you'll excuse me. This feast has immensely made me feel bloated. I guess a little walk would do me good," The girl excused herself and stood as she smoothened her robe and smiled at everyone. A lot of other students started looking at her plate, where a few melons and a few pieces of grapes and pears and looked at her with disbelief. How could anyone get too full from eating a few bites of fruits? But of course, Bellona would rather faint than to care about their thoughts. The left overs on her plate would be an obvious sign that she'd rather walk towards Summer's table than to sit with most of them and besides Vance was getting occupied with a little rift with another student about Quadpot. They can save their drama on their own. "I'll see you later at the Common Room. I have something to give you." She softly told Vance and tapped his shoulder. She turned and proceeded.

Bellona spun around and almost crashed into Justin. Luckily, Bellona's reflexes are as quick as that of Fidus', her pet fox. "Oh goodness, what would Magus Rex allow next time? Circus performers?" With a cold and crude voice, she made herself clear enough for Justin to hear and walked away.

Her newly bought shoes clacked on the marble floor as she sashayed with grace across the Great Hall. She eyed Summer's seat as she directly approach her from behind. When she was at near her best friend she spoke up, "Save me!" She sarcastically whined as she grabbed a piece of chicken strips from the girl's plate. "Seriously, how come your food is some much better than our's?" She chewed and grabbed another. Summer would know she was just being silly, foods that were served are all and the same in every house.


Savant let his gaze wander as the students, old and new alike, started filling their plates. He was always looking forward to his days inside Magus Rex even if he misses his family. One of the reasons why is the food, the comfortable beds and the reality that he is a wizard.

His attention was first caught by Summer Turner, the girl was indeed fascinating to look at. He should remember to ask her out for a pizza one time, one could never know what the friendship might lead to. Next was Georgie, the girl had fire inside her or so Savant usually portrays her in his sketches. And as he turned his head around his eyes landed on Teiver and most especially on her eyes, a nice hot cup of cocoa with her would probably be nice as well. He should remember that.

He was still scanning the Great Hall for a few familiar faces when Justin started singing and making tricks with his wand. Savant snickered and quickly glanced at the Faculty table and wondered what they would make Justin do this time.

He was still laughing from watching Justin's little show when saw the girl from Arietem stand up and walk across the Great Hall and towards their table as she sneeked behind Summer and stole some of her food. Sav never understood how a girl like Summer had managed to have a strong bond with a girl like Bellona. If his friend's name felt all crisp and warm, Bellona would soon freeze everything in her path in an instant. Maybe they were able to balance each other's personality. Sav shrugged and dug on his own plate. He was chewing on his pasta when he turned to two of his good friends in the same house, Emerson and Micah, and asked, "do you guys think of Bellona?" He asked curiously. "I mean how does a girl like Summer manages to put up with her? I'm not saying she's evil but Summer and Ice Queen?" He rarely asks about other people's business but the idea kind of bugged him.

And as soon as he was about to ask his friends a few more questions he heard a few other students arguing and betting about the year's Quadpot Tournament. "Oh shoot, I just remembered do any of you guys want to try out for the Quadpot team this year?". He looked at his friends with high hopes that at least one of them would join him.

Bliss Turner

Magus Grex School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The castle's beauty was breathtaking. As she took her first step on campus, the surroundings just wrapped her up in a blanket of beauty that made her feel more at home every time she made the journey each year. Something was different this year because this would be the last time she'd ever get the feeling of complete happiness from the school she had called home for so many years. She was just about to let the realization of it ending when she felt an arm around her waist. Summer.

"Bliss, it isn't the end. It's just getting close to the next chapter." Bliss took in Summer and all of her love as she could see her sister knew exactly what she was feeling. Before she knew it, she had her arms wrapped around her little sister. She knew her sister was right, but it didn't mean she wasn't still sad about it all. She was glad that she had her moment out here where nobody would notice instead of inside where plenty of students would be able to see her breakdown. She hadn't spoken a word because she felt like as soon as sound would escape her lips, so would the tears that she was holding back. "Come on, B." Her sister whispered as the arm that was placed on her waist gave a slight push forward.

It seemed as though nothing had changed once inside. She smiled at a few students who spoke her name, always flashing that smile of her's. She gave a quick kiss of the cheek to her sister before heading towards their own table's. Of course as soon as Bliss spotted Justin, she sat down beside him. She had no time to even say 'hi' as Headmaster Rockwell began his first speech of many that would give this school year the first sign of beginning. As soon as she saw the Headmaster step from the podeum she watched as Justin managed to steal the spotlight from all other houses as he very successfully performed a piece from Beauty and the Beast. "You are never a disappointment." She said with the quick hug she received from him.

With students getting up from their tables to mingle with other houses, Bliss took this time to look around to find Felix returning her gaze already. As he quickly changed his facial expression, she let a her smile come across her face before putting one finger up towards him as a symbol that she'd be over there in just a second. She stood quickly making her way over to Braelyn, giving the girl a hug from behind. "We have a lot to talk about." She whispered into her ear before continuing, "We will have to talk later though, okay?" She said as she tugged at the girl's arm. "Come on. Let's go talk with Felix and Finn."

Bliss knew that Braelyn would (hopefully) follow her over to the boys that seemed caught up in the conversation of Quodpot. "Really boys.. Always about sports." She spoke up before wrapping her arms around Felix from behind, squeezing as she felt her hands connect on the other side of him. "You do realize there are more important things to discuss.. Like how you have both underestimated the ability of Cervus to beat both Ferre and Atrietem." She couldn't keep a straight face at the unlikelihood of Cervus even winning one match. She let her arms unravel from Felix before they returned around the body of Finn. "I've missed you two so much." She said this directed towards Finn and Braelyn. "I haven't had time to miss you yet." She laughed with a soft kick to Felix's shin."


Summer Turner

Headmaster Rockwell never seemed to phase Summer because she somehow forced herself to see the good in everybody, so now as a few chuckles escaped throughout the Great Hall, she let herself smile as Rockwell didn't even hesitate with the words that continued to spill from his lips. She felt herself glancing throughout the hall to find a few faces of people she knew. She caught sight of her sister with Justin right next to her and rolled her eyes before hearing the Headmaster's speech end. It only took a few seconds for the whole student body to explode into conversation again.

She began grabbing various items from the plates of food from the table. She absolutely loved the food at Magus Grex, and she did not hide this as she at least grabbed a taste of every single tray of food. She nibbled here and there until she looked across to see Justin showing off again. This was like her enemy she didn't have. She just couldn't force herself to like him like Bliss did, but she couldn't say that out loud. Letting her hair fall in front of her face, she quickly caught it before it could touch the food on her plate. "How was everybody's summer?" She asked aloud getting quiet a few response before she saw the sight of a hand grab something from her plate.

She was about to grab the hand until she heard the voice that went with it. Hearing Bellona made Summer take a deep breath full of relief as she quickly spun around, "I've missed you!" She ignored the question Bellona asked her as she found her arms practically chocking Bellona's neck. "Me save you? Seriously.. Look what I'm having to deal with." She said as she pointed over to Bliss whose arms were around Felix. Bellona was the only person that knew that Summer had been crushing on Felix for years. "The only thing keeping me from killing her is the fact that I no longer care.. I think." She said as she felt her glance pull towards Savant. "He is going to keep me sane." She said as she looked at the people he seemed to be talking to.

Emerson and Micah, who Summer absolutely adored. "Let's go interrupt the manly talk for two seconds, please. I haven't said hi to Micah yet. You aren't my only friend, I think." She said with a laugh before dragging the girl further down the table to see the three boys. "Hello lovely gentlemen." She smiled towards Savant letting her eyes stay there a little too longer before facing the other two. "Micah! I've missed you." She gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head before giving them a quick wave of goodbye. "I'd love to stay and chat, but we have to catch up on a little girl talk.. Unless you three are dying to know the lately fashion in the Wizarding World?" She didn't bother hearing their answer as she turned all of her attention to Bellona, curious where she might lead them off to.

#, as written by throne
Vance Abernathy – Arietem House

A cruel smile curled to life on his lips. Dear Bellona. If there was any girl who might have a chance at taking his sister’s place in the hierarchy, it would be her… but perhaps next year, or the year after. She played the game well, it was true; she was a Venator, after all. No doubt her family dinners were just as laden with verbal land-mines as his. She had the ambition, as well. The killer-instinct. The only thing she was missing was Nevaeh’s raw power, but that would come with another year of lessons. He’d seen the girl’s prowess on the archery range, though. Something of a wild card, more useful for threats than anything else, and unspoken ones at that. Arrow wounds would be awfully conspicuous, and he knew the girl was smarter than that.

That was more or less what went through his head as she went through the niceties. He wanted to stand up and applaud after she excoriated the brainless girls who were bemoaning Nevaeh’s absence, but instead he just smiled sympathetically to the gaggle of females while he continued chewing his ham. There had to be a reason that Nevaeh hadn’t inducted Bellona into her little circle. Perhaps she was part of the larger scheme, and so they kept their distance to throw off suspicion? It was cunning enough, certainly, to stink of his sister… but he was being paranoid, rather than cautious, he realized. It wouldn’t do to dismiss a potential ally, not this early in the game.

He didn’t really even have to listen to her to know what she’d said. He got the gist of it, and nodded demurely. ”Of course, I’ll send an owl to Mother tomorrow morning. I’m sure she’d love to attend, and I do so enjoy your father’s way with anecdotes.” That, believe it or not, was true. ”We’ll certainly pass along your family’s goodwill,” he added, reaching for his goblet and taking a long draught of the water he’d decided on.

Then she was saying something about feeling bloated. That coarseness, that was what kept her from rising more quickly. She could trade barbs with the best of them, but then she went and said things like that. It was just uncouth, more befitting a Cervus Mudblood than a proud daughter of Arietem. His smile thinned to blandness, and he nodded. The mention of a gift whispered in his ear caused one of his eyebrows to arch, just so, but he only nodded vaguely in response as she set off. He watched her go, following her movements, and restrained himself from shaking his head when he noted where she was headed. Yes, the girl would definitely need a bit of polish… but then again, perhaps she had no interest in the top of the pecking order.

”If you’ll excuse me, everyone, I’m going to speak to Professor Chambers about the try-outs. I’d like to have this settle befored the end of the day tomorrow.” In spite of asking to be excused, he was already rising, his robes fluttering a bit as he left his napkin on his plate. He turned neatly and strode toward the teachers’ dais, bound for Arietem’s Head of House. He came around behind the table, leaning to whisper to the man… no doubt, plenty of students would be interested to learn what of. Markum Chamber’s favoritism was no secret, and the Abernathy’s were an old and wealthy family. No doubt, it would portend no good to most to see the two of them conversing. Whatever they were speaking of, they seemed friendly enough. He paid a quick visit to Oscar Hughes, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, as well. Their conversation was shorter, terser, and anything but friendly. The man gestured vaguely toward the Ferre table, and Vance seemed to bristle before he bowed lightly and took his leave…

Heading toward the Ferre table.

Braelyn smiled as Bliss came over to give her a hug. She nodded when asked to go with her to Felix and Finn. "If you'll excuse me," she said to Georgie. "We'll catch up later in the common room, okay?" She stood and followed Bliss to where the two boys were seated at her table and was a little taken aback when Bliss wrapped her arms around Felix from behind. She arched an eyebrow and placed a hand on her hip, giving Bliss a knowing look. "I missed you too," she said. "You haven't had time to miss Felix yet? What's that about?"


Micah was about to answer Savant when the girls in question came over to where they were sitting. He stood to give Summer a quick hug, and nodded briefly in greeting to Bellona. "Ah, no girl talk for me, thanks," he said to Summer with a laugh. "We'll talk later." He smiled at her as the two walked off, then turned his attention back to Savant's question. "I can't say I know too much about Bellona," he said. "But you know Summer. She's so softhearted, and sees the good in everyone. It doesn't surprise me too much that she'd somehow find a way to see it in Bellona too." He grinned at Savant's question about Quodpot. "Well of course we'll be playing this year," he said. "At least I will be, I'm assuming you still plan on it, too?" He directed the question at Emerson.

Rosina Garenne

Rose's cheeks flushed slightly as she heard Micah address her. That was definitely out of the ordinary. In the past five years, they hadn't really spoken to each other. Of course, it was his last year at Magus Grex. Maybe he was just trying to leave on a positive note, getting to know all of his housemates as best as he could. Whatever his reason, she had to respond in some way. Otherwise he would think she was positively dull... or deaf even. She cleared her throat, instinctively reaching up to run a hand through her hair. Although she forgot she had worn it in a ponytail. So her hand raked through and probably messed up her hair, making it look worse. Embarrassed, her hand shot down to her lap.

"Umm... y-yeah, I went through a lot of books this summer." She brought her eyes up to meet his, smiling lightly. "I would love to see what boo-" But she was interrupted by the two girls who had appeared by Micah's side. He stood to give Summer a hug, while Bellona just kind of stood to the side. Rose's eyes found her plate once more, staying silent as they exchanged a few words. She really did like Summer. She was just so sweet, and when the two of them were alone, they always had excellent conversations. Of course, Rose spent much more time with Bliss. She wasn't sure if that bothered Summer or not, she'd never really thought to ask. Still, she had no idea how Summer had become best friends with Bellona. The girl was just plain mean. To everyone! They were polar opposites, but Summer must see something in the Arietem that Rose herself did not see.

The girls took off, and Micah turned his attention to Savant, as if he had already completely forgotten about her. She let out a soft sigh, pretending to eat her food, but not really taking a bite. She knew the three boys were pretty much obsessed with Quodpot, so she listened to their conversation. Particularly when Emerson seemed to shout, and swoon backwards from the table. A smile spread across her face, but she quickly made it disappear. She didn't want them to know she had been listening in on their conversation.

Micah didn't seem to be returning his attention to her any time soon. So she glanced around the large hall, seeing everyone talking with friends. Suddenly, she felt so very alone. She wanted to run up to her room and just curl up under her covers with a good book. Life was so much better there. She saw Teiver slip out of the hall, and realized that she wouldn't be coming over to save Rose from her loneliness. And she didn't even see Bliss anywhere, so that wasn't going to happen either. She had the urge to cry, but wouldn't let herself do so in the middle of the feast.

As she thought about it, she guessed she couldn't really blame Micah. She wasn't that interesting anyway, and he had so much in common with the two other guys. And just then, Justin approached their table, standing across the way from her. He said some cheesy stuff to Emerson, and gave the boys each a little vial. She had no idea what he was up to, and didn't really care to know. She knew that Justin came from a Muggle family, just as she did. Did they also both have crushes on Emerson? Apparently so. She'd known they were good friends, but this was news to her. Perhaps she didn't know as much about others as she thought.

She felt the urge to run, but made herself stay put. She wouldn't let everyone else see her running from the hall alone, on the brim of tears. It was a new year, and she could create a new image, right? ....Maybe?

Finn Pollack

Braelyn gave a little wave back, then immersed in conversation with Georgie. He listened to Felix's response, smiling at his best friend's word. He'd been practicing his new move (it still needed an awesome name) all summer, and almost had it perfected. Felix was right, if he could get it down, the other houses didn't have a chance. Of course, once he did it once, everyone else would be trying to copy it. He'd have to cross that bridge when it came, though. He found it extremely interesting that Felix had spent his entire summer with Bliss. And the way that he stared at her after he spoke about her made Finn smirk. It surely seemed that something had bloomed between two of his best friends.

And speak of the devil, Bliss appeared at their table shortly after. She wrapped her arms around Felix, before doing the same to him. He graciously received the hug, squeezing her back with a chuckle. "It does seem like it has been forever, hasn't it?" he said, turning to face her. As his friends were chatting to each other, movement at the far end of the hall caught his eye. It was none other than Teiver, and she was slipping out of the large oak doors. He remembered taking a real notice of her last year, since she always seemed to be sneaking off when she wasn't supposed to. He'd even tried to follow her a couple of times, but she'd eluded him before he could catch her. He wasn't really breaking any rules leaving the feast. The speech had been made, and students were allowed to leave at any time. Most just stayed around for courtesy, until the faculty were done, and the first years were rounded up.

He narrowed his eyes, and stood up from the table. "Guys, I'll see you later. I need to take care of something." He clapped Felix on the back, and placed a hand on both Bliss' and Braelyn's shoulder for a moment, before he took off down to the oaken door. He slipped through as well, hearing the soft sound of footsteps, and he caught a glimpse of her disappearing around a corner to the left. He moved forward, approaching the corner, and peeking around it. Teiver was with her cat, which always appeared next to the girl when she wasn't in class. They were standing in front of a normal stone wall, and for a moment Finn was confused. He continued to watch though, and was filled with surprise when the girl brought out her wand and revealed a secret passageway, and a door stood in the place of what had been a wall moments ago.

Teiver was about to walk through, and he was afraid the passageway would disappear after she went through it. He didn't want to lose her once more. "Hey!" he called out, stepping from behind the wall and in to her line of vision. That was probably stupid, but he hadn't had any better ideas on such short notice. He looked around awkwardly, shoving his hands in his pockets. "Uh, what exactly are you doing?" he asked, thinking that was probably a stupid question as well. Too late now. At least he might find out exactly what she was up to.

Before even Bellona could refuse her best friend, Summer had dragged her all the way towards the table where the three boys were eating and talking. She remained quiet and just stared as Summer said her hi's and hello's but what caught her attention is the way her best friend locked stares with the quiet boy they called Savant. A little curious yet mischievous smile crept across her face. And before she knew it, Summer was dragging her away yet again.

The gardens are most likely full with students trying to catch up with summer stories with their friends who wanted a more peaceful place to talk than the Great Hall. Neither of them can go to each others House Common Room. "Where do you suppose can we-" Bellona was about to ask her friend when she paused and came up with an idea. She shut her mouth and held Summer's hand this time and lead the way. She went straight for the grand stairs but if some of the students would usually take the stairs going up she lead Summer towards the steps that went to the lower grounds, turned left on the first hall and then another left on a lower area. She exited an archway and they were welcomed by the cold wind and darkness only lit by a few torches rounding the archery field. This was her usual haven, most people would rush towards the Quadpot arena, either playing, practicing or girls drooling over the players while she targets the bulls eye with a sharp arrow.

She approached the stone bench supported by two small looking gargoyles that was probably made to scare most people but not Bellona. They were like her personal stone soldiers who kept her company. Most students would joke that she is as cold and expressionless as the stone figures but she knows she scares a lot of them as well. And that was Bellona's intention, she was never the social one it was always Summer who would talk to anyone and instantly become friends with them.

Privacy was a big thing for her, especially now. She was about to tell something to Summer but she guessed it can wait, but somehow she could feel the letter deep in her uniform pocket as if it was burning a hole.

As soon as her bum got comfortable on the cold slab, she let Summer take a seat and blurted, "I thought you liked Felix?!" She gave her a curious look and continued, "So why were giving Savant googly eyes earlier?" Summer unintentionally revealed her crush on Felix before she left for Rome.


Just as Savant was asking his friends about the two girls, the subjects of their conversation approached their seats. He grew silent and looked at Bellona then at Summer. But he was soon in an exchange of gaze look with the latter. He smiled and gave her a small nod, acknowledging her presence. Summer was the first one to break the stare and gave his friend a kiss on the head and was gone as fast as she came.

He knew he had to move fast and build up on that courage to ask her out- soon. Just then Micah spoke and interrupted his thoughts, "I can't say I know too much about Bellona," he said. "But you know Summer. She's so softhearted, and sees the good in everyone. It doesn't surprise me too much that she'd somehow find a way to see it in Bellona too."

Soft hearted, Savant thought.

Just then Micah directed his words towards Emerson."Well of course we'll be playing this year. At least I will be, I'm assuming you still plan on it, too?"

To which Emerson replied to, “Oh, I'll be on the team! You don't have to worry about me being there.” Savant was glad his friends were on the same rock as he is. Emerson then looked at Savant now, ecstatically “Are you trying out? Sav, you've got to try out, you'd be great!” he shouted “ And just think of how the girls'll swoon when they see you on the pitch, half the stadium will be out cold!”

Sav chuckled and shook his head, but it was true. Somehow some girls (or probably just one dedicated girl) had the habit of leaving Chocolate Frogs on his locker or desk often times. Some even have a poem or letter attached to it. But he didn't dare eat of any it, not that he was a snob or asshole he just didn't want to risk getting affected by probable love potions. He knew the effects are undesirable and silly.

"Yeah, I gave the thing a little thought over the summer as I was packing some grocery items," He then spooned some mashed potatoes and stuffed it inside his mouth and spoke with full mouth. "Any idea when the try outs will be and at what time? You guys have to give me tips, i don't think I know too much," He sipped his juice when Justin approached their table.

He each gave a supposedly praise on Micah and him but regarded Emerson with his own personal nickname. He almost choked on his drink when Justin blurted his pet name towards Emerson. He liked the guy for his humor even if sometimes it can be too much.

”How was everyone’s summer? Mine was awful, but then, they always are. Did you hear that Nevaeh Abernathy went to Beauxbatons?” Justin asked as he handed them a bunch of popsicle looking things.

"Muggle stuff," He mumbled as he continued to eat still thinking if he should care about Neveah's transferring. Maybe he should just be glad that the school had gotten rid of one Abernathy and now he just have to deal with just one. Somehow he wished that both of them had moved to another school and Magus Rex would be so much better.

”Oh, I almost forgot.” Justin then revealed something else. He explained his Betterbeer as Savant continued to eat and soon bid them his own personal of goodbye.

He returned his attention back to his friends as his stomach feasted on food.

Summer Turner

Summer had seemed to be caught in the pull of her best friend as they rounded corner after corner, leading to a destination she felt unnecessary to try and remember. As they walked Summer had a flash of the incident that happened right before Bliss and herself even stepped into the school, she recalled how troubled Bliss seemed to think that this would be her last year at Magus Grex. That this was the end of something in her life. Summer, who was always known for comforting her sister, found herself wanting to let her sister soak in this pain. The realization that next year she would be a true witch, who would no longer have the advantage of having a lot of friends in school. She would have to start over. She would have to find her own friends again. This had given Summer a little satisfaction knowing that Bliss would have no one, but as soon as the dark started feeling her, light began to take over once more. This was resulted with Summer wrapping her sister up in a tight hug as she reassured her that this wasn't all that bad. Why am I always so nice? She had asked herself several times as the two sisters seperated.

Summer came back to the present when she caught site of where Bellona had actually led them to. This was one of Bellona's favorite spots to just talk in privacy, and right now that is what Summer wanted more than anything; privacy. She let her hands find a step, so she could bring herself down to the cold stone. Her body gave a slight shiver before settling into her spot. She was just about to speak when her friend took the initiative to start the conversation fast. Diving into a subject that Summer had mostly conversed with herself about, and that was the summer filled with Felix. I thought you liked Felix..why were you giving Savant googly eyes? The statements both seemed to run together in Summer's mind as she tried to figure out where to start. She of course needed to go back to the day they ran into Felix.

"Okay, get ready for a very long summarized version of my terrible summer." She looked at her hands, thinking of how it all actually happened and then she began. "No questions until I finish." She knew her friend would probably not listen to that, but she still voiced what she'd like to happen. "So.. Bliss had somehow talked me into going into town for this festival of some sort. I had begged her to just go to the shore with my dad for the day to fish, but for some reason she said she felt like the festival would bring us closer." She felt her hands clench before she caught the anger building inside her. "You know how Bliss is.. Once she has her mind set, she isn't going to let you get out of it. Well, anyways.. We ended up going to the festival which I think was about the boats that had docked at the bay.. I'm not real sure. I try to block this whole day out, honesty. So Bliss has just spotted this beautiful dress that she insist on getting for me.. I'm not going to deny gifts!" Summer said laughing a little at the idea of her denial and what would have happened if she would have stayed by her sister's side.

She looked at Bellona to make sure she was still keeping up, with a smile towards her friend she continued. "I of course had to go try on the dress, and I swear I was maybe gone for five minutes.. When I came out, there he was.. Felix." She leaned back on the upper step, letting her hair fall across it. "I sweat! He was just standing there talking to Bliss like they had been friends forever. I wanted to freak because I thought Bliss will totally get me the hook up. Because at this point in time, I still hadn't told anyone but you about the huge crush I've had on him.. But I have mentioned his name a lot in conversation with her, so I thought her sister instincts would tell her something of the way I felt about him." She took a short break before continuing. "I was so wrong." She gritted her teeth through this remark. "When I came up, they were exchanging numbers and giggling like a bunch of little kids. Bliss just kept laughing and smiling, not even noticing me. Felix was the one that noticed me, and it was like he saw right through me. It was like he wanted to be nice, but give my sister as much attention as possible.. Which I know I'm probably exaggerating what happened.. But it felt awful. I was then drug along for every little day they saw each other. From going to the peer, to racing go-carts, to just getting ice cream.. It was awful seeing them together like that."

She bit her lip a little too hard, as she had to run the pain out with her finger. "And it was maybe a week ago when he had to go back down to his place.. So I've had to deal with the two of them just bonding all summer! So yeah, that's why I can't even think about being with Felix now.. He's probably having sex with Bliss." She made a gag face before she thought of Bellona's second question. "Savant has always been my type. I was just so caught up with Felix.." She gave a smirk before allowing her friend to catch up on the whole conversation. "Now throw all of your questions at me. I'm ready!" She laughed as she spun towards her friend, tucking a leg beneath her.

The opening speech was the same as always, but Myra listened intently, giving as much of her full attention as possible. She'd sat by the head of the table, as usual, so as to be near the teachers, should one of them need to talk to her. She tutored on occasion, so they needed her often. Once Headmaster Rockwell had finished his memorized speech, she turned and piled her plate high. Mentally thanking her mother for a fast metabolism, she pulled a book out of her bag and opened it, beginning to read where she'd left off as she maneuvered forkfulls of food to her mouth. She had become dimly aware of Beauty and the Beast being sung along her table when suddenly her fork flew out of her hand to dance along with the rest. Turning, she watched as Justin 'conducted' his impromptu musical. While she loved the movie, Belle had always reminded her of herself, she loved food more. Frowning, she was struck with an intense desire to talk Justin into harnessing his talents, and not for the first time. Not very many students could pull off such a sport (however un-elaborate the charms-work was in Myra's eyes). Taking out her wand, she waited for her fork to pass her again, and when it was in the perfect range muttered "Finite Incantatem," the fork falling promptly into her open and waiting hand. She began eating and reading again, letting the professors take care of Justin's rouse.

She listened in momentarily to some of Vulpes' house Quodpotists talking about the up-coming try-outs and winning the house cup. A short burst of excitement hit her in the stomach, practically causing her to choke on the water she'd just gulped down. She thought of her broom and the practice quod up in her room. She bit her bottom lip, considering whether she'd be brave enough to try out this year, then let the thought go as a blush ran up her cheeks at the thought of being scrutinized. What if she wasn't as good as she thought she was?

Losing herself in the book again, the chatter of all the separate tables became white noise. She lost focus of time and only ever glanced up to add more food to her plate. Vaguely she was aware of Professor Hutson briefly chatting with her. Something about someone needing a tutor for Potions, which Myra agreed to help with, of course. Politely disengaging herself from the conversation, she returned to her book. She glanced up every now and then, when movement caught her eye.

She'd noticed as Summer and Bellona had found each other and had a brief twinge of guilt hit her. She should put the book away and go talk to them too, but then they wandered to talk to Savant, Emerson, and Micah momentarily. There went Summer's very light blush, and Savant's posture changed ever so slightly just now. Myra couldn't help but smile softly at the interaction, and Bellona's minute boredom. She watched as they dismissed themselves and wandered from the great hall. They'd most likely seen her with a book and known she'd catch up with them later, besides, talking to cute, funny guys was not Myra's strong suit. She made a mental note to ask Kaplan to find the girls for her later.

She'd also noticed Bliss' laughter, trickling down the table like a warm Autumn shower. How was she just so perfect? It seemed that at least everyone had stopped by Vulpes' table just to say hi to her, or smile at her. Myra considered that for a moment and shot a short glare at her book. She knew that it was sort of her own fault that she didn't have too many people beating down the door to get to know her, and that it was probably that she always had her nose in a book, but what could she do? You cherished what you cherished, and some people were better at some things than others. I bet if I was on the Quodpot team people'd want to talk to me... The blush returned, so Myra picked up her book again.

After reading a couple more paragraphs, Myra was startled when her consciousness pricked as Vance passed by. He'd been talking to Arietem's house head, and was now making his way towards Professor Hughes. Their conversation seemed less than amicable to say the least, but they both were professional as far as Myra could tell. As Vance turned to leave she caught that look in his eye again. Her heart gave a small throb of sadness for the boy, her lips turning down in a small pout as she watched him. Where did that pain come from? It wasn't there last year, that's for sure... Damn! She ducked her head quickly as he passed by her, hoping against hope he hadn't seen her looking at him.

She decided it was a good idea to return to her book and only emerged for more chicken a page or two later. She conspicuously watched as girl after girl stopped by the Ferre table to talk to Finn. He smiled at them, that warm, tender, polite smile and talked to each of them. He was always so genuinely pleasant, so friendly. Myra smiled in spite of herself, enjoying her candid viewing of Finn's Flock (as she liked to call all the girls who fawned over him.) When his head started to turn in her direction though, she immediately dropped her eyes to her book and "read" as intently as she could. She'd never be able to go talk to him like the other girls, so what did it matter? She watched out of the corner of her eye as he excused himself from the table and left the hall. Was it just her, or did a little warmth leave the room with him?


Some time later Myra sighed, placed a bookmark in The Dream Oracle and pushed her plate away from her. She'd overeaten again, and chided herself as the inevitable "food baby" made itself known. Thank god for robes, she thought with chagrin. Tilting her head to the left she looked down her table. "Oh!" The exclamation left her mouth before she had a chance to register she was making noise. There were very few people left. She looked around, surprised to see how empty the main hall was. How long had she been reading? Better yet, how much had she eaten? Oh dear... She noticed Naire, then, wandering out of the hall with his owl and his camera. Her first genuinely large smile spread itself across her face. Near! Oh, how she'd missed him! They'd spent a week over vacation together, and sent owls back and forth, but that was not nearly enough contact. She wiped her hands on her linen, daintily wiped the corners of her lips, took one last sip of water, and stood. Tucking her book into her side bag, she scanned the great hall again, and waved to Professor Kass, reminding herself she'd have to stop by her office later or the next day to chat.

Hurrying out, Kaplan slinked up beside her, rubbing on her ankles and purring. Scratching behind his ear, she picked him up and followed Near to the Willow tree. Myra smiled to herself at the adorable little owl playing in the water. Setting Kaplan down, she grabbed a couple of owl treats from her bag, then pointed her wand at Near's camera. "Geminio!" she whispered, an exact (if useless) copy of his camera creating itself at the tip of her wand. Grabbing it, she tossed a couple treats to Chopstick, and plopped next to Naire, making clicking noises as she snapped fake pictures of him. "Hey shutterbug! How are you?" She smiled warmly at him as Kaplan immediately curled into Naire's lap, his tail lazily wrapping around his waist.

"Now throw all of your questions at me. I'm ready!" Summer ended her prose with that and Bellona was left silent. Not because of what her best friend has revealed but the fact that the letter in her pocket disturbed her. She couldn't decide whether she'd tell her or not.

She looked away as the cold dry night wind blew, sending her hair in a twirl as it danced with the whisper of nature. "Summer?" She began. "I can tell you anything right?" But it was more of a demand than a question. "Swear to me you won't tell anyone." She then stared into her best friend's warming eyes. Her cold stare met Summer's as she kept of fidgeting with the end of her robes sleeve.

She planned to wait for Summer to answer but soon her braveness escaped her. And then she decided not to show it to Summer. She couldn't bear risking her best friends life, even if the secret wanted to burst out of here. It isn't any of Summer's concern. "I- I met a cute boy in Rome but I still think that- that- well over the summer my feelings kind of decided that- well, I really think Micah's cute," She barely came up with words she'd use instead of revealing her secret. Well she does think Micah's cute- but that's not the whole point why she dragged Summer out here in the cold.

"Promise you won't tell anyone," She pretended to be shy and blushing. She wanted so bad to tell Summer the truth but she can't. Just then a few owls flew by to the tall oak tree and hooted. "Oh gosh, what time do you think it is already? We should get going now. I'm not really in the mood to vex the Prefects if they caught us staying up late." She gave off a smile and stood up. She fixed her robes just like the usual and looked at the full moon. "And I haven't feed Fidus just yet, the poor thing must be famished I can't have her feeding off the other students," She joked dreadly. She pulled Summer up again and lead her back to the Great Hall.

After a few minutes, they stood below the grand staircase of Magus Grex. She gave her best friend a tight hug and bid her good night, "Well I'll see you ever at breakfast okay? Goodnight porky." She teased and walked towards the stairs that lead to the common room of the Arietem where a few giggling girls and two boys talked as the fire crackled.

Bellona let the heavy wooden door close behind her as she stood gracefully before them. She stared until the girls decided that they knew what her intentions were, they stood up- hushing, and then went to their respective rooms upstairs but the two boys remained. Higher years but they were too plain to scare Bellona away.

"Well what are ye looking at girl?" The smaller yet stockier boy asked. Probably a proud first year. Bellona spoke no words and continued to stare. The two laughed as the other one spoke. She knew him by face, a familiar sight she usually see around the common room. "Oh that's Ice Queen. All stares. Thought she might scare us," and that sent them in racous laughing once again.

"Ice Queen eh? Whadya say I'd melt you with my kiss?" The new boy asked.

But Bellona continued to stare, her wand gripped under her robe. "Just a lil kees my love," The two of them stood from their seat and slowly approached Bellona.
And with a quick and unnoticeable swish, Bellona pulled out her wand and commanded, "Silencio!" The two boys found themselves quiet as they rummaged their uniforms for their own wands.

But pity on them, Bellona was quick as her fox as she released another spell, "Stupefy!" And both of them stunned to even moved. "I will release- both of you. But I don't want to see your faces." She slithered towards their stunned body and whispered with a clear voice. "Not in the hallway, not in this common room and if you ever so much see my shadow I want the both of you to turn back and run or your parents will cry on your tombstones," She threatened. She turned back to look both boys stare back at her with fears in their eyes. "Oh don't tempt me, I do know how to use my wand, my bow and arrow and- *wooot*" She whistled as Fidus, her fox came trotting down the stair case and went beside her. "my hungry fox doesn't really have the patience for people like you." Fidus, as if knowing how to play her part barred her fangs at the two boys and snarled.

"Am I clear?" She stood before them and asked, the two boys did their best to move their heads and nod but alas they could not. They mumbled but their tongues hang loose. Bellona removed the charm and instructed the two boys to move their hands up. They did and eagerly nodded as their reply.

"Good! Now scram!" She barked as Fidus went running after the two poor boys.

Now that the common room was empty, Bellona was more calm and secured to pull the letter out of her pocket. She doesn't know what time it would take for Vance to get there but she was determined to wait. She watched the fire as Fidus came trotting back, rubbed her body against Bellona's legs and sat next to her to warm herself by the fire.

Summer Turner

"That's all you've got to say about all of that!" Summer flew her arms in the air as she just leaned back in frustration. "You are my best friend! You are suppose to give me advice on what to freaking do, Bell! Oh my god." She had let the frustration get her a little too much as she just looked at her dark haired friend before letting her hands lift her up from the step she was at. It was like the night grew darker as her friend's words made it to Summer's ears. The breath died down with the seriousness of Bellona's tone. 'Summer...I can tell you anything right...Swear to me you won't tell anyone.' Sliding back down close to her friend, she brought her face close to Bellona's, touching her hand. "Of course, love. I am your best friend." She let her eyes shift to where she had carefully placed them along with Bellona's, giving the cluster of hands a tight squeeze. "I will never tell a soul anything we've spoken of."

Summer could see her friend fighting within on the next words she would say. She could tell Bellona was being very careful when she finally began to speak. 'I- I met a cute boy in Rome but I still think that- that- well over the summer my feelings kind of decided that- well, I really think Micah's cute.' What the bloody hell?! Here came the same frustration Bellona had just got through causing Summer to have. "What the-" 'Promise you won't tell anyone.' "Bellona! Don't you dare lie to me.." Feeling Bellona pull away and stand, Summer joined her to the level they were now at. She was just about to continue her thought of frustration when her friend spoke again, 'Oh gosh, what time do you think it is already? We should get going now. I'm not really in the mood to vex the Prefects if they caught us staying up late.'

Summer was stunned at the stunt her best friend was pulling on her. "So you're seriously going to just leave me with a lie?" Bellona completely blew off the question to say something about Fidus not eating. Summer just sat down to calm herself before she could get settled Bellona was already dragging her off somewhere else. She has so many thoughts going through her head before Bellona turned towards her as they had made their way through the Great Hall and now stood at the grand staircase. Feeling the arms of her friend surround her, Summer just wanted to trap her in the hug and force her to speak the truth in order to escape, but Bellona was too quick with the hug. 'Well I'll see you ever at breakfast okay? Goodnight porky.' She didn't even get out a word as Bellona scurried off towards what seemed like the Arietem common rooms.

Summer couldn't handle the idea of trying to socialize after the scene she just went through. Her own best friend couldn't even tell her what was on her mind. She quickened her pace deciding the way to avoid people was to get to her common room and shut herself off. She hadn't even seen her sister all night and for a second she was glad. She thought about finding her, but she knew she'd be around her friends. Hearing footsteps Summer let her eyes hit the ground to avoid having to actually make conversation until she felt the body of another against her's. "Watch ou-" She looked up meeting the eyes of Flint. "You've got to be kissing me." She said as she saw the owl on top of his head. "Oh my god, I meant kidding." The rose color that now filled her cheeks made her whole body fill with heat. "Hi." She tried to recover with a smile.

#, as written by throne
Lyle Brightham – Ferre House

At the sound of the screeching note that Lyle’s unintended stealth had resulted in, the boy winced and his pair of ferrets quickly scurried for cover. Two mobile lumps appeared on his shoulders as Skip and Scamp disappeared into his collar once more. Even with the sunlight faltering, Lloyd would easily be able to see the lumps scurrying in a spiral down his torso beneath his robe. Despite the fact that he felt really, really bad about interrupting her, he couldn’t help a bit of giggling as their little paws danced over him. Realizing how much worse that probably made things, he quickly stifled. His cheeks flushed red and he reached up with one hand to rub the back of his neck as well.

”Oh, um, I was actually looking for Naire but I heard you playing and couldn’t help but come over.” His mind caught up to his mouth a few seconds later, and he realized that he might have just insulted her, sort of. ”But I was hoping to see you too! We didn’t get to talk at dinner, haha, sorry, I got all wrapped up in stuff. Did you have a good summer? Mine was great. I’m really glad to be back, and oh! I’m going to try out for the Quodpot team this year, isn’t that something? I’ll have to find someone else to take over the sports column, because I’d probably be biased, but I’m really excited. So excited. This is going to be the best year yet, I can feel it, can’t you?”

He never quite seemed aware of how hard it could be for people to keep up with his rapid-fire manner of speaking. His father often remarked on how little he seemed to need to breath, if only when he was talking, which he almost always was. There was a brief pause, where she might have been able to get a word in, but probably not. Again, he only seemed to have digested what was said, this time by her, once he’d quieted a bit and had time to actually let the words bounce around his skull a few times. ”You’re right though, we should head in. I guess I won’t see Naire till tomorrow, that’s too bad.” His brow creased a bit. ”Should I have a question for you? Did something exciting happen?” His eyes were wide, eager, waiting. Quite reminiscent of a puppy, he scampered after her towards the school.

Vance Abernathy – Arietem House

He nearly flinched when Lee mentioned that his siblings were at the French wizarding school that Nevaeh would supposedly be attending. He’d nearly forgotten that little fact, forgotten it enough, at least, that he had to rapidly make several decisions. He had faith that he could convince Lee not to share anything that would disrupt the cover story, but very little faith that the boy would have the good sense to keep his mouth shut on the matter unless expressly told to. That meant he needed to tell the flamboyant younger man even more than he’d intended to, which didn’t sit well with him. This was the one area where he’d always trumped his sister. She’d ruled her flock of female friends and male admirers exclusively with fear, but he was much better at the game. It was his grandmother who had called it that, the concept of identifying people as pieces and maneuvering them across a metaphorical board. No doubt, if Nevaeh were in his shoes rather than the cold ground, she’d already have her wand to Lee’s throat, a threat ready to pour like poison from her lips.

”Very eventful, I must say.” He had taken a bit longer in coining his reply than was required, something that Lee would surely notice. ”But all in good time.” His fingers unwound, and he reached over with his remaining hand to give Lee’s shoulder a brief, Vance’s-version-of-friendly squeeze. ”This year will turn out to be just as eventful, I think.” That should have been sufficient to whet Lee’s appetite for secrets while satiating his appetite for affection, however brisk.

He lengthened his stride by a half-pace as they drew nearer to the entrance of the common room of Arietem House. ”Lordly lineage,” he whispered into a brazier by the door after a quick, surreptitious glance to ensure that no one was in range to eavesdrop. The heavy stone door slid aside, revealing the short flight of steps that led down into the common room proper, plushly appointed as it was in the greens of the house’s standard.

Normally, Vance relaxed ever so slightly upon entering the Arietem-only cloister of the school. In part, it was to convey a bit of trust that barely existed; it was also because maintaining poise could be laborious throughout an entire school day, even for him, particularly on a day where he had to deal with Fletcher. Not so, this year. This year, anyone could be an enemy.

He vaguely remembered Bellona mentioning something about a gift when he spied her by the fire. He offered her a courtly nod, then allowed himself to sink down into an overstuffed chair across from her. He was careful to choose one with another adjacent, so that Lee wouldn’t have to pout, or worse, make a show of dragging a seat closer to him. ”What a tiresome evening this has been,” he remarked earnestly. He’d sleep well tonight, if he didn’t dream of fire, green light, and cold, pale girls.

And then there’s Justin – Vulpes House

Normally, lazing about on a cot for a spell with nothing more intensive to do thank keep track of time would have been restive for Justin. He couldn’t keep unbidden scenes from the past from his mind, though. Two young boys, on a slender whip of a thing with spikey hair, the other a bit sturdier with a shaggy mane and a goofy grin. The former leaning heavy on the latter, practically clinging to him as he limped along toward a first-aid tent a stone’s throw from the cacophony of a Quodpot stadium teeming with fans.

That same spikey-haired boy never failing to notice when the shaggy-haired boy was about. They were both a little older than they had been, both a little more certain of what they wanted. A dozen or so instances of the two of them avoiding one another’s gaze or presence, the cloying desire to break their shared silence, the cold stare of another boy, indistinct in memory, who might ever be a wedge between them.

A kiss, the first and only kiss they’d shared, only they hadn’t really shared it. The formerly spikey-haired boy, who’d finally realized that gelling his hair into tines didn’t do all that much to make him look badass, had stolen it. The true punishment for his crime: the only chance he might have had stripped from him.

Justin’s dark brown eyes snapped open. He planted his feet on the ground and stood, using his wand to carefully levitate the boiling cauldron from the flames onto a rack, where it could cool. While it did, he busied himself with changing out the cartridges of sleeping gas in the hutch and restoring the protective enchantments he’d layered upon it. It was tedious, but he didn’t mind just them. The images from his reverie were hovering at the fringes of his mind and the task helped keep them at bay. He was nervous, he realized. This whole affair was a Hail Mary, an act of desperation, almost certainly doomed to fail.

Justin never wore insecurity well, and so he clamped down on those thoughts. Instead, he focused on a siphoning spell, drawing the brown liquid from the cauldron in a thin stream that he snaked through the air, passing it through a cheesecloth set up for just this purpose in order to filter the scum away. A bit like making consommé, really, he never failed to think. Maybe he could conspire a way to cook for Emerson. The boy loved food, and anyone who was successful at Potions was a worthy cook with his mind set for the task.

Something to think about later. When the Betterbeer had cooled enough, he began drawing up pipettes of it and transferring it into glass vials, which he stoppered with tiny corks and then threaded through loops of cloth he’d sewn into his messenger bag for the express purpose of carrying potions. The bag itself was ridiculously enchanted, Extended, of course, but it featured a few other Charms as well, similar in nature to the Breaking Charms used in broom-making. In the event that he took a tumble with his bag, the contents would remain relatively undisturbed. It was a necessary safety measures; there were times when his little bag held enough volatile potions to take down an entire hallway of the school, never mind any unforeseen reactions that some of his more interesting concoctions might have had with one another.

All that was left now was to ascend. He lit his wand, and once outside the chamber, brought it through the reverse of the motion he had used to open the titanic door in the first place. It groaned closed, and he stepped lightly over the sheet of wood covering the hole to take the stairs two at a time on his way up. He’d need to hurry, if he wanted to be back to the common room by curfew. Not that he was worried about being caught; it was more a matter of getting to socialize with the friends he’d missed in the Great Hall. Thank whoever that Bliss and Flint get along. It’d be Hell if the two of them ever decide to become those sorts of exes, particularly on me.

The clutter above the trapdoor silently arranged itself once more, and Justin clambered out as quietly as he could. He’d never been at all athletic, and actually hoisting his own body weight out of the circular aperture put more strain on him than he’d ever admit. Once the flooring and rug were back in place, he moved to the door, waving his wand a final time in order to restore the mess to its natural state of messiness. He extinguished his wand silently, then cupped a hand to the door to listen.

The long hallway was a perfect conductor for sound. Hearing no one, he quickly slipped out, simply flipping the switch on the knob to re-lock the door. No magic needed. Stuffing his hands into the pockets of his robes, he strolled on out of the Astronomy area and started for the small stretch of school that he thought of as home more than the house he’d been raised in.

Lee’s Perspective

”Very eventful, I must say,” Vance finally said to Lee, moments of waiting between Lee’s question and Vance’s answer. It had seemed so long, that Lee had almost forgotten he was missing his duties as a prefect. But Vance was a million times more important to Lee. Vance was Lee’s achille’s heel, and no amount of pressure from the Headmaster, from Chambers, from the whole house of Arietem, not even from the ghost of General Beauregard himself could pull Lee away from Vance. Lee knew Vance had a little… hate, to say the extreme, for Lee, simply because Lee was annoying. Lee knew that everybody hated him. He was the epitome of a “faggot”, a true and blue queer, just with a Confederate flag and not a Pride flag.

”But all in good time,” Vance continued, reaching over his hand to give Lee’s shoulder a brief, somewhat awkward squeeze. To Lee, it was almost short of a proposal. Lee soaked in this moment, relishing the soft touch that Vance somehow new to master. Vance somehow always knew how to apply the right amount of pressure, the right amount of warmth, however false it may have been. Lee suspected he was being played, but didn’t give a damn. The man he loved… he acted like he cared and that was enough. Lee, caught unawares, melted in Vance’s hand as he heard him say, ”This year will turn out to be just as eventful, I think.” Lee, attempting to hide an obvious party-invitation in his pants, gazed off in the distance and imagined Vance giving Lee a slight wink. Dammit, Lee thought, another cold shower tonight.

Lee noticed the lack of humanly twitches and reliefs that even Vance usually sported, though tonight was different. He was as a stiff as a gator in the bayou, and even the cold, refreshing homeliness of the Arietem commons provided Vance any semblance of relief. Now, Lee was worried. Now, Lee had forgotten any amount of his own emotions(despite still sporting quite an obvious erection), and inspected Vance as closely as possible. The boy of his dreams was… not necessarily bothered, but definitely different. Not as warm, even colder than normal Vance. It was odd.

Vance sat down across from Bellona, close enough to be warm, far enough to maintain some level of whispering between Lee and Vance. Luckly, there was a chair next to Vance that Lee immediately assumed. If Vance sat in a throne, Lee would proudly sit behind him (at least in Lee’s delusions). ”What a tiresome evening this has been,” Vance remarked, appearing drowsy and somewhat content, though still not at ease.

Lee whispered to Vance, ”Vanz, wad’ya ne’d me a’do?”

Fidus' ears began to shot up as a two pairs of footsteps approached the common room, the Fenec fox gnarled and stood it's ground as the two shadows approached them, "Down Fid'" She whispered and caressed its thick and velvety fur causing the small fox to calm yet it maintained it's hunting sense just like a real Venator. Bellona had not really expected Lee's presence, the meeting might not go the way she planned it will be.

What a tiresome evening this has been,” Vance sat across her while Lee took his seat like a faithful servant. Why does Vance have to act like a royalty? He must have known that their little rendezvous requires some privacy, the secret must not even reach Lee's ears despite or in spite the fidelity he has sworn to the Abernathy boy. Bellona stared in response to Vance's words and spoke as if the other boy was no where in sight. "Must you bring a stranger? I'm thinking you wouldn't want anyone to see my small gift. It isn't really something to be shared to other people." She hinted some sarcasm and raised her left eyebrow coolly.

”Vanz, wad’ya ne’d me a’do?” A feeble yet audible whispered question came from the French boy as he leaned towards Vance and asked.

"Really Vance, this isn't a matter for the little boys and girls, I suppose you ought to grant this meeting some more privacy than what we have right now," She played with the letter envelope with her fingers, edging the sides one by one and exposing the broken wax with the Abernathy's sigil on it. Though if you want him to know what's in store then I guess I can't really do anything- But do you?" She asked coldly and continued to pet Fidus' small head while the Fennec fox stared at Lee with it's sharp eyes.

Caden Wahl

After the headmaster's speech Caden grabbed a few bits of this and that before leaving the din of the Great Hall for the solace of the Arietem common room. The castle was empty, silent as he meandered through the corridors, his footsteps echoing off the walls. Once in the common room he retrieved this year's Charms book and flipped through the last few pages, making sure he had already read up on the material before classes started. He found his favorite chair, pushed back in a lonely corner, and that's where he stayed while one by one or sometimes in twos, threes or fours, his housemates filed into the common room. When Bellona entered he was a bit startled at first by her vicious treatment of the few other kids in the room but he stayed put, outside of her view. Something was up and he wanted to see it unfold.

It was when Vance and Lee came into the room that she put on a smug look, one that definitely meant trouble and possibly a show. Caden was pretty familiar with that look, Bellona often made trouble in the middle of the common room and often they were public affairs. Besides Caden always watched his housemates warily, while they claimed to look out for one another, he preferred to watch out for what they might do next. From his vantage point he could see very little and though he usually wouldn't care for this sort of senseless drama, this was a new year and besides even Bellona seemed more excited than usual with her tidbit of knowledge.

The way they spoke, all three of them, was painful to hear. Lee's accent always immediately reminded him of a trip down south, the murky sulfuric swamps supposedly filled with old magic fit perfectly with Lee's backwoods drawl. The other two, however; their pretentious banter could drive anyone mad they wasted so many words beating around the bush and shuffling through pleasantries. She insisted, in her stupidly polite way, that Lee should not hang around for whatever she had to say to Vance, all the more reason for Caden to stick around. He was already pretty comfortable and had every right as an Arietem to remain in the common room. He wordlessly cast a concealment charm around the chair, it was weak of course, but if they weren't looking for him he wouldn't be found.

#, as written by throne
Lyle Brightham – So Confused!

Lyle nodded profusely. Naire did like taking pictures, and Lyle couldn’t really get upset about how inaccessible it made him sometimes. After all, a lot of those pictures wound up in The Scrivener, and Lyle was well aware of how crucial pictures were to the success of a paper. People needed them to break up all the columns of letters and words, especially him!

He listened to her recount her summer, grinning incessantly. ”Oh, really? Where did you guys go? I don’t think I’ve ever really been hiking before. Not on purpose anyways. There was that time I got lost outside my grandpa’s house, and wound up wandering in circles for hours, but I don’t think that counts, haha!”

His eyes lit up when he spotted Vin waving, and he practically threw his arm out of socket returning the gesture. Skip and Scamp, not so fond of the mini-earthquake that his exuberance had subjected them to, made him aware of their displeasure by digging their claws in a bit, almost simultaneously. ”Yeow!” He did an awkward little dance in the aftermath of it as they scurried about, repositioning. It didn’t hurt so much as it surprised him. What had Lloyd said? Oh!

His brow knit up, lending him a bit of a resemblance to his ferret’s as suspicion showed itself on his features. Did she really think he’d go and print something secret she told him? No, she couldn’t think that, he would never! He decided she was joking, and relaxed a bit, but then she made her fairly hasty exit, barely giving him time to say good-bye himself. Huh. It didn’t make much sense. It wasn’t like she didn’t get along with Naire or his sister or Vin, as far as he knew. His tongue poked out from between his lips, a sure sign that he was thinking hard about the conundrum of his friend’s behavior.

With his teaspoon-sized attention span, Lyle didn’t have much of a chance of figuring it out with two of his best friends approaching, along with Myra, who Lyle actually found sort of intimidating, what with her being smart, and better than him at Quodpot, and a girl. ”Ohheyguys!” He said the words so fast that they sort of bled together, and even though they were nearly upon him, he darted forward to meet them, beaming. ”I was looking for you!” he exclaimed to Naire. Fortunately, they were outdoors… otherwise someone might have had to tell him to use his indoors voice. His eyes flicked from Naire to Myra to Vin, and his cheeks grew just a bit scarlet. Skip and Scamp poked their heads out of his sleeves, sensing something was up, but then quickly engaged in a tactical withdrawal when they spotted Kaplan.

Justin Hardy – Totally Not a Jerk

”Well, you are the most complicated guy I know,” he replied to Flint with a brand of scathing dryness that the other boy would have no trouble interpreting. More or less, it said this: You’re getting off easy, boy-o, because I’m actually a little irked about the sudden cancellation and tonight's disappearing but I know you would only do it for good reason, and if you don’t want me to ruin you in front of these two girls, you’d very much better come clean before we go to bed. In a nutshell. Bliss and Summer would likely be unaware of the subtext of the tone of voice; he was a snarky bastard almost constantly, but rarely employed it with Flint. It would also probably show that Justin, in his own contrived way, was somewhat hurt by the secrecy.

Just like that, the bit of subtle moodiness passed, and he was grinning, nodding in reply to Summer, offering the Betterbeers. To Teek, he extended his free arm, offering it as a perch if the owl was so inclined. He wasn’t nearly as good at reading animals as he was people, but Cougar tended to do the same thing when he wanted to roost on the Vulpes bean-pole.

When Garrett went to quaff his vial all at once, Justin reached out and slapped him on the hand. ”Ep ep ep ep. Not the intended mode of use.” He shook his head. ”Three drops in anything but milk or orange soda; four if you’re feeling adventurous. I call it Betterbeer.” He quickly glanced between the two of them, always curious about how his branding was working out. He wasn’t about to let Flint drink it all and turn into some kind of werewolf for who-knew-how-long, but he had no qualms at all letting him grow some mutton chops. Flint could take a joke, he knew well. ”You know, you’re entirely too trusting about drinking stuff I give you. For all you know, that was magical date-rape juice.” He grinned enigmatically as he continued. ”Mmm, the musical number went well. The needs-to-get-laid club didn’t seem to approve, but overall, it was a success.”

He spotted Bliss coming towards them and upnodded to her. The plot thickens! His eyes wound up bulging as she bear-hugged him, and if Teek had alit on his arm, he would somehow manage to keep it extended so that the owl didn’t get crushed in the process. ”Woah there, She-Hulk. Happy to see you too.” He returned the embrace, one-armed and not nearly as fearsomely, and then offered her a vial of Betterbeer as well, repeating his instructions, less the four drops part. ”And I don’t know what place you’re referring to. I was out picking flowers.” He said this, of course, despite the conspicuous absence of any flowers.

He eagerly drank in the slight awkwardness of her greeting Flint and then realizing her sister was there. ”Mmmmhmm. Heading back to the common rooms,” he agreed. Again, Flint would no doubt catch the fact that Justin hadn’t mentioned anything about his just happening upon the two of them exiting the library together. ”Oh, Bliss, how was your summer? Not her,” he added, jerking a thumb towards Summer. ”You know. Your break.”

Vance Abernathy – Not Amused

The desire to physically strike Lee was almost overwhelming when he noticed a certain protuberance, but Vance had the sneaking suspicion that physical violence would have the opposite of its intended effect. Pointedly looking anywhere but at Lee, he did his best to maintain a thin smile. Bellona was particularly smug, so he had a feeling no good could come of whatever this was. A gift, she’d said in the hall. She certainly wasn’t being remotely pleasant, so it couldn’t be a token of affection that he’d have to suffer through accepting graciously. He almost wished it was. It would have been an amusing diversion to see Lee and Bellona claw at each other for a while. When she spoke so dismissively of the Beauregard, he thought his wish might very well come true.

Of course, that was before he noticed the rectangular bit of paper in her hand. An envelope. With his family’s seal. His expression didn’t change in the slightest, even as he ground his teeth together. A missive from Nevaeh, most likely, before her… accident. Even more likely, it contained some tidbit of information that didn’t gel with the story he was selling. It was the only possibility he could think of that he actively needed to worry about, but if it was indeed that…

His attention turned to Lee, in the wake of his whisper and her “request” for privacy. ”I need you to await me in my room, please, since apparently discretion abounds tonight.” His tone could scarcely have been drier, on the final phrase. Being dismissed would surely irk the saucy boy, but then of course, Vance had dismissed him to his bedchamber. He put a mental image of Lee rifling through his undergarments aside, pressing his lips into an even tighter smile. ”This shouldn’t take overly long, and then we’ll be able to speak.”

He hadn’t noticed Wahl even before the Concealing Charm; the boy might as well have been furniture, so far as Vance was concerned. With the spell in place, it would have taken a parade of acromantulas streaming toward the dumpy boy’s seat to call Vance’s attention to him. He was waiting now; waiting to see if Lee would go without a fight, and without upsetting Bellona, whom he did not want too upset at the moment. Just enough, actually, to suit his purposes.

His eyes slipped to the potentially dangerous witch. ”You know,” he drawled, slight amusement flickering in his eyes. ”The common room is an interesting choice for a private conversation. They do call it common for a reason.” Let her think he didn’t suspect anything, for now; after her haughtiness, he had to at least make a semblance of putting her in her place, lest he weaken his position if it came to a negotiation. Plus, it would go a long way towards smoothing things over with Lee for him to witness Vance returning a bit of her trademark bitchiness.

If anyone would think that Bellona was a stupid fool, they should think twice. The ambience between the Abernathy boy and the Venator girl was heavy and thick with malicious glints in eye and smirks. Somehow, Bellona couldn't quite figure why Lee had to even be asked to go away when he wasn't invited in the first place.
"You know,” he drawled, slight amusement flickering in his eyes. ”The common room is an interesting choice for a private conversation. They do call it common for a reason.”

Bellona sat up straighter, her chest proud and her chin lifted as if she was going to sing an opera. Fidus on the other hand jumped off the velvet couch and stretched, it let out a small yawr and rubbed its body on her legs until it decided to pass by Lee like a hunter and roamed off around the common room. It hopped and caught a spider and pounced it with it's small paws and continued to roam, finding something else to entertain her when it heard a small squeak, a mouse hole just right beside where Caden Wahl was supposedly hidden with a charm. It sneaked and waited for it's prey to come out of the hole.

Bellona continued to toy with the letter when a sly smile escaped her lips, You wound me feelings Vance, did you really think that I'm that easy to fool?" She stood up and brought out her wand, perfectly lined and symmetrical made as if it was a machete made for hunting yet as cold looking as hard steel. She then swished it and spoke, "Muffliato!" And without even bothering of Lee was still there she kept her wand and brought out the letter. She trusts that only Vance could see what was written.

Bellona took her seat once again, this time not caring if anyone else would walk in even if they are having a conversation. She had read the contents of the letter more than 10 times already yet every time she does it again, goosebumps fill her skin and makes her throat parched.

It read:

"Dearest Bellona Venator,

It has been a few months since we saw each other. It would be well if you send me greetings to your parents and mention that I miss your father's jokes but all the more you mother's cooking.

But I shall keep this letter short and simple my dear,
You see I've seen some good potential in your talents as a Pure Blooded Arietem.
One could not deny that you are truly a Venator. "

At that point, Bellona could have thought that Neveah had bothered writing her a letter over the summer. But as she continued to read the letter, anyone who would read the letter would be surprised.

"You see- there is so little time left in my life young girl,
It seems to be that old age doesn't come easy, especially when it comes to physical things like Dueling.
Yes I do know a list of charms that you kids would dream knowing
But I believe some tasks are left for younger people like you.
You must be wondering why I'm writing to you- when I have two grand children.
Neveah however is- not with us right now while Vance- well the boy I think spends too much time under his mother's skirt.
If you are further interested in what I have to say- send me an owl.
But do not speak of this to anyone.
I'd appreciate if you would burn this after you have made your decision."

Then it was signed with simply with the Abernathy patriarch's initials, Vance's and Neveah's grand father, then was sealed with wax and mounted with the Abernathy Sigil.

She waited and watched to see how Vance would react. She remembered how the hair on her nape had all stood as she read and re read the letter. Why would their grandfather want to meet with her? Perhaps Vance has the answer.

Just then her concentration was interrupted when Fidus yelped and started scratching the wall. It was like it was trying to get at something. Bellona stared but couldn't quite know what has happened to her fox. "Fidus?" She called but the Fennec fox continued to scratch the old wooden wall, leaving marks.

Savant kept on circling the gem he had drawn, trying to figure what it was that he saw earlier when his thoughts were interrupted by a gasp. The boy, quick as a threatened snail, closed his sketch book and looked to see who was peaking. When he saw that it was Emerson, he opened it again and gave off a sigh of relief. "Man, you've gotta stop sneaking up on people. It's creepy!" His voice, though soft, was clear and crisp as the fire crackling by the common room of Cervus.

He continued to sketch but then paused and looked at his friend and spoke, "I saw something peculiar earlier. I'm not sure if it was there all along or the couple took it from somewhere." He was obviously referring to the subject of his sketches. "What or how do you think they looked like?" he asked, doing another probable face sketch for the woman. It was the woman in the painting that he barely had a look at, even if it stood sideways. It was always that a part of her picnic hat had obscured the viewers from looking at her face and it was always the man who spoke to the students (with his back facing them) while she just giggles, or whispers to the man or even ate.

"Come to think of it, I haven't heard her say one word to us," he brought up the thought even if it was silly to spend so much time thinking about such things.

Lee’s Perspective

"Must you bring a stranger? I'm thinking you wouldn't want anyone to see my small gift. It isn't really something to be shared to other people." Bellona said, her sarcastic, cold words rolling off without any remorse or regret or want for more warmth. "Really Vance, this isn't a matter for the little boys and girls, I suppose you ought to grant this meeting some more privacy than what we have right now," She said. She played with the letter envelope with her fingers, edging the sides one by one and exposing the broken wax with the Abernathy's sigil on it. "Though if you want him to know what's in store then I guess I can't really do anything- But do you?" She asked coldly and continued to pet Fidus' small head while the Fennec fox stared at Lee with it's sharp eyes.

The truth was that Lee had no problem getting up and leaving. He would just as easily go to his own dorm, cuddle up between Stonewall and Longstreet (his wolves, not the generals), and sleep until he forgot about all the hardships of the day. But he felt an immense responsibility to Vance, and he would only move if Vance wished it.

Lee had long noticed Caden in the back, since he walked in, but that was no stupendous feat. Lee noticed boys. It was what he did. Oftentimes, friends would stop and shake their head (half in amazement) as Lee would point out otherwise unnoticeable and not-so-astonishing young men. Even after Caden’s concealment spell, Lee wondered why Bellona (the queen of mean and complete anal-retentiveness it seemed) and Vance (the snobby, paranoid prince of perfect) couldn’t notice Caden. Caden was a cute boy, but Lee knew that Caden didn’t like Lee, so he tended to avoid Caden. Lee hated internal-Arietem conflict, and there was enough of that these days.

”I need you to await me in my room, please, since apparently discretion abounds tonight. This shouldn’t take overly long, and then we’ll be able to speak,” Vance said to Lee, with a slight smile on his face and a spark in his eyes. Lee could tell that Vance was up on the ready. Lee, having been overly stoked by the chance of going to Vance’s bedchamber (a feature – single suites - of the Arietem dormitory that exemplified Arietem esteem and prestige), felt as though his dreams were finally coming to light. He had only been in Vance’s bedchamber once, and that was to bring Vance a piece of candy he had taken from a Ferre kid. Vance’s bedchamber was at the top of the tower, and probably the most ornate and lavish of all the bedchambers, with gold and silver heavily gracing every corner of suite. Now, Lee could go up there and wait in Vance’s bed, maybe Vance was finally going to declare his undying love!

The Beauregard, the unofficial head of his own family, bowed his head in obeisance to Vance and said, “Yessuh, Vanz.” With that he rushed off to the staircase. At the foot of the stairs, he heard Vance say, ”The common room is an interesting choice for a private conversation. They do call it common for a reason.” Hmm… Lee could tell that was Vance’s way of apologizing, and Lee took in his heart that Vance – at the root of his black, mysterious heart – held some amount of affection for Lee.

Stopping off at his bedchamber first, Lee opened the door (never caring to lock it – if somebody wanted to steal something, oh well he didn’t own shit, and if somebody wanted to rape him during the night while he slept, haha they better be good) and meandered on through his suite. It was simple and plain, something that most everyone would be startled at, having experienced the Beauregard’s high regard for himself and his family. The only things up on the walls were pictures of famous Beauregards, especially Pappy and Mama and General Beauregard, and various Southern heroes, and of course the Confederate flag. Above his plain bed was a crucifix, a gift from his Mama one day back in New Orleans. If it weren’t a gift, Lee would have long thrown it away, having accepted that Catholicism or any religion were just falsehoods. Lee was perhaps Arietem’s most outspoken atheist, something that pissed off many such as Îrem, and certainly had even gotten Demetrio to flare up a bit.

Gathering Stonewall and Longstreet, Lee left his room and walked up the spiral stair all the way to the top, finally reaching the golden doors with the Abernathy seal emblazoned upon them. Truly beautiful and unmistakably Vance. Lee attempted to open the door, but no budge. He tried a few spells to unlock it. No budge. Finally, he said, “Open!” to which the doors obeyed and revealed the lavishness of the Abernathy suite. There were papers and books thrown across everywhere, perhaps in Vance’s midnight frustrations, but they could never take away from the richness. Lee truly envied and admired Vance. Granted, Lee couldn’t hope to be rich when the entirety of his inheritance AND the two that held on to it were completely destroyed.

Vance’s bed, near the back, was the classical feudal lord’s bed, with rich silk sheets and velvet curtains. Pulling back some of the curtains, Lee hopped in Vance’s bed, resting the three heads of him and his two dogs upon a small pillow. Lee realized how large the bed was then. Lee had hoped all of this meant what he thought it meant…

Caden Wahl

With the Beauregard boy gone, things began to look serious and Bellona was as vicious as ever. She clearly had something that gave her some kind of power over or against Vance. Not that he didn't deserve to be knocked down a few pegs but this whole situation appeared to be, at least from where he sat, a matter between the house of Abernathy and Venator. All useless bickering amongst prominent families, the air of superiority they all took over others, his own family included, annoyed Caden.

That matter was clearly private as Bellona addressed Vance's concern by placing an unfamiliar charm around their chairs. A soft buzzing filled the room but Bellona continued to speak outside of Caden's ability to hear. Not that anyone could see but he furrowed his brow, he was certain that this was no spell in any book he'd ever read but it didn't surprise him to see the likes of Bellona delving into shifty magic. He was always terrible at reading body language or lips so he quickly grew bored, but this fox of Bellona's presented a problem. He wasn't sure if the animal could tell if he was there or not but if could somehow alert its master of his presence, he might find himself on the wrong end of a nasty hex. He tested the water, dropping a hand close to the fox as it scratched beside his seat, the fox didn't seem to notice his fingers dangled in front of his snout. Caden slowly crept from the chair making sure to maintain the charm around himself, and the chair for safety's sake, a new chair suddenly becoming visible could possibly alert somebody to his attempted eavesdropping.

The fox brought Bellona's attention to where Caden stood, he froze. The spell worked best when the caster was absolutely still, allowing himself to completely blend in with the surroundings. He didn't dare move until she returned to her conversation.

#, as written by throne
Lyle Brightham – Even More Confused!

”Hullo, Myra!” He beamed at her a little shyly, which was… sort of interesting to behold.

Vin’s presence always had an effect on Lyle. Sometimes, most of the time actually, it was almost calming. The other boy’s very zen attitude helped to balance out Lyle’s often overbearing spunkiness. Tonight, though, after months of not seeing his friend, he couldn’t be anything but wildly enthused. ”Yeah actually, I did! I got to meet a free House Elf named Sprogget, and he even let me interview him. It was so interesting, and I’m definitely running it. Maybe I’ll send a copy to Monika if we start writing each other, I’d like that.” That was Lyle; already friends with a girl he’d probably never meet.

He absolutely perked up at the mention of a potential story. ”Oh yeah?” A team of destriers could not have dragged Lyle’s attention away from them at that moment. It was the one loophole in what was probably an undiagnosed case of ADHD; if it involved a story or a cause, Lyle’s latched on like a pitbull, refusing to let go. His eyes darted between Melvin and Naire as he waited for one or the other to spill.

Instead, Naire wound up taking what he said the wrong way, only Lyle was pretty sure that he was only kidding (behavioral cues sometimes eluded him, when they were subtle), then wound up wishing him a goodnight. ”I… just wanted to say hi because I missed you at dinner,” he said softly, sounding rather crestfallen, in fact. ”Good night Naire. Good night Myra.”

Alright. Being mostly brushed off by Lloyd, he could handle. After all, she was a girl, and girls were mysterious and sort of scary sometimes, and he seldom found that anything they did made sense. But when the same thing pretty much happened with Naire, who he thought of as his best mate… well… Lyle wasn’t at all sure what to make of it. Had he done something wrong? Was there something gross stuck in his teeth? He discretely wormed his tongue along them, except it wasn’t really so discrete and probably just wound up looking very strange to anyone who happened to notice it. He didn’t find anything, so he was at a bit of a loss to figure out what exactly was going on.

He looked to Vin for guidance. Vin was good for that. The uncertainty in Lyle’s young eyes was plain to see. ”Did I… do something wrong?” he asked, on the verge of being actually upset. Of course, Vin didn’t know that Lloyd had sped off as well, so it might not make much sense that Lyle was taking it so seriously. He was probably overreacting anyway, but then again, Lyle wasn’t so good at just reacting. His energy usually wound up undeniably optimistic, but when he did find himself moving toward despair, the results were no less manic. Worrying his lip, he waited for the advice he knew would set everything aright once more.

Vance Abernathy – He May In Fact Have a Soul

Vance was indescribably relieved when Lee left without a fight. That left him to focus every mote of his self-control on not laughing at Bellona while he slowly strangled the life out of her. Could she really be this inept? I’ve been overestimating this girl for years. It was everything he could do not to simply stare at her slack-jawed while she enacted her buzzing spell. An appropriate lecture regarding discretion immediately wrote itself up in his mind. People might not know what was being said, but they did know that something was, and that it was either important or incriminating since it was being hidden away beyond a curtain of white noise. With the number of nosey meddlers running around the school, almost anyone bearing witness to this little scene meant that by breakfast half the student body would be aware of a clandestine conversation that had occurred between Vance and Bellona.

Then, impossibly, it got even worse. He recognized his grandfather’s handwriting straight off. His gloved hand curled into a fist reflexively, and his eyes danced across the parchment as he quickly read the missive. When he was through, he released a breath that had somehow become pent up in his lungs. Bellona was looking at him, almost eagerly, and she would likely be disappointed by the reaction she’d been waiting for. Aside from his initial tension, he didn’t even look startled, and it wasn’t even because he was forcing himself to remain composed. The instant he’d read the flattery, and particularly after reading the end of it, he knew he had very little to fear from Bellona or this letter.

It was little more than his grandfather making a threat, proving a point. If he was capable of communicating with Bellona, he was just as capable of communicating with more savvy followers who were already in place at the school. He’d likely only chosen Bellona because he didn’t want to reveal any of those operatives… and if he were indeed planning to recruit Bellona, he could gladly have her after this display, and Vance wouldn’t even break a sweat. No doubt he’d expected exactly what she’d gone and done, which was exactly what he’d wanted: for her to show the letter to Vance.

He shifted on his overstuffed chair, leaning forward a bit and making direct eye contact with her. His movements were obvious, intended to highlight how very serious he was about to be.

”Bellona,” he intoned. His voice was a glacial river, smooth and cold. It was a tone that he seldom used, so seldom that it might well be the actual timbre of his voice, the one that came naturally when he wasn’t maintaining his courtliness. ”We are not friends, but imagine for the duration of what I am about to say that we are, and heed my advice.” He gave her a half-second to consider that before continuing. With his leaning forward, he’d adjusted his arms a bit, bringing his mechanical hand close to his wand. Just in case.

”This letter was a test which you have failed. It instructs you not to speak of it, and yet here we are. It even expresses doubt in me, and yet, I am the one you’re sharing it with. If you hope to become my grandfather’s pawn, you’ll need to work on your obedience.” He wasn’t done.

”Furthermore, in the event that you are ever again contacted by a powerful individual who you have little knowledge of and you aren’t sure what to make of it… take that as a sign that you are not ready to move in such circles. Or perhaps I’m wrong, and you’re merely excited and eager to share the prestige of being written by a doddering old man who happens to share my surname. I’m afraid that’s even worse, even more indicative of how unprepared you are for what replying to that letter would entail.”

He sat back again, to signify that he was for the most part finished, and also to bright his hand right atop the pocket his wand was concealed in. ”Burn the letter and forget that you ever read it, Bellona. If I were your friend, that is what I would tell you. I do not particularly care if I’m being cruel, but I don’t mean to be. You have little reason to trust me, but if you become more involved with this than you already are, I’m afraid that I can’t be bothered to offer you any more protection than this warning.”

He rose to his full height smoothly, drawing his wand but doing nothing with it, just yet. ”Burn the letter, Bellona. That instruction you should very much follow.”

Just as Bellona was about to remove the spell over the two of them, Vance has shook her with his words. ”Burn the letter, Bellona. That instruction you should very much follow.”

Bellona's thoughts were right, there was something about the letter than a simple invitation, but what it is- she does not have any idea. "Abernathy... Yes, the same last name as the man who wrote me this letter. I wouldn't be coming up to you if I would have known the right thing to do and obviously burning the letter isn't an option." She stared coldly into his eyes and continued, "Or rather an option that I do not choose because I fear that there is more to this than what meets my eyes. I approached you because you are involved- whether you liked the idea or not. I know... that you know," She continued to meet his stare. Not backing down. The buzzing still covered their conversation while the very few students instantly bolt out of the room once they see the tension building up between the Venator girl and Abernathy boy.

She stood up and slowly knelt in front of Vance, gently taking his arm out of his robes and revealing the metal hand. She softly caressed it as she removed whatever material that Vance used to conceal it. She then looked up to him and gave him a serious look once more, "I am not stupid as the other girls Vance. We all know that, whatever it is- I'm going to uncover it." She placed his hand back to his lap and stood up gracefully then pulled out her wand and removed the charm.

She walked away from the seats but paused and spoke without facing Vance, "I will Abernathy, but I don't when or how." She then continued to walk towards her bedroom, she stopped by to pick Fidus up when she noticed a piece of gum on the floor. She picked it up and looked at it, Muggle brand. Bellona knew it wasn't there earlier when she heard Fidus scratching for something. To whom it belong, she'll find out sooner but at the mean time she placed it on top of one of the side tables and continued to walk away.

#, as written by throne
Lyle Brightham – Now Feeling Silly

Sometimes, Lyle felt like he didn’t appreciate Vin enough, which led to spurts of him appreciating him too much, and then the whole cycle would just start anew. Vin was always there for him- helping him understand when Naire was only joking, for instance, or providing a calm sounding board for some of his more frenetic and discombobulated ideas. Right about then, he couldn’t appreciate the other teenager more.

Even the ferrets liked Vin. They were fickle creatures, often torturing Lyle for what seemed like the sheer ferrety joy of it, but even if it was furtive, they always seemed to come out to play when he was around. Scamp ducked back into Lyle’s robes shortly after the scritching. For his part, Lyle shuffled along after Vin toward the common room. It really was best to just call it a night.

Both ferrets scurried lower when a pair of hands were suddenly resting on Lyle’s shoulders, helping to ground him. He slowly looked up at his friend, since they were basically face-to-face, and listened to the other boy. Alright, slow that mind down. It wasn’t until he heard the words that he consciously realized how all over the place his thoughts were. It was a little like people who existed in a perpetual state of messiness but knew, somehow, where everything was. The difference was that Lyle didn’t quite know where everything was. He had to stumble around a bit, dishevel things even further, in order to find the thoughts he was looking for sometimes amidst the dross.

Vin was right, of course. Well, not about Lloyd taking medicine, at least he didn’t know if she did. Maybe that was the secret she might have alluded to earlier? He had to force himself back on track. People did kind of consider Lloyd odd, but to Lyle, she was just Lloyd. He had no right to go around calling anyone odd, strange, or weird after all. And he was even more right about Naire. At least, Lyle hopes he was. If anyone other than Vin had said it, he’d still be worried, but then…

Well, it was really hard to worry when Vin slung an arm around his narrow shoulders. Lyle felt better immediately. ”I dig,” he replied. He’d had a hard time understanding Vin for a while, but he had most of the surfer dialect under his belt by now. He sort of relaxed against Vin until the instant he realized he was doing it, then straightened up abruptly in the way that fifteen year old boys often do when they realize they’re taking comfort in the physical proximity of close male friends. ”Everything will look brighter in the morning,” he added, reaching up to rub at his neck.

His thoughts still turned to Lloyd and Naire and Myra, but his fears of somehow disappointing or upsetting them were mostly allayed. When his mind turned to Myra again, his head suddenly whipped around so that he could look at Vin as they marched toward the dorms. ”Say, do you think your sister might help me practice for Quodpot try-outs? I’m trying out this year, and she’s so good, I’d be a shoe-in if she helped me. Could you maybe ask her? I’d owe you ten.” It was something of a catch-phrase for the boy, similar to I’d owe you one only ten times more significant. If anyone ever decided to cash in on those easily offered favors, Lyle would probably spend the rest of his life fulfilling the hundreds or thousands that he’d agreed to owe his friends over the last few years.

Vance Abernathy – Marshaling the Troops

No one could say he hadn’t tried. Well, thanks to her sonic obfuscation, everyone could, actually, but more likely they’d be much more interested in gossiping and theorizing over what the conversation had entailed. Did Bellona really think she had what it took to uncover a conspiracy? Vance didn’t, but more power to her if she did. She’d think he was on his grandfather’s side most likely, or even if she sussed out that he wasn’t, she obviously had no idea what to do. He could only hope that the girl had enough sense not to start pawing around for the truth in the open. He didn’t need more savvy players joining the game just yet, at least, not on terms that he hadn’t dictated.

A curious expression came to Vance’s features when Bellona drew close and lifted his arm, removing the dragon-skin glove to reveal the gleaming mechanical hand. It was fantastic, really. As much as he hated the thing, hated being an amputee, it really was an incredible device. Bands of metal provided a tight skeleton, holding in a plethora of gears and clockwork that made the contraption act very convincingly like a hand. It was stronger than any normal hand had a right to be, and he found himself wondering exactly how long it would take to crimp Bellona’s windpipe like a plastic drinking straw with the shiny apparatus.

The only reason he didn’t strike her was the fact that he wasn’t prepared to explain why he had, or to make her disappear utterly. A sickly smile curled to life on his lips as she touched him. At least it was only on the metal. If it had been his actual skin, he might begin wretching. Bellona had sank so immeasurably in his eyes tonight that he couldn’t even begin to wonder how many other idiocies he had overlooked due to her family name over the years.

”You’re right of course, Bellona. You’re not as stupid as the other girls.” Let her think he was paying her a compliment; in truth, she’d just proven to him she was vastly stupider than the worst of them. ”Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” She dispelled the aura of buzzing and then stalked off. Vance tucked his glove under his left arm and raised his wand.

”Accio letter,” he said simply, lazily, the tip of his wand directed at Bellona. When the parchment bearing his family seal soared toward him, he snatched it neatly from the air and took a few strides toward the fireplace. He balled it up and tossed it directly into the flames, turning to regard Bellona with the most pleasant manufactured smile he could come up with. Yes, he’d wanted her to forget it all and burn it… but more than anything, he’d wanted that bit of physical evidence that something was afoot here at Magus Grex destroyed.

With that, he turned and made his way to his quarters to deal with Lee. He pulled his glove back on as he went, turning his mind toward what he’d say to the younger Arietem. His internal speech-writing was swiftly silenced when he came upon the scene in his bedchamber.

The mess was not Vance’s doing. He was reasonably sure that if Lee was going to rifle through his things, he would have set everything right afterward to avoid Vance’s inevitable wrath. His eyes slipped here and there, registering the results of what seemed to be a small whirlwind centered on his personal effects.

Another message from his grandfather? Or had the culprit actually been looking for something? Perhaps his grandfather had managed to stash some artifact or direction in his luggage, letting him smuggle it into the school for one of his followers. It had to be someone in Arietem, or possibly someone an Arietem was willing to share the password with. He tried to call to mind the faces at the table over dinner, to determine who had been missing, but he hadn’t been paying enough attention to the banal chit-chat. Stupid, he told himself. He’d be more careful now. Much more careful.

”Get your animals off my bed,” he said curtly. Vance had experienced a twinge of helplessness, beholding the disarray in the room, and it quickly transformed into cold rage. There was a reason Vance had no pet of his own; he could care less for creatures, magical or otherwise, and the idea of the dogs musking up his bed was only compounding his momentary anger.

He didn’t clean up just yet. Once Lee was gone, he’d go over the mess like it was a crime scene, looking for clues of who might be behind it. For now, he had to regain control so that he could set Lee to purpose. The boy would likely have worked out by then that Vance was surprised by the state of his room, but Vance forestalled any questions by folding his arms over his chest and regarding Lee thoughtfully.

”What I need from you, Lee,” he quietly said, continuing the earlier conversation as if there hadn’t been an intermission where Bellona attempted to wring the truth from him. ”Is loyalty. I need unfailing loyalty. I need a second set of eyes in this school to keep an eye on me. To notice jf someone stares too long, or is following me in a dark corridor, or anything else out of the ordinary.” He drew closer, and provided that the dogs were in fact off the bed, sat on the edge of it angled to face Lee.

”Can I trust you in that fashion, Lee? I know that you’ll be wondering why, but I can’t tell you more until I know more. Suffice it to say that I am in danger, and know that agreeing to help me may endanger you as well.” He took a deliberate pause, simply letting his gaze bore into Lee. ”I don’t command this of you, but I ask it, because I have to know that you’ll do everything that you can to aid me in the coming year.”

He left it at that, watching Lee carefully. He was taking a risk, he knew, but a small one. Lee’s infatuation was as much a tool as a wand. If he wielded it correctly, he could accomplish much.

Lee’s Perspective

”What I need from you, Lee, is loyalty. I need unfailing loyalty. I need a second set of eyes in this school to keep an eye on me. To notice if someone stares too long, or is following me in a dark corridor, or anything else out of the ordinary. Can I trust you in that fashion, Lee? I know that you’ll be wondering why, but I can’t tell you more until I know more. Suffice it to say that I am in danger, and know that agreeing to help me may endanger you as well. I don’t command this of you, but I ask it, because I have to know that you’ll do everything that you can to aid me in the coming year.” That was a lot to take in from Vance. Granted, Lee was already a little thrown off guard, between his near falling asleep and his having to move his “puppy wow-wows” from the bed.

“I’m y’er huck’abu’y[huckleberry],” Lee said, cocking his head with a smile, “I mean I’m a’ways watchin’… er… out fo’ ya’ anyway.” He began to move towards the other end of the room, the door. “E’cepd, I do have one sdipulashun[stipulation]. Or radda’[rather] a chuss[choice] bedwe’n doo[two].” Turning his head ever so slightly towards Vance, he said, “Ya’ can eider dell me why ya’ll in danger and why you seem as sdiff and cold as a board, even moreso dan usual…” He giggled slightly, not expecting his second choice to be taken seriously, “or ya’ll can kiss me. Y’er choice. Eider one, I’ll give ya’ll unwavering fealdy. But tell me in the morning, godda catch some good ol’ ‘Z’s. But my door is always unlocked, if’n I don’d wake up, ya’ll can come in and tell me you what you decide. Na’mean?” With that, he popped out the door and carried himself down the stairs. On the way, he saw Îrem, as classy as always, step in through her door to sleep. As he passed by, he gave her the “I-just-took-a-chance-and-offered-my-lips-up-cuz-I’m-a-slut” face that only a girlfriend and a gayfriend could decipher. She giggled, raised her eyebrows and gave him the “Such-a-slut-but-I-love-you-anyways” face.

Lee had gotten in trouble for flirting(and defending his accent), was ripped out of alchemy class before the year even started, forgot his prefect duties, been rejected by Vance and Bellona, and now had just asked Vance for a kiss. Granted, he knew that Vance would probably choose telling Lee what was up. But either way, Lee would win. If Vance told him everything, Lee would be closer to Vance, and would have a social edge over others. If Vance decided to kiss him… well the advantage in that is obvious. The truth was, Lee didn’t really care if Vance did either, however, because Lee was gonna do it regardless. He loved Vance that much. But for now, he readied himself to dream of the lilacs and pecans back home.