Jozua Sparks, Teppenpaw
The missing Spark
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:49

Potions was Jozua’s best class. It wasn’t his favorite - that was DADA, which was a close second place in terms of being his best class. Nor was potions even the one class he had always scored the highest grades in, at least not until last year when he stopped blowing up his cauldron on purpose (while making it seem an accident). But it was the one he understood the best, the one he had put in the most effort to learn. After all, to be a safe and responsible firebug, one had to have a very good grasp of exactly how the ingredients worked together if one wanted to create an alarming amount of smoke or induce explosions without actually endangering anybody.

Now that he was Being A Good Wizard, though, a lot of the appeal of the class had been lost. He had no interest in pursuing the subject professionally, except in as much as it might apply to curse breaking. As potions was one of the prerequisites for the college program he wanted to attend, he figured that amount of application was closer to ‘some’ than ‘none’ but potions for its own sake just wasn’t for him.

So while he briefly considered the offer of the assistantship Professor Brooding was making available, he just as swiftly rejected it. Maybe if Professor Hawthorne made a similar opportunity, he could go for that, but now that he couldn’t blow things up, potions just didn’t have the spark (heh) and shine it used to have for him.

When Professor O’Malley had still been teaching, he spent most of the first half of fifth year keeping his head down, and hoping she was too busy staying on top of the other accident magic disasters from the rest of the class to get too suspicious about why the usual disasters from him had so abruptly stopped. Then after she was stuck outside the school during the Quarantine, he spent the rest of the year more concerned about (a) the realization that he’d been the one to infect the whole school with a plague, and (b) his upcoming CATS to really dwell too much on what he was missing in the class.

Now though, with the new teacher, he was less concerned about discovery since she didn’t have a low bar baseline to compare him against. And his RATS were still too far off to be be a distraction. So he wondered sometimes, what she thought of him, with his fine technique and excellent grasp of how ingredients reacted together, and the sad, longing looks he gave to his fire seeds every time he left them in his ingredient kit instead of dropping them on the sly into a potion where they had no business being.

At least today’s lesson wasn’t one that he would have been inclined to mess with. With unknown potions, the risk of a bad reaction would have been too high. He

As he copied down Golpalot’s Law, he wondered briefly if it applied to poison combinations that had the same antidote. Like if Poison A and Poison B were both neutralized by a bezoar, would a bezoar cure a poison made of A and B mixed together? Professor Brooding’s example did not clarify the issue, but it did not seem pertinent to the day’s lesson so he tabled the thought and made a note to ask later. He might have time during class today if he sorted out what the blends were quickly enough, otherwise it could wait until their next theory lesson on the topic.

He filled a vial from each of the cauldrons provided, and labeled each one with his name, the date, and the appropriate potion identifier.

Bringing the five vials back to his desk, he started by examining color and consistency. He noted down the ingredients that could be eliminated or indicated based on those factors. As he was unused to working with blends, he obviously could not recognize specific potions based on that, but any potion with fire seeds in it had to be a little cloudy, and usually smoked a bit, so he could eliminate any potion that used those from a clear translucent or even a uniformly opaque blend.

He still did not have any solid leads on what any of the blends could be when he finished that step. Mostly that had been an exercise in elimination, rather than positive identification. But it was a good place to start and gave him a few clues on how to proceed.

The next least intrusive step would be smelling them. Heating, cooling, and introducing new ingredients would upset the current balance and might turn the potion inert or alter its effects. Smelling would not risk the integrity and might give him a solid positive on some ingredients.

He uncorked one and took a good sniff. He frowned, trying to identify any one individual scent. He took another whiff, and frowned again. Then he held the vial out to his neighbor and asked, “Does that smell like its got fluxweed in it to you?”

  • Identifying Your Opportunities [Advanced: VI, VII]Professor Mary Brooding, Fri Sep 7 02:08
    "The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components." - Golpalott's Third Law Mary was writing Golpalott’s Third Law on the... more
    • Of Fairs, Foreign Boys and Family DysfunctionTasha DuBois, Aladren, Tue Oct 9 05:33
      Tasha fairly bounced into Potions. She was super looking forward to midterm and it put her in a pretty good mood.Not that she wasn't normally in one though the whole Juniper-Finn-Gwen thing did put a ... more
    • The missing Spark — Jozua Sparks, Teppenpaw, Thu Sep 13 10:49
      • I can substitute.Lily Spencer, Pecari, Sun Sep 16 18:24
        Potions was one class Lily hadn’t planned on taking as an Advanced class, but her course load had been too little this year, so she’d taken it on. It didn’t seem too terrible so far, and they had a... more
        • Jozua sniffed again after Lily gave her assessment. Yes, quite potentially polyjuice in there. That had fluxweed and wormwood and he could just barely detect both by scent in his phial. He wasn’t... more
          • As is learning to breathe.Professor Mary Brooding, Wed Oct 3 23:05
            "Hold your breath, Mr. Sparks," Mary smiled, approaching the student at the sound of breaking glass. At least students wore shoes to class, a benefit to more formal potion-making settings. She waved... more
            • How about learning to play it cool?Jozua Sparks, Thu Oct 4 08:52
              He hadn’t thought to hold his breath. He had, after all, just been sniffing at the potion, but at the professor’s instruction, he did so immediately and without question. When covered with an unknown ... more
              • Startled by Jozua's reaction, Lily dropped more than enough of the potion she was holding on the leafy plant in front of her, and the entire thing shrunk - pot and all. She would have written down... more
Click here to receive daily updates