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John Umland
Bah, humbug.
Sat May 20, 2017 11:15

Most years, the two annual feasts were events to at least mildly look forward to – not too much, of course, as they began periods of separation from his family, but still. After being away from Sonora for a bit, the Feasts were pleasant enough occasions if John was in at least a moderately social mood, and even when he wasn’t the food was good. So there was always that.

This year, however, that was a very minor consideration indeed, as John hadn’t left Sonora for the holidays. He had planned to spend almost all his time holed up in Aladren, reading and working, but the lure of the almost empty school building had proven too much for him. He had spent a lot of time reading and working, but also a lot just wandering around, enjoying the peace and quiet and the finally feeling comfortable going wherever he liked because there was no-one else there. The price, of course, was feeling guilty about enjoying himself when he was hurting his mother by doing it, and now being horribly annoyed by the very prospect of everyone else coming back.

Well – almost everyone else. Pye was gone. This was not, however, helpful. There were still enough people pouring into the building to make him want to shred something. If Aiden hadn't decided to bail and land him with the Head Boy badge, John didn’t think he would have even gone to the Feast this year, his last time, but since the Teppenpaw had, he supposed he had no real choice in the matter and so decided to get on with it.

As everyone settled down, he looked over the Teppenpaw table several times until he saw Joe. Joe did not see him; John could not say if this was unintentional or not. It was possible Joe was ignoring his existence just to stay out of detention, as he suspected his brother was royally angry with him right about now, but it was also possible he was just…being a Teppenpaw. That John’s absence had not been enough of a problem for anyone at home to upset Joe and that Joe was therefore just having a nice time with his friends. That was what John had wanted to happen – for the family to realize they were better off without him and start acting like there were just three brothers with one sister in the family – so why, now that it was possible that it had happened, did the thought make him completely miserable?

Pure selfishness, of course. Mom always cautioned against Pride – she didn’t realize what the real problem was. I do what I do not want to do, and what I want to do, I do not do. For God’s sake, I just want to know – Mom, Dad, Paul, Joanie – Julian – I just want to know if they’re all right – couldn’t he decide to be a sadist just this once and rub my face in how nobody gives a damn that I wasn’t there? Should I ask? But I can’t ask.

Irrelevant data. Feeling sorry for himself wasn’t going to help anything. Brockert was talking, talking about things that were relevant. He glanced over the new Pye, who evidently preferred to be called Nash but who John suspected he was going to keep thinking of as New Pye unless he proved a lot more interesting than people usually did in the one semester John was going to know him from a hatrack. New Pye was even better-looking than Old Pye, so John was instantly disinclined to think there was much of a chance that he’d prove interesting enough to warrant becoming Nash in half a year instead of just remaining New Pye in John’s head, though something about the man’s real name did ring a bell…where had he heard it before? It was a remarkably common-sounding name, of course, but he was sure there was some specific association….

Probably not relevant. Especially now that the food was out. John poured himself a cup of tea, then took a sip. He only just remembered to mentally compare it to the tea at home and deem it inferior. He had, if he was to be honest, almost forgotten what tea did taste like at home, but honesty – dreadful habit, that. Nothing but trouble that way. Even the project he was working on to secure his future involved a number of lies, lies he’d had to tell to have any chance of having a nice life after June. He noticed someone was looking at him and assumed it had something to do with him sitting there drinking tea with an empty plate in front of him. “Hello,” he said.

  • Returning FeastHeadmaster Brockert, Fri May 19 20:23
    The school year had not started out on a good note. First of all, there was the fact that some students had withdrawn, which could reflect poorly on Sonora as a whole. More importantly though, it... more
    • Midterm SucksKira Spaulding, Mon May 29 08:47
      This year, Kira had come to a decision about midterm-she absolutely loathed it. The holidays had used to be an all right time minus the part where she was not technically supposed to be using magic,... more
      • I concur.Simon Mordue, Wed May 31 13:52
        Balls and parties were far from Simon’s favorite occasions in the world, but this winter, he had discovered that there was, in fact, something worse than having to stand around and try to look... more
        • I have mixed feelings on you concurring.Kira, Sat Jun 10 14:38
          Kira had been very involved in eating her spaghetti as neatly as possible when addressed which was probably why she didn't seem more enthusiastic when she greeted Simon as she was pretty concentrated ... more
    • ReturningTasha DuBois, Mon May 29 06:53
      Tasha had had another great midterm. This year, after visiting her father's family in France-always a more peaceful and less dysfunctional time than spending the holidays with her mother's... more
    • Needing a favour (tag Ben)Kyte Collindale, Sun May 28 09:27
      It was lucky that fourth year didn’t really count. Kyte had formed this opinion pretty early on in the term - he was over the step up and difficulty that came with transitioning to intermediates, but ... more
      • A counter proposal Ben, Wed May 31 12:27
        Ben had a great midterm. He'd gone skiing with his aunt and uncle and that was always a good time. And Christmas was loads of fun with the new baby to make it interesting. Cole was six months old and ... more
        • NegotiationsKyte, Thu Jun 1 06:32
          “New hat, new shirt?” Kyte guessed, as Ben mentioned a good haul of presents, “Very nice,” he complimented. He still neither fully understood the rules of baseball, nor why these people mattered so... more
          • I think we've reached a dealBen, Fri Jun 2 09:37
            "Yep," Ben agreed, grinning and adjusting his ballcap as it got mentioned, "still getting used to this one," he admitted. It would get softer and more comfortable with use, though, and the fact that... more
    • Still Quietly Intrigued Jen White, Sat May 27 14:35
      The only thing really that was better at home than at school was that Jen still hadn’t convinced her Mom to let her bring her own board. She’d had a great time skating in midterm. It sucked that her... more
      • Still Quietly Intrigued (full post this time)Jennifer White, Sat May 27 14:45
        Coming back to school after midterm felt like coming back home. As she was intending to spend the next six and a half years there, Jen was satisfied with this outcome. The few kids she’d interacted... more
        • Same...Kir McLeod, Sun May 28 10:08
          Kir loved his family, and he loved what they did. The McLeod Foundation, started by his aunt and her wife, provided a place for people to go when they didn’t have many other options. It was mostly... more
          • CoolJen White, Tue Jun 6 05:07
            Teppenpaw Kir was probably one of those habitually nice people. Jen was in awe of anyone who seemed always to be in a good mood - she lived a sheltered, well-provided-for sort of life and even she... more
    • Trying something new.Lily Spencer, Fri May 26 08:30
      After losing last term's Quidditch match, Lily had cried like a baby. She couldn't help it, but at least she'd been able to wait until the locker room to let her tears flow. She'd been miserable the... more
      • Spoken like a true PecariIngrid Wolseithcrafte, Thu Jun 1 02:39
        They had lost the first match of the season. It sucked, especially for Lily, who had to have felt it as Seeker. Ingrid had seen her crying after the match and done her best to comfort her. She didn’t ... more
        • Bold and proud.Lily, Fri Jun 2 12:11
          Lily was happy Ingrid was sitting with her. After the devastating Quidditch match, the older witch had done her best to comfort her. Lily hadn't been consoled at the time, but now she appreciated it... more
    • Tagging JemimaOwen Brockert, Fri May 26 05:52
      As usual, Owen was glad to be back at Sonora. While he loved his family very much, he missed being with Jemima. He had seen her during the break as usual but that was never the same as seeing her... more
      • Searching for new thingsJemima Wolseithcrafte, Sun May 28 07:47
        Jemima knew that she was very lucky. She had Owen, and he was her soulmate. Not every Pureblood girl even got to marry for love, let alone true, fairy story love. And she and Owen were in the same... more
        • Um....I have some ideas.Owen, Tue May 30 09:41
          Owen, though already in a pretty good mood, perked up a bit more when Jemima mentioned mashed pumpkin with garlic. After Jemima and writing, garlic was one of the things in the world he loved best.... more
          • Making things harderJemima, Thu Jun 1 01:44
            “Olive bread with olive dip,” she grinned, “In at the deep end.” She took the dishes Owen passed her, applying a cautious layer of the dip to the bread. “Oops,” she said, as she caught the edge of... more
            • Um, that's...really accurate.Owen, Fri Jun 2 10:21
              Oh. Dear. Merlin. As Jemima licked dip off of her finger, Owen felt...well, something that despite his abilities as a writer he was at a loss of words to describe. This wasn't something he ever ever... more
    • We're going on a friend huntCleo James, Wed May 24 20:22
      Cleo stared around the Cascade Hall and realised, with a sigh, that it was in fact possible to be both incredibly impressed by somewhere and to simultaneously wish you were elsewhere. Their little... more
      • Not the kind that ends with heads on walls, I hope?Amelia Layne, Thu May 25 20:23
        Upon leaving the wagon in South Carolina, Amelia had maintained the attitude of a poised young person with some sense of dignity for approximately three seconds before squealing in delight and doing... more
        • Cleo nodded along politely to Amelia’s rhetorical ‘yknow,’ even though she actually had no idea what it would be like to have a sibling at school, and then to fail to miss them, seeing as she was an... more
          • Amelia nodded her agreement as Cleo remarked on how difficult it was to believe they were in the middle of the desert. “I know,” she said. “I just wish we could do something like...whatever’s going... more
            • “So, I guess you’re from somewhere with hot summers, reasonably far from here,” Cleo sleuthed, as Amelia mentioned both unbearable summer temperatures and a substantial time difference. She herself... more
              • Fair point.Amelia, Thu Jun 1 17:44
                “South Carolina,” confirmed Amelia. “Right on the coast. The East coast. My brain isn’t going to accept anything the clocks around here say for the next three days I bet. I hope John doesn’t feel... more
                • “Oh, that is far!” Cleo sympathised, when Amelia described where she was from. “I promise not to take offence if you start yawning. You must be exhausted.” Amelia’s family sounded interesting, and... more
                  • Sprung from cages out on highway nine.Amelia, Thu Jun 1 21:25
                    Amelia grinned gratefully at the promise of forgiveness if she started yawning at the table. “Thanks,” she said. “I took a nap before the Feast, so I might be okay, but…yeah, thanks,” she laughed.... more
                    • So, you wanna be Bruce or Wendy?Cleo, Fri Jun 2 03:06
                      It seemed like Amelia had a fairly extensive family, and there were plenty of potential apprentices to take up her Uncle Geoff’s profession if she declined. Cleo often wondered what it was like to be ... more
    • A much needed breatherZevalyn Ives, Mon May 22 11:41
      Zevalyn had stayed at Sonora over midterm. Her parents lived right in Phoenix so she did see them (briefly) on Christmas when she was escorted to the city for Church. Otherwise, though, she spent her ... more
      • Sit back, relax, enjoyGeorgia Kirkly, Thu May 25 09:34
        Weird was the new normal. It wasn’t the first school holiday that Georgia had spent shuttling between her parents. It wasn’t nice, she still didn’t like it, but it had actually been the status quo... more
        • Is there lemonade?Zevalyn, Fri May 26 08:41
          "Greek?" Zevalyn repeated, momentarily confused by the question before she dismissed it as nothing more than a wildly inaccurate guess as to her name's origin. "No, my parents made it up. Well, my... more
          • ProbablyGeorgia, Sat May 27 20:36
            “Oh. Wow,” Georgia blinked, in response to the fact that Zevalyn’s name was made up. That was weird. She was pretty sure she’d never met anyone with a made up name before. Between that and being a... more
            • Awesome. I love lemonade.Zevalyn, Wed May 31 13:25
              "Worst part was that I couldn't go home for Christmas," Zevalyn complained when Georgia offered her sympathy for the scheduled madness she was going through with her lessons. "I can't practice at... more
              • Maybe we should get cookies too?Georgia, Thu Jun 1 04:15
                “What? That’s so awful!” Georgia sympathised, when Zevalyn reported that she hadn’t been able to go home for Christmas. She had thought her Christmases kind of sucked, being shuttled between and... more
                • Zevalyn goggled a little bit as Georgia told her about what Quidditch was. She'd heard of it, of course, Aladren had been pretty desperate in its recruiting this year, but she'd been too busy with... more
    • But....but(t)....Scarlett Brockert, Mon May 22 00:05
      Scarlett stared at the staff table. Professor Pye was gone? How could this be ! The whole reason she was taking DADA in the first place was so she could ogle him. What was the point of the class now? ... more
      • I know!Lauren Song, Sat May 27 12:49
        Though Lauren usually sat at the Teppenpaw table during the welcoming feasts, she decided to branch out a little. It wasn't like it really mattered at the Returning Feast, anyway, and she was hoping... more
        • Right?Scarlett, Wed May 31 06:25
          Scarlett was slightly surprised to hear Lauren Song mention her dad visiting her-and presumably her brother, as she had said "us"-over midterm. Okay, actually Scarlett was surprised to see Lauren... more
          • Woes of a teenage girlLauren, Wed May 31 11:22
            Lauren enjoyed talking about her family, though explaining her family situation got a little complicated. Not many people really asked, though, so she didn't really find herself in that situation... more
            • Not feeling too woeful myself.Scarlett, Thu Jun 8 13:08
              Scarlett listened as Lauren talked about her holidays and tried to hide her confusion.Not at the mention of Christmas as the Pecari knew that a lot of people had sold out to the more commonly... more
    • Of Christmas, coconuts, and Victorian literature.Joe Umland, Sat May 20 19:37
      Christmas could have been worse, Joe supposed. Certainly it had been better than he had feared it would be. Mom hadn’t said anything to him about trying to knock some sense into John back in... more
      • Of Christmas, Dueling, and, um, more DuelingJozua Sparks, Tue May 23 11:10
        Jozua was normally a pretty decent student. He'd grown up in the town called Aladren after all, and his mom had been from the Sonora House Aladren, so some things just rubbed off. The last two or... more
        • Joe had realized there were going to be a lot of headaches until the teachers got themselves sorted out and replaced and whatnot, but the logistics of extracurricular activities were not things he... more
          • You picked up on that, did you?Jozua Sparks, Thu May 25 21:21
            Jozua nodded in agreement that teaching solely Advanced classes suggested a higher base knowledge in the subject, which would probably be a good thing in a person trying to keep a bunch of 11-18 year ... more
            • I am a master of observation.Joe Umland, Fri May 26 14:46
              Joe nodded his agreement about back-up plans, glad they were thinking similar thoughts. “You know it,” he said. The question about breaks was, by definition, a boring question. Everyone asked it and... more
              • It is an excellent trait to possessJozua, Fri May 26 20:37
                Jozua nodded in sympathy when Joe predictably admitted his midterm had lacked the glory and wonder of Jozua's. Not everyone could have The Best Midterm Ever, and Jozua had surely claimed it this... more
                • Thank you, I quite agree.Joe Umland , Sun May 28 11:47
                  “Hm, probably not,” agreed Joe when Jozua got really specific about a drawback of life in Aladren. “Unless you’ve got immigrants of a certain age from Saskatchewan. My granddad might know them. I... more
                  • Continuing to overshareJozua Sparks, Wed May 31 14:27
                    Jozua twisted his expression into uncertainty and wiggled his hand out in front of him. "We've got immigrants," he admitted. "I know of one from the Netherlands in the form of my mother, but," he... more
                    • Continuing to ask questions.Joe Umland, Wed May 31 16:03
                      Jozua’s mother was from the Netherlands*? Well, that was not something he thought one heard every day. Joe knew this was probably not interesting if one was used to it, but he still considered this... more
    • Bah, humbug. — John Umland, Sat May 20 11:15
      • Is it really that bad?Aislinn Nicolls, Sat May 20 22:00
        Aislinn stared over towards the Pecari table at her sister. She was worried about Sutton. Yesterday, her sister had looked like her sister, but today, she looked like someone else. She was dressing... more
        • Yeah, pretty much.John, Wed May 24 18:09
          The person observing his distraction was Aislinn. John did not know if this was better or worse than someone else doing it. On one hand, she seemed not to mind his strangeness in general, but on the... more
          • Tomorrow's another day.Aislinn, Fri Jun 9 09:57
            If Aislinn didn’t have amazing self control, she probably would have been sitting with her mouth hanging open in shock for the fact that John had stated to some form that he had missed her. She... more
            • Here's hoping it isn't worse than today.John, Sun Jun 11 11:23
              Complicated. That was a loaded word if John had ever heard one. The sensible thing, he knew, to do whenever someone mentioned that things were complicated was to run screaming in the opposite... more
    • Hey, I'm back again, Sonora.Substitute Professor Daniel Nash II, Sat May 20 08:59
      It had been about fourteen years since Daniel Nash left Sonora for the last time. Walking into the school now, he was surprised by how much was the same, and how much it . . . wasn't the same. The... more
      • As am ITarquin Reynolds, Aged Librarian, Sun May 28 08:30
        Christmas had been a little different this year. It had been something of a milestone. He and Danny were no longer the parents to whom the little chicks returned - they were the aged and visiting... more
        • Is it weird for you, too?Daniel, Wed May 31 10:00
          Tarquin. Daniel was reasonably certain he didn't find that name familiar but he had not really been on a first name basis with any of the Sonora staff when he'd been a mere student. Tarquin was... more
          • It's fairly strangeTarquin, Thu Jun 1 03:51
            Holly. Maybe that rang a bell. But it was hard to tell from where. It wasn’t a terribly unusual name, and there were all the various children that Henny and Charlie had known at primary school to... more
            • Glad to know I'm not aloneDaniel, Fri Jun 2 12:26
              Ah, librarian. Now that he said that, Daniel could maybe place the guy - he had checked out a good many books even just in his first year - but it had been a long time ago and a fairly... more
              • Glad to assistTarquin, Thu Jun 8 09:55
                Tarquin just tried to nod at the appropriate points in Daniel’s narrative. He was aware of television, and he thought that being an actor on it was considered a profession of some status in the... more
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