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Nathaniel Mordue
Why stop at one section?
Sun Jun 3, 2018 12:40

Nathaniel was anxious about Sylvia - he could see no other logical response to knowing that his cousin was ill while she showed no signs of illness and there was no way to tell when she would abruptly begin doing so - but while her condition remained in Limbo, the rest of his life went relentlessly on, demanding his attention at every turn. There were always lessons to attend, homework to do, and to beg off any of that - or even give it less than his best - because of anxiety over his cousin would be self-indulgent of him. Especially since he couldn’t honestly deny that he would have rather spent his time with Sylvia, or even alone, than in dutiful study anyway. Therefore, he had to spend a certain amount of time in the library.

Transfiguration and Potions were frequent causes of these searches for extra information, or at least for different presentations, easier-to-understand presentations, of the same information. Potions’ challenges were not to be sneered at - the memorization, the occasional apparent contradiction in terms in theory - but today it was Transfiguration which drove him to the stacks, the subject on the syllabus which was often the most stubbornly esoteric. For this reason, when Nathaniel opened a book he had just removed from the shelf and found he could not understand a single word on the page, he felt a flash of despair before he realized that this made no sense. There were places where the symbols and variables and terms of Transfiguration spread across pages like fanning fungi with no clear relationship to the English language, but this was the table of contents. It was also everything on the page, and recognizably Not English - even though the title on the spine, when he’d put his hand on it, had been. He looked up in surprise, met Heinrich Hexemeister’s eyes, and was promptly frowned at so severely that for a moment he thought Heinrich thought Nathaniel was responsible for the aberration, until he realized that also didn’t make any sense.

”Englisch is hard,” said Heinrich, hugging books, and Nathaniel realized what must have happened.

“So is German,” said Nathaniel, with a slight smile he hoped removed any sting from the comment he’d made before he thought. He had always gotten the impression that Germany was a very severe, humorless sort of place - though admittedly he had the same impression of Russia, and Miss Vorontsov’s tendencies to bejewel herself to the point that she could wave to someone on the other side of the border of gaudiness and to often seem very merry with her friends seemed to contradict that. “I didn’t have much luck learning it, anyway.”

There was no point in pointing out that Heinrich was probably ill - he probably knew that, and in any case, they were in classrooms together most of the day and so there was no real point to trying to avoid people to avoid a second infection, if that was something that could occur. It was just going to go around and around until it stopped, or they found some treatment or disinfectant for the school for it. “Since the whole library is usually English, though, I think everyone should forgive you for the Transfiguration books not being for a little while,” he added.

  • I claim this section in the name of DeutschlandHeinrich Hexenmeister, Thu May 31 13:49
    Heinrich was trying to find a book. He was in a library, so he was in a good spot for it, but the problem was that this particular library, like most of the people in it, was predominantly dominated... more
    • Why stop at one section? — Nathaniel Mordue, Sun Jun 3 12:40
      • I don’t want to be greedy.Heinrich, Thu Jun 7 15:14
        Heinrich knew, of course, that English speakers called his native tongue German. In all truth, “German” means “Deutsch” was a much easier leap for him than “Dutch” means “Holländisch”, but it still... more
        • Whyever not?Nathaniel, Thu Jun 14 11:24
          Nathaniel looked blankly at Heinrich for a moment, both because of the need to organize the grammar in his head and because he didn’t quite follow the details – why would Heinrich offer to teach him... more
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