Chapter 2 : Classes and Discoveries
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3rd of September, 1892
Words simply cannot accurately describe all that I have learned today or the biggest shock I have had in my entire life, barring perhaps the painful lesson concerning the inadvisability of swimming. Imagine my utmost surprise when I arrived for class to discover it was taught by a ghost! A ghost! The rumor I heard is that he felt it his duty to teach so much so that he has continued teaching even after he died!
The other part of my surprise is that Professor Binns is not the only ghost to inhabit this castle! There are four ghosts attached to each House. I have met the Gryffindor ghost who is Sir Nicholas and feel it quite the shame that others insist on calling him by a name he detests. Besides, Sir Nicholas sounds ever so much better than Nearly Headless Nick.
I have only heard of the others but am certain that I will soon meet them. The Hufflepuff ghost, the Fat Friar, sounds as if he was very odd during his life and apparently is having a grand time in his afterlife. The Ravenclaw ghost, the Grey Lady, has a tragic story that no one fully knows. From what I have heard, she spends her afterlife mourning those she left behind. What is more tragic is that when pressed, no one knows who the Grey Lady is or why she weeps. And the last ghost is from Slytherin House, the Bloody Baron. The thought of meeting this ghost sends chills over my own grave. No one is certain of his story and can only surmise wild conjectures. Sir Nicholas has politely declined to speak of the story out of respect for his fellow ghost.
I learned that Hogwarts also has a poltergeist named Peeves. The older students have warned us not to mess around with Peeves for no one alive is able to control him, only the Bloody Baron. The stories I have heard concerning the antics of Peeves are unnerving.
I also was amazed to discover that two of our professors are ladies! One professor teaches Charms, which appears to be a fascinating subject, and the other teaches Herbology which is not terribly interesting at the moment though I have been assured that it soon becomes interesting. I can only hope that I do not find myself on Professor Bricklesworth’s bad side as she appears to be very stern. On the other hand, Professor Farringdon appears quite evenly-tempered even though I know that she can stand up to the most stubborn of people quite easily from her visit this summer.
Professor Tregoran appears to be fairly stern though I can appreciate that fact given his subject of Transfiguration. His lecture promised dire consequence should a student fail to appreciate the seriousness of his class. Transfiguration promises to be a challenging class though it will be worth the effort to change one item into another or to even conjure what is needed.
Professor Gormackin is nearly beyond words. He is a curmudgeon. His lecture consisted of many intermittently shouted words that continued to startle the entire class and caused Elphias to fall out of his chair! And yet, he has a very important subject to teach – Defense Against the Dark Arts. He is the only professor to insist that we stand when answering a question he has asked.
Professor Finley’s lecture concerning Potions caught each student’s attention and kept them wanting to know more. I suppose I will get become accustomed to his surprise quizzes at some point. I will also hope that it is sooner rather than later. His class is held in a dungeon! I will admit that his dungeon does not seem to have the typical furnishings that you read about in the history books. For one, it is not gloomy or dark or dank. Another student asked that very question and his reply was, “It would be difficult to study and learn in such an atmosphere.” On the contrary, his dungeon is well lit and has bright tapestries hanging on the wall with interesting motifs that he has promised we will understand at a future time.
Professor Plotwerth teaches the Astronomy class and while I find it intriguing, there are many other subjects that interest me far more.
Throughout the day, Albus remained quiet and unassuming even though I imagine he is not normally so invisible. I feel able to presume this given a scene I witnessed just after dinner today in the Library between Albus and Castor Malfoy.
Elphias was fairly unobtrusive today also, likely because of the unfortunate side effect of Dragon Pox.
(Excerpt from Miss Julia Thorne’s Journal)
Julia studied her reflection in the mirror. The school dress uniform was dreary-looking with its grey wool fabric. The overdress jacket at least made up for what was lacking in decoration. Its primary color was rose with a wide cream panel in the front on each side decorated with tiny red buttons that seemed to sparkle. Her sleeve cuffs matched the cream panel with another tiny red sparkling button. A high collar, done in cream, was hidden slightly behind the rose ribbon that was tied in a pretty bow. Her hat sat carefully perched on her head with a matching rose ribbon wrapped around the crown. She had brushed her hair nearly one hundred times and tied it with a slender rose-colored ribbon.
She pinned a tiny silver pocket watch to her lapel. The pin was decorated with a small owl in flight and the clock face was etched with an owl sitting on a branch.
Her comfortably broken half-boots, which were only several weeks old, now looked new. She finished buttoning her boots then placed her button hook back in her trunk. She picked out her school books, marveling at how much information could be stored in such slender books. Her satchel was filled with her ink, quill and parchment for notes. She carefully placed her books inside and double-checked that her assignments were there.
“Julia, are you ready?” Bridget asked, ignoring the other girls in the room. She had added a small pocket watch decorated with roses to her overdress jacket that nearly blended in.
“I believe so,” Julia replied. “Are you ready?” she asked as she looked at the intriguing wall clock that was done in brass and silver. The outer brass-colored ring held the numbers one through twelve and an inner silver ring displayed the numbers double zero through fifty-nine. Instead of the hands moving around the clock, they remained in place and the rings moved around as time passed. The clock facing was composed of a clear material that allowed the brass gears to be seen and watched. On the hour, a small golden ball with wings would fly out around the room and disappear back into the clock.
Bridget smoothed non-existent wrinkles from her uniform. “I believe so.” She was already holding her brown satchel. Julia picked up her own light brown satchel and they shut the door behind them as they attempted to make their way back to the Great Hall for breakfast.
They didn’t see Albus or Elphias in the common room but continued through the portrait of the Fat Lady. The corridor just outside the Gryffindor tower had been filled with paintings in tarnished silver frames and Portraits in golden frames that looked just as tarnished.
They stopped to look closer at one golden frame to examine it as gold shouldn’t be tarnishing. Their examination and discussion began to alarm the wizard who was wearing an ear horn as a hat. He finally decided to leave his frame to their inspection and watch from another frame. A few swipes of their fingers down the frame told them the reason when they saw the bright sparkle on the frame and the filth on their finger.
They wiped their fingers clean and continued on their way with their steps echoing on the stone floor, discussing how that much grime would not be allowed in their homes, even with the soot that managed to always find its way inside. The maids were always busy cleaning the house just for that very reason.
There weren’t very many students roaming the corridors at the moment, but they knew that would soon change as those in the common rooms would realize they hadn’t as much time as they had first believed. They expected the Great Hall to be filled with other early-rising students and weren’t disappointed.
They sat at the Gryffindor table and still expressed wonder when breakfast appeared on the plates in front of them. There was a bowl of porridge with toast on the side. A small creamer filled with milk appeared with a small plate of butter and a small jar of strawberry jam. They stirred the butter and milk into their porridge and spread a liberal amount of jam onto their toast. They ate in silence, watching those around them. Julia wondered where Albus and Elphias had gone for she didn’t see them at the Gryffindor table.
Julia was more prepared this morning for their History of Magic professor who floated through the chalkboard when class began. Her quill was poised to take notes, but after a few minutes she shook her head giving up paying attention as a lost cause.
She looked around the room to see how her fellow classmates were handling the sonorous drone of their professor to see that most were already sleeping, their heads resting on their crossed arms, Bridget included. A few still struggled to remain awake and trying to appear as if they were paying attention with little success. Albus apparently had no such problems with the professor’s voice as he was writing notes intently. Elphias was reading his book instead, nodding now and then.
She turned her attention to the book that sat closed on many of her classmates’ desks as Professor Binns hadn’t instructed them to open it to any particular page. She opened her book to the contents to see if she could find the topic being discussed and smiled slightly when she found it. She turned to the page and began reading, thanking every star that the author was more witty and expounded on the subject in an intriguing manner.
She sighed with relief when Professor Binns stopped talking abruptly in the middle of a sentence and floated back through the chalkboard at the end of class. She nudged Bridget who awoke with a start before realizing she had fallen asleep in class. “Did I miss anything important?”
Julia giggled, “Only what will be on the test.”
Bridget stared with wide eyes at Julia. “What test?”
Julia giggled a little louder, covering her mouth with her hand, her eyes sparkling with mischief. Bridget sighed with relief.
Charms class was as interesting a subject as it was the day before. There was a large piece of slate resting on an easel at the front of the classroom. Professor Bricklesworth’s stained desk sat off to one side. An odd person stood in the corner. It was quite evident the person was not a real person given it was made from brass. Another remarkable clock hung on the wall. While the gears could still be plainly seen, there was only one ring of gold with the numbers one through twelve standing out in constantly changing colors of red, blue, green and yellow. A feather touched the ring as it circled the outside of the ring. Another smaller feather also touched the ring as it circled the ring’s outer edge more quickly.
Professor Bricklesworth lectured them once more on the merits of detailing the spell to do exactly as they wished. She looked at each student as she stated that she expected there to be no lazy students and therefore no lazy spells. She then had them repeating the spell once more, taking notes on the various ways to adapt it even though they would be using the very basic version of it at the moment.
“Tabernus Pinnam,” Professor Bricklesworth stated, enunciating the syllables carefully. She waved her wand at the slate board and the spell appeared neatly written.
“Tabernus Pinnam,” the class repeated dutifully.
“Again, please,” Professor Bricklesworth listened to them repeat the spell several times before she continued. “Please pull out your wands and copy the motions.”
Julia picked up her wand and tried to copy exactly what the professor was demonstrating, deciding that it was more difficult than it appeared. She dared a small glance at Bridget who was frowning at her wand. A few rows over, Albus was already managed to copy Professor Bricklesworth’s wand motion down and looked slightly bored. Elphias was sitting next to him, still working on his wand motion, making her feel slightly better that others were also having difficulties.
“Wands down, please,” Professor Bricklesworth’s voice cut through Julia’s thoughts. Julia hurried to comply. “Now, in the little time remaining, you will work on saying the spell and performing the wand motion.” She waved her wand making feathers appear in front of the students. “You may begin now.”
Julia hurriedly picked up her wand again and began trying to wave it correctly as she tried to properly say the spell. Her feather remained firmly on the desk. It was made a little more difficult as Bridget grumbled beside her about stupid feathers. Albus’ feather was already floating but she had to look again at Elphias’ feather for it looked like it was spouting water! How had he managed that? She turned back to her feather when she caught Professor Bricklesworth watching her.
“Tabernus Pinnam,” she whispered while waving her wand. She smiled as her feather rose a few inches off her desktop to float in the air. Her smile faded slightly when it fell back to the desk.
Bridget finally poked her uncooperative feather, staring in horror as it shriveled up leaving only ashes behind.
“Whatever did you do?” Julia asked, eyeing the mess with concern.
“I honestly do not know,” Bridget had trouble looking away from the ashes of her feather.
Professor Bricklesworth tapped the once-feather making it disappear. A second tap created another feather. “Speak a little slower, Miss Franklin, and a little clearer.”
“Yes, Professor,” Bridget replied, more than a little embarrassed. Once the professor stepped away to deal with a feather that while hovering was spitting ink, Bridget tried again. She sighed with disappointment when every attempt ended with the feather remaining solidly on the desk.
“Practice your incantation and your wand work for tomorrow. You are dismissed.” Professor Bricklesworth surprised everyone in the class. Everyone began scrambling to gather their things together while Julia took time to put her belongings away. Bridget waited for her, slightly impatient.
Julia smiled to herself as they found their way to the dungeons without having to retrace their route. The upper floors were crowded with students and noisy as you would expect from a large crowd of people. Bridget walked next to her as they tried to walk silently down the corridor. The stone here was different than the stone in the rest of the castle. Down here, the stone was dark and the torch sconces were set further apart creating a forbidding atmosphere. There were no lively paintings or Portraits on the walls. There weren’t even any tapestries or banners hung from the ceiling.
They walked carefully down the spiral stone staircase to one of the lowest floors of Hogwarts. This corridor had even darker stone to create an ominous feeling. At least their classroom was near the staircase, though the wooden door with its pocked iron hinges did not to dispel the creepiness of the area.
The classroom inside certainly was cheerful and completely at odds with its surroundings. It had astonished Julia yesterday and did so again today.
They sat at one of the tables waiting for the rest of the class to appear. Julia pulled out her thin potions book to read while they waited. Bridget sighed as she pulled out her book to let it sit on the table.
Professor Finley entered just as the last student sank into their chair. “As I promised yesterday, we will be brewing a potion in today’s class.” He waved his wand at the chalkboard to display a list of instructions. “Please read the instructions which can also be found in your book on page four.”
Julia opened her book and began reading through the list of ingredients and instructions listed under the chapter’s title of “Cure for Boils.” It looked fairly simple even if the ingredients were more than a little odd. She looked over the instructions again.
“Pay particular attention to step eight and nine. Should you reverse these two steps, your potion will be rendered useless and your cauldron will melt. Should any of the ruined potion touch you, it will cause boils instead of curing them.”
Julia picked up her quill to write down the clarification, promising herself that she would be extremely careful with those particular steps.
Professor Finley continued his lecture, “Should you brew the potion correctly, as noted on page five, the potion will turn a lovely shade of blue with pink smoke. Ingredients are available at each table. Begin.”
Julia and Bridget gathered their ingredients for the potion. Bridget pulled out her cauldron while Julia pulled out her mortar and pestle. Bridget counted out the snake fangs for Julia to grind. They added the powdered fangs to their cauldron and soon they had time to wait. Julia spent time cleaning the remainder of the snake fangs from her mortar before putting it away.
“Is it time yet?” Bridget asked for the thirteenth time.
Julia looked at the clock again. “One more minute should do it.”
“Now?” Bridget asked again.
Julia agreed, dropping her two horned slugs into the potion as Bridget added her two. Neither had wanted to touch the slugs and so had compromised using pincers. “Now take the cauldron off the flame.” Julia read her notes, catching Bridget before she could add the porcupine quills. They both sighed with relief as Bridget finally dropped the quills into the cauldron and stirred five times turning the color of the mixture to an even cobalt blue with pale pink smoke.
“Very good, Miss Bannister, Miss Franklin,” Professor Finley looked over their work and nodded his approval writing their grade in his small book, “Abscedet potionem.” They stared as their cauldron suddenly was empty.
“I would like a one scroll essay on the proper care for potion equipment. Dismissed,” Professor Finley smiled to himself as his class hurried out of the dungeons.
Julia felt as if her head had already been stuffed completely full by the time they sat down in their Transfiguration class, waiting patiently for Professor Tregoran. And their day was not even half finished! She did notice that Albus and Elphias sat near the front with their parchments ready for notes. While she thought it a smart idea, she didn’t remove one thing from her satchel. She was uncertain about this professor and didn’t want to be kicked out as he had promised to do yesterday to another student who wasn’t paying attention to his lecture.
When the professor strode into the classroom, Julia noticed that he didn’t give Albus or Elphias a second look. Quickly, she spread her parchment onto her desk and tapped her quill in the ink pot. Bridget hurried to copy her.
“You do remember what I said yesterday concerning accepting only serious students?” He looked around the room as several students gulped and hastily got ready for class. “Be ready from now on out. We have much to cover and little time to do so in.” That was the last pause he had for the remainder of the class as he covered Gamp’s Law and how important this Law was concerning every piece of magic they performed. He stopped suddenly to assign them one scroll concerning Gamp’s Law before dismissing them.
Julia was more than ready for lunch. Bridget’s face looked as pained as her head felt. “Tell me it gets easier,” Bridget complained.
Clara sat next to them. “Well, it does and it doesn’t.” They looked at her, puzzled at her explanation. She clarified her statement, “The work load remains about the same but you adjust to learning everything they tell you.”
Julia rubbed her forehead, wishing there was something she could take to ease her headache. She knew her mother used willow bark stewed in hot water, but she didn’t think that was exactly available here at Hogwarts. A raised voice caught her attention and she looked over to see another of the First Years, possibly a Hufflepuff, talking angrily with Albus who looked resigned while Elphias looked upset. “What do you think that is about?” she asked Bridget.
Bridget looked over and watched for a long moment as the Hufflepuff threw his hands up and stormed away leaving Albus shaking his head. Elphias, still very upset, began talking to Albus who shook his head slowly. He asked another question and received another shake of the head. Bridget shook her head, “I can only surmise that Albus disagreed with whatever that other boy was telling him.”
“I wonder what it was about,” Julia turned her attention back to her lunch.
Having an astronomy class directly after lunch made it difficult to pay attention to the information that Professor Plotwerth gave them. Julia just managed to stay awake to take notes on the different planets and what their movements signified as well as learning how to calculate how long each planet would take to circle the sun. He dismissed them after assigning them to finish the calculations for each planet’s solar year and compare to Earth’s solar year to the sixth significant digit.
Julia sank into her chair for Defense Against the Dark Arts class. She had no hesitation in pulling out the slender book or placing her wand on her desk with her quill, ink and parchment before opening her book to study. Bridget also had no hesitation in getting ready for the class or studying her book also. Professor Gormackin had promised unsettling events should he think students were not paying attention. Only a few of the students didn’t believe him and were soon to learn that he didn’t have a sense of humor.
He began his lecture as soon as he entered the room surprising those who were not ready found they could not open their satchels. He covered in vivid detail concerning gnomes, how to identify a gnome as well as what type of gnome it is as that would dictate how to handle the gnome. Finally, he assigned an one scroll essay concerning gnomes and their preferred habitats.
Julia was grateful that they had reached their last class and spent that hour with Professor Farringdon learning how to care for various plants and how to tell the magical plants from the Muggle plants.
After dinner, Julia convinced Bridget they should study in the library instead of the common room. Bridget reluctantly agreed and sighed as they made their way through the other students to find an unused table off to one side where they could do their homework. Julia opened her books and began reading through her notes again. When she looked up, a table near theirs had been taken by Albus who was quietly studying his own notes. She looked back down, trying to ignore Bridget’s muttering.
“Dumbledore!” Julia looked up, annoyed at having been disturbed. She noticed that Albus also looked displeased at the speaker. She didn’t recognize older boy, but evidently Albus did as he began to put away his books. But even that didn’t stop his one-sided conversation while Albus began looking more upset and finally furious.
Julia was surprised that the older boy didn’t stop speaking and leave. She could only stare in surprise as Albus began speaking too quiet to hear but obviously making his point. Bridget stared in shock as Albus lost his temper. When he finished stuffing the last book into his satchel, he stood, spoke furiously once more then left without a backward glance. The older boy sat there for several minutes before finally shrugging and leaving, walking by Julia and Bridget without so much as a glance in their direction.
“Albus?” Julia sighed as Elphias looked around for his friend before he stopped at their table. “Good evening, have you seen Albus by chance?”
“He was here,” Bridget pointed to the table he had sat at, “But someone said something that made him upset and he left.”
Elphias looked at Julia who nodded. “I see, and would you happen to know where he went?”
Julia shook her head, “He didn’t say a word as he left.”
Elphias’ shoulders slumped. “Would you mind terribly if I studied with you?” He held up his hands, “I assure you I will be green only for two more months at the most.”
Julia nodded as Bridget shook her head. “Please, sit,” Julia said over Bridget’s objection. Bridget sighed as Elphias sat at the other end of the table. She turned to Bridget, “He has said several times now that he is no longer contagious. What is your objection?”
A/N: “Tabernus Pinnam” is Latin for “hover the feather”.
A/N: “Abscedet potionem” is Latin for “vanish the potion”.
A/N: For those of you who are reading the story for the second time, I renamed Permelia Bannister to Julia Thorne.
A/N: As always, I hope you have enjoyed this next chapter. Please let me know what you thought about this chapter, especially if you have constructive criticism! I am always looking for ways to improve my writing! Thank you very much!
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