(1940-01-11) The Clock Strikes Hungry
Details for The Clock Strikes Hungry
Summary: Sunday evening, encompassing the events in the free period before dinner until the end of the dinner hour.
Date: 1940-01-11
Location: Great Hall

Gareth is alone at the Ravenclaw table for a free period before dinner. He's hunched over a large book, scratching furiously with a quill and frequently glances over to another, smaller book he has open nearby.

Ludae makes her way into the Great Hall, heading towards the Ravenclaw table like she ordinarily does. Seeing Gareth there, she sits down opposite him, setting a couple of books on the table herself. "Good evening," she greets him, giving him a friendly smile. She assumes, of course, if he was averse to company he'd be studying somewhere more private, like the library.

Gareth blinks a few times as he looks up from his writing, then squints behind his large spectacles. "All right, Steele?" he asks, pleasantly enough. He dips his quill in a small ink bottle, then scratches a few more words before looking up again, then glancing around the hall. "It's not dinner time already, is it? I was so hoping to finish this chapter and get it sent to London."

Ludae shakes her head. "Not yet," she says, opening one of her books, "I think maybe a half an hour until dinner, still." She flips through a few pages, finding the chapter she left out on, and then pulls a quill and some ink from her bookbag as well. "May I ask what you're working on?" she inquires, quirking a brow as she glances up from her own book.

Gareth flashes a small grin as he flips a page in the smaller book, using an ink-smudged finger to push up his glasses. "I've decided to chronicle my time at Durmstrang for posterity," he says rather proudly. "I'm hoping to perhaps serialize it, then eventually collect it in a single volume for publication. The working title is 'My Year at Durmstrang', though I'm not sure that's…exciting enough to grab people's attention. I'd like to call it 'My Year with Gellert Grindewald', but to be honest, I didn't spend very much time with him. He was ever so busy, of course, and I had my OWLs to study for that first half-year. It was quite exhausting."

Ludae nods her head, and she taps her chin a little in consideration. "Yes, that title does need a little bit of work," she says, "How about… Dragons of Durmstrang?" She grins a little. "It's a metaphorical title, of course, but it certainly grabs attention, don't you think?"

Gareth taps his chin with the feathery end of his quill. "Hmm, I can work with that, I think. Thank you, Steele! So…all recovered from the pantomime disaster, are you? Quite a show, I must say. What the devil was Kettleburn thinking, setting something like that loose on the stage?"

Ludae grins broadly. "You're welcome," she says while reading, "I'm doing alright. Had a bit of, um, emotions to work through after the shock of it wore off, but in the end I only had a few light burns on my hands. The nurse made quick work of them, thankfully. Poor Elise was devestated, though. Her hair got ruined by the fire, I don't think I've ever seen a girl look so unhappy. I think I managed to cheer her up some, though, and she's going to be dropping by domestics club at our next meeting, to see if we can do anything to style it nice for her."

Gareth dips his quill again, though he doesn't start writing right away. "Perhaps you can research a hair-growing spell or potion for her. I've never had a problem getting my hair to grow." He gives a quick toss of his head, knocking unruly curls from his eyes. "It's making it behave that's the problem." He cocks his head to one side, a curious expression on his face. "What exactly do you do at the domestics club?"

The comment about making hair behave draws a small, light laugh from Ludae. She nods her head. "Oh, tell me about it," she says, "I don't normally tell others this but I get up a half hour early just to tend to my hair. It's a chore but the results are worth it." She turns the page in her book and then looks up at Gareth. "Well, it's focused on domestic spells, really. Like a hair-growing one. There's also a spell that will style and color your hair as well, but I haven't quite mastered either of those myself. We practice spells for baking and cooking, cleaning and maintaining a good home. It's all very helpful things for a witch or wizard in a rush to keep things in order."

Gareth blinks several times, looking utterly baffled. "But…aren't all those things that your elves would do? Why would you need to learn anything like that?"

Ludae raises a brow slightly. "Not everyone has house elves. Besides, I enjoy those sorts of things. I could spend a whole afternoon baking, if I had the time for it." She sighs softly. "These NEWT classes are keeping me far too busy to enjoy that sort of thing, unfortunately."

Gareth's jaw drops then. "You…enjoy those sort of things? Baking and sweeping and…whatever else it is that elves do? But…but…but there are so many more interesting things to do! Books to read, things to research. I can't imagine being chained to the kitchen all day and night." He glances at her books, nodding. "NEWT classes are very harrowing though, I'll grant you that. I cannot wait for my exams later this year. I want it over and done with, so perhaps I can get a full night's sleep."

Ludae smiles and leans forward on her elbows a moment, putting herself closer to Gareth that way. "Chained? Oh, hardly. Baking is a challenge! I see it as an opportunity to create something that is as good to look at as it is to eat." She settles back again and grins broadly. "I don't bake with magic either, with the exception perhaps of the heat source. Sweets taste so much better when they're made from scratch like my mother always did." She gives a nod regarding the exams, though. "Oh, absolutely. I'm pulling my hair out over this Muggle Studies course."

Gareth wrinkles his nose and draws back, looking horrified. "They offer Muggle Studies at the NEWT level? Why in the name of all that's good and decent would anyone need to know that much about Muggle society?" He pauses a moment, his expression growing thoughtful. "Though I suppose, if the Secrecy Statute is recinded, we'll all need to know more about Muggles. Almost makes me wish I'd taken the class myself."

Ludae furrows her brow at that reaction from him. "Of course they do," she says, "And mind what you say. My mother is a muggle, and I'll not let one of my own House badmouth them to my face." She almost scowls at him for a moment. "Besides," she says, "You're right that everyone will need to know more about muggles if the statute is recinded, but I think that perhaps you should all the same. A lot of them are good, decent people, and we -do- coexist with them already, even if we do so secretly. Can you imagine what would happen if the Secrecy Statute is rescinded, and suddenly the muggles are being told witches and wizards exist, followed by 'and by the way, we think you're all lower-tier garbage'? There would be riots, likely an entire war worse than the one already going on!"

Gareth holds up a hand defensively. "Hold there, Steele. Don't toss me in with the likes of Malfoy and his lot. During summers, I spend a good deal of my days in the village of Brecon, walking among all the Muggles as they go about their lives. They're a decent, hard-working lot who keep the village clean and orderly. In ancient times, the Caeriws were the local nobles, living openly with their Muggle cousins, and I might add, much loved by them. It's said that Owain Glyndwr himself complimented Lord Caeriw for his wise stewardship of Brecknockshire." He says this with no small amount of pride, brushing hair away from his eyes again. "And regardless of what you may have heard, I'm not bigoted against Muggles or Muggleborns, and certainly not Half-bloods. I think it's important to remember, especially in these trying times, that we're all British first. Witches, wizards, Muggles, we're all joined together by both blood and nationality. If the Unity Party would simply accept this fact, I believe their cause would be much more accepted by everyone."

Ludae closes her eyes a moment and takes a deep breath. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get so defensive. There's just been a lot of that going around lately." She shakes her head, and flips the page in the book she's been reading again. "You're right, though. We have to put our country first, especially now. What good would it to worrying about bloodlines when they're all wiped out?"

Gareth relaxes a bit then, adding a small smile. "Yes, well. The Malfoys are dreadfully powerful, and their opinions carry far more weight than might be wise." He gives a small shrug. "But these are dangerous times, and those who are less than prudent often find their fortunes reversed in such times." He and Ludae are sitting on opposite sides of the Ravenclaw table from one another during the free period before dinner, which is still about half an hour away. Both have books in front of them, of course, though Gareth's are both hand-written, rather than printed texts.

Anthony heads in, early, for dinner, and seats himself quietly towards the top of the table. In fact, in his usual seat, just where the prefect area stops, and the normal House members begin. Wonder why. He's got a hefty book with him, however, and he opens it up, carefully, glancing through it to find a page marker, and then the last line read.

Gareth nods as Anthony takes his usual place. "All right, Rowle? Getting a bit of studying done before dinner, good move. I've got a Transfiguration paper myself I should be working on, but I want to get this chapter finished so I can send it off to London." He sighs, looking down at the book he'd been writing in, giving his head a shake. "Looks like I won't be sleeping again tonight."

Anthony glances over, "Really? What are you sending down to Town?" He gives a faint smile, "Professor Black suggested I read this book, so I'm slogging on through it."

Gareth glances down at his work again, giving a grin. "I've decided to record my year and a half at Durmstrang, and I'm hoping to find a publisher. Serialized at first, then collected in a single volume. So much has been written in the Prophet, but I'd really like to tell my side of the story." He lifts his chin, peering toward the book Anthony has. "What has Black got you reading then?"

Anthony lifts the book so the title can be seen. 'Humourism and the Four Elements" by Althea Xanthopoulos.' It's not on any of the reading lists. Tony gives a faint smile, "I wrote a speculative Theory paper for him, in my own time. About… you know. Souls, and things. He pointed out some things I hadn't considered, so I'm reading more, and revising my thoughts." He pauses, fingers tapping the table top, "I should like to hear some of the things you learned there, if I may? At some point."

Gareth's eyes light, his grin widening. "I'd be more than happy to discuss my experiences with you. And everyone else, for that matter. I'm actually surprised no one's asked me here. The Ministry questioned me for days after I returned, and I had to take my OWLs again, even though I did quite well on them at Durmstrang. They have a much more…." He waves a hand about as he searches for the right words. "Practical approach to education over there, especially when it comes to defending against the Dark Arts. It's really quite exhilerating."

Anthony gives a slow not. "Mm." A very non-committal noise. "I'm not sure I should have liked Cruciatus in Hogwarts. It wasn't overly pleasant when it did happen." There's just a moment's hesitation over the spell name. Crruciatus. "But the theoretical aspects? I should find that very.. enlightening. It may fill some other holes in my theories."

Gareth's eyes widen in surprised. "Someone was teaching the Cruciatus curse here, at Hogwarts? I must say, I'm quite surprised. Was it simply a demonstration, or were students taught how to perform it as well? I understand it can be quite tricky, relying heavily upon the caster's intentions. The Imperius is even stickier, of course. One must really concentrate on intent." He doesn't mention the third Unforgivable Curse, though the look in his eyes makes it plain he's thinking about it. After a moment, he continues, "Of course, countering the lesser curses and hexes is a far more important skill to learn, since they're far more likely to be encountered. So few people know how to cast the Unforgivables."

Anthony's eyes narrow slightly. "No. No, they weren't." He doesn't give more details right there. "But do tell me more."

Gareth cocks his head to one side, one brow quirking. "Well, you're in the Duelling Club, you know all about counter-curses and such defensive spells. Of course, the Disarming Charm is probably the most useful, but the Patronus can be more powerful, if properly wielded. And a full-bodied Patronus…Now that's something to behold. There was a boy at Durmstrang, Braun, he could conjure a massive wolf. It was quite impressive, not to mention more than a little intimidating."

Anthony gives an impressed nod. "I've not tried to learn the Patronus. My interests are… well… esoteric, I suppose." He gives a faint smile, "Or possibly incomprehensible. But I'm sure I'll have plenty of time for that in IMC, in due course."

Gareth leans just a tad closer, looking at Anthony's book again. "Esoteric, yes. So you're working on…the soul? What exactly, um…about the soul? I mean, we know they exist, yes? There are ghosts everywhere, proof that something about us exists separate from the body. Though of course, separating the soul from the body is quite lethal to the body, isn't it?" His eyes suddenly brighten. "Or is it? Have you discovered something?"

Anthony's lips twitch slightly, "How do you know they're souls? I mean, they could be spirits?" He considers how best to explain the difference. "Ghosts can't cast magic, can they? So, either we accept there is something purely physical about magic…. in which case it should be possible to physically remove the 'magic gland'…. which doesn't seem to be the case. Or we admit that the 'ghost' is not ALL of the ephemeral 'self'. Does that make sense?"

Gareth frowns then, his brows furrowing. He's silent for a long moment, then he slowly nods. "I hadn't really considered that. You've raised some very interesting questions, and I'd love to read your work, when you have it finished." As the gong rings, he quickly begins putting away his things, tucking books and quills into his leather school bag.

Ludae and Gareth are already seated at the Ravenclaw table, the both of them with books in front of them when the dinner gong rang. Ludae rolls her eyes, sighing softly. "These free periods aren't long enough," she says to Gareth, as she closes the book she was reading and puts it back into bag sitting nearby her. They are the only two at the Ravenclaw table so far, but there are other students milling about as well at the other House tables.

Gareth lets out a small groan as he corks his bottle of ink and shuts the two hand-written books in front of him. "The days are too short. I need at least another fifteen just to keep up with studies, not to mention getting this thing written. I do so hope I can get the first few chapters published before school ends." He stuffs the books, ink, and quill into his school bag, then wipes his inky fingers onto his black robe absently.

Sybil walked in with a few other girls, giving one a wave and the other a press of a cheek to a cheek before waving bye as the little group disperses across different tables. The cloak that's over her shoulders isn't closed, showing off her uniform underneath. Letting a few others scoot over, she sits across Gareth as she slides her legs underneath the table. "I spy with my little eye a set of eyes that never sleep. Never shut, they stare but don't see. Can you tell me what they might be?" says Sybil in a sweet voice to Gareth. There's a look given to Ludae, studying the girl curiously a moment before she simply smiles while looking back to Gareth.

Ludae gives a likewise brief smile to Sybil when the girl joins the two already at the table. She quirks a brow at the riddle, but doesn't attempt to answer it. She just assumes it's a bit of flirtying between Sybil and Gareth. She glances towards the doors, hoping to catch some more familiar faces coming in, but so far she hasn't seen anyone else she knows. "Yes, I certainly could use an extra day of the week," she agrees with Gareth, "I feel like I was just in here for breakfast a few short hours ago, and here it is dinner already."

Gareth's brows draw together in thought, as he drops his bag beneath the bench near his feet. "Eyes that never sleep could easily be my own these days," he says slowly. "Stare but don't see, that could be me when I'm starting to drift off late at night, surrounded by books I should be reading. But that answer seems too simple." His eyes snap back into focus as he turns toward Sybil. "All right, Pyrites, I surrender."

Sybil has her eyes twinkle in delight at Gareth's defeat in wit. With a wry grin spreading on her lips she says "You shouldn't surrender so easily, but the answer is your glasses. How are you doing, Carrow? Pick out any good books over the winter holiday to study up on? And have you started thinking of where you'll be having your family request you to apprentice at after the exams?" The Pyrite seems to be planning already for next year.

Ludae is sitting beside Sybil across from Gareth, more Ravenclaws gradually joining them at the table as everyone files in for the dinner hour. The redheaded girl rummages through her bookbag for a minute, briefly distracting herself while the other two chat. "He's going to be working in a muggle bakery," she comments off-handedly, glancing up at Gareth briefly with a coy grin on her lips.

Hephaesta files in with the mass of students, just another face in the crowd. Even the signature clicking and whirring of her leg brace cannot be heard over the shuffling feet and chattering voices of the many students. She takes a usual spot at the end of a bench — as she cannot easily climb over the benches like other students — landing her in the vicinity of Gareth, Sybil, and Ludae. "Hello, Eagles," she says politely. She's been working on her social niceties…if only to get her mother to stop harrassing her about it.

Gareth rolls his eyes at Ludae's comment, giving his head a quick shake. "Actually, father said I can work in the shop here in Hogsmeade. Mother wanted me at the Brecon shop, but I really need a little distance from my family right now. As for books, over break I began writing one, actually, about my experiences at Durmstrang." He casts a glance toward Ludae, giving them another roll. "A Muggle bakery indeed. I'd be perfectly useless in such an establishment. I wouldn't even know what to wear." He nods as Hephaesta arrives. "All right, Mulciber?"

Sybil glances over a shoulder to spy Heph and she gives a wave, patting the bench next to her after giving a pleasant smile to the student nearby to scoot over. "Come sit with us." When Gareth and Ludae talk about muggle bakeries, she looks over to Gareth and perhaps there's an odd odor of cheese around as she has her nose scrunch but seems the Pyrites picks a different subject. "You're going to let me have early access to your book, right? Of course you'll let me read it, I probably could help edit it too. I bet I could get everyone wanting to read it here at Hogwarts and beyond. It'd probably be the first student book to make the top ten list." There's a stare given towards the student nearby to make sure that Heph has a spot free. Pat pat goes a hand to the bench seat.

Ludae looks up from her bookbag when Hephaesta sits nearby, and she smiles brightly at the other girl. In fact, she seems a bit relieved to see her. "Evening, Phae," she greets the girl, and scoots over a little closer to the inventor-girl. "I didn't see you at the Pantomime," she says, "Though that's probably for the better. That turned into a disaster pretty quickly." She turns to Gareth, then, to add, "An apron, obviously." She giggles softly.

Hephaesta gives Gareth a practiced nod and smile. "Certainly. How are you, Carrow?" She glances Sybil's way, nibbling her lip as she eyes the seat opening up. "Thank you, Pyrites. But…I find it I have an easier time if I'm at the end of the bench." Her head dips low with a touch of shame, "So I don't have to climb over it." Grateful for a change of subject, she gives Ludae an almost motherly look of concern. "I heard that you were burned. I'm sorry that I wasn't there to help. I was in the workshop and…completely forgot about it." There is a bit of a blush. A Ravenclaw forgetting? Inconceivable.

Gareth's eyes go distant for a long moment. "Ah yes, I know what an apron is," he says at last. "The woman who runs Pilgrims in the village wears one over her frock. She works in the kitchens, you see." And whatever happens in the kitchens is a complete mystery, and as far as Gareth is concerned, will always remain so. He turns to Sybil again, smiling. "Naturally! In fact, I have copies of the first few chapters upstairs. I can lend them to you tonight, if you like. I'm trying to write a chapter out of order just now, about my first meeting with Gellert Grildelwald. That's the chapter I hope to send to publishers, to gain their interest."

"O no…no no, I wouldn't suggest you giving one of the most meaty parts of your book away, where's the hook to keep them coming back for more if they suddenly have so many questions answered? Allusion within a story can be just as powerful as any charm…why, it's like having the aroma of a delicious roast beef and roasted vegetables in the hallway without actually seeing the scrumptious meal set before you on the table. Get their appetites hungry, and you'll end up getting some good deals." She leans slightly forward, in a quieter voice although it's more a stage whisper, "You and I can meet later tonight, you need a manager."

Ludae bites her lip a little, blushing as well when Phae gives her that look of concern, and her eyes turn back to the table for a moment. "Well, um, I appreciate your concern, but it wasn't that bad for me," she says, "Just a few small burns on my hands, but the nurse was able to give me a salve that took care of it." She holds one of her hands out, palm up, for Phae to see. "See, I'm fine." She glances towards Sybil and Gareth, and giggles softly at the stage whisper. Glancing back to Phae she adds, "I had, uh, been meaning to ask you something, Phae." She seems a little nervous about it.

Well, the last night in the Great Hall went so well that Abraxas decides to give it another go, so the Malfoy, with his books and a folding chess set under his arm, enters the Hall in a flap of robes.

Gareth taps his chin thoughtfully for a moment, then slowly nods to Sybil. "Yes, you might be right at that. I am hoping to serialize it, perhaps one chapter a week. Or month, depending on how often the periodical is published. Then once the whole story has been told, I can collect it all in a single volume. I'm thinking the chapter that has Leander's death will be rather eagerly anticipated. I only wish I'd witnessed it myself. Poor Leander, it was so horribly heart-wrenching when I heard."

Hephaesta begins to load a modest dinner onto her plate as the platters of food appear out of nowhere. She tilts her head at Ludae, lifting one eyebrow curiously. "I'm glad you're alright. What do you want to ask?" Then, remembering those manners her mother is trying so desperately to instill in her, she lifts a basket of dinner rolls, presenting it to Ludae. "Bread?"

Erica is rather quitly (for her) sitting at the Hufflepuff table, idly wrapping a blond ringlet around her finger as she pushes about her food on her plate. Giving a slow wistful sigh filled with degected broken heart. Typical for Erica she gets homesick so very easily and it usually takes a few weeks to re-acclimate to returning to Hogwarts. She tries to put on a smile when she gets nudged, but it doesn't stick for very long before she's staring back down at the pile of pease pudding that was once hot, now cold. A stab of her fork knocks some loose and that single pea gets scooted around her plate.

Sybil taps her nose with a fingertip before tossing a wink to Gareth, "Now you're thinking on the right path." A flutter of robes at the corner of her eyes has the Pyrites attention caught a moment and distractedly she looks over Abraxas. Yeah, she stares with a smile spreading.

Ludae blinks a moment, distracted from what she had been thinking about asking Phae when the bread is offered up to her. "Oh! Um, yes, please," she says, picking a roll from the basket. Her attention, for a moment, turns to the food that has appeared on the table. Nothing out of the ordinary, of course. She's a bit of a light eater lately, though, with all the things that have been going on putting additional stress on her. Ludae chews her lip a moment, though, thankful at least for the distraction of the meal starting. "Well, I was gonna ask," she finally says to Phae, "If you would want to, um, meet up at the Three Broomsticks next weekend… To, uh… Discuss that favor you mentioned?" She bites her lip again, and adds a bit more quietly, "It isn't, uh, anything I want to discuss here, is all."

Further down the Slytherin table there is a disgusted sound and you can practically hear the roll of eyes as Soleil pushes away from the meal. "If you'll excuse me, I've completely lost my appetite." Is primly given to those around her and then away she goes, a bitter chill emanating off of her when she passes by Gareth.

Hephaesta's brow crinkles in thought at Ludae's request. "Is it a Hogsmeade weekend?" She nods, mentally answering her own question. She so rarely visits Hogsmeade that she doesn't tend to keep track of the visitation weekends. "We can do that, if you like. But why wait? We could meet after dinner in the library if you want privacy. It's a secret project, I gather?"

Madeline is seated near Erisa, with her back to her. The girl's been a bit uncharacteristically quiet since the failed attempt at a pantomime, and like her friend, seems to be doing at least as much pushing around of her food as eating. When one of the students next to her comments on a charms assignment, the girl manages a small smile as she responds, "Oh, no, thanks for the offer. I finished that one already."

Gareth grabs himself a bowl of leek soup and some shepherd's pie, nodding to Sybil. "Always," he comments, then follows her gaze to Malfoy. His nose then wrinkles in disgust, and he quickly looks away again. "You can do better," he mutters under his breath. "An Ashwinder would make for a better companion. Certainly easier on the eyes."

Abraxas approaches the Slytherin table, stopping to share a word with a few of his friends - or at least allies - along the way. Turning to glance over his shoulder, he catches the smile in his direction and raises a finger to his brow in slight salute before nodding in that direction. Then he slides into his place at the table, flanked by his fellows.

The porcelain cheeks flush a little pink on Sybil's face and her eyes blink a few times. "Noli irritare serpentem." she says softly maybe to Gareth, watching Abraxas sit down at the Slytherin table. She turns her attentions back to her housemates, contemplative as she selects a sweet roll. Tearing a small piece, she nibbles it. "Have you been keeping track of the house points? We're in a good position actually versus the rest of the houses. Perhaps if we meet up weekly and focus on encouraging Ravenclaws to do as best as possible, we could win?"

Ludae blushes a little harder. "Oh! Uh, I suppose we could," she says, "I'm just feeling a bit, uh, restless, since it's been so cold outside lately." She smiles, though, and shrugs her shoulders. "Not so much a secret project, I just, um, wanted to talk to you about something." She takes a sip from her cup, then chews on a bit of bread. "It's stupid really," she mutters under her breath afterwards, staring down at her plate shyly.

Gareth snorts softly, pouring tea into his cup and shaking his head again. He glances between Hephaesta and Ludae a few times, chuckling just under his breath. "Oh, just ask her. It's painfully obvious that you're simply dying to, and I know we'll have no peace until you finally do." He gives Sybil a nod then, lips curling in a grin. "I'd say this is certainly our year to win, but it never hurts to encourage our housemates to continue studying as hard as they can. Perhaps we can organize study groups by year, draw up schedules and such. It seems far off, but exams aren't really that distant, and many of us will be taking either OWLs or NEWTs this spring. Sooner started, sooner done."

Hephaesta pinches up her lips to the side in a thoughtful expression. "I'm sure it isn't stupid. Let's talk after dinner," she says plainly, apparently closing the matter in her mind. She glances up to Sybil, nodding slow agreement. "I think a weekly strategy session is a good idea. It would certainly help to prevent the sort of nonsense that went on last year." She shudders at the memory of some rather outlandish behaviour on the part of her housemates the year prior.

Sybil puts her attention back to Gareth, "Yes, OWLS and NEWTS this year for quite a few of us." Her mind thinks a bit, and then there's a brightness to her eyes. "That's it! A mentorship program of older students to younger students that will keep relationships long after the older student graduates and goes into life. And we can have weekly catchups in the common room, going over difficulties and using our communal knowledge to obtain the best solution." Looking at Gareth, Heph and Ludae she says "Well done coming up with that idea you all. Lets do it."

Abraxas is talking quietly with some of the other Slytherins, and it becomes apparent that some glances are being directed at the Ravenclaw table. The Malfoy shrugs and begins to eat a bit of whatever is on offer, washing it down with pumpkin juice. "Who?" he says, loud enough to hear, "Oh, that one. Well, no accounting for taste."

Ludae turns a lot redder after Gareth just up and says that, but thankfully the subject is changing just then. "That's a fantastic idea, yes," she agrees, smiling, "I'm sure that between all of us here for our NEWTs we could cover all of the core classes and electives. It would certainly help, especially the first-years. A lot of them are having enough trouble keeping up with the change in lifestyle compared to living at home."

"Hey, Stainwright, would you pass me the rolls?" Sierra asks from across the table. She's been cheerfully chatting with one of the girls sitting next to her, a pile of mash on her plate next to her pease porridge.

"Excellent, then. I'll send out messages to the housemates later tonight. I can get a nice board for keeping track of progress as well as send a weekly letter to everyone." shares Sybil before taking another bite of the sweet roll. "And don't forget Gareth about that book."

Gareth nods as he stirs sugar into his tea. "Yes, the transition can be quite disconcerting, and it behooves us as upperclassmen to help ease that transition for our younger housemates. I remember the anxiety I endured before exams my first year, but once I'd begun actually writing them, I found the experience quite exhilerating. But then, don't we all?" He flashes a grin, which fades slightly when he glances to the Slytherin table again. "Of course, I'll need to be sure I have time to continue writing as well. I'll need to start filling my pockets with tea leaves at dinner every night, just to stay awake."

"Shame about Professor Beery." Brock Bletchly says to his fellow Magijugend. "Wonder who will wind up teaching herbology." He flashes a blindingly white smile that lacks only a pinging sound effect.

Abraxas looks at him and shrugs, "I have five more months of Herbology, and then I'm finished. And I'll be happy to see the end of it. Useful to know, but I can't stand digging around in the dirt." He leans forward, and says, "Do you think they realize that it's a bad idea to be seen with that particular Carrow right now?"

Hephaesta decides to finally join the conversation about Gareth's writings. Be more social, her mother's voice rings her in her. Just please try to make some friends this year. "So you really met Gellert Grindelwald while you were at Durmstrang? Was he terribly cruel to you?"

As it seems Sybil's task at dealing with her housemates is checked off at least for the time being, she stands up. "Talk to you all later on!" Off the social butterfly goes, making a slow and unhurried walk around the tables to chat to this person or that.

Ludae, for now, busies herself with dinner while listening to the others at the table with her talk. It's easier to hear them, after all, over the general din of the great hall. She glances between Phae and Gareth at the question posed. "He's trying to think of a better title for his book, too," she offers, "I gave him some suggestions already, but I bet you two could come up with something better. I prefer to read novels over writing them." Ludae blinks and adds, "Oh, see you around, then," to Sybil as she departs.

Gareth blinks in surprise at Hephaesta, staring at her for a long moment. "Cruel? On the contrary, he was quite charming. He gave me this personally, you know." He shifts his necktie aside, slipping his fingers into his shirt and pulling out his Eye of Truth pendant just enough for those nearby to see before tucking it away again. It's a lusterous white-gray, not quite silver. Platinum, perhaps. "He's such an incredibly wise man, you know. I really don't understand why the local press has been so dreadful about him." He glances around at the others, giving Sybil a nod as she rises. "Have any of you read his book? I spent my summer translating it into Welsh. Simply facinating."

Hephaesta peers at the triangular pendant around Gareth's neck, nodding dispassionately. "I'm sure he's quite intelligent, and wise in his own way. But my father says that he is following the path of every great dictator, and that he'll end up the same way so many of them have." She shrugs with apparent disinterest. "I don't follow politics very much."

Sybil finally arrives near a table with a particular group consisting of Brock Bletchly, Abraxas Malfoy and others. "Good evening, Malfoy!" says the Pyrites with a smile, her robe fluttering a bit as she walks to them. "I heard from an owl that you single-handedly won a duel without even having to use a wand. Do you mind if I sit and hear the story? It sounds fascinating." There's a polite small yet pretty smile given to Abraxas' group of cronies.

"Well, I suppose they are housemates." Bletchly replies, to Abraxas. The Malfoy just shakes his head, "That's true, but there are plenty of people who's own houses can't stand them. He looks up as Sybil approaches, and smiles thinly, "Ah, Pyrites." He slides over on the bench to make room. "I'm not sure which duel you're talking about. What is it that I'm meant to have done?"

Ludae sips her drink, at the same time glancing down at the pendant Gareth display briefly, then up at the boy's face. She shakes her head. "I've been too busy trying to learn about every magical plant and creature under the sun," she says, "I haven't had any time to read anything for leisure in months." She glances at Phae, and gives a nod. "From what I've read in the news, there's one dictator too many in the world already," she says.

Sybil sits down on the bench next to Abraxas, her legs crossed over a knee while she leans a bit back to the table to get a better look at the Malfoy's face. "It's been whispered that you sent a lion running with but an uttered word. It must be true, here you are and I haven't heard any reports of students needing a healer." Her eyes fall on the prefect badge and her voice drops a bit lower, "A prefect that can use his words to that effect is going places later on, thats for sure."

"It's not really about politics," Gareth says, pouring himself a fresh cup of tea. "It's more about a philosophy, a new way of looking at the world around us. It's really quite eye-opening. You should all read it this summer." He spoons some tea into his cup, then begins to slowly stir. "I don't know about him being a dictator though. A natural leader, certainly. That Muggle in Germany though, he certainly has the makings of a dictator. I suppose that's why the Muggle governments have gone and declared war against him and his followers. Dreadful, really, so much death and destruction are sure to occur in the coming months. That's why I think it will be good for us to recind the Statute for Secrecy. Once the Muggles know we exist among them, when they realize we're just as patriotically British as they are, we can guide them to a peaceful resolution to this conflict. Certainly the Germans would think twice about attacking a nation with wizards and witches on their side."

"Flattery will get you everywhere." Abraxas says, in reply. "But duel or no, I'm not sure I would sully my wand on his sort. If you mean Angelus Eibon, who is a lion about as much as a stray Knockturn Alley cat. You really should be careful about who you are seen talking to, though. Some people, alas, have decided to make themselves completely unwelcome among polite wizards of good breeding."

Hephaesta tilts her head curiously at Gareth, taking a moment to sort through these matters of state. "It's true, I haven't read his manifesto. But I've been told that Mr. Grindelwald wants to conquer the Muggles. He doesn't sound very peaceful to me. What you describe sounds more like what that Malfoy politician is trying to do."

Colton chokes on a bit of the roll he was eating and when he coughs it out it sounded a lot like *coughinbreedingcough.* He apologizes as he pats his chest and gets back to eating his food a bit like a very hungy mastiff. Which is why he choked in the first place…of couse.

Sybil's light blue eyes twinkle a bit as she gives a playful wink to Abraxas on the line about flattery, her foot wiggling a bit to a beat. "Hmm, so what you're saying is you're offering to have me be seen with you? You'll be my own guardian? How chivalrous of you, Malfoy. Yet again, a trait for others to emulate." asks the Pyrites, using Malfoy's words as a hook to the young man as she smiles coyly. "Alright."

"Don't forget that the Germans have their own score of witches and wizards," Ludae mentions, "Not every wizard in the world is British. It might be better to wait until after the war to reveal ourselves, if only to keep the level of catasrophy in check for both sides." The redheaded girl gives a nod to Gareth. "He really is an awful man from what I've heard of him, though I can't help but wonder how much of that is truth. Muggle governments have been known to spread propaganda, after all."

Felix Flitwick, noticing Colton "coughing", suddenly leaps up from his seat, scrambling down the Gryffindor table. "I'll save you!" he shouts heroically, and brings his hand down to smack Colton on the back with all the force he can muster.

Madeline stops poking at her food, to look towards Felix and Colton as the one slaps the other 'heroically' on the back. "Umm. I think he's okay, Felix," she offers helpfully, in a slightly lowered voice.

Felix will find air when his hand comes down as Colton is now (hiding) under the table after a quick slide. "It's okay Fe! Really. Perfectly fine, cheers mate."

Felix whiffs the air, missing the nimble Colton entirely. Felix is sent into a wild spin that lands him in between a pair of Hufflepuffs. "Uh…sorry!" Thankfully, Hufflepuffs being Hufflepuffs, he suffers little more than some friendly ribbing for his antics.

Gareth glances to the Slytherin table, then leans closer to his housemates, lowering his voice. "Muggle governments aren't the only people who engage in such things. And after all, not all heartless dictators are to be found on the Continent. We should all be cautious about what we read, especially when it comes from a certain family many believe have grown a bit too powerful in all the wrong ways."

"Oh, dear, what have I walked into? Another young wizard led astray by a pretty witch?" Abraxas asks, tilting his head, "I am, of course, pleased to be seen with you, Pyrites. Good families must stick together, after all. But tell me, have you heard anything else interesting?"

Colton's head appears out from under the table, "Is it safe?" He whispers to those flanking him before he returns to sitting just in time for Pringle to whip his head around squinting towards Colton, the man's 'Colton's being and arse' senses were tingling. The innocent grin Colton angles at the meanest man on campus gets himself all the more scrutiny.

Hephaesta tilts her head innocently at Gareth's comment. "What family is that, Carrow?" The ebb and flow of high society maneuverings is miles beyond Phae's focused little world, in spite of her mother's best efforts to make a proper little lady of her.

Sybil says "I hear lots of things, I suppose that's part of the charm of the Pyrites smile at the right time. But if you're really true about what you said, then lets go for a walk before the hour gets too late. I just might have heard some very interesting discussions." She doesn't seem to get up yet though, waiting for the Malfoy to make the first move.

"Ummm. He was looking for my for me, Sir," Madeline offers as Pringle eyes Colton. But, uhh, I found it. It fell behind me. She holds up the fork as 'evidence.' The presence of a fork proves Colton was looking for a fork. … Surely.

Ludae blinks a little at Gareth's whisper, and she gives a nod of her head. "High society isn't much of my thing," she says, "But I think I know who you mean." She glances at Phae, before giving her a nudge and making a discreet gesture towards the Slytherin table.

Gareth's eyes dart toward the Slytherin table again, particularly on Malfoy. Keeping his voice low, he says, "Ask yourself who might be the most vocal detractor of those with less than pure blood. While you're at it, ask yourself which Pureblood family is currently being ostracized because a young member of the family brought a Muggle-born date to a certain Christmas gathering. Further, which branch of another Pureblood family has been similarly ostracized for the high crime of attending the Eibon family New Year's party. Then ask yourself, are these the sort of wizards we want representing us to the Muggle world?"

Abraxas finishes his glass of pumpkin juice and then looks at Sybil. "Oh, what sort of warlock would I be if I refused an invitation to take a walk with the aforementioned pretty witch?" He spins to stand from the bench, and then offers a hand up politely to the Ravenclaw. Perhaps his ears are burning, and he simply shoots a look over at the Ravenclaw table and curls a corner of his lip in a half-sneer.

Hephaesta stares at Gareth like he just grew another head. "How should I know any of that? There are plenty of pure-blood families that don't like Muggle-born. The Flints, I suppose?" She shrugs helplessly. "I don't fuss about such things. It isn't as if I can change anyone's mind about blood status. But isn't that just the sort of person you want representing us? Your Mr. Grindelwald, I mean."

Sybil puts a pale set of long fingers on Malfoy's offered and and she stands up, smoothing her obsidian robes. Tossing a smile to those at the Slytherin table, "I won't keep him long, and promise to give him back in just as good condition if not in better spirits. Ta ta!" With her chin held slightly up and quite a radiant smile, the Pyrites waits for Abraxas to lead them both out. Noticing her housemates, she gives them a blown kiss from pursed lips.

Ludae shakes her head. "That's exactly what I was talking about earlier," she tells Phae, "What good is it going to do telling the muggles wizards and witches exist when it's immediately followed by telling them they're scum compared to us? I feel like that whole war they're having will be turned on us, and then what? That kind of approach could result in a lot of people dead, wizard and muggle alike."

Gareth lets out a small sigh, rolling his eyes once again. "The Malfoys, of course," he says, sitting back again. "Why do you think they've pushed so had with their Unity movement, when they so openly oppose true Unity? All witches and wizards, regardless of their blood purity, should be united together before we attempt to unite with the Muggles. We need to see beyond our minor differences to the larger picture. Now I'll admit, Gellert Grindelwald has some strong opinions on blood purity, and I was a bit skeptical of his ideas at first. But after speaking with the man personally, discussing his whole philosophy, not just what muckrakers like the Daily Prophet have filtered to us, I came to realize that only when we are all united together can we help to usher in a new, better era of peace and prosperity, for both wizards and Muggles alike. As for the war, it's very unlikely that the Germans will overturn the International Statute, so their witches and wizards will be forbidden from taking part in any of the war effort. This will give our side a distinct advantage, don't you think?"

Hephaesta pinches her lips pensively again, pondering Gareth's words. "But…if we expose ourselves here, won't that make the Statute of Secrecy effectively null and void around the world? Once the Muggles know we exist, the other Ministries might have to change how they do things. Wouldn't they?" She asks uncertainly.

Heedless of whatever attacks on his family reputation might be underway, Abraxas is content to take Sybil on his arm and head out to walk around the grounds and gossip, or whatever it is they do.

Amid some murmurings of unease, a number of Ravenclaws — particularly those of pure-blood persuasion — start to shift away from Gareth and his conversation companions.

"It will be choas for a while, guaranteed," Ludae says with a curt nod, "I look forward to the day we can all live peacefully with muggles of course, but it isn't going to come easy." The redhead shoots what is almost a glare to those that murmur and move away. "Oh, don't get your knickers in a knot," she mutters.

Gareth holds his hand flat, then wobbles it a bit. "Not necessarily, and even if they do, it will be too late. We'll be seen as brave and patriotic, while their own wizards will be viewed with suspicion as cowardly. We step up to defend our countrymen, while they were content to remain in hiding and allow their countrymen to die in a dreadful war, until our bravery forced them out of hiding. It will be chaotic, certainly, but that will be to our advantage. We must be prepared to move swiftly and decisively to end the war before things go too far. I wasn't even born when the last war was fought, but my parents and grandparents remember how horrific it was. We can't allow something like that to happen again."

Hephaesta doesn't seem to notice the uneasy Ravenclaws distancing themselves from Gareth, so Ludae's mutter brings a frown to her face. "My knicker are not in a knot. I'm just trying to understand all of this." She frowns in embarrassment.

Ludae blinks at Phae for a moment, confused by her response at first, but then she shakes her head. "Not you, them," she says, glancing towards the other Ravenclaws who had, a moment ago, been sitting nearer than they are now. "I'm not particularly fond of this sort of talk myself, though," she says, "Politics is not my calling. If it was, I would have been born with a much better ability at public speaking."

Akilina has actually been putting her 2 cents in at the Ravenclaw table for most of the conversation. It's just she's so soft spoken no one can hear her! With a frustrated sigh she presses her heavy and thick glasses up higher onto her tiny nose. Finally she take a few gulps of water, takes a deep breath and projects enough to speak at a normal volume. "Unity is about… Unity and abolishing the Statute of Secrecy so that Wizards and Witches like my brother and I don't have to hide who we are with them. Army of Truth is about subjugation and worse eradication of Muggles who don't comply or fit into their way of doing things. Honestly Gareth, you sound more like you believe in Unity than you do in that …." Akilina losses her volume at that point and the meek little mouse is back to minding her own business looking apologetic for being so vocal.

As long as there's still food, no harm being a bit late to dinner. Samira wanders into the Great Hall with a book tucked under her arm. With her diminutive stature and wild dark curls, it's hard not to recognize the exotic Slytherin student. After transferring to Hogwarts earlier this year from Egypt, she's kept to herself for the most part. Samira slows, about to stop at an empty spot when she notices Hephaesta sitting with some friends not far away. A bright, impish grin finds its way to her lips as she continues on, pausing to stop at her friend's place. "Hello Phae."

Gareth gives a small smile, shaking his head slowly. "The Army of Truth's true purpose has been warped and perverted here in Britain by a certain rather high-placed segment of society. I'm sure you all know who I mean. That is why Gellert Grindelwald spent so much of his precious time speaking with me while I was at Durmstrang. He knew that someone would need to bring his true message to Britain. I hope that my book will help to do just that. I'm not much of a public speaker, and politics have never held much interest for me. As I said, I'm more fascinated by the philosophy than the political ambitions of certain members of our community. Unfortunately, those members will do anything in their considerable power to silence the message I bring. I don't know that I'll be able to find a publisher, despite Sybil's assurances."

Angelus was here, sitting at the Gryffindor table, eating dinner. He's back to being his sociable, chatting self, and not so down and depressed since patching things up with Megan. He was probably talking with Celes during dinner, and now that he's feeling full the youth is eating his dessert slowly.

Ludae leans forward a bit to look down the table a bit more, at the girl who got louder all of a sudden. She doesn't say anything, just gives her a grin. Seated next to Phae, looks up at Samira when the girl stops by their table. For a moment she just looks at her, considering the other girl. She's friends with Phae, though, so she can't possibly be as bad as Malfoy, even if she is a Slytherin. "Hello," she greets Samira, giving her a brief, if friendly smile. She hasn't met many of the Slytherin students, for good reason as well. She's made a point of avoiding familiarity with a lot of them. Ludae's attention turns back to Gareth then. "You have to consider, as well, that Grindelwald spent all that time talking with you to convince you of the message he wants you to spread to Britain. You said yourself, muggles are not the only ones who employ propaganda."

Samira is well used to the caution most other students have of the Slytherins. In truth, it almost seems to amuse her as she grins a bit too wise at Ludae. But, looking back to Pahe, her smile turns impish once more.

Hephaesta looks over her shoulder at the sound of her name, and gives Samira a warm smile. "Oh, hello Samira. Did you just get here?" She squints a bit at the Slytherin girl, as if trying to divine what mischief she's been up to. "Do you think they'd mind if you sat here for a bit?" She peers around toward the present faculty, nibbling her lip uncertainly.

Gareth chuckles then, finishing off his tea. "Well, of course that's why he spoke with me. His message has been warped and perverted here in Britain. Naturally, he wants his true message to be spread. But if there's any propoganda being spread, it's being done by those doing the warping and perverting. Now think about it. If the true message is one of real unity among wizards and Muggles, and the perverted message is one of subjugation and Pure-blood supremacy, who benefits the most from propogating the perverted message?" He glances up to the newcomer, frowning just a bit. "Prince, isn't it? Aren't you afraid to be seen associating so closely with people speaking with me?"

Samira's laughter is full of mischeif as she turns around and sits down between Phae and Ludae. This one doesn't seem quite too concerned about personal space. "I know they won't mind at least until they notice…" Samira twists a bit to snag a dinner roll from the Ravenclaw table.

Ludae gives Samira a bit of a look while the other girl is looking Phae's way when she squeezes in between the two Ravenclaws. It doesn't last, though, and Ludae scoots over a bit to provide more room on the bench for the three of them. "Of course, that's generally how it goes, isn't it?" she comments, before downing the rest of her drink.

Angelus continues to work at his pie, pausing to take a drink. His eyes do trail over to the Ravenclaw table curiously, tilting his head, humming thoughtfully. A smirk flicks as he catches sight of Samira, but her secret is safe with him. He glances once at the head table, shaking his head, and going back to his pie.

Hephaesta's eyes widen with a bit of surprise as Samira wedges herself in, but she doesn't seem to mind much. "I just don't want you to get into trouble." Reorienting her attention back to Gareth, she furrows her brow again in curiosity. "Why would Samira be afraid to be seen with us? We haven't done anything wrong."

Samira side-glances past Ludae at Gareth with a grin. "Well… I /am/ associated with Phae. But, you're the Grindelwaldie, yes? His follower? I'm not worried. Rumors tend to be entertaining." The fact that her previous school wasn't afraid to teach a bit of dark magic to their students has been floating around.

Gareth glances again to the Slytherin table, and though Malfoy is long gone, his cronies are still about and likely paying close attention to who speaks with the hated Carrow. "Yes, well. It's your social funeral, I suppose. Speaking of which…." He twists around, looking toward the Gryffindor table until he catches sight of Angelus. "Eibon!" he shouts, making sure everyone at the Slytherin table hears him. "A word, when you have a moment?" He grins to himself, turning back to his housemates and Samira. "It's high time someone had the brass to stand up to the all-mighty Malfoys. Grindelwaldie, I like that, by the way. Perhaps we should form a new club on campus…."

Ludae rolls her eyes a little bit, and scoops up her bookbag. "I should get going, myself. I have some more studying to do before turning in for the night." She gives a glance at Samira. "Nice meeting you," she says, somewhat flatly. To Phae, "I'll meet you in the library later?" She says her goodbyes to Gareth as well.

Samira is vaguely aware of the drama going on between the Western families. Her uncle might have mentioned something, but she hasn't really been keeping track. She glances up at Angelus with amused interest before shifting her attention to Ludae. With a bit of a nod, she says, "Ma salaama…" And with that she turns her attention to the person she came to chat with. Hephaesta. Grinning up at the slightly older girl, Samira says, "Before the library, do you want to go somewhere?"

Hephaesta is no closer to understanding what Gareth is going on about, and her face shows it. "Social funeral? What in the world is a social funeral?" She sighs with mild exasperation. When Ludae rises she gives her a firm nod. "I'll be there. In about an hour, if that's alright with you?"

Ludae gives a nod to Phae. "About an hour is just fine. See you later." With that she's off, heading out of the Great Hall.

Angelus lifts his head casually when his name is called, arching a brow as he glances towards the source. A smirk flicks against his lips, offering out a cool raise of his head in answer with a mere flick of his fingers just above his shoulders, to show that he's heard. His blue eyes scan the Ravenclaw table, lingering over Samira before another glance at the head table stills any thought of approaching. So he returns to his dessert.

Gareth gives his eyes yet another roll in Hephaesta's direction. "Surely you know the Malfoys have declared my branch of the Carrow family to be undesirable company. It's a power play, of course, pure and simple. They fear my message, Grindelwald's true message, and they're using the flimsiest of excuses to keep people from hearing what I have to say." He looks over to the Gryffindors again, frowning when Angelus doesn't come running. Then realization dawns in his eyes, and he nods, turning back to Hephaesta and Samira. "It seems my dear cousin is afraid to leave his designated table, even though it's perfectly permissible after dinner. Are either of you ladies brave enough to stand up to the double scorn of being seen with both a Carrow and an Eibon? Because I'm thinking of taking a stroll over there myself."

Hephaesta blinks at Gareth, shaking her head. "I don't know any such thing. That all sounds rather…odd." Sighing, she nods to Samira. "Sami, where would you like to go? I can't follow all of this political stuff any more."

"Mm, I think I'll pass," says Samira with a feline grin at Gareth. Looking once more to Hephaesta, she tilts her head. "We could pop into your workshop, if you want. Ooor… I could make it a surprise."

Gareth glances between Hephaesta and Samira a few times, biting at his lower lip. Should he say something? He knows he shouldn't but…He suddenly burts out with, "Ludae is very…um…nice, isn't she? I think she fancies…someone." He suddenly blushes and begins to babble. "Perhaps. Not that I'm very good at reading such things. Though it really is rather obvious. Or perhaps it isn't. Perhaps I should just…yes, I should." He collects his overstuffed school bag from beneath the bench and pushes to his feet. "See you later then," he mutters, hurrying off to the Gryffindor table.

Hephaesta finishes the last bite of a dinner roll, then carefully swivels in her seat at the end of the bench, swinging her lame leg out to the aisle before standing with a mechanical click-click-click-click. "I suppose I don't mind a surprise." Gareth's halting pronouncement earns another bemused look from Phae. Several times she opens her mouth to respond, but he continues on, until suddenly he is rushing off. "What was that all about? Do think…? Ooooh…Ludae fancies Gareth? It seems like maybe he fancies her, too." Hephaesta Mulciber, Love Doctor.

Samira pauses and squints a bit at Gareth when he starts to babble about Ludae and who she fancies. She tilts her head before glancing up a Phae. She grins with impish mirth as she gets up to stand rather close at Hephaesta's side. "Mmm… sounds more like he thinks she fancies someone else." She squints across the room at Gareth's retreating form. "Maybe he thinks she fancies you?" She looks to Phae, curious of what she thinks of the notion.

Angelus finishes most of his dessert before he slides the plate away from him. Lifting his glass, he downs the last the content. As he lifts his head again, glancing to the Ravenclaw table, he notices Gareth's approach. Well, finished here Angelus swings around and rises to his feet, ending up so that he's between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor's table. He gestures towards the doors of the Great Hall. "It's a bit crowded in here, don't you think?"

The young very quiet one, Akilina says at almost normal volume, "He means you." When you're quite people forget that you are there a lot of time, which makes for excellent people watching and eavesdropping. The fact that she can hardly be heard a few feet away also is good for staying under the radar. But she respects Hephaesta enough to display her understand of what's just gone on.

Hephaesta blinks rapidly at Samira and Akilina, glances back and forth between the two until finally she scoffs softly, shaking her head. "That's silly. Why would anyone fancy me?" Easily dismissing the notion, she nods toward the door. "Are you ready, Samira?"

Gareth is still blushing when he reaches Angelus, and he quickly nods, glancing back toward the Slytherin table once more, then to Hephaesta and Samira. "Yes, it is rather crowded, isn't it? Let's go somewhere…um…else. But not!" His blush only deepens as his mind turns again to Malfoy and Sybil. "Not outside, perhaps. Or the library. Or the Astronomy Tower. Er. Where did you have in mind?"

Samira arches a brow, watching Hephaesta with amusement. She glances to Akilina briefly before slipping her arm around Hephaesta's with easy familiarity. "What's not to fancy? You're brilliant. Come on. Let's go." She snags another dinner roll and when Hephaesta's ready to go, she heads off with her friend.

Angelus arches a brow, glancing to the grand doors of the Great Hall with bemusement, tilting his head. "I was going to suggest outside," murmurs the boy as he begins to walk, glancing across the Gryffindor table to see if Gareth follows. "Been cooped up in the castle all day," he informs with a mere flick of his hand.

Gareth slings the bag over his shoulder, letting out a small sigh. "Oh, very well. But don't get any ideas. You're a good four years too young for me." He follows along in Angelus' wake, casting another glance toward the Slytherins, who are no doubt snickering by now. "Need to find a cloak and scarf though, it's wicked cold out there."

"What?" returns Angelus with a bemused look at the seventh year. With a tilt of his head a bit to the side, the boy hums, and then shakes his head. "You're the one who wanted a word," informs Gel, perhaps missing what Gareth might have meant. He frowns, glancing downward as he becomes thoughtful, heading for the doors.

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