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A storm is brewing
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September 16th, 1889; moments before dinner, after most students have left
King didn't understand why he felt so awful since waking up that morning. He was no intuitive person, aware of events before they came to be; nothing like his sister on that aspect, and he was thankful for this, given his tendency to overly stress about the things he knew. Feeling concern for things he couldn't be sure about was not on his list of desires.

However, there was no denying his anxiety. A pounding heart that hurt his ribs, made him breathless seconds before getting up from bed and following him like a weight on his stomach. He tried his best not to act on it - looking normal, talking to people the way he would have should nothing be happening. The Hufflepuff imagined should he ignored it, it would go away before the following morning. What he did have to worry about was the countless kids who came up to him searching for certain areas and classrooms, not to mention the amount of mischief from second-year Hufflepuffs, who seemed to be gaining confidence by the second. It wasn't terrible, almost fun in fact, and he would much rather think about it.

Yet there was no going back when the owls appeared.

He was happy, sure. Excited about receiving news from his family, eager to read whichever message they had taken their time to write him, and ready to spend an hour or two writing back a reply. Nothing hinted on the weight of the letter before it fell on his hands, though it had nothing to do with physical heaviness. It was more a confirmation, perhaps because he could see from the side of his eye Sybille's own reaction to reading her letter. He was torn between opening his and asking her what happened.

As the older brother, of course he chose the former. "Syb?" King tried, frowning in spite of himself and taking a sit by her side. Most first-years had left the room, so he had plenty. "What is it? You look like you have seen a ghost." He glanced quickly at the letter at her hand, then put his own - unopened - on the table.
@Sybille Lukeson
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The Great Hall was on the way to the Hufflepuff common room as such Sybille had a tendency of showing up early for supper simply by nature of walking past on her way back from classes or study groups or even visits to the library. She didn’t really care to do homework in the library, she much preferred the hubbub of the common room while working - it made it seem more tolerable - but it didn’t work well for practicing spellwork. So more of than not she studied in a classroom for a bit with her wandwork before heading downstairs.


The Monday of the third week of classes was no different. In fact it had become almost routine by now. Almost as if she were picking up where she left off last year. A few other students had already arrived at supper. Sybille didn’t mind the few minutes of quiet before everyone started to filter into the Great Hall. She filled her plate and was about to open a textbook when an owl swooped over her and dropped a letter in front of her - it narrowly avoided her goblet of pumpkin juice.

Most mail was delivered in the morning rush but every once in a while evening letters were delivered. Sybille’s brows furrowed as she recognized Ace’s writing on the outside. What could he be writing about? As a slew of ideas, all more and more scary flew into Sybille’s mind she felt her stomach drop. What if he was writing to say mother had passed away? Irrational though it was Sybille was no stranger to such news and hoped after this summer that her brother would spare her the ‘I didn’t want to hurt you so I didn’t want to tell you’ reasoning that he always seemed to have.

With a bit of trepidation Sybille opened the letter. By the time you read this, I will be a married man. That couldn’t be right. Ace wasn’t courting anyone and he surely wouldn’t have a ceremony without them! Sybille read the words but they remained stubbornly the same. How could Ace have kept the fact that he was courting someone from them? She had thought they had moved past this, thought he wouldn’t treat her like a little girl anymore, yet here he was not even telling her he was engaged!

Before Sybille’s thoughts could spiral any further she continued to read. I have eloped. Oh. Well at least that explained why she hadn’t been invited to the wedding. It didn’t dull the annoyance of not even realizing that he had been interested in someone. Again it was as if she were being treated as a child. She did remember the lady, Miss Flint seemed nice enough, but she had thought she would have known whenever her big brother was thinking of marrying someone. She didn’t entirely understand why it had to be a secret, but part of her felt like Ace had learned to treat her like a grown up. After all he had told her before any of their other siblings and he did acknowledge that he wanted to tell her sooner. She supposed she could understand that.

King’s voice brought her out of her thoughts and she looked up at her big brother. She noticed he held a letter from Ace as well. She nodded toward it. “Have you read it yet?” She asked, her hand still clutching her open letter before her.


[Image: xEYyAG.png]
Mj's magical purty
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Sybille’s question surprised him more than the realization she had managed not to cry over whichever contents the message included. With so much death and tragedy over the past few years, he figured it must have something related to these themes, which is why his heart pounded inside his chest so furiously. Wondering, to himself, whether it would have had been best if he’d stayed at home like he first wanted to, instead of going home; since his siblings needed him, and the ones young enough to attend school should be safe enough inside its wal.

King, instead, felt trapped inside the stone walls, aware he couldn’t leave, not even to help his family if so needed. He hadn’t been able to help when uncle and brother died under horrible circumstances, but it turned him into a man, and a man, he knew, should be able to stay calm even with the worst of events. Such word - calm - was rather alien, but he was willing to take it as a challenge.

"I have not." At last he would not have to put his curiosity aside. He’d never known whether it was best to run away from tragic news or let it impact him up front, with the promises of hurting less over months. For this blow, he couldn’t tell. King was fast to read. He’d always been, a wishful writer and enthusiastic reader, but this piece of news took a tool at his skill, and made him reread small sentences over and over, as if to get the full scope of meaning. Ace had… eloped? With a woman who, as far as he knew, was married to one respectful man in their world. It was a rather odd thought, that of his brother planning something so big, and yet so- well, reasonable.

He’d always been a romantic at heart, that is.

"Holy-" King stopped himself, for the sake of not having his little sister hearing words one shouldn’t know, especially if not a lady. "So that’s… it, isn’t it? Nothing we can do about it. No way to help him since we’re here." Which, of course, turn his palm rather sweaty, making the letter slip from his hands. What if society talked about Ace? What if they began searching about his past, and found out more than they expected? Merlin, this was only turning worse. So much worse.
@Sybille Lukeson


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