Gemma, Gerard, and Orion arrived at the front gates of the Burgess Manor only to be hit with a strong gust of wind. Gemma shivered and clutched Eclipse's carrier, with her cat inside it, closer to her chest as her platinum hair flew in all directions.
"It wasn't windy at the Steels," she commented softly, wondering at the sudden shift in weather. Gerard slid an arm around her, hoping to warm his sister. "Are you alright, Gem?" he asked, "Are you cold?" Gemma nodded, just barely keeping her teeth from chattering. Her shirt, while long-sleeved, was thin fabric, which allowed the wind to cut right through to her skin.
"We'd best get her inside, 'Rion," her little brother added, sounding for all the world as though he was thirty instead of ten, "Warm her up with some tea, maybe? Does your family drink tea?" Gemma smiled through her shivers; her brother sounded his age again.
Orion instinctively wrapped his arms around Gemma to block some of the wind. He glared at the gargoyles, who didn't dare heckle them based on the young man's expression.
"Well, the Steels live down in London...we're now up in in the forested areas, and its a fair bit windier up here. And yes, Gerry, we do have tea. Here, take this, it will keep you warmer..."
Orion peeled off his vest and transfigured it into a windbreaker. It still was the dark shiny bronze color, but he thought it looked good on her, so he didn't change the colors. He began walking rather briskly to hide and dispell his own building shivers.
Gemma accepted the windbreaker with a small smile, hastily putting it on before trotting after Orion. Gerard scooped Eclipse's carrier out of her arms to allow her to zip up her new coat and take Orion's arm. Gerard himself was dressed in a t-shirt with a hoodie over it, so he seemed perfectly fine, but both Gemma and Orion, in their party clothes, were beginning to freeze to death, or so it felt to Gemma.
"Will you be alright, Ri?" she asked, panting slightly with the effort of keeping up with her fiance: she normally walked fast, but Orion's legs were longer than hers, allowing for longer strides than she could take. "I mean, I could fix something up for you, too, if you'd like...." Eclipse chose that exact moment to yowl in protest, and Gemma giggled at her poor little cat. "Here, take him out and let me carry him, Gerry," she requested of her brother, "He'll be happier that way..." Gerard carefully opened the carrier, then allowed Eclipse to jump out and into his mistress' arms.
"Actually, this is silly...we still have nearly a mile to go...Coobi!" Orion waited, and then a confused look spread over his face. The elf hadn't come. He called again, a little more imperiously this time. Still, no elf. Exasperated now, Orio tried his brother's elf, Saabi.
She appeared, giggling. She stood even shorter than Coobi, and had the large grey eyes that marked a Burgess House Elf.
"Master calls, Saabi answers! Here she am, now what?"
Orion facepalmed at her exuberance and poor grammer. Still, he wasn't going to deny help when they needed it.
"The three of us need to get to the manor. Apperate us now please. Where is Coobi?"
The elf gathered all of their hands as she answered.
"Coobi is message running for Master and Mistress...getting contracts from Gringotts and delivering them to the Winston family for special review. He was quite pleased with the task, Master."
Gemma smiled when the house elf finally appeared, even though she had only had awkward experiences with Saabi in the past. For instance, the time at the Leaky Cauldron... "Hello, Saabi," she greeted the elf kindly, then took her hand when it was offered. Gemma took Gerard's hand, as well, then made sure Orion had hold of the other one before the elf Apperated them. Eclipse clung to her shirt with his claws, his gray eyes bugging in shock and indignation, as they reappeared in the front hall of the Burgess manor.
Gemma sighed in delight as soon as she could move again, and looked around her with curiosity at the hall which she had never seen. "Lovely, as always," she told Orion, smiling at him, "And warm, too... Have you gotten any closer to picking which wing we shall have?"
"North wing. It seemed the most comfortable, to you, and I find the workspace there quite suitable to my needs. No doubt, you'll feel the same way though. The guest bedrooms that you and Gerard shall be staying in tonight, though, are in the south wing with the rest of the family's rooms...third floor I believe. And you left the books here, last time, that we had set aside for you to borrow. I shall make sure that you get those alter this evening...and perhaps..." He looked discreetly and pointedly at Gerard.
"Perhaps Gerard would like to see the library as well?"
"What library?" Gerard asked curiously, looking from Orion to Gemma in mild confusion, "You never told me about a library, Gem... Is it some sort of special one?" Gemma nodded, shooting Orion a swift glance.
"Yes, it is. We'll explain it later, though; we have to greet Mr. and Mrs. Burgess, first, if they are here..." She glanced around, as though expecting them to walk in, then, when they didn't, turned back to Orion. "Are they.... angry with us?" she asked hesitantly. She had to ask, for she could never be sure with her own parents. If the Burgesses were angry with her, she wanted a bit of a warning first, if possible.
Post by Hebron James on Feb 28, 2011 20:35:40 GMT -8
"Hmmm...well if it isn't the tiny brother and the little sister...and the scamp! I was told to expect guests for dinner, but this is too much of a surprise!"
Andrew's mock enthusiasm was genuine despite his showy, boistrous attitude.
"I forget if I told you lot that I got the job at Hogwarts...well, I got it, and I have your first lesson already prepared, Gemma...would you like to meet him?" Andrew seemed especially enthusiastic about this, and Orion just nodded once to answer Gemma's surreptitious glance. By the time any affirmation could be made, however, the older man was already bustling off towards a first floor workroom.
The space was extremely airy, and converted into what appeared to be a greenhouse. Rows of potted plants covered every inch of table space. Some of the flowers (tiger lilies by the stripes and whiskers) watched the entering humans warily, making a growling noise at Eclipse.
Gemma smiled at Andrew as he came in, and Gerard waved happily to his much-older friend. Gemma's expression turned slightly wary at the mention of having a first lesson be a "him," but she took Gerard's hand and trotted after Andrew, curious as always. Eclipse was still clinging to her shoulder, so she kept her free arm wrapped around him for safety.
The space they entered was airy and bright, and absolutely stuffed with plants. Some of them hissed at them as they entered, and Eclipse hissed back, puffing to nearly twice his size. "Hush, 'Clipse," Gemma told him soothingly, and gradually her cat calmed down. "What is this... 'him' you're going to show us, Andrew?" she asked.
Post by Hebron James on Feb 28, 2011 20:48:09 GMT -8
Andrew proudly spread his arms and presented...a cactus. The barrel shapped plant was fairly unremarkable up until it opened large green eyes and blinked at the gathered group. Slowly, it perked up what appeared to be a cat's head.
"May I have the pleasure of introducing you to Theodore, the only known catcus in England? They're indiginous to the American Southwest. Isn't he adorable?"
The spiky plant stretched out its face as far as it could to sniff at Eclipse curiously, then towards Gerard and Orion. It was positioned in its pot like a sitting cat, or loaf of bread. The posture, Orion noted, was remarkably similar for both.
Gemma gasped in surprise and delight as the plant suddenly raised what could only be described as a head and opened eyes to look at them. When Andrew described it as a catcus, she giggled, watching as it shifted in its pot.
"How adorable!" she cooed, wanting to pet it but not sure how to avoid the spines. Eclipse stretched out toward it as in stretched toward him; they wound up bumping noses, which made Eclipse yowl in pain and shock as he got poked. Gemma cooed over him again to calm him, then turned back to Andrew. "What do catcuses do, exactly? Are they really like cats? Do they even leave their pots?"
Post by Hebron James on Feb 28, 2011 20:59:26 GMT -8
"Indeed indeed they do leave their pots...Or, if they're wild catcuses, they unroot and begin walking around away from their nests. They're apex predators in the desert...they feed mostly on hares and snakes, but if their prey isn't plentiful, they can send down roots and live like a plant with photosynthesis and water instead of like an animal. And as far as usefulness...if you're lost in a desert, look for a catcus nest. They make their nests near water, always. Even if its underground. And, their droppings are flammable, so at night you'll have a dependable source of fire. Not to mention, that they tend to attract mundane cacti as well near their nests, and some of those are fruit bearing. Aztec wizards and witches first domesticated them in the early to mid 1300s and venerated them as desert gods, much as the Egyptian peoples venerated Kneazles." Andrew deftly scooped Eclipse up and applied a bandaid to the cat's nose. He pulled it off quickly and avoided the flying claws while he removed the catcus' spines.
"Don't want to leave those in there...they itch something awful."
Gemma listened raptly to Andrew's description, memorizing it as swiftly as she could: it was to be a future lesson, after all; why not learn it now? When Andrew took Eclipse and removed the spines, though, she gasped and held out her arms for her seriously pissed kitty, who looked utterly indignant at such rough treatment.
"Oh, baby, don't cry, it's just a little tug," Gemma comforted him with a little laugh, "Thank you, though, Drew, I'm very grateful... though he'll pout all evening, now..." She took Eclipse back out of his arms, kissing him between the ears and making soothing sounds. She grinned and held him out to Orion. "Here, kitty, say hello to Ri... take him, Ri, he's fine now, aren't you, darling?" Eclipse's eyes narrowed slightly, but he leaned his head toward Orion, trying to get closer to Gemma's fiance.
Delicately, Orion took the cat and began walking, trying to soothe the nervous animal. Orion comepletely understood the cat's desire to play with and subsequently avoid the prickly feline plant. He turned his attention instead to the various plants and fungi in pots and shipping containers arrayed on the tables. Choir orchids, exploding bingberries, troll's toes, vurga bark, and many other exotic plants filled the tables. One box, merely labeled "Dangerous" stood off at the end of the table.
"Drew, I don't want to know, do I?" Orion turned back to his brother with an upraised eyebrow. Andrew merely smiled and retorted "Oh. That. Well, that''ll be near the end of the semester."
Gemma watched fondly as Orion carried her cat across the room, doing his best to keep the feline calm and not even realizing that Eclipse was back to his usual, relatively cheerful self. In fact, he was trying to rub under Orion's chin, but his small size was preventing him from stretching far enough to do so.
The comments about the box labeled "Dangerous" had both Gemma and Gerard trying not to laugh. "Will that make us more qualified to deal with it?" Gemma put in, smirking slightly, "I mean, if a Burgess says it's dangerous, what will the rest of the population think? Still.... it couldn't be any more dangerous than the thing we fed Steve, right, Ri? Or Steve himself, for that matter..." She broke off, laughing, as her cat finally succeeded in getting himself free enough to climb on top of Orion's head. He looked quite pleased with himself and his high perch.
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