(1940-12-07) Tree Selecting
Details for Tree Selecting
Summary: It is that time of year. Ogg needs help deciding which of his beautiful trees around his hut will be used in this years festivities. It takes a village to convince the Groundskeeper.
Date: December 7th, 1940
Location: Hogwarts - Groundkeeper's Hut Area

Normally it is the forest on the east side of campus that is used to select the trees from. But with the Centaur situation being so dangerous Ogg has been instructed to select some evergreens from the small wooded area that edges his hut on this side of the campus wall. Ogg helped his foster father plant many of these trees.

So it is a sulky Ogg that is getting his forearm patted by Augusta. "There there you poor brute. Sit down and have some warm pumpkin juice. I can organize the selection and you can close your eyes and pretend it's not happening. That's what my mother does any time we must go to Mungos." Her thick scottish brogue is as soft and soothing as she can make it. It's the same voice she uses in Care of Magical Creatures. Because like most of the School she too believes there's perhaps more Troll than Human in the blood of thier Groundkeeper.

It's like a zepplin deflating as Ogg takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly as he is led by the pinky by Augusta to sit on his Hut stoop, pick up the stein that's his mug and takes a sip. Once she's done her part in handling the sullen Ogg Augusta turns about and adjusts her latest milliner creation. It rather looks like a white goose has crash landed on her head and impaled itself on a miniature christmas tree. It's not exactly as gorey as that. But it is a taxidermied white goose splayed out above her head with a miniature christmas tree on its back and a little red and white santa's hat on its head.

"Alright." Augusta claps to gather attention with a smile. "We need four medium sized pines that are roughly ten feet. Again, four more that are six feet. One very large one that's at least thirteen feet. Finally one more large one over thirteen feet…so two, two trees over thirteen feet, eight at a good six to ten feet." Her gloved hands rub together. "Any questions?"

This being the last year to partake in these kind of activities with his fellow schoolmates, Terrance has made his way down to the grounds. Listening to Augusta as she seems to take charge, he simply nods with a grin. He had seen the school in all its festive glory over the years, and had an idea of what to look for. "Sounds easy enough." he says, wrapping his winter cloak a bit tighter around him to fend off the chill. "I assume we are on this side as we will have free range int he grove?" he then asks, starting to the forest edge.

Bundled up lightly, Evelyn, her eyes gaze about, landing on Ogg for a few seconds before returning to Augusta. She nods, agreeing to the girl's words. "Of course." She murmurs. For her, much like with Terrance, she figures that it is her last year to help. She might as well push herself to try and do more than just study. "I…I'm sure we'll be able to find what we need before too long." She clears her throat and starts toward the trees.

And this is Lissie's first year here. She flounders over towards the rest, her cloak and boots still far too large for her, and the diminutive little girl looks more like she is wading through the snow than walking in it. She is huffing a bit, and then stumbles as one of her boots slides right off. She goes facedown into the snow, then picks herself up and slides her foot into the boot once more. "Trees!" she chirps.

Augusta seems thrilled that a question was actually asked. She takes a quarter turn to better face the northwest corner of the campus wall is where the bulk of the wooded area is. "Yes, only this area. We aren't allowed on the east side of school because of the Centaurs this year. So we are limited to Ogg's little woods. — Oh! Are you alright? You should have someone shrink those for you." She coos at Lissie. "I think we should all stay together and work as a commity to decide which trees are suitable for Christmas purposes." One of her gloved hands is raised, "I nominate myself as Commity leader. All in favor say Aye."

Realizing that he is late for the tree selecting, Brody closes his book up in Ravenclaw Tower and hurriedly throws on some warm clothes before charging down out of the castle. Given the snow, it isn't hard for him to track where the other students went, and soon enough he has caught up to them, his breathing a little heavier than usual comes out in plumes of steam. "Sorry I'm late!" he calls out to the the others. "I got distracted up in the common room."

"Oh dear, are you…are you okay?" Evelyn frowns at Lissie, even as the girl bounces back up. She shakes her head a little, furrowing her brow. "Staying together. Makes sense." She clears her throat again. "Oh…community leader? Oh um, yes. Sure. Aye." She doesn't really mind, one way or another. But Augusta seems excited about the prospect. "Brody. I'm um, I'm sorry. I uh, I saw you in the tower when I was leaving and I, well, I didn't know you were wanting to help with this. If I did, I would've let you know…" She looks down, a little embarrassed.

"Comedy leader? Do we need one?" Lissie frowns slightly. "If y'like. An' I'm all right. An' no need tae shrink'm. My father will only be upset if you do. Anyhow. Snow's soft, an' wool's good padding."

Terrance glances back from the tree line as the young first year goes face first into the snow. He smirks a bit, but does not move to help as the ladies seem to take to her care quite quickly. Looking to Augusta, he gives a shrug but nods, "If you wanna be the commity leader, then by all means." he says with a smirk. Then as Brody comes a bit late, he offers a nod, "Not late at all! We are just getting started."

Brody nods his head to Terrance in gratitude and then toward Evelyn he says, "No problem at all Ev. I just got caught up in my Charms work and forgot the time." Glancing toward Lissie where she fell in the snow he says, "Hey there Lissie. Hope you are well."

Augusta smiles over at Brody and bows her head a bit, the tiny ornaments on the tree on the goose on her head jingle as she does. "Aye, just getting started. I thought we should elect a commity leader to break ties and organize the search. I'm happy to be it. So, let's start by the gate and worked in and organized fashion towards the corner of the campus and then south back to here at the Hut." Her hands gesture in their scarlet and gold knitted glory in the direction she begins to walk. If the milliner thing doesn't pan out, Augusta has a future as a tour guide.

"Charms. Right. I find it hard to believe we take our NEWTs in that this year." Evelyn murmurs. As Augusta begins to lead them on her own planned out route, she glances around again. Taking her wand out of her pocket, she gently plays with it in her hands.

Brody nods as he walks alongside Evelyn. "Yeah… it is kind of odd to think that we will soon be leaving Hogwarts for good. It is a little sad when you think about it. This place is pretty great, in most cases." Brody returns Augusta's smile and nods his head in greeting to her, following her lead across the grounds.

Augusta doesn't lead them too terribly far, "I truly despise Charms. It's impossible to learn with Viridian sneering and leering and that laugh he has, it sends my skin to fits." When they come across their first tree it's a beauty, thick and dense towards the center but with plenty of branches spread out for ornament hanging and garland dangly. Out comes the tape measure she uses in her millinery and with a snap and a squeeze of the tip it completely straightens and becomes starchy. "Five feet, two inches. Too short."

Jogging to catch up with the rest, Claudia's face is red and she holds a hand to a stitch in her side. "Sorry, I'm late. I was distracted." She stops near Lissie. "How big are the trees we're looking for?"

Lissie is behind the others, having fallen in the deep snow a few more times. She shakes herself. "Whish 'twere a snowshoe hare," she mutters, "or I'd floating boots. Need about six more inches…" She looks to Claudia and then falls face-first in a snowdrift, her voice muffled by the snow.

With a quickly suppressed expression of concern, Claudia offers the other first year an elegantly gloved hand up. "Are you quite all right?"

"Professor Viridian is…interesting. But I've found him to be a competent teacher, regardless of um, of any quirks." Evelyn murmurs. When the first potential tree they come across is too short, she frowns. "Well, off to the next one, I suppose?" She offers a tiny smile to the approaching Claudia, though concern crosses her face at the fallen Lissie. "Maybe you should um…hold on to one of us?" She suggests, approaching and also holding out a hand to help the girl.

Augusta leans over to peer at Lissie, "Are you going to be alright to keep up? Maybe someone can help you with your shoes. I'm sure there's some charm or another that can keep you from falling over so much. Poor thing." She is rather distracted by the first year that she doesn't see the rustling of a large Holly bush that she was approaching to harvest some boughs for wreathes and other decorations. It's not the whole bush that's rustling. The movement is only in several places scattered throughout the bush.

Brody smirks as he glances back to Lissie and says in a warm yet playful tone, "Yeah.. come on Lissie, you wanna jump on my back? I think I can manage to keep you out of the snow." It is true that the older Ravenclaw boy seems to be making it well enough through the snow, though his robes are wet from the knee down.

Lissie pulls herself up; she is covered head to toe with snow, and she is shivering a little. "I'm a'right," she murmurs, coughing snow out of her mouth. "Maybe I should go back… I'm sorry tae be such trouble…"

Just as Claudia and Brody are realizing there's something in the bush little red or white berries start flying from between the leaves. Lissie, Augusta and Evelyn receive the brunt of the onslaught of berry grenades. From within the bush angry sounds of what sounds like twigs being grinded together quickly in an disapproving chitter.

Still watching Lissie as she battles through the snow, Brody calls out, "No, seriously, climb on my back. I don't mind, and you shouldn't have to miss out on the tree finding because your legs are so short!" He chuckles lightly and begins slogging through the snow toward her and then stills at the rustling coming from the Holly Tree. His eyebrow lifts as he places the tree and says, "Holly… I wonder wha-"Brody trails off as the red berries fly from the tree toward Evelyn, Augusta, and Lissie. Drawing his wand from his hip and directing it near the tree (but obviously not directly at it), Brody calls out, "Incendio!" Fire springs to life, and if all goes well he hopes for it to be just enough to scare whatever is attacking away.

"It's…. it's a bush-monster!" Lissie's obviously a bit daft from the cold, and she ducks and covers when the berries go flying. "We don't want holly! We want pine! Pine! Oi! If cones come flying at us….. Flaming bush!" She jerks away and splats in the snow again, on her back this time.

With a look of horror, Claudia grabs at Lissie's cloak, attempting to pull her back. "Look out!" she cries. "You need to stay out of its reach!"

"You're…you're really not too much trouble at all." Evelyn tells Lissie. "We're happy to…" Something. She's cut short when berries start flying from the bush at her and some of the others. Her wand is held more tightly now as she raises her hands to protect her face.

Augusta raises her hands with a scoffing not to protect her face or body, oh no, it's her hat that she tries to save from getting splattered or ruined by the thrown berries. "Stop it, stop it!" She squints towards the bush but just as she might spot something she gets a berry to the eyelid. "Ow! Horrible little wretch! Ogg!" She calls in distress. Now the Groundskeeper's hearing was mostly healed by St. Mungos. But he has gone inside his hut to make some hot chocolate for the students helping him and the pleas for the moment go unheard.

The chittering turns to the sort of screams and groans a falling tree gives as it breaks apart and crashes and grinds against neighboring trees. Suddenly little hand-sized creatures of wood and twigs come springing out of the Holly. One is even on fire! The hoard of Bowtruckles have one target: Brody. As Claudia acts valliantly to pull the snow latent Lissie out of harms way she has a special vantage point to see a good portion more of the wooded area, that's coming alive! A few walnut trees here and there, a willow that is down close to the lake on the far side of things starts to sway, yew, ash, cherry. The fire has every bowtruckle in this forest very very upset. For all other's it's a bit more difficult to see the forest from the trees. But there is enough activity all around them to be cause for alarm. The Holly Bush is quickly becoming the least of their problems.

Augusta is still trying to see out of both eyes and protect her hat. "Lice! Wood Lice! Feed them! Insects, anything buggy! Fairy eggs too! Running is also good!" Since you know, it's winter and bugs and such aren't exactly frolicking in the snow. "Protect your eyes!"

Lissie's eyes widen in horror, and then she moves. She doesn't get up, exactly, because she'll just fall over, but she rolls onto her stomach and then crawls forwards, using snow and her hands to try to pat the fire off of it. "M'jus' tryin' tae help ye," she murmurs, rolling back and forth to avoid being bowtruckled to death.

Claudia lunges forward, whipping out an ebony wand longer than her forearm. "Flipendo!" she cries, directing the tip towards any creatures coming towards her or Lissie. Much to Claudia's dismay, the spell produces only a line of silver sparks. She grits her teeth, desperately thinking of a new plan.

Realizing quickly what has happened, Brody's eyes widen in horror at the oncoming Bowtruckles. Waving wildly, he says, "Damn! Everyone back to the castle! Run away!" Gesturing his wand at the flames he calls out, "Deflammo!"

Right after Brody lets loose with his fire spell, there's a little exclamation from nearby. Elspeth had prefect duties to attend to, and was just coming down when she saw the berries being thrown from the tree. She comes up in time to see the fire being lit. Then her wand is out, and she points it towards the remaining fire, and a couple of flaming bowtruckles near it, spraying the water in one controlled arc before it runs out. "What are you doing? They are only bowtruckles telling you to leave their tree alone! Which, we should be doing. We should be leaving their tree. Now!" If anyone has fallen, she will try to help them up and get them away from the tree.

This definitely isn't the sort of situation Evelyn thought they'd get into looking for trees, and she's not going to just sit around while the bowtruckles start their approach. She sighs in relief when she Elspeth approaches. "I am glad to see you!" She tells the other girl. "I'm heading back to the castle and away from these angry bowtruckles." She informs her. With wand firmly in hand, she begins to quickly walk toward the castle. When a bowtruckle gets a little too close to her for comfort, she aims her wand and, waving it properly, says, "Impedimenta!" Hoping the spell strikes and slows the creature down.

The singed bowtruckle is about to strike at Lissie some more, but then it pauses and its head tilts. When it seems that the boy that caused all the uproar is leaving the forest settles down around them, though the Holly Bowtruckles are still making sounds like twigs breaking. Their version of shouts and fist shaking. Those remaining behind, especially Lissie are given the chance to back off without further attack. Though those that got flipped by Claudia's spell look a bit more disgruntled about not continuing to attack…for now.

Augusta is happy to run away as she suggested, she tries to keep up with Brody. "We should go to the Greenhouse and pick up some wood lice. So you can bring it back and make your peace. Or you might spend what's left of your last year stuck in the castle!" As she runs one hand holds the white splayed out goose and christmas tree that's on her head so it doesn't flap and fall.

Elspeth makes sure everyone is going away towards the castle, and nods to Evelyn and catches up to her for a few paces. "I need to go to Ogg's. I will tell him that he may need to check on the bowtruckles to see if they are all right, and he might not want to be going near this holly for a few days." She watches Brody, her lips pursing for a moment, then she returns her attention to Ev. "Do you want to come with me?"

Lissie sighs and backs away, still on her hands and knees. Then she pauses, blinking. "Here…." she says very quietly. She pushes together a bowtruckle-sized pile of snow, making almost a bed of it. "If I knew how tae help you, I would. But here's a wee bit o' snow tae cool the burns at least. Happy Christmas tae ye, then." She bobs her head, then backs away slowly, still on her hands and knees, not trusting she won't fall into the snow if she stands up.

Glancing toward the castle and then back to her friend, Evelyn nods. "Of course." She murmurs, putting away her wand. 'I will join you.' She adds in sign language. "I don't…um…well, I don't think I'd be able to study right away anyway." She smiles ever so slightly.

"Come on. We should be getting back to the castle." Claudia offers Lissie a hand, warily eyeing the bowtruckles. "You know," she remarks, "you have quite the gift with creatures."

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