EIGHTEEN, SEPTEMBER 12
CEDAR, DRAGON HEARTSTRING, 10”
Taller than most women at 5’8”, Eleanor has not found it difficult to maintain a lithe frame. She swims, and hasn’t had a large appetite since she stopped growing, though she is exceptionally fond of all forms of pudding. She has her mother’s dark chestnut hair grown out long for several years now, and her father’s unusually light blue eyes. She has a round face, a high forehead, and rosy lips, giving her a cherubic look that is beginning to seem contrary to her age. There is a sprinkle of freckles across her nose that recede during winter, and belie a youth spent out of doors.
Her sense of style is conservative and due to both her her house and her coloring, she’s often seen in blues, creams, and delicate pinks. Her hair is always neatly kempt, though she has a relatively wide range of styles rather than a trademark. Her family is wealthy, but not extravagant in its spending. Though she has very nice things, Eleanor has always found quality much more important that quantity.
Eleanor generally stands straight despite her height, and her gait is feminine though unexaggerated. Her smile is generally acknowledged to be very sweet, and she is an exceptionally ugly crier.
Though it’s widely known that all the Baddock’s are more or less traditionalists, few people can complain of Eleanor treating them badly or even indifferently based on their blood. Most of Eleanor’s friends are purebloods, generally because she’s known them since childhood. She doesn’t mind interacting people with other blood statuses, but she doesn’t generally seek company outside her circles.
If approached she’s far from unfriendly, and among her circle she’s even known as quite the social butterfly. She’s witty and has a talent for perfect comedic timing. Clever, people might call her, but she doesn’t otherwise call attention to her mind, and she’s not known for speaking about serious topics. In a similar way, though it’s not something particularly obvious, it might occur to some people that they’ve never spoken to Eleanor about her feelings or her aspirations.
People also probably know that he brother died recently, and that she was exceptionally close with him. She’s been known for her good spirits over the years, so her present state might shock more than a few. At present she seems absent from pretty much every aspect of her life, including her interactions with other people.
If anyone cares to think about such things, they’d also know she’s never dated anyone by explicit choice. More than a few people have expressed interest over the years, but she’s more or less known to be heavy handed as far as that’s concerned. Of course, most purebloods understand this inclination. Others probably find it antiquarian.
There are certain things about Eleanor’s personality that can’t have been helped. She was doomed to turn out a prideful, aristocratic thing from the very beginning. It was only a question of whether she would turn out like her father or her mother, and the world ought to be glad that she took after Marcus Baddock. Instead of her mother’s vicious elitism, she took on her father’s good natured old-money attitude. Money, class, and a good family are important. It brings you things like manners, a thorough education, and intrinsic superiority of habit. In her father’s world, everyone deserves respect, and friendship with lower classes was perfectly acceptable. Of course there were boundaries about who you married, or who your children played with, and even who you invited to dinner parties. But no one was really less human than you were. Just less moneyed, mannered, and mindful. Eleanor is much the same.
Her friendship is concentrated among the people she’s known since her childhood, but she’s not averse to getting to know other people at all. In fact she is fundamentally an extrovert, despite the demure gender roles that have been imposed on her since childhood. She enjoys company, and dislikes upsetting people. While she is no stranger to gently making fun of the world around her, she rarely does so with a malicious intent. She finds it an indication of vulgar manners to deliberately attempt to hurt people. This is how she generally justifies the snippy reactions she has when other purebloods belittle other students. That’s not to say she’s entirely unprejudiced. Eleanor is very wary of muggles, and thinks a great deal of their doings are quite barbaric. If she holds such things against muggleborns at all, no one can tell. She refuses to say negative things about people in general, and though she’s followed her family’s suit in believing such things among polite company, she’ll never participate in purist conversations.
She does doubt such things, though she’d never dare express those thoughts. Eleanor has a mind, you see. She took after her father and his gentleman-scholar ways. Practical questions deserve her attention, but only insofar as they concern her place in society. Thus she puts in the requisite work into her studies. But her true intellectual interests run a very different course, and her choice of reading material runs more towards the poetic and philosophical than anything else. Thanks to her father’s expectations, she learned Greek and Latin just like her brothers. She’s given to buying translations so she can claim to read things in English, but she always prefers the original language. Philosophy is where she expends most of her mental energy. She loves to question the things presented as fact, and dislikes nothing so much as a poorly argued thesis.
Her love of poetry reveals more of Eleanor’s fundamental character. She loves the artistry that takes shape in the confines of cadence. Eleanor likes rules. She liked knowing what to expect, and knowing how to behave, and being comfortable in her environs. Still, there’s something more than never ending formality she wants in her life. Something greater, but not necessarily wild or radical. She wants poetry. Something important within the world she knows. She wants excitement, but not surprise. She wants every broken rule to be a meaningful decision, and a story worth telling as a common thread.
Still, most of this remains quietly under wraps, and Eleanor’s only public shows of cleverness generally center around her humor. While she genuinely adores other intelligent people, she’s just as genuinely set on edge in their presence. She hides her intelligence like any other carefully guarded secret of an eighteen year old girl worried about fitting in. Since her infancy, her mother and the Parkinson clan have convinced her that intelligence in a woman is superfluous, even arrogant. Would she like to be seen as an upstart? A feminist? Someone who subverted her own community? Did she want people to see her as an arrogant, irritating know-it-all? Did she presume to know things that only a provider could comprehend? When she defiantly subordinated her mother as she was so wont to do at six, the other girls often thought her strange or boyish or rude for wondering about the things she wondered, or wanting to explore the places worth exploring. She stopped showing herself then, but her biggest mistakes came when she talked with the smarter boys. Being laughed at every single time she dared to speak up in public did not do much for encouraging Eleanor to speak her thoughts aloud. So it is that as a young woman she still fears slipping up around the intelligent students.
Her best friends are generally the most intelligent however, and in careful private corners she will occasionally confide her deeper thoughts with them. In a few rare cases it forms the basis of her friendship, and it is these relationships she cherishes most deeply. Still, Eleanor is just as fundamentally private as she is social. She’s exceptionally judicious about whom she talks to about serious things. This has become most obvious in the past few months as almost everything she thinks about has been serious. Her brother’s ideological shift, his degenerating mental state, his article, his death. Incapable of giving precedence to anything else, Eleanor has grown listless in social situations.
Despite Eleanor’s capacity to love things wholeheartedly (like books, swimming, and pudding), it would be a mistake to call her a romantic. Besides, Eleanor has never counted herself capable of opening herself up to people she can’t rely on. Love is a gamble. Especially as far as her family’s expectations go, Eleanor is far too willing to subordinate her desires to give herself over to the enthusiasms necessary for romanticism. She knows there are expectations of her behavior, and she doesn’t mind them. She’s spent eighteen years with all of it. It’s always seemed childish or proved too difficult to seriously rebel, and now it’s a bit too late, what with Alex dead and an engagement all but arranged.
There’s something about this kind of stoicism which appeals tremendously to Eleanor. She likes to know she’s stronger than other people. When she can handle a situation with a cool head, or control an unmanageable situation, she takes very private satisfaction in it. She’s gradually gained a reputation as quite the diplomat. One couldn’t call her imposing, and more often than not she quietly moves on an axis around conflict gradually calming everyone down, but from time to time she’s been known to place herself firmly between disputants. This is especially true within her family, where she doesn’t feel the need to hide her capabilities. Eleanor has always been the rock among her siblings, and in this respect recent months have only served to heighten that responsibility.
Marcus Baddock, 47
Isabel Baddock [Parkinson], 43
Alexander Baddock, 20 (deceased)
Edward Baddock, 16
Vivian Baddock, 14
Katherine Baddock, 12
Eleanor’s parents had an arranged marriage, like their parents before them. Marcus had grown up in a happy home, where a family had judged the character of their children well, and in so doing created a loving couple, and happy grandchildren. Isabel had a cold father and a frivolous mother and her home was devoid of love, the picture of an unsuccessful betrothal. In Hogwarts, Marcus’ inquisitive and philosophically inclined mind earned him a place in Ravenclaw, while Isabel was promptly sorted into Slytherin. When their parents arranged their marriage, Isabel was surprised to find that she liked Marcus. Once she had decided as much it didn’t take long for the future Baddocks to fall in love.
They were married one year after Isabel graduated from Hogwarts. Isabel wasn’t thrilled that the Baddock estate was so far from London, but it made her a sort of queen of the local pureblood society. The Baddocks were wealthy, after all. She was surprised to find that Marcus spent time among all of his tenants, including the muggle ones. She found the notion repulsive, and from the moment they were married Marcus’ relatively lax opinion as far as blood went has been their only real sticking point. As soon as Marcus agreed to stop bringing them into her home, it ceased to spark any real arguments. Still, their fundamental philosophies on the point of blood were very divergent. Marcus believed in good breeding, and the thorough education only the very wealthy could afford to provide their children. He believed purebloods were the natural aristocracy, but he had little interest in discrimination past a sort of patronizing class distinction. Isabel came from the doctrine that names anyone with a muggle ancestor as tainted and a second class citizen. She would never have dreamed of having the cordial relationships Marcus maintained with the people he did business with. At any rate, the pair spent five years enjoying their youth before worried parents began to insist on grandchildren.
They had Alexander then, and quickly found themselves delighted with children far more than they had anticipated. It was only a year and a half later that Eleanor was born, another year and a half until Edward came into the world, and another two after that for both Vivian and Katherine. Alexander was born intelligent, as were all of the subsequent Baddock children. As they grew up, neither Alexander nor Eleanor could remember a time when they weren’t an important part of each other’s lives. Having the example of Alexander greatly accelerated the rate at which Eleanor matured in her infancy. She spoke and walked early. Even then she idolized her elder brother. As they grew older, Eleanor hated for Alex to do anything she couldn’t, which lead to swimming early, reading early, and writing early. Alexander had the same philosophical turn of mind that their father had, and from early childhood the pair of them set about trying to figure out the whys of the world. They read and explored incessantly, much to their father’s delight. Edward joined in eventually, but as another male and a younger brother, Alexander took much more time to like Edward than he had taken to like Eleanor. It wasn’t until Edward was nearly four that he had any part in their adventures, and he often struggled to keep up by sheer fact of age.
From an early age, it was also established that Isabel would invariably ruin any of the fun the children wanted to have. Isabel was a traditionalist, and while boys would be boys, she was never happy to see Eleanor playing the same games. Marcus was far less perturbed by this fact, simply happy that all of his children had turned out clever. In fact, the topic of Eleanor’s education sparked some of the few domestic disputes the Baddock parents indulged in. Isabel wanted her daughter confined to the social graces. Dancing, instruments, art, the subtleties of taste, social facility, and of course French and Latin. Marcus might have indulged Isabel’s sentiments if Eleanor hadn’t been as precocious as her brothers. He simply couldn’t justify stunting the education of one of his children who had the talent for it. He made concessions in the interest of marital bliss, but these were far and few between. In general, it simply meant that Eleanor had more lessons than her brothers, a fact which all of them resented greatly. Isabel found Eleanor intractable at first, with a tendency to deliberately frustrate her tutors as a mark of her rebellion. However, Eleanor didn’t hate her mother, and as she matured she began to take the extra graces (as her mother called them) seriously. This was especially true when a curious Alexander insisted on learning piano as well, a sentiment quickly and impetuously echoed by Edward. The boys both took up drawing as well, though neither of them were forced or inclined to work at it as much as Eleanor was. As far as social graces went, Marcus expressly forbade Isabel from making Eleanor miss an academic lesson, which confined the tedious teas and doll-centric play dates to the weekends.
When they were eight and six respectively, Alexander and Eleanor began to attend parties with their parents. The two of them were more or less aware of the different points of view their parents had as far as bloodlines went, but Eleanor first became aware of the import of their views at those parties. Her mother had always seemed rather snooty, and occasionally cruel as far as Alexander and Eleanor were concerned. However, at these gatherings their father fell silent about such matters and their mother expressed the more commonly held view. Especially as they became friends with other pureblooded children from good families, Eleanor and Alex gradually began to think that perhaps their mother adnt eh other Parkinsons were correct. Clearly their father hadn’t told them everything there was to know about muggles. Like guns! Surely Papa couldn’t like people who owned things that only killed and tortured. And the witchhunts! He couldn’t seriously like people who would try to burn people who did magic. And what about squibs? If muggles and halfbloods made you have squib babies, why would you ever marry one? So it was that the Baddock children began to move in closer step with their peers.
By the time she was seven, Eleanor began to comprehend that her mother wasn’t the only one who thought little girls shouldn’t climb trees, or go swimming on a whim, or know Greek. Perturbed to find that femininity was not her mother’s invention, Eleanor started to hide her more boyish pursuits in favor of fitting in with the other girls. At first it bothered her quite a bit, but by the time she was eight it was an unconscious action. By nine she was embarrassed of it all.
Her brothers never understood this, but they loved her and let her alone about it for the most part. Still, Alex saw it as a problem, and started debating with Eleanor, deliberately keeping her from any sense of complacency. By the time Alex left for Hogwarts, intellectual inquiry was quite the habit with Eleanor, despite her unwillingness to share her thoughts with anyone. Alexander was sorted into Ravenclaw house, and despite the near daily exchange of letters, Eleanor was insanely jealous of his being at school and away from the stifling influence of her mother. For all she cared for Eddie, Kat, and Viv, they weren’t Alex. Something felt a bit wrong about life without him nearby.
When it was finally her turn to go to Hogwarts, Eleanor could hardly keep her excitement suppressed. A ball of tense energy from the platform to the sorting hat, Eleanor was only able to relax when she was placed in Ravenclaw and allowed to go sit next to her brother. Eleanor took to her studies exceptionally well, but aside from the cleverness her personality couldn’t conceal, she took care not to make mention of her academics with anyone but Alexander and her closest friends. Edward came two years after Eleanor began school, and was sorted into Slytherin, as were her two younger sisters.
In the meantime, very little about Eleanor changed. She became even more stiflingly aware of how little she would be allowed to accomplish in her life as a pureblooded woman. She was acclimated to the obligation she had to her family, so when her father told her that he was beginning to look for someone suitable for her to marry when she was fourteen, she made little fuss. She hadn’t even begun to think of boys at that point, and though people certainly found her attractive, and she found the occasional boy appealing, she systematically discouraged any feelings in that realm. Some people have found it odd and antiquated that she should be so willing to sacrifice romance just for the sake of filial piety, but Eleanor truly loves her family. If they need something from her she would never hesitate to give it to them.
Nothing of much import happened past that as far as Eleanor was concerned. She continued to excel academically, and she made all the right friends, and went to the right parties, and behaved the right way. Alex graduated and started working as a journalist. He eventually volunteered to go abroad and cover the conflict with Grindewald. At first his articles were neutral, and from his letters Eleanor gathered that he had even attended more than one meeting of Grindewald’s followers. For a brief period of time his articles became quite sympathetic, right up until he published a scathing condemnation of everything Grindewald was doing as barbaric, the result of a lust for power, and an unmitigated genocide. Within the week his letters stopped coming. Three weeks later he was found mutilated and dead in Eastern Germany. This was six weeks before school started.
The family was devastated. Marcus locked himself in his study and barely spoke when he did venture out. Isabel ricocheted between hysterics, a depressed stupor, and cruelty. Edward tried to step into the shoes of Alex and Marcus simultaneously and found himself too young to be father and older brother to his sisters. The girls couldn’t stop crying. Finding herself feeling hollow more than anything, Eleanor managed the house for the weeks leading up to her final year at Hogwarts. She planned Alexander’s funeral, wrote thank you notes in reply to every expression of condolence, and made sure her siblings were equipped for the coming year. She also wrote her mother’s sister who agreed to move into the Baddock household on a temporary basis to manage the household and make sure everyone ate. Someone had to go and retrieve Alex’s things from Germany, and as the only functioning adult in her family, Eleanor left for three days to pack up his apartment. When she got there she found the majority of the apartment rummaged through. It’s doubtful whether she would have found it on her own, but one patch of wall was so battered she paid attention to it. Closer inspection found a magical safe of sorts, protected by all kinds of old magic. Being his sister, Eleanor’s blood was enough to open the safe, and in it she found his diaries. Except for these, clearly intended to be in family hands alone, she boxed the majority of it, and brought it back with her to the family manor.
Since they’ve been back at school, the siblings have managed their grief privately. Eleanor still has the empty, hollow feeling. The only time she feels anything is when she reads Alex’s diaries. She’s finished reading them, but during the last month and a half or so, his entries became increasingly paranoid and cryptic, with the last entries even being coded. She hasn’t broken all of them, and she doesn’t understand some of what he’s saying even in plain English, but it’s her intent to find out what was happening in the last days of his life. At any rate, she knows he had a complete reversal of philosophy as far as blood was resolved, but she doesn’t know why.
It’s been three months since he died, and Eleanor still hasn’t managed to feel anything, not even when her father wrote to tell her that he was finalizing a marriage contract. She can’t even muster curiosity for who he’s found. She was not expecting that. She always imagined excitement, or a sense of relief, but she has felt nothing. Still, she imagines it will be an obligation to try to get along with whoever it is, but she’s not sure she can muster any sort of enthusiasm before she knows why her brother died.