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 Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]

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A. Luke Brown
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PostSubject: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:02 pm

It was a long time since Luke been back in his home town. Almost a year, he would say, but everything looked the same as it did before he left. Well it always looked the same from his perspective. It was the village that time forgot. Even when he was a little boy, in between momma and papa, holding hands and swinging back and forth, Luke could still remember the same shops that line the streets, the same vintage houses with only a fresh new coat of paint to keep it lively. For Luke, it was dreary to be back, but he had to come back. He missed him so much.

Instead of wasting time, reminiscing about distasteful memories, he moved away from the village, deeper into the woods surrounding Ottery St. Catchpole. Luke was in his element, if you could imagine. It wasn’t the Library, with the books he adored, or the potion lab he devoted his life work at Hogwarts, but among the trees and babbling brook where he felt more at home, especially these woods. The path he took was long, treacherous path, hardly anyone used anymore, except for Luke.

He could tell no one had used it since he left because weeds and overgrown bushes took back what was rightfully theirs and claim the path for themselves. It was slow going, but he enjoyed the brisk walk through the trees. The only thing accompanying him was the shimmering light through the trees, and the beginning of spring breezes that pass through to in frequently to count. His disdain for this place slowly washed away as he traversed the landscape.

In an hour’s time, Luke was deep into the woods, but he still had an hour to go, but he stopped hearing the familiar hooting of his owl. He wasn’t at all surprise that Pikachu was able to find him so easily in the woods, or that he kept pecking at his head once the owl landed on his shoulders.  They had a strong bond between them, that did not prevent Pikachu to nip at Luke’s ear causing untold amount of pain, but he was still pleased to be near his familiar. The owl calmed down a tad, when Luke feed the electric yellow bird some owl treats, but he was still abnormally hyper. Fluttering his wings ever so often, then proceeded to fly around Luke’s head about a thousand times, before they got to their destination.

What greeted them was not one that he expected. He froze just outside the boarder of the clearing, hearing, “GRRRRR!” and his heart sank.

_____
Early morning the next day, on the grounds of Hogwarts, students gathered for their usual Thursday Care of Magical Creature’s classroom just outside the Forbidden Forest near the abandon hut. It was still that calm, beautiful transition from winter to spring, but that was the first sign of trouble. It was always calm before the storm. And it was raging like a bitch at another part of Great Britain.

In the midst of class, on the horizon lightning flashed. No, it wasn’t lightning. Lightning did not linger for longer than a moment. It was Pikachu coming in fast. Its wings flapping a mile a minute, and in no time at all, he covered the span of the Forbidden Forest, and now was circling the group of students and the professor. His hoots where labor induce, but Pikachu still went strong as he landed at the feet of the recipient, Eleanor Valenta with a letter tied around his claw.


The writing was scrawled haphazardly, and was almost illegible to read. It said:

Professor, I need your help. Please! I will meet you in the village of Otter St. Catchpole and bring supplies.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:38 pm

The oncoming spring had bestowed a clear sky and a, if blustery, warm day that Eleonora had every intention of taking advantage of. Instead of spending another class inside, where she felt all she did was drone on and lose the interest of students that much faster, she had met them down near the old wooden hut by the edge of the forest for their lesson. The fifth and sixth year students seemed to be enjoying themselves, basking in the sun in groups, each one caring for a small creature that would bite at their jewelry or dash off in search of something bright and glimmering. She watched on with a smile, making sure the nifflers did not run too far from the students and that they themselves were at least partially focused on their assignment.

All in all it was a pleasing way to spend a Thursday morning, and nothing out of the ordinary occurred until near the end of the class. It was then that a small owl, shockingly yellow and full of energy, landed right in front of Eleonora, hooting and sticking out its leg with a letter attached. She delicately removed it, giving the owl a treat from within her pocket as she did so, and read the contents of the message. At first she assumed that the letter was not intended for her; she had no notion of who would need her help nor had she ever seen this owl before. What exactly was needed in form of help was not elaborated on, no hint of what could be in store. There was also the puzzling matter of the sender, no signature was anywhere to be found, even after she flipped the parchment over in search. Promising herself to think about it when she was less distracted, Eleonora  stuffed the letter into her pocket and returned to her lesson.

--

After class Eleonora found herself pacing the length of her office, a worried frown tugging at the corners of her lips. The letter, no signature included, was clutched in her hand and quickly becoming crumpled as she often unfolded it to race over the words again before continuing her endless tour of her room. She did not have a good feeling about the plea for help; it could be some sort of joke or trap, as silly as that sounded. Not knowing who she would be running off to meet left Eleonora uneasy, her mind awash in all the negative outcomes that could possibly happen. What if someone really was in grave trouble though, and she was the only one sought after to help? She could not leave a person to a dire circumstance; the thoughts of some dark nasty fate befalling an undeserving soul would plague her mind forever.

Yes, there was only one option, really. With a quick sigh and one last unsettled though, Eleonora hurriedly stuffed a bag full of a few things she may or may not need and rushed out of the castle, pulling on a coat as she went in case the pleasant weather did not hold. A brief moment of consideration  ended with Eleonora opting to chance apparation instead of using Polaris as a means of transportation. While her average skill at apparation always left her slightly dizzy and nervous when she reached her destination, it was much faster than alternate methods and she did not want to waste any more time now that she had made her decision. With her destination in mind, one that she had never actually been to before, she tightly shut her eyes and whisked off to another place.

When Eleonora opened her eyes again she was thankful to find herself in one piece and standing in a quaint little village street, the sound of a river rushing cheerfully somewhere nearby, and the earthy smell of large trees which were encroaching the village on all sides. She smiled absently, pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and wonder that she had never visited before. Remembering her reason for doing so now Eleonora brushed the hair from her face and glanced around the near empty street, not sure who she was was looking for or even if this was the right part of town she was to meet her mysterious correspondent.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:07 pm

Pikachu, the lightning owl, thanked Eleanor for the treat with another hoot, but he stayed put for the most part by Eleanor’s side. The only time Pikachu took flight was when one of the nifflers, a dim witted one, thought the lustrous yellow feather coat was actual gold. Let’s just say in the end both of them walked away with minor injuries: Pikachu losing a few feathers and the niffler, a peck or two on its noggin.

After class ended and the students dispersed into small groups of twos and threes, still Eleanor did not lead the way out of the protective barrier of Hogwarts to apparating to his master’s side, but treaded her way back to the castle. Pikachu was right on her heels, flying in circles around Eleanor’s feet. Pikachu for the most part was energetic for being a decade and a half old, playful that can bring a smile to anyone’s face, but he can seriously be annoying even to the point of being a nuisance when he wanted something.

He wanted something.

He hooted constantly as he watched Eleanor pace back and forth around her office, watching her fret about the dilemma she faced, until a conclusion was made. Finally, Pikachu hooted happily, soring over Eleanor’s head, as she frantically   through random things in her bag. Before she was off, he landed lightly on her shoulders. He nipped at her ear affectionately, before they disappeared and reappeared at Otter St. Catchpole.

If Eleanor just got light headed and dizzy with apparating it was nothing compared to Pikachu. The whole world was spinning and him along with it. He took a tumble of Eleanor’s shoulder and landed in a pile of slush and snow. Once he finally got out from between the pile of snow, another avalanche of snow fell on top of him, thanks to his friend, the oak tree. The owl either chuckled at his misfortunes or said a few nasty words to the tree. (I wouldn’t know,  I don’t speak owl.) Finally, after all that, he took flight.


Before Eleanor could have a chance to follow the owl, Pikachu was gone. It would be another twenty minutes until the owl return, with a friend. It was a sight to see.

An Eagle, with a wingspan of 7 ½ feet, eclipsed the sky to the north of the village. It wasn’t the size of the bird that caught most people’s attention nor the unnatural sandy brown, almost blonde feathers swaying in the wind. Even the messenger bag hanging freely around one wing and across his chest went a miss, not gathering nearly enough attention as to what was on top of the bird. It was an electric yellow owl resting upon the shoulders of the eagle, and the duo was coming straight towards Eleanor. About 200 meters away, the Eagle expanded his wings and let the gentle breeze glide his decent towards the ground. The bird landed gracefully on the snow bank, where Eleanor stood watching what transpire before her. If Eleanor did not think the eagle odd enough, with the owl perched on the eagle's shoulders as if the eagle were a tree branch, she soon would think the whole world had gone mad. The eagle looked up at Eleanor, and what greeted her was not the dull yellow or the degrees of brown that usually accompanied the eagle’s eyes, but the color of the ocean. The oceanic blue was more radiant than the gold feathers of Pikachu, and more brilliant than sapphires themselves.

Common sense and reason went out the window, when Luke was preoccupied, especially when a friend was in danger, and hurt. He did the unthinkable. It was rash, maybe even foolish but he did not care at that moment. He transformed back into human form. Luckily for him, the Professor was on the outskirts of town, where houses where few and far between so no one but the professor saw him transform.

His clothes were disheveled, just like his feathers before that. His hair poked out in strange places, but was still the same sandy brown, blonde color as the eagle. Luke’s comforting smile matched the brilliance in his eyes, even though the rest of him seemed to be in disarray. “Care of Magical Creature Professor, I presume. Eleanor?”
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:33 pm

While she was still looking around, the little yellow owl that had been tagging along beside her with an abundant amount of energy since that morning flew off into the distance, leaving Eleonora alone in the street. She watched with a tinge of regret as its image faded into the trees without so much as a backward glance. Biting her lip in thought, Eleonora considered leaving right then, little owl and letter writer be damned. Instead, she found a dry patch of dirt, clear from melting snow, sat down, and pulled out a book from her bag. She would wait a while, see what happened. If no one came in the next ten minutes she would go back to her office and back to grading papers. After ten minutes passed with no changes Eleonora still did not leave, telling herself it would be rude if she didn't wait just a while longer. The thought of someone with a true problem that she could help solve kept floating to the surface of her mind, rooting her to the spot until they arrived, no matter how long it would take.

Another ten minutes passed and Eleonora's attention was swiftly changed from the book in her lap to a large shape in the sky. Putting her book back into her bag and standing up to get a better view, she was struck with awe as she identified the shape as a large eagle, majestic and graceful as the sun shone on its sandy feathers. A large smile spread over her face, glad that she was able to witness such a sight; she had always found the beauty of animals so much more to marvel over than any other form. As the eagle drew nearer it's wings caught the air currents in such a way as to enable its calm descent, leaving it perching nearby on a mound of left over snow. Eleonora was at once astonished that a wild creature would come so near, and then again at the sight of the owl, bright yellow and familiar, perched upon it. She barely had a moment to consider what this sight meant before the bird's features shifted and in its place a man came into being, his disheveled hair matching exactly the feathers that had adorned the eagle.

A well of excitement bubbled up in Eleonora's chest as she watched, her blue eyes wide and sparkling. This man had just been an eagle; he was an animagus. There was nothing more she had wanted when she was younger than to be able to master the incredibly difficult task of turning into an animal at will. Even now she would give anything to be able to fly away  and just exist in a more wild, peaceful existence. Of course she had never had the talent or determination to achieve her wish and now, with someone who had standing in front of her, she found herself all at once envious, impressed, and unable to keep a smile from her lips.

When he spoke it brought her back to the situation at hand; she still did not know who this was or what was going on. Her smile fluttered and left as she was suddenly nervous,  her voice hesitant.  “Nora, yes. I'm sorry, I don’t...we haven't met have we?” She was fairly certain they had not; she would have been sure to remember such a magnificent talent if she had ever seen it before. Still, it was polite to ask instead of out rightly demanding to know who he was and why he had called her all the way out here with little explanation. How he knew who she was was another matter altogether, but one that she could only assume was on record somewhere with her now being an employee of Hogwarts. As she waited for his answer she remained standing some paces from him, still uncertain. The smile on his face looked natural but Eleonora was not known for her god judgment of people and their motives, so she kept her distance and her attention focused.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:39 pm

“Nora,” Luke repeated as if an unspoken agreement was exchange between them. “My name is Luke,” he said scratching the feathers of the plump owl that rested on his right shoulder. Even though the owl acted normal, hooting pleasantly, almost to the point of purring with delight, Luke could tell that he was exhausted. He could not help look upon the owl with endearment as he feed the owl a slice of bread from his bag. Turning back to Nora, he said, “And you meet this little guy. His name is Pikachu. He-“The owl hooted with indignation and annoyance. “Yes, you are little! You’re the size of a quaffle.” With that he nipped Luke’s ear hard, than flutter over to Nora in protest.

Luke could not help chuckle even under these circumstances. He was very transparent, even though he tried to not show it. The strain around his eyes, the strain in his laugh, the wistful smile full of regret, the weight of the world bearing down on his shoulders, it was all in his expression, in his movements. But he kept on trudging forward with his smile, with his light hearted banter to put Nora at ease, seeing as how she has misgiven about this meeting. She had every right too, with no signature and nothing else to go on except a meeting place, but he couldn’t put too much in the letter for fear of it getting intercepted. His paranoia suspicions served him well over the last year, even longer to keep him alive but he also was the same man who went on blind faith and saw the good in people.

Luke could tell by the way she treated Pikachu that Nora was a good person.

“We have meet…once,” he said honestly, remembering the very last Hogwarts staffing meeting he had been to in the midst of term, where Eirina introduced Ms. Valenta to the staff. Instead of introducing himself like the other staffers did, he was absorbed in his potion research. His notes (potion ingredient list, moon charts, magical creatures and their properties) strewn across the table as he half listen to Ms. Naer’s announcements. “I was the Potion Master last year, but we never properly been introduced.”

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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:54 pm

After listening to Luke's introduction Eleonora thought back to the all the professors and staff members she had met or seen strolling through the corridors of the castle, but could not place this man among her memories. His use of past tense told her that he no longer resided at the school; the overlap of their time there must have been miniscule. The first couple of weeks of her position remained a blur in her mind, full of many new faces and names, too many things to remember and a looming cloud of worry that never seemed to lift. It was no wonder she did not recall Luke, she hardly recalled anything. Only a few things, and even fewer people, stood out to her from those weeks and they...well, they still stood out to her every time their paths crossed.

“Oh, I'm sorry I didn't remember. Those first days were very hectic; I'm afraid I might not have noticed you.” Eleonora looked away bashfully, feeling like she had been rude to forget. Luke's owl, Pickachu, saved her from her embarrassment as he flew over and landed on her shoulder amidst her tumble of hair. “It's nice to meet you too, Pickachu. I'm sorry I kept you from your friend for so long today, you must be tired.” She let the small owl remain perched on her while she spoke, clearly more at ease addressing the animal than it's owner.

A pause in conversation left Eleonora feeling more than a little awkward, still standing more than the usual speaking distance away from Luke. She absently brought her hand to her hair, running her fingers through the curls as was habit when she did not know how to proceed. Luke's demeanor appeared genuine, his laugh friendly and warm. Eleonora tried to determine more of his motives and personality by looking over his appearance and gestures but she could get no further than the smile still held on his face and the blue of his eyes that did not dim even when she thought she saw a flicker of something (exhaustion, grief perhaps?) strain his features. Her judgment therefore fell to how loyal the owl was to him and how gently Luke treated it. Eleonora could not fathom someone like that meaning her any harm and  she smiled again, this time without reserve. “Well...here I am. What's wrong?” She asked, now deeply concerned over his plea after deciding Luke was not a threat.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:18 pm

People seldom sought out the Potion Master for their troubles, and he rarely got visitors. The only time he was called upon was when the Head Nurse, Lacetta, called upon him for a complex potion, or when Sorrow gravitated towards the depths of the dungeon for one particular reason or another. “It’s okay. I was…well… I am still obsessing over my own work and had little time to get to know the staff. Lucky for you I wasn’t your student,” he said with that mischievous smile he got, which was the first sign of trouble. The gleam in his eyes were unmistakable. It was the same gleam that mischief-makers like Theodora or Misery got right before something blew up and a mob of people chase them through the halls of Hogwarts. “I would have been hard to forget.”

Pikachu got comfortable around Nora real quickly. Luke could never fathom how the owl knew which person was a kind soul and those who walked a much darker path, but it was evident on how he treated the person in question. Pikachu happily tilted his head toward Nora. If a hoot could sound sassy, that owl made that sound just now. “Pikachu says he hates your nifflers.” His response to Nora’s greeting was priceless.

“Not here,” he said stiffly, looking over his shoulder to see if anyone nearby. Paranoia reared its ugly head, but he had his reasons to be, actually, three. If two of his three reasons suspected, than he would have a lot of explaining to do and third would probably kill him, but that is another story altogether. “The reason I contacted you is in the forest. It is a long trek on foot through the woods. It’s up to you if you want to follow.” And with that Luke turn towards the tree line and walked away.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:25 am

In lieu of a comprehensible reaction to Luke's mischievous smile and odd statement, Eleonora just smiled nervously and and forced out a small “Oh, um...I-I suppose you would have been hard to forget.” Inwardly she was thanking whatever powers there were that she did not have any student like Luke; he made her uncomfortably aware of how little control she had over this interaction.  Even her direct question went unanswered as he gave her some vague promise of explanation once they got further away from the activity of the town.

Eleonora suffered a moment of indecision  as she watched Luke walk headlong into the forest. She had the fainest notion that he was leading her on, baiting her for some reason she could not discern. Biting her lower lip in hesitation, she took a moment to think it over. He was giving her an out; she could leave now and be done with this. She would go back to the castle, maybe call on Sorrow and ask if he knew Luke and just what exactly was his deal. It was a comforting thought and one that held sway over her decision for more reasons than one, but in the end the nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, Luke really was in trouble won out.  

“Wait, I'm coming!” She called out, sprinting to catch up with him. “Just, please, don't turn out to be some psycho and kill me.”

Heading into the deepening trees with a stranger and no real explanation may not have been the most cautious thing, but Eleonora had certainly done worse. Rushing unprepared into a fight with a werewolf being the one that came to mind first, and, well, if she survived that what harm could Luke do to her? She did wish that she had chosen to bring Polaris with her after all, just in case, but what was done was done and here she was, walking a pace or two behind the taller man and his staring at his back, trying her best to act normal.

As the silence dragged on, other than Pickachu's occasional hoots, Eleonora spoke up, her naturally quiet voice just audible in the still forest. “I don't mind a long walk, you know. It's good to get out of the school. Oh, but, you probably know how that feels, too...” she let her words trail off, not certain why she was speaking anyway. It just felt like the thing to do, and perhaps it would get more information out of this man she now knew at least two things about.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:50 pm

Nora could not see it, but he could not help but smile at her off handed comment of her well founded but misplace fears. In fact, the morbidity of her comment seemed almost comical. Nora did not seem like the type of person to dwell on the negative parts of life for far too long. She reminded Luke of another person who was a hopeless optimist, which was comforting in its own way, but it did not stop the fact that several retorts came to mind in responses to her comment, but Luke let them slip away, not wanting to make her run for the hills.

For a time the silent march into the woods felt good. The air cool and crisp caressing his bare skin. The scent of dew and pollen mixed together on the wings of the wind announcing the changing season from winter to spring. Traces of snow and sleet still lingered making some parts of the journey cumbersome, but he managed with a slow steady pace. He even offer a hand out to Nora on some nasty half melted black sleet of ice that covered the roots of the closely knitted trees, which he almost slipped on when he came through earlier.

The awkward silence could not last forever as the practically two strangers hiked through the woods. The frigid ice, which was bound to happen when meeting new people, needed to be broken. Nora gave the opening and Luke took it. “Yah. I know exactly what you mean,” he said remembering the times he snuck away from Hogwarts castle to explore the forest or the lake. One memory in particular surfaced. “You know the mountain regions near the south of the great lake of Hogwarts? The one in the far off distance, almost cut off from view by the black forest? Once, in my fifth year of Hogwarts after class on Friday I took up a hiking expedition to those mountains. I was gone the entire weekend, just to pick rare herbs that grew on the mountain side.”

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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:49 pm

“Oh! Yes, there's a pack of deer that live up there. It's a nice place, isn't it? Though, if I found out a student was going there by themselves I would be worried...it's not an easy trek.” Eleonora was delighted to find that she and Luke appeared to have something in common; an urge to explore nature in search of, well, anything. She remembered her days as a student and doing much of the same, except never traveling quite so far as Luke. A fleeting thought crossed her mind that if they had known each other back then maybe they would have been friends. He looked to be around the same age as she was.

Luke's confession had started to put her at ease, for he was revealing himself as harmless, for the moment. She slowly lowered her guard, focusing less on keeping herself alert of his movements and more on the beauty that surrounded her. The trail they were taking was becoming less and less hospitable and more rugged, with roots poised to trip and patches of ice determined to cause a nasty fall. Despite the dangerous terrain it was a lovely place; the green of the needled trees, the brown of the dead leaves on the ground, and even the white of remaining snow patches all melded together to form a mosaic of color that was nearly breath taking. Eleonora tried her best to spot signs of wildlife but the forest was eerily quiet and not even a shadow of movement was to be found. She was about to mention it to Luke when they reached a particularity difficult section of their journey and it slipped away from her mind after they had safely navigated back to more easy walking.

When they had been traveling again for some time, Eleonora worked up the courage to ask Luke a question that had formed in her mind earlier, when she had learned he had left Hogwarts. “If-if you don't mind my asking, why did stop you teaching? I mean, you're not there anymore, so I assume you've stopped. If it's too personal, though, I understand.” She did not want to pry, but she was curious. Her job at the school was comfortable, cushy. She could not fathom wanting to leave it now that she had gotten used to it, but maybe Luke was just not one to stay in one place for too long? She would never know unless she asked, and as she waited for his answer she trudged onward, pushing the now tangling hair out of her face as she went.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:57 am

"You and a half a dozen other people had that same sentiment," he said, wearing the mask of nostalgia, memories long since past. The dangerous of the expedition, and the route he took that few others traveled upon was idiotic or so Luke was told for the ntth tenth time by the Headmistress, by his godmother and by several of his friends, but it was his sense of adventure that drove him towards the mountain. In actuality, it was also his sense of livelihood that prompted him to explore the mountainous regions in the first place, but that was another story altogether.

"We are coming up on the magical barriers," he said once Nora was over the fleet of ice. In about ten to fifteen meters, Luke's statement, as predicted had gone to passed. The temperature risen about ten degrees, from crisp, brisk morning to a nice balmy spring afternoon in mire seconds. No snow could be spotted anywhere in the vicinity. But with the lack of snow, the surrounding showed off its true beauty. Every living thing that reside beyond the barriers had the lush, deep green ting to it as if winter hand never came. The noticeable difference where the were once silence, echoed the sounds of life. "Right where you are standing is where Headmistress's Eirina's mansion's magical barriers overlaps with my magical barriers." Luke pointed in one direction indicating where Eirina lived, not visible through the trees, then pointed in the opposite direction in vicinity of where his cottage in the woods should be. "Both magical barriers, while overlapping made a green house effect, protecting it from the bitter winters. Well, in fact, it started happening this last past winter, when enacted protections spells around my-" Luke could not find the particular word that described the place. Finally, he said, "-residence of my youth."

It was hard for them to keep up the flow of conversation. On Luke's part he was distracted, pondering multiple of things, questioning everything. Nora on the other hand probably still did not know if she could trust Luke, and did not want to reveal to much, letting something slip to used against her. It was only when they were well into the forest and the overlapping barrier waning, when Nora asked a question that seemed to be on her mind since he told her that he was a professor at Hogwarts. "I would be only half telling the truth if I said it was the students that drove me to take a sabbatical. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching, but being a year or two older then them does not give me any power of authority over the students that I once considered my friends, and those who caused trouble for one particular reason or another." He looked over at her, trying to read her reaction. "I bet you, that you had a few students that you wished never came to class. For me it was one in particular."
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:21 am

It happened quite suddenly, just a few feet after Luke mentioned something about barriers. The forest around Eleonora took on life once again and the greens and vibrant colors of spring were everywhere. Looking around with widened eyes, she was impressed with the beauty of the area. It was as if the seasons had changed on a fault line, where one side of the line was in the full swing of spring, and the other, still visible behind her, was stubbornly holding on to winter. A smile graced her lips as she yet again fell in love with the wonder of magic all over again. Coming from a muggle family and growing up to learn that magic was indeed a real part of life never left Eleonora; there were always new things that reminded her how precious and remarkable life could be.

She had no idea that the effects of magical barriers could interact and produce such effects, but she was glad for the new information. When Luke motioned off into the distance and mentioned the headmistress Eleonora was surprised yet again. She had never considered the living accommodations of her colleagues but she supposed this was as good a place as any. Better, in fact, than a lot of places she could envision living in. She thought back to her shabby one bedroom flat in London that she had spent so many years at while working for the ministry. It never seemed too small to her, nor too noisy up above the bustling city streets. The truth was she spent little time there, in between her long work hours and her time traveling for one case or another, and when she was there her time was filled by reading late into the night, the dim lights of the street pouring in through her dusty windows. That was gone now, though. She had left it behind when she was offered the job at the school. Now her spare time was spent much the same, though the scenery had changed. Long nights of reading curled up in front of a warm fire, the vaulted ceiling above her storing the heat and the quiet of the castle engulfing her. She wondered briefly what she would do once the summer came and she was not obligated to remain on the school grounds. Perhaps she would find a quiet place such as this to hide away in.

Luke's voice slowly invaded her thoughts and she caught only the latter part of what had been said. “Oh?” She said, urging him to continue with his story and hoping he had not noticed her lack of attention. There was nothing else for her to say; if Luke wanted her to know something he would tell her, there was no use inserting her own commentary while he was in the middle of explaining something. She did take a moment to pause and look at his face more closely, contemplating what he said about being only a year or two older than his students. It must have been difficult and not at all what one would imagine teaching their friends would be like. Eleonora's face softened into a look of empathy as she waited for Luke's answer and imagined what a student could have done to drive him from the school.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:31 pm

Every once in awhile Luke would take a glance in Nora's direction. What he was looking for, he could not say, but still he caught himself staring into her eyes through her bangs more than once. Nora hardly spoke as he went on talking. Luke tried not to let the awkwardness of their first meeting to settle for far to long, but it was getting harder and harder to engage with her, when his mind was diverted into several different directions at once. His mind seemed to be compressing hundreds of thoughts, memories, feelings and emotions all at once, over and over again as if a train crash was on replay in his head. It was enough to drive anyone else mad, but he seemed to bare the responsibility fairly well.

"Sorry," he finally said when few minutes have past without another auditory word was exchanged between the two of them. "I just- I just-" Whatever he was going to say never came to passed as Nora and Luke came upon an uprooted tree. This tree was ancient compared to those other trees they in counter. Luke wasn't a botanist, but he knew the height of the tree and the girth of the tree trunk told him that this tree was at least a century old. Huge claw marks ran along the edge of the tree trunk. Bark the size of small boulders seemed to be strewn around the area.

Luke tense up, knowing exactly who the culprit was. It was now or never to tell Nora the reason for this expedition into Ottery St. Catchpole's forest. Out of all of them, Pikachu was not at all perturbed by the site of the uprooted tree. Instead he took flight into the dark depths of the trees, leaving Luke alone with Nora. "The reason why I asked you to come in such unorthodox manner is-" But once again his voice was cut off by not one, nor two, but three distinct howls just a little further into the forest. He was going to ease her into an explanation and the truth, but instead, he said blatantly, "What do you know about three headed dogs?"
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:31 pm

As they continued through the forest a silence between them fell once more; to Eleonora it was comfortable but she noticed from the glimpses she manged to catch when he looked her way that Luke had a far away look on his face. He was on the verge of saying something again when they both were stopped in their path by the immensity of a fallen tree. The sight at once sparked her curiosity and when she noticed the large section of bark missing from the trunk her mind began to turn with possible explanations.

Eleonora was already a few steps on her way to the tree when the shrill notes of three howling animals shattered the quiet of the area and stopped Luke's words in their tracks. She froze, head snapped in the direction of the noise, her body tense and ready to run should another howl pierce the silence. Her first thought was of those terribly similar sounds she had heard not too long ago in the forests around the school, of the blood curdling shrieks that followed and all the pain that the beast there had inflicted. It was such a vivid memory that it clouded her judgment for a brief moment, until the fear settled in her mind and she realized that the howls she had just heard were not wolves, and werewolves even less.

Feeling embarrassed for possibly showing her trepidation to Luke, she continued on to the base of the up-rooted tree as she listened to his question. She wanted a moment for her heart beat to return to normal and her voice to become steady, so she inspected the tree with the guise of thinking over her answer. She was a small woman but suspected the circumference of the toppled tree would dwarf even Luke if he stood where she was, amidst the tangle of torn roots. Lithely she climbed and pushed her way through the maze of branches and roots until she reached the torn trunk. The gashes of missing bark were as long as her body and deep into the hard wood of the trunk, splitting far further than any man made instrument could penetrate. She ran her hands along the marks, feeling the rough edges and scrapes, knowing for certain it would take razor sharp claws and enormous strength to do such a thing.

Eleonora returned, slightly flushed from exertion, to where Luke had remained. “You think a three headed dog did this?” Whether he knew for a fact or was just surmising, he was certain to be on the right track. She could think of only a few other creatures that would be able to accomplish such destruction. “They are incredibly rare, especially in this area...if anywhere they tend to stick to their native homes of Greece and Ireland. I'm never seen one before...” She looked off into the trees, eyes suddenly alight with hope. Three headed dogs were dangerous, to be sure, but the prospect of actually physically interacting with one was a thought she could not hide her excitement about.

“They could do this, a fully grown one, I would say. But why would one be out here, Luke?”  When she turned back to look into this eyes once more her expression was almost accusatory. These magical beasts were prohibited by law to be bred or kept as pets, for their own safety as much as the people trying to handle them. There were ways to manage them, of course, but few knew the secret of their weakness to music and instead handled them with violence. If Luke knew there was one here he had either come across it by accident, out in the middle of the woods, or he had prior knowledge of it and now found himself unable to deal with it himself. She did not expect him to have mistreated a creature or broken a law, but it was a possibility; she didn't know Luke, really, and the animals health and safety was now her primary concern.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:54 pm

"I don't think. I know," he said stepping away from the uprooted tree. He did not turn to face her or respond to her accusations. Instead, he continue on the path that only he could see. It was up to Nora if she would follow him or not. He knew without a doubt her curiosity would eclipse any reservations she had about the dangers of a three headed dog will entail. He was right of course. He did not even have to turn around to hear her light footfalls over the fallen leaves and snap of twigs beneath her feet.

In a minute or two, the trees started to thin out once again. More light from the afternoon sun came pouring in through the branches. The brisk morning cool air was replace by the waning sun, which warm up the surrounding by quite a bit since the start of their endeavor. Luke stopped right before the clearing, where the trees were at their thinnest. He wanted to explain the best he could, and give Nora the chance to back out one last time, before heading into the clearing.

Through the trees, Luke could see fresh dew clinging to the lush green grass. It slopped ever so slightly down hill and at the bottom of the hill laid basking in the sun a three headed dog. Its main was a golden blond color. One was snoozing on a rock, while the other two munch on a red rubber ball. They snapped at each other, growled. . "Like any wild animal, they all have different personalities. What you read in textbooks is not always the case in actuality," he said watching the two dogs play. When one had a lot more time playing with the ball and the other head whimpered, the dog with the ball would drop it and nuzzle it to the other. It was absolutely adorable. "Its dependent on many factors. How they are raised, if they are getting enough food, if you guide with a firm but gentle hand even a three headed dog can be docile. Don't get me wrong. It is still dangerous but so is zoologist who observe Gorillas in their natural habitat or tigers in a safari." The dog that was sleeping moved its head ever so slightly revealing pikachu nestled in its fur.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:01 am

Eleonora was close behind Luke as he walked away yet again, this time heading into a section of thinning trees. When they reached the crest of the hill and were awarded a vision of the land before them Eleonora was struck motionless at the sight. Basking in the warm sun was a large dog the color of spun gold, complete with three separate heads full of rows of sharp teeth.

Luke's words faded out of her hearing as she watched the creature below them; she knew the truth in his words anyway. “They're beautiful!” Eleonora gasped, mesmerized by the huge beast in the clearing. Her smile was so wide it hurt her cheeks, but she didn't notice as all her attention was focused in front of her. It was difficult for her to remain where she was on the hill and not start towards the animal slowly. Her heart nearly ached with desire to get closer and learn more.

“Is he...yours?” She asked, tearing her eyes away and looking back at Luke. The thought that he had raised the dog to this age and size while still being in once piece was impressive, and Eleonora had to admire that. The laws of keeping such beasts fell from her mind as she marveled over how tame the dog appeared, sleeping peacefully and playing with the ball like it was nothing more than a puppy. It looked as if it could do no harm, and that Luke would be able to handle it just fine, if he had been doing so for this long already.

Begrudgingly, his plea for help reentered her mind and she was forced to address it. “So, um...what do you need my help for? He isn't sick, is he?” Eleonora's eyes widened with concern as she mentally went through the list of ingredients for medication she had thrown into her bag before leaving.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Tue May 06, 2014 6:21 pm

"Yes, They are mine." There was no point in hiding the fact that a three headed dog the size of a one story building lived in the woods close to Ottery St. Catchpole. There were nothing gain lying to her, so he told the truth, the full truth. "My ex-fiancee gave me this lovely gift as a sweet sixteen birthday gift. He was just a puppy back then but grew exponentially over the few years." He could still remember waking up in the middle of the night. His home in ruins because one of them saw a rat and wanted to chase it around the house at the expense of his couch, tables, chairs and glassware. It brought an amused smirk to his face.

But that cheery smile evaporated, and was replace by an impenetrable facade. "Yes,' he said once again, admitting his short comings out loud but not fully elaborating on them just yet. "Follow me and whatever I say, you do. Got that?" He did not mean to be so forceful, but as he said earlier every "tame" animal can pounce at a moments notice if they feel threaten.

Luke proceeded cautiously down the hill. He came in from this roundabout direction, down wind because he did not want to alert his friends to an unexpected new comer they never meet before. Even though he was silent, and Nora had skills in the wilderness as well, all three heads perked up. They all seemed excited as they spot their master coming towards them. Their tail was wagging, ears flopping about. 2 out of the 3 tongues were out ready to bound forward at any moment and attack with god awful head to toe licks. They soon realize that Luke was not alone. Their excited whimpers turn into a threatening growl at the site of Nora.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Fri May 23, 2014 9:56 pm

As Luke spoke Eleonora couldn't help but look at him quizzically, trying to piece together the information he was giving her. Ex-fiance? Luke was younger than her, by a good couple years by the looks of him, and he had been married? She could hardly express her feelings now and was still tentative about being in any sort of relationship, let alone being married at such a young age. While she felt compassion for Luke, as it must not have worked out well, she was surprised it had happened in the first place. It only reenforced the fact that the two of them had very different views and lives. She did the math in her head he paused in his speech for a moment, seeming to lose his focus. If Luke had received the dog at sixteen that would make it, what, at most four or five years old?

Her worried expression only increased when Luke conceded that the animal was indeed sick. From this position she could see no wound, or lack of energy, and at once her mind was abuzz with illnesses she knew plagued magical beasts. She also shot a stern look at Luke; it was one thing to play with a cute puppy and another to be dedicated to caring for a full grown creature. If he could not give the animal his full attention and the care it deserved he should not have the privilege of being its care taker. If she found out the reason for its sickness was neglect on his part she was ready to have a very stern conversation with this young man, and she imagined even if it wasn't she would be doing so anyway. While Eleonora was generally a docile being she had the mettle in her to  be forceful when it came to such matters as the well-being of others.

She did not like the way he demanded her to do as he said, but she understood the reason and, as always, was very good good at following instructions. She walked close behind him, making sure to mimic his stride and movements, to give the animal something familiar to see, though she doubted it would fool them for even an instant. When they reached the bottom of the hill, moving silently and with ease through the now cleared underbrush, the dogs heads all perked up at once when they sensed their owner nearby. As she had imagined, they also spotted her and did not take to the intrusion lightly. A low, menacing growl sounded from three separate throats. The sound sent a shiver down Eleonora's spine and she carefully stilled herself, looking carefully over to Luke, waiting for him to indicate whether it was safe for her to continue. While most people faced with three enormous sets of razor sharp teeth would be more than terrified, Eleonora remained calm and level-headed, her heart rate barely faster than when at rest. This was what she had spent her life training to do; she knew the danger would only be worse if she was to lose her head, and thus she wold not allow the ounce of fear she felt to permeate. What she wanted to do, what she would have done if not for Luke's presence, was to try to show the dog she was no threat. Instead she just waited, deciding that at this moment Luke was the one who knew the beasts temperament best and was therefore the authority on how she should proceed.
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:53 am

It was a grizzly site and would make anyone run for the hills at the site of a three headed dog. All three of them were ready to pounce at any moment. Their teeth were bare, sharpen to a point. Every slightest move Nora made, they followed. And the earth beneath Nora and Luke’s feet rumbled with every piercing growl they made. Nora was either very stupid, or had the nerves of steel to still be standing there. Luke believed the later. He did not know her very long, and trust did not come very easy to him anymore, but he saw an ocean of kindness behind her graceful features.

“Do exactly as I say,” he reiterated. The three headed dog was menacing, but they did not attack, which in Luke’s opinion was a good thing. They saw Nora as more of a nervous curiosity than a threat. “Treat each of the three heads as different dogs all together. They have three distinct personalities and you have to win over each of the three dogs or they will attack.” It was a tricky situation. Luke on numerous occasions got nipped at by one of the three heads because of his miscalculations or one of them were not in the mood to entertain at the moment. “This is Dino,” he said pointing to the right most one, “He is the most playful, easy to please. Conjure a red rubber ball for him.” Even though the dogs saw in grey, he always gave them a red ball to play with. “The left one is name Kero. He has an insatiable appetite. To win him over give him berries to munch on.” Back at Luke’s cottage he had wild strawberries and blueberries growing in patches. He hoped they were still there or they were in trouble.

The three headed dog’s hair stood up on edge, prompting Luke to speak even more quickly. “Last, the middle one is name Cerberus, the pack leader. He is the hardest to convince.” His personality was hard to decipher even in the best of times but this wasn’t ideal circumstances. “You have to convince him you are not here to hurt him.” He could not give her any hints, because Cazz, himself, Aly all had their own way of convincing Cerberus of their true intention.

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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:06 pm

Eleonora listened to Luke tell her exactly what to do, for the most part, and kept her calm demeanor in place. When he had finished she slowly retrieved her wand from the bag by her side, careful to make no sudden movements the dogs might consider a threat. Whispering the words from  barely moving lips she whisked her wand around and conjured a red ball, just as instructed. She sent it rolling lazily to the head identified as Dino, waiting with bated breath as it reached him. Next she shifted to face the head on the opposite side, Kero. Again she moved her wand and out of the air appeared a clump of blackberries, hovering just in front of her. She concentrated and had them travel through the air towards the dog's mouth, their path not as smooth or straight as she intended. Her hand was shaking slightly, and these type of spells were not her strong suit.

That left only the middle head left, the one Luke had not given her a clear way to handle. She took one cautious step forward, her heels resting on the damp grass ready to sprint if needed. She did not know the best way to tell this magnificent creature before her that hurting it was the farthest thing from her mind, yet she stood boldly before it. Eleonora had always felt, known, that creatures, no matter their intelligence, could understand the intentions and actions of humans, and some even the words they spoke. Being so empathetic herself, she understood what it was like to feel the meaning and emotions behind what others did or said, without quite comprehending what exactly the actual words might mean. Depending on this belief to be true, Eleonora picked an action she hoped would send forth her well meaning intentions.

With a deep calming breath Eleonora took hold of the bottom of her sweater and pulled it over her head, revealing a tank top that left her arms and upper chest bare. The warm spring air felt refreshing on her skin, though it caused a layer of goose bumps to prickle up her arms. Standing out in  stark relief was the raised flesh across one arm and emerging again from the top of her shirt, extending to her opposite shoulder. The scar still showed a faint red tinge, and looked too fresh to have happened so many weeks ago. Eleonora had been told the skin would may never fully heal, for a werewolf’s strike leaves wounds for life.

“Cerberus? I've been hurt a lot, too. See?” She extended her arms forward, palms up. The criss cross of so many scars stood out in the direct sun light, pale silver and thin on her arms. Most were old, left over from her days in the Ministry and as a young girl who did not know better than to get hurt. “I know what it's like to be afraid...w-worried that someone, something, might do something that-that will hurt you.” As she spoke Eleonora was not thinking of physical harm so much as other ways one could be hurt. The lasting damage of a physical attack was not as severe as that of emotional trauma. She pulled her arms back and lowered her head, the light catching her red hair and shimmering. “I would never do anything like this, or anything else, to any other living thing. It wouldn't just hurt you. It-it would hurt me, too.” She picked her head back up and looked at Cerberus, blue eyes wide with honesty. “I promise I am here to help, and even if you can't understand what I'm saying...I-I think you can understand my intentions.”
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PostSubject: Re: Three Heads are better than One [Eleanor Valenta]   Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:14 am

Alexander watched in silence, off to the side as Nora did exactly what he said. Dino, the most playful one of the three heads, sniffed the red ball curiously before chomping down on it with his overly large teeth. Kero was more hesitant as berries floated before him. He whimpered at the strange magic that brought him food, but after a moment or two, swallowed the berries whole in one great big bite. Cerberus seemed the only one not impress with her kindness. He stared her down, razor sharp teeth unsheathed and hair standing on end.

Luke never looked away from Cerberus, ready to intervene at a moments notice if need be, but still he hung onto every word Nora said. She spoke with some gentle sorrow that could pull on anyone's heartstrings. But did Cerberus, Dino, and Kero understand. All three were looking at her, but still the hair were up right, a low rumble of a growl made even the earth tremble beneath Luke's feet. They took a step, than another, still ready to pounce at a moments notice. "Slowly step back!" He said, maneuvering himself in between the dog and Nora. But before Luke could take his third step, the three headed dog was baring down on her, staring intently at her. At that moment, only for a second, he regretted contacting Nora with his troubles, seeing as how the dog could mail someone in three seconds flat. But in that one moment, Cerberus licked her from toe to head, covering in slobber, making Luke laugh out loud. The hair on the back of the necks of the three headed dogs flatten, they wagged their tail fiercely, excited to make a new friend. "You can pet them now," was all Luke said, watching Kero nuzzle Nora as Dino finished off the red ball.
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