Catrina teaches the apprentices about the body, the mind, and how to fool the senses.
Catrina is up at her usual hour, completely unconcerned about the day ahead of her. It was true that there might be a few bumps in the road as they started up the school. In fact, there were bound to be some. But everyone was in the same boat, teachers and students alike. No one had ever done anything like this before. Besides, the poor kids would probably be so confused they wouldn't notice if she taught her first class backwards.
After a quick breakfast, the faerie-blooded illusionist makes her way to the classroom that's been assigned to her and prepares for her first day of lessons. As she passes through the classroom's door she can't help but wonder if it's altogether fair for her to have used a concealed door. But then, the children were here to learn, weren't they? And one important lesson was to look past what they think they see. Things aren't always what they seem.
Looking around the laboratory-turned-classroom, Catrina smiles and nods her head. It was neat, tidy, and ready for her students to arrive. But still, a few minor preparations were in order. First, there was the matter of atmosphere. the maga sweeps her gaze around the room and as she does, the images of dozens of vases filled with fresh lilacs appear.[sup]1[/sup] Then, with a few magic words and an arcane wave of one hand, a slight breeze fills the room, spreading the scent of lilacs everywhere.
Second, there was the matter of augmenting her ability to reach her students. Her eyes narrow and suddenly all of the sound in the room seems just that much crisper.[sup]3[/sup] Then, as she stands there, Catrina gains an aura of confidence and determination, just the sort of thing to keep the kids' attention.[sup]4[/sup]
Third, and finally, was the way to get her student's attention on the first day of class. With only a few minutes remaining before class begins, Catrina casts one last spell. And as she does, the maga seems to morph until she takes the image of a tall, narrow display case pushed up against one wall of the classroom.[sup]5[/sup]
Catrina waits a few minutes in silence, until the students should have filed into the room. No doubt they were still in the hallway wondering where their classroom went. It was supposed to be down this hallway. From her hidden position, the maga silently gestures and the door opens[sup]6[/sup], revealing a hallway outside filled with her young students. The students file into the room, each one perhaps just a little bit prepared for some trick after Fiona's display earlier. But there was no bird in here, just a very large blue and yellow butterfly perched on a table.
A few students look around the room, but most have their attention captured by the butterfly, perhaps wondering if this will become their next teacher. But as they watch the butterfly, the display case blurs, turning back into the appearance of an attractive young woman. "Good morning," the woman says cheerfully. "My name is Catrina inghean Uí Chonchobhair ex Merinita, though that's a terrible mouthful. Best if you call me 'Professor Catrina,' 'professor,' or simply 'maga.' I shall be your instructor this semester in De Architectura, a class that will teach you about the basic building blocks of the body, the mind, and especially the senses."
"So tell me," she says, gazing around at the students. "What do you think of the school so far? Pretty impressive, huh?" Her enthusiasm is evident and genuine.
Please forgive the heavy-handed posting. I won't make a habit of that. But I wanted to set the right scene.
[sup]1[/sup] Casting Room Full of Flowers. Deft Imaginem means no gestures or words. Roll: 1d10+54=61
[sup]2[/sup] Casting Chamber of Spring Breezes. Roll: 1d10+31=40
[sup]3[/sup] Casting Notes of a Delightful Sound. Roll: 1d10+32=38
[sup]4[/sup] Casting Aura of Ennobled Presence. Roll: 1d10+32=40
[sup]6[/sup] Casting Unseen Arm with no spoken words (-10). Roll: 1d10+11=17
Just checking for Imric's Second Sight: 1d10+2=4; no dice.
Imric comes into the classroom a little on edge. He'd been confused outside when they couldn't find the classroom where it was supposed to be, then delighted to see the concealed door open. Now he was looking at another empty room. These teachers sure liked to make an entrance.
He stands there looking around at the classroom, then focusing his attention on the largest butterfly he's ever seen. And despite being ready for something, he's still surprised when the cabinet shifts into a person. But his surprise only lasts a moment. Quickly it's replaced by admiration and maybe even the beginnings of a crush. She's beautiful, he thinks as he stares at Catrina all goggle-eyed.
The petite little Babette sits shyly at her chair, uncertain what to make of all the wonders she has seen thus far. She looks about her waiting to see how the others respond before finally speaking in a voice that is barely above a whisper. "I think it's wondrous..."
"You have only seen the beginning," Catrina says to the young girl. Then she extends her hand and into it appears a beautiful, white gardenia[sup]1[/sup], which she offers to Babette. "Another lesson," she adds. "Most illusions are ephemeral. But some are not. Glamours can look, sound, taste, smell, and feel exactly like the real thing. But then, when their magic expires, it's as if they were never there."
[sup]1[/sup]Cast The Perfect Flower. Casting Roll (target 35): 1d10+54=57
Babette's cheeks flush at the attention and she looks about her, uncertain if she should take the offered bloom or not. Finally she seems to get her nerve and reaches out for the flower. "Is this..? It's mine? I can have it?"
"Absolutely," Catrina replies. "Though I'm afraid the flower will only last until sundown. It's a glamour - a solid illusion - and not a real flower. But most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference. That's the mark of a truly good illusion."
[color=purple]"Will 'glamour' help me look or be, or seem, more...bigger?" Margerethe asks.
Babette tentatively touches the flower, her eyes wide and then gingerly takes it from the instructor, bring it to her nose to smell the perfume. "It's wonderful! But...why can't it last forever?"
"It could," Catrina says to Marguerethe. "But it might not have the effect you want." Then she waves her hand in a mystic gesture and speaks an incantation. Immediately, where Margarethe stood is a child looking very much like her, except of a normal size.[sup]1[/sup]
"It can change how you look, but not how you really are under the illusion," she explains. "For example, though you look taller, you can't reach any higher. And your upper body is entirely ephemeral." She waves a hand through the image's head by way of demonstration. "I suppose I could change you for real with a very complicated glamour. But mostly for real changes you'll want to look to Corpus magic, which we shall cover in due time. With a Corpus enchantment, you can change for real." Again, she speaks some magical words and makes an arcane gesture. As she finishes, she begins to shrink until she is the size of the other children in class, though she still looks like a woman of thirty-five. Then she smiles and looks around the classroom, taking it in from her students' perspective for a moment. After a short time she cease concentrating on the spell and returns to her normal size.
"But the person you really want to speak to about that, of you're interested, is Professor Fiona. Transformations are a specialty of hers. She's really quite magnificent with them."
Then Catrina looks over to Babbette. "That's a surprisingly complicated question," she replies in answer to the girl's question. "And one more appropriate for your Magical Theory professor. The simple answer is that the Limit of Creation says that nothing permanent can be created without vis. I'm not sure if you've had vis explained to you, but it's a sort of magical essence, and it's very valuable. So I could make a permanent glamour. But to do so would be very, very expensive." She smiles again and shakes her head. "I'm sure that Professor Fiona will explain this to you in greater detail in the course of her instruction on Magical Theory."
As Catrina finishes her explanation, the illusion around Margarethe ends, and the young girls looks as she always did.
[sup]1[/sup] Spontaneously cast an illusion (CrIm) to make Margerethe look like an average-sized ten year old.
Base 2 (sight and sound), +2 Voice, +1 Diameter = 5
Non-fatiguing casting total: (20 (Cr) + 20 (Im) + 2 (Sta) +4 (aura) + 7 (talisman))/5 = 53/5 = 10
[sup]2[/sup] Spontaneously cast a spell to reduce her size, as well as that of her dress (MuCo(An)).
Base 3 (change size of a person), +1 Conc. +2 An requisite = 5
Non-fatiguing casting total: (10 (Mu) + 10 (Co) + 2 (Sta) +4 (aura))/5 = 26/5 = 5
"My grandmother says you need vis to make something permanent, and a ritual spell, not the standard formulaic or spontaneous effects Professor Catrina is demonstrating." Ambrose adds. "Not that I've ever seen her do a ritual spell. That's not her specialty."
"That's very true." Catrina replies, ignoring the fact that she'd just mentioned vis before the boy spoke. "You're Ambrose, if I recall correctly." There were few enough students that she'd been able to figure out who was who pretty quickly. "Vis is required to make anything permanent, and it does require a ritual. Professor Fiona will go over the details of this in her class. But you'll all soon find out that this is one of the limits of magic."
Why do I have the urge to say, "Five points to Slytherin."
Meanwhile, Imric just stares at Catrina, his mouth slightly open with a dumb look on his face.
"Nothing worth doing is easy." Ambrose says, but he says it with little conviction, as if he's heard it told to him dozens of times before, but doesn't understand the implications.
"If you could find a way around the Limit of Creation," Catrina says, "you would be as famous as Bonisagus himself. It's a worthy matter to investigate, though. Perhaps as your education progresses, you'll look more deeply into the matter."
Julius has the same look of wonder.
"Now," Catrina says, moving up to the front of the classroom. "As I said, we will be studying the body, the mind, and the senses in this class. These are better known among magi by the names Bonisagis gave them: Corpus, Mentem, and Imaginem. By the time I am finished with my lessons, you will all know by name every part of the body." As she speaks, a form of a human body appears in the center of the classroom and slowly rotates.[sup]1[/sup] "You will know the twelve emotions and the seven basic feelings. And you will become intimately familiar with the five standard senses, as well as the sixth sense, the so-called second sight. My familiar, Gwydion, will even allow you to experience the second sight, if only briefly."
She pauses and points to Imric, who turns bright red. "Except for you," Catrina says. "I understand that you are blessed with the second sight already. With you, we shall try and develop your second sight to allow you to better understand what it allows you to perceive."
"I shall do my best to make this class entertaining," Catrina continues. "And I shall try to include at least some practical exercises as we proceed. But I'm afraid that the first months of this class will involve a great deal of study and memorization before you will be able to perform even the smallest of magics. Just remember the words of wisdom that Ambrose just offered: nothing worth doing is easy."
"Now," she concludes. "Are there any questions?"
Some weeks pass and Catrina settles into a series of lectures on Corpus to begin with. It was a common practice, she explains to her students, for a maga to teach Corpus first to give her apprentice a good grounding, then follow up with Mentem and Imaginem at a later time. This is why, to her obvious disappointment, Catrina puts off Imaginem instruction until later in the semester. However, she promises great things when it eventually does come time to teach illusions.
This is not to say, of course, that images and illusions are not a regular part of her lectures. Every day the classroom is filled with dozens of pots of illusory plants, their floral scent wafting over a magical breeze. And Catrina is never at a loss for an image or a glamour to illustrate a point she's making or to demonstrate the focus of her lecture. On the third day of class, she had distributed some books to be used in addition to the standard textbook. Each of these books, there was a copy for each student, contained illusions of the parts of the body with descriptive text to go along. Each pair of open pages included an illusion on the right page and some text on the left. These books, Professor Catrina explained, were study aids to help the students learn the parts of the body and their particular properties. Today it was time to test them on what they had learned.
Waiting until everyone is seated, Catrina addresses her students. "Good morning, class," she begins in a sweet voice. "I trust everyone has been studying the parts of the body with great earnest. Today we shall see how successful those efforts have been." As she speaks, the image of a left arm and hand appears and floats before Catrina.[sup]1[/sup] It slowly rotates in place. "Now who is prepared to list the parts of the hand and the arm, and their magical significance? If I can get a satisfactory answer, I'm prepared to give a demonstration of some basic Corpus magic."
I'm not looking for a super detailed answer. But some color text would be great.
"Sorry, Professor Catrina, all I know is some people can read palms." Ambrose offers unhelpfully. "And then in other classes we've talked about the need for making Hermetic gestures with the hands and arms."
"You're quite correct, Ambrose," Catrina replies. "The magical significance of the hands, wrist, and fingers are important in determining the gestures used in casting spells. That's just one reason that it's imperative that you all commit this information to memory. If you ever want to cast spells spontaneously, you'll need to know what gestures to use on an instinctive level." Then she motions to the image before her. It focuses in on just the hand, which curls into a partial fist, holding only the index finger extended.
"We'll start with the fingertip of the index finger on the right hand," she says, "and move on from there. The fingertip of the index finger is associated with direction, identification, and precision. It is one of the most commonly used parts of the hand in casting gestures." Catrina then goes on to fill the rest of her lecture time describing the right hand, getting through all the fingers and the thumb, and moving on to the palm before her time runs out.
"Homework for tomorrow," she says as the students prepare to leave, "is to review the bones in the arm. As soon as we're finished with the parts in general, we'll turn our attention to the skeleton."
As the last of the children file out, she looks to Gwydion and sighs. "I forgot how slowly things go at the beginning. But we'll get them doing some basic Corpus magic inside of a week or two. That should perk up their interest."