Grayson Wright

November 30, 2023 8:03 PM
He was used to getting the unusual ones, but Gray thought that Summer Collindale might be a novelty even by Aladren standards. He was sure it had happened before, but he couldn’t recall ever seeing a student seem so unhappy about being Sorted into his House. In fact, he wasn’t sure he’d ever seen anyone seem anything other than pleased, if only because it had been the expected result. He was not quite sure how to deal with this new phenomenon, of someone who simply did not want to be here.

“Hello,” he said as he gathered her up with the rest after the Feast, hopefully concealing this uncertainty. He thought there was at least a reasonable chance he pulled it off; this was not, after all, the most difficult terrain he’d found himself abruptly forced to navigate as a teacher, and he was far more confident that this situation would work itself out than he had been with any of those other situations. Perhaps Aladrens weren’t known for friendliness in the same way Teppenpaws were, to the point that it made it into the school’s official literature, but he had always thought of them as a reasonably unified group, and it seemed from everything he had ever seen that friendships made within the House tended to be lasting. For better or for worse, they were each other’s people, and so it ought to work itself out. Hopefully. “I’m Professor Wright, head of Aladren - welcome to the House. If you’ll follow, follow me, I’ll take you to our common room and dormitories.”

There, at least, he was back on more familiar ground: was out of the Cascade Hall, moving through the corridors and back to the library. The route was so familiar now that Professor Wright would not have been surprised to discover he could walk it blindfolded. Nevertheless, as he guided the new members of his little flock along, he made sure to point out details, useful bits of knowledge someone less familiar with the school could use to help navigate, until they reached the doors of the library.

“Most of your classmates,” he informed them, “will only hear that it's forbidden to tell outsiders about where the entrances to their dormitories are. You, though, will need to keep two secrets – most importantly, where the actual entrance to Aladren is, but also that the entrance is hidden here, in the library.”

He led them into Tarquin’s domain. “Unfortunately, I have to remind you that the library itself is not part of your common room, and you should follow all the same rules as every other student when you are inside the library," he informed them. "But I'd expect no less from anyone Sorted into Aladren. Neither will our librarian, Mr. Fox-Reynolds. So, on we go."

Sonora was young, as far as wizarding schools went, and its location had been even more remote from society when it was built than it was now; a regrettable consequence of this was the absence of the sort of ancient grimoires and hand-illuminated bestiaries that one might find in the libraries of the ancient European schools of magic. It did, however, contain rather good copies of a fair few of them, plus a wealth of more recent material, and thus it was a bit of a walk to the back wall and the section dedicated to zoology and magizoology. Once they finally reached it, he scanned the shelves and found the book he was looking for.

“The key to the door is here,” he said. “It looks like a book called Birds of Prey, and it has three horizontal velvet bands on its spine.” They matched the color of the spine very closely, but were distinct enough to the touch to accommodate Summer. “To come in, you put your hand on the spine, like I’m doing now, and pull as though you were going to remove it from the shelf, like – “ he pulled on the book – “this.”

There was a sound of stone on stone and then the shelf began to move, first forward toward them and then outward, revealing an entrance. He gestured through it. “After you,” he invited the students.

The shelf slid back into place behind them as they entered a spacious room decorated primarily in blue and black. The room was dotted with sets of tables and chairs, a few sofas, and bookshelves on several walls. He had looked over the shelves when he took over as Head of House and had made a few additions, so the common room library covered a variety of interests students might have - subjects related to magic, but also other subjects, including history and literature and Muggle math and science. He had also decided to have several periodicals delivered to the common room for general use. The first issues of these, along with hodgepodges from earlier deliveries and his own, older collection of such things, were on a few stands around the room. He led the new kids to the rug in front of the hearth and waved for them to take seats in the immediate area. Since he was not exactly declaiming to a vast crowd here, he took an armchair himself so he was more or less on their level instead of looming over them from the rug.

"Once again, welcome to Aladren," he said. "As your Head of House, I hope you'll come to see Aladren as a second home. This is our common room - where you can sit, meet with others in our House, do your homework, play some chess or other board games…more or less anything you want, so long as it isn't so loud it disrupts everyone else, and if it's not anything that will end with me being forced to explain to the headmaster why unidentified substances appear to have permanently bonded with the ceiling here,’’ he joked. “And of course you’re allowed to spend time with friends or relatives in other Houses in school common areas, like the Gardens or the MARS facility, of course.”

"My office is through this door here. There's an outside entrance from the corridor around the bend, too, if you're with someone from another House or just already passing that way." By which he really meant: if you'd rather not advertise to everyone in the common room that you want a word with me; he assumed that would be obvious enough without an explicit statement even with first years. "If you have any questions about the school or any other concerns, you're welcome to come talk to me - as Head of House, my job is to act as your default contact on the staff, and to act as the middleman between you and the administration, when that's needed," he explained. "However, any professor would be happy to help you if you prefer, or if I'm not available, and our House prefects are also here to help you. They’re Constance Melcher - “ who he hoped was not taking the loss of Head Girl too hard, though he had noticed she looked unhappy at the table - “Phillip Carson, and Gwendolyn Brockert.”

"The dorms are through that door over there." He pointed. "When you get in, you'll see there's a hallway that goes two ways. Dorms for girls are down the hall to your right, and dorms for boys are down the hall to your left. You can only walk down the hallway that contains the room you've been assigned to. If you walk down the other one, you'll fall through the floor and end up back in the common room. They tell me it's not a very soft landing, so I'd recommend you don't do that," he said matter-of-factly. "On a similar note, beds are enchanted to be one-occupant-only and it's not an especially pleasant rule to break, either." Not that anyone had, yet - this rule was still fairly new. He'd decided that slipping it into the speech as unobtrusively as possible was his best bet (Merlin help him if any of them asked why....), along with all the upper year dorms having a 'welcome back' notice reminding them of the House rules. "Your room has your year number on it, so it should be easy to find. The second years will be in all your classes as well as being your neighbors, so I'd recommend being good neighbors," he added. "Curfew every night is at ten, breakfast becomes available at 6:30 in the morning. You'll need to be inside Aladren between those hours, though as long as you're reasonably quiet, it's up to you to decide when to sit in the common room and when to go to bed." This would be an early test in self-management for them; he expected a lot of droopy heads as students from all Houses experimented with the new freedom within the first month, but they'd probably learn soon enough...and then unlearn it, of course, as soon as they started approaching their CATS, but that was still four years in the future.

"That's a lot of information, I know, so you'll probably be glad to hear that's the end of this speech," he said. "If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. If you don't have any questions, though, then this meeting is adjourned - you can look around the common room, or go see your dorms. Your trunks should be in your rooms by now."

OOC: Welcome to Aladren! You can now post your character on any of the boards, though they do not have access to other common rooms outside of HoH offices. You can also continue your conversations at the Feast and at Orientation thanks to the magic of what we call "fuzzy time" - as long as two threads are supposed to happen at different times in character, you can write them at the same time as an author. If you have any questions, just ask in Chatzy or on the OOC board. Have fun!
16 Grayson Wright Welcome to Aladren (HoH speech) 113 1 5

Summer Collindale

January 12, 2024 11:05 PM
When the feast was over, Summer went quietly. Anyone who knew her well would know that ‘going quietly’ was unusual for her, but even Dora and Professor Xavier might not have realised, and they were busy. She kept her head up, like she was strong and capable, and followed along. There was no space for her to argue back, which was an unfamiliar and unpleasant sensation, but she had had enough time to pack her resentment tight against her chest so it didn’t make anyone mistake her for weak. If it wasn’t too late for that already, having cried, for goodness’ sake, in front of everyone.

She followed the sound of Professor Wright’s voice and footsteps, swinging her cane to get a sense of the space, listening to the way the echoes changed or didn’t change as they rounded various corners. A lot of the details he pointed out weren’t very helpful to her, though when he mentioned there was a tapestry at one of the junctions, she put her fingers out to feel it.

Professor Wright continued to be both useless and increasingly infuriating as he guided them through the library and used a lot of words like ‘here’ and ‘like this.’ When he mentioned the bands on the book, she instinctively reached out, taking from that both the marker for her own use, and all the details about where it was on the shelf that he hadn’t explained.

She sat through his speech, which did little to inform her of where his office door or the stairs to their dormitories were, though she doubted she’d want to use the former very often. She didn’t ask him for clarification, waiting for the rustle of him moving away once he’d answered any questions from the other first years. She’d been aware of their movements beside her as they worked their way through the corridors. Then the three of them had sunk down into the plushy noiselessness of couches. She’d sat close enough to one of them that she would feel it if they left, even though it was hard to track them by their breathing under the noise of the common room. She was fairly sure they were both still there, and she could hear that she wasn’t actually alone, although she really had no idea what there was beyond the edge of the couch she was sitting on. Except, apparently, some chess sets, which could be floating in midair for all she knew, and a staircase somewhere to her room.

“Do you want to hang out here for a bit or shall we go to our dormitories?” she asked, hoping she could latch onto a guide without having to say that she needed help.
13 Summer Collindale Not a very effective one 1589 0 5