Professor Hawtorne and Professor Brooding
Let's Explore Your Mental Defences
Sun Sep 2, 2018 10:23

“Good morning, class!” Tabitha called out, once they were all seated. “I would like to stress the importance of today’s lesson. I need your full attention and concentration. The magic I will be teaching you today, with the assistance of Professor Brooding,” she gestured to Mary behind her, “is not only advanced but also very dangerous. You are not permitted to use it outside of this classroom, without the supervision of a teacher. I hope that I have made myself clear.”

She paused for a moment, looking across the class and letting her words sink in. She did not like being the strict teacher, having to impose restrictions on them but something as powerful as mind magic was not to be trifled with so it needed to be said.

Behind her, Mary stifled a cheer, excited to see Tabitha’s teaching in action. She’d known the woman would do well but seeing her passion come alive in her words and in her precautions was thrilling. Mary was careful not to move a muscle besides a polite smile at her introduction; she definitely did not want to draw attention to herself and thus away from Tabitha.

“Please put away your wands. You will not be needing them,” Tabitha added as a final thought before turning to the chalkboard and, as usual, picked up the chalk she was to write with. “The magic you are learning about today is magic of the mind, specifically Legilimency and Occlumency. Before I go into further detail about those, you must first understand the mind itself. Can anyone tell me exactly what I mean when I say ‘the mind’?”

A few hands went up and she nodded when she got the right answer. “Yes, wonderful. The mind, in a nutshell, is the part of a person - muggle or wizard - that allows them to be aware of the world around them. It allows them to react to their surroundings, to think, to feel. It is where our memories are stored, where all the ideas - good or bad - are generated, where your conscience lives.”

“You might be thinking, ‘well, my brain does all of that’ but you’d be wrong. Your brain and your mind are not the same thing. Your brain is a physical organ, it tells your body what to do and is also a part of your body. Your mind, on the other hand, has no physical presence - it is a separate entity. The evidence for this is like when your body is relaxed, like maybe when you’re lying in bed at night, but your mind is darting around all over the place as you’re still thinking, feeling or perhaps your mind is getting ready to produce dreams - hopefully nice ones!”

She paused to set down her chalk and moved back to around the middle of the front of the room, sending a discreet smile to Mary (Mary did not think it was discreet at all and only barely managed to stifle a blush by pretending to examine a nearby bottle of sleeping potion) before she turned back to the class to continue talking. “So, the mind is very powerful. However, it is also very fragile. You can’t just run rampant through it or you’ll cause damage which can potentially be irreversible - I’m sure you’ll have learned about Obliviate in Charms. Cast it wrong and you can erase someone’s entire mind. So, the greatest care has to be taken to avoid such catastrophes.”

“Which brings me to the magic in today’s lesson - Legilimency and Occlumency,” she enunciated them clearly and gestured to their spellings on the chalkboard. “Legilimency allows the spell caster to enter into somebody else’s mind, navigate the many layers that there are, see their memories, extract information. It is easier to perform the spell when your intended target is relaxed, within close proximity to you and you can maintain direct eye contact with them - the eyes are not the windows to your mind, but rather the doors. Legilimency, at its core, is all about sorting truth from lies, fact from fiction, sincerity from disingenuity.”

She moved back to the chalkboard and wrote the key elements needed to cast Legilimency well on the board. As she did this, she continued talking, “To enter somebody else’s mind, to walk among the memories that are stored there, is a privilege, not a right. Of course, it has been known that Dark Wizards or Witches have forced their way in, to try and extract whatever information they feel they need. This is often painful and can result in insanity. Legilimency should not be used repeatedly on the same mind as you can cause the mind to shatter, very much like glass and cause irreversible damage.”

“So, how can you defend against a Legilimens? Well, there is a method of defence against and unwanted breach into your mind known as Occlumency. There is no spell for this, nor do you need the use of your wand. Occlumency is, in very basic terms, the magical defence of the mind against external forces - a bit like the Shield Charm but exclusively for your mind. To be able to execute a good Occlumency barrier requires concentration. You have to keep your mind clear, your emotions under control. You have to be in complete command of your mind and not let it run wild. By being able to do this, you can do a number of things - block a Legilimens out completely though, if you’re dealing with a Dark Wizard, this could arouse suspicion. My personal preferred method is to simply push less important memories to the forefront of my mind, hiding the others underneath. I picture the inside of my mind like a hallway with many doors, some locked, some not. Those that are locked, the memories inside cannot be accessed. Occlumency is extraordinarily useful not only in resisting the power of a Legilimens but also the effects of Veritaserum and the Imperius Curse. There are other ways in addition to Occlumency that you can repel a Legilimens. If you are able to concentrate enough under such a duress, you can use physical magic cast from a wand to defend yourself and it is also possible that magic can be produced accidentally in times of desperation.”

She wrote bullet points on the board as she talked before setting down her chalk and moving back to the centre of the room. She clasped her hands behind her back and smiled gently. She needed to be reassuring for this next part.

“I have invited Professor Brooding into our lesson today to help me with a demonstration. She is an accomplished Legilimens, with excellent technique and wand movement. She will be trying to access my mind, my thoughts and my memories while I shall try to rebuff her. After this, I will be coming around the classroom and performing Legilimency on you.”

A few murmurs started up at this, some of the students clearly worried about what Tabitha could find in their minds. She quickly cut them off.

“You have no need to panic. I will not be forcing my way in so deeply. I will merely skim the very surface of your mind so all I should find there are your basic thoughts, hopefully about this lesson. I simply want you to get an idea of what Legilimency feels like. It will not hurt, you have my word but it might feel a bit weird and possibly slightly sickening. Professor Brooding has kindly prepared and brought many bottles of various calming draughts for any student who feels they need one. She will be available to pass them out to you, and will be keeping an eye out for any signs of problems.”

With that, she turned to face Mary and gestured to the available space at the front of the classroom. Once Mary was in position, Tabitha took the chair Mary had been sitting on and moved it to in front of the desk and sat down. She could’ve done it standing but it was just a precaution in case she had a bit of a funny turn during the demonstration.

Mary took a deep breath and did her best to feel powerful. She was sure nothing would go wrong; there was no more ideal a situation to participate in Occlumency or Legilimency than with two people who were prepared, expecting it, and not actually wanting to hurt each other. Mary kept this in mind as she stood, pushing her cascades of black hair-- finally left out of its normal braid and instead cinched in a number of silver ribbons-- over her shoulder. She stood opposite Tabitha and locked eyes with the professor. For a moment, she wondered what sort of feelings her face would betray, but she was pretty sure the level of concentration required for Legilimency would keep her looking focused.

“Are you ready?” Mary asked. In a classroom full of students holding their breath, Mary’s low voice seemed very loud. And then, clearing her thoughts and imagining her magic becoming a scalpel or a claw, or some other instrument of penetration, she spoke: “Legilimens.”

Her sight disappeared as Tabitha’s mind filled her vision. The floor beneath her feet, the wand in her hand, the sweat beading on her forehead, and Tabitha. Just Tabitha.

The view from outside the minds of the two teachers was vastly different to what was going on within. In fact, it seemed normal - well, not really. Beads of sweat were gathering on the foreheads of both women, though more seemed to be pouring from Tabitha’s brow, the effort of trying to force Mary out of her mind clearly taking more of a toll. Her features occasionally drew together when she winced, old memories being brought to the surface by Mary’s exploration - it wasn’t truly painful, more like the pain of a stiff limb that was being moved after not doing so for long time. The end of Mary’s wand still glowed with the Legilimens spell, indicating that it was an ongoing effort to maintain.

Suddenly, Tabitha let out a sharp gasp as she managed to overpower Mary’s Legilimency, throwing her successfully from her mind and returning with an abrupt jerk to her classroom and reality. She did feel somewhat queasy, having not had Legilimency performed on her for quite some time. However, she took a moment to gather herself and wipe away the sweat, then she was completely focused on her students. She hoped that she hadn’t freaked them out too much. Watching a demonstration of Legilimency could be uncomfortable and she felt that she just reassure them before she went ahead and started poking around in their minds - though not nearly as deeply as Mary had. On the other hand, they were Advanced students and this was the type of thing that they themselves may one day need to deal with. Her eyes met Mary’s, wanting to make sure that she was okay.

Mary acknowledged the look with a quiet nod, her mouth set too gravely to be a smile but certainly nothing unfriendly, either. She had a deep respect for the Defense professor and too much to think about right now so she put it aside. She managed to blink and clear her thoughts.

“Professor Hawthorne is indeed a skilled Occlumens,” Mary said, standing up straighter and addressing the students with a comforting smile. “No one has managed to throw me out before.” Her eyes flicked back to Tabitha’s as this comment sunk in. Her skills certainly lay primarily in potions, but it wasn’t her only ability. Her willingness to chase a Wampus cat with the woman was surely less surprising now. “I couldn’t want a better teacher for any of you,” she finished to the students, and then turned away to allow Tabitha to continue her lecture and herself time to collect the potions she suspected she’d most likely need first.

“Okay, class…” Tabitha began, standing up from her chair. The room seemed to spin slightly and she was perhaps slightly unsteady on her feet but was otherwise fine. “As you saw, Legilimency isn’t a short charm. It’s an ongoing effort, something that has to be maintained. It’s hard to do and takes incredible concentration so thank you to Professor Brooding for doing that for me. I know it’s not easy.”

She took a pause for a moment as the sickly feeling returned. It seemed to ebb and flow so Tabitha took a deep breath to sort herself out. “As for Occlumency, I know there wasn’t much to see. It’s very much dependent on what works for you. I want to reassure you that I wasn’t in pain but Legilimency can cause old and forgotten memories to resurface which can feel very odd. I will be coming round but I want you to remember not to panic - I will not be entering as deeply into your minds as Professor Brooding. Find out what kind of defence works for you - maybe a solid brick wall for me to run into will work or pushing an unimportant memory in front of the one that means something. Should you produce some accidental magic to repel me, don’t worry. I am not easily hurt and Professor Brooding is here to help. I am going to take five, ten minutes to prepare with her for our circulation. In the interim and while you are waiting for your turn, I’d like you to start work on your homework which is to discover, research and write about the creatures that use Legilimency. You may begin.”

OOC - okay! So, from here, Tabitha and Mary are both going to be coming round the room but only Tabitha will be performing Legilimency. As she’s said, it’ll only be performed on you lightly so nothing too dramatic should happen though as it’s being done for the first time, the feelings and sickness could be very present - some accidental magic could be caused if your student really doesn’t want Tabitha in their mind.. It’s up to you. If your student manages to repel Tabitha, she’ll likely say something like ‘well done’ or something equally positive with a smile before moving on. If they don’t, she’ll be reassuring. If you’re unsure about what she’d do in a particular situation, just ask. If anything major happens that requires a bigger input from Tabitha or Mary, just tag either of us. Big thank you to Mary's author for participating in writing this lesson!

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