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John Umland
I'm amenable.
Wed Jan 27, 2016 16:16

Water, Earth, Fire, Air: the corruptible classical elements, and items which lived together about as harmoniously as Team Three. Air dried water and could, if the proportions were right, snuff out fire and wear away earth, water and earth also snuffed out fire, water wore away and displaced earth, earth and water choked out air, fire consumed air and certain categories of earth – hence the magical importance of sulphur, though that was something John had only read a little about in modern works and summaries of older ones. His mother had started him on a selection of the bits of the mountains of ancient Greek material on elemental magical theory which had been translated into English this year and planned to have him work on some of the simpler Latin originals next year, so by his sixth year, he expected he would finally get to read something interesting.

Privately, of course. There was nothing wrong with studying such things – whole magical theories were based around those ideas and at least some familiarity with them was essential to some forms of Divination and, from what he’d seen in Julian’s old textbooks, advanced Charms and Transfiguration – but John suspected he would be at least a little embarrassed if Clark caught him wading backward through even something as modern as Paracelsus before he found a way to frame the information in their shared language, never mind wading through Proclus or Lull or any work of any of the nigh-innumerable Dudes Named Ptolemy. Theodore might be all right for discussing that stuff, but he had the idea that Clark would at best consider him a class traitor. At worst, he feared his friend might just laugh at him.

Things in that category of things he knew felt even more awkward to know than usual when he realized the challenges were evidently following a pattern based on the classical elements. Or rather, avoidance of the classical elements: they had not been allowed to touch water, they were not to fly too high within the maze. John bit his lip, trying to think his way around that one. A charm to prevent them from flying above the maze meant the maze itself didn’t reach the ceiling of whatever hidden room they were entering, which meant there was likely some wriggle room, maybe enough to catch a glimpse ahead, for someone who could make himself small enough and knew how to remember what he only briefly saw….

This would, he thought, normally be a job for a Seeker, but unfortunately, the Seeker on his new team was Park instead of Clark. John had, to his mild irritation, unexpectedly taken a turn toward tall after he turned thirteen, but he was not terribly bulky by Beater standards (he relied more on strategy than brute strength on the Pitch, though he still expected he could hold his own if their team devolved into making decisions via judicial arm-wrestling matches) and Clark managed to Seek very well despite being taller than he was, so he might have some chance, but he guessed he couldn’t know until he saw the legal boundaries.

If Emery was thinking about cheating, though, he didn’t show it. John listened carefully to him, trying to keep his expression politely neutral. Emery had returned to school late this year, which meant he’d either been severely ill or had something horrible happen to him over the holidays, which meant that John had no idea what to do with him at the moment. The last time he’d tried to do something nice for someone who’d just had something horrible happen to her – well, Joanie actually had looked like she felt a bit more like herself in the end, but only after she’d realized that her grandma’s death had inspired John to lose an argument on purpose, which had inspired her to throw a dictionary at him and yell at him for a bit, neither of which had been parts of his original plan. John didn’t know enough personal details about Emery to even have a plan, so he devoutly hoped that everyone was in a strictly-business sort of mood.

“I should probably lead the third group,” he volunteered. One hand was occupied with his broom; the other twisted the button on the pocket of his shirt. He had met the requirement for outdoorsy dress by approximating a scouting uniform, minus the neckerchief because he had no great desire to hang himself by accident or have an opponent (or, this team being rather poorly assembled, nominal ally) to try Transfiguring it into a snake at an inopportune moment. “Between the bats and the Bludgers, I’m used to flying without my hands and carrying something heavy and not getting hit by anything all at the same time.”

  • Let's work this out (Team Three)Emery Kijewski-Jareau, Tue Jan 26 17:48
    Emery stood amongst his peers in the Entrance Hall while he listened to the Librarian discuss the day’s event. The challenge, in and of itself, didn’t seem terribly difficult, so long as two of the... more
    • I'm amenable. — John Umland, Wed Jan 27 16:16
      • It's all decided.Emilia-Louise Scott, Mon Feb 1 13:07
        Emmy-Lou had enjoyed the first challenge but had not found the following results had to be quite so pleasing. She wasn’t all about making it a competition and only caring about winning or anything... more
        • ...It is?John Umland, Wed Feb 10 18:39
          ”I’ll go in the third group with John,” a voice piped up at once. It was not the one John had expected. Arthur Leithan probably had no reason to think too highly of his roommate's brother (somehow,... more
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