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Hoist the Sails
#1
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October 5th, 1889 — The Black Lake, Pumpkin Regatta
Today was the day! It was finally here. Oh my gosh, she could barely hold still the whole day, bouncing on the balls of her feet like a small child tempted by chocolate. She wasn't acting her age, that was for sure, but what did that matter when they were to set sail on a pumpkin? It was kind of like those fairytales her nanny used to read to her.

Getting the lawnchair sized pumpkin into the lake without damaging their decorations had proved slightly harder than she'd initially expected but the task had been done with little damage overall. They'd had to retack a few of the tensile pieces but otherwise, it showed no wear and tear. Thank goodness for the help of adults - aka her army of sisters - far more adept at magic than two thirteen-year-old girls.

"Sisse! Sisse! Are you ready? We didn't forget anything, did we? You have you paddle, right? I have mine right?"


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Lady is utterly amazing!!
#2
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Sisse laughed at Calla’s exuberant confusion as they stepped into the pumpkin. “Yes. I think we have everything.” She pointed at the paddle in Calla’s hands with a reassuring smile.

Good thing too because no sooner than had this been established then the race started. This was it. “I’ll paddle right, you paddle left.” She instructed remembering her father taking her and her brothers on the lake. Then though she had just sat there as the boys did all the work. It couldn’t be that hard could it? Had they already established who would paddle where? Sisse found she couldn’t even remember as the other pumpkins started forward.


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#3
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Grey eyes looked down to see that Sisse was in fact right - she had been gripping her supposedly missing paddle the whole time. Well, that was embarrassing. "Thanks, Sisse. I'm just nervous, I guess. I've never done anything like this before. Water just seems... scarier than being up high in the air. I control everything up there, or at least a lot more things. Here, there are just too many unknowns." She paused, chewing her lip, deep in thought. "I wonder what they did about the giant squid."

Nope. Not allowed. She shook her head and a moment later, her typical smile and carefree nature was back in place.

"I paddle left. Got it. We can do this just fine! And we'll show everyone who is the best. Everyone will be so jealous they weren't with us. I mean look how good your pumpkin looks!"


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#4
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Now was not the time to be thinking about how this was going to go. Definitely not. “I’m sure they found a way to make sure he won’t get in the way.” At least Sisse hoped they had.

Sisse laughed, “It’s your pumpkin too!” And in her opinion it really wasn’t as good as some of the other decorations she had seen. She put her paddle into the lake and began to paddle, hoping she didn’t look like a moron in the process. The paddle hardly moved, water was heavier then it looked. She glanced over at Calla in concern to see if her friend was having the same issue. “Am I doing this right?


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#5
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Being interrupted by the giant squid while rowing across the Black Lake in a pumpkin without either of their wands sounding like a genuine wizarding world nightmare - but maybe no so much compared to magic destroying fog or collapsed tents and loose flying lions. Sometimes she wondered why they still lived in a mass when they seemed to be a trouble magnet. But the idea of not having magic in her daily life at home seemed to make that risk seem very small.

Shaking her head she followed Sisse's lead and started to paddle to the left. "Umm maybe if you graze the top instead of going all the way down? I mean when we fly and there is a current it takes less energy to rest on top than fight out. Maybe the same applies?"


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#6
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Sisse wasn’t entirely sure about currents or anything of that nature, but she didn’t have any better ideas. She skimmed the water this time and the boat began to turn in a circle from Calla’s own paddle. “Okay, okay. We can do this.” Sisse assured them trying again and only putting the boat into a tighter circle. That certainly wasn’t what they wanted.


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#7
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She smiled in agreement, agreeing optimistically that they could make it across the lake. She doubted they would win, not against some of the bigger, stronger competitors, but not ending up upside down in the lake. She hadn't worn swimwear, only her dress and that would only drag her down. She didn't fancy an encounter with the giant squid.

But then they started going in circles and Calla was just as lost as Sisse. She'd lost her comparison in flight now. She didn't just end up spinning around in the air. Not unintentionally. Brooms kinda just understood where you wanted to go. Boats clearly didn't - well pumpkins.

"I think we are going in circles, Sisse." Yes, Calla, way to state to obvious. "I don't know what we are doing wrong."


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#8
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Well if Calla didn’t know Sisse certainly didn’t know either! “I don’t know!” Exasperation coated Sisse’s tone. She needed to calm down. Taking a deep breathe she tried again, only the circle kept spinning. “There has to be something we can do.” Sisse tried to assure them. “Maybe if we both stop? It might stop?” At least they were only spinning and not sinking.


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#9
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Calla couldn't think of a time she'd ever seen Sisse this worked up. Even when she'd been talking about her fears of finishing school, she'd seemed far calmer. So when her friend suggested they simply stop, she followed instantly, dropping her paddle in her rush to comply. An awkward moment of fumbling later, she caught the edge of the paddle before it plunged into the lake.

"I think I like not moving at all better than I like spinning," Calla confirmed, using her free hand to clutch her head as it seemed to continue spinning even after the pumpkin settled. "I really did not think this would be so hard."


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Lady is utterly amazing!!
#10
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For a moment things looked like they would get worse when Calla almost dropped her paddle. But thankfully for them Calla had better reflexes than Sisse did.

The lack of movement came as a welcome relief as Sisse felt dizzy, and almost... sea sick. She could't be sick in front of all these people. That would be less than lady like.

"Me neither." She agreed, although it was unclear which part she agreed with - namely both.

"Okay. We are in the middle of the lake." She started, "What do we do now?"


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#11
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Calla could certainly agree about feeling seasick. Now that she'd been in this pumpkin a while, it felt nothing like flying. The rolling waves made her head spin and she decided here and now that she was never going to sail the ocean. If the lake bothered her, she'd be bedridden over the sea. Maybe it would be better if she knew any tricks to get rid of the sick feeling, but right now she was left literally floundering.

"I'm not too sure. I do not want to quick but I might get sick out here much longer - particularly if we keep spinning. Do you think anyone would just let us be pulled along?"


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Lady is utterly amazing!!
#12
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It definitely wasnt a good sign that Calla was feeling sick too. There was a solidarity in being sick together, though, right? "Me too." She agreed.

Looking around at Calla's suggestion she noticed just how far behind they had gotten from everyone. "Maybe." Her tone was brighter than the situation called for. "But everyone is rather far ahead of us."


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#13
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As Sosse pointed out the constantly furthering distance between them and the other contestants, she felt the almost always constant ball of hope in her chest deflate. They had no hope of winning like she'd wanted to and what was even worse was not they had no way to return to shore. Even if they got the pumpkin turned around if they could row back to shore they wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place.

Sisse's over hopeful tone caused tears of frustration to well in the corner of her eyes, quickly blinked away in refusal. If only they weren't bound by these stupid heavy dresses, then they could've simple swam to shore - she at least assumed Sisse could swim. They'd never been in a situation where it had come up.  The baths didn't count. Your feet could touch the bottom in those. What she wouldn't do for a nice hot bath right now rather than to be stuck over the cold, dark black lake?

"Lets try again," Calla insisted. "Maybe if only one of us paddles we won't go in circles?"


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Lady is utterly amazing!!
#14
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Calla’s face fell despite Sisse’s hopes to reassure her, leaving Sisse to wonder if she really was a good friend. But she let the thought go as quickly as it had come and nodded at Calla’s suggestion. “Okay. You seemed to have better luck than I did,” Afterall Sisse had been the one to get them into this mess in the first place. If she hadn’t been so stubborn on participating because her friends were she might be safely on the shore right now watching Calla win the match. “So maybe you should try first.


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#15
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The thought that Sissie was a bad friend had assuredly never crossed her mind. The only thing on her mind was solid, unmoving ground.  She wasn't sure what was making her feel sick - the circles or the water itself. Or maybe it was being crammed in single person sized pumpkin with two people. Maybe if they were both Sissie's size it would've been fine but she was too tall. Why Sisse wasn't complaining about Calla's legs kicking her was surely because she was too nice to say anything.

She nodded grimly, picking back up her paddle to start again, alternating strokes between sides because that seemed the best earlier. Maybe I'd work better with one like Sisse had offered.

Still, she felt bad now for dragging her friend into this- or seemed like such a good idea at the time. "At least your decorations still look nice!" Calla tried, the guilt forcing her to put a little peep in her voice.


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