Author Topic:  [Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light  (Read 374 times)

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13 Posts 44 he/him/his played by Taed
[Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light
« on: January 16, 2024, 12:46:04 PM »
förbannelsebrytande klassrum, durmstrang institutet | week of 5-10 september 2005

“Gratifying when the basics reflect a fresh light, leading to real continuing ed.”
Phillip Gary Smith



"Good morning, class," he greeted, his blue eyes underneath the hood of his eyebrows scanning the room as he began the arduous task of memorizing his students' faces and names. "Welcome to Curse Breaking. My name is Professor Højstryke, and I'm honoured to join the Durmstrang faculty as your instructor for this course. Before we get started, let me tell you about myself in brief.

"I actually am a Swedish native, but back when I attended Durmstrang, the campus was in Russia. My father was a Curse Breaker for the Swedish Ministry. I myself excelled in both Curses & Hexes and Curse Breaking, earned accolades for my practical performance, and graduated in 1979 as Otlichnik, or Hedersstudent I suppose it's called now. After that, I joined my older brother Henrik as a freelance Curse Breaker, and traversed the globe with him. Together, we faced the perils of enchanted tombs, deciphered cryptic incantations, and stared down magical creatures of formidable nature. The Højstryke duo developed a reputation and were much sought-after experts. We often collaborated with Rikastavkarlens* and even the Swedish Ministry of Magic.

"That said, choosing to enter Curse Breaking as a primary line of work is obviously dangerous, and to be quite frank, you flirt with the very real possibility of death. I sadly lost my brother six years ago this month to a powerful curse guarding the Aurum Astrum, which we were retrieving from the Urals for a private collector. I continued to work as a freelancer by myself until the professor position opened up here this summer. As your instructor, my aim is to impart not just knowledge but a profound understanding of the intricacies of the art, as well as of the dangers of the career.

"So with that, this being your first Curse Breaking class of the year and your first class with me, we are going back to the basics," he announced, cueing the chalk to start writing on the board behind him.

"There are five primary purposes that a Curse-Breaker is trained for," he began. "Now, these purposes might seem straightforward, but they open up a world of complexities and challenges. Consider this: When breaking a curse to rescue a hostage from captivity, what ethical dilemmas might arise? How do you balance the urgency of the situation with the potential risks to the hostage or the Curse-Breaker? Similarly, when dealing with ancient magical artifacts of dubious nature, what factors should a Curse-Breaker take into account? How do you determine the historical significance of an object versus its potential dangers?

"Remember, Curse Breaking is not just about the incantations we learn in textbooks; it's about adapting, thinking on your feet, and understanding the intricacies of magic in the real world. So," he clapped his hands and looked around. "Which Curse-Breaking purpose do you find most intriguing, and what are some critical considerations you think you would have to make about it?"


*Rikastavkarlens is Sweden's national banking authority for wizardkind - effectively a Svenska Gringotts. @group:Drakonya Krov @group:Klyk Vampira
« Last Edit: January 17, 2024, 08:25:05 AM by Taed »

32 Posts 15 Gay
Re: [Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2024, 07:12:05 PM »
The academic term was a mixed bag for Mihkkal. He loved being able to see the friends he had made over his first four years at Durmstrang, he had grown accustomed to a great deal more variety than he was used to, he had even come to appreciate some of his classes. But at the same time there were moments like this one, when he was walking to Cure Breaking, that he had come to dread. In his village elemental magic was nearly as prevalent as standard wand-based magic. But here, at Durmstrang, that was certainly not the case. As such, courses were not developed for those who didn’t do, or at least were really really bad at, wand magic. Each year, Mihkkal dreaded seeing how many new ways he would be shamed or made to look bad for not being able to accomplish even the simplest of spells, jinxes, curses, hexes, or other wand maneuvers.

As he arrived at the Curse Breaking room, Mihkkal got out his tools and his wand (he had to at least keep up appearances) and waited. He figured it would only be a few minutes before he was asked to disenchant something, to identify a curse using some spell, or something else that he was unprepared, and unable, to do. But as Professor Højstryke’s introduction continued Mihkkal had just a little hope that this year might be—at least at the start—a little different. “deciphering and staring down creatures” sounded like things Mihkkal could, at least in some reality, actually manage. The less actual magic he had to do, the more the boy thought he might actually be able to scrape a moderate pass in the class.

A return to the basics seemed like a nice reset. It wasn’t as if Mihkkal remembered the basic principles of curse breaking from his first year. He had been so overwhelmed by being surrounded by a room full of people who had no idea who or what he was, a culture he knew nothing about, hostility around every corner…his first year or two had been a bit much. After getting settled in, most of the theory was well past him and they had moved into practice—something for which he was not suited.

When Professor Højstryke mentioned adapting and thinking on one’s feet, Mihkkal actually smiled. He couldn’t remember the last time he had smiled in a “practical” magic course, but he really did smile. Adaptability and thinking on one’s feet sound almost like the flexibility innate to water. There is an ever-changing nature to water that requires those who share a connection with it to understand, to learn, and to live. While he was often described as logical and calculating, Mihkkal also learned how to think on his feet from his chores at home. Working with animals means adapting, especially during the winter months…Mihkkal knew how plans often fall apart as soon as they are subjected to stress, but the job still needs getting done. And that’s where his connection to a flexible, rather than brittle, element such as water came in handy.

On his paper, Mihkkal underlined the third principle twice. This was the most interesting to him. Hostage rescue seemed like it would allow for someone to make a plan, a strategy, and then react from that plan. This was how he did things regularly in his village. He planned how he would get all of his work done, how he would move from warm space to warm space. But there were always complications that remained unseen and required adaptation. Not being a hot-head or being so fixated on the details of his plan that he was unable to complete it were essential. Raising his hand, Mihkkal offered his perspective to the class. “I find the third principle to be rather intriguing, as you said Professor. It highlights the rather fluid nature of situations in which one finds themselves working with magic of all kinds. Being overly rigid is a good way for people to get hurt on all sides.” As he finished his answer, there was a feeling of satisfaction. Mihkkal had answered a question other than, ‘Are we boring you Mr. Huuskonen?’ This was a moment worth celebrating, at least it seemed like one. 

8 Posts 15 Homosexual played by Bell
Re: [Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2024, 08:22:36 PM »
Kiril had enjoyed school a great deal more since the beginning of his third year, when he gained the privilege to drop classes and replace them with those more suited to his strengths. Curse Breaking was not one of the one he chose that. He had picked it up at the beginning of last year when he had dropped Defense & Dueling. He had never been the offensive type, at least not with magic. He knew many ways to use it as a tool to harm, but he was far more interested in its less brutish forms. Curse Breaking was an acceptable middle ground between the fight he didn't want to participate in and the practicality of grappling with other people's magic that was a part of his education.

Now the issue was to see how much he liked the class now that there was unknown variable. He had grown used to the former Professor, and while Professor Højstryke, who's name he had managed to learn despite Headmistress Vinter's uncouth behavior in excluding him from her beginning of term speech, had been hired because he was certainly qualified, it wasn't his capability that Kiril was questioning. It was whether he'd be boring. Kiril was easily bored when presented with information he already knew, in any form, and when he grew bored he became distant and eventually checked out entirely. It wouldn't effect his schoolwork, but it would certainly affect his choice of classes the next year, his impression of the good Professor, and least importantly, his enjoyment of his time in the class.

Kiril was early to class by about ten minutes. He sat at the front, mostly to prevent himself from being entirely surrounded by other students, and took out his wand, notebook, quill, and toolkit. It was new, just as the textbook he pulled out last was. He slowly leafed through the second chapter, having read the introduction and first soon after purchasing it over the summer, as his classmates filled out the seats around him. When his watch informed it was 7:30 on the dot with a low hum and blinking minute hand, he closed the book, stacking the toolkit neatly on top, and focused his attention at the front of the classroom where the Professor was looking over his students as he greeted them.

His speech was perhaps a bit too personal for Kiril's taste, almost like he explaining his competence to people some three decades his junior. The loss of his brother did strike something of nerve in Kiril, though, as he'd never given much to actually losing one of his sisters forever, and on a job for some private collector who just wanted what likely amounted to a magical trinket that would sit behind glass? Kiril would probably have snapped. The rest of his introduction seemed a lot like saying that they'd be re-hashing a lot of information and Kiril dreaded that, but his attention was quickly drawn to a board with several phrases. He jotted them down quickly, drawing several lines connecting them which he labeled with concepts that linked them and cursory thoughts, as the class was posed with questions of systemization concerning priorities in a few situations.

Finished with his notes for the moment, Kiril tuned back to hear of Mihkkal thoughts on the rescue of hostages and raised his hand to speak just after he had finished. "I would say most things on the list require some degree of adaptability. You can't know what spell is coming your way until it is cast, nor what curse, or curses, have been placed on object until you can examine it. That last concept, though, is an exception and that's interesting because it stands out. Resolving something we would think of as a 'global phenomenon' would be more about working through a plan to do so than your own ability to adapt since the effect on yourself and others would already be known." Having finished speaking, Kiril turned his attention back to scribbling away at his notes, expanding the lines into a table on the adjacent page and jotting down Mihkkal's thoughts as he waited for others to give their own answers.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2024, 08:23:52 PM by Bell »
Kept it inside, didn't tell no one else // Didn't even wanna admit it to yourself

And now your chest burns and your back aches // From 15 years of holding the pain

44 Posts 13 Flying he/him
Re: [Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2024, 02:37:58 PM »
Back to basics? Ruslan´s eyes widened and he felt immediately out of his depth, but he supposed it was no different to attempting a new artistic flying move for the first time. Despite feeling nervous, he was excited to be taking classes of his own choosing for the first time, even if his family had been precious little help in making choices. The advice had ranged from "take everything" through "avoid anything that might injure you/distract from your career/give you too much homework" to "don´t take any extra subjects at all".  He had decided to avoid what, to him, seemed the most dangerous subjects (nautic magic and dragon flying) in favour of ones that sounded interesting or useful.

Already the third year was questioning this choice. The professor´s brother had actually died doing this job? Ruslan had just about resolved to just stay quiet at the back of the room, answer the written assignments, and pick a different subject next year, but despite his intentions, he was still a teenage boy with a sense of adventure. This all sounded really interesting and honestly, how much harm was he likely to come to in a theory lesson? Besides, nobody else in his year seemed keen to be the first to speak up, and they couldn´t very well sit here in silence staring at each other for much longer.

Ruslan considered the options. He wasn´t entirely sure he understood what was being asked, but he could pick one of these things and say something about it easily enough. It might as well be the first one as any. He raised his hand a little tentatively, not wanting to accidentally speak over anyone else.

"Removing unfriendly spells sounds pretty simple, but I bet it´s not really" he began "You´d need to know what spells had been cast, but also how they might backfire when you tried to remove them. And if they´d been put there illegally, they might be spells someone made up or modified themselves, or they might react badly with a regular reversing hex. The person who put them there in the first place might not even have known how dangerous it was, and you wouldn´t know until you..." he felt his face growing warm at this point and trailed off a little uncertainly, feeling suddenly uncomfortable. Was that what had happened to the professor´s brother? Was he going to get in trouble for accidentally reminding him of something horrible?

13 Posts 44 he/him/his played by Taed
Re: [Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2024, 09:13:42 AM »
Natanael listened attentively as each student shared their thoughts on the different aspects of Curse Breaking. "Indeed, Mr. Huuskonen, flexibility is key in many situations, especially when dealing with the fluid twists and split-second decisions of rescue missions. An astute observation - 5 Chips for Klyk Vampira. You're absolutely right as well, Mr. Bojkov, 5 Chips for Drakonya Krov. Adaptability is a fundamental skill in every aspect of this line of work, enabling us to respond effectively to the ever-changing challenges we face.

"I also note to all of you that these two functions, flexibility and adaptability, are not quite the same thing and it's worth thinking about them separately. Flexibility is more short-term, the ability to adjust your approach or mindset in response to immediate changes. Adaptability, on the other hand, is the ability to thrive in changing circumstances over the long term, a deeper understanding of context and the ability to evolve and grow your methods in response to new information or situations. In essence, flexibility helps us navigate the twists and turns of the present, while adaptability equips us to weather the storms of the future."

Young Ruslan Shishkin spoke up, a bit hesitantly but still putting his thoughts out there, and Natanael was quite pleased to recognize them. "Another 5 Chips for Klyk Vampira. That's very insightful, Mr. Shishkin. Indeed, removing unfriendly spells can be deceptively complex. As you said, it requires you to not only identify the spells, but also carefully consider what potential interactions both those spells and the spell you use to remove it may have with the object that the curse is on." He gave the young student a reassuring smile. "Being aware of these complexities will serve you well in your studies.

"Now, as we delve deeper into our studies of Curse-Breaking, we'll explore these principles in greater detail. But, you can't learn the details if you don't have a solid grounding, and we find that in our two standard counter-curses, Surgito and Finite. Some consider these spells counter-charms rather than counter-curses, but I will remind everyone that all a Curse is, is a type of severe Dark Charm. Surgito can be used to remove curses and enchantments alike on an object, while Finite terminates curse and spell effects on an object."

He looked around the room again. "Can anyone suggest me why one might choose to terminate curse effects, rather than remove the curse itself?"

32 Posts 15 Gay
Re: [Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2024, 07:42:27 AM »
Mihkkal couldn’t believe his good fortune. He had answered a question and the room hadn’t immediately turned to stare at him for his ridiculous answer. He hadn’t been publicly berated by the teacher. And for all it was worth, it seemed like he had even answered—dare he say it—correctly? This was cause for celebration with Kanat later, but for now he wanted to see if this was just an accident or if there was something to it. Perhaps he wasn’t as bad at Curse Breaking theory as he had thought. I mean, when you think about the creativity and adaptability necessary for working with these kinds of magic…maybe water elementals were better suited to understand it than he had thought before.

Not having written down his own answer—he had offered it after all—Mihkkal did note what Professor Højstryke said afterward regarding flexibility and adaptability. The distinction made sense, but Mihkkal had never really spent much time thinking about it. He was relatively well suited for both flexibility and adaptability, water being the element of change after all. His daily meditations at home had been instrumental in helping him to realize this. “One can never step into the same river twice,” his father had once told him. This was flexibility. The water was always flowing, never in the same place twice, yet at the same time, the river is capable of changing its bound and its course given enough time. It seemed that the time spent pondering the flow and course of the river wasn’t as useless (but certainly as boring nevertheless) as Mihkkal had thought.

As a few other students offered answers, Mihkkal was glad to see a few of the younger, especially Klyk students, offering answers. It was good for the house to be sure, but Mihkkal also was glad because he felt a protectiveness, an affinity with the younger students, having known what it was to struggle and be unsure of himself. As the professor affirmed other answers, Mihkkal scratched his quill across the page and recorded each answer in turn, trying to leverage his earlier success into more as he went.

Only a moment later, however, Mihkkal’s bubble of hope popped in his chest. Incantations…the inevitable, yet unfortunate part of most classes at Durmstrang. Now he was going to be able to sit back, not relax, and find a way to enjoy the show…He’d be amazed if he finished class without losing as many of the chips as he had already earned for his correct answer. But then, wait, Højstryke didn’t ask them to do anything with the counter curses, he simply asked why one over the other. This was just a simple thought experiment. He might be able to come up with something for that.

Thinking it over in his head, Mihkkal wondered…’why would you only remove an effect and not the curse itself. Curses weren’t good things to leave lying around, someone could get hurt…but maybe that was the point. What if you were the one who put the curse there in the first place, maybe like a protection or something. He thought of his village. There were all kinds of measures to protect him and his people from outsiders and from other concerns. Maybe some of these were curses and he just didn’t know it. If that was the case, you might remove the effect so you could go outside the village without removing the protection in the long term.’ Thinking how best to articulate this point without saying too much, Mihkkal again raised his hand and spoke. “Perhaps you are the one who set the curse in the first place. Maybe you want to be able to access a particular area without others being able to do so too. By removing the effect of the curse, you can gain access without having to remove and recast the curse every time you need to leave or enter that space.”

He was satisfied that he had not said too much. Only someone who already knew about his magically protected village, and who knew that his father was part of the village council on top of that, would have any reason to believe Mihkkal might know something about that.

13 Posts 44 he/him/his played by Taed
Re: [Curse Breaking] A Fresh Light
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2024, 09:12:05 AM »
"Again, good input, Mihkkal," Natanael responded, nodding in approval. "If you need ongoing control over a specific area, it's sometimes more practical to disable the effects of a curse rather than remove it entirely.

"In fact," he went on, addressing the entire class, "Mr. Huuskonen's insight leads us indirectly to the first of two significant reasons why one might choose to terminate curse effects rather than remove the curse itself. And that is, preservation of magical balance. Some curses are deeply ingrained in their surroundings, woven into the very fabric of magical environments. In other words, the curse isn't just 'on the object,' it's also on or drawing from the area that the object is placed. Removing such curses could disrupt this delicate balance, leading to unintended consequences or even catastrophic magical phenomena."

"Secondly, as we've already touched on," he continued, "there's the aspect of risk mitigation. Removing a curse entirely can be a complex and risky endeavor. It may involve unknown variables or trigger unforeseen reactions. By terminating curse effects instead, one can minimize these risks, ensuring a more controlled outcome. The danger in this case is in taking your necessary steps before the curse effects return - because the curse will almost always re-assert itself.

"If you'll all turn around to the back of the classroom, you'll see two large effigies," Natanael announced, gesturing towards the objects covered in dusty sheets. "These effigies are enchanted with relatively harmless but stubborn curses. Your task for today is to work together in your respective houses to analyze the curses, decide on the appropriate counter-curse—Surgito or Finite—and successfully retrieve the 'treasures' hidden within these items. You'll all need to cast your countercurse together to be strong enough to deal with the placed Curses. Klyk Vampira students, you'll be working on the effigy to the left, while Drakonya Krov students, you'll tackle the one to the right."

As the students began to form groups within their houses and approach the effigies, Natanael walked around the classroom, observing their interactions and offering guidance when needed. He wanted to encourage teamwork, critical thinking, and effective communication among the students, traits that were essential for success in the field of curse-breaking.

"Remember," Natanael reminded them, "the key to breaking curses is not just about knowing the incantations but also understanding the underlying principles of magic and working together to overcome challenges. Don't hesitate to ask questions or seek assistance from your peers. And when you're ready to attempt the counter-curse, approach the effigy with confidence and focus. Good luck."



OOC:
With this thread set in September playtime and the site now in October playtime, I will leave this open for classwork responses which will earn larger Chip rewards. Once we eventually move on to November playtime, I will post a closer by Professor Højstryke.

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