(1940-07-27) Three by the Sea: Part I
Details for Three by the Sea: Part I
Summary: Sierra visits the Rowle family and Amber takes her and Alicia on a boating adventure down the river for a day.
Date: 1940/07/27
Location: Rowle Estate, River, Hampshire Coast
Related: Three By the Sea: Part II

The Summer Holidays are in full swing, and all the children of Hogwarts have scattered to the four winds throughout Great Britain. Somewhere in the Hampshire countryside, nigh unto the sea, sits a large and somewhat isolated estate belonging to the bookish Rowle family; but, the hive of activity is not occurring at the main house on this day. Many changes have happened within the family over the last six months or so, and Amber seems to have finally come to terms with her eldest brother leaving home.
With her parents absent-minded permission, she invited her friend, Sierra to spend a week at the Rowle estate during the glorious height of Summer; but, spending the week at the house was never her intention. Having also received permission from her parents to stage an independent little excursion on the river, she can be found by the boathouse, with her delightful little sailing boat, accompanied by Sierra and her younger sister, Alicia.

"Right, if we shift a few things around, I think we can just manage to get the bigger basket situated out of the sun." She says with all the authoritative air she can muster for a fifteen year old.

Sierra - despite all her experience traveling, she has little experience at sea - is excited at the idea of this excursion, and helpfully starts pushing things out of the way so they can get the basket into place. "If we do this again next year - we can just cast a shrinking charm on these things," she remarks. "Life will be so much easier." And she'll be free of Hogwarts, at last. She casts a glance towards the youngest member of their trio, then gives Amber a questioning look. Will the littlest Rowle really be alright with them? The girl doesn't seem quite as… capable as her older sister, or as a Higgins would be.

Alicia probably would not blame someone for asking what the use of a bookish little girl is! She knew she wasn't the outdoorsy type, despite her recent attempts to better her broomflying abilities. Alicia was fiddling with the collar of her blouse, nervously giving her hands something to do. "Are you sure it's okay to be doing this with no one else about?" The youngest girl questioned. She was trying not to be third wheel, but sometimes just could not help herself.

"Sure!" Amber replies brightly to her little sister's question. Although she may feel a tiny hint of butterflies, she speaks without a hint of self-doubt. "Mum and Dad say it's alright, so it's alright…" She pauses to heft the large hamper basket into place before flashing a confident smile at Alicia: "And hey, it's me." With her in charge, how can things go wrong?
Sierra's remark causes Amber's smile to fade as the words begin to sink in. She does her best not to show it, of course, and hurriedly murmurs something about how she hates to think of Hogwarts without her, in passing, as she moves to check the rigging.
The early morning sun is shining over the trees, casting long shadows over the landscape - even to the banks of the river. Just enough of a wind is blowing, and they appear to have absolutely perfect weather for their little adventure. "Alright, ladies - we're ready to set off!" Amber announces, at last.

"You'll manage fine - and I'll be in Hogsmeade, some weekends!" Sierra answers cheerfully - seeming to have no qualms against abandoning her friend to the hardship of NEWTs on her own. With everything stowed in place, she takes a moment to enjoy the scenery, breathing deeply of the air and letting out a contented sigh. Somewhere out of sight, a roster crows - and perhaps a bit belatedly Sierra mumbles out, "God between us and all harm," without offering any explanation for the statement.

Alicia chewed her lip a little at Amber's "reassurance". But… if mom and dad think it's okay… and they might see something pretty. Alicia shrugged her shoulders. "Alright, then, I think I can trust you, my older sister," Alicia said, trying to sound jovial to lighten the mood. Or rather lighten her own mood. Alicia looked at Sierra and asked, "Did you say something, Sierra?"

Amber tries to manage a smile in return. It just won't be the same without Sierra around all the time, anymore. But, not everyone is mad enough to want to deal with the horror that is NEWTS. However, for the Rowles, it's practically a rite of passage.
"I think it's a sort of thing her people say when they start a journey," Amber asides to Alicia, untying the boat from the dock. Then, hurrying into position, she lovingly takes the tiller of her boat as the wind catches their sails. They begin to glide gracefully out into the glittering river water, with the birds singing all around on either side of the banks.
"Hey, First Mate, Higgins!" Amber says, suddenly. "Hoist the flag, will you?"

"Oh, umm, actually it was the roster…" Sierra corrects her friend, then shrugs her shoulders. Not everyone understands pavee traditions. In fact - well, generally only the pavee do. "Though there are quite a lot of traditions about journeys!" she adds helpfully. They could spend an hour or more going over all of them, as a matter of fact. At the mention of the flag, Sierra's smile widens, and she gives her friend a jaunty salute. "Aye aye, Captain Rowle!" she declares, hurrying to raise her hand-stitched rendition of the Rowle family crest. It had been hours of work - but well worth it.

Alicia opened her mouth and made a little 'aha' noise at Amber's explanation of the saying. "I'm surprised you didn't consider smashing a bottle of wine against the boat," Alicia said dryly as she took her seat and watched Sierra raising the flag. Alicia's chest puffed with pride. Even a studious bookworm like her could appreciate the sight of her family crest on a boat. "It looks good," Alicia said with a small smile.

"Sorry," Amber replies to Sierra, blushing a little at her ignorance. Squinting and smiling, Amber glances briefly up at the flag, once it has been hoisted. They are moving along at a smart clip over the smooth river, now. "She does the ship proud." The self-proclaimed little captain remarks before returning her gaze to her work.
"But I did!" Amber exclaims from the tiller. Leaning a little, she cranes her neck to glance out onto the water before them. It will be some time before they risk running into any other boats, but she must keep them steady as they go. "Don't you remember when Dad let me have the bottle to smash over her prow when we christened her The Selkie?" She asks. It has been some time, now. That was back before she was even allowed to take the little boat out by herself.

"What was it about the rooster, then?" Amber then asks of Sierra, curious to know why she said what she did on the cock's crow.

"Nah, it's fine. It was a good guess, actually!" Sierra answers glibly. As for the explanation of her strange mumbling - the girl shrugs her shoulders. "It's just something we do - when a roster crows. Especially if it's an odd hour. It protects you - keeps you and yours safe. There's plenty of things we do, or don't do, that I don't know all the reasoning behind. No lilacs in the house, no putting your shoes down upside down, never leave by any door but the one you entered by…" Something Sierra does - even at the castle. Even if it means taking the long way around on the way to class.

Alicia lowered one hand out the side of the boat and let her fingertips trace over the water. "Hm. I suppose I don't remember," Alicia confessed, the young girl's memory a touch unreliable regarding things that didn't happen in books, "I still don't know if The Selkie was the /best/ name for the boat, by the way." But Alicia didn't protest much, she was busy sight seeing and did seem to be enjoying herself. After Sierra gives her explanation, Alicia turned her green eyes in her direction and blinked, "Do those things really work?"

"I guess most people would call that being superstitious," Amber remarks. However, her tone is not judgmental. Rather, it seems to be a matter-of fact observation. But still, she realizes how coldly analytical her statement might sound and quickly corrects herself: "Not that I'm saying it is. Just… you know how people are about things like that. No walking under ladders, thirteen is unlucky, and all that."
Smirking at her little sister, Amber replies: "Now you're being superstitious. Sure, Selkies have a bad reputation - but THE Selkie is like a brilliant white race horse, skating over the foam." Here, the girl pauses - almost romantically - and heaves a sigh: "My, but she's yar."

"Well, I'm still safe and sound - aren't I?" Sierra counters. "As is my family. Can't anything take the Higgins down!" she declares proudly - taking not a bit of offense at Amber's remark. "You say superstitious like it's a bad thing," she counters in a friendly, teasing tone.
"What's yar?" she asks curiously - and without pausing for her friend to answer interjects, "Did I tell you - we've got our eyes on a mare for me? I'm hoping we can get her, and breed her, and when I get out of school I'll have a little foal to train up! Should be just about ready to be a proper wagon horse in time for Finley to come of age."

Alicia could not help but chuckle at her sister's antics. "If we run into any true Selkies, you will have to tell them that. Maybe they will spare us," Alicia joked as she leaned back to enjoy the sights and the summer weather, lazily swinging a foot back and forth as she absent mindedly-looked around until she picked up on something Sierra said. "A mare! How lovely," Alicia said, her love of animals coming through in her voice as her green eyes lit up. Although, Alicia's bad luck with pets is somewhat well known; she went through more than a few animals until she finally found her owl.'

"You sure you don't want to stay on at school and become a dragon tamer or something?" Amber asks playfully of her friend. Sierra is terribly good with animals. A dragon can't be that different from a bad tempered horse, after all… can it?
As for the question about the odd word "Yar," she tilts her head and glances up at the flag once more, musing before she can put meaning to it: "It means quick to the helm. Fast and light - easy to handle. And that's everything the Selkie is, alright."
As they journey onward down the river, they begin to encounter other boats. None are too terribly close at hand, but the young captain takes off her cap and waves it gaily in the air for long-distance greeting. Usually, depending on the person, they return the gesture with a wave - be they grizzled old sailors or young people up on the banks, fishing. The entire trip seems ridiculously idyllic thus far.

Sierra rolls her eyes. "I'm not taking on dragons anytime soon - unless I have to. And you know I'm needed at the wagon - especially with all those little ones mum still has underfoot. There's always so much work to be done!" she explains. "And if I can start breeding and training horses - well, it'll bring some real good income for the family." Leaning down, Sierra trails her fingers in the water for a few moments before straightening again. "Yar. So - sounds about like what I'd want in a horse. Only a boat. Selkie seems a decent enough name, then." As long as she doesn't drown us. But saying that out loud would just be an invitation of bad luck!

Alicia couldn't help but giggle quietly at the sight of Amber's enthusiasm. "There's so much you could /do/ if you study magical creatures, though," Alicia said, looking between both Amber and Sierra, "I talked to someone from RCMC at the alley other day, I did. He thinks they'll let him handle a /dragon/ soon." After saying that, Alicia paused and realized she may have offered an unsolicited opinion. "Because you're good with animals, Sierra, is why I say it," Alicia offered.''

It's a little hard for Amber to imagine needing to earn money at her age to help the family get along, financially. After all, the Rowles aren't exactly poor - not by any stretch of the imagination. However, trying to keep things lighter, she forces herself not to frown and says with a toss of her head: "Well, I shan’t be letting myself get tied down with children when I grow up. I want to go on adventures and see the world! You can't do that with children holding you down." Says the fifteen year old mind of infinite knowledge and experience.
The remainder of their trip down the river is fairly uneventful. One can scarcely believe the country is at war, given their peaceful and serene surroundings. When at last the vast expanse of blue sea comes into view, Amber tightens her grip on the tiller and calls out to the others: "Stations, everyone. The wind can turn sharpish if we're not careful. Be ready to raise the sail and drop anchor!" '

"Mmm," Sierra says uncertainly. She's of two minds on the subject. She doesn't want to be tied down - but she does adore children! "I hope Colton has children. Loads of them. I want to be an Auntie. And I am good with animals - but I'm good with kids, too. And with sewing, and mending, and crochet and baskets - lots of things you have to be able to do, on the road." As Amber starts to call out orders, Sierra straightens, looking up at the sails. She's not sure she'll know what to do, with Amber starts calling orders! But she'll try.

Alicia doesn't seem to have anything to say. Even the forward thinking girl thinks the kids and family stuff is too far into the future to even imagine. Alicia mostly watched the sights and enjoyed the peacefulness of it all. When Amber tells them to man their stations, Alicia looks left, then looks right. "Um… what's my station?" Alicia asks of Amber before looking at Sierra, possibly waiting for her to do something so Alicia can mirror her.

It's a good question… Alicia is the smallest of the three, and would best be suited to the rather important task of dropping the anchor on the signal. "Second mate Rowle - your job is the anchor. On my word, release it and we'll drag bottom till we stop. First mate, Higgins - you're in charge of the sails." Amber says with all the authority she can muster.
Out from the river, the speedy little Selkie skids along. Surprisingly, the girl captain does not give the signal for some time. They drift further out from the shore, and she bites her lower lip. She KNOWS Mum and Dad did not tell her she could go so far with the girls, but surely just a little extra distance won't hurt…
Caught by a strong wind, the sails stretch tight and continue to carry the boat onward around a small headland before Amber loses her nerve and gives the word. In all likelihood, she'll have to jump to assist Sierra in bringing up the sails under that much tension.

"Sails! Right!" Sierra agrees. She moves towards the mast - since that's where the sails, go, right? And at Amber's words - she reaches for one of the ropes. "Umm… this one?" she asks uncertainly. She'll pull gamely - on whatever Amber indicates she should.

Alicia lifted her hand and gave a salute to her older sister. "Aye aye, captain," Alicia said in her most official-sounding tone of voice as she rose and moved over to the anchor, taking a few moments to figure out how it worked. Heavy thing goes into water. Shouldn't be /too/ hard. Alicia prepared so that the moment Amber gave the word she shouted, "Anchors away!" and the anchor went away. Thankfully, Alicia did it right and was /not/ drug down to a murky grave!

"Great job!" Amber shouts above the sea wind to her sister, encouragingly. For the moment, she forgets to pretend she is a sea-captain, and loses her sense of self-importance. She's just a teenager out on the sea with her sister and friend.
Seeing that Sierra is in a bit of a pickle with the sails, Amber jumps to her feet and hurries to help her. It's a bit rough getting it done in tight quarters, and they both get bumped around a bit before they triumph over the wind and the little boat ceases to pull at its anchor. They drift into a calm, peaceful little rocking motion, and the girl smiles brightly: "That was smashing!"

"It was!" Sierra agrees - who hadn't minded the jostling one bit. She turns her attention to the rigging on the ship - following the lines and trying to understand how they worked to manipulate the sails. Perhaps she should have done that before she was asked to put them to use. "Whoever came up with boats in the first place was pretty clever," she remarks.

Alicia seemed quite proud of herself. "Not too shabby," Alicia said of herself as she turned to watch the older girls talk. "Oh I don't know if I'd say whoever came up with boats was particularly clever," Alicia said in her little know-it-all tone of voice, "But the fellow who came up with sails and anchors was no doubt a genius of the highest caliber." Alicia seemed in a much better mood, it almost slipped her mind to wonder if her parents really allowed them to come out /this/ far or not.

"I bet Tony could tell us who invented the first ship and all that." Amber remarks, finishing off the last loop of a rope. "I should ask him to put a protective rune spell on the Selkie, too!"
With a bounce in her step, Amber leaps to the prow of the ship in her bare feet and balances there. Planting her hands on her hips, she draws a deep breath of sea air and heaves a contented sigh. In truth, the shore is not terribly far away.
Looking down to the other girls, Amber says: "Right… Which do you want to do first? Bathing in the sea, or having a spot to eat? Or, we could always swim to shore and dig for pirate treasure."

"Well, it's the sails I meant, really," Sierra answers. She grins at Amber on the prow then answers with, "Well - I've always believed in working up a bit of an appetite, first. We should take a dip! The water looks nice. Did we bring any fishing gear? We could set a few poles before we jump in. Might catch something - if we don't swim too close by the boat."

Alicia hummed as she considered the options. "Is there really treasure?" Alicia asked, her voice drawling a little as she considers the options, "If we found treasure we could buy some simply splendid lunch. But… I suppose swimming isn't too poor of an option either."

Amber smacks her palm to her forehead: "The Poles! I knew I forgot something this morning." She says, thoroughly disgusted with herself. Ah well, it wouldn't be an adventure if something hadn't been forgotten and left behind at home.
"Silly, we brought a massive picnic hamper so we wouldn't have to buy anything for lunch!" Amber reminds her sister. "You think cook didn't provide us with the best?" She teases.
Tucked away in their semi-sheltered cove, the girls work on changing into their bathing gear. Diving into the refreshing water, Amber resurfaces after a long moment and wipes the water from her face, laughing. Splashing around, something catches her ear in the distance - a sort of low buzzing sound in the sky. Following the sound, her eyes come to rest on a dark little plane whizzing along through the air at a rapid pace. Even as the thing is buzzing out of sight, she calls out: "Did you see that? That was one of those things Muggles call planes, I think. What fun!"

Sierra doesn't take long to change and jump into the water - unperturbed by the lack of poles. She's considerably more perturbed, however, by the sound of the plane. "…not sure I'd call it 'fun.' That didn't look like RAF marks," she warns the other two girls. At least - the markings on the wings looked more squarish than round. Weren't the Germans marks in the news reals more straight lines and sharp corners and blocky to the RAF circles?

Alicia is slow to change, as she was the type to carefully fold her clothes and make sure they don't get too ruffled. The youngest girl looks up into the sky and blinks. "Wow~" Alicia says in an amazed tone of voice, "What /is/ that? Is it like… a broom? Gosh, I had no idea you could get so high up." The ever inquisitive young lady stays looking up at the sky, a touch mesmerized.

"Oh?" Amber asks, furrowing her brow slightly at Sierra's revelation. "Well… he's gone, now…" She muses. Surely he won't be back, right? Posturing, buzzing and so forth - it doesn't mean a thing, really.
Kicking around with her feet, Amber begins to float on her back in the water, slowly drifting toward her little sister: "Planes are faster than brooms, I hear. And they don't use magic to work. All metal on the outside, with rooms on the inside and chairs for people to sit in… Talk about strange." She explains, languidly.
Although the plane has passed, it has left an unwelcome mark on the happy Summer day - a tense reminder that the Muggle part of the country is, in fact, at war.

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