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All of what happened before

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Cecile Landgrebe
Splendid Contributor

Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 156

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:45 pm    Post subject: All of what happened before Reply with quote

Miss D. Maitland (Headmistress)


Dear pupils,

You are all aware of the disaster that caused so much damage to the ancient building of Avendale School.

However a school is more than a building, and we may be grateful that so few of our pupils were hurt, and those not too badly.

Most of you have been sent home, but for those who live in the far-flung corners of the Empire, or whose mothers are away from home, we have fortunately been offered a temporary accommodation.

Lady Endeline of Endeline has graciously offered to house a temporary school in one of the wings of her estate. Miss Ranfield and Sensera-chei supervise you and give lessons as far as is possible.

School rules also apply at Endeline Towers, and you are also requested to remember that this is Lady Endeline's home.

Take note this is not a holiday, I expect you to be on your best behaviour and to show our hostess what Avendale girls are like. It is expected that the damage to our beloved school can be repaired within a reasonable period.

You will be kept informed.

C. Maitland

P.S. I must inform you of an IMPORTANT RULE. Notices posted to the School Notice-board must be written with the pens provided and NOT affixed to the board with pins.

Please look at the title of this note and you will see this note is affixed with a pen, not a pin. As soon as you open a note you will see that pens are readily available at the top.

This is important so that school communications can be differentiated from ordinary household messages


"Do you think this is the right place?" asked Shen-cheri.

"I suppose it must be," said Shin-cheri.

The Estrenne identical twins looked at each other doubtfully.

"It answers to the general description. It is in the right general area," said Shen-cheri.

"It has towers," said Shin-cheri. "It would be bound to have towers. Perhaps we should sneak in carefully. If we don't see any of the schoolgirls we can sneak out again. If we do we can pretend we were here all the time."

"Of course we may get spotted by a prefect."

"Or by the irate housekeeper of a perfectly innocent house. Still what's life without the element of uncertainty?"

"Why did you have to go exploring and miss the charabanc?"

"How many chances do we get to explore the West outside Avenbridge Town?"

"We've got another one now, and I'm not sure I want it."

Shin-cheri sighed. Her sister looked very like her. In fact almost nobody could tell them apart. But she had no sense of adventure.

Beatrice Avery
Arrival at Endeline Towers

Beatrice dropped her suitcase on one of the two beds in the room that Lady Endeline’s maid had assigned to her. She sighed. Beatrice had really looked forward to attending the school both her mothers had such fond memories of, but this was not at all what she had imagined it would be like. She had assumed that she would at least be at Avendale. Still, this room wasn’t half bad. The bed was bigger than the one she had slept in at Avendale and the decoration was very stylish indeed. She walked over to the window and opened it. Her room looked out over the driveway. The charabanc that had brought them here was just leaving. In the distance she thought she could see two figures moving towards Endeline Towers, or maybe that was just the shadow of the trees lining the driveway playing tricks.

Beatrice pulled at her skirt in an attempt to get it to cover more of her legs. She still wasn’t used to wearing short grey skirts. If she had walked around showing this much leg in Loveton she would have…she would have… Beatrice didn’t even want to think of the consequences of such an action. If only she could wear some of those knee length socks she had seen some of the younger girls wear.

Right, time to unpack. She took off her white gloves and walked over to the gigantic wardrobe next to the other bed. Apart from some towels and bed linen it was empty. She quickly put away her belongings on the left side of the wardrobe. This room was obviously prepared to house two pupils. She wondered who she would be sharing her room with.

Mengxia Yu
Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

Mengxia tiptoed up the hallway, a suitcase in one arm, a large plush goldfish clutched in the other, feeling utterly confused. One of her white knee-socks was falling down, and she was certain her blond hair had gotten mussed. She had not found it easy to leave her mothers go off to a new school in a new province, and now they'd even had to leave the school! Well, this would certainly be something interesting to write home about, but how was she ever to get the "proper Avendale experience", as her brunette mother always called it?

Lady Endeline's maid had directed her to "the bedroom to the right of the glass roses on the first-year floor," but there were two vases of blown glass roses; one on either side of the hallway. Mengxia had never been very good with directions. How was she to find anything in this huge house?

"Which one do you think it is, Jinjin?" she asked her stuffed toy. Its button eyes stared back at her kindly, friendly but not very helpful.

Seeing the right-hand door left open, she set her suitcase down to knock timidly on the doorframe. There was already someone inside. "Rayati? Could you please point me to the twelve-year-olds' rooms?"

Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

The twins made their way across the grounds toward the house, darting from the cover of one bush to another like the Royal Kadorian Commando (which Shin-cheri was privately imitating).

They stopped as they came to cover within a few feet of the house.

"If we go into that great front portal we'll be swogged by a prefect or a parlourmaid - depending where we are - for sure," said Shin-cheri.

"Well, what do you suggest?" asked her sister.

"Why don't I slide up that drainpipe? There is an open window at the top and I could take a guzz."

"Shin-cheri, must you use that language?"

"All right, I shall reconnoitre," said Shin-cheri genially, taking the discussion to be settled on the matter of practical action. Pretending not to hear her sister's "Wait!" she was up the drainpipe like a small monkey.

"Who are you?" demanded Beatrice, turning suddenly from the youngster at her door to the shadow in her window.

"Friend," said Shin-cheri, covering her fist with her chin, since her left hand was still gripping the drainpipe. "I am mere Sayamari Shin and I am taking it that this is Avendale school in exile - which is something of a relief, by goodness.

"Whom have I the great honour of addressing?"

Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

"Beatrice Avery..." began the occupant of the room.

"I am honoured. I must make reverence. May I come in? I can't very well reverence from the drainpipe. Please forgive my unseemly entrance and thank you for your so-kind invitation."

The small Estrenne whirlwind blew into the room.

"I hope you won't mind if my sister joins us."

Shin-cheri put two fingers in her mouth and let out a whistle rumoured to crack glass at the right pitch. The rumour, admittedly, originated with Shin-cheri herself, but when one heard the whistle at close quarters one was disinclined to doubt it.

Almost immediately, what appeared to be another copy of her swarmed up the drainpipe and appeared in the room.

"I really wish you wouldn't whistle like that," said the copy. "You sound like a Merchant-maid's apprentice-girl."

"Do merchant maids have apprentice-girls?" asked Shin-cheri. "I shouldn't have thought there were any deep mysteries involved in the selling of goods. I cannot imagine a merchant-maid's initiation. There may be a Holy Path of Weaving, but I a sure there is not a Holy Path of selling soap..."

"Do be quiet, Shi-cheri. Many of the highest families in the West are merchant-folk," said Shen-cheri.

"Then there can be no shame in whistling like a merchant-maid's apprentice," countered her sister.

"Please remember your manners and introduce me to our hostess."

"Honoured Miss Avery, this is my honoured sister Sayamari Shen the future Countess of Sayamari."

"I am no such thing..."

"You certainly are. You needn't think I am going to take on the job. Besides you are practising for it every waking hour..."

"Kindly do not talk nonsense and introduce me to this other honoured one."

Shin-cheri turned to the younger girl in the doorway.

"I am afraid I have not the honour of knowing your noble name, young madam."

Mengxia Yu
Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

Mengxia stared for a moment, unblinking, at this most unusual entry. Perhaps she should have been contemplating the fact that windows are not the most elegant entrances into a building, but that paled in contemplation with the skill it must take to scale a drainpipe. (Not to mention to climb in through a window and emerge looking as though one had glided in through the door.) Was this a usual Quirrie physical training for brunettes? Would the (surely!) glorious drainpipes of Avendale, once returned to their former state, support a climber too?

Finally, she remembered herself; turning red, she managed something between a curtsy and a bow. How did one address potential nobility? "Rayati, my lady," she stammered to, Shen, and again to Shin, "my lady. My surname is Yu; I'm called Mengxia Yu." She held up the plush goldfish. "And this is Jinjin," she added.

She paused. As happens with so many young girls, curiosity got the better of her manners. "How did you climb up here like that?" she burst out.

Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

"I am not any one's lady yet, Mengxia-cheri," said Shen-cheri, blushing.

"Drainpipes are easy," said Shin-cheri. "Oh rayati. I am honoured to meet you." (remembering her manners) "A lot of things are harder than drainpipes. Why don't we pop back out and I'll show you how to shinny up here."

"No," said Shen-cheri firmly. "Now we are in the house we stay here until we are properly established."

"Yes, Sara-chenya," said Shin-cheri, making a small reverence. Her sister was her elder by a few seconds. Actually they had hatched from the same egg, but Shen-cheri had been the first to give voice, making her, by immemorial custom, the elder.

"Come, then. We must not further interrupt our hostess's visit from her little sister."

Mengxia-cheri blushed this time. "Shen-chenya, I am not actually visiting, I am lost."

"Well, we must find all three of us at once," said Shen-cheri.

"All four," murmured Mengxia-cheri almost inaudibly.

Shin-cheri made reverence to the plush goldfish. "How inexcusably rude of us," she said. "Rayati JinJin-chei. Please forgive us."

"She says she is honoured even to be noticed by one such as you," said Mengxia-cheri.

"What a perfectly raihiralan fish," said Shin-cheri.

Beatrice Avery
Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

Beatrice had taken a few steps back to have a better view of what was going on in her room. Chaos is best observed from a distance, and those two brunettes would certainly fit into the category of chaos. In Beatrice’s category of chaos anyway, especially the one who wouldn’t stop talking. She moved over to the window again and looked down to see if there might be more copies trying to climb up the drainpipe. Content and relieved to see that there really were only two she closed the window. She set her face to her most charming smile and turned to the three girls who had so suddenly invaded her room.

“Well…Rayati to all of you ladies. Miss Yu, I believe you have taken the wrong turn at the top of the stairs. If you go back and take the other hallway I am convinced you will be able to find the first year’s dormitories without any trouble. And you two honoured ladies. Welcome to my room. Stunning entrance, well done! Please don’t do it again. I take it you were late. The best way to act would be to go back downstairs and tell the maid that she gave you wrong directions and that you ended up in a room full of blondes. She might say that you had not reported to her yet, but just insist that really you did. She seemed rather overwhelmed by all of us girls when we arrived, and who can blame her. She’ll probably think she made a mistake. If you keep talking, which you do very well, she’ll just want to get you out of her sight and tell you where your room is. Right, that’s settled. It was a pleasure to meet you all, I am already looking forward to seeing you again. Rayati.” Beatrice reverenced. She really hoped that they would all leave now. Dea, why did you give me a room with a drainpipe next to the window?

Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

The three girls found themselves outside the closed door of Beatrice Avery's half-of-room. And the other half too.

"Good green grublings!" exclaimed Shin-cheri. "Doesn't she chatter? Did she really say that the maid would want me out of her sight? Is that what she said? She seemed a very nice girl. I can't think she would really say that."

"I am sure she didn't mean it that way," said her sister. "She was probably a little overwhelmed by you. People sometimes are, you know."

"Well yes, I suppose they could be," said Shin-cheri, trying not to preen too obviously.

"Perhaps you should not say quite so much on first acquaintance."

"Me say so much! Why she said four hundred and seventy-two fully-formed sentences without drawing breath and then ushered us courteously out of the room before we had a chance to reply. I must say these Westrennes have the oddest idea of manners. Have you found that, Mengxia-cheri?"

"Different realms have different ways," said Mengxia-cheri, feeling it safest simply to repeat a wise saying she had heard from her rani back home.

"Yes, they have, haven't they?" agreed Shin-cheri. "That is rather a good one. Did you just think it up?"

"I am afraid not," said Mengxia-cheri.

"Strudelcakes!" exclaimed Shin Cheri. "I wish I could stock up gags like that for appropriate occasions. I've no memory at all. I just have to think it all up as I go."

"You manage well enough," said Shen-cheri. "Now our first job is to find that 'other corridor' for our young friend."

"I say, why don't you get our lost lamb found and I'll talk to the maid? No point both going. I mean, she doesn't need to know there are two of us just yet, does she?"

"You'll have to tell her there are two of us if she is to direct you to our room."

"Yes, I realise that. What I mean is, she doesn't need to know we look the same. It can turn out quite useful when the servants don't know that."

"What are you planning, you bad sister?"

"Nothing at all!" protested Shin-cheri. "Just being provident in a general sort of way from long years of experience.

"Now you settle Mengxia-cheri, I shall talk to the maid. Then we can meet up and I can show Mengxia-cheri the drainpipe business. It's mere gum and lollipops when you know how; and she might as well learn something useful while she's at school.

"Well don't use the same drainpipe as before."

"I don't know. At least we know there's a friendly face at the top."


"If she really doesn't want to see us, I expect she'll shut the window."

"Suppose she's a fresh-air fiend?"

"Well, I'm always a breath of fresh air, aren't I?"

Mengxia Yu
Re: Arrival at Endeline Towers

Mengxia giggled and grabbed up her suitcase to follow Shen-chei. Shen-chei led the way, shaking her head in amusement.

"The poor maid! She'll never know what hit her."

"Is Shin-chei planning something right now?" Mengxia asked. As much as she was tiring of carrying her things around, she rather wanted to see the year's first prank. If the twins' feat of acrobatics at the window was any indication, it would be something to remember!

"Oh, not at the moment," Shen-chei corrected. "I meant it literally. You saw our entrance, didn't you? Likely she's sliding down the banister right now. If she misses the dismount, she may land right on top of the maid."

The pair fell silent a moment to listen for surprised shouts, but concluded that Shin-chei must have gone about her business with the maid in the more usual fashion.

"Do you ever get caught?" Mengxia asked.

"Not at all!" Shen-chei told her proudly. "Besides, we never pull anything dangerous. Eye black on the telescope. Bucket of confetti over the door. Once we gift-wrapped a professor's whole desk."

"Wow!" Mengxia made a mental note to check the doorways for buckets.

"Oh, here it is!" Mengxia exclaimed upon reaching the stairway. Two hallways branched off the stairs; she had wandered up the right, but the blondes were to be housed in the hall to the left. "Jinjin feels silly now. She should have listened to me."

Humouring her, Shen-chei waggled a finger at the fish. "That ought to teach you to pay attention!"

"Listen to Shen-chei!" Mengxia bobbed the fish in reverence to Shen-chei. "Jinjin says thank you."

"Well, at least she's learning her manners! Come, let's find your room." Shen-chei beckoned for Mengxia to follow, and they started down the blondes' hallway.

Juniper Halifax
The Blondes' Hallway

“ ‘scuse me!” Juniper almost ran into two pupils as she was making her way to her room in the blondes’ hallway. Carrying a suitcase in each hand and a small one under her arm it was actually impossible not to be in her way, besides that Juniper never walked, she ran or skipped or jumped. In this case the brunette and little blonde wisely pressed their backs against the wall as they saw her approach. Juniper bowed slightly as she passed the two girls and continued on, then suddenly made a 180 degree turn and took a few long strides back. She stopped in front of a door with large, expensive looking vases on each side. “Here we are!” She pushed the handle down with her elbow and bumped the door open with her hip. Once inside she dropped everything she was holding and jumped on the nearest bed. “Finally! I thought this trip would never end. I’ll have a cup of tea now please.” As she received no reply Juniper looked up. It appeared she was alone. “Ah, well, tea can wait I suppose.” At that point Juniper noticed a run in her stockings. "Now how did that happen? Hmm, I'm glad I packed some extra pairs." She hopped off the bed and took a quick look around. Two beds, one window, rather small but better than Avendale. She looked into the mirror of the one dressing table next to the window. Her blonde curls were a mess. She quickly brushed her hands though her hair in an effort to get the curls to lie down nicely together, but this only made it worse. Juniper shrugged and then remembered the two girls in the hallway. “I really ought to go and apologise.” Two leaps was all she needed to reach the door. She jumped over her suitcases which were blocking the entrance and found herself in the hallway, almost atop the same two girls she nearly ran over. “Oops! Oh, I am sorry! I didn’t mean to jump out on you like that! And I didn’t mean to push you to the side earlier! Oh, now I forget my manners. Rayati ladies! My name is Juniper Halifax, pleased to meet you.”

Harriet Shirley
Harriet Arrives

Harriet Shirley trudged up the stairs to the Blondes' Hall, carrying her leather suitcase in one hand and a carpetbag in the other. Her boater had slipped orward and sat over one eye at a cheerfully rakish angle, belying the stormy expression on the face under it.

Her honey-blonde hair, normally tightly braided and looped around her head, had come loose. Escaped corkscrew curls formed a soft cloud under the boater's brim, falling to her waist and looking far too juvenile for the taste of a young lady of *almost* 16. Practically an adult.

“I look positively Arcadian." Harriet grumbled. "Now that I’m in Trent, I could try to get someone to bob it for me, but they’d probably want a permission note from Mommy, and she’d never agree to that—never in a zillion years, not even if I were…” She tried to imagine herself an incredibly advanced adult age “Twenty-three.”

Down the hall, she could see some other girls. She missed Zoila, her roommate at Avendale. Although Zoila had gone back to her family in Alusinhe, Harriet had gotten a letter from her brunette mother (who had known Lady Endeline at school) directing
her to stay at Endline Towers and continue her studies during the repairs at Avendale.
Since a similar letter had been sent to Miss Maitland, Harriet could not pretend *not* to have gotten it and just hopped on the train home--something she actually had considered, figuring that it would be too much trouble to send her all the way back to Endeline from her family's summer estate in southern Kadoria.

"Well, that couldn't happen," she thought petulantly. "Nothing good EVER happens, and now here I am, stuck at End-of-the-Line Towers." Then she brightened. "I bet I could get a snack and some tea in the kitchen. If I could find the kitchen,"

Juniper Halifax, whom Harriet knew by sight, was standing in the hallway, talking brightly--as usual--to two girls Harriet didn't know: a brunette and little blonde holding a plush doll. Harriet made an abbreviated reverence to the group, saying "Rayati, Halifax. We're rooming together if you're in this room. Rayati, ladies. Let me put my things down and I'll come back and show some manners." They all returned her revenence and greeted her all at once in a cheerful clamor.

The door to her assigned room was wide open, so she walked directly in, shoving aside the suitcases blocking the entry, and, placing her carpetbag on the unmussed bed, turned and looked for a place to put her suitcase.

The small bright room was sweetly feminine, with its pale green striped wallpaper and cream trim. The beds were covered with soft tufted chenille spreads in the modern Trentish style. Harriet hoisted her suitcase onto the bench in front of the dressing table. Taking off her hat, she examined her hair with disgust. It sorely needed to be dressed and braided before she could be considered respectably neat.

Well, she hadn't seen any prefects to call her to task for untidiness, and Juniper's hair was at least as wild as hers, even if it was not as long. "Down to my knees," grumbled Harriet, pulling off her gloves and tossing them on top of her suitcase she retraced her steps to investigate this interesting brunette presence in the Blondes' Hall.

"Halifax must be up to something," she thought. Halifax was frequently up to something. "I'll bet she knows exactly where the kitchen is, though."

Harriet Shirley
Re: The Blondes' Hallway

Harriet waded back though Juniper's luggage and went out into the Blondes' Hall. Juniper and the other two girls were admiring the stuffed toy goldfish which the little blonde held tenderly.

The sight of the sweet-faced little girl and her beloved fish touched Harriet. Mentally she framed the picture before her, blocking in the dark wood paneling of the hall with the figure of the child glowing in contrast, lit by the mellow sunshine from a window over the stair landing. She longed to find her charcoal and draw the scene.

Juniper Halifax cleared her throat discreetly, awakening Harriet from her reverie. "Permit me to make you acquainted with Mengxia Yu and Jinjin," she said. Gesturing to the brunette, she went on "THIS, is Sayamari Shen. Did I say your name correctly?" She asked the brunette, who merely smiled.

"Rayati. My name is Harriet Shirley, and I'm 15. I know Juniper from Avendale, but I don't think I have met the two of you before." She made a polite but friendly reverence to the younger girl, who bowed in turn, tipping down the head of her plush goldfish at the same time. "Why, what an incredibly handsome goldfish." Addressing the vivid plush toy, Harriet said seriously, "Rayati, honored Madame Fish. Have you come to join our school? Are you an exchange pupil staying in the Carp Dorm?" This elicited a shy laugh from the small blonde.

Harriet turned and bowed to the brunette. Shen bowed low, very courteously, and said, "Rayati, honored Harriet Shirley. You must be Arcadian. Only Arcadian girls display their beautiful hair so gloriously."

Harriet colored with pleasure. She decided, somewhat breathlessly, not to cut her hair after all.

The brunette continued. "You are doubtless wondering about my presence in the Blondes' Hall." She shrugged. How to explain the complex machinations of her sister? It was impossible, so she merely said "My sister and I arrived late and don't know our room assignment, so I am taking Mengxia-cheri to her room while it gets settled." She hoped this didn't sound as lame to her new friends as it certainly would to an inquiring prefect, if one happened by.

Juniper Halifax tilted her head and crooned enticingly, "I know where the kitchen is…" The other girls perked up immediately. They wanted to know where it could be and each had ideas concerning how to approach Cook (who was an unknown factor) most effectively. Holding their collective enthusiasm at bay with her outstretched hands Juniper said "Patience, patience, please. Let's get Mengxia's luggage stowed away and then go and beg for tea, shall we?"

Shen gasped and clapped her hands to her mouth. “Luggage! I forgot about my luggage!”

Re: The Blondes' Hallway

"Please forgive me, I must rush," said Shen-cheri. "I beg you to look after dear Mengxia-cheri - Oh and if I come back for her please tell me that this is the blondes' hallway and I am not allowed in."

"Um - can't you tell yourself that?" asked Juniper.

"Well, you see, it won't actually be me, it will be my sister Shin."

"I see," said Juniper, who didn't.

"But what about the drainpipe?" asked Mengxia-cheri.

"Exactly," replied Shen-cheri. "I really do not think you two should bother that nice elderly brunette again."

"But I thought you were up to all kinds of jinks," said Mengxia-cheri.

"Last year we were. Now we are fourteen, the age of maidenhood. We are much more responsible now."

In the meantime Shin-cheri had found the maid.

"My name is Rayamari Shin," she was explaining, "and I have become a little confused about which room my sister and I were assigned.

"One moment, Miss Shin," said the maid, consulting her book.

"Oh no, I am Miss Rayamari," explained Shin-cheri. "Shin is my given name. They are the other way round in the east."

"The maid is well aware of that," interposed a tall figure in black. "In the West we address children by their given names, and if they get a 'Miss' they may consider themselves lucky."

"Lucky?" exclaimed Shin-cheri in amazement. "Is it left to luck? Is there no protocol?"

"That will be quite enough cheek from you," said the exasperated housekeeper.

Shin-cheri reverenced deeply. "I meant no impudence, ma'am, I was merely surprised by the lack of form implied by your words."

Mistress Baines looked at the Estrenne girl suspiciously. "I shall be keeping an eye on you," she said.

"Oh, you are very kind," said Shin-cheri, who took this to be an expression of solicitousness.

"You've got yourself on her bad side now," whispered the maid as the figure of the housekeeper receded.

"Really?" said Shin-cheri. "I was trying to be polite."

The maid giggled.

"I'd better go now," said Shin-cheri. "but perhaps if I see you later you could explain where I went wrong. I am a stranger in this part of the world you see."

"Glad to," said the maid.

"Would it be wrong to give you a shilling, for example? I'd hate to do the wrong thing."

"No, that would be quite in order, miss - so long as no one sees."

Shin-cheri slipped the maid a shilling. Strategically-placed allies were never a bad thing to have.

Mengxia Yu
Re: The Blondes' Hallway

Mengxia finally plopped her suitcase down on her bed with a thankful sigh. What a relief! Upon arriving to Endeline Towers she had feared she would never find a way, but now she had a lovely room and new friends to boot.

She would unpack later. Small people had small things, and small things didn't take up much space. She would have plenty of room in the wardrobe. She started for the door, then turned and flipped open her suitcase. She found the pad of paper and a pen; remembering Harriet's comment, she wrote "Carp Dorm" as nicely as she could and propped it up on her bed's headboard.

"What do we do about your luggage, Shen-cheri?" she asked. She twiddled her fingers to indicate her now-free hand. "Can we help you bring it up ourselves?" Shen-cheri laughed pleasantly.

"Now, what are you going to be able to carry up?" she asked the little blonde. Mengxia thought a moment.

"Your hat box!" she proclaimed.

"Let's see if Shin-cheri manages to wheedle a maid into bringing it up for us. She's terribly good at getting on people's good sides."

"In the meantime," Juniper added, "how about that tea?"

"Yes," Harriet agreed, "I could use a nice cup of tea! You say you know where the kitchen is? How about the cook? Is she the type who minds girls wandering into her kitchen?"

Juniper Halifax
Re: The Blondes' Hallway

“There is but one way to find out.” Juniper turned and half skipped half walked out of the first year’s dorm. “If we go down the stairs it is the hallway to the right.” Juniper skipped ahead humming a song her blonde mother had taught her. It was not really the sort of song a schoolgirl should know, but Juniper thought it was not so bad as long as she would not actually sing the words. When she reached the stairs she noticed Beatrice approaching from the brunette’s hall. Juniper quickly took place in a nice decorative chair, crossed her legs and struck a pose like she had seen blondes in the kinnies do.
“Rayati, Beatrice!”
The brunette gave a short nod in passing. “Rayati, Halifax.”
Harriet, Mengxia and Shen had arrived in time to observe the scene. Mengxia giggled.
Juniper crossed her arms and frowned. “Did you see that? How rude! And Halifax, not even Juniper!”
“Well, what did you expect?” Harriet said. “You DID notice that was Beatrice Avery didn’t you?”
“What about her?”
“Since she arrived this summer she has not as much as glanced at a blonde. I’ve heard some pettes say it is because of her mothers.”
Juniper sat up straight. “Her mothers? What do they have to do with it?”
Harriet shrugged. “I suppose they must be very strict. Arcadians can be like that.”
“I see. Oh well…time for tea!”
Juniper hopped up and together they walked down the stairs in the direction of the kitchen.

Harriet Shirley
The Kitchen Caper

The plans to conquer the kitchen were jumbled and vague, consisting mostly of invented emergencies of the sort that would require evacuation of the building, leaving the huge kitchen and larder vacant.

Shen proposed that they all run into the kitchen crying out that the school grounds were being invaded by dragons. Juniper pooh-poohed that idea since everybody knew that dragons never came this far West, even baby ones.

Shen shrugged, "It could happen."

Juniper said, "And they never hurt anything anyway. What good would it do for dragons to come here?"

Shen thought for a minute, leaning a hip against the wall and tapping her chin with her index finger. "Well, it would be something worth seeing, wouldn't it? A spectacle, a marvel they couldn't resist. We could make them believe it."

Juniper rolled her eyes. She had suggested that they could stuff some paper into one of the ovens, light it, declare that the house was on fire and usher the kitchen staff into the kitchen yard, and then sneak back in and eat as much as possible. It was *far* more the realistic plan, she thought.

Mengxia, in her piping voice, said "Why don't we just go ask Cook if there is anything to eat? We just got here from Avenbridge, after all, and it was a terribly long journey." She had raised her hand slightly, as if she were in the classroom asking for permission to speak.

Harriet didn't say anything. She stood apart from the other girls, examining the little hall table near her door. It was a small work of art, a jewel of cabinetry casually placed where it was almost invisible. Everything at was like that, from the knobs on the doors to the exsquisite carving of the woodwork and the elegant shape of the windows with their mullioned panes; from the proportion of the rooms to the great building itself which rested gracefully, like a beautiful and elegant sculpture, in the countryside that had recently finished its fall display. Harriet wandered to the window and looked out. The view of the rolling hills in the late autumn afternoon showed that the leaves remaining on the trees had turned grey, but the sky was the a piercingly vivid deep blue and the sunlight which had shone brightly, almost sharply, earlier in the day had softened.

She felt tired, but then perked up as she remembered what she had wanted to get from her luggage.

Easing back through the door of her room, Harriet quickly moved to the bed where she had lain her carpetbag. She opened it and rummaged inside. She took from it a small sketchbook and a little box with a chipped enamel cover--an old cigarette case--which she slipped into her blazer pocket as she turned to retrace her steps back to the other girls in the hall.

In Harriet's short absence, Juniper and Shen had agreed upon a general course of action and were enthusiastically working out the details: Harriet and Mengxia (as the most innocent-looking of the girls) were to go into to kitchen and inquire of Cook if they and their friends could be fed. If Cook agreed to feed them, Mengxia--who would have stayed near the door--would creep back out into the hall and signal to Juniper and Shen to join them while Harriet kept the kitchen staff occupied.

If, however, Cook refused their reasonable request for sustenance, Mengxia would convey that fact by means of a different signal, wherupon Shen and Juniper would raise the alarm that dragons had arrived and had accidentally set fire to...something. They could neither agree on the signal nor on the precise nature of the dragon threat.

Beatrice Avery
Lady Camille

“Juniper Halifax. Such an odd pette.” Beatrice mumbled as she quickly moved away from the group of blondes at the staircase. After unpacking she had decided to venture out of her room and take the risk of running into those twins in order to find the library. She had for a short while thought that the Estrenne twins would be her greatest source of annoyance and worry during her stay at Endeline Towers, but now she was not so sure. Halifax was pretty bad. Beatrice sighed. The library ought to be here in this hallway somewhere. At that moment a door opened at the other end of the hall and Beatrice found Sensera-chei approaching her. The young Estrenne mistress always made Beatrice feel uncomfortable. She moved slowly and elegantly as in a dream and it always seemed as if a soft wind was blowing though her hair. Sensera-chei’s voice twinkled and it always seemed as if some delightful music was playing when she was around. Things always ‘seemed’ around Sensera-chei but never really were. Like magic. But of course there is no such thing as magic. Not here anyway. Beatrice snapped out of her trance and quickly stepped into the nearest room, closing the door behind her. She really did not want to run into Sensera-chei and make this day more difficult than it had already been.

“Well,what have we here? Rayati, little girl.” A tall and dark brunette lay reclined on a chaise longue in the centre of the room. She was dressed in a long sleek black dress and her hair was very neatly curled. Beatrice thought she looked like someone on her way to a party. She reverenced.
“I am sorry Miss. I know I should not be here. I was looking for the library. Please forgive me, I’ll be on my way.”
The brunette smiled. “Please, I had just decided I was awfully bored and then you stumbled into my room. I think you have been sent to entertain me.”
“Oh no Miss. I was just looking for the library.”
“Nonsense, please take a seat.” The brunette waved in the direction of a large arm chair next to her chaise longue. She sat up and rang a bell. She had not put the bell down or a little blonde servant girl was standing next to her.
“Tea for two please Lena.” As the servant left she turned her attention to Beatrice again. “Girl, why are you not in this chair yet? Sit!” The brunette sounded very commanding. In a blink of an eye Beatrice sat.
“What’s your name doll face?”
“Beatrice Avery, Miss.”
“And how old are you?”
“Sixteen, Miss.”
The brunette sighed. “Oh, how I wish I were 16 again. Life was so lovely and simple then. I am very old now you know, thirty five next month.”
“Life is not simple at all!” Beatrice blurted out. She quickly covered her mouth with her hands. “I am sorry, I meant to say you don’t look old.”
The brunette smiled. “No, maybe you are right. Life can be terribly complicated when you’re sixteen. But I forget my manners. My name is Camille Endeline. I am lady Endeline’s niece. It is a pleasure to meet you Miss Beatrice.”

Diana Parks
A Nap at Endeline Towers

Rounding the wide corner and sweeping through the gate, Diana Parks doggedly pedaled her bicycle over the rough road towards the automobile garage alongside Endeline Towers. It had been a longer, bumpier ride than she had expected, and she was glad to have changed into an older skirt and blouse before leaving the station with her bicycle, because she knew without looking down that she must be awfully dusty.

When she reached the garage, she slowed and carefully dismounted, which is no easy feat in a frock. Unfortunately, her brunette mother had strictly forbidden her brunette daughter to take any sort of trousers to this new school. Mothers always know best when it comes to ladylike deportment (and the appropriate discipline following a flouting thereof), but they never seem to act in the interest of fun.

In fact, her mothers' interests did not lie in fun at all, it seemed. Even at 16, she was rather attached to the rattletrap velo her grandmother had given her for her 13th birthday. Diana only had her bicycle at Endeline Towers because she had paid the stablemaid to ride it to the train station beforehand and secure a spot for it along with her luggage. Naturally she would never have dreamt of doing it any other time, but desperate times called for desperate measures, and that included cycling in a skirt!

Diana had scanned the identical letters she and her mothers had received from Avendale upon confirmation of her enrollment. It had mentioned horses (of which she had none), musical instruments (of which she had many), laboratory equipment and scientific gadgetry (all of which she was only too glad to leave behind at home) and many other large luxuries a pette may have, but at no time did it allow or preempt bicycles. Diana had concluded that, by bringing a bicycle to Endeline Towers, she would be safe by its omission from the list.

After safely stowing her bicycle in the garage, (noting with satisfaction that there was one other in the far corner,) she walked on stiff legs towards the back door of what appeared to be a low-roofed kitchen. Perhaps the cook would be kind enough to spare her a glass of water and some toast; the ride had been unexpectedly long, and she was rather hungry.

The screen door closed with a bang behind her. Diana froze like a deer, waiting with a hammering heart for a cook to pop out scolding like a mother bird. When none appeared, she gazed around the kitchen. Nothing to be had in sight.

"I wonder what they expect a pette to live off of here. Not even a baking of bread." Diana had grown up on a farm an hour outside of Milchford, which had featured fresh baking and eggs every day, and even her last school had a tempting array of noshes left out by a careless cook in the evenings. Her appetite was immense, but she had a funny feeling that it would be forcibly curbed before long.

Tired, hungry, dirty and a little more than cross, she walked out the kitchen door into a very clean, proper entrance hall. Feeling somewhat out of place, Diana hurriedly made her way up the stairs, noting the small placard on the landing that read, "Brunettes' Dormitory", pointing towards a staircase to her left.

Arriving at the top, she heard some chattering and giggling drift from the next hallway over. 'Must be the blondes' hallway,' she thought. 'There are always more blondes than brunettes in these mixed schools, I've heard.' She hoped that she was not the only brunette marooned in a sea of blondes; they were lovely creatures, but they made her rather nervous. She preferred to stick with her fellow brunettes - at least one could get a word in edgewise and did not stammer with shyness when one tried.

The brunette hallway was abbreviated, with only three rooms. She looked inside one, but it contained nothing but covered furniture. Another had an assortment of baggage, but the few articles that had been unpacked appeared far too small to be anypette in her age bracket. The third had a properly stacked pile of trunk, valise and two hatboxes at the foot of the far bed.

'This must be it,' Diana thought, removing her filthy gloves and windblown hat. She attempted to push it into some semblance of shape, but gave up shortly, too hungry and cross to care much. Ordinarily she was a very proper, tidy pette, but her stubborn determination to have her bicycle had quite overriden every desire for cleanliness and order she ever had.

Satisfied that she would not be found for at least a half hour, she quickly changed her dirty clothes for the clean day frock and stockings she had tucked away in her rucksack, then settled onto the bed closest to the door. As her calf muscles began to twinge painfully, she sighed and closed her eyes.

Re: A Nap at Endeline Towers

Shin-cheri arranged with the friendly maidservant to have her and her sister's baggage brought up to their room by one of the garden-brunettes.

Attracted by a pleasant aroma from the kitchen, she found herself outside the kitchen window. The window was open and the kitchen staff appeared to be engaged with two girls. It was therefore the simplest of matters to slip in.

The kindly cook had already given a goodly amount of warm pastries to the "starving travellers" and was happy to include the winning estrenne brunette even though she remarked to one of the kitchen maids that "half the Orient seemed to be invading the house".

The other girls were invited in for tea and pastries also. The cook greeted Shen-cheri with surprise.

"I thought you were already here," she said.

"I?" asked Shen-cheri.

"Well yes you didn't come in - and then you seemed to be in. You was sitting with that little Estrenne blonde there..."

But neither Shin-cheri nor Mengxia-cheri were to be seen.

"Oh well, I must have been mistaken," said the cook, shaking her head and thinking "Something ***** about them there Estrennes.".

"But my tea..." said Mengxia-cheri.

"Tea later," said Shin-cheri. "Finish that pie and then I shall give you your first lesson in drainpipery."

"But won't that brunette object?"

"I have found a different pipe leading to a different window and a room that is definitely empty. I checked five minutes ago."

And that is how it came about that an Estrenne brunette and a small Estrenne blonde exploded unannounced into the room where Diana Parks was sleeping.

Re: A Nap at Endeline Towers

Oops - it seems the auto-censor objects to the word the cook used for "peculiar". A perfectly respectable word, I assure you. Tellurians have funny minds!

Make it "Something passing strange about them Estrennes."

Diana Parks
Re: A Nap at Endeline Towers

The two little Estrennes shrank back from the dishevelled figure before them. Sleepy-eyed and flushed, her light brown head slightly touselled, Diana Parks stared unblinkingly at her tiny visitors.

"What d'you know? I thought this was a different room, but here we are again!" Shin-cheri started forward, and shrank back as she noticed the older girl glaring owlishly their way.

"I thought you said the brunette was gone!" Mengxia-cheri panicked, ducking behind her bolder companion.

"No no, Mengxia-cheri, it's a different brunette this time," Shin-cheri reassured her.

Diana fixed a frown on them. "So you've been popping in on other pettes already?" When she got no further response than a squeak from Mengxia-cheri, she softened her gaze. "Who let you in here anyhow?" she asked more kindly, smoothing her hair. It won't do to scare them before you can even get out of bed, she chided herself.

"Nobody. I mean, we climbed a drainpipe and I didn't think there would be anypette sleeping..." Shin-cheri ended lamely.

The older girl did not respond, but threw her legs over the side of her bed and stood to face them; she was easily almost a foot taller than the smaller of the pair. "Mengxia-cheri, is it?" The little blonde nodded mutely as she and the older girl made reverences, and Diana continued, "My name is Diana Parks. It is a pleasure to meet you, young Miss."

Turning to Shin-cheri, she gazed at the young brunette until the latter quickly said, "Please accept my apologies, Miss. My name is Sayamari Shin, and this pette is Mengxia Yu." Shin-cheri turned to her blonde friend and asked, "Did Jinjin-chei make it up the pipe, Mengxia-cheri? You could introduce her to Miss Diana."

Mengxia-cheri paled, suddenly aware that both her hands and pocket were empty. Whirling around and seeing no evidence of her plush fish in the room, she promptly burst into tears.

Aghast, Shin-cheri tried to pat her arm, but the tiny pette only cried harder. Diana carefully lifted her onto the foot of her bed and said, for Shin-cheri's benefit as much as the blonde's, "There now, Mengxia-cheri. I am certain that your older, more responsible brunette companion would be only too glad to help you search the grounds for... whatever it is you lost."

"Jinjin," Shin-cheri supplied helpfully as Mengxia-cheri dried her eyes on the older brunette's slightly dusty handkerchief. "She was a toy fish."

Hearing of her beloved toy in the past tense, Mengxia-cheri started her sobbing anew. Diana faced the younger brunette with a meaningful look and said, "Since the damage of your friend's drainpipe antics is your responsibility, Shin-cheri, I wonder if you wouldn't take her to find her fish straightaway?"

"Oh, I shall," Shin-cheri said stoutly. "Mengxia-cheri, please come with me." The two younger girls (one suddenly square of shoulder, the other quite soggy,) reverenced the older girl, who offered a polite reverence back.

"Rayati, Miss Diana!" they chorused, and bolted down the hallways before she could respond. If they wanted to "Miss" her as though she were a prefect, they were welcome to, as it seemed that she would not have them sitting still long enough to correct them for awhile.

Diana sighed and closed her window, using a door wedge to fasten it firmly inside its pane. Let them shimmy up, down or sideways, she decided, as long as they never make it in here again. She saw a small truck zip up the drive with piles of student luggage tied into its bed. Good. She would have clean gloves before long.

Looking down, she noticed that one of her stockings was twisted nearly all the way around with the seam and heel clearly visible on the side of her ankle. "Bother these stupid stockings," she muttered as she put her foot up on the bed to fix it, not noticing the pretty Arcadian brunette standing in the doorway.

Beatrice Avery
Re: Lady Camille

Beatrice coloured. She had just stumbled in on a lady. Lady Camille took her silver cigarette case from the little table next to her chaise longue. She took a cigarette and offered the case to Beatrice. “Do you smoke?” Beatrice shook her head. “No of course you don’t. You don’t seem the type. Good girl. Don’t you ever start. It’s a bad habit. You can help me with a light can’t you? The matches are in the top drawer of that little Estrenne cabinet over there.” Beatrice hopped out of the big arm chair and fetched the matches. She walked over to Lady Camille and took out a match. She’d seen the maids use them sometimes. One strikes the little top over the side and it should light. Beatrice firmly stuck the match, and it broke. Lady Camille grinned. “My my, what a strong arm you have. Gently darling. Even a brunette like yourself needs to learn how to light a match. It is an indispensable skill in society these days.” Beatrice took another match from the box and tried again. It broke. “Again darling. I’ll not let you leave without having lit my cigarette.” Beatrice tried again and this time the match lighted. The sudden appearance of the flame almost made the girl drop the match but she managed to hold on. “Well done! Now hold the flame near my cigarette. Not too close darling, you don’t want to burn my nose or singe my hair.” The tall brunette inhaled and lit her cigarette on Beatrice’s match. “There…thank you dear.” She reclined back into her chaise and looked at Beatrice with an amused smile. “Are you not going to blow out that flame?”
“Ouch!” Beatrice dropped the match and shook her hand. That hurt. Lady Camille took Beatrice’s hand and kissed it. “There, that ought to make it all right. It won’t hurt long, I promise.”

The door opened and Lena came in with the tea. “Please pour out the tea Lena. This poor darling hurt her hand and I don’t feel like it much.” “Yes milady.” The sandwiches spread out before her look delicious to Beatrice. She hadn’t had anything to eat since they left for Endeline Towers early this morning. “Tuck in Miss Beatrice. You must be starving. I don’t suppose Mistress Baines has fed you yet, has she?” “Mistress Baines?” Beatrice asked. “The housekeeper. Dreadful creature. You’d better stay out of her way darling. It’ll save you a lot pain. She has the strongest arm in Trent and the meanest cane to go with it.” Beatrice swallowed the bite she’d just taken without chewing and paled. She felt the lump of sandwich slowly and painfully make its way down to her stomach. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have scared you. You don’t seem the sort of pette who’d get herself in trouble. You’ll be just fine. Now tell me, how does a pretty little Arciadian girl like yourself become an Avendale pupil? Quirinelle is rather out of the way, isn’t it?” “It’s my mothers, milady, they…” At that moment Lena appeared again. “It is time, milady.” Lady Camille sighed. “Yes, I suppose it is. Your story will have to wait until next time Miss Beatrice. I must be off now. Do come again soon.” Beatrice stood up and reverenced deeply. “Rayati, Miss Beatrice.” “Rayati Lady Camille.” When Beatrice looked up Lady Camille had disappeared. She quickly brushed a few crumbs from her skirt and pulled it down a bit, then walked back out into the hallway. She’d forgotten all about the library and walked back to her room.

“Beatrice!” There stood Diana Parks, looking a sleepy mess. “Diana Parks!” Beatrice jumped into the arms of her friend. She was so relieved to see someone sensible. A friend and fellow brunette. Someone who would do her very best NOT to get her in trouble. “Ouch! What did you pinch me for?” “You’re late Miss Parks!” “I am?” “Yes! You have no idea of the ordeals I went through this morning alone.” Diana grinned. “Sit down and tell me all about it.”

Re: A Nap at Endeline Towers

Shin-cheri and Mengxia-cheri made their way back down the pipe.

"I think we should tru retracing our steps back to the kitchen window," said Shi-cheri. "I imagine you must have dropped Jin-Jin along the way."

"No, really, miss," said Mengxia-cheri, "I know\I had her when we started climbing. It was quite awkward to manage her and hang onto the pipe as well."

"Hmm. Well, you didn't drop her while you were climbing or she would be on the ground here."

"There she is!" Cried Mengxia-cheri pointing upwards. I remember now, I put her on the top of the lower sash-window as we were getting into the room. I needed my hands free, you see, and then I was so surprised by that big brunette it went right out of my head..."

"That is all right," said Shin-cheri reassuringly. I'll just pop up and fetch her."

Wit the speed of a small monkey, Shin-cheri was up the pipe again almost before the words were out of her mouth. Mengxia-cheri climbed more slowly behind her.

"I say," called back Shin-cheri. "She seems to have a fin stuck in the window. I can't move her. Oh there you are. You didn't need to come back up too."

"Well, she is my fish, miss. I thought..."

"The window is stuck. I think that brunette has wedged it. I'll have to get her attention."

Shin-cheri knocked at the window several times before the wedge was pulled out and the sash thrown violently up.

"What do you want now, you young lunatic?" demanded Diana angrily.

"You wedged the window, miss..." began Shin-cheri.

"I did it for a good reason. To keep you out."

"Yes, miss. Very understandable. But Jin-Jin got trapped in the window."

"Jin-Jin? That little blonde Estrenne?"

"No, miss. Jin-Jin the stuffed fish."

"Merciful Dea..."

"But it is all right, miss. She is free now. We shall be on our way. Rayati, miss."

"Rayati," said Diana, closing the window firmly and re-wedging it.

"Downy-ho!" cried Shin-cheri ro her fellow drainpipeer.

"Do you think we should, miss?"

"I think we'd better."

"There are a mistress and two very big girls down there, miss."

Shin-cheri looked down. "I say, so there are. This is an emergency. We shall have to appeal to the better nature of that rather irascible brunette."

She knocked on the window again.

It was flung up even more forcibly.

"Now listen to me child," said Diana. "You may be unfamiliar with the ways of Westrenne schools and that is the only reason I am not putting you in House Detention right now. But let me tell you something and be assured that I shall not say it twice.

"We Westrennes may not have all the strict protocols that you people have, but there are certain unwritten rules. And one of those rules is that chinnies of your age treat their elders and betters with respect. They do not come visiting at windows. They do not even come visiting at doors unless they have an extremely good reason. They do not treat their elders and betters as equals. They know their place in the Golden Chain of Harmony. Surely that makes some kind of sense to you."

"Yes, miss..." began Shin-cheri.

"Good." said Diana and closed the window with a bang.

"What shall we do now, miss?" Asked a tremulous voice from below.

"I would appear," said Shin-cheri, "that the only way is up."

Juniper Halifax
Miss Ranfield

Juniper jawned. Why did classes have to start so early? Especially now that there were only so few. She and Harriet were making their way up the stairs from the kitchen to the library where Miss Ranfield was to give them their first literature class at Endeline Towers. They found the other pettes already seated in a corner of the immense library. For an improvised classroom it looked a great deal like a real classroom. Harriet and Juniper quickly took place at the desks all the way in the back. Mengxia-chei who sat in the front turned around and waved at them. The twins sat at the other desks in the back and Diana and Beatrice all the way in the front. All pupils suddenly stood up and Juniper saw Mistress Ranfield approach from the other side of the library.
“Rayati class.”
“Rayati Miss Ranfield.”
The Quirinelle brunette Mistress looked at her class. She was dressed in a grey pencil skirt, a crisp white shirt and a light pink cardigan. She had her glasses dangling on a golden cord around her neck. Her slightly greying hair was tied back in a neat little bun.
In one movement the girls sat down.
“Welcome to your first literature class here at Endeline Towers. We find ourselves in a somewhat unusual situation. Instead of teaching the 5th form I will be teaching a group of girls of all ages. This presents us with the problem of what to teach. I cannot be expected to teach each one of you the appropriate curriculum. So I have decided to teach you all 5th form material since the 5th form will need to prepare for the 6th form entry exam which will take place at the end of this year. Besides, it would be absolutely terrible for the older students to have to go through all that horrid old material again, wouldn’t it Juniper?”
Juniper immediately sat up straight and said: “Yes Miss.” As soon as she said it she cringed. She should have said ‘no’. A trap! The beast!
“No, you wouldn’t like that Juniper. I remember you were not all that fond of my classes last year. I see you have found yourself a seat in the back of the class. I’d much rather have you a bit closer, dear. Do come and change places with Diana please.” Juniper rolled her eyes and Beatrice groaned. “Come come, I’ll not have any such behaviour in my class. Stop pouting and change places…now.”
Diana quickly picked up her books and stood besides Juniper’s desk while the blonde crawled under it to pick up the stack of books she had accidentally dropped. All flustered and her hair all over the place as usual Juniper made her way to the front and dropped into the seat next to Beatrice. Diana sat down next to Harriet and gave the pretty Kadorian blonde a careful smile.
“Well, now that we are all settled we can begin.” Miss Randfield walked around her desk and took place in her chair. She put on her glasses. “Take out your literary theory books and open them at page 10 please.”

Diana Parks
Re: Miss Ranfield

As much as Diana tried to listen to Miss Ranfield's lecture, she found that it was nearly impossible. Not only were her legs still on fire from her long, uphill ride, but she was oddly distracted by Harriet's... well, Harriet's everything.

The lovely blonde had a halo of escaped curls that glistened at the sides of her face and on her neck, which did not help Diana's concentration one bit. Feeling a bit unsettled, she tried to focus on the streak of grey in Miss Ranfield's sternly gathered hair, but she had the horrid feeling that there was another head of hair she would rather be watching with rapt concentration, instead.

Honestly, she weakly reasoned with herself, since when have you ever paid attention to a blonde who isn't your mother? Blondes were such complicated creatures - dear, but very confusing. A giggly debate over three identical shades of pink lipstick could quickly turn into an earnest discussion about some wildly abstract thealogical matter in the blink of an eye, leaving most practical brunettes in the general vicinity hopelessly lost. There was something different about Harriet, though, who was currently sketching in the corner of her paper and absentmindedly biting her lower lip.

Diana fretted a few minutes more, uncomfortable by the very proximity of the Kadorienne. Surely she was only tired from a lack of a decent nap and still vexed by having to sit on a recently pinched region. The gnawing in her poor stomach was not helping matters, either. She tentatively raised her hand, thinking a walk would clear her head.

"Yes, Diana?" Miss Ranfield rapped out impatiently.

"Please, Miss Ranfield, I am feeling light-headed. May I fetch a drink of water?"

Miss Ranfield briefly studied the tall brunette. She did look rather peaky and just a bit untidy. "Yes, of course. Please take this attendance folder to the Headmistress' office on your way to the kitchens."

"Yes, ma'am." Diana fetched the folder at the front of the room and tried not to look at Beatrice, who was frowning and mouthing, "Are you all right?"

Diana scuttled out of the room, nearly letting the heavy door slam on the hem of her skirt. Really now, she thought to herself, no need to get stupid over a pretty head of hair attached to a pretty girl. There's Milchford to think of.

Nevertheless, she remembered Harriet's delicate, confident hand carefully sketching the contours of a plush fish in the corner of her writing folder and wondered how high enrollments in the fine arts were at Milchford.
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Setsuko Rayelina

Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 1
Location: Novarayapurh when at home, but currently the Avendale School in Exile

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: Miss Ranfield Reply with quote

Shouldering her courage and the thin leather bag where her most prized books were kept, Rayelina knocked on the heavy door of Endeline Towers and made a most polite reverence to the maid who answered the door. She was quite a different sort of Estrenne brunette from the topsy-turvy twins. If inside, she was inclined to find herself a quiet corner to read, and if outside, and not reading, she most often, if at all possible, practised swimming or archery. She was both equal parts at ease with the action involved in the Vikhelic arts, and the quietness that came with study, seeing each as the needed spiritual, mental and physical exercise it is, or at least that was what her brunette mother had instructed her over and over until she understood it to be true. Her blonde mother went to the Jewelled Isle when Rayelina was too young to remember her, and her brunette mother and two brunette aunts had raised her, a fact which meant she was at times, perhaps, a little less childlike than a girl of almost-fourteen ought to be. Her blonde grandmother was the only blonde she had known well, and it was her illness (she was of a very advanced age) that had kept Rayelina away from Avendale during the disaster and subsequent moving to Endeline.

The letter her mother had received from Miss Maitland stated that she would arrive again on the first day of classes, so she would have little chance to settle in. Why she had had to be sent away to school again she did not quite understand. Yes, it was her blonde mother's school, and she ought to feel some connection to her here... well, she had, when her schooling was actually taking place at Avendale School, proper. What point was there in seperating her from her still not wholly well grandmother and sending her off when one of her aunts could find a tutor for her, if they did not wish to do it themselves? But she did not outwardly question it, even if, staring a bit blankly at the hallway the maid had pointed to, she did think it, just for a moment.

Her time at Avendale previously had been confusing and yet wonderful, in that strange sort of reversed fairy-tale way that Westrenne life is always boggling to a sheltered Estrenne pette. There were blondes, to start with, although she had paid them little heed. Sometimes a tiny be-ribboned creature with long blonde curls would twirl into her path by accident, and she'd have to allow their existance, but otherwise she stuck as close as possible to the other brunettes. She would never have admitted it, but blondes actually terrified her. Less now than at the start of last school year, but still more than she would like. She had actually managed a little bit of a conversation with a blonde pette about her age on the train, but had retreated to her own seat when the sweet but odd creature had offered her some bon-bons. And now there was not even the safety of a blonde and a brunette wing, just seperate hallways. Hopefully she would not be rooming with one of the brunettes who was inclined to always be talking about blondes, or inviting them into their room when they shouldn't be!

Rayelina watched her luggage be tucked away up the stairs and clutched a bit nervously at her bag, biting lightly on her lip. She was about to open the door to the room where the maid had told her her first class, Literature with Miss Ranfield, was all ready in session, when Miss Diana Parks came almost flying out of the improvised-classroom.
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