Thursday, May 31, 2012

Travel Time!

Hi everyone, this is Bree. We're getting ready for our trip now - leaving tomorrow morning. Unlike usual, our flight is actually at a reasonable time. The majority of flights seem to leave Newfoundland in the very very early morning hours (like, before the sun comes up,) but this time we actually don't take off till 8:48 a.m., which is a lot more pleasant than leaving for the airport in the middle of the night. We're flying into Rochester, staying with Blakeney's mother for a day, then flying to Venice with her to meet Blakeney's dad, who has already gone there as part of his job responsibilities. 

During our trip we're going to be visiting Italy, Hungary, and Croatia.

We're really excited! We still have stuff to do before we go, though - last minute emergency shopping, finishing up laundry and packing, and cleaning the house so it'll be in decent shape when we get back. Since we have a lot we still need to accomplish, we wanted to go ahead and say goodbye to our blog friends now.

See you when we get back! :-)


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Victoria Day, or Something Completely Different

Hello, everyone. This is Cécile, and this blog entry will be rather a change of pace from the serious entries we've been writing lately. This weekend was the Victoria Day holiday here in Canada, which also coincided with the Newfoundland Steampunk Society's one year anniversary since founding. To celebrate, the Steampunk Society had a picnic in Victoria Park. 

Blakeney has been working on a steampunk costume for us girls, and she wanted one of us to come with her to model it. I was most excited about going, so the other girls graciously allowed me to be the one to attend the picnic and wear the outfit! I had a wonderful time. 

We thought our blog friends might be interested in seeing some pictures of our outing and what I wore. The costume is very much a work in progress - the goggles on my head are particularly makeshift - but you should be able to get a decent idea of how the finished product will look.

Blakeney's friend Brent took the pictures with his fancy new camera, but he gave us permission to post and share them.



P.S. I also made a new friend! I posed for some pictures with her, and when she sends them to Blakeney, I will post those too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

But of course, it couldn't be that easy, right?

Hi everyone. This is Bree again. You guys are going to be sick of me writing so many of the posts lately. Since I'm the person Senara has decided to open up to the most (to the extent she's opening up to anyone) though, I've been the one who has a lot of news lately. So here goes. ;-)

Ever since I came up with a couple of ideas to try to help with Senara's frightening situation, I've been feeling pretty good about how things are going to go. As you know, being complacent is a very, very bad thing. Several of our friends who commented reminded us of that, and while we knew it was true, it was hard to see how it could go drastically wrong.

Of course, I knew it couldn't be that easy. I just didn't see exactly where things were going to fall through.

The thing is, I should have been able to, because Senara already told me an important detail I never considered. The whole 'being fed to a werewolf' thing kind of overshadowed the one offhand comment... which turned out to be something very, very crucial.

I'm getting ahead of myself at this point, though. Back to the beginning. Well, not the very beginning - it's not like I'm going to start telling you about my birth or anything - but the beginning of the current major complication. ;-)

We knew that in order to get Senara freed to leave the city, we needed to tell the fair folk about our trip. They aren't the easiest people to contact. It's fairly easy for them to get in touch with us; they either leave something in our mailbox (which various vampire groups tend to do also) or build a fairy ring out of stones somewhere we're likely to see it. Contacting them back isn't all that easy, because we can't just drop a note in the mail, and they don't live in a fixed location but move around, so we can't just drop by.

I wondered if the fairy circle thing would work in reverse, so I went to the nearest local park and tried to build one. There's this small stand of trees - not really the woods, but close enough to provide a little concealment. I found a small clearing, and built a ring of stones. (Fortunately, finding rocks in Newfoundland is not at all difficult. Newfoundland pretty much is one giant rock with some soil clinging to it.) My ring wasn't as symmetrical or tidy as theirs are, but to be fair, I've had less practice. I thought I did alright. Once I'd built it, I sat down to wait, leaning against a tree. After about an hour, I got bored and took out my book to read. It was a couple of hours after that when they finally showed up. I looked up from my book and saw a little group of them there, including our usual fairy rep. I didn't hear them coming, and normally I have pretty good ears.

"Yes, Bree?" the woman asked politely. There was no rudeness in her tone, and although I thought I got a sense she was impatient, I couldn't have pointed to anything in her voice or body language that specifically conveyed that. She certainly wasn't acting threatening. I filed away in my brain that we'd found a way to get in touch with them.

Then, briefly, I explained our trip, and asked that Senara be allowed to come along. Their reaction was not what I had anticipated.

I didn't expect them to say no, mind you. I didn't see how they could. Their ruse was that they had sent Senara here to learn about human culture - so how could they argue against us taking her to experience the culture of Italy, Hungary, and Croatia as well as Canada? They would have to either say yes or drop their charade, and dropping the charade would be a major step I would be surprised if they were willing to take.

I did expect them to be reluctant, though. I expected them to be flustered or taken off guard. I expected them to try to come up with excuses, but ultimately have to give in to my superior logic.

When they gave each other a brief look and then the spokesfairy responded enthusiastically, though, my heart sank - because I knew something was very wrong. I had dramatically miscalculated somehow. I just still couldn't see where or what.

The spokesfairy smiled, in a way that didn't quite reach her eyes. "What a lovely idea, Bree!" she replied cheerfully. Too cheerfully. Like she was calling my bluff... or like what I had done didn't matter. "Of course Senara has our permission. I hope she has a wonderful trip."

"Wow... well... um... thanks," I stammered.

The woman's eyes narrowed, and for an instant she didn't look cheery. She looked predatory. Then the smile returned, and she added, "Tell Senara to be a good girl while she's away. Tell her to make us proud. Senara knows the consequences if she breaks the rules and causes trouble."

Oh. Yeah. I hadn't thought to ask Senara about that. It hadn't occurred to me that the fair folk had to have some kind of backup plan to make their sacrifice stay put. I wondered what.

It wasn't like they were going to tell me, of course, so I just said I'd tell Senara their message, and then thanked them again for letting her come on our trip. I wasn't really feeling all that grateful to them for anything at that point, but I didn't want to be impolite - impoliteness is a huge issue for most of the fair folk, and I didn't want to start a big conflict with them over something so minor.

The fair folk sort of melted back in the scenery as they usually do when it's time for them to go, and I took a moment to scatter the rocks so they wouldn't look so intentional. Then, with my mind still racing from this new development, I set off on the short walk home.

I didn't see much point in procrastinating, so as soon as I was back at the house, I told Senara what had happened.

For the first time, I saw Senara angry. Even when she was talking about her own impending death, she only sounded sad. A couple of times, she got annoyed with me for asking too many questions. She's never been like this with me, though. Really, truly upset.

"I didn't ask for your help, Bree!" she shouted.

"I'm sorry," I said sincerely. "I should have asked you before I talked to them."

"I don't mean that! You're missing the point. I never asked for your help in the first place! I never asked you to save me! And I don't want you to."

This took me aback. I mean, yeah, technically it's true. Senara never has asked us to protect her. She never asked for our help. But I thought it was just... you know, assumed. She obviously doesn't want to die. So I thought wanting our help was just sort of implied.

Apparently not. Yeah, I was admittedly being somewhat presumptuous, just jumping in to try to save the day. It was still hard for me to understand why she would reject our help outright, though. It didn't make a lot of sense.

Then I remembered:

"If I find some way to escape again, someone else will die in my place. Someone I care very much about protecting."

That's what Senara told me when we first talked about the plan the fair folk had for her. Like I said above, at the time it didn't really register. I mean, I was listening, but I saw it as more of a 'cross that bridge when we come to it' issue. I thought we could save Senara, and then worry about protecting her family and friends from retribution. Suddenly I realized that I had completely misunderstood. Senara wasn't just worried about retaliation in the abstract.

The fairy court must already have a hostage.

"Who did they take from you?" I asked.

"My older sister," Senara replied.

I thought she was going to just leave it at that, but I guess she was feeling unusually chatty, because for once Senara kept talking.

"She was supposed to be safe from this," Senara said, sounding like she was talking to herself. "She was being raised by our father among humans. I was kept with my mother in the fairy court. I never knew her very well. Do you understand, Bree?"

"Yes," I replied. And yeah, actually this all sounded very, very familiar.

Some of you probably remember this, but Fiona is my biological sister. We weren't really raised in the same home for any significant period of time, though. When she was a baby and I was little, our parents split up. My mother took Fiona, and my father kept me. Neither of those situations exactly worked out fantastically. Both homes were pretty dysfunctional. At some point while Fiona was a baby, our mother lost custody permanently to the state and my sister was placed in the foster care system. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong; no one ever told me, and Fiona was too young at the time to remember. I'll probably never know, because we're not currently in contact with either of our biological parents. I guess in the end, it doesn't really matter. Fiona and I are sisters who - for whatever reason - were raised pretty much entirely apart.

Would I give my life for Fiona? Would I stay and be a sacrifice, if it meant they'd let her go? Would I have done it before we ever actually had the chance to live together, and I barely knew her?

Yes. Yes, I would. It wouldn't even take a moment's thought. Of course I would do that. I'd do it for any of my sisters, now that my family has grown larger. It's not even a question.

"What's her name?" I asked.

"Sakura," Senara said quietly, as though even speaking the name too loudly would put her sister in more jeopardy.

I reached across the table and squeezed her hand. "We'll save her too," I promised. "She won't have to take your place, and this is never going to happen again. We'll find some way to stop Carrow. No more kids are going to have to die for him."

I didn't tell her that it was a promise. I meant it as one, though. This makes things harder, but harder doesn't mean giving up. It just means digging in for a difficult fight, and sticking it out till we win.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nightmares and Ideas

"What can't we face if we're together?
What's in this place that we can't weather? 
We've all been there.
The same old trips...
Why should we care?"
-Buffy, the musical episode

Hi, this is Bree again. Ever since my last, rather revealing conversation with Senara, I've been pretty stressed about the whole thing. Senara, on the other hand, seems strangely calm - like by telling us, it was the final acceptance of her fate or something. Which, of course, I'm not alright with. We're going to need her to fight... to "rage, rage against the dying of the light," to quote poet Dylan Thomas... rather than just going along with what they're planning. We'll do our best to save her life, though, whether she helps us or not. It'll just be easier if she cooperates a little.

Because of all my fretting, it's not really all that surprising that I'm having bad dreams, too. I keep having the same nightmare - the giant werewolf attacking Senara, her white robe staining red. I'm not sure why that detail about the robe got so stuck in my head. I guess the whole thing is just so upsetting that I need something more minor to focus on. Somehow, that just seems symbolic of the cruelty of the whole thing; dress her in white, so everyone can see the blood when they make their "sacrifice" of a young girl to be werewolf food.

Fortunately, not all my fretting has been nonproductive. I've actually come up with some ideas that I think may be decently helpful. That is:

Okay, we have the problem of an indestructible fairy-augmented werewolf, right? The whole reason for this sacrifice is that the fair folk couldn't come up with any way to destroy him, so odds are we won't be able to either. For about a day, this stumped me. I was talking to Summer about it... and suddenly I had a brainstorm. We don't have to destroy him, necessarily. We just have to find some way to contain him. If we can just imprison him for awhile - and I don't think it'll need to be for that long, since he's close to the end of the seven year cycle and is due for a feeding - he'll revert to being a regular werewolf. Which, you know, is still fairly daunting under most circumstances... but we have our own werewolf, four vampires, three people with fae blood, and a bunch with super powers. If Carrow's enchantment wears off, we can totally take him. Unless the fair folk get rid of him first, even.

Another potential problem is that because of the vow we made to be Senara's hosts, Senara is confined to our house. There's like an invisible force field thing that keeps her in. We're not sure how far it extends; it's at least far enough that she can attend my school with me, but that's within walking distance. We doubt she can leave the city, though... and keeping her at a distance would be very helpful in protecting her. I had an idea about that too. And luckily for us, all it really involves is telling the truth to the fair folk. They don't even have to know that we know about their plans for Senara.

On the first day of June, we fly to the United States, where we'll meet up with Blakeney's mother, and fly with her to Italy to begin our trip. When we thought Senara might really just be here as an "exchange student," we booked a ticket for her too, because we thought that traveling would be good for her education about humanity. I was thinking about the trip today... and another idea hit me.

We should contact the fair folk and let them know about the trip, but act like we don't know what their game is. If they're going to stick to their story that they sent us Senara so we could teach her about the human world, I don't see how they could say no. We don't know where the force field boundaries are - but they're definitely not as far as Rochester, let alone Italy or Eastern Europe. If they say Senara can travel with us, they have to let her off the leash. And there isn't much excuse for them to say no without dropping their charade, which we don't think they're going to do. All we have to do is act innocent enough that they don't suspect a hidden motive.

I'm still pretty tense about the whole thing. But now that I've actually had a couple of ideas, I feel a lot more confident than I did. The odds no longer seem impossible. Tough, sure... but tough is doable.


Monday, May 14, 2012


Hi folks, this is Bree again, with some major werewolf-y (and Senara-related) news. As you probably recall, we'd been trying to track down the werewolf who bit Gia. So far, we'd had no luck besides a blurry photo Josefina managed to snap. We didn't know who the werewolf was, or where he or she lives while in human form.

Today - not for the first time - I was looking on the internet for pictures of werewolves, trying to find a snapshot or even a somewhat realistic drawing that matched ours. Also not for the first time, I was having no luck. Occasionally one would catch my eye as a possibility, but nothing was panning out. After getting excited over nothing for a third or fourth time, I sighed and sat back in my chair.

This change of angle suddenly called to my attention the fact that Senara, who is sharing my room, was watching me instead reading the book she was pretending to be absorbed in. Before I had a chance to ask whether I had food on my face or my shirt inside out or something, Senara noticed me noticing her, and got to the point.

"Your family shouldn't hunt this beast, Bree," Senara said quietly. "This creature is simply too dangerous."

I appreciated her concern. Really I did. And it's not like we don't know we could be blundering into trouble. The problem is... if not us, then who is going to do it? As far as we know, we're the only ones around here who can deal with things like this. Well, technically the fairies could too, but they don't care much about matters that primarily affect humans, so they wouldn't intervene on their own, and we can't become indebted to them every time something goes wrong. For all practical purposes, it's us or no one - and no one isn't an option when there's a bitey werewolf on the loose.

"I know," I replied. "We realize it's dangerous. But we can't just stand by and do nothing."

Senara shook her head. "You have no idea what you are dealing with. This is not a natural creature, but one with more power than you imagine."

"We realize it's a werewolf, Senara," I reminded her, wondering how she had managed to miss that. The 'big dog' story didn't hold up past the first time Gia turned into a wolf after being bitten.

Senara nodded that she was aware. And I suddenly wondered what could be more dangerous than a rogue werewolf.

"You don't need to worry about this, Bree," Senara said. Before I could argue, she went on, "The creature will not attack again."

At this point, I was very interested in what our fairy 'exchange student' knew about this, and how. I closed the laptop lid, turned my chair around, and looked her straight in the eye. "Senara, what is going on? What is your involvement with this, anyway?"

Senara looked down, breaking eye contact, and said, "It's my fault that Gia got attacked. I... was reluctant in my duties. It will not happen again."

"What duties?" I asked, even more confused now. "What exactly do you mean? You had never even met Gia when she was bitten. How could you blame yourself for not protecting someone you didn't know existed? I think you'd better start from the beginning."

She sighed... and she did. The truth was something I'd never expected in a million years.

"This werewolf was an ordinary werewolf once... nearly four hundred years ago," Senara said. "He was among the first English colonists who came to this island; his name was John Carrow. He disappeared into the forest - killed, his comrades said, but actually bitten and turned into a supernatural creature. His existence was much harder than Gia's. He didn't have a family like yours to support him. But he might have had an ordinary life by werewolf standards, had he not accidentally run right into the middle of a war between two fairy courts."

Senara didn't have to explain - because I knew from Inna already - that the sort of war she was describing happens all the time among the fair folk, unbeknownst to humans. The fairy world is very fragmented into courts and clans, and they often fight about things outsiders wouldn't even understand. I nodded that I got what she was saying.

Senara continued, "One of the courts decided to put the werewolf to good use. Their enchanters augmented his powers with fairy charms, making him all but indestructible, and in exchange he was bound to fight for them in their war..."

I was starting to catch on. "But wars eventually end," I guessed. "And then they were left with an indestructible werewolf and no idea what to do with him?"

She smiled that I had gotten it, and replied, "Exactly. At first, they just let him run wild. The enchantment they had put on him required a death - a fairy sacrificed, blood spilled. With time, this blood enchantment would wear off. If they simply ignored him long enough, he would revert to his original werewolf form."

"How did he feel about it?" I asked.

"Indeed, Bree. Carrow didn't accept that at all. He felt entitled to the new powers he had fought in their war to earn. He started killing, no longer fighting a war but randomly, trying to attract as much attention as possible so he couldn't be ignored. Most of his victims were human, simply because they were easier to find. One night, though, he came upon a solitary group of fae. He ambushed them and spilled their blood, and suddenly, his waning powers were restored to full strength again. Now he knew what to do to keep what he didn't want to lose."

She went on, "I'm sure you're still wondering what this has to do with Gia - or with me. But I will come to that part of the tale soon. When some of their own were killed, the fair folk knew they needed to find some way of containing the beast. They debated ways to destroy him, but no one had any ideas for how that could be accomplished. Instead, they negotiated an agreement with him. A peace treaty, if you will."

With my heart sinking, because I knew I wasn't going to like the answer, I asked, "What did he want?"

Senara smiled again, but this time she looked sad. "I'm sure it won't come as a surprise. He wanted fairies to murder, so he could retain his powers. What he didn't know, though, and what the court who augmented him did, was that he didn't have to kill fairies on a regular basis for his powers to remain fully active. He only had to kill one fairy every seven years. The agreement was that he would be given one at every seven year interval, as a sacrifice. In exchange, he would leave the other fairies alone, and not attract the attention of the humans."

It was all starting to make sense. What Senara is hiding. Why she thinks she knows when she's going to die. And why she blames herself for Carrow's attack on Gia.

"Are you the next sacrifice?" I asked.

Senara nodded her head.

I had known she was going to say yes. I mean, I had already figured it out. But somehow, seeing her nod was still like a punch in the gut.

"Someone is chosen every seven years," Senara said. "Someone young - strong, with powerful blood - works the best, so that is what they provide for him. As time has passed, the ritual has evolved to the point the fair folk choose someone they'd like to be rid of anyway. I caused trouble for them by wanting to learn about humans. They considered that disloyal. So they chose me, and that is the truth of the 'exchange student' story."

"That's terrible!" I said, sputtering and struggling to put together a sentence, upset as I was. "That's...! And what about Gia...?"

Senara looked ashamed. "I... did not accept my role at first. I did not want to die. So I ran away. Carrow heard that his sacrifice had escaped, so he sent a warning. Biting a human. Gia was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happened because I'm a coward, Bree. I'm sorry."

I shook my head, my brain racing a mile a minute. "It's not your fault," I said. My voice sounded weird, even in my own ears. "Of course you didn't want to die. Who would? But what I don't understand is... why send you to us? The fair folk have to know that we aren't just going to stand back and let you die. So... why involve us at all? Why not just quietly murder you so we'd never know? I don't mean to sound callous, but - if they wanted to sacrifice you, why would they send you to people who would do everything possible to prevent that from happening?"

"Because with you, they could make a binding contract," Senara said. "They didn't believe me that I wouldn't try to run away again. I won't - not after what happened to poor Gia because of me - but they aren't going to risk it again. So they bound me to you. And the 'exchange' part is, they took a hostage, just to be extra sure. If I find some way to escape again, someone else will die in my place. Someone... someone I care very much about protecting. I can't run away from your home. It's as if there's an invisible wall that will keep me in. On Midsummer's Eve, the fair folk will gather. I'll be dressed in a white robe. And... everyone will watch as they give me as a sacrifice to the beast."

I shook my head. "There's one problem with that theory. They gave you to us. And we're going to find some way to protect you. I promise. You aren't going to die."

"Thank you, Bree," Senara replied... but I could tell she didn't actually believe me. She didn't think we'd be able to save her.

I think differently, though. We've prevailed against seemingly impossible odds before. We have a little over a month to figure something out. And I'm confident that - scary indestructible werewolf creature or no scary indestructible werewolf creature - we'll find a way to save Senara.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Plans for Spring

Hi everyone. This is Kaya. In Bree's last post, she mentioned a little bit about the dance performances that Marie-Grace, Cécile, Fiona, and I have coming up. She was also polite enough to avoid going into all the details, though, because she wanted us to have the chance to share our own news. So this post is going to be partly about that.

That's not all the post is about, though. You'll notice I titled it "Plans for Spring," not "Plans for Dance." That was for a reason. Our other big news is that we're going on a trip. I'll fill you in on that a little bit later. ;-)

First things first, though: dance news! Every spring, our dance school holds three performances. The first performance is a gala. The gala is a series of short pieces, ballet and modern dance, with some professional dancers who come in from out of province to be part of the event. Not a lot of regular students participate - the local participants are mainly company members - so being chosen is a huge honour. The second performance is a story ballet. That one is... pretty self-explanatory, probably. Every year the teachers choreograph a ballet performance for the more advanced students. Not everyone gets to participate, but most students at the higher levels will be included. The third and final performance is the spring recital. It's a collection of separate dances, both ballet and modern, done by every class; all the kids in the school are in it, so they can show their family and friends how much they have learned during the year.

So, what does that have to do with our family, you may wonder? Well, at least one of us will be in all of those performances!

It was a big surprise for me, but I'll be in two dances in the gala. I'll be doing ballet in a piece that is a new Swan Lake choreography, and also dancing in a modern piece based on a Greek folk song. I'm super excited, but more nervous about that performance than either of the other ones, because my teachers are putting a lot of faith in me by choosing me, and I don't want to let them down.

Fiona, Cécile, Marie-Grace, and I will all be in the story ballet, too. This year's ballet is based on The Secret Garden. (It's actually pretty much just an excuse to have dancers dressed in flower costumes, to be totally honest with you.) Like our Nutcracker, the story ballet will have an A Cast and a B Cast to alternate filling the roles, so more people get a chance to participate. The two casts are equal and have the same number of performances, the letters are just to make it easier to understand who dances when. I'll be playing Mary in Cast A, and Marie-Grace will be Mary in Cast B. (Why does Marie-Grace always seem to get roles that have similar names to her actual name? She was Maria in Nutcracker. I don't know of any ballet with a character named Kaya in it...) Fiona will be playing a rose, and Cécile will be the Queen of the Irises. I think it's going to be a lot of fun!

It's thanks to our mysterious gift giver that this will be possible for Marie-Grace and Cécile, our two vampire ballerinas. They were able to dance in Nutcracker because the winter days are very short in Newfoundland, so by the time school hours are over, there's no worry about the sun anymore. By May and June, the days are longer, and so there are dance rehearsals during sunlit hours. Obviously, this wouldn't normally be possible for a vampire. Cécile and Marie-Grace were originally planning to tell the teachers that they couldn't participate in any of the spring performances because they were going out of town; they were bummed to have to skip it, but there wouldn't have been much choice if they didn't want to catch on fire. Thanks to their new sun protection, they can be part of things after all. We still don't know the name of the person who gave us the gifts, but I know Cécile and Marie-Grace will be thinking of her while they dance, since she made it possible.

The other performance we're going to be part of is the spring recital. I'm going to be dancing three ballet pieces and a modern dance, Cécile and Marie-Grace are dancing together with their class in one piece and with my class in another, and Fiona is doing a piece with her class. We haven't started rehearsing for the recital yet and haven't found out all the details, because the other performances are sooner, but we're looking forward to it also. I'll fill you in on the recital once we know more.

There's one other thing. When my teacher invited me to dance in the gala, she said she hoped that I was going to audition for Junior Company. Our province doesn't have a professional ballet company, but my school's amateur company kind of fills the gap for our city. Company is a group that focuses on performing. Most of our company members are high school and university students, so I would be really young even for Junior Company. I told my teacher I would think about it. I'm really nervous, and I'm afraid to audition. What if I make a fool of myself? If I don't do it, though, I think I'd always wonder what would have happened if I'd tried.

I think I'm going to give it a chance. The next set of company auditions will be at the end of June, and the company continues to rehearse over the summer while regular dance classes are out of session. I'll let you know what I decide, and how it goes.

So that's the dance news! That isn't all that's going on in the lives of The Greens and The Roses that we need to update you on, though. The other big update is that from early to mid June, we're going on a trip to Europe. It's going to be very exciting!

The first place we're going is Italy. We're flying into Venice, and we're going to do some sightseeing and museum visiting. We're also hoping to have a visit with Gia's family and friends while we're there. (Gia is going too, of course, so that won't be weird.) I'm really excited to try real Italian food, and to see the sights.

I doubt you guys even remember this, but back when Bree first moved here and we were interviewing her, we talked about visiting Italy within the next ten years. Surprisingly, it's happening just a little bit more than a year later! It's really cool to be accomplishing one of those family "bucket list" goals.

We'll also be visiting Hungary and sightseeing in Budapest, then traveling to Zagreb and on to the Croatian coast, where we'll probably do more outdoor stuff like hiking and renting a boat.

We're all very excited! We've already started planning what to pack and what we're going to do in Europe. In reality, the trip is still about three weeks away, so we'll be sure to let you know before we go. We just wanted to give you a heads up about it now, though, since we're all looking forward to it.

If you made it through this whole post about our spring plans, "good on ya" as they say around here. ;-)

If you just skimmed, that's okay too. We'll be talking about all this stuff as it happens. We'll keep you posted on how it all goes!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Senara at School

Hi everyone. This is Bree. Sorry it's been so long since we posted. Things were pretty busy for Blakeney at work, and then she got sick with a bad cold, so no one really had a chance or the motivation to do computer stuff. Blakeney is feeling better now (although still coughing enough to tempt us to spray her with Lysol,) but then we had another difficulty... we lost our blog password and couldn't remember it.

No problem, right? Just click the lost password link, and have it sent? It didn't turn out to be quite that easy, though, because Blakeney has a backup e-mail address set as the default for the blog, so her primary account doesn't get so cluttered with blog related messages - and no one could remember the e-mail password, either! :-P

We finally got it all sorted, though, so we're back in business. :-)

A few news updates to share:

Kaya, Fiona, Marie-Grace, and Cécile found out their casting for their spring ballet stuff. Every spring, their dance school does three performances - a recital that all the students are in, a story ballet for the more mature dancers, and a gala performance where the very best in the school get to dance with some professional dancers who come in from out of province for the event. All four girls got parts in the recital and the story ballet - and Kaya even got cast in the gala! Go her! Kaya will be performing ballet and modern. Those four girls are planning to blog soon about their upcoming dance adventures, so I don't want to steal their thunder by spilling too much, but we're all very excited for them!

Also, we have some werewolf news. Sunday, the 6th of May - the day it was before we hit midnight, which has now come and gone - was the official full moon for the month. Gia transformed into her wolf self then, and Saturday night too. We expect that she will turn tomorrow also, because her general pattern so far seems to be that she turns the day of the maximum full moon, and one day before and after.

But... but... our werewolf hunting for the wolf that bit her was also semi successful. We didn't figure out who it was, and we lost the trail before we figured out where he or she lives (we weren't close enough to even tell if the wolf was male or female,) but we did snap a picture, and comparing it to GiaWolf, we're sure it was the other werewolf.

We took the picture on Tuesday, May 1st.

I know what you're thinking. Not a a full moon. Not even close. Gia wasn't even feeling the itchy twitching yet that tells her it's getting to be time to change, and the other wolf was in full wolf form. So what's going on? Is the other one a different kind of werewolf?

We don't know. It's all just speculation at this point, and even sightings of it are few and far between, so it's hard to figure anything out about that werewolf. It's not like Gia, where we can observe day to day how she adjusts and reacts to things. Speaking of adjusting and reacting, Gia is getting a lot more used to what she is. The shock has worn off. (As, I think, has her initial assumption that werewolves must all be monsters or animals.) This month, she seemed very confident about transforming, and she admitted today that her wolf form is starting to feel as natural as her human one. That's good, I think, since she can't change being a werewolf, so it seems the most healthy for her to accept it rather than fighting it.

There's one other big piece of news, and that's about Senara. Because we're supposed to be teaching her about humanity (which we aren't exactly experts at ourselves, but beggars can't be choosers,) and human kids are required by law in Canada to go to school, we thought it was important for her to try it out if she really wanted to know how we live.

It was just sort of a process of elimination to decide whose class she should join, since we thought it would be easier for her if she was with someone she knew. Senara isn't sure of her exact age because the fair folk don't keep track of those things in the same ways that we do. She looks like she's between fourteen and sixteen or so, though, and that's what the school officials will perceive her as. Fortunately we don't need to worry about paperwork since she isn't staying permanently; we just introduced her as a visiting relative rather than registering her, and that was fine.

Felicity and Josefina go to a French immersion school, and Senara doesn't know French - she's not really here to learn a foreign language, she's here to learn about social stuff, so that school didn't seem like the best place for her because she'd miss so much not understanding what people were saying. Clare is home schooled, which works great for Clare but kind of defeats the purpose of Senara spending time with kids her own age all day. That leaves Kirsten and me as potential company. Kirsten is fiercely competitive and not very patient, so in the name of family harmony we all decided that I would be Senara's escort at school.

So far, it's going well. I think Senara is liking it. It was strange to see her in normal clothes instead of the green robe we're used to, but she wanted to fit in with humans rather than looking like one of the fairy folk. She's quiet at school, and she's made some acquaintances... but she's struggling to make close friends because although she's very interested in other people, she shares almost nothing about herself. Not even with us, and she's living with us, let alone with kids she meets at school. It seems like people aren't quite sure what to make of how tight-lipped she is.

I don't think it's just fear that she'll spill something about her real identity - because we already know she's not human, and she barely tells us more than she tells anyone else. I think there's another secret she doesn't want anyone to know.

We still doesn't know what that secret is. We've gotten two hints, though - one of which is really worrisome.

The first day of school, someone asked Senara how long she's staying. To my surprise, because she's never told us that... she answered. She said, "I'll be gone on Midsummer's Night." Later, I looked up when that would be. I think she means the Summer Solstice, which will be June 20th. I was kind of surprised that she was being that specific. I assumed she didn't know either. Interesting, but I'm not sure what to make of it.

The other thing was the scary thing, and it happened on Friday afternoon at school. Senara and I were partnered up in English class for an essay we were writing about what we want to do when we grow up. I said my career goals - I'd like to be a counselor or a librarian, and a writer too. Senara said that sounded good, but didn't reply with her own, so I asked outright, and she looked at me like I was crazy.

"I'm not going to be around long enough to have career goals," Senara said patiently, like she was talking to a small child.

"Well, yeah, I know you won't be here," I replied, speaking very quietly so the other students wouldn't overhear, but they were all distracted with their own group work. "But you're going to have a... fairy-type career, right? Like dancing or making stone circles or collecting flowers? Or maybe creating mysterious bargains or bestowing horrible curses or eating people, if that's more your speed?"

Senara shook her head. "I'm not going to last that long, Bree. I won't have any kind of career."

Huge alarm bells were ringing in my head. Was this some kind of suicide thing? But no... she sounded regretful and sad about that, like she wished it was different, not like she was depressed and had given up. No, I thought - she must be in danger. Serious danger, if she thinks she's going to die.

I've tried to ask her more about it dozens of times since, but she won't say anything. She's even more clammed up than before. I think she said too much, because she thought I already knew, but it was a total shock to me. Now that I've tipped my hand that I have no idea, she's not talking. We're really worried, but I don't know what to do or how to help.

So... good and bad news. Positive and negative things. Happy and scary. That's life, I guess!