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Tatiana Vorontsova, Pecari
I hate you.
Mon Aug 27, 2018 16:11

“Tatya – chto eto?” whispered Katerina.

“Ne znayu,” said Tatiana, scooting over so her sister could share her chair. The seats were, of necessity, large enough for seventh year boys and Tatiana was a small third year girl, so while it was a tight fit, they could just both manage to perch on it, each resting an arm on the edge of Tatiana’s desk to help keep their balance.

“Smotri – eto Professor Skies,” said Katya, catching a glimpse of their Transfiguration teacher through the crowd.

“O, net,” sighed Tatiana. “Mne ne nravit-sya Professor Skies. Ona vsegda govorit’ slishkom mnogo slov.”

Professor Skies did not disappoint, exactly, but Tatiana did not think it was the most overdone speech she had ever heard the Transfiguration teacher give. There were only two places where Tatiana had to concentrate around the pauses that were commas instead of full stops, ones which broke sentences up into units that were harder to parse. This was fortunate, as one of the units involved telling her that Cleo James was half-veela.

“Ch – “ she started to say out loud, but was silenced by the application of her sister’s elbow to her ribs.

Tatiana had never seen a veela, of course, any more than she had ever seen zhar-ptitsa, but she knew what they were. Both occupied many a story told in the wintertime; fire was troublesome at home, something which kept them alive in the long dark of winter, when the light could vanish for twenty-two hours at a time and those who ventured abroad could walk on water, but also something which could wreak havoc at a moment’s notice, particularly in the far east, where the forests could extend on and on and on, and there was always dead wood from the trees which had burst in the winter, victims of their own sap. One year, the taiga forests in Siberia had burned so wildly that Tatiana and her siblings had seen the smoke from their own house in Volshebnaya Derevnya; Tatiana had been completing her geography lesson when Sonia had run into the schoolroom. They had all gone out onto the balcony outside Mama’s room, and Grisha had helped Tatiana climb on top of a little table so she could see more clearly over the big ones’ heads – he had been holding Katya – until Mama had come in and spoken sharply to them all – going outdoors was not good when there was smoke in the air. Mama had told them, then, about stories she had heard from her amama, who had, like many witches and wizards in Russia, fled to the safety of the great empty places of the Far East during the Troubles a century ago, unaware of just how difficult it would be to try to create anything like the lives they had known there. The fires, Mama had said, could burn so fiercely that the smoke formed clouds which put off thunder and lightning just as natural ones did, lightning that would start yet more fires….

Of course, veela had nothing to do with that. Veela were Bulgarian, Romanian – from the South. One did not find them in the far Northeast – indeed, Tatiana was under the impression there was only so much of anything one found there; it was where prisoners and exiles went for a reason. There was not much to interest harpies there. If Tatiana could bind any man to her will, she, too, would go South, and find a rich one with a pleasant residence in the Crimea, maybe – she would not seek a mate in Siberia. Which, apparently, Cleo’s mother had not – she had somehow ended up with an American, if Cleo’s name was anything to go by….

This, though – this was impossible. Tatiana knew Cleo, somewhat. She had had a gardening club in Tatiana’s first year. She was impossibly pretty, yes, but not to the point of anything unnatural – was she?

And just like that, well before Tatiana could quite sort out what was what, much less discuss it with Katya, Professor Skies and the rest of the school were on their way out the door, leaving Tatiana’s class sitting quietly as though nothing had happened and they were just going to proceed into a normal lesson. In a way, Tatiana was glad about that – opening her bag, taking out note-paper and the little folding stands she put her textbook and her Anglo-Russian dictionary on, setting up her pen-stand and ink bottle – these gave her a moment to check back over everything she had heard and make sure she had understood it correctly, a helpful thing. She was pretty sure, however, that if she had missed something it had just been a finer point, not so important as the main one, which was that one of her classmates was actually not just another schoolgirl, but a creature out of stories – not, in short, actually really a girl at all.

Professor Hawthorne seemed, however, to object to this description – sort of – speaking of how wizards were also beings. Tatiana’s brow creased as her thoughts lapsed into Russian…Magly could understand the law – they were not much distinguishable from other people until they were handed wands and could not use them, and of course, before the Troubles, the tsars and tsarinas had been Muggles (though there were rumors, of course, about Petr and Ekaterina) – but they were not part of the community, now. How, then, did that add up, and how did Cleo fit into it, or anyone….

These ruminations might have made her head ache, had she not been distracted by Professor Hawthorne suddenly sounding vaguely like she was speaking Russian. Not exactly, of course, but – almost. Tatiana looked up, focused again, as the professor began speaking about Bulgaria, then automatically shrank back in her seat at the sight of the professor’s drawing. She had seen images of samodiva in their transformed state, of course – stories could be painted as much as told at home – but Western art was all different. For one thing, it was usually not as colorful as Russian art, and for another, it was often very…sharp. Pictures could look almost like photographs. Tatiana was no art critic, of course, much less an artist but – at home, the landscapes might be as real as one pleased, but people, animals, these were more stylized. Anton Petrovich had once given her a very boring lecture about why - personal portraits were one thing, but pictures such as those were symbols - windows to other places and times - rather than things in and of themselves, painted according to the lines of ancient patterns. Tatiana could glance at paintings in that tradition and while there would be marks of originality, in some ways, there would also be recognizable repetitions which would allow her to quickly identify the subject, without imbuing it with so much detail as to confuse the eye and give the image more power than was intrinsic to paintings.

Professor Hawthorne was going on, though, saying that one of the things that helped defend against Veela enchantments orientation. Tatiana stared blankly, lost again. Orientation was what first years went to, to learn their way around school - perhaps it was a kind of lesson? Maybe in focusing one’s mind, based on how Professor Hawthorne went on? Or maybe it was a kind of martial art - she had said something about ‘straight men,’ so men with good posture, perhaps achieved through extended practice? Did that mean ballet could help resist enchantments? Tatiana supposed there had to be some advantages to not liking to sit still - and maybe even to being easily distracted.

There had been words in the speech which she had not understood at all - susceptible, obsession, lust - but she thought she had sorted out enough. She remained firm in this happy delusion for several full seconds, even, after Kir McLeod began to speak, though she did wonder why he suddenly started talking about ‘liking’ people at the end. Of course people had friends who were like themselves; it was the opposite that led to trouble, led to courtships and marriages and life becoming very very tedious. Then Professor Hawthorne started talking again and her delusion was promptly shattered.

Tatiana stared blankly at the huge list of words Professor Hawthorne wrote on the board. She recognized letters, strung them together into sounds, but none of them made any sense, and neither did what the Professor was saying. She did not understand half the words and she did not understand the ways the words she did recognize were being used. And this was in the lesson now. She had to know it and there were so many words she didn’t understand and some of them weren’t even going on the blackboard -

She reached for her dictionary and started flipping, trying to suppress a surge of panic. One word often led to others, and by flipping back and forth, writing down definitions, often enough, she could figure out what was meant. She started with the word which began with ‘A’ - or tried to. Flip as she would, even checking the alphabets chart to make sure she had her English letters straight, she could not find it in her dictionary.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.

She covered her face in her hands, trying to block out the room, the excessive flow words, the smug boy who just kept making the words come. She put her elbows on the desk without any concern for propriety, pressing hard on her eyelids, not sure what would be more appropriate - crying or getting up, walking over to the smug boy, and hitting him as hard and as frequently as she could until she was physically stopped from doing so. This second plan was looking more and more alluring when she realized someone was seeking her attention.

"What?" she snapped, looking up, flushed and blurry-eyed, her mouth turning harshly downward.

OOC: In English….”Tatya, what is this?” “Don’t know.” “Look, it’s Professor Skies.” “Oh, no. I don’t like Professor Skies. She always says too many words.”

Zhar-ptitsa - firebird

  • I'll give you a break nowKir, Mon Aug 27 05:24
    If he hadn't already been in love with someone else, Kir thought that Professor Hawthorne was the kind of teacher he could easily have developed a crush on. She was smart, open minded, and really... more
    • Getting back on track Emerald Brockert, Aladren, Mon Sep 3 20:55
      Emerald walked into the crowded Defense room, avoiding both Topaz and Lily Spencer as best as she could and sat down. Neither of the two people she didn't want to be around should be here but... more
      • Yes, thank you for the question. Tabitha Hawthorne, Sat Sep 15 12:08
        Tabitha nodded in Emerald's direction when the girl stuck her hand up. She prayed that it wouldn't be a question about anything she'd just explained. Despite the fact that she thought it was right to ... more
      • No, wrong, badWinston Pierce, Crotalus, Wed Sep 5 14:37
        Winston was confused about the whole school coming to his DADA class, and the confusion did not go away even after Headmistress Skies dropped her bombshell. Well, he guessed that maybe it explained... more
        • I hope I made it a little better.Emerald, Mon Sep 17 13:44
          Emerald couldn't help but be pleased that Professor Hawthorne liked her question even if the answer wasn't very straightforward. In fact it didn't really answer her question very well at all. The... more
          • You didWinston Pierce, Thu Sep 20 20:21
            Winston smiled back at Emerald but it was short-lived. The fact that there was no easy magic defense to ward off Cleo (or other Veela, or half-Veela, but Cleo was the one in his class and House) was... more
    • I hate you. — Tatiana Vorontsova, Pecari, Mon Aug 27 16:11
      • Hoping to helpJehan Callahan, Aladren, Sat Sep 1 05:58
        It was a few days after MARS Incident 2.0, and things were still not back to normal. Jehan didn’t think they ever would go back to normal. He'd managed to hold off the tears until he'd returned to... more
        • You make my heart shake, bend and breakDorian Montoir, Teppenpaw, Sat Sep 1 08:37
          The dark circles under Dorian’s eyes were somewhat reduced by Monday morning. He had given in and gone to the medic for some sleeping draft, claiming the adjustment of timezones was messing him up.... more
          • This is more than I can take.Tatiana Vorontsova, Sat Sep 1 20:58
            Tatiana immediately regretted snapping, but like so many things she had said in her life, it was too late to take it back, to think rationally about the situation and calculate her response the way a ... more
            • I can't turn awayJehan Callahan, Tue Sep 4 10:39
              Jehan’s offer to help didn’t seem to have the desired effect, as Tatya buried her face in her hands again. Why did his friends all insist on apologising for things that weren’t their fault? But it... more
              • Anything hurts less than the quietDorian, Wed Sep 5 08:37
                One thing was clear: Jehan was in exactly as much pain as he was. Dorian felt his heart twist in absolute agony. That was the only thing that was clear though. Everything else was a mystery, and it... more
                • Something has to give here.Tatiana, Wed Sep 5 17:05
                  Emotional intelligence was not, it had to be acknowledged, one of Tatiana’s strong areas. She had very little capacity for introspection and tended to be too busy sweeping others – Katya, Alexei, her ... more
                  • RevelationJehan, Mon Sep 10 12:51
                    Jehan had known that his statement had been an unfair accusation, and this was corroborated by Dorian’s quick refutation of the idea. Still, Dorian had seemed to have been avoiding him, and he just... more
                    • Barely keeping upDorian, Tue Sep 11 18:54
                      Tatya would just tell the truth. Well, he had done that. Somewhat unintentionally, he supposed, but he had done, and how he felt had had Jehan running for the door. He wondered briefly whether Tatya... more
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