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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1893. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

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The first patented espresso machine was in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. — Fallin
They hadn't been thieves before, at least. Noble had not been a murderer before either. Now he was one. Did thieving make a difference, at this point?
but the system is done for

July 24, 1893 — Padmore Park, by the Lake
Daffodil Potts Ella Grimm

"I still can't believe they've banned flying," James complained. He was sitting in the grass by the edge of the water, carefully inspecting a pile of stones he'd collected specifically for skipping. "And just when I'd nearly convinced Father to buy me a broom, too."

It was, of course, terrible what had happened to Miss Bixby. Absolutely. But James had spent all summer carefully working on convincing his parents that he was old enough and responsible enough to handle a broom. He hadn't injured himself doing anything ill-advised in weeks. It was quite possibly a new personal record since the boy learned to walk. Something like that deserved some kind of acknowledgement!

"I can't fly a broom in our garden with Gran there," he said with a sigh. "I'll have to wait until September. And at this rate, I'll have to use a school broom." The horror. James assumed. Not that it would probably matter, since he wouldn't have time to practice flying before school, anyway!

With the entire Grimm family in tow, Ella supposed she ought to be grateful they were even allowed at the park. It took a lot of people though, Mama, Nan and Flopsy were all entertaining children. Vivi was drawing and the twins were napping in their prams, but Flopsy had her hands full chasing around Edith and Rosalie around. Fortunately it left Ella time to sneak down to the waterfront to skip stones with James.

"It seems overkill," Ella agreed miserably. "I just got a new one for my birthday, too." Her father did work in the Broom Regulatory Office after all. And her mum had played professional quidditch. What happened to that girl over the lake was awful, but did they really expect any more freak storms? Perhaps there should be an investigation into that instead of banning flying!

Ella skipped a stone across the water, watching it go a measly three hops before sinking. "At least at school we can fly whenever the pitch is free, that's what Mama says." And Grace Grimm would know. "You can use my old one at school if you want." It might not be much better than the school ones, but at least he wouldn't have to share it?

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"Thanks," James said with a sigh, picking up a stone and sending it into the water. It only went two skips, which at least fit the boy's mood. "Maybe if enough people complain, they'll lift the ban?" People were always complaining about something. They even published it in the paper. There was some lady who wrote to the Prophet so often, James thought she might be angling for her own column. James was a prolific reader of Letters to the Editor--mostly because it was usually the section his parents weren't reading at the breakfast table.

Ella made a mental note to bring her back up brooms with her to school. Her entire trunk would just be brooms and broom maintenance materials, books weren't necessary. At least that's what she thought, even if she knew her parents would disagree. "Maybe." Ella wasn't even sure how to go about complaining something like that. She had done her fair share of complaining to her father, who worked in the exact spot where this could have been avoided!

"I've told Papa over and over how bad it is." El skipped another stone across the top of the lake. It was so pointless! "I think he's working with Mrs. Bixby to see what they can do." Ella knew of the Bixby family and she hoped between the two of them, hopefully they could get it switched around.

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James perked up slightly. "That's good right?" he asked, hopefully. "I mean, if the Bixby's are against the ban, that's gotta tell people it's pointless." It was just like adults to do something that the people it was supposed to help didn't even want or ask for. James didn't understand why they never just asked first. Seemed to him like it'd solve a lot of problems.

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Ella could only shrug. "Hopefully by the time we come home for Christmas it'll be over." Merlin it had to be gone by the time they came home for summer. If she made a house team she would have to practice! If she didn't, she would really have to practice! How was she going to practice if she couldn't fly?

Skipping another stone across the water she got a little shiver thinking about poor Miss Bixby. "I hope I'm not too out of practice for tryouts now." That would be miserable! Hopefully she would have some time to practice before tryouts actually started.

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"I'm sure you'll do brilliant," James said, with all the casual confidence of someone who never contemplated the possibility of failure in himself, let alone his friends. Failure was a thing that happened on accident--like the times he failed to climb a tree and accidentally fell out.

James skipped another stone then stared at the lake contemplatively. "At least there's always clubs," he ventured at last. He didn't know if he'd want to try out for quidditch later--he was mainly concerned with flying, though obviously he liked the game. Who didn't like quidditch?--but if he wasn't going to get any practice in before school started, at least there would be opportunities. Even on a school broom, and even if the thought of that made him shudder.

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Passing James an appreciative smile, she turned her attention back to finding a new stone to skip. "That's true, and it would be good practice to try again in second year." Ella knew the likelihood of making a team in her first year was pretty low, but she hoped she could. "I think there's quodpot too, though I'm not exactly sure what it is." Mama had said there were explosions though, which could be fun. Any kind of flying or quidditch practice would be good with her, at least this year. It was a lot to take on at once!

"What other classes are you looking forward to? I think Transfiguration will be interesting." It was weird, growing up knowing all of this was coming and having to wait so long. "I can't wait to get my wand!

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James didn't know what quodpot was either, but he shrugged, figuring that if it involved flying, it was probably worth looking into, anyway. He wasn't terribly picky about his physical activities, when it got right down to it. At the very least, he was willing to try anything once.

"I've been doing a lot of reading," James informed his friend. "There's not much else to do in Yorkshire." At least not the way there was in Hogsmeade or London, anyway. Though James liked reading, actually, so it was less that this was some great hardship, and more that he liked having a variety of options. "My parents have loads of history books for some reason. I think I might actually like it a bit when school starts."

This was, in fact, an under-exaggeration. What had actually happened was James had read every book on the subject that his family owned and the only thing keeping him from asking for more reading material was the fact that he was already working on needling his parents about the broom situation, and you couldn't present adults with two separate things you wanted, it just confused them.

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   Ella Grimm

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"History of Magic, or just history?" Ella could not say she was quite as interested, but she was not an avid reader either. Well, not learning reading anyway, she liked adventure stories. "I think I'm going to do better in the classes where we move around. But Astronomy sounds fun." Herbology, Transfiguration, maybe Potions. The last was tentative; she wasn't allowed in the kitchen for a reason.

"I can't wait until we can add electives. I want to take Care of Magical Creatures." That was the one she was looking forward to the most, maybe. Finding a good skipping stone, she let it skim across the water for a few good hops before it sank.

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James started to answer, then stopped to really consider the question. "...Both?" he finally settled on. There was a surprising amount of overlap. James didn't know what to make of that, which probably meant he needed more reading material.

"I'm glad there's a variety," he said. "Sitting inside all day is going to be hard." At least at home he could take whatever he was doing out into the garden when he started getting stir crazy. And someone was usually shooing him outside, anyway.

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Ella didn't have too much interest in History, but she supposed some of it might be interesting. "You'll have to help me with that one." She admitted, tossing a smile at him over her shoulder. "Yes, I can't imagine it," but hopefully the content of the classes would be engaging enough to keep them interested.

"But once we're done for the day, there's so much to do! And we get breaks. There's clubs to join too," Billie had told her that. "I'm going to join the Flying Club and Club Quidditch, if I don't make the team. Maybe Gobstones, I like playing that one with Papa." There were so many different things they could do with their free time. "Plus there's so many of us going in that already know each other, we'll be fine." Nat, Toby, Louisa was already there and then Vivi, Selene and Caroline would join them next year, they would be just fine!

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"'Course," James said, because, well, of course. He picked up another stone and managed five skips this time. "Yes!"

"I think I'm going to join as many clubs as they'll let me," James said. He didn't know how many he'd actually have time for, but James was nothing if not a joiner. Or at least, he'd really like to be. "Aside from flying and club quidditch I haven't decided on any yet, though. D'you think it's okay to try them out first?"

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Grinning at his agreement to help her, Ella clapped in excitement when he got the rock to skip several times. "That was a good one!" She cheered.

"Make sure you have time to sleep. I hope there's not a ton of homework. That would really make joining all the fun clubs a challenge." Even with her governess at home Ella struggled to stay focused long enough to get the work done. She would much rather be outside and doing something worthwhile. Then again, she also supposed since these things were being graded, that perhaps she would have a little more motivation.

"Probably, sign up and if you don't like it, just tell them?" It wasn't like they would make somebody stay in a club they didn't like, that defeated the whole purpose!

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James made a face at the mention of homework. Somehow, he hadn't given that part of school much thought. Probably because it was an awful damper to the otherwise very exciting prospect of going to school. If he started thinking about practical things like homework, it was a slippery slope into thinking about other practical things, like how much he was going to miss home and his parents and Gran, and then he would be sad not excited.

"Probably," he agreed. He looked down at the dwindling pile of stones between them, then picked one up and held it out to Ella. "One more each?"

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"Yeah alright, let's see who can get it it farther," Ella agreed, choosing her stone carefully, finding one that had a good feel in her hand. She eyed James carefully and counted to three before aiming and letting go of the best throw she could muster.

She managed four skips, but it looked like James had beaten her. "Ah well, we should probably go, I can still beat you in a race!" She jeered as she took off back toward the adults without giving him any warning.


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   Henry Berkwood

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