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Fern-hunting parties became popular, allowing young women to get outside in a seemingly innocuous pursuit with less rigid oversight and chaperoning than they saw in parlors and drawing rooms. They may have even had the occasional romantic meetup with a similarly fern-impassioned beau. — Bree

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Bunny Devon for Anne Devon. My fair lady of the night
Separating was also not a great idea, though they weren't doing great at staying together anyway. If she were to volunteer to be the human sacrifice.. well... Hogsmeade had plenty of debutantes anyway...

Barnabas Skeeter in CYOA: Group D

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Complete threads set in ten different forum locations. Threads must have at least ten posts, and three must be your own. Character accounts cannot be combined.


Problems Conceived
April 01, 1888 — The Himalayas

For the first time in a long while, the first day of April brought three major holidays: Easter, April Fools, and his birthday, obviously. While he'd far more expected the extended members of his family to remember the most important day of the year, he certainly hadn't, and he certainly hadn't let his brother forget!

The portkey had been arranged weeks in advance, and, with an immense amount of planning (mostly which consisted of managing to get away from the Connolly family home on Easter), had figured out how to get Lorcan to the predetermined location somewhere on the family property. Then, he'd promptly forced the younger of his two brothers to come with him with no more than a mischievous glance and promises of wild adventure.

Then, they were there!

"I bet you have no idea why we're here!" he exclaimed proudly over the sounds of the Himalaya mountain winds. After a moment, though, his proud smile faded away at the realization that fuck, it was cold. He had no jacket, and Lorcan had no jacket. Why the fuck had no one informed him that mountains had snow? When he'd asked what the weather would be like, they'd said "no", not — oh. They'd meant "snow". Well fuck.

Lorcan Byrne

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Usually, you let everyone else arrange a surprise for your birthday - or so Lorcan had always presumed. This, all of Finnian's accord, must be more April Fools than birthday celebration, he decided, peering around at the intense whiteness of the scenery around them. (Lorcan's birthday presents for his brother usually tended to combine the two occasions, because what sort of younger brother would he even be if he didn't go for the prank gifts?)

This year Finnian seemed to have one-upped him, and managed to prank himself.

I bet you have no idea why we're here either, Lorcan nearly remarked in answer, only he was far too intrigued by how his brother was possibly going to explain this to shoot him down quite so fast.

"Where is here, again?" He inquired instead, bringing his arms in closer to his sides to fight against the windchill, and stamping around a bit, bewildered, in the snow. Wherever this was, it was a far cry from the old Emerald Isle. "See, if you wanted to throw me off a cliff, you could probably have picked one closer to home," Lorcan joked nonchalantly, mostly because he was still dumbfounded by the view.

So hopefully it wasn't that. Otherwise - he was, you know, open to the possibilities. Or would be, if he suspected Finnian had the foggiest idea what he was doing on this earth.
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   Roberto Devine

While he might not have thought the weather factor through, he'd definitely thought everything else about this trip through. There was a special reason for being here on this special occasions, and he couldn't wait to share.

"These are the Himalayas. Asia, right?" he asked, more to himself than his brother. "Well anyways, I was reading a book at the library that was talking about muggle history, and it said this was the birthplace of Jesus — you know, the guy some say was the first wizard. The muggles think very highly of him."

He hadn't taken Muggle Studies while at school, but library books were always the most credible source of information. "And since it's Easter, and also my birth-day, I thought we'd go to where Jesus was born." Ta-da!
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   Lorcan Byrne

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Very little of what was coming out of Finnian's mouth was making sense right now. Not that Lorcan usually expected otherwise.

He continued looking at his brother, squinting at him as though trying to determine whether he was a human being. Whilst he was doing this, Lorcan considered that explanation in general bemusement. For his part, he had very little knowledge about the Himalayas, or whereabouts in Asia they might be, or anything else about them other than the evidence that surrounded the Byrnes, that they were clearly a range of mountains. He had a little more knowledge about muggle religion, remembering a time or two he'd snuck out to one of the village pubs near the family estate and talked to a bunch of muggles, all Catholics as they were. He was no expert, but - he scratched his head briefly, goosebumps already prickling up his forearm from the cold - as far as he remembered, Jesus had been born at Christmas, not Easter.

"Hm, funny," Lorcan replied, his tone light and cheery but his hmms long and exaggerated. He had absolutely no desire to get into a discussion of the finer points of whatever some muggles or some strange library books (why was Finnian reading muggle history books, anyway?) said, but one small fact was niggling at him. "'Cause I don't remember anything about there being so much snow."

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   Bella Scrimgeour

Regardless of any misinformation Finnian had managed to read (or, more likely, that he'd misinterpreted), the two younger of the Byrne brothers were now in the middle of the Himalayas, in the middle of the freezing cold, and he was fairly sure the portkey had gotten trapped under the snow that had already fallen.


"I wouldn't surprised if they didn't mention the snow," he suggested, peering out into the distance with squinted eyes. "You know, it would make it seem less desirable. They were also from a long time ago — maybe the hadn't learned the word for snow yet." That was logical, right? ... Right?

He couldn't see anything but more mountains and more snow as he scanned where the horizon should have been. No settlements, no buildings, nothing. It seemed like they were stranded here.

"Did they teach you how to melt a mass of snow in mediwizard training?" he asked hopefully, his own feet beginning to freeze. "Just in case a wizard got trapped in an avalanche or something."

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Finnian's explanation was... yeah. It didn't sound like he knew, at all, but Lorcan also didn't know nearly enough to refute him on any of it. So he didn't bother trying, just made a face and offered a shrug in the vein of sure, that'll do.

He was slightly more intrigued by the question of what they were going to do here - whether Jesus had ever been here or not. Notably - very notably - there was no one else around, just crags and ridges and many more icy mountains cut into the horizon. (No wonder no one else was around.)

He looked back at Finnian to determine the location of the portkey, about the same time it sounded like his brother had considered this issue. "Uhhhh..." he answered, finding it rather difficult to think clearly when his nose and ears were freezing off, and his fingers going numb, "how often exactly do you think avalanches happen in London?" (Even in Scotland in winter, there'd be less bloody snow than here.)

"I do know a melting spell," he remembered, somewhat optimistically. A mass of snow had never been the target, but he supposed he could try. Failing that, he could always try summoning the Portkey back before they lost it forever. Lorcan began fumbling for his wand (though the spell at the forefront of his mind was actually, entirely practically, one for throwing snowballs). "Why don't I -"

He'd been stamping about a bit again to try and keep blood circulating to his toes, when one foot sank further down into the snow than he expected. Lorcan flailed, trying to get himself balanced again, but then his feet lost grip on the snowy rocks entirely, and he tumbled backwards, snow falling away around him. Shit, was all he had time to think, as he began to slip down into the crevasse he'd just accidentally unearthed.

Lorcan seemed entirely less useful than Finnian had hoped, but at least he didn't seem angry. Luckily he'd chosen his brother as his "traveling buddy" rather than Maeve (his cousin would have likely left him murdered here and blamed it on hypothermia). Sadly, the moments that passed revealed that Finnian would have to be useful for once — much to his dismay — as Lorcan seemed to find himself sinking into the snow.

Merlin's beard, he thought as he wordlessly watched the snow practically consume his younger brother's body. Lorcan was going to die, and the Ministry was going to charge him with reckless endangerment of a fellow wizard! How would be explain that in court?— and what would father think?

"Oh, stop playing around, brother," joked, letting out a very strained chuckle. As the seconds passed without hearing word from his brother, Lorcan began to chew on his bottom lip. His entire body had shifted, leaning forward over the crevice that seemed to have eaten the mediwizard. "... Lorcan?" Please don't be dead. Please don't be dead.

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The crevasse, though obscured by the fresh snow, had been wider across than Lorcan could have predicted, with plenty of room to fit his whole body and steep sides of ice.

His head had disappeared from view, his hands scrabbling uselessly for purchase at the edge as he slipped beneath it. He was going to fall for miles and miles into the deep underbelly of some glacial mountain, wasn't he, crack his head open on a rock on the way down and his body freeze into some vast mass of ice to be unearthed in a thousand years or so -

Lorcan didn't fall for as long as he thought. He found himself, almost miraculously, wedged into perhaps the thinnest section of the crevasse in sight, his back against one side and his feet reaching the other well enough to hold himself there. Stretching out his hands to steady himself there, he leant gingerly over his shoulder and looked down. Down, down, and down.

"Jesus Christ," Lorcan yelled up - an exclamation Finnian ought to appreciate, given his whole reasoning for the trip - "this thing is bottomless!" This thing is bottomless, he repeated mentally, eyes widening as the momentary thrill of it revolved right back to horror.

"Finn," he whined up at his brother (or, yelled, but a yell that was very close to a wail). "Your birthday is going to be my deathday if you don't help me out of here." Lorcan stared back upwards, willing his brother to become visible through the sliver of open sky. "Quick."

He was too scared to let go of the sides to rummage for his wand again, in case he slipped from this precarious position. Soooo... his life was in his brother's hands.

Finnian the failed Auror.

Oh shit, he was going to die.

Shit, shit, shit.

He hadn't been completely useless as an trainee in the auror program, as they would have (1) never admitted him, and (2) would have kicked him out after his first year if he'd been, without a doubt in their mind, a lost cause, but still. His poor performance on the training exercises and field tests had been one of the main reasons he'd never secured a mentor, and this was real.

Should he use a spell? Conjure a rope? Melting the ice was decidedly not an option, but he needed something!

"Hold on, Lor!" he shouted, working on conjuring that rope.

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“Hold on to what, exactly?” Lorcan answered, his hands already numb against the icy walls of the crevasse. He craned his neck upwards, trying not to move too much lest he slip right down the sides and die an untimely death. He was too young and too charming to die, especially here in the Himalayas where no one would be able to see his body. Or weep over it.

He wondered whether his extended family would inconsolable, to hear of his death, or whether Uncle Pádraig would say he’d deserved it for deserting the Connolly property.

He should probably be thinking about other things, right now -  

“Please tell me you’re doing something!” Lorcan called up, trying to impress the urgency of the situation here. Finnian better have a plan. He better.

He didn't respond for a moment, confident that any reassurances would come off as abjectly uncertain. It was very difficult, he realized, to conjure a rope when his hands were numb, his wand was freezing, and he was ninety percent sure he wasn't capable of getting out the right spell with the chattering of his teeth. It was only after the seventh or eight incantation that it worked and the rope appeared in his open palm.

"This!" he called, trying to shove the narrow rope down towards his dangling brother. "It's a rope! It should- I mean, I think it should be able to hold your weight! Just—be careful, Lorcan!"

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Lorcan may have never imagined finding himself quite so literally in the middle of an idiom, but he supposed that, since he was actually stuck between a rock and a hard place, that the rope would do.

If he'd had the luxury, he might have wondered how out of practice his brother was at conjuration. He might have gotten Finnian to test the rope first. He might have called Finnian out on how he'd seen it necessary to qualify 'it will be able to hold your weight' with I think (no thanks for that reassurance, huh). He might've suggested an alternative tactic.

But he didn't have the luxury, so the rope would definitely do. "I'll be careful if you be careful not to drop me!" Lorcan called up, as he gingerly moved one hand from the crevasse wall to the rope, snatching it like it was a lifeline. Oh, wait.

His harassment of Finnian hadn't entirely served to cover up the tremor of nervousness in his voice. "Okay, I'm going to grab it -" he announced, and threw his body onto it, arms wrapped around the rope and hoping that the next sensation he would feel was going up and not down.

If Lorcan died, he might as well be dead too, because everyone back home was going to murder him. No mind that Lorcan was a disappointment in the family's eyes; he would be a much bigger disappointment for taking his brother on such an trip, and without proper preparation! Merlin, he might even be prosecuted—and he was a lawyer!

Everything came to a head when Lorcan hurled himself onto the rope, and Finnian immediately struggled to hold the weight despite the rope's apparent strength. "For Merlin's sake, Lorcan! You weigh, like, a thousand pounds!" he grunted, trying to haul his brother from the hole.

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Lorcan gritted his teeth, inching up the rope with all the terror-induced adrenaline he had in him, just in case Finnian wasn’t exaggerating and his survival was left in his own hands. He could see the top of the crevasse and the open air, the taut rope extending out of it presumably to where his brother was hauling him up.

“For Merlin’s sake, Finnian, you’re a weakling,” Lorcan countered, with all the dregs of brotherly sass he had left in him. He’d never make it as a mediwizard.

(Lorcan would never make it as a mediwizard again without Finnian’s help here, to be fair.)

The edge of the giant ice crack was almost, at last, in reach, and Lorcan stretched up to try and cling onto it, heart leaping in his throat.

Finnian was not a weakling. He'd made it past the first two years of auror training program... which was, admittedly, nearly a decade ago, but muscle didn't disappear that fast, right? He was fully convinced it was the icy ground that prevented him from getting good enough leverage at this point, the slippery surface making it nearly impossible for him to dig his heels into the ground. Still, he tried, leaning back so Lorcan would have the best opportunity to get up until—


Fortunately for both Finnian and Lorcan, it was not forward that he fell, but rather backwards. Though his eyes widened in panic, his nerves were somewhat soothed by the fact that the weight of the rope had not yet let up.

He glanced down past his feet from his horizontal position, hoping to see his brother—and not just a pair of dismembered arms or something equally horrifying.

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