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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!

Truth or Consequences
See Inside 
10 February, 1889; Vampire Caverns

Her first thought on seeing Galina's picture blasted over the front cover of the Prophet was good. Given her flippant attitude in Irvingly and her typical approach to human life, Lyra had no trouble imagining that her fellow vampire was guilty of the murder of this man. She wasn't at all opposed to having her face whatever punishment the magical community deemed necessary. In fact, this seemed to further her goals, in a way. Vampires needed to behave as part of the community if they wanted to be treated with respect. Part of that was accepting the same rules and consequences that governed the magical world. She'd thought that, at any rate, until she'd read the date of the abduction Galina had supposedly perpetrated.

February first. Lyra knew that Galina hadn't been mucking about in Hogsmeade that day, much less abducting anyone for the purposes of grisly murder, because they had been together the entirety of the first — not by choice, but because they'd been stuck in the Church of St. Fergus, waiting out the fall of night. Galina couldn't have killed Baudelaire — which meant she had been falsely accused and imprisoned. If events continued on their course, she might even be put to death for a crime she didn't commit. That didn't fit into Lyra's grand ideals for the vampire community. She had to do something.

Unfortunately, she had no idea what. She could tell the Department of Magical Law Enforcement that Galina was innocent, but why would they believe her? They would be just as quick, she thought, to lock her up as a potential accomplice if she vouched for the girl. If the testimony of vampires was worthless, though, what could possibly make them change their minds about the girl they had in custody? Even if they knew that she didn't do it, would they release her? The wizarding community was on the brink of panic in the wake of recent events. They needed this case solved, she recognized. They needed someone to hang, even if that someone was a scapegoat.

The only solution, then, was to find whomever was actually responsible for the death. That was the only way Lyra could see to secure Galina's freedom. Unfortunately, she had no idea where to even start. She didn't know who had done it, and she certainly wouldn't be able to track them down or convince them (or trick them) into turning themselves in.

Which was what had brought her to Ishmael. Although he maintained an air of casual disconnection from the rest of the vampires Lyra had met, he was still the most well respected and well connected vampire she knew — or did it only seem that way because he had been the first she'd been introduced to? Because every other introduction with every other vampire was necessarily filtered through the lens of how they were connected to Ishmael, how they had first met him or his friend or the friend of the friend.

Never the less, she was here. He was at home, which was lucky for her — he wasn't always, and she didn't know where else he went. "This is wrong," she announced, flashing the front page of the Prophet bearing Galina's face. "She didn't kill Baudelaire."

And, unspoken by apparent in her eyes: help me fix it, please.

OOC: Ishmael first, open to other vampires later.
He had been expecting someone to come to him, sooner or later. He had only been back at the caverns in the last day or two, had stumbled into this mess just as unknowingly as anyone else - but of course he was, more or less, indispensable to this place, and to everyone here.

By and large, though, the cold hard truth of it was that none of them were indispensable to him. He liked some of them, certainly, and would perhaps miss one or two, but he knew better, he had always told himself, than to get attached. He knew how this went, because it had happened before and would happen again. Everything ended, even a quiet life of vampirism.

He had not expected it to be Galina's time, however. Ishmael had picked that front page up more times than he could count in the last twenty-four hours, as though reading it again might change what grim facts glinted through the human waffle. He had been holding it again when Lyra traipsed in, but the moment he realised she was carrying a twin of it, Ishmael cast it away onto a patterned rug nearby, hoping she hadn't noticed.

Hoping that, if she had, she would not mislead herself into thinking he cared.

And good day to you too, Ishmael thought, as the greeting on the tip of his tongue dissolved against her revelation - apparently Galina hadn't killed Baudelaire after all. Ishmael tried not to let even a shred of surprise cross his face. He oughtn't be surprised - however Lyra knew this nugget of information - because Galina was usually smarter than that. But if it wasn't her, then who? Ishmael's mind leapt instantly to Azazel; but she had learnt her lesson since Power, hadn't she? Or...

Not that it mattered. Galina had been arrested, and that was as good as a death sentence for a vampire like them, those who clung to the shadows. Not like Lyra Potter: and speaking of, why should Lyra be concerned about Galina's fate? Unless Ishmael was much mistaken, the two of them had never seen eye to eye.

Lyra was expecting him to say something, though, he presumed. Fabulous. "And?" Ishmael drawled, pretending he couldn't read the look in her eyes.

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   Lyra Potter

And? Lyra refused to believe that he didn't know what she was getting at, why she was here. She supposed he wanted to force her to say it out loud.

"And she'll be charged and found guilty regardless," she said, with bitterness. The admission wasn't an easy one; she might as well come right out and say that all of her talk about equality between vampires and humans was really just talk — certainly at the moment and perhaps destined to be so forever. No one in the auror department would care whether they were sentencing the right vampire, so long as they had a vampire. The sensationalism around these sorts of cases created a culture of fear in the magical community, and one way to satisfy them was to publicly punish a vampire. Most humans assumed they were all the same, anyway, all equally guilty of the same murders, so why would it matter if they'd pinned the wrong crime on this particular vampire?

"Someone has to do something," she continued, eyes imploring again. Lyra was more than willing, but she didn't know what to do. Surely Ishmael had some sort of experience with this. New as she was to the vampire community, Lyra doubted this was the first time one of their number had been arrested. Vampires who had spent years, decades, or even centuries forging bonds with one another couldn't just wash their hands of their feelings the moment their friend was incarcerated, could they?
He didn't doubt Lyra's assessment of the situation, of what would soon follow. The Ministry was sure to capitalise on the opportunity they had, and the question of guilt was always less clear-cut than one might like. (Ishmael had seen this before, in different iterations. The guillotine in Paris, for instance, had cared very little about proving guilt, in the end.)

There was a danger, here, that this one arrest would spark a flame, and spiral into more. Galina was too principled to give anyone else up ( - though perhaps if she could save herself by it? -), but it might turn into a crusade and a witch-hunt without her help.

Or her arrest and potential death would be the quickest and easiest end to the whole affair. If everything was pinned on her, if she was pinpointed as the ringleader of Hogsmeade's troublemaking vampires, and she was cut down, one might suffice to call that the most painless outcome possible.

He didn't expect Lyra Potter would see it in that light, unfortunately. No, she wanted someone to do something.

"Not me, I hope," Ishmael answered, with an eyebrow quirked and a little incredulous shake of his head at the helpless look on her face. "How do you know, anyway?" He continued, trying to pitch his sudden curiosity in a tone that was distantly conversational and nothing more. "Who killed Baudelaire, then? It wasn't you?" Now that would be an interesting state of affairs. If she was so set on playing strait-laced and so fond of taking responsibility, a slip-up on her part would throw her commitment to her ideals under a particularly harsh glare. Would it be so easy for her to just go and give herself up?

Ishmael gazed at her in a little more interest.

Lyra supposed she should have been prepared for Ishmael to pretend apathy, given the way the conversation had begun, but his response left her flustered all the same. How long had he known Galina? She didn't know, but it was certainly longer than Lyra herself had. How could he care so little about what happened to her?

His last question was so unexpected that it nearly left her sputtering. "What? Of course not," she answered immediately, then wondered if she'd misstepped by doing so. While the facts of the Baudelaire case were more brazen and egregious than most vampire killings, it was hardly as though any of them had made it through their first few years as a vampire without killing someone. In those early days, when she'd had less control, she'd killed a handful of people in the streets. It was impossible to plan or be subtle when the thirst was that strong. She'd gotten better, of course, and she would never have dreamed of killing someone in Hogsmeade now, even if she were dying of thirst. Pretending that the Baudelaire murder could never have been her doing, though, implying that she was above such things, likely wouldn't make her any friends in the vampire caverns. Everyone knew better. Whatever she said, whatever ideals she had now, they'd all gone through the same transformation.

"I know that Galina didn't do it because I know where she was that entire day," she said, trying to get the conversation back on track. "She was in Irvingly. I was with her."
Ishmael only snorted at her hasty rebuttal. It was laughable, that kind of lofty superiority from a woman who was still a baby in vampire terms, as they both very well knew. Ideals, see. Morals. Morals made people haughty.

If he didn't comment on that, it was because he expected Lyra wouldn't miss the raise of his eyebrows, and take the gesture for what it was, what she probably knew herself about how her answer would come across. If his eyebrows rose more dramatically than he had intended, however, that was because a moment later he was met with a remark of hers that took him truly aback.

You were with her? Ishmael resisted the temptation to repeat in bewilderment. In Irvingly? What on earth could the two of them have been doing there? Funnily enough, that sounded no less suspicious than the whole Baudelaire murder that had happened Hogsmeade-side. The world was going mad indeed.

It was a stronger alibi than none, to be sure. Not that it would make a difference - "You and Galina...?" Ishmael said, forgetting about the grim seriousness of the arrest and the murder for a moment to laugh out loud. "Since when have you and Galina been such bosom friends?" He'd only sensed friction from them before now. What, had they taken a nice little shopping trip together to a muggle town? How absurd.
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   Ophelia Devine

This conversation wasn't going the way she had hoped. She'd made a bad mistake with her hasty reply regarding the murder, her implied disdain for whomever had committed the crime, and even if he hadn't commented on it directly his expression let her know it hadn't gone unnoticed. She was on thin ice already, she knew; there was enough of an ideological difference between her and the rest of the residents of the caverns already. She couldn't afford to isolate herself any further if she entertained any hope of any of them ever listening to her or taking her seriously — which meant she couldn't exactly tell Ishmael the truth about why she and Galina had been together that day. I thought she was going to kill someone, so I spied on her and then tried to stop her and ended up getting both of us stuck in a church waiting for sunset. No, that wouldn't do at all.

She couldn't lie, though. Ishmael wasn't stupid; he would know that she was lying if she said something ridiculous like oh, we patched things up. Besides, what could they have been doing in Irvingly? It was illegal for them to even be there. Logically, the only reasons they could possibly have been there were — equally illegal, to say the least. She wasn't going to invent crimes to tie herself up in just for the sake of maintaining appearances.

"Oh, what do you care?" she said hotly, more frustrated with her lack of ability to come up with any decent answer than with his question itself. "What does it have to do with you? Are you worried us girls were going to get together and gossip about you? The point is," she continued sharply. "She didn't murder Baudelaire — but no one is likely to believe me, if I waltz into the Ministry and say so — so what am I supposed to do about it?"
"Oh, gossip about me all night long, please," Ishmael offered first, because such were his priorities. (He would not be surprised if those were his fellow vampires' priorities too, as a matter of fact: living such long lives did sometimes leave a dearth of conversational topics - and he was undoubtedly a more interesting topic than most.)

His smirk faded at the latter half of her rant, at the answers he hadn't gotten from her and her continuous pleas for something to be done. Lyra was so bloody serious about this! Hadn't she realised he didn't do serious?

"So maybe try not waltzing in there," Ishmael said, a little snappishly now, irate at being dragged into this as some kind of sounding board. "And unless you know who did kill the sucker, I would stay well away from the whole affair. Get too close and I'm sure the Ministry would be delighted to throw you in there with her, innocent or not."

He still thought it was rather suspicious that Lyra was - wholly mysteriously - tied up with Galina's activities that day, in some way that prevented either of them from having anything to do with the murder but certainly didn't settle what they had been doing. And if no humans had seen them either, what did they have but their word? And as Lyra Potter had already been smart enough to figure out, there was no reason anyone would believe her.

"And - correct me if I'm wrong -" Ishmael added, resisting the urge to roll his eyes, "but I can't imagine you and Galina are so close that you'd shoulder the blame and take the stake for her." Throw away her own afterlife with a false confession and some courageous act of martyrdom? Now that would be depressing.

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