Floo Network

Detection I

Started by M. B. Montgomery, April 01, 2021, 11:57:06 am

M. B. Montgomery

Professor Msaed Montgomery was feeling a little nervous this morning. He was just about to embark on teaching his first every Defence Against The Dark Arts class at Hogwarts. While he wasn't a newcomer to teaching, this would be his first time working with children. He imagined that it would be quite a different experience than teaching curse breaking trainees at Gringotts. As nervous as he was though, he felt also excited.

The decision to start the beginning of term with a practical lesson had been an easy one to make. He hoped it would engage the students and hopefully make them feel like they were learning something useful. Reading about dangerous creatures, curses and artifacts from a textbook certainly had its place, but it was hardly his preferred teaching approach.

He'd arrived in the classroom a good half hour early to make sure that everything was in perfect order. The blackboard was clean, the desks and benches were arranged in four tidy columns and the dark detectors he would be teaching with today were in a box on his desk. Right next to it there was a second box with rings, goblets and playing cards and other knickknacks. He put down his pet niffler, Inaya, in her little play pen next to his desk. They'd practised her staying in there for the duration of a lesson over the last couple of weeks. He hoped that today everything would go well, and he would be able to get through his teaching material without Inaya causing any trouble.

Following his meeting with first year Tristan on the Hogwarts Express, he'd come to the decision to wear a purple outer robe over his customary white linen thobe. It wouldn't do to be seen as biased in favour of any one of the school's houses. Though he normally preferred his reds, Msaed thought it better to make a neutral first impression if possible.

As the students filtered into his classroom, Msaed nodded to each one to welcome them to his class. Keeping an eye on the clock he waited until one minute past nine to allow any stragglers to find their seats. Then he closed the classroom door and positioned himself to the right of the blackboard before beginning to speak.

"Welcome to Defence Against The Dark Arts. My name is Professor Montgomery and I will be teaching you this term. I'm a former curse breaker, so I have a lot of practical experience. Next to my desk you will find my niffler, Inaya. She'll mostly be sleeping. Don't tease her or she might end up stealing all your valuables."

"As far as I am concerned you are all outstanding students. Please, don't make me change my mind about that. In order to not lose your perfect outstanding grade, I expect that any assignments I give are turned in on time. You should participate in each class by contributing to our theoretical discussions and by attempting and completing the practical portion of each class."

"In fact, I would like to give all of you as much practical experience in this subject as possible. In order for you to do that I need your help. Please listen to me when I give instructions and don't stray from the group. We will be spending a lot of time out on the grounds, working with your wands as well as other tools. Today, if I can get through all the theory in a timely manner, we will be spending the second lesson of this double block outside as well."

"Are there any questions so far?"

He paused briefly.

"Alright, good."

He lifted one of the dark detectors out of the box on his desk and held it up to the room.

"Who wants to start us off today by telling me their name, what this is and how to use it?"

Tristan Moor

Tristan fiddled with his textbook pages, pointedly avoiding a direct look at the professor. The train ride to Hogwarts was still fresh in his mind, and after having some time to think and reflect, he begrudgingly commended Professor Montgomery.

To hide in plain sight took some serious skill. He knew if he wanted to prove the man guilty, he would have to play a long, scheming game. His first order of business was to gain his trust, and what better way to do that than befriend Inaya? The sooner he could get her safely away the better, in his opinion.

Tristan made sure to stand up first, looking about the rest of the room with an intense glare that was sure to intimidate. He wasn't sorted into the house of lions, as he imagined. It didn't make him any less fearsome, and he would just have to remind everyone at that. He cleared his throat loudly for effect.

"I'm Tristan Moor, and I'm eleven years old," he said importantly, pretending to not notice that the rest of his class was indeed also eleven. "And that, sir, is a box with three metal eyeballs mounted onto it." Maybe the professor had trouble seeing, but Tristan felt it was rather obvious to see. He wondered what the contraption was meant to do. "It's a watching device of some kind," he continued, thinking aloud. "Maybe it sees invisible people?" The gauge at the bottom was funny-looking, though he couldn't imagine what use it would be for invisibility detection. Maybe it told you how much of an invisible person was in the room?

He eyed the front of the classroom as he settled back down in his seat, trying to catch a glimpse of the sleeping Inaya. He had some trouble last night searching his things, but Tristan had found an old belt buckle and polished it to shine. He thought maybe Inaya would enjoy it, but hadn't gotten to the 'giving it to her' part, yet. He could always just sneak in after class, but it was probably better to slip it to her when professor Montgomery was occupied elsewhere.

Bobby Cashmore

Bobby had been surprised to learn from his timetable that this early lesson with the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher was in fact arranged with different students to his usual class - it wasn't just the third-year Ravenclaws, but seemingly as an introduction to the students, Professor - Montgomery was it? - had mixed them up between years and houses. This year was mostly first-years - but had a few second-years and a few third-years in it. If you weren't already further along you might not notice that this was how it was set up.

As a way of getting to know people you didn't already know, Bobby thought it was a bit weird but he assumed the teacher had a good reason for it. If nothing else, he might make some new friends in this class simply by being with other students he wouldn't normally.

He did like the new teacher's approach - Defence Against the Dark Arts is inherently an active subject and no amount of pure theory would be enough - and he was intrigued by the notion that Montgomery was a curse breaker. He must have seen a lot of very interesting magic over the years and Bobby hoped he might be able to find a few minutes to talk about what being a curse breaker was really like. It still sounded very interesting.

Montgomery had produced a small device - some kind of dark detector - in front of the class and was asking for anyone to talk about it. Bobby had never seen anything quite like it but quietly wondered if he was expected to have some insight being less new.

And so it was with little surprise that one of the first-years stood up, announced his name and age - he might have assumed everyone was a first year - and pointed out the very obvious. Bobby hadn't paid much attention to this year's intake that weren't shuffled into Ravenclaw - but he vaguely remembered the name Moor, Tristan being enthusiastically greeted by the Hufflepuff table. That took some guts, being the first to announce oneself... but Bobby knew better than to question the judgement of the Sorting Hat.

Bobby gave it a few minutes, in case anyone else volunteered - because he thought he noticed something - but no-one else, not even the more magically inclined seemed to want to volunteer.

In due course, he stood up and announced himself by name as a third year Ravenclaw, hoping internally that he wasn't mixed in to this group because his grades had been sub-par. They weren't the highest possible grades but they were very much into Exceeds Expectations... Then he caught himself, and went on to note that the three eyes on the device were directly magical, because things that come in threes always are.

"I think, Professor," Bobby frowned, "that the eyes represent the past, the present and the future, and the gauge tells you how much dark magic is around you. I'm not sure if you could use it for doing any more dark-detecting than to know if a place has old magic or new magic in it, but even knowing dark magic is around you seems really important to me. But," he finished, with a self-deprecating smile, "I could be completely wrong. I haven't seen anything like it in my studies so far."

With that he sat down. He felt dashed awkward being one of the few third years in the room, but he was definitely intrigued by Tristan. He also wondered how far off the mark he was with his guess.

M. B. Montgomery

Of course, Tristan was the first to respond. Msaed wondering if the Sorting Hat had perhaps missed a trick putting this buy in Hufflepuff. He was certainly brave. Maybe, also a little foolish but definitely brave. His wisdom on the subject of dark detectors was a little questionable. Msaed suppose he wasn't wrong in stating that it was a box with three metal eyeballs, but he had been hoping for something slightly more elaborate. Some theories followed, and though not technically wrong, also not what professor Montgomery was hoping to hear.

He called up the next student, Robert Cashmore, who seemed to be a little more knowledgeable on the subject already.

"Yes indeed," he confirmed enthusiastically before turning to speak to the whole class again, "This is a standard issue dark detector. Three eyes, in the hopes of catching past, current, and future usage of the Dark Arts. Especially that last aspect doesn't work very well with these cheaper detectors, but there are a couple of tricks to improve on their efficiency."

He focused on Bobby again, seeing how he had proven himself as fairly competent. "Do you know how to turn it on? Maybe, you could just check for me if the classroom is safe."

Msaed walked over to Bobby's desk and handed the dark detector over to him.

"While Mr Cashmore figures out how to use this device, would anyone else like to offer exactly what kind of Dark Magic we can detect with these?"

Msaed passed the packaging the dark detector had come in as well as a promotional pamphlet for it down another row of the desk for the students to take a look at. For today he wanted to keep the focus on working with dark objects and artifacts, rather than attempting to find a dark wizards or dark spell being cast. While such use cases were of cause possible, it was hard to interpret the results. Objects on the other hand produced a steady magical signature that was quite easy to detect.

Assuming Cashmore could figure out how to turn on the detector, it would probably sound an alarm any second now. The giant box of mildly cursed objects on his desk should be enough to make it pick up the trail. He'd tried it out before starting the lesson just to be on the safe side.

Bobby Cashmore

Truth be told, Bobby had no idea how to actually use the device in his hand. Actual Dark detectors weren't a thing they'd used in his first two years, preferring to do more theoretical rather than practical work, and with a much broader focus on creatures, their detection and defences, as well as some general spellwork.

It had no buttons or switches on it, its surface otherwise smooth - other than the dial and the metal eyes. Clearly, then, it required some external influence - he had his dad's words ringing in the back of his mind, that "nothing made is made to work accidentally", so it must have some triggers somewhere.

He tapped the box with his wand and muttered "Aparecium!" quietly, and a small brass handle revealed itself on the one side of the box. Bobby thought idly of the wind-up handles of gramophones like the one his grandparents had.

The metal eyes opened lazily, as if awakening out of a deep sleep, and blinked at Bobby in turn from 'left' to 'right' as he looked at it, which he supposed was in order of past, present and future, and all three stared at him for a moment - in as much as three clearly manufactured eyes on an otherwise inanimate object can 'stare' at someone. Bobby hoped, at least, that these were as manufactured as they looked. The notion of three formerly-owned-by-presumably-deceased-bearer eyeballs troubled him.

The first eye rolled around, in directions that were viscerally uncomfortable to a young man who was used to eyes only going a small distance... before the eye looked at him and closed. The second eye rolled around, back on itself, into its socket much like the first had, then it angrily blinked and stared with some alarm at a box next to Professor Montgomery's desk.

The third eye rolled around, more lazily than the first two had, with far less vim and vigour, rolling only once back in its socket rather than the several times the others hand, before staring vaguely in the direction where Professor Montgomery was standing.

Finally the gauge moved from end to end, energetically at first, before settling approximately two thirds along its scale, just within the 'yellow' section but before getting to 'green'.

Then a modest buzzing noise occurred - it was decently loud but not ear-splitting, of a middle pitch. Sort of like a telephone ring but continuous rather than ringing.

Bobby assumed that meant he had successfully turned it on and that it was picking up something in the here-and-now as prepared by the Professor and perhaps something in the future.

"Sir, I think it's picking up something by your desk, but I don't quite understand the other reading." It had occurred to him that that might not be the future as he'd supposed, but the past - and it was tracking Montgomery prepping the class. Or he was right about it being the future and it was a portent of something to come. Either way... better not to mention it, and hoped instead that the professor explained.

Grace Pemberton

Defense Against the Dark Arts was one of the lessons Grace was especially looking forward to. She knew that many of the older students considered the subject fun and there was also that she liked the idea of being able to defend herself. Grace had been in a couple of fights while growing up in Godric's Hollow. She'd given a nasty bully a bloody nose and though her mum didn't approve of it at all, Grace didn't feel in the least sorry. He'd deserved it.

Ever since picking up her wand at Ollivander's shop she also really wanted to try it out. So far, she had waved it around a lot and produce an obscene amount of glittery sparks whenever possible, but it wasn't she same as being able to cast proper spells. Unfortunately, her mum hadn't been willing to teach her any spells before classes started. She insisted that classes were the right time and place to learn about such things. Grace disagreed. She was sure the sons and daughters of pureblood witches and wizards were taught how to cast magic at home.

Grace fretted over starting out at a disadvantage, but she was determined to make up for it. She'd impress her professors and Gryffindor would win the house cup. She was determined.

Mostly knowing her way around the castle already she arrived at the classroom just in time and settled into a seat next to Tristan Moor. She supposed that he was just as excited about this class as she was. Tristan was always talking about heroics, defeating dark wizards, and saving the world. It's what they liked to play when they were not roaming the forests near Godric's Hollow in an epic quest of exploration.

It seemed their first lesson would be about dark detectors. Grace frowned. This was  not a subject she knew an awful lot about. She'd read a little bit in the DADA text book, but she didn't feel enough to give an intelligent answer to professor Montgomery. Next to her Tristan piped up with a brilliant response though and she smiled. Well, she'd thought it was brilliant. Their professor apparently was less impressed and instead focused his attention on one of the older Ravenclaw students.

Bobby did sound rather smart too. Grace watched as he was turning on the dark detector to give the room a sweep.

"So, does this work based on how close you are to something dark?" she asked into the classroom and without being called by the professor.

"Bobby, if you go nearer that box on Professor Montgomery's desk..."

It was in that moment she realised she was speaking in class without being called on. She hastily covered her mouth with her hand.

"So sorry, Professor Montgomery" she mumbled, feeling utterly mortified.

Bobby Cashmore

That young witch - he'd seen her at the Sorting this year, and was frowning trying to remember her name. Pendleton? Prenderton? Pemberton, that was it, Grace Pemberton. She was rather striking and, so it seemed, somewhat impetuous.

And while she was clearly embarrassed by her forthright nature, Bobby thought she might be entirely right, and so he took a step towards the teacher's desk as she'd suggested, and the dial at the bottom clearly registered, moving away from the green and more solidly into the yellow. The buzzing became more urgent, more angry than before, but only a little.

Clearly it was detecting some magic in the here and now, in the box by the professor's desk, and stepping forward made it more clearly aware of the 'danger'.

Bobby was torn, he wanted to say something to the effect of Grace's comments being right, but didn't want to say anything in case Professor Montgomery was less than impressed by the interruptions.

Instead, he turned to the side, and took a step in parallel to his facing to the teacher's desk, with the eyes and gauge not changing in nature - since his distance to the dark objects hadn't changed any further, neither had any of the readings.

This, he hoped, would validate Grace's suggestions to her, without detracting from anything the professor might add. But more than that, he was clearly at a loss to demonstrate.

M. B. Montgomery

Professor Montgomery watched as Bobby was working out what to do with the dark detector, while giving the rest of the room some time to think about his question. It felt rather uncomfortable to allow the silence to happen, but he forced himself to give the children some room to think. He'd often made the same experience when training curse breakers. He asked what he thought was an obvious question and the room fell silent. Uncomfortable, but not a bad teaching moment. Somebody usually broke the silence when the tension got too uncomfortable.

 Unfortunately, this time, his theory didn't quite work out. It was the librarian's daughter who piped up without him giving her permission to speak. He supposed he shouldn't encourage such behaviour, but he found her enthusiasm rather endearing.

"Next time, Miss Pemberton, would you try raising your hand before speaking out of turn?"

In Professor Montgomery's opinion it was important to reinforce the rules whenever they were challenged. Wanting to keep his classroom orderly, he thought it best to communicate his expectations calmly and clearly.

Bobby Cashmore, meanwhile, seemed to be happy to entertain Grace's suggestion and was having good results with it. The dark detector gave a low-level buzz the closer he came to his collection of vaguely cursed items.

"As you can see, Miss Pemberton, was giving sound advice." He'd have normally given house points but seeing how the girl had talked out of turn that was not an option.

"This model of dark detector primarily responds to cursed objects. The buzzing sound you hear is quite low because this box of artifacts in front of me isn't particularly dangerous. It does contain some cursed objects, but nothing that would endanger anyone's health and safety in a serious way. Activating the curses might give you acne for a day or cause your hair to keep growing uncontrollably. Anyway, because these items are quite a low thread level the detector doesn't pick up on them all that well."

"Aside from wanting to keep all of you safe, I've brought these objects because they make for good practise. In real world scenarios people would try to hide the magical signature of a cursed item and therefore the genuine article would sound quite similar to this once a concealment charm or two have been applied."

"And this brings me for my task for you today. I would like you to split into two groups and pair up. One part of the group will pick up a "cursed" object from the box on my desk and hide it anywhere in the castle. You have 10 minutes for that. Then I will release the other half of the class equipped with the detectors in order to find your hidden objects. Easy, right?"

The professor gave a genuine smile.

"There is however a small catch. You've seen how weak the response is when all the cursed objects are bunched up together in the same place. Once the items are spread out, they will be harder to find and there might be other objects around the castle that could give you a fake reading. So you need to work together and watch out." He'd put special emphasis on the words 'work together' clearly leaving the class with a hint as to what they should be doing.

Grace Pemberton

Of course Grace was down for the first of the two groups. Thanks to her mum she knew the castle well and could think of several good hiding places within Hogwarts. She picked up one of the artefacts from Professor Montgomery's box of mildly cursed items. Holding her chosen necklace rather gingerly she gave the man a raised eyebrow and nervous look.

"It's safe to hold like this?" She asked nervously. The professor nodded. "And anywhere in the castle is permissible?" came her next question just to confirm the parameters of the challenge. The professor gave another nod. Grace smirked. She knew exactly what to do now.

"Back here in ten minutes," she heard Professor Montgomery say as she exited the classroom.

Now onto her task. She had to hide the item somewhere for her classmates to find. Her impression was that if she did a good job with the hiding, Professor Montgomery would be pleased. After already messing up in his class today, it was important she corrected the professor's opinion of her.

Grace immediately made her way to Harold Prendergast's office. The Arithmancy teacher was a nice guy and maybe she could deposit the item somewhere inside his desk if she asked nicely. Her first impression of the professor was that he was easily distracted, which could certainly work out to her advantage in hiding them item. She knocked on the door with determination, but there was no response. Ugh, he was probably in the library again arguing with her mother. That seemed to be their new favourite thing and, honestly, Grace didn't like it.

So much for her plan. What now? She supposed if Prendergast didn't work she could always try one of the other new teachers. Minerva McGonagall she was sure would see through any shenanigans, but the new COMC teacher probably had a sense of humour. He was still young and didn't strike her as scary. Asking him outright to hide the item was likely out of the question. However, she could intentionally forget the necklace she had taken in the man's office. There was a plan.

Grace knocked on the COMC Professor's door and waited to be called in.

Salem Anwar

If Salem was honest with himself, he didn't quite know what was going on. Watching the rather crowded classroom interact was interesting, but he couldn't seem to glean more than a vague understanding of what was being taught. He was a little embarrassed to ask, given that there were many younger students also in the classroom. He knew he didn't have the best reputation when it came to academics-- his year mates were well aware that his strengths weren't in book-smarts-- but Salem really didn't want to risk embarrassment in front of the new students.

He watched with interest as the first year, Grace, explained what the dark detector was doing. Something about detecting a very faint cursed object? Except not a cursed object, just a fake one. "What's it picking up then...?" he muttered to himself, puzzled. He was sure he was missing something. Maybe he'd ask a friend later, not right there in class with everyone present. Bobby seemed to be following the lesson just fine.

The class was suddenly getting up from their seats, moving about. Salem hadn't been prepared for a team activity, but it did sound a lot more interesting than sitting down all day. Maybe Professor Montgomery would teach a fun class yet. Salem was caught up in looking around the room, noticing a few people take 'cursed' items from the box and a few stragglers chatting with their friends and not paying much attention.  Soon he found himself left standing with a few people, a dark detector haphazardly balanced in his hands. The room was a lot less crowded, about half of the students had left to go hide their items.

"Hi! Uh, nice to meet you! The name's Salem," he nodded to the few nearest to him, eyes meeting the blond first year who had spoken up first. Rather Gryffindor of him, he thought privately.

"I'm not entirely sure, but maybe we should split up. We could cover more ground that way?" Salem didn't know how they were meant to work together with the castle as huge as it was. He said as much to his group. "Unless we can communicate over distance somehow, I don't see how we can do this," he laughed, sheepish.

Ophiuchus Yaxley

May 14, 2021, 01:33:20 am #10 Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 06:18:07 am by Ophiuchus Yaxley
Ophi scanned the room before sliding into the back of the class and taking a seat next to the third year Ravenclaw. She had a tendency of making it to classes a few minutes late, often losing time to her interests. She took out her leather bound notebook, opening it to a blank page. She pulled out a Self-Writing Quill and began silently writing down notes about the lesson. "One group hide the "cursed" object, the other use detectors to find the hidden object...right. She bit her fingernails as she watched the quill write down comments made from her teachers and her classmates. Under her breath she repeated what was being written. Sometimes it helped her remember the material in the class when she did this.

Before she could gather her bearings, Ophi noticed that the young Gryffindor stood up and raced out of the room with the cursed item. Right, seems like we're going to play a game of hide and seek. she thought to herself. If there was something Ophi excelled at, it was spatial awareness.

She tapped the Self-Writing Quill with her wand to turn it off, and picked up the quill before tapping it into the ink well. After refilling the ink in the quill, Ophi drew a rudimentary picture of the first floor of castle as she remembered it. "Hi Salem." she smiled politely. "They've got to come back in 10 minutes. I'm sure they'd stay on the first floor. Maybe the second floor?" If there was something Ophi liked, it was a competition.

Ophi frowned, twisting the end of her long brilliant red hair. It appeared as though she was deep in thought. "I think we could assign parts of the first floor to different people...and then meet at our class after we search those divided areas?" She paused. "After we finish the first floor, we can make a plan to tackle the second." She stood up, proud of herself for coming up with a plan. It seemed quite doable, too.