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 Double, double toil and trouble, Songbird
Mah · 18 · 7TH · · HALF-BLOOD · 6'1
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Jul 14 2018, 08:00 PM   Link Quote
Once Mason finished reading the Potion’s book page for the fourth time on less than thirty minutes, he knew he’d gotten to a dead end. The thing about changing schools was he could never know what the people from there had already studied and that they didn’t, which meant he was behind in some potions, albeit with an explicit advantage with others. Either way, the young man needed to make sure he learned all contents necessary to the big exam at the end of the year, the one he needed to assure a good enough job at whatever position, even though he had no idea of his ambitions. Sighing, he let go of this thoughts - his concentration should be fully directed to the making of that potion. Now, presented with lack of information and no clear indication on how to proceed, he knew the only way to assure the gain of knowledge was doing things himself, meaning, getting his hands dirty - quite literally, as he thought about the dead animals that mixture requested.

The thing is, Mason wasn’t entirely sure about the rules found at Hogwarts. He had only known the ones at Durmstrang, and as many teachers realized he was quite a brilliant guys, most of them let him experiment on their classrooms, even without clear observation - unless, in case of potions, it had some type of corrosive or extremely dangerous effect. The one he stared at now fit neither, however it shouldn’t be mistaken for an easy one - its preparation was quite confusing and required attention at all times, precisely the reason why many instructors left it for their students final year. Therefore, the transferred boy made a decision: to make his way to the dungeons and bring with himself the instructions on the book. From there he would know how to act, which obviously meant try and make the potion by himself. If his results were a success, as they often were, then he would know if had been the right decision. In case it didn’t, trying to gather some more knowledge was never a bad thing.

What he wasn’t expecting was to find the Potion’s classroom neither empty nor presenting that dead-ish look if often did when it wouldn’t welcome not one working soul. Instead, Mason could differ the sight of enchanted smoke to the type clearly caused by the making of somebody crafting a potion. Frowning for a second, he made no ceremony of the door, letting it close with a bang, while throwing his book at an empty table. He could only deduce somebody else was studying, which startled a feeling of annoyance - one he got ridden of without waiting a moment, after all, he could respect those who used that time to study, focused on the importance of knowledge. That’s why he couldn’t understand why they guy seemed to... grunt? A sound of frustration, perhaps.

Shrugging, Mason went back to his normal work. There was no time to lose and he couldn’t see a reason to lose it with whoever, even though the person was a clearly better company than somebody only looking for trouble. When it was time to get the ingredients, however, he walked next to the table the guy was - it was a guy, he recognized by the proximity -, and two things called his attention. First, the name of the potion on the opened book. Second, the blue-ish colour, when it should be purple. Frowning again, he made a small observation, too quick even to stop himself. “I wouldn’t cut that many if I were you. It says six, not nine.” He thought it best not to mention even the cut itself was wrong - they needed to peel off the skin from the animal, instead of simply dropping it on the cauldron.


@Jēkabs Smiltiņš
Hope this is alright! <3 if it's against the IC rules maybe they could get in trouble?
Songbird · 16 · 6 · · Muggle-born · 6'1"/185cm
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Jul 15 2018, 07:24 AM   Link Quote
Jēkabs groaned even louder when the other boy spoke, criticizing his work--he realized he hadn't even looked at the book's instructions in twenty minutes, and he was definitely going to be late to Quidditch practice if it didn't work this time through. He'd already started over twice, although that did count his failure during class itself, and he thought he could remember the numbers on the page by now, but clearly not. The ingredients would run out sooner or later, too. He really had liked Potions class in his time at Hogwarts, having made a variety of entertaining things, but ever since moving to N.E.W.T. level, the recipes had been getting tougher and more delicate to make.

He scanned his copy of Advanced Potion-Making once more, looking for the current step in the recipe. It was supposed to be lilac-colored now, wasn't it? And the name of the next ingredient--he had no idea what that word meant, but he hadn't made it to that step in any of his previous attempts, so he hadn't had to know before now.

He looked up at the boy who was looking questioningly at his cauldron. He was tall--perhaps as tall as Jēkabs himself, though he would have to stand up straight to test that. And his face was quite serious, which worried him. Was he doing something totally disastrous? It wasn't like he was going to actually drink the failed potion. The guy shouldn't worry like that.

"Please tell me you've learned the Draught of Living Death by now," Jēkabs pleaded. He hadn't seen another face in the entire time he'd been here, not even the professor, so if he could get a chance at help, he was going to take it. "We're supposed to at least make it halfway through the potion, since it's such a difficult one, but it's not working. And I need to figure it out in about--" he checked his watch "--half an hour. I have Quidditch practice. And a headache." He felt his accent slip more into his words as his frustration grew, but hopefully the other boy wouldn't mind. Looking down at the pile of various ingredients on his table, he poked at one of the roots, sending it rolling off the table and onto the ground on the other side. He crouched down and crawled underneath to grab it, popping back up next to the heating cauldron and narrowly missing his hair touching the fire on his way.

---
@Mason Iversen
OOC: All good! And I asked Leo (whose character just became the Potions professor) if the professor would care if they were doing this, and he wouldn't care at all. But if another school staffer might care, we could still have them getting in trouble!

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Mah · 18 · 7TH · · HALF-BLOOD · 6'1
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Jul 21 2018, 11:06 AM   Link Quote
The thing about Mason was he never really had the time to look at other people’s work. At Durmstrang there had been a constant flow of students requesting his help both to do bits of homework and to look through assignments so they could find mistakes which would have been noticed by the teacher. However, this oftentimes caused the young man to lose precious minutes of studying, and while he wasn’t opposed to help if there was money involved, it simply didn’t make sense to carry on such a practice once he got to a point that he needed time even more. Therefore, he ended up disappointing a good number of peers - good thing then he couldn’t really care. Once he got to Hogwarts, this reality stopped altogether. Technically he had some money saved, as well as the quantity inherited by his parents, which made it less of a concern; in other words, there was no reason really to stop anything to go and help another student.

Yet that is exactly what he did, as soon as his eyes lingered on the potion, the connections in his brain working way too fast to figure out what else could be done to make that potion a better one. Mason neither acted on nor acknowledge the groan, keeping his usual facade and not showing whatever expression, except maybe for a small amount of interest manifested by his voice. The young man didn’t notice he was being looked at, still somewhat stuck at his own line of thoughts; what cut it, however, was Jēkabs voice. And there it was… a plea. This almost caused Mason’s lips to twitch, a smile fighting to be shown, but he kept that wish locked just in time. Yes, he had learned the potion - courtesy of once having been considered one of the best students, even if not at the halls of the school he was now in.

Mason had a few more seconds to decide. The plea had been fun, and of course he could sympathize with having to finish something in thirty minutes. He could postpone his own potions for that time… it wouldn’t be so bad, he would want to go away anyway instead of bothering him later. In less than three seconds, he had already made a decision. “I wouldn’t be so careless next to a cauldron.” Murmuring, he got a chair and put it at the side of the table, just distant enough but not too much. His wand was at his palm in a second, and the next word was clear. “Evanesco.” He didn’t bother looking at the guy, only after this was finished. “That potion would have never worked, and you said half of it.” Then, he inspected the table… how could somebody start the potion wrong before even starting it?

“Let me give you a tip. Doing a potion isn’t about following the steps as much as it is about organization. Here… You have this infusion, but it’s not homogenous.” He had noticed it after sitting, a curious detail. After bringing it to his hands, Mason shook the mixture just a bit… and there it was, the clear sight of powder right at the bottom. “You might have let some of the asphodel slip to this cup. I wouldn’t make this mistake again.” A few more seconds, and another infusion was flying their way. The thing about mixing ingredients was, as much as they would be needed in sequence, the magic factor didn’t let potions be completely equal to cooking. Finally, he stopped, more interested in watching whatever the person would do; at last some of it was mildly entertaining.
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I took some liberty here to blame it on organization since - I imagine - can be such a common mistake. And yeah for sure! Maybe in the future too. :3 (also, sorry for the delay on answering)
@Jēkabs Smiltiņš
Songbird · 16 · 6 · · Muggle-born · 6'1"/185cm
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Jul 22 2018, 10:34 AM   Link Quote
Organization. Always organization. Look, he just wasn't good at that kind of thing. His brain didn't concentrate like that, especially when he didn't really want to do something. And starting his recently evanesco'ed potion again really wasn't on his bucket list. He just wanted to finish this and get it over with, and maybe produce something that wasn't going to set the drinker on fire as soon as they tried to taste it. He wanted to protest as soon as the blue liquid in his cauldron disappeared.

But the boy was actually helping him, which was nice and would hopefully save his grades this time. He even summoned over a new infusion--if that had been the problem, then it would work fine this time! Jēkabs flipped back to the first page of the recipe again and squinted at it.

"So, infusion without powder. Got it. I just have to not spill anything in it. But I started with beans. I'll cut some more beans then." He began to pluck beans from his little mountain of ingredients, which had been getting smaller and smaller. He hoped they weren't too toasted from being near the fire. Did he really only have ten beans? Maybe there were some hiding underneath the pile of roots. Careful not to drop them yet another time, he shoved them to the side. There were the beans! He had only enough for this attempt, though--he would have to buy more for later, or go to ask Professor Linwood for extra supplies. Why did this always happen to him?

And should he thank the boy for helping him? It wouldn't be the first time he'd had to swallow his pride in a classroom. And he didn't really know the other, fairly sure that he was a new transfer if he'd never seen him around before. It would be the nice thing to do, thank him. He just hoped that it wouldn't make him get all condescending. That happened too often with these wizards, especially ones who still weren't smiling. Maybe he should smile too, to make him think he was a little more friendly and a little less of a disaster. And he wasn't a disaster, he was in N.E.W.T. Potions! He just wasn't very--organized.

He also realized that he didn't even know the boy's name, and that certainly wasn't going to help with anything. "I'm Jēkabs. Thank you, by the way, for helping. I would've had to have turned in the blue potion if you didn't know how to make this."

@Mason Iversen

OOC: No problem at all! The only reason I'm posting so much right now is because I don't have any work or school going on--I don't blame anyone for posting speed.

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Mah · 18 · 7TH · · HALF-BLOOD · 6'1
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Jul 23 2018, 06:41 PM   Link Quote
Mason was, indeed, extremely talented when it came to potions - it was one these things he simply knew, after years of practice and words of congratulation by teachers who knew how much effort he put into learning. The fact he had spent most of his childhood taking care of himself and making sure the kitchen was a cared for, utilized part of the house meant by the time he arrived at Durmstrang, he already knew a thing or two about what was necessary to create a mediocre potion; and Mason never strived for any less than much more than mediocre. In other words, the knowledge he had gathered at home was valuable, and gave him some type of head start in comparison to his peers, so he didn’t need to lose his time with the basics for some classes; therefore he had more time to learn better, not faster, and this helped a lot.

By the time he was an older student at Durmstrang, many of the young ones looked up to him, and while he wasn’t big on small talk, telling people it had all started with a kitchen could be seen as a minor thing - plus, he did find it fun to see the reactions of those who were pureblood supremacists. He wondered if they would ever get close to a kitchen without a wand on their hands. What mattered most, however, was that at the kitchen he learned how just about everything was important to consider when doing a potion - not just the state of ingredients, how to utilize them and the right things to do with a cauldron, but also time management, not acting too fast or too slow, and making sure everything was organized on the table so ingredients wouldn't be mixed, some parts rushed and confusions created. It almost felt like a sport, instead of a craft; some type of chess but with extremely malleable pieces.

Which is why it quite saddened him to have people see potion as an easy class; then again, they were the first to commit mistakes like the one that boy just had, of failing in organization and such. He wondered if it was imply a lack of interest though; not even himself could be forced to pay too much attention to the one class he quite hated, although that was a discussion for another time. Mason almost said ‘suit yourself’, only it barely suited him and he wasn’t about to lose his time with effort to say said words, so just watching was good enough, and at that time boring. Looking back at his table, he checked the ingredients, all organized in different sacks and plastic bags. Then, Jēkabs called him; at least, that’s how he introduced himself.

“No trouble.” He answered quite honestly. It was better than to have an angry teacher at the end of the day. “I take it you know how to proceed? It’s not a very complicated potion if you pay attention to the details.” Perhaps that was his cue to leave… even if to leave meant stay a few meters away focused on his own potion.

----

No problem omg! I’m also on vacations but I’m the slooowest person in the world. I live for procrastinating really. I hope this is enough! I can add more stuff if it helps you having more to work with :3
@Jēkabs Smiltiņš
Songbird · 16 · 6 · · Muggle-born · 6'1"/185cm
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Jul 29 2018, 10:12 AM   Link Quote
"Sure. I think I can get it now." Jēkabs turned back to his beans as the boy seemed like he was going to turn away. Cut, squish, cut, squish, juice into a bowl, ready to be added later. Water, too, into a glass--even magical things needed this most simple of ingredients. That was comforting. No matter how strange of beans he found himself cutting, he still started with water.

He found himself itching to keep the conversation going, unused to sitting in silence. The stereotypes said that Latvians were quiet and reserved, but having lived your entire life with barely a moment alone could do the opposite to you. Sharing a room with his twin, sharing a dorm with his classmates--even while sleeping, it only felt normal to have someone else there. So it was the same for the classroom. He'd relax more if he had someone to talk to while making the potion, too. Maybe that would help it work. Magic was so touchy sometimes, even a nervous flick of a wand in the wrong direction would ruin the whole thing.

Plus, he was curious. "What are you making?" he asked, peering over at the neat piles on the other table to see if he recognized anything. "Do you like Potions? I do, but it's kind of hard. I thought there would be more explosions. Sometimes there are, but then it's not a good thing." Maybe it was better if they didn't teach teenagers how to make exploding things, but it would've been fun! At least, he might have paid more attention when the professor had explained how to do this. He smiled, looking at the boy again.

He realized then that he didn't know his name--the other hadn't even introduced himself. That was--awkward. He poured the water into the cauldron and picked up his flask of infusion of wormwood. This would be a bit more delicate, so in true Jēkabs fashion, he decided to talk at the same time.

"So what's your name?" he asked. "I haven't seen you around before."

@Mason Iversen

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Mah · 18 · 7TH · · HALF-BLOOD · 6'1
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Aug 3 2018, 08:07 AM   Link Quote
It seemed his ‘work’ was done for the day, meaning Mason could leave behind the person he decided to offer some help and focus on his own thing. He wasn’t as opposed to this kind of interaction in comparison to meaningless ones, perhaps for the years spent at Durmstrang with a constant number of peers looking for him - it would be against nature not to get used to it. Now, however, he was glad to have his attention entirely direct to a potion of his own, and it took him no time to get the right book and check if he had the right ingredients; he could do it with his eyes closed, but it was never too bad to check twice when the possible result was having it explode on his face.

The silence was, after all, Mason’s most favorite element in the entire room. He didn’t consider the sound of others doing their work noise, but there was nothing as maddening as people who blatantly ignored the sight of others working and initiated their own conversations. He was glad Durmstrang was so strict when it came to this, and he wasn’t sure if in Hogwarts would be the same, but apparently yes. He only hoped that in environments like this, not with a teacher but other students, they had enough good sense not to initiate a discussion; he wasn’t interested in participating, and neither was he against the idea of continuing his potion somewhere else.

Therefore, he did nothing more than acknowledge Jēkabs words at the sound of him speaking. Mason had a lot more to work on, from the color of his potion to the recent need to cut an ingredient, as opposed to throwing it there the way most people had done for decades - a suggestion a friend of his has given. He grew slightly more annoyed when the boy said something else, but carried on with his actions, instead of paying any more attention. To try and get him to stop talking, he tried doing what anybody would in his place: simple gestures. First of all, turned the book to the person’s side so he could read the name of the potion if he got closer. Then, answer with simple, small phrases.

“I’m Mason.” His words were basic and his tone, albeit not showing his annoyance, wasn’t as friendly as before. “I used to study at Durmstrang, that’s why.” He smirked. People had a way of being overly curious about things that had nothing to do with them, but somebody else.

@Jēkabs Smiltiņš
Songbird · 16 · 6 · · Muggle-born · 6'1"/185cm
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Aug 6 2018, 01:33 PM   Link Quote
note: one curse word

Durmstrang.

Jēkabs's newly confident mood deflated quickly. He knew what Durmstrang meant, having known since the very first time he even knew he was a wizard. He remembered it like it was yesterday—how could you forget such an event?

He and Jānis had turned eleven as they did all the other birthdays, with their favorite chocolate ice cream and friends from school. They'd gotten nice new shoes-- shoes were something they always needed, but shiny, stylish new sneakers were a treat with the economy the way it was.

And then they hadn't even let him celebrate Midsummer before the wizards showed up. He knew something was up from the time they asked to speak to him and his mother without his brother--okay, no, he knew something was up from the time he saw the weird robes. He'd forgotten about that by now, with robes being something he wore every day. The Russian wizard had been kind even after his mother told him that she wouldn't be sending Jēkabs to Koldovstoretz, even putting him in touch with the family in Jūrmala that helped him get to King's Cross each year. And the British witch had been understanding of his mother's strong accent and of the difficulty he would face in Britain alone, offering to help him with his school shopping.

But one thing had bothered him then and it bothered him now. They'd explained that the reason he had to go so far away from home was that Durmstrang didn't accept Muggle-borns. Sure, many Latvians had gone to Koldovstoretz in the past, but they just as often went to Durmstrang, and this was where they went in the modern day. Except for him.

He glanced suspiciously at the other boy--Mason, he said. He didn't seem like the friendliest of guys, but he had been helpful. Was he trustworthy, or would his years at Durmstrang have made him arrogant? A burning sensation in his hand reminded him of where he was. Shit. That was his potion, quickly bubbling too high and scalding the hand that was stirring, probably far too many times by now. He snatched his hand away from the cauldron, cradling the burned skin in his other. The last attempt, ruined. He stared sadly at the potion, over to Mason, and back to the potion.

It wouldn't hurt anything to ask, right? "Uh, Mason?" he called over. "I messed up, again. Is there any way to turn it back? I don't have any more ingredients."

@Mason Iversen

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