|Scene Title||When We Get Where We're Going|
|Synopsis||Ghosts from the Batherton Hills massacre show up on the grounds of Hogwarts, led by the village elder, who turns out to be a wizard. Information is given about the attack that will change everything.|
|Location||Hogwarts Grounds - Meadow|
|Date||May 10th, 1995|
|Watch For||All the emotion and questions!|
Nothing like a spring evening on the meadow to make people appreciate the days when it's not pouring down torrential rains. Gotta love Scottish weather. And on an evening such as this, you can easily make out the few stars starting to peek out, as well as a not-so-full moon. There's a light breeze blowing that rustles the grass, causing the scattering of crickets to chirp lightly. A perfect night for a stroll. Which is exactly what young Harry Potter is doing. Dressed in nothing more than ordinary muggle clothes (jeans, t-shirt, sneakers), it is after class after all, currently he's making his way slowly across the open expanse of the grounds.
Sio's following the trend tonight, it seems! Dressed in denims and a soft black crocheted sweater over a tank top, she ambles along the path towards the woods. A visit with her brother's healer, a solution to the problem and time away from responsibilities has done wonders for the seventh-year Slytherin. She seems…more alive than she has for months now; if a little more subdued. Spying the younger student, she quickens her pace to an easy jog and comes level with him before slowing. "Wotcher, Harry," she greets quietly, a stolen phrase from a friend.
Out of his classroom for a change, the music theory professor is out in the meadow, limping through the grass, taking a stroll. Professor Keegan is grumping to himself the entire time as well, even if he's not ventured far from the castle walls. A few of the things he's grumping about are some unflattering comments that may or may not be directed at Pomfrey and her ideas. Every now and then, he throws a glance up at the castle windows, half expecting the nurse to be watching.
It is a nice evening, isn't it? Too bad Ophelia's up to her eyeballs in studying for those OWLs that will be showing up in a month, probably less! However, she's found a way to study and enjoy the vening, by working on her Astronomy studies, this type being what can be identified with the naked eye, so she doesn't need a silly tower and telescope! she's found a nice little spot to sit, she as well dressed in her own style of muggle clothing (which, oddly enough doesn't seem so out of place in the wizarding world), in order to work on her studies. As the sky darkens, and thus the grounds, though, the fifth year conjures a few globes of light to help her see while she notates some things on her chart. At the moment, wanderers haven't gained her notice.
Ginny is stalking someone. She's using all her sneaky wiles - of which there aren't that many, admittedly - to keep An Eye on Harry. A small black feline trots after her, apparently glad to assist. Peering around trees and buildings, Ginny has managed to follow Harry from the Gryffindor Common Room, and is now trying not to be spotted as she trails a bit behind him. Her brow is furrowed slightly, and she's donned a t-shirt and skirt in Gryffindor colours, glad of the warm air.
Julian traipses along with the bunch, having to scurry a bit to keep up. He's wearing basic uniform clothes, though without the robes and tie. It's a bit chilly, but about right for the growing boy, and he's glad to be out doing something other than days and days of revising.
Kalleigh has a lantern, a blanket and a box full of cookies along side her astronomy homework, but she seems to be studying the baked delights instead of the stars. A secondary blanket, bright and colorful rests on her shoulders, pinned under her arms to keep off the chill of the evening. She's somewhat sullen, but brightens as people pass.
Apparently, Perpetua's had enough of roaming the halls of Hogwarts. Something about ghosts better off staying within dwellings.. well poo to that. She wants fresh air, even if she can't technically enjoy it, but she can remember it! Besides, she no longer is confined by silly rules laid down for students! (Even if she has to remind herself of this!) Drifting across the meadow, she casts a glance towards the Forbidden Forest, toying with the temptation she's presented with in exploring.
The sixth year Hufflepuff Kelti is out and about heading down towards the quidditch pitch. The girl is dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt and seems oblivious to the people around her as she mutters to herself something resembling ancient ruins. Using her fingers to count of how many she can remember the red head suddenly pauses to cover her nose, trying to avoid a sneeze.
Egbert has ditched his usual mustard yellow for once, opting for faded jeans and a blue shirt. Because he likes blue, okay? The extra time he's been spending with Melissa lately is strictly a coincidence. "Hey, wait up!" he calls ahead to her, so far remaining unaware of his sister's presence nearby.
Unlike many of the others, Gareth is still mostly in his school uniform, though the long robes have been folded and placed out of the way, as he hops about the field, kicking a strange, black-and-white ball back and forth with his cousin. The ball doesn't seem to have any magic about it at all — it doesn't move of its own accord, never tries to evade being kicked, and it stays rather close to the ground. "Is that a ghost?" he asks, pointing toward Perpetua, as he smacks the ball with the side of his foot.
Since her talk with Perpetua, Amber's been looking for one of her Housemates in particular, and despite the fact that they're in the same house, he's making it remarkably hard to find him. Lots of people out here tonight. Might not be the best time for… calmly asking someone why the hell they thought it was okay to make his own sister so upset. Amber's a little protective of her ghost friend— Ah, there he is. "Hey, you!" She's athletic enough. It's easy to catch up with a bloody second year. And she'll give him a tap on the shoulder. It's the only warning she'll provide before she takes a swing.
Melissa laughs as she runs out into the field, chased by Egbert. As she spots Siobhan wearing a sweater, she suddenly wishes it were winter and she could have a snowball fight with Egbert. There's no spell to make it snow, is there?
It's hard to believe that it is already in the midst of a Scottish spring; Rene was ornery in private all winter, and his mood improves as the weather does. Tends to, anyway. He is in mostly muggle clothes as well- a very long shirt and thin denim pants- though he wears a cloak over all of it as he wanders out to the grounds, seemingly alone. Possibly for a reason. possibly because he was simply slow to find anyone to attach himself to on the way out.
Gabriel has just enough skill as he steps to intercept the ball kicked towards him from Gareth and sending it back that he's obviously had experience with the muggle footballs before, though he's still quite clumsy at it. He looks up as Gareth points towards Perpetua and says, "Yep. Never seen her before, but it's a big castle." Then his attention is back on the football.
"Oh, hey, Sio." Harry replies, as he glances to the side to see who's come up to him. If it wasn't for the sound of Sio's greeting, he'd never have known anyone else was out here. Oblivious, he is, yes. Even oblivious to being stalked. The world could collapse, Voldemort could show up, and he wouldn't even know right away. That's what happens when you're studying for end of term exams. "Decided I'd take advantage of the break in the weather." he adds, as he continues his trek across the ground, though maybe at a slightly slower pace.
Hopefully he isn't so oblivious as to not notice that the meadow is actually getting….brighter? Could it be the moon? It shouldn't be that full enough to cause the meadow to light up. No, that's not it. Perhaps it's the two dozen ghostly human forms that start to coalesce on the grounds of the school. Men. Women. Even children. Slowly all manner of them start to show up, all looking around rather confused.
Egbert turns to see who's just caught up with him in turn. "Wh—" And boosh, right in the kisser! He staggers backward a step, then falls into an awkward sitting position, jamming an elbow for good measure. "What was that for?" he sputters, staring up at Amber and scrabbling to back away from her.
He saw that, oh yes Keegan did. Ordinarily, he's a snark beast and a half and just keeps to himself when he's not teaching, but we can't have unprovoked fighting amongst students now can we? (If it were up to him, he couldn't care less, yet Dumbledore seems to get fussed about it.) "MATTHEWS!," he barks, loud and clear, without the aid of 'Sonorous'. His face screws up into a grimace as he leans heavy on his cane, limping at a quicker gait towards Amber and Egbert. A gait that slows down and stops as the ghosts appear. "Great. As if we didn't have enough already."
Tearing her gaze from the forest, the late Hufflepuff student looks around the meadow instead. "Oh no! Amber!" Perpetua cries out and floats fast towards Amber and her brother. "You didn't have to hit him — Merlin's underpants!" The last is cried out as she notices the other ghosts converging onto the grounds. Woah. What the.. Forgetting Amber, Egbert and even the professor, she's staring.
Gareth makes a leap to the right, attention drawn back to the ball as it skitters over the grass toward him. At the last moment, however, his foot misses, and he falters to a stop, gaping a little. "How many ghosts are there, anyway?" he asks, staring at the new phantoms appearing nearby. "I thought they stayed mostly in the castle. You didn't bring down your copy of Hogwarts: a History, did you?"
Phee's vaguely aware of people and their activities. OWL studying eats your brain, and even Ravenclaws get stressed. However, she notes the brightening of the meadow initially because of her globes appearing not to be effective; as in they've become useless. The appearance of their dulling as the meadow brightens is what causes her to pay attention to whats' between her paper and the sky. Her eyes widen considerably as the lighting gains form. She's standing up slowly, her books and things sliding off her lap. What in the world…?
Completely focused upon her studies Kelti relizes she forgot something and rushes back towards the castle. The ghosts aren't seen, exams are far to important to this girl.
Kalleigh blinks mystified at the increasing ghost population, as confused as they are, it seems. She sticks a cookie in her mouth as she slowly gets to her feet, letting her shaw fall from her shoulders, leaving her dressed in her uniform, tie loose around her neck.
"Bloody Hell." Bean is stepping back, into some unfortunate person. "Look at that. It's like a ghost faire or something." He is tempted to move up and touch one, but he shivers a bit, gravitating toward another student, probably one who's older and taller. Which would be about any one else.
Melissa stops and turns towards Egbert. "Ooh, are you alright?" she asks, moving toward him and Perpetua before getting a sudden chill as she runs right through an unexpected ghost. "Hey, what? Why are there all these ghosts out here?" She looks toward Perpetua. "Did they follow you out here? I guess you're becoming a trendsetter…" she says with a smile.
"Smart," Siobhan observes, tossing Harry a playful half-smile. "Revision goin' alright, then?" It's small-talk, but companionably meant. She's noticed their human company - paranoia recently acquired makes it almost painfully easy to notice Miss Gin stalking the pair of them - but doesn't comment on it. No, it's the supernatural that garners her attention. As the meadow starts to light up, she reaches out to lay one hand on the younger boy's arm in a halting motion. The other is already gripping her tiny willow wand. "Harry…" There's curiosity as well as confusion in her tone, drawing attention to the spectral beings that really probably shouldn't be coalescing in such a concentrated mass. Moving her gaze quickly over the surrounding area, she catches sight of her music instructor and raises her voice to catch his attention. "Professor! Is this, um…s'posed ta happen?"
The breeze shifting the grass tousles the ends of Rene's hair as he walks, but he halts abruptly when he lifts his eyes off of his path and onto a suddenly materializing ghost; a woman, not very old, but not that young either. The boy freezes in his tracks before looking around at the other ones that keep popping up. Rene mutters something, but it is only to himself. His eyes turn back uncertainly to the ghost he nearly walked through.
Gabriel misses seeing Gareth's foot miss the ball, as he's already looking up curiously at the sound of the teacher's shout. It's not his name, but he's curious enough to want to know what's going on. So, he's already looking in the direction of the ghosts that show up. He blinks, "Wow. Um, there's not that many, I don't think!" Getting the serious, thoughtful expression that usually comes to his face in chess games or when given tough questions during class, he takes a few steps closer to the gathering ghosts. "They don't look like they know why they're here either," he comments.
Amber stands over Egbert, scorwling downward. She can't help a wince as she hears her name being called. Closing her eyes, pressing her lips together, she mutters "worth it," before turning around to face the music (teacher.)
Of course, there's something else that catches her attention much more than the fact that she just hit someone. Raising her hand to rub at her knuckles, because hitting someone in the teeth hurts like hell - note taken - she can only stare at all the ghosts. She doesn't miss that Perpetua's here, though she can only seem to manage a "Yeh I did," before stepping past, the expression on her face becoming something close to horror. "Holy crap, look at 'em all," she says. "What're they all doin' out 'ere?"
As an afterthought, she reaches down a hand to help Egbert up, if he wants it. "'ad ta be done. I'll es'plain later."
Ginny glances away from Harry for a moment, and in doing that, she spots Amber throw a punch. Her eyebrows go up, and she makes a mental note to ask what was going on. For now, though, she had Things to Do - or more accurately, Boys to Watch. A few steps bring Ginny closer, and it's then she spots the ghosts. "Bloody hell!" With that, Ginny blows her cover.
Perpetua flashes a rather cold look at Melissa. "What a daft thing to even try to joke about, it's not funny," she says, a heat behind the sadness in her voice. "And I dunno why they're here. I've only been a ghost for a couple of months, like I'm the expert." She throws a sharp look of disapproval towards Egbert for his choice in friend, before she's eyeing the ghosts again.
Keegan looks to Siobhan and shakes his head. "Damned if I know. Just stand back for now." Not that ghosts have been malevolent in his experience, but he stomps forward a bit, projecting an air of authority. "They look as confused as we are and shut it Matthews. You'll see me for detention on Friday before dinner."
Gareth hurries to retrieve the ball he missed, tucking it under one arm as he runs to catch up with Gabriel. "I've never heard of them all congregating together like this," he comments, his tone more curious than anything else. "And out on the grounds? I don't recognize any of them, do you? Oh wait, there's the Grey…no, that's not her after all."
Melissa's eyes go a little wide. "Oh… I'm sorry!" She makes a mental note- "Learn how to be PC with ghosts". She wonders if any companies offer ghost sensitivity training, then looks around. Some of them, such as the children, don't seem to have any reason they'd be at Hogwarts… she doesn't recognize them either from any of the times she's seen ghosts before. "I don't think they are from Hogwarts, actually," she says. "If they just appeared here, then that means…" She looks a bit horrified.
Egbert glares at Amber, even as he does take the proffered hand and struggle back to his feet. "Had to, my eye," he mutters, leaning over to dust himself off and finish catching his breath. That done, he whirls on Perpetua next: "And you be nice, she didn't—" but, in a position to see for the first time what sort of trend Melissa had in mind, he cuts off and rubs his eyes. "…sorry, who're you, then?" he says instead, starting to walk toward whichever of the newly arrived ghosts is closest.
Listening to the various theories being tossed about, Siobhan catches Melissa's thread of thought and suddenly her face goes pale. "The missing people…" she mutters under her breath, then turns to Harry with an almost wild expression. "That village, the one what got flattened back a bit ago? The one with all the people missin. What's it called?"
Well, she can't really complain about the detention. You get caught, and you do the time. That's the way things work. Even so, there's a long-suffering sigh from the girl. "I'll be there, Sir," she says with resignation. Though, as she set before, it was totally worth it - and she'd really like a chance to explain why she felt the need to break open her knuckles on Torrington's teeth, but that'll have to wait.
Not the bravest person ever, Amber certainly isn't going to be the first to step up and say hi. Evidently, Egbert does that for her. "H—hey, careful!" she says, reaching for the second-year. Yeah, you can attack someone and look out for their well-being all in the span of a couple minutes. Really! But after what he says to Perpetua, she just lets go, scowling, stepping back. "'e don't even care, Pet, you was right."
Okay, she's getting her wand. Slowly, Ophelia reaches down into the scattered objects at her feet, pulling forth the thin stick of wood. She's nto going to do anything, but she knows that a sudden large gathering of the deceased is /not/ good. Though, if she ends up seeing one of them washing bloody clothes? She's making like a banana and splitting.
Julian frowns at the discussion. "What villiage?" He pointedly asks Siobahn, moving up to her, and getting a better view. "There's scads of 'em." He shakes his head at some of the comments his classmates make, though he does store the information garnered from those conversations away. "Musta missed the news bulletin." He doesn't read the Prophet, apparently.
It's not learning to be PC with ghosts.. it has nothing to do with PC.. it has all to do with saying utterly stupid things to them. Perpetua throws another dark look at Melissa before rounding on her brother, "Hush! Stop being such a brat, Egbert. You act as if you don't care that I died, so don't you tell me to be nice!" Lip trembling, she looks to Melissa, Egbert, then Amber, before floating in the direction of the other ghosts, overcome with curiousity.
"Batherton Hills," Keegan finishes for Siobhan, a grim expression set on his unshaven face before he stomps past the students and towards the ghosts. It's not a pretty thought, this group being the missing dead. But this is just a ghostly remain, what of their bodies? Dammit.. This is why he stays shut up. He doesn't like dealing with this sort of crap.
"It's going ok, I guess." Harry nods, keeping up with the small talk. Or at least until Ginny's exposed. "Ginny?" As he turns to look in the direction of the voice he locks eyes with the ghostly eyes of a young child who quickly darts behind the ghostly image of his parent.
As the ghostly forms move about the meadow, they seem to murmur between each other. Little snippets like 'Where are we', 'Who are these strangely dressed people', and 'Where's my cows' are heard. But there is one voice that rings out. "You there! Hufflepuff!" comes the elder sounding voice. Through the ghosts comes the translucent form of an older man. Probably reminds you of Merlin almost with the long beard. His gaze, and finger, are both directed at Perpetua. "This is Hogwarts, right?" he asks, now glancing over the others on the field.
Kalleigh pockets another cookie before starting to munch on her first. She needs the free hand to grab her lantern, abandoning her blanket and box of cookies (and homework) to cross the meadow to see about the ghosts as well. Her expression lightens as she starts picking out the faces of little kids amongst the group. Those asking for cows cause Kalleigh to spin around and look for ghost cattle.
"Batherton Hills, Batherton Hills, Batherton Hills…" Repeating the name to herself, Siobhan cements it in her mind before moving towards the child-ghost staring at Harry. She drops to her knees in the damp grass and smiles reassuringly at the small child. "Hullo," she greets kindly. "M'name's Siobhan. What's yours?"
Rene makes a vague attempt to try and back away, though after a moment of absorbing the situation and the voices of the others in the meadow, he stays, eyes on the ghosts. Already he is feeling a strange sense of foreboding, something in him tugging on heartstrings. This is not good, and it's not hard to realize. His attention wanders to the voice that rings out, coming from a seeming wizard- though dead, obviously. The old wizard sounds as if he is the only one that knows what is going on, and somehow that only makes it worse.
Rene moves now when it seems that the ghost near him is otherwise distracted, spotting a familiar head of dark curls across the yard and heading for Julian without a word, and by proxy, the others he is near; when in doubt, buddy system.
The one calling out catches Opehlia's attention and she glances to where he's pointing. Yet the others don't seem to recognize wehre they are? Getting over her initial shock, though still rather scared, she'll step over her belongings, and try to approach the closest ghost. She gives a verbal greeting, before she asks, "If'n ye don't mind… where're y'from?"
There are a lot of Hufflepuffs here! Which one is the elderly looking man talking to?? Oh wait, yeah, he's pointing and Perpetua sort of ulps. So what if this is 'her kind' now, it's still disturbing! "It's Hogwarts alright. Who … who are you lot?" The question is a bit more blunt than she would normally ask, but this is a bit overwhelming.
Keegan's face seems set in a scowl, not that this is far from the norm. His brow furrows as they seem to be picking what may be the friendliest face to them, the ghost of the recently killed student. Pulling out his wand, he fires off a shot of something silver back at the castle. "I'm a Professor of this school, what can we do for you lot?"
Egbert rounds on Amber - no, Perpetua - well, no, the ghost-in-charge seems to want to have an Important Talk with her. So yeah, Amber. "'course I care!" he says, keeping his voice down to avoid drowning out the others, which makes it come out as a near hiss. "If I acted like it… I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning. So I pretend, all right?"
With a few quick steps, Ginny is at Harry's side. From there, she assesses the situation, frowning slightly. She catches snippets of various conversations, but for the moment, she keeps quiet. Instead, Ginny watches the group at large - taking note of students, ghosts, and cranky teachers alike. If something goes wrong, Ginny will be among the first to spot it.
Julian sees his friend coming toward him. "Frenchie." He gestures toward the ghosts. "What massacre?" Bean is feeling quite out of it. It's abnormal for the little firstie, but he's been studying pretty hard, as well as trying to do small tasks for Oscar.
Gabriel hangs back, his expression filled with curiosity now as the ghost steps out and calls to Perpetua. He glances to her and back to the long-bearded ghost. He stays back, though, simply watching for the moment, not wanting to crowd the ghosts. He sticks close enough to try to hear everything said, though.
Now that she's not the first - now that other people have stepped forward and offered aid to the ghosts - Amber thinks that maybe it might be okay to do similar. Except her idea of a greeting, or, really, the only thing she can manage, is to stroll around the newly-arrived ghosts, looking them over, standing near Perpetua when some ghost-man demands answers. That's what friends do, right? Even if she's a bit speechless at the moment. "Later, Torrington," she says to Egbert, holding out her hand. As Professor Keegan seems to have Perpetua's back, Amber moves further into the crowd of ghosts. "Merlin— what happened to all of you?" It's a question mostly to herself, but it's loud enough for any nearby ghosts to hear.
Gareth hangs back with Gabriel, a frown on his young face. "Do you suppose they're really from Batherton Hills?" he whispers to his cousin. "Then what're they all doing here?"
"Edgar Worthington." the elder ghost replies towards Perpetua, glancing around as the others start to mingle among the living. "Elder of the village of Batherton Hills. Former Hufflepuff." When Keegan speaks up, Edgar glances in his direction. "You can tell me, for one, where I can find Headmaster Dippet. I must speak with him urgently."
The small ghost peeks out from behind her father and stares at Sio with a curious look. "Y….you can see me?" she asks, glancing up at her mother who just frowns.
Edgar darts his eyes around as the questions are posed. "What do you think happened to us, lass? MURDERED WE WERE!" he says at Amber. Several of the other ghosts scowl, some gasp at Edgar's words. "Of course we're from Batherton Hills! I just said that." Yeah, he's old, ornery, and about ready to whack someone with a ghostly wand.
Somewhere in the background, a cow moos.
"Massacre?" Rene practically squeaks it when he gets close enough to hear. He does realize that it was a bit out of character of a noise, apparently, because he puts part of his hand over his mouth as if he had the hiccups. It could double for knowing what Massacre, moments after he asks, but- "This can't be good." The blond boy mutters, looking back around at the different ghosts, eventually settling his gaze on the child that Siobhan is trying to talk to.
He listens to the elder wizard speak, frowning at 'Headmaster Dippet' and 'murdered', very accordingly. Then there is suddenly a mooing, and that causes Rene to blink his eyes wider and look around. Ah, well, if there is a ghost cow, he has to see that, bad news or not.
Melissa starts looking over the ghosts and counting heads, wondering if these are the initial ones who were killed, or the missing ones. "If they're from that village, why did they show up here? And why now, so long after?" she wonders out loud.
The flood of information suddenly overwhelming them all takes a minute to sink in to Siobhan. The little girl's question does not. "Yep, I can see you clear as anythin'!" Her smile brightens just a little, contagious and bright despite the fact that it doesn't quite reach her eyes. Glancing from parents to child, she tries a new question. "D'you know how you got to be here, sweetheart?" Only mention of Professor Dippet has her turning away from them. "You'll not find him here, sir. It's Dumbledore what's headmaster now," she calls to the ornery old man with another of her bright smiles, this one more genuine - something about cantankerous personalities just appeals to her.
Julian snickers softly as Rene squeaks, then turns his attention back toward the ghosts. He frowns. This isn't like the pigeon thing. There's a lot more to this. His little brain is whirring, and he's wondering things, and in the process, asks the first question on his mind. "Who's Headmaster Dippet?"
"Oh!" Kalleigh practically starts at the sound of the cow and turns around again, looking for it. She clears her mouth of cookie before starting to wander in amongst the ghost crowd, careful to avoid touching them. "So long after? Must be very long after if they still think Dippet is the headmaster," she muses in Melissa's direction, utterly fascinated. "Can't be normal ghosts."
"Perpetua Torrington, pleased to meet you Mr. Worthington," Perpetua says, sounding a bit unsure about this situation. "I just wish it were better circumstances," she adds, then ulps a little as Amber gets shouted at. "Did.. /they/ kill you? Nasty lot, with cloaks and masks?" Of course she'd ask this. She's heard the whispers and news about what happened. She just can't read the paper for more information.
"Dippet has been gone for years. Albus Dumbledore is our headmaster now. He's likely to be in his office. I've sent him a message that you're all here.." There's a grim look of knowing on Keegan's face as his suspicion is confirmed. He looks past Edgar at the group with him, frowning in thought. "Worthington, I'm Professor Keegan, I'll be happy to talk to you on behalf of the headmaster until we get you to him."
Batherton Hills… Ophelia frowns and looks to where the Ghost-Wizard's talking with Perpetua. A prayer's uttered. But wait, wasn't the place a muggle village? Why Hogwarts…"But th' village was only just…" Ophelia can not finish answering the 'so long after' comment. "He probably went to school when Dippet was headmaster, an' didn't know about Professor Dumbledore…" She turns her attentions back to the ghosts, finding them less needing to be hit by phatasmal cowpies or something.
"They'll all be Wizards and Witches," Gareth whispers, squinting a little for a better look, without actually moving closer to any of the ghosts. "Muggles don't become ghosts, so any Muggles that might've died won't be showing up. But this can't be the entire Wizard population of the village, can it? I wonder where all the others are. Or perhaps these are the only ones who had strong enough ties to become ghosts. Yes, that would make the most logical sense." He's not actually addressing anyone now, simply working out metaphysical matters aloud.
"I— didnae mean any disrespect," Amber says to the ghost. "Just tha' I'm not… Sure how…" She can't help looking for some sign of trauma on the ghosts. Like, the Bloody Baron is covered with blood, and Sir Nick is… Almost missing his head. Surely there must be some way they died. Even if she can't see the marks on Perpetua, some of these must show trauma somewhere. "Sir, can I ask how?" She's not trying to be disrespectful. The question just sort of slips out.
With the spat with Amber on hold, Egbert resumes his earlier course, shuffling closer to where the ghosts are gathered. "I don't know what's happened, either," he offers to the more obviously confused ones, "but that lot— they'll get it figured out."
Gabriel's eyes widened at Edgar's response to the questions, and he glances to Gareth, nodding. His attention is back on the ghosts again a moment later, and he takes a few steps closer yet again. He looks back to Gareth then though and says, softly, "I think muggles can be ghosts, but dunno for sure. I think it's just the ones around Hogwarts who're all witches and wizards. And Batherton was a muggle village, there might've only been a couple of us there, if any."
"You'd be late to if you got LOST along the way." Edagr snort, directing that comment at Melissa before turning back to the others. "Pleasure, lass." he nods at Perpetua. "Indeed, though they had help. And not of the human variety either. And I didn't go to school when Dippet was Headmaster, lass." he continues, glancing towards Ophelia. "I was a teacher. Arithmancy. Before that dolt Vector came along." At mention of Dumbledore, Edgar frowns. "Dumbledore?! The old coot that used to teach Transfiguration? Can't imagine how that happened."
"Cooooool." the little ghostly girl replies, grinning at Sio before stepping out from behind her mother. "Mum said there'd be bright lights and pearly gates, but I haven't seen them yet."
So many questions, so little time, and indeed a few of the ghosts start to fade out. "We're not all witches or wizards, lad." Edgar states, overhearing Garaeth. "Amazing what new spells can do. Yes, our village was attacked. I'm sure the news has hit the Prophet so I won't explain again. Dark wizards. And more. Some of them were using spells I've never seen before. As if, someone was playing with creating new forms of magic. That's why my muggle friends here…" he waves his hands over the group and notices some fading out. "bloody hell…there's not enough time." Turning his attention to Keegan, the man quickly nods. "You'll have to do then. There isn't much time left. Tell /Headmaster/ Dumbledore that the Death Eaters have formed an alliance with the Trolls. And that they're experimenting with new spells. Disastrous spells."
Gareth shakes his head to Gabriel, though his eyes are still on the collection of ghosts. "Nope, only Wizards. Dad did some research about it, because he wanted to have a Muggle ghost in one of his stories. But he had a long chat with a ghost during a tour of the Tower, and she said only Wizards and Witches ever become ghosts. She wouldn't — or couldn't — say what happens to people who don't become ghosts though. She was really very nice to chat with, even if she was carrying her head around under her arm." As he says this, he pantomimes the very act with the soccer ball he's still carrying around. He's so busy with his little speech, he doesn't even notice that the ghost Edgar has contradicted the 'facts' he's just stated so knowledgably. The mention of Death Eaters and Trolls, however, draws his attention, a frown forming again. "Surely not Trolls. How revolting!"
Melissa frowns. "The Prophet said the exact opposite…" she says. "They said it wasn't Dark Arts… maybe they got confused because it was a new spell…" Or maybe it's a government coverup! she thinks. Maybe she's been spending too much time around Luna… or has she?
"The headmaster before Dumbledore." Rene answers Julian amid the other hints towards it, his answer more confirming the fact than anything. "I do not understand this." And now he says aloud what everyone knows, watching raptly as it all keeps unfolding. As for the news- well- it is both unsurprising and surprising. In the end, nobody would put that past the Death Eaters, right? But hearing it out loud is something new, and Rene's subconscious reaction is to move a little bit closer to the others, on the verge of true huddling.
"I.. I see.. that sort of lot.. they killed me not too long ago.. and hey.. Dumbledore's amazing as Headmaster," Perpetua says to Edgar, a bit defensively. Dumbledore's crackers, but he's been competent as far as she can tell! The disappearing of the other ghosts causes some alarm, and she almost expects herself to vanish. Oddly, that scares her more than existing as she does now.
"Son of a.." Keegan doesn't finish his statement as he nods to Edgar. "Will do. Those bastards are never satisfied with what they've got. As if the Killing Curse weren't bad enough." He glances to the disappearing ghosts, then looks to Edgar, "Look after that lot, see they get to where they need to be going." A snort is made as he overhears Melissa, and says to her, "Don't be trusting every damned, daft thing the Prophet chooses to print, Firstie."
"Bloody Hell. Things worse than the big three?" Bean is shaking his head. "That's a mite scary, mate." He turns toward Rene again. "Gotta figure out how to…" His mind is already at work. To Gareth, Julian replies. "If they're experimentin', the old rules don't always apply, methinks." He shrugs. Been his experience. "Maybe one of the new spells makes them into ghosts for a short time or somethin'." It's a wild guess. But Bean's intuition is good. "Trolls?"
So there are muggles here…"Explains things," Ophelia murmurs. She's focusing again on the crowd, frowning as she sees the children gathered. That… was cruel. And now some of them are fading, which she figures probably isn't making things any better. "Here, want t'see somethin' neat?" She waves her wand, allowing some multicolored sparkles to hang in the air. Several animal shapes form, before she gives them another tap to animate them. The bounc around and move, and it seems Ophelia's trying her best to entertain the ghostly children. HOpefully, she doesn't do the opposite.
Not at all sure of her own views of the afterlife, Siobhan nevertheless absorbs the information and settles in to talk to the little girl. "I hear that's what's waitin'," she assures the little girl, pulling to the fore all the fairy-tale niceties she can remember from her mother's stories. "An' there'll be cake and sweets an' all your favorite foods, an' pretty things an' it'll never rain unless you want it to." She notices the ghosts fading from existance all around her and the young blonde has to swallow hard and smile really big to keep the tears from her face and voice. "An'…what'd you say your name was? You'll have ever so much fun. You an' your mum an' dad… It'll be a grand adventure, yeah?"
Gabriel hears both Gareth and Edgar's answers about ghosts though, and his eyes widen, and then even more so at the last stated fact. "Death Eaters and trolls? They're not coming here, are they?" Then, though, curiosity once again takes over as ghosts start vanishing, burying his fear at least for the moment, as he tries to figure out what's going on.
"If it's a new spell, are you sure you're even dead?" Kalleigh asks someone near by, looking the person over thoughtfully. "I don't remember anything of the story - just suddenly an entire village gone." Her hands swing a little away from her body, her lantern bobbing on its handle, the light cast all around.
Maybe it's time to stop hiding her head in the sand. Amber's already taken steps, but one can just become someone else overnight. Death Eaters and trolls? Five years ago, she wouldn't have had any idea what that even meant, but now that she can parse the meaning of what new, deadly spells can do, it makes her shiver.
Her mind always wanders back to the panic one troll caused when it got loose in the school during her first year.
She's smart enough to put two and two together as the ghosts start fading away, and it's an uncomfortable feeling that follows. She reaches for Perpetua's arm, knowing full well she can't actually contact it, but it's almost become her own offering of comfort for her friend. "You okay, mate?" she asks.
Gareth's attention is torn from the fading ghosts to Julien for the first time. "Surely that would explain it, indeed. Magical research of that nature would be highly dangerous. What sort of mad experiments do you suppose the Death Eaters are up to?" To him, it's all an academic issue, a mystery to be puzzled out in the safety of a cozy library full of dusty tomes.
Rene isn't watching Julian or the adult ghosts anymore- he is watching Siobhan's little exchange with the child, listening in and observing it with slightly damp eyes. Things are crazy, but all those kids too? It's downright awful. He literally has no words left.
Ginny looks to be quite upset, along with everyone else. While others are speculating, Ginny is doing her best not to fall to the ground in tears. Her hands have tightened into fists, and her face is a stoic mask on the verge of cracking. There are so many dead, and the threat of new magic makes her swallow hard. Tear-filled brown eyes wander frantically, looking for a safe place to rest, a place that wasn't filmy and white and glowing.
"Yeah.. I think so.." Perpetua says to Amber, watching the other ghosts fade away, not looking away from them. "Those people, they just, they were more hyped about having Potter. They just used .. I dunno what it was. I saw a flash of green, and next thing I knew, I'm here, like this." She starts tearing up, her eyes appearing more pearly now. "These poor people.."
"Nothing's more definite than the killing curse, lass" Edgar says, nodding at Keegan. "That's what I've been trying to do. But I knew someone should know what really happened. Didn't expect Dippet to be gone though. Please make sure the information gets to Dumbledore." Turning, he starts clapping his hands to get the other ghosts attention. Some fade right as they are turning. "Listen up everyone. Our time here is almost over. We have to keep going. Just follow me and I'll make sure we all get where we're going safely." With that, he starts moving towards the forest only to fade out as he reaches the edge of it.
"I'm Megan. This is Maria, my mum." the girl says to Sio, grinning broadly at the explanation. "Yay!" Then comes the speech from Edgar and Maria turns to Sio with a thankful expression in her eyes. It's a silent 'thank you' before she starts to usher Megan towards the woods. The young girl looks back and waves before chatter. "I'm gonna have the pumpkin tarts, and the chocolate. Ooo….and apple pie! They'll have apple pie, right?" As they approach the edge of the forest, they too disappear.
And as easily as they faded into appearance, they ghosts fade back out as each of them reaches the border of the forest.
Keegan continues to survey the ghosts, annoyance more than anger bubbling up. He's got no love of Death Eaters from the first time around. Not trusting himself to speak, he merely nods to Edgar's ghost. He doesn't move until the ghosts are gone, then he's limping towards the castle and barking, "Clear off you lot! Back to your common rooms, it's getting late! Matthews, my office, 10 minutes before dinner on Friday." Then he's heading in earnest for the castle doors and to Dumbledore's office.
This is actually the first Amber's heard about how Pet died. And… Well, at least it was quick. There was no suffering. "God, Pet— I'm sorry." She removes her hand from the ghost's arm, flexing her fingers to get out the cold numbness that comes from remaining in contact with a ghost for too long. "New magic," she says to herself, watching as the ghosts head toward the forest and fade from view. Suddenly feeling cold, Amber wraps her arms around herself, looking at the ground. She's not much of a crier, and so there are no tears, but that doesn't mean she's any less disturbed. "Pet. I know you's prolly got other places ta be, but if ya wouldn't mind hangin' out for a bit, that'd be nice." She just doesn't want to be alone right now, even if her company is a ghost, just like the people who just really freaked her the heck out.
Julian is quite uncomfortable with the comfort Siobhan is showing to the small ghosts. It's unfamiliar and strange. He shifts restlessly, watching the lives fade out literally one by one, and returns his mind to the plans that seem to run through his thoughts nearly by rote. The touching scene brings up other thoughts, though, such as his as yet unsettled summer. However, even returning to where he was might be less dangerous than this. It's not a comfoting thought. He frowns, stilling almost completely. Then, as the last of the ghosts fade, he turns to follow the crochety teacher's order and head back to the castle, burdened by the reality of the situation.
Meeting Maria's gaze, Siobhan nods once before turning a slightly watery smile on little Megan. As they leave, she listens to the small girl's chatter, nodding enthusiastically when she looks back. "It wouldn't be heaven without apple pie!" Sio manages to get that out cheerily enough, but as soon as the ghosts are gone, she's got her face in her hands, shoulders shaking with quietly jerking sobs. She doesn't seem to hear Keegan's order - or if she does, she's ignoring it - because the lass isn't moving just yet.
And they go. Ophelia finds herself slowly dropping back to the ground, knees sinking into the earth slightly with her weight. As they fade, she just brings her hands up to her face. she'll have eyeliner and mascara streaks on her cheeks for sure, but the entire scene was just… sad. She, too, doesn't seem to make move to follow Keegan's order.
Ginny doesn't move. No, she's finding herself glued to the spot, frozen in her tracks. Even as the last ghost finally disappears into the forest, she is still unable to move. Later, she will find bloody crescents in her palms where her nails dug in. For now, she bows her head. As the tears start to flow, she finds herself finally able to move, and when that happens, Ginny flings herself into Harry's arms without a second thought.
Egbert stands there numbly, watching as the ghosts fade away once again, and would probably have stayed that way for a good long while if Keegan hadn't spoken up promptly. Still no overt reaction - not that he's hiding anything, it's just so much to take in that he doesn't know how to react. "I'm sorry, too," he finally manages, walking up to Amber and touching her shoulder for a moment. "Pet, I'd stick around, but… you need your friend right now, you don't need me being useless."
Gareth suddenly realizes all the ghosts have faded away (save Perpetua, of course). With a look of disappointment, he turns again toward Gabriel. "This is really fascinating, isn't it?" he asks, quickly retrieving his robe and starting toward the castle after the others. "Muggles turning into ghosts. I wonder how they managed it? Too bad we're not allowed in the Restricted Section — that's where all the books dealing with death magic is likely to be. Do you think we should ask Professor Flitwick for permission to have a look? I'd really love to know how this happened."
"What I saw after that Pettigrew kidnapped me, I thought that was horrible.. but what these people must have seen and been through." Perpetua blinks hard, even if her tears aren't exactly real in the tangible sense. "Oh where else do I have to be?" she cries out with a bit more force than intended at Amber. Worrying at her lower lip, she makes sure to not meet Amber, or Egbert's eyes. "Just.. go back to the common room, or inside with your friend.. you don't need to be getting in trouble, and just a second year," she says to her brother.
Kalleigh heads back inside with the others, but goes by way of her blanket to collect her belongings. She stares down at the box of cookies vacantly, lifting it off of her blanket before bundling everything else into the blanket. She knots the blanket into a bag and loops it on one arm, staring at the cookies once more. She swallows hard before kneeling down and picking it up as well. She moves like molasses.
Gabriel answers Gareth, "I think it's scary," as he stares into the forest for a few more moments. Then he turns to belatedly following the teacher's orders and start back for the school, saying, "And it won't be in any books, either, it's new magic. *Scary* new magic. What if they try again, but on Bibury next time? Or come here?" Then, to the talk of the restricted section, he says, "I gotta figure out how to ask Professor Flitwick if I can be let into Arithmancy a year early, gonna be hard enough convincing him anyway, don't wanna be asking about death magic before I ask that. You can, but I'm not going with you."
Harry, who was also frozen in place, is now able to move. "That was…" he starts, unable to quantify a word for the whole experience. He's experienced ghosts before. Including his own parents, a memory that brings a shiver of that horrible experience not so long ago. Noticing Sio's unnerved manner, he doesn't have time to react to it before Ginny's like….there. In his arms. Hugging her tight, he glances once more towards the forest. All this is going to change things. He knows it is.
So much for a quiet evening in the meadow, right? After watching the ghosts dissipate into the edge of the forest, it leaves Rene with what feels like a weight on his chest, pulling him down from inside. The boy turns away from the scene, the back of his left hand moving up to rub at his face, a bare sniff escaping a valiant and so far successful effort at not leaking anything.
What cuts it is Garth's voice among the rest, and Rene suddenly barks up at him from ahead like an angry little dog, wheeling around. "How dare you be so disrespectful! I should push you in the lake, you- tactless- baise toi!" Whoa, language. With that, Rene storms off through the bundle of students heading inside, the soles of his shoes hitting the floor angrily as he gets in the castle.
Amber looks over her shoulder, looking at Egbert's face for any odd damage, before eying her bruised knuckles. "Yeh, I'm sorry, too. Jes'… This is summat we should talk abou' later, aw'right?" While Perpetua's not standing right there.
She finds herself hating that she can't comfort ghosts. Still, she takes the snapped reply with a grain of salt - they're all on edge, and she imagines Perpetua was just frightened when the others started fading away. It's not quite a random thought, but at that moment, Amber knows what her career is going to be. She knows what she wants to do when she leaves Hogwarts. "M'gonna 'ead up to Pomfrey. See if she can't gimme somethin' for this," she says, holding up her hand. "Y'comin, Perpetua?"
"I.. sure.." Perpetua says to Amber, finally looking at her, then the others out on the meadow. There's an uncomfortable look on her face, as she's now aware of just how many students were out here. "I'll meet you up there." She suddenly doesn't want to take the long way, drifting amongst people. Perpetua zooms past Egbert and Amber, whooshing past Rene, and disappearing through the castle.
Given a few minutes to purge the most pressing of her emotional torrent, Siobhan does, in fact, pull herself together. Several deep, calming breaths do much to calm the jerky shaking of her back and shoulders; it leaves her with only a few breathy hiccoughs to hide as she wipes the wetness from her face and neck. Standing a bit shakily, the Slytherin moves to stand with the Gryffindors. One arm slides around his shoulders in a manner that half offers comfort and half seeks it. Her other hand moves to pet Ginny's hair in an absently tactile gesture. "This can't go on this way… It just can't. Somethin's gotta give, an' I'm afraid it's gonna be sooner rather than later."
Gareth is left in stunned silence by Rene's outburst, stopping dead in his tracks. After a long moment, he finally manages to say, "Well, that was a bit of an overreaction, wasn't it? I'm only wondering how it was done. It isn't as though I'm wanting to duplicate such a ghastly thing." He looks meekly toward his cousin and fellow Ravenclaw then. "Maybe I'll just…let it drop then. Probably better for you to ask about Arithmancy after all. Wish I could get into Muggle Studies early, but I know my schedule will be too full next year."
Melissa stays with Egbert for a bit. She was going to ask Perpetua if they could spend some time together later, so she could maybe learn what not to say… but now doesn't seem to be the best time. "…Let's go," she says sullenly to him.
Ginny sobs openly, no longer concerned about presenting a strong front. Her arms wrap around Harry's back, and her tears come freely and hard, shaking her slender frame. As strong as she tries to be, as she has been, in the end, she's a thirteen year old girl who's just been confronted with too much death and despair. She registers Sio's touch, but is unable to do more than snuffle and gasp for air, at the moment.
Gabriel blinks, too, at Rene's outburst at Gareth, and then says, "Well, you didn't really think. Maybe he knew someone there or something." Then he nods again to Gareth and goes back to the subject of classes, "Yeah. Probably mine too, but I gotta try. I miss math, I miss numbers. Closest thing right now is charting planets in astronomy."
Between Ginny, and Sio…Harry has his hands full. "Yeah, except I don't think the Ministry is going to listen to us. Even if we could prove it." he says, clutching Ginny against him as he turns towards the castle. "Come on, lets go back up to the castle. Don't want to be caught out here after curfew."
Egbert nods to Amber - and waits for Perpetua to put some distance between herself and the crowd - then turns and nods to Melissa. He starts to reach his hands out toward hers, but then lets them drop in mid-air, just stuffing them into his pockets instead as he makes for the castle.
Gareth wrinkles his nose a bit, giving a little shudder. "Miss math? The only thing I miss is reading for pleasure. I mean, not studying for a class, just reading for the joy of it. I hope we don't have -too- much homework over summer break, there's so much reading I need to catch up on."
"I'll write to Da," Siobhan offers, walking with the younger students at Harry's suggestion. "With Umbridge gone, the Wizengamot shouldn't be so hard ta do anythin' with. If somethin' can be done, he'll do it." It's not much - and certainly not all she wants to do, but it's a start. It's a definite start.
It takes her a long while, but Ophelia eventually gathers her study materials and begins making her way back to the castle. Her posture is somber. It's a good bet that there will be no further studying tonight.
Ginny is gaining control enough to be able to lift her most decidedly damp face from Harry's shirtfront and walk along with Siobhan and Harry. With one hand, she wipes her face, looking relieved that most of the students have cleared out. Less chance to be spotted being so tearful, and Ginny is grateful for that. While she doesn't quite clasp Harry's hand, she walks most decidedly close to the boy. "We have to do something," is her contribution to the conversation.