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Professor Tabitha Hawthorne
Time to learn how to defend yourselves...
Fri Aug 17, 2018 19:05

Tabitha was leaning against the front of her desk with her arms folded and a slight frown on her face as she listened to Selina give her announcement. Her eyes roamed over all the students, trying to gauge their reactions. Finding out that your classmate was half-veela was a lot to digest and she imagined that many of them were still trying to process the information. Once any questions had been dealt with, she nodded to herself and stood up straighter.

“My door is always open to anyone who has any concerns or thinks of anything they’d like to ask,” she told them before deciding that they’d better start the lesson. She wasn’t exactly sure what kind of effect the news would have on their concentration - on the one hand, teaching them about veelas now could be a complete waste of time if their heads were in the shed. Yet, it could also focus them and make them want to learn more about Veelas and therefore, their classmate. She nodded to Selina and the woman dismissed the Beginner and Advanced students to the classes they should be in before leaving herself, leaving Tabitha faced with the Intermediates.

“Okay, class… I know that that wasn’t quite the introduction to this class that you were perhaps expecting. However, it only makes this class more important. So, I would like everybody to quickly and quietly take out their things, ready to make notes and please turn to page two hundred and eleven in your textbooks.”
There was the sound of paper rustling and ink pots being placed on the desks as Tabitha moved over to the chalkboard. It was true that she could use her magic to write her notes but she preferred the traditional method. “So, to begin, who can tell me in their own words what a veela is?”

A few hands slowly went up in the air, almost tentatively, which seemed to indicate just how seriously they were taking the lesson which was a good thing. Hopefully, that seriousness would be a constant throughout. She selected a student and nodded when they gave the answer. Though, there was one small problem. They’d used the word ‘creature’. That was something that was probably better forgotten in this instance. She did not want them to use the word as a slur against Cleo.

“You are not wrong,” she told them. “However, the official description of a veela is a semi-human, semi-magical humanoid. They are classified as beings in the Wizarding World and you should all know by now that the definition of ‘being’ is ‘any living thing that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of responsibility in shaping those laws’. Goblins, vampires, hags, house-elves, even us as wizards and witches are classified as ‘beings’ because we have intelligence, we have independent thought and we are responsible for our actions.”

She wrote the definition out on the chalkboard so they could copy it down. She’d nearly said that beings also had emotions and feelings but felt that might’ve been going to far. They were Intermediate students, they should know what she was trying to drive at.

“There are many stories, particularly in South and West Slavic folklore, that talk of Veela. In these stories, they’re known as Vila or Samodiva,” she paused to write the spellings on the board. “Some, like the Polish, believed that they were the spirits of women who had been promiscuous during their lifetime and were now stuck, condemned to wander between here on our living plain or the afterlife. In Croatia, however, they were considered to be quiet fairies who lived in the Velebit mountain range and have subsequently become their patron. Neither of those are particularly accurate though. The tale that best describes the Veela that we know today is the one that describes Samodiva, from Bulgaria and Romania.”

While she had wanted to get the seriousness of the Veela across and despite the big, fat elephant in the room, she also wanted the lesson to be interesting. It wasn’t just learning how to defend yourself against Veelas that was important but to understand where they came from, understand what they were, was just as important. She couldn’t lie to them and say that Veela were harmless because they weren’t - they were generally hostile and quick to anger. However, this was in contrast to Cleo who had her human side to balance such things out. If she could make the students see that, then she’d consider it an accomplishment.

Samodiva are believed to be beautiful women with an incredible affinity for fire - they could cause droughts, burn a farmer’s crops and other vicious things. They also had an incredible ability to enchant and seduce not only men but women as well by dancing or singing. Their beauty was said to be so incredible that men and women would fall instantly in love… or what they believed to be love. When angered, they could transform into a monstrous bird who had the capabilities of throwing fire at her enemies which makes them similar to the Harpies of Greek mythology.”

It was at this point that she turned the board to show the sketch that she’d drawing earlier - of a transformed Veela, who had large feathered wings and clawed talons for feet. Instead of hair, there were feathers which she’d drawn raised to show anger. The eyes were similar to those of an eagle and glaring and a long, sharp beak protruded from the face in place of a nose and mouth. The hands were bony and thin, with long nails that were so sharp that they could easily cut their prey to shreds.

“Veela have all of those abilities and characteristics, though they generally don’t need to dance or sing to enchant someone. Doing so, generally only enhances the original spell. Simply focusing on someone would be enough to establish an enchantment. The hair of a Veela also has magical properties and can be used as a wand core though the wands themselves can be temperamental and fussy, rather like Veelas themselves. It is believed, however, that plucking a hair from a Veela can kill them or, at the very least, strip them of their powers so it is more likely that any Veela hair used for wands is hair that has been shed.”

She walked away from the chalkboard, though left the sketch showing in case anybody wanted to try and copy it.

“Now, I will not lie to you. There is no direct spell that will guarantee a defence against Veela enchantment - your defence relies on your feelings, strong mental skills and, to a point, your sexual orientation. There are more cases of straight men being susceptible to a Veela’s hypnosis but it is possible that women with the same preferences would also be vulnerable. In comparison, gay men could have a natural defence against Veela enchantments. My point is, there has to be some kind of base attraction, whether towards women or the Veela herself for the hypnosis to take effect.”

This next bit was the most important as it was entirely possible that the students could need the information, given their unique circumstances.

“Should you fall under the spell of a Veela, it can be broken and relatively easily, if you catch it early and quickly. The enchantment relies on eye contact or a one-to-one situation where there are no distractions and it is solely mental. Therefore, the answer is simple. A distraction is needed or the Veela needs to be moved away from you. The further away they are, the weaker the enchantment. However, in instances where someone has been under the influence of a Veela for a lengthy period of time needs more effort and in some severe cases, it was necessary to use a memory-altering charm to remove all traces of the Veela and, therefore, their hypnosis. The power comes from the obsession that you develop for them, your lust. Should you ever find yourself alone with a Veela, try your utmost to think of anything except them - it doesn't particularly matter what but there is evidence that the most effective thoughts are those about people you love. Try to refrain from making eye contact with them as that allows them free access to your mind and makes it easier for you to fall under their spell. If you are alone, try and call for help. If you succumb to a Veela, you will not be able to cast your own distraction spell."

She noticed a few looks of alarm and fear and thought she’d best reassure them that they were in no danger at Sonora, which was true. Selina and the other teachers had put effective precautions into place so if a student did unfortunately fall prey to Cleo's charms, it wouldn't be for long.

“Here, in the school, you are safe. You are surrounded by capable witches and wizards who can help you should something happen - that includes not just your teachers but also your friends. Prairie elves have also been briefed on what to do should a student fall victim to an enchantment. You are not in any danger. As Professor Skies told you earlier, Cleo is learning to control and understand her powers just as you are. Anything she has done or even will do, is an accident.”
She let that hang in the air and sink in, hoping that she’d done enough to make them understand, to assuage at least some, if not all, of their fears. It would soon to be time to conclude the lesson and she let out a slow breath, her eyes looking over at the empty vial on her desk. She mentally thanked Mary as without the potion, Tabitha was convinced that she wouldn’t have had the nerve to successfully complete the lesson.

“For your homework, I would like at least one thousand words on the subject of Veelas and for you to come up with a list of ways, magical or otherwise, that would be useful for distraction and also how they are a good distraction - to help you, I shall give you the first answer which is Aguamenti, the water-making spell. Sometimes, a splash of cold water to the face is all it would take as it causes a shock which kickstarts the brain and puts it on alert. With the time you have left, you may start it now. If you have any questions, please come up to my desk.”

OOC - Selina was written by her author and permission given to be used in the lesson. All information on Veela used in this lesson was gathered from the Harry Potter wiki, Wikipedia and Pottermore. Don’t forget to adhere to the site rules!

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    • Time to learn how to defend yourselves... — Professor Tabitha Hawthorne, Fri Aug 17 19:05
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