Model Behavior

Anaxas' oldest and most prestigious University of Sorcery, the de facto cultural capital of the kingdom and a city in its own right.
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Madeleine Gosselin
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:54 pm
Topics: 7
Race: Galdor
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Writer: moralhazard
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Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:03 pm

Afternoon, 39th Bethas 2719
Professor Keyes's Office, Brunnhold
There was a lot of silence from outside, peppered with words occasionally that Madeleine didn’t hear, because she would never eavesdrop, she wasn’t rude like that. And she didn’t know what a beta was anyway, except the math symbol and that didn’t have a general sort of meaning anyway. She had plenty of things to think about that weren’t Niamh Madden - all kinds of things.

There was dancing, of course. There was the break coming up, when she would be staying on campus. Even the St. Grumbles party - and how exciting, to have a party that everyone would attend! Madeleine thought it was a wonderful idea.

And, of course, during break she would have time to do whatever she wanted - no class at all! There would be plenty of dancing of course. What Madeleine really needed to do, she decided, was to work on her project on the history of thought about gravity - she had so much work to do! The little Anaxi was nearly smiling at the thought.

The passive’s voice carried into the room as if he wasn’t even trying to be quiet, and Madeleine looked wide-eyed at the door, the smile sliding off her face. Professor Keyes was looking too, and all the anxiety Madeleine had worked so hard to soothe fluttered back to life, leaving her nauseous again.

Professor Keyes had heard - he was going to ask - and what would she tell him? Madeleine was trembling. She didn’t want to talk about it; she didn’t want to think about it. She never, ever wanted to tell anyone what Niamh had said to her; she didn’t even want to think about it ever again.

Should she tell him?

Should he know that his passive’s sister was - was - moony? Moony was a good word for it. Madeleine but her lip. Did she have a responsibility to tell him? If Niamh Madden was so unstable, Madeleine could only imagine - perhaps her passive brother was -

And how strange that she would even talk to him! How awful, Madeleine thought, to remind him of what he wasn’t anymore. It seemed to her almost cruel, but she reminded herself that something was wrong with Niamh Madden. Something was definitely wrong with her.

So - did she need to tell him? Thinking about the words Niamh had said, the words she would need to repeat, made Madeleine want to run away. But she wouldn’t need to say them, surely, would she? But she would need to explain the sort of thing Niamh had said, and even just the thought of anything around it made Madeleine feel a little faint. No, she decided, she couldn’t.

And - anyway - siblings weren’t always the same, were they? Sebastian and Angelique were both so talented; they had so many friends. Vespasian was smart, a genius. And then - and then there was Madeleine. In the middle.

Madeleine swallowed, hard. No, she thought, miserable, siblings weren’t always the same.

Madeleine’s head jerked up, wide-eyed, when Professor Keyes approached. “Some more tea would be very nice, thank you,” Madeleine looked down at the lukewarm remnants in her cup, trembling a little.

She looked up again when Professor Keyes spoke, still wide-eyed. Does - he - distress you? It took her a moment to realize what he meant, but he kept talking throughout and Madeleine scrambled madly to try and keep up, her thoughts racing. The passive? Did he think - what was in her field - that it was about the passive?

“Oh!” Madeleine blurted out. “Oh, no. No,” she hesitated, realizing he had moved on quite a bit and not entirely sure what question she had answered. And - if she said no - what would he think then? She couldn’t tell him about Niamh; she couldn’t.

“I mean,” Madeleine’s voice caught and quivered. “You’re right, of course, it isn’t his fault,” she nodded. “And we do have a duty, and it’s very terrible if - if he wasn’t - looked after properly.”

Madeleine hadn’t thought of it, but of course it made sense. It wasn’t that Professor Keyes didn’t know how to take care of a passive, how to teach him how to behave. It was just that he had been poorly treated before; he needed time to adjust, Madeleine thought. Poor thing; she was sure he would get the hang of it before long. She supposed he had been only trying to help; he just didn’t know how he was meant to behave. Her heart ached a little with pity for him, and she nearly suggested that Professor Keyes keep Niamh away from him - but the words seemed to die in her tongue, because she didn’t know how she would explain. Niamh had seemed so... normal, up until... he probably had no idea.

No, Madeleine thought, uneasily. She couldn’t say anything. Poor Professor Keyes too, working so hard when Niamh might be undoing all of it with her - her - Madeleine’s imagination failed her; she couldn’t even think of the words to describe the older student.

And it would be terribly rude to criticize him! Professor Keyes was doing his best, Madeleine was sure. Perhaps - in time - with how the passive had behaved, Madeleine was sure he couldn’t have been here long.

“It’s very good of you to take him on,” Madeleine said, firmly. She was a little unsure if it was an appropriate compliment for her to give, but she had to say something; she had to. “I’m sure it must be terribly difficult. I don’t mind if he stays.”

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word count: 983

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Fionn
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:17 am
Topics: 18
Race: Passive
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
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Plot Notes: [url=http:/fullurl/]Plot Notes[/url]
Writer: Maximus
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Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:40 pm

Bethas 39, 2719 | Afternoon
Professor Keyes' Office
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What you didn't know couldn't hurt you...

Well, that wasn't strictly true. There were things going on behind your back that you didn't know about that could cause you harm in the short-term or even in the long run but that wasn't the same. Sometimes knowledge could actually wound you. The act of knowing something could cause you pain and suffering. Sometimes ignorance was better and this felt like one of those times. Fionn felt that he would have been better off if he'd never been in a position to overhear what the pair of galdori in the office had to say but he hadn't had much choice in the matter, had he? He couldn't have left, he wouldn't have been composed enough to walk in and be civil but now-

How in Alioe's name was he meant to go in there now?

Pity, disgust or fear. They seemed to be the only thing that people felt around him, real people - galdori. He was either a creature to keep at a distance, an uncomfortable reminder and the bearer of a misfortune that might actually be contagious or he was a poor little thing, there there, it's not your fault.

Hands dropped to his sides, balled tightly enough that his scarred knuckles issued a soft cracking pop while his vision blurred. He rubbed angrily at his tears with his fists because he wasn't going to cry. He wasn't going to fucking cry! Not here, not for them, not for himself.

Maybe for himself. Fionn could always cry for himself; it was something that came all too easily for him.

She had no idea. Gus had been good to take him in, largely because he must know what the passive had done, must know what a monster he was like Professors Devlin and Moore had known. He should have been punished, he should have been and it was a certainty that he hadn't felt in months, something that he hadn't felt unimaginably guilty about since before the new year. He really had begun to feel that he was worthy of redemption, that he could make amends and that maybe - maybe - all those horrible things hadn't been his fault. The galdori were to blame, they shouldn't have done better by him.

But were they really? Wasn't it always his own fault?

Fingers unfurled somewhat, prodding and kneading at the inside of one elbow, touching the burn scar that pocked his flesh.

Always his own fault.

The blond squeezed his eyes tightly shut and took a few deep breaths, a hand pressed against to the wall, seeking some support, something solid that he could draw strength from because he felt that he was seriously lacking it himself. He wasn't going to bawl his eyes out. He wasn't going to lose his temper. Fionn definitely wasn't about to go in there and scream and shout at that close-minded little bitch who thought it must be "terribly difficult" to deal with him. He wasn't going to fling the teapot at anyone, not even Gus. Flinging the teapot would make a mess and he'd have to clean it up. Besides, it'd probably get on the drawings and then what would be the point of this whole bloody ordeal?

What did Niamh say? Rise above it. He didn't have to jump at every little provocation. And clearly his elder sibling had followed hr own advice; she definitely hadn't attempted to rip the girl's head off - the same clocking girl! Should he feel bad when his own sister, the one who was meant to be above it all, had fallen prey to baser instincts in the face of that pretty little child in there? No but... he could do better than her. He needed to do so.

"I'll see you later," he told the hallway, pushing off from the wall and allowing his eyes to snap open again. No chance to hesitate or think or anything of that sort, just move through the portal and think about each action so that he wouldn't wobble or pause. A hand went through his hair as he walked into the office, turning to close the door softly behind him.

"I'm sorry about that, Gus," he commented politely, brushing his trousers before checking that the sleeves of his shirt to make sure that they were still neatly rolled up. He moved to the desk, seeming to have his attention on the sandwiches rather than the man who was straightening, looking a bit awkward and doing his utmost to hastily smother the guilt and discomfort in his field. The middle Madden had to resist smiling in grim satisfaction at knowing that the professor felt uncomfortable, especially at being caught out or rather, very nearly caught out; he didn't know that Fionn had been eavesdropping.

Good. He should feel bad, the ungrateful bloody sod! Talking about him to the very model that the servant had picked out, in the room that he had spent all morning arranging no matter how often the galdor changed his mind!

He picked up the platter of sandwiches and offered them silently to the artist, brown eyes fixed on his face although not as impassive as he would have hoped. His gaze was accusatory, a little bit bloodshot and he watched the other's eyes skitter away before finding the food and choosing to give that his attention instead, picking up a sandwich and turning away even as pink crept into soft, doughy cheeks. He munched away, looking over his sketches while Fionn turned away to offer the platter to Madeleine. As he approached, he slowed, a subtle cock of the head as he sensed the turmoil in her field, turmoil and upset that hadn't been there before.

Was it prompted by what Gus had said to her? Doubtful, because it wasn't likely that she'd feel guilty or anything. Although she hadn't sounded comfortable about discussing him. Probably disliked having to acknowledge his existence. So what was her issue then?

"Another sandwich, Miss Gosselin?" the passive asked brightly, half-smiling at the platter so that he wouldn't end up grinning into her face as his eyes danced. Was he making them uncomfortable? If it was really such a concern for them, the notion that a passive should cause them discomfort then he should try to cause just that.

"She wanted more tea," Professor Keyes commented gruffly from behind him.

"Of course! Your cup please. I wouldn't want to risk spilling anything on you or your costume," Fionn assured her, smiling softly as he thought about the little bit of threat in there. The threat that he could so easily brush off if she brought it up because no, of course he wouldn't want such a thing to happen! Why... that was just why he was asking for the cup! He'd obviously shudder at the thought of such an unfortunate accident occurring.

Not that he really wanted the darling to come to harm; he wasn't a total bastard. Still, a bit of fear wouldn't do her any harm. A reminder perhaps that he could hurt her if he wanted.

If she provided the cup then he'd carry it back to the desk and fill it out with fresh tea, dropping in suitable additives before carrying it back to her. Two hands to present it carefully, holding the cup itself so that she could grasp the handle rather than scorching her delicate little fingers.

"Can I get you anything else, Miss Gosselin? Gus? More food? Did you want to get back to work? Need fresh paper, charcoal, pencils, pastels?" he questioned, moving to pluck up the pencils that the professor had haphazardly discarded. Quite casually, the passive retrieved a blade with a short handle from a desk drawer and began to pare the wood so that more lead emerged, the silky scrape of the blade moving up the material to sharpen the pencils to points.

"Mm... you can- hmph. Yes, that," the professor muttered gruffly. "If you'll excuse me a moment." With those parting words, the man entered his little bathroom and closed the door behind him.

Fionn continued with his paring, disinterested in being alone with Madeleine. He'd been strangely excited about having her here but now that she was, he really wasn't feeling his prior enthusiasm. The paring was better. It was calming work, nice and purposeful and he was getting better at sharpening the pencils. He'd picked up some skill with knives in the kitchens over the years but this was different, more delicate and it required greater precision so that nothing was broken or the lead made to crumble or snap; it was easier to achieve with the harder drawing implements. It wasn't entirely meant as a threat - it was quite a mellowing activity for him - but it probably wasn't comforting to anyone to watch a servant with such a fine blade.

The boy hummed softly to himself, a tune remembered from childhood, contented in his work as he gathered wood shavings on the desk.
word count: 1585
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Madeleine Gosselin
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:54 pm
Topics: 7
Race: Galdor
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Plot Notes: Plot Notes
Writer: moralhazard
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Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:12 pm

Afternoon, 39th Bethas 2719
Professor Keyes's Office, Brunnhold
Madeleine couldn’t read anything into Professor Keyes’s face. Had she overstepped? Maybe it wasn’t an appropriate compliment to give. She’d never talked about passives with a professor before, and she certainly hadn’t discussed – discussed a professor’s own passive with them! But he had brought the topic up, of course, and he had practically asked her opinion, hadn’t he?

Anyway, before Professor Keyes even could respond, really, the passive’s voice came in through the door, and Madeleine looked up and over at it. Niamh must be leaving, Madeleine thought, and the little galdor shuddered in relief. She tried not to think about what she’d heard the passive saying – had Niamh talked about what she’d – said?

Madeleine felt a sudden sharp jolt of fear. It hadn’t occurred to her before; none of it. But – if Niamh had talked about it – if the passive knew what she had said –

Madeleine’s hands were shaking, and she clenched them together in her lap. He wouldn’t know any better, she thought, desperate and miserable. If a galdor – if his sister – if she told him – would he think it was true? Might he repeat it, unknowing, to Professor Keyes? He wouldn’t, he wouldn’t – he couldn’t –

Madeleine felt a hot rush of heat behind her eyes; she felt as awful as she had in the infirmary. She took a deep breath, and did her best to stay calm, because it wasn’t helping at all being upset. She could be upset later, Madeleine promised herself. She could be upset as she wanted later, even if she – even if it would be better not to think about it.

Moony. The passive had said she’d gone moony. So, then – Madeleine couldn’t think. Was it what she’d said that was moony? Or that she’d said it aloud? Niamh couldn’t really – couldn’t really think – such things. She wouldn’t have repeated them! She wouldn’t have. The little golly’s eyes followed the passive across the room and back.

Madeleine shook her head at the offer of a sandwich. She hadn’t finished the first one; it sat, half-eaten, on a plate next to her, the marks of her small teeth visible in the bread, meat and cheese, and Madeleine felt a surge of nausea in her stomach just at thought of it.

Madeleine nodded, a little, vaguely, and extended the cup to the passive without looking at him. Fionn, she thought. His name was Fionn. Professor Keyes had called him Fionn. She shook her head when he asked if she needed anything else, and then – almost without thinking – Madeleine answered him.

“No, thank you, Fionn,” The little galdor still couldn’t quite bring herself to look at him – just a brief flash of a glance when she took the teacup. She felt heat behind her eyes still, and she wiped them as quickly as she could with her palm, cradling the tea cup in her other hand, peeking at Professor Keyes to make sure he didn’t see.

Maybe, Madeleine thought, he was just a little stupid. Well, passives were, mostly; she thought perhaps he was trying. He just didn’t know any better.

Professor Keyes went into the bathroom, and Madeleine looked down at the cup of milky tea in her lap, cradling it in her hands. She blinked, fiercely, and said, aloud, “It isn’t true. What she said about them.” She looked down at the floor again, then back up at Fionn, only half aware that he was doing anything at all with his hands. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears, now, and Madeleine felt a sharp pulse of misery wash through her, lapping at her field. “It isn’t true,” she told him, and squeezed her eyes shut.

A few tears leaked from the corners, and Madeleine set the tea down and buried her face in her hands. She took a deep breath – she sniffled. She pressed her palms against her eyes, firmly, as if she could press the tears back in, and pulled the edges of her blue-shifted field back against her, until the color drained out of the air around her.

Madeleine took a deep breath, and swallowed the ache down – put it away in that place in her chest where, as knotted as it was, it wouldn’t make her cry. She rubbed her eyes again, and sat up, looking back down at her shoes. Confisalto, she told herself. She was here to dance, not cry. She glanced sideways at the door to the bathroom, and rubbed at her face a little again, hoping it wasn’t too red and puffy.

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word count: 823
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Fionn
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:17 am
Topics: 18
Race: Passive
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Plot Notes: [url=http:/fullurl/]Plot Notes[/url]
Writer: Maximus
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Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:58 pm

Bethas 39, 2719 | Afternoon
Professor Keyes' Office
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His grim satisfaction was gone, even what he'd felt towards Gus. The truth was that he'd been enjoying himself, strangely delighted at the prospect of frightening the girl because he'd thought that'd work better than guilting. Now he just felt like an ersehole. The young man could absorb himself in his very careful whittling away of layers of lead and wood but just because he wasn't looking at her directly, was humming away and trying to seem nonchalant, his face was flushed.

She'd used his name, she'd acted as if he existed. It was the last thing he'd expected, judging that she wouldn't see him as anything more than furniture and you didn't name your table or thank your chair when you plonked your erse down on it. He was a passive, it was a given that he'd do what he was told and be happy to serve - grateful. Maybe he'd been too hasty to judge, maybe the professor's words of pity had moved her to see him as a person, maybe she'd forgotten that she didn't have to talk to him like that and if she could forget that then wasn't there hope?

The humming stopped, the young man's brows crimping together in seeming concentration as he puzzled over the matter, curious but knowing full well that he couldn't ask her about it. The fact that they were alone didn't make things easier but actually more difficult. He had greater room for error, more chance to ruin this fragile hope or whatever it might be. At least now she was being civil, not just ignoring him or worse, glaring. He had no notion how long Gus was going to hide in the bathroom for - he knew full well that that's what he was doing - but he knew that he'd have to tread carefully in the meantime. The best way to do that would probably be to ignore the student unless it was necessary, like-

Her words, almost whimpered and laden with distress made him look up in surprise, a slip causing a sharp stinging in his thumb as the blade broke flesh on its side. He winced, setting the knife down while he hastily brought the cut to his mouth - a instinctual reaction. It was a stupid thing to do in truth as he sucked and wet his tastebuds with salty metal. However, he didn't have a chance to get self-conscious about it because while he was hurt - a very minor injury really and not that deep luckily - his attention was elsewhere; the dancer had started to cry. It wasn't the sound so much as the leakage of tears he'd seen before she hid her face from view and surely that was indication enough that she'd started to sob. It was bewildering to the young man, the reason for it initially eluding him until he registered the 'she'.

There had only been one 'she' in their vicinity recently and he'd managed to comment all too loudly on her actions while he was outside. The guilt dropped heavily in his stomach, the youth almost queasy with it because it felt like this was his fault. If he'd just kept his mouth shut then maybe Niamh's presence wouldn't have bothered her. But his sister had reacted to her, evidently haunted by what she'd said so why wouldn't it be the same the other way around? The dancer was probably traumatised; Fionn couldn't blame her if she was.

The young man had taken to stockpiling handkerchiefs because sometimes you needed them. Sometimes he needed them and it was hardly fair for him to expect galdori to hand their own over to him and then he had to get them cleaned. Or he had to use his sleeve, which was hardly pleasant. He was glad that he'd gotten into the habit. What he had to offer weren't anywhere near as fancy as what the students and faculty had, simple cotton that was a little rough in texture but better than nothing. He moved to the cupboard where he kept them, fishing one out to wrap around his thumb and hold in his palm and another for Maddie. By the time he got it, the dancer had emerged from her cocoon of misery.

The passive approached cautiously, drawing within range of her blue-shift field, even if it was pulled in tight. The handkerchief was laid down carefully on the footrest.

"No, of course it isn't. She said it because it wasn't," he explained softly. He remembered what his sister had told him about the incident, how he'd laughed incredulously at first because he couldn't believe that Niamh would have said such a thing. She didn't have the imagination for such a thing. "She's had so much said about her and to her that's untrue that she... answered in kind. She shouldn't have obviously, especially not to you but sometimes, you hit what you see as the easy target."

He sighed, straightening up and carefully knotting the handkerchief around his thumb, using his teeth to tighten it; he'd clean it when Gus stopped hiding out. "Niamh was... ashamed, very ashamed and she wouldn't expect you to accept an apology but... she was very sorry she said it. I don't know where she got it from though. She's far too innocent to have thought it up herself, she doesn't really know about those sorts of things. My brother on the other hand... Oísin likes spreading rumours and it sounds like the sort of thing he'd have delighted in thinking up. I know it's not any consolation but she didn't think it was true. Honestly, I don't think she believes that siblings could be- Well... intimacy in general would be difficult for her to conceive."

The boy spoke low and his tone was sympathetic, even succeeding in being quite polite and euphemistic about the whole thing instead of being vulgar, a lot of the vocabulary he'd picked up from his reading - especially in more recent months - working its way into his speech as well. He probably didn't sound like what would be expected of one of his kind. He was actually proud for a moment about how he handled everything before he remembered himself and his face flushed anew, a wince working across his features.

"I'm sorry, I've overstepped. I'm so sorry. I just- Professor Keyes will stop hiding soon and if you still feel um... You can't tell that you had a-a-a moment but if you need to have another one, washing your face helps if you do it straight away. To get rid of the salt but... I'm sorry." He turned away, biting his lip so that his tongue wouldn't run away with him anymore, heading back to his pencils, careful not to look her way. Fionn couldn't risk accidentally catching her eye; he'd said too much.
word count: 1236
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Madeleine Gosselin
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:54 pm
Topics: 7
Race: Galdor
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Plot Notes: Plot Notes
Writer: moralhazard
Contact:

Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:05 pm

Afternoon, 39th Bethas 2719
Professor Keyes's Office, Brunnhold
Madeleine couldn’t feel Fionn. Of course she couldn’t, you could never feel a passive, ever, because they didn’t have fields because they were passives. Madeleine knew that, of course she knew that, but – but just for a few moments she hadn’t thought of him as a passive, she’d thought of him as Fionn. and so it was a shock – a really bad shock – to look up a little and realize he was already so close to her.

Madeleine flinched a little, but he was only putting a handkerchief down, and then he backed away again, carefully. Madeleine watched, wide-eyed, then – slowly – reached down and took the handkerchief. She didn’t know what she expected. It was a little rough, but she pressed it against her eyes, and – quickly, hesitantly – sniffled into it as well. Even though she kind of wanted to, she didn’t blow her nose into it; she didn’t really need to, and she didn’t want it to be all red. It was better than wiping her eyes on her arm or her hand though and – she didn’t even have sleeves, in this costume, not that she would have used them like that anyway.

Then, Fionn spoke. To Madeleine’s surprise, he didn’t argue; in fact, he agreed with her. Madeleine’s shoulders relaxed, a little; her body uncurled out of its tight, tense posture, and she sat a little straighter in her chair. Her field stretched out again, slowly, the edges of it curling back into the room, but the blue-shift color lightened, steadily, and then the air around her was clear once more.

Madeleine sniffled, just a little, and patted her eyes with the handkerchief again. She looked down at her lap, down at the floor, and then – as Fionn kept talking – she looked back up at him. Most of what he was, she assumed, Niamh must have told him. It made sense; Niamh knew she shouldn’t have said – that – to Madeleine. She had known straight away. When she had told her brother – and of course she shouldn’t have told him at all – she must have gone on quite a bit about why she’d done it. Madeleine wasn’t really sure she wanted to know why, but – she thought it was a bit sweet of Fionn to remember and try to tell her all of it.

Madeleine nodded a little when Fionn explained that Niamh was sorry. She was glad Niamh was sorry, because anybody who could say that and not be sorry must be – must have been – it didn’t bear considering. Of course Niamh was sorry. Any galdor would be.

The word intimacy brought out a startled squeak from the little golly, and Madeleine’s face went red. She hadn’t had any idea where Fionn was going until the word actually came out. Now she tucked her face in her hands again, feeling the red heat in her cheeks. He’s only a passive, she told herself. He doesn’t know any better. He doesn’t know how these things should be talked about. He hasn’t spent a lot of time with galdori, and he doesn’t know any better. Poor Professor Keyes probably had no idea. Maybe Niamh was the one confusing him with all her – her – inappropriate talk. Or maybe his other brother was, this – Oísin. He really shouldn't be allowed to see either of them, of course.

Yes, Madeleine thought, that must have been what Fionn was trying to explain, even if he was a bit confused – poor thing. Oísin was the corrupting influence ruining both his siblings. Madeleine shuddered a little at the thought. How terrible! Madeleine had never met him, of course, but she decided, quite firmly, that she never, ever wanted to. Poor Niamh. Madeleine felt a little pity for her too, now. That she thought such things wasn’t entirely her fault, then; Oisin had put them into her mind. She still didn't want to see the older student, of course. Even if the corruption wasn't her fault it might still spread. But she felt sorry for her, now, not only afraid of her.

Madeleine looked back up at Fionn, slowly, when he spoke again. She nodded a little when he said he’d overstepped, and cleared her throat. The advice took her by surprise, and – Madeleine blushed again, but there was a different color to it. He really was trying, she thought to herself. It was terribly inappropriate – it was all terribly inappropriate, she was not behaving properly even by listening to him. She ought to tell him not to talk to her, she ought to tell him to just – keep quiet about things he didn’t understand.

Wash your face immediately, to get the salt off. Madeleine felt a squirming in her stomach, a strange feeling, and she wondered – how did he know that?

After a moment, she pushed the thought away, because – because she didn’t know what to make of it. She didn’t know. Madeleine wiped her eyes with the handkerchief again, and then carefully set it down next to the cup, a messy little wadded ball. She thought about chastising Fionn, but… she would have to explain what he’d done wrong. Even to tell Professor Keyes that the passive had talked to her about – intimacy. Would he think she’d invited such conversation? Had she? Madeleine felt a little shudder ripple through it at the thought.

Instead, she just said – very quietly, “Thank you.” Madeleine glanced up at Fionn, at how he was turned away from her. It was like – like he was scared of her, she thought, and she felt – very odd. He couldn’t be scared of her. She wasn’t – scary, was she? She was interpreting it wrong, Madeleine decided. She had this wrong, like she got everything else wrong. Afraid, confused, but – not quite as bad as she’d been - Madeleine didn’t say anything else. She lowered her gaze back to the floor between them, picked up her tea again, and took another little sip of it, settling back into the chair, waiting for Professor Keyes to return in silence.

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Fionn
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:17 am
Topics: 18
Race: Passive
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Post Templates
Plot Notes: [url=http:/fullurl/]Plot Notes[/url]
Writer: Maximus
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Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:45 pm

Bethas 39, 2719 | Afternoon
Professor Keyes' Office
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Words, so many words. They'd just spilled out but it hadn't been a violent, uncontrollable torrent. They'd been properly couched, each providing reassurance and intended to be soothing.

And it worked.

The cringed state of her field evaporated, the anxiety and distress gone as it expanded to its previous size. She wasn't happy but she was calm, strangely so given that she hadn't been that in Fionn's presence thus far. The young man was still full of words clamouring to get out, desperate to be said now that he'd found a receptive ear, that they'd been well received. He could have said that he'd expected Oísin to turn out to be an ersehole but... little brothers, right? He could have pointed out that Niamh had been listening to so many horrible things and that it had taken its toll because instead of letting it out and dealing with it, she'd chosen to bottle it. The way that Madeleine had kept everything inside. Would she have been crying now if she didn't keep it inside? Would she have sobbed so much when Niamh had met her before if she didn't repress so much?

Gollies had some serious problems and he knew that from experience; he - and passives like him - counted among them. They seemed to think that they had superiority over their magical deficient brethren because they were more mature - emotionally, psychologically, socially, magically. But they weren't what they pretended to be. You weren't mature just because you shoved something down so deep that nobody could see it; it was like hiding your belongings under your bed and in the wardrobe and then saying that you'd cleaned your room. There wasn't much he could do, although at least he'd made her feel comfortable enough that she was willing to let her emotions some free rein in his presence rather than shoving them back in. Touch seemed to be something that could help and he could understand that but he doubted that she'd take well to such an attempt given that she cringed if he got too close. If he was to touch her...

The word 'intimacy' threw her and he realised with a sigh that even that word was too scandalous for polite conversation. The servant knew that his attitude to sex were hardly typical but it was still difficult to fathom that one of Madeleine's age could be shocked at the mere insinuation of the act. Then again, Niamh was also liable to react that way. Were galdori women like this? Was this just teenagers? Did things change as you got older? Or was it rather that they weren't meant to change until you were older? Well, he hadn't had that luxury and he was fairly sure that the passives as a population probably weren't as innocent or as pure minded as these students he interacted with. It was strange that they were meant to be children in their minds and yet their knowledge seemed to be broader in some areas.

For all Fionn knew, he was an oddity even among his own kind. He'd like to think that he was; he wouldn't like to think of anyone else being so tortured in mind but he wasn't quite so optimistic. The sigh he released was world weary indeed.

He went back to his pencils, taking the greatest care to shave away little slivers of wood so that the lead wouldn't lose its moorings as he scraped the edge of the blade carefully against it. He was grateful to have his back to her so she couldn't see the deep pink that had settled in his visage at the simple thanks.

The boy cleared his throat awkwardly. "If there's anything else you need, Miss Gosselin, a handkerchief or..." he trailed off, unable to think what else he could provide and doubting that she would actually ask him for another handkerchief. If he hadn't placed one before her in the first place then he doubted that she would ever have requested it; it'd be a matter of pride, no doubt.

The world weary sigh came again, the blond using a soft but grubby cloth to rub at the pencil nibs and remove any minute splinters and polish the roughened surface somewhat.

"Reining your emotions in too much can be dangerous. You tend to reach a point where something... snaps. I'd keep an eye on that if I were you. Sometimes... your emotions can hurt others and not just yourself," he commented quietly, gaze lingering on his own knuckles, the criss-cross of white lines and lumps from the rough use they'd had over the years. He didn't know if the dancer had seen them or if she'd realised what they were; maybe she hadn't given them any thought at all, assuming that they were normal in the life of a passive as if you might get them doing the laundry or something. Maybe he'd think of Niamh and how she had blown up without warning. He simply hoped that she'd take his words to heart or at least use them to prompt her own introspection.

The sharpening completed, he lined up the pencils with care, quite intent as he arranged them according to grade, the harder and therefore lighter pencils at the start and leading into softer and darker ones. He was gazing at them through narrowed eyes when there was a rough coughing sound and the bathroom door reopened. The engraver strode back into the room, turning his attention to Fionn first to see what he was doing and would have turned it to Madeleine next - and she was in goodness knew what state - so he endeavoured to keep the man's focus.

"I've sharpened your pencils, sir but do you want your brushes cleaned? Do you plan to keep using them, sir?"

The use of the honorific was calculated, the older man's gaze fixing on him, lips puckering in annoyance.

"Gus, not sir! How many times? And no, I'm going to keep using them."

"Apologies, prof- Gus. Is there anything else I can do?"

The man released an 'hmph' sound and made a shooing gesture, already turning from him. If Madeleine had needed a moment to collect herself then she'd had it or make a dart for the bathroom then she'd had it - but only a moment.

"You can get out of the way. I need to get back to work," he snapped. Fionn flinched.

"Yes, Gus," the teenager whispered, moving to gather dried sketches so he could clear space for more.
word count: 1163
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Madeleine Gosselin
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:54 pm
Topics: 7
Race: Galdor
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Plot Notes: Plot Notes
Writer: moralhazard
Contact:

Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:32 pm

Afternoon, 39th Bethas 2719
Professor Keyes's Office, Brunnhold
The silence didn’t feel the same now, but Madeleine couldn’t have said how it was different. She sat, cup of tea in her hands, and stared at the ground in front of her. She didn’t want to talk - she really oughtn’t save anything else to Fionn, one wasn’t even supposed to talk to passives. It wasn’t, Madeleine thought, like he was a real boy, of course, so at least it wasn’t a problem to be left alone with him. Even if he clearly wasn’t aware of what sort of things were inappropriate to say.

All the same, she rather hoped Professor Keyes would come out of the bathroom soon. He was really taking rather a long time.

Fionn started to speak again, and Madeleine looked up at him, slightly wide-eyed. Oh, she thought, her heart sinking. She had encouraged him. Madeleine felt terrible; she certainly hadn’t meant to. She shook her head at the question of whether she needed anything. She ought to have ignored him entirely, she thought. Or - Madeleine brightened faintly - perhaps he was just trying to practice how to behave properly around galdori? Yes, and he was doing much better now, although he ought not to have interrupted her, even to ask if she needed something. What if she had been thinking about something important?

Then Fionn kept talking. Madeleine stared at him, taken aback. She lowered her gaze, blushing. The poor dear, she thought. He was trying to be helpful, she knew that. But he was confused; galdori weren’t in any danger of casting unnecessarily just because they were upset. That was only passives, with their dreaded diableries.

Madeleine froze faintly at the thought that led to. Had he ever... she stared a little more at Fionn, heart pounding. No, she thought, it couldn’t be. If he was really dangerous, surely Professor Keyes wouldn’t have left her alone with him. But it would make a lot of sense! Maybe that was what Professor Keyes had been trying to tell her. Maybe that was why he was working for just one Professor - because he wasn’t allowed to -

But, no, Madeleine remembered, he had gone and gotten the sandwiches. So he was allowed to be out and about! That was good. Perhaps Professor Keyes had already helped him so much that he wasn’t - so dangerous anymore.

Madeleine knew she ought to correct him, but it was hard because she didn’t want to encourage him to talk to her. She took a sip of her tea, then another. She would thank him for the advice, she decided, and then reassure him that her magic wasn’t in any danger of fluctuating like that. Was that why he had looked scared of her? Perhaps Niamh did cast in anger sometimes, even though everyone knew you weren’t supposed to and the mona didn’t like it. Madeleine, thinking of the tense feeling that the other student’s field had left in the air, could imagine it.

Or... Oisin? Perhaps! Madeleine knew nothing of him, of course, but from what Fionn had said it sounded just like something he would do. She took another sip of tea.

“Don’t worry,” Madeleine said, encouragingly, setting her cup down. She mustered up a little smile for the passive, then thought better of it, but it was too late. Was she encouraging him again? Madeleine hoped not. “I won’t cast, even if-“

There was a coughing sound from the bathroom, and Madeleine went utterly silent, still in the chair as Professor Keyes opened the door and stepped out. Fionn asked him something, and Madeleine seized her chance, whispering an ‘Excuse me’ and slipping into the bathroom.

She heard Gus lecture Fionn about calling him sir, and made a little face. Poor thing. It must be hard for Fionn to remember that he was to call Gus one thing and all the others something else. It was hard enough for Madeleine not to call him sir.

Madeleine had thought she might cry more. She stood in the bathroom, swallowed hard, and waited for the tears. Then - to her surprise - they didn’t come. She prodded at her eyes, and even rested her face in her hands, taking a deep breath to see if it might make the tears come.

Nothing.

After a moment, Madeleine splashed some water on her face anyway. She patted it dry, carefully, and looked at herself curiously. Her eyes didn’t look too red, Madeleine thought; she thought they looked normal. She nodded, relieved, dried her hands, and stepped back out of the bathroom.

“My apologies, Gus,” Madeleine said, politely. Naturally, she didn’t reference anything about what she had been doing; that would have been unbearably gauche. “Would you like me to go back to how I was before?”

Whatever position Gus wanted, in the end, Madeleine would take; her toes and legs ached, and for a moment as she settled in there was just the faintest wobble. The little galdor breathed in deep, and exhaled out. She let herself imagine her breath flowing through the pain and carrying it away, and she relaxed every muscle not needed to hold her up. Just like that, the pain began to ease, and Madeleine’s body eased too, the faint trembling faded away into nothing.

Madeleine turned her concentration back to Gus, ready to adjust as he needed. This, Madeleine thought, was much better than talking to the passive; it was wonderful to be part of art, real art, even if it was a little difficult too. She shouldn’t have smiled, Madeleine knew, but it had been very hard to know how to behave. She had done her best, and at least for now, with most of her attention needed to hold her balance in the delicate poses, it felt like enough.

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