i. Tim the kitchen boy had long since discovered that a fastener on one of the scullery windows was broken. He had also discovered that particular window was a popular night time exit for the pupils of St Sophia's.
Sometimes, when he was not too tired, he spent his evenings in the vicinity of it. This night his breath turned to smoke on his lips, and he seriously considered heading back inside to the warmth of his bed, when a sneaker-outer emerged from the shadows, walking on the wet grass next to the garden path. It was a blonde about his own age. She was rather pretty, too.
Tim stood himself squarely in front of the window, folded his arms and smiled his best smile. "A kiss to pass," he said, as he always did.
The girl looked shocked – they always did at first – but then she did not behave as he expected. She did not blush, nor run away, nor approach him shyly; her eyes flashed and she sneered and for his cheek he got a fist in the mouth.
ii. Ms Spencer taught contemporary studies at St Sophia's. She had given a class the assignment to write an essay about a person of power, and she had called Lyra into her office in the hope of persuading her to write about someone specific: Mrs Marisa Coulter (the woman had always interested Ms Spencer: her intelligence, her relation to the Magisterium, her mysterious disappearance.)
Lyra Silvertongue was wise beyond her years and Ms Spencer hoped that she could understand the momentous achievements of Mrs Coulter.
Ms Spencer lent Lyra a copy of Mrs Coulter's most well-known piece of writing – that on clockwork. Lyra looked at it, thoughtfully, and tucked it in her bag.
Precisely a week later, Lyra handed in five pages on some old Gyptian.
iii. Mr Smith was in charge of the school's personalised tests. He had given Lyra a quite ludicrous prompt; if he so waited a month she wouldn't be able to read it. She had worked for hours, calmly consulting the books, as if that would help. Mr Smith sniggered to himself. A little girl with an alethiometer scholarship? It was laughable.
At that precise moment, the girl rose from her seat, gathered her papers and dumped them on his desk. "Here you go," she said. "You'll find it's perfect."
And it was.
iv. Mr Hareton sipped his drink and stared at the girl who had come with Makepeace. The child reminded him of someone, but who? Ah, it didn't matter; all that mattered was that she was young and naïve.
As Makepeace moved out of hearing range, he approached the girl and murmured to her, in a way he thought was quite soft and kind, "Why don't you tell me what Makepeace is up to?"
She looked him up and down, and not discreetly either. "Why don't you buy a better toupee?"
v. Elisabeth was the unofficial leader of a very selective group within St Sophia's – the wellborn, the titled. She lounged on a bench (dignifiedly), her chosen peers gathered around her.
Now she had her eye on the newest member of the student body. The girl in question hurried toward them on the gravel path, her pine marten daemon skipping ahead. That posture, that air, those cheekbones… Yes, she certainly was one of them.
The girl glanced over at them, however briefly, her expression perfectly blank. Elisabeth knew that she wished she could sit there with them, but that her upbringing kept her from asking permission, as it should be. Well, her wish would be granted.
Elisabeth called out when the girl was just a few steps past them. "Oh, Lyra?"
The girl froze, turned slowly around. "Can I help you?"
Elisabeth gave her comrades a sharp glare, and they made some room on the bench. "Won't you join us?"
"I though your friends were a select few only."
"I think you qualify," said Elisabeth sweetly.
"Why?" asked Lyra, a commanding tone in her voice that made Elisabeth's heart sing with glee.
"Shows," Elisabeth answered. Then she added, louder, so that all the lowlier girls who happened to walk past would hear, "Good breeding."
Lyra laughed, abruptly. She looked Elisabeth in the eye, and cried, "I'm a bastard!" Then she turned on her heel, and continued up the path.