About Me

I find it incredibly hard to talk about myself sometimes, but here goes: I am a student that's deeply involved in my studies. I play several games and I love to write. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Star Spangled Spells; Rigorous Rivalry

Rigorous Rivalry

    Jason was amazed at how quickly the assembled witches and wizards could organize and raise the dueling tent that stretched through the center of the area. Inside, a long platform ran through the center of the tent. On either side bleachers had been set up and people were filing in. Diana seemed more concerned with four large thrones that had appeared at the back of the tent.
    "Those are the Cardinal's Thrones!" she hissed into Jason's ear, "All four; that means they'll all be watching, except, you know, for Gladys.."
    This entire occurrence didn't sit well in Jason's mind. It was almost as if Gladys and the people at the Market had been expecting Moxie to arrive. But Jason felt that Moxie would win this; she was one of the most acclaimed witches in the States, after all.
    Three loud cracks drew applause and cheer from the assembled crowd. The other Cardinals had arrived and were waving with wide smiles to the people. "The round one--with the top hat--that's the Eastern Cardinal, Paul Quinn," Diana said, pointing to a very squat man in a black suit and matching top hat.
    "Which one is she?" Jason asked, pointing at a woman in a pale yellow sun dress.
    "Morgan Tracey, she's the Western Cardinal. Spends too much time in California; I think her brain's been sun dried," Diana said with some venom in her voice, "Passed a decree last week that put a quota on the amount of Southern beasts allowed into the area; Dad was furious."
    The final Cardinal, the Southerner, was not standing and waving to the crowd. Instead, he had seated himself in the chair and had a very sour look on his face. In fact, it was this sour look that seemed to jolt something in Jason's memory, "What's his name?"
    Diana looked sideways at Jason and back at the Southern Cardinal, "Charlie Charleston." Jason tensed immediately, his hand hovering over his wand. "But don't worry, Jason," Diana whispered urgently, "Charlie's nothing like Harley--he even issued a public statement on behalf of the Charleston family when Harley was accused; Harley was disowned and the Charlestons submitted themselves to a full search. Moxie was one of the investigating witches.."
    "Okay," Jason said quietly, nodding to himself. He turned on his heels and sat on the bench closest to Moxie's end of the platform. There was an ominous ringing and the crowd fell silent. The three Cardinals stood, each with their wands raised.
    "Do you both, under an Unbreakable Vow, agree to duel cleanly and in accordance to rules established by the First Magical Council of Statesmen?" Charlie recited clearly. Jason noticed that he didn't have the accent that most Southerners had, but he sounded very eloquent.
    "I agree!" Gladys squealed, turning her back on Moxie.
    "Yes," Moxie nodded grimly and also turned away from Gladys.
    "On my count, you may begin dueling," Morgan said dreamily, adding a completely unnecessary giggle, "Three, two, one!"
    Paul's wand erupted with a golden light that sounded like fireworks. Moxie and Gladys spun on their feet. The golden light seemed to circle around the duel and caught wayward spells before they could affect anybody in the audience. Gladys was playing offense, sending numerous flaming spells at Moxie.
    Moxie had, however, taught Charms longer than any other at the Institute and was expertly deflecting them with a combination of Shield Charms and quick Transfigurations.
    "Same old, Viv," Gladys taunted, sending a rather nasty flame at Moxie, "Always playing it safe!" The platform under Gladys's feet gave a sickening crack as she threw a ball of blue light at her opponent.
    "Protego!" Moxie shouted. A wall of light blocked Gladys's spell and sent a deep ringing through the tent. "Just thought I'd let you get the big ones out first, Gladys!" Moxie called back. She twisted her arm in an unnatural fashion and her Shield Charm rocketed toward Gladys. It slammed into the Northern Cardinal with a force so strong that she was thrown onto her back.
    Jason and Diana cheered as Gladys struggled to stand again. "Nicely played," Gladys chuckled, shifting back into her dueling stance, "But I can do better--Expecto Patronum!" Silvery light spiraled from Gladys's wand and quickly formed her large bear Patronus. "This is something I learned from a man over seas; I think you'll like it. Incendio!"
    The Patronus bear exploded into flames as it stood and lumbered over Moxie. "Now show her what you can do, my pet," Gladys seethed, rolling her wand between her hands. Moxie's wand was a blur as she began to weave spells together; Jason could hardly make out what she was muttering to herself.
    "Cor Amoveo!" Moxie called as the bear swung down upon her. Before the fire made contact with Moxie, the bear fell into itself and reformed facing Gladys. It gave an ugly, fiery roar and charged for her.
    "Arrgh!" Gladys screeched. She wove her wand over her head, the fiery bear was sucked into a thin stream that gathered at its tip. With a grunt, she threw the jet of roaring fire back at Moxie.
    "Duro!" Moxie's spell Transfigured the flames into a long shard of stone. The magic continued to go up the flames and did not stop when it reached Gladys's wand. Gladys screamed as her hand and the sleeve of her robe changed to stone and the spell finally halted.
    "Why did you do it?" Moxie shouted. Jason noticed she was trembling.
    "Do what?" Gladys cried in obviously forced innocence. She gave a hallow laugh and looked around at the crowd, "And this is the woman you want to lead you in your Revolution; a crazy old bat that makes the most ludicrous accusations..."
    Moxie's wand danced in the air and Gladys's mouth magically snapped shut, "Don't act like you haven't played a part in the events as of late, Gladys. You seem to forget that our government--the one run by Muggle and Magic alike--requires that all Animagus and Metamorphmagus be documented.
    "Anybody that speaks with me on a daily basis knows that I would never side with such an extremist view, and many were perplexed when I agreed to lead the charge. You see, Gladys, I did some research when I was suddenly named the leader of this campaign. A little birdy told me that they had seen your name on a list of Registered Metamorphagi, so I dug deeper.
    "Now, I admit I have no privileges to government files, but I knew a man with a functioning Pensieve and he suggested that I take a trip down memory lane. And then I remembered when this whole rivalry started--our sixth year at the Institute, when we shared the Lincoln suite. The term we studied Switching Spells you made us all obnoxiously aware of the fact that you were a Metamorphmagus."
    "That means nothing here, Vivian!" Gladys laughed.
    "Oh, it means everything! There are ancient laws prohibiting a Metamorphmagus to steal another person's identity; we all know, however, that when you were named Northern Cardinal, you put yourself above the law--why else would you feel the need to differentiate your regulations from your colleagues?" Moxie said, pointing to the three other Cardinals, all of whom were watching with rapt attention.
    Paul stood from his throne, his brow wrinkled causing his face to look even smaller, "Is this true, Gladys?"
    The Northern Cardinal's head was on a swivel as she looked between her colleagues and Moxie. Jason thought she might cry when her face twisted into a hideous grin. There was a sickening crunching sound as Gladys's arm shriveled to her side and regrew, free of it's rocky tomb. She held her wand into the air, "Morsmordre!"
    The golden bubble of light evaporated instantly, and a huge hole was ripped into the ceiling of the tent. People scrambled from the stands and Morgan and Paul Diapparated with loud cracks. "Cowards!" Charlie hissed, his warped and crooked wand shooting spells toward Gladys.
    The Northern Cardinal had found new strength and was blocking numerous spells at a time, all while grinning at the large skull and snake in the sky. Black jets of smoke began to spin in the sky, and Jason had difficulty counting them all, "Are those... American Death Eaters?"
    "Don't stick around to find out," Moxie said urgently from behind them. How had she gotten there? "Diana, take him to the ranch," she whispered, taking a cautious look at Charlie, "I have a feeling the fruits of another rivalry are about to sprout..."
    A jet of red light slammed into Moxie's back and she fell limply to the ground. Gladys was smiling menacingly a few yards away. "You!" Jason shouted. He felt a hot rage growing in his temples. Gladys spun and ran off, Jason immediately taking off after her.
    "Jason! No!" Diana shrieked. She knelt down by Moxie and pulled her wand out, "Rennervate!"
    Moxie's eyes snapped open and she sat bolt upright, "Got me from behind didn't she?" Diana nodded her answer. "She never was much used to going by the rules," Moxie commented, "Better get rid of that quickly.."
    Moxie's wand produced a gust of wind that blew the mark out of the sky, though the swirling back jets of smoke remained. "Is Jason already at the ranch?" Moxie asked, the amount of concern in her voice startled Diana.
    "Uhm, he... Well.. Jason ran after Gladys when she Stunned you."
    Moxie's jaw clenched and her eyes took on a frantic expression, "Charlie! The field--they're luring him to the field!"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Star Spangled Spells; A Skip, A Hop, and A Jump

A Skip, A Hop, and A Jump

    Jason slept through the graduation ceremony, but Diana told him that he hadn't missed much. The entire ceremony was more or less Moxie just signing everybody's Wizarding and Witching Licenses and giving them their final grades.
    Some time into the afternoon, Jason walked into the Grand Hall. It was bare in comparison to how it had been in the past. A single table with three chairs around it was in the center, with Moxie and Diana occupying two of them. "I see you finally decided to join us?" Moxie smiled over her tea.
    Jason didn't return the favor. He was still preoccupied with what had been written in that letter, and his Grandmother's sudden turn on Dumbledore. In the past, Matilda had fully supported Jason's attending Hogwarts. Her change of heart coupled with Moxie's troubling meeting with the President didn't sit well with Jason--something was up.
    "Oh, this came for you," Diana said, pushing a bundle of mail towards Jason, "The owl flew in the middle of the ceremony. Dropped the bag right on Lee Schnider's head." She was exceptionally cheerful this morning, and it almost bothered Jason. But he pushed his annoyance behind him and looked at this mail.
    A couple of letters from his roommates, inviting him to various activities. One letter held a notice from the Howarts library, explaining that he had never returned a book about magical boils. Finally, Jason ripped open a golden envelope and read the letter aloud, "'Dear Jason Crowe, The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry staff would like to extend a congratulations to you on another wonderful school year. We are proud to announce that Hogwarts will again be open during the 1997-1998 school year. At this time, staff announcements are still up for debate. With this in mind, please presume that all teachers will hold their post for next year when signing up for your classes. As a Seventh year student you are permitted to choose all of your classes. Keep in mind that to attend any N.E.W.T. level course you must have acquired the proper O.W.L. testing results. Included is a form that should be completed and returned as soon as possible. In magic, Hogwarts.'"
    This had lifted Jason's mood, but seemed to put a damper in Moxie's. "Staff positions are up for debate," she muttered, "Nothing mentioned about Minerva being Headmistress?" Jason scanned the letter again, but found nothing. None of the attached papers said anything either, and the requirement for N.E.W.T. level Transfiguration was still at Professor McGonagall's Outstanding level.
    "Have a pen on you?" Jason inquired. He wanted to fill out the forms quickly; the sooner he got everything in, the better the possibilities he could get an independent study. Moxie summoned one and whipped up the New York Times to scour the wizard articles (rose colored glasses had to be worn).
    It took Jason a little over an hour to write up his requests and additionally his inquiry for solo studies. He had achieved the highest O.W.L.s in all of his subjects, so he would undoubtably get those, but the solo studies made his stomach uneasy. They would need to be approved by the Head of the school, and if that was Professor McGonagall, he would have it in the bag. If it were not her, well, he had to hope his marks did the talking for him.
    "So Moxie," Jason said, tucking the letters into the return envelope, "What do you have planned for us this summer?" Diana looked up from her summer homework intently, too.
    "Oh, I thought we'd keep it simple this year," she muttered from behind the newspaper. Diana looked completely disappointed. "And then I remembered that's not us at all," Moxie said happily, dropping the newspaper.
    Diana perked back up immediately, "Something exciting, I hope. You know, I haven't been to Europe. Or well, anywhere outside of the Institute and Texas, that is.."
    "Seeing as Jason's birthday is coming up next month, I'm afraid we can't go too far," Moxie explained, "He'll need to get a Wizarding license right away. And there are certain... developments in Wizarding law that I need to keep a close eye on."
    "Like what?" Jason asked unflinchingly. Moxie looked slightly taken aback, and then her features softened. Jason thought that, in that second, Moxie looked very old. Her vibrancy seemed to escape her.
    "With recent events in mind, the government would like more control over the wizarding world here in the States. They would like to begin that with more control over the Institute," Moxie sighed. "For its entire life the Institute has been run free of the judgement of the Muggle government. Because of the open communication, the wizarding community here in the States saw no need for two separate governing systems: one for Muggles and one for wizarding kind.
    "Many leaders in the wizarding community are now calling foul on the President and would like to separate. Of course, they have christened me as the leader of this charge--without my knowing. The President was furious, but I can't say I blame him. With Voldemort on the loose and now Dumbledore dead, even the Muggles know that something terrible is going to happen," Moxie released a defeated sigh. Jason and Diana looked helplessly at each other.
    Jason stretched a hand to Moxie, and she accepted it with tearing eyes. Diana held in a cry and began laughing, "Oh gods, look at us. We used to be the biggest trouble makers and now we're all wallowing on about laws that can't be written"
    Jason and Moxie joined in the laughter. Diana was right; they couldn't dwell on such depressing subjects at a time like this. They talked for a few more minutes about school and plans for the next year; Diana tried several times to coax her exam results from Moxie. Conversation could have gone on for hours, but was interrupted by an opening window and the hooting of an owl.
    It was Moxie's owl, Boreas, and he had a Daily Prophet clutched in his talons. Moxie yanked the paper from the bird and Jason immediately gave Boreas his letters, "Straight to Hogwarts. Don't let anybody stop you." Moxie skimmed the Prophet, and finding that there was no Wanted notice in her name, closed it up.
    "I think the first leg of our journey will be to the Midwest," Moxie plucked her glasses from her nose and dropped them into her purse, "I'd like to find out who let those Crop Watchers out of their sight."
    "Ugh, I hate Apparating to the North," Diana whined.
    Jason knew that the states were magically divided into four sections, with a Cardinal Witch that usually set the magical standards for each. From what Jason had heard about the Northern Cardinals, he knew that it wasn't just Southern rivalry that made Diana feel the way she did. The current Northern Cardinal, Gladys Winshire, insisted on everything being done in three's. So to Apparate to the Northern states, one had to hop, skip, and Apparate in mid-jump to pass the magical boundaries. It usually did cause people to look ridiculous.
    "Yes, and we'll have to get Jason familiar with the area before we can leave. Incredibly dangerous to Side-Along into the North," Moxie said, waving her wand in the air. In seconds, a large book was soaring towards them and landed softly on the table. "Tap this page with your wand," Moxie explained, opening the book to the page she wanted on her first try, "That should help your wand guide you."
    The picture was a large cornfield surrounded by small farms. "The Farmer's Market," Jason read. He tapped the picture with his wand and felt it vibrate slightly in his hand.
    "We'll go first, so you get the general idea," Moxie nodded to Diana. There was small circle of flames behind them; Moxie had opened a small Apparation field. Diana glided toward the ring, skipping a step in front of it, hopping into the ring, and finally jumping and Disapparating with a snap.
    "Looks simple enough," Jason commented as Moxie stood. She approarched identically as Diana had, but when she Disapparated there was a much louder crack. Jason stood, shook himself of worries and repeated, Apparating away with a sharp snapping sound.
    The Farmer's Market was a very small village. The layout was similar to that of a fairground; one building had a large floating sign that read "Portkey House" and Jason heard the whooshing and flashes of blue light that usually followed Portkey travel. The ground was covered in hay and the sound of conversation and animals filled the air.
    Diana and Moxie walked up behind Jason. "If they aren't wearing a hat, they probably shouldn't be trusted," Moxie commented, giving a very dirty look to a man covered in hair, "People will try to sell anything here."
    "Well it is the season for duels, Vivian!" a shrill voice called from behind. Jason felt Moxie's grip tighten on his shoulder.
    "Gladys!" Moxie called back with obvious mock surprise. The two women embraced, allowing Jason to take in the infamous Gladys Winshire. She was a tall woman who appeared to tower over Moxie's petite stature. Gladys's hair was long and braided, but very white and Jason suspected magic in its roots.
    "Oh, Vivian, it's been too long!" Gladys smiled, "Remember when we were school girls? Goodness, we haven't seen each other since the last reunion! Remember everybody's face when they saw that you were in charge! Oh, and how they all simply died when they found out I was the Northern Cardinal's undersecretary?"
    Moxie nodded with the fakest of smiles on her face. Jason suspected a rivarly between the two women, one that Moxie had long past let go of. Gladys, however, seemed to be holding on for all it was worth. "Oh, it was a grand time, wasn't it?" Moxie commented, pulling herself from Gladys's vice-like grip.
    "You know," Gladys's eyes became slits, "We never did get that dueling rematch. Like I said, I had a cold that day!"
    "Oh, Gladys. I don't think so, not today. I've got Jason and his friend with me and we were just about to go see about some..."
    "Nonsense!" Gladys shouted, her nostrils flaring, "Have the dueling stands set up immediately and alert the media; the Northern Cardinal and the Headmistress of Salem are about to duel!"


Friday, September 16, 2011

Star Spangled Spells; Hot Stuff

Hot Stuff

    Diana was right; with a wand, the Apparating Taxi Cab was a much more enjoyable ride. The entire car disappeared with a very loud crack just as the dragon in the apple released a display of fireworks. "Darn it. I love the 7 o' clock show!" Diana whined as she gathered her bags full Muggle clothes.
    They had spent two hours in the Underground. Jason had a wand; he felt complete with it tucked safely into his pocket. Diana was prepared for whatever journey Moxie would take them on this summer--though Moxie had protested and said that two large winter jackets were more than enough. But now one thought stung them all in the back of their brains as the taxi cab landed with a thud.
    Had the forest regrown? Moxie paid the driver and started up the hill. Jason's heart fluttered when he saw branches full of thick leaves. Hawthorne Forest, of which he knew absolutely nothing, would continue to serve as the States' only purely magical forest.
    Moxie gasped, breaking Jason's serenity. Diana dropped her bags and whipped her wand out. Deep in the center of the forest a huge fire was crackling, several figures dancing around it. "Crop Watchers," Moxie hissed, her wand had also found its way into her hand.
    The creatures dancing around the billowing flames were wearing green burlap sacks and tired old blue jeans. A few had what looked like straw hats, but upon closer inspection, Jason realized that the hay appeared to be a part of them."What.. what are they?" he asked.
    "Terribly stupid things," Diana muttered. "When they're tame, they're harmless. These must be wild though--at least, I've only seen wild ones get this excited about their own flames."
    "They breathe fire?" Jason said in awe.
    Moxie took a step forward, "Yes; wizarding farmers use them to keep away irritating birds and insects; much like a Muggle farmer's scarecrow. Like Diana said, when they're tame Crop Watchers only use their flames as a last resort. These, however, seem to be enjoying themselves.."
    Moxie rose her wand high above her and muttered an incantation. A bubble of water grew from its tip and had quickly engulfed the entire forest, "That'll keep them from starting more. You two work on killing the flames, I'll handle the beasts."
    Moxie Disapparated, leaving Diana and Jason to handle the fires. "Those are big flames," Diana said in awe, "And if I remember correctly, a Crop Watcher's flames aren't normal fire; they burn hot and cold, so Aguamenti probably won't do it. But I don't think I know a stronger Charm.."
    Jason laughed, "You were doing one just earlier today. Twain couldn't stop complimenting you on it." Diana looked lost. Jason shook his head and pointed his wand at the fire, "Aqua Eructo!"
    A huge ball of water shot like a cannon from Jason's wand; Moxie's spell must have been increasing the water elements in the air, because this was far stronger than Jason had expected. The water slammed into some of the smaller flames, dousing them immediately. When one was gone it lifted and fell into another. Together, Diana and Jason's spells had rolled out most of the smaller flames.
    "We'll have to tackle the bigger one together!" Diana shouted over the roaring of the water. The Crop Watchers were still dancing around the flames; where had Moxie gone off to? Jason hadn't waited long for the answer, as a pack of wolves ran past Diana and Jason into the clearing.
    The Crop Watchers scattered, but the wolves were faster--and maybe weren't real wolves. Jason watched as one wolf leapt into the air and crashed into the bone thin Crop Watcher. In a matter of seconds the wolf dematerialized into a white mist and engulfed the creature, exploding with a loud howling noise.
    As magical as they were, the wolves were not invincible. After only a few of their friends had been defeated, the Crop Watchers turned and scorched the wolves in bright blue flames. One Watcher had been chased to the edge of the clearing and turned to face the two teenagers.
    It stared at them both with a flame like fury building in its hollowed out eyes. Jason and Diana jointly shivered, as the creepiest thing of the creature was its laugh. Jason felt paralyzed, but Diana seemed unphased. She threw her ball of water into the Crop Watcher, expecting it to snap in half with the impact. However, it merely covered itself in fire, turning the attack into nothing more than steam.
    The creature threw the flames at Diana; she blocked them with a watery Shield Charm. "Agh!" Diana hissed, dropping her wand. The flames had boiled her shield and burned her forearms and she fell limply to the ground.
    Jason was still paralyzed. When the Watcher ran toward Diana, Jason's mind clicked. He still had his wand. He still had control of the ball of water. Jason's spell threw itself toward the Crop Watcher. Unable to both protect itself and keep hold of Jason for a second time, the creature released Jason's limbs and protected itself in a suit of fire again.
    "Protego!" Jason shouted as he fell backwards. The flames the Crop Watcher threw were absorbed like water in a sponge, but the Shield immediately melted away.
    There was a loud crack and Moxie was standing several yards to his right. "Don't look into its eyes!" she shouted fiercely, a jet of light shooting into the even larger fire. The flames froze in time and were quickly covered in a layer of ice.
    Jason looked to Moxie; she was covered in soot and the trim of her dress was still smoking. "Get Diana... go to Matilda... tell her I need help," Moxie instructed, shooting more rays of light at the Crop Watcher and the quickly melting iced fire, "Now!"
    Jason sprinted for Diana, grabbed her shoulder and Apparated with a short snap. Jason felt particularly squeezed this time; he had not been the one in charge of Side Along Apparation before, and he prayed that Diana did not get splinched.
    The two of them landed with a thump in the middle of a wide room. Jason's senses first picked up the chirping of many birds; Grandma's atrium. When his eyes finally adjusted he looked up, greeted by the face of his grandmother--looking bitter as ever. "Now what?" Matilda hissed, but her face softened when she caught sight of Diana.
    "Moxie... Hawthorne Forest... help!" Jason pleaded between breaths. He still felt like he was being pushed on from all sides.
    Matilda pulled her wand out of her night robes and nodded curtly, "Dittany's in the cupboard." There was another deafening crack as Matilda Disapparated. The birds continued to chirp from their cages as Jason stumbled to his feet to find the Potion cupboard. He tried to Summon it, but found that he could not take a breath deep enough to speak anymore.
    Everything became a labor as Jason threw open the last cupboard and pulled out a vial of brown liquid. He opened his mouth and spilled a few drops onto his tongue, immediately feeling a burning in his chest. Had he splinched a lung? He fell next to Diana and dripped the liquid over Diana's arms.
    Once they had finished healing, she woke with a start. "Where are we? What happened?" she questioned, sitting bolt upright, "Your hair."
    Jason ran a finger through his hair; it was still there. He stood and found a mirror, shocked by what he found. The tips of all of his hair seemed to be dyed a silverish color. "What did it do to you?" Diana questioned again, walking up behind him. Jason couldn't honestly answer. He told her about being paralyzed, and shielding against the flames.
    "Oh no," Diana sighed, "You didn't use a normal Shield Charm, did you? Don't you know? Well, I would suppose not. Crop Watchers aren't natrual in England, so I don't suppose they'd teach you about them." Jason was bewildered.
    "The flames they breathe steal magical energy," Diana explained, "Without them, they wouldn't be able to summon the flames. That's why I used water to shield myself--yes, I got a little burned, but I effectively shut myself off as an option for power. They hate water, Crop Watchers, that's probably why that one went so berzerk.
    "But I can only imagine how powerful that Shield Charm was if it actually aged you," Diana muttered, poking at Jason's new silver hair. There was a crack, the squealing of some birds, and Moxie was standing behind them. "Incoming," she said with mild disgust.
    Another sharp crack and Matilda was standing in the room, "How dare you do that to them! You had to know when you arrived in the forest! Why didn't you just call the professionals?" She threw Diana's bags and wand to the ground, and continued to shout, "This is the last straw, Vivian!"
    "Last straw, that's a good one given the situation, Matilda," Moxie cooed. Moxie and Matilda were covered in burn marks, their hair was filled with black soot. Jason tossed Moxie the Dittany and Matilda began screaming again.
    "He's just a boy! I would bet my life that he gets into all the trouble he does because of your upbringing! A Death Eater almost killing in a duel at Hogwarts--I told you he should go to the Institute, he's safer there..."
    "Yes, he would be safer there under my eyes."
    "That is not my point, Vivian! I'm not surprised Dumbledore is dead--yes, I said it, don't give me that look! He's always welcoming problems into that school. First the werewolf teaching classes, then the Ex-Auror. That building actually saw some stability under the Umbridge lady," Matilda was red as a tomato.
    Jason slammed his fist onto a table, his knuckles white, "Grandmother, I thought we'd discussed this already."
    "You are done telling me what to do, young man. I don't care what your mother wrote, your father would have wanted me to take care of you, it's only natural!" Matilda hissed, turning on Jason. She was much larger than he was and he had to back away for fear of being squished.
    Moxie cleared her throat and reached into her purse, withdrawing a very old and decaying envelope. She handed it to Matilda without a word. Matilda tore into the envelope and scanned the letter quickly. Her face went from bright red to blanch white. She looked from Moxie to Jason--who knew nothing about the letter--and back to Moxie.
    With a defeated sigh she ripped the letter in half, "You know the way out." Without looking at Jason she shifted into her finch Animagus and flew up to the ceiling, lost in the sea of real and magical birds she kept.
    For maybe the first time in his life, Jason saw Moxie shift awkwardly on her feet. She picked up the letter and tucked it away into her purse again. She placed the Dittany on the endtable and nodded to herself, "We should get back to the school. I'll have reports to sign, letters to send."
    "And graduation in the morning," Diana mentioned.
    Moxie's eyes grew, "I had nearly forgotten. In that case, meet me at the gates--I'm in no shape to Side Along tonight." There was a crack and she was gone.
    Diana grabbed her bags, "Well, this might be my most exciting summer break yet." She smiled coyly and Disapparated with a snap. Jason looked up to the ceiling, his grip tightening on his wand.
    "I'll see you before school starts," he said firmly, "Like always." He nodded and Apparated away with a snap.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Star Spangled Spells; New World Wizardry

Welcome to chapter 3; sorry I didn't get to post it yesterday! The page will be updated with details if you're looking for them. Enjoy!

New World Wizardry

    Once Diana had changed into Muggle clothes, she and Jason lugged her trunks down to the Grand Hall. The great room was no longer full of desks and testing students, but now had several fireplaces jutting out of the walls, students disappearing into them with flashes of green light.
    Neither had to look hard for Moxie; she was leading students into a large circle of flame and Disapparating with them, Apparating into another circle seconds later. Teachers sprinkled the hall, assisting where they needed to. Professor Twain took Diana's trunk and threw it through a fireplace, again complimenting her Aqua Eructo charm. Eddie sheepishly skirted past them mid-conversation and disappeared into a fireplace.
    "Hi Jason!" two voices chimed from behind. He turned and was greeted by the identical faces of the Witney twins. Brother and sister, Whitney and Whitnie, were dressed in identical stark white traveling cloaks. Their white hair was almost glowing in the sunlight, "So good to see you again. We were just waiting for father and mother."
    Jason shifted on his feet, the Witney's weren't exactly the best people around, but they were highly respected, just as the Malfoy's were in Britain. "Hey," Jason forced a smile, "Nice to see you, too. Er--how was your year?"
    Thankfully, before they could answer the Herbology teacher grunted for them. Their private ride had arrived and was waiting. "Have to rush, sorry Jason," Whitney said, smiling innocently.
    "Maybe we'll see you later this summer?" Whitnie flashed an identical smile and they departed to the back of the hall. A driver in a white suit was waiting in the large doorway. He was very tall, and Jason suspected that he was less human than people hoped.
    "Vile little rats," Diana muttered from behind Jason. She hated Whitnie with most of her being (what was left hated Whitney); their families had been feuding longer than anybody dared count. The Witneys and the Moones were both pure wizarding families, though the Moones decided to take the high road and not make it a point of interest. Witneys, on the other hand, would never be seen amongst the likes of Muggles or half-bloods. Dirty by association seemed to be the family motto.
    "Ignore them," Jason said, "You don't need anymore trouble with them." He turned and looked back toward Moxie. She was done Apparating students out and the last fireplace was being tucked away by Madam Louise, the Divination teacher. Jason tried his best not to talk to the woman; she was constantly asking Jason if he had had any Sights or Visions over the school year, to which he always denied. Divination was a silly subject, in his opinion, and Madam Louise was terrible, always predicting that Voldemort would rise again, and now that he had, that he would come after the Institute.
    "Jason, Diana!" Moxie called, "Let's get a move on." They hurried toward her, now dressed in a simple dress rather than her billowing navy blue robes. She was not smiling and looked preoccupied. Her conversation with the President was obviously bothering her.
    But she wasn't going to let Jason and Diana see her while she was down and she feigned happiness. She held out her arms, "We'll have to Apparate just outside the city. New Anti-Apperation fields being set up everywhere, I'll explain later. Louise?"
    Madam Louise spun, her frilly white robes swishing up into the air around her. "Yes, Viv?" she said sweetly with a toothy grin. Only now did Jason realize that she was heavily made-up and her hair was bigger than usual.
    Moxie's jaw clenched, "Close off these rings once we're gone. Make sure Sandy gets everything locked up. Thank you."
    "Not a problem, Viv!" Madam Louise shouted merrily, "And do be careful; I foresaw some nasty things happening tonight!"
    But the last half of Louise's warning was cut off, as Moxie couldn't stand listening to another word and Disapparated with a loud crack. When they landed on solid ground again, the scent of wet earth filled Jason's nose. "Moxie," Jason asked, "Where are we?"
    The forest they were standing in had recently been burned and drenched in water. Moxie and Diana looked around, their mouthes open in shock. Moxie looked gravely at Jason, "This is--was Hawthorne Forest, the only purely magical forest in the States." She gave the burned trees another concerned look. "We shouldn't stay long," Moxie muttered, pulling her wand out, "Herbivicous!"
    A vibrant green ring began to pulse from the tip of her wand, wrapping around any trees that got in the way. "It will take some time," Moxie said contently as the trees began to lose their blackened crusts.
    "Anyway," Diana said with forced cheerfullness, "We should get Jason into the city. I don't think he's visited before."
    She was right; Jason wasn't even exactly sure where they were now. The sun appeared to be in the same place it had been when they left the Institute, so they must not have traveled far. Moxie tucked her wand back into her purse, "We'd better be off then, might not get a cab if we're late."
    So they marched through the burnt forest and nearly ten minutes later found themselves staring down on the bustling city of New York. Moxie had drawn her wand and pointed it into the air, "To call a wizarding taxi. Canarius!"
    A jet of yellow light soared into the air, chirping loudly. Jason almost thought Moxie had tried to summon a swarm of birds, the sound was so deafening. When the sound finally died away, what replaced it was the coughing and choking of the junkiest yellow taxi Jason had ever seen.
    Diana audibly gagged upon seeing it and Moxie's lips were pursed tightly, "Always the one that tries to be inconspicuous." The car stopped and the back door popped open, the sound of metal on metal made Jason flinch. Diana and Jason got in first, and the inside of the car was surprisingly clean. Jason figured there must have been an Undetectable Extension Charm inside the cab, as it felt like the three of them were sitting in the back of a stretch limousine.
    Sitting in the divers seat was a very large man with short, curly brown hair. "Where to?" the driver grunted in a surprisingly girlish voice.
    "The City Within," Moxie said, snapping the door shut behind her, "And make it fast."
    "My pleasure," the man grunted again, pulling a lever and slamming his foot on the gas. Jason's body slammed into the rubbery seat and he could not, despite his best efforts, turn his head. Diana and Moxie sat with their legs crossed, both trying their best not to laugh.
    When the car came to an abrupt halt, Jason was ejected from his seat and rolled on the floor of the car, "What the heck was that?"
    "Vehicular Apparation," Diana laughed, offering her hand to Jason. He pulled himself up and looked out the window; they were now in the middle of very cramped traffic. "I think a wand helps stabalize things, and since you don't have one..."
    "Right here will be good, driver," Moxie interjected, pulling open the car door. She stepped out and was followed by her pupils. When Jason looked back, the junky old cab had disappeared and a Muggle taxi pulled into the open space.
    "Loons! Get out of the road!" the driver shouted from inside his car. Moxie gave him a sour look and pointed her wand at one of his back tires. Jason heard the sound of ice and saw that a layer of frost had formed on the rubber, and Moxie was smiling viciously.
    She led them to the even more crowded sidewalk and stopped in front of a bare brick wall. "My, it does look like it could rain today," she said loudly, to no one in particular. The commuters continued on their walks as if Moxie, Diana and Jason were not there.
    Jason looked blankly at the wall and scanned the crowd to his left and right, "What's supposed to--"
    Before Jason could finish, a trickle of water began to run down the brick wall. What was a trickle quickly became a steady stream, and within a minute the wall was completely soaked, any longer and it would crumble away. Instantly, the water stopped flowing and the wall began to dry--Jason swore he could hear the sound of electric fans. There was a doorway shaped blot of water on the wall, and Moxie walked straight through it.
    Diana followed suit and disappeared when her face met the brick. This was just like the Hogwarts Express Platform, Jason figured, and he walked confidently through the wall. Where Jason was expecting a street much like Diagon Alley, he found what appeared to be a mirror image of the street they had just left.
    Except for the witches and wizards flying around on brooms and taxi cabs Apparating in the middle of the the once full-of-cars street and the numerous dazzling explosions of light all over. This side of the wall seemed to be under some sort of darkness spell, as the sky was deep blue and filled with stars.
    "Welcome to the city within the city," Moxie smiled, noting Jason's awed expression.
    The streets were lined with hundreds of shops with different purposes. The left side of the street was filled with the funnier and happier looking shops and near the end Jason could see an Animated Broadway sign which sang bits of songs from shows playing that night.
    The right side of the street seemed to have a more serious tone, ending in what Jason guessed was the Wizarding equivalent of the Stock Market--goblins were getting out of Apparating taxis and walking straight toward the building.
    The most interesting object on the entire street, however, stood where the streets met. A huge bronze apple revolved slowly, messages and news headlines spun around it in the opposite direction. Jason's attention, however, was focused solely on the metal dragon that occasionally popped out of the hole near the top of the metallic fruit.
    "That's the coolest part," Diana said excitedly, looking at her watch, "It'll shoot fireworks off every hour to help keep time."
    "Which reminds me," Moxie interrupted, "Don't get separated. Time is weird in the Underground; I knew a witch that got lost and stumbled into a side street, when she finally found her way back out she was 300 years in the past."
    Jason could have stood there and watched the foot traffic forever, and judging by how Diana held his arm, she would have too. But Jason looked to the shop to his immediate left; the sign read "New World Wands" and had two silver wands that shot jets of light into the sky. "There's the wand shop," Jason said, clearing his throat; he sounded just a little too awed for his liking.
    Moxie put her small round glasses on and nodded, "Yes, but I'm sure you've run low on...funds while you were at school. We had better stop at the bank first." This immediately caused Jason to wonder where they could fit a bank here. Moxie took off down the right side of the street, Diana dragging Jason behind her.
    They passed many people who said their hellos to Moxie, and several teenagers waved fervently at Diana. Moxie had nearly reached the huge bronze apple when she turned on her heels and stopped at a wooden archway. There were beavers carved into the wood and a huge bronze beaver head was fixed in the center of it all. "Identification?" it said in a bored tone.
    "Vivian Moxie, withdrawing money on the behalf of Jason Crowe," she said, holding her wand up to the beaver's shining nose.
    It took a big sniff and gave a content sigh, "Aah, pinewood. They don't make those very often anymore! Very well, how much?"
    "Come to think of it, I have no idea how much a wand costs now-a-days," Moxie muttered, "Mind running the numbers for me?" The beaver head nodded and began to mumble to itself. Numbers and words ran across its black marble eyes, when they stopped, it nodded curtly and opened it's jaw. A slab of wood was ejected into Moxie's waiting hand.
    "The Beaver's Lodge thanks you for your business," it gave the motion of a bowing head and went inanimate a minute later. Moxie handed the slab of wood to Jason, "We'd better get going. I think she's been closing up shop early, lately."
    And she marched off back toward the wand shop, Diana and Jason trying to keep on her heels. "What exaclty am I supposed to do with this?" Jason asked, shoving the wood into his sweater pocket.
    "There's a spell," Diana said breathlessly, spinning around a man that was juggling starfish, "That turns it into the amount you withdraw. The goblins that run the Lodge are... different. Depending on who's withdrawing, they might give you the wood token or the beaver might actually give you coinage. Dad was expecting to get a wood slab and it ended up spitting out Galleons for ten minutes."
    Diana and Jason stopped behind Moxie, who was staring up at the wand shop's sign. Jason thought the shop looked a lot simpler compared to the others on this side of the street; in fact it looked like Ollivander's shop back on Diagon Alley. "This woman, is she related to Ollivander?"
    At that second the door was slammed open and a crooked old woman stood silhouetted against the lights inside the shop, "Did somebody say Ollivander?" Her eyes looked wild and Jason thought he had insulted the woman, and just as he was about to apologize she burst into tears.
    "Oh, I'm so sorry ma'am!" Jason pleaded and attempted to rush up to her, but Moxie blocked him with her arm and shook her head curtly. The woman gave an unbecoming snort and looked up at the trio.
    "Did you know him?" she asked quietly. Jason shook his head; he had not ever gotten his own wand. The woman hobbled forward and got uncomfortably close to Jason's face, "Are you a Crowe, by any chance?"
    She rushed back into the shop before Jason could answer, but Moxie pushed him in after her, "Just go. We'll be waiting out here when you're done." Diana and Moxie took seats just inside the door and Jason headed after the woman toward the back of the shop.
    "My name is Jessica Wald," the woman said to Jason as he approached her. She was searching a huge, yellowing book, "Amelia Delair, 12 and a half inches, yew with a melted gold core. Didn't know I used metals in my wands? Did you? Nooo, Ollivander's not the only one with tricks, you know."
    "But Miss Wald, my mother's wand was almond--"
    "Egan Crowe! Almond wood with a Unicorn hair core, ten inches on the nose. Terribly feeble wand, I didn't want to sell it but it fit him like a glove and you can't deny children that looked like him!" Jessica wove her hand in the air dismissively. Jason had been using his father's wand all those years?
    Jason wasn't fond of the story of his father. He ran away when his wife and daughter were being attacked. He came back and took what he could and abandoned Jason. If Moxie hadn't told Jason that Egan had been driven mad by his guilt, he definitely would have hated his guts.
    "I even tried to get little Alexandria a wand," Jessica smiled sweetly, pointing at the name in her record book, "Child couldn't make a spark, but I gave her one anyway. An experimental wand, elm wood and a strand of silver. A wonderful wand for Divination studies..
    "But you," she looked at Jason. Her eyes were grey around the pupil and seemed to light themselves; Jason had the oddest feeling that she was reading into his soul. "I've never placed a wand in your hands, have I? No, but by the looks of how you hold your hand, you've been using your father's wand.. Terribly dangerous you know?" Jessica clasped her hands behind her back and continued to examine Jason.
    "Come with me," she beckoned, hobbling deeper into the shop. It was cold and dark, the light coming down from the ceiling was cast from broken wands, which Jason could only assume wasn't safe. "Here we are," Jessica called from a few yards ahead.
    She was standing in front of a huge shelf; a sign pinned to the side of it read 11+ inches. "You're so tall, you'll need a longer wand, like your mother," she grabbed a box at random and pulled the wand out, "Oak and gryphon tail feather. Extremely rigid. Give it a good wave, I think it'll be stubborn.."
    Jason gave the wand a shake, causing some sparks to fly from the tip, "Uhm.. Duro!" Jason pointed the wand at a potted flower; it turned to stone quickly and Jason smiled. However, the spell had been too strong and made the rock extremely dense, crushing the podium it was sitting on and falling straight through the floor.
    "I'll fix it later," Jessica  said reassuringly, tucking the wand back into its box and placing it back onto the shelf. She grabbed another box at random and pulled the wand out; it was a light wood with a streak of metallic color winding its way up the shaft, "Apple wood and wendigo vein. The last one was too flowing, perhaps this will work."
    Jason took the wand and like the last it sparked a couple of times. "Flipendo!" Jason said, pointing at a chair that wasn't tucked under a table. The chair leaned forward and immediately toppled back into its original position.
    "Ah, perhaps not the best. Apple's not exactly known for being an assertive wood," Jessica muttered, tucking the wand away again. Again she reached randomly into the shelf and pulled out another wand box. Upon opening it, she realized it was empty. "Well, that's not good. Accio wand (she looked at the box number) 875,439!" she said clearly, her own wand spouting a blue light in her belt.
    "While we wait for that one to show up, let's try," and for the first time Jessica considered which wand she would pick out, "Let's try this one."
    She pulled out a rather long box and gingerly opened it. There was a black silk cloth wrapped around the dark wood wand, and Jessica handled it with the utmost care. "This is one of my more recent works. Very experimental, but I know a few Mending Charms and Viv's out front if anything goes wrong," she smiled slightly and offered the wand to Jason, "Hazel wood and an onyx and silver thread core. Perfectly balanced, it's a logical wand--doesn't over think it's orders, just acts; give it a try."
    Jason wrapped his hand around the wand tenderly. This wand did not emit sparks. Instead, it spit out a single, glowing, black feather. Jason pointed it into the air above him, "Avifors!" A jet of dark light shot from the wand, and a flock of birds quickly materialized and flew around the high ceilings. Jason was grinning widely and gave the wand another twitch; the birds dove back into the tip of this hazel wood with an onyx and silver thread core wand.
    Jason looked at the wand in his hand and gasped; there were several small silver birds on the wand now, and silver had filled some of the wider cracks in the handle. "Looks like it likes you," Jessica said happily, tucking the box under her arm and leading Jason back to the large book filled with names. She quickly jotted down Jason's name and details.
    "Miss Wald," Jason pushed, "If you don't mind my asking, why did you start crying when I mentioned Mr. Ollivander earlier?"
    Jessica stopped writing and looked up at Jason, "Garrick is my older brother. We had tried to run Ollivander's together when I lived in Britain, and then I met my husband. Jeff was a fool to drive a wedge between my brother and I, but I was the bigger fool for letting him. With my wand making experience and his ability to gather raw materials we thought we'd be the next big thing in the wand making industry. My brother's wands, as you know, are far more famous, however."
    "And your husband? I haven't seen him at all since we've been here," Jason pondered.
    "Attacked by a Wendigo when he tried to gather some of its hair," she scowled, "A fool, like I said. He's at Saint Hudson's up in Canada; Wendigoes are terrible creatures, I'd even say they rival Dementors. Oh, but how can I explain this... Where Dementors drain your happiness, Wedigoes will drain any ounce of sanity you might have, and their bite is infectious. Jeffery was halfway through transformation before he finally found his wits and Apparated to the hospital."
    Jason winced at the thought of going mad, and again at the thought of being bit by something. He nodded grimly as Jessica closed the book and started for the front of the shop. Moxie stood when she saw Jessica through the shadows, "Well that was hardly no time at all compared to how long it took me!"
    Jessica scoffed, "Viv, that was our first day of business and your father had decided to drag you in the minute before we closed."
    "We still went through three different sizes before we found the right shelf," Moxie grinned.
    "I'll give you that. It's easier to match size when they're older," she was now fumbling with an ancient looking cash register. "Now, about the cost.."
    This caused Jason to jump. He had almost fogotten about the wooden slab, and quickly pulled it out of his pocket, "Er, here." He laid it on the counter and stared at it awkwardly. Jessica stared at Jason expectantly. "I, uh, don't know the spell," Jason finally admitted.
    "Oh!" Moxie laughed, "I nearly forgot. Thought I sent an owl to Filius about it years ago. It's Aurum Mutare; only the person for whom the gold is intended can use it on the wood."
    "Otherwise the spell just rebounds and makes things gold colored," Diana chimed in, "Dad left one on the table once, when I was younger. Took a month to brush the gold off my teeth.."
    Jason nodded and pointed his new wand at the slab of wood. Before he could even say the spell, his wand had emitted a golden hue and the composed slab of wood Transfigured into thirteen shining galleons. "Did a right good job with that one," Jessica smiled at Moxie, and Jason wasn't quite sure if she had meant herself with the wand, or Moxie with himself.
    "Indeed," Moxie smiled warmly, thinking the same as Jason.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Star Spangled Spells; Salem Witches' Institution

 Here's chapter two, where the Institute is finally introduced. This story has it's own little page tab now (up near the top of the page) where you can check details on characters and some locations. If you're looking for an outline for how these first five chapters will be posted, you can expect one Wednesday, Friday, and then some time Saturday. I hope you're enjoying reading, because I sure enjoyed writing (and continuing!).
Salem Witches' Institution

    Seconds later, Jason felt firm ground under feet, and again felt the sick-to-your-stomach feeling of being pulled in another direction through space and time. Jason heard two loud cracks and finally his vision caught up with him; he and Moxie were standing side by side in a deserted field. "They're getting quicker, what with all of the events as of lately," Moxie muttered, waving her wand in absurd circles over her head. A bubble of enchantments grew down upon them from the sky, "Hopefully that'll get them off my tail. Oh, I hope Dedalus doesn't get into too much trouble.."
    Another quick flick of her wand and her silvery wolf Patronus flew into the air, "Let Sandy know we'll be a bit late. Oh, and she should administer the O.W.L exam." The wolf ran in a circle, as if chasing its tail, and then finally sprinted off toward a grove of trees where it faded into the sunlight.
    Jason looked at the ground around him. The lid of his trunk had been splinched off in the quick getaway, "Well, I suppose I needed a new one of those, too."
    Moxie tutted and shoved the contents magically back into the trunk, holding them there with a membrane of air. "I guess we should tack on another one of those Wanted notices," Moxie smirked, putting a very small pair of glasses on her nose, "Guess I'll just have to use my fireplace."
    Moxie held her rather short pine wand in the air, cleared her throat and said, "Accio...Fireplace from my office!" A bright blue light erupted from the tip of her wand, glowed brightly for a few seconds, and then faded away. Keeping their eyes on the sky, Jason spotted the falling bricks first.
    "In coming!" he shouted, scrambling backward as the first brick slammed itself onto the dirty ground. Forty-nine more fell in quick succession, followed by two logs that slid themselves quietly into the mantle. Moxie smiled, obviously proud of her work. Jason was just glad a wayward brick hadn't knocked either of them out.
    Moxie quickly lit the fire, "And follow us home, will you? I don't need fifty bricks falling through the roof in my office." She threw in some Floo powder and the flames turned green and stopped emitting heat, "Salem Witches' Institute, Salem, Massechusets, United States of America!"
    Jason gripped his trunk handle and threw it heftly into the fire, which disappeared in a flash. "You first," Moxie said, leading Jason into the flames. As soon as all of him was in the fireplace, he felt himself spin quickly, stopping only when he was spat out in a very long room with a very high ceiling. Students in navy blue uniforms stopped scribbling on their papers to look up at him, bewildered. A tall, round woman hurried toward him muttering under her breath, "First your trunk, now you... in the middle of exams, no less... no sympathy for the nervous kids... get up, already!"
    Jason got quickly to his feet, smoothing out his Hogwarts robes. He looked around the hall; most had gone back to their papers. One girl was standing in the great open doors  on the far end of the hall, waving frantically to Jason. "Diana Moone! Shut that door immediately or I'll shred your exam right now!" the round witch screeched, shoving Jason and his trunk out a side door in the hall.
    "I'm not even taking this exam, Professor Cromwell!" the girl said loud enough for everyone to hear, closing the great white doors behind her.
    Jason heard a loud crack from inside the hall, quickly followed by the round witch's voice again, "Oh, honestly! Let's just give them all T's right now!"
    "Sandy, dear, you need to lighten up. You're not being graded on administering a silly exam!" Moxie's voice rang out, but she quickly corrected herself, "Alexander, I would not rip that to pieces if I were you; you will need all the O.W.L.s you can get."
    There was more chattering from Sandy as she escorted her boss out of the hall through the same door as Jason, "Laundering around the school, disrupting classes.. I won't have any of that this year!"
    Moxie turned swiftly, causing Professor Cromwell to jump, "Sandrah, let me worry about him. I am the Headmistress, after all, but I suppose you know more about my job than I? By all means, I'm open to advice." This seemed to have shut up the woman and she scampered back through the door, snipping at a couple of students that had apparently been looking around the hall. "We had better go to my office and talk. There are some teachers here that still haven't quite coped with Voldemort's rise, and now Dumbledore's death on top of it all. I had to send Professor Halliwell home early; broke down crying at the feast this morning. Terribly emotional man," Moxie muttered, striding down the hall.
    Jason looked around; little had changed about the Institute. The wooden walls and floors still felt like home, no matter how many months he spent away. There was no House system at the Institute, so silvery, silk banners were hung around the halls and from the exceedingly high ceilings; stars of red and blue rained from them, disappearing long before they ever reached the ground.
    The students all adorned navy blue robes, except for their prefects and Head students, who sprinkled the sea of blue with their deep red robes. Teachers wore mostly stark white robes, though the Herbology teacher (a runty little wizard) usually wore brown robes to keep the dirt he worked with commonly from staining his robes. Though Jason couldn't help but think that Moxie had explained the robes were Stain Proofed.
    They marched up several staircases before finally reaching a dead end. A lone portrait hung on the wall, the picture of a woman sitting on a rock greeted them with a bored look, "Well that was fast, the fireplace flew through here not half an hour ago!"
    The woman was tall, even sitting down, and had deeply tanned skin. She had an assortment of dried vegetables and fruit braided into her thick hair, complimented by her earthy garments. "I hope you got out of the way fast enough, Tituba. I do apologize if one of the bricks nicked you," Moxie said smoothly. Tituba had been the school's "founder," and from what Jason had learned had set chaos upon Salem Village hundreds of years ago when she admitted to being a witch. With her own admittance she accidentally revealed the identities of several other practicing witches and wizards, who all found themselves put up to the infamous trials. In an act of repentance, Tituba opened the Institution as a safe haven for fleeing magic-doers. However, she was only in charge long enough to Confund any records and was then executed by her own refugees for revealing herself and so many innocent others to Muggles.
    Many headmasters and headmistresses had tried to destroy the painting and replace it with another, but Tituba's frame was known to curse and bewitch those that touched it with mal-intent, so Moxie had put up with her for all of these years. Surprisingly, the portrait witch had grown bored and allowed Moxie to remove the spells, so long as nobody could attempt to remove her again. In secret, Moxie had told Jason that there were more deserving American witches and wizards that could guard the Head Office, but that Tituba had suffered enough in her life.
    "Malleus Maleficarum," Moxie said, tapping the frame with her wand.
    "I swear I didn't read it to that child!" Tituba's portrait screeched.
    "For the third time now, it's the password!" Moxie hissed, "Why did you set it so if you can't stand hearing about it?"
    Tituba crossed her arms, "I have some.. memory relapses, you know. It's terribly boring, being stuck to one frame forever!"
    "Well, perhaps if the other portraits could stand the sight of you, they'd let you in. But for the time being, will you please open up?" There was a click and a rush of air as the portrait slid sideways on the wall, revealing a stone archway. Moxie rushed Jason through and Tituba's portrait slid back into place once they both crossed her threshold.
    Moxie's office was a perfect circle. Her desk was stationed on the side of the room opposite the portrait hole, in front of a very tall window. Moxie had a unique way of decorating the room; snow was falling from somewhere in the much too high ceiling and there were several pine trees in very small pots. The trees were rather small at the bottom, but grew exponentially as they reached higher into the room. The fireplace Moxie had summoned earlier was stuck into the wall again, flames alternating between red, white, and blue. Next to the fire was a very large dog bed, and in it sat a panting wolf, looking happily up at Moxie and Jason.
    "Hey Balto!" Jason said, taking a seat on one of the snow dusted chairs. The snow was not wet or cold and it seemed to rather stick to the furniture than Jason's robes. Moxie's desk was adorned with several picture frames, most of which had pictures of family in them. Jason spotted a few of him, which seemed to be in the biggest frames. They were also moving, meaning they were wizard pictures.
    Moxie had opened one of the wider pine tree trunks and took out several books, and opened the one she placed on top of her pile. "I've got a meeting with the President at 3 o' clock, so if we want to get you a new wand today, we had best wait until after that. Your room should be untouched, and I expect," Moxie looked at Jason over her round glasses, smirking, "That Diana will be dying to see you."
    Jason blushed slightly. Diana Moone and Jason had practically grown up together and over the past few years, Moxie had become suspicious of amorous feelings, which Jason vehemently denied. Regardless, he still wanted to see her as she was probably having a fit not knowing all of the details of the past twenty-four hours.
    Moxie had busied herself with a small mirror on her desk; her Witch's Glass. It allowed her to freely converse with others that had them, though sometimes messages got crossed and you could quickly be talking to an Herbalist about a shipment of books that never arrived while they screamed at you for waking their Mandrakes.
    Jason stood and excused himself from the room. It was a quarter past two, so Diana would be in the middle of a class. That gave him plenty of time to unpack his trunk and change out of his school robes. He only had to go down one staircase to come upon the dormitory hall, which seemingly went on forever. Not being a student, he luckily didn't have to share his room with any other kids and Moxie had hired a portrait to guard the door to his room. This also forced his room to be the first in the hall; extremely helpful.
    He turned and looked up into the painted face of Thomas Jefferson, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
    The portrait Jefferson shot him a stony look and swept his arm across him in a very dramatic fashion, the portrait swinging open. Jason stepped into his room; completely untouched since the last time he had used it, except somebody had obviously tidied up. Long strings of tar black feathers hung from the ceiling, and the mural he had painted with his wand of a huge crow was still flying happily around the wall, pausing only to see who had intruded upon it's solitude.
    Jason quickly unpacked his trunk and dug in his dresser for a different change of clothes. He settled on the most Muggle things he could find, that way he wouldn't need to change again when they left to buy his wand. He exited through the portrait hole; three o' clock. Moxie would now be busy with the President (who was much more involved with the American wizarding world than the British Prime Minister was with it's own), so maybe he'd try to find what class Diana was taking.
    Jason decided upon checking Muggle Studies first. Diana was from a very pure wizarding family and she was always fascinated when Jason came home with things from his grandmother's house. That was another idea--sending his grandmother Matilda a letter.
    Diana was not in that class, and the teacher had gotten rather uppity that Jason was poking his nose into such a prestigious class. Feeling he was not wanted, Jason neglected to inform the Professor that he had the concept of telephones all wrong as he walked away from the door.
    Luckily he did not have to check many more classrooms. Diana was in the middle of a Charms demonstration, drenching her partner with the Aqua Eructo charm. She was, however, a little scatter brained and several large jets escaped before she could completely shut off the charm. A very thin, very old man Jason knew as Professor Twain was still beaming, however, "Great job, Miss Moone!" He gave a wave of his wand and the wet students were hit with a dry breeze. The bell rang and he shouted at them to enjoy their summer vacation as they left.
    Diana jumped with joy when she saw Jason and quickly hurried up beside him, whispering crazily, "Jason, you have to tell me what happened. Dumbledore, was such a great wizard, how could he be fooled that easily?"
    "I'll explain later. Moxie's got to take me to get a new wand--I told you, I'll explain later!" Jason persisted before she could question what happened.
    "I'll get Mox to take me with. She's decided to bring me along on whatever trip you two are taking this summer and I honestly need some new Muggle clothes," she rolled her eyes, "Mine are getting too short. Gosh, you must've grown about three inches!"
    They walked back down the hall toward the Muggle Studies classroom. The hallway was full, but somehow managed to not seem cramped. "Do me a favor?" Diana asked before turning to enter the classroom; Jason nodded. "Find Ptolemy and give him this," she held out a small potion vial with a thick green liquid inside of it, "He got into my Potions bag and has been changing colors every time he goes to clean himself. Scared himself out of his wits this morning."
    She nodded curtly and entered the room, the teacher had already started droning on about machines that made Muggles very violent; cars and "a strange little device called a toaster." Jason rolled his eyes and started for Diana's dormitory. He wasn't entirely sure how he'd convince the portrait to let him in without the password, but he was sure he'd figure something out.
    All dorm rooms were guarded by a portrait of a various President, and most dormitories could hold up to 10 students. Students were then usually clumped first by year and then by the portrait that guarded their dorm. Jason distinctly remembered Moxie having consistent trouble with the Andrew Johnson dormitory, the students of which always thought they were entitled to take whatever wasn't theirs.
    Diana was in the Andrew Jackson dormitory, so hopefully entry would be too hard. As Jason approached the portrait, he realized that it was snoring loudly, "Uhm, excuse me?"
    President Jackson lifted his head slowly, smacking his lips together. "Password?" he yawned.
    Jason shuffled awkwardly, "Well, you see, I'm supposed to give this potion to Diana Moone's cat, Ptolemy. I don't suppose you'd let me just slip inside?"
    "Slip inside?" the portrait roared with laughter, "You're brave, trying to get into my dormitory with an excuse like that!" President Jackson was fully awake now and slipped some round glasses onto his hooked nose and peered down at Jason, "I'm afraid I can't let you in. Now hurry along to class, I'm sure somebody's got a last minute exam to give a fool like you!"
    A hand appeared from the side of the portrait, obviously not native to Jackson's. He leaned toward it, and a mouth appeared, whispering quickly. The hand and mouth disappeared and Jackson sat back in his armchair, looking rather embarrassed, "Please do excuse me, Mr. Crowe! I've been meaning to get new glasses painted for a while now. Please, do come in!"
    The portrait swung open like a door, revealing the very untidy dorm room inside. Diana's room was shared between six other sixth year students, but it didn't seem that any had familiars. "Uhm, Ptolemy?" Jason muttered, President Jackson's portrait snapping shut behind him.
    A pile of clothes against the far wall began to rustle, and Jason instinctively moved for his wand. Much to his hand's dissatisfaction, there was nothing but air. Seconds later, a small, fluffy cat head appeared, purring with happiness. Jason had to stifle a laugh; the cat was neon pink. "Well, come here," Jason muttered, uncorking the small vial of green goo.
    Ptolemy, however, was less than willing to gulp down the potion. Jason spent several minutes wrangling the cat, causing Jason to suspect that it was a little more cat than Diana knew. Finally, he got a drop of the goop into the cat's maw. Ptolemy gave a violent shutter, and the neon pink color began to drain from first its tail, down its spine, and finally disappearing completely from the tips of its whiskers.
    Jason released the now straw yellow Ptolemos and unhitched the claws from his shirt. He scratched the cat behind the ears; it was a quarter to four, another fifteen minutes before classes would be done for the day. Ptolemy began to rub against his head against Jason's leg, and Jason pat his head absentmindedly.
    This dorm room was odd, now that Jason actually looked at it. It seemed to be built in tiers; the one Jason was standing on the lowest. The next level up was lined with desks and other hobby items. The third, and final, tier held six identical beds and formed a U-shape around the entire room. Jason figured that each dorm looked the same, now he doubted that. Maybe once all of the students were away for the summer he and Diana could offer to "clean up."
    Lost in thought, Jason lost track of time. Some odd amount of time must have passed as he pet Ptolemos and gazed out the windows of the Andrew Jackson dorm. The bell rang and brought Jason back to reality; he would need to leave now. It would be terribly awkward trying to explain why a boy were sitting in the middle of a female dormitory.
    He quickly left, President Jackson apologizing again as he walked out of the portrait. Students quickly flooded the dorm hallway, all smiling and happy that the term was over. Voices boomed over head, "Next term will begin August 31! Don't forget to do your summer assignments! Class registration owls will arrive later this break! Floo Networks and Apparation Check Points are now open in the Grand Hall!" And then the message repeated.
    Students in red were shouting over the chaos of the hallways, and Jason had to hold several comments to himself as over eager kids rammed into him. He pushed for his room, President Jefferson had thrown haste to the wind and was scolding several students for trying to get into his chamber, "This is a private room; how dare you try to break in!"
    Jason stood back, hesitant. He knew the biggest thug, Eddie Price, and all had wands drawn. Jason didn't have to wait long for assistance, however. Diana came charging up to Eddie, her Prefect cape swishing around her feet. "Edward," she spat, her face was stone.
    "Outta the way, Moone. You can't tell me what to do anymore," Eddie said defiantly, pointing his wand at Diana. Jason knew that this, out of everything he could have done, was definitely the worst. Before his primitive brain could even register what had happened, Eddie was flat on his back. Diana had transfigured his robes into swamp gunk and his shoes into frogs and his goonies were floating upside down.
    "I had better not see you here again," Diana whispered with her wand still pointed at Eddie, "Or I will let Moxie know what you've been up to. And you know how much she... enjoys hearing about you." She gave her wand another flick and Eddie and his friends shot down the hall, parting the crowd as they went.
    "Thanks," Jason sighed, walking up to Diana. He smiled up at President Jefferson, who had resumed his stiff stance, "Figured they've tried to get in before. You know they nearly set fire to the portrait this Christmas? Moxie sent me a letter; told me she'd given them all detention until Easter."
    Diana smiled and finally put her wand back into her pocket. She looked at the portrait and frowned, "It's gone again."
    "What?" Jason looked at the portrait, too. It was still hanging there.
    "The portrait," Diana looked into Jason's face, "I think Moxie's put some sort of Fidelius Charm on it. Every time I find out about it, the Charm must shift and it disappears again. I don't think Eddie knows your room is back here, I think people assume Moxie's keeping something really valuable; why would she hide it, otherwise?"
    Jason shrugged, "Well, believe me. There's nothing much but some old clothes and my bed." He spoke the password and Jefferson swung open. Jason grabbed Diana's sleeve and pulled her through the passageway, though there was some weird resistance holding her back. Jason gave the room a glance, everything appearing to be in place, "And if understand the Fidelius Charm, you should be a Secret Keeper now."
    Diana mocked flattery and dropped herself into the chair at Jason's desk. "You have a Witch's Glass?" she wondered aloud, picking up a small hand mirror on the corner of the desk. It was a round mirror in a very delicately designed metal frame, but the glass didn't show a reflection. Rather, when one looked into it, they saw swirling mist and a gray bleakness that seemed to go on forever.
    "Oh, yeah," Jason muttered, "It's only linked to Moxie's, though. Speaking of her, I think she'll be done with her meeting by now. Try giving her a call."
    Diana stared into the glass, "Uh, call Moxie?" The mirror began to ring like a phone and the mist inside the glass began to swirl into a weird shape, finally forming the firm outline of Moxie's face.
    "Yes, Jason? Oh, Diana! How did you?" Moxie questioned.
    "Long story," Diana said, equally confused, "Jason was, uh, wondering if you were finished with the President?"
    "No, she wasn't," a voice drawled from nowhere, and the President's face also appeared in the mirror.
    Moxie sighed, "I told you, Bill, I can't tell students not to use magic where ever they want, that's their parents' jobs. Perhaps you should write another Wizarding Law to restrict us further?" There was the sound of shattering glass and the President's face faded away. "Always such a hot head when it comes to magical laws," Moxie muttered, "We'll be ready to leave as soon as I get everybody counted for."
    There was another shattering sound and Moxie's face disappeared. Diana put the Glass down and looked at Jason. He was staring at the floor, "Something's wrong."


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Star Spangled Spells; The Beginning

Hello everybody!
**Disclaimer: This post has little to do with Wizard101, and with all of my wizards at a form of standstill (they're quite literally completed everything I can think of!), there won't be many Wizard101-centric posts unless the updates kick in soon. I'm busy with school outside of that, so I apologize for the lack of posts!

In an effort to up my posting here (and as a little personal challenge), I've decided to start posting the Harry Potter fanfiction I mentioned a while ago. I'm somewhat of a novice when it comes to writing, and I do all the writing/editing myself, so I apologize in advance for any grammatical and spelling errors that are bound to happen. :)

A bit of background information about Star Spangled Spells:
This story is about a wizard from the United States who attends school at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When not in school, he stays at the Salem Witches' Institution. These events take place after the death of Albus Dumbledore to the fall of Lord Voldemort, and some events will run parallel with the canon (original) plot. I will try my best to keep with the details that J.K. Rowling has established in her amazing series, but where I need to I will make it up or smudge some lines. I do pretty extensive reading on the things I post about, so if something doesn't quite match up, please let me know so I can correct it for later chapters. As it is now, I have 5 "chapters" written, and a sixth in progress. They are kinda long--or at least seem that way--but I do try to keep it all "family friendly." Details about everything will be posted later.

And so I present to you, Chapter 1 of Star Spangled Spells--The Beginning:

The Beginning

    Professor Dumbledore's funeral was touching, to say the least. He looked magnificent, Jason Crowe thought, even in death. It was the events that caused his untimely death that seemed to shake everybody up the way it did, besides the fact that the one wizard that could hold Voldemort at bay was now dead.
    Jason took a slow look around at his fellow students. Many had left; parents pulled them away in the dark of night. Many parents had arrived only to attend the funeral, and then were off, only to see their children again when the Hogwarts Express dropped them off at Kings' Cross Station. Jason's parents had died years and years ago; a fellow instructor at the Salem Witches' Institute, who doubled as the only American Death Eater, had gone after his Muggle-born mother and Squib sister when he was only three months old. His father, who had the Inner Eye had Seen something terrible coming and relocated the infant Jason to his grandmother's.
    But Jason wasn't looking for Grandmother Matilda, either. No, another twist of events had relocated him into the care of the Headmistress of the Institute's care, Madam Vivian Moxie. She was American Spirit wrapped into a very petite woman with a very fiery attitude, which had gotten her into some trouble with the English Ministry of Magic a fair few times; Jason would have been fairly surprised if she did manage to attend the short notice service.
    When he hadn't spotted her before the funeral began he decided to sit next to his Head of House, Professor Flitwick. Between (rather dull and boring) speeches, Jason had looked across the Lake and seen a silvery wolf standing on the motionless water; Moxie's Patronus. When Jason's eyes met the Patronus wolf's, it gave a curt nod and sped off in the opposite direction. She would be there, though he couldn't be sure when, but he knew it would be soon.
    The silence was only broken by silent sobs and sniffles as the white marble tomb was lowered into the lake at Hogwarts. When all was said and done, students who were staying the extra few hours to ride the train home were hurried back to the Castle to collect their things. Most however, as Jason noticed, were hooked by their parents and guardians and whisked off to Hogsmead so that they could Disapparate home.
    Knowing he was not riding the train home, and that he could not Disapparate all the way back to Salem from Hogsmead, Jason took his time walking back to the Castle. He saw the "Golden Trio" whispering fervently and waved his goodbye. Jason knew, just as they did, that they would not be back to Hogwarts for their final year, and he wished them the best of luck on whatever they were going to do. They were, though only Hermione probably had the slightest of knowing, his closest friends.
    He could not help but wonder what next year would be like. N.E.W.T testing, and the chance at being Head Boy. A new Transfiguration teacher, seeing as Professor McGonagall would take up the Headmistress role, and another new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Jason humored himself with thoughts of Severus Snape trying to step onto the grounds, only to be jinxed seven ways to Sunday by all of the angry students and teachers. Jason shook his head; Professor Snape had definitely slithered back to his true master, Lord Voldemort.
    But Jason didn't want to bother himself with such devastating thoughts at this time. He wanted to get back to Salem and enjoy the summer months at the Institution. But first, he would need to make sure everybody in the Ravenclaw Tower got their stuff together, so he picked up his pace. Jogging slightly, his robes billowed behind him in the breezy morning air. Several students with their parents waved goodbye and he tried his best to flash them a friendly smile.
    The school's huge wooden doors were wide open, allowing students and family to quickly and easily come and go. No sooner had Jason walked inside and put his foot on the first great marble step than a teacher had called his name, "Mister Crowe!"
    Jason turned and was greeted with the solemn face of Professor McGonagall. Several quick strides later she was looking at him with a look of concern; she was a tall woman and Jason only had her by a couple of inches, "I trust you have gotten word from Madam Moxie?"
    Jason shook his head, "She should be here, same as always. That should be okay, Professor?"
    "Oh, of course!" Professor McGonagall said quickly, her brow easing slightly, "I just wonder how you will be getting back, seeing as you are in no longer in possesion of a wand?" She gingerly pulled the almond wood and unicorn hair wand out of her robe and handed it to Jason, "I'm afraid with Mister Ollivander missing, there is little I could think to do with it.."
    Jason looked down at the broken wood in his palm, frowning. "I completely understand Professor," Jason sighed, "Truth be told, it wasn't really my wand. It was my mother's, and well, I suppose it was about time I got my own."
    Professor McGonagall was familiar with Jason's history after the last night's events. A Death Eater by the name of Harley Charleston had tried to personally finish his business with the Crowe family by targeting Jason. By some odd chance of luck, Jason had come out unscathed, though his wand (not protected by the effects of Felix Felicis the few members of Dumbledore's Army had taken before the battle) had been smashed under a wayward rock, which luckily had missed Jason's head by a few inches. She placed a hand on Jason's shoulder and squeezed encouragingly, "Moxie will help you sort it all out, Jason."
    It was a weird feeling, seeing Professor McGonagall be so personal, coupled with the use of his first name. He gave another quick nod and stowed the wand fragments in his robe pocket. Jason turned and made it halfway up the staircase before being interrupted again, "Crowe, I will be accompanying you to the gates in an hour. Sharp!"
    Jason smiled weakly, and nodded again to Professor McGonagall. She would not lose her composure for anyone for more than five minutes. He hurried quickly to the Ravenclaw Tower, passing many of the pupils in his House on the way. Jason smiled and waved goodbye to most, except for the Padma Patil, who had developed a crush on him, hated his guts, and was now comfortably friendly with him. "Goodbye!" she said in a sing-song voice as he passed.
    He trucked up the long spiral staircase to the Tower and was greeted by the bronze eagle knocker looking blankly into the distance. Jason cleared his throat, the knocker shaking itself into life. "Door's open, go on in!" it said with a ting of annoyance in it's voice.
    "Oh, one more, for good time's sake," said Jason, winking at the bronze eagle, "Make it a tough one." He knew that it had to keep most of the riddles simple; several times it had kept out students because the answers were so blatantly absurd.
    It's head swiveled from side to side, as if checking for safety, "Oh, all right. But don't blame me if you can't get in afterward!" It bobbed for a few moments, obviously trying to think of a good one to stump the Prefect, "Ah, how about this: You are having a conversation with a Mermaid over a cup of tea about recent trash deposits in the lower Pacific ocean. What language makes a suitable go between if neither of you are willing to speak the others native tongue?"
    This one was not all that hard. Jason figured the knocker probably needed a nice summer vacation to gather its wits and create a few that were of proper quality. "Well, I would say that since we are having a cup of tea, this Mermaid is not underwater (tea can't stay in a cup underwater, after all), meaning it can not speak at all. But to give you the benefit of the doubt, I would think French would be a great alternative. My reasoning? Well, I've always wanted to learn French," Jason said confidently. The bronze eagle would give it to him because of the logical breaking of the question, he knew.
    "How did I miss that? Very well, welcome in!" there was a clattering and the door flew open, and Jason stepped inside. The common room was airy, the large windows swung open allowing a breeze to flutter the numerous bronze and blue tapestries. Jason stepped quickly down the stairs and rounded for his dormatory. His roommates had been picked up earlier by their parents, so he had used their beds to organize his things. With no wand, he quickly realized that he did not miss doing things the "old fashioned" way.
    He checked his watch; half an hour until he had to meet Professor McGonagall again. Deciding that there was no reason to sit and day dream, he quickly shoved his robes into his trunk. He did his best to fit his text books on top of the heap, only barely closing the lid. He did not keep a familiar; he had invented a Charm he could use on various birds that allowed them to write letters for him once they arrived at their destination.
    He gave his dorm and common room one last sweeping look before leaving the Ravenclaw Tower and dragging his heavy trunk down the stairs. The other students had seemingly all disappeared, and in the Great Hall Professor McGonagall was standing in the open doorway, looking expectantly up at the marble stairs. Her face was not the tight lipped scowl she usually wore, but much more relaxed, her square glasses hardly hanging on the end of her nose.
    "Ready when you are, Professor," Jason said with a sigh of content. He gave his trunk a swing and it stood stationary in front of him.
    "Locomotor Trunk!" McGonagall said calmly. Jason's trunk floated a few inches off the ground and followed them as they strode down the great steps and across the grounds. They walked for a few minutes in silence, Professor McGonagall finally breaking the silence, "So what are your plans for next year, Jason?"
    "Well," Jason had given the year a considerable amount of thought, but now that he was asked, could not come up with any definite answer, "I guess I haven't thought much about it. Definitely the highest levels of Charms and Transfiguration; I've heard that students in the past have dedicated their entire years to N.E.W.T study of just certain subjects. I think I'd like that, if I can arrange it." He could see Professor McGonagall smiling out of the corner of his eye.
    "I don't think I have had a single student study in years," Professor McGonagall said absentmindedly, rolling her wand between her fingers, "Professor Flitwick would enjoy it, definitely. I think it would be a relief not having to assign so much bookwork; he used to be a dueling champion, you know?"
    Jason did know. He would never admit it, but he had done extensive research on his favorite teachers during his summer vacations. He knew Professor McGonagall had worked for the Ministry quite some years ago and that Professor Flitwick had a form of "doctorate" in magic.
    "Here we are," Professor McGonagall said happily, tapping the iron gates with her wand. The great metal bars melted away in a doorway shape, allowing them to walk straight through, and quickly reformed after they had passed. "Remind me, what is Moxie's calling again? She's changed it since the last time I've done this, I'm sure," Professor McGonagall muttered, reaching into her robe pockets for something.
    "Lumos, I believe, and then you write Salem in the air," Jason guessed. Though Moxie did change her calling often, she usually always changed it back to the easiest once term ended at Hogwarts.
    Professor McGonagall rose her wand, tip alight, and wrote out Salem. The word sustained itself as wisps of smokey bright light. Once she had finished the "m", she raked her hand through it, the light scattering itself in all different directions. There was a breeze from the west and a loud crack a few seconds later.
    A petite woman in navy blue robes stood, back facing them, with her hands on her hips, a wand held tightly in the left. Jason stepped toward her, blocked by Professor McGonagall's outstretched arm, "The distinguishing mark of my Animagus?"
    "Your square glasses, which you really should upgrade dear," the woman replied with a small laugh, "The number of times I've been wanted by the Ministry of Magic?"
    "Seventeen, not counting the unofficial announcements only seen in the Prophet," McGonagall said affectionately, lowering her arm and wand. "You realize that your question was unnecessary?"
    "Oh, I know," Madam Moxie turned to face them, her face wide with a grin, "But I like to make sure I haven't lost count." She gave her old friend a hug and turned to Jason, placing a white gloved hand on his cheek, "Everything went well this year? Caused enough trouble, I hope?"
    "Smashingly," Jason said in a mock English accent. Moxie scowled and laughed, it had been a running joke between them. Professor McGonagall shot him a stern look over her glasses. "And when I say smashingly," Jason returned to his American drawl, "I mean Mom's wand's been smashed." He pulled the segments from his robe pocket and handed them to Moxie.
    A flash of disgust crossed her face, which she quickly covered with a somewhat forced smile, "Then the first thing we do is get you a wand once we're back in the States. But for now.." She levitated the segments with her own wand, hovering it between the three present. With a flick of her wrist the wand burst into purple flames, devouring the wood in a matter of seconds. She pointed her wand, again, at the pile of ashes on the ground, "Evanesco!"
    Jason felt a pang of sadness as he watched the wand he knew and loved Vanish into nothing. But he knew, deep down, that a wand that was specifically his would only make his life easier and his spells much, much more powerful. Moxie held out her arm, looking at Jason expectantly, "We'd best be off. I told the Diggles I'd be back before somebody realized I'd linked our Floo networks.."
    Jason gave Professor McGonagall a nod of goodbye. She smiled warmly and returned the favor, handing Jason his trunk. He gripped Moxie's gloved hand tightly and felt the familiar sickening sensation of Side-Along Apparation.