Heinrich Hexenmeister
Sometimes The Powers That Be have a point
Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:50

Heinrich arrived to the feast early to ensure a good seat for observing the first years. His sister Hilda would be getting sorted tonight and he wanted to be able to see where she went. He did not anticipate her joining Aladren - too much impatience - so he didn’t try to save her a spot next to him. On non feast days, he expected to spend a fair number of meals in her company, if only because he knew her English was terrible - much worse than his had been two years ago, and he’d gotten dropped into the American school system with only about a month’s warning - and he didn’t want his little sister to be completely isolated here.

Tonight, though, she was unfortunately going to be on her own.

He was unsurprised to see her badge come out brown when the first years did come and it got to be her turn. He cheered for her, knowing Pecari would suit her, if she could just learn how to communicate with the people there. He was surprised to see her wait for another girl and look devastated when that girl’s badge came out yellow.

How in Merlin’s name did Hilda make a such a close friend so quickly? She couldn’t even tell people what her name was in English, last he knew. He’d been trying to coach her all summer into something approaching beginner level competence but she was stubborn and refused to learn. Unless she was just being obstinate and pretending she wasn’t absorbing what he was trying to pound into her very thick skull? He wouldn’t entirely put that past her. But he was pretty sure she was legitimately Not Trying And Therefore Not Getting It.

So with a dire enmity with the English language, how had Hilda already found such an instant kinship? Heinrich had been here two years and he still didn’t have a friend he was sad wasn’t in Aladren with him. He hardly even had friends period.

His sister and the other girl parted ways, and Heinrich’s eyes followed Hilda mostly, though they occasionally darted toward Teppenpaw in mild confusion and consideration. When Hilda stared showing flashcards to her neighbor though, he decided she must have figured out some way to communicate even if verbal English was beyond her ability right now.

Shaking his head at her problem solving skills, he thought maybe she had had a shot at Aladren after all. He still felt pretty sure she was much more Pecari though.

The movement must have been seen as an invitation to talk, because that was the same moment Jehan began talking. Now in his third year at the school, with English being as much a subject under study as Charms or Potions, Heinrich was getting close to fluent. He was considered Intermediate in all his magical subjects, and he felt his English had likewise moved out of beginner (lack of) fluency. He had realized in trying to teach Hilda how far he had come himself.

He had no trouble understanding the vocabulary or grammar of Jehan’s question. His own sentence structure was still a little weak compared to natives, and his accent was in no danger of disappearing, but he felt he was fluent enough to get his meaning across now under most circumstances and he could understand even more than he could say.

That said, the idea of eating dessert first floored him.

“Ah -“ Heinrich began, then hesitated as he worked out his answer first in German, then translated it with careful effort into as fine English as he could manage, “I never thought about it.” Trying to explain foreign grammar to an English-impaired sister had also helped solidify his own understanding of many of those concepts, and he wondered if anyone would notice through his accent that he really was talking better this year.

He eyed the desserts and then the main course options, seriously contemplating the matter. “Dessert tastes better and will make everything else taste worse, if you start there,” he decided, speaking slower than most Americans did, but he couldn’t think up English sentences that quickly yet. “Pudding is your reward for eating vegetables. Vegetables are a very poor reward for eating pudding.”

  • On time, and other mini-rebellionsJehan Callahan, Sun Jan 13 15:58
    Another opening feast meant another summer gone, another time at home endured, and another year older. Jehan felt that these were all equally valid ways of measuring the passage of time, a passage... more
    • Sometimes The Powers That Be have a point — Heinrich Hexenmeister, Tue Jan 15 12:50
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