Jackie sighs deeply and closes her eyes. She takes off her glasses and rubs the bridge of her nose. "And how exactly do you propose you build it without collapsing upon all of you and crushing you. Again, health and safety in the workplace is paramount," she gives the newly appointed officer a look, indicating that it must take note of this. "What exactly is your reason for this protest? What are you hoping to accomplish? There are no police for you to deflect with these barricades so you are only being a danger to yourselves."
She folds her arms and gives the brooms a withering glare. "Unless you are all just doing this because you read it in a book and thought it might be cool. In which case this is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. You should not attempt to imitate everything you see in media. That is stupid. Media is unrealistic anyway."
Celestial - The newly-appointed health and safety officer does indeed take notes. In that they indicate to the librarian to give them a writing pad and writing utensil. The librarian hurries quickly with these, and the safety broom begins to scribble.
The revolutionary brooms take turns glancing at each other at this. A few of them put their arms behind their handle and kind of press at the ground with their feet awkwardly. A few others look at each other and start stomping stubbornly. The worn broom turns to these and the stare implores the misbehaving brooms to stop.
The worn broom looks back to Jackie, uncertain of how to respond for some time. They hesitate. Then they reluctantly point to the stomping brooms, then the book, then the barricade. They seem almost embarrassed.
Then they grow more steadfast. They point to themselves, then the barricade, then splay their arms up and out. They pause. Then they grab a book and put it at an angle to the barricade, then look back to Jackie.
The safety broom scribbles and shows their pad to Jackie. It turns out that brooms don't actually know how to write, as all their attempts at it are scribbles. But it turns out they can still manage a decent drawing. They drew a rough image of the barricade, with crude lines drawn from the barricade to the floor... Supports? The safety broom points to the drawing, then the worn broom. The worn broom nods at the drawing, then looks at Jackie imploringly.
Of course brooms could not write. Why did she expect others? Perhaps because they were clearly showing other signs of intelligence and a basic understanding of architecture- okay, a very basic understanding. Jackie groans and cups her forehead. Why was her first impulse always to fix everything?
Removing her hand, she makes an effort to study the barricade and the support beams that have been proposed. Despite the alarming lack of literacy on the part of the brooms and her own lack of architectural experience, it does not look too terrible. At least it means that the barricade will not collapse and trap anybody.
"I suppose that will do. Just make sure you take it down when you are finished with it please. It is causing an obstruction," Jackie gives all the brooms a stern glare. "And do not damage any of the books. Or else," she looks suddenly to the librarian broom. "You'll make sure they suffer any consequences, right?"
She turns her gaze towards the health and safety broom. "You are in charge of making sure nobody dies or has an accident. If an accident does occur, file a report."
Looking back at the protesting brooms, she gives them another sweep with her eyes. "All of you can continue as long as you do this in a safe and orderly fashion. Ideally I would prefer you to not protest but some things cannot be helped. Just do not disturb my work. I have a lot to do. Are we in agreement?"
GLQThorn The raptor-pire excitedly brings their wrapped truffle near the fishy lollipop. "A candy meal of fish and truffle! Clearly these brooms have very good taste for keeping a household. I wonder if we could hire some of them."
They return to the artistic broom standing proudly near the art installation. "Mon ami, your chef d'oeuvre, it captures the transient beauty of the mundane! It is good to see something so refined. The youth today, they are rebellious, they do not even stop to use the dishes." They shake their head sadly. "And even an artist as great as you would meet people who want to take advantage of your talent for no payment. How could anything I offer be valuable enough?"
They withdraw an ancient bracelet of very finely woven gold. "This belonged to my poor eight-thousand-year-old flatmate. I am sure he would have been so pleased to see your art in the dining-room." The vampire also pulls out a shiny new smartphone and flicks through a few pictures. "Then there is very old furniture, and look, I have wood polish you can use - do you like the shine it gives, perhaps? It would like very fine on your handle."
((Heads up; I'll be wrapping up this house soon, as the thread will be closed tomorrow, probably by late tomorrow in my time zone. Start aiming towards your closures! There'll be one post from me to close this house when the time comes.))
Celestial - The librarian broom and safety broom both nod in turn to the directions set to them by Jackie, eager to fulfill their roles, old and new.
The rebel brooms, meanwhile, stare at each other, and the worn broom takes some time to look at what the safety broom had drawn up. Eventually, they each nod in response, agreeing to the terms set before them. The worn broom begins to go back to their own and sets the rebels to work creating the supports needed to keep the barricades safe.
All the brooms leave Jackie alone for some time as they do this. But eventually, some time later, the safety, librarian, and worn broom all converge on Jackie. They have each brought wrapped gifts. Respectively, you receive a bag of fruit-flavored taffy, a packet of flavored candycanes, and a sampler bag of chocolate-coated fruits and a small bag of ginger candy.
...Huh, you received two gifts from the worn broom. Upon a questioning look, the worn broom questions to one of the particularly active rebel brooms and shrugs.
-- Liou - The artistic brooms seems very happy for the compliments and comments on their piece, and they stand straight and tall while they receive you. They nod at the sentiment of others trying to take advantage of their art for little payment. They look carefully at your offered prices. They go stiff at the sight of the ancient bracelet, almost quivering from excitement. It then lapses into uncertainty as they look back at their piece. They look at the phone and hear the offer of wood polish, to which they nod and briefly tap the top of their handle, which has indeed seen better days.
They think for some time, looking between the pieces and the offers. Then, eventually, and perhaps intimidated by the ancient bracelet, they point to the wood polish, and gesture to themselves and the furniture around the room. They nod, waiting for agreement or further haggling.
After satisfying herself that the brooms were doing a decent job, Jackie went back to her laptop, concentrating on her work. The regular noise of the work, while at first distracting, soon became soothing. The work came easily and before she knew it, she had gotten a good solid meeting minute done. It still needed editing, of course, but she was pleased with it.
Several shadows around her catch her attention. Jackie looks up, only to see the brooms around her. "Can I help you?" she asks, quirking an eyebrow, sounding mildly irritated.
The irritation fades as soon as she sees the candy. "Oh, thank you," Jackie exclaims, smiling. "This will come in handy."
She unwraps the candycanes first and takes one out, putting it in her mouth. This was a worthwhile visit. She got plenty of candy and work done. Perhaps she could even edit those minutes. Assuming the brooms sorted themselves out, perhaps she could come back here if she ever needed to catch up.
During all the escapades within the house, the apprentice remained seated on the stairs of the porch, resting their chin in their hand as they alternated between staring at nothing and turning to see whatever new commotion was created. Judging from the sounds inside, the residents who chose to visit seemed alright, and were unharmed. But for the magician, the situation still overwhelmed them. To the point where their fears had gotten the best of them.
The night had grown long, and the sun began to rise over the horizon. Threatened by the imminent deadline, the magician puts their face in their hands.
“Here it is,” they mumble. “Here's my Master returning, and I'll have to explain this, and she'll have to see what a terrible job I did at fixing it, and then she'll fix it herself, but then so much will be broken, and she'll punish me, make me do dirty work, and then kick me out for being so useless at all of this.”
They bring their knees up to their chest to hug their arms around them and press their face into their legs. They let out a broken: “And I can't do anything about it...”
There is silence for some time. Then:
“What is it you can't do anything about?”
The magician looks up and immediately scrambles back. “M-master!”
The master, a sorcerer decked in full robes, with hair hanging to her shoulders, leans on her staff as she surveys the area. “This... What are you doing out here? And what's this waterfall from the house?”
“Master, I'm sorry! I-I didn't do any of the trick or treat events you wanted me to do! N-not for lack of trying! I was trying to clean up the place, but there was so much, so I saw a broom and remembered the sentience spell you gave me and--”
“Brought a broom to life?” The sorcerer finishes, raising an eyebrow.
“You created more.”
“They took over,” the sorcerer began to smile.
“And now they've--”
“Filled the castle, made their own homes, and made a terrible mess of the place.” The sorcerer laughs.
The apprentice blinks. “Wha- why are you laughing, what's so funny about this?!”
The sorcerer shakes her head, giving a warm smile. “I don't think there's a single magician I've met who hasn't done this at least once in their career.”
“Wha... Created a rebellion of brooms who take over the entire place?”
“What about you?”
“My first year. And then my third.” The sorcerer's smile grows rueful. “And once when I created this place.”
“...But... but the place is still a mess, they... they... I don't know how to get rid of them... I, I really tried, I did, I know there's still so much to clean up after...”
“Listen, apprentice. It can be very hard to get rid of brooms. I certainly don't expect an apprentice starting their second year to know how to handle or remove them. Don't worry, I built this place to withstand these accidents. Although...” The sorcerer looks up. “That's quite a waterfall; it wasn't just brooms, was it?”
“N-no. Mops and buckets too...”
“Ah, well, getting rid of that is actually a spell I think you're ready for, if you feel up to it.”
“I-I... maybe... But the rooms of brooms...”
“We can let them be for now. I'd rather get that water out of there quickly; that's not good for any of us.”
“But... I-I tried to chop at them, and then they--”
“Got small enough to fit into the walls.” The sorcerer shakes their head. “That's the thing. You start with big enough potential; all you do by chopping it is dividing it up. But they don't usually do much damage. We can leave them for now. Eventually, we'll want to be rid of or relocate these brooms somewhere where it's more appropriate. But we've both had long nights. Let's just settle the emergencies, shall we?”
The apprentice nods and shakily stands to their feet. “A... Alright. ...Um. Some trick-or-treaters went in anyway...”
“If I see them, I'll tell them they can rest in the guest bedrooms for the night, if they need it. We've got the space.”
“A-alright.” The apprentice nods again as they begin to walk inside, finding new confidence now that they're entering with their master. “So... you're not mad?”
The sorcerer laughs. “Now you have a story to tell, and you've joined the ranks of possibly almost every mage in the world who has ever tried to deal with sentient brooms. Take heart. This is not a career ender.”
The apprentice sighs in relief, and they open the door for their Master. In spite of the long clean-up ahead of them, for the first time since that evening, the apprentice was beginning to feel alright.
”But after we're done, you're doing all your chores by hand for a week.”