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Dorian Montoir, Teppenpaw
Of siblings, fate, and dancing forks
Sun Feb 18, 2018 00:01
13.94.24.138


Dorian took his seat in Charms, Émilie’s letter still clutched in his had, eyes skimming once more over the loops of her writing, the French style cursive that was almost indistinguishable from his own (his was just a touch neater - a fact that could no longer be excused merely by his being older, but was suggestive of their respective natures). The letter was long, and he wanted to read it again to absorb all the detail, and enjoy the feeling of Émilie’s company. She wrote like she spoke, thoughts spilling out at a mile a minute, the letter switching between French and English, even the occasional Chinese character, though these were few and far between. There was news of what she’d been eating, amusing descriptions of her Professors, brief mentions of the people she’d got to know so far… And she had posed him a question. At L’Institut, sorting was done at random, though siblings were always put in the same house (another reason he was glad not to have gone there - sharing a school with Matthieu would have been bad enough, but confined to the same close quarters!). Émilie seemed to feel a limited loyalty to being a Requin, determined as it had been not even by her own random assignment but Matthieu’s. The question she had put to him was Si je vais a Sonora with you, dans quelle house penses-tu que je serais? He was pretty sure the answer was Pecari. Émilie was a loving person but not always a very patient one. He wondered whether part of his fondness for Tatya stemmed from how she reminded him a little of his sister. That had got him thinking too about Matthieu. Matthieu was obsessed with family honour and reputation. He would without a doubt have gone into Crotalus. His brother and Jehan’s would have been roommates. He had noted the symmetry before in their ages - it was hard not to notice, both because it gave him and Jehan yet more in common but also because he couldn’t help but feel the sting in it. So similar, and yet so different. He wondered what a world would have been like in which Victor and Matthieu had ended up roommates - he didn’t exactly like to think of Matthieu at Sonora, which was why, in spite of their shared age, this particular line of thought had never occurred to him before. Would Matthieu have made Victor into a harder, meaner person? Was it possible that Victor would have turned Matthieu into a softer, nicer one - criticised Matthieu’s treatment of him? It seemed unlikely that Victor would trouble himself on Dorian’s account - risk upsetting the person he had to live with. But Victor didn’t seem like a cruel person - would he have just distanced himself once he realised Matthieu was? It was possible they would have just not got on at all, but he didn’t think so. They liked a lot of the same things. It was only in how they treated their little brothers that they differed so much. But if they hadn’t liked each other - or even if they had - would he and Jehan have arrived at school with preconceived notions about each other? Would it have changed things? But the one question he kept coming back to, more than any other, was Why? Why did he have to have Matthieu for a brother, when Jehan got Victor? Not that he wanted a trade, because he wouldn’t wish Matthieu on his worst enemy, much less his best friend. He had always assumed that it just wasn’t possible for people as different as he and Matthieu were to get along, but it wasn’t like that with Jehan and his brother. Victor was sporty, he didn’t understand what Jehan liked… But he didn’t beat him up over it. He didn’t even ever seem to have a cross word for Jehan. Victor and Jehan were close, in spite of all their differences, and Victor looked after his younger brother. So why did he have to have a brother like Matthieu when it wasn’t just inevitable? Dorian liked to believe that the universe had a plan. He found that comforting, especially when it pertained to love, and the firm belief he had that he would meet his soulmate one day. But how could he keep believing that everything happened for a reason when horrible things happened too? The only reason he could see for him being stuck with Matthieu was random cruelty - either fates that were mean spirited or no fates at all.

Si je vais a Sonora with you… If only. He had always known that the plan was to send only one of them there, and it had suited him for all manner of reasons, but he realised that he’d been picturing Émilie sitting with him and his friends in Cascade Hall, entertaining the possibility that that decision might change… They had always been so close. And now he had to let go of that possibility. She would be with Matthieu every day instead of with him. And, whilst he could not see his older brother becoming close to Émilie the way he was, or replacing him as her favourite, there would be ways in which they were closer. There were certain things he and Émilie shared, and would always share - the little jokes about their parents, the nicknames, the conversational habits, in jokes and artefacts of a shared childhood. But they were both building new lives. Ones that could only be explained to the other, not shared in the experience of. The things that happened at Sonora… He reported them to Émilie, but they were a more real and vivid part of his relationships at school than his relationship with her. And over time, the amount of that information would only grow. The balance would shift. Their shared languages and experiences would no longer form the majority of their life experience - he felt already, that they did not form the centre of his own life, his centre was here, and the only thing on the side of home was the amount of memories formed there. He didn’t want to grow apart from her. He turned the second sheaf of parchment over, so his eyes could trace the words ‘Gros bisoux, hugs’ and the Chinese character for ‘love,’ along with his sister’s signature and all the Xs which underlined her name, before he tucked the letter away as class began.

He gave Professor Wright his full attention. Dorian was a polite boy who had been raised to listen carefully to his teachers, and he also liked both Professor Wright (who had a gentle manner and tended to speak clearly) and the subject he taught. It was also doubly important that he gave the teachers his full focus given that he was being schooled in one of his weaker languages (he disliked the term ‘second language’ because he had three, and no idea how he would numerically order them if challenged to do so, given that he had learnt all three since birth. ‘Mother-tongue’ was similarly confusing. Non-native language worked best for English, and ‘weaker languages’ covered both English and Mandarin - and, he supposed, definitely described his Russian, though that was on such a different level as to not need to contend for the same descriptions. He did not regard himself a speaker of Russian, whereas he regarded himself as a speaker of both English and Mandarin, however bad a one he was). Even though the lesson was on a familiar subject, he wanted to pay careful attention, in case he had missed anything in his first year. And, even if there was no new information about the spell, it was good for his listening skills. He felt the repetition within the Sonora curriculum was helpful, and was possibly what made it an appealing school for non-native English speakers.

He raised his hand tentatively when Professor Wright asked about areas where finite incantatem would not work. Dorian had not been one to speak up much in class during his first year, self-conscious of his imperfect English. He still knew he had a lot to learn, and was still often frustrated by his limitations, but he knew he could make himself understood, and the constant reassurance of having friends who cared much more about what he said than how he said it had made him braver. He also wanted his peers and teachers to regard him as an intelligent and hard working student, especially Jehan. His best friend was the last person he ever expected to be judgemental, but he was in the ‘clever house,’ and Dorian felt a need to be worthy of Jehan. He worried sometimes that Je would get bored of slowing down to his pace, but if he, Dorian, did things like answer in class, it would hopefully remind Jehan that he wasn’t stupid - something Dorian knew he wasn’t but sometimes felt when he couldn’t collect his thoughts elegantly enough in English.

“Many hexes and jinxes,” he answered, taking care to enunciate the ‘h’ that he so frequently dropped so that the word was intelligible. “For example, you get hit with stinging jinx, you must go to the medic, it will not undo.”

The class sounded interesting, certainly enough to keep him occupied, as he had two spells to work on. Or, in some senses, one and a half… Though by only using half of the finite incantatem spell that actually made it harder. He wondered how would should calculate for that? On the other hand, the dancing feet spell was only revision, so perhaps that was really the one that only counted for half - it was merely something he had to do, not something he had to learn. He played with these thoughts to amuse himself as he lined up, selecting a fork when he got to the box.

He returned to his table. Task one, une fourchette qui danse. It sounded like a children’s story. Pictures flitted through his mind of forks in formal wear, paired up and twirling around together - though no, forks should dance with knives, that was more logical. Last year, the term ‘dancing’ had been rather loosely applied when they had studied this spell (although perhaps this interpretation was partly due to Dorian’s limited view of what ‘dancing’ meant as much as any actual deficiencies in the spellcasting of his classmates), but Dorian was determined to make his fork do a proper waltz - as much as something without feet, and bereft of a companion piece of cutlery, could be said to properly do any form of ballroom dance. He focussed on the movements of the dance, casting the charm. The fork rose onto its end, and bumped its way around desk, in a decently elegant fashion. Whilst it lacked two separate feet with which to execute back, side, close, the things that it had in its favour - in terms of regarding its movements as a waltz - were that it was moving backwards (the forks had been female, the knives male in his head - he had no idea why, but they were), was progressing around his table in circles, as if it was a miniature dance floor and - he checked by humming softly and tapping the table - it was moving in three-four timing. He felt almost sorry to spoil its fun, but he was not going to get full credit for class just for this, however well his fork waltzed.

“Finite,” he cast, concentrating as firmly as possible. Stop. Arrêtez. Tíngzhǐ. He tried to think it as firmly as possible, but Dorian did not exactly have a very commanding nature. Pleas to stop, to arrêtez… He made them often but they were very rarely listened to. The spell did enough to slow his fork down, to make it start to stumble drunkenly, losing its timing and grace, until it fell with a clatter onto his neighbour’s section of the desk.

“Pardon me,” he apologised, retrieving it. “I suppose it stop… Just not quick enough,” he evaluated his effort.

  • Stop what that’s doing, Beginners (1st and 2nd years)Professor Wright, Sat Feb 17 10:46
    Magic, it seemed, was in the air this year, and not in a cliched or customary way. Instead, all the students were trying - completely inadvertently, but nevertheless - to kill them. One was... more
    • I...technically followed directions?Nathaniel Mordue, Teppenpaw, Thu Feb 22 20:22
      Nathaniel had had more than one tutor over the course of his education, of course, but that had done little to prepare him for the variety he found in the teachers at Sonora. It was a slightly dazing ... more
      • Sorry what? There's a buzzing in my ear.Parker Fitzgerald, Tue Feb 27 11:46
        Parker had started to receive letters back from old friends and his sister, and it was weird. He'd always known they had lives without him there, but when he'd been home last, it seemed like nothing... more
        • Sorry, sorry, sorry about that.Nathaniel, Tue Feb 27 14:44
          Nathaniel half-smiled when his neighbor said he thought Nathaniel ought to get extra credit for his...display. “I’ll try,” he said when advised to make it ‘softer’ next time. He decided not to admit... more
          • It worked! Parker had made it stop on the first try. Though not necessarily a minor miracle, it made him feel more accomplished with this magic stuff then he had since the last time he had been on a... more
            • I really hope you both get back to normal now.Professor Wright, Wed Feb 28 18:56
              Gray looked up when he heard something begin whistling like a teakettle - very distinctly like a teakettle - because he knew that he had not put any spells on anything to make that happen. Loud... more
              • Edit: Misreading on my part.Professor Wright, Wed Feb 28 20:39
                OOC: Sorry, Parker, I misread your original post and thought it was your vase which transformed. The last two paragraphs should have read: “Gentlemen, I know it’s fun to play around with Charms... more
    • Of siblings, fate, and dancing forks — Dorian Montoir, Teppenpaw, Sun Feb 18 00:01
      • And balls and teacups.Ruby Brockert,Teppenpaw, Tue Feb 27 11:25
        Ruby was really excited about this year. Well, she was excited for the ball. As a twelve year old, she was too young to attend the fancy ones that her parents did so this was going to be great! She... more
        • But what is a teacup?Dorian, Wed Feb 28 06:59
          His desk partner seemed not to mind the intrusion of his cutlery into their personal space, which was good. He hadn’t met many people at Sonora yet who seemed like they would, but he was pleased to... more
          • Something you drink tea out of?Ruby, Tue Mar 27 14:27
            “You’re welcome.” She replied. Ruby had learned French as a child as part of her lessons but her parents hadn’t cared a great deal how fluent she was. Actually Mother seemed to not care how well they ... more
            • “Yes, true,” he nodded, when she said that it would be hard to drink from something that kept moving. He gave her a half smile as the amusing image danced through his head. As Ruby talked more, he... more
    • I think I can handle thatMichael DiCaprio, Pecari, Sat Feb 17 20:00
      Already in just a few weeks Mikey had found his spot in all of his classes. He liked being in the middle, but off-center so his teacher wouldn't be looking directly at him. Some classes he was on the ... more
      • As can IJasmine Delachene, Crotalus, Tue Feb 20 11:44
        Jasmine quite liked being a second year. She felt competent. This early in the year, most of the lessons were review as the first years got up to speed, and the second years just had to work at... more
        • I think you're better than me hereMikey, Sat Feb 24 03:37
          It was intimidating sitting next to a pretty girl that he hadn't grown up with. She was really good at Charms too. "You're really good," he told her, impressed. "It's super fun to watch." Though... more
          • I have an extra year of practice Jasmine, Wed Mar 14 15:59
            Jasmine smiled and tried not to preen too much at the compliments Mikey was giving her. “Thank you,” she responded in her best attempt at Demure. “You’ll catch on before you know it,” she added... more
            • That is trueMikey, Thu Apr 5 20:00
              "I hope so," Mikey replied. It seemed impossible right now with so many new spells and incantations to memorize. Even though it was super fun doing it, he had a hard time getting them all to stick in ... more
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