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Professor Wright
Splish, splash (Advanced Charms).
Fri Sep 1, 2017 09:46

Gray had spent his summer pleasantly enough, he supposed: reading, writing, playing with his infant nephew, submitting scripts and manuscripts everywhere he could, giving rejection letters to the aforementioned nephew to play with until Anne caught on and took him to task for that because of something about papercuts, and writing letters to people he’d promised stakes in his will when he’d first taken the job at Sonora to tell them he was going to have to disappoint them for a bit because he had unexpectedly survived his first half-year back at school. All too soon, however, his mother (who did not always seem to entirely notice that her only child was technically a grown-up; Gray had joked to Anne that he ought to propose marriage to Jera sometime and see if that would make Mom regard him as someone else’s problem) had started asking whether or not he had all his things in order for the start of his second year.

He was reasonably sure he did, which meant he had no doubt forgotten any number of very important things. He had enough of his ducks in a row, though, to begin classes, and he thought he could figure out a way around anything else.

“Hello, everybody – especially welcome to our sixth years. Everyone have a good summer? Hope you all got some rest, anyway, because my colleagues and I spent ours planning new and inventive ways to keep you all busy.”

He doubted this overall. Daniel might have such things in store for those taking DADA – classic Aladren overachiever, Daniel had been when they’d been in school together, and Gray didn’t get the impression he’d changed that much – but as Isis barely had time to breathe on an average day, Sophie had twins, Selina had been at this for so long that Gray had to remind himself sometimes that they were colleagues and he was allowed to call her by her name, and Nathan was a Teppenpaw with a cat, Gray suspected the classes were all going to remain about as difficult as they had been last year. His own might be an exception, but even he couldn’t tell if they were going to get harder (because he had more of a clue what he was doing) or easier (because he had more of a clue what he was doing).

Students, however, didn’t need to know any of that. “First charm we’re going to work on this year isn’t anything flashy to look at unless you really put your mind to it,” he told them. “The incantation is Aguamenti. Anyone want to guess what it means and tell me why you know?”

He took answers and awarded five points to the first person to mention ‘water.’ “Very good. As some of you may know, agua, aqua – these words refer to water in different languages. Menti is the part of this incantation that’s really interesting. Anyone know what I’m talking about if I mention something called the dative case? It doesn’t have anything to do with what day of the month is. It’s Latin grammar.” And also a lot of other things grammar, but that wasn’t really important right now. “It’s a directional case – in English, we might say that right now, Professor Wright is giving a talk about grammar to the confused Advanced students who thought they were here to learn Charms,” he said, writing ‘to’ on the board and underlining it twice. “So in this incantation, Aguamenti, we’ve got two words – water and menti, which is the dative form of mens - mind, intellect, reasoning power. So we have ‘water’ and ‘mind.’ What is giving and what is being given?”

The first thought Gray, at least, had had was ‘water to the mind,’ which had made Anne laugh at him. She had reminded him that direction was a complicated business in most languages and then spelled it out for him: the mind was moving to water. He took a few guesses from the class before writing the correct answer on the board.

“The mind to water,” he said. “One thing this means, of course, is that you need to focus on water while you’re performing this charm to make it work properly. Does that remind anyone of any of your other classes? Seventh years, that question’s particularly for you, or at least those of you who’re in Transfiguration, too. One of the links between Charms and Transfiguration is that for a lot of things to work, you have to be very focused on the effect you’re trying to achieve, and any of you in Professor Skies’ class, too, might be thinking, ‘wow, Professor, this sounds a lot like we’re conjuring something. First it was grammar and now it’s Transfiguration. When are you going to get to Charms?’ Well, we’re in Charms now – Advanced Charms. In two weeks, I want each of you to have written a coherent argument about why the Aguamenti charm is a charm and not a conjuration, and ‘because Gamp’s law of elemental transfiguration doesn’t stop it from working’ doesn’t count as a complete answer. There are a lot of books in the library, obviously, but I’ve also pulled some that help you get started today in class.”

There were books and scholarly journals on a long, narrow table before his desk. Some were rigidly classical works which did not admit the use of any but the classical elements, others were articles by ambitious youths arguing that Muggle things like water cycles and the water in the air accounted for why water could seemingly be conjured up while food could not. A stack of assignment sheets sat beside the resources and asked them to address at least one counterargument and to at least attempt to explain why it didn’t hold up as well as the position the student was taking. The paper only had to be three to five feet long on parchment, as it was early days yet.

“When I stop talking, everyone come up and get an assignment sheet for the paper and a goblet,” he said, pointing to the goblets also on his resource table. “Work on filling the goblet with water first.” Some would struggle to get any water together at all, while others would have trouble limiting the amount of water they produced at one go; this was why Gray was wearing rain boots beneath his robes and had his umbrella on stand-by. He had also practiced the Drought Charm extensively last night and figured he could have the room mostly presentable before a prairie elf killed him or another student killed him- or herself slipping in another class. The thing was just going to be to keep an eye on them to make sure nobody let a water-beam fight get out of hand or started trying to soak female classmates’ shirts to the point that said female classmates became indecent. Hopefully, as it was the first day with the spell, none of them would have that kind of proficiency, but he had learned quickly that this teaching malarkey required planning for every contingency. This was why the magazines and books were additionally under a glass cover he had conjured up; it could be easily lifted to access the materials, but he wouldn’t find himself finding out exactly how angry a mild-mannered librarian could get if some water did fly this way.

OOC: Welcome to Advanced Charms! You should all be pretty familiar with the posting rules by now, so just keep an eye out for posts where other students give answers to questions Gray asked in the lesson and please, please, please, feel free to make up and expound upon theories. Tag Gray if you need him and take note that he will intervene in any water fights before they get out of hand. Have fun!

    • Diving in at the deep end [Tag Ingrid]Louis Valois, Aladren, Wed Sep 20 09:38
      Deciding which subjects to continue at RATS level had been difficult for Louis. Part of him just wanted to go wild and choose all of them, although he recognised that was a rather stupid idea. He... more
      • Sink or swimIngrid Wolseithcrafte, Pecari, Tue Sep 26 03:41
        Care of Magical Creatures was the first subject Ingrid had chosen. She wanted to work with animals, and so that had been easy. Everything else, she saw as a compliment to that. Charms, Defence,... more
        • Nearer sinking, I'd sayLouis, Wed Nov 1 13:36
          Louis laughed at Ingrid’s response to his question. “Two drops? That seems better than a deluge,” he countered, winking at her before turning back to his goblet. Nice move, idiot , he chided himself... more
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