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Wishing On A Star (OPEN)
Professor

60 Posts
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Registered: Dec 2021


All Accounts Posts: 138
#1
Sir Merrick was standing at the top of the Astronomy Tower looking up at the sky with his naked eye. The vast field of stars was easily visible despite torches below him. You could almost make out the different galaxies in the patterns, not that he would know what that was, however. He was feeling a bit nervous as this was the last night before the students arrived on the morrow.

While he had dedicated himself to learning all he could about the stars above and how they affected the lives of men, he had never been tasked with actually teaching it to others. Most simply humored him, letting him draw up a natal chart depicting his predictions for their personalities and futures. While he was no divination expert like perhaps Lady Ravenclaw was, the stars rarely lied.

With a great sigh, he leaned against the parapet with his gaze cast upward and he mouthed a silent plea for luck. Hopefully, the students would take to his classes and Sir Godric wouldn't need him to be removed. There was plenty to learn from the stars, even if it was just how to find your way at night. Survival was just as important as knowing why you were the way you were.
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Professor

65 Posts
3 Threads
Registered: Dec 2021


All Accounts Posts: 168
#2
Gwen was restless after putting Lora to sleep so she took to walking the halls. She had always thought that her brother's home was huge but it was nothing compared to Hogwarts. There were endless hallways, countless empty rooms to find privacy, over a hundred staircases, secret passageways (if her brother was to be believed), and at least three towers to climb. It wasn't hard to lose one's way if they were not paying attention.

Fortunately, she managed to find the foot of the Astronomy tower to reorient herself. Finding that a bit of fresh air might serve her well and knowing the front door was likely already locked, Gwen began the long climb up. If memory served her well, there was an open parapet at the top that she could wander around. Not the first time she'd walked ramparts, as she had done it often enough back at the Gryffindor home, both before her marriage and then again after her husband's death.

With the latter, for a few months, it was hope that Godric was wrong. That Shelton had not fallen in battle but only been wounded. Once he had recovered, he would come for her. Thus, she would watch for him when not tending to her young daughter. However, after those first few months, she had had to face facts that her brother had not lied - Shelton was never coming home. Yet forever after, she still found herself up high, finding comfort in the ability to watch for visitors - just in case.

The tower was one of the tallest in the castle, though her brother's house claimed that title. It was still quite a ways. By the time she reached the top, Gwen was a little out of breath. She was incredibly grateful that she had put off wearing her widow's weeds just before coming here. It hadn't seemed right to the children to see their teacher dressed solely in black. Besides, it had been more than a year, something Gifford had made very clear when he'd started arranging for young men for her to meet to give Lora a father.

If it hadn't been for Godric offering her a place here, she likely would have been remarried by now - definitely not something she was quite ready for. She didn't want another knight who would just rush off and get himself killed. If she were to remarry, she was going to be considerably more discerning in her choice for Lora's father.

Reaching the top of the tower, she did not realize that she was not alone. At least not at first. She quickly headed for the nearest opening leading outside. Under the nearly full moon, she shuddered as the brisk Scottish wind pierced her uncovered skin. Unfortunately, she hadn't been thinking and had forgone going to collect a wrap before heading up the stairs. Hard to believe it was so cold but then, they were rather far north. It was bound to get cold earlier in the year than the more mild southwestern part of the country where she'd grown up. Taking a deep breath, she let it slowly out before her eyes began scanning the world below. The bright light from above should have lit the area up to revealing shadows, at least but they were so high up that it was very hard to tell.

Gripping the edge of the parapet, she leaned forward a bit to look down the full length of the tower, a bit dizzy and yet excited by the distance below her.
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Professor

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#3
Merrick turned as he heard the door behind him creep open and was surprised when a beautiful redhead popped out, seemingly not noticing him as she went to the edge of the tower and looked over. He recognized her immediately though they had never officially met. She was Sir Godric's sister and widow to Sir Shelton Moore. He watched her for a moment before he cleared his throat loudly enough to be heard. He didn't want anyone accusing him of being a cad for watching her without her knowledge.

"Lady Moore," he addressed her with a bow. "Good Eve te ye. May I be o' service?"

His Irish brogue was rather thick but he hoped she could understand him well enough. He was doing his best to think of her as Godric's sister and not as a beautiful woman, which was difficult to do. The last thing he wanted to do was upset the man who had given him this opportunity. As good of a fighter as he was, he knew he would be no match for Godric in a duel, magical or not. Merrick had always been more of a lover than a fighter anyway.
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Professor

65 Posts
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Registered: Dec 2021


All Accounts Posts: 168
#4
Gwen startled when she heard another voice somewhere nearby. Her hand slipped and she nearly pitched forward. Before she could go too far, however, a strong pair of hands were around her waist, pulling her back from the edge. Turning back, she found Sir Merrick Raine standing behind her.

That had to be who this was. He was the only other man here at the castle and this was, technically, his tower. Of course her brother had mentioned his brother in arms at the dinner table and then, again, when he had told her about the small staff they had hired to teach the students, though they had yet to come face to face and been properly introduced. And now here he was, touching her.

And it was nice.

Once he was sure she was not going to fall, he released her and instantly, the warmth she'd felt through the layers of her clothing drained away. Odd that just his hands gave off such heat. She was definitely startled by the small slip, a little breathless as she thought of what would have happened had he not been there.

"Thank you! Sir Raine, is it not?" She asked, giving him a rare smile. "I suppose this is your tower and I am imposing. I beg your pardon. I only wanted a little fresh air and the front door is already locked. Of course, there are other ways out but this seemed the easiest to find - tall tower and all and I don't normally mind heights nor am I usually so clumsy. I was merely startled, foolishly, not expecting anyone up here. My brother would be so disappointed in my survival skills that I didn't check everywhere before standing so close to the edge. You never know who could be on hand, waiting to knock you off for your inheritance." Her eyes open wide.

"Not that I have any! I just mean, just in general. And of course, that wouldn't be what you were up here for, obviously not knowing some foolish girl would come up and interrupt your peace. Just some fresh air - that was what I wanted but I can leave you to your solitude, if you like."

Yes, she was rambling. She had the tendency to do that when she was nervous. And this man definitely made her nervous, though she couldn't understand why. Likely because he'd seen her be so careless of her person. But why should that matter? Most of Godric's friends thought her a fool. Actually, most of her family did as well so what was one more person.

But really, she'd wanted to start anew at the school; make a better impression on both her students and fellow staff than this. Now she had completely blown it. A rush of heat went to her cheeks as she blushed fiercely at her foolishness - not just the slip but now that she was rambling and interrupting whatever he had been doing. Probably preparing for his first class and here she was, distracting him!

A beautiful distraction, perhaps, but a distraction nevertheless.
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Professor

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#5
Being able to hold a beautiful woman was not foreign to him but there was something different about Lady Moore that he couldn't quite put his finger on. She wasn't the only one missing warmth when he released her once he was sure she was steady on her feet. But he knew better than to try to get handsy. He found it endearing when she started to nervously ramble and sought to put her at ease, though it was distracting to see how beautifully she blushed.

"Aye, I be Sir Merrick Raine," he said bowing again. "I cannae blame you fer wantin' fresh air. I te find meself needin' some. Tis why I be up 'ere meself. Tha' and te loo' at the stars above. They 'ave always brought me guidance when I need it."

"Please, stay as long as ye li'e," he said, motioning to the top of his tower. It seemed sort of silly to think of it as solely his. The castle belonged to the four founders and the students they would soon be housing. "I d'nae mind company."

Merrick, unlike her assumptions, did not find her to be a fool. Young perhaps and inexperienced in the company of others maybe, but not a fool. The majority of women he had met on his travels were not and he had been raised to respect them. His own mother was a strong example, perhaps even stronger of a person than his father and brother combined. In fact, he hoped it was something his mousy little sister would be like as well as she got older. She was already quite sassy at the age of fifteen years.
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Professor

65 Posts
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Registered: Dec 2021


All Accounts Posts: 168
#6
When he bowed to her, Gwen curtsied to him as expected of a lady. When he straightened, she could finally make out the planes of his face. He was not clean shaven, like her brothers or husband had been, yet she could see a strong chin and jaw, slightly crooked nose, and amazing eyes. Curses! Why couldn't her brother have hired some ugly troll to teach Astronomy. He always brought home the handsome ones!

To her detriment, she had to remind herself. This man was a knight, just like her brother - like Shelton. She couldn't, no matter how handsome he was. The fact that they were in such close quarters couldn't matter because of the sword he'd worn and likely would again. Gwen just couldn't face that news ever again. And she wouldn't make her daughter suffer through the loss of two fathers. It wasn't fair to her baby to even consider it.

But if she did...

When he mentioned the stars never leading him astray, she looked up automatically. Obviously she was curious about what they said, having never learned astronomy. Her mother had never counted it as something important for her to know. And astrology had definitely not been on the lesson plans. Gwen's attention span had never lasted long enough to learn so much. She had been lucky to learn what magic she had, always more concerned with other things that just seemed more important.

"So, what are they telling you tonight? The stars, I mean. Do they hold any secrets about how this bold endeavor might play out for my dear brother...and for us." She said and then realized what she had said. "The rest of the staff, I mean. Not us, as in you and me." Oh no, she was doing it again! "Not that there is anything wrong with you! Just, I meant it in general of course!" She felt like such a fool again. What was up with this man that made her seem such a chatterbox? Not that she didn't talk much because she did but not such rambling monologue.

But anything to hear that amazing, lilting Irish accent. Who would have thought something like a voice could be so...just so! Defining it would surely make the feelings of attraction worse.
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Professor

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#7
Merrick couldn't help the smile that spread across his face as she began to ramble again. If the fates were different he would have liked to have met her before he had sworn his sword to her brother's cause. Perhaps before she had met Sir Shelton and suffered such a horrific loss. 

He cast his gaze back up at the stars and looked at them thoughtfully for a moment. He found the placement of a few steady constellations and noted their positions before speaking. "I thin' tha' this course is righ' fer Sir Godric. The school will be successful, but tis nae withou' risk," he said, his smile shrinking a bit. "There will be 'ardships an' trials a'ead. If 'e can keep 'is 'ead focused, I d'nae see why it should fail. As fer us..."

Suddenly his smile was back and he looked back at her. "I thin' we will be good friends," he declared. To be honest he hadn't seen that in the stars as he didn't often look into them for his own benefit. This was based more on his hopes for the future. Truth be told, he hoped he would see a lot more of Lady Moore if only to see the way she blushed and grew flustered.

"'ave ye e'er read the stars?" he asked, curious as to her appetite for study. "Tis a fascinatin' study."
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Professor

65 Posts
3 Threads
Registered: Dec 2021


All Accounts Posts: 168
#8
Gwen watched him as he looked up, enjoying the bright light of the moon and the fainter glow from the torches illuminating him almost completely with only a slight shadow here and there. Though that was a rather dangerous thought, considering how handsome he was. Best not to look at him, best not to feel anything so instead, she cast her eyes up as well, even though the star-lit tapestry above might have been a foreign language for she could understand none of it.

How lucky she had someone here who could read it like a map. Yes, very fortunate indeed - for that purpose!

When he began to speak, she looked back down. It was pleasing to hear that the endeavor seemed to have a favorable outcome, although she doubted that her brother would take the stars as any reassurance to his concerns about failure. Of course, anything worth having contained hardships aplenty. She had seen that time and time again but that was when you had to fight harder for your dreams and desires.

When he went on to say that they would be friends, her eyebrows raise slightly, a smile spreading on her face. "Oh, the stars tell you all that, do that?" She mused. "Though I could hardly accuse you of playing me false. I am afraid my mother did not see to my education in the study of either of your subjects. I was a rather poor student overall, to be honest. Frankly, the kindest words I heard on the subject went something like, not the brightest candle in the chandelier." She gave a self-deprecating shrug, quite unladylike but rather truthful in how she felt.

It had been her brother Gifford, saying it, of course. And Gwen was not supposed to have heard him say such but she'd been eavesdropping on a conversation between her older brothers and mother when Gifford had decided that it was time for her to marry. He'd wanted to marry her off to whomever would have her simply because she couldn't do much for herself and thus would need someone who could take care of her.

How furious she had been in that moment, that she did so many things for other people but it still wasn't enough in her eldest brother's eyes to impress him.

"Though I do find myself curious sometimes. Ric always talks about navigating by the stars. He tried to show me once how to do it, in case I was ever out on my visits and darkness fell before I could make my way home but, between me and you," she leaned forward a little as though they were sharing some great secret, "I do not believe that Astronomy is quite his thing either."
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Professor

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#9
"Tis a shame, but e'eryone 'as their strengths an' weaknesses," he said, seeming nonplussed by her explanation. It was often people took what he said with a grain of salt. Even his own brother, Maximus, tended to make fun of him for his fascination with the stars and all they had to say.

Merrick chuckled at her words and nodded. "Aye, I thin' ye may be righ'. Whene'er we be travelin', tis I who be doin' the navigatin' at nigh'," he shared with her. "Te be 'onest, the bes' thin' I can sugges' is be loo'in' fer the brightest star in the sky. Tis the north star see, an' it always poin's ye north."

Taking a small chance he walked over toward her and looked up again. "Can ye pick it ou'?" he asked her in a near whisper. His eyes immediately fell on the star in question but he was curious if she could find it in the sea of endless stars. It definitely burned brighter than the rest but it was sometimes hard for others to find it.

He looked down at her face, wondering if she would play along. He smelled of the woods: pine, freshwater, and the like, as he spent a lot of time there. Often with her brother but he wasn't about to mention that. In fact, he had been out checking the perimeter of the lands with the man, testing the strength of the magical wards that had been placed around the grounds and the castle proper.
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Professor

65 Posts
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Registered: Dec 2021


All Accounts Posts: 168
#10
As he stepped closer, Gwen took a subtle deep breath, shocked when the scent of him hit her full force. That amazing combination of the outdoors along with something a little more that she could not quite identify. For a moment her eyes closed, feeling the warmth coming off of his body. A part of her wanted to step into it.

Her eyes shot open immediately, scolding herself for the reaction. How long since she had been this close to a man? A man who wasn't related to her, that is. This was highly inappropriate, the two of them being up there alone together and yet she couldn't find it in herself to leave just yet. No, she was too wrapped up in scents and heat and the air. Mostly the air! But still, that tender feeling of strength standing so close she could reach out and touch it.

So distracted was she by his nearness that she almost missed his question. It took her a few moments to recognize what he'd said, her eyes locked onto his face. When he looked at her, her face looked up, studying the pinpricks of light for a moment. "I know the North Star. Polaris. I wanted to name my son that, it just sounded like such a perfect name for a boy - strong and steady - as the North Star is supposed to be.

"And bright! So very bright." Where was that blasted star? There was just so many stars up here that it was hard to find. Wasn't it in a cup or something? And did he need to stand so close?! She would have backed up a step or two but she was already so close to the edge that she didn't dare. Not that she wanted to step away but it would only be prudent for her to do so. Were anyone to see them...

"There?" She asked, finding the cup and pointing to just where the handle connected to the cup itself. She knew it was one of those but couldn't remember the exact location. But she had to be close!!
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