Charming is a Victorian Era Harry Potter roleplay set primarily in the village of Hogsmeade, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the non-canon village of Irvingly. Characters of all classes, both magical and muggle — and even non-human! — are welcome.

With a member driven story line, monthly games and events, and a friendly and drama-free community focused on quality over quantity, the only thing you can be sure of is fun!
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    01.11 I've got a bit of a reputation...
    01.06 AC underway, and a puzzle to solve!
    01.01 Happy new year! Have some announcements of varying importance.
    12.31 Enter the Winter Labyrinth if you dare!
    12.23 Professional Quidditch things...
    12.21 New stamp!
    12.20 Concerning immortality
    12.16 A heads up that the Secret Swap deadline is fast approaching!
    12.14 Introducing our new Minister of Magic!
    12.13 On the first day of Charming, Kayte gave to me...
    12.11 Some quick reminders!
    12.08 Another peek at what's to come...
    12.05 It's election day! OOC, at least.
    12.04 We have our PW winners for November!
    12.02 New Skins! In less exciting news, the AC is underway.
    11.27 AC Saturday and election next week!
    11.21 A glimpse at post-move changes.
    11.13 This news is not at all big. Do not bother with it.
    June Hymn
    Private Thread 
    June 4th, morning
    You're standing on the landing with the war
    You shouldered all the night before

    It was cold when Lou woke up. It was always cold, the morning after a full moon. Even though the days were warming up, the basement had no airflow and admitted no sunlight, and the stone beneath him was as chilly as a mausoleum. The fact that he was wearing no clothing and his bare skin was laced with heavy chains didn't help much, either. But the cold was a familiar feeling--the pain was not.

    He was always sore after one of these nights, but typically he didn't wake up with any fresh wounds. Gabriel's presence was meant to deter that, but as Lou let out a little groan and tried to push himself up off the floor, there was no typical quiet padding of canine feet headed his way, and no wet tongue on his face. They'd been doing this long enough that Lou had come to expect this sort of greeting as a necessary part of his transition back to humanity in the morning, and it was disorienting not to have it. Had Gabriel gotten distracted? That seemed unlikely. Sometimes when Lou woke up, the dog was right by his side, and sometimes he was over by the door of the room or elsewhere, but he always came right back when he heard his master stirring.

    Lou pushed himself into a sitting position, the chains wrapped around his body clinking on the floor. He shivered and pulled his knees up to his chest, looking around the small room, but there was no sign of Gabriel. He glanced over and saw that the door to the room--the door which lead up a very small set of stairs and then into the forest outside--was ajar, having been pushed open from his side. That explained where Gabriel had gotten to, if he'd managed to get the door open. Lou frowned, wondering how easy it was for a canine to navigate a wooden door. The chains they used had never yet failed to hold him, but if Gabriel could manage to get outside from this room, then perhaps a wolf could, too. It was a risk Lou didn't really fancy taking. But maybe he was mistaken, maybe Daniel had opened the door from that side. Perhaps he'd come down to check on him, and let the dog out, and then, seeing that Lou was still not awake, had gone back upstairs?

    That didn't explain the pain, though, or the blood. Now that his eyes were focused he could see there was plenty of blood, and he was feeling a little dizzy for the loss of it.

    "Daniel?" he called, voice hoarse.

    @Daniel Merricks @Valeria Greengrass
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind

    There was painstaking silence. Daniel always had trouble sleeping on the nights of the full moon, but he never said a word. He just sipped tea and ate his breakfast as though nothing had changed. And that was where he found himself like any other morning. His tea was still steaming visibly from its cup. He was mid-sip when he heard the hoarse calling. He rose from his seat at the table they shared slowly, hoping that Lou would call again so that he knew his ears were not deceiving him. But the silence was worrying. Thus, he moved, slowly and ever so carefully, descended the stairs. His shoes made soft scuffing sounds. Scuff. Pause. Scuff. Pause. Scuff. "Lou?" he called in return. 

    His hand steadied himself against the wall as he descended, eventually hitting the stone floor. There was no padding of paws welcoming him to the ajar door. He clenched his fists a few times as if to calm and slow his, for now he noticed, racing heart. What potentially lay beyond the door terrified him. Was Gabriel dead, having failed in his duty as man's best friend? Daniel wasn't sure and he lingered at the open door. He inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. He was no school girl to be frightened. He was a full grown man! He could handle whatever lay before him. And he opened the door frame, his body filling the frame.

    Gabriel was nowhere to be seen and Lou looked beaten, weighed down by the chains. Something in his chest tightened and Daniel moved swiftly to Lou's side, soon kneeling beside him. "Lou!" he exclaimed. "The dog? Where's the dog?" 

    There was no body but plenty of blood. Daniel's heart rate increased and he felt the pounding in his ears. The world was slowing and he was noticing the temperature of the room through his pants. Cold. How cold it was and that saddened him. Lou had returned to consciousness without his companion, cold and alone. Daniel reached out but hesitated before touching the other man. "Do you know what happened?"
    [Image: Itl3jb.png]
    Lou's heart sank when the door opened and Gabriel didn't come through it, and it fell another notch when Daniel asked where he was. That didn't bode well at all. There was still a chance, Lou supposed, that Gabriel had managed to push the door open last night and was now lurking somewhere just around the cottage, but that was unlikely. For one thing, he was huge, so he wasn't exactly the kind of pet that could just slink under a bed and go unnoticed. For another, they'd been at this a while--six years in the cottage, and another eight before that. Gabriel had never wandered off in the middle of a full moon before. Not while Lou still needed him, anyway.

    The second question was one that could have been taken several different ways, and Lou wasn't sure how to answer it. Of course he never knew what had happened while he'd been transformed, because that was a part of the curse, and of course Daniel knew that. Given the way that he'd woke up, though, Lou could make a series of rather educated guesses about what had happened the night before. His fresh cuts would tell that story.

    "I think I know half a dozen things that happened last night," he said, wincing as he pushed one of the chains on his shoulder a little closer to his neck, and away from an open, bleeding wound on the back of his shoulder. "But I don't know where Gabriel went. He's not upstairs?" Lou asked, but didn't wait for the answer; of course he wasn't upstairs, or else Daniel wouldn't have asked about him when he came down.

    Lou was trying to keep his mind on the subject at hand--the subject of where Gabriel went--but Merlin, he hurt. And he'd lost a lot of blood. Maybe he needed to handle this before they solved the mystery of the dog's disappearance. "Do we have any dittany left?" he asked, wincing again. They usually kept a bit, in case Lou hurt himself during a transformation--but they never needed it in quantities like this, because typically, Lou wasn't a bloody mess at the end of one of these nights. "And--some bandages. Then we can go look for him."
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind

    It was in this moment that Daniel had discovered what Lou had called for. He didn't know where the dog was either. And it terrified him. The dog was far more adept at consolation and assurance than Daniel was. The dog not being there meant the worst case scenario in Daniel's mind. And it was a scenario that he had not prepared himself or the cottage for. Shaking his head was the only response he could muster at the time. He rose slowly from his kneeling position and slowly nodded about the dittany. "Yes," he started, "I will return swiftly."

    He turned on his heel and ran back up the stairs, preparing the dittany as he had so many times before. Daniel rushed back and offered Lou what he needed; bandages were in one hand, dittany the other. "When we get you wrapped up, we need to look for the dog." His words were blunt, and clearly what needed to be done. He didn't look at Lou's face for his reaction. He stood and straight and contemplated the actions that needed to be done without being rash or illogical. There had to be order to such things, but Daniel was waiting to take Lou's lead.
    [Image: Itl3jb.png]
    "Yes," Lou agreed, reaching up to tug one of his chains away from the open wound once again. Daniel would get them off in a moment, he hoped, so then he'd be freed from the torment of having the heavy metal things brushing up against fresh cuts. He shifted, trying to curl his limbs closer into himself to keep out the cold, but doing so made him ache in new places, which was nearly unbearable. He shivered. "Maybe clothes, first," he suggested. It was said like a joke, but his voice was too weak to put the necessary joviality into it.

    He needed to get his hands on his wand, too. If something had happened to Gabriel--well, he didn't know what could have lured the dog out into the night, but he didn't want to face whatever it was defenseless. And then, of course, there was the possibility that their 'visitor' from last month had made an uninvited return.

    "Did anything happen last night?" he asked Daniel as the chains were removed. "Strange noises, or anything unusual? Anything... like last month?" The presence of another werewolf in the forest hadn't lured Gabriel away the last time it had happened, though. Even if that had been the case (and it seemed like a long shot for there to be two new 'neighbors' on two consecutive full moons, if they weren't somehow related), why had it been any different from the last time? Where had his dog gone?
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind

    Daniel nodded and helped Lou remove the heavy chains from his body. Finding Gabriel had to be their top priority before the moon rose. Lou's question made Daniel feel as though all his muscles froze. He was moving, though the actions were mechanical. He was becoming hyperfocused on the task at hand and he felt almost like a puppet being controlled.

    "Clothes might be a good idea," he said, tone rather absent. That was before Lou's inquiry brought him painfully back to his body. He couldn't do anything other than shake his head slowly. "I didn't sleep, like usual," he started, "but I didn't hear anything out of the ordinary. I stayed in my bed, didn't even hear the dog."

    He felt defeated and stood aside, knowing full well that he should grab Lou some clothes, but he felt as though his feet were glued to the ground. Daniel put his hands together as if he were about to pray, and brought them to his face. He pressed his index fingers against his lips and got lost in his memories of any strange noises. His stomach knotted and he suddenly panicked. What if he had fallen asleep and hadn't noticed? "I don't think so," he confessed. "I didn't notice anything. I'm sorry. I'll grab you some clothes."
    [Image: Itl3jb.png]
    Lou couldn't help but flinch at the words as usual, even though Daniel offered them up without any hint of bitterness or malice, at least that Lou could detect. It was not the first time that he'd been made aware of the sacrifices that Daniel made in order to help Lou keep his secret. This was his curse just as surely as it was Lupus'. The difference was that there was no magic keeping Daniel here, no physical tie that made him stay in this cottage. He was paid, of course, but not nearly enough for the services he rendered, and Lou felt a rush of gratefulness that he knew he would never be able to put into words as the other man rose to go and fetch his clothes.

    He stood up, slowly, and hobbled away from the chains and the wild bloodstains on the floor. Putting even a little bit of distance between him and the mess of last night made him feel a bit less desperate. A little more human.

    Merlin, there was a lot of blood. Lou moved to the doorway, but slowly. Every meager motion sent a fresh shill of pain through his body, even with the dittany doing its work to knit his skin into some semblance of a whole again. He leaned on the doorway, breathing harder than he would have liked from the effort of movement. Daniel came down the stairs again and he smiled weakly, reaching for the clothes. They had long since gone past the point of any shyness as far as Lou's body was concerned, but today felt a little different. His wounds made him feel vulnerable, and he turned his back a little shyly in order to slip his clothes on.
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind

    The way Lou withdrew, or rather flinched, at his words, pulled on his heartstrings. The burden was theirs to share, both their cross to carry, and neither of them had asked for this. The way he turned, embarrassed by his body also pulled on his heartstrings. He felt himself wanting to reach out, console, and assist in buttoning the other man's shirt.

    But he refrained.

    There was a lump in his throat, unnoticed before as Daniel averted his gaze, but only just, to give Lou a sense of privacy. He raised his hand, a mix between hesitation and reluctance, and made a makeshift blinder to protect Lou's modesty, though there was hardly any modesty left to hide to be perfectly honest.

    After a few moments, Daniel cleared his throat and lowered his hand. "I shall follow your lead."

    What else was there to say? What else was there to do? Daniel was very much a follower than a leader. If he came to a fork in the road he would stay until another passerby could give him advice. It was his curse: the curse of unwavering service. He was akin to an redwood tree, hardened by weather that after centuries of abuse would stand with barely a scratch. The provider in him made watching Lou suffer that much harder, and keeping more feminine qualities at bay just as hard. And so he stood at the foot of the stairs, awaiting instructions.
    [-] The following 1 user Likes Daniel Merricks's post:
       Lupus Jameshill
    [Image: Itl3jb.png]
    He probably should have bathed before he put fresh clothes on, or at least used some kind of spell to get the blood (some of it dried, some of it not) off of him. There wasn't time to worry about drawing a bath, though, not when his dog had gone missing and they didn't know why. The spell would have been quick enough, but it wouldn't have been gentle, and Lou's wounds were raw enough without him adding a scourging charm over them. If anything, it would only make him bleed more as whatever scabs he'd formed already would be torn off.

    He dressed as quickly as his broken body would allow him, then moved over to the stairs and put a hand on Daniel's shoulder, hesitantly. "Thank you," he said, and meant it. "For everything."
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind