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Flustered but entertained
Ilvermorny Grand Hall - Dance Floor
Ricardo captaindanger captaindanger (Clara and Cosmo mentioned) pearjuice pearjuice
Taking refuge in the safety of the sidelines was out of character for Kiara, who lingered by the refreshments table as though it were a lifeboat and she a drowning passenger. Her sapphire gaze lingered on Theodore West as he courted his next partner, and Kiara couldn’t help the shutter that trailed down her spine like an icicle dripping on a frigid day. Something about him rubbed her the wrong way, but she was determined to compose herself before her absence drew too much attention. Heaving a sigh, she reached for the ladle in the punch bowl, scooping some out and pouring a glass for herself hoping that the fruity drink would calm her nerves. But as the brightly colored liquid touched her lips, her face contorted like that of a child sucking on a sour lemon candy. The familiar flavor of alcohol burned in the back of her throat, causing an unexpected sputter as she tried not to spit out the evidently spiked punch.

It was then that she felt a gentle tap on her shoulder, and in the midst of coughs she turned to see a curly haired blonde standing before her with a timid smile. “Sorry-” cough, cough “I’m so sorry, I -” she cleared her throat one more time, placing her very full glass of punch back on the refreshments table. “You must be Ricardo.” She was finally able to regain some composure and greeted him with a smile as she extended her hand, piecing together that the boy standing in front of her was her next dance partner. “Don’t drink the punch.” she warned with a poignantly surprised and self-deprecating laugh.

Despite her clearly frazzled state, Ricardo didn’t seem to mind, and led her out onto the dance floor with a confidence that she couldn’t help but admire. The steady, even pace of the music allowed for them to follow some simpler steps, and their conversation ensued effortlessly. It didn’t take her long to decide that she liked Ricardo, he was easy to talk to. Not overbearing like Theodore or insufferably shy like some of the others. However, she noticed his gaze frequently flicking behind her shoulder as if something, or someone, was capturing his attention.

Finally, she glanced over her shoulder to see what he kept looking at it, and her caribbean blue irises narrowed in blatant understanding. “Yeah, I’m not his biggest fan either.” She pursed her lips, watching as Theo dipped a girl in a sage colored dress low to the ground before pulling her back into him, some sort of chemistry apparent between the two. “She, on the other hand….” She paused, her eyes taking in the seemingly effortless beauty of Theodore’s partner. “She is absolutely gorgeous.” A tiny, knowing smile pulled at her lips. She was not daft enough to assume that Ricardo had been staring at Theo, but simultaneously didn’t want to put her partner on the spot by calling him out for his longing gaze at the Durmstrang beauty. If Kiara remembered correctly, the girl’s name was Clara. She had pieced together that she was either the sister, or very close friend of the boy she had met on the train earlier that day. The resemblance was striking. “The genetics in that family are ridiculous. Both of them are… wildly attractive.” The words had escaped her lips before she could catch them, and a warm heat burned it’s way to her cheeks as she realized she had just publicly announced she found Cosmo ‘wildly attractive.’

“Look, I like you, but if you tell either of them I said that, I will crucio your ass.”
coded by natasha.

  • Gavriel Sylvie
    Ilvermorny - Female - Half-Blood - Champion

    Gavy was both delighted and relieved when the young woman went along with her spontaneous invitation without complaint. She wasn’t afraid of rejection or anything, but had the young woman refused Gavy knew she would have spent the rest of the night wanting to make sure she was okay. Luckily though the white-haired Uagadou student seemed open to the idea of having their own three-person dance with Raph. Once they reached the handsome blonde male Gavy released the young woman's hand and looked with a delighted smile between the two of them. “Ooooo, I like her, she’s spicy.” Gavy chuckled with a wink as the white-haired student mentioned how she was more than capable of biting back. “Don’t threaten me with a good time.” She added jokingly and had to raise her hand to cover her mouth as she laughed. “Goodness, you can’t take me anywhere.” She sighed with a bit of giggling still laced into her voice as she shrugged innocently.

    Hearing Malaika’s introduction and request for their names as well Gavy paused to let Raph introduce himself before turning and giving a wave. “I’m Gavy, well actually it’s Gavriel but most people call me Gavy for short.” She greeted with a little playful curtsy at the end of her sentence. “Well my pretties, I think it is about time we show this party how three dashing young wizards and witches can dance.” She suggested with a wink as her multi-colored eyes seemed to spark with delight as she spoke and offered a hand to Raph and Malaika so that they could figure out their new dancing situation all together. “Maybe we could be true rebels and play London bridges instead of dancing?” She suggested playfully as they began to each figure out what steps they wanted to take in their made-up on-the-spot dance routine.

    The trio was far from graceful as a whole but Gavy was just pleased that it seemed like they were all having fun. Each of them had brought something fun and new to their little dance and at several points, Raph was even smooth with twirling both herself and Malaika at the same time. “Careful Raph, you might make me swoon.” Gavy jested with him as she twirled into his arm before taking up Malaika’s hand and spinning away while Malaika held Raph’s hand in one of hers and Gavy’s in the other. It was spontaneous and fun and to be quite honest Gavy was certain the three of them were getting looks from other students that almost seemed as though they wished they could take part too. If anyone else decided to join them Gavy wouldn’t have protested but while the dance went on it remained just the three of them which she was completely delighted with as well.

    Sooner than she would have liked the song ended and she was once again twirling with Malaika when she stopped and felt the dizziness catch up to her. She swayed on her feet for a moment before finding something solid supporting her and looking up to see Raph. Gavy had no clue if she had fallen into him or if he had seen her swaying and stepped up but either way, she was grateful. “See? Swooning!” She chuckled against his chest, attempting to keep things light, and shook her head in an attempt to clear the dizzy spell. Without much thought, she ran her hand along his solid chest and gave it a gentle pat, a silent thank you for keeping her standing when she had spun far too much. Looking from Raph to Malaika she smiled and pushed a lock of blue and purple hair behind her ear. “Well, I thoroughly enjoyed that. We should definitely do it again sometime. Maybe I’ll even keep my footing.” She spoke playfully but her intention was genuine as she clearly had a blast coming up with their unique little dance together.

    Looking at her dance card she glanced over at Raph and smirked, “Looks like I get to harass Cosmo next, think he smuggled any sandwiches in?” She joked but also truly felt as though she could eat the entire kitchen's worth of food hidden within the school. “Remind me later and we can raid the hidden cookie stash I know the staff keeps.” She half whispered to Raph as she knew he was also always down for snacks. Looking at Malaika she gave the girl's hand another squeeze and smiled, “If you need another dance partner come find me. I’ll always be happy to save a dance for you Snowbell.” She promised with a genuine grin pulling at her lips. With that, the young metamorphamagus spun on her heels and picked her way through the crowd in search of Cosmo.

    It didn’t take her long to find the young man she had gotten to know on the train ride to the school but as she approached it seemed he was still deep in discussion with his dance partner from the previous dance. Waiting patiently to the side she absentmindedly clicked her heels together and fidgeted with the skirt of her iridescent gown, her need to keep moving as present as ever.

    Mentions: Raph captaindanger captaindanger Malaika Wolfiee Wolfiee Cosmo pearjuice pearjuice


Vasu Saini // “Shiva’s Heir” // Male // 5th Year // Koldovstoretz Champion // Parselmouth

Beneath her mask, Zuri Osei’s face was cold, eyebrows drawing together, corners of her lips slanting into a frown. But when she spoke, a sliver of anger colored her words, red hot, like the embers of a cigarette. “No, we’re not close. Now, if you’re so curious about Aurelia, why don’t you go dance with her again?” She attempted to stare Vasu down, leaning forward slightly, her hands clenched into fists at her sides, but the effect was ruined by the visible tremble of nerves that crept through her, the anxious bob of her throat.
Amusement overtook his surprise at Zuri’s defiant display. Wondering whether this bitch was having a bad day, just naturally crazy, or on her period, Vasu snickered. At his reaction, Zuri’s eyes flared wide in horror before she reigned herself in enough to narrow them, but a flush was creeping up her neck, her ears reddening with it. “Maybe I would, but there’s the matter of her new partner, and I’ve been told multiple times tonight that we’re supposed to save the fighting for the arena.” Although that’d certainly make the evening more entertaining, Vasu thought, sorely tempted to fire a Reducto spell at Cosmo Winter, who’d replaced him as Aurelia’s new dance partner. Breaking that little shit’s arm three years ago hadn’t been enough. Cosmo Winter was a spoiled brat, and there was only one language that bastards like him understood. He had to be disillusioned the hard way of the notion that he was top dog. Good thing that was Vasu Saini’s favored way of doing things. Vasu hadn’t made up his mind on whether he hoped Clara or Cosmo would be selected Durmstrang champion, but the notion of handing Cosmo’s ass to him in front of a global audience was awfully appealing.
Noticing that everyone else had already paired up around them, Vasu said, a little louder than necessary in the silence before the next song began, “So are we gonna dance, or would you prefer to stand around like idiots by the punch bowl with Professor Vino as our supervisor?” A boy in a deep purple suit overheard Vasu’s remark and threw a look at Zuri and him, chortling. Zuri looked mortified, and either because she couldn’t speak or wouldn’t, she wordlessly snatched Vasu’s hand and shuffled as minimally close to him as she had to in order to reach his shoulder. Vasu followed suit, extending his arm at an awkward angle to cup a waist that he was used to being six inches closer to him.
“Make sure your hands don’t wander, or else my knee will wander too,” Zuri hissed, eyes blazing.
Vasu looked past Zuri to the boy in the purple suit, who was openly guffawing now, and quirked an eyebrow at him. Good fuck, buddy, I hope for your sake you’re not next on her hit list. “The hell is your problem?” Vasu whispered to Zuri, and when her face darkened, he amended to, “Yes, ma’am!” He removed the hand from her waist to salute her, spine ramrod straight.
Three explosive notes from a piano and a mezzo-soprano voice stopped them from bickering further. The song was in F-major and its already fast tempo accelerated pleasantly at the chorus. Adrenaline fizzled through Vasu. He tried to lead Zuri through a quick, steppy combination, but she wouldn’t have it, insisting on plodding her feet slowly in place. Up down up down at a painstaking rate. “Zuri, please, you’re killing me. There’s about a hundred and thirty beats per minute in this song and you’re dancing like there’s thirty.”
“Just because you’re a good dancer and I’m not doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it, okay?”
“I’m not even a good dancer! I’m just—”
Before he could finish, the floor shook. Actually shook, not the thrum of the bass finding a pulse in the largest concentration of solid matter. The music broke off in a shrill squeal of stringed notes, and gasps replaced them. People ducked and cowered, stooping to the ground before the floor buckled beneath them and they were thrown. Zuri lost her balance, toppling forward and catching the top of her head against Vasu’s chin, making his teeth clack together painfully. He hissed a swear as acrid wetness filled his mouth, but it was mostly for show, to hide the fear that was running icy fingers down his spine. There was a loud crunch of glass breaking, and Vasu’s head whipped over his shoulder to see that the bottles balanced on the liquor cart were shaking, and the one nearest the edge had fallen off, shattering in a sea of cornsilk liquid and sharp edges. The bittersweet stench of wine filled the air.
Still supporting Zuri with one arm, Vasu bent his knees deeply, lowering his center of gravity while hunting for his wand with the other, reaching across his body for the discreet pocket sewn into the hip of his sherwani. He’d known terror like this a handful of times before in his life. Nature was one of the few antagonists that posed a threat to Muggles and wizards alike. The last major earthquake that had rocked the Indian subcontinent had been four months ago, in April, and his mother was still paying off the considerable damages her shop had incurred, all the inventory that had been struck off the books as sunk costs. It had taken all of the Sainis’ remaining finances and a few called-in favors to pay Vasu’s tuition for the upcoming school year, and unless Vasu won the prize money that came from winning the tournament, it was uncertain whether he would be attending a sixth year at Koldovstoretz.
Several of the small plates on the professors’ table, already set for the feast, rattled until they plunged to the floor, exploding in a series of white shards. The vibrations increased until Vasu could no longer see straight. Freeing his wand, he wrapped Zuri up in one arm and pulled her close to his chest, hunching over her and shielding her small frame as best he could. “Protego circum!” he shouted, throwing up an omnidirectional barrier around them, hoping against hope that the sheer weight of falling objects wouldn’t flatten it… and them. Dust rained down from the ceiling above, and a chandelier strained against its gold chain. “Shiva, if I’m really your blood and Aditi isn’t just full of shit please fucking protect me,” Vasu prayed in an undertone. He knew that the proper way for it to reach the gods was to close his eyes but he was too transfixed on the clouds of plaster bubbling around the ceiling to tear them away.
Just as Vasu was preparing for the fight of his life, his hand clutching his wand so hard it was a miracle the brittle thing didn’t snap, the rattling stopped. As did the heavy, rhythmic noises that Vasu hadn’t registered as footsteps in the moment. Several pairs of them, moving out of sync with each other. But there, in the doorway to the Great Hall, stood the origins of the noise. All four of them. Three, technically, as the Horned Serpent statue glided smoothly into the front, pushing its way into the room almost silently, minus a creak of strain from the floor.
“No fucking way,” Vasu breathed, feeling the ground give way beneath him in a new meaning. He pushed Zuri away from him, needing to drink in this moment without her overpowering ylang-ylang aroma getting in the way. She promptly stumbled and pitched forward, falling on her face with a short shriek. “Sorry,” Vasu mumbled, a knee-jerk reaction, but sparing her only a half-second’s glance.
The stone set in the Horned Serpent’s forehead glowed a sinister violet, its stony tongue flickering out to lap its maw via some strange magic that Vasu could only guess at. “Samay aa gaya hai,” it rasped, and somehow, amid everything else impossible that was happening, Vasu was astonished to hear the statue speaking perfectly intelligible Hindi. The time has come. The Goblet of Fire has made its selections, and on its behalf we speak, was the English translation of the statue’s words.
There was a grinding of stone, and the Horned Serpent stretched its body into the air, rearing so high its jeweled head almost brushed a chandelier. “I name Clara Winter, scholar with a mind as sharp as a diamond blade, champion of Durmstrang Institute. May wisdom light her path to victory,” the statue rumbled. And then, its gray scales crisscrossing and overlapping each other in a disorienting optical illusion, the Horned Serpent coiled in on itself, its head circled back to where its tail had been, and it seemingly devoured itself. Disappearing gradually from its back half, until only fangs remained, catching the light and glinting, before they too faded into oblivion. The Pukwudgie stepped up to take its place, the floor quaking again as it moved. A stained glass window shattered, but only a few gazes were attracted to the noise as the statue spoke, naming Malaika Odion champion of Uagadou. And then the Pukwudgie statue curled into a spiky ball, contorting itself ever tighter until it too vanished with a pop! of sound.
The Thunderbird statue repeated the process, appointing numerous students to champion status and wishing them well by virtue of the represented House’s defining characteristics. But in truth, Vasu had stopped listening. Need coursed through him, his heart pumping so loudly he thought it would burst as he awaited the Wampus cat’s turn. The Thunderbird statue hadn’t named him champion. But neither had it named Sasha or Mey. This was it then. Do or die, by the Wampus cat’s hand. Paw? Here was the moment that Vasu would know whether he would return home a failure at the end of the year, or if he had a shot at the crown.
The colossal stony cat trotted into the room, tail lashing from side to side. Its claws scraped against the floor, ripping gashes into the black-and-white checkered tiles like a chessboard after a battle had been fought. It didn’t speak so much as yowl, a loud, discordant sound that made some clap their hands over their ears. But it spoke to Vasu like an aria of the soul, like a war cry from some unseeable depth. “I, the Wampus cat, warrior who knows no surrender, speak on the Goblet’s behalf!” The beast punctuated this with a roar. Krpaya, Vasu prayed. Mujhe len. He needed this. All of the sacrifices his mother had made on his and Ekta’s behalf. Winning the tournament would be how he repaid her. His father’s death wouldn’t be in vain because the hole it had torn in Vasu would grow back stronger. “I choose only those with the bravest of hearts to fight for their schools’ honor. And I name Odinson Locjaw, Theodore West, and Vasu Saini champions. May your foes quiver in fear before your might.”
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Chahaya “Cha-Cha” Arif // “Magnificent Bastard” // Male // Age 32 // Castelobruxo Professor // Legilimens

The feast was pleasantly uneventful. The charbroiled oysters were surprisingly good for somewhere so far north, topped with a lemon and garlic and parmesan glaze that sizzled delicately in the pan. There was a pizza bar with an assortment of toppings that one could add as they wished, and after fixing himself a masterpiece of white clam and sambal, Cha-Cha tried to rationalize to himself how and why he’d never experienced a similar concoction before. The salad was disappointingly bland, consisting only of lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and ranch, and the burgers were several minutes overdone to be edible, but dessert made up for it. There was banana pudding, peanut butter cookies, and brownies. Cha-Cha took the first two and ignored the latter, and the banana pudding was so good that he went back for a second helping.
He didn’t make much conversation at the table, and there were blessedly few attempts to talk with him, because when food was served there weren’t many people in the world interesting enough to compete with his plate. Thus, between courses, he found his thoughts drifting to Amity Monroe, the last shiny thing to have captured his attention. They’d danced, and Cha-Cha had dropped a line or two that insinuated his interest in getting to know her further, electrified by his own daring. Amity’s lashes had fluttered in a way that sent a rewarding buzz through him, like his efforts hadn’t been just a way to pass the time. Like they held promise. Of course, unbeknownst to Amity, it was all just play in the end. Cha-Cha wasn’t naturally attracted to women, and the only times he pursued them were for sport. When he needed to feel desired, and he wanted to see how far he could push something until it broke. Besides. Lis and Ricky had their own opponents. There was a veritable strategy to be found in having a rival professor wrapped around his finger. Just because his students were the spotlight of this tournament didn’t mean Cha-Cha had any intention of being useless.
And he wasn’t the only one with secrets. Just before they’d taken to the dance floor, Amity had given a momentary slip. When Cha-Cha had surprised her by responding to her unvoiced question about his dancing ability, she’d been knocked off-balance. Too shaken to keep up the lie. It had been the word privacy that’d made him look at her twice. Articulated with a short I. It’d rung out like a flat note amid the honey-smooth slow Southern twang. And Cha-Cha knew from two years of waiting tables in New Orleans that no American confused privacy with privy, especially a Southerner. Of course, it was a very isolated incident that had given him that hunch, just a single syllable of suspiciousness. And maybe there was a logical explanation, like Amity had watched a lot of British telly growing up. But Cha-Cha trusted his hunches.
While the rest of the table had been distracted by after-dinner drinks–coffee for most, brandy for those who wanted to indulge, and a special vanilla milkshake with a mystery shot in it–Cha-Cha was conducting business. He pulled aside one of the House Elves toting the liquor cart and pouring drinks and asked if it wasn’t too late to order some wine. No, not a glass, a bottle. Actually, the most expensive bottle that the kitchen had on hand, and Cha-Cha would be willing to pay for it. The House Elf had looked confused, but the appearance of a fifty-dollar bill and the promise that it could all be hers, separate from the cost of the wine, had washed away her doubts. Then she’d disappeared to consult with the kitchen, and a few minutes later she’d returned with a bottle of Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon, and they settled on a price of a hundred and eighty dollars. Cha-Cha paid in cash, surprised that that was the best wine money could buy in America. But then again, he doubted Ilvermorny served alcohol except for special occasions.
He tipped the same House Elf, whom he’d come to establish a line of trust with very quickly, another twenty dollars to take the bottle off his hands and ensure that it was delivered at the private quarters of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Marcello Bellini at exactly eleven o’clock for a midnight toast, complete with the appropriate glassware and maybe a tray of scones too, if that were possible. Also, it would be thoroughly appreciated if she could see to the arrangement of everything personally. But before she did, would she be so kind as to nudge the curly-haired blond boy and the short dark-skinned boy and tell them that Professor Chahaya would like to speak with them promptly, please? Another twenty dollars set her eyes so wide they almost popped out of her head, and ensured that she followed his instructions to a T. Oh, and make sure that dear Marcello doesn’t find out about the surprise toast ahead of time, okay?
With his pockets considerably lighter after the transaction–but that was okay, if it all went as planned–Cha-Cha waited for Ricky and Lis to come find him. The wait wouldn’t be long; while Ricky coming to view him as a friend might pose a threat to the chain of command, Cha-Cha was confident that Lis was intimidated enough by him to see the order obeyed swiftly. So Cha-Cha moved quickly during the interval that he had to himself. He glanced over at the table of Ilvermorny professors, located near the tournament table but maintaining a careful distance. Unsurprisingly, the woman he was looking for was seated directly across from Bellini, all eyes for him as she laughed at some witty quip or another he had made. She was pretty, wearing a peach-pink blazer and pencil skirt, dark hair pulled back from her face in a low bun. Stylish and chic, yet businesslike. She reminded Cha-Cha of a Korean flight attendant.
Cha-Cha looked at her covertly, holding up his empty wine glass as he did so as if contemplating another drink. Kimberly, he thought with intent. The woman paused and glanced to her right, as if looking for the person who’d said her name. Cha-Cha smiled pointedly as her gaze passed over him, drawing her eyes back to him. Velvety dark pools, reflecting the light and unguarded. The brief moment of eye contact was enough for Cha-Cha to slip in like a wraith. To find the glowing coal of energy, the core of her desire. Desire for Marcello. Cha-Cha coaxed it as he would a flame, bringing it to the forefront of her thoughts, until her pulse raced with it and her head spun. Take him to your room tonight, Kimberly, Cha-Cha suggested.
Those who had already finished their after-dinner drinks or didn’t wish to partake were beginning to rise from the tables, to stretch limbs that had long gone stiff and mingle with those who’d been seated at opposite ends. Cha-Cha felt a tap on his shoulder, glanced over, and saw Ricky standing behind him, Lis trailing the other boy shyly. “Nice timing,” Cha-Cha said, more appreciatively than either boy knew. He rose from his seat and addressed Einar and Amity. “It was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for the lovely company over an even lovelier evening, and I look forward to calling you my colleagues this year.” He clasped both their hands briefly in farewell. When Kazimir extended his own, Cha-Cha swatted it cheekily aside and went in for a swift one-armed hug, a reassuring clap on the back. “No need to pretend like you don’t know me, Cap. Don’t be a stranger, eh?” Cha-Cha wondered whether Kazimir would make an amusing mark after he was done toying with Amity, but Kaz was from Russia, where certain same-sex relationships were uncouth. He’d have to collect more intel before he played with fire.
Cha-Cha abandoned the mask he’d taken off during dinner on the table. He bought a new one every Carnival season, and right now, he wanted his pockets as light as possible. Deadweight would just slow him down, and he didn’t want to take the chance of dropping any condemning evidence at the scene of the crime. Even if that scene–if all went as planned–wouldn’t be salvageable for much longer. He turned and gave both his students a curt nod. “Congratulations on your championship, Lisandro. Now walk with me. One of the House Elves was kind enough to tell me how to get to the library. Let’s go that way, yeah?”
Once they’d exited the Great Hall and taken a few turns down torch-lit corridors with long, guttering shadows, past rows of darkened classrooms and down a flight of stairs, Cha-Cha got down to business. “Your training starts tonight. I understand you wanna go out and celebrate or maybe get some sleep before classes start tomorrow, but don’t fight me on this. We should have started this last semester, as some of your opponents from families that can afford it have spent their whole summers preparing for this tournament. So we have to make up for lost time. And hopefully I won’t require too much of yours tonight. Anyway, Ricky.”
Cha-Cha transferred his gaze to the taller of his two proteges, who blinked in alarm at hearing his name, as if he’d already begun the process of tuning Cha-Cha out. “Did you get a good glimpse of the House Elf who came to collect you and Lis?” He consulted his watch. “Because it’s 10:38 now, and in exactly twenty-two minutes, she is going to deliver a bottle of wine to a particular room. The room will most likely be free of inhabitants at the time of the delivery. I need you to track the House Elf down by any means necessary short of harm coming to her and tell me how to find this room. Give me any defining characteristics. And get back to us as quickly as possible. We’ll be waiting for you in the library, which is down the hall to the left of where we’re standing now. Most importantly, don’t be seen unless you are exceptionally skilled at memory charms, which I know for a fact you aren’t. Now get going, because your twenty-one minutes are ticking.”
Ricky looked bewildered but obeyed, his lips parted as if he meant to ask a question but couldn’t find the words. When Cha-Cha was left alone in the corridor with Lisandro, he said, “We have some time to kill before Ricky meets us at the library. During that time, we’re gonna go take a walk to the kitchens. Grab some cooking oil. Conceal us from sight and sound, please.” Lis asked how he should do that, to which Cha-Cha replied, “However you best know how. I don’t care how you do it, so long as it works.” Lis started to close his eyes, presumably reviewing his mental repertoire of spells, but then they snapped open. He asked, a little tentatively as if fearing the answer, whether they would be using the cooking oil to cook something. “Mm, nah,” Cha-Cha replied noncommittally. And then he elaborated, “More like somewhere. Cooking oil is highly flammable, you see.”

  • Aurelia Quansah
    Uagadou - Female - Pure Blood - Secondary

    The feast had certainly lived up to its name in quantity but as far as Aurelia was concerned there was still a good amount of quality to be missing. She had heard that American school food was known to be lacking but she had only ever been under the impression that such observations were regarding muggle schools, not wizarding academies such as Ilvermorny. It wasn’t awful and Auri made sure to be polite and eat her fair share, but the food lacked the spice and flavor she was used to in her meals. This was something that was always a bit of a culture shock to her when she traveled to countries that embraced a different pallet than she was used to. She would adapt and certainly find things she liked, she even made sure to thank the house elves that served her a rather delightful shrimp cocktail that was perfectly prepared. Not once did her judgements on the food creep across her features which she had learned during her life to keep a firm grasp on. So much could be given away with a single look, the twitch of a lip, the tilt of an eyebrow, and she didn’t have any interest in sharing her thoughts for free.

    After the feast when the names were drawn and champions announced there was a heavy disappointment to not be chosen for the great honor of representing her school but still, she was proud to serve as a secondary. Leaning over to her classmate she gently rested her hand on Malaika’s lower arm and smiled at her, “Congratulations! I’m envious of course but I promise you will have no ally more dedicated than me.” She spoke with a smile and her words rang with honesty as they passed her lips. “Anything you need, anything at all, just ask.” She assured knowing that even if she wasn’t the champion for her school she still had every fiber of her body burning with the desire to see Uagadou thrive and triumph over all the other schools in this competition. Malaika wasn’t someone she knew entirely too well but from what she did know of the young woman it was clear she was more than ready to compete. They were both animagi, something she knew no other team could boast about and something she doubted many others were aware of. There was no doubt in the young heiress's mind that they would eventually use this skill to their advantage.

    As announcements drew to an end she glanced over at the white-haired girl beside her and quirked a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. “Shall we depart to discuss strategy? I know this is a time of celebration but it is never too early to be prepared.” She suggested knowing that she wanted to cross check information gathered tonight with her teammate before things got too crazy and they lost the chance. She had tried to pick up as much as she could in casual conversation among the other students but knew that others had been doing the exact same. It was clear to anyone watching that the Ilvermorny champion was a metamorphamagus. Auri couldn’t tell how much control the young woman had over her shape-changing abilities. Based on the display tonight it looked as though her mood affected her appearance but it had yet to become obvious how far she could take her shape-shifting abilities. If the most danger she posed was turning her hair blue when she is excited then Malaika was likely in the clear with her. But, if this Gavriel Sylvie girl could fully transform into someone else then she might prove to be far more dangerous in a challenge. Auri hoped they would have an opportunity to gauge just how skilled the young woman was with her powers before the first challenge. “Think they would miss us if she disappeared to the courtyard?” She inquired as she gave Malaika a small smile and a wink.

    Mentions: Malaika Wolfiee Wolfiee

MOOD: Embarrassed > Sick, hungry

OUTFIT: dress(click!) mask(click!) > red plaid pjs and baggy t-shirt

LOCATION: dance hall > room > roaming the hallways

TL;DR: Mey is taking a break from dancing, when Einar offers her a dance, she chugs her second glass of spiked punch, and takes it. She's clumsy, stomping on his feet and rambling about nonsense while the alcohol kicks in.
Mey's rosy blush deepend as Einar spoke to her in such a dignified manner, and giggled nervously as he joked with her. "You have no need for a polyjuice potion, Einar. Even if you are ancient, you are probably the most handsome of the professors." She teased back, offering a toothy grin. Einar had a booming voice, and in close proximity it occasionally rattled in her chest. Something about its gravel felt comforting, similar to the warm but kind touch of his hands as they danced. "It is hard to pay attention to each other here. We have to pay attention to win competition, but there are so many of the faces and the names. These funny masks make it harder to keep everyone in order in my mind." Her smile dropped as she attempted to focus on her horrific attempt at dancing again—which was getting much harder by the minute—, though it returned much softer as he complimented her, her cheeks turning even redder. Mey wasn't used to being called a delight, even by a professor. She had been called many things before. Obtuse, disruptive, disrespectful, annoying, stupid, trouble. Maybe Vinogradov would call her delightful, for he was a gentle and patient man who seemed to put up with her mindless babbling and constant interruptions much better than her other instructors. But he was so detached, so distant from the student body that it seemed unlikely she would get a compliment on her personality.

She was appreciative of the older man's grace and kindness towards her. The Illvermorny boy she had danced with before certainly did not contain that same generosity, though he had truly tried to be tolerating of her poor dance skills. She had opened her mouth to speak, but it felt like her thoughts and her face were finally slowing down around her. It was rare for her to slow down or even shut up, but it felt almost like her mouth was too small for her tongue and her blinks felt slow and heavy as the room swam. She began to notice that she and Einar weren't moving nearly as much as she had thought, and instead the room was spinning around her as she leaned slightly to one side. Her eyes slowly drifted from the crowd to her dance partner's face, his striking blue eyes painted with worry. "Are you quite alright?" She took a beat. Was she alright? What was happening to her? All she had done was dance and drink punch. The young woman burst out laughing, abrupt amidst Einar's gentle worry. One hand reached across her body to gently grasp his, grateful for his touch, for she was sure he was keeping her from stumbling despite their lack of motion. The other hand cupped her heating cheek firmly.

"I am thinking there is more than fruit in the punch." She giggled, finding it difficult to separate her words as she spoke. "I think I should drink more of the water." Einar's face seemed to be a mix of concern and amusement at Mey's condition, and she couldn't help but grin again as she bashfully looked at his face. "This has become many embarrassing. It seems I have found a head." Another sheepish titter escaped her lips. She turned carefully away from the crowd, using one of Einar's arms for support, as she carefully but ungracefully stumbled away from the dancefloor in a noble pursuit for some water. Man, her kaftan was getting heavier and warmer by the minute. Her own clumsiness was typically her enemy on a good day, but tonight, as she was overwhelmed and certainly drunk on someone's nefariously spiked punch, it was certainly out to get her. Her light, wobbling footsteps led her unsteadily away, her toes catching the hem of her long skirt from time to time as she walked uprooting her precarious feet from the floor once again, causing a new round of nervous giggling to rise from her chest.

Once she had safely evaded the crowd without catastrophe, she found a seat and smiled graciously at Einar. "Thank you." She bowed her head, hoping to hide the embarrassment painted across her face. It occurred to her that she should maybe request Einar's silence, not wanting her state to get back to her own professor. Just as she had begun to open her mouth and raised her face towards Einar's to ask him for a favor, she was interrupted by a cacophony of noise. The floor shook, the music ceased with a twinge, glass shattered, gasps and shrieks filled the air, falling objects crashed around the ballroom, and a heavy beating sound practically deafened the group. As the room buckled and shuttered around her, Mey was thankful for the seat she had taken, gripping the sides of it firmly and tightening her core to stabilize herself. When the shock of it all had subsided, she retrieved her wand that was tucked in a hidden pocket in her skirt, white-knuckling it as her brown eyes frantically scanned the room for danger. The heavy beating sound had not yet ceased, and she unsteadily rose to her feet, adjusting to the periodic shaking.

"Woah." The sound had escaped her lips before she had even thought about what she was seeing, astonished by the stone creatures that had sauntered into the ballroom before her. She recognized them as creatures championed by this American school, not posing any threat at this precise moment. Her wand remained in her hand, ready for conflict, but her arm drooped slightly. She listened intently as each creature rattled off names, appointing students from each school as Octowizard champions for their schools. Each name meant that Koldovstoretz's champion had not been named, and her heart swelled with anticipation. Would she be named champion? She felt like she and her peers were on fairly even ground. Vasu may have applied himself more to his studies than she, Sasha had a kindness about her that the other two didn't radiate, and Mey prided herself on being the best duelist in Koldovstoretz. It could be any of them.

But it wasn't her. It was Vasu. And at the champion's announcement, she couldn't help but beam and clap furiously for him. And then, with the excitement over, she noticed the room swimming and her stomach turning.
Mey had ditched the feast, feeling too ill to sit and pretend that she enjoyed American food that she was unfamiliar with. Instead, she spent the time hunched over a toilet, expelling the breakfast she had had before leaving for America that morning and the few snacks she had nibbled on on the train. The force of it all had squeezed tears from her eyes, as did the burning sensation in her throat and nose. When there was a break in her puking and she felt okay enough to stand, she found a house elf who was kind enough to aid her to her sleeping accommodations, where her luggage had been placed for her. She walked slowly, but more steadily than she had before, attempting to ignore the trembling that rendered her body weak. Once she was left alone in the room, filled with three beds, three wardrobes, and the piles of luggage each student rooming there had brought, she carefully removed her ornate, borrowed dress and packed it away. She opted instead for a large, baggy t-shirt and red, plaid pajama pants to exist more comfortably.

She seated herself gingerly on the edge of her bed, eyes closed and breathing deeply. Her stomach felt twisted and empty. She had caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror before arriving in her room, the makeup she was unfamiliar with wearing was smudge and she was paler than ever. If anyone saw her, her condition would likely be obvious. Normally, Halime handled her alcohol better, but the speed and fervor she had drunk her punch with and the exercise to immediately follow had caused it to metabolized faster than usual. Not to mention she hadn't even expected there to be alcohol served at the opening ceremonies. You would think they would warn you that there was whiskey— which is now what she was thinking was in that punch based on the flavor profile and her familiarity with the tingling burning sensation in her throat— in the unmanned punch bowl.

Despite the slight roll to the room when she opened her eyes, she found herself sorry she had missed dinner, a little hungry, and very thirsty. She was missing her evening cup of apple tea. It wasn't like her stomach would be able to handle a heavy meal, and she was right to avoid the feast at the time. But maybe one of the house elves in the kitchen would help her make her tea and let her nibble on Çizi, if they had any. With a new resolve, she pushed herself to her socked but shoeless feet, and decided she would search the castle for the kitchens and get something in her stomach. She had brought a canister of apple tea with her, in case the stops on the tournament tour didn't have any, and stooped down to clutch it to her chest, departing the room before any of her new roommates entered.

It was weird to her that the Americans had a castle to go to school in. In her mind, castles didn't seem very American to her. Castles seemed to exist everywhere else in the world but the Americas. It was a pretty castle, though she preferred Koldovstoretz's. She found herself looking everywhere but in front of herself. The titled floors, the stone walls, the moving paintings upon the walls, the high ceilings. There was a lot to take in, it would be easy to get lost in such a large school. "Hng!" While she was distracted, she failed to notice the person in front of her, running straight into them, sending her strait to the floor. She clenched her teeth as she landed flat on her ass, her canister of tea also clattering to the floor with a tinny clang. "Sorry! Many sorries!" She exclaimed quickly, looking up at her unknown obstacle.

((note - "found a head" is a literal translation for turkish slang, "find a head" means to get drunk))
well, you cured my January blues
Yeah, you made it alright
I've got a feelin' I've lit the very fuse
That you were tryin' not to light
code by valen t.
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Malaika Odion
Uagadou Champion
location here
outfit here

Aurelia Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1

Malaika was taking in the rich and dulled scents of all the different types of dishes. There were plenty that were familiar and some that weren’t familiar at all. However the aromas wafting from the table was enough to make her mouth water having forgotten breakfast earlier having been too excited for it. Now she was starving and ready to dig into all the dishes wanting to show appreciation for the American institution for hosting them. A few of the dishes weren’t as vibrant taste wise as the appearance of them, however that didn’t matter this time she would rather eat something more tame than wild with all the nerves filtering through her with what was about to come. Her long white hair was braided behind her keeping it out of the way as she continued partaking in the evening's dishes and with much to her surprise a dessert which she now deemed as a new favorite. It was a type of what seemed to be a pie if she remembered correctly; these were a type of cookie called Oreos as part of the main ingredient. Soon the dishes were cleared away and the students now full of food watched with heavy anticipation for who would be selected.

Her eyes widening with great interest as a giant stone serpent made its way forward, its body moving with surprising ease considering what it was made of. It was time its words rang out as it selected the Durmstrang champion then the great beast seemed to devour itself before disappearing. There wasn’t even time to breathe as another being moved forward the shattering of a window caught her attention for only a moment before the world became deadly silent to her. The only thing she could hear was her name being spoken by the beast before it disappeared after its announcement. If you asked her who was named next she couldn’t tell you as once her name was spoken she zoned out her mind instantly going into work on how she would win this tournament and bring glory to Uagadou. All thoughts on how she could do this? What would the cost truly be to win this entire thing so many similar questions rang through her mind. A hand suddenly touching her lower arm brought her out of her thoughts hearing Aurelia giving her congratulations while also admitting to being a bit disappointed about not being chosen. She couldn’t blame Aure; she was sure if things were reversed she would feel the same.

“Thank you, I appreciate that greatly.”Malaika said warmly, mainly because the two did not know one another well. However they both seemed to have the same mind set about bringing glory to their home school, their pride and joy. The smallest of rumbles seemed to leave the young woman a very happy feline-like sound, an indication of what her animagi form might be. As Aure suggested leaving for some private time to discuss strategies she let her gaze finally move over all the other students seeing the other champions. There seemed to be plenty of competition and she felt like Aurelia was correct; it was always best to be prepared. Her blue gaze met Aurelia’s eyes once more before giving another smile and a light nod.”I don’t think we will be missed or at least we won’t be missed immediately.”she said before carefully sliding out of her seat. When everyone seemed to be looking away she slipped away with her fellow classmate so they could get to the courtyard.

coded by natasha.


Beauxbatons Champion







Gavy and Malaika

Raphael was excited that Gavy returned with the lonely girl in tow. He gave the stranger a big smile and laughed. "Did Gavy give ya an option or did she just steal ya?" He joked as he bumped the fairer skinned girl's shoulder. "I'm kidding. I'm Raphael." The three of them danced and it was his favorite one out of all the dancing partners he had. They didn't talk about anything in particular but lots of laughter was shared which was enough for Raphael to decide that he liked Malaika the same way he liked everyone else that he had met.

When it was time to eat Raphael chowed down. He tried to remember his manners but growing up poor he had the mentality of 'eat as much as you can and as quickly as you can'. Logically there was no reason for him to have fear that his food would be suddenly taken away or that he would be punished for eating but it was a hard habit to shake. As he ate, he met the eye of a man with long hair in a maroon suit who looked to be staring at him with an expression of understanding. Raphael didn't think any else of it besides that with how short the man was there was a good chance he had an idea why Raphael was eager to clear his plate twice.

The announcements came for who was chosen champion and Raphael wasn't surprised he was picked. Kiara and Naomi would have made just as good competitors but he had a gut feeling it would be him. He grinned across the table at his friends when his name was told through one of the stones. When everything else was done, the students were free to mingle and do as they pleased and immediately he sought out the pretty blonde he had been dancing with earlier.

"Gavy?" He said once he was close to the girl. He gave her a warm smile. "Congrats on getting picked!" He greeted. "I'm trying to gather some people who might want to hang out. Do you have any plans already? I was thinking we grab Kiara and Cosmo and anyone else we find."


Castelobruxo Secondary







Cha-Cha, Lisandro, Winter twins

Before Ricky could say anything more than "I'll make sure to not tell my best friend you're foaming at the mouth for him.", there was a commotion that drew the attention of everyone in the old American wizarding school. He watched in fascination while the champions were revealed. Clara was one of the last names to be announced and he tried but failed to find her in the mass of people to see her reaction. The shuffle that had happened on the dance floor made it difficult to find her because she was no longer where he had been watching her from behind Kiara. He clapped loudly for Lisandro getting selected and Clara too. He wondered if Cosmo was angry then decided that it didn't matter because no matter what Ricky was going to have to hear all about it. Ricky wasn't surprised at all that he wasn't picked as champion for his school. It was more of a relief that he wasn't going to be forced to compete especially now that he knew both of his old friends would be his competition. Both Cosmo and Clara were intense and he didn't want to fight either one of them.

With the dance and feast over Ricky looked around the room to find Lisandro. Thankfully a house elf found him first and very impressed that Cha-Cha had already made friends in a building full of people that probably wanted him dead, he followed the elf to his classmate and professor. "Congratulations Lis!" He said before they were led far away from other students. Ricky looked at his classmate as if to ask 'what bullshit is he up to now?' but didn't say anything. He had faith that their teacher that Ricky already trusted so much would explain everything eventually.

Explain he did not. Ricky looked at Cha-Cha like he grew three heads. "Huh? Why? That sounds a lot like stalking." Was Cha-Cha experiencing his first rejection? Was Ricky going to be committing some sort of crime just so his teacher could get his dick wet? Why else would he care about where wine was going? It didn't matter. He wasn't given any more explanation and having enough trust in his teacher that whatever he had up his sleeve would only border creepy if they all got caught, Ricky left and thought through his options.

All Cha-Cha said was don't get caught and get it done in roughly twenty minutes. But he wasn't paying close attention when the elf brought him to Lisandro because he had been staring at Clara. So he barely remembered what the elf looked like and he had to find the room some bottle was being delivered to, remember where it was, and find Cha-Cha and Lis when he was done? If he had a heads up it would have been no problem but that was probably the point. This was training after all.

He walked away and sighed. At least he wasn't directionally challenged. He found his way back to the great hall easily and thankfully the very pair of siblings he needed were right there. Cha-Cha's rules didn't include getting people to help him. They were fighting but if he could prod Cosmo into saying the right things there was a good chance Clara would help. She was who he really needed because Cosmo was less likely to help under the vague circumstances. He would have a lot of questions. Clara? She would want something in return and he had just the thing for it if she took Ricky's bait. Ricky would take both of their help if they agreed since he wanted his favorite teacher to meet his best friends but there was a fat chance he walked away without either of their help.

"Cosmo. Clara." He drawled as he approached them. He wrapped an arm around Cosmo's shoulders and tried to wrap one around Clara who likely smacked his hand away or turned to avoid his touch. He tried not to look wounded by it. "What do you say we blow this party and do something more fun? Say ... sneak around and stalk one of their house elves because my professor asked me to?"


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    You are worth finding. Worth knowing. Worth loving. You and all your one million layers. I know you think yourself to be full of poems and rage but you are more than your anger. I miss the girl who was really happy.

    - Your big bro

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Clara heard a loud noise coming from somewhere in the castle. At first she had dismissed it, assuming another set of fireworks was going off inside the great hall or that perhaps a brawl had started, but it quickly became hard to ignore. Across the way, she saw Vasu draw his wand and instinctively she did the same, apologizing for their dance being cut short to the American boy she had been dancing with up until that point. Her eyes narrowed as she looked around, and the floor began rumbling. The boy she had been dancing with stuck his arm out to catch her as she fell, and he helped pull her up. She gave him a small nod, her expression far less flirty or charismatic as it normally would have been if she didn't think something was seriously wrong.

Thankfully, the whole issue was quickly cleared up when she saw the statues from the sorting ceremony move. She had forgotten that they would pick the champions for the competition this way; mentally she was scolding the books and reportings from the last time Ilvermorny hosted for seriously underselling how dramatic the whole thing was.

That was, until the serpent announced her as the champion, and not her brother.

Clara's head snapped to Cosmo, her eyes wide in surprise. Her brother, she noticed, looked as if he doubted the common sense of the rock that had called her name, which sent a hot flash of anger through her. Instead of letting it show, she grinned at him, her shock quickly covered by the confidence everyone thought she carried with her like a gun in a pistol. She supposed if confidence were a tangible thing, it would be something she would have on standby like a weapon. Sometimes it even felt like something she could use against people. Then again, she used anything and everything she could against people.

During the feast, Clara enjoyed catching up with Vasu, who had made the accurate guess that Cosmo wasn't happy about how things turned out. It was nice catching up with an old friend, and while she had a feeling that both of their answers were a little guarded, she didn't get the sense that he hated her; it made her wonder if he ever hated her at all. She didn't doubt that his evil grandma had something to do with the radio silence she had experienced from him, but she didn't ask, and he didn't tell.

After the feast she finally had to deal with Cosmo. They were in the middle of an argument when she thought her savior was coming, but unfortunately she mistook Ricardo for a handsome man who wouldn't delight in hurting her further. Before he even fully approached she had turned her glare onto him, and Clara could feel that it was worse than whatever look she had been giving Cosmo, who out of the corner of her eye, exhaled as if he was relieved that his best friend had awful timing.

"Your professor wants you to spy on a house elf?" Clara repeated mockingly. She shook her head. "No way. That was busy work for you. They gave you something to do so they could talk to the actual champion."

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© weldherwings.

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    I don't understand muggle music. The 12 days of Christmas is completely unrealistic. There is no way that you're still accepting gifts from someone after 4 days of birds. Anyways, happy holidays. Don't forget my gift.
    - Yours truly

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Cosmo couldn't believe that his sister was picked as champion instead of him. He knew she was certainly smart enough to be picked, but over him? Over Cosmo Winter? What the hell? Sure she had better grades and was smarter than him, but she was so smart it was a weakness most of the time. She overthought everything, often to the wrong conclusion, and she was always getting into trouble! She would get herself eliminated before the first challenge.

Worst of all, he knew his sister saw the disappointment and confusion on his face. She had immediately looked to him to celebrate her win with, and he let her down. This was the first time he could say he did something wrong instead of her. And honestly? It felt well deserved. He didn't bother with trying to sit with her at dinner (though her first pick was Vasu, who he was going to avoid at all costs; that little boy was a nightmare). Instead he sat with some of the students from the other schools and made polite conversation that he enjoyed, but only until his eyes wandered down the table to his sister, who was definitely trading sly remarks to Vasu. They both snickered occasionally in his direction, and he tried to ignore it.

Finally after dinner, he decided to try and reconcile. As expected, she was not having any of it.

"You had the same reaction on the train!" She pointed out, glaring at him. Cosmo hated that he could tell he really had hurt her feelings, evident only to him by the frequency in her breaking eye contact then having to look at him again.

"I'm sorry! I'm just surprised! Why is it such a big deal?"

He didn't realize that was a bad thing to say until Clara opened her mouth and inhaled deeply, as if she was about to yell. Thankfully Ricky showed up in the nick of time, and Cosmo grinned at him, wrapping his arm around his friend's shoulders like he had his.

"Clara, be nice," He scolded.

"'Be nice'? You're such a hypo-"

"Why does he want you to stalk an elf?" He asked.

Cosmo looked over at his sister while Ricky explained. As fun as it sounded, Clara had said something that made him wonder if the task was a challenge in of itself to test Ricky. If that were the case, Cosmo wasn't a good person to go to. He wasn't very sneaky and while his memory was good, he was directionally stupid. He needed Clara. But how could Cosmo get her to agree? She hated both of them right now, Ricky probably more than Clara. And she was always five steps ahead of both of them, so it would be hard to push her in his direction.

"Clara," He started. Her eyes snapped to his. "A wager?"

She raised a perfectly arched eyebrow and crossed her arms, inhaling. He had her attention.

"If you can help our dear friend find this elf in, Rick, how much time do you have?" Cosmo asked, glancing at his friend. He gave them the time he had left.

"With minutes to spare, I will admit whatever you want."

She was thinking about it. She chewed on her bottom lip, thinking.

"And I'll deal with mom's next two letters."

Her eyebrows went up. It was a good offer, she was getting a lot just for standing next to Ricky for nineteen minutes, even if she made it difficult intentionally to make him fail. Their mother was a nightmare though, and even Ricky seemed surprised by the generous offer Cosmo was giving.

Clara narrowed her eyes. "Be serious."

Shoot. She didn't believe him.

He de-tangled himself from his friend, mimicking her stance by crossing his arms. It was as if both of them were peacocking and trying to intimidate each other. "I am."

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© weldherwings.
MOOD: curious, fearful > curious, confident

OUTFIT: lehenga(click!) mask(click!)

LOCATION: Dancefloor > music room
INTERACTIONS: Kazimir > Vasu

MENTIONS: Considers Odinson here and there in her internal monologue
TL;DR: Finished up the dance scene with Kaz. Decided to explore the castle and found herself in the music room, where she has run into Vasu. She is now trying to size him up.
The more the duo danced with each other, the more Chitrita could feel Kaz relax under her touch. He wasn't quite putty in her hands, like some weak-willed men and women were, but he certainly eased. The lightened air between them made her feel like he was becoming more confident in their movement together and she began raising her their joined hands to open space between them for her to twirl, adding more flare to their caper. She grinned as he began to answer her question, livened by their conversation. She was genuinely interested in his answer this time, hoping for new information for her to prey upon. She admired Kaz's face as he brightened at the mention of his students. The Mahoutokoro professors could be so stuffy as instructors at the most elite wizarding institution that she could hardly imagine any of her own professors' irradiated faces at the mention of their students— except for maybe the potions master. Most of them probably glowered, upset that more perfection couldn't be squeezed out of the students whose robes already sparkled with gold and upset that they had to put up with the imperfection of the students whose robes did not.

She listened carefully to his response, conscientiously restraining her facial movements, maintaining a look of interest but keeping it short of thirsty glee that would give her away. When she wanted to frown, dissatisfied with the way he skirted around speaking about any student directly, she smiled softly. A bit better at the social game than others... She personally hadn't considered the importance of being sociable in a champion. She didn't think it would have an impact on the way an impartial judge would pick a champion. She would not delude herself with the idea of herself being champion. The Mahoutokoro students were largely picked from a pool of perfect students, so she and the others matched each other in perfect stride. She knew that, despite her own cunning and sharpness, no one would pass over Locjaw's physicality for her own. He'd hold his own in a physical matchup much better than she could and it would be impossible to discern a clear difference between their magical differences based on the intense, equal training they had both received. She tilted her head slightly to the side. "You speak of them with great pride. I believe all four of you will represent Koldovstoretz favorably."

The song they were dancing to came and passed, but Chitrita was over the dance cards and the boys. They had been infuriating enough for one night. She pretended not to notice, not changing her grip on Kaz, and adjusting their movements to match the new tempo of the music. She was about to ask her partner a question, but he managed to get one out before her. "Dance?" She echoed, blinking in surprise. Dancing she had done most her life. There were some dances she learned out of necessity, due to her position in high wizarding society that required her to attend social events with mandatory dancing from a young age. Her favorites, like the one she was leading Kazimir in, were less popular in the wizarding world but certianly growing. Dance was the one muggle pastime she paid particular attention to, falling in love with it when she stumbled upon it as a little girl. There was a small wizarding ballet troupe that her father had taken her to see when she was small, meant to be a way to occupy her and Aadesh for summer evening when her mother was going stir crazy with too much noise in the home. She had only ever wanted to be a ballerina since then, the beautiful, structured movements pairing elegantly with magical elements such as enchanted stage props and transfigured dancers.

The younger of the pair flushed slightly, a soft smile returning to her lips, and she glanced away bashfully. To ask where she learned to dance was a form of compliment in itself. You didn't ask a mediocre dancer where they learned, and the only other circumstance to ask would require the same harsh tone she had used to speak to the Hogwarts boy before. "Mahoutokoro is extremely competitive, and our schooling starts much younger than most of the more western schools. Being smart and the children of wealthy business moguls is no longer enough to secure yourself a spot among the small student body. You must be unique. Even if it means flirting with less traditional hobbies." She finally answered, her eyes wandering to the other couples dancing around them. Children. She wasn't meant to mention Aadesh. And she didn't really. Kaz could likely chalk up her word choice to refer to the general masses of Mahoutokoro's students instead of pinpointing it to mean herself and a sibling. "I begged my mother for ballet lessons when I was small after my father took me to see tournée des sorcières when the French Wizarding Ballet came to visit near home. I practically obsessed over it. These sorts of dances, I kind of taught myself along the way." She pressed her full lips into another soft smile, then returned the compliment. "You make a nice dance partner."

She allowed the conversation to lull for a moment as they fell into a comfortable silence, their feet moving perfectly in time with each other and the music. Her mind returned to her main goal, getting more information out of Kaz. Even if she felt in her gut that she would not be champion, she might still be expected by her own chaperone to assist Odinson in his trials, and he still hadn't spoken about the one character of interests. She should ask another question or find someone else who might be able to answer her. Maybe she should cut in on someone else's dance at the next song. Someone younger, weaker than Kazimir. She considered asking him outright, before the song wrapped up and they parted, if he truly believed any one of his students could be champion. In Mahoutokoro's case, Chitrita and Chiyotanda were too small to compete with the young giant Locjaw. Was Koldovstoretz that competitive? Or was Mahoutokoro that far ahead of the pack?

Before she could entertain the thought further, she was rudely interrupted by a severe shaking. It was like the floor lurched underneath her, her typically graceful footing sliding out from underneath her. She soundlessly gripped Kaz tighter than she had at all in their time together. Ever worried about her image, she refused to allow her fear to show too significantly. The tighter grip could be excused by the movement and her need to steady herself, but she couldn't squeeze to hard or he'd find her weak. One thing she certainly could not control was the heavy beating of her chest, pounding at about twice the speed as the heavy, rhythmic shaking that was soon to begin. Another tremor wreaked the room, this time much larger than the one before it, shattering nearby glass and sending several students— and almost Chitrita— to the floor. She closed the respectful gap that she had left between herself and the foreign professor when dancing, sucking their bodies in closely together to avoid an embarrassing tumble and in the hopes that an experienced wizard would help protect her if there was danger. She couldn't imagine so many students not yet participating in the tournament would be put in such danger right away, but a troll attack on the castle seemed possible. Or worse, a dark wizarding attack. She had been hearing rumors as of late that there was a large and growing group of practitioners of the dark arts that were on the rise.

She took a moment to glance at Kazimir, her deep eyes finding his, looking for answers in their closeness. Beneath all that shaggy hair, there was a handsome man, and in the handsome man's eyes was a look of blended fear and bewilderment, something that mimicked the same one she was attempting to repress.
Despite knowing in her heart that Locjaw would be the likely pick for Mahoutokoro champion, jealous pins and needles pricked at Chitrita's chest hearing his name called. She golf clapped politely, wearing a gentle smile for the sight of wandering eyes and the pointed look of her professor. During the feast, she had abandoned her thoughts of interrogating others to weasel information about competitors out of them, opting instead to wallow in the dreadful disappointment her mother would have when she found out Chitrita was not, in fact, a champion. She would not allow her trepidation show on her features, maintaining perfect posture and a neutral face, laughing and engaging in dinner conversation when required. With the feast winding down, she decided she wouldn't be missed if she allowed herself to wander around the castle. After all, who would really mind enough to keep tabs on the non-champions?

As soon as the last announcement of the night rang through the air and the dessert plates began to be cleared, the young woman rose to her feet and left swiftly, disappearing into the mass and exiting on the other side. Her swift exit allowed for a slow walk around the castle. She wasn't particularly interested in much of the art or architecture— she found the culture that the Americans supported here was quite drab in comparison to the beautiful colors sported in both her home and school countries— and instead allowed her fingertips to skim the wall as she walked along, taking in the texture of the stone and wood as her touch skipped over them.

She wasn't quite sure what exactly she would do yet. Exploring was fine enough, but aimless wandering made her feel useless. Her desire to spy on others had soured slightly and she certainly was not in the mood to convene with Locjaw to strategize. Just the thought of it made her roll her eyes. His victory was not hers. She would obviously prefer for Mahoutokoro to win over the others, and maybe in the daylight when she felt better she would be gracious enough to help him(or, more likely, Professor Hasumi would force her to help), especially if Locjaw groveled for it, but she couldn't pretend like she bought into that Western "school spirit" propaganda. For having such an individualist culture, they all seemed to naively believe that a win for their institution was a personal win.

As she moved, she strayed away from the other groups and bodies that began to fill the hall. Her interest in socializing with the other dimwits about matched her interest in helping her own champion. Finally, after some time, she came upon a staircase. She looked up at it and hesitated, one foot on the bottom stair. A part of her felt like moving floors would be crossing some form of boundary. Normally, she would be fine with it, but she was wary of how many eyes could be watching. She hadn't learned the newcomers' behaviors yet, making them harder to evade. But on the other hand, maybe there would be a nice, airy balcony on one of the upper floors. Fresh air would likely do her mind some good. Maybe it'd look out onto an area where others were chit-chatting and she could eavesdrop. Just as she had decided to commit and move up a stair, she caught a glimpse of something with her peripheral vision.

An open door.

She hastily backtracked. An open door was much more interesting. Especially with the lights on. Technically, the door was merely cracked. But it was open nonetheless, which welcomed her in. Chitrita found herself standing in a large room with dampening panels on the upper halves of the wall. In the front half of the room, many chairs sat in rows, arranged in a semi circle, facing a small, raised platform and a large music stand. She could see another open door on the wall opposite to her, lined with large lockers that were no doubt charmed to be impossible to unlock with alohomora. The back half of the room was largely empty, with risers in one corner, a piano in the other, and wall mirrors spanning the empty space between them. It could only be presumed that this is where the band for the dance stored their instruments and practiced, but had not yet taken down and stowed them away yet, leaving the door unlocked and open for their own convenience later.

She found herself smiling. She was in a music room, that seemed equipped for some casual dance practice. She closed the door behind her.

She was by no means equipped to dance the way she really enjoyed at this precise moment. Not in her lehenga, and certainly not in these shoes. But the piano was calling her name. It had been awhile since she had practiced, the hobby being lost to dance over the years, but she had been taught to play when she was young. It was as she was telling Kazimir, a young witch meant to go to Mahoutokoro had to be of many talents to discern herself from other applicants just as intelligent as her. Though, piano was often a basic skill amongst the students she had run into there.

She seated herself on the bench of the baby grand, carefully removing her mask. Those dumb, dangling bits had been giving her trouble all night and she was glad to be rid of it. She eagerly played a couple of scales, warming up her fingers in search of some latent talent. She played a couple of short excerpts from songs popular with beginners, getting a feel of how the piano might speak to her. Then, after a moment of silence, alone, she decided she'd play one of her favorites.

Swan Lake was by far her favorite to dance to, one of her earliest dance obsessions, and had learned to play it in her youth. Her fingers began to find the familiar ivories of Op. 20: I. Scene, her left hand floating in a simple moving line, note by note to begin, followed by her right's melody, playing the swan's melody. To her, there was always something hauntingly beautiful about the piece. It was intense and goosebump-inducing when heard from the orchestra, and when stripped down to a piano solo it was alluring and poignant. She had barely gotten through the leitmotif a second time, this time fleshed out as full chords instead of the simplistic roots of the initial, when the caught sight of the door opening. She cut off her own playing, letting an eerie silence hang in the air with an unresolved tension of an unfinished phrase. She leveled her gaze, expecting to find one of the musicians from the ballroom or an Ilvermorny faculty member to materialize and banish her from the room with a scold. Instead, a face she recognized entered. She couldn't help but smirk.

Standing before her was one of very few people at the tournament that she could name and recognize. Her fiancé. Vasu Saini. She had been prodding Kazimir about him not much more than an hour or so ago. She sat silently for a moment, taking in his appearance. She allowed herself to size him up, her eyes examining everything they could. His shoes, his hair, his eyes, his postures, his hands, his clothes, his nose. "Vasu." She broke the silence, finally acknowledging him. "Fancy seeing you here. Congratulations, champion. Your nani didn't mention you were the bravest of hearts when she spoke with Baba and Amma." She suppressed a bemused smile, turning her sparkling eyes back down to the keys. She began picking at notes, revisiting the bare notes of her melody slowly, leaving her left hand idle.

"You're shorter than I imagined." She spoke again, this time not raising her gaze and her face remaining neutral. What she said, however, was a lie. She knew well by looking at him that he was taller than most Indian men, and he was unusual for is stature. She herself, matching him in height, was a freak of nature. Her mother— her Amma— and her dance teachers constantly criticized her for it. "The picture your nani sent us made you seem taller, I suppose." She kept plunking keys, allowing them to fill the silence as she inwardly hoped she was emasculating Vasu slightly. She preferred to command power in most situations, and she'd be damned if she let Vasu have any. She already wasn't pleased with their arrangement, and largely ignored it at school despite wearing her onyx and gold engagement ring.

In addition to needing power, Chitrita also needed influence. She slid over on the bench, wordlessly offering Vasu a seat if he wished. A small offering of kindness. She lifted her eyes and arched her brows. "Do you play?"
I could draw you dot to dot
I know I could save you
I deserve a special spot
I could be your favorite
code by valen t.

Vasu Saini // “Shiva’s Heir” // Male // 5th Year // Koldovstoretz Champion // Parselmouth

The seating arrangements at the feast had been tight. Unlike the international professors, no separate table had been reserved for the student competitors, and so Vasu and Clara mingled with the Ilvermorny students of Pukwudgie House because there happened to be marginally more space on that particular bench. Nonetheless, the students were packed in like pigs in a pen, and Vasu kept bumping elbows with the girl on his left so much that finally he transferred his fork to his right hand as he worked his way through course after course. It was a constant reminder that the student body of Ilvermorny was much larger than that of Koldovstoretz; probably close to double the size. Vasu wondered what that indicated about the Ilvermorny tournament team and whether they were twice as formidable as himself and Mey and Sasha. While he’d only met Gavriel out of the three Ilvermorny competitors, he’d discovered her Metamorphmagus abilities in mere minutes, so they were off to a strong start.
By Vasu’s former standards of crystal decanter and linen napkin luxury, the food itself was somewhat underwhelming. But over the summer months his diet had changed dramatically due to dwindling funds, and he was grateful not to be eating the same old brown lentil dhal and cabbage thoran. Meat had become a rarity at the Saini table anymore, and after a quick assessment of the risks of Aditi finding out that he’d gorged himself on beef at the Opening Ceremony, he caved to temptation and loaded up a hamburger with barbecue sauce and pickled peppers and some divine, foreign concoction called pimento cheese. The fries had been too thick and unseasoned, but drowned in enough honey mustard, it was less obvious. There were long rectangles in baked doughy exteriors that Vasu thought of as “mystery sticks” until he bit into one, and discovered that they were sort of akin to jumbo mozzarella sticks with less stringy cheese and the tomato sauce already inside of it. Finally, as he was drizzling a promising-looking hot sauce called Carnival onto a corn dog, the American girl next to him emitted a loud gasp. Vasu was equal parts surprised and irritated to find her hand latched around his wrist just as he was raising the dripping corn dog to his lips.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” she asked, horror evident in her breathy voice and bugged-out eyes. “The last boy who put that much Carnival on something was rushed off to the infirmary. He was there for several days and missed graduation and the train home. They had to send him home by portkey.”
Vasu eyed the viselike fingers still clamped around his wrist. He jerked away in one brusque motion. The girl’s eyes dropped as if she’d forgotten about her hold on him, her hand now closed around empty air.
Watching her steadily and resenting this squirrely-cheeked creature who had the audacity to grab him and cause some of the sauce to run down his wrist and stain the cuff of his sherwani, he replied, “Ladakee, I’m Indian. If this will send you to the infirmary, I’ve got some stuff in my luggage that will send you to the grave.” Conscious of her bewildered stare, he bit into the corn dog, tearing off a third of it in one go and waiting for the infirmary-inducing hot sauce to do its worst. It disappointingly struck Vasu as more vinegary than spicy. The only rewarding thing about the experience was Clara’s laughter, which rang out in sweet and delicious notes like honey. It was a sound that Vasu would have bottled and gotten drunk off of night after night.
But there was no use in thinking about her like that. Vasu had taken the gaudy onyx-and-jade ring off as soon as the train had left Grand Central Station, but it was a ghostly weight still wrapped around his finger, as tangible as the restraining grip of the Pukwudgie girl. Aditi’s present to him on the night of his thirteenth birthday had been the announcement of a suitable match for him. A mandatory match, as the betrothal had already been arranged and there was no going back. She’d claimed that this Chitrita Pawar who’d been promised to him was a Mahoutokoro student two years his senior, but for someone to marry into his disgraced family, Vasu half-expected her to be a fifty-year-old hag with no other candidates for marriage. Or perhaps just unspeakably ugly. He’d been forced to watch enviously as the other boys he played cards with flirted with ruby-lipped Slavic girls, knowing that he’d probably be more useful to his grandmother dead than alive if Chitrita’s family was given any reason to rescind the engagement.
With the sole exception of one time in the alley behind the train station when he’d been put up to a dare, Vasu had no experience with girls. Embarrassingly, he’d been too drunk to remember the girl’s name, but the scent and feel of her ginger-and-cream skin were burned into his memory. Ironically that one incident had given him a reputation as something of a player among his classmates, even though that couldn’t be further from the truth. Vasu hadn’t corrected them, though. It pleased him to be perceived as smooth and experienced. And given the changeable nature of the tournament’s host country, he was hopeful that this year he could live up to that reputation with minimal consequences.
As dessert was being cleared away—which Vasu normally wouldn’t have been interested in, but it’d been so long since sweets were at home that he indulged in a slice of pound cake—he and Clara sensed Cosmo lingering on the periphery, ready to swoop in. Vasu was prepared to stand his ground and let Cosmo get through him if he wanted to speak with his sister, but Clara made it clear that she was resigned to her fate and would rather converse with Cosmo alone. Remembering the Wine Man’s insinuation that showing his teeth too early was likely to alienate potential allies, Vasu wished her well and reluctantly took his leave, but not before leveling his stare at Cosmo in a silent challenge. No matter, though. He needed some time on his own to scope out a spot that he could turn into a gambling hall. Best to get a head start before he was drowning in schoolwork and preparation for tournament challenges.
He walked through granite hallways with arches propped up on massive pillars alone with the goal of getting lost. Vasu enjoyed exploring buildings, and it wouldn’t do to build his casino somewhere that got too much foot traffic. If nothing in the main castle would do, then he’d have to take it to an outbuilding. At Koldovstoretz, the boys broke into the shed where the Blue Court stored Quidditch equipment after hours, which was easy when one of them was the team captain and had the keys to the shed. There were several bottles of Smirnoff and Beluga Noble strategically hidden in there among the brooms and bats, which enhanced everyone’s enjoyment of the game, win or lose. His goal for the Ilvermorny gambling hall was to install a roulette wheel. Vasu had never actually played roulette before, but it had been his father’s game of choice, and he knew the betting procedures. He didn’t doubt his ability to create one. Maybe with some advanced charmwork, it would even be biased in his favor. Rather, the hard part would be ensuring word of the ring didn’t reach professors’ ears. The last thing he needed was the Wine Man busting in midway through a spin of the wheel and shutting down operations.
Vasu was beginning to think that he’d delved deep enough into the castle when the torches on the walls throwing warm light morphed into dots of electric white, and a smell of damp stone pervaded the air. But the change in lighting and scent wasn’t the most surprising thing. What gave Vasu pause were the eerie phrases of music drifting from a room at the end of the hall, the door cracked ajar an inch. Although it wasn’t productive to his mission, Vasu couldn’t resist his own curiosity and crept closer. The pianist was clearly talented, and as he neared the door, he recognized one of the most easily identifiable pieces in theater: the Swan Lake theme. F-major? he wondered. Another few bars and he mentally corrected himself. No, G-major.
Not feeling the need to announce his presence, Vasu pushed the door open without knocking. Perhaps the pianist wouldn’t even notice him and continue playing. He just wanted to glimpse their face. But surely enough, the piano was facing the door, and the player’s head shot up as soon as she noticed its motion. The music died the moment her eyes connected with Vasu’s. Surprise hit him like a shot of something bitter and strong, the effects noticeable instantaneously. It left Vasu feeling off-balance and teetering, and his hand tightened on the stainless steel door handle. Chitrita Pawar. He wanted to run. He wanted to stay. The dual impulses warred within him. Vasu got the distinct feeling that he was in danger if he stayed, yet he couldn’t tear his gaze away, as if Chitrita were a charmed snake and there was no barrier between them.
She found her voice before he did, articulating his name with the cold disappointment of a woman about to make good on a threat. The dark tunnels of her eyes did a slow, leisurely appraisal of him. Vasu returned the favor, which, given Chitrita’s red-and-gold lehenga with gota patti embroidery and copious midriff revealed, was almost too easy. So it’s true, Vasu thought to himself. She’s not a fifty-year-old hag. Or ugly. A slow smile broke out across his face. The burden of being bound to Chitrita for the rest of his life was lessened slightly by the fact that he liked what he saw. Feeling the tension break, he said pleasantly, “Hullo, Rita.” His shoulders did an athletic, panther-like bob as he sauntered into the room, oblivious and uncaring to the fact that he hadn’t been invited. Her voice was dripping with venom as she congratulated him on his championship, but it only made Vasu’s smile grow wider. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were jealous. Lost out to the jolly white giant of Mahoutokoro, did you? No worries, I’d be burning with envy too.”
As if she’d lost interest in Vasu, Chitrita’s eyes dropped back to her piano and she began plunking out notes. Despite the half-hearted, one-handed attempt, they rang out gracefully. Vasu’s eyes did a cursory sweep of the room. Sheet music was propped on music stands, at least the ones that were upright. Several laid on their sides, having been knocked over, and the film of dust that coated the strings of a harp gave the impression that the music room had been abandoned since the end of the spring semester. Several heavy black instrument cases littered the floor, the lid of one thrown back to reveal the tarnished brass of a saxophone. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, he returned his gaze to his fiancée.
Chitrita’s next words were spoken in an idle undertone, so low that he had to strain to hear her over the piano. Ugh, did she really call her parents Baba and Amma? How stuffy. Vasu preferred saying Mum and Da, thinking the trendy Western slang made him sound cooler, more modern. Sensing that he was playing into her hands but not caring, he came closer. “You’re younger than I imagined,” he returned, her barb failing to have wiped the smile from his face. If anything, it encouraged him. “Much prettier, too. But if my height’s a problem, we can always check if Locjaw is on the marriage market.”
For illogical reasons, whatever demon had taken hold inside of Vasu was hellbent on impressing Chitrita Pawar. From the way she droned on about her expectations of him, it sounded as though she’d conducted a small investigation into him. Vasu, on the contrary, had known nothing about Chitrita prior to today, except the fact that she was ostensibly a student at Mahoutokoro. He hadn’t even known if she was a real person or just a mind game that Aditi had invented to manipulate him. Dreading the day that he was sold off to some stranger he’d never met like a lamb to market, Vasu hadn’t attempted to research Chitrita at all. Confirmation of her existence would have made the engagement feel all too real. Thus, not having known her face, he’d been taken aback to hear her name announced on the stage at the beginning of the Opening Ceremony. To put it lightly.
Determined to wrest Chitrita’s attention away from the piano and back onto himself, Vasu boldly slid onto the bench beside her, his shoulder a fraction of an inch from brushing hers. Her collar bone formed an attractive divot just visible beneath her choker, and her bangs shadowed her eyes. He drank in a perfume that smelled of mandarin orange and rosemary. When this failed to make her look at him, he purred, “And just how comprehensive were these pictures of me?” His lips curved into a depraved smile. An invitation. Adrenaline surged through his body. There was no going back now.
Chitrita stopped playing. Slowly looked up from the keys. And raised her brows at him in a way that suggested she was supremely unimpressed with his flirting. Vasu’s spirits plummeted. He suddenly felt foolish for thinking he had a chance with this older, beautiful, and likely much more experienced girl. At least for tonight. Ignoring his question, she changed the subject, asking if he played. “Yeah, a little,” he said blandly, his bravado crushed. He cleared his throat as he placed his right hand on the keys. Vasu didn’t have to think long or hard about what to play; he was good at coming up with ideas on the spot. He started at Middle B and played a jaunty, up-tempo tune, fingers quick and fleeting on the black keys and holding quarter notes on the white ones. The intro to “Sinnerman” was one of the first pieces he’d taught himself. It was simple enough, but it was a long song, and just as Vasu was approaching the much more complex bridge, the tension in his hand boiled over. His fingers slipped once, twice, and a discordant cluster of sharp notes jangled out.
Yet Chitrita’s soft laughter at his mistake was twice as loud in Vasu’s ears. His inarticulate shame felt as hot as a sudden fever. Loath to continue, Vasu pulled away from the piano, but regretted it immediately because his eyes met Chitrita’s, where she was sure to read his flush of embarrassment. “Yeah, yeah, so I’m not as good as you, so what? I said I only play a little,” he retorted petulantly. He flexed his aching right hand and cracked just about every knuckle in it, including the joint at the base of the thumb, which tended to inspire a cringe in observers. “Stringed instruments are more my forte. Now, tell me, Rita,” he said, trying to redirect the conversation from his own incompetence. Remembering the whole reason he’d been exploring the castle to begin with. “Are there any games you enjoy playing? And wagering on them?”


Castelobruxo Secondary







Winter twins

"I don't know." Ricky answered. He really didn't know and if he tried to come up with a reason Clara would see right through it. He was glass and not even stained glass when it came to her observation skills. He didn't stand a chance against her keen eyes.

Watching her and Cosmo duke out their argument was something he missed. He wasn't sure why Cosmo was trying to help bring his sister and his best friend back together but Ricky appreciated it. He wasn't sure if it would work. Clara was dead set in her ways but the thought gave him an idea. Clara was trying to hurt his feelings by reminding him that he wasn't a champion. He wasn't. But he had something that might be of interest to him. Both siblings stood facing each other and trying to win an unspoken battle that probably only Ricky could understand out of everyone in Ilvermorny. Save for the boy Clara had been eating with during the feast that he had briefly met on the train ride here. The champion from Kolvodstoretz and her looked real cozy during dinner and the glares he had given Cosmo throughout the night spoke of them going further back.

Ricky was hit again with jealousy. He should have been the one sitting with Clara and laughing at all the jokes they made. It should have been him she was bumping shoulders with during dinner and him putting underwhelming hot sauce on her food. Who was Vasu to her anyway? Childhood friends? Surely Ricky would have heard about him. He used to be everything to Clara and he used to know everything about both of the twins. And now that the Winters were arguing, he couldn't ask Cosmo why the younger boy had been glaring at her twin all night long. But if he could get Clara to help him then he could try to get an answer out of her. She might play into his hands if she thought she was hurting him with the history lesson.

"If you help me, I'll put in a good word for you with my professor." He said. He knew it was a long shot but he thought he could play on her need to know everything and to be the best at everything. He didn't know the two of them had already met. But even if they did he would still have to convince her that she wanted to learn from him. Because it would be hard. Clara didn't like violence. She grew up all around it and she told him that she hated it. Learning from someone she respected academically but hated as a person was conflicting to say the least. But it was low risk low reward. He could mention her to Cha-Cha and neither one of them would have to follow through.

But come to think of it she was a good student and he was a good teacher. Could Ricky convince them they needed each other and use it to get in Clara's good graces again?

"He and I are sort of close. He's my favorite professor and I think you might like him if you got to know him. Plus he's really smart." 'Like you are' he wanted to say but didn't. "For a price he might be willing to take you on as a student to learn Occulumency."

This was bad. He didn't have a clue if Cha-Cha would actually be interested in taking on a student during the competition. But he was always fascinated by people that would send therapists to therapy and Clara more than lived up to that expectation. She was something that psychologists would marvel at. Ricky was just some guy and he was always enthralled by her. Imagine if he had a few PhDs under his belt. Maybe someone just as strange and unusual as her would have fun trying to unravel Clara as a person. Or maybe this was the worst idea he'd ever had. At least his offer didn't come with any real expectations so when it didn't pan out he couldn't really shoulder the blame. Clara would be mad either way so it made no difference to him. His work was already cut out for him. As for Cha-Cha he would grovel if it came down to it. But he had a feeling his professor might find the whole ordeal funnier than anything. So long as Clara didn't know his offer was only made to make her think it was a possibility that Ricky would be made a fool of in front of her then she might take Cosmo's deal.

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Ilvermorny - The Corridors
Vasu Aviator Aviator and Chitrita honeycoves honeycoves
To say that Theo had been surprised would’ve been a gross overstatement of reality. The actual animation of the stone mascots was more of an unexpected event than the fact that he was named champion. Not to say that Theodore found his Hogwarts companions incapable, he just hadn’t necessarily seen them as a threat to his own ascension. During dinner, he had tried to create a list in his head of the names recited by the corresponding stone effigies. Sandwiched between Lanre and the Durmstrang twins, he had remained relatively quiet throughout his meal, preferring to listen rather than speak.

Unsurprisingly, Lanre had met him with words of congratulations for which Theo had thanked him, careful to keep his voice level and vaguely aloof. There was a thin line between friendship and rivalry, and Theo was determined to walk in the gray area between the two for as long as possible. He wouldn’t rub his victory in Lanre’s face, but he didn’t want Lanre growing too comfortable around him, lest the other begin questioning Theo’s strategies. He wanted his superiority to remain unquestioned… at least, for now.

Soon enough though, he grew bored with the endless small talk fluttering about the table. He didn’t particularly care where everyone was from, what their favorite subjects were or how they felt about the selected champions. Perhaps he should’ve, perhaps it would’ve been a more calculated play to stay and listen longer, picking up any bits of useful information he could get his hands on, but he physically couldn’t bear the tediousness of it all any longer. Silently, he rose from his seat, muttering an excuse to Lanre that he was going to try and mingle with the other champions. It wasn’t technically a lie, but it wasn’t the whole truth either.

Stalking past rows of students seated at wide, full tables, Theo was able to disappear into the shadows mostly unnoticed. The attendees in his path were far too busy chittering with each other to pay him any consideration, mostly he was just hoping he didn’t run into Bellamy or Chahaya, unsure whether his professor would give him a hard time for leaving and not trusting himself to restrain from attacking the magnificent bastard again. He was pleased to find that the outer edges of the ballroom were largely unoccupied, meaning hardly anyone saw him slip into a darkened hallway leading away from the main event. The fluttering torches lining the corridor almost reminded him of Hogwarts, a lesser… cheaper version of it anyways. Still, the path felt familiar to him, and he grew comfortable with the quiet echo of his footsteps as he meandered farther and farther away from the ballroom.

Eventually, the sound of hushed voices began to tickle his ears. His interest piqued, he traced the source to a heavy wooden door coming up on his left, and without bothering to ascertain the occupants beforehand, Theo pushed the door open with little effort. There was a brief moment where he almost regretted that decision, fearing he was about to face disciplinary measures from an Ilvermorny professor who didn’t quite appreciate his trespass, but when his gaze landed on the pair seated at the worn piano, the edges of his lips pulled up into a predatory grin.

He didn’t recognize the girl, her dark features set off by her ebony hair and flushed cheeks. She was undeniably attractive, but many of the girls in this competition were. He was more interested in the newly minted champion perched next to her on the bench, hovering so close Theo couldn’t help but wonder if he had interrupted something intimate.

“A bit out of your league, Saini… don’t you think?” Theo had always admired double edged blades, a simultaneous compliment to the pretty girl with the added intrigue of demeaning a competitor. A wry chuckle rumbled in his chest as he crossed his arms, leaning his weight against the edge of the door frame.

“Congratulations, champion. You must be overjoyed.” The sincerity of his comment was darkened with a vaguely patronizing undertone. Theo hadn’t decided yet whether the Koldovstoretz champion was a potential ally or just a raging pain in the ass. The current interaction was largely intended to test the waters, but Theo had no intentions of walking on eggshells to avoid offending Shiva’s heir.
coded by natasha.
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  • Naomi Eun Hai (De Vries)
    Beauxbatons - Female - Muggle Born - Secondary

    The rest of the dances had been as delightful as the first few though Naomi had to admit she was disappointed not to dance with Vasu. She enjoyed his presence and from what she glanced between the many spinning bodies it looked as though he knew a thing or two about dancing. Though she doubted it Naomi wondered if she might be able to convince him to dance with her another time. To some, the idea of asking a member of the opposite sex to dance might hint that there was some sort of romantic attraction but for Naomi, it was simply that she appreciated Vasu for being Vasu. There was no romance involved, it was simply the seemingly unlikely friendship they had formed that sprouted the desire to want to share a dance with him. She was far from jealous though as she was delighted to dance each name that was on her card. Lis had been sweet and she wondered if he might want to dance with her again one day as well.

    Sitting through the announcements of who would be champion from each school the young pale-haired female felt as though the air sparked with newborn excitement upon hearing Raphael’s name called. Of course, she had wanted to compete as a champion for Beauxbaton but she was just as delighted to support her friend and perhaps even more so if she was being honest. As much as she was a competitor she felt she had little on Raph’s competitive spirit. She competed to challenge herself, to push towards accomplishing something she hadn’t done before, Raph competed to beat others, he was someone who was more than driven to win. In a competition such as this tournament, she had no doubts that the young man would thrive under the intense pressure. “Congratulations Raph!” She beamed at him and looped her arms around his torso in a celebratory hug. “Your indomitable spirit will be a shining representation of our school.” She praised the young blonde male in her usual odd, formal, yet also undeniably genuine way of speaking. “Anything I can do to help along the way please just ask. A structure cannot stand without supports and I do not intend to be a weak beam.” She promised and knew very well that no one on their team would ever let the others down. Raph, Kiara and herself were all here to help act as pillars of strength for one another in this grand display of international school pride.

    Soon Raph was splitting off to go speak with a girl Naomi believed to be named Gavriel. Turning in her seat the petite blonde tilted her head and looked toward Kiara. “You would have made an excellent champion as well. Perhaps a trial will come in which we all get to compete?” She blinked with warmth towards her schoolmate. “And I know that you will also be eager to support Raph. I think our main job will be to make sure his appetite is taken care of.” She joked playfully. From her experience, Raph almost always had the desire to eat. It made sense due to how much he worked out and ran around. His metabolism was likely through the roof so he would need to pack in as much food as he could. Naomi was always impressed by him during quidditch season and tended to pack herself an extra two snacks for him to enjoy during their breaks on the field. “You look beautiful tonight. A vision of frost.” She added knowing she hadn’t had a chance to say it earlier but it had been her initial thought upon spotting her beautiful classmate in her blue gown.

    Mentions: Raph captaindanger captaindanger Kiara WanderLust. WanderLust.

Odinson LocJaw
"The Young Giant"

Mood: Frustrated and Overjoyed Year: 10 Location: Ilvermorny Role: Champion Outfit: Clicky!

As soon as the loud noise echoed throughout the endless halls of the Ilvermorny school from afar Odinson retrieved his wand from its resting place in the interior lining of his dress jacket, it was instinct from his years of dueling, and because of it, he had learned to trust his gut. He stood still for minutes, listening and paying close attention to his surroundings, anything from the smallest ripple in water to a barely hearable jingle of a chandelier, Odinson knew about it. “Everyone duck!” Odinson shouted, raising his wand above his head he cast the Protego Horibilis charm, creating a small dome around him and a few other Ilvermorny students that protected them from the falling debris.

As the seemingly endless barrage of falling stones came to a close Odinson began to help the other students, many, if not all, were uninjured, just severely shaken. However what truly surprised, no, intrigued him was the movement of the house mascots as they came to announce the Champions of the Octowizard Tournament. The Horned Serpent slithered into the room, its voice carried throughout the halls as it spoke, it named Clara Winter champion of Durmstrung, the Puckwudgie did the same with the Uagadou student and the Thunderbird with its student. Though it was the Wampus and it’s towering stature that drew all of the students attention, Its voice was no sound for the faint of ears, it spoke of one Theodore West, a boy that Odinson had met many minutes prior, and another boy, one whose name Odinson had not even heard, Vasu, this made the young giant take a look around the hall, his height having returned just in time for him to see the Koldovstretz boys reaction, nothing but a look of relief fell before him. “I choose those with the bravest of hearts to fight for their schools honor. And I name Odinson LocJaw for the Mahoutokoro School of Magic.” A choice that made Odinson smile.

Dinner had passed by fast, which was far more than unfortunate for Odinsons behalf as the young male loved to eat, even more than he loved to drink. As the night grew late Odinson had grown bored of standing around seemingly doing nothing, so he had decided to walk around the ballroom and examine the faces of all the students around.

Aviator Aviator - Vasu

  • Gavriel Sylvie
    Ilvermorny - Female - Half-Blood - Champion

    Excitement hummed through her veins like electricity as Gavy took in the fact that she would be representing Ilvermorny in the tournament. She had been chosen to be the champion for her school and if her eyes had been a blaze of bright blue before they were a nebula of colors mimicking a galaxy now. Purples, blues, and yellows swirled together as inspiration, excitement, and joy flooded her system. The shades all flowed together giving off how one might imagine the beautiful colorful hair of a mermaid from a children's book may look, nothing like how the seafolk were in reality. Looking over at Ramona she gave them a smile and hoped that they weren’t too upset to have not been chosen. Ramona would have been an amazing champion as well and Gavy hoped that they wouldn’t mind operating as her secondary, there to have her back in case anything happened that made it so Gavy couldn’t compete and to help her figure out clues from task to task.

    She was already on her feet when a familiar voice sounded behind her and she turned to see Raph gracing her with a warm smile that looked so natural upon his face, like the sun in the sky. “Congrats to you too!” She beamed and without nudged his shoulder with her own. “Honestly I am excited to compete against you! I know you won’t hold back and I like the challenge.” She admitted, her words flowing as freely as ever. Hearing his suggestion of gathering a group together to hangout she shook her head. “Nope! No plans! I think getting the gang together to celebrate sounds like a great idea!” She agreed and instantly began searching the room for familiar faces. It might seem odd to some that just a few hours after meeting Gavy was already referring to the group as ‘the gang’ but if the shoe fit she wasn’t gonna call it anything else. They had all clearly meshed well together on the train and they seemed friendly enough that others would be able to join and leave as they wanted without it being taken as a personal slight or inconvenience. Besides, they had all already bonded over food which by Gavy’s standards meant they were practically bonded for life.

    “Oh!” Gavy’s eyes widened as she stood on her tiptoes and pointed through the crowd. “Isn’t that Cosmo over there?” She asked Raph as she indicated in the direction of a trio including a light-haired male, a dark-haired female, and the broad familiar shoulders and dark hair of their friend from the train. “I bet that’s probably his sister with him…Clara right?” She continued as it took her a second to recall the name Cosmo had mentioned quite a few times on the train. Taking Raph’s hand in hers she smiled back at him before charging through the crowd towards Cosmo and his little gang. “Hey Cosmo! Raph had the idea of getting a group together to hang out. You in? Your friends are more than welcome to join too.” She greeted as she and Raph approached, wanting to make sure Raph got the credit for his wonderful idea. “I could show y’all the secret snack closet the house elves don’t want you to know about.” She added with a wink as her eyes flared a pale red almost coral shade that indicated she was feeling mischievous (FF7B7B). “Congrats on being named champion by the way.” She added as she turned to the girl and gave her a friendly wink. “Raph and I will see you on the field or wherever the challenges take place.” She chuckled.

    Mentions: Raph & Ricky captaindanger captaindanger Cosmo & Clara pearjuice pearjuice


  • lisandro valencia
    castelobruxo champion

    efore his and Naomi’s dance had even finished, it felt as though the ground was opening up beneath him. Ensuring that his dance partner wouldn’t topple forward, he grabbed her and held fast before looking around. Between the crowd’s noises and the vibrations, he couldn’t quite parse out what was happening. Was someone attacking during the opening ceremony? Were they in danger? He went to reach for his wand until he saw the house statues making their way to the center of the room.

    Perplexed but curious, he inched his way closer as they began to speak (in Spanish, surprisingly), and as he made out what they were saying, he swallowed the lump in his throat. This was it, the time when he’d learn if he was one of the champions or not – the statues would determine his fate. He took a few steps closer, straining to see and hear what they were saying. He watched as the Thunderbird statue stepped forward, but he didn’t hear what else it said after it had said his name.

    First, there was a rush to his head and then he felt a bit sick, whatever he’d just had at the refreshments table threatening to come back up, but he tried to keep his composure at least a bit. He started to look around for Ricky or even Cha-Cha, someone familiar to him, to see their reactions. Were they as shocked as he was? He had to imagine they were. He didn’t think anyone really expected him to be picked. And why would they, he wondered as he looked at the couple of champions whose names he had heard announced. How was he supposed to measure up to them?

    Taking a deep breath before he spiraled further, he smoothed out his suit and gave a smile to anyone who might be looking at him, though most of them were looking at the more expected, louder champions. That was okay with Lis, as his head was already swimming and he just wanted to get the feast over with and maybe be able to go to his room and have his first moments of quiet that day.

    The feast was a bit underwhelming, but the bland food was a bit of a relief for Lis and his churning stomach. Though he’d expected the grand spread of Castelobruxo, which served many flavorful and spicy dishes, sometimes Lis wanted a slightly burnt and flavorless burger or some plain, bland mashed potatoes. The dessert was good, but Lis had only picked at his brownie for a bit. The chatter was a bit loud for him, and he’d not been seated by anybody that he came there with, so he sat mostly in silence, until the end of the feast, when a house elf, trailed by Ricky, interrupted his thousand yard stare to alert him that his professor wanted to see him.

    While that wasn’t altogether strange, Lis wondered what it was in regards to. Was it just to talk to him, or were they already starting on their training? He hoped not, because his eyes had just begun to burn with exhaustion and he was incredibly ready to just lie down. However, when it came to Professor Cha-Cha, it could be literally anything. The man was a bit unhinged.

    Lis gave a small smile at Ricky’s congratulations and followed as Cha-Cha began leading them down seemingly random hallways through the unfamiliar school. Suddenly, Cha-Cha stopped and began rambling on about training and not having had enough of it. Lis was regretful of that now, as his parents had likely had enough money, he had just been hopeful that he wouldn’t have needed it. His parents probably wouldn’t have paid for less tangible training than dueling, anyways, and Lis had pretty much spent his entire life practicing that.

    He listened as Cha-Cha rattled off things for Ricky to do and grew a bit nervous. This didn’t really sound like training, but maybe it would all make sense in time? He tended to trust Cha-Cha, despite his wild ideas and teaching methods, he was usually going somewhere with it. However, as Ricky left and Cha-Cha continued to give him instructions, Lis began to wonder what they were doing. Why did they have to be concealed while they were doing it?

    He started to go through the spells he knew in his mind before he stopped and looked at Cha-Cha. “Are we… cooking something?” He was afraid that the answer would be no, and that he would receive no further information on what exactly they were going to be doing. He wasn’t even sure if he understood how this would be helping him during the competition… and with the request to be concealed, Lis wondered if he was about to help his professor do something that would get them all in trouble. That’s exactly what he needed on his first night as champion… to get disqualified.

    They might as well expel him too if that happens, perhaps send him to Azkaban. That would be a better fate than returning home to his parents, who he’d have to tell, ’Well, I was the champion for about an hour but I followed my crazy professor blindly and brought more shame to your household.’

    When Cha-Cha responded that no, they weren’t cooking something, but instead somewhere, Lis grew extremely wary. Where, exactly? The room that Ricky was stalking this house elf to find? Was that exactly the wisest idea – burning down somewhere in the host school on the first night of the tournament?

    As Cha-Cha quickly began walking towards the kitchens without waiting for his response, Lis had to speed walk to keep up as the taller professor’s legs carried him more quickly down the hall. He struggled to pull his wand out of his pocket and quickly cast the Disillusionment charm and muffliato, the best spells he knew to accomplish the task that Cha-Cha set out for him. While he was fairly good at Charms, it wasn’t where his expertise lied, so he hoped it was good enough for whatever test Cha-Cha was doing.

    The Disillusionment charm caused them to blend into the background like a chameleon, so it wasn’t perfect, and with his amateur spellcasting, Lis was nervous that a more trained eye would spot them, but hopefully not being able to hear them would help that part a bit. Plus, what was the likelihood that they ran into someone going to the kitchens?

    Before they reached the kitchens, as they peered into a corridor, Lis looked at Cha-Cha nervously and whispered. “Exactly what is your plan, professor?”

    He wasn’t trying to be confrontational or question his professor’s methods, but as they grew ever closer to the kitchens and the minutes ticked by, Lis grew more anxious with the pieces of the plan he knew so far. Whatever it was, with the sneaking around, it really felt like they were up to some mischief. Though Lis wasn’t trying to be a rules stickler, and was even open to being rebellious, being led by his teacher to do so felt almost… wrong.

    walking towards the kitchens

    Cha-Cha Aviator Aviator



Chahaya “Cha-Cha” Arif // “Magnificent Bastard” // Male // Age 32 // Castelobruxo Professor // Legilimens

Lisandro wore a lot of tension in his hands. As they walked the corridors back the way they’d come, Lis wrung his hands, drummed his fingers frenetically against his palms, and cracked his knuckles, as if at a loss for what to do with them. It was a bad habit Cha-Cha would have to break him out of; charismatic leaders used their hands deliberately when they spoke, and a champion who wore his nervousness on his sleeve would be laughed out of the tournament by more cutthroat competitors. But training Lis on communication tactics would have to wait; they were on a time-sensitive mission, and every time Lis paused to ask a question or fiddle with the spells he’d cast, Cha-Cha felt the precious seconds draining away like blood from a sliced artery. At Castelobruxo, between work, meetings, publishing research, grading, creating lesson plans, and a recent half-assed attempt to train a racehorse that’d cost a pretty penny with little return, most of Cha-Cha’s anxiety came from time-related constraints. Sometimes there weren’t enough hours in the day to get all the work done, and so he necessarily sacrificed sleep and keeping in touch with his mother. And sometimes when the energy to accomplish wasn’t forthcoming, Cha-Cha took a little something to coax it along.
Cha-Cha was just about to turn the last corner to the kitchen when a stray glance told him that Lis was no longer following him. The Muffliato spell that Lis had cast wasn’t perfect, because instead of its intended purpose to enshroud them in a small bubble of sound, it rendered them less audible to each other. Since raising their voices was dangerous to the job, Cha-Cha and Lis managed to communicate by standing very close to each other and eliminating the background noise they could, such as their footsteps. On top of that, Cha-Cha knew that Lis had a hearing problem, and Cha-Cha spoke English with an accent, so he was uncertain how many of his words were actually being understood.
Apparently, Lis understood him well enough to ask a question. Because as Cha-Cha smothered his annoyance at the time cost and rejoined Lis where he’d paused halfway down the previous hall, that’s exactly what he did. He scuffed the hardwood floor with his shoes in a way that reminded Cha-Cha of a knobbly-jointed foal refusing to be led out to pasture. It appeared as though Lis wouldn’t be proceeding any further with the job until his question was answered. That didn’t mean Cha-Cha would give him a straightforward one, though.
Pushing aside his anxiety that standing around out in the open would blow their cover, Cha-Cha reminded himself to be patient with the boy and cleared his throat. Chewed over his next words like a tough piece of meat. “Gangs and politics have a lot in common, Lisandro,” Cha-Cha said finally, his voice as colorless and clear as window glass. “Wars, bribes, truces… The main difference being that in polite society, you poison your enemy at the dinner table rather than stab him in an alley. And after extensive experience with both, I’ve learned that it’s best to deal with a potential problem before it becomes my problem. That’s what we’re doing now. Being proactive. Does that make sense?”
Marcello Bellini had gotten the jump on him, appearing out of nowhere and making the first move. Two moves, actually, first trying to humiliate Cha-Cha publicly during the Opening Ceremony and then dredging up a personal memory and taunting him with it. The man had proven himself a skilled Legilimens, and with his malicious intentions, he was a threat. Now it was Cha-Cha’s move, and he planned to retaliate with such savagery that Bellini would be too intimidated to counterattack. One and done and don’t look back. That’s how he liked to do things.
He’d created the plan during the feast, when little conversation had been directed toward him and he’d used the lack of distraction to turn his thoughts into a process. He’d walked through each step in his head, visualizing the heat of the kitchen as he and Lisandro stole inside and the waxy smell of the cooking oil as it was emptied throughout Bellini’s chambers. It can be done, Cha-Cha had rationalized to himself, so it will be done. He would have no limitations. And he would make the next strutting cock of the yard think twice before he fucked with Chahaya Arif. It would be a message written in smoke and ashes. Lisandro and Ricky were instrumental to the plan because, with the myriad witnesses to the showdown with Bellini in the Great Hall, Cha-Cha was certain that he would be the primary suspect. He was certain that his wand would be traced for condemning spells recently cast. So if someone else were to perform the necessary magic to break in, and the fire was generated from a chemical reaction rather than a spell… Well then, Cha-Cha would be in the clear.
Wizards were a complacent bunch, and so investigations weren’t conducted as thoroughly as they were in the Muggle world. An assumption that all crimes were committed through magical means pervaded among Aurors, making it easy for people like Cha-Cha, who’d grown up solving problems with fists and shrewdness rather than magic, to game the system. When forensic technology was largely eschewed, crime was exponentially easier to get away with. Money was often just as powerful as magic, and it tended to be more discreet, as was the case with the House Elf that Cha-Cha had bought the wine and information from.
The bob of Lisandro’s throat as he swallowed was visible. He nodded his head in short, rapid strokes in response to Cha-Cha’s question, but he didn’t say anything, making Cha-Cha doubt that his spiel had made any sense. Not that he particularly cared; he needed Lisandro to do his bidding, not to understand it. At the latest, everything would make sense tomorrow, during the fallout when there was a culprit in need of finding. And Lis wouldn’t talk because he’d be equally culpable if he did. Lis had a damnable tendency to choke under pressure, but Cha-Cha trusted that the basic self-preservation instinct was there.
With Lis’s curiosity sated, he followed closely behind when Cha-Cha turned the last corner to the kitchen. Two mahogany double doors on swinging hinges labeled “NO” and “YES” in gold serif letters dictated the correct door to enter on either side. A long black rug extended out from beneath them, unraveling halfway down the hall. In case Lis’s wards weren’t all that thorough, Cha-Cha was glad for the extra padding to mute their footsteps. “They can’t see you, so be ready to dodge when they try to walk through you. Do not bump into anyone, and pull me out of the way if someone is on my back. The floor will be slippery, so be prepared,” Cha-Cha instructed, speaking low and fast.
They were within arm’s-length of the “YES” door when they encountered their first obstacle. A cook dressed in head-to-toe black with double-breasted gold buttons was laughing over his shoulder and not paying attention as he pushed open the wrong door. Not that it would have changed anything if he were, since Cha-Cha and Lis were concealed from sight. Cha-Cha took a neat step back to avoid the door smacking him in the face as it banged open, and then two more to the side, giving the chef a wide berth. But he’d been standing in front of Lis, obscuring the boy’s view, and when he moved Lis didn’t have much time to react to the oncoming cook. Cha-Cha leaned out enough to grab his wrist and yanked Lis out of the man’s path, his heart skipping a beat at the squeak of shoes and the little gasp of breath Lis emitted. But the cook barreled on undeterred, oblivious to any poorly-concealed intruders.
Cha-Cha looked down at Lis and cocked an eyebrow. “Do I need to do this alone while you wait outside for me?” he asked with perfect calm. He wasn’t angry; really, it took only one person to snatch the cooking oil, and while it’d be nice to have someone watch his back, he’d rather sneak in alone than have Lis’s clumsiness be the reason they were caught. Cha-Cha didn’t have a plan in the event that they were intercepted. Failure simply wasn’t an option, and he’d improvise if it came down to it. He’d use Legilimency, the weapon he was born to use, just as a tiger would use its fangs and claws to shred apart its dinner.
Lis shook his head. Cha-Cha breathed out and tried to believe that his student would be more of a help than a hindrance. Otherwise, how did he expect to believe that Lis had a shot at winning the tournament? Hopefully that Thunderbird statue had chosen him for good reason. “The kitchen is going to be loud and bright and crowded. Be ready.” Without further ado, he rolled his shoulders, turned back to the door, and cracked it open just enough to slide in sideways. It was a slow, smooth motion, as if a gust of air conditioning along the wide corridor had pushed it open. Perhaps no one would even notice the door drifting open. The sharper the motion, the more likely it was to draw stares.
True to Cha-Cha’s word, the kitchen was loud and bright and full of people, a combination of humans dressed in black and House Elves dressed in sheets. It was pushing eleven o’clock, dessert had already been served, and they were in the process of breaking down the kitchen for the night. A House Elf with a hose cried, “On your feet!” alerting the rest of the kitchen staff before he sprayed gouts of water across the floor, which then seeped into a drain underneath a counter with a coffee and tea dispenser. White-hot light glinted off stainless steel cooking appliances, and Cha-Cha’s eyes took a moment to adjust after the dimness of the hall. He carefully skirted the House Elf with the hose, aware that there’d be an obvious obstruction if the water hit either Lis or him. And if it hit Lis, there was a decent chance his concentration would be disrupted and the spell would crumble.
One chef was munching on the last French fries of the night from a wide silver bowl. A pair of House Elves was polishing and rolling silverware in linen napkins. Another human was going up and down the line, restocking boxes and styrofoam cups and plastic silverware. The air was slightly smoky and smelled of deep-fried seafood. Walking stiffly and trying not to slip across the wet floor, Cha-Cha rounded the line, beelining toward the massive door at the end of the kitchen marked “DRY STORAGE.” That was their best bet to find cooking oil and not run headfirst into any chefs. However, this door was sealed firmly shut, and opening it would be noticeable and hard to explain. Doing a circle to ensure that none of the staff were looking his way, Cha-Cha’s hand darted out and closed around a golden apple sitting on the line.
“Move,” he whispered to Lis, motioning for the boy to get out of the way. Lis complied, and Cha-Cha wound up with his right arm going behind his ear, took a step for power, and threw with all his strength. The apple cut through the air like a knife, making a swift and true arc for the rack of water glasses propped over the dishwash. The whole thing would hopefully come tumbling down, and short of that, it would still break one or two glasses, drawing attention in the opposite direction of the dry storage room.
But the chef who’d been restocking the line, now carrying a stack of dirty appliances under his arm that he was walking to the dishwash, had the misfortune to wander in front of the apple’s path just before it hit its mark. It clocked him in the head, and the momentum of the impact caused him to collapse against the dishwash, clawing at the metal surface for support. The plates rattled and fell to the floor in an explosion of white china shards. Looking a little disoriented but very furious, the man rubbed his head and turned, glaring for the perpetrator while the apple rolled across the floor and eventually settled atop the drain. Another chef had come around the line to ensure that he was okay and uncut from the falling plates, but he pushed away one of her reaching hands. “Who the fuck threw that bitch!” he bellowed into echoing silence. Everyone stopped what they were doing to stare at him, motionless except for the coworker who’d tried to help and been rejected. “Someone is tryna provoke a reaction from me, and dammit, they gonna get it!”
Lis was watching the scene, riveted and horrified. Cha-Cha nudged him. “C’mon, Lis, now or never,” he whispered, pressing down on the handle as the dry storage door instructed and wrenching it open. There were bottles of ketchup and shakers of salt and pepper. Wide cans of pineapple juice. Bags of flour and blue-lidded bins full of sugar. Finally, Cha-Cha found what he was looking for. Bottles of translucent yellow liquid in plastic bottles with blue labels that read “Great Value.” Cha-Cha took two off the shelf, whirled, and thrust them into Lis’s hands, who was closer behind him than he’d anticipated and ended up almost punching with one of the bottles. Cha-Cha spun and took two more off the shelf, then herded Lis back out the way they’d come, as the space was too narrow for him to move around the broad-shouldered boy. “Don’t stop moving once you open the door. Book it out the kitchen because if anyone looks at us they’ll see floating bottles of cooking oil.” Lis asked why they needed four bottles of the stuff, and Cha-Cha replied wryly, “For insurance. Great value, indeed.”
In the main room of the kitchen, accusations about who’d thrown the apple were still running amok. Lis and Cha-Cha moved at a brisk clip toward the swinging doors. Cha-Cha was eyeing the chefs, making sure that no one was looking in their direction, not paying attention to the floor. Something snagged around his ankle and he pitched forward, dropping one of the plastic containers as he flailed for balance. The hose, red and snakelike as it wound across the floor. His curse was smothered by the loud splat! of the cooking oil smacking onto the floor, the golden liquid sloshing agitatedly inside. Heads whirled in his and Lisandro’s direction. “Go, go, go!” he hissed at Lis, not stopping to pick up the fallen container and banging through the mahogany doors. They ran down the hall like they were being pursued by demons, but thankfully, no one from the kitchen gave chase. They’d probably been too bewildered by the mystery of the floating cooking oil to react properly. Or maybe they were used to delinquent students breaking in and raiding the kitchen.
When Cha-Cha and Lis reached the library where they were to wait for Ricky, both of them were breathing hard. A stitch had begun to form in Cha-Cha’s side. He hadn’t run that hard in several months, the last time being when a horse that wasn’t supposed to leave the Castelobruxo stables had escaped her tether when Cha-Cha had taken her out for a ride, and he’d had to return the filly before anyone noticed she was missing. He set the single bottle of cooking oil he was carrying on a round, wooden tabletop and glanced at his watch. 10:59. Nice timing. “And now we wait,” he said to Lisandro, who, instead of being flushed with exertion, was as bloodless as if he’d seen a ghost. Or his professor’s true colors. “Ricky should be along shortly, if all goes according to plan. Until then, I’m gonna have a smoke.” Cha-Cha went for the left inside pocket of his jacket, where he always kept his cigarettes when he was appropriately clad, and shook one out of the black metal tin he carried them in. “Want one?”

  • Professor Birger Einar
    Durmstrang - Male - Pureblood - History of Magic Professor

    With the champions named and the ceremony coming to an end Einar looked around to spy members of different schools running off with one another or flocking towards those they had just met earlier that evening. It made sense in the long run for the teams to begin strategizing and he noted that several professors were gathering their champions and secondaries to usher away for more private conversations. However, not all students seemed eager to do just that and thus when the old man’s pale gaze fell upon his own students he remained where he leaned against the wall with his cane in hand. They were among their peers, talking, clearly being invited along with another group from what he could see. With tonight being the party that it has been the elder professor saw no real reason to get down to business quite yet. That could be saved for the rising of a new dawn. Tomorrow he would find time early in the day, perhaps during or before breakfast, to meet with Cosmo and Clara in order to discuss the matters of the trials with them. If he knew anything about Clara she was likely already thinking of what had yet to come, and of course, Cosmo would be eager to compete in any challenge thrown his way. With or without him Einar was convinced his students would thrive in the tournament though he was more than delighted that it would likely be the former over the latter.

    As the different groups began to split off Einar rose from his relaxed position against the wall and began to make his way across the banquette room, his wolf's head cane tapping in a constant rhythm with every step he took. The lights caught on his multi-shaded grey hair making it almost a frosted silver tone that was only enhanced by his ice-colored gaze that was as per usual far warmer than the shade would suggest. As he strolled through the crowd he noticed one of the young champions, a half-giant by the looks of it, standing alone. Wandering over Einar looked at him with a genuine smile on his aged features and nodded his head. “I believe congratulations are in order young LocJaw.” He boomed with the passion of olden Vikings celebrating a new victory. His gaze was shining with excitement for the young man whom he remembered being announced once during the initial introductions and then a second time during the ceremony. “Do not tell my students I have said this but I look forward to seeing you compete, I am certain it will be an experience to remember.” Einar beamed as he seemed genuinely delighted for the young man who stood before him.

    The sound of voices behind him caused Einar’s attention to turn and he spotted one professor he had not had much chance to speak with yet. “Ah, Professor Bellamy.” He greeted with warmth in his tone as he raised the hand not holding his cane in greeting. “It looks like your champion is quite the spitfire. I am sure that energy will make for a fierce competitor in the tournament.” Einar nodded towards the young Hogwarts student, Theo West, who was further away. “Tell me, Bellamy, would you care to join me for a drink? I find that most of our students have taken it upon themselves to see that they are taken care of for now and I promise my pour will not be strong enough to keep you from your duties.” The elder professor offered as he slipped his flask out of his pocket, ever the social butterfly.

    Mentions: Odinson FROSTBITE4395 FROSTBITE4395 Bellamy honeycoves honeycoves

Flustered but entertained
Ilvermorny Grand Hall - Dance Floor
A sinking feeling had settled in Kiara’s stomach ever since the announcement of the stone effigies, like she had swallowed a blistering coal that had made its new home in her lower belly. But when Raphael had been named champion Kiara was also filled with a sense of relief, an alleviation that she didn’t particularly care to shed light on. Ever since their departure from Beauxbatons there had been a lingering apprehension lurking in the shadows of her ambition, a voice in the back of her head constantly reminding her how inconvenient it would be for her to collapse during one of the challenges - how disappointed Naomi and Raphael would be if she were the one to condemn them to failure. It was not the first time in her life that her POTS had held her back from pursuing a goal… she highly doubted it would be the last.

She had remained uncharacteristically quiet throughout dinner, watching as Raphael mingled with the other newly minted champions. A twinge of jealousy pinched at her, but it was mostly drowned out by her overwhelming pride in her friend. Raphael would make an excellent champion, of that she was sure. As she stabbed at the slightly over cooked chicken on her plate, it was her own shortcomings that were plaguing her thoughts, feelings of insufficiency and self consciousness snuffing out her normally bright and bubbly persona.

It was Naomi’s voice that finally drew her out of her lackadaisical haze, a comment about her dress that caused Kiara to look down at the silky fabric, smoothing it out with flattened palms as she smiled.

“If I’m a winter frost, that must make you a warm spring breeze.” She placed her hand gently over Naomi’s, giving it a soft squeeze before a flicker of movement in her peripheral vision caught her attention. Turning her head to follow it, her cornflower gaze landed on a strikingly familiar face, one she was surprised she hadn’t noticed earlier on in the night. “You must excuse me… I just spotted an old friend.”

Rising from her seat, Kiara began walking towards a gentleman about ten years her elder with dark, curly hair and lacquered honey eyes. He was engaged in conversation with a professor from another school, but that didn’t hinder Kiara’s interruption. “Bellamy?” It was a question at first, a simple confirmation of his identity before she was close enough to discern it herself. But as she closed the gap between them she was able to trace the familiar lines of his tired face like a memory she had played on repeat a hundred times. Faron Bellamy! It’s so good to see you!”

Kiara threw her arms around his shoulders in a tight embrace, her head settling effortlessly into the crook of his shoulder, basking in the familiarity of home for a few moments before it dawned on her that he wasn’t hugging her back. She pulled away, her features morphing into a puzzled expression as she studied his face for any signs of recognition.

“It’s me… Kiara…” She began, hoping her name would jog his memory and rectify the increasingly awkward interaction between the two, but his hesitation persisted. “Adrian Sinclaire’s little sister… you stayed with us Christmas before last.” She tried her best not to sound offended by his lapse in memory, but she couldn’t help it. She had baked him cookies, her mother had sewn his name onto a stocking and hung it on the mantle with everyone else's, he was practically family… At least, Adrian had always considered him such. How could he not remember her?

“I must’ve grown since you saw me last.” She made up the excuse for him, moreso to be polite than because she actually believed it. Regardless, Bellamy seemed grateful for the exit strategy, nodding in agreement as if she had read his mind. A practiced smile graced her lips as she rerouted the conversation, eager to dissipate the embarrassment from having not been recognized. “How have you been? And what on earth are you doing here? This is the last place I’d expect to find an accomplished auror such as yourself.”
coded by natasha.

  • Aurelia Quansah
    Uagadou - Female - Pure Blood - Secondary

    Auri’s smile widened when her classmate agreed to her proposition of disappearing into the courtyard of the new school for their first strategy meeting of the games. It wasn’t a surprise but it was still a delight to know Malaika was open to taking this seriously, not that she ever really doubted the girl. Others were gathering together for what looked to be an outing of sorts but Auri knew the importance of time and didn’t want Malaika to suffer not having enough of it to prepare because they had chosen fun over duty. Duty was something Auri took seriously, it was drilled into her head from a young age that duty should come before anything else. That was the way it was with leaders, they needed to remember that their duty to their people was greater than their duty to themselves, a sentiment she knew many might find fault with but to her it made sense. Just like now, she and Malaika were choosing their duty to their school over their duty to have fun with the others, besides Auri had little doubt that they could find a way to make this strategy meeting fun.

    Taking the white-haired girl’s hand in hers the lioness of a woman strode out of the ballroom, making sure to keep at a pace where Malaika didn’t feel dragged. “I’m glad we were on the same page.” Auri smiled over her shoulder, a lightness in her tone to try and ensure her eagerness and take the bull by the horns mentality didn’t offend her classmate. She and Malaika didn’t know each other well after all. Sure they had some similarities, they were from the same school, they were both animagi, they both wanted to compete, but as far as personal lives they had seldom crossed. Maybe a class here or there, possibly sharing a table in the library, but nothing that had led to any true bonding between the two. That would have to change if they were to become as in sync as they needed to be for working together. They needed to be flawless, in perfect step so that if one needed to pick up the slack they would know just what to do.

    Once they were out in the courtyard Auri found a secluded bench between several bushes and a fountain. Sitting down she patted the stone seat beside her, a silent invitation for Malaika to sit. “So, first I think it is important for the two of us to know our team.” She pointed out with a nod. “It makes sense that we should know so we can best aid each other if the need arises.” She explained though she figured that Malaika was likely already on the same page as her since they both seemed to be bright individuals. “Any questions you have for me?” She offered as a sign of willingness to share information about herself and make Malaika feel more at ease with being open since she was willing to go first. Auri hoped that they didn’t overlap too greatly in subject strengths and weaknesses. It would be nice for the former but if they both struggled with similar subjects then they were at risk of being vulnerable during certain challenges. While Malaika would be the one competing Auri knew she needed to be ready to step in at a moment's notice and also prepared to help Malaika problem-solve the challenges to come.

    Mentions: Malaika Wolfiee Wolfiee

Malaika Odion
Uagadou Champion
location here
mood here
outfit here

interactions come here

There was more at stake then just reputation for the school at least for Mal there was. She was wanting to prove herself and show that she had truly grown past her childhood trauma by winning the cup. Though fear also trickled into her blood like fishing swimming in the river always there but only occasionally noticeable when they would hit the surface. There was no telling if the men from her childhood would remember her or not so that note always lingered on the back of her mind. Though now she wasn’t a defenseless child there was no doubt in her mind she could fight back harder now and win. Also she knew at some point her animagus form would come into play no one had really ever seen it before. She would definitely stand out a bit in that form so she was gonna save it for later when desperate measures would be needed. Plus best to keep your best cards close at hand never reveal anything too soon a good poker face was needed. She was sure the rumors of her being unable to turn into her Animagus form would spread just like it had back home. Which would be something good for her letting others let their guard down about her ability and then reveal it was a lie in the end. This thought had her grinning to herself as she allowed herself to be pulled along to the courtyard by her fellow classmate and the secondary to their school. As she was pulled along she let her gaze watch the other students interacting so far. They seemed to be excited or having something serious going on their faces ranging in several different emotions depending on who it was. A bit of a curious feeling filled her but she concentrated once more on Aurelia

When Aurelia posed her question she had to think about wanting to figure out the best first questions to ask the other. Since they would be teammates in a sense obviously most responsibility fell on Malaika who would be the one doing the challenges and such. However that didn’t mean that something wouldn’t or couldn’t happen that would lead to Aurelia taking over temporarily or permanently. So best to figure things out now while they could. A white eyebrow raised for a moment a little unsure about how open the other girl seemed to be ready to be but that wasn’t a bad thing. “Well first things first why don’t we go over subjects that we are good and bad at? Since I’m sure they’ll help come into play for the challenges. I’m great with magical creatures, potions, herbology, and transfigurations. I know how to fight well but I try not to if I don’t need to. I’m not very good with astrology, it's never interested me and I definitely at times wish I was a seer.”she said the last part with a bit of a laugh. Mal was thinking of some other things to ask while also keeping an eye out for any others as she didn’t want them to be eavesdropping on them. Her blue gaze moved looking away from Aurelia just to be certain they were alone enough she also took a moment to concentrate blocking her mind from others who might try to crack into it. Malaika was almost always on her guard in some way or form but she smiled at Aurelia keeping up all appearances of just having a good time. Which she actually was since it wasn’t often she ever spoke with Aurelia she knew of her in passing but didn’t know her personally so this would be the opportunity to do so.

coded by natasha.

Vasu Saini // “Shiva’s Heir” // Male // 5th Year // Koldovstoretz Champion // Parselmouth

If Chitrita heard his question, she gave no indication of it. Sitting on the piano bench, they were eye-to-eye, yet from the way she tilted her head back and looked down her nose at Vasu, her gaze sharp and calculating, he felt like a haunch of roast meat that she was prepared to carve. The small smile he’d been trying far too hard to hold fell from his lips. The breath seemed to abandon him all at once, leaving him feeling light-headed and exhausted. There were some games that Vasu just couldn’t play for extended periods, and this—whatever this qualified as—was one of them. “Look, Chitrita,” he said on a sigh, not bothering to hide his exasperation even when her eyes flashed dangerously, as if she sensed a reprimand was on its way. “I’m not happy about our predicament, and I get the feeling that you’re not, either. It’s got nothing to do with you personally. More with the fact that all of my firsts have been planned out for me since I was too young to even daydream about them. Um.”
A toxic wave of heat scorched up Vasu’s throat, and he faltered momentarily at the huge, unintended weight of the admission he’d just made. A smile flickered over Chitrita’s lips and she glanced away, as if she were on the verge of inappropriate laughter. He dug his nails into his palms, willing himself to finish what he’d started to say. “If you don’t want to hang out with me or sit near me in class or say hi to me in the halls, I understand. All I ask is that you don’t pretend as if you have no idea who I am, ‘kay? Don’t treat me like a st—”
Vasu’s lips were about to form the word stranger when a sharp turn of Chitrita’s head alerted him to the presence of someone in the music room with them. The only sources of illumination were the gentle flames guttering in the hall and a dim, golden lightbulb dangling on a chain above the piano he and Chitrita were sitting at, so the figure was largely cloaked in shadow to him. He could tell that it was a man, tall and broad-shouldered, his silhouette revealing the tailcoat of a fine suit. Irritation prickled through Vasu. He didn’t appreciate an interruption with his girl on what he’d come to consider his territory, especially from one who didn’t even have the decency to knock. Vasu had risen halfway from the piano bench, about to inquire sourly, Can I help you? but the possibility that it was an Ilvermorny professor who’d walked in on them made him hold his tongue. He was fairly certain such a snide comment wasn’t what the Wine Man had had in mind when he’d urged Vasu to get off on the right foot with their foreign hosts.
The interloper sidled a few steps into the room, moving along a glass case that displayed various trophies and medals bestowed upon the Ilvermorny marching band. In the sudden void of conversation, Vasu became uncomfortably aware of the sound of Chitrita’s and his own breathing. The figure paused at the edge of the pool of dusty light cast above the piano, illuminating his features enough that, even without his mask, Vasu recognized one of the other boys who’d been circling the dance floor. In the semi-darkness, his tailored suit appeared the color of dried blood, at odds with the generic sandalwood cologne that seemed to be a favorite among white men.
If his face wasn’t enough for Vasu to link with a name, his voice was. The elongated vowels and softened consonants, the non-rhotic trill, were characteristic of a Cornish accent, indicating him as one of the Hogwarts representatives. Vasu remembered the Wampus cat prowling into the Great Hall, the two names that had preceded his in its announcement. And Odinson Locjaw had such a remarkable appearance that it was impossible to confuse him with a student of regular proportions. So chances were good that this was Theodore West, because Vasu had already met the other Hogwarts boy, Lanre, and he hadn’t been chosen.
Theodore’s eyes did a leisurely up-and-down of Chitrita. At least, as far down as they could go before the piano hid the rest. Disgust and indignation warred inside of Vasu. Checking girls out so blatantly was just indecent, let alone checking out his girl. Vasu felt a sudden impulse to reach inside the pocket of his sherwani where the gaudy, heavy onyx-and-jade engagement ring rested, and hurl it at Theodore West. Maybe a sharp smack between the eyes would communicate that she was off the menu.
Vasu snuck a look at Chitrita, but if she was offended by the ogling, she didn’t show it. “Pretty” felt like an inadequate word to describe her level of grandeur; was she used to it? Vasu discarded the thought, because it was a worrisome one. Nothing productive would come from imagining his bride fooling around with other men. Would it be inappropriate to ask her point-blank? Assuming it was a private conversation, did he care?
Theodore West’s voice penetrated the ear like slivers of ice. He carried himself with an air of insufferable hauteur, chest puffed out, wearing an expression halfway between a smile and a snarl that reminded Vasu of a cat with a mouthful of feathers. Even before taking his words of greeting into account, Vasu swiftly decided that he didn’t like Theordore. Somehow, the jab didn’t catch him by surprise. A steady calm gripped Vasu. It was the same sort of feeling he’d experienced when he and his father would take the family sailboat out onto the river when a storm was brewing on the horizon. Like Vasu felt ready for anything, and he was challenging fate to throw its worst at him.
Theo’s words fell hard, like a stone between them. Vasu cracked his neck to one side before he answered. “Actually, according to her family”—his gaze slid sideways toward Chitrita, and a flicker of warmth passed through him when their eyes locked—“I am exactly in her league.” Perhaps it was dangerous, alluding to the preordained union between them. Perhaps if Theo could figure out the puzzle that Vasu had nudged in his direction, it’d give him some kind of edge in the competition. Or worse, he’d blab his knowledge to all their peers. The fact that Vasu didn’t have the freedom to pursue any number of flirtations was something he wanted to keep secret. But Chitrita was a goddess, and the temptation to use her as a metric of his own worth had been too great. Vasu would look desirable by association, and even more importantly, it was evidence that proved Theodore wrong.
Vasu’s assertion prompted a snicker of disbelief from Theodore. Let him laugh, Vasu thought insouciantly, leaning back on his palms at the piano bench. We’ll see if he’s still laughing after the first challenge. Perhaps it was for the best that Theodore brushed off the comment and didn’t read too much into it, anyway. The Hogwarts student’s eyes glittered malevolently as they darted between Chitrita and Vasu, as if assessing a fortress for attack. The Colonizer, Vasu decided, returning the pensive stare. Theodore West reminded him overwhelmingly of the entitled Western tourists, with their sparkling water insistence and aversion to spices, who strutted through India as if it were still subject to the British Crown, using words like “unsightly” to describe the humidity as they fanned themselves with their resort brochures.
Vasu regarded the congratulations bestowed upon him with suspicion. He was unsure how to respond to a statement of how he “must be” feeling. Literature wasn’t Vasu’s strongest subject, but he was fairly certain there was an irony to be found there. He narrowed his eyes and tilted his head back, as if he were questioning the quality of a purportedly solid-gold watch. “Theodore, isn’t it?” The older boy made a short scoffing sound that Vasu interpreted as agreement. “Well, Theordore, if memory serves, you’re a champion too. In which case I’m sure you can figure out my feelings on the topic, ‘cuz they’re prolly not too different from your own. Ballpark ‘em if you have to. I promise you don’t have to stretch your imagination too far, vivid as it must be.”
Vasu didn’t risk a glance over at Chitrita, unwilling to divulge his insecurity where she was concerned, but he hoped that in her eyes he was winning the showdown. That he was superior. So superior, in fact, that he was the only one who could hold her attention. Theodore was goading him—that much was obvious—but to what end? He probably thought that, since he was older and bigger than Vasu, he would probably seize the upper hand in a fight. Was that what he wanted? A duel here and now in the music hall to settle things until the arena? Vasu was aware that he was likely playing into Theodore’s hands by contemplating the merits of a fight, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t give the Hogwarts boy one if push came to shove. Vasu was only so articulate with words. Sometimes he needed his wand and fists to hammer a point home. Just like he’d once done for Cosmo Winter, who’d had a broken arm at Christmastime to show for it.
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MOOD: Embarrassed, shy, happy

OUTFIT: red plaid pjs and baggy t-shirt

LOCATION: the hallways

TL;DR: Mey is chit chatting with Ramona, still considering her tea.
"Oh no, sorry, that was my bad." The figure said, reaching out a hand to help Mey. The young woman flushed in embarrassment, exclaiming again, "Sorries!" The figure heaved her up in an easy pull, and Mey's great eagerness to return to her feet almost launched herself into her helper, narrowly avoiding another collision. "Really, it's not a big deal. Are you okay?" Mey took the moment to look over her new conversation partner, finding herself at a loss of words looking at the other. Despite the dim candles of the hallway, she could make out that they were attractive, which Mey was finding out as she danced and spoke with others from other schools that everyone was quite attractive. She had full lips, sparking brown eyes, and a halo of curls that made Mey think of an angel. Mey felt her cheeks growing warmer.

She realized she hadn't really taken her turn in speaking. "Oh!!" She started nodding vigorously. "Yes! Yes, I am okay." She giggled nervously. "Falling did not hurt. I am too clumsy sometimes. I was falling over my feet in the dances. Poor boys, their toes got stepped on. Their feet probably hurt worse than me falling..." She trailed off, a brief reprieve from her typical barrage of words and nonsense. She knew she spoke too much, she just couldn't help it in a lot of the time. The two students stood quietly for just a moment, staring at each other. Mey felt weird, awkward, and mildly intimidated by the beautiful person with the camera before her. She started forward, lurching out and offering her hand. "I am Halime. But I am called Mey. I am from Koldovstoretz, in Russia, but my Russian is not so good. I am from Turkey. My English is not best either, but maybe better than my Russian." The person took her hand.

"Ramona," the name was returned. Mey grinned, clasping Ramona's hand in both of hers for a firmer, more friendly handshake. "Ramona! Many pleased to meet you." As Mey released Ramona's hand, they reached out and returned her tin of tea to her. "Oh! Thank you. This is my tea. I did not eat the feast. I was sick, but I am feeling better now and was making tea. Or, er, looking for how to make tea. It is very delicious. I drink it every day." Another pause came in her speaking, but this time much shorter. "Your accent, you are American? This is your school? It is a very pleasant castle. I did not know Americans had castles. Russia and Turkey have castles. I was believing American was mostly forts, with weapons and angry men." She imitated an angry man, scowling, balling her free hand into a fist and shaking it in the air, and making a soft 'grrrr' noise.

She glanced over Ramona again, taking in more of her appearance. "I like your clothes. They look soft. The green is very pleasant on you. I am in my sleep clothes. They are also soft, but not as pleasant as yours look. But I am thinking it will be okay, since I am not the champion. I will not embarrass myself as easy now. Though, I am afraid that Vasu will begin to pluck a hair out of his nose if he is too praised for being champion. But he is very clever." Her eyes began to wander around the hall, slightly distracted by her own thoughts. The words came out effortlessly, endlessly. She hardly had to think to speak, which is often what would get her in trouble. Her mother would criticize her for speaking too often and without regards for what she was saying. Many of the Koldovstoretz students, and even faculty, back home treated her with some disdain for the same reasons. "You speak too much," they would tell her. But, thankfully, Ramona was being much more gracious.

"Oh! My tea! Do you know where I could make my tea in your pleasant castle? I am lost, I am believing. Well. I can not be lost because I never saw where the kitchen was. But I am not finding it. I did not look many places, because I tripped over my feet into you. But that is my bad, not you. You do not seem so clumsy." She was feeling shy and embarrassed again, struggling to reign in the rambling. This Ramona had an aura of cool around her, causing Mey feel slightly inept at existing. But, Ramona themself wasn't doing anything directly to make Mey feel bad about herself, which was refreshing and calming in its own right. "Are students allowed in the kitchens? I do not know how this castle behaves."
well, you cured my January blues
Yeah, you made it alright
I've got a feelin' I've lit the very fuse
That you were tryin' not to light
code by valen t.
MOOD: confident > upset > guilty > confident

OUTFIT: lehenga(click!)

LOCATION: Dancefloor > music room

TL;DR: Chatting with Vasu and Theo. She proposes they play a game.
Vasu was... interesting. By the second, he was becoming more and more entertaining to Chitrita. A new play thing. She had tortured boys like him for years, tricking them into games as they unwittingly fell into her careful traps. The high society life she lived at home over the summers was boring, and to be honest, she hardly received enough attention from her parents. The school year was the perfect time to keep herself busy, stray outside of the confines of the strict guidelines her parents set aside for the rest of her life. She could do what she wanted with who she wanted. She was always careful not to get caught or in trouble, she couldn't handle the look of disappointment and pain Ranjiv and Kaira had already displayed when they found out their son disappeared. But, if she were to stary into trouble, in her heart she wouldn't be the most upset. Maybe the Pawars would begin to speak again as a more unified family. The house had been quiet for too long.

Vasu was beginning to fit into the picture of her future more effortlessly than she had originally imagined. His quick wit had her suppressing smiles as he quickly countered her biting words. He oozed a confidence he certainly should not have had in the presence of the older, supposedly wealthier girl. He should've been shrinking at her gaze, looking for somewhere to hide, and avoiding their fate all together. He was still attempting to impress her, which she liked in the boys she had hang around her, but he was different from them. She was enjoying this difference. Maybe she wouldn't have to fight over the control of the Pawar family business. Maybe he would allow her into the picture, to have a stake in her own legacy. Maybe she could trust him to take care of the name, the money, the status, and she would be allowed to pursue something that she loved nearly as much as she loved her parents. Dancing.

Vasu seated himself next to her on the piano bench and Chitrita could feel the hairs of her head displace slightly due to their closeness. His shoulder barely brushed hers, she caught a draft of something that smelled warm and sweet, and the confidence continued to spew from the boy's mouth. She ignored his flirting attempts, undecided if that was the angle she wanted to play with him or not, and to her disappointment he deflated. A failed test, a pop quiz she hadn't exactly planned on administering, but a dismaying result nonetheless. He accepted her bid to play, and as his fingers replaced hers on the keys, she watched his hands carefully and leaned almost imperceptibly into him. Their shoulders graduated from a small brush to the slightest bit of contact.

The piece he played, while she wasn't familiar with it herself, she enjoyed it. It had a speed and fervor that her own song choice had lacked. It felt jaunty and had a different kind of intensity, a perfect foil to her hauntingly beautiful swan call. His left hand walked up and down the keys, a thick, warm base for the sharp, fast-paced melody of his right. A small smile formed on her lips. She could start to picture the movements to a dance, maybe something a little untraditional for the jazzy feel of the tune. A salsa would be fun. But she remained still. She remained careful. Though, she allowed herself the joy of maintaining her smile. Then, Vasu's fingers slipped, and she squinted slightly at the twinge of an out of place note. The second one caused her to close her eyes, and the third she raised her shoulders, unable to stop herself from cringing away from the mistakes. She turned away slightly in an attempt to half stifle her laughter, but when she turned back she caught Vasu's eyes. His cheeks brightened with an embarrassed blush, and he sputtered out some excuse. She managed to reign in the smile, but her eyes still sparkled with amusement.

"Now, tell me, Rita," She felt herself grow excited, his confidence seeping back into his voice despite the previous two dismal efforts to impress her. She sat up a little straighter and carefully pulled her silky dark hair over her shoulder now that she was being addressed directly again. She allowed her smile to fall, pushing them back out into territory where she was familiar, where she had control. "Are there any games you enjoy playing? And wagering on them?" Her stomach dropped. Wagering? She thought. Good Lord, my parents have sentenced me to marry a delinquent! Just moments ago, she had allowed herself to fall into a false sense of security regarding their betrothal. She had believed for all of a minute that her adult, married life might be peaceful. Enjoyable even. That perhaps, with a little time, she could trust Vasu with the Pawar name and fortune. A gambler. He was a gambler. He would piss away their fortune, he would cut her out of the business. She would be a dancer alright, but doomed to misery and disappointments. She would live in Europe as a ballerina while he pretended to be a businessman. He would spend their money and she would have to stash what little she made, never to return home to face her family for the embarrassment of seeing her and knowing what she had allowed to happen to their name. She would find comfort in strangers' beds and pretending she had no home or husband. Her future was as bleak as she thought it was before arriving here, before meeting her fiancé.

Ever the actress, she was able to remain in control of her facial expressions. She stared down at Vasu, a borderline glower, though she remained silent. Lost in her own mind, in her spiral, that she forgot to answer him. She forgot the control of this battle. Perhaps no answer was better than an answer. By the time she remembered it was her turn in the conversation, he was already speaking again. His words, his voice calling her name— her actual name this time, not that nickname he had committed to using so early on— snapped her back to reality. She practically glared at him, like his words were interrupting her. His voice dripped with exhaustion, already haven given up the battle of their first encounter. He was waving the white flag. He was telling her he didn't like her. Or, more so, what she represented in the large part of his life. Poor Vasu, his whole life thus far had been orchestrated for him. As if she wasn't familiar. Suddenly, the ridiculousness of it all began to hit her. Her fifteen-year-old fiancé was sat next to her, she had treated him like something awful that needed to be kept in its place, but they were not all that different. She felt laughter begin to rise in her chest, and attempting to help Vasu save face, she smothered another smile and glanced away. She was beginning to feel slightly guilty and her guilt was threatening to bubble over in a fit of inappropriate laughter. He kept speaking, she returned his eyes to him, biting the inside of her lip to keep herself composed. She looked at his brown eyes so intensely she could see the bandings of red, almost able to pick out individual granules of melanin. "All I ask is that you don’t pretend as if you have no idea who I am, ‘kay? Don’t treat me like a st—"

Footsteps. Her head snapped in the direction of the door that she and Vasu had left ajar, though in the dimness of the room it was hard to make out who it was. To his credit, Vasu acted fast, rising from his spot on the bench next to her. She turned her face towards him, illuminated under the yellow light that hung above them, heavily shadowed. Stranger. She finished his thought for him in his head. He was being vulnerable with her. Vulnerability was a rare event around Chitrita. She rarely displayed it and it was rarely displayed to her. Her fingers reached up to clasp her locket, the one that had Aadesh's photo, but they closed around empty space. She took it off for special occasions, but sorely missed it now. She returned her gaze to the newcomer.

He spoke in a British accent, not unsimilar to her own, and he stood tall. It was hard to make out all of his features, but as he toed closer to the piano she could see more of him. A dimpled chin, high cheekbones, and dark hair that fell over his brows. He was attractive, and apparently, he thought she was too. His eyes lingered on her appearance, and she returned him the favor. Her eyes searched for a sign of threat, though she doubted there would be one, on high alert. Even if she wasn't a champion, it may later be her duty to assist Locjaw. An understanding of how this boy operated would be a help to her down the line.

A palpable tension consumed the air between the three of them. The new man called Chitrita out of Vasu's league. She was used to compliments and flattery, and while she didn't move she felt tickled by his word. But this felt less about her and more like a dick-swinging contest between the two of them. "Actually, according to her family,” She glanced back at Vasu, their eyes locking for a moment. Bold of him to bring up their arrangement so quickly with a stranger. She hadn't even mentioned it to most of her school friends. She smiled slightly. She enjoyed seeing this side of Vasu. The boys exchanged words, and at some point she lost her composure and rolled her eyes. Ugh, another champion. As much as she originally thought she wasn't jealous, the more the actual competition was spoken over, the more envious she seemed to feel. She rose to her feet, speaking for the first time in what had to be a few minutes.

"Theodore, you're just in time." She smiled slyly, sliding out from behind the piano and placing herself on the other side of Vasu. "Vasu just challenged me to a game of strip poker. A ridiculous ploy, no doubt, to see a pretty girl undress. Though adding a third to our game could be interesting." She arched a perfectly sculpted brow, folding her arms in front of her. She gave Theo another once-over before giving Vasu a humored glance. She felt a little bad for the jab aimed at him, but hopefully her lighter nature conveyed her joking well. If he didn’t want to be a stranger, he didn’t have to be. But she wasn’t quite done toying with him. "Then you two can really stand and measure with each other, if you're not finished peacocking?" She bit her glossed lower lip, holding back an amused giggle, and offered a slight shrug. "I was thinking truth or dare, considering we don't have chips to bargain. Unless one of you has a better idea?"
I could draw you dot to dot
I know I could save you
I deserve a special spot
I could be your favorite
code by valen t.
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