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[EoT] The end of an era (open)
« on: August 06, 2023, 10:19:40 AM »
June 2005

Olympe Maxime had been hoping that the end of term celebrations would take place at the Beauxbatons castle again but for some reason the Ministry had denied her that wish, stating that the grounds would have to be searched for any remaining spiders again.

Manoir Vertneuf didn’t feel like home, though, not to Olympe and likely not to many of the student body or staff. Given the feedback the half-giantess had received over the past months, she knew that her position wasn’t as strong as it had been for so many years. She felt that things were changing around her and there was little she could do. After all, she had trusted Arsène Dutour and badly misjudged the situation.

There was no seating order for the end of term feast, not even a separate staff table. Olympe felt that any separation was wrong now. She wanted to be a unit with the students and her staff. While she was far taller than anyone even when they were all seated, Olympe stayed on her feet as everyone around her was looking for a place on one of the benches at the beer tables with white linen tablecloths. The headmistress hoped that it would be more pleasant in the grounds of Manoir Vertneuf than inside, even if the weather forecast wasn't too promising. When almost everybody had found a seat, she cleared her throat and looked around. A sentimental smile spread across her face as she looked at the seventh years that were graduating now. She had seen them grow from children into young adults over the years and now they were leaving the school behind. One student was still missing in this group, but Olympe knew that the Ombrelune Quidditch captian was on the mend and would be returning to repeat his seventh year after the summer.

“Dear students and colleagues, another school year is coming to an end but we cannot celebrate in the halls we all love this time. Manoir Vertneuf might not be our home but it has become a part of the history of our beloved school. This year was a difficult one with unforeseeable challenges, but it also gave us some great moments with the arts initiative. I’m very touched and proud of what you all achieved and how you held up in these difficult times. Now let’s enjoy the feast!”
« Last Edit: August 06, 2023, 10:19:50 AM by Inga »

34 Posts 14 Bisexual she/her played by Carys
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2023, 10:48:52 AM »
A difficult year.

That was the understatement of a lifetime, Amandine thought bitterly. Literally nothing had gone right this year. They'd spent most of it in this miserable, crummy castle, she was sure the weather had been horrible compared with other years, and to top it all she wasn't even who she thought she was.

She knew, her parents knew, but they hadn't talked about it yet. Nor did Amandine have any intention of talking about it, either. Somewhere deep inside her head she knew it wasn't their fault, but to find out that the man who'd raised you, who you'd loved and called Papa and admired wasn't your father at all... and to make it even worse it was all the fault of that horrible creepy professor who she hoped never to see again.

She didn't want to stay here, didn't want to go home, in fact didn't know what she wanted at all except to be left alone and have nobody bother her at all - except Lettie, who was the only person Amandine felt comfortable around right now and who didn't ask stupid questions. Merlin, there had even been rumours of a reporter sniffing around but the Ombrelune had stayed in her dormitory for everything except lessons and mealtimes so had at least avoided that.

She was going to a summer school too, having signed up the second it had been mentioned without even bothering to read where it was or what the activities were. Go somewhere fewer people knew her, where she could just...disappear.

Amandine poured herself a glass of pumpkin juice and spread brie thickly on a slice of baguette, not bothering to look at anyone.

60 Posts 14
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2023, 10:15:33 AM »
Mathilde didn’t want to be here, but, frankly, she didn’t know where she wanted to be either.

The prospect of going home wasn’t an intriguing one. Her parents surely felt that they had to talk to her about Dutour and how she was one of his experiments, one of his breedings. Mathilde felt dirty, worthless, and hurt. She didn’t want to see her parents, didn’t want to hear their justifications. She could not forgive them that they went to quack to have him create them a child. It was disgusting and immoral. Now her biological father was not only some creep that experimented, he was also a criminal.

There was a lot to process for Mathilde, one thing being that she suddenly knew she had few half-siblings. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Maybe it was a good thing that she wasn’t the only creep that Dutour had created, but she assumed that none of the others really wanted to talk either. Nonetheless, she took a seat next to Amandine, an Ombrelune in her year and offered a slight smile.

The end of term feast was taking place outside which Mathilde appreciated. She hoped to grab a bite and then retreat to some place in the grounds where she could be alone. However, she knew it was only decent to listen to Madame Maxime’s little speech and she rolled her eyes when the headmistress tried to point out positive aspects of the year. As if there had been anything that wasn’t overshadowed by what Dutour had done.

“Hey,” she said to Amandine after Madame Maxime had finished her speech, her voice barely louder than a conspiratory whisper. “I hope you don’t mind me sitting here. I still can’t believe it all…” Mathilde couldn’t bring herself to be more clear about what she meant, but she assumed that, if Amandine wanted to understand her, she would have no trouble knowing the meaning behind her words.

34 Posts 14 Bisexual she/her played by Carys
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2023, 03:32:35 PM »
Amandine had barely paid attention to her fellow students when she'd sat down. Lettie had said something about sitting with her brother for the feast - or maybe that was what she had said, Amandine hadn't really been paying much attention but had said yes and no at what she hoped were the right moments. It was okay. Lettie understood. Well no, she didn't understand, because she had a brother and both her real parents waiting for her at home, but she tried to understand and that was good enough.

So she ignored the greeting from the girl next to her, and it wasn't until she's muttered "why would I mind..?" that she looked up and frowned, and her voice trailed off. Oh.

Yes, she did mind, she minded very much indeed. Amandine absolutely didn't want to be reminded of any of this, and she especially didn't want to deal with the revelation that she wasn't an only child. She supposed some of her half-siblings (she even thought the word sarcastically) might have actually talked to each other by now, made friends and decided to all go on a jolly family vacation together, but this was all far too raw for her to think of.

She wanted to snap back, to say something that would stop any of them from ever daring to speak to her again, or maybe to just throw the food across the table and storm out and never come back, but if she did that... Well, Amandine knew she was too well-brought up (she had almost thought well-bred, what an irony) to do that, or maybe she was too much of a coward to draw attention to herself in that way. And maybe...there was something in the girl's tone that made her wonder if she wasn't the only one struggling with everything.

"I don't mind you - but I do mind. I mind everything about this. I hate it. Hate it" she said in a whisper that came out more like a hiss of rage. Her nails dug into her baguette, almost crushing the bread in her hand as she subconsciously clenched her fists, but she didn't notice.

29 Posts 89 Straight she/her played by Olivia
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2023, 09:34:21 PM »
The Healer sat stiffly in her chair, for reasons unrelated to her arthritis.

Last month’s revelations had been… disturbing, to say the least. Appalling, put mildly. It still nauseated her to even think about.

“Manoir Vertneuf might not be our home but it has become a part of the history of our beloved school. This year was a difficult one with unforeseeable challenges…”

Filomena recoiled internally, and it took most of her self-control to maintain a carefully-neutral expression. It would not do to seemingly undermine Olympe in public… in front of the students.

The students. Her students.
She and the rest of the staff sat among them tonight – truly among them, without a separate table. The message was an important one.

But guilt wracked her.
She had spoken up, but it had not been enough. She should have delved deeper, pushed harder, been more insistent – instead, she had allowed herself to be hoodwinked, like many others. She should have known better. Wasn’t that what old age was supposed to do: gift her with uncanny wisdom and foresight? But it had not, and she had failed them; had failed to help keep them safe.

Over the past few weeks, Mina had made it clear that any student – directly affected by the ordeal or not, regardless of House affiliation – had an open invitation to reach out to her: whether they sought comfort or to vent or simply to sit in companionable silence with tea and a plate of fresh biscotti. She’d already helped a few students connect with counseling by reaching out to former colleagues. Otherwise, she’d made an active effort not to treat those directly affected any differently than she had all term – at least not in public – lest they begrudge any perception of pity or recoil from unwanted attention.

The elderly witch rather thought the collective staff owed their students an apology more than a – in Mina’s opinion – rather generic (under)statement. Of course, no one but Arsène was responsible for Arsène’s deplorable actions (for which Mina fervently hoped he paid dearly)… but it felt like the right thing to do. She would speak to Olympe about it tonight: making a collective apology before the conclusion of the feast, or in the morning as students prepared to board the carriages.

She allowed her gaze to drift across the grounds, not daring to linger on those she thus far knew to be directly affected out of respect for their privacy – or what remained of it. She looked for her grandsons’ faces instead, and did not miss that Julien looked just as uncomfortable as she felt; even Christophe was more subdued than usual. Seeing them steeled her resolve.

Perhaps, regardless of Olympe’s decision, Mina would do it anyway. She owed the students that much, at least.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 09:35:07 PM by Olivia »
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68 Posts 18 she/her played by Carys
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2023, 06:43:50 AM »
This wasn't how Lijsbeth had expected to end her school career. For a start, she didn't feel like an adult at all and she absolutely didn't feel ready to be leaving, even though she would be more than happy to never see this crumbling monstrosity of a building again. She knew she'd tried her best this year, tried to set a good example to the younger students, which frankly hadn't been easy at times given the amount of upheaval she'd had to deal with. It had been frustrating having to share a larger room, though at least most of the older students had similar goals in mind and she hadn't had to deal with midnight feasts or anyone sneaking out after curfew.

She hoped her NEWT results were going to be...she didn't dare to think the word good, though with her healing plans she really needed better than merely good. Lijsbeth was fairly certain she wanted to specialise in the healing of magical creatures, but if she wanted to be taken seriously she really needed to get into one of the big healing schools... she felt anxious every time she thought of what might happen if she didn't.

That wasn't her only concern, though. She was worried about what would happen between her and Honoré now she was leaving school. They had plans to meet over the summer, but after that he would be returning to Beauxbatons next year and she...well, unless she failed her NEWTs, she wouldn't. Actually, maybe that would be the better option, so they could spend more time together, but the fail wouldn't look good on her application to healing school and...oh, why did she have to be an adult? It would be so much easier if she could suspend time for a bit longer until she felt ready to leave.

Maybe that was why she'd actively chosen to sit near to one of her favourite professors rather than with her friends or supervising the younger Bellefeuille students. Maybe she wanted that little extra bit of support, one last time.

"Healer Bellantoni, may I pour you some wine?" she offered, thinking that a small glass for herself would actually be good for her nerves but not wanting to be the first on the table to take alcohol.  What she really wanted to say was "Do you honestly think I'm good enough to get into healing school?" but she'd bother the poor professor with that question enough over recent months already.

60 Posts 14
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2023, 08:34:55 AM »
Mathilde looked down. She was struggling more than a little herself, but she could sense Amandine’s pain as the other girl spoke. Neither of them had been prepared for the revelation of how Dutour had breed them like one would breed some pets.

The girl almost regretted having approached her half-sibling, but she didn’t move away - partly because she felt unable to move and partly because running away wasn’t going to make things better. Someone should remind her of that later, when she’d be facing her parents and the wish to run away would become overwhelming.

Since it all had come out, Mathilde’s memory of the time that she had been missing had been coming back slightly. She still couldn’t remember everything clearly and fully, but she remembered now that Dutour had revealed to her that he was her father. She hadn’t believed it, had called him a liar and had tried to leave his office which was when a spell had knocked her out.

“I hate it, too,” Mathilde whispered. “So much.”

She chewed on her lip, trying to figure out what she could say to make Amandine see that they were really in the same boat.

“I really don’t want to see my parents,” she admitted, “I don’t want to hear their justifications. I don’t even want to look at them.”

Sadly there was no way she could avoid her family the entire summer. There was the option of attending summer school and, maybe, if she got lucky, her parents would feel guilty enough to send her to the new artistic flying centre in Barbizon for a week, but she doubted that. Maybe she should find a job for the summer so she’d spend less time at home…

31 Posts 35
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2023, 09:33:04 AM »
Vivianne was wearing an A-line midi skirt with huge flowers on it, espadrilles and a white shirt when she made her way into the grounds to the end of term feast. Her first year as a professor had been quite different than anything she could have ever imagined. She took a seat and watched as students and staff settled around the table.

The arts initiative, honorably mentioned by Olympe in her speech, had gone rather well. The turnout hadn’t been perfect, but she felt that almost every student had turned out for one or another activity. The end of year display of art and the performances were quite astonishing. The students had created some remarkable pieces of art and Vivianne wanted to mention that to Jacques at some point. Maybe some of the students would find their way to the Giroux Institute.

However, aside from the students talented in various fields of art, the year had only brought some dark revelations, a death, a severe injury and lots of psychological damage. Vivianne had offered an open ear to the students most affected by all the things surrounding Dutour’s crimes, but only very few students had approached her so far. It was all too fresh, she assumed.

She couldn’t help but wonder what would have been if she had been more forward with her suspicions regarding Dutour. She had spoken to some professors, among them Gauvain Améliore, about the elderly guy, but since she didn’t have proof, she had only been able to say that she had a bad feeling about the guy. That was hardly enough to sack him. After all, even without his crimes, Vivianne thought that she wouldn’t have been fond of Dutour.

One thing was certain, though, Olympe had misjudged the situation and from what Vivianne had heard, there would be consequences. Investigations of what had happened were still in progress, so it was too early to say what repercussions there’d be.

The witch offered an encouraging little smile to those seated in her surroundings. If anyone wanted to talk to her, they shouldn’t hesitate. As a gust of wind caught her napkin and almost blew it off the table, Vivianne looked up and saw that at the horizon dark clouds were forming and slowly drifting towards them. Hopefully the wind would turn so the feast wouldn’t get interrupted by a storm.

34 Posts 14 Bisexual she/her played by Carys
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2023, 09:05:03 AM »
Staring at the table and seeing nothing, Amandine breathed hard through her nose as she clenched her teeth until the wave of emotion peaked and passed over her. The fear that she was about to cry subsided somewhat, leaving a sense of emptiness mingled with the rage that nothing seemed to help with. Once or twice she'd wondered about going to the hospital wing and asking for a potion, but that would mean talking about why she felt so bad, and that was the one thing she refused to do.

So why did it feel better - just a tiny, fractional bit better - now that she was facing the thing she had been so studiously avoiding? Because now there was someone else, and it was out in the open, and she wasn't quite so alone any more. She hated it, and so did...

Amandine realised she wasn't even sure of the girl's name. Something-Wagner, but...Marceline? Madeline? Those weren't quite right, but she felt like her brain was fighting it's way through fog and she couldn't think straight.

"Neither do I. I'm going to summer school for as long as possible" she admitted, wishing only that she could go there straight from school even if that would mean taking all her books and robes with her. "I don't want to know why" That last word was a whisper, and the prospect of what her mother might have done disgusted her. She didn't even know for certain whether her father had known about it, and while she had briefly wondered what sort of conversations her parents might have had, she had blocked those thoughts out as well.

Slowly, she unclenched her fingers from the ruined bread and wiped her hand self-consciously on a napkin. She still felt too sick to eat anything, but at least had calmed enough to manage a sip of pumpkin juice. Then she looked at the other girl for the first time.

"I'm Amandine. Amandine Patenaude" she said. "I...don't know if you already knew that."

60 Posts 14
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2023, 08:32:18 AM »
“I’m going to the summer school as well, I guess,” Mathilde said, thinking that she wanted to be away for longer than the offered time slots for the summer school. Attending an artistic flying summer camp would be fabulous, but Mathilde doubted that her parents would send her there. They had had that discussion in the past - she hadn’t started as a young kid and now she could not really become a great athlete anymore and there was always the risk of injury. Her parents - or should she say her mother and her mother’s husband - had spent quite some time in the past spoiling the dream of artistic flying for her.

“Yeah,” Mathilde said as Amandine said she didn’t want to know why and how her parents had done what they had done with Dutour’s help. She felt that there would be a time when she wanted these questions answered. However, that time hadn’t come yet. At this point, Mathilde didn’t want to talk to her parents about anything at all.

“I know who you are,” the Bellefeuille smiled shyly at her half-sister. They were in the same year and, while Mathilde wasn’t particularly sociable, she was a good observer and knew all of her year mates by name even if she hadn’t talked to all of them yet.

“I’m Mathilde,” she introduced herself anyway. “Wagner…” she frowned as she spoke her last name. She wasn’t really a Wagner now, was she? Given that her father wasn’t really her father, she had no genes from the Wagner side of her family. This meant that she was neither Tina’s nor Trudy’s real cousin. Did that make a change for their relationship? This was all so terribly confusing.

61 Posts 17 mostly straight he/him played by Carys
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2023, 10:32:51 AM »
Dino had actually had an excellent year, and he felt guilty about it.

All around him people had struggled, hated the school move, discovered terrible things about themselves and were feeling desperate to get home, whereas he thought this might have been the best year of his life. Even the fact he'd just taken his OWLs hadn't damped his spirits terribly; he hoped he had done enough to get reasonable grades, of course, but he wasn't even too worried about that.

He knew this was largely thanks to the Arts Initiative. From the second it had been announced Dino had been hooked and, it had to be said, hooked on the professor responsible. Sure, she was practically middle-aged and probably old enough to be his mother, but Professur Courtois was fantastic! Obviously she didn't have the slightest idea Dino thought this, because he kept it to himself, and only the fact he got slightly tongue-tied when in her presence gave the tiniest of clues that he might like her.

Of course, he really wanted to sit at the same table as her, but that would be far too obvious. Instead, he sat at the next table across, and then mentally cursed himself because there were a couple of spare spaces that he could have chosen, but he couldn't move now without everyone noticing. Dino had already enjoyed a large bowl of onion soup when he saw Professor Courtois' napkin blow off the table. It had threatened to do so once before, but she had caught it. This time, though... he hesitated for the briefest second, and then stood, stepped over, lifted it and handed it back to her on one swift, graceful movement.

"Professor Courtois... I... I just wanted to say thank you for the Arts Initiative" he said, stooping slightly and wondering if he ought to sit in one of the free seats "It's been...well, I really enjoyed it..." He knew there was something more he should say, something to make her realise he was the greatest student ever, but instead he trailed off a little uncertainly.

31 Posts 35
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2023, 09:42:39 AM »
Her napkin was finally blown off her table and Vivianne didn’t react quick enough to catch it. Not that she had been desperate to do so anyway. It wasn’t like the napkin’s escape mattered a lot to her.

An upperclassman fetched the napkin, though, and handed it back to her. Vivianne smiled at the Papillonlisse boy. She had to think for a moment. Being a professor in her first year, she was still struggling to remember all students’ names. However, after a second or two she was quite sure that she knew the boy’s name.

He thanked her for the arts initiative in a kind of shy way and looked like he wanted to say more but couldn’t quite figure out what to say.

“Thank you, Bernadino, that’s kind of you to say. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I, too, had fun with the arts initiative. Which part was your favourite about it?” She asked, encouraging him to talk to her more if he wished to.

34 Posts 14 Bisexual she/her played by Carys
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2023, 09:53:00 AM »
The pumpkin juice felt cool as she swallowed, and it made Amandine feel a little - just a very little - better. She took another, longer drink and stared at the glass. Then inexplicably she felt the smallest of smiles twitching on her lips.

"Want to share a dormitory?" she asked. They barely knew each other, but if there was one other person there who knew why she was quiet and didn't want to talk much - or maybe was signing up for literally every activity and falling into bed exhuasted every night - it might be more bearable. And maybe they might actually end up liking each other. She let out a tiny snort of laughter as she imagined how sisters were supposed to share clothes and makeup tips, and yet she was way taller than the other girl.

Thst was interesting. One might have supposed that the students who had been the results of...the experiments...might have looked somehow similar, but really they didn't at all. The only thing they had in common was the misfortune to have parents who had needed the help of...that man. Amandine refused to even think his name.

At that moment there was a low rumble from somewhere in the distance. Amandine looked up at the sky, noticing the grey clouds that were gathering. Ah, well. If it rained, it would suit her mood. "Hi, Mathilde" she said, as if this was a completely normal sort of introduction.

60 Posts 14
Re: [EoT] The end of an era (open)
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2023, 01:56:11 PM »
Mathilde’s face lit up when she heard Amandine’s question. A moment ago the other girl hadn’t even known her name and now she offered to share a dormitory at summer school which, to Mathilde, felt like she was making an attempt to accept that she had a half-sister (and other half-siblings for that matter).

“Yes,” Mathilde confirmed. “I’d like that.” Truth be told, a few weeks ago she had been dying to spend the summer with Trudy and Albertina, but, as she had learned by now, they weren’t really her cousins and would likely have too many questions to ask and now the Bellefeuille rather wanted to avoid these girls that she had always been close to in the past.

She smiled when Amandine said her name, knowing that the Ombrelune would not forget it again now. The sky looked dark and threatening now. Mathilde expected a downpour soon, but she didn’t really care about the weather. She didn’t mind getting wet in the rain. Sometimes she even went out in the rain without an umbrella just to admire what nature had in store.

“You know,” she said quietly so that Amandine probably had to listen closely to even hear it, “when I was younger I always wished I had a sister and not just cousins that lived elsewhere. This is definitely not what I dreamed of, but…” she shrugged, “maybe there’s something good about this whole mess anyway.”


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