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|♥ Gretchen Kirke-Faust||
Posted: Mar 26 2016, 01:27 AM
Name: Gretchen Kirke-Faust
Gretchen is a short girl with blue eyes and wild brown locks.
You’ll hardly ever see her out of her uniform, and she always wears the entire thing: tie, robe and pointed hat included. Her long-haired black and white cat constantly follows her around and goes by the name Billy.
Gretchen is studious and eager to learn, but slightly disappointed in what Hogwarts has to offer. All the books on actually interesting witchcraft seem to be in the forbidden section of the library! Like most children from wizarding families, her parent teaches her magic outside of school, even though it’s technically not allowed, and she has used magic her entire life. She also developed the habit of constantly sitting on her broom, using it as a chair and as a primary mode of transportation, always hovering a few feet above the ground. She’s very patient, which may explain why she likes potion making, but she can get very frustrated if she doesn’t succeed at something she wants to be good at- she’s not used to being bad at something. It’s what recently happened with Ancient Runes, a subject she never expected to be as difficult as it is. Apart from Potions she also likes spell casting, Transfiguration and Divination, the latter also requiring a healthy dose of patience. As opposed to the wizarding community’s general sceptic opinion of divination, Gretchen considers it one of the purest forms of witchcraft. Though personally she is no seer and needs objects to help her, and her success varies. She’s most skilled in the cartomancy method. She is good at most other subjects and proud to be a witch. She dedicates herself to not only learning as much as she can, but also understanding and practising it. Most of her daily tasks are performed solely by magic.
She tends to be a quiet student, though not shy, it’s just that she’s more of an observer, and has – perhaps as a result – proven to be a good judge of character. Silence also gives her time to think, and she prefers to plan ahead. This results in a collected and composed person, but also surprisingly calculating for her age. People also don’t expect such a quiet student to be so bad at respecting rules, especially when they’re restrictions – she’s often in parts of the castle that she shouldn’t be. She won’t hang her head in shame when she gets caught either, instead she’ll demand to know the reasoning behind the rule and then contest it.
Gretchen is very open-minded, friendly and helpful, but rather detached as she prefers to keep her distance from people until she considers them friends - which may take a while. This can cause her friendliness to feel less genuine and warm and more simply courteous. She’s nice, it’s just a lukewarm kind of nice. She’s also known to be dedicated, though that’s putting it lightly: “driven” or “determined” would be more appropriate. Despite her inquisitiveness there is very little ambition to be found, when asked what she’d like to do later she usually shrugs and chooses something steady that’d support her just enough to continue studying the multiple magical and muggle fields that interest her. She’d like to attend a muggle university at least once in her life, to learn their take on the world.
She’s proud but level-headed and reasonable. Most people consider her hard to read because she appears so stoic. In fact, there’s nothing scarier than when this usually very well-balanced girl does lose her temper and the neutral, calm face you’re used to contorts into a grimace. On the rare occasions that she loses herself she also tends to reveal a ruthless side. But it’s a rare occurrence, since she usually keeps her anger bottled up inside – which explains the violent outburst when she can’t anymore.
She has some controversial opinions about witchcraft and the magical society as a whole, following her father in his believes, but she isn’t as aware of their political dimension. Her relationship with her father is good, but he keeps his child rather sheltered. As a result she doesn’t have many friends, but spends a lot of time with the eternally 19-year-old Anthony and the eternally 20-year-old Nicholas, whom she considers her brothers. Nicholas has been trying to teach her French, but she’s rubbish at it.
At first sight, the Kirke’s are the embodiment of mild-mannered British civilians. They live in London, amongst muggles, in a regular row house that fits a mansion on the inside. Their Received Pronunciation amidst cockney speakers is usually perceived as snobbish and elitist, though it’s actually an odd side effect of their ancestors having learned English as a secondary language since they hailed from Germany. Gretchen’s father, Arthur John Kirke-Faust, is a middle-aged man with ash blond hair with visible grey streaks. He wears ugly cardigans, has a boring ministry job, and is altogether a hardly memorable person. However, there’s a lot more to this family than what the neighbours see. For one thing, the household also consists out of a vampire named Anthony Hall who serves as their butler, and the ghost of Nicholas de la Fontaine, a student who perished during the French revolution.
It’s not just the undead company they keep that raises eyebrows in the wizarding world. Believed to be descendants of Johann Faust, the Kirke family treats witchcraft as a choice that needs to be pursued. To them being born magically means very little when one only uses magic for everyday tasks, and to be a true witch one should dedicate their life to the occult. This puts bad blood between them and other pureblood families, since many pureblood families consider being born into a magical family the mark of a true witch or wizard, while in the Kirke’s ideology a dedicated muggleborn could easily surpass a pureblood who takes magic for granted. In fact, despite the Kirke’s favouring of old-world magic, they condemn the wizarding society for being stagnant while the muggle society has evolved splendidly since the dark ages. This is why Arthur sent Gretchen to a muggle primary school, to have an actual understanding of the world they live in, instead of staying in the wizarding society’s bubble. Arthur himself has studied at muggle universities and holds degrees in physics and philosophy. He’s of the opinion that magic is merely an arcane science that could be studied to understand its inner mechanisms, the same way that muggles study what the universe is made of. He’s an advocate for the education of muggleborns and rejects the prejudice against them, because muggleborns are the future of the wizarding society, since they can blend both worlds and hopefully enrich the wizarding world with the technology and science of the muggle world, allowing for more ways to study and practise magic.
Their relationship with other pureblood families becomes even more complicated when considering that Gretchen isn’t Arthur’s biological daughter: he adopted her as a baby and raised her as a single father. This means that Gretchen, biologically speaking – which would be important to most pureblood families – isn’t a Faust descendant at all, and probably not even pureblooded. However, this isn’t common knowledge and only people with important ministry jobs would have access to this information. To both Arthur and Gretchen she is his daughter and a Kirke-Faust in heart and soul.
Proud of their heritage, descendants of Faust choose the Faust surname over others, hence the hyphen in this case. In the muggle world they’re registered simply as “Kirke” and they will introduce themselves as such. However, other purebloods usually recognise the name as being the English branch of the Fausts and will refer to them as such, usually with a derogatory tone. The other Faust descendants are spread out over mainland Europe, but there aren’t many and most have dropped the controversial view on magic (the captain of the German national quidditch team being a case in point). The Kirke’s don’t have contact with them.
Arthur Kirke-Faust lobbies for more research into what he calls “real witchcraft”, which includes folk magic, old world rituals, summoning, voodoo, and even necromancy. Not to use it, he says, but simply to understand the witchcraft better. After all, a wicked thirst for knowledge is the family vice. Unsurprisingly, much of their preferred witchcraft is considered dark magic by the British Ministry of Magic, and outlawed. Because of this Arthur Kirke-Faust leads an underground secret society whose very purpose it is to collect grimoires and enchanted objects for study and safekeeping, afraid that otherwise it’d either fall into the wrong hands or be destroyed by the ministry. The order consists of not only witches, but other beings as well and even muggles who decided to study the occult. They frequently organise old-fashioned Sabbaths, haven’t given up on finding the -usually considered mythical- Deathly Hallows and actively seek out other supernatural creatures in the hopes of becoming familiar with different types of magic. They’ve also taught potions and alchemy to interested muggles. Actually, since they see witchery as something that needs to be actively pursued, they don’t consider witches and muggles a different race, merely humans with a different skill-set but who can be occultists none the less. It goes without saying that all of this is definitely illegal.
The wizarding world, especially its pureblood citizens, consider the family and their believes dangerous left-wings. To them, even without knowledge of the Order or their collaboration with muggles and “creatures”, the Kirke’s are very controversial. To others they’re mostly just odd. Perhaps to the people who’ve heard them refer to their pets as “familiars” or know that they still celebrate Walpurgis Night, they’re mental. Their insistence on using the term “witchcraft” over “magic” and the use of “witches” as a gender-neutral term is also starting to irk people.
In short, you’d think in a society where everyone practises magic there’d be no use for the word “pagans”. You’d be wrong. As expected, the wizarding world is bad at handling different ideologies just as it has been bad at handling any other kind of diversity.
The family is subscribed to The Quibbler.
|♥ Gretchen Kirke-Faust||
Posted: Mar 26 2016, 04:01 PM
You find yourself in Kensington, London, standing in the library of a mansion. It didn’t look like a mansion on the outside, no, you’re certain you entered a fancy-looking row house, but a mansion? The fireplace cackles pleasantly, a chess board has been abandoned mid-game, and a few books have been gathered near the sofa. Clearly, you are not alone in this house. The thought only just crossed your mind as a voice with a thick French accent suddenly addresses you.
I’m joking. There is no party. The Kirke’s don’t throw parties, don’t make me laugh. Which of course brings us to the next observation! Looks like someone is sneaking around! Forgot about the resident ghost? Nicholas de la Fontaine, at your service. I see you’re too shy to ask, but can you call me Nick? No. You most certainly cannot. Now, what is your business here?
Oh, you want to know about Gretchen Kirke-Faust? Well, you’ve come to the right place, I am a valued member of this household, you see. I’ve been here with Arthur Kirke-Faust, Master of the House, and his butler, Anthony Hall, before the girl was even born. I don’t just live here, uh, I mean haunt here, I am very much part of this family. Gretchen’s brother and friend, if you will. So you want the details, hein? Want to know what shaped her, what she does, how she ticks, who she is?
Well why would I bloody tell you? Did I not say –trusted– member of this household? Qui a de la chance this is only for a workshop profile, and it’ll most likely sit there without anyone looking at it. What do you mean, breaking the fourth wall? Sir, ma’am, I am dead, I’m already past the veil. Now sit down and don’t interrupt me.
Nicholas floats over to the family portrait. It is painted in a rather archaic fashion – two people are seated on an antique chaise lounge, and a third member is standing behind it. Barely any of them move, all cordial smiles but stiff demeanour. You should ask about the others later, but for now your attention goes to the girl.
Gretchen Kirke-Faust, only daughter of Arthur Kirke-Faust, is painted sitting with her legs crossed and her back straight. The girl has a round face, a small nose, carefully trimmed eyebrows and curling brown locks that fall over her shoulders. At Hogwarts, she often puts her hair up, either with a bun or a braid, to fit under the hat that is part of the school’s uniform. The student loves pointy hats now, and wears them in her free time as well. They’re usually wide-brimmed, and its point may stand upright or droop down. Hardly ever will you see the girl out of her uniform, and she always wears the entire thing, robe and pointed hat included, sometimes tying her tie around her hat like a hat band. The few times you see her out of uniform she might as well be wearing another uniform, with all those skirts, knee-high socks, cardigans and sleeveless jumpers that seem to be part of her casual wardrobe. However, in the painting the girl is dolled up in the kind of tailor-made dress that the pureblood would attend balls and dinners with, bare-shouldered and complete with a corset to emphasize her figure.
Gretchen is shaped like a cello, with small feet, chubby thighs, wide hips – especially for her age – and a short and significantly smaller waist. That is, relative to her hips and chest, the girl is by no means thin. On top of that, she is also fairly large-chested. As a result her everyday clothes make her look smaller than she already is with her five-foot height, because they need to fit the largest parts of her body, and as such appear loose elsewhere, giving the impression that there is more cloth than girl and that she might disappear into her clothes any moment. Surely, the teenager must always wear tights or leggings under her skirts and dresses to be comfortable.
It seems that her favourite colours for clothes and make-up are dark hues of blue and purple, or simply stylish black. The fifteen-year old’s make-up always seems to be on point, and while she probably erased every single blemish from her face, it is mostly the lipstick that stands out.
In the painting, the household’s only-child is accompanied by her impressive-looking cat who goes by the name Billy. Though the critter is massive, he technically isn’t fat, not for his breed at least. Two third of the animal is also just fur, black and white with the black running over his head, back and tail, stopping at his snout, belly, and legs – only to turn up again for random dots in his white socks. The pet positively clings to Gretchen, always following her around. His green eyes stare at you from the painting, a conceited expression plastered on his snout.
Voila, it’s her you want to talk about, right? Gretchen, our petite fille. Hue! She’s not that small anymore, now is she? Did you know that it’s actually pronounced the German way? Grrr-aye-tsj-ehn. Don’t worry, I can’t do it either, only Arthur pronounces it like that. But you’re not interested in formalities like that, hé? You want to know who she really is, well then, aren’t you lucky you ran into me, and not Arthur or Anthony? They don’t see her for who she really is, you see. Anton dotes on her too much, like the sentimental sod he is, and Arthur only sees the parts of her he wants to see. To be frank, he tends to project himself onto her, assuming what he wants is also what she wants. Don’t get me wrong, he loves his daughter very much, but… she is her own person, after all.
Gretchen could be considered studious, as she is certainly eager to learn, and on top of that determined to achieve good grades. Like most children from wizarding families, her parent teaches her magic outside of school, even though it’s technically not allowed, and she has used magic her entire life. Most of her daily tasks are performed solely by magic, it is the backbone of her existence, always striving to be a better witch, to understand her abilities better, and to learn more about any and all types of witchcraft. As such, the girl excels at subjects like Charms, Transfiguration and Defence Against the Dark Arts, but her pride and joy is potion making. The girl can be very patient, though only when she is confident in her abilities – so while she is very patient when it comes to potions and meticulous planning, the girl can get very frustrated if she doesn’t succeed at something she wants to be good at. It’s what recently happened with Ancient Runes, a subject she never expected to be as difficult as it is, and Care of Magical Creatures, as the creatures present an external factor that she isn’t in control of. Herbology is another class she’d rather avoid, as taking care of the plants is dirty, tedious work and there are, again, too many factors beyond her control. It’s a shame, of course, since she needs herbs for her potions, so she could’ve really used that skillset. The youngest Faust also has a thing for Divination. As opposed to the wizarding community’s general sceptic opinion of divination, Gretchen considers it one of the purest forms of witchcraft. Though personally she is no seer and needs objects to help her, and her success varies. The witch does not expect to become good at it, it is simply a fascination for magic that she cannot understand, an interest that extends to other types of mysterious witchcraft, such as empathy. She’s fascinated by the house-elves – a term that is considered taboo in her household, it’s just ‘elves’ – and their magic as well, so she’ll often attempt to strike up a conversation with them, and will be quick to defend them and other beings. The girl is comfortable around ghosts and vampires, but tends to flock to all kinds of beings and beasts.
Gretchen is usually a quiet student, though she is by no means shy. It’s just that this fifth year prefers to observe, and has – perhaps as a result – proven to be a good judge of character. Silence also gives her time to think, which allows her to plan ahead. This results in a collected and composed person, but also surprisingly calculating for her age. People probably wouldn’t expect such a quiet student to be so bad at respecting rules, especially when they’re restrictions – this Ravenclaw is often in parts of the castle that she shouldn’t be, and the girl won’t hang her head in shame when she gets caught either, instead she’ll demand to know the reasoning behind the rule and then contest it. Sending letters to her father doesn’t help either as he seems to encourage this behaviour. Surely, she got her argumentative side from him.
It is true that Gretchen inherited many traits from her father, mostly as a result of her reclusive childhood. Although she was sent to a muggle primary school, she was too eccentric to make any friends there, and as such interacted almost exclusively with her household’s members. Now, her father Arthur is quite the eccentric himself, and he deals with all the pureblood drama that the family is caught up in through stoicism and obsessively gathering intel on his enemies. While it is questionable if those are the kind of traits he should’ve passed on to his daughter, he certainly did. Gretchen grew up to be just as scheming, and was taught to carry herself like a proper aristocrat – pleasant and charming but always detached. And so the girl was taught to bottle everything up, to never shout or cry, smile through pain and anger, and remain polite and courteous. Never show someone they got to you, is rule number one, always keep a grip and never crack. As a result she is hard to read. The way she presents herself depends largely on the other person, and can range from innocent and harmless to coquettish. In other words, she’s manipulative. Gretchen tends to observe people and then behave and talk to them in a way that will have a favourable outcome for her. It’s unclear whether she does this consciously or that she just grew up seeing people as pawns or tools to achieve your own ends with. Most likely it’s another result of her upbringing, as she has been taught that the best way to win is by outwitting your enemies.
Detached is truly the best way to describe the Faust’s only-child. Always defensive and distrustful, she never truly lets people in. Her friendliness feels insincere and it often is, as it is all part of the sweet and innocent persona she puts on. Although she presents herself as nice, mature, and reasonable, underneath she is proud. Essentially, even in especially dire situations, Gretchen believes she is in control – in control of herself, the situation, the environment, and even other people. This makes her a hard person to scare or even intimidate. Realising she isn’t in control makes her lose it, all that build-up anger explodes and she shows a ruthless side.
At least it isn’t only his paranoia that Arthur taught his daughter, since he values wit so much she’s also good at chess, puzzles and riddles. The Ravenclaw knocker hates her, as she always gives the right answer first and then goes on an unnecessary explanation of what could also be a possible solution to the riddle, if you look at it from a different perspective, but that’s not what he asked so please just go inside.
The Ravenclaw is also known to be dedicated, though that’s putting it lightly – ‘driven’ or ‘determined’ would be more appropriate, perhaps even ‘obsessive’. Despite her inquisitiveness there is very little ambition to be found, when asked what she’d like to do later she usually shrugs and chooses something steady that’d support her just enough to continue studying the multiple magical and muggle fields that interest her. She’d like to attend a muggle university at least once in her life, to learn their take on the world.
Gretchen Kirke-Faust also has some controversial opinions about witchcraft, and the magical society as a whole, following her father in his believes. Hogwarts has been a real eye-opener for Gretchen in how her family is seen by the rest of the wizarding world, and though the girl is only fifteen at the moment you can already see the cynicism and bitterness increase every year. She will jump to defend muggleborns from the prejudice of elitist purebloods, but will often simply be dismissed based on her family heritage, because as a Faust of course she’d say that. And apparently that makes her argument void, as if they aren’t biased by their own upbringing as well. She hates being dismissed or ignored and, if she is frustrated enough, will not stop pressing the issue until her voice is heard. Most of the time she registers every slight against her in silence and it will settle in her stomach as a lump of cold anger. With her upbringing being as emotionally stunted as it is, it seems that anger is all she has.
Oh, you’re still here? Don’t you know enough by now? Ah, je comprends, you want to know about the family as well. Well, that is quite the ride, mon ami. You see…
At first sight, the Kirke’s are the embodiment of mild-mannered British civilians. They live in Kensington, West-London, amongst muggles, in a row house that fits a mansion on the inside. Their Received Pronunciation is usually perceived as snobbish and elitist, though it’s actually a side-effect of their ancestors having learned English as a secondary language since they hailed from Germany. To be honest, their pride probably made them keep it. Gretchen’s father, Arthur John Kirke-Faust, is a middle-aged man with ash blond hair with visible grey streaks. He wears ugly cardigans, works at the ministry, and is altogether a hardly memorable person. However, there’s a lot more to this family than what the neighbours see. For one thing, the household also consists out of a vampire named Anthony Hall who serves as, or perhaps “pretends to be” is more appropriate, their butler, and the ghost of Nicholas de la Fontaine, a student who perished during the French revolution. That’d be me.
The household that Gretchen grew up in is thus clearly not what one would call a nuclear family. Arthur used to travel a lot. It is on his travels that he met first Anthony and later, well, yours truly. Anthony is… reserved, mild-mannered and tidy. He can be rather stuck-up, really, don’t even bother arguing with him because he’s always right. Anyway, Monsieur “you’re messing up the crockery, Nicholas!” was in charge of Gretchen’s etiquette training, most of her home-schooling, and dancing lessons. He is Gretchen’s most trusted confidant and probably worries about her more than Arthur does. You see, Arthur works at the ministry’s department of mysteries as an unspeakable. He spends most of his time at the ministry, as he’s very invested in politics as well. Arthur lobbies for more research into what he calls “real witchcraft”, which includes folk magic, old world rituals, summoning, voodoo, and even necromancy. Not to use it, he says, but simply to understand the witchcraft better. Well, I guess a wicked thirst for knowledge is the family vice…
Unsurprisingly, much of Kirke-Faust’s preferred witchcraft is considered dark magic by the British Ministry of Magic, and outlawed. Because of this Arthur leads an underground secret society whose very purpose it is to collect grimoires and enchanted objects for study and safekeeping, afraid that otherwise it’d either fall into the wrong hands or be destroyed by the ministry. The order consists of not only witches, but other beings as well and even muggles who decided to study the occult. They frequently organise old-fashioned sabbats, haven’t given up on finding the -usually considered mythical- Deathly Hallows and actively seek out other supernatural creatures in the hopes of becoming familiar with different types of magic. They’ve also taught potions and alchemy to interested muggles. Actually, since they see witchery as something that needs to be actively pursued, they don’t consider witches and muggles a different being, merely humans with a different skill-set but who can be occultists none the less. It goes without saying that all of this is definitely illegal.
…So since Arthur was always away, Anthony raised the girl more than anyone. Arthur is a true stoic, always in control of himself around strangers and impossible to read, and disapproves of Gretchen losing her temper around strangers the way she sometimes does. Though he’s clearly in desperate need of Parenting 101, he loves his daughter to bits, smotheringly so. He can’t get mad at her either, instead he’ll often scold Anthony and me when he’s not pleased with her, somehow holding us responsible for Gretchen’s behaviour. I just roll my eyes and leave – please, I won’t let someone talk to me like that! – but at least Anthony will take it seriously and sit Gretchen down about whatever she did. Frankly, between you and me, if Arthur hadn’t had Anthony to help raise her she’d be an utterly unruly child. But of course, being aristocracy, Anthony was a sheltered child in his lifetime as well, and it also explains some of the odd priorities in Gretchen’s education. The girl doesn’t know how to make friends but she knows what spoon to use. You know what, I’ll fetch him for you, because I am so nice. Actually this conversation is boring me and I want to leave. Anthony is good at idle chit-chat, and he wouldn’t want to seem rude, so he’ll comply. EUH, ANTON! GET OVER HERE.
My goodness, isn’t he a delight? I apologise, I should have interfered immediately. What was I thinking, allowing Nicholas to entertain a guest. He is so temperamental, and rather unreliable as well. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a mischievous streak that, after a lifetime of bad advice and terrible suggestions, he is passing on to Gretchen. He’s a bad influence, really. Here I’ve been trying to raise her like a proper lady, and he keeps encouraging her nerve and contentiousness. Ever since she was a toddler he’s been way too reckless around her, I had to step in countless times so she wouldn’t hurt herself! Ah, but I digress, I’m rambling, aren’t I? Apologies. My name is Anthony Hall, I’m employed as the Kirke-Fausts’ butler, though I am often mistaken for Arthur’s son, or Gretchen’s older brother. I suppose that makes sense if, ah, people aren’t aware of my condition. What can I help you with? Ah, you wanted to know more about the family, of course. Well, I assume Nicholas introduced you to our little household. Then, allow me to delve into the Kirke-Fausts and their role in the world of pureblood witches…
It’s not just the undead company they keep that raises eyebrows in the wizarding world. Believed to be descendants of Johann Faust, the Kirke family treats witchcraft as a choice that needs to be pursued. To them being born magically means very little when one only uses magic for everyday tasks, and to be a true witch one should dedicate their life to the occult. This puts bad blood between them and other pureblood families, since many pureblood families consider being born into a magical family the mark of a true witch or wizard, while in the Kirke’s ideology a dedicated muggleborn could easily surpass a pureblood who takes magic for granted. In fact, despite the Kirke’s favouring of old-world magic, they condemn the wizarding society for being stagnant while the muggle society has evolved splendidly since the dark ages. This is why Arthur sent Gretchen to a muggle primary school for a few years before she went to Hogwarts, to have an actual understanding of the world they live in, instead of staying in the wizarding society’s bubble. Arthur himself has studied at muggle universities and holds degrees in physics and philosophy. He’s of the opinion that magic is merely an arcane science that could be studied to understand its inner mechanisms, the same way that muggles study what the universe is made of. He’s an advocate for the education of muggleborns and rejects the prejudice against them, because muggleborns are the future of the wizarding society, since they can blend both worlds and hopefully enrich the wizarding world with the technology and science of the muggle world, allowing for more ways to study and practise magic.
Gretchen goes home during the Christmas holiday period, though the family doesn’t celebrate the Christian holidays. Holidays they do celebrate are the equinoxes and the solstices, such as Yule and Midsummer. The Kirke’s traditionally attend sabbats for these, and it’s the Yule celebration that Gretchen goes home for. The sabbats are basically gatherings open to anyone who practises witchcraft – witch, beings or other – though it’s usually the same people and or beings attending. They’re simply folkloric celebrations of dance and friendly chatter, sometimes opened or closed by ritualistic rites supposed to honour magic, but a modern wizard wouldn’t want to be caught dead at them – especially since most of the attendees are beings, and beasts like centaurs tend to be there too. Gretchen has to miss most festivals now that she’s at Hogwarts.
The Fausts are an old pureblood family that recently thrived and became quite wealthy and influential, so as much as everyone hates it, it means they won’t go away any time soon and everyone will just have to keep putting up with them. Proud of their heritage, not to mention to spite their enemies and remind them they’re still here, descendants of Faust choose the Faust surname over others, hence the hyphen in the case of Kirke-Faust. In the muggle world they’re registered simply as “Kirke” and they will introduce themselves as such. However, other purebloods usually recognise the name as being the English branch of the Fausts and will refer to them as Faust, derogatory tone included. The other Faust descendants are spread out over mainland Europe, but there aren’t many and most have dropped the controversial view on magic. The Kirke’s don’t have contact with them.
The wizarding world, especially its pureblood citizens, consider the family and their believes dangerous left-wings. To them, even without knowledge of the Order or their collaboration with muggles and “creatures”, the Kirke’s are very controversial. To others they’re mostly just odd-
Perhaps to the people who’ve heard them refer to their pets as ‘familiars’ or know that they still celebrate Walpurgis Night, they’re mental. Their insistence on using the term ‘witchcraft’ over ‘magic’ and the use of ‘witches’ as a gender-neutral term, is also really starting to irk people.
I thought you were leaving? By Jove, I hate it when he does that. All the fine china that we’ve lost because Mister immature here likes to sneak up on me. Now, where was I? Ah yes, the controversy…
The Fausts have a long history of being shunned by the magical society, actually, and it is only recently – say since the 19th century – that they began to thrive, especially in Great Britain. One of their longest-running rivalries is with the Nilsson family, who may or may not be responsible for the almost extinction of the Faust name. Archenemies like these also refused to consider the Fausts purebloods, and upheld the rumour that they descended from a muggle who made a pact with the devil instead. It’s unclear whether the Johann Faust legend started first and was picked up by the Fausts’ enemies, or whether they started it to discredit the family. Though nobody really believes this anymore, descendants of such families might still refer to it.
The family’s reputation doesn’t seem to go beyond Europe, so non-European wizards might recognise the name from folklore, literature, or quidditch – I can already hear a teenager going “Faust? Like the captain of the German national quidditch team?!” – but won’t be familiar with their lifestyle and the controversy around it.
In short, you’d think in a society where everyone practises magic there’d be no use for the word ‘pagans’… you’d be wrong. As expected, the wizarding world is bad at handling different ideologies just as it has been bad at handling any other kind of diversity… I, uh, I’ll see if the Master of the House has anything to add. He’s in his study… Sir? These people would like to know more about the family’s history.
Hmm? Well, I’m rather busy at the moment, I don’t really have time to entertain guests…
It deplores me that I don’t have more time at the moment, we should do this over tea some time. Ah, Anthony, this month’s issue of The Quibbler should have arrived, would you check the post, please, as you let these lovely people out?
|♥ Gretchen Kirke-Faust||
Posted: Feb 18 2017, 04:19 PM
Revision for Intermediate
There are a bunch of bad words in this because the new narrator is terrible.
Okay bozos here’s what we’re going to do today. I am going to take you with me on a tour of the Faust household and we’re going to write a bitchin’ profile. Or at least a sorta decent one. As you can see in the post above, the freeform was already a tour of the Faust home, but as you can also see above, it was fucking terrible. So this time I’m going to do this, as I’m Robin’s personal muse and all. You’re welcome. I have to tell you to think of me as her Lemony Snicket, but I have no idea who that is. Seriously though what was she thinking with that whole “vague second-person” bullshit, nobody needs to know what a big influence Homestuck had on your writing style, Robin! Really, she should’ve just called upon me from the start, ya dig?
Okay, profiles are a drag, so let’s get this over with. Here’s a fun fact to start with: did you know that there’s a painting in the Ravenclaw tower of some old Faust who studied here? Apparently the family has always been clad in bronze and blue. But you know what’s real neato about that painting? There’s another one in the Faust mansion, so itty bitty Gretchen can communicate with her household through that dusty painted ancestor of theirs. Now let’s break some physics and use that portal ourselves. Hey, everything’s fair in love and profiles. So let’s do this. You and me.
But mostly me.
…Well this is a bummer. I can barely see the difference between this dusty place and the one we just left behind. This is clearly a pureblood family’s home, alright. What, I’ve gotta be your eyes too? Geez, get yourself some peepers. Alright, I’m in a library. The walls are lined with books, except for the one behind me, there’s a fireplace there with the painting above it. There’s a sofa, some chairs, a chessboard, more books… oh, check it out, there are a bunch of photographs around the fireplace, and a family portrait too. How convenient, since I guess I’ve got to describe Gretchen to you too? Of course.
Let’s start with the family portrait, I guess. The entire thing centres around a middle-aged man with ash blond hair, greying at the temples. He’s clearly the oldest in the painting, the only man with wrinkles, so he must be Gretchen’s father, Arthur Kirke-Faust. He’s wearing those long robes that everyone in the Wizarding World feels the need to wear, though as far as I can see he’s wearing casual shirts and sweater vests in most of the photographs. Anyway, he… well, I can’t really read his face. It’s making me a little uncomfortable looking at him to be honest, as he seems to be staring right into my soul, which makes me nervous because I don’t know if I have one. There’s a much younger but taller man on his left, wearing a violet tailcoat and a white blouse with a high ruffled neck, as if he walked right off the Victorian theatre stage. His hair almost reaches his shoulders and is curled in neat ringlets – y’know, the kind of curls that you expect on porcelain dolls. He has noticeably large, almond-shaped, teal eyes, which are already heaps more expressive than Arthur’s cold grey ones, but he still keeps his expression pretty neutral. His eyes are also somewhat sunken, and his high, pronounced cheekbones only cast more shadows on his face, giving him a rather gaunt appearance. If I hadn’t known this painting could move, I honestly could’ve forgotten, if it wasn’t for the cat.
A great, long-haired tuxedo cat darts between the third person’s legs, rubbing his head against her in passing. This is obviously the girl we’re here for, so let’s get to it. The painted Gretchen doesn’t seem to take notice of her cat– or, most likely, was determined to stay as still as the other household members while the portrait was being painted. She’s young and short, only five feet tall and fifteen years old, and shaped like a cello. Maybe that’s a strange comparison, but the image must’ve come to mind partly because of her body language, and how stiffly she carries herself in the painting: short legs standing close together, calves and heels touching, back arched and shoulders tense, with her hands folded behind her. This posture only emphasizes her large chest to be honest, which I’m guessing wasn’t her intention. She has wide hips for her age too, with a waistline relatively small compared to both the bottom and top parts of her body. See? A ‘cello’. Makes perfect sense. I’m a fucking poet.
I get why Robin always struggles with the appearance part now. I feel like a creep.
Do you have enough details on this underage girl’s body now? Sigh. Well, uh, her skin is well-cared for and fair, but also very pale. Remember Bora Bora? She was burned bright red when she came back, not even her magical concoctions from Madam Primpernelle’s Beautifying Potions helped her with that. Okay, can I now move onto other things? Like her hair, which is chestnut brown, and reaches the middle of her back. Except you don’t see that in the painting, that’s just something I happen to know because she’s been at Hogwarts for five years now. In the painting, she wears her hair up, every single strand neatly tucked under a pointy witch hat. She likes wearing hats, which is also such typical Wizarding Fashion. But even without a hat, she usually wears her hair in a bun or in a braid, anything that keeps it all neatly together. Probably because she’s such a bloody control freak. Someone should just introduce her to hairspray, but then again, she has all those magical brews to tame her hair – an you can bet she uses them. Anyway, her hair is as well cared for as the rest of her appearance, this girl probably spends hours in the bathroom. On the rare occasions that she lets her hair loose, she usually straightens it, but can you keep a secret? Neither can I. It’s curly, I’ve seen it. I bet she doesn’t like curly locks spinning out of control, like how she doesn’t like anything out of her control. Cracked it.
She’s wearing dark purple robes, again in total Wizarding Fashion. Maybe it’s to remind us they’re purebloods or something. As if we needed the reminder. Her outfits at Hogwarts usually aren’t robes at all, actually. First of all it’s rare to see her out of her uniform. She’s all about that whole white shirt, grey sweater vest, grey skirt, knee-height grey socks, black, shiny Sunday shoes, Ravenclaw tie, and black cloak ordeal. Yeah, even the witch hat, as I mentioned before. If she ain’t wearing the uniform she’s usually wearing something that might as well be a uniform. Gretchen just seems to own an endless supply of shirts, skirts and sweater vests.
Whenever there’s a ball at Hogwarts she does wear dresses though, and then she cleans up rather nicely. Some of her gowns are very elaborate and almost ridiculous, and then of course there are the magical robes, but she also has light and simple dresses that make her look like some flower child but actually compliment her well. It’s a solid look. Unlike the sweaters, which just make her look chubbier and shorter than she already is. I don’t think she minds being that short though, she probably feels like it helps her look harmless and innocent and allows people to underestimate her, which is always an advantage.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it does not surprise me at all that she’s wearing purple in this painting, it’s obviously her favourite colour. Half of her threads seem to be purple, and it’s also her go-to lipstick. And before you ask, yeah, she is wearing matching purple lipstick in the painting. And matching purple eyeshadow too. I’ve never even seen her without make-up, and that probably goes for most people at Hogwarts. Everyone except for her dormmates, maybe. I also know she even uses spells to seal it and make it waterproof. I guess she just really can’t handle showing any kind of weakness or flaw to the outside world, so she has to sugar-coat her face like how she sugar-coats her personality. What I have seen is the entire spectrum of colours she uses for her make-up, which encompasses the entire bloody rainbow. Especially her lipstick can be very bright, and colours like orange or blue are all within possibility. Purple and black are clearly her favourite though. I think that for some people, her lips might be the first thing they notice about Gretchen, but it’s more because of the lipstick than anything else. Luckily I’ve got this painting right in front of me so I can try to describe them, alright? They’re pretty full, corners slightly downturned, and I guess her lower lip is larger than her upper lip.
Anyway, when I see Gretchen I usually notice her eyes first. Not only because they’re this bright, icy blue colour, but they’re just very expressive, whether she wants them to be or not. And I’m guessing she doesn’t want them to be, since she tries to be as stoic as her old man. Y’know, seeing this family portrait and Arthur’s unreadable face actually explains a lot to me. Gretchen usually keeps her face straight too, though she doesn’t always succeed and it often just turns into a sourpuss expression. But even when she does succeed, her eyes are just really intense, and more often than not they are either noticeably cold or fierce, betraying her feelings anyway.
Oh right, I was describing her. Uh, okay, well her eyes are downturned and heavy-lidded. Really heavy-lidded, but they’re also rather large which kinda makes up for this I guess. Still, the lids usually cover at least the top part of her irises in a neutral expression. Uh, what else am I supposed to pay attention to? Oh, right, nose. Uh, she has a small but upturned nose, kind of pig-like. Her face is very round, too, which doesn’t help. Of course she contours and emphasises all her good features, so she’s still kiiiiiinda fine, I guess. To be honest I don’t get the feeling she’d look that much worse without make-up. I’m sure it’s just her compulsive desire to tweak everything about herself that also makes her feel insecure about everything. Eyebrows? You want to know about eyebrows? Okay, they’re rounded and thin and clearly plucked to follow a perfect shape. People pay attention to this these days? Do you want dental records too? …Well she has pretty good teeth. This is the wizarding world though, keeping your teeth white and straight ain’t exactly hard.
Okay, this is a really boring painting. Let’s move on to these photographs. Here’s one of Gretchen and her cat, and she’s actually smiling. You’re probably familiar with Gretchen’s ghost of a smile, that slight tugging at the corners of her mouth. But this is a sincere smile, which I don’t see on her very often. Her eyes shine brightly, making the colour look less cold and more brilliant, and her nose scrunches up while she smiles. It’s a rare sight, usually you either see the neutral, polite smile, or that stuck up, indignant face. You know the one. Maybe she just likes her cat more than most people. Well, not ‘maybe’ – that’s a fact. Y’know, I used to think it was weird how her cat accompanied her everywhere yet the girl’s threads aren’t covered in cat hair, but turns out it’s because she has magical pet hair repelling spray that she buys at Magical Menagerie. So that’s another mystery solved. Because really, she is always accompanied by that cat, it’s rare to see her without the grumpy critter. A witch and her furry companion, I guess, you get two for the price of one. He’s almost as intelligent, proud, and distrusting as she is, too. They’re like the polar opposites of Shaggy and Scooby.
Here’s a photograph where Gretchen’s sitting on the sofa in this very room, with a book in her lap. I don’t think she was aware this picture was being taken, as she seems pretty engrossed in the book. She has the tendency to sit on the edge of her seat, maybe because she’s short and otherwise her feet don’t touch the floor. She keeps her knees together while she sits, and hunches over a little. Of course she’s wearing her hair up in this photograph too, and her wand is jabbed through the middle of the bun. That’s something she does a lot too, her wand is either in her hair, behind her ear, in her sock, or, finally, in its proper place: the inside pocket of her cloak. It’s a short and stubby wand, black, with detailed yet rough craftsmanship at the base. Don’t ask me what’s in it or what wood it’s made of, I’m just describing here and I’m not a walking encyclopaedia on wands.
You know the way she walks, right? All stiff, keeping her head high, chin up, back arched, and all that jazz. I’ve never seen her run, she just takes very rapid short strides, the clicking of her short heels echoing through the halls. Gretchen never saunters either, she always seems to know exactly where she’s going and walks towards it with determination. Oh, and she also owns a broom, but not a racing broom or anything. She’s not exactly a sporty type, alright? She owns a Stardust ’15, which is a regular family transportation broom. She uses it as a chair a lot, just hovering a few feet above the ground. I’ve seen her pull it out of her bag once. Y’know, the leather messenger bag that she carries. There’s a lot in there. It’s full of secrets.
C’mon, what else is so typically Gretchen, let me think… I’ve known her for five years, what else does she do? Oh right, y’know how she’s always crossing her arms indignantly and tutting her lips disapprovingly? Classic. She also places her hands on her hips a lot, I’ve got a theory that it’s to make herself look taller. It doesn’t work. Oh, Gretchen also tends to click her heels, and when she’s just standing around she usually keeps her heels and knees close together while her toes point outwards.
Then of course there’s also her high-pitched, feminine voice, which raises towards a shriek when she’s angry. She’s a good classical singer though, Gretchen’s been in the school’s choir ever since she came to Hogwarts. She has the kind of voice that sounds clear and smooth when singing musical songs, Disney, blues, jazz, …and all that jazz. But it wouldn’t suit most pop songs, or rock ‘n roll, and while she can reach high notes I doubt she’d be able to keep her voice steady during very fast songs. All in all, she’s good, but I’m clearly the superior singer.
I’m sorry, where was I?
…The flames in the fireplace just turned blue. That can only mean one thing. I’m not alone anymore.
“Well, well, well… looks like someone’s sneaking around, hein? Forgot about the resident ghost? What is your business here?”
Ghosts. Always a pain in the arse. Well, he certainly wasn’t in any of these photographs, which makes sense, I guess, since he’s dead. Do ghosts even take on camera? What a weird household.
“Yeah, no need to flip your wig, man. I come in peace. I’m supposed to be writing Gretchen’s workshop profile, but I ain’t got no insider’s intel, ya dig? So, you live here?” Fuck, wrong move. Ghosts hate it when you use that word. He’s frowning at me, better recover fast before I get send back to where I came from – Do not pass Go, Do not Collect $200.
“I mean- you’re a member of this household, right? It’s very important that I get some info on Gretchen, otherwise she’ll never rank to Intermediate. You understand, I’m sure.”
“Bon courage. Hmmm…Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place, I am a valued member of this household, you see. I’ve been here with Arthur Kirke-Faust, Master of the House, and his butler, Anthony Hall, before the girl was even born. I don’t just live here, uh, I mean haunt here,” Oh, good, he has a sense of humour. I sure dodged that bullet. “I am very much a part of this family, c’est vrai. Gretchen’s brother and friend, if you will – Nicholas de la Fontaine, at your service. I see you’re too shy to ask, but can you call me Nick? No. You most certainly cannot. So you want the details, hein? Want to know what shaped her, what she does, how she ticks, who she is?”
“That would help, yeah.”
“Well why would I bloody tell you? Did I not say –trusted– member of this household? Qui a de la chance this is only for a workshop profile, and it’ll most likely sit there without anyone looking at it.”
“Hey, breaking the fourth wall is my thing.”
“Boy, I am dead, I’m already past the veil. Now sit down and don’t interrupt me.”
Man, this is really turning into a drag, but fine. I sit down and try to understand what this ghost is saying with his thick French accent. Nicholas doesn’t seem to mind this profile business at all and dives straight into a soliloquy. Yeah, I know what a soliloquy is. I read.
“If you want to know who she really is, well then, aren’t you lucky you ran into me, and not Arthur or Anthony? They don’t see her for who she really is, you see. Anton dotes on her too much, like the sentimental sod he is, and Arthur only sees the parts of her he wants to see. To be frank, he tends to project himself onto her, assuming what he wants is also what his daughter wants. Don’t get me wrong, he loves her very much, but… she is her own person, after all.
“Ben, what you really need to understand about Gretchen, above anything else, is that Gretchen is unhappy.
“There is simply no way around this. It is undeniable, fills her every waking moment, fuels her, drives her – and yet, la petite fille doesn’t even seem to be aware of it, because it’s all she has ever known. Ça y est! She used to be a wide-eyed dreamer, already making her the odd one out, but now that she has been properly indoctrinated in her father’s paranoia, the youngest Faust is lonelier than ever. Et bien, again, this is all she has ever known, really, so she doesn’t notice the hole in her heart until it is on the verge of collapsing into itself. Never able to voice her doubts, sadness, guilt, or any other negative emotion – Gretchen keeps it all neatly bottled up inside, determined to follow in her father’s footsteps, who is a stoic like no other.
“Ben, euh, Gretchen inherited many traits from her father, mostly as a result of her reclusive childhood. Although she was sent to a muggle primary school, she was too eccentric to make any friends there, and as such interacted almost exclusively with us. Now, Arthur is tout à fait l'excentrique, and he deals with all the pureblood drama that the family is caught up in through stoicism and obsessively gathering intel on his enemies. Comment dites-vous… paranoiaque?
“Well, while it is questionable if those are the kind of traits he should’ve passed on to his daughter, he certainly did. Gretchen grew up to be just as obsessively distrusting, and was taught to carry herself like a proper lady – pleasant and charming but always detached. And so the girl was taught to bite her tongue, to never shout or cry, smile through pain and anger, and remain polite and courteous. Never show someone they got to you, was rule number one, always keep a grip and never crack. As a result she is hard to read. The way she presents herself depends largely on the other person, and can range from innocent and harmless to coquettish. In other words… she’s really quite manipulative. Elle tends to observe people and then behave and talk to them in a way that will have a favourable outcome for her. At this point, I believe she doesn’t even do it consciously, it’s just what she knows – and what she certainly doesn’t know is who she is without all of the pretending.”
I noticed that myself too, but now that Nicholas put it into words, it reminds me of a Rolling Stones song. Cool, calm, colleeeeected… She knows who to smile to today. She has just been brought up in that way. She knows all the right games to play, and she always just knows what to say.
“Detached is truly the best way to describe the Faust’s only child. Always defensive and distrustful, never letting people in, incapable of connecting to others – alors, others that aren’t, ben, us. I bet her friendliness feels insincere and it often is, as it is all part of the sweet and innocent persona she puts on. Although she presents herself as nice, mature, and reasonable, underneath she is proud and a bit… controlling. Essentially, even in especially dire situations, Gretchen believes she is in control – in control of herself, the situation, the environment, and even other people. This makes her a hard person to scare or even intimidate. Realising she isn’t in control however, makes her lose it – all that built-up anger explodes and she shows a ruthless side.”
She seems to glow brilliantly white, and her hair seems to shine in the night. With her feet unbelievably light, and her teeth ready, sharpened to bite.
“Tant pis. The mask works most of the time, Gretchen Kirke-Faust usually comes off as quiet, level-headed and calm, even unnervingly so. She seems to have an answer to everything, which she delivers with a straight face, no matter how poisonous the words. The little witch plans, schemes, and observes, which results in a collected and composed person, who is also surprisingly calculating for her age. Bien sûr, all of this is of course a consequence of what one can only describe as severe fear. Her family’s status in the wizarding world, and the conflicts they were a part of, had only been vague background noise during her childhood, like the faint buzzing of a bee – you’re aware it’s there, but it’s soft and repetitive and after a while you forget all about it, whether it actually left or not. Leaving the golden cage that was her home here in Kensington was like discovering that the buzzing wasn’t produced by a bee but by a hornet. Tout à coup, just how different and eccentric her family was slapped her in the face, and even more so how frowned upon they were. Soudainement, her father’s battles were her battles, his enemies became her enemies by… by… proxy. Ben, between the constant glares, jabs, sneers and insults, the Ravenclaw became determined to not show anyone that they got to her. Resulting in the unforgiving, vindictive fifteen-year old she is today.”
Oh, he’s still talking. Sorry man, there was a song in my head and I had to follow it. I should’ve brought my guitar, put some groove in this profile, but I guess now we’ll just continue listening to Nicholas “not Nick” of the Fountain. He’s surprisingly honest though, so there’s that. I guess there are advantages to ghosts after all… and the strange surreal place between the canon and the OOC where the profiles take place. Listen, there is no way I should be able to just walk in here and get a fucking interview. Remember what Nick said earlier, and let me clue you in on what kind of people the Fausts are. They’re outcasts, they’re scapegoats, and they’re crazy. This whole victim-role thing consumes them, alright. Somewhere along the line these tree-hugging, peace-preaching, and excuse me for the slur, mudwallowing wizards decided they wouldn’t allow their fellow purebloods to walk over them anymore – becoming dangerous themselves in their concern to never be weak again.
We should enjoy this insight while it lasts, ‘cause I’m sure ol’ Nick here is right, I doubt anyone knows Gretchen better than him. Except maybe me, but I don’t mean to brag.
“Hogwarts has been a real eye-opener for Gretchen in how her family is seen by the rest of the wizarding world, and though the girl is only fifteen at the moment you can already see the cynicism and bitterness increase every year. To succeed when others want you to fail is the ultimate revenge, and so Gretchen spends most of her time studying and practising various spells and potions. She has her mind set on being someone you don’t want to mess with, someone who is prepared for everything and shouldn’t be underestimated. Who says spite isn’t a good motivator, hein? Our girl can be described as dedicated, though that’s putting it lightly – ‘driven’ or ‘determined’ would be more appropriate, perhaps even ‘obsessive’.
“It’s true that the Ravenclaw is amongst the better students for most of her classes, and when it comes to certain subjects – such as Potions and Defence Against the Dark Arts – even too advanced for her year, but it comes at the price of constantly burying herself in books. Alors, not that this is such a big issue – she doesn’t have a social life anyway. For the past five years, her only friend seems to have been her kneazlecat Billy, whom she dotes on.”
Hmm… more recently she has been able to make at least some friends, though. Most notably Njord Vikerns and Timothy Wilde. But in all cases, it’s more thanks to their never-ending kindness than anything she did. And even so, Gretchen clearly still finds it hard to let her walls down.
“Ben, euh, of course she isn’t good at everything, no matter how much she wants to hide not always being in control, or not always knowing exactly what to do. For example, Ancient Runes is a subject that she never expected to be as difficult as it is, and Care of Magical Creatures is usually one of her lowest grades, as the creatures present an external factor that she isn’t in control of. Herbology is another class she’d rather avoid, as taking care of the plants is dirty, tedious work and there are, again, too many factors beyond her control. It’s a shame, of course, since the witch needs herbs for her potions, so she could’ve really used that skillset.”
Blah blah blah… Not to seem unappreciative of Nick’s expertise, but admit it, you wish I had done this part of the profile too. Alright, to be entirely honest, I might’ve just put ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ on and be done with it.
“Aside from being studious simply for the sake of grades, Gretchen is certainly eager to learn as well. Like most children from wizarding families, Arthur taught her magic outside of school, even though it’s technically not allowed, mais alors c'est comme ça, and she has used magic her entire life. Most of her daily tasks are performed solely by magic, it is the backbone of her existence, always striving to be a better witch, to understand her abilities better, and to learn more about any and all types of witchcraft. Oh, and our youngest Faust also has a thing for Astrology and Divination. As opposed to the wizarding community’s general sceptic opinion of divination, Gretchen considers it one of the purest forms of witchcraft. Though personally she is no seer and needs objects to help her, and her success varies. It’s not like she expects to become good at this either, it’s simply a fascination for magic that she cannot understand, an interest that extends to other types of mysterious witchcraft, such as empathy. She is also fascinated by the elves – house-elves is a term that is considered taboo in this household, it is just ‘elves’ – and their magic, so she’ll often attempt to strike up a conversation with them, and will be quick to defend them and other beings. Ben, that’s no surprise of course, growing up with a ghost and a vampire butler.”
Yeah, this definitely explains a lot. Like how touchy she is whenever anyone shows any kind of prejudice towards certain beings. They’re literally her family. But then, when isn’t Gretchen on edge? She lives on the defensive. Alright, even more so when her it comes to the things she believes in – and what her family believes in. Isn’t it sad, almost paradoxical, how the Faust stands by her ideals and fights for her righteous causes, defending muggleborns and beings alike, but is detached and cold when actually interacting with people? Is it easier, perhaps, to care about them from a distance? Or is the rhetoric all that matters? Is it more about your own pride than about their rights, after all? Ooooh… Do you only care about the bleeding crowd? How about a needing frieeeeend?
A paradox that keeps her up at night, no doubt. Whenever it dawns on Gretchen that her behaviour is as problematic as the attitude she’s trying to fight, it’s like her world collapses. I mean, isn’t it ironic how uncaring and detached the Fausts have become, after years of being ridiculed for having such strong, moral beliefs? Playing the pureblood game, ignoring those who deserve their attention most, and justifying it to themselves that the only way to defeat their enemies is to – what? Be like them? Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy in that? That’s about as ironic as a peace movement being known for travelling in a car brand conceived by Nazis. And y’know, I don’t think I am the only one who sees it that way, I’m sure that’s exactly the kind of realization that hit Gretchen in the face when she called Lenny Plunkett a ‘lousy, pathetic, excuse of a wizard.’
Y’know, for someone who declared she doesn’t do emotions, this chick is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster.
“Shouldn’t you be taking notes of this?”
“Oh, uh, right on. I’m taping it, I’ll transcribe it later.”
Yeah…no. But don’t sweat it, I’ve got a real’ good memory.
“Ah, d’accord. Bon, while Gretchen is calculating, and pretends to be reserved, she is actually not all that patient. She can be, as long as she is confident in her abilities and that her plan will work – as long as everything goes according to plan then she could theoretically wait forever. Mais, if something doesn’t go according to plan, or she doesn’t succeed at something, she becomes beyond frustrated, even close to throwing tantrums. Always so focused on her goal, Gretchen simply cannot accept failure, being harsh and unforgiving on others, but even more so on herself. It is a standard that her father imposed on her, and one she sticks with, as almost everything Arthur’s daughter ever does is in the hope of making him proud of her. She knows one of the things he certainly wouldn’t approve of is how she lets things get under her skin, despite all her efforts of pretending they don’t. Most of the time she registers every slight against her in silence and it will settle in her stomach as a lump of cold anger, fighting the urge to act on her feelings, comme toujours. So Instead, she collects this cold anger, burning it like fuel, using it to keep her going. With her upbringing being as emotionally stunted as it is, it seems that anger is all she has. Though the question remains, what will happen once it isn’t enough anymore? Even now, while it certainly does a good job of helping her survive as the overly, crazily prepared, paranoid person she is, the ever-present anger also colours everything she sees, and taints everything she feels. In the end, it’s nothing but self-destructive – assertion becomes aggression, and hatred trumps practicality.”
That was so intense, I almost applauded. Geez, I’m really glad I have to do this for Gretchen, and not for, y’know, Armin or something. Imagine having to read pages and pages of Armin failing at everything, but for no particular reason other than that he apparently just can’t do anything right. At least I understand why Gretchen is such a mess. Not only is she treating herself like some kind of Vulcan, expecting herself to be reasonable and analytical all the time, neglecting that she’s just a human, a child, too, with feelings – heaps of feelings – that need a healthy outlet instead of being the straws that break her back, but she also doesn’t seem to receive the approval and affection that she craves from her old man – and he’s the very reason that she is like this. Okay let me catch my breath. People always say my sentences will run away with me one day.
Never mind, I don’t need to breathe. Carry on. Y’know what the real problem is? Gretchen is actually a very passionate person, so of course she’s failing at being a stoic. You can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.
“I suppose, being so bad at dealing with her own feelings, it’s only to be expected that she isn’t any better at dealing with those of others…”
Oh right, he’s still talking. Well, that’s quite the understatement, ain’t it? I’m just saying, usually she’s all calm and collected (hah), but you should see her around people who’re crying. I can just imagine a civil defence siren going off in her head. It’s not even because she’s concerned, it’s because it makes her uncomfortable. I mean, how dare other people force their emotions upon her when she can’t even deal with her own, y’know what I’m saying? She just wants it to stop, not for their sake, but for hers. I should probably shut up now though, before we miss something.
“Ben, most of the time she is silent, because silence gives Gretchen time to think, allowing her to keep her emotions in check and plan ahead, but once she is talking she doesn’t seem to stop. I’m aware that this makes her appear as snobbish and self-righteous. Almost as if the Ravenclaw seems to have a need to flaunt her intelligence – and yet, more often than not, I know this is actually just a result of her being oblivious, or simply insensitive, to the people around her. C'est comme ça, mais… it’s not that she means to be like this, either. Gretchen’s just… so unintentionally self-absorbed, too busy with her own mind, to see the world for what it really is instead of how she wants to see it. Et people… people… she is so observing, she notices the smallest details and will remember them too… but she does not understand people at all.”
How can she, when she never even understood herself, never even allows herself to dwell on what she wants instead of what people expect from her? I’m sure that in her mind, her old man’s with her everywhere she goes, looking faintly disappointed. On top of that, Gretchen sees enemies everywhere, so how can she ever stop to think about how she wants to live her life, when she isn’t focusing on living at all? She’s been raised to survive, like a good little soldier. Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.
Yet, I’ve seen her being more. In spite of everything, in spite of herself, she feels deeply, and, y’know, perhaps because she wasn’t taught how to deal with feelings, it shakes her to the core. In the end, Gretchen’s capability for empathy, though suppressed, is strong enough to challenge her distrusting nature. Together it all forms a raging storm – her paranoia, the dark clouds, her inability to form meaningful relationships with other people, the rain, the desire to live up to her father, the howling wind, the emotions that she doesn’t allow herself to feel, the thunder, the urge to be different, to be kind, to be happy – lightning. …She can’t allow herself to embrace that, it’d burn her down. Yeah, Gretchen isn’t scared easily, she’s tough to intimidate and will stand her ground. But she’s terrified of her own feelings, seeing it at best as an inconvenience that she has no control over, and at worst as a flaw that will only undermine her and cause her own ruin.
Even when she wants to embrace certain feelings, she has issues voicing them. Though I’m suuuure her family loves her, they’re all aloof in their own way, so Gretchen never really learned how to show people that you care about them. Arthur is downright distant and cold, Anthony is a reserved aristocrat, Nicholas is apathetic and kind of a jerk, and even Teddy covers genuine feelings up with humour. When it comes to expressing oneself, the Fausts aren’t champions. If Gretchen chokes up, it’s on all the words she cannot bring herself to say out loud. Unconsciously, she seems to have discovered a different language for affection, one that doesn’t require her to put anything into words, one that consists out of light touches and physical closeness,… one that she was probably taught by her more tactile friend Timmy.
Y’know, hearing all of this, and combining it with what I already knew – like pieces of a puzzle that fit together neatly – I can only come to the conclusion that she is such a Capricorn. Responsible, independent, and confident in her own abilities to the point that she won’t trust anyone else with something important, and self-disciplined and self-sufficient, which is easy to mistake for coldness. This aloofness is really just a way to protect herself, and to hide her own insecurities. It all makes sense. …Y’know, astrologically speaking.
There used to be a screenshot of Nicholas’ impromptu playby here, waiting impatiently, but as you may have guessed, like every movie adaptation ever – those actors didn’t look anything like these characters. It was just so Robin could insert gifs here and there so she didn’t have to describe every damn thing, and could focus on the profile instead. I’m already failing at that so really, what’s the use. That doesn’t mean I’m going to bother describing things that ain’t Gretchen though. What do you think this is, a post? I’m actually kinda bummed, I wanted someone to play me too. It would’ve probably been Mick Jagger.
Uh so yeah, just picture Nicholas
“Oh, you’re still here? Don’t you know enough by now?”
“Yeah? We ain’t done yet. I know this has been going on for over five thousand words, but there’s loads more to say about Gretchen.”
“Ben.. what else do you want to know?”
“Alright, let’s see, she’s a bird in a golden cage kind of gal, so how does she get along with everyone at home?”
“Ah, I suppose that’s true, oui, she has been doted on very much. The household that Gretchen grew up in isn’t, uh, what one would call a nuclear family. Arthur used to travel a lot. It is on his travels that he met first Anthony and later, well, yours truly. Anthony is… reserved, mild-mannered and tidy. He can be rather stuck-up, really, don’t even bother arguing with him because he’s always right. Anyway, Monsieur ‘you’re messing up the crockery, Nicholas!’ was in charge of Gretchen’s etiquette training, most of her home-schooling, and dancing lessons. He is Gretchen’s most trusted confidant and probably worries about her more than Arthur does. You see, Arthur works at the Ministry’s Department of Mysteries as an Unspeakable. He spends most of his time at the Ministry, as he’s very invested in politics as well. Ah, but of course, you’re here to hear about Gretchen. Alors, since Arthur was always away, Anthony raised the girl more than anyone. Arthur is a true stoic, always in control of himself around strangers and impossible to read, and disapproves of Gretchen losing her temper around strangers the way she sometimes does. Though he’s clearly in desperate need of Parenting 101, he loves his daughter to bits, smotheringly so, he just… doesn’t show it. But while he is rather cold and distant, he hardly ever gets mad at his petite fille, instead he’ll often scold Anthony and me when he’s not pleased with her, somehow holding us responsible for Gretchen’s behaviour. I just roll my eyes and leave – please, I won’t let someone talk to me like that! – but at least Anthony will take it seriously and sit Gretchen down about whatever she did – somehow, I think this is worse, to her it probably feels like Arthur doesn’t even take the time to talk to her and needs a proxy. But frankly, between you and me, if Arthur hadn’t had Anthony to help raise her she’d be an utterly unruly child. Ben, of course, being old aristocracy, Anthony was a sheltered child in his lifetime as well, and it also explains some of the… odd priorities in Gretchen’s education. The girl doesn’t know how to make friends but she knows what spoon to use.”
More information I didn’t ask for, ‘cause it isn’t about Grechen, yet somehow explains a whole lot about Gretchen.
“You know what, I’ll fetch him for you, because I am so nice. Actually this conversation is boring me and I want to leave. Anthony is good at idle chit-chat, and he wouldn’t want to seem rude, so he’ll comply. EUH, ANTON! GET OVER HERE.”
This conversation is boring him? I don’t even have time to object, as the young man from the painting – y’know, the one with the girly hairstyle – sweeps into the room. He looks mortified to walk in on this scene, but then again, maybe that’s just his face.
“Goodness, we have a guest?! I apologise, I wasn’t aware!. Nicholas, what were you thinking! Oh, if he has been trying to, ahem, entertain you, then I am so, so sorry.”
He reminds me somewhat of Glinda the Good Witch, but maybe it’s just the hair.
“My name is Anthony Hall! I’m, uhm, employed as the Kirke-Fausts’ butler, though I am often mistaken for Arthur’s son, or Gretchen’s older brother. I suppose that makes sense if, ah, people aren’t aware of my condition. What can I help you with?”
“I’m here on profile business, Gretchen has to rank to Intermediate. It’s very important to me that she does.”
“Oh, I see… are you a classmate of hers?”
“…Something like that, yeah.”
“Ah, well, ...”
A questioning look at Nicholas, who is of no help whatsoever, and just shrugs before floating away, officially making me the butler’s problem.
“He… didn’t even ask you who you were, did he?”
Anthony looks tired, I suspect he’s used to this behaviour. Wait, I said I wasn’t going to describe this shit. I just here to talk about Gretchen, we’re not even through the Personality section yet.
“It’s Danny. Anyway, the transparent guy said you could tell me more about Gretchen?”
“I’m sorry, Danny what?”
Oho, ever that obsession with last names. Gretchen has the same fixation, barely able to interact with anyone whose name she doesn’t know – or more importantly, whose family and bloodstatus she doesn’t know. Of course, because of this, she makes sure to remember everyone’s name and face. It’s like she has a crazy board inside her head. Y’know, when crazy people in films have a cork bulletin board in their room with loads of newspaper clippings, photos, and threads of yarn? Yeah, like that, with every student on it, their family and relationships, and whether she has to consider them a threat or not. I’m not gonna play this game though, I’m here to write a profile.
“Why can’t it just be ‘Danny’? Y’know, like ‘The Doctor’. Right, you poor pureblood sods don’t have a telly, do you? A bloody shame.”
“Well… Alright, Daniel. Follow me, I’ll show you her room.”
Daniel. Gretchen does that too, so I guess I can see where she got that from. It’s kinda funny how many people she even knows that shorten their name, because this might just as well have been a tic that never saw the light of day. It’s just another way to keep distance, disguised as being overly proper. She thinks calling someone by a shortened version of their name would be too familiar, too casual, and all that jazz, affectionate even – so yeah, of course she avoids it. Only Anton and Teddy are ever addressed that way by Gretchen.
Y’know, I’ve only just met this Anthony and I’m already starting to think that Gretchen got a big part of her vocabulary from him. That and just her way of speaking in general, too… Unnecessary interjections, long-windedness, overly – annoyingly – polite tone,… Perhaps Anthony is even prissier than Gretchen, if that is possible, and of course she’s still a teenager, which colours her language every so often. Regardless, Gretchen has a distinctive way with words, she basically talks in a way that most people would reserve for writing.
Which is probably better than the other way around (like SOME people, right?), because as someone once put into words: ‘If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.’1
I can’t remember who said that, but I’m sure I read it somewhere.
1 Snicket, Lemony. (2007). Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
“I really do apologise for Nicholas. He is so temperamental, and rather unreliable as well. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a mischievous streak that, after a lifetime of bad advice and terrible suggestions, he is passing on to Gretchen. He’s a bad influence, really. Here I’ve been trying to raise her like a proper lady, and he keeps encouraging her nerve and contentiousness. Ever since she was a toddler! He’s been way too reckless around her, I had to step in countless times so she wouldn’t hurt herself! Ah, but I digress, I’m rambling, aren’t I?”
I follow Anthony out into the hallway, and this seems like a good time to mention where the fuck we even are. The Kirke-Fausts live at 88 Blenheim Crescent, Kensington, London. At first sight, the Kirke-Fausts are the embodiment of mild-mannered British civilians. They live amongst muggles, in a row house that fits a mansion on the inside. Gretchen’s dad, Arthur Kirke-Faust, is a middle-aged man who wears ugly cardigans, works at the Ministry, and is altogether a hardly memorable person on the outside. However, there’s a lot more to this family than what the neighbours see. Of course, you already knew that they’re a wizarding family, good on you I guess. They’re not just any wizarding family though, so prepare for a little crash course on the Fausts. Ahem, I’ll put on my best radio documentary voice…. Believed to be descendants of Johann Faust, the Faust family treats witchcraft as a choice that needs to be pursued. To them being born magically means very little when one only uses magic for everyday tasks, and doesn’t bother to explore the more arcane branches of magic. This puts bad blood between them and other pureblood families, since many pureblood families consider being born into a magical family the mark of a true witch or wizard, while in the Fausts’ ideology a dedicated Muggleborn could easily surpass a Pureblood who takes magic for granted. On top of that, the Fausts have historically been known as Muggle sympathisers, and advocates for Being rights. They’ve also held on to their own brand of peculiar Paganism, which includes a modern approach to Greco-Roman deities, astronomical holidays, sabbats, and astrology. Y’know, all that hippie shit.
As you may have guessed by now, Gretchen and Arthur’s household also consists out of a vampire named Anthony Hall who serves as, or perhaps “pretends to be” is more appropriate, their butler, and the ghost of Nicholas de la Fontaine, a student who perished during the French revolution. I don’t even know how Arthur stumbled upon Nicholas, or Anthony for that matter, and I’m not gonna ask because this profile is about Gretchen, but I get the distinct feeling that the Fausts just have the habit of picking up strays.
Actually, we’re still missing two strays in the household line-up. The first being Theodorus “Teddy” Faustus. In a way, Teddy is the beginning of Gretchen. He’s one year older, and adopted, just like her. His biological parents didn’t want him, dumped him somewhere – just like Gretchen’s. The difference is, Teddy isn’t fully human. His mother was a witch, his dad… was not. Listen, for this profile it doesn’t matter what Teddy is, since he’s not Gretchen or even Robin’s character, so I’ll refrain from saying too much. The point is, Arthur had already taken in a vampire and a ghost, so are you really that surprised that he’d be the one to find this half-being kid? Alright, so what did Arthur-Kirke Faust do? Found this baby some of his own kind to take him in, of course. Except, years later, this kid started to show signs of magic, because he had inherited his mother’s magical genes, and his new family didn’t know what to do. They ultimately reached out to Arthur Kirke-Faust who had handed them this kid in the first place, since he’d need a wizard guardian to help him navigate the Wizarding World. And that, my dears, is how Teddy became a Faust, and how Gretchen gained a foster brother. He’d move between Kensington and his Being family in Scotland before going to Hogwarts when he turned eleven.
Alright, that’s all nice and well and all, but you’re probably wondering why you should care. Well, I said Teddy was the start of Gretchen, because before finding baby Teddy, it might never have occurred to Arthur to actually adopt a child himself. He’s not exactly Greatest Dad™ material. A little more than a year after Arthur found Teddy, however, he adopts baby girl Gretchen. The second stray I was referring to actually wasn’t Gretchen, since I already mentioned her, but her kneazlecat Billy, who also kinda counts as a household member, I guess.
“When did she get the cat?”
By now we’ve arrived in Gretchen’s room, which is on the highest floor. The furniture is old-fashioned – like everything in this house – and feminine, yet sober, except for the canopy bed in the middle of the room, which is somehow tackier than the Union Jack boxers I’m wearing and immediately draws your attention.
“Billy? Oh, when she was ten, a year before she went to Hogwarts. The idea was that Gretchen would have a capable companion with her at Hogwarts, a pet who’d alert her to danger, who’d protect her when her family wasn’t around – because truth be told, she was a very sheltered child. Ten-year-old Gretchen, on the other hand, just wanted a friend. You see, she had some rough years of primary school behind her, where she had been the misfit outsider, a naïve, airheaded little witch who couldn’t hide her otherness amongst muggle children who were slightly freaked out by the strange things she said and did, and covered it up with hostility.”
It’s immediately obvious who does the cleaning around here, as Anthony seems to know exactly where everything in this house is. He retrieves what looks like a photo album from a bottom drawer, and I for one am not surprised that Gretchen would stuff it in there, to never look at it.
“We went to a renowned kneazle breeder, because nothing but the best would do, of course. However, since we live in a muggle neighbourhood, a purebred kneazle was out of the question, as their oversized ears and lion’s tail would’ve attracted too much unwanted attention.”
Yeah, which the Fausts already do enough by themselves, no doubt.
“Fortunately, breeding kneazle-hybrids is a popular practise, and licensed breeders would specifically focus on creating a pet that passed for a cat, while maintaining a kneazle’s intelligence. Arthur ultimately found such a half-kneazle breeder in Surrex, and sent me to get one. If he had gone himself, Gretchen probably wouldn’t have Billy right now. See, Billy isn’t really the perfect kneazle hybrid Arthur had imagined. He doesn’t look like an elegant purebred feline, or behaves like a well-adjusted, social pet. While he can pass for a cat, he’s big enough to attract attention all the same, and he greatly detests most people – and even other pets, behaving like a grumpy sourpuss most of the time, but often even becoming aggressive. Billy’s undoubtedly intelligent, but also proud and, while he can’t speak, clearly opinionated – not the material you’d try to turn into a devoted servant or bodyguard. But when I took ten-year-old-Gretchen to Surrex one evening, the little girl chose the kitten who appealed to her most – the shabby ball of fluff hiding under a desk. The little witch immediately latched onto that tuxedo ball of fur with the big, fearful, green eyes – how was I supposed to say no? The breeder warned us that he came from a bad litter, that some of his siblings had gone blind or deaf, and that the kitten himself seemed to be showing signs of asthma, but the little girl didn’t care, she wanted that cat, and wouldn’t settle for another.”
In the meantime, I’m looking through the photo album, which is full of childhood pictures, and very obviously put together by Anthony. Little Gretchen looks adorable, bright and enthusiastic, very different from her current aloof self. I think she tried to bury this photo album in her sock drawer, along with the memories, because it hurts a little.
“It worked out in the end, Billy returned her doting on him in equal measure, and hasn’t left her side since, becoming both the intelligent kneazle companion Arthur wanted for his daughter’s protection, and the furry friend Gretchen wanted to love. Now he’s almost six years old, bigger than most human toddlers and weighing about twenty pounds.”
“She looks…” I’m not sure how to put this. It’s strange to see this wide-eyed kid smiling up at me from the photographs, and then mentally compare her to the cold, bitter, miserable individual I know today. Or knew. Or will know? I don’t really know when this takes place, profiles are basically WR’s limbo. “…Yeah.” Fuck, what else is there to say? Anthony seems to know what I mean though, he looks kinda melancholic seeing all these memories. He did raise her, after all. It reminds me of what Nick said earlier – how Gretchen doesn’t know how to make friends but she knows which spoon to use. While I judge Arthur and his lack of parenting skills pretty hard, I’m sure Anthony tried, really tried, but raising children is a gnarly business. You can’t just wing that shit.
“She was always bright,” Anthony starts with obvious fondness in his voice, “She was such a curious, open-minded child. Very enthusiastic, playful,… Hah, she used to climb the shelves of the library once she had read the books on the bottom shelves. Scared me to death, ahem, if you will excuse that expression. That’s when Arthur bought her her first broom, it was a toy model and only went up a few feet, but still… I can’t say I was too happy with it. I always kept a close watch on her from then on, just in case Nicholas might egg her on.”
“Was she happy?”
“Why- Why would you ask me that? …Yes, I believe so, she was happy at home, at least. At school… Arthur sent her to a Muggle Primary School, but never taught her how to behave around them, how to not be… She was a very eccentric child, very…” This is clearly a hard topic for him, but it seems like it’s exactly what I had to ask. “She was so genuine, she was just herself… Excited about everything, curious, with a hunger for knowledge, for the world, for experiences… Hah, sometimes, she’d come home and talk non-stop about the muggle pictures. The teacher would let them watch some, I’m not very familiar with it myself, but she loved that.”
I look at little Gretchen in her witchy robes, skipping around in the photos, her hair wild and curly and her nose crunching up when she laughs – which is something she hates about herself now. I know. Trust me.
“Y’know, as a child, she seemed just the right mix of tragic, innocent, and cute to be the set-up for a Disney princess, but man, clearly something went wrong along the way.” Shit, I accidently said that out loud. Anthony looks confused, which just reminds me of how far away I am from the muggle world. Suddenly I’m up-to-date, y’know?
“Disbey? Are those the drawn pictures?” He looked pensive, “I’m not sure if it was Disbey, but she loved it. They’d let the kids watch during lunch in the winter, when it was cold outside. That’s why she preferred winter over summer, because the kids didn’t play with her when they were outside, and in the winter she got to watch those muggle photographs.” Whatever memory he’s recalling, it must be a fond one. I notice that on top of the drawer there’s a more recent photograph, of Gretchen and her old man at a Ministry ball. Anthony picks it up, and it’s in this moment that it occurs to me that he still sees the wide-eyed little girl in the reserved, withdrawn teenager.
“Gretchen thought it was unfair that the cat always lost in the pictures. She thought the bird was the real mean one… But her favourite character was the alien. I assumed it was because she loved the stars, she still does, but she said…”
There goes that nostalgic smile, extinguishing the twinkle in his eyes. Let me tell you something, narrator to reader: a lot of people will tell you nostalgia’s a lie. It’s not. It’s a weapon. Elaborate manipulation to get you to believe something, by linking point A with point B in your mind, and then carrying on a rhetoric of how great point B was, so that point A will seem good by proxy. You probably don’t expect this screwed up revelation from me of all people, but it’s relevant. Sometimes it’s not potential world leaders who pull this shit, alright? Sometimes it’s you. Manipulating yourself. Like how Anthony convinces himself Gretchen used to be a happy child before going to Hogwarts, because otherwise he’d just blame himself for not noticing the signs earlier, for not being better at parenting, for failing her.
“She said she could identify… she felt a little like an alien at school, too.”
Here’s another screwed up revelation from yours truly that’ll blow your mind: Gretchen was never truly happy. Shocking. She’s had this hole inside of her from the beginning, and no, it’s not because she’s adopted – that storyline’s old hat, and probably a little problematic. Gretchen never considered herself less of a Faust, or less Arthur’s daughter and neither did he or anyone else in the household (people outside of the family, of course don’t know). Except… maybe being adopted does explain some things. Maybe it fuels her to be the best Faust she can be, perhaps it’s why she so dedicated herself to the role once she started at Hogwarts, and why she needs her dad’s approval so much. I’m sure this is all completely unconscious, but… maybe, deep down, baby just wants to prove that she was worth adopting.
But y’know, here’s the thing – Arthur should’ve never had kids. If I’m somehow outta line for saying this, well, get bent I guess. We’re not even going to see Arthur Kirke-Faust in this profile, by the way, just saying, in case you were really looking forward to that. It’s Robin’s way of visualizing his absence in Gretchen’s life. So transparent.
I allow the uneasy silence to pass, and take this time to look through the photographs. There’s one where she’s on her bed, reading, books everywhere – and I wonder what happened to that. Meanwhile, Anthony seems to have buried the melancholy, and tries to pick up the conversation again, as I figured he would. He’s not like Nicholas and his ‘don’t care’ attitude, Anthony wants to please – and he wants to talk about Gretchen, and convince himself he must’ve done something right. I almost feel bad for the guy, because I’m sure he did, and it’s hard to watch someone you care about being unhappy.
“I remember how… back when Gretchen was six, she kept coming up with wild theories of how the muggle machines worked, like imagining electricity as a bunch of busybody little creatures, working their magic inside the devices and making that zooming noise. She had always been attracted to things she didn’t understand. Most Fausts are. It’s a curse. Even now, Gretchen still surrounds herself with books on divination and arcane forms of magic, considering nothing to be as enriching as learning about that which is thought to be unknown, because there must be a mechanism behind it somewhere, no matter how hidden it is… Yes, I’m glad she hasn’t lost that curiosity, that wonder. When she got older, she started reading books that explained how it all worked, even if she couldn’t quite follow it. Some of her favourite books are about the lifestyle of Muggles, but I’m sure she doesn’t actually know a single one. The other children didn’t like her, she was too… strange, a little too…”
I watch him struggle with it for a while. I could offer anything – eccentric, different, colourful – but I don’t, I let him sweat. For the truth, of course!
I don’t know about you but I am not surprised at all. Little Gretchen wasn’t just a witch, she was also an airhead, and while that may seem endearing to an adult, it just made her out of touch with her peers. She was unapologetically different, and that’s always an awful thing to be. So a weirdo then, a spatz, already a lonely child who was fascinated by something that she couldn’t interact with without breaking it.
Perhaps not much changed, after all.
“As her eleventh birthday grew closer and closer, Arthur told her to snap out of her dream world. To focus. To start reading books that would help her survive instead of the... follies she kept herself occupied with. He- He meant well. He thought they’d eat her alive at Hogwarts, the way she was. Who she was. His daughter. A Faust. She couldn’t wear her heart on her sleeve – they’d rip it off!”
“Was that also when she had to stop crying?”
“Oh, she… Gretchen never cries, that’s just not who she is. The last time she cried… why, she must’ve been a toddler.”
At least the last time you could see it, I’m sure. It’s true enough, alright, Gretchen-baby hardly ever cried – because none of her caretakers could deal with it. Not the prissy aristocrat, so occupied with neatness and etiquette, not the apathetic ghost, so, y’know, dead, and certainly not her stoic father. Though for the latter it wasn’t just[i] the inability to respond properly, it was a severe aversion, a distinct disapproval that made little Gretchen feel much worse about her tears than about whatever had caused them. So she did what most women do in this society – internalize that shit and put on a happy face.
After all, what’s the use of feeling
“Let’s talk about something else that must’ve coloured her childhood,” y’know, aside from the emotional deprivation. “Magic. It’s everywhere in this house, I saw brooms sweeping the floor all by themselves as we got up here.”
“[i]Why, of course, you don’t think I would do all that by hand?”
No, man, of course not. And neither does Gretchen, alright. This is the kind of environment she was brought up in, magic is just second nature to her – hell, first nature. Why would she do anything by hand? Why even bother carrying books, get up to retrieve something, or spend an hour on getting all that make-up off her face, when a swish of her wand can accomplish all of that? She depends on it so much, you’ll never see her without her wand on her, it’s just an inconceivable thought.
“What I mean is, y’know, when did she start showing signs of magic, and all that jazz?”
“Oh, well we always knew she was a magical child, of course.”
‘Of course’? Gretchen’s adopted, isn’t that a little biased of a supposedly muggle-loving family, to make sure they adopt a magical kid? See, this is exactly the kind of ‘part of the problem’ bullshit that I was hinting at earlier. A mudwallowing family that specifically looks for an adoptee of wizard blood, a child from said mudwallowing family not even knowing how to talk to muggles, hating pureblood elitists yet playing their games and using their tactics – to survive, they say. To fit in, I say.
Well… except if there’s another reason for him being so sure of Gretchen’s magical heritage, but I don’t see what that would be. I’m not psychic.
“The first magic was very uncontrolled of course, it was usually slamming doors and breaking cups. One time, she was so frustrated with a puzzle she couldn’t solve, that the book caught fire. Arthur was not happy with such an obvious lack of control over her magical abilities and taught her pretty early on.”
Yeah, and I’m sure she learned to hide it better. Like everything. I can see how this added to her freak status at school too, if lamps just started flickering around her whenever she was upset. I wonder if she ever really learned to control that – given that she never learned how to deal with her emotions, y’know? – or if those outbursts are still there, just waiting to happen.
“Once Gretchen had her kneazlecat, she was also allowed to accompany Arthur on one of his travels. This was the summer before she went to Hogwarts, and they went to Egypt to buy her a wand. He’d never buy a wand in Europe, not with the Nilssons and their business around…”
Yeah, and of course Maximilian Ó Dálaigh was also recommended by one of Arthur’s
I turn the page of the album and there’s a new photograph, the little girl has her face pressed against the inside and is trying to see what’s happening beyond her frame. A hungry curiosity in her eyes, a toothy grin, that curly hair with stray locks here and there… and I can’t help but think of how uncanny it was, for a girl to grow up in a house where the plates washed themselves, where the portraits and the mirrors talked and a ghost kept you company, and then seeking solace from that alienating bubble of magic by escaping in something like Merrie Melodies cartoons. That has to be one of the most jarringly, painfully, melancholically, muggle things I can think of. From nine to ten on Saturday mornings.
I feel like I have to be dramatic here, throw a final glance at the blissfully airheaded girl in the photo – a little girl who got lost in books, who loved cartoon characters, who thought electricity must be fairies running through the cables – then close it shut, and look back at the photo on top of the drawer, where a fifteen-year-old Gretchen is dressed to the nines and refuses to make eye contact, her appearance impeccable, her demeanour cold.
But the thing is, she’s still the same person. Yeah, I don’t believe that people really change, at least their essence doesn’t. Gretchen’s just forcing herself to be someone else, someone her old man will be proud of, and someone who can survive – anything. Someone who’ll never be weak. By now I’m sure she doesn’t even know who she is anymore. It didn’t even make her stronger – the longer she’s this person that she doesn’t even like, the less stable she becomes, the more desperate, angrier, self-destructive… unreasonable. Bound to make mistakes, and to have her web of lies and pretence collapse on her. That’s how the anxiety started. She’d feel trapped, her mask failing her, her own need to keep up appearances backing her into a corner – and she’d get a little light in the head, as if her sugar levels just dropped off a cliff, it’d get hard to breathe, and all she’d want is to run for the hills, all while barely feeling strong enough to keep standing.
Oh, I was wrong before. Gretchen’s really not Disney princess material. Disney princesses sing to animals and find joy in everything. While I’ve seen Gretchen sing to her cat, joy always seems to slip from her hands. She’s more like a well-meaning Alice who stumbled through the rabbit hole, but instead of saving Wonderland, she became the Queen of Hearts.
“So, did they?”
“Did they ‘eat her alive’ at Hogwarts?”
“…She didn’t let them. But on the other hand… You see, when she left for Hogwarts, she had no idea just how unpopular her family was, and how her days would be filled with uncomfortable interactions, cold stares and dirty looks. Her father was right, of course, she shouldn’t let it get to her. So the little Ravenclaw focused on her studies, determined to succeed despite what everyone thought of her. She’d keep her head cool, and always stay gracious, because revenge is a dish best served cold, is it not? So the witch observed, schemed, and planned, and there was no time for making happy memories, or music, or pointless puzzles. In a way, it surely ate a part of her. She joined the choir in her first year, I remember that she was very excited about that, because everyone always said she could sing well, and she was usually asked to perform on our holidays. I feared she would quit the choir when the wide-eyed wonder had left her, but she didn’t. She must still be able to find some solace in music.”
I look back at the photographs, some of them are with Teddy, and I instantly know that those must be some of her only happy memories. It’s true, they all seem to include music. There’s Teddy playing the bagpipes as she dances around the room, the carpet tickling her bare feet and her dress swishing around the girl’s childlike frame. Then there’s a photo of the bonfires during summer solstice, her father – always busy, and absent for most of the year – actually seems to have made time to be there, Anthony fusses over Gretchen’s headdress while she tries to sing, and Teddy’s uncle Titianus is probably telling jokes that everyone has heard before. It actually looks like a family for a moment.
I know why she stuffed this photo album in the bottom drawer. Gretchen isn’t allowed to be that girl anymore, the one who wore frilly dresses and let her hair fly behind her as she ran. Looking back at her younger self was probably already like watching an old photograph, the person in it had a life of their own, inside their square, two-dimensional world, and it seemed drab and false, with its melancholic sepia hue. It would only sadden her, and Gretchen isn’t the kind of girl who has a use for nostalgia. Nostalgia doesn’t allow you to move on, and she had to – she couldn’t stagnate when she had to stay one step ahead of everyone, ya dig?
I can picture it – before Hogwarts, all Gretchen would have wanted was to visit the museums surrounding her neighbourhood, or to spend time in the parks and gardens. Unfortunately, her old man absolutely refused to let her go out alone, and since Anthony couldn’t possibly accompany her during the day, being a pure-blooded vampire and all, such excursions were out of the question. The only trip she was allowed to make by herself was the three-minute walk from their house at 88 Blenheim Crescent to Thomas Jones Primary School, and back. Now it could be different – she was fifteen and could go wherever she pleased, armed with a wand a kneazle, without her fretting, smothering housemates’ eyes on her. Except, uhm, how would she put it? The girl ‘no longer wished to indulge in such follies,’ and she now also understands why her family had been so protective of her in the first place. So instead she studies, practices, memorises, and studies some more. Gretchen is her own jailer now.
“You know what people always ask me?”
“What are you doing in my house?”
“No- yes, that too. But usually it’s ‘how come you were speaking with a dozen verbal ticks before, sounding like a ditz who wouldn’t be able to spell ‘sophisticated’ if his life depended on it, yet when it comes down to it you’re actually able to construct elaborate essays.’ Well, because the first is a ruse, to trap people into thinking I’m an idiot, so they’ll think I’m harmless and let me get away with being a jerk.”
“I don’t see how this is relevant.”
“Gretchen has a similar constructed persona, doesn’t she? She’s not going to flaunt what a broken, distrusting, scheming person she is, alright? No, she plays it innocent, charmingly, coquettish even.”
“Yes, I see what you’re talking about. She’s not like that around us, here in her own home, but it is something she picked up at those pureblood balls and Ministry events that Arthur took her too, and I’m not surprised to hear that she uses it as a defence mechanism at Hogwarts. Arthur employs a similar tactic – always staying polite and friendly enough so that people can’t kick him out without looking like the villains themselves, no matter how much they wish he wasn’t there. Neither Arthur nor Gretchen actually enjoy these events, but showing up is like an act of rebellion. I’m sure Gretchen would prefer to stay home, kick off her shoes and curl up in front of the fireplace with a book and her cat, but she feels like she can’t let her guard down like that.”
Hmm… In public the strain's hard to bear, she exudes such a confident air, but behind she is not without care – but she sweeps it right under her hair.
“She has to mingle, stay up-to-date, stay informed. That only works if she plays her role of socialite well, you see?”
That, and, y’know, she also wants others to think she’s harmless. Just an innocent little girl, who couldn’t possibly have been the person who spiked Preben Nilsson’s drink with a Hate Potion. Look at her, always so friendly and polite, never in trouble and an O+ student. Couldn’t possibly have been her, ya dig?
“Yeah… Hey, when did Gretchen get pulled into the feud with the Nilssons?”
Uh oh, Vietnam flashback.
“…The first time she was confronted with it had to be at Georg Kirke-Faust’s funeral – that’s Arthur’s father. Gretchen was six, and the Nilssons crashed the funeral to celebrate. It’s a tradition to them, celebrating whenever a Faust dies. That was the first time Gretchen saw the Nilsson kids who’d be at Hogwarts at the same time as her – Preben and Sigurd.”
And what an impression they made. Picture this: baby Gretchen standing by her father’s side, next to the freshly dug grave, her eyes on the wooden coffin that had been lowered into it a few minutes ago. There were no tears, not only because her father would’ve reprimanded her, but mostly because she hadn’t known Georg Kirke-Faust very well. There was only that macabre fascination that all children feel when they first encounter death – a feeling that never really goes away. Friends, allies, and the only remaining close relative – Arthur’s sister Delilah, whom Gretchen doesn’t really know – had paid their respects earlier, and it was just the two of them then – the deceased’s son and his adopted daughter.
Then the Nilssons arrived, and Gretchen would only really understand what had happened later, when she was older, looking back upon that memory. There would be no sound to the memory, somehow that part was hazy, but the picture would be crystal clear, and an eight-year-old Preben stood right across from her, on the other side of the grave, and he beamed – probably just as unaware of the situation as the Faust, just excited to be put front and centre by his father. He might not even have noticed the bottle of champagne being passed around above his head. The families stared at each other from across the grave in silence, the Fausts grieving, the Nilssons celebrating, the rain drenching them both.
A wide-eyed little Gretchen gaped at the unknown children in confusion. Preben – the middle child, the golden child, grinning. Halldór – the oldest, pushed back, almost hidden. Sigurd – at that moment the youngest, behind his brother, hiding himself, looking like one of those pale, empty-eyed children from Village of the Damned.
Too bad Gretchen isn’t the kind of girl to keep a diary, I’m sure that would’ve been interesting. But hey, that’s why you have me, y’know? I’m conveniently made of memories, teen angst, and pixie dust.
“She doesn’t talk about them a lot, and I assume they mostly avoided each other at Hogwarts.”
Right on, but it wasn’t like their very presence didn’t feel like a ticking time bomb in her head. But the hatred aside, the underlying fear that they’d come for her and hurt her aside, I think what was most jarring to her, was ultimately Preben’s popularity.
And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made.
Gretchen often comes off as if she knows everything about everyone, and it’s because she created an elaborate mind map in which she saves everything she picks up, usually ordered by person, the people ordered by family, the families order by bloodstatus. For some reason this mind map takes the form of the filing cabinet from her Primary School’s classroom, but anyway, she already used this technique before Hogwarts – her old man taught her to, y’know – but it became her primary focus at Hogwarts. When she wasn’t focusing on studying, she was filling her mental filing cabinet with more know-what about Hogwarts’ best… and worst. Mostly worst. Yeah, if anything, she may have kinda ignored everyone who wasn’t a threat. Geez, I wonder why she had no friends.
Yet, after pretty much pre-emptively stalking the Nilssons and anyone related to them, it wasn’t until their fifth year that the ‘Cold’ part was omitted from their Cold War. Starting with an argument in the Great Hall, and culminating in a bathroom blitz, it looked like the beef between the families was finally out in the open again – and then it wasn’t. Discovering that Sigurd was an empath spontaneously brought winter back again, and both parties withdrew into hibernation to figure their shit out. It’s been awkward and tense ever since.
Alright, everything has been awkward and tense this past year. Maybe that’s just natural, fifteen is just that kind of age – but throw all these issues in and it’s a natural disaster. There’s the allegiance she formed with Njord Vikernes, the fight with Preben, the fight and then brittle truce with Sigurd, Timmy becoming the sleepover friend she never had as a child, and all that gnarly business with Lenny Plunkett.
Somewhere within the eye of the storm that was fifth year, the real disaster happened. Gretchen started to doubt herself, her methods, and even her views. Ever so self-righteous, always right, always coooool, caaaaaalm, and colleeeeeected – until she wasn’t, until the unyielding oak broke down. Sigurd’s empathy, Njord peacefulness, Timmy’s friendship, Lenny’s hurting – maybe how she had been doing things for the past four years was wrong. Maybe she was wrong. Imagine that. Ouch. Gretchen, baby, you’re not alone, it happens all the time. Even the smallest things can change your perspective on the world – but the big things, yeah, alright, the big things change your perspective on yourself. People go through that all the time – they step out of a relationship that lasted years and think, ‘who am I without them,’ or they give up on a dream or career goal that had coloured their lives up until that point and think, ‘who am I without this.’ Who are you, dollface, without your bias and paranoia, but even more importantly – the idea that you have reason for it? The self-absorption, the righteousness, what does that all resort to when you can’t scrape enough confidence together to really belief in yourself?
So where does it go from here? Man, I don’t know. I’m just the narrator. I’m Nobody, just a collection of intertextual references, but my third eye can only see so far. If you really want to get to know Gretchen, you should move to her posts.
“Well, thanks for the tea−”
“I never made you tea.”
“But I think it’s time for me to haul my ass out of here and wrap this up. This thing is already about thirty-six pages. Except…”
Yeah, I guess I could just pop back into that painting and book out of here, go back to Hogwarts where I belong (HINT HINT, ROBIN). But y’know what’s really bugging me? The one over the fireplace is the only painting of a Faust ancestor I’ve seen in this entire fucking mansion so far. I just can’t believe it’s possible that a family as old as this one doesn’t have more portraits of dead family members.
Thought I wouldn’t notice, but I did.
|♥ Gretchen Kirke-Faust||
Posted: Feb 18 2017, 04:38 PM
The Portrait Room (Family History)
Alright, so I lost Anthony by pretending I was leaving, and after stumbling through half of the mansion (and man, is it a weird mansion, there was a random garden in a room that couldn’t possibly have been outside), I finally found the room where all the Faust portraits are stored. It was locked, but that’s not a problem for me.
What is a problem is the amount of talkative paintings in this room, so I’m going to write this as a closet drama – Which is a drama that isn’t ready to admit to its friends and family that it’s a drama yet, so you just read it as prose. Alright? Besides, Goethe’s Faust is a closet drama, so it seems oddly appropriate.
CHRISTINE FAUST – Gretchen’s Great-grandmother, moved from Germany to England. Only seer in the family, cloudcuckoolander, sees things that nobody else does while most regular things escape her attention entirely. Executed by the Nilssons for predicting and consequently sabotaging an important business deal.
NORA FAUST – Christine’s sister, transwoman alchemist, moved from Germany to Switzerland. Over sixty years old in the painting and still armed with a brazing torch, with white curls poking out from behind her welding helmet.
VIKTOR FAUST – Nora’s adolescent ward, a disaster of a college kid who has been awake for two weeks, tends to start in the middle of a sentence and not finish them. He’s covered in coffee stains, with messy black hair and the bags under his eyes as large as his ambitions. Didn’t make it to 28 years old, but nobody knows what happened to him.
JACOB KIRKE – Gretchen’s Great-grandfather, son of a Kirke and a Goldstein, Jewish, member of the Wizengamot. Married Christine Faust, creating the Kirke-Faust surname. The only reasonable person in this room, yet completely devoted to his airheaded spouse. Executed by the Nilssons with his wife.
SAMANTHA STORM – Gretchen’s grandmother. Eccentric writer and columnist with fiery red hair and comically large cat eye glasses. Disappeared after writing a particularly opinionated piece for The Quibbler.
GABRIEL KIRKE-FAUST – Arthur Kirke-Faust’s uncle. Was transfigured into a dog during a duel. I’m not even gonna ask.
DELILAH KIRKE-FAUST – Arthur’s hippie older sister and Gretchen’s aunt. She’s about 20 in the painting, with long blonde hair, bellbottoms, a crop top and large peace sign earrings, but the real Delilah must be nearing sixty by now. She retired to the country and runs a new-age potions business, leaving the pureblood scene behind her for good. The only person in this room who’s still alive.
DANNY – Yours truly. The hippest cat in creation, the alpha, the omega, A to Z!
And here's a convenient link to the family tree.
The portrait room in the Faust mansion, right after I- uh, Danny entered. Just what I needed– talking about myself in third person. Truly a whole new era for my ego.
DELILAH: Danny-O?! Remember me, from Hogwarts?”
DANNY: Dee Dee, baby, I never forget a face. I was wondering why I hadn’t heard anything about you yet.
DELILAH: Oh I left all that pureblood nonsense behind aaaaaages ago! Or, well, the real me did. I’m apparently living in the countryside now, have my own brand of new-age potions and everything. Nature, peace, fresh air – everything a witch really needs, baby.
DANNY: Hey that’s great, babe, the ginchiest.
SAMANTHA: So you’re essentially the resident crazy lady of some random muggle town?
CHRISTINE: Ooh, that sounds lovely…
DANNY: Yeah… anyway, so you don’t speak with your brother anymore?
DELILAH: No, not since Hogwarts, really. He thought that the only way to survive in our pureblood world was by playing by their rules, and I refused to do that. I still think it’s a mistake. I don’t even know who he is anymore, with his ‘everything for the greater good’ kind of thinking. I understand, I really do, I’ve had death threats thrown my way too because of my ‘bad blood,’ or my ‘cursed blood.’ But Artie was so occupied with being strong, he forgot to be good.
NORA: Well, if dey start it, dey deserve to be paid back in kind.
DANNY: So you just quit it all? Like that? Just bugged out, bam?
DELILAH: The best decision I ever made, baby. No more feuding for me, no more duelling for me, no more scheming and lying. I wanted to live, not just survive. You know what they say, Danny-baby, two siblings looked out through prison bars, one saw the mud and one saw the stars.
DANNY: You ever met Gretchen, Dee?
DELILAH: You mean the real me? I’m sure I went to our dad’s funeral. I must’ve seen her there… I probably didn’t even know Artie had a child.
SAMANTHA: Adopted a child.
DELILAH: That doesn’t matter, mum.
DELILAH: I wish I had met her. I wish I could’ve taught her that there’s more to life than war. Poor baby’s just a pawn in the universe’s chess game.
DANNY: What makes you say that?
JACOB: Is… nobody going to ask who he is? Really, nobody’s a bit concerned? Just me?
DELILAH: Oh, he’s just-
DANNY: A literary device to keep this dumb profile going. Though I don’t think this is still part of the profile… more like some kind of antechamber that I’m passing through on my way out. Anyway, don’t freak out, man. I’m just here for some good old family history, which you purebloods always have too much of.
JACOB: Well, then, I… Then I think my wife can probably help you more.
CHRISTINE: Hmmm? Family history? I don’t know, Jacob, it’s such an awful business…
NORA: Come now, sister – By Jove, we’re not cowards. Besides, our family is not just de bloody conflicts we’ve been involved in. Dere is lots to say for our family that isn’t about dat! For one thing, we believe magic is merely an arcane science dat could be studied to understand its inner mechanisms, de same way dat muggles study what de universe is made of. And we’re advocates for de education of muggleborns and reject the prejudice against them, always have been!
SAMANTHA: Well, muggleborns are the future of the wizarding society, since they can blend both worlds and hopefully enrich the wizarding world with the technology and science of the muggle world, allowing for more ways to study and practise magic.
JACOB: Yes, true. Really, the Faust family has brought forth some remarkable wizards, witches, scholars,
JACOB: Alchemists, yes, scientists, and just passionate, creative, and, uh…
JACOB: Extraordinary minds in general.
NORA: De wizarding world, especially its pureblood families, consider us and our believes “dangerous left-wings”. But if dat is what we need to be to break de mold, den so be it! Wenn Wissen übel ist, dann wähle ich schlecht sein.
DANNY: You do kinda hang out with a lot of beings, don’t ya? ‘Course that’s gonna be controversial?
DELILAH: Well, there’s a lot to learn from other beings, though! There are so many different types of magic out there.
NORA: Ja, it is dat hunger for knowledge dat made me pursue the great branch of magic dat is alchemy. Well, dat, und dat people always tried to tell me dat I was something else dan I was meant to be. I see de essence, and use it to bring something to its full potential. Dat is what a Faust does – break the mold, pursue dat dat others are scared to explore, reach for de unreachable. Arthur is an Unspeakable, no? Studying the unknowable! Dat is what a Faust does.
CHRISTINE: But Nora… it’s easy for you to focus on those aspects… you became a renowned alchemist… while I was a seer. As Minerva is my witness… You were successful, ambitious,… You never let anyone get you down… You and Hannah survived all of your other siblings….
NORA: Well, Hannah left for America, so dat’s not hard to explain. Our family’s reputation doesn’t really go beyond Europe, so non-European wizards might recognise de name from folklore or literature, but de other things… it’s very much old world stuff.
JACOB: Oh, the US has its own problems. I’m sure it wasn’t a breeze for Hannah, either.
CHRISTINE: Regardless! Nora, no enemies could ever bother you… You were tough as steel and as fiery as fiendfyre. I’m sure you could wrestle a bear and bring its hide home as a trophy-
NORA: Dat was one time.
CHRISTINE: But I just wanted to live and they wouldn’t let me…. People either laughed at my ability or were scared of it…. I tried to hide, get away from the feuding, Circe, I even moved to England! But that didn’t matter….
CHRISTINE: We died in a basement. Our son was still in Hogwarts!
DELILAH: I think that really shaped dad. It’s easy to see where Artie got it from. It’s dad who started it, building up the family fortune, making connections, staying informed,… scheming, planning.
SAMANATHA: Well, was he wrong?! Your father, was he wrong?
DANNY: Hang on, hang on. So the Fausts are an old-
JACOB: Extremely old.
DANNY: -family spread out all over Europe?
JACOB: That’s right.
DANNY: Then why aren’t there more portraits here?
SAMANTHA: Don’t be naïve, boy. The Fausts were the scapegoats, the underdogs, the losers. There is a reason why there are barely any of them left. The Fausts have a long history of being shunned by the magical society, actually, and it is only recently – say since the 19th century – that they began to thrive, especially in Great Britain. Society changed, suddenly people called for more progressive views, and those who were outspokenly anti-muggle and –muggleborn were suddenly no longer popular. The Ministry desperately wanted to look more progressive than it was – because believe me, there is a lot of corruption there, and many elitists still hold important positions – I’d know because I’ve written about it, but anyway, it was suddenly not impossible anymore for muggleborns and those of blood-traitor families to make a difference. Georg became an important member of the International Magical Office of Law, while I wrote progressive pieces for the Daily Prophet – and, if it was too progressive for them, magazines that weren’t cowards. But before that? All the centuries before? You think a family as universally shunned and hated as the Fausts had any power at all?
CHRISTINE: …“If you need a hexing target, get a Faust.”
DELILAH: I still heard that one during my Hogwarts days, baby. The truly old pureblood families didn’t forget.
SAMANTHA: No, of course not. And they didn’t change, either. The wizarding world may look all liberal now, and all accepting, but it’s still rotten to the core. But to answer your question, boy, there aren’t any more portraits here because weeding out Fausts was practically a sport during the middle-ages, and they made sure nothing would be left behind. It’s always the winners who get to write the histories, kid. Everything was destroyed. The paintings…
NORA: Our work.
CHRISTINE: Any trace that we meant anything… at all….
DANNY: Well, maybe being muggle-sympathisers in a world where wizards and witches were still actively persecuted was a bad idea, y’know? It’s probably hard to imagine, because you were in the minority, without power, small and weak and easy to go after, but maybe – just consider for a sec – maybe they saw you as the threat, man?
NORA: If deir sense of self-preservation overshadowed reason, empathy, and progress, den so be it.
DANNY: Alright man, but doesn’t that description actually fit Arthur right now?
JACOB: Finding reason behind the actions of our enemies does not excuse their violence towards us.
CHRISTINE: They couldn’t even stand it that we were purebloods… It’s how the legend started…
SAMANTHA: The rumour, you mean. That the Fausts descended from a muggle who made a pact with the devil, to discredit the family in a time when Christianity was on the rise.
NORA: Ja, de Fausts were pagans, and foreigners. So were de Nilssons. De latter grabbed de chance to paint de other, already shunned and frowned upon, as some devil-worshipping evil, making sure dat if anyone ended up being society’s scapegoat – it wouldn’t be dem.
DANNY: What do you mean, foreigners? The Nilssons came from the North-
VIKTOR: …actually Danish …originally… to Norway later on… imposed on the pureblood hierarchy already in place…. would happen whenever they moved somewhere else… powerful pureblood family entering the territory…makes people nervous…
DANNY: But the Fausts are German?
VIKTOR: ..no, no, no… not going back far enough… Fausts…
NORA: The Fausts, before they were Fausts, before they had any surname at all, were Roman.
VIKTOR: …Mediterranean …different ideas… beings and beasts…more respected, revered even….
CHRISTINE: Oooh, I want to go to Italy one day…
VIKTOR: …just not the same culture…
JACOB: Honey, we’re dead.
VIKTOR: …really clashed…no surprise…
CHRISTINE: Oooh, yes, of course.
CHRISTINE: It’s been so long, and yet, if you squint…
VIKTOR: …really explains…
DANNY: Uh… How long has this feud been going? Do you even still know why you’re fighting?
NORA: Oh, we know what we’re fighting, alright!
NORA: The Nilssons aren’t just any elitist pureblood family.
VIKTOR: …bloody business…
JACOB: The Nilssons are everything the Fausts hate, it’s not just the old family ties, or the old-fashioned ideas. Their business is truly the last straw.
CHRISTINE: They… acquire… being parts for wand cores…. Its despicable…
VIKTOR: …not human anyway…
SAMANTHA: Even those that have been made illegal. They had to move their business underground thanks to the recent attitude changes in the wizarding world. I’m sure they’re very bitter, and blame people like us for it.
JACOB: Well, we’ll surely try to thwart their business whenever we can. Of course that only put the Fausts on their radar.
CHRISTINE: There isn’t just blood on their hands… everything they own is covered in it… stained by it… in the end, ours just joined the spatter…
VIKTOR: …keine Frage of Muts…
CHRISTINE: There’s hardly any of us left…
JACOB: …Yes. The Fausts are… scarce. It’s not just the Nilssons – it isn’t easy being looked down upon by most of the affluent society, but the Nilssons are definitely directly responsible for bringing the Faust name to near extinction. They’re ruthless.
VIKTOR: …der Courage…
CHRISTINE: They celebrate our deaths… crash our funerals…
SAMANTHA: It almost became a sport. Hit the town with your pureblood friends. Beat up a Faust.
VIKTOR: …fahren fort… Bis du an deinem Blut erstickst…
DELILAH: The world is different now.
SAMANTHA: They are not.
NORA: Hmm, it is said dat dey take photos of deir enemies before executing dem, collect it like trophies.
CHRISTINE: …I wonder if they… took mine…
DELILAH: There is no proof of this.
SAMANTHA: Because nobody ever made it out of that basement alive!
NORA: Dey are de real curse about being a Faust.
SAMANTHA: They surely are a big fan of curses! They’ll curse entire households with those runes of theirs!
NORA: Viktor was almost driven to madness before his kneazle finally found it, buried in de yard. A bone wid runes carved into it. Nasty business. Need to scratch off de runes first, before burning de bone, to lift de curse, or it will plague de house forever.
JACOB: Did Viktor… ever recover?
NORA: What? Of course he did!
JACOB: … Anyway, that’s why we hyphenated.
CHRISTINE: Most Faust women do… to remind them… we’re still here… despite everything, we’re still here! No matter how many times they beat us…
DANNY: You can’t get up when you’re dead, though, y’know what I’m saying? You’re close to extinction and the current generation in England isn’t even blood-related.
DANNY: Oh! Oh. Hoho, is that why people can’t know? Not out of fear that the pureblood world would give her a hard time, because they already do, but because of some misplaced sense of pride?
CHRISTINE: The child is ruled by Mars… so much conflict surrounds her… consumes her…
SAMANTHA: It was a mistake, taking in that girl.
DELILAH: You know what? You’re right! It was a mistake! She would’ve been better off with another family, with parents who actually had time for love, instead of putting all their energy into hate!
DELILAH: YOU LEFT US.
JACOB: Maybe it’s a good thing none of us lived long enough for family reunions.
SAMANTHA: I didn’t leave, I was taken, and when someone disappears without a trace you don’t blame that person! You blame the Deschamps!
DELILAH: But you just had to keep digging, keep exposing, after all the warnings. Why did you have to write that article?
SAMANTHA: Someone had to show the world the truth.
DELILAH: But did it have to be you?
DANNY: Yeah, uh, not to be a jerk, but could you do this on your own time?
JACOB: You are being a jerk.
DANNY: Climb it, Tarzan.
DELILAH: Why are you here, Dan?
DANNY: Already told ya – Gretchen’s profile.
DELILAH: But why you?
DANNY: Beats me. Maybe Robin wanted to write this through the eyes of an outsider, someone who’d be fucking honest, to shine some light on this delusional family. Maybe she wanted a contrast between their pureblood world and my muggle references, or perhaps it was about creating a parallel between my suspiciously specific reference frame and the Fausts, to demonstrate how warped ideals can become over time, how left becomes right, and the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye.
DANNY: Nah, man, she just really likes writing me and hates writing profiles, so she thought she’d cancel the latter out with the former. Not sure if that worked out for her, since I don’t ever shut up so this profile is definitely way longer than it ever needed to be. But let’s get back to it – because we left off at an interesting topic.
DELILAH: Yeah, we definitely di- !
DANNY: No, not your mommy issues, Dee. This is about Gretchen, and her daddy issues. Did Arthur adopt some kid just so there’d be an heir with the Faust name?
CHRISTINE: No… The prophecy said he’d take in a winter solstice child… so he did…
DANNY: Prophecy, what prophecy? There’s a prophecy?
CHRISTINE: …What…? We try to converse with centaurs whenever they are willing to allow our presence… they taught me a lot… though mostly that I’d never be as good as them.
DANNY: Are you kidding me? Oh, she’s going to love hearing about this! A prophecy told him to adopt a kid so he did? And her birthday was the decisive factor? Ahaha! Way to make someone feel welcome. Gretchen doesn’t know about this, does she? Did he even really want a child? But he must've gotten attached to her, Anton and Nicky both attest to how he dotes on her, ...in his own way.
DELILAH: No, she doesn't know, and you can’t tell her!
DANNY: Oh, I won’t, Robin’s characters don’t usually interact with each other – and I don’t think any of this is even really happening, it’s more like some really weird trip that we’ll all forget soon enough. But do you really that think she won’t find out? After everything you’ve told me? The paranoia, the thirst for knowledge? Oh, baby, she’s going to find out sooner or later, and I can’t wait until she does. Man, and I thought her emotional stability couldn’t get worse−
DELILAH: I forgot how insensitive you were.
DANNY: Insensitive? I’m not insensitive! I’m cruel. Learn the difference. So what is the prophecy? Was that it? Just that he’d get a child, not why, or how, or to what purpose? C’mon, lay it on me.
SAMANTHA: You need to leave.
DANNY: Robin didn’t come up with a rhyme yet, did she?
DANNY: Or is there more, but you can’t tell me, because ~~spoilers~~ ? …You said she was a pawn in the universe’s chess game – what does that mean, Dee?
GABRIEL: hrmmph…. rmmph….
DANNY: ....Robin’s going to shut me up now, isn’t she?
Everything about the Nilssons has been approved by Sammeh, the same goes for the reference to the Deschamps by Tine.
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