Charlie decides to tryout for a different spot on the Hufflepuff Quidditch team.
In this scene, Carrie-Anne Whittier is being NPC'd by Olivia Baxtor. She was later taken as a PC by someone else.
Brisk autumn winds whistle through the goalposts and ruffle the edges of Eliza Marlowe's hair as she stands near the entrance to the Quidditch pitch. Her bright yellow uniform is on, her broom is slung easily over her shoulder, and she bounces lightly on her toes, waiting. Every muscle is poised for action, but not tense; the Head Girl has an easy grin on her face as she watches her teammates, present and potential, file in.
Charlie Linwood is no longer a ridiculously tiny boy dwarfed by his very broom. However, he is now a bit awkward, carrying it about as though he hasn't quite figured out how to hold it comfortably to the side. He is in his Quidditch robe--or someone else's, as his old one would scarcely fit, and scarfless, at least for now. It isn't Charlie's fault if it gets really cold later in the year. "'lo, Captain!" Unusually chipper this morning, he probably figures he's safe from /girls/ at Quidditch.
Carrie makes her way onto the pitch, glancing around as people start to file on. "'Mornin, 'Liza," the girl greets her captain rather sleepily, rubbing her eyes as she stifles a yawn. "Should be a good ye-eeee-aaa--hoo-- year, huh?" The girl has her broom in hand and appears to be dressed for the occasion in her practice uniform, though her demeanor definitely does not reflect readiness. "'Morning, Charlie," she greets her fellow chaser as he strides up.
Alexandra Leong stands next to her Captain, the end of her broom resting on the ground, making her look like a maid taking a break from her chores. The girl has grown over the summer, but not so much as some of her yearmates; she is still deceptively small. She seems to have entered that phase in a girl's development where she is just one the edge of womanhood. Alexandra seems agitated, for some reason, although it doesn't seem to be because of Quidditch, by the way she's leaning on her broom. What could it be?
"Hope we didn't wake you, Whittier," Eliza retorts, although some of the edge is taken off of the words by her smile, and the friendly thump she gives to her sleepy Chaser's shoulder. "Good to see you, Linwood," the captain continues, her casual grin widening a bit. "Didn't expect to see you on the list for tryouts." Eliza's eyes narrow as she looks Charlie up and down. "'Spose you might make a go of Beater this year, though, and I'm willing to see how you do." She flashes him another grin, then turns to call over her shoulder at the others, "Up in the air, you lot! Campbell, get the Bludgers!" Marybeth Campbell, the third Chaser, springs into action, scurrying over to the equipment locker to retrieve the balls and bats. Then, in a lower voice, she mutters, "You all right, Alex?"
Charlie Linwood nods his head and readjusts the grip on his vroom, "Thought I might try it out. Chaser is all right, don't get me wrong." He sends a somewhat apologetic smile toward Carrie and Marybeth, given that they're kind of a mini-team, but focuses on Eliza. Charlie straightens his shoulders and doesn't provide any other reason. It's just manlier to be a Beater. Alex is given a brief, curious look, but that's all.
"Up and away," Carrie responds half-heartedly as she gets onto her broom and flies up slowly into the air. It isn't long before she is flying around with her usual zeal and speed. "You'd better keep us safe, Charlie, as beater, then," she calls, hovering in the air and then flying back down to the ground as the beaters take the air. She seems quite a bit more awake after her short sojourn in the air and ready for her trial now.
"Oh, yes Captain," Alexandra Leong replies in a tone close to reverence. "Just thinking about other things..." she scratches her head distractedly, causing a few stray strands of hair to fall out of her otherwise neat ponytail. "What do you want me to do, Captain? I mean... yeah." She looks sheepishly at her toes.
Eliza keeps a sharp eye on Carrie for a moment, watching the Chaser's progress, and gives a decisive, approving nod as she sees the younger girl's alertness improving. Another searching glance is directed towards the Seeker, but all Eliza says to Alexandra is, "Keep your mind here, Alex," in a low tone. Then, lifting her voice again so that it will carry across the pitch to the others, she calls, "Just Chasers and Beaters for this one. Campbell, play our Chaser. Linwood, play our Beater. Alex, you're the opposing side's Chaser, and Whittier, you're the opposing Beater. Got it? Right!" With one last decisive exclamation, Eliza swings her leg across her broom and pushes off the ground, soaring in a wide, graceful arc up into the air to take up a position near the edge of the field. Halfway down the field, Marybeth launches one Quaffle and one Bludger up into the air - and the practice match begins.
Charlie Linwood launches as well--having found a beater's bat. Let Carrie find her own, she is, after all, momentarily on the opposing team. One of Charlie's best qualities is the ease with which he flies, and that at least hasn't changed. With a broom that is last year's new model, he accelerates easily toward the released bludger. Charlie grips the beater's bat with both hands, steering with his legs, and his face sets into it's typical busy and determined expression.
Searching about for a bat, Carrie picks one up rather awkwardly as she takes to the air again. "I don't know if this is such a good idea, Eliza," the chaser calls, giving the bat a few rather wobbly test swings. "There's a reason I'm not a beater!" She flies around in circles a bit as she tries to get used to the feel of the bat in her hand, fearing the moment when she actually has to hit a bludger.
Alexandra Leong nods curtly, pulled back into the reality of Quidditch by Eliza's words. She hops onto her broom and pushes off effortlessly, joining Carrie. She's a good flyer, and could play a fair chaser in a pinch, but clearly she's not completely comfortable with the position. However, she makes a stab at catching the quaffle, and to her surprise, she actually catches it. Suddenly she shoots forward, with the quaffle under her arm.
"You can do it, Whittier!" Eliza calls back - and then adds, in a lower voice, so that only Carrie and perhaps Alex, playing on the same side as Carrie, can hear her clearly: "And if you're really in trouble, don't worry, I'll take over." The Bludger flies up, swiftly escaping Marybeth's hands, and zips menacingly around the pitch, heading towards Marybeth and Charlie at full speed. On the sidelines, Eliza simply hovers, watching her team with alert, critical eyes.
Charlie Linwood sweeps sideways with a "Got it, Campbell!". Luckily not far and undoubtedly aided by the ball heading his way in the first place, Charlie sends the bludger, with a resounding CRACK! toward Alexandra. He looks as if it doesn't phase him in the slightest that the girl is in reality one of, if not the most important member of their team (and thus a poor choice to send bludgers soaring towards). Rather, his face registers a bit of surprise as his broom scoots a bit backwards and wobbles. "Woah." It's a lot more force to hit them than he expected.
Flying quickly towards where the bludger has been powerfully lobbed, Carrie rears her arm back to hit the bludger back in his direction. She succeeds in doing this, but not yelling, "Look out, Alex!" She manages to weakly hit the bludger back towards Charlie, though it flies in a rather circular motion, rather than the straight ahead that she had intended.
Alexandra Leong attempts to dodge the bludger, but it is hit away from her. She shouts a hasty "Thanks!", before continuing her advance towards the goal posts, with almost singleminded determination.
"Good!" From the sidelines, Eliza cheers on all of her teammates simultaneously with an enthusiastic shout and an encouraging wave of her arm. Free of the Bludger for now, Marybeth zooms ahead, flying towards Alexandra in search of the Quaffle - but, hit by Carrie's unfocused swing, the Bludger wobbles around, circling in an erratic path towards both Marybeth and Alexandra as the Chasers draw near each other. Eliza hovers a little closer to the edge of the pitch now - not crossing over into the boundaries of play, but definitely more on guard.
Charlie Linwood urges his broom forward toward the Chasers, in an arc himself, hoping to intercept the bludger before it gets too near to either, "Good job!" he mutters to himself sarcastically, though not nearly loud enough for Carrie--or anyone else-- to hear. He's practically doubled over on his broom in an attempt to go faster than the ball, and as he nears he straightens. It would be difficult to hit a bludger with limited arm mobility. The bludger, however, has a head start on Charlie, and he may not make it.
Seeing the direction of her shot, Carrie Anne Whittier looks rather nervous, starting to fly swiftly towards her teammates. "Watch your back, Marybeth!" she calls, despite the fact that she's supposed to be the other team. What good would it do to injure a teammate on the tryouts, after all? She tries to catch up to the bludger, but it seems as if Charlie might get there before she manages to.
Alexandra Leong stops in midflight, slightly confused by the shouts of her teammates. She looks back and forth between the "opposing team" and Carrie, trying to determine what she's supposed to do. IN the meantime, the wobbly bludger advances towards the seeker turned chaser...
Reacting instinctively, Marybeth follows her fellow Chaser's instructions - she glances quickly over her shoulder to see the Bludger following her, then goes into a swift dive to evade its heavy, wobbling path. The Quaffle is left, uncontested, to Alexandra for now, but the Bludger is coming fast enough that Marybeth might not have evaded it successfully - it is angled downwards, on a course to hit Alexandra's legs, or Marybeth's head. Eliza drifts a little closer, eyes narrowing warily and body poised to direct her broom towards her teammates if she's needed.
Charlie Linwood just barely manages to intercept the bludger, but it's more with the handle of his broom than his bat, and there's a soft crunching noise. Charlie barely restrains a curse as the tip of his broom hangs loose, but continues flying, ready to hit the bludger as far from Marybeth-and if that means away from Alex, so be it as soon as he's got it in the reach of a good swing. For now, it at least needs to right itself before chasing the Chasers again.
"Phew," Carrie breathes a sigh of relief as the chasers narrowly miss being hit by the bludger, but now the bludger is headed straight for her, as she had stopped flying when the boy made contact with the bludger. "Oh no!" she gasps and flies away a bit, then rears her bat back and gives it a mighty whack, this time, the bludger goes a bit straighter than before and flies back towards the clump of her teammates once again. She breathes in deeply again and stops flying to watch what the others do. "Take that!"
Smacked to and fro by the bats of those playing Beater, the Bludger continues to wobble erratically about the field. Marybeth has escaped it for now, and Alexandra has been saved by Carrie's quick action, but the Bludger is definitely still in play - and heading straight for Marybeth again. She darts quickly to the side, but the Bludger follows. Eliza drifts down the field a little, keeping alongside the action.
Charlie Linwood frowns, as he was chasing that bludger to hit it again, and turns sharply. This time, being much closer, he catches up and swings, though not with nearly as much force, say, as he did when the bludger was much farther from the girls. Bat connects with ball with the tell-tale noise and Charlie redirects toward Alexandra, calling, "Campbell, go low!" Charlie, used to watching all other Chasers, the quaffle, and two bludgers, easily keeps an eye on the ball's course and Carrie, ready to move to intercept /her/ should she try a saving hit. Not very kind, that, but it is rather annoying to chase the ball back and forth.
Spying Charlie's aim, Carrie flies quickly towards Alexandra, "Oy, watch out, Alex!" She zooms up quickly, trying to catch up to the bludger which is flying rather speedily towards the team seeker. "No, no, no!" The girl sounds very frustrated as she desperately tries to catch up and intercept the bludger. "This is why I don't play beater!" she calls to the captain, still zooming in that direction, and rather cursing herself for stopping before she had ensured the bludger's path.
Following Charlie's instructions, Marybeth zooms down again, in a precipitously steep course. And the Bludger follows, having apparently latched onto her instead of Alexandra, wobbling after Marybeth even as she flies downwards. From the sidelines, Eliza calls, "You're doing fine, Whittier! It's just practice!" She dips down too, following the action as Marybeth and the Bludger move to a lower position. "One more go-round, and we'll be done!"
Charlie Linwood does curse this time, and upon leveling with the bludger, gives it as strong a 'THWACK!' as he can back in the direction of Alex, which is surprisingly much given his physique. Apparently he's more muscly than he looks. "Ruddy bludger, go the other bloody way!" Temper, temper, and he sticks close behind it, ready to strike should it avert course again. Funny, isn't a bludger supposed to chase a player and not the other way around?
Alexandra Leong yelps as the bludger is pelted in her direction again, but instead of panic she launches herself at full speed towards to goals. Awkwardly, she lobs the quaffle towards the center post. Almost as soon as she releases the ball she does a steep dive, trying to avoid the oncoming bludger.
"Honestly, I'm really a poor beater," she calls as she flies towards where the bludger has been hit again. Carrie's shot is poor as she barely knicks the bludger, only creating a wobbly path for it as it continues towards Alexandra. "A little help, please?" she calls as she has lost her balance on her broom, nearly flying over the front of it. She grasps the end of it, rather uneasily, trying to keep on it.
The Bludger wobbles downwards, heading for the ground - and in sweeps Eliza to intercept the it before it can do any more damage. She neatly swats it aside with the bristles of her broom to send it down to the ground, where it embeds itself in the soft earth, quivering but held firm. "All right!" Eliza soars down to the ground to land lightly next to the immobilized Bludger. "Good work all!" she shouts, lifting her voice so that it will carry across the field to the whole team. "Got a few more tryouts to run. As soon as we're done with them, I'll post the new team list in the common room. Thanks for coming! Glad to have you all back!"