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This would have been very disturbing anyway but then Pet's eye popped out and started rolling along the bottom of the boat. Great. Maybe she would be so fortunate as to have a kraken surface nearby and pluck her off the ship with one of its tentacles and kindly drown her. Petra Sleptova in Land, Ho!
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Christ-Mess Coming
#1
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December 19th, 1889 — Ministry of Magic Atrium, Candle Lighting
"You're very welcome; Merry Christmas," Blythe answered kindly, handing the small, white candle to the little girl. She had volunteered herself for this particular fundraiser, knowing she was unlikely to have much other excuse to visit London any time soon. Though the witch was naturally quite shy, she found that she was enjoying the subdued occasion, and the sights and sounds were certainly a change from the norm.

But one sound seemed out of place: a shrill scream.

Blythe craned her neck to see a woman frantically clawing her way out of the lift, some sort of grey blob adhering to the back of her neck.

The secretary paled: this was surely not good.


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#2
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Today had been fairly unremarkable for Adam so far. He'd come in to training that morning with his notes in hand from the last time he'd attended these lectures, just as he had for the past year and a half since he'd had to reset his training. He'd made a few additions or corrections here or there where his memory needed a bit of a gap filled in. He'd lingered in the group study session for a bit, to see if anyone in his new class had questions or wanted to practice anything. Then he'd headed off for lunch.

He had extra time upon return before the practical lessons started up in the afternoon, so he was lingering in the atrium, observing the spectacle of the candles floating about. He didn't feel the need to light one himself — there were things he could do with the money that would honor his father more than a candle, he thought — but it was quite a pleasant and tranquil sight, all in all.

Tranquil until a screaming woman hurtled out of the lift, anyway. His blood pressure rising almost immediately, Adam surveyed the scene developing before him, and his eyes landed on Blythe Fairchild within a few feet of the unfolding chaos. He knew she was there, and had exchanged a few words with her this morning on his way in, but being reminded of her presence only because she would soon be within arm's reach of a woman who was apparently being attacked was quite an unpleasant shock. Luckily, he wasn't far away. He crossed towards her with a few quick steps and grabbed her arm to pull her away from the afflicted woman. "Get back!" he said as he drew his wand — though since he hadn't figured out what was happening yet, he wasn't sure exactly what he intended to do with it.
#3
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A strong hand closed around her arm and Blythe stumbled two steps backwards, too startled, for a moment, to realize it was Mr. Ragge who had intervened. While she remained on high alert—what in God's name was going on?—his presence sent a momentary flicker of relief through her: he was a friend, a trainee auror, and a Godly man to boot. Surely he would figure out (and resolve) the situation?

"Wh-what's going on?" Blythe stammered the question, though she was not altogether certain the wizard was paying attention to her so much as to what lay before them. The woman still flailed somewhat, though had fallen to the marble floor of the atrium and seemed unable to rise. Should I be fleeing? the witch wondered.


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"I don't know," Adam said honestly. False confidence in the face of the unknown was something for which many of his fellow trainees were lampooned. As Adam had the double-dose of modesty-inducing browbeating from their instructors, however, he had long since become comfortable admitting his ignorance. He could safely say one thing about the situation before them, though, which was: "Nothing good, I'd wager."

The women before him didn't seem to be doing too well at fending off this creature, and Adam couldn't very well leave her like that. It occurred to him that intervening risked bringing the creature's attention towards him and Blythe, but no better options were occurring to him at the moment. With a quick spell, then, Adam sent a magical skewer through the tentacle that had latched on to the victim on the floor. The brain-thing reacted immediately, flailing in pain — or at least, that was Adam's impression of the frenetic movement it made, though it was hard to say it was properly flailing when it didn't have limbs.

"Let's move," he said as he took a quick step back, not particularly eager to see whether the thing was capable of feeling vengeance as well as pain.
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Perhaps her aunt had nagged any free-thinking out of Blythe's temperament or perhaps she was just naturally docile, but Blythe was entirely happy to follow orders and moved quickly, resisting the urge to look behind her.

Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, though, or Orpheus leaving the Underworld, she could not resist this temptation for long; as Blythe turned to see the chaos, she miss-stepped, falling to the floor of the atrium herself.


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#6
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Adam had several advantages over Blythe when it came to running: he was taller; his clothes were better suited to the task; he was used to running during elements of his training program; and he was probably a touch more athletic than she was, through both nature and practice. He was ahead of her, then, when she tripped, and he didn't immediately realize that she'd fallen. About ten feet past her he glanced over his shoulder and saw her sprawled on the ground, with the brain that had been tailing them looming ominously directly above her.

Well, that couldn't be good.
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#7
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The scream Blythe emitted was far louder than any noise that had ever left the young witch before as her arms moved defensively—though probably uselessly—to cover her face.


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