Katerina Vorontsov
But what is 'it'?
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:52

It had never occurred to Katya to sit anywhere but the very front of the room until the moment she entered the Transfiguration classroom. Then she saw Julius Astley and her mouth thinned in irritation.

Well. He could tell her not to speak, but he could not even prohibit that, much less her sitting wherever she wanted. She marched to the front of the room and chose the available seat as far as humanly possible from his.

She was here to learn, she thought, not to teach boors how to be civilized. Or anything other than to learn, really. She had to dedicate herself to learning magic and perfecting her English – the latter perhaps to help teach her little brother Alyosha, but also to increase her own accomplishments when she came out into society when she grew up. English was an increasingly useful language, she thought, and besides, the more languages she could manage in, the more accomplished she was, and the more she would eventually be able to rub it in the face of the likes of Julius Astley without technically saying a word out of turn.

That day, however, was still a long way away, as Professor Skies clearly demonstrated. Tak mnogo slov! Katya copied down everything on the board and just hoped she could catch up with the rest, suddenly understanding why her sister’s daily kit contained reading stands and dictionaries. Katya absolutely did not want to bring out her Russian versions of beginner textbooks or her Anglo-Russian dictionary in front of people, but she could see how it would be much more convenient to have less pride about that issue. It wouldn’t be foolproof, though – at one point she knew she heard the words “ten you” said together, and she couldn’t think of a construction she had seen where that made sense in the rest of the sentence she had mostly picked up.

One phrase did, however, leap out at her with absolute clarity: write language other than English. She could write Russian on the chart. Thank the vesnas.

Except…everyone else would not write Russian. Everyone else would presumably write English. It was an English school. Even the headings on the sheet itself were in English. So she should try to write English, so as not to stand out to the professor as foreign, strange, unintelligent. She was not here to write Russian; she had only spoken Russian with Tatiana at breakfast because Tatiana had been in one of her wild, bright moods and had pretended she could not remember how to speak English before she had her tea. It was not polite for them to speak Russian when other people were about, and since Monsieur Montoir had so kindly shown her down to breakfast, it had been bad of Tatiana to immediately start talking to Katerina in Russian. Monsieur Montoir understood some Russian, it was true, but it was not his language – they should have spoken either French or English at breakfast, and Katerina should write English now. Suppressing a wave of bitter disappointment, she set her mind to the task.

Chapter two had more about the tables. All right. She would go to chapter two. She had most likely, she thought, already read this information – in her last month at home, Anton Petrovich had had her translating back and forth in her textbooks to practice her academic English. Yes, she knew this. She had made notes in the margins about especially difficult terms and what they meant in Russian. She also knew the word ‘button’ – that was what was on various items of clothes. Her second English book had involved a whole chapter just about words about clothes and parts of clothes, when she had been learning how to read. So pebble, that was another word for the stone….

Professor Skies had made a very beautiful button. Katya wanted to do something like that, but she was not sure her stone was best-suited to it. It was not a very pretty stone – plain and grey. It would be very difficult, and this was the first time she had ever tried to Transfigure something instead of just reading about it.

“Pan-glous. Pan-go-lus – Pan – I am sorry,” she added to her neighbor. “I hope I do not bother you?”

  • Beginners - Button ItProfessor Skies, Fri Aug 10 22:04
    “Good morning,” Selina greeted the beginners class, eyes travelling around the room to take note of the new faces. A lot of the surnames on the roll call were familiar, and not just due to the usual... more
    • But what is 'it'? — Katerina Vorontsov, Thu Aug 16 10:52
      • 'It' is a pronoun whose meaning changes by contextHeinrich Hexenmeister, Mon Sep 10 07:11
        Heinrich was glad to be in second year. There were a lot of other problems associated to this year, but being the older half of the beginners was not one of them. He had a handle on how most subjects ... more
        • I suspect context can make 'it' a real headache of a word.Katerina Vorontsov, Mon Sep 10 17:37
          Heinrich. That was not a Russian name at all, of course – she had figured out reading history that someone Germans called Heinrich and the English called Henry, Russians would call Genrikh; Katya had ... more
          • He smiled back at Katya. For a moment, Heinrich couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with Katya’s English. It followed all the grammatical rules he knew, and almost could have come right out of... more
            • And tenses. Don't get me started on tenses.Katerina, Mon Sep 17 20:53
              Heinrich used short, straightforward sentences. This was – at least when it wasn’t done for her benefit, as it clearly wasn’t here – a trait Katya appreciated in a person. His grammar twisted on... more
              • Oh, I am with you there!Heinrich, Wed Oct 3 15:03
                German! She spoke German! Not perfectly, it was clear, but enough! Enough that it would have immediately gotten her an invitation to the ball last year, enough that his eyes widened in surprise and... more
                • Glad we're on the same page.Katerina, Wed Oct 10 11:40
                  Katya listened closely, glad for relatively short, straightforward sentences in German as well as English, and then shook her head. “No,” she said, also in German. “I do not go to Germany. Mama war – ... more
    • Let's just get on with it. Julius Astley, Sun Aug 12 16:07
      After the Opening Feast, Julius had been happy enough to be led to the Crotalus Common Room by the Deputy Headmistress no less. That was at least reassuring that the house he had been sorted into was ... more
      • That seems like a good idea.Nathaniel Mordue, Teppenpaw, Mon Sep 17 20:17
        The classrooms at Sonora had not changed much over the summer, though some of the faces in the rooms had changed. Nathaniel had hoped that being a second year, one of the big men in his class, would... more
        • It means I can go back to wishing I wasn't here.Julius Astley, Crotalus, Mon Sep 17 20:54
          Julius had been diligently filling out his transfiguration table, determined to focus on nothing but. He wasn't sure how he felt about transfiguration, still unsure as to its practical applications... more
          • Probably not the most productive use of your time.Nathaniel Mordue, Mon Sep 17 21:24
            Astley, California. Another western family, so Nathaniel recognized the name, though he was confident that their families were not close associates in any way. This was quite possibly a good thing –... more
    • A Button in a Pebble Stack [tag Ness and Malikhi]Evelyn Stones, Fri Aug 10 22:30
      After a quick 'Malikhi, this is Ness. Ness, Malikhi,' Evelyn had taken a seat between them. Having missed breakfast due to her conversation in the library with Ness, Evelyn hadn't actually gotten to... more
      • Can we keep the buttons?Malikhi Hill, Pecari, Fri Aug 10 23:14
        Malikhi wasn't particularly very happy upon arriving into the Transfiguration classroom. He had spent his breakfast at the Pecari table alone and in silence given that Evelyn seemed to be missing and ... more
        • No, they will revert back to pebblesNess McLeod, Aladren, Sat Aug 11 05:50
          It had been a pretty intense morning. Waking up in a new place was always an interesting experience - that little moment adjusting and remembering where you were. In this case, it was a place Ness... more
          • And so it begins....Evelyn Stones, Sat Aug 11 15:41
            Evelyn sighed as quietly as she could. She couldn't help sighing, but she could help whether it caused an issue or not. She wasn't even sure what emotion to feel first, although frustration and... more
            • I am not enjoying myselfMalikhi Hill, Pecari, Sat Aug 11 16:04
              Malikhi kept his eyes firmly fixed on his paper, his hair falling round his face as he scowled. If he'd have stared hard enough at his paper, there was possibly a chance that it would catch fire. He... more
              • Really? What's not to like?Ness, Sat Aug 11 22:50
                “Oh. Ok,” Ness nodded, with a slight curious hesitation as Evelyn revealed that the nickname was something only Malikhi used. The hesitation was because, like with most things, a bunch of follow up... more
                • I've done it all wrong!Evelyn Stones, Sun Aug 12 01:38
                  Upon hearing Ness' thoughts on their task, Evelyn was convinced she'd done it all wrong. She really did care about her relationship with these two, though, so there was no room for lying about it. "I ... more
                  • Everybody thinks differently. Malikhi Hill, Pecari, Sun Aug 12 15:33
                    Malikhi couldn't help but smile as Evelyn rattled through her thoughts and explanations. Somehow, it was just so Evelyn . She was somehow seeing beyond just the button and delved deeper, into the... more
                    • And some are buttholesNess, Mon Aug 13 07:10
                      “Different strokes for different folks,” Ness agreed with a cheery smile at Malikhi, “Unless the person’s “perspective” involves denying other people their basic human rights. Then it’s not really a... more
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