Welcome to Charming
Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1891. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

Where will you fall?

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Did You Know?
As clocks and other timepieces were expensive, working class folk who could not afford to rise with the sun could employ a “knocker-upper” to tap on their windowpane at a scheduled time. Knocker-uppers would work through the night and into the early morning. — Kayte
But then Miss Dempsey paid her so great a compliment that she wanted to hurl herself over the edge of the theater balcony in delight.
sobbing alone in front of a haunted piano

Things That Go Bump in the Night
September 3rd, 1891 — The Hufflepuff Common Room

It had all been like an adventure story, going to London, getting on a magic train, gthe train breaking down over a tall, dangerous bridge, spending a night in the train with a cake-mad hedgehog, then taking magic travel-things that sucked and twirled them all the way over to the castle. The night in Great Hall had been exciting too, staring up at the night sky ceiling, seeing around at the other first years' faces. He'd started to miss Mum a lot then too and Tuppence and Timmy. It felt odd lying in bed without being sandwiched in between them or at least with Tuppence at his side. He'd almost wanted to cry then, but there were so many people there and plenty to distract him anyway. Then the sorting ceremony and walking to his house common room and his dormatory. It had all felt quite a lot like a dream.

It had, anyway, until he was in bed in his big bed, all alone, staring up at the top of the bed-curtains closing him in. It was dark, really dark and the bed was as big as their kitchen table. He could only just hear his classmates breathing next to him and other than that... nothing. No creaking of the train, no waves hitting the beach, no snoring from Dad. Nothing. He laid there for what felt like hours, just looking around, tossing and turning. Finally, he decided, to just close his eyes and hope his body got the message, but ut didn't last very long. A sudden creak from somewhere sent them snapping back open almost right away. What was that?! He looked from one side, to another, but it was just black. A soft rustle sounded from right ne next to him.

His throat got tight like he'd just swallowed a spoonful of flour and his heart started drumming in his his ears. He didn't want to stay there, but he was sure there was something waiting for him on the other side of the curtains. A dragon, or a mean ghost, or big squid, crawling through the dungeons, looking for a kid to eat. That last thought sent a big enough bolt of fear through his heart to make him jump to his feet on the matress, leap out over the foot of the bed, through the curtains, toss the door open, and run down the stairs into the common room without a single look back. He didn't stop running until he made it to the long, padded bench thing near the nice bright fire. He jumped onto it, shaking like he'd just come out of a frozen lake in winter, clutched his knees against his chest so nothing could grab his feet, and stared back at the black rectangle staring at him from his common room. He wanted Dad! He wanted Mum! He wanted Tuppence or Uncle Theo, Grandad, Grand-Mere, Etienne, Gustave, or even Timmy or baby Tilly! Anyone to make him not alone! Before he could even stop himself, fat tears started rolling down his face. It was all he could do clamp his hand tight over his mouth so that he wouldn't cry too loud and wake people up. He didn't want everyone saying he was a baby, but he didn't want to get eaten by some magic monster either!
Yuri remembered his first night in the Hufflepuff dorms, he had been overwhelmed and a bit frightened, but he had had Billie to cling to, a familiar face that hadn't been inclined to judge him and they could sit in the corner together feeling overwhelmed and a bit scared and excited together.  He could see the same expression on the faces of the new students who had been ushered into the common room.  It was different to last year, it somehow felt more disjointed and chaotic and with little else to compare it to but his own sorting he imagined that it must feel even more disorientating than a normal sorting.  It wasn't until after they had all gone upstairs to the junior boys dorms that he had the opportunity to speak to any of the new starts, but by the time he got into the room the other boy had already climbed into his bed with his curtains pulled.

Still too full of dinner and unable to sleep he made his way back down to the common room, taking up a quiet corner in the shadow of the corner of the chimney, still warm from the embers of the fire but a sheltered dark spot. The rest of the lights in the common room where off, and Yuri was almost falling into a dozy warm sleep when a frantic pattering of bare footsteps over warm wood boards caused his eyes to snap open.

Yuri sat bolt upright just as the other student made it onto the safety of the bench, still shaded in the darkness in the chimney corner. Well that was odd. The boy on his bench look like a frightened bird or a rabbit over stressed in the trap. Yuri clad in his crisp white night shirt, that was clearly of a better quality and condition than his accent and manner of speech belied. Her muttered Lumos and his wand flared to light 'Wot'cher' he greeted with a broad smile, that, underlit by his wand light, looked a nightmare vision.

[Image: 4umj-W0-A-1.png]
Look what MJ did!
Tommy wasn't embarassed.He was too scared to be embarrassed. Every second that went by, he was more and more sure that some kind of monster was going to come crawling out of the dark dormitory door and eat him up. He was so focused on that one threatening, black rectangle that he didn't even notice the scary, half-lit face creeping toward him from the dark until he heard its voice.

His whole body jumped up like a worm when you just managed to catch it and his head snapped over, wide-eyed to what moght have been the monster from the dormitory, coming to grab him after magicking itself downstairs. He was ready to jump off the bench-thing, run to the head boy's door (he'd seemed pretty nice and helpful showing them the way to the common room), and banging on it until he was rescued or snatched away and eaten, until the monster got close enough for him to see it wasn't a monster at all. It was a boy, one of the bigger boys from his dormitory that he saw before.

His shoulders relaxed just a little bit, but his heart kept thumping away like a drum so loud he could barely even think."Wh-what?" he blubbered back with sniffle, moving his shaking hand away from his mouth to swipe away the tears. If he had been a little less scared, he might have wondered if the boy spoke a different language other that English, Guernésiais or French, because he'd never heard whatever word he said before and he didn't know what it meant at all. He was at least a little bit glad for the company, though. Monsters always got more scary the more alone you were.

@Yuri Podsnapper
'You a'right?' he tried again, in his thick townie accent, full of all of the broadest aspects of East London which he had retained. Even though it had been 16 years since -at least in the linear passage of time, since he had lived in East London, it had really only been a little less than 2 years to Yuri.

He scrambled up onto the bench beside the other boy, poking the lamp on the end table to provide them with a little more light, and chase away the shadows of misery, with a little illumination. He sat cross legged in his own long white nightshirt beside the newest hufflepuff. His expression sympathetic to the rather miserable expression on the face of the other boy, he knew something of what it was to be out of ones natural place, to be lost in a place you were not familiar with.

'You fee'in' okay?' he asked, it felt kinder to ask after a physical ailment than what Yuri was pretty sure was the misery of homesickness. He hadn't experienced that upon arriving here, he had had other anxieties but pining for the orphanage hadn't been one of them.

[Image: 4umj-W0-A-1.png]
Look what MJ did!
Tearfully, Tommy shook his head no. At least the boy was talking in words he mostly knew now (even if he still sounded kind of funny), but that still didn't make anything okay. "There's.. something... in... the... room!" he managed to push out with panicked, little gulps of air in between each word before another sob bubbled up and out of him.

The light didn't help. It was already bright enough near the fire. They could magic the whole ceiling into sunlight and it wouldn't stop the big squid monster from crawling out of the shadows. The only thing that could stop it was Tuppence or Mum or Dad with their arms around him, which he knew was stupid because they didn't even have magic to fight it, but it felt truer than anything else in the whole world just thrn too. Monsters weren't even real when they were there, in their world. Only when they were gone.

If he'd still been ten and not eleven now and if the funny-talking bigger boy hadn't been a total stranger, he might even settle for grabbing onto him, but it wouldn't be the same. Someone you didn't know couldn't help with monsters, really, especially if they were actually real like Wizards. Instead he just pulled in a long shaky breath and threw a glance to the boy when he climbed up on the bench next to him. "It was by the bed!" he wavered, pointing up at the dark, open door.   "some kind of magic monster!" It wasn't such a good idea, putting them in big beds all alone in the dark when monsters and magic and everything were real!

@Yuri Podsnapper
Yuri didn't laugh at the other boys solemn pronouncement. It wasn't as though magical monsters were not real. Although he had never really heard of any monster breaching the boundaries of the castle, but he didnt think that would be a satisfying answer for a frightened firstie experiencing magic and the castle for the first time.

'You know what it probably was' Yuri pronounced, in his oldest, wisest and most experienced voice - after all he was the elder statesman between the two. 'One of the 5th years Care of Magical Creatures books pro'lly escaped. his tone calculated to justify the other boys fears. 'If one of them falls asleep reading it sometimes they run off to other bedrooms.' Checking the floor - on the off chance that the vicious fur covered book had managed to get down to the common room he climbed down off the bench. His long white night gown falling to whisper at his ankles.

'Barks worse than their bite!' if he was honest he couldn't wait to get to 5th year and get his own copy! If he was feeling audacious he might see if he could get Mister Mondragon to get him a copy before then! 'I can 'elp you look for it if you like? Get rid of it into the hall?'

[Image: 4umj-W0-A-1.png]
Look what MJ did!
"A...A book?" Tommy sniffled, looking over the bigger boy's face for some sign of a trick. If someone had told him that a few months ago, he would have been absolutely sure that it was a lie. It sounded like one. How could a book look like a monster or get away from its owner? Books didn't even have legs! But nowadays, nothing really seemed impossible to him anymore. The boy didn't  seem like he was lying either. He seemed nice and helpful, and he couldn't  really argue that anything wasn't real anymore. He seemed really sure that there were books that could do that... but Tommy still thought he was wrong.

He shook his head again, leaning down to wipe his eyes dry on his knees, which he still had clutched up against his body to keep anything from reaching out and grabbing him. "It didn't look like a book. I think it had tenticles." Even if there were books that could walk around, he didn't think they would have tenticles. Books didn't do very well in water, after all. Magic or not, a sea monster book would just fall apart, wouldn't it? Even if it was a book, it wouldn't be very nice to toss it put, would it? Then its owner wouldn't be able to find it. Plus, they might wake up the other kids, which wouldn't be nice either, and if he was wrong, if there wasn't really a monster at all, the other kids would all laugh at him.

There wasn't anything he could do, nothing, he decided miserably, dragging his arms up on top of he knees and burying his face in them with a muffled sob. He stayed that way for at least a minute or two before his breath finally calmed back down again to manage a sorrowful "I don't like the beds here. Me and my brother and sister all sleep in one bed at home. It's nice." He knew they didn't know each other here, and some of the other boys might even have their own beds at home or not have any brothers or sisters at all, but he didn't think thry should have to have a bed all alone if they didn't want to. Even having their beds all pushed together like they did the first night in the great hall would be better. They could keep each other safe that way.

@Yuri Podsnapper

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