Friday, March 22, 2013

Hufflepuff & Ravenclaw 10


10: And the Monster of Amristar Chapter 3-4


Chapter 3: The Banquet

This chapter completes the general exposition.

In the waiting room

"Welcome to Hogwarts. The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the great hall you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common room.

"The four houses are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slyterin and Ravenclaw. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding wizards & witches. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs earn your house points while any rule-breaking will lose points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.

"The Sorting ceremony will take place shortly in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you're waiting."

As the PCs fret or make themselves more present-able, the Grey Lady will slip in through the back of the room, looking pensive and clasping a large text to her chest. Her appearance will freak out the first years no end, calling for a general Bravery check on d6 to keep from yelping - Peri and Rowena miss theirs, Grendel makes his. She will approach Castor and whisper in his ear "Be not afraid. A ready mind is humanity's greatest weapon and strongest shield, so you are well armed. But be vigilant. Older troubles seldom rest easy, even as new life is born." Castor will feel that his head has been struck by a boreal wind as the Lady's lips brush his ear.

At that the Grey Lady disappears and McGonnagal returns to bring them into the hall and the hat


The Sorting Ceremony

"You keep we hats in cupboards
or closets cramped and dark
but as a Sorting Hat I'm different
imbued with sense and spark.

Into your minds I'll glance now
Your cupboards stuffed and dim
And decide from what I find there
Which houses you'll be in.

Do you belong in Hufflepuff
With faith and quiet strength?
Where duty is performed
With no heed to pay or rank?

Or perhaps it is in Gryffondor
With tempers bold and hot.
Where your sisters are courageous
And your brothers a brave lot?

Those sorted into Slytherin
Are those who seek to lead,
And find their noble brethren
Where ambitions are all freed

At last there are the Ravenclaw
For those whose minds take flight,
Grounding intellect with fancy
To banish darkness with the light,

There's one sure way to learn
Which house you should call home,
Jut place this sorting hat on your hair
Curly locks or shaven dome.

And I will make a judgment
With a hat's good sense,
So step right up, don't be afraid,
I'll seat you with your friends!

With that McGonnagal will call out all of the first year students names, reproduced here.
Ames, Aldeberon            R
Angelo, Peter                    H
Bottomsley, Hugo            G
Boulstridge, Ora               S
Cooper, Mason                 R
Davis, Beatrice                  R
Dee, Castor                        R I see you have a clear mind, no doubts there but you're ambitious too. Oh, you're the smart one. Better make you a RAVENCLAW!
Dee, Pollux                        H
I see a strong desire to do things, so Slytherin could no doubt help you, but it's so much about accomplish-ment and duty that you'd do best in HUFFLEPUFF!
Duncan, Andrew              H
Fitztoggle, Lochland        H
Fontaine, Jasmine           R You're brave, no doubt, but with a mind like this your home is in RAVENCLAW!
Garrott, Simon                  G
Green, Grendel                S
Hardcastle, Melinda        H
Highgarden, Hillary          G
Jackson, Jerimiah             G
Jones, Francine                 H
Leatherby, Ulee               R
Lung, Luci                            S
Miller, Hazel                       H
Moore, Juliet                    R No questions here, you're a RAVENCLAW!
Morris, Dan                        G
O'Neill, Sean                      G
Orealis, Aurora B.             R
Quinn, Patrick                    R
Quisarcton, Olivia             G
Resquiat, Roberta            S
Rosacaea, Rowan             H
Srinivasen, Kai                   H
Stone, Crystal                    G
Thornton, Rose                 G
Turner, Wilhelmina         S
Undulata, Paracelsus      S
Upadhyad, Aadi                G
Valgi, Victor                        S
Villars, Barbera                  R
Wadd, Helena                   H
Walker, Sky                        H
Xerces, Gregory               S
Xerces, Kelly                      S
Yayer, Sue                           H
Young, Frank                      R
Zane, Zane                          S
Zylberstein, Daniel          R
There will be a cheer as Castor is sorted Ravenclaw, and a moment of stunned silence when Pollux is sorted Hufflepuff, followed by wild cheering from that table.

The Banquet and Speech

The sorting ceremony finished, Dumbledor will stand up and ask for silence while he says a few words: "I have glad tidings to share - over the summer break our Muggle Studies teacher, Professor Orelena-Plantagenet-Tollemach-Tollemach found the wellspring of the greatest magic of all, that is to say Love. So as of last week no longer is she Professor Orelena-Plantagenet-Tollemach-Tollemach or even Ms. Orelena-Plant-agenet-Tollemach-Tollemach, but instead Mrs. Plain, and I for one, could not be happier. A toast then, to the happy couple. And with that news, tuck in!"

The banquet occurs. Pollux can talk to the Fat Friar, who will prove a voluble companion. As confessor to the other ghosts, the friar knows a lot but can only hint. Two 4th year Ravenclaws - Fortinum Hill & Mason Lake - resolve their bet, Mason having statistically predicted that their house was due to get both the first and last sorted students.

After the banquet Dumbledor stands again to make the rest of his speech. "First years should note that the forest on the grounds is off limits to all pupils. I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch.

"I'm sure many of you are now wondering about the new additions to our table. First, seated beside his bride is Dr. John Plain, PhD. For those not aware, that's a muggle term for highly advanced studies. Dr. Plain is indeed a Muggle, and will be staying on campus this year as both a guest lecturer in the Muggle Studies class and doing research for his own work on explaining our customs the parents of those students were unaware of this institution until receiving your letter. I expect everyone to treat him with the utmost courtesy.

"Seated to his right is our newest faculty member, Professor Briar, who is taking over the Defense Against the Dark Arts class. A most of you know, Professor Pellinor felt the need to travel again, and Professor Briar was kind enough to step down from her duties as an Auror to help in the filling of young minds. Which leads us to our anthem - pick a tempo and sing along! "

The school anthem

With that the words come out of his wand & Juliet gets her moment in the spotlight as her music affinity kicks in for some spontaneous magic. Her prefect voice cuts through the room, carrying with it the emotional effect she has chosen, eventually leaving just her & Dumbledore singing. Flitwick is thrilled at her potential!

Chapter 4: Love & the Moon

This chapter introduces the Ravenclaw & Hufflepuff houses and also runs through the first week of classes.

Inside the Houses

The students will disperse, with the first years in each house being led by the prefects to their dorms. Daisy and Hank Wilkenson (the boys 5th year prefect) bring the Ravenclaws up to the tower, facing an initial door question that the GM lacks the time to develop (Doh!) and introducing the students to their new home. Inside the common room they find that some older students have charmed the curtains into butlers - one for each gender - to transport all of the new students belongings into their rooms. "One doesn't waste time with physical effort if there's a tool available to make it easier. Our magic and our wands are tools," they are told.

The Grey Lady appears, still clasping her book, and wishes them all well. She also acknowledges that among the Ravenclaws curfews are hard to enforce, but asks that after 10:00 the students please keep it down. She then exits the room into the Ravenclaw's private library and shelves her book. Those checking will find it to be a History of the Wizarding Raj.

Likewise, the Hufflepuff prefects - Mark Jordan & Shana Behne - lead their charges into the burrow by the kitchen. The door is guarded by a portrait of Professor Fogerty - a long time head of house and old teacher in Defense Against Dark Arts. His image is of a severe elderly gentleman with a badger-headed cane. The current password is "barrow-wight". Fogerty is a big fan of monster-named passwords.  Inside they meet their new fellows and are told that in a few minutes they'll have to carry their bags to their dorm rooms: "A little honest labor never hurt anyone."

Mark will then introduce Krupe, the head house elf in charge of Hufflepuff Burrow. He feels it's important that first years know who is doing the work for them, and that just because Krupe and his people are straightening up, that's no excuse for leaving a mess. When one first year said that they never had to thank their house elves at home, Mark will reply "Few do, but that's not a reason to not adopt a more civilized way of treating our fellows and friends." Krupe waves happily at them giving them a shy "hello" before popping out.

We also confirm that all the first year students are sharing room, and that - at least in Hufflepuff warren - the boys and girls dorms are separated by nothing more sophisticated than a hallway. Their more civilized way of behaving counts for more than any warding.

Hopefully this illustrates the house differences.

Muggle Studies, Day 1

As Daisy nears the classroom she sees Plain talking to Trelawney. The divination prof pulls some bogus line about feeling negative vibrations as Daisy approaches (the two don't care for each other) and, once Daisy is inside (but not out of earshot) says she wants to be the first to congratulate Rosemary. Prof. Plain responds that everyone congratulated her last night at the banquet, and Sybill will cryptically reply "Not for that darling, for well, perhaps you don't know yet."

Inside the classroom Daisy gets a first look at Dr. Plain and discovers that he is a total hottie - very much more attractive than his spouse. They are an odd pair, and it should be clear that the rest of the girls in the class find him dreamy. (I don’t think I conveyed that.) This is to set up suspicions that the marriage is a fake and that Dr. Plain is Reg in disguise.

Charms, Day 1

After the first day of the Ravenclaw charms class, Juliet is asked to stay a moment by Professor Flitwick. He is thrilled by her magical and musical potential, and lobbies strongly for the first year to try out for both the chorus and the school band. He is forced to admit that the school chamber music club is, at the moment, Daisy Fontane, himself and some enchanted instruments, but this is solely due to some recent graduations.

While he can't force any issue, he also strongly recommends that Juliet get guidance from Daisy, so as to better channel her musical magic. This is both to give the PCs some stronger connections but also to get a second PC onto the Ravenclaw roof next session.

Midnight in the Astronomy Tower

Their first full day of classes ends on Thursday the 2nd, with their first midnight class in Astronomy. All of the first year students (along with their prefects, who have to get them to and from the tower) take the class at once. The Astronomy tower has seats for up to 150 students, and this years class is less than half of that. That gives the PCs considerable leeway on where to sit, and I figure that Pollux will join his Ravenclaw friends. The roof is enchanted the same way the great hall is, to show the outside sky, and the center of the room is dominated by "Bertha", the schools telescope. Bertha is capable of zooming in on Armstrong's footprint.

Professor Tycho Lippershy is played by Harrison Ford circa the teaching scene in the Raiders - spectacles, tweed jacket with patches, chin. His speech is follows:

"Good evening. I'm sure many of you are wondering why you're in Astronomy class, or how you can use it to tell the future. If it's fortune telling you want, Professor Trelawny's Divinations class is the next tower over.

"Astronomy is not just the study of the bodies in our solar system, but the study of the influence those bodies have on magical power and how we can analyze and counter those influences. Those of us with experience in magic, which is likely myself and all those prefects gossiping in the corner, are aware of the strange effects that planetary influences have on our magical abilities, how they make spells unpredictable in potency or effect. If you don't learn to counter it, basic spellcasting will be difficult; advanced, impossible.

"To be blunt, if you cannot master Astronomy, you will not master magic. I'm sure that many of your professors in the last week have told you how theirs is a dangerous, potent or tricky magic, and I don't deny those claims. But astronomy is the basis of organized magic. If you can't grasp this, you may as well pack up and go home.

"I know it sounds like a lot, but I will lay out some clear goals for this term: first, you will learn about the moon - it's history, it's effect on earth and it's physical composition. Second, you will learn the effects that it has on magic and how to counter it - it is our closest companion in space, and therefore the greatest impact on human magic. Finally, you'll learn to identify spells by the planetary influences that went into it's creation.

"Imagine, if you will, facing a giant spider - will you know if this is an actual Acoratula, a magical creature, or another being - perhaps a friend - transfigured into that shape? Or a summoned creature, another form of Transfiguration? Or an animated statue of a spider, yet another form of Transfiguration? It clearly matters in how you handle the beast, but only through Astronomy can you find the best course of action.

"You might be wondering where Muggle Astronomy overlaps with this class. How many of you are Muggle born, or grew up among Muggles. Good, now keep your hands up if you've studied Muggle sciences? How about Muggle Astronomy? Good. All of you now have a led up in this class. Our studies here on the locations and physical compositions of the planets are exactly the same as theirs. In the case of the planet Neptune, we knew it existed because there was something disrupting our spells; the Muggles knew of it because its gravity was affecting their calculations of planetary motion. They Found It First. So don't denigrate Muggle science.

"Now, open your books to page 7. We'll start with the history of man's travels to the moon, beginning with the Muggle moon landings, working backwards through the Baltimore Gun Club, and ending with Baron Munchausen's travel there. Mind you, we have concrete evidence that he reached the moon but his reports back are, like much of his work, highly suspect!"

During the course of the late night class the first years will feel their minds start to wander due to the late hour. This is the perfect time for them to practice their Mentat Acutia, and doing so will give them an edge in the class and a turn looking at the landing Muggle's moon landing site through Big Bertha.
At the back of the room the fifth year prefects are dozing, doing homework or gossiping. Daisy will be talked at by Peaseblossom Parkerson, the Gryffindor prefect, who wants to talk about Dr. Plain and how handsome he is. Half muggle herself, she's obviously rather smitten with Professor Plain's new husband, and openly wonders why he ended up with her?

The Mysterious Shadow

On their trip back to their dorms, any of the PCs doing some late night exploring might look into one classroom and see a shadow on the wall of a six-armed human figure stretching or doing some other undulating motion. They are dragged away before they are able to make out anything more than that - if they go back to the room later they'll learn that it is professor Kettle-burn's office, which will likely raise more questions.

The Daily Prophet

The next morning the PCs will somehow see a copy of the Daily Prophet with this disturbing headline:
"Lestrange Frees Woden, both still at large!"

The previous night the wanted Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange freed her captured compatriot, the elderly German Born Death Eater Olaf Woden.

This likely comes as a shock to no one. But it does bring us to the end of Chapter 4.