Did you know?
The Language of the Flowers was a popular method to express feelings where words might be improper, but did you know other means of doing so? Some ladies used their parasols, as well as their fans, gloves, and hankies to flirt with a gentleman (or alternatively, tell them to shove it!). — Bree ( Submit your own)
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Brigit Langley for Fletcher Langley.
The Matchmaking Menace
This boy, then. He wasn't new. Wasn't one of the worst people in the common room, those rotten rich boys - like Mr. Jailkeeper - who could not fathom a world beyond their own farts. Was a good working class lad, so he'd heard. Had a bit of a weird looking face, and a bit of a weird thing for preaching. Still.Aubrey Davis in The Under-Sofa
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Post 3+ times in three or more class threads during the course of a school year. Must all be done with the same character, be they a professor, student, or school portrait or ghost!

Run This Town
16th November, 1888 — A random street, magical London
Sometimes it was all too easy to forget when last he'd done an honest day's work in his life. It probably had been in his life, actually, as opposed to the existence that had come afterwards; Ishmael probably ought to be ashamed of himself for that. Not that he missed the simple feeling of honest labour, the wretched work of a sailor, stepping into his father's shoes as a teenager and hoisting masts and hauling ropes, thinking himself lucky for getting to see the world like that - from one lone deck, or aloft in the tops. He'd thought himself lucky, and golden, and free: under orders at every hour of the day, constrained to a hammock for sleep and stale biscuits for breakfast. To think, that he had ever imagined that to be the rest of his life!

And nor had he lasted long in it. It had not been the end of trading, as a profession, but the trading had soon become much less... above board, as it were. And all sorts sold to all manner of people, over the years, any kind of thing imaginable: be they magical or muggle, valuable trinkets or common commodities, from mildly dubious to overtly illegal. And - in the matter of honesty - usually stolen.

He'd been doing away with a stolen haul tonight, as it happened, a collection of items the crew had racked up from running a few jobs, some that had been more easily pawned or exchanged or sold on than others. He had fun with this part of the whole affair, more so ever than the thieving, this pretence of giving, offering people what they wanted. There was an extra element of entertainment, too, if they showed an interest, or proved particularly gullible: there were so many stories he could invent. What the things to be traded were, what they were worth, where they had come from - who he was, and just how he knew. Perhaps people were more apprehensive of vampires in general, yes, certainly, but - whether by fear or by awe, they tended to accept his origin stories, as though Ishmael knew Morgana from Merlin, Columbus from Charles I, actually knew anything about the things he was spewed out as and when he willed.

Last of all today, he'd gotten rid of a time-turner - an illicit one, of course, unsanctioned by the Ministry, though he was not sure that that was where this one had originated - which (if it worked as it ought, which itself was... improbable) might potentially too valuable to part with, if only Ishmael had any interest in turning back time. It might come in useful to Monty and others, in another con, but the buyer he'd found (it was the part he was good at, finding people) had been rather keen, and easily persuaded to part with an absurd sum for it. The sucker. It was probably cursed.

Today, he said, because the weather had been grim and he'd been out a little earlier than usual, carefully shaded under a cloak and hat until tendrils of dusk had finally started winding their way through the city streets, and he'd done away with those adornments, now having less need of protection or a disguise. Ishmael was still camouflaged enough, he supposed to himself, though he was not trying now, purely by his aimless loafing. These side-streets weren't yet sparse enough in the night for him to stick out, and the passers-by too hurried about their business to waste a glance on even the likes of him, skin greyed, eyes dark-circled, and mouth betraying the flash of fangs here and there.

He was watching though, observing the sights in mild interest, having planned to fetch Galina some new fabrics and then throwing out that plan as too tiresomely tedious to bear. He wouldn't go so far to say he was looking for trouble... however, if a whiff of it was thrown into his path like a bone to a stray, who was he to turn a blind eye?


Not getting involved was his usual mantra. But once in a while, boredom trumped any such philosophy, and Ishmael was just intrigued enough in the scene he was witnessing to sidle up and try. He'd spotted the old man first, mostly for the evident disgruntlement on his screwed-up face, watched as he looked around, quickened his pace. Next - by virtue of following the man's focus - his eyes had landed on a younger man, a boy with wavy blond hair; he looked utterly casual at a surface glance, but there was a certain haste and purpose in his movements that belied his cherubic countenance. There was trouble, no doubt.

He didn't know what the boy had or hadn't done. Nor did he especially care. Picking a side, as a spectator, was always a gut instinct, and - well, he had always been one to instinctively root for an underdog. Whilst any threatening altercation might be amusing enough in itself to watch unfold from a safe distance, Ishmael saw an opportunity to re-weight the scales, and simply couldn't resist. He rounded, inconveniently, upon the old man, planting himself purposely in the path between one and the other, and - if he did say so himself - giving the old fellow the shock of his life, with his most intimidating Monstrous Vampire look, a pointed broad smile, a lick of his lips and a (slightly melodramatic) hiss that sent the man veering away, all previous vexations forgotten.

That was one thing that just never got old.  

It might have been just distraction enough to see the boy slip away - that had been half the aim - but he caught his eye a minute later, not yet out of sight. Ishmael tossed him the briefest crook of his fingers in a subtle wave; and he might have left it at that, had the street not melted back to its usual blindness, and his curiosity not gotten the better of him. So, as it was, he ambled across to catch up to the boy after all, his eyebrows raised in greeting.

Life was abject misery and had been ever since he'd woken up in the hospital after the expedition. There were few things Spryly relied on to keep himself alive but his legs and consequent agility were one of those things. With his leg mangled he'd never be able to pickpocket and get away with it and it ruled him out of a lot of physically demanding odd jobs, not to mention he likely wouldn't instill a lot of confidence with a limp. He supposed if worst came to worst he could try using it for pity but it wasn't the most appealing of prospects.

Ultimately, Spryly had checked himself out of hospital as soon as he could - the longer he stayed the more he owed - and consequently slowed his recovery considerably. He was determined he'd have it back to normal sooner or later, but in the meantime he'd reluctantly resorted to begging and emotionally manipulating people when the opportunity struck. Finally, he felt recovered enough that he could run, albeit much slower than before, which meant that he could return to petty opportunistic crime. He'd pulled off a couple attempts with success but little in the way of reward for his efforts before he targeted the older gentleman.

Desperate to make up for the slim pickings he was more brazen than usual. Upon turning quickly to start his get away, he landed on his leg at a bad angle and knew at once he was going to have trouble making any sort of speedy get away. Shit. Gritting his teeth, he tried to affect a casual gait and put gradual distance between himself and the man before he could figure out where the contents of his left pocket had gone. His leg smarted but he tried to walk a little faster so he wouldn't have to run later. A fleeting glance over his shoulder told him that he was being pursued. Double shit. This was the point at which he'd usually bolt, weaving lightly through the crowd and jostling as few people as he could. That was out of the question now however.

Another glance back a few seconds later and he saw that the old man had seemingly been obstructed by a third party. Not willing to waste the seemingly divine intervention, Spryly broke into a light, limping run until he could duck around a corner and contemplate the throbbing in his leg. He leaned against the cool brick wall and willed both his pursuer and his leg to leave him alone. He probably ought to go back to the hospital and see what they could but he couldn't afford medicines and treatment as things stood now. He would just have to hope that time would set it right.

His eye was suddenly caught by the unnerving stare of a strange whom he was fairly certain had been the one to distract the man he'd robbed from catching him as he'd surely been about to do. What did he want? Now he was gesturing at him. Some gut instinct told him to run because the man looked like some undead danger he didn't want to get too close to, but the pain in his leg was putting up a very good argument for not moving. "'Lo," he said gruffly, trying to seem tough and physically untroubled by any of his body parts that might make defending himself difficult.

"Evening," Ishmael said, a little more ceremonious than the boy's 'Lo, approaching close enough to have a conversation without their voices carrying far, but stopping a little out of reach so that the boy's adrenaline didn't go for a second round. Ishmael listened for his heartbeat for a bit, judging the pace of it thoughtfully. (He wasn't hungry enough to worry about paying attention to things like this.)

He felt he'd given the youth long enough to catch his breath, and maybe he hadn't seen Ishmael's intervention for what it was in the first place, but - "You're welcome, by the way," he added, more in casual explanation than too concerned with getting the thanks he was due. What was the boy, a petty thief, then? He couldn't be a very good one, if he'd thought that was subtle - nor could he be very smart, to chance a run. He must've been beaten up pretty good already, if his leg had anything to do with that. Poor kid.

"You alright?" He asked next, still friendly.

Spryly was getting some weird vibes off this guy. What could he possibly want? Surely if he was out to rob people he'd have chosen someone who didn't also need to resort to such measures? The 'you're welcome' thing confirmed his suspicions that he'd been the one to act as a distraction, which meant he was probably after some sort of recompense. "Me? I'm great, I am," he replied, his tone almost aggressively upbeat. "Who's askin'?" Couldn't this man just ask for whatever he was after and be done with it? Beating about the bush with pleasantries he couldn't possibly be invested in was an annoying waste of time.

Ishmael only grinned, far more unhurried than the boy seemed, like he was ready to get the hell out of here. (Admittedly, Ishmael had the luxury of not hurrying more than any human did.)

The boy hit him with his suspicions only a beat after that. "Oh, no one," Ishmael said with a shrug; his brushing off the question might not endear him any further to so wary a stranger, but he also made sure to keep his distance, give the boy enough of a berth that the youth didn't think he was about to get mugged for what he'd stolen.

"Only," he added pointedly, quirking a quizzical brow at the boy, "doesn't seem all that smart to be trying things like that on that leg of yours." He'd seen the odd attempt at a run, had caught how he looked near-wincing at putting his weight on it - was reminded a little of that August fellow he'd bumped into once, another blond with a bad leg.

He rather wanted to know what this boy had done to it, but doubted the thief would take kindly to further questioning. Instead, all he asked (more out of professional interest, than personal, but still friendly): "Did you get anything decent from him, at least?"

Spryly's forcibly cheerful facade faltered at the mention of his leg. He knew it had to have been fairly obvious that his stride was off but it felt threatening to have this stranger admit that he'd observed it, like he was trying to highlight his superior physical capabilities should he try to get away. Then it occurred to him that this man might be some sort of undercover secret police. What if he'd been on his trail for a while now and finally managed to corner him while he was weak? It'd be strange for law enforcement to help someone commit a crime but maybe he'd had to in order to create a solid case against him for maximum sentencing.

"Just a snotty ol' nose rag s'all." He could hardly deny what had happened but he could try to minimize the severity of his theft if he downplayed it. In reality he didn't need to downplay it all that much, he didn't think he'd grabbed more than a few sickles at best. His ill-gotten gains now sat heavy in one of his coat pockets but he hadn't had a chance yet to properly look. "I'd best be off now, family'll be wonderin' where I'm at." As he said it, it occurred to him that should something happen to him, precisely no one would notice or care. Not for a while anyway.

"Shame," Ishmael said, nonchalantly enough, at the lacklustre fruit of the boy's labours. He had caught him on a bad day, then, or a bad target - or he was just a lacklustre thief. Or the leg had ruined his abilities somewhat. "Better luck next time," Ishmael added amiably, "from one thief to another."

The boy must feel caught out or cornered, what with how skittish he was. (Plenty of people were skittish around vampires, but this kid - well, Ishmael wasn't sure it was even that, with him. He looked rather highly strung, for a pickpocket.) It reminded Ishmael of the earliest days, when he had gone around cornering people like this, and drinking them dry. Before he'd learnt control.

But that wasn't how he did things now, although unfortunately he was beginning to suspect this little thief might be too much effort to coax around to the idea. Still, if he had to feed a struggling family, money might be enough lure -

"'Course. I'll let you get on," Ishmael said, stepping back pensively. He shrugged his hands into his pockets, made as if to turn away, and casually brought out a galleon, flipping the gold deftly between his fingers, letting the light glint off it from different angles. "Although," he remarked, as though it were a chance afterthought, "there are easier ways to make some cash than that."

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