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The Pensieve: Extracts

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Viesti kirjoittaja Athanaton 05.09.20 18:15

NAME: The Pensieve: Extracts
LANGUAGE: English
COMMON THEMES: Depends on each piece.
DESCRIPTION: The Pensieve: Extracts is my personal collection of canonical short stories that expand on the magical lives of my currently active characters, though I may occasionally refer to those who have already seen their best days and retired to the sidelines. It works much like the Pensieve, allowing memories to be reviewed. I have made this collection primarily for myself as I wanted to have one place for all my stories and write more for the sake of writing, however anyone is more than welcome to read it and enjoy it like any other fiction. Due to not being able to write very actively, I apologise for being a slower writer and not being able to write as much as I used to. That said, I hope you enjoy reading it and please let me know if you liked it!

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Viesti kirjoittaja Athanaton 18.12.20 1:04

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EMRYS WYLLON

'So you want us all thrown into AZKABAN?'
'AZKABAN?'
'AZKABAN?'
'Azkaban?...'


That, was the last place that not a single wizard wanted to visit in the wizarding world, not even Emrys who had a fascination with things that could not be found, such as places that did not appear on maps. Azkaban, however, was a different story. For all he knew, saying that it was merely a magical prison was an understatement easily made by those who failed to understand why it was built in the first place, and why it was still feared by so many. Though only a handful of Wyllons had been imprisoned there in the past, Emrys had heard that most who were sent there went mad within weeks, and not one of them came back the same. He assumed that it had to do with the fact that it was guarded by Dementors, which made it such a grim place. 'Azkaban,' said his great grandfather Selwyn, 'is by no means where hope lingers. It is where it all dies for good.' To many, it was reserved for the worst of wizardkind, devoid of happiness whilst being ultimately surrounded by those amongst the foulest creatures that infested the darkest, filthiest places like the prison of Azkaban, and drained peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them, leaving behind only despair. Being born into the Wyllon family, Emrys was well aware of the horrors that inhabited the prison, but his father Geraint liked to remind him about them every so often as if the image of their dark hooded cloaks was not vivid enough to someone who was easily disturbed by the thought of them. There was one time before dinner when he hinted at them again, saying out of the blue, 'There are worse things than death, you know?' Startled by the sudden change of his tone, as they had barely talked at all that day, Emrys realised that he had heard it so many times throughout his childhood that the image of the hooded figures came to him almost immediately, being as vivid as it could possible be.

'Azkaban,' he thought to himself, believing that it should not be spoken when his mother Enid was within earshot. Emrys could hear footsteps from the next room and assumed that she was busy doing other things, so it was better not to disturb her with such matters. After all, she did not like that he talked too much about the prison to him. They were sitting in the drawing room, enjoying afternoon tea gathered around the fireplace whilst it drizzled outside. 'He must mean Azkaban.' Then, he could tell that he was right by the look on his father's face when he stared into his eyes, nodding approvingly. 'Yes,' he said, smiling faintly. Though not lacking in the humour department, Geraint smiled rarely at others, unless he had had a few too many, but even so it was not exactly because he was delighted by what was said to him. Rather, it was his way of maintaining authority in the family and, Emrys had noted, signalling to his wife that he too was capable of being gentle, not that she was always sold on his performance. Geraint regarded emotions as aestheticised sensations, or distractions as he liked to put it, and personally preferred to be known for his thorns rather than petals much like his grandfather Selwyn Wyllon, who he was said to resemble more than his own father. Thus, perhaps not surprisingly, he could not have been more different from his wife Enid, born into the Huckbee family, who often according to her husband let her judgement be clouded by her emotions. 'It is one of those things,' he admitted and leaned back in his armchair with a thoughtful look on his face, putting his cup aside. Geraint ran his pale fingers through the tufts of dark hair on his chin and resumed his severe tone. 'What else do you think is worse than death, Emrys?' There was another thing that he brought up time and time again, especially when someone from the Ministry came to visit. Emrys glanced sideways across the room at the door behind which his mother was, not minding if she heard the response that followed.

'The end of tradition,' said Emrys, furrowing his brows to look more determined when he caught the eyes of his father. He knew that it was what he wanted to hear, so he smiled confidently in response and took a sip of his tea. 'Which leads to?' 'Chaos, probably.' The man leaned forward and gave him another approving look, his stern face being illuminated by the flames in the fireplace that crackled loudly through the silence that fell on the room. For a short moment, not even footsteps could be heard from the room where Enid was, only the old grandfather clock that ticked near the opposite wall behind Geraint and his son. Emrys wondered if she had by then realised the tone of their conversation, though it was more likely that she had not. Geraint stared down into the fireplace and laughed half-heartedly through his nose, then returning his piercing gaze. 'Chaos,' he repeated sentimentally, his voice sunk to a whisper, as he reached out and put his hands on the young lad's shoulders, looking into his eyes from under his thick brows that framed his twinkling eyes. Taken aback by his unexpected gesture, Emrys responded with a baffled look as he struggled to understand why he had come so close. If anything, he realised that he had probably never hugged his father. 'Yes, dad?' The brief silence that followed was filled with such suspense that Emrys stared at him with eyes that did not blink at all, not realising that he was holding his breath too. Geraint, smiling weakly, let his hands slide down as he sighed heavily before doing so. 'You're a smart lad, Emrys. Who taught you all that? To think of Azkaban...' Then, right as the name escaped his lips obscured by the dark beard of his, the door to the room where his mother was suddenly opened and she came in, her long, blonde hair hanging down her back. She was quite as pale as he was, but there was more gentleness in her eyes. 'Geraint,' she hissed at him from across the room, to which he quickly responded with a snort before giving her an unamused look. When their eyes met, Emrys knew what had happened, so he dropped his chin and pressed his lips together to avoid uttering a single word, and it was then that Geraint grinned at her to reinforce his position, then rose to his feet, as though her sudden entrance had somehow challenged his authority, and he had to prove her otherwise. Emrys refused to look up at either of them, hoping that it had never come to that point. He merely believed that by not saying the name out loud, she would not have realised what they were talking about, for Geraint did not like to be interrupted like that. Blood was bound to be spilt, feelings hurt.

The Pensieve: Extracts ITYqTqn


Viimeinen muokkaaja, Athanaton pvm 15.06.21 2:58, muokattu 3 kertaa
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Viesti kirjoittaja Athanaton 27.12.20 2:57

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EMRYS WYLLON

The knife pierced the skin like butter, spilling a bit of grease on the silver platter on which the turkey filled with a pork, sage and onion stuffing and topped with a bacon lattice had been sitting. Adorned with everything from elaborate candelabras and works of art to the portraits of late Wyllons, the grand dining room was lavishly decorated, drapes embroidered with black and silver hanging down from the walls, their beautiful glossy texture being illuminated by the chandelier that transformed the dimly lit room into an enchanted setting. 'It looks absolutely delicious,' said Mrs Trevethin with a cheery voice from across the table as she rose slightly from her chair to see the roasted thing surrounded by candied fruits. Enid responded with a smile and nodded at the house-elf who, in the midst of carving the turkey, was distracted by her compliment. 'Go on,' she said gently and turned to their guests. 'Oh, stop. You're embarrassing him.' A floating bottle travelled across the table, filling all their cups with blood-red wine except Emrys' when he declined with a shake of his head, knowing that he was not allowed to drink it. When someone from the far end of the table leaned forward, he dropped his gaze nervously to his side, in an attempt to avoid drawing attention to himself, hoping that the gesture had gone unnoticed. 'Emrys, wasn't it?' asked Mr Trevethin, who never quite seemed to remember his name, his wizened face peering out from under his pointed hat. One could have expected the croak of old age but his voice was more like a high-ranking official, strong and distinctly upper class.

'Yes, Mr Trevethin.' Emrys raised his eyes after his mother glanced at him, beneath the table her slim fingers closing briefly on his wrist. He knew that she liked when their guests talked to him, as he was the only child and his parents had only little time for catching up with him. 'How's the school year going so far? I heard you danced with Ms Fowle. Is she the girl from last year?' When he shook his head again, hoping that he would not go on about the Yule Ball, the old man let out a dry laugh and took a gulp of his wine, his brows going up with a faint smirk on his face. 'I see what type of lad you are, Emrys. Every year a different girl, eh? You remind me of your father. He used to be just like you. Why don't you have some wine and tell us about the Ball? You see, it's been a few summers since I had mine.' Geraint, who judging by the unamused look that he gave him did not seem too impressed by his attempt at banter, snorted through his nose, then remarking with a sarcastic smile, 'Always living by your own rules, Edgar? As someone from the Ministry, I'm sure know that he doesn't drink.' A faint smile appeared on his son's face when their eyes met, though it did not last long enough to make him feel like he actually cared for anything other than his reputation. If anything, Emrys did not want to discuss the Yule Ball any more than necessary, neither with his parents, nor with anyone else. 'Emrys said his dancer partner was very talented. They danced all evening,' Enid nostalgised as if they were talking about her evening, making Mrs Trevethin smile softly with her budding enthusiasm, her eyes warmed with delight as the house-elf snapped his fingers and started floating more food to the table. 'How marvellous,' added Mrs Trevethin, her nearly white hair styled into a shining, straight bob. Emrys had never seen someone age so elegantly than Mrs Trevethin, not even his own mother. 'Oh, tell us about that night, Emrys. It sounds so unforgettable. What was she like?'

Whilst she was not exactly wrong, Emrys was aware that he did not have many options to choose from. He could either tell about it as it happened, and be yelled at later when the Trevethins were gone, or lie and pretend that it was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons, even if his father could figure out that it was not really what happened. In fact, he sometimes found it easier to lie than tell the truth because to most people it did not seem to matter if his feelings were genuine at all, as long as he did not break away from the script. When all eyes were on him, Emrys broke into an awkward smile, his dimples becoming more visible, though not as genuinely as he would have if the Yule Ball had turned out different, and grabbed his glass before speaking. He knew what had to be done, and what his mother wanted to hear. 'It was lovely, Mrs Trevethin.' The words escaped so naturally from his lips that for a moment he could almost believe it himself, even though the Yule Ball had been an utter disappointment, and there was nothing that he – or anyone, for that matter – could do about it. Emrys then realised that the glass in his hand was empty, so he put it back down, glancing sideways at his mother and father, his brown eyes twinkling above his flushed cheeks. Geraint always gave back that swift, piercing look that sometimes made him feel like he could see right through him. 'We had some food, drinks, you know, the usual. Ms Fowle is very good at dancing, so we danced for a few more hours. Not to mention her intelligence. I really appreciate my time with her.' He resumed his desperately cheerful tone, smiling as brightly as he could, pouring all his energy into delivering the most believable performance. 'I...could not have asked for a better evening, Mrs Trevethin. Maybe next year I won't have to find a new dance partner.' His mother seemed to buy it if not anyone else.

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Viesti kirjoittaja Athanaton 25.06.21 12:52

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EMRYS WYLLON

'What did a Mudblood do with his wand? Threw it for his dog to fetch, because he thought it was a mere stick.' In the elaborately furnished drawing room of Wyllon Manor, not too far from the dining room where they had just enjoyed a delicious meal and discussed politics, most guests dressed in pointed hats and black cloaks burst into laughter whilst some remained quiet and only ever smiled, Mrs Trevelyan being one of them as she did not care too much for such jokes. Even then, her faint smile suggested that she did not mind being exposed to such humour; Mudbloods were a common source of ridicule amongst Pure-bloods after all. Her husband, on the other hand, was all in for mocking those he deemed 'underserving of magic', or of 'lower breeding', as he might put it himself, because just like generations before he did not view them as equal members of the magical community, if worthy of respect at all. 'How silly is that,' uttered one of the three witches sharing a gorgeous sofa, a balanced combination of shapes and curves, much like the other furniture in the room, full of twisting and turning patterns on fine velvet, with matching drapery hung at the large windows. 'Silly? Perhaps, but those with Muggle parents know no better,' pointed out the witch next to her disapprovingly. 'They never truly learn how to appreciate their heritage.' The third witch raised her hand in disagreement and, after taking a large gulp of her wine, declared, 'No, Cordelia, they would rather have it completely destroyed. Someone with no wizarding heritage should not be given a wand, for they could only have obtained magic by force or theft. For our part, to suggest otherwise would be ignorance.' Cordelia waved her hand indifferently as she did not care to argue with her, knowing how she was after a glass of wine. They exchanged brief glances with each other before Cordelia's irritated sigh, to which she responded by giving her the cold shoulder. 'Not in my book. You see, Regan, not all of them are hostile towards Pure-bloods. Some merely need guidance, much like us. Remember Minister Hermione Grander? Witty and ambitious, was she not?'

Regan snorted disapprovingly and said, 'Even a house-elf can feel ambitious, but the ambition of a house-elf is limited to simple goals as they are by nature simple creatures, destined for serfdom. So is someone's with no wizarding heritage. I hope you realise the threat they pose to a Pure-blood society, especially in the case of Hermione Granger. In fact, I am utterly gutted at you always being so –' Her sentence was suddenly interrupted by Geraint, who stood up and gave her a warning glare that, judging by her sudden lack of words, made her feel her extremely uncomfortable. A short time later, he left the room without saying a word. Glancing at his way, Enid felt like joining him soon after the awkward silence that fell on the drawing room. Mr Trevelyan leaned forward to have a long look at the three witches. 'You three are a cheerful bunch,' he remarked sarcastically. Goneril, who was sat between Regan and Cordelia, rolled her eyes at him, grabbing the other two by their shoulders so they could face each other. 'Sisters,' she declared, glancing with distaste at both of them. 'I am gutted at you two even discussing the matter. How dare you – Cordelia, you ignorant twit, and Regan, daft as a brush – mention a Mublood's name in the presence of not only Geraint and Enid Wyllon but their son? For Merlin's sake, we are mere guests.' At that moment, Emrys woke up to the reality that he was also there, having listened to their tedious argument. He raised an eyebrow and looked around, as he had been staring at this feet the whole time, realising that he was as usual surrounded by people he hardly even knew, being forced to spend time with them as if they had anything in common. Goneril, still furious with the behaviour of her other two sisters, ended on a cold note after leaving her sisters looking at their laps, helplessly trying to escape Goneril's poisonous gaze, 'Have some respect.'

After following the argument for a while, Mrs Trevelyan was slightly amused by Goneril's attempt at humiliating her sisters; after all, she was the eldest sister, and supposedly the wisest, but her delivery was never quite on point, much to the dismay of Mrs Trevelyan and her husband – only a witch of her age would know. 'I'm sure there was no harm done,' she said, smiling rather happily as compared to Goneril's sour expression; when their eyes met, Goneril quickly turned back into a harmless little thing, as if struck by the Shrinking Charm. 'So please, Goneril, tone it down a bit. Let the old and wise talk. Mrs Garrow, what do you think of former Minister Hermione Granger?' Mrs Garrow, who was nearly asleep in her chair, comfortably having her eyes closed after pouring a glass too large for her tolerance, dismissed the question with a wave of her hand. 'Mr Garrow?' asked again Mrs Trevelyan, who was looking for the dark-haired wizard around her. She could hear the old man clearing his throat from across the room, then speaking slowly in a hoarse voice, 'Some might call her a noble Mudblood, a very rare breed if you think about it. But, I think she was utterly brainwashed by her Muggle ideology and blinded by her quest for power. A very dangerous witch, perhaps even more so than Pius Thicknesse, who acted under the Imperius Curse and still had only little done in the Ministry.' Many gave an approving nod, but Emrys furrowed his brows, astonished at Mr Garrow's silly argument going unchallenged. 'Pius Thicknesse? But how is he comparable to someone known for her pure intelligence? Like he said, he had nothing done. At least Granger proved competent,' he thought, feeling inappropriate to question him since the witch in question was indeed a Mudblood, and he had absolutely no desire to get himself in trouble with them. 'Very much so,' uttered Mr Trevelyan, who was struggling to avoid sarcastic remarks, amused as he was at Goneril's sudden silence. He then added, 'Dangerous not in her appearance, but in her ability to overthrow the Ministry. She made Kingsley Shacklebolt look like a conservative.' More talk followed, but Emrys found himself feeling baffled as he could not quite grasp it – politics tended to go over his head. 'A noble Mudblood...has he gone mad?' Soon, the Christmas holidays were over, and he could go back to school.

The Pensieve: Extracts ITYqTqn


Viimeinen muokkaaja, Athanaton pvm 14.09.21 1:53, muokattu 1 kertaa
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Viesti kirjoittaja Athanaton 23.08.21 3:27

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ARAMINTA WU

Araminta was reading in her room, in other words, preparing for her fourth year at Hogwarts which was only two weeks away, having had barely any contact with the magical community since leaving Hogwarts. As someone who used to excel in more or less every subject, she was afraid of underperforming for the first time, so she put all her effort into making sure she would not go back to school having learned nothing new about magical Britain all summer, until a sudden burst of unrestrained laughter from downstairs disrupted her train of thought and made her lose it completely. 'Minty! You've got to see this! It's that lotus flower again,' her mother shouted from downstairs, nearly unable to control her laughter. It took a while for Araminta to realise what she was talking about. A particular expression threw her off, so she put the book down and walked out of her room with a deep frown on her face. 'Mum, have you been watching Chinese TV shows again?' she shouted back from upstairs. 'I found this one about a palace maid who wants to avenge the murder of her sister! It's really brilliant.' As expected, her mother did not answer the question, as she only wanted someone to share her excitement. 'Mum,' said Araminta, who looked just as baffled as her sister when she was told the first time she was a Muggle. 'Did you just call someone a lotus flower?' A short silence was followed by her question. 'And what about it? Your cousin uses it.' 'Mum, it's embarrassing.' After another short silence whilst she was watching the show, her mother asked unknowingly, as though she had no idea what she was on about, 'What's embarrassing?' Araminta went downstairs and walked into the living room with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes that she often did when she was about to indulge in some good-natured banter. 'You speaking Chinglish, for one.' When Araminta entered the room, her mother took her eyes off her laptop screen and paused the show, raising an eyebrow when their eyes met. 'I wasn't speaking Chinese,' she said affirmingly. 'No, but you spoke English using a distinctly Chinese expression. Since when have you started speaking Chinglish?' 'I just think it's a funny expression. In fact, I learned it from your cousin.' Araminta could feel that. Her cousin consumed Chinese media much more than she did, and did not grow up in a predominantly white area unlike Araminta. 'So that you can impress dad with your improved Chinese?' asked Araminta with an amused grin, sarcastically. 'Of course not,' her mother responded grudgingly, being fully aware of her poor Chinese. 'Haven't you heard of it before? It's internet slang, you should have.' Araminta let out a brief laugh and sat down next to her. Confused by her reaction, her mother looked at her with a serious look on her face. 'What's so funny about it? I'm just trying to keep up with you, Minty.' 'To be fair, I don't think even my cousin would use it,' admitted Araminta, smiling gently. 'She may be big on internet slag, but she only really talks like that when she's with me. Alone. Lotus flower means bitch. She would never say that in front of her parents, even though they all know what it means.'

'Oh, I see,' her mother uttered, flushed with embarrassment. 'You're right. No expression like that about another person sounds mature. I feel silly even thinking about it now.' Araminta had a glance at her mother's laptop screen with a big smile when she recognised the show by its lead actress. 'Hey, I know this one. It was very popular a couple of years ago.' She then sighed dramatically and looked at her mother again, saying, 'Imagine wizards having laptops. That would be brilliant.' 'Consider yourself lucky,' her mother pointed out, smiling. 'Your eyes are better off without too much screen time. And I think your handwriting has improved, despite having to use a quill.' Araminta snorted gently and tilted her head to the side, lowering her gaze. 'It wasn't easy when I started. I had ink spilt all over me,' she recalled. 'I had this scarlet-coloured ink bought from Diagon Alley. You thought it was blood.' 'I was very worried,' her mother said, briefly touching her wrist. Araminta gave her a warm smile as she lifted her gaze. 'I know,' she admitted. 'But you know it's different in the wizarding world. If I had a cut on my finger, I could get rid of it by simply waving my wand. Same applies to broken bones. They can be mended with a potion called Skele-Gro.' Her mother smiled very proudly. 'Imagine if us Muggles had a bit of your magic. Countless lives would be saved. I guess one can only dream of it,' she said. 'But magic is more complicated than that,' claimed Araminta. 'There's so much good that has come out of it, but also bad. Very dark things. We study Defence Against the Dark Arts for a reason.' Her mother sat looking thoughtful for a moment, then saying, 'Just promise me to stay out of trouble, Minty. You know how worried I am. To think of sending you away to this place every year – Hogwarts, you call it – and knowing absolutely nothing about it. It's heartbreaking. This wizarding world, its people and their ways, is very strange to us. And you know it. If something were to happen...even a minor occurrence...' Araminta reached for her mother's hand and looked her in the eye. 'Nothing is going to happen, mum. My fourth year at Hogwarts is going to be just like my previous years. They say Hogwarts is the safest place in the wizarding world. I will keep you updated at all times, as usual.' Her mother was always very protective, as she worked as a nurse at a local hospital. Araminta believed that if she had been born a witch, she would have been a great healer. Nevertheless, she looked up to her more than any witch in the wizarding world because, despite her lack of magic, she was the most supportive mother she could have ever asked for, and she would have never traded her away for a magical parent because of that. When Araminta was called names in her former Muggle primary school, her mother had the courage to argue with the headmistress herself so that her daughter would feel safer in school. For her, her daughter's struggles were always also her own. Whilst her mother might have lived a privileged life as a white woman in the United Kingdom, despite coming from a working-class background, any conclusion about her being unrelated to her own daughter was extremely hurtful. She had a million reasons to fight for her family, her pride being the last of them.

The fourth year at Hogwarts was right around the corner. It was going to be Araminta's final year before she would take her O.W.L. exams, which caused her a great deal of stress, but there was also something else on her mind. Whilst witches and wizards did not discriminate others on the basis of race, they seemed to be very prejudiced against Muggle-borns, in favour of those with wizarding heritage. Araminta had never told her mother how prejudiced the wizarding world was against witches and wizards like her, who were born with no wizarding heritage, knowing little to nothing about their magical ancestors. When she was a little girl, her Muggle grandmother told her why she was the only magical child in the Wu family – obviously from a Muggle perspective – and how her magical ability was caused by her uniquely sensitive soul, which she was capable of communicating with, much like her magical ancestors. Whether her grandmother's theory was right or not, Araminta never came to know, and most likely never will. But one thing she always knew for sure. She was just as capable of magic as someone born into a Pure-blood family, sometimes even more so, which ultimately proved her that the basis for discrimination was simply prejudice. However, in the wizarding world, she knew full well that going around insisting on equality would have only made her a potential target as Muggle-borns or those who defended them faced rampant discrimination by both Pure-bloods and Half-bloods alike, as they had been for centuries. On the contrary, the level of prejudice against Muggle-borns did not surprise her. If even Muggles were generally disliked, it made sense that their magical children were also frowned upon, despite magic never having been their choice. In fact, if magic had been indeed a choice, Araminta, in her early years as a witch, might have chosen otherwise. She felt that the magical community was no better from its Muggle counterpart, which was just as prejudiced against its minorities. As someone who lived between those two worlds, she felt that she was always discriminated on the basis of something she had no control over – be it race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or blood status – or would have been discriminated, if she had ever told anyone. At Hogwarts, Araminta chose to hide her blood status, as she passed as a Half-blood witch more easily than she did as a white girl in her former Muggle school, where she was always considered the Asian one. She found passing in magical Britain relatively easy. All she had to do was claim that her mother was a witch, and others bought into it. There was no way for anyone to find out the truth, unless she gave them a reason to doubt her. Half-bloods faced much less discrimination than Muggle-borns, who often felt betrayed by them. But she believed it was necessary for her survival. Otherwise, she would have been picked on and bullied by others in no way different from her Muggle schoolmates. In life, not everyone was born a fighter. She was also not ready to become one yet.

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Viesti kirjoittaja Athanaton 25.08.21 15:30

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ARAMINTA WU

Out of all women, Araminta looked up to her mother more than any witch in the wizarding community. However, there was a close second, her sister, who despite having been born a Muggle was always very close to her. Or at least that was what she thought, given all their shared childhood experiences. Although they had an age difference of three years, Araminta went to the same Muggle primary school as she did, and together they faced similar challenges growing up as half Chinese and half British. Despite her lack of magical ability, she always felt connected to her. But like wands, her sister had a very different core, which was not quite like hers. Araminta was never quite sure what that was until one night, her sister came back home very late, mumbling nonsense, her pupils dilated and unreactive. Her father caught her staggering in the living room and interrogated her, only to find out that she had been to a party, where most people were much older than she was; none of the names sounded familiar to him, and she was unwilling to tell him what she had consumed at the party. When he walked upstairs to wake up her mother and came back, they found her collapsed on the living room floor, staring into the emptiness. Having overdosed earlier, she was nearly choked to death in her own vomit. Soon, in only a matter of seconds, she fell into a brief coma. Paralysed by shock, her parents felt helpless. It took less than ten minutes for an ambulance to arrive, but her sister remained unresponsive. That was when Araminta woke up to the screeching sounds of the ambulance sirens and the lights flashing red and blue throughout the night. Afterwards, she recalled that not leaving her room was probably her best decision on that night. If she had, she would have been met by a terrible sight, which might have left her traumatised for life. Araminta did not want to see her sister like that. She could not bear it. For a moment, her mother believed her daughter was gone, despite having seen her in full health only some hours ago. And Araminta, too afraid to come out of her room in fear of seeing something she was not supposed to, felt that something very terrible had happened, but she did not know what. Only later did she found out about her sister's overdose, after she was taken to hospital. Araminta's parents called her grandmother and asked her to stay with her whilst they were at the hospital still figuring out what happened, and if her sister was really gone. It was at that time that Araminta realised how serious it was. Her sister had not just passed out, but she also relapsed. She was addicted to drugs, amongst other things. Before her overdose, Araminta had an idea about her problems: she was always out very late, and she spent time with boys older than she was, smoking and drinking. Her mother was completely oblivious to how serious her addiction was, or that she was doing drugs to begin with. She thought that it was all under control, but events had to take a much worse turn for her to realise that she was wrong. She would have never in a million years thought that her own daughter was an addict at the age of 16.

Araminta had a feeling that if her sister had been born a witch, she would have been a great one. Her wand would have had a strong core, like the Phoenix's feather, as in the end she did not die, she chose to come back. Araminta could only wish to be as strong as her. She might have only been a Muggle, but she rose like a phoenix from the ashes, stronger, smarter and more powerful. Or at least her family refused to be believe otherwise. Of course, everything changed after she overdosed. She spent weeks in rehab pulling herself together, despite her insistence on recovering at home. Also, after returning home, she could no longer come and go however she liked, and her mother went through her phone every now and then to make sure she was not texting to local dealers, much to her dismay. As expected, her mother took it very seriously – and personally, as she felt shocked that her daughter had been using drugs all this time without her knowing, and because she could not turn to her own mother for help. In the end, her mother blamed herself for what happened. 'If only I had known sooner...If only I had asked her about it...If only I had been a better mother.' Even after Araminta's sister returned home, she was still heartbroken. She would have never forgiven herself if she had lost her eldest like that. There was already so much death at the hospital, so much undeserved pain. And grief felt by visiting family members. Sometimes she felt that being a nurse was not for her. She should have been a witch like Araminta, a healer. But her mother did not realise that the wizarding world was far from being free from pain. In fact, she might have been destroyed by it, as witches and wizards dealt with death perhaps more often than Muggles. And even with magic, there was no way to protect someone from hurting themselves. Araminta's sister was an addict by choice, but her mother refused to believe it. Overall, it took her a long time to accept the fact that living with a suicidal daughter did not make her a bad mother. She just had to learn to live with her by taking small steps towards her recovery, standing by her side, supporting her. And of course she had both Araminta and her father, who was also extremely worried. Her father was so worried that he could not focus on work for months after she overdosed. He remained disoriented for a long time after that, and was only able to continue after Araminta's sister reassured him that she was not going to overdose again. She really had to say that. 'I promise you will never see me like that again,' she said, sobbing. 'I'm really sorry, dad. I didn't mean to hurt you. I'm just not feeling very well. I really need help. I'm so sorry.' As for Araminta's sister, she only admitted to using drugs and alcohol as her escape long after she overdosed. It was because Araminta asked about it one time before going to bed. 'Why did you do it?' she asked quietly, not expecting a response. However, she did respond, after Araminta had already fallen asleep, so that she would not be traumatised by what followed. 'Because I was so tired of living, and I didn't care if I lived or died.'

Despite Araminta living in the wizarding world and her sister not, they remained close throughout their childhood. Araminta had nearly lost her sister at the age of 13, and she never wanted things to escalate to that anymore. She merely wanted her sister to be happy again. Araminta had only one sister who, despite always remaining a Muggle, was always much more magical than any witch she encountered in school. There might have been a huge gap between their worlds, but their hearts were connected regardless. And the bond between them – which only they could understand, and her sister knew it – was stronger than any charm was capable of producing. The Wu sisters were unstoppable. A year after her sister overdosed, things started to look up again, new routines were formed. Araminta knew her sister was not always fully sincere with her parents, but she was actively working on her recovery. And she had no intention to go back to the same level of substance abuse as earlier, because her family gave her a reason to stay clear. Araminta really appreciated that. Otherwise, she might have felt tempted to tell their parents. But her sister promised, just like she promised her father. 'Minty,' she said. 'I don't want you to worry about me. I'm doing much better now. I'm not going to relapse again. As of now, I'm going to focus on my mental well-being.' And she believed her. Her sister would have never lied to her, not even after lying to her parents. They could always talk about things. If anything, Araminta knew her sister needed support. Whilst she was out of rehab, she was really struggling with staying clear. She went to therapy once or twice a week to discuss her feelings, since there were sometimes days when she refused to eat and sleep altogether, only remaining alone in her room, refusing to respond to the calls from the outside world. Her paternal grandmother used to say that she was merely glass-hearted, 玻璃心, or mentally fragile, but Araminta could not disagree with her more, despite always appreciating her insight. Her sister was much stronger than that. She had seen it herself, and she still believed in her. Even if the whole Wu family lost their faith in her, Araminta would never. Although her sister struggled with something she could never fully understand, she was no less her sister. If Araminta could have healed her by simply waving her wand, she would have done so, and she would have looked after her just like her sister had looked after her in school. Because she knew her sister would have done the same for her, without asking her to return the kindness. She was born a kind person, with a kind heart. In many ways, she was like their mother, loving and protective. She did not need to be a witch to be special; she was special as she was, full of dreams unlike her own, with a talent for looking at the world from the perspective of those who suffered, those who were still looking for themselves and their purpose in life, those who were misjudged based on their appearance, those who were simply neglected, and those who only did the bare minimum to get through the day.

The Pensieve: Extracts ITYqTqn
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The Pensieve: Extracts ITYqTqn

ARAMINTA WU

Araminta's father was born into the Wu family, as the first child of Mr and Mrs Wu. His parents moved to the United Kingdom when they were young, hoping to find a better life abroad, and because they wanted their future children to grow up in an English-speaking country as native speakers of both English and Chinese. Araminta's father was never in close contact with his grandparents, but he knew they were no more than illiterate bamboo farmers who were desperate to send their children abroad. Some might have perceived her father's parents as selfish for leaving their own parents behind, since their families were born into poverty, relying on family members for taking care of them as they grew old. But his family did not judge him, in fact, they supported him. If they could have sent their children abroad, which was virtually impossible in rural China, they would have done so earlier, as the Wu family was very poor, and they wanted at least one of their children to have a bright future abroad. However, Araminta's paternal grandparents were lucky to find a way to travel to the United Kingdom, where they settled as immigrants, arriving with nothing but the clothes on their back and leaving their modest past behind. She admired them for that. They worked in hotels and restaurants day and night, tirelessly and relentlessly, having little to no money to spend on themselves and knowing only a bit of English: based on their Asian heritage, they were spat on, yelled at, and even attacked in broad daylight, whilst most people did not even bat an eye. Araminta did not know much about those years in her paternal grandparents' lives since they preferred not to talk about the abuse they faced as Chinese immigrants living in the United Kingdom, as it was considered black history, 黑历史. Her grandmother rarely brought it up because she found talking about such things so much later in her life unnecessary. Like her husband, she mainly wanted to move on, not dwell on the past. But when she did, she preferred to omit certain details, as times had changed radically since then. She only discussed it in reference to her granddaughter's experiences since they seemed to have a lot in common despite coming from two very different generations. In fact, Araminta's paternal grandmother liked her very much. 'Minty,' she often recalled her saying. '不要看太多的电视, 对你的眼睛不好 [Do not watch TV too much, or your eyes will hurt].' Araminta rarely talked back in Chinese. She could understand most of it, but speaking was a different story. Her spoken Chinese was almost as bad as her mother's. '奶奶 [Grandma],' she said. 'I only watch telly when I'm home. It doesn't exist as a pastime in the wizarding world.' Unlike some other family members, her grandmother was very understanding when her granddaughter came out as a witch, to the point of telling her about her own 'magical' experiences. Araminta found her very easy to sympathise with, as her grandmother made her sometimes feel like the second witch in the family. Most of the time, however, her stories were rather amusing. 'I saw a dragon's tail in the sky,' she told her once. When Araminta laughed out loud in response, imagining a Fireball's tail flashing between the clouds in the sky, her grandmother frowned at her. '你为什么笑 [Why are you laughing at me]? I know what I saw. The dragon was real.' She did not have the heart to tell her that it was probably something else, or otherwise the Ministry of Magic would have gone after her.

When Araminta was born, no one in the family knew about their wizarding heritage. No names of past witches and wizards, no wand inherited from a distant family member. But there was a rumour about the Wu family having some history with magic in London's Chinatown. It was only a tale, like one of Beedle the Bard's. The family had no connection to magical Britain other than through Araminta, who was the only known witch in the family, and, according to her grandmother, the only one capable of understanding their wizarding heritage. When Araminta came out as a witch, many things came as a shock to her family, including the existence of the British Ministry of Magic. 'Do not anger the Ministry,' warned her grandmother, viewing it with suspicion. 'Or they will cast a terrifying curse over us.' It went without saying that she knew nothing about the Ministry, but Araminta let her keep her false beliefs, provided that she kept them to herself. Her paternal grandmother was too old to be bothered with the truth since her understanding of magic came nowhere near her own. Araminta could have tried to explain her, but she would have needed more than a Chinese dictionary to explain how magic worked, and perhaps much more time than her grandmother had left. Her paternal grandfather, on the other hand, shared a more pragmatic view of magic. He realised early on that the two worlds existed apart, only separated by what he later understood to be the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. He did not view the Ministry as a threat, but more as an extension to the already existing British government. And he was not completely wrong on that account, as the two did communicate. In fact, he wanted his granddaughter to pursue a career in law despite knowing only relatively little about the Ministry, because his son, Araminta's father, worked as a solicitor. When talking about their granddaughter's future, Araminta's paternal grandparents could not have disagreed more. Her paternal grandmother would have rather seen her as a healer like her mother, who worked as a nurse, but her paternal grandfather advocated a more ambitious profession in the legal field like her father, who went to law school. Although they had a very limited knowledge of the wizarding world, and they could not agree on what was best for a witch like her, Muggles as they both were, they wanted her to have a bright future ahead nonetheless, much like their parents had. Yet even Araminta herself was not sure about her future, as her only role models were her professors at Hogwarts, and she often talked to her grandmother about it, complaining about the difficulties of living up to her family's high expectations. Araminta's paternal grandmother, in the absence of a Chinese mother, was always quick to compare her to others, in a way typical to Asian parents. 'Minty, why do you always ask such silly questions?' she wondered. 'Look at your cousin. She studies in Singapore, she is very hardworking, and she can speak more than one language. You may be a witch and she may be a Muggle, but you are still a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do.' And her 奶奶 was right, she was capable of independent thought. But her cousin in Singapore made a bad role model: she was continuously running out of money as she spent most of her savings on expensive clothing and travelling around Asia, as opposed to studying meticulously. Her life was sometimes a bigger mess than Araminta's sister's, and it was no laughing matter. She just did not run around talking about it.

The Pensieve: Extracts ITYqTqn
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