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1
What an ending! Just as everything had built to a climax, Lillian had successfully brokered peace. The Betrayer King had seen the error of his way. Maybe some day he could take a place as the good king's friend. Lysander was surprised by how attached he was to the story he had only first heard of a short while ago.

Lysander glanced at the section of his sheet that said 'Neutral good'. Beating people up was one thing. Taking their stuff afterwards seemed wrong. Robert Halfmaine was a prankster, but he was not a thief. 

"Hang on, are we allowed to take this stuff Sam? That belongs to the people we beat up. Ain't we heroes? No, nevermind. Robert's gonna thank the bad king for doing the right thing, and then he's gonna go back to camp."

He was surprised as well at his own visceral reaction to the act of looting. When Imogen mentioned a corpse, he found a foul taste in his mouth.

"We are doing this again next summer, right, Sam?"

Was the game over? It seemed as if it had just begun. He looked around the table. Lillian, who was almost certainly the best player at the table, wouldn't get another chance at summer camp. She was graduating. In all likelihood, the others would be here next summer. Sam was Sandy's age, which meant if he were to run it every summer Sandy could look forward to playing this game again and again.

"Please Sam, will you?"
2
Well, that was a rather peaceful ending. In contrast to everything that had happened earlier. Imogen was quite glad about that. If she would've been real, Natasha would've agreed with that too. There was a smile on the diminutive brunette's face, not addressed to anyone in particular. It had been a pleasant experience. She was hoping this wouldn't be the last summer when this game would take place.

Ok, so ... They could search for items, if they would want to. Perhaps they could find improved weapons? Maybe. Those bats were good, but there was always room for more damage to dish out. Imogen pondered quietly for a few moments before deciding what to do.

"Natasha isn't much of a searcher, but she would go and have a look at Minotaur 3's corpse. Maybe there is something of value there. Something to improve her weapons. Because she would definitely be interested to continue her quest next summer." Brief pause. "We are doing this again next summer, right, Sam?" Her face turned towards Sam, putting her best impression of a questioning look. More instinctively than anything else. Or from her memories.
3
"Your what?!”

Why were people always surprised?  He figured it had to be a good thing as most of the times things surprised him they were either presents or turned into unexpected adventures. 

"What kind of a creature can be lured by a stick and defeated by a soapy sock?!"

Shaking his head slightly as he jabbed his stick back into the mud he said “ I lured it with my foot when it slipped into the mud.  I felt it like what my brothers arm feels like when he is about to interlink with mine. “  The fact that what he had actually felt was his leg slip besides a root that was deep in the mud and had a bit of curve was irrelevant, as in his mind everything unexplained or unseen was some sort of monster.  Monsters made more sense as the reasonable answer for most unexplained things, even if older people liked to make boring stories to explain how things couldn’t be monsters or dragons.

"And if there was such a creature, shouldn't we report it to the mentors?”

Turning from looking at the mud where he’d just been he said “ Sure you go tell them if you can find one. “  As it always seemed to him when you needed a big kid they weren’t around, but when there was a prime opportunity to spoil ones fun they found it like a magnet.  They were like mini-adults in that respect.  Then he said “ All you big kids look the same in that respect “. 

Squatting on the ground he jabbed his stick into the mud again and this time moved it about trying to feel for something within the depths of the mud.
4
Olette was very glad now that she hadn’t attacked. Luckily her three alter-Iggys weren’t needed. So what if she had only gotten one actual hit in? At least they had won and she wasn’t dead.

She looked at the map, trying to figure out where to search and what to search for. She was sure the Betrayer King would have goodies on him, but probably just things for the fighters. Actually, she wasn’t quite sure how he fought.

“Can I--I mean Iggy--search the Hag? As a spellcaster herself, she’s looking for anything helpful, like a powerful staff, or perhaps some spell tomes or something. Or maybe just a magical object? Anything useful.”
5
"No," she responded, and very nearly faltered. But the pride in her chest held strong like cool steel, resilient, steadfast. "You haven't."

Thijs Märchen had done nothing wrong but play a silly little game, with silly little kisses, and a silly, stupid bottle. It meant nothing, she told herself. It was nothing, she reminded herself. (Thijs Märchen had played a game, and kissed a pretty girl, and it meant something.)

"Why do you ask?" Vanessa Naoi was nonchalant. Cool. She would not break.


the night of
it's after the party,
after the kiss
the night is dark and the moon doesn't shine



White sheets had been swept to the side, stifling and stuffy in hazy summer night heat. She lay on the bed, eyes to the ceiling, a slight breeze from the window sweeping over her legs, her arms, her face.

There was a pressure on her chest, a weight in her stomach, and for some reason Vanessa felt like she had ought to scream.

She turned over and shoved her face into the pillow instead.

Her thoughts spun like a certain glass bottle, replaying images of a certain boy, a certain kiss, a certain heaviness to it all.

It was a while until she fell asleep.



this morning
the girl is fine


She had resolved to forget about it all. Thijs Märchen could kiss whomever he chose. What did it matter?

What did she care?



just a minute ago
she hasn't forgotten
she remembers quite clearly
why?



Vanessa weaved her way through golden grass, thoughts in some faraway place. And just like a dream, he stood there, alone, surrounded by muted vermilion skies and worry painted on his face.

No, I won't be upset, her mind whispered.

She was, regrettably, undeniably, upset.


6
Ettinsmoor Gorge / Re: Echoes in the Dark || Vanessa
« Last post by Vanessa Naoi on Today at 08:03 »
"Very. I wouldn't be surprised if a werewolf answered right back."

It was not an uncommon sight to catch the Gryffindor wandering about after curfew, following the light of the moon and the brightly shining stars. Vanessa was a night owl, after all, enamored with the mysterious shadows and the quiet darkness that seemed to stretch endlessly until the breaking of dawn, egg-yolk sun swallowing nighttime whole.

What did come as a surprise was the small, lone figure on the old bridge, whom she would have mistaken for a wailing ghost if not for the question that rose from his lips. Usually the younger years were too afraid to sneak out this late, fearing the (supposed) hidden creatures that skulked in the night, or worse, the wrath of a sleepy counselor. This kid, this kid was an adventurous one.

Vanessa emerged from the darkness, tousled hair a telltale story of gallivanting in the dark, a flash of white teeth full of mischief reflected in the playful glint of her eyes.

"Oi, you oughtta be careful hangin' about this late in the night. You might run into something unpleasant...like a counselor, yea?"

A wink, as if to reassure him that she was not the aforementioned, unpleasant counselor.

"What's your name, kiddo?"
7
It was a bit embarrassing, being placed against a group of children who were far, far younger than her.  It was also a bit uncomfortable to target attack spells towards the ankle-biters. And more than that, it was very embarrassing that she probably had but a slight bit more experience than them, her last dueling match being quite a while ago.

But the three firsties didn't need to know all that.

Vanessa hesitated, stepping into the eerily quiet courtyard, but only just. They had signed up for this, after all.

A cool demeanor about her (she couldn't be nervous, what would the crowd think? They were first years, for the love of Godric!), she assessed the three. Lysander, poor thing, was mid-hop, and looked quite like a dazed, confused bunny— she had to stifle a laugh. The other boy had disappeared from sight, presumably behind one of the statues and currently not a potential threat. The last one— Vanessa paused, scanning the stage.

Oh. The little one was fast.

Not particularly wanting to hurt the girl, Vanessa pointed her wand and called out clearly, "Rictusempra!"

Not too shabby for her first tango after a few years out of commission.
8
She wasn’t moving.

For a good moment, Téo watched as Vega’s sister seemed frozen in place, simply looking at her. Despite the earlier feral looks she had just been receiving not even two minutes ago, Téo found herself feeling both amused and curious (and not a little unlike she had with Thijs a few minutes ago).

It was like watching a mask slip away, revealing something softer and raw, and Téo’s gaze intensified, as she met blue eyes. Nashira Nettlebed had been another one of those people that she wanted to paint. There was a fascinating, potentially beautiful contrast there. One Téo wanted to put into metallics and shadings that seemed to vibrate at the edges, with hints of flickering light.

Whatever plan Vega’s sister had seemed to have gone out the window, and it caused a slight eyebrow arch and smile.

"Hi,"

Hi? That was not at all what Téo was expecting, and the smile she had automatically warmed, because part of her, the part that was instinctually protective, wanted to make the younger Nettlebed more comfortable. But then there was another part. A part Téo couldn’t quite put a finger on; like she shouldn’t be kissing Vega’s little sister of all people, and maybe that was it. It was just some unspoken rule when it came to best friends and their siblings.

So when Nashira moved, Téo remained motionless. Until she felt the other girl’s lips against hers and breathed in a little too sharply as the pressure of the kiss increased. But the other part; the other part let the hand on her arm remain, moving into it, and Téo brought a hand up to the younger girl’s jawline, her fingers just ghosting skin.

When Nashira pulled back, Téo continued not to move, stunned into place.

Nashira looked nearly about how Téo imagined she felt. As the other girl went to spin the bottle again, Téo took a careful breath and let it out slowly. Running her hands through her hair, she turned around… to not see Vega. Anywhere.

Brow creasing, she looked around the horde of people there and did not find Vega Nettlebed. Why and where did she even go? But mostly why. A frown curved red lips, a move that didn’t often grace her features. Feeling a little abandoned, Téo debated on leaving or not, finding Vega or not, staying or not.

After a moment, she sighed heavily, absolutely confused, and took a seat where Vega was not anymore.
9
All the duel preparations left no impression on Imogen. She heard Sam complimenting Olette on the arrangements but the brunette just couldn't see anything. So what could she really say? Well, maybe at least something. "I am sure it looks great, Olette. It's a shame I cannot really see it." However, Imogen had her own preparations for the duel. And those would be visible when she showed up for it.

First of all, she wasn't holding a wand in her hand. Instead, she was holding her walking stick. Long, white and rather sturdy. Gabby had compared it to a sword, as far as length was concerned. So, basically, she was a duelist. But an old-school one. However, this was not the first thing that would be visible to the others. Not at all.

Imogen's upper-part of her face was covered by a black mask. After deciding that she had liked comics, even if published in a version for blind people, she figured that she could be a small hero herself. Gabby said she was a hero. And, after all, there was that saying, 'blind as a bat'. So Imogen would be 'Bat ... girl'. Hence the black mask covering her face and the bat-type of ears accompanying the mask.

No other costume. Just the mask. It would be sufficient. For the time being, anyway.

Listening carefully, she knew where the ref was. As soon as the duel started, she could hear Sam's voice. Slight noise to the side ... Maybe Sandy. That left Vanessa. Much older. Much more experienced. Might as well give it a go. Based on the positions of the other two, Imogen made a guess on where Vanessa was and attempted to swing her stick towards the older girl's wand hand, attempting to disarm her.
10
Chippingford / Re: We're Not Evil, They Are || Aiden
« Last post by Aiden Duncan on Today at 04:26 »
"A little bit of Rudolph? I think that would suit him! I can think of at least three ways to do it, too. He won't see what's coming!"

Aiden laughed out loud at the mere idea of Orion Alricsson running around with a shiny red nose and antlers. He was about to suggest a tiny bushy tail for the boy as well. Was he supposed to be encouraging this sort of behavior as a counselor? Aiden wasn't quite sure and he wasn't even sure that he cared. Aiden didn't consider himself a vengeful person, but Alricsson had pushed one too many buttons in such a short amount of time. Aiden just couldn't forgive the boy, no matter what, and he really hoped Alricsson would get what was coming to him one day.

"So if I happen t stumble across Orion, and I happen to accidentally hit him with a few spells, you'll unfortunately miss it because you're looking the other way, right?"

Aiden shrugged and smirked, "What were we talkin' about again? Yeh know I got a terrible memory an' all that. I might catch yeh but... I'll forget about it real quick!"

He took a moment to snag another cookie and stuff it in his face. Maybe encouraging fights wasn't what a counselor was supposed to be doing, but Aiden figured that Alricsson deserved it. Still, he didn't want Rebecca getting into trouble just in case he wasn't the counselor who caught her. He figured maybe he could talk her out of it... at the very least, to ensure that he and Calvin were the ones who ended up taking Alricsson down a peg. The two of them were better at weaseling their way out of trouble, after all.

"Jus' so I know, though," Aiden said thoughtfully. "What's he done now?"
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