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A Clear Night [Altsoba 1x1]

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by romamaro, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    She was only stating the obvious, but Castor felt his face flush as she called him out on it. He rolled back onto his back, staring up into the dark sky. “I...I mean, yeah, yeah, I-I guess,” he said, as if he hadn’t spent much of the night talking about space. “It’s...it’s just...it’s just ‘cause of my nan and my mom, I guess. Space... It runs in the family.”

    He glanced in the direction of the school, wondering about the floor above his. He didn't know much about what the rooms looked like, but the idea of moving from his made his palms sweat. Sure, he didn't have the best room, but most nights he could see the sky quite well. It was twelfth grade he was looking forward to. His grandmother - always ambitious, always a step ahead of the crowd - told him a story of how she enchanted her ceiling to turn clear at night, giving her an almost perfect view of the sky. It was a trick she still produced at home when the weather wasn't ideal, but something had to be seen - usually whenever she had to prove a point. Pulling himself back to the present, he smiled and nodded, and said, "maybe."

    He nodded along with her plans. "That sounds nice," he said. "There's always good movies coming out over the summer." He didn't know this for a fact, but it definitely seemed like something that would be true. "Does your brother go to Arcadia?" he asked, referring to the magical university that most sorcerers either went to, or wanted to go to.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  2. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    "That's nice." And it sounded like she meant it, too. It was nice that his grandmother and her mother shared something like that. There was a moment where a spark of envy flashed through her, but she squashed the feeling. She was making a new friend here; there was no point in ruining by wishing she had what he did.

    She watched him, wondering what was on his mind. It was funny how he seemed to get lost in something in his mind and then would return to the present. Whatever he was thinking about--maybe picturing the stars from his room--it made him smile. That was nice, too.

    Nodding her head in agreement, Petra continued. "Yeah. Not that I'm ever up and aware of what comes out during the year." It was a small price to pay for this gift. "Although, next year we'll be able to travel to Banff, so maybe I won't be so behind on the movies next summer." She shook her head no in response to the question. "I'm the only magic one in my family. He's studying accounting." It sounded so dull, so plain, but she was still so proud of her brother, and it showed in her tone.
     
  3. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    Castor smiled, a hand thoughtfully rubbing his chin. "It is," he agreed. Living with one of the brightest (and one of the ex-brightest) minds in magical astronomy definitely had it's downsides, like the time Castor's sleep schedule synced up with a local owl for a whole summer. He simultaneously wouldn't wish it on another soul, but also wouldn't have it any other way.

    The mention of Banff caused Castor's face to light up. "Banff'll be good," he said confidently, smiling. "I do love Altsoba, but it'll be nice to get out and about." The idea of mundane family members was foreign to Castor. Yes, his family was small, but off the top of his head he could only think of one non-magical person; his Great-Uncle Weston, who'd never been fond of the whole magic situation after being born mundane, and decided to move to California to get away from it all. "Accounting, like, banking?" he asked, but quickly moved onto the question that pressed more on his mind: "Is it difficult? To not be able to do a lot of magic?" he wondered aloud. Most chores in his house were done by some variety of sorcery, since they lived quite close to Occultatum Alley and got away with using their magic freely.
     
  4. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    "Sort of?" Petra wasn't exactly a math oriented person, but she had a general idea of what it was her brother wanted to do. "He wanted to be hired by some big business and manage their accounts. Doing audits and stuff to make sure that they're making enough, spending enough, ensuring no one is stealing from the company. That kind of thing. I don't think he has any interest in actually working for a bank, though."

    She frowned at the mention of being unable to do magic during the summer. It was a sobering reminder. "Yeah," she admitted. "I love doing magic. Not to mention that some things are so much easier with magic. Plus, I just love that feeling that surges through you when you're performing magic." She shrugged. "My mom doesn't like for me to do any magic while I'm at home, though." She'd never really told anyone about that before. There was a girl in their grade who came from mundane parents and they had no problem supporting their daughter in her magical endeavors. Petra didn't have that kind of support at home, so she often avoided speaking of the matter altogether.

    "It just feels like I'm not really able to be myself, yanno?" Although, he probably didn't understand. Again, it was something she'd never really shared with anyone before.
     
  5. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    He nodded along with the description of Petra's brother's ideal job, as if he understood a word of it. Castor liked maths, he did, but it was more physics-maths that he was good in. As long as he had a calculator, he could do anything, he reckoned. But the everyday applications of maths were lost on him. "Sounds a bit boring," he admitted, regretting it soon after. Castor was an only child, but he knew how protective a lot of people got over their brothers and sisters. What if Petra was one of those kinds of people that would totally cut someone out of their life if they insulted their siblings? Well, it wasn't like he'd insulted him, really, he just insulted the thing that he was passionate enough about that he wanted his whole future to revolve around it. Yeah, he hadn't really insulted him.

    He felt the atmosphere dip as soon as Petra started talking. He let his head drop to the side so that he was looking at her, sweating fingers intertwined and resting on his chest. He couldn't understand why her mother wouldn't like her to do magic. It was something that mundane people dreamed about all the time, so why, when it showed itself to you, would you want to hide it? He wanted to ask, but feeling that it was a sore subject, he just gave a sincere nod to show that he understood.

    "I know," he responded, looking back up into the sky. "If it's something you really enjoy - magic, I mean - then it's obviously not going to be great to not be able to do it." He couldn't imagine a home without magic. He hadn't had any mundane friends for a long time, at least, not any mundane friends that he was close enough to to go to their houses. His sorcerer friends had homes that bustled with life, even when there was no one in. Brooms danced through the kitchens to tunes played on sentient record players, and stains scrubbed themselves out of shirts and shorts. A home without magic was totally foreign to him.
     
  6. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    Petra laughed. "It sounds miserable, but that's what he's interested in, so I guess as long as he's happy." She shrugged. Yeah, she was pretty protective of her brother but she hates math, so she could absolutely relate to Castor's statement.

    Petra had never been to another sorcerer's home before so it never occurred to her what a home with magic would look like, other than it would be different than hers. She felt a strong sense of envy again, and not wanting to put herself in a sour mood, she forced the thoughts away, changing the subject again. "We should probably head inside before we get caught." She suggested.

    Feeling like she had made a friend in Castor, though, she offered, "We should have lunch or something sometime soon before the semester ends?" She didn't make a move to leave, yet, preferring to wait for his response.
     
  7. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    At her suggestion, Castor sat up, slowly realising that he'd stayed out so much longer than he'd meant to. Usually, he'd get out and back in as soon as he could. No matter who he met, he rarely stayed to chatter. Now, the back of his housecoat was covered in green stains and a little bit of mud, and there were bits of grass in his hair. He'd relaxed while breaking the rules. If his nan saw him, she'd wring his neck. "Yeah, you're right," he said, his voice coming down to a whisper now that he realised that he'd strayed out of his comfort zone.

    He stumbled to his feet, hands drifting to his back to dust off the few scraps of grass that stuck to him. Her offer clearly took him by surprise. No one ever really asked to sit with him. Usually he'd sit with them, or they'd sit nearby just because there was no other room. However, the surprise broke easily, and he beamed at Petra with crooked teeth. "Yeah! Yeah, definitely!" he stammered. He cleared his throat into his fist, then tried again. "Yeah, that'd be nice." Though he was trying to play cool again, the boldness of his smile didn't dim.

    While Petra stood, Castor took a moment to readjust himself. His eyes were trained on Castor A in the sky, and he knew that if he followed that it would lead him right into his favourite way into the school. He glanced at Petra. "What way do you take? To get out and in again?" He spoke in a whisper now, despite not being any closer to the school than he had been before.
     
  8. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    At first, she thought her offer of lunch had made him antsy. She worried that maybe he was being polite staying and chatting with her and she began to shift her weight, ready to rescind the offer. She dusted the dirt from her pajama pants when he agreed, rather enthusiastically, to have lunch with her. When she glanced back at him, he was smiling, and her shoulders relaxed. His smile contagious, she returned his thousand watts with a small, but genuine, smile of her own.

    "Cool," she turned to face the school, following his gaze up into the sky. She didn't see what he saw, but she could see the appeal of staring up at the stars some nights. Shrugging at his question, she gestured vaguely toward the building, "sometimes in through the side, sometimes directly in the front. Preferably whatever way does not get me caught." She chuckled, glancing over at Castor. "My first year, when I was a floor lower and still had some wind ability, I did sneak out the window once. It was terrifying, especially with my limited ability, so I haven't made that mistake again."
     
  9. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    He couldn't help but chuckle at her air-related tale, but wondered briefly if that was something he could maybe try, considering that air could have easily been his gift. Definitely not from as high up as his room, but somewhere a little smaller, like the distance from his desk to the floor. If it worked, then it would be a fair way to attempt and leave. But he had his own path, which had worked perfectly for two years ago, so he didn't see much of a reason to think of alternatives.

    However, the perfect plan wouldn't work quite as perfectly if someone else knew about it. The nature of a secret exit was that it was secret. He realised this as he opened his mouth to tell Petra how he usually snuck out. He quickly closed his mouth, and then offered, "why don't we take your way?" He didn't know how safe it would really be to take one of the normal exits, but despite not having really known her for much longer than half an hour, he trusted her enough that she wouldn't deliberately lead him into trouble. He also trusted himself enough to be able to get them both out of there if it got dangerous.
     
  10. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    "Alright," she agreed, leading the way. There are several hidden pathways through and out of the school. Petra knows of two, although she's confident there are more, and she has yet to discover them. Heading back to the school, the building seems to grow as they walked, Petra glanced over at her new friend. She wondered why they had never had a conversation before this. "Hope I didn't distract you too much from your stargazing," she offered.

    She led the way into the quad and to the fountain there in the center. It was still going despite the late hour, but Petra pulled out her wand and whispered a spell. The basin began to crack down the middle and opened up revealing a flight of stairs as the water poured down on either side. Once again, Petra led the way down the stairs. There were only about ten stairs and soon their feet landed on soft earth as Petra led them down a hallway. It began sloping upward and, eventually, they were at a small door. When Petra whispered another spell, they were walking into the potions classroom. "So..." Petra started, rocking on her feet as it was clear that they were about to go their separate ways. "Lunch, soon?" She mentally kicked herself for, once again, making it an open-ended invitation.
     
  11. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    Castor offered her a genuine smile in response. "It's okay. I saw what I needed to see, and I had a nice time talking to you, anyway." The moment of sincerity lead to his face predictably flushing bright red, and he hid it by smiling down at his feet as they walked back to the school.

    He did his best to keep up with her as she moved throughout the secret underbelly of the school. It was, obviously, a different way to what he took, but he tried to remember the path as they quickly passed through it, hoping to maybe use it if his favoured path became unusable. He'd have to learn what spells she was using, but he didn't want to just come out and ask it. He put it to the back of his mind for now, since they were just about at the end of the passage.

    Passageways like that one always baffled him. He didn't feel as though he'd travelled far enough to be in the potions department, yet here he was! Caught up in looking around in wide-eyed wonder, a total child in a sweet shop, he almost missed Petra repeating the question. He stared at her blankly for a moment, before it clicked what she was asking. He nodded, just as eager as before, and said, "yeah, definitely!" Thankfully, his voice kept to the whisper that he'd started using out on the grounds.

    Shuffling towards the door of the potions class, he eased it open, careful that it wouldn't creak. When he peered his head out, he saw no one in the corridor, but you could never be too careful in Altsoba. Times like this, he wished that he knew some sort of cloaking spell. Opening the door wide enough for Petra to leave too, he mapped out the way he had to go. The west wing was in a totally different direction from the east (obviously, Castor, obviously) so this was him parting ways with Petra. Hopefully not for long.

    He gave a smile, whispered, "I'll see you tomorrow," then slinked off down the hall, bare feet barely making a sound on the hard floors, already regretting his last words. What if she didn't want to see you tomorrow, Castor, did you ever think of that?
     
  12. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    The blonde gave a slight wave before she turned on her heel and sneaked back into bed. There was a near encounter with a ghost, but she avoided the undead and made it back into her room in one piece. As she fell asleep that night, it was with a smile; it had been a while since she had made a new friend, and she was pleased with how the encounter went. Rolling over in bed, she opened her eyes and was face to face with a giant white rat. "Ugh, Barnaby, go back to Macy." She shooed the creature off her bed, rolling the other way. She was going to miss this school during the summer.

    She was debating her course of action when she spotted Castor walking into the classroom. Letting out a breath and hoping she didn't seem as desperate as she felt, she waved him down. "Castor. Saved you a seat." She cleared her throat, nudging her bag off the chair next to hers. "If you want," she added after a beat. Cassie, sitting at the table beside the one Petra was offering to share with Castor, blinked in surprise.

    "That's why you didn't want me to sit there?" She whispered.

    The blonde rolled her eyes and shushed her friend, turning her attention back to Castor with tensed muscles as she waited to see if he'd accept the invitation.
     
  13. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    Castor walked into class, ready to take a seat up the back of his class, keep his head down, and maybe stop daydreaming as obviously as he clearly had been. However, he practically stumbled over his own feet when he looked up and connected eyes with the girl he'd met last night, Petra. Not recognising that she was saying at first, he quickly came to his senses and rushed across the room. He took the seat a little too fast, and it was obvious that Petra didn't have to worry about looking desperate.

    "Thank...thank you," he stuttered. He honestly hadn't expected for any of the events of the previous night to carry on. He'd almost convinced himself that it was a dream. Glancing past Petra, he made eye contact with a girl who he definitely knew, but similarly couldn't name. As the eye contact continued for an uncomfortable amount of time, he offered an uncomfortable smile before looking back to Petra. "Thank you. For saving me a seat, Petra," he repeated.
     
  14. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    At first, watching him stumble, Petra was afraid that perhaps she'd overstepped and their blossoming friendship was not quite what she imagined. She let out a breath when he headed for the chair, however, and it was clear that he wanted to sit there. Thankfully the sorceress was quick enough to move her backpack entirely out of the way, so he didn't stumble over it. "You're welcome," she smiled, shyly and glanced over at Cassie who gave a small upturn of the lips in response. It was something between a grimace, and a smile and Petra closed her eyes, inhaling deep, absolutely mortified.

    She pulled out her textbook, Omens for Fun and Profit, and plopped it onto the desk. She hadn't done the assigned reading for today, but she figured having the book in front of her she could bullshit her way through it if necessary. She pulled out her notebook, a packet of pens that change the ink color as you wrote, and a pack of Twizzlers. Never mind that she just ate breakfast, she opened the package, pulled one out and offered one to Castor. "Want?"
     
  15. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    Feeling a faint animosity from the other girl, Castor decided to avoid her gaze from that point on the best he could. Of course, knowing him, he wouldn't be able to stop himself from glancing at her throughout the lesson, totally psyching himself out on whether or not she didn't like him, or if he was just looking too far into it.

    His bag in his lap, he pulled out the assigned reading and sat it on the desk in front of him, perfectly in line with the corner of the desk. A small notebook and a single black pen came out next, with one yellow highlighter, and then he quietly placed his bag under the table, gently letting it fall to the floor with a thud. He winced at the sound, eager for the distraction of food that Petra offered. "Thanks," he said softly, picking one out. He stuffed it in his mouth all at once, chewing and swallowing quickly, careful that the professor hadn't come in, and wouldn't see him if they did. "Twizzlers are my favourite," he admitted, wiping the corners of his mouth.
     
  16. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    "Mine, too," Petra admitted with a grin. She leaned over a little, lowering her voice so Cassie couldn't hear. "Ignore her. She doesn't like change; she'll warm up." She didn't know if that was entirely true, but she felt like Cassie would get over whatever her issue was. Eventually.

    Their professor entered the room in a flurry of color and words. She stood at the front of the room, dressed in the traditional black robes with colorful scarves adorning her neck. "Omens," she started without preamble before she'd even made it to the front of the room, "are everywhere." She paused, dramatically, turning to face her class. "They are in the stars and can be found in every encounter. The simple dropping of your lunch, the birth of a baby frog, a cracked mirror; you can find an omen all around you. Now, sorcerers have driven themselves mad analyzing every possible omen in their lives. So, you must find the balance between recognizing omens and living your life."

    Petra, uncaring if she were caught with the candy, bit into another Twizzler, grinning. She liked this class. Professor McAdams was a little odd, but it wasn't a bad way to start the morning.
     
  17. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    While Petra explained her friend's behaviour, Castor couldn't help but keep on sneaking a peek to see if the girl was looking or not. He hoped that she was right; Castor was pretty much always on high alert, and the last thing he needed was an actual reason to continue being on high alert. Besides, if he and Petra were friends - were going to be friends - then Castor didn't want to be that-friend-that-didn't-get-on-with-your-other-friends.

    He had originally been turned in his chair to face Petra, but as soon as he heard the teacher enter he pivoted around, hands falling on the desk as if to prove he wasn't doing anything wrong. However, after this brief moment of attentiveness, he slouched into his chair, only to perk right up again at the mention of stars. He could only pray that maybe they'd do something on space. Sure, 'messages in the stars' wasn't really his favoured branch of astronomy, but it would be a lot more interesting than black cats and salt spillages.

    Listening carefully to the professor, looking for any hint that the lesson would be pointing up, Castor flicked through the notebook until his found the first blank page. While the right side was totally blank, the left side was a mess. It looked as if Castor had done a pageful of work, but had then gone back and filled in every blank space with stars and constellations, all neatly labelled and joined up with faint pencil lines. He took the date on the empty page, his left hand naturally falling over the covered one.
     
  18. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    Realizing that she probably should take notes, too, Petra opened her notebook to a fresh page, writing her name in the top right corner with the date. Her notes were sporadic and filled with abbreviations, most which wouldn't make much sense to the casual observer. By the end of class, she had a page and a half filled with half words and incomplete sentences written in purple ink. Cassie didn't glance back at Castor after her initial look of displeasure. At least she seemed harmless.

    The lesson never did appear to turn to the stars; they spent a lot of class time dissecting the variations of a broken mirror and what it can mean and when a broken mirror is simply that with no message tied to it. The end of class, however, was promising as Professor McAdams did indicate that they would start looking at messages in the stars and it would include an evening trip out by the lake to get a chance at it first hand.

    When class finally ended, Petra's Twizzlers were gone and empty (although, she offered Castor more throughout the class). Petra shoved everything--her pens, her notebook, and her candy wrapper--into her backpack, slinging it over her shoulder as she stood. "I still don't get how you're supposed to know if a mirror cracked while no one was in the room," she said conversationally as she prepared to head to their next class.
     
  19. romamaro

    romamaro Well-Known Member

    As the lesson dragged on, and it was obvious that astronomy was not the professor's chosen subject, Castor gradually started paying less and less attention. His eyes drifted from the front of the class, alternating between glancing out the window, trying to decipher Petra's notes, convincing himself that Cassie wasn't looking at him (he was just imagining it, obviously) and eventually returning to his map of the sky, counting the space between the stars with his fingertips. When Petra offered him more sweets, he'd only glance nervously at the professor then subtly shake his head.

    He only tuned back in near the end of the lesson, and wrote a note on the (still mostly blank) page: 'Stars next time!' He underlined it, then closed the notebook and started packing his things away. Since he'd only been half-listening to the lesson, he couldn't really do much but nod along with Petra, but tried to talk anyways. "I was really hoping she was gonna explain that," he said quietly, chuckling as he stood, "I mean, you could ask around. But still, what's the point?"

    His backpack hitched up high on his shoulders, he waited for the class to mostly clear before making the move to leave. "I think the next lesson will be better," he admitted. "But maybe I'm biased." What a ridiculous thought! A boy, whose entire family had dedicated themselves to astronomy, and who was literally named after a star, being biased about star-related lessons? Impossible!
     
  20. BrookeDi

    BrookeDi Well-Known Member Staff Member Benefactor Warden

    Petra giggled. Once again, she had noticed that Castor was less than focused on the lesson. "Who cares," she agreed. Lowering her voice as they exited the classroom, Cassie following along behind, "I don't believe in omens," she admitted. "There's no way that the universe is constantly telling us when good things or bad things are going to happen. People who believe so strongly in omens are going to see a correlation because that's what they want to believe. They see a black cat and later break a nail; they're going to relate the two because they want a connection."

    Realizing that Castor might believe in that stuff, she glanced over at him sheepishly. "Not that there's anything wrong with people believing in omens. My brother always says people need to believe in something." She cleared her throat, awkwardly.

    "I think it's all hokey," Cassie said, falling in line on Petra's other side. "Not a class I would have chosen for my schedule, but I guess it makes sense to learn from someone else's point of view."
     

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