Tatiana Vorontsova, Pecari
Not for the well-arranged mind, I've been told.
Wed Aug 15, 2018 18:20

Tatiana could not say she was delighted to have new professors to deal with, but it was nothing to do with the women involved themselves. It was, rather, another consequence of her ongoing hostilities with the English language. Getting used to a new English speaker was still something of a trial – the little differences in accents and pronunciations, the speed at which they spoke, the way they emphasized or didn’t emphasize words, the grammatical quirks which varied from person to person. It was always an adjustment, and while it had grown easier since her first year, it still wasn’t her favorite thing to do.

Other than that, however, Tatiana thought she was mostly in favor of Professor Brooding, if only because she was interesting to look at. Today, for instance – her hair was long-long-long, which Tatiana found fascinating (as a grown-up lady, she would be expected to have long hair, as one could not put up short hair, but not that long), and she was wearing red. Red was a good color. Professor Brooding was the sort of person everyone would notice when she entered a room, which was one of Tatiana’s own goals. If the professor would just let Tatiana pin some brooches to her….

Even Tatiana, of course, knew this was unlikely, but a girl could dream. It had happened with the much-missed Ingrid. A professor submitting to her ministrations was not that much less likely.

Tatiana’s own ability to be interesting was severely limited by the rules about what could be worn during the day at boarding school, but she tried. For Potions, she forsook the pretty hair combs Dorya had given her, instead pulling her own long (but significantly shorter than Professor Brooding’s) light brown hair back with the faux pearl-edged band which had gone with her ball dress, and had fastened a square sky blue topaz brooch with a border of seed pearls to the neck of her robes. Beneath it fell two strands of oval milky aquamarine beads, a paler blue-green than the brooch, and in her ears were her cushion-cut dark blue topazes. She hoped the miscellaneous blues at least added some interest and variety to her appearance for onlookers; she found it depressing just looking at her classmates, all in identical plain green, all day sometimes. There was so little beauty in America, or so it seemed sometimes.

There was also little Russian text, which was another interesting thing about this class. The bottles were labelled in a variety of languages. Tatiana, unlike Katerina, only knew just more than the bare minimum necessary to distinguish French and German and German and English, but the Russian leapt out at her in its sheer legibility. She did not know why this was a feature, but she couldn’t say she didn’t like it, or that she wasn’t happy to see Dorian had Chinese writing to look at, or that she had even recognized a character here and there, even though she couldn’t really put them together properly at all.

She could, however, usually put together potions fairly well. Antidote to Common Poisons – a practical enough thing to know, she supposed. More practical, anyway, than her preferred solution to poisoning, which would be drinking from amethyst or agate goblets. Except that one had to know one had been poisoned first to take an antidote, whereas the goblets could be used either way…but they were rather expensive. The very best amethysts, the ones from Siberia, were fairly valuable; Tatiana had watched Papa haggle over some he had given Anya for her birthday one year, which had been set into three brooches which could be clipped together in different ways to make either a necklace or a tiara. Anya actually preferred the paler rose de France amethysts and white and lavender jadeite – Anya had one truly exquisite necklace with a removable pendant-brooch which was carved into a basket of lilacs in white and lavender jade, with green jade leaves – and lavender pearls, but those were not so valuable, good just for being pretty – all, Tatiana thought sourly, very unlike Anya’s engagement ring. That purple star sapphire alone, even without its admittedly beautiful and skillfully worked setting, was probably worth as much as most of Tatiana’s jewelry put together….

She sighed in annoyance, still put out that Anya had not called off the engagement as soon as she realized it would mean leaving the rest of them, and began preparing to brew. This was, for her, a multi-step process – removing her rings and bracelets and putting them in her small box, putting that in the slightly disproportionate depths of her handbag along with her hat and the silk gloves she wore when she walked outside, setting out reading stands and propping up her textbook and Anglo-Russian dictionary (still an occasionally deeply useful accessory, even after two full years here) on them, and then digging out her dragonhide gloves to ensure she didn’t burn the skin off her hands at some point.

A downside to these gloves, however, was that while they protected her very well, they also made it slightly hard to get the best possible grip on a mortar. Tatiana suspected the slightness of her arms did her no favors when it came to grinding up stone-hard objects, either, as she considered whether she could push down hard enough with the pestle to lift herself off her feet. Before she could test this, however, the bezoar slipped from beneath the pestle and shot across to the other side of the bowl, bringing another irritated huff.

“Maybe she has plan, us all become Beaters,” she remarked to her neighbor.

OOC: The idea that drinking from cups carved from amethyst, agate, jade, or a few other things, depending on region, could nullify poison appears in multiple folklores; the Greeks also believed drinking from amethyst goblets would prevent drunkenness. Have not tested it, but don’t recommend it.

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