Sorcery Standard, page A17, 15 October 2014

President Reyes entertained dignitaries from the Canadian Wizarding Ministry this weekend, as part of a new program fostering trade relations and magical research initiatives with our neighbors to the north. The visitors were treated to a formal banquet, followed by a musical performance by classical harpist Tisha Myreen. The Presidential Palace’s receiving hall was decorated fit for the occasion. The aisles were lined with trees which transformed from blossoms to full greenery to a dazzling array of fiery hues as they Canadian emissaries moved past them. In opening remarks, President Reyes thanked designer Harper Brown, known for architectural innovations such as the new kaleidoscopic wing of St. Dympha’s Hospital, for the display.

Sorcery Standard, page A17, 15 October 2014

President Reyes entertained dignitaries from the Canadian Wizarding Ministry this weekend, as part of a new program fostering trade relations and magical research initiatives with our neighbors to the north. The visitors were treated to a formal banquet, followed by a musical performance by classical harpist Tisha Myreen. The Presidential Palace’s receiving hall was decorated fit for the occasion. The aisles were lined with trees which transformed from blossoms to full greenery to a dazzling array of fiery hues as they Canadian emissaries moved past them. In opening remarks, President Reyes thanked designer Harper Brown, known for architectural innovations such as the new kaleidoscopic wing of St. Dympha’s Hospital, for the display.

From a letter by Jasper Garrett, explorer in the Algonquin territories, to his brother Arthur, a citizen of Godric’s Hollow, 20 October 1625

…I can have no doubte that by now, thou hast heard a great deal of the riches of this territorie. I know not what it may yeeld in termes of golde nor silver, but what it hath in abundance are comestibles. Here they can grow many varieties of what is termed ‘squash’, which I am to understand the Muggle scientists have called cucurbitae.
Amoongst these there is one, a greate orange thing which groweth upon the vine, that the French terme pompon, from the Greek pepon, meaning “melon”. Indeed it is very like a melon, though nothing like so dense, with a harde outer parte and a soft innard, filled with many seedes.
Enclosed with this I have included, for thy benefit and studie, a penneth of seedes. I can see they have greate potentiall both for potioneering and in the culinary artes, but, alas, have not the skille to determine the plant his myriad uses my owne selfe. Worde has it that the native peoples farther south oft do include them as parte of their buriall rytes and in other like spells and charms when communicating with spiritts. (Its innards do also make a moste excellent pie.)
Pray, brother, see what use they may have to us of a magicall nature. If these prove valuable, I shall finde a nice patch of land and make bona fortuna with them.

[X: solstock on Deviant Art]

From a letter by Jasper Garrett, explorer in the Algonquin territories, to his brother Arthur, a citizen of Godric’s Hollow, 20 October 1625

…I can have no doubte that by now, thou hast heard a great deal of the riches of this territorie. I know not what it may yeeld in termes of golde nor silver, but what it hath in abundance are comestibles. Here they can grow many varieties of what is termed ‘squash’, which I am to understand the Muggle scientists have called cucurbitae.

Amoongst these there is one, a greate orange thing which groweth upon the vine, that the French terme pompon, from the Greek pepon, meaning “melon”. Indeed it is very like a melon, though nothing like so dense, with a harde outer parte and a soft innard, filled with many seedes.

Enclosed with this I have included, for thy benefit and studie, a penneth of seedes. I can see they have greate potentiall both for potioneering and in the culinary artes, but, alas, have not the skille to determine the plant his myriad uses my owne selfe. Worde has it that the native peoples farther south oft do include them as parte of their buriall rytes and in other like spells and charms when communicating with spiritts. (Its innards do also make a moste excellent pie.)

Pray, brother, see what use they may have to us of a magicall nature. If these prove valuable, I shall finde a nice patch of land and make bona fortuna with them.

[X: solstock on Deviant Art]

The Legend of Lady Skipwith

The Muggles tell a story of Lady Anne Skipwith. They say that, during the Revolutionary War, she and her husband often stayed with their relations at the Wythe House in Williamsburg, Virginia. One night, at a ball at the Governor’s Mansion, she argued with her husband over his philandering — reprobate behavior which included an affair with her own sister. Broken-hearted, Lady Anne ran all the way home, losing a shoe along the way, and hanged herself in a room in the Wythe House. Another version claims that she tripped running up the stairs in the house, fell, and broke her neck. The historical record, meanwhile, shows that Lady Skipwith died in childbirth and that her husband did, in fact, go on to marry her sister — repugnant to some sensibilities, perhaps, but not uncommon in an age when the transmission of property of property was of paramount importance.

None of these stories is correct.

Lady Skipwith, a witch of the Bolling line, was known to argue with her Muggle husband over the family’s involvement in the Revolutionary War. The Skipwiths were not much political, preferring to stay out of direct involvement with either the Loyalists or the Rebels, but Lady Anne felt they should do more to assist the cause of independence. To the chagrin of both her husband and her sister, she developed a penchant for using her magical abilities to assist both the Muggle and wizarding endeavours. She was often involved with excursions and operations late at night, while others were distracted by the social obligations of their class. More than once, she was known to leave a ball at a moment’s notice, should word come in from her associates.

During one such endeavour, a battle ensued, and Lady Anne was hit with a wasting curse which killed her within hours. As she had been with child at the time, the family gave out that she had died in childbirth, to conceal both her magical nature and her war efforts. Her husband thereafter married her similarly-magical but much more malleable sister, Jean.

Her ghost does remain in Williamsburg to this day, eternally resistant to attempts by the DSO to limit her appearances to Muggles. They speak of hearing her uneven foosteps, one heeled, one bare, running down the street or up the stairs. Others see her at a mirror, attending to her toilette, or smell her perfume as they move through the house. A rumor at the college even states that her spirit can be summoned by holding a red high-heeled shoe, knocking upon the door of the Wythe house, and calling out, “Lady Skipwith, Lady Skipwith, we have your red shoe!” (though some assert that this only works on a full moon, or in the month of October).

Her unearthly presence is so popular that the Wythe house is a prime feature of Colonial Williamsburg’s annual ghost tours — a lucrative local business. For this reason, the DSO has tacitly allowed her to continue in her visitations, finding that nothing so aptly deflects Muggles from the truth as making a tourist attraction out of it.

Western Muggles have long treated black cats as objects of fear and disdain, believing they presage bad luck or ill omens. Black cats have a traditional association with witchcraft, though Muggles often misinterpreted the connection. European Muggles in the medieval and early modern periods believed that black cats could adopt human shape (a likely misunderstanding for Animagi) or carry messages for their masters (not impossible given particularly clever animals or those crossbred with Kneazles). More recently, black cats have been considered to bring ill fortune to gamblers. They remain perennial favorite pets in the wizarding community, however, known for loyalty and intelligence.
America’s most famous black cat is doubtless Obscurity, a domestic shorthair adopted by President David Gwyther in the 1970s. When Gwyther’s policies attracted the ire of the Acerbi crime family, Obscurity’s interventions saved the President’s life during no fewer than three assassination attempts. On the first occasion, Obscurity knocked over a bottle of the President’s favorite whiskey; when the liquid began to eat through the carpet, it became apparent that it had been poisoned. On the second attempt, Obscurity tripped an attempted assassin, causing his curse to go awry, alerting security to his presence. The third time, an allergic reaction to Obscurity’s fur made the replacement assassin sneeze, giving away her hiding place in the President’s cloak closet. President Gwyther survived his term in office and retired to Paradiso, Florida, where Obscurity lived to the admirable age of 34.
Obscurity’s progeny — all midnight of hue — are permitted to stalk the halls of the Congress of Wizardry at will. Representatives consider it good luck to be “adopted” by one of the fleet-footed felines — though some do also wonder if the favor of having a cat of the Obscurity line move into their office heralds an imminent threat to their person as well.
[X]

Western Muggles have long treated black cats as objects of fear and disdain, believing they presage bad luck or ill omens. Black cats have a traditional association with witchcraft, though Muggles often misinterpreted the connection. European Muggles in the medieval and early modern periods believed that black cats could adopt human shape (a likely misunderstanding for Animagi) or carry messages for their masters (not impossible given particularly clever animals or those crossbred with Kneazles). More recently, black cats have been considered to bring ill fortune to gamblers. They remain perennial favorite pets in the wizarding community, however, known for loyalty and intelligence.

America’s most famous black cat is doubtless Obscurity, a domestic shorthair adopted by President David Gwyther in the 1970s. When Gwyther’s policies attracted the ire of the Acerbi crime family, Obscurity’s interventions saved the President’s life during no fewer than three assassination attempts. On the first occasion, Obscurity knocked over a bottle of the President’s favorite whiskey; when the liquid began to eat through the carpet, it became apparent that it had been poisoned. On the second attempt, Obscurity tripped an attempted assassin, causing his curse to go awry, alerting security to his presence. The third time, an allergic reaction to Obscurity’s fur made the replacement assassin sneeze, giving away her hiding place in the President’s cloak closet. President Gwyther survived his term in office and retired to Paradiso, Florida, where Obscurity lived to the admirable age of 34.

Obscurity’s progeny — all midnight of hue — are permitted to stalk the halls of the Congress of Wizardry at will. Representatives consider it good luck to be “adopted” by one of the fleet-footed felines — though some do also wonder if the favor of having a cat of the Obscurity line move into their office heralds an imminent threat to their person as well.

[X]

Some who die become ghosts.
Wizards know this, and have known this, for many centuries. Though our research has not yet illuminated all of the magical and metaphysical reasons for it, the common wisdom is that ghosts are the remnants of souls who could not, or would not, pass from one world to the next. They speak and move and remember, and in many ways act just as they did while living.
Others leave bits of themselves behind in paintings, holding the thoughts and personality of a witch or wizard, though not the full essence of a soul. They are, in some ways, a conjecture — a supposition that if this personage were yet here and breathing, he would respond this way, or she would have this to say. Wizardkind has used this method throughout the ages to pass down instructions and institutional memory — but such portraits play a personal role, too, allowing ancestors to keep an eye on their progeny (sometimes a source of comfort, sometimes, of chagrin).
Most deaths, however, are felt by an absence. 
The movement of a soul from one world to the next opens a passage, a devourer of energy, a hollow space of words unsaid, deeds undone, lives untouched. This, too, is magic, though a darker, older kind than most of us are now comfortable brushing up against. Our researchers believe they have found the cause, though that is not the same as knowing the origin or the reason. The fiber of this magic is the same stuff that Dementors are made of, and has the same power — to drain happiness, to cloud the senses, to make even the strong lose themselves.
But there is a counter-curse. Like a Patronus, it is born of memories, but the way to combat death’s dark magic is a communal effort, not something that can be accomplished in isolation. Gather those who loved the deceased together and let them tell tales of joy and laughter, of inspiration and encouragement — and of sorrow, too, for that is as much a part of love as joy. A truly great soul need not leave behind a fragment of himself nor a portrait of her image to keep passing magic on to others. The energy can leap, from heart to heart, generating a counter for the living against the eternal and inevitable sorcery of death.

[In memory of Gregory “Bear” O’Bryan, who taught all three of your mods (more than they could possibly express), who encouraged us to work out our feelings and troubles through writing, and who was good enough never to mock genre fiction and derivative works, even though he taught highbrow classic literature. Thanks for everything, Bear. Your magic will certainly live on in the hundreds of students whose lives you changed.]

Some who die become ghosts.

Wizards know this, and have known this, for many centuries. Though our research has not yet illuminated all of the magical and metaphysical reasons for it, the common wisdom is that ghosts are the remnants of souls who could not, or would not, pass from one world to the next. They speak and move and remember, and in many ways act just as they did while living.

Others leave bits of themselves behind in paintings, holding the thoughts and personality of a witch or wizard, though not the full essence of a soul. They are, in some ways, a conjecture — a supposition that if this personage were yet here and breathing, he would respond this way, or she would have this to say. Wizardkind has used this method throughout the ages to pass down instructions and institutional memory — but such portraits play a personal role, too, allowing ancestors to keep an eye on their progeny (sometimes a source of comfort, sometimes, of chagrin).

Most deaths, however, are felt by an absence.

The movement of a soul from one world to the next opens a passage, a devourer of energy, a hollow space of words unsaid, deeds undone, lives untouched. This, too, is magic, though a darker, older kind than most of us are now comfortable brushing up against. Our researchers believe they have found the cause, though that is not the same as knowing the origin or the reason. The fiber of this magic is the same stuff that Dementors are made of, and has the same power — to drain happiness, to cloud the senses, to make even the strong lose themselves.

But there is a counter-curse. Like a Patronus, it is born of memories, but the way to combat death’s dark magic is a communal effort, not something that can be accomplished in isolation. Gather those who loved the deceased together and let them tell tales of joy and laughter, of inspiration and encouragement — and of sorrow, too, for that is as much a part of love as joy. A truly great soul need not leave behind a fragment of himself nor a portrait of her image to keep passing magic on to others. The energy can leap, from heart to heart, generating a counter for the living against the eternal and inevitable sorcery of death.

[In memory of Gregory “Bear” O’Bryan, who taught all three of your mods (more than they could possibly express), who encouraged us to work out our feelings and troubles through writing, and who was good enough never to mock genre fiction and derivative works, even though he taught highbrow classic literature. Thanks for everything, Bear. Your magic will certainly live on in the hundreds of students whose lives you changed.]

The Manor had settled somewhere in the swamps today, floating serenely over the brackish water on a cloud of ghostly fog, the tendrils of which were just visible under the windowsill Bettina sat beside. It had taken her a few days to get used to the Manor’s habit of teleporting from place to place, heralded only by the tolling of the invisible church bells. The building rarely made a jump during the day, but every night at sundown the dolorous bells would ring out their song, calling students simultaneously to dinner and to the safety of the Manor’s walls. Those who didn’t come would be left behind, to found by faculty after dinner. Missing the meal was their punishment for ignoring the bells.

Bettina had found this a little troubling at first. At her Muggle school, no one would have even thought about abandoning a student in the middle of a swamp, but then Bart had explained how the tiny drops of blood taken at the start of the year had been used in magic that would protect them from the mundane dangers of the bayou, and anything worse would immediately summon the Headmistress herself. As a result, no one had ever been seriously hurt as a result of being left behind. 

She still wasn’t willing to take the risk, of course, and made sure she was well indoors by the time the bells began to toll. Not that she’d had much time to leave the Manor: first years had been forced to hit the ground running, taking on a full course load of magical and mundane subjects, and as a result she’d spent most of her evenings on the back porch with Bart and another Muggleborn girl named Racquel from Memphis.

But today was Wednesday and that meant-

“Who can give me…an example of black magic?” a gravely voice said, suddenly breaking into her reverie and instantly quieting the low murmur that had been running through the room. A man had appeared in front of the class, standing suddenly behind the heavy oaken desk where no one had stood before. 

He was a looming figure, with a cavernous face, dusky skin, and smooth, black hair worn in a set of braids down his back, but nothing about him automatically screamed “wizard.” Most of her instructors had at least dressed in some sort of eye catching way. Professor Falconeri in Potions had dressed in robes that were one half mystical accoutrement and one half mad-scientist, her pristine hair mussed only by the black-lensed goggles she wore strapped to her head. Professor  Santos was a flamboyant man who had entered the rooms an explosion of lavender petals and self-generated applause, his dark-purple suit sparking in the mage lights he conjured from thin air. But this man simply wore a pair of faded blue jeans and a shirt as wrinkled as his aged face. The only concession to sorcery was the wand kept in a worn leather sheath hanging low on his hip. His fingers were working diligently and it took Bettina a moment to realize he was rolling a cigarette.

“Well?” he asked again, coming around the desk and leaning against it. His fingers finished their work and he brought the neat, white roll-up to his lips, leaving it unlit as he looked out over the room.

A boy across the room raised his hand, and Bettina flipped through her memory to recall him name. Jackson, she thought, from Alabama. At a nod from the professor the boy stood up, taking a rigid posture with his eyes straight forward, “Necromancy sir. Or the killing curse.”

“Necromancy…” the man removed his cigarette from his lips and stood up, his rough voice suddenly quiet in consideration, “Necromancy.”

Jackson’s rigid posture slipped slightly as his eyes flickered to the old man, but the professor seemed to have forgotten him. With a few short steps he had rounded the desk and opened a drawer, pulling things out of the depths and laying them on the desk while muttering to himself. The whole class sat up straighter in their seats, straining to see as a deformed skull, a sheathed knife, and a twitching sack were dropped on the otherwise clear surface. Then the old wizard stood up straight with a soft sound of pleasure, tucking his cigarette behind his ear and holding a white box with a glass top. He came back around the desk, a little smirk quirking his lips, “Mr…LaFoux was it?” The boy nodded, looking nervous, “Alright Mr. LaFoux. I give you…Necromancy!” 

He opened the box with a little flourish and from its depths was a sudden flurry of movement. The tenseness of the room broke in suddenly laughter as a swarm of butterflies rose out of the  box and took wing, circling slowly and then settling on Jackson LaFoux, who had gone absolutely still in shock. In less than a minute he was festooned with little burst of fluttering color, which fanned their wings gently. 

“The truth is, class,” The old mage said, and gave a tiny little whistle, “There is no such thing as black magic. Indeed,” He said as the butterflies lifted off the now blushing boy, “There is only ever magic, and magic some people have deemed…unseemly.” 

The mage set the box down, “I am to understand that in Europe they have a long history of magic they consider forbidden. You mentioned the killing curse…ah damnation, sit down boy,” he waited for Jackson to take his seat before continuing, “Well that’s illegal over there. You cast it at a fly or a fox or a neighbor and its all the same to them. Just the knowledge of the magic is punishable, in some places.” 

He drew his wand and brandished some ominous green sparks, “But magic is itself never evil. Magic is a tool. I got those butterflies from an old friend of mine in California. She spent years traveling around America, taking samples, raising their fragile little bodies with her powers and preserving them for her collection. It’s necromancy, yes, but it doesn’t hurt anyone. It is, I think, quite beautiful.” he rested a hand on the box and was silent for a moment. 

“When Europeans came to this land they were quick to call my people’s magic black. We performed our rituals and spells without wands, in ways they didn’t understand. Many tried to stamp it out completely…but thats for your history class. Which is after lunch, I believe.” 

The professor leaned on the desk again, using his free hand to pull the cigarette from his ear to his lips and lit it with a single indrawn breath. The smoke coiling to the ceiling filled the whole room  with a surprisingly sweet, musky scent. He exhaled a rolling cloud of blue smoke that splashed against some sort of invisible screen before reaching the front desk and and vanished, “Let me be perfectly honest with you. There is no evil magic, but there are certainly evil people. People who are so twisted up inside that they kill as easy as they breathe,” his hand rested almost thoughtlessly on the glass front of the case, “And some people raise more than butterflies. We’re going to teach you how to defend yourself from those people,” he gave them a cold little smile that didn’t reach his ancient, black eyes, “Some of you who excel in this course might even pick up some of their tricks. Most of you will join Professor Watanabe next year, in the basic course, however, and only a few will stay with me for the advanced course. How much you apply yourself, of course, is up to you. It is certainly not my…skin…at risk.”  
Bettina shivered in her seat. There was something deeply chilling in the way he said, ‘skin’ that made her want to slip down a little lower beneath her desk.
Professor Ten-Poles turned and stamped out the cigarette on the twisted skull, using a small indent in the brow like an ashtray.He flicked his wand carelessly and stacks of books fell out of the air in front of them, making them jump, “So lets begin. Page 2 please. Basic dueling. Mr. LaFoux can start us off in the reading.” 

(Source: http://tabletopwhale.com/index.html)

The Manor had settled somewhere in the swamps today, floating serenely over the brackish water on a cloud of ghostly fog, the tendrils of which were just visible under the windowsill Bettina sat beside. It had taken her a few days to get used to the Manor’s habit of teleporting from place to place, heralded only by the tolling of the invisible church bells. The building rarely made a jump during the day, but every night at sundown the dolorous bells would ring out their song, calling students simultaneously to dinner and to the safety of the Manor’s walls. Those who didn’t come would be left behind, to found by faculty after dinner. Missing the meal was their punishment for ignoring the bells.

Bettina had found this a little troubling at first. At her Muggle school, no one would have even thought about abandoning a student in the middle of a swamp, but then Bart had explained how the tiny drops of blood taken at the start of the year had been used in magic that would protect them from the mundane dangers of the bayou, and anything worse would immediately summon the Headmistress herself. As a result, no one had ever been seriously hurt as a result of being left behind.

She still wasn’t willing to take the risk, of course, and made sure she was well indoors by the time the bells began to toll. Not that she’d had much time to leave the Manor: first years had been forced to hit the ground running, taking on a full course load of magical and mundane subjects, and as a result she’d spent most of her evenings on the back porch with Bart and another Muggleborn girl named Racquel from Memphis.

But today was Wednesday and that meant-

“Who can give me…an example of black magic?” a gravely voice said, suddenly breaking into her reverie and instantly quieting the low murmur that had been running through the room. A man had appeared in front of the class, standing suddenly behind the heavy oaken desk where no one had stood before.

He was a looming figure, with a cavernous face, dusky skin, and smooth, black hair worn in a set of braids down his back, but nothing about him automatically screamed “wizard.” Most of her instructors had at least dressed in some sort of eye catching way. Professor Falconeri in Potions had dressed in robes that were one half mystical accoutrement and one half mad-scientist, her pristine hair mussed only by the black-lensed goggles she wore strapped to her head. Professor  Santos was a flamboyant man who had entered the rooms an explosion of lavender petals and self-generated applause, his dark-purple suit sparking in the mage lights he conjured from thin air. But this man simply wore a pair of faded blue jeans and a shirt as wrinkled as his aged face. The only concession to sorcery was the wand kept in a worn leather sheath hanging low on his hip. His fingers were working diligently and it took Bettina a moment to realize he was rolling a cigarette.

“Well?” he asked again, coming around the desk and leaning against it. His fingers finished their work and he brought the neat, white roll-up to his lips, leaving it unlit as he looked out over the room.

A boy across the room raised his hand, and Bettina flipped through her memory to recall him name. Jackson, she thought, from Alabama. At a nod from the professor the boy stood up, taking a rigid posture with his eyes straight forward, “Necromancy sir. Or the killing curse.”

“Necromancy…” the man removed his cigarette from his lips and stood up, his rough voice suddenly quiet in consideration, “Necromancy.”

Jackson’s rigid posture slipped slightly as his eyes flickered to the old man, but the professor seemed to have forgotten him. With a few short steps he had rounded the desk and opened a drawer, pulling things out of the depths and laying them on the desk while muttering to himself. The whole class sat up straighter in their seats, straining to see as a deformed skull, a sheathed knife, and a twitching sack were dropped on the otherwise clear surface. Then the old wizard stood up straight with a soft sound of pleasure, tucking his cigarette behind his ear and holding a white box with a glass top. He came back around the desk, a little smirk quirking his lips, “Mr…LaFoux was it?” The boy nodded, looking nervous, “Alright Mr. LaFoux. I give you…Necromancy!”

He opened the box with a little flourish and from its depths was a sudden flurry of movement. The tenseness of the room broke in suddenly laughter as a swarm of butterflies rose out of the  box and took wing, circling slowly and then settling on Jackson LaFoux, who had gone absolutely still in shock. In less than a minute he was festooned with little burst of fluttering color, which fanned their wings gently.

“The truth is, class,” The old mage said, and gave a tiny little whistle, “There is no such thing as black magic. Indeed,” He said as the butterflies lifted off the now blushing boy, “There is only ever magic, and magic some people have deemed…unseemly.”

The mage set the box down, “I am to understand that in Europe they have a long history of magic they consider forbidden. You mentioned the killing curse…ah damnation, sit down boy,” he waited for Jackson to take his seat before continuing, “Well that’s illegal over there. You cast it at a fly or a fox or a neighbor and its all the same to them. Just the knowledge of the magic is punishable, in some places.”

He drew his wand and brandished some ominous green sparks, “But magic is itself never evil. Magic is a tool. I got those butterflies from an old friend of mine in California. She spent years traveling around America, taking samples, raising their fragile little bodies with her powers and preserving them for her collection. It’s necromancy, yes, but it doesn’t hurt anyone. It is, I think, quite beautiful.” he rested a hand on the box and was silent for a moment.

“When Europeans came to this land they were quick to call my people’s magic black. We performed our rituals and spells without wands, in ways they didn’t understand. Many tried to stamp it out completely…but thats for your history class. Which is after lunch, I believe.”

The professor leaned on the desk again, using his free hand to pull the cigarette from his ear to his lips and lit it with a single indrawn breath. The smoke coiling to the ceiling filled the whole room  with a surprisingly sweet, musky scent. He exhaled a rolling cloud of blue smoke that splashed against some sort of invisible screen before reaching the front desk and and vanished, “Let me be perfectly honest with you. There is no evil magic, but there are certainly evil people. People who are so twisted up inside that they kill as easy as they breathe,” his hand rested almost thoughtlessly on the glass front of the case, “And some people raise more than butterflies. We’re going to teach you how to defend yourself from those people,” he gave them a cold little smile that didn’t reach his ancient, black eyes, “Some of you who excel in this course might even pick up some of their tricks. Most of you will join Professor Watanabe next year, in the basic course, however, and only a few will stay with me for the advanced course. How much you apply yourself, of course, is up to you. It is certainly not my…skin…at risk.”  


Bettina shivered in her seat. There was something deeply chilling in the way he said, ‘skin’ that made her want to slip down a little lower beneath her desk.

Professor Ten-Poles turned and stamped out the cigarette on the twisted skull, using a small indent in the brow like an ashtray.He flicked his wand carelessly and stacks of books fell out of the air in front of them, making them jump, “So lets begin. Page 2 please. Basic dueling. Mr. LaFoux can start us off in the reading.”

(Source: http://tabletopwhale.com/index.html)

(Source: kqedscience)

The odds were against her from the very start. Her grandfather and her mother had gained the respect of the Sixth Borough through their wandmaking, and her father had gained a decent salary with the TRT. But after an incident involving an illegal smuggling ring and a newborn mishibishiw, he was taken from her. Dragon pox took her mother. Kayonde had to raise Abeni from the age of 8 years old. 
Abeni Godswright inherited a tiny wand shop from her grandfather Kayode. At the tender age of seventeen and fresh out of the Laveau Academy, Abeni suddenly was the sole owner of Godswrights Exemplary Wands. She had barely started as an apprentice when her grandfather passed. 
Abeni remembered watching Kayonde and Ife working over sturdy wooden tables, pieces of gowrow tusks and stray firebird feathers just a counter away. She remembered going out to Long Island with them, collecting wand wood from friendly dryads that had worked with the Godswrights since Kayonde had been an apprentice over a century ago. Abeni managed to continue their working relationship, but a few dryads were much different than a constantly changing group of possible customers.
Even though wandmaking ran through her mother’s side of the family, it wasn’t an art that came easily to anyone. She stayed up late. Measuring wood, matching them with various cores and using her own wand (holly, gowrow tusk, 9.5 inches, good for charms) to bond them together. Consulting the copy of Wandmaking Across the World by Ignatius Ollivander the Third (already heavily annotated by her mother and grandfather) until she’d fall asleep after turning a page. But after nearly six months of being closed, Abeni reopened the shop’s doors.
They haven’t closed since.

The odds were against her from the very start. Her grandfather and her mother had gained the respect of the Sixth Borough through their wandmaking, and her father had gained a decent salary with the TRT. But after an incident involving an illegal smuggling ring and a newborn mishibishiw, he was taken from her. Dragon pox took her mother. Kayonde had to raise Abeni from the age of 8 years old. 

Abeni Godswright inherited a tiny wand shop from her grandfather Kayode. At the tender age of seventeen and fresh out of the Laveau Academy, Abeni suddenly was the sole owner of Godswrights Exemplary Wands. She had barely started as an apprentice when her grandfather passed. 

Abeni remembered watching Kayonde and Ife working over sturdy wooden tables, pieces of gowrow tusks and stray firebird feathers just a counter away. She remembered going out to Long Island with them, collecting wand wood from friendly dryads that had worked with the Godswrights since Kayonde had been an apprentice over a century ago. Abeni managed to continue their working relationship, but a few dryads were much different than a constantly changing group of possible customers.

Even though wandmaking ran through her mother’s side of the family, it wasn’t an art that came easily to anyone. She stayed up late. Measuring wood, matching them with various cores and using her own wand (holly, gowrow tusk, 9.5 inches, good for charms) to bond them together. Consulting the copy of Wandmaking Across the World by Ignatius Ollivander the Third (already heavily annotated by her mother and grandfather) until she’d fall asleep after turning a page. But after nearly six months of being closed, Abeni reopened the shop’s doors.

They haven’t closed since.

“Dear Professor McGonagall,

Thank you so much for your well wishes. It has been quite a challenge, settling into my new position here at Salem, but you were quite right that it was just the change I needed after the last few years. The Salem Institute is far different in many ways, but just enough the same that I’ve been able to get my feet under me: the grounds are beautiful, my fellow professors have been exceedingly welcoming, and I’ve managed to establish myself well with my students. Its amazing how similar but different our students are: especially the muggleborns. They all still have that same sense of wonder, but the Americans seemed to have figured out that simply throwing Muggleborn students in head first and seeing if they sink or swim isn’t the best method of teaching. 

I know it remains a sensitive subject between us, but I do hope that now that you’re in charge of the school, you can implement some of the reforms we have discussed. I still don’t feel any of our previous Headmasters were entirely fair or practical in their management of the School, whatever motivations we may ascribe them. Hogwarts should never be treated like a bastion of power for whatever mage is strong enough to hold the reins. The education of young minds is not the lever by which one should build their own authority. I’m sure you, at least, can be counted to hold onto that sacred trust where so few can.   

As to your other question…While it  was always my dream to return to teach at Hogwarts…well after the war, I don’t know if I’ll ever really be ready to come back. You’re right, of course, that now is a time for rebuilding, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to walk through those doors again and not relive that dreadful night, especially not with some of the new spectres I’ve heard have taken up residence. I know I did everything I could have done, but I still don’t know if I can look into their eyes everyday knowing I made it out and they didn’t. I will always be a proud Gryffindor, but that might be more than even I can stand.  

I hope this finds you well otherwise, and please pass along my regards to the rest of the staff,
-Demelza, August 2001.  

PS: I’ve just come in from watching one of their quodpot games, and I have to admit that I’m beginning to see their preoccupation with the game. It is  certainly more team-oriented than Quidditch and the tactics are quite interesting. If you ever visit us here (Headmaster Lansky seems quite interested in having more international visitors, even for brief periods) I will have to take you to a game.”

(Today would be the birthday of the greatest transfiguration professor to ever lead a small army of desks against the forced of darkness, Minerva McGonagall. She would be 79.)

“Dear Professor McGonagall,

Thank you so much for your well wishes. It has been quite a challenge, settling into my new position here at Salem, but you were quite right that it was just the change I needed after the last few years. The Salem Institute is far different in many ways, but just enough the same that I’ve been able to get my feet under me: the grounds are beautiful, my fellow professors have been exceedingly welcoming, and I’ve managed to establish myself well with my students. Its amazing how similar but different our students are: especially the muggleborns. They all still have that same sense of wonder, but the Americans seemed to have figured out that simply throwing Muggleborn students in head first and seeing if they sink or swim isn’t the best method of teaching.

I know it remains a sensitive subject between us, but I do hope that now that you’re in charge of the school, you can implement some of the reforms we have discussed. I still don’t feel any of our previous Headmasters were entirely fair or practical in their management of the School, whatever motivations we may ascribe them. Hogwarts should never be treated like a bastion of power for whatever mage is strong enough to hold the reins. The education of young minds is not the lever by which one should build their own authority. I’m sure you, at least, can be counted to hold onto that sacred trust where so few can.   

As to your other question…While it  was always my dream to return to teach at Hogwarts…well after the war, I don’t know if I’ll ever really be ready to come back. You’re right, of course, that now is a time for rebuilding, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to walk through those doors again and not relive that dreadful night, especially not with some of the new spectres I’ve heard have taken up residence. I know I did everything I could have done, but I still don’t know if I can look into their eyes everyday knowing I made it out and they didn’t. I will always be a proud Gryffindor, but that might be more than even I can stand. 

I hope this finds you well otherwise, and please pass along my regards to the rest of the staff,

-Demelza, August 2001. 

PS: I’ve just come in from watching one of their quodpot games, and I have to admit that I’m beginning to see their preoccupation with the game. It is  certainly more team-oriented than Quidditch and the tactics are quite interesting. If you ever visit us here (Headmaster Lansky seems quite interested in having more international visitors, even for brief periods) I will have to take you to a game.”

(Today would be the birthday of the greatest transfiguration professor to ever lead a small army of desks against the forced of darkness, Minerva McGonagall. She would be 79.)

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24/52: Untitled

Model: Devin Graf

Agency: Bureau of Intranational Magical Peoples and Bureau of Conservation and Magical Resources

Case File: 1103※550

Subject: Gilligan “Gills” Menendez (13.2” Mangrove/Sea-Serpent Spine) 

Status: Private Contractor - Low Observation

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gilligan Menendez, known as Gills to friends and family, was born in Florida on 2/25/86 and attended the Laveau Academy between the years of 1997 and 2004. His professors during that time report that Mr. Menendez was a talented student, but didn’t show the initiative or academic drive take full advantage of his gifts. Despite this, he scored two O’s on his EWE exams (in Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology) and two P’s (in Charms and Potions).

The Menendez’s have lived in and around Paradiso since the time of the Spanish settlers arrived in the Americas. They have never had a good reputation amongst the magical community in the South East, having a history of piracy, smuggling, bootlegging, and outrageous behavior. They casually flaunted the restrictions on “foreign trade” when the town of Liberation was still considered a hostile base by the government of the AWC, not for any idealistic reasons but because such trade was immensely lucrative.

Mr. Menendez himself is the child of Robert Menendez and Antonia Tottenham, a half-blood witch. Mr. Mendez claims his mother was the granddaughter of one of the reclusive North-American Swamp-Nymphs: a secret race of humanoids that can be found (when they want to be) in the depths of the Florida Everglades and Mississippi fens and swamplands. This is supposedly the source of Gilligan’s natural talent with aquatic-magic and his frankly remarkable ability to breathe and navigate underwater without outside assistance.

The terms most commonly used to describe Mr. Menendez include “reckless,” “stubborn,” and “disrespectful of authority.” He has a number of official complaints posted on his record (see attached) including an accusation that he once extinguished his cigarette in the ephemeral corpus of a angry river-bound ghost the Board was attempting to exorcise, throwing the spirit into a rage that flooded their nearby campsite.

He remains, despite this, one of the best agents this office has failed to recruit full time. His list of accomplishments includes not only saving several colonies of Caribbean Merpeople from the impending doom of the Muggle-oil disaster, but the slaying of the dangerous swamp-hag, Annis Morebones (resulting in the rescue of six Muggle-school children), the rescue of countless Muggles and magical peoples alike in the wake of hurricane Katrina, and brokering an official treaty with the very swamp-nymphs from who he claims descent on behalf of the AWC.