(1939-01-07) Was It Worth It?
Details for Was It Worth It?
Summary: Gage, along with Arevan, goes through a series of clues (emitted by Ria) to find his wand at last!
Date: January 7, 1939
Location: Hogwarts Castle

Even with the rather somber events that closed off the winter holiday, students seem to find the Hogwarts offers some sort of respite. The Great Hall rumbles with the usual student activity during lunch, jolly despite the times. While most of the post is delivered in the morning, a lone owl dips into the room swooping low down the Ravenclaw table and dropping a small envelope in front of Gage, wherever he may be seated.

When he opens the envelope he will find a folded note that reads like a riddle:

A soldier sans his rifle
Is as useless as a spleen

Thus a magical man needs
his mighty rod to make himself

Work awaits in the Club Room
To prove you are a worthy wizard.

Gage feels like he made his way back to prison, never mind a school. He’s been in a rather sour mood ever since his return, snapping out at anyone addressing him if he doesn’t simply ignore them. If only there was a place at the table that was secluded, he’d sit there, but the crowd gets to him. His plate of food devoured for the second time, the tall, older looking boy would take any excuse to leave the table.

Of course the owl that arrives with the envelope has Gage’s full attention first, dark blue eyes locked intently on the marvelous creature despite how common owls are in this world. Instinctively he reaches out a hand, as if to offer affection so that the avian would linger a second longer. But then he lets out a sigh and turns his attention to the note.

The boy attempts to slip away from the table unnoticed, a simple glance towards the head table before he walks unhurriedly and slouched out of the hall.

When Gage arrives to the Club Room it is empty. Only a single bowl sits upon a table, and a something like a spotlight illuminates it apart from the rest of the dim room. When peers inside he will see the familiar squirming of live flobberworms. They slip about, slightly moist and smelling very earthy indeed. A small parchment is left next to the bowl. The typed up message reads:

Eat till the very end for the next clue. Bon apetit!

A disappointed sigh escapes Gage when he peeks into the club room. A scowl crinkles his features as he looks around to see no one here. He swears in a low mutter as he shakes his head – it was too much to expect from a coward. As his gaze locks on the bowl he stares at it for several minutes, shifting uneasily on his feet as he hesitates. Whatever thoughts wander through his head delays his approach as he considers, and as he does takes steps to it, his eyes keep flicking towards the door. But then Gage peers inside and he forgets about the door. One of his rare, hearty laughs escapes the boy as he stares down at the squirming ‘appetizer.’ But then he’s back to solemnly thinking as he glances around the room, eyebrows knitting together before he simply lifts his shoulders. Another chuckle escapes the boy as he lowers his head again. “I hope that you aren’t an illusion,” he says down at the flobberworms, his speech thick with an Irish accent. ‘Cause Gage doesn’t hesitate to reach into the bowl to start grabbing handfuls of the squirmy creatures, which he intends to stuff into the inner pockets of his robes.

Alas! While Gage successfully pockets fists full of flobberworms, their numbers seem to replace themselves in the bowl. And the grubs in the boy's pockets don't disappear. Leaving him with even more worms to consume.

Gage’s pockets are full and wiggling before he realizes that the amount in the bowl isn’t any smaller. He frowns down at the bowl, his eyebrows creasing as he pulls himself into his thoughts. And magic continues to impress him. He’ll have to go look up a spell like that later, but right now Gage snorts and reaches out to either side of the bowl to lift and possibly flip it upside down, which he’ll incline his head to the side to peek up into the bowl.

His valiant effort is once again for naught. The worms seem to stay inside the bowl when it's overturned, as if they were sticking to the bowl. However, when in its normal position, the worms are easily removable, as he tested earlier by stuffing them into his pockets.

Arevan wasn't much behind Gage when he left to follow the note. This is exactly the kind of thing she had been hoping would happen for years now. Entering the club room she bounds over to Gage and the bowl. "You didn't start without me did you?!?!" She demands looking over the setup. She goes silent for a moment then brightens. "Oh, I know the perfect thing for this!" The high energy girl proclaims, dashing out of the room. So excited she doesn't even wait for him to talk. "Wait for me, ok?" She calls over her shoulder.

With the bowl still in his hands, Gage turns his head when Arevan enters. He doesn’t have much opportunity to utter anything before she’s gone again, his lips twitching a little at his energetic friend. It can’t be helped that she always brings out a smile on his face. He sets the bowl back on the table and lowers his hand into the bowl, plucking one to let it wiggle over the palm of his hand. Arevan said to wait, and so he waits, staring down at the single worm in his hand, apparently mesmerized.

It doesn't take long at all for Arevan to return. Out of breath and arms full she stumbles up to Gage once more. It takes her a few seconds to catch her breath, "I know you don't like candy." She carefully sets down and lines up her cargo. Chocolate sauce, ketchup, a container of salt and other condiments. Done she smiles at him, "Perfect, right?"

In comes Arevan again, and Gage just stares at her, the hand acting as a platform for the worm frozen. He gapes as he stares at her cargo. No, he’s not really surprised by her eagerness, but he does give her a look of disbelief. He brings his arm protectively in towards his chest. “You can’t just kill a creature for…” he says irritably in his heavy accent, scowling at the items the girl brought.

Arevan banks at the boy, still huffing a little, "But, you're not a vegetarian. Animals die there right? And they're worms. I'd feel worse for a cow." She picks up the ketchup and holds it out to him. "Come ooon, I want to see what's next."

Gage keeps his arm in close and scowls at her. “But…” he protests, but turns his head away from her and lowers his gaze into the bowl again as he frowns. “It’s different,” he mutters. Yea, usually it’s already dead and cooked and you don’t have to think about it. Gage draws back into his thoughts, deeply considering as his dark blue eye slowly lift up to Arevan again and he frowns. “All roigh’,” he mutters. But he hesitates after bringing the first wiggling creature up close to his eyes. How can you feel bad for a wormy thing? Well, Gage can’t look at it any other way, so guilt weighs heavily in his stomach when he reluctantly shoves the one in his hand into his mouth, grimacing.

Arevan picks up a worm too and her chocolate sauce. "How is it?" She asks, sounding curious. A part of her actually wondering if they could be made into something good with cooking and seasonings. She puts chocolate one hers before eating

As the pair devour each wriggling worm one by one, the bowl slowly but surely empties. A rubbish bin has been placed in a conveniently close location in the event they should need to vomit. However, mother did always say flobberworms were good for you! Their efforts are met with success, and the next riddle appears at the bottom of the bowl, which will lead them in the next direction.

A full stomach is foremost
For a full mind.

Wash the bitters away
With a potion,
Won't you?

It’s a slow process; at least it is for him. When Gage swallows, grimacing, he chokes on a cough. When another one is brought to his mouth he hesitates further, guilt for the live, wiggly creatures, plus the taste. He forces another down, again letting out a choked cough. He does start to gag the more he eats, making faces as he scrunches and screws up his face, until he grabs the bottle of ketchup, tilts back his head, and hammers on the bottom as some of its contents plops into his mouth. Alas, his weak stomach doesn’t hold up, and he hangs his head over the table as /everything/ comes up, including lunch, tears pricking his eyes by the time he’s finished. Resting the side of his head against the surface and closing his eyes, he lets Arevan do the reading.

Arevan hasn't always had the freshest food at home. During harder times she'd been served and ate worse things. She easily out strips Gage's consumption. "Eeeew." Her first sound of disgust comes with Gage’s vomiting. "Does the ketchup not go well with them? You should really try the chocolate." The girl idly dips the last worm and munches as she reads. "m mpfm mmmmmm." She swallows, "is foremost for a full mind. Wash the bitters away with a potion, won't you?" She reads aloud, "Oooo! You get to drink a potion. I hope it turns you into a gargoyle!"

Gage lifts his head when Arevan begins to read, his face still distorted into a disgusted look. What’s this about potions? He stares warily at the bowl with furrowed brows before lifting his dark blue eyes onto Arevan, silently thinking for a good moment before he turns without a word and heads out with his feet dragging. He doesn’t have to say anything – he fully expects his young companion to follow along, and there isn’t anything he could say to stop her either. He heads directly there without a look around the entry hall, except for a slight pause at the steps down into the dungeons. He’s forever silent, but it works for the pair since Arevan will probably just keep on talking.

Upon reaching the potions classroom, they will stumble upon three cauldrons, each filled with a lukewarm potion as if it has just been brewed a few hours ago. The room is cleanly kept as it always is when classtime is not in session, and it looks like the cupboards have been locked up - keeping the gloves and aprons locked up within them. Their next challenge is given to them on a sign next to one of the cauldrons.

Reach deep within each rotund vessel,
Disregarding the peril in your mind.

The cure comes only,
To those afflicted

Potions class isn’t one of his best classes, but Gage snorts and approaches the cauldrons’, standing up tall and lifting his chin as he tries to peer into each while staying an inch or so away. Each of them is stared at in turn silently as he shifts on his feet uneasily. But the only one he remembers specifically because of how he discovered it in his book, and he immediately backs away with a wince. A loss of control of yourself is the worst, and he should know – he just about did one of the /stupidest/ things when he was under the effects of the Cheering Charm. The memory of it causes him to grimace and shift in embarrassment.

He steps off to walk around the room, checking the cupboards. “Shit,” mutters the boy as he discovers the cupboards locked, and slowly steps back to the cauldrons as he slumps his shoulders. Well, he would have used gloves, but as he returns to the cauldrons again, he reaches out to touch the side of one of the cauldrons before moving his hand to hover over the top, checking its heat. Well, he’s going to make a gamble, so he chooses to check the second cauldron and plunges his hand into the liquid, stirring it around looking for something to pull out and hoping the potion doesn’t cause effect upon contact.

Since Arevan is quite excited about an adventure, her disappointment is plain when she follows Gage into the room. Darn, no minotaur blocking their way! When she follows Gage over to the cauldrons, she looks excited with the cauldron he chooses to check and looks longingly over the cauldrons, hoping that she gets to check one of her own to help out.

The fumes of the potion in cauldron two rise up as Gage disrupts its stillness. They seep their way into his lungs, causing him to feel light headed in a jolly sort of way. Giddy almost. He'll have to fight the urge to giggle uncontrollably for no reason at all. He will however feel a small corked glass bottle and when he pulls it out, alas it will not be a clue but a bluish green potion. What could this one do?

The light headedness slows down his searching a little as he squints - his eyeglasses are missing – and rests his head in his other hand. The fumes turns his stomach a little, making him feel a little sick as he swallows before blowing out a breath. When his left hand pulls out the vial, his expression is clearly fighting away the instinct to laugh. His mind tries to be logical here, trying to tell him that it’s just the effect of a drug, but even that is kind of fuzzy. So, much like the excitement Arevan shows over an /adventure/, Gage can’t help but laugh even as he covers his mouth with his free hand in a futile attempt to stop himself, stifling the laughter, as he holds out the vial to show Arevan.

Arevan watches Gage more than the potion, her eyes sparkling with pleasure. Her eyes shift to the potion, wondering if it would be possible to slip a little of that into his orange juice every morning. "Ok, me next, me next. I want the one that'll make me more like you!" Not bothering to see what he might have found, the Hufflepuff girl puts her arm into potion 3, hand searching for treasure.

Much like cauldron two, the pot Arevan reaches into releases green fumes as well with the movement of the liquid. Visually it's green and much thicker and she may cough as she inhales, but while she searches around with her hand she'll suddenly feel a wave of fatigue. Arevan’s eyelids will be weighty with tiredness. But even so, she'll find another little vial also corked. Inside is a cloudy purple-ish sort of potion.

It’s hilarious. Something is. Is it the thrill of the hunt? A snort escapes the fourth year as he laughs, wincing. His hand waves out after Arevan, but while his intent was to knock her hand away, he doesn’t come close to touching her as he instead rests both hands against his knees (with one hand fisted around the vial), giggles stifled. He sucks in a breath and holds onto it, shaking his head to the girl before his breath gushes out on a fit of laughter. Kind of feels good to laugh though, and eventually he just lets it out. Since Arevan didn’t pull out a clue, Gage shuffles towards the first cauldron. The vial in his hand is set upon the counter as he stuffs is hand into the unfamiliar potion, and looking almost as if he were having /fun/.

Arevan’s eyes start to droop as she searches her potion, her high energy stifled. By the time her hand comes out holding her potion, she's become taciturn and prone to jaw cracking yawns, "Got it." She says setting the vial on the table and sitting down on the floor. She should probably warn Gage about that potion, but she's too tired to care. If patter follows suit, the only thing in that one will be another potion. Isn't this almost over? She wonders grumpily.

As if Gage didn't have enough to laugh about, contact with the potion seems to make his skin tingle. In fact it tingles all the way up his arm once his limb is submerged. It takes a few seconds, but his arm suddenly swells. His young adolescent fingers suddenly become fat and chubby. His arm grows in circumference. His arm is so fat that he senses the presence of two small bottles within the cauldron. One contains a potion of orange coloration, the other contains a small piece of crumpled up paper!

Gage is laughing uncontrollably as his arm is submerged into the potion. The strange sensation in his arm only causes him to giggle fitfully, but he can’t exactly recall why his arm and hand feels so strange and awkward. It gives him some trouble, bowling over in laughter plus the swelling of his fingers, so that he fumbles with one, no, two vials. When his arm is pulled out, one of the vials slips and falls back in. His other arm is brought in close to his stomach, wincing even as he laughs as his stomach hurts. When he shoves his arm back into the cauldron to pick up the second vial again, he’s sputtering out on coughs and laughs.

He doesn’t speak, because he can’t, but he crawls towards Arevan on the floor to set down the vial with the paper in it in front of her. She is, after all, in more of a state to open it and read it, because Gage bows his head as he holds his stomach, practically lying on the floor.

Arevan glances over at the potion effigies Gage and at first is just annoyed at the new piece of paper. then she reaches up and pulls down the potion she got. She looks at Gage’s new potions then offers him her potion, "This is a deflating draught. Might help your arm. Gage?" The tired girl sighs and pulls herself over to him. "Breathe at least." She says grumpily. If whoever set this up also provided the cures then two of them will be for Gage and one for her. Unstoppering her potion she pours it onto his arm, reasoning deflating the swollen arm is the right thing to do. She recognizes the one for her potion, so she takes the other and opens it. "Here, drink." She orders.

Smart cookie Arevan is! For Gage's arm begins shrinking to normalcy the second she pours it on his skin. Likewise, the potion she takes with clear the weary clouds of tiredness from her mind, restoring her back to her bright and cheery self. Should Gage manage to choke down the second potion, he too will find the urge to laugh dies down, enough so that he could likely manage a second to breathe and read.

Gage barely notices his arm, the other effect taking precedence, since in his laughing, coughing fit has brought out a quiet wheeze. But his younger friend urges him to drink, and he does, hand snatching the vial and tilting it to his mouth, sputtering on the liquid as he swallows. At least when the urge to laugh dissipates it allows him to concentrate on his breathing, which he focuses deeply on. The coughing lingers a while longer, but eventually he brings that under control as his fingers clutch his shirt by his chest, and while his breathing becomes smoother and less wheezy, winces a little until the burning sensation begins to fade. “…Aye,” he mutters out weakly. It isn’t certain what he’s answering, but his voice at least ensures that he’s fine, and the boy picks up the vial to pull out the stopper, and then to draw out the paper which he furrows his brows as he reads.

Dirty digits?
Meander down the hall of noise.
Where young men mind their members
As they take their tinkles

There victory will shower
Over your shame.

Arevan sits on the floor listening to the next instructions and feeling more annoyed by the moment. Finally she opens her own cure. Gage is no longer cheerful so she needs to retake that role. She drinks her cure. The grey, washed out feeling flees with the exhaustion and her color returns. Her mood also lifts, her being inflating almost visibly from its limp state. "Much better! How do you stand being like that?!?" She asks picking herself up, "Ready to go?"

It takes Gage a bit to figure out what the clue is saying, his eyebrows knitting together as he silently thinks. Gage isn’t the greatest at riddles, despite how his House secures its commons, so he has a very pensive look on his face as he ponders. “Where?” he pipes up quietly without looking to the girl. Hall of noise? The whole bloody castle is noisy! Gage draws in a deep breath, as if he could catch up on what he missed, as he eventually stands, lifting his shoulders slightly. He leaves the classroom with his fingers clasped around the paper, his head bowed as his eyes trail along the floor, his mind pulled deeply into thought so that if Arevan speaks he barely hears her. He hesitates once he steps up into the entry hall, unsure where to go unless Arevan initiates.

Then it clicks and Gage suddenly pauses altogether as his eyes narrow. Ohhhh. As he realizes where – pointing towards the staircases – he also suddenly shifts uncomfortably as his head drops to hide the perturbed, embarrassed look. The volume of his voice is barely audible as he mutters, “The bathroom.” Heading up the stairs is taken cautiously, as always, keeping his distance from the edge until it connects to the landing. He does make a point to hold a hand to Arevan, shoving her lightly back a step. He wouldn’t put it past the girl to enter, but, just, no. And he steps in.

Should Arevan desire to come along, she's in luck. For the boy's bathroom is empty at this moment, as well as the general vicinity. Gage will notice this upon stepping in. What he will also notice is that there are no odd arrangements. No clues left for him to follow this leg of the challenge. Just still, quietness. Perhaps he will just have to look?

"A member of what?" The girl asks as they walk. "Is there a bell club or something? Or did it say 'tinker'? Sometime your accent has me guessing at what you say." That's ok, she makes his incomprehensible speech more interesting. When they stop at the bathroom she stops, thinking he needs a restroom break rather than it being his destination.

Gage flinches at Arevan’s question, and when he enters the bathroom his face is heated from embarrassment. He’s just not going to answer at all. He shoots a glance around the room, but his first thought is to step up to the sink. Not to wash his hands (as they had simply been wiped on his clothes without a care) but as he turns on the tap he splashes it upwards as he leans forward, splashing cold water onto his face. A shake of his head sprays water around in his short vicinity before he turns, and does another sweep of the bathroom. Then he’s checking each stall, peering into the toilets.

Arevan gives Gage a moment in the bathroom to perform the essentials. Poor guy, the events must really be getting to him, he was so angry his face was turning red. Eventually, Arevan opens the door to the boys’ bathroom a bit and peeks in. "Master Gage?" She asks.

What's that? There's an odd pile of toilet paper rolls located in one of the far stalls in the back. If Gage pokes around enough he'll find the shiny tip of a polished wooden stick slipped in through the cardboard center of a stack of papers.

Eyebrows lowered and eyes narrowed as Gage look around, it’s with a suspicious look. Inching into the stall to drag a booted foot over the pile, he pauses when the door open and turns, only to let out a breath when he hears Arevan’s voice. He shakes his head without a word, shooting a look over his shoulder at the pile as he starts to step out of the stall. And then stops, because oh! He totally missed that shiny wooden material when he turned away the first time. The corner of his lips twitches as he steps back in, crouching down and reaching for it without another thought.

Arevan pushes the door open a little more, "Master Gage? You ok?" Torn she waits in the door. It doesn't SOUND like anything interesting is happening in there, but he's also not responding. She'll give him another moment, then ride in at the last moment to save the day. That's what hero's do.

Out slips the wand from the rolls, and back into its true owner's hands, like Excalibur being pulled from its stone. There's a tingling magical feeling that courses through the magical tool as if it was glad to be reunited with its owner. There is then a sudden BOOM! Like a small firecracker going off. And the stack of toilet paper explodes into hundreds of colorful pieces of confetti that shoot high up to the ceiling. It's as if the whole room were celebrating this moment.

Gage pulls the wand out and… ACK! The boom startles him off his feet, flopping backwards onto his rear as his hands fling out behind him to keep him from falling further. “Ah, feck,” he lets out breathily as his hand lifts to clutch at his chest, lightly patting at the beating of his heart. One might expect relief when it’s only confetti – and he does let out a breath – but he scowls with annoyance even as his fingers squeeze the handle of the wand – tightly. And he shoots his a look towards the door.

Arevan busts in to the bathroom, looking a bit sheepish and hopeful as she does. As a form of self-defense, she shouts, "I heard and explosion, is anyone hurt?" There, now her presence is covered. She's just a first responder to the scene of an incident. When she sees the cause, her mouth quirks to the side in disappointment. "A tickertape parade? Is that all? I thought you might have blown a hole out the bottom of the castle. Booooring."

Like delicate colored snow, the confetti falls all about the bathroom, dancing happily as it makes its way back to the ground. Only just before the first few hit the ground, they suddenly shift back into their true form - tiny, delicate glass containers, containing yellow colored liquids. And when they finally make impact with the ground, they crack releasing an absolutely putrid smell - mixing musky body fluids with rotting food and old pennies. The ghastly fumes fill the bathroom carrying into the corridor, which will likely bring curious passersby. Perhaps it would be an ideal time to make an exit.

Gage’s shoulders lift in response to Arevan, letting out a grunt. He’s annoyed by the confetti, but when he holds his wand up to the girl there’s a tug of his lips. He doesn’t really notice the confetti shifting its form as he starts to gathers himself up, waving his hand in a shooing motion to Arevan. She wasn’t supposed to be in here, so while he testily shoos her he can silently thank her for being concerned. But then he’s gagging and choking out as the smell hits his senses, and a hand lifts to clap over his mouth and nose as he notices now the containers. His stomach heaves as he scrambles to the exit, and if he hadn’t already retched, he’d have done so again.

Boys’ bathrooms are far more discussing than she had imagined. The door is still on its swing open when Arevan makes an abrupt pirouette and beats for a hasty retreat. "I think someone has it out for you master Gage." This little part of the adventure seeming more vindictive than anything. "Oooo, do you have a Nemesis?" This last part far more excited.

Ugh. Gage pauses out in the corridor, resting a hand against the wall and heaving even as nothing comes up. Arevan’s remark is met with a glower, but there’s no need to say anything. Eventually he starts to walk, and as he puts distance between him and the bathroom, his throaty choking coughs begin to fade.

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