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[It hasn't been hard to notice the tone in the castle on this day.
The storm continues outside the high walls and the creatures beat against the doors. The Cair Solemme residents gather inside the castle looking like cornered animals, barely speaking at the people from Paradisa. Tense is one word for it.

Somewhere in the castle, Felix is looking at the crowd as is speaking to the young man that led him here.

How long do you expect this to last?

A few weeks. It's always like this. Except for you.

How delightful. Are we simply supposed to wait? These people look like they're about to start biting.

If you don't like it, then go home.

As if were so ea--

Check your pocket. [Calmly smug]

[There's a pause and a gasp of surprise as Felix draws the Insolitus key out of his coat pocket] How?

Good question. How do you think I knew you'd be in the old town?

[There's another long pause as Felix stares at him, obviously ascertaining something he hadn't figured out before now] I see. Why didn't you mention this before?

[He rolls his eyes at Felix for a beat] They wouldn't have followed you until now. This place does that to it's people, and I'll be like them someday.

You want us to take you with us? If you know this will work, why haven't you left before.

[He scoffs] Don't be an idiot. We didn't have a key.

[It's about now Felix notices his journal has fallen open.] Everyone to the Insolitus. We are getting out here]
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[Nearly two weeks later and Felix can count it as a particular accomplishment that he's managed not to die, though it feels marginal in some areas. He sits in the cabin he's claimed as his own, huddled against the fire he's managed to build in the fireplace, over which hangs a small cooking pot. Inside that, he's making a try at cooking beans, which is one of the few things he's managed to find lying around. He pokes at it every once in awhile and wonders how it is that he's become so numb to all of this.

He reaches a hand out from the blanket he's wrapped himself in and opens his journal, which he addresses tiredly, though in his usual tone of lazy decorum.

How is everyone doing?

I thought perhaps, rather than starve by ourselves, we could try to pool our resources for a passable meal. I'm working on beans, if I manage not to scorch them. And I've a few jars of fruit as well. I'd be happy to share. [He'd also be happy to not be alone, and the note of lonely desperation in his voice is hard to miss.]
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Some of you may have noticed that overlarge crystal outside the castle. For those of you who haven't been paying attention or have been around a short time, that used to be a conduit to fast travel to Mineas Well. As I mentioned after the castle's latest attempt at redecorating, that crystal appears to have ceased functioning.

The event last week brought up a pertinent point to me. We have very little idea of what else might have occurred outside of Paradisa when the castle rearranged things. And given that, at the time, Flora - the woman who lives there and gave us that crystal - was the closest we had to an outside ally, I believe it's time to see what's become of her or her tree.

Sadly we lack a shortcut to the Dead Zone border as we having in the past, so this trip will take a few weeks. If you wish to follow, I plan to depart in a week, although I will go alone if need be. [He doesn't really want to, but he's stubborn enough to do it.]

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[Two things happen when Felix wakes in the morning.

First, he awoke to the feeling of fur in his face, which, he discovered after pushing it away with a splutter, did not belong to his Pokemon but that of an ordinary feline he recognized after a bleary moment to be one of Crowley's having had animals get in the way of his and the demon's fun more than once.


[The second thing was a small territory dispute between Sybil and Crowley's Ekans, which he soon discovered was also lurking about in his room, along with most of his menagerie.]

room/hallway filter )
[Sometime later, he opens the journal, this time on purpose]

Crowley is gone.

[There doesn't seem much to say. His voice is flat but there's a strain to it. After a pause he adds-]

Incidentally, there is a small zoo in my room at the moment. Anyone is welcome to take one or all of them.

...with the exception of the Pokemon. Those are mine. [Sybil will murder anyone else that touches her, but he's also going to keep the blasted snake. Crowley had had that the longest. He'd allow himself a little bit of sentimentality]
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[The voices started that morning. Echoes of a conversation that had long haunted him.

'I won't do it'
'But that's where you're wrong. You will do it.'

The violation he'd committed in a fit of fury. And his brother had paid the price.

He tried to ignore it, given the events unfolding in the castle. One dead. Maybe even more. And so far they'd been able to do nothing. Especially since whatever foe they were now facing had not lingered or allowed itself to be seen. He had started Chimera in part to prevent this kind of tragedy, and it only added to the guilt that was weighing on him.

Chimera members. This is one of those situations I have warned you about. We have lost people already and I am afraid it will be only the start. Whatever wards or protections you can muster, do it, and if you cannot do that, then try to discover the cause. I will...I will personally be placing additional wards on Chimera headquarters...

[A drop of blood fell onto the journal page, and he pauses to press a cloth to his face.]

Do not travel alone. Any of you.
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[High afternoon finds the wizard lounging in a chair he's drug into the lobby of Chimera headquarters. The pair of doors opening outside to the balcony are swung wide open to let in what little breeze can be found at this altitude, but it's something. Although it doesn't really change the fact that he is hot and sweating and his hair is becoming like some kind of wild thing. Better to stay sequestered up here where not too many people will see him.

His other strategy to keeping cool has been copious amounts of cold liquids, but when he gets tired of going downstairs to fetch more ice he experiments with cooling his pitcher of lemonade with magic. Which fails. Repeatedly.

Normally I would not bother to complain about the castle's whims, pointless as it often is, but this is a particularly special version of cruel.

[Moisture spreads on the edges of the page where his fingers had been touching condensation, but it quickly dries.]

By the way, is it just me, or is anyone capable of cold-based magic at the moment? I am not sure if something is interfering or if it's simply this weather ruining my concentration. I admit it's not a specialty of mine.
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[He'd been regarding the book he'd discovered for some time with an appropriate level of caution and wariness. After all, this was some kind of magical artifact he was dealing with, and they were not to be trifled with lightly. Once the voices had started, though, he'd been unable to ignore it]

What magic is this?

[There's an intake of breath - fear and fascination both - as the words scrawl themselves onto the page as if they were written by his own hand. Even the handwriting was his own.]


[He's lost in it for a moment as fingers trace the page, until he remembers where he is]

...please. Tell me why I'm here. Tell me how to get back.

[He's not sure if he's talking to the voices or to whoever put him here, or whether or not those things are exclusive of each other.]
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[Felix greets the journal in a cheerful but attention-demanding voice, not unlike that he would use on his students so many years ago]

Greetings, residents. As many of you are abundantly aware, Paradisa is prone to changing itself frequently. Sometimes for short times, and others, far more permanently. In the interest of keeping even more of our history of being forgotten, my associate Howl and I have compiled a short catalog of the recent changes.

I'm an associate now, am I? How very official sounding.

[Howl sounds vaguely sarcastic, which is probably not the least bit surprising to anyone who's ever tried to hold a conversation with the man]

We may not have caught everything, however. Frankly, there's only so much snooping into things I care to do, so feel free to ply us with any additional information that may be of use.

[Shush Howl, he’s trying to make people take him seriously, and somewhere, Felix gives the other wizard an equally sarcastic leer.]

Well, I’m not sure what else you’d like me to call you. But nomenclature aside, if we have missed anything, feel free to let us know, and we will add it to the record.

[The following is written]

On November 2, 7CRE, the castle towers were sealed shut and all residents living within them and other properties were moved to the central floors. In addition, the number of floors was adjusted down from nine, to six. On March 3, 8CRE, the residents awoke to find further changes to the floor plan.

The rest under the cut... )
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[In some ways everything was back to the way it should be, and in others everything had changed. He'd lost so much - lovers, friends, focus, and, more than once, his own mind. But the most recent change had, to pardon the metaphor, spun everything around and thrown it into sharper focus. Chimera headquarters were back at the top of a tower again (albeit a different one), he come to some sort of reconciliation with Ashura (although not a complete one), and he'd been reminded once again of the cause he'd tried to rally himself to so early on (even if it was, most of the time, partly futile). Spirals be damned, he needed something to set his mind to. Reminding the rest of the castle he existed was a good start]

Residents, I'd like to speak to you all briefly about the subject of magic. I am sure many of you are aware that it's perhaps the most important factor in our lives here. It is in everything and controls everything. But it is difficult to predict or define, and therefore to many it is also therefore something to be ignored. It is easy to mistake mysterious for unknowable.

Let me offer you an analogy. Until telescopes were invented, it was impossible to really study the nature of the heavens beyond perhaps the empirical truth that the objects within them were real. In a similar vein, magic is a force which our minds cannot properly perceive. We simply lack the proper instruments. But without it we can still observe and study. And every world that has it learns to categorize the phenomena by reducing it to symbolism and metaphor.

The more we know, the more we have the chance to understand. Perhaps even to influence. And that is what I have attempted to do here in Paradisa. The council I refer to as Chimera is meant to dedicate itself to just that. But to do so I need to hear from more of you who know anything about it. Any of you who have encountered it or are skilled in it's use.

Unless of course you believe it does not exist at all, or can be explained by something more logical, I'd be happy to hear from you as well. [It will either result in an interesting discussion or an argument, either of which he's fine with.]

Either way, I can be found in the lobby, just outside the door to Satis Tower, or if you prefer to speak privately through the journal, my name is Felix Harrowgate.

[That done, Felix settles down in an armchair and waits]
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[It had taken a few days of researching before Felix was relatively sure of how the situation had to be handled, and after the incident the day before, it became clear that stalling any longer would only lead to people getting hurt if the Mara felt more ambitious in it's pranks.]

[filtered away from the Mara/The Fifth Doctor]

For the safety of everyone, I believe it's time we dealt with the Doctor's loss before it gets even further out of hand. For anyone that wishes to assist, come to Chimera headquarters in room 529 as soon as possible. Bring with you a mirror or any sufficiently reflective item. I am planning to lure the Mara to the room, where I have installed some magic items - the crystals Phoebe left us - to hopefully trap him there. According to our research, showing it it's reflection will force it out of the host, where it can properly be dealt with. Stay in the side room until the trap activates and be prepared for a fight.

[filtered to the Mara/The Fifth Doctor]

I have what you asked for. Please come to room 529 and we can speak...privately.
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[It's been quite a long time since he's done this, which comes with it's own bit of regret. He'd been so caught up in everything the castle had thrown at him he had ignored his responsibilities. Granted, they were responsibilities he'd given himself, but there was no reason to pretend they didn't exist once he'd started, as easy it was to use Chimera as an excuse for dinner parties, which wasn't to say that would stop him in the future.]

Fellow residents, I will attempt to take up as little of your time as I can, but I would like a few moments of your time. If you do not yet know me, my name is Felix Harrowgate. I started a group here for magic-users I call Chimera. I assure you there is nothing sinister in the name. It is namely metaphorical for a number of reasons I will not bore you with in detail, but in short relate to our functions which are research and, when needed, defense of other residents. If neither interest you, we can at least offer you a certain amount of camaraderie of a peer group.

[Dictated away from the Fifth Doctor]

I bring this up now because it's possible one of those final conditions has arisen. If anyone here knows the Doctor, specifically the one known as Five, it appears he's been overtaken by some type of loss. He is clearly not himself and possibly dangerous to others. I cannot be certain what the cause it, but possession has been a problem here before. If anyone has an idea or has encountered him recently, I would appreciate you coming forward.

Current members, please weigh in with any ideas.
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Good afternoon, residents. As many of you are no doubt aware today marks the beginning of a new year by the castle's calendar. I'm not sure who decided that such an event should take place in the dead of winter. Back home, the turning of our new year would be either in the middle of summer or the beginning of fall, depending on which calendar you're going by.

In any case, I'm hosting a little get-together in Chimera headquarters, now located on the fifth floor in room five twenty-six. Refreshments will be provided, but please feel free to bring whatever beverage you particularly enjoy the taste of and would not mind drinking in abundance.

By way of advice, if any of you fancy yourselves a lightweight, you might consider fasting today [And that's about as clear as he's going to make that, yep]

Thorin )

((OOC:Drinking log is located right HERE.))
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[After a few days of mulling the problem over, Felix finally decided that simplicity was the best way to approach things. He wasn't sure how much of a chance he had at winning the game this year, but relying on luck and happenstance clearly wasn't going to do it.

Instead, the wizard took a sprig of mistletoe and pinned it on the inside of his coat where it could best work and not be seen by random passers-by.

I'm not sure I will ever be entirely used to this kind of weather. It never got this cold in Mélusine. In relation, I'm working on a enchantment that might help stave off a chill, but I would like to employ some testing, if anyone would like to come out to the courtyard.

[It's a half-truth, of course. He had gotten the idea from Ashura and a few others, and was fairly certain the spell would work, but it was a blind for getting people to come to him.

But he won't rest there, of course. After that, the wizard will set himself to roaming the castle for opportunities to ensare others with the castle's kissing magic.
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[There's nothing from the journal at first except the sound of fluttering pages and shuffling foostepts before a (to some) familiar voice pipes in, set somewhere just south of shrieking and indignant]

I've given you want you want, now just go!

[Another voice answers, heavy with the accent of one of the locals.] You should be thankful we're helping to save you from these vanities you cling to.

I'll thank you for getting out of my house.

You are so eager to be free of us. Are there other things you are hiding, Signore Harrowgate? There are rumors of your indecency.

False accusations and none of your business!

Are you keeping boys back there? Perhaps there is more you have to pay for.

Now see here---[There is a gasped and a clattering of furniture]---that is valuable scientific equipment, don't touch that!

[The exclamation is cut off rather abruptly by the unmistakable sound of a fist hitting flesh]

((ooc: interactions over the journal are unlikely to be answered, but the door to Felix's home is wide open as he's being accosted by a small group of the friar's followers. Rescuing is greatly welcomed.))
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[It took him some time to locate his room after being dumped rather unceremoniously outside. Not that it was the first time he found himself there in his long nightshirt and nor, Felix was certain, was it likely to the last. He had been dubious after perusing the odd titles on them, but the door marked 'Lord Wizard' was unmistakably his. It felt strange to see the phrase written there. He'd hadn't actually introduced himself as much since a few months after his initial arrival. He wondered if the castle was trying to suggest he revisit the strategy.

But Felix was not terribly in the mood to do as the castle wished.

After clothing himself properly, and performing another search of the now-empty towers and determining the new location of his headquarters, much to his chagrin (as poor a Cabaline as he made there were certain thaumaturgical advantages to it's location at the top of a tower that he would not deny), he returned to his room and addressed the journal as idly checked to see that everything was in place

While I dare say it's about time that the castle decided to address me properly, I don't especially appreciate the relocation.

Although for the rest of you complaining so loudly, at least it didn't see fit to dump us outside in three feet of dead leaves for a few days like it did last year.

Chimera members )

Crowley )

[Meanwhile, he starts pulling clothes and things out of his wardrobe. Feel free to catch him at it. His door is somewhat ajar]
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[He woke up suddenly from a dream with a sudden conviction the distant sound of laughter he used to remember the sound of. The sight of stacks upon stacks of book alarm him momentarily, but he need to look overwhelms the fear, and he pushes himself out of his seat to find what he's looking for.

It isn't long before he's lost and beginning to panic, when he remembers the magic book. Maybe the book will know

Has anyone seen Joline? I can't find her.

[A few moments of harsh breathing as he loses track of his words by the sight of a few errant shadows he thinks might be Keeper.]

Please. She promised to tell me a story and I can't...


((ooc: Felix can be found wandering anywhere in or around the castle. Please see this post for info and permissions pertaining to his loss. Filling this out if you'd like to tag him in person is greatly appreciated!))
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cut for tl;dr feels (and some implied r-ratedness) )

[When he speaks it's almost like his last message, with a similar tone of coldness, though there's a certain tightness to it.]

Gideon Thraxios is gone.

I've already recovered what effects he's left behind, so no need to go looking for them.

Or me, for that matter.

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[Later in the day, after he'd had a few more drinks to ease his mind and the headache he was nursing, he opened the journal and set about tying up the remaining loose ends. Naturally, he had the option of saying nothing at all, but he would rather not have anyone coming to find him and discovering a half empty room and nobody but a bitter now-ex to explain where he had gone.

No, better to face it, and let the judgements fall where they may

Friends and acquaintances )
Gideon )
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I don't think a crystal ball is required to realize we have a bit of a situation on our hands.

As such, I will be moving today's divination classes from the North Tower to a classroom at the base. I strongly recommend that Gryffindors and Ravenclaws not linger in their dormitories any longer than necessary, and that no student be out on the grounds until further notice - that means no flying lessons, Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology, and especially no Quidditch practice.

I would like to remind my NEWT level students to bring their dream diaries, which you were instructed to collect over the summer, to class today, in our continued investigation of oneiromancy, or dream magic. For my beginning students, napping in class in fact not a valid form of study of that topic. That suggestion was only creative the first time it was used on me.

[Hogwarts staff]

I think a meeting in the staff room at lunch would be prudent. We can't have a dragon wandering the grounds and disrupting things.

[Until then, Professor Harrowgate, as he is known as here, can be found settling at his temporary classroom on the ground floor. Crystal balls and packs of cards are scattered on the velvet-draped desks, though what you'll be learning with today depends on what year you're in currently. He's likely scrawling notes on the blackboard in preparation for the lecture as you enter]
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A brief report on the recent changes to the Insolitus

Filtered away from First Gen's )

Phoebe )


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January 2015