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Professor Daniel Nash
Intermediates: A lesson in chaos
Thu Sep 7, 2017 12:56

Daniel Nash stood at the front of the DADA classroom. For the new year, he had taken over all three levels of instruction in Defense, which basically made him a full time professor, though he was technically still just substituting until someone more permanent could be found or Daniel himself landed his dream job at the college level. In the meantime, secondary education in Defense Against the Dark Arts was growing on him, and he had spent more time than he would really like to admit thinking of new and interesting lessons for the students of Sonora.

Of course, there were course standards that couldn't be avoided, and on this third Friday of the new school year, Daniel found himself writing "Dark Magic Spells" onto the chalk board at the front of the room once everyone had arrived and the roll had been called. (Having taken mostly magical courses for both of his college degrees, he did consider chalk to be the proper medium of instructional note-taking, but when the chalk snapped partway through the 'g' he did find himself idly wishing for the dry erase boards of his muggle courses.)

He absently summoned back the snapped off piece of chalk as he turned back to face the intermediate class. "Who here can tell me what the three levels of dark spells are?" He picked on someone other than Jozua Sparks, figuring the Dueling Club president had probably learned such things in his cradle.

"Yes," he reiterated after receiving a correct answer, "Jinxes are the most mild of the dark spells. Hexes cause moderately negative effects in their victims, and curses are the most severe." He added Jinx Hex Curse to the board.

"There are perfectly valid and legal reasons why good people might cast any of these, starting with dueling," he gave a nod toward Jozua in acknowledgment that this unit was doubtless going to be review for anyone who regularly attended his club, "and moving out into self defense and law enforcement. A wand is a very powerful weapon and these kinds of spells are exactly why it is considered so."

"Jinxes, on the low calibur end, tend to be mostly inconvenient rather than damaging, but anyone who's been hit with a jelly legs jinx knows that, while it doesn't hurt, you're not going anywhere under your own power until it is lifted. Others, like the biting jinx, can legitimately hurt in their own right, which does make the distinction between jinx and hex a bit blurry. Which is why this is really more of a continuum," he drew a chalk line under the three types of dark spells and ended it with an arrowhead under the word curse, "rather than discreet boxes. What they all have in common us that the do something negative to their target, though what that is can vary widely from simply repelling intruders," he tapped his chalk on the word jinx, "like every dormitory staircase here at Sonora can do if anyone tries to go up the one corresponding to their opposite gender, to actually taking someone's life, in the case of the Killing Curse." His chalk tapped on the last word as he said it.

"So what do you do if someone is shooting these kinds of spells at you? You've got a few options. First, you can dodge. Most of these kinds of spells are carried on visible streaks of light that you can see and try to get out of the way of them. They can only go in straight lines, and they will follow the trajectory of their caster's wand when the spell is released, so if they have bad aim, you may not need to do anything at all. But you should never count on that." He wrote dodge & counterattack on the board.

"A good follow-up to dodging would be a counter attack. Shoot your own jinxes and hexes right back at them, trying to disable them so you can get away and find help. If they need to tend to their own defense, that's less effort they are putting into their own attack, and if you can get their wand hand with a finger removing jinx, that's just as good as disarming them."

"Which brings us to your next option: disarming. We're going to spend a few weeks practicing the disarming charm, and there's a good reason why this is often the endpoint sought in a duel. Once your opponent looses their wand, they have usually lost the battle. This is not always the case, and you should never put your guard down just because your opponent has lost their most obvious weapon, but that's a lecture for another day." He wrote disarm beneath dodge.

"A third option is a shield charm. That will physically put up a barrier between you an negative magic coming your way, and it is a very effective measure of defense." He wrote shield beneath the others on the board. "We'll be practicing shield charms just as long as we will be working on disarming charms."

"Your fourth option is an anti jinx. This is different from a counter jinx. A counter jinx is what you use if all of this fails and you get hit anyway. The counter jinx will reverse the effects of the jinx. We'll get to counters later in this unit, but they're more of a clean up action than a defense. An anti-jinx, by contrast, prevents a jinx from having any effect in the first place. It effectively gives its target immunity to jinxes. There are limitations to that, of course, one of the more obvious being that it can only protect from jinxes not hexes or curses. And like I said, it's a continuum, so even some jinxes may get through depending on the strength of the anti-jinx. Other jinxes are specifically designed to get around anti jinxes. An anti jinx is a bit like a finite incantatum; it works for cutting off most spells, but there are exceptions. We'll learn a few of those after we cover the shield charm." He added anti-jinx to the list on the chalk board.

"For today, we're working on the first option." He jabbed his chalk at dodge/counterattack. "For third years, I've got some dummies set up along the back of the classroom and you can just work on your casting without worrying too much about dodging yet. Just keep a wary eye out from stray spells coming your way from your older classmates. Fourth and fifth years, you should all pair off and shoot fairly harmless hexes at each other and try not to let any of them hit you. I recommend jelly legs or pullus jinxes, as relatively painless options, but anything in your book is fair game as long as it's fairly painless. We're going to have a lot a jinxes flying wildly around the room, so let's keep them away from the hex side of the spectrum, all right? I don't want to be sending people up to the hospital wing. Get too it. Raise your hand if you need help with a counter jinx."

    • Eep! (Tag Finn)Juniper Brockert, Teppenpaw, Sat Sep 23 16:37
      Just because she was now a fourth year did not mean that Juniper was any more comfortable in classes full of people. She rarely went to any class but COMC without feeling sick with anxiety and... more
      • Thinking along similar linesFinn Scott, Teppenpaw, Tue Sep 26 11:36
        Finn’s summer had been largely unremarkable. He’d spent his time doing the usual things: riding with his cousins, playing with his dogs (hopefully enough to make up for going away to school so much), ... more
        • I was so not meant to do this.Juniper, Sun Oct 8 22:37
          Juniper's breath got caught in her throat and her heart started to pound when Finn didn't seem all that thrilled to work with her even though he'd agreed to it. Was she losing her best-and okay,... more
    • Chaos is my middle name. [tag Jozua]Lily Spencer, Pecari, Tue Sep 19 20:15
      Having longer hair again was going to take some getting used to. It required brushing and some styling to keep it from looking like a rat's nest, but overall Lily didn't mind it. It was nice looking... more
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