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Go Back   SnitchSeeker.com > Forums > SnitchSeeker RPG > SnitchSeeker RPG Archives > Hogwarts Archive > Term 52: May - August 2019


Term 52: May - August 2019 Term Fifty-Two: It Comes (Sept 2098 - June 2099)

 
 
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:49 PM
Goblinfrog Goblinfrog is offline
 
Default Office for Professor O'Hara

The previous occupant of this office (O.Curtains) had decorated the office with music boxes and had cast amber light over the room to give a feel of antiquity. Before him, Professor Marchand had kept a cozy office with shelves full of books - and a plate full of cookies as a nice present for visitors.

Compared to them and previous history of magic professors, Alice O'Hara's office looked almost empty. She had stripped it to the bare essentials, with only two things posted on the wall. One was an extended timeline of the past five hundred years of wizarding history, and the other was a chart with information on why exercise and a healthy diet are important. The rest of the walls were sparkling clean, but empty. Two chairs face Alice's rectangle desk, both are tall and straight to make you sit up straight. No slouching in her presence for you!

Yet there is one similarity with how Professor Marchand kept her office several terms ago. A plate of food is on the table for visitors. Carrots, though, not cookies.
Old 06-28-2019, 03:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Goblinfrog View Post
Offering tea and fruit was just pleasantries. It would have been rude not to offer. Malachi's polite refusal didn't come as a surprise.

Pleasantries aside, now they could get on to business. Her expression still somber, the professor uncrossed her hands from behind her back, and went to her seat, just as she'd been commanded. Her chair was slightly raised - ensuring that she would seem taller than whoever was visiting.

The book she had been reading (a King Arthur legend) lay next to the pear bowl on her desk.

"How are you, sir? It's been awhile since you visited me in my office. How can I impress you?" Saying impress instead of help.

The somberness was still there...it would remain until she heard what he had to say. Then it could vanish completely - or crank up a few degrees. Depending on hwhether she was right in assuming this was about the incident that had been on her mind ever since it happened.
....that....was an odd way of putting it. For a moment, the man’s brows furrowed in confusion. He didn’t...she wanted....impress him? While it was always a good idea to be in good standing with your employer, it struck him somewhat odd she’d outright ask how she could impress him—fitting as the question was given the circumstances.

The Headmaster supposed he may as well get into it then, yeah? She had specifically asked and while he didn’t expect it to be asked like that, he did have an answer.

Being capable of carrying out all the duties you’ve been tasked with would be a good start.” Not said unkindly but with some amount of conviction. He’d heard a few accounts of all the terrors that took place on the grounds and he couldn’t say they left him feeling all too confident.

“Tell me, is there a reason you go around without your wand? I’m only assuming—do correct me if I’m wrong—as you made no attempts at magic or improving the situation even after Thereos arrived with a viable solution.” Yes, he’d heard some concerning things about that day at the boathouse. “Or perhaps you did have your wand. I’ve considered that too, but then it doesn’t explain the chaos I was informed of. In dire situations, I need to know that my staff can conduct themselves appropriately and protect the students. When you’re the only adult present, you’re the one they depend on. The one who has to remain even somewhat calm, take charge and put an end to the disaster wherever and however possible. You understand this, yes?” Before he moved on to anything else.
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SPOILER!!: Malachi
....that....was an odd way of putting it. For a moment, the man’s brows furrowed in confusion. He didn’t...she wanted....impress him? While it was always a good idea to be in good standing with your employer, it struck him somewhat odd she’d outright ask how she could impress him—fitting as the question was given the circumstances.

The Headmaster supposed he may as well get into it then, yeah? She had specifically asked and while he didn’t expect it to be asked like that, he did have an answer.

Being capable of carrying out all the duties you’ve been tasked with would be a good start.” Not said unkindly but with some amount of conviction. He’d heard a few accounts of all the terrors that took place on the grounds and he couldn’t say they left him feeling all too confident.

“Tell me, is there a reason you go around without your wand? I’m only assuming—do correct me if I’m wrong—as you made no attempts at magic or improving the situation even after Thereos arrived with a viable solution.” Yes, he’d heard some concerning things about that day at the boathouse. “Or perhaps you did have your wand. I’ve considered that too, but then it doesn’t explain the chaos I was informed of. In dire situations, I need to know that my staff can conduct themselves appropriately and protect the students. When you’re the only adult present, you’re the one they depend on. The one who has to remain even somewhat calm, take charge and put an end to the disaster wherever and however possible. You understand this, yes?” Before he moved on to anything else.


So she was right. This was about the incident at the docks. But of course she was right. What else could it have been about? It seemed that no matter how hard she tried, there always was at least one incident per term in which she managed to anger some of her colleagues - and this - this was it.

Despite the somberness, she did not show any visible signs of nervousness. It would not have been good to let the headmaster see how she felt at this moment. Especially since calmness was the subject at hand.

"You are correct, I didn't have my wand with me at that moment - else I surely would have performed better." It did not occur to her to lie and say that she did have her wand. Being a professor who was known to spy on colleagues and students (during previous administrations), O'Hara knew all too well that lies tended to be discovered eventually. "I often do not take my wand with me when exercising. It's long and inflexible and would get in the way." Slight pause. Exercise was not the only time she didn't carry her wand. It would be better to admit that, she decided. "But I rarely take my wand out of my office at all, even when I'm not exercising. The only exceptions are when we go to Hogsmeade or sometimes at feasts. Most of the time, it stays in here." And she gently opened a drawer on her desk and took out her wand. A Hawthorne wand. She placed it on top of the desk.

She wanted Malachi closely for a reaction. Was he surprised, or did he already suspect as much? "I am sure you are aware, Headmaster, that I am the least magically gifted witch or wizard you have on you staff. My subject is teaching history, and that is where I excel." Well, that, and also enforcing harsh exercise regimes. She loved that part, but that was irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Alice nodded when the headmaster asked her if she understood that students counted on her. "I understand and agree fully with you if you are going to tell me I acted unprofessionally. I am fully at fault for not having my wand...but for every other mishap that happened on that dock, please take into consideration that I was hit very hard in the head. I wasn't thinking clearly and I was hallucinating with everyone else. I believe I would have controlled myself and been able to take control of the situation if I had not been almost killed by an oar. There were two things affecting my thinking." Still, I take full responsibility and I am sorry that I did not control myself better - even under those savage circumstances."
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”What?”

No, seriously, what? Malachi blinked at the woman for several silent moments, his mouth agape and his brain cells firing off in several directions at once. The rest of her words would need to hang on an extra few seconds to be registered because he was absolutely floored and it showed.

Eventually, when the man regained his composure, he shook his head. The gesture was both a reply to all she’d said and an extra measure to clear his head. “That’s....no. Just....no. That’s not acceptable.” The man may have asked her if she’d entirely lost her mind but would not let the sudden stress draw him from the professionalism he’d visited with. No. “In a school as unpredictable as this one, how could you think to leave your wand in your drawer? How do you propose to protect the students? Yourself? You’re job isn’t only to teach history of magic and it has nothing to do with the expectations set outside your classroom. There is actual danger. The kind that could get someone killed.” Quite frankly, the man was mindblown. He liked it better when he thought she did have her wand but had simply frozen.

“Everything you’ve mentioned about your reason for not being helpful on the dock, all that...that’s inconsequential if what you’re saying is true. Even in your right mind, how were you planning to protect the students without a wand? Would you physically lift them all? Somehow make your way through the thick fog and save them? What would have been your plan?” It was a serious question as the man was now far more concerned than he ever thought he could’ve been.

“I’m somewhat aware of your magical situation.” Only somewhat. He did not know the full extent but he was starting to get the full picture and given what he’d seen out on the grounds, it was terrifying. “When I kept you on as staff, I didn’t expect you would use that as an excuse or crutch when it comes to being prepared and keeping the students safe. If I recall, during the last term’s infestation you had also mentioned not being able to fully offer defense against the creatures.” Which admittedly should have been his first warning to dig deeper into things. This was a closer call.

“I can’t have it. I can’t knowingly have someone who isn’t properly equipped and competent at keeping the students safe still employed in a position to do so.” The board of governors and parents alike would no doubt have his head. It unsettled even him, too. “Rather than dwell on the past, I’d like to know what you plan to do about this. There should never be another time when you don’t have your wand.” It wasn’t a request. That’s reckless and negligent for someone in your position. Of course if you can’t use it, that makes little difference. Tell me, are you genuinely incapable of performing magic at a standard level? Is this something that can be addressed?” Malachi was more inclined to believe the former as by this age and stage in her life, surely the woman would have fixed the problem if she could. But he would ask all the same. Benefit of the doubt. The Headmaster could only imagine what the Minister would say if he knew. No mote howlers, thanks.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:17 AM   #5 (permalink)


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"I see now I have made a terrible mistake," she said when he had finished berating her. Her choice of words here had to be extremely thought out. Fixing her gaze directly into his (it would have been pathetic to avoid eye contact), she continued, choosing each word carefully. While she spoke, the fingertips on her left hand tapped silently against the desk. It was not so much a nervous reaction (the tapping was too slow and methodic for that) as it was merely giving them something to do. "To be frank, I did not truly anticipate there would be trouble on the grounds. I am physically capable of defending the students from vermin and other physical threats...as you know from our dreadful encounter with those rats last year. I would have killed them all if you had let me. But I was completely incapable to defend them against what happened at the dock...and I am to blame for that. It was my mistake to not have my wand with me...but apologizing doesn't fix the problem. I would not blame you if you asked for my resignation...but I am willing to do anything you ask if it will save my job. I will do almost anything. You know from reading my file how excellent I am at following orders. Tell me what I need to do to assure you that I am worthy of being on your staff." The somberness in her gaze (which never once looked away from Malachi's eyes) was replaced with a steely determination. She leaned forward slightly in her chair and her voice developed an edge. In the past she had been willing to be Julian's loyal minion to preserve her job, and now she was willing to do whatever Malachi requested.

Deciding that continued honesty was best, she shook her head when asked if she could perform magic at a standard level. She lifted up her wand and muttered, "Lumos." The wand lit up...but it was dim. "I perform...but not as well as I should. I will abandon parts of my exercise routine to focus on improving my magic. I have never been able to improve, but perhaps my determination will change that. If this is what you expect of me, then I promise I will devote myself to it. If you have a different plan, I will do that instead. So tell me, how may I impress you?"

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Old 07-08-2019, 12:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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With each new sentence she said, Malachi found himself spiraling further into shock and absolute confusion. It was to the point where her responses were literally stressing him out and the Headmaster honestly wasn’t sure where to begin. Was it possible to feel the moment your blood pressure began to rise?

There were several times when the man’s mouth opened only to close again. Words were proving difficult to grasp and if he was being honest, he could now feel the beginnings of a small headache rising. His stomach churned at the reminder of the previous term and the way she’d overreacted and frightened the students with her strong words. He could only hope that was a one off experience never to be done again.

“Saying you could handle small, pink creatures doesn’t equate to you being able to take on bigger and fiercer threats. Can you wrestle an acromantula? Take down or defend against a dragon with bare hands? Rescue a student being pulled away by grindylows? These are all threats that can occur on any given day. To say you didn’t think anything would go wrong is a terribly shortsighted way of operating in a magical environment. Constant vigilance, especially when there are young lives on the line. Lives you’ve been tasked with protecting.”

Her mention of her file and her willingness to do anything reminded him of yet another matter to be addressed but first. “The only way you can show me you’re fit to keep this job is to prove to me you’re capable of carrying out all required duties. That means being able to be a strong leader, calm in the face of disaster and danger. Magically competent. I need you up to the standards of a Hogwarts Professor. It’s not enough to say ‘I only teach History of Magic, my subject doesn’t need magic and I can’t cast so deal with it’. I need actual effort but more than effort, I need results. What would have happened if Thereos hadn’t found the lot of you? Would you all turn up missing because you didn’t have your wand and couldn’t use it even if you did? It’s a liability. You are making yourself a liability that the school can not afford. The only option is to get up to standard. I’ll arrange to have you undergo special training, first with me until we get this mist sorted, then down by the ministry during the summer. Take it seriously. You’ll be assessed after, before any plans of further employment can be discussed.” Those would be his terms.

“And another thing.” One the man found as curious as he found it confusing and concerning. “Why have you been sneaking around and asking the elves to spy for you?” When Algamus had come to him about it, he’d honestly found the whole thing....strange. Even now it was quite strange. What exactly are you looking for? And why?”
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Alice nodded fervently at everything she was told about needing to prove her magical ability. "Thank you for giving me a chance to prove myself, sir," she said in as humble a tone as she could manage. "I shall not disappoint you. I will of course take all the training you require of me. I will not let you down again." Training with Malachi could be...interesting.

But then his final question almost made her snap, again. She clenched and unclenched her fists, a rapid movement that hopefully he didn't read too much into. Then she tried to respond in as even a tone as possible. "Now that's not fair, Headmaster. Why do you accuse me of sneaking around?" She tried to sound a little hurt, though in reality she was just annoyed. "Those words make it sound as if I'm hiding things from you. I do not know what Algamus told you, but all I wanted was for the elves to tell me if they noticed anything strange or potentially dangerous. The elves wander this school at night and they see far more of it than we do in our day to day activities. I knew it was only a matter of time before something unexpected happened again. So I asked them to keep an eye out for such things. For my efforts, I was disrespected by Algamus and my motives were questioned. My history working for Julian was also brought up by the elves, as if that was evidence of my untrustworthy character."

She leaned back towards him, her expression a bit harder. "This past experience with the fog has made me feel more vindicated than ever in my failed attempt with the house elves. You've just finished telling me how I need to be prepared to defend the students. You've fairly pointed out my flaws and my weaknesses - namely, my lack of magical skill. It seems, however, that many of my colleagues (and perhaps you too) consider my strengths to be something to be held against me. My use of the invisibility cloak, my stealth, my interpretation of odd behavior - all of these are things you could use to help stop the next tragedy at this school before it happens. Yet you're not asking me to do anything, and when I get ideas of my own...they get squashed and I am accused of being a sneak. This has happened time and time again. Nearly every professor in this school keeps their distance from me because of these traits I listed. Perhaps attitudes will change when the next professor gets eaten by monsters...or the next student goes missing."

She leaned back in her chair and blinked several times, as if surprised at her own daring. She then refocused on the headmaster. "I don't mean disrespect, sir. It is frustrating to be insulted for things which I am not ashamed of."
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This time Malachi reached a hand up to rub at his face. Once again, the man found himself uncertain of where to really begin. Just when it seemed the conversation was going in a logical direction....O'Hara had veered off again and left him wondering how they got there.

He needed tea--or another of Beryl's draughts.

The Headmaster took a breath then raised his hands indicating he was about to speak and didn't want to be interrupted until he was done. No more rants. Just listening. "I didn't say Algamus told me anything." There were quite a few elves in the castle and she'd already jumped on the defensive. It was telling. "If you didn't like my choice of words, you needed only tell me as much and explain your situation calmly. There was no need for all....that." That earful on what was fair and weaknesses and colleagues not being friendly.

"In future, I'd like you to consider the way you react. It isn't enough to go off then recant after with a "meaning no respect". By then the damage is already done. Consider your words and your reactions before they come out. That....all that....there was no need for that. Last term when you went off threatening to kill the creatures, there was no need for such a reaction then either. Professionalism, that's another thing I'd like you to work on." This could have been a civilized conversation. There was no need for a tangent. "Now then, I understand you think you need to instruct the elves to be on the look out but what makes you so sure they aren't already? Why wasn't any of this run by me? I could have told you none of it was necessary. It could have saved you several arguments. Talking to me could spare you several of the hang ups that now exist."

His hand remained up, but he was winding down. "I haven't insulted you and I don't think that without having a conversation with your colleagues you can say that the things you've listed are the reason they don't talk to you. Seems to me a few conversations could go a long way here."
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If Algamus hadn't told Malachi, then who had? There weren't any students or colleagues in the kitchen when she'd visited - only elves. So unless the elves were gossiping with non-elves, then logically it must have been al elf who'd told him. (Unless a ghost had been hiding in the walls.) Come on, sir. It was obvious that Algamus had been the one to tell him. Not that she much cared. Contrary to the elves belief, this was NOT something she had been trying to hide from the rest of the staff or from Malachi - and so she really didn't care if Algamus told others about her plan.

Perhaps her latest outburst wasn't the best idea. It didn't seem to have helped her cause with Malachi. She took a deep breath and waited until he stopped talking. She wouldn't open her mouth until his hand had gone down. When it did, she began her reply. "Last year I went too far, I agree. It was wrong of me to scream in front of the students, I understand that now and I understood it moments after it had happened. It was unprofessional. But I do not believe it would have been wrong to kill those creatures who ate poor Dolly. I don't value their lives anymore than I value the life of an ant. I think killing them would have been morally justified. But yes, I expressed myself poorly, and I regret it very much." And yes, she would obey almost any direct order from Malachi. She would even retract her statement that the creatures lives did not have value, if he ordered her to. But no order could change the way she felt about it in private, and she would continue to express her honest opinions as long as he allowed her to.

The discussion naturally returned to the house elves. "I didn't run my plan for the house elves past you because I didn't think it would be a big deal. Clearly I was wrong, but I didn't see any reason to bother you about it at the time." Something he said made her pause. "Malachi...I noticed you just said my plan wasn't necessary. Could you please explain me why it isn't necessary? Are the house elves on a better lookout than usual? Toddles is still working here, isn't he? It was he who brought those abominations to the castle last year, and I do not recall any of his companions coming to any of us to tell us about their friends new pet. Clearly, there was no reason for the elves to suspect that his pets were dangerous...but that's the whole point of my plan. I didn't want the house elves to report something after it already seems dangerous. I wanted them to report anything out of place, whether or not it seemed dangerous. It's things like Toddles' little pet that would be caught under this system. I do not understand how anyone cay say it is a bad plan after all the strange things this school has experienced." It made sense to her. It made a lot of sense to her. She wasn't ranting right now, as her voice was calm and she had waited her turn to speak. Yet she wasn't done.

"In the future, I shall run everything past you, if that is your wish. But please, sir, I have never once been disloyal to you nor have I ever broken any school law. I do not express myself in the best way sometimes, and my magic is poor, but my loyalties have always been to the headmaster. Even if I fail in our upcoming lessons and I am unable to return to Hogwarts, you should always know that my intentions were never deceptive." It still stung how he'd accused her of sneaking.

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Old 07-10-2019, 01:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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He....wasn't going to comment on that any further than, "See to it we don't have any repeats of uncalled for outbursts. They help no one and make it more difficult for the students to know they can depend on you to keep a level head in dire circumstances." Any circumstances. Rasting had already come asking to drop the subject for reasons that fell along those lines. If he could prevent more students from losing faith in her, that would be the ideal situation.

The man couldn't tell her what to care for or how to value life. If she didn't believe or couldn't see that all life was important, he'd only be wasting his breath. The idea was quite unnerving to him but so long as she kept it to herself and remained respectful, it wouldn't be something they needed to debate. Others DID value life and could see how unnecessary it would've been to harm creatures that felt and thought and could feel pain. They were sentient beings, like cats and crows and humans. The more he thought about it was the more he questioned her character but the man wasn't here to debate her love of living things so...dropping that quickly before he could think too much about it.

Instead, he'd focus on her question. "It was unnecessary because the elves already know they should be on the look out and reporting dangerous or out of place things when they see them. It's not some novel idea that you've just invented. They've always known. It's like you telling them to breathe." That was why it was a waste of time, why she could have saved herself the energy if she'd come talk to him first. He could have told her that ages ago. "And if they don't think it's dangerous or strange or even worse if they decide they like it a whole lot, they'll never report it, regardless of what you say to them or how often you insist--again making it a fruitless endeavour. By your logic, if Toddles and the other elves had thought the creatures were dangerous, they would have said something because it was out of place. They didn't, even though they knew." The man's voice was even as he spoke, almost as if he was in class explaining a concept to his students. "If they walked outside tomorrow and found a steaming baby dragon but thought it was cute, they wouldn't report that either, especially not if they knew we'd send it away." The elves would not be quick to report things to someone who easily flew off the handle as she tended to. Hardly. "Do you see where I'm going with this? It's not the elves' jobs to be guardians of the castle, it's ours. They know to report, without your say so. They already know. Will they? It depends on them, again, regardless of anything you could say to them. Is that dangerous? Potentially. That's why we can't just go out exercising on the grounds thinking nothing bad will happen today. Why we remain constantly vigilant and always have our wands ready. Why we need to be fully and magically competent." Rather than trying to rely on fickle little beings who had their own ideas of what was okay and what was out of place. They weren't always good at making that distinction. It came with the territory of hiring elves.

Again, he shook his head. "I haven't accused you of disloyalty. No one's accused you of that but yourself, repeatedly. That sounds more like an internal struggle being projected outward than anything else." Yes, he thought her strange for several reasons. Unprofessional, too. But disloyal has never been one of his concerns with her.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:40 PM   #11 (permalink)


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Alice was starting to understand the point about the house elves. She hated to admit it, but Malachi's arguments made sense. Why would the house elves listen to her requests to report unusual things if they hadn't done so all the other terms? Ooh, those elves! She had counted on them being more obedient than they had shown signs of being. "I see," she said after he had finished explaining. "My plan had loopholes."

The idea that she was projecting, on the other hand, was not something she agreed with. Not at all. "I don't want to argue the point, sir, but it's just not true that no one has accused me of disloyalty. Two of the house elves (Algamus being one of them) called me 'suspicious' for my plan on having them keep an eye out for suspicious activity. You yourself instinctively accused me of 'sneaking' for the same plan. While you may have just been careless with your words, I think you can understand why I begin to wonder if others value my loyalty, when sneaking and suspicious are the words that immediately jump to people's minds when discussing my actions."

But she didn't want to go too deeply into that argument. There were important concerns on her mind, such as whether she would succeed in her training with Malachi and whether the mysterious fog would abate. She didn't want to end this meeting on a disagreeable note. "Are you sure you wouldn't like refreshments?"
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