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Grace Foster

Truckles

6 posts in this topic

OOC: This takes place the first month of First Term. :blush:
 

 

It was bright sunny day, unseasonable for September in Scotland, when Jake and Grace made their way from the castle across the wide lawn on their way to the forest. The first leaves of autumn were just beginning to change to gold, and from this perspective the dark forest looked anything but dark.

 

“It was right over there,” Grace said, pointing to a break in the tree line. “See that big sycamore with the broken limb? We were under that, just through those bushes. If you’da shouted from here we would have heard you. That’s how close we were to the castle. It was hardly even in the forest if you think about it. And for that, I lost twenty points and got two weeks of detention.”

 

“Oh but, no! ‘You can’t go in the forest,” Grace said, putting her hands to her cheeks in mock alarm. “It wouldn’t be safe! What if something were to happen to you?’”

 

“I was right there!” Grace said, gesturing again. “But here we are, going much much further into the forest today for these damned bowtruckles. And that’s okay, because we have a permission slip. A permission slip,’ she repeated. “That’s the difference between getting a detention and getting extra credit. A frickin’ permissions slip. Like that’s going to save us from the big bad forest.”

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Ever since they’d found out what their assignment was going to be, Grace had been furious. She had ranted the whole trip over to the treeline about just how insane the rules were, and even though Jake hadn’t answered her he was no happier about it than she was. Sure, he’d been excited at first when he’d heard they were going to be watching the bowtruckles. After all, they had got to see them in class last year, and he had liked them then. He never thought though that the ONLY ones that they could study were deep in the forbidden forest. And even worse, that they were going to be going in alone.

 

“Aren’t you coming too…?” Jake had asked Professor Qin, as she told the two of them their tasks. He had stared back at her, waiting for her to reveal that it was just a test – to make sure they knew the rules and weren’t going to break them, that way she was sure she could trust them. She had assured Jake that it was not. That’s what the permission slip was for.

 

Jake sized up the forest in front of him as Grace continued her tirade. On such a bright and sunny day it didn’t look very special at all…just like a normal forest, without the usual ominous darkness. Still, it didn’t really make it any less scary, even if it was a different KIND of scary. Because even when the forest LOOKED harmless, Jake knew that it was anything but. It was like a happy mask, trying to lure people in, make them feel safe….and then it would get them.

 

“I…I don’t get it!” Jake finally spoke. “It’s the forbidden forest. Forbidden…That means we’re not supposed to go in,” he said shakily. Grace was RIGHT…it didn’t make any sense at all. “Don’t ya know what’s in there? I mean…it’s just like you said! What’s this gonna do when they eat us?” Jake asked, waving around the slip of paper

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Grace stopped fuming and side-eyed Jake. “I think you’re missing my point,” she said. “What I’m saying is that there’s nothing all that scary in there. I mean if there were, Professors would stop taking us in there for friggin field trips, and Qin--well she wouldn’t have sent two fourteen-year-olds into the forest with nothing but a--” She gestured at the signed permission Jake was holding. “--a glorified hall pass.”

 

“We’ve got nothing to worry about, Jake,” Grace said more gently. “That’s what I’m getting at. They make these rules and they give us detentions but then when it’s convenient they ignore them. So obviously, nothing’s gonna eat us. There’s nothing in there Qin doesn’t think two fourth years can handle. They just say it’s forbidden to keep us from wandering in and skipping classes or something. I bet no one even asks to see that thing from Qin. It’s self-policing, see. Get us scared enough and they don’t have to have patrols. I’m not falling for it anymore though, and neither should you.”

 

They had reached the place near the stables where Professor Qin had led the class into the forest. There was no more walking along the tree line. They’d have to go in.

 

“You ready, then?” Grace asked, readjusting the strap on her book bag, so that both hands were free. “We can draw our wands if it would make you feel better,” she told him.

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Jake stared forward, looking deep into the forest as Grace spoke. Any minute now they'd have to go inside...Jake looked at his friend warily, considering all of the things she had said, and not yet answering her question.

 

“So…so you mean all those things that everybody says…ya know…about the monsters and stuff? It’s just to scare us?” Jake asked, feeling a little silly and looking down at the ground as he did. If that WAS what they were trying to do, it was sure working.

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Grace smiled sympathetically at Jake and then shrugged. “How many times have professors taken us into the forest during class?" she asked. When Jake didn't answer immediately she answered for him. "It's a lot, right? And just how many monsters have we seen so far?"

 

"I promise if we see a basilisk or a forest troll we can run," she said wryly. "Is it a deal?"

 


Edited by Grace Foster

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"Um....none?" Jake offered weakly, with a small shrug. When Grace said it that way - with so much confidence - it SEEMED to make sense. Why would Professor Qin let two fourteen-year-olds go in there by themselves if it was so dangerous? Surely she wouldn’t want them to get hurt. And Grace WAS right a lot of the time…seeing things that Jake didn’t always see. She wasn’t always right though…and Jake thought that probably she was right less often than he had used to think that she was.

 

"I promise if we see a basilisk or a forest troll we can run," she said wryly. "Is it a deal?"

 

Jake didn’t know what to believe, but what choice did he have? This was their internship, and Jake wanted to work with magical creatures when he grew up. If he quit now, he might not get another chance. He had to trust Grace. Slowly, he drew his wand, and watched to make sure his friend was doing the same. “Okay…deal," he said finally. "But...even if we HEAR a forest troll we have to run, okay?”

 

When Grace nodded her head, Jake took a deep breath (and ignored the fact that she had rolled her eyes). "Alright, I'm ready," he said, and then cautiously he entered the treeline. 


As they walked, Jake glanced back and watched as the last sights of the open Hogwarts grounds disappeared behind him. Then there were only trees. Lots of trees, in every direction. Jake thought of the story of Hansel and Gretel, who went off into the woods leaving behind a trail of bread crumbs to find their way back. They had no such trail. “Hey Grace…are you sure we’re gonna be able to find the way back out?” Jake asked. “Ya know I read a book once about a magic forest that turns you around until you get lost...” he mumbled, walking a little too closely to Grace.

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