1994-09-02: Murtlap Essence

Participants:

Melissa_icon.gif Nessa_icon.gif Oswald_icon.gif Rene_icon.gif Sorrel_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif Tommy_icon.gif

Scene Title Murtlap Essence (Potions Class, 1st Years, 1994)
Synopsis The 1st Years are introduced to the wonderful world of potions and Snape all at once.
Date September 2, 1994
Watch For A shower of rats and Snape deducting points from his own house.
Chronology The first Potions Class of the 1994-1995 school year.
Logger Snape

Potions Classroom, Hogwarts

The dungeon that is used for the potions classroom is quite depressing indeed. As you enter the windowless room, the sconce bearing torches offer an eerie, flickering light. There are four horizontal rows of tables for the students to work at. There are areas at each table for students to set up their cauldrons for potion brewing. Stools are placed at each table for students to use during lectures for sitting. At the front of the room the stone floor raises upwards about a foot to allow the teacher to look at the students better, or to appear more menacing. A wooden desk sits upon this raised section for the professor. Along the walls of this room are locked cabinets containing common ingredients and books of recipes for the students usage. The more exotic are kept locked within the professor's office and private stores. Towards the far end of the classroom is a stone fountain with water spewing from the mouth of a lion's head. The fountain's purpose is that of a washing and cleanup area for the students.


Despite the First Years being directed to the Potions Classroom in the Dungeons, their arrival is not welcomed by their teacher – in fact, their teacher seems absent altogether.

The room has been set up; it seems, for Potions Class all the same. Small amounts of kindling for the fires beneath the cauldron are stacked neatly upon each work area, the rest of the equipment obviously meant to be provided by the student.

Upon arrival, the classroom is found to be eerily dark – perhaps even to dark to see or work effectively. The only light spilling in from the open doorway to the dungeon corridor, giving the place quite a forbidding look indeed.

Sorrel shuffles into the room, widened eyes taking it all in - or at least as much of it as she can see in the dim light. "You sure we're in the right place?" she asks of no one in particular. "Where's the teacher then? And shouldn't someone have put the lights on?" Still, since it does look to be the right place, she continues trailing along inside, considering the desks and opting for one up in the front - silly girl.

Oswald wanders in taking a seat near the middle of the class. As usual he is eerily quiet as his icy stare looks about. Taking off his backpack, settling it down near him in case of things needed from it.

Melissa is prepared, with her book and equipment, frowning a bit. "It's cold down here… but well, it should be interesting…" She follows closely behind Sorrel.

Filing in with the rest of them is Rene, at the least a head shorter than everyone else. He is not really easy to spot until he breaks away from the group to find a seat in the second row, near the far end. Silence is the game for today, and like many of the other first years his first movements are to take out the supplies that he had been bade to bring. The boy catches Sorrel's words, followed by Melissa's, yet says nothing about them. It is dark because it is a dungeon and it is cold because it is a dungeon. Girls.

Nessa quickly slips over to take a seat without hesitation after following the others into the dungeon; she sits.. relatively near Rene. Not quite next to or behind, but still perhaps intentionally nearby. The dark scenery doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest — she folds one hand neatly over the other on her lap, and sits quietly, just sort of.. staring ahead, as if not paying attention to the others.

It seems as though the students have had barely a moment to relax and acclimatize to the situation when it suddenly changes quite radically.

As soon as the students have found their seats, the door to the dungeon (closed by the last, mischievous entrant to plunge the room into darkness) opens with a near-deafening slam. Bouncing against the stone walls of the classroom, the bang echoes throughout the dungeons and out into the halls – perhaps heard even as far as the Great Hall.

There, outlined in the dim light of the corridor, stands a tall and black figure – ominous and forbidding in the way he holds himself. He immediately stalks into the classroom, wand waving about wordlessly as streams of eerie, green fire erupt from it and light the braziers along the walls. He approaches the front of the class.

Sorrel very nearly falls off her seat, she jumps so much when the door suddenly bangs open with so much force. Her bag, which she'd been holding to dig out her supplies, falls from her hands to the floor, but she doesn't bother stooping to get it just yet - not when there's this to see. "See, I knew someone should be putting the lights on," she notes sagely to Melissa, but actually keeps her voice down to a stage-whisper for it. And then shuts up, proving that such a miracle can happen. She's too busy staring at Snape to even start with the questions.

Oswald jumps slightly to the banging of the door, then turns his head to see whom is coming into the classroom. Then turns his head to look at snape "Greetings House master." he says then goes back to being quiet as before.

Melissa looks up at Snape, thinking he didn't have to be so dramatic… "Hello, Professor Snape," she says.

The green and silver of Rene's house badge distract his mind for a moment during Professor Snape's entrance, and a mild bitterness crops up personally; Slytherin. He was sorted into Slytherin. Has he been telling himself this fact over and over in his head? Of course. Rene's denial is not evident, but it is there. He does not hate the snake house- just, all those rumors about them, you know?

Blue eyes dart towards Nessa while the fires light up with sparks from Snape's wand, and then they focus up ahead on the potions master himself, while Rene sits stock still just like a good little first year. Mouth remains shut. Almost pinched that way.

Nessa's head turns rather slowly to look toward Snape's dramatic entrance. Should there have been a magic induced dramatic reverb..? Her head quirks a little to the side as she eyes the potion master quietly, her hands unclasping and shifting out a bit to instead cross her wrists. Rene is glanced back at out of the corner of one dark eye when she feels the look at her, her lips drawing together for a moment before she glances up toward Snape once more.

“You shall put away your wands immediately,” Snape says flatly, not bothering to raise his voice – those who hear him will benefit and those who do not are in trouble, “And turn your copy of Magical Drafts and Potions to page seventeen.”

The greetings that are flung towards him are promptly ignored, the Professor taking up a position at the head of his class and folding his arms over his chest. His wand is quite suddenly gone, as though he never had it in the first place, and his eyes bore into the first years viciously.

“Potions making is a science but it is no mere exercise in Muggle ‘chemistry’,” he last word positively drips with disdain, “It requires both magical and practical knowledge of the highest order to master and many of you will no doubt give up on it entirely before your time here at Hogwarts is complete. Or, most likely, be made to give up by unsatisfying grades in your O.W.L.s”

Yes, Snape is already talking about fifth year exams to first years on their first day.

“Through the proper brewing of potions, you can distil luck into its liquid form or extract the absolute truth from a subject. For those few of you who excel in this art, you will be among one of the rarest breeds of wizards and witches in the world.”

Sorrel quickly bends over to retrieve her bag, scrambling to finish digging out the things she needs, more out of a desire not to miss anything than because she realizes lagging may be punished. Her book is set down on the desk in front of her, but she doesn't flip to the required page immediately, instead listening to the professor explain about this most fascinating subject. At the mention of extract absolute truth, well, it's painfully clear that that bit has her hooked.

Oswald gets his book out then turns it to the page as per instructed by Snape, himself. Then turns his gaze back upon the teacher, listening to what is being said with his hands on the book clasped together.

Melissa frowns… she wished she hadn't run into him with that wrong turn earlier. Snape's words seemed directed mainly at her, though she realized they probably weren't… probably. The good thing about that encounter was that it gave her an idea of what Snape was like, so she immediately followed his instructions and had her book open.

At some place between point A and B, Rene has also seen and listened to Snape's words, being in the professor's house. His book flips open quietly to the page, though the boy still has his gaze up on the man speaking his way through the beginning of the first class. Luck in a liquid form? Rene could sure use some of that about now.

Reaching down slowly, Nessa takes up her book and drops it soundly infront of her, two fingers slipping to start turning the pages. Her dark eyes stay settled on Snape, watching and listening — she looks a bit morose, with her head tilted slightly down and her eyes cast upward toward the professor.

“A bezoar,” Snape continues, eyes immediately turning to one of the students in the first row, “Miss Hazard – what is a bezoar?”

Snape waits for the answer before saying anything further, although the look in his eyes seems to scream that she had better come up with something fast or there will be trouble.

Sorrel's eyebrows go up a little as the spotlight is suddenly on her. Bet she wishes she had her book open now, doesn't she. While she knows much about many things, this doesn't seem to be one of them. "Um, a bezoar is… I - I don't know, professor; what is a bezoar? Some sort of potion maybe?" It's hard to tell if that's a guess or just an honest question. "Is that what we're going to be making?"

Oswald rolls his eyes slightly as he remains silent as if she didn't know where a bezoar came from. "I am afraid you need a goat for making one of those."

Melissa nods at Oswald's comment.

Rene's nose wrinkles around the edges, but he has yet to turn his head towards the girl answering the question. Ew, no. Sorrel, you weirdo. He seems relieved at Oswald's offhandedness, however.

Nessa doesn't react in the slightest — perhaps she has no idea what it is either. Nor, however, does she show any interest in finding out what it is; her eyes do dart over toward Rene when his nose wrinkles, however. Hrmhrm..

Snape stands before the class, having just asked Sorrel what a bezoar was only to be told that she didn’t know. Oh, for the days when first years stumbled around for an answer and didn’t just admit their ignorance.

“For the sake of your future marks in this subject,” Snape says with a slight curl of his lip, “I will remind you that you are expected by me to read your textbooks before the beginning of the school year as I will not be going over them twice. Five points from Ravenclaw.”

Oswald was ignored while he made his point, however now he turns to look at him and says with an arched eyebrow, “I don’t tolerate speaking out of turn, either. Regardless of House. Five points from Slytherin.”

Curve ball sufficiently thrown, he goes on: “A bezoar is found in a goat’s stomach and acts as an antidote for most poisons … “

Tommy swallows as the formidable Snape makes his pronouncements, and, eyes wide, notes down carefully, 'bezoar - antidote for most poisons - found in goat stomach' … and raises his hand slowly, as if he has a question.

Oswald nods, making note of speaking out of turn. Then goes back to being silent as the dead reguardless of the punishment being handed out.

Melissa nods. She did know that, but writes it down regardless just to confirm the details. She's disappointed that Ravenclaw was first to lose points but hoped to make them up soon enough.

Sorrel blanches as she's so soundly told off, clearly not at all accustomed to that. She slouches down in her chair, frowning unhappily as she finally reaches out and dispiritedly flips open her book, keeping her gaze locked onto it as she looks to find the right page.

Like he was told, Rene seems to be one of the few to have read the text beforehand. Lucky him. Lucky he was also not called. Points being taken already- what a morning. He notes when it is prudent, staying attentive and hopefully out of target-sights.

Nessa once more turns her attention upward, staring at Snape quietly. Her eyes dip down toward her book for a moment, sliding over a few lines; perhaps she.. should've read this beforehand. Not that she looks visibly worried or anything — she just keeps the same impassive expression as always.

Snape continues on about the nature of bezoars, droning on as he conjures a chalk diagram to the blackboard with his wand and then erases it. He pays no regard to questions or comments that people may want to ask or give for the moment, pacing backwards and forwards as he goes into great detail about subjects only briefly mentioned on the pages of the textbook.

Oswald goes into scribing what is being said onto parchment. Looking up every once in a while to make sure he isn't missing much else.

After a moment of having his hand in the air, Tommy slowly lowers his hand, as if he's a turtle going back into his shell, and continues taking notes, though those close to him can see he's not very good with quill-and-ink work yet, what with the splotches that appear here and there on his page as he drips ink. He takes a surreptitious glance at someone else, makes an 'O' shape with his lips, and this time, uses the lip of the inkwell to take some of the excess ink off his pen before writing, eyes on the professor at the front of the room.

Sorrel is still looking rather put out about the whole thing, and it keeps her quiet for once, not peppering the lecture with endless questions. She is, however, very dutiful about getting down everything that's said, even taking advantage of any lulls to try and get ahead in the book in case she's put on the spot again.

Melissa continues writing, somewhat interested but wondering when they were going to get to actually making potions rather than just writing about them. She doesn't dare ask this of course. Presumably Snape knows what he's doing…

Nessa's eyes trail down toward her book as the lesson drones on — she lifts a hand slowly, and touches a single finger delicately against the surface of a bookpage. She starts drawing little circles with her fingertip, with no mind for writing down notes.

Suddenly finishing his lecture on the nature of bezoars, Snape turns about and conjures the same sickly, green fire that earlier filled the braziers beneath the cauldrons. The assumption being that the students cannot conjure fire yet, although he clearly expects them to keep the fires going with the kindling supplied although he says no such thing.

"Murtlap Essence."

He gestures the wand towards the cupboards, a host of dead rodents erupting from the darkness within and showering down upon the students - one landing on the desk before each of them.

Tommy lets out a 'meep' sound, and scrapes back in his chair, but only just manages to not fall out of it, eyes extremely wide at the display of obvious /magic/ that brought the deead rodents down on their heads. He stares between the dead critter on his desk and the professor for a moment, before proding the critter with a finger, as if checking it's really dead.

Melissa adjusts her glasses and stares somewhat incredulously at the dead rat. He was not intending on making this class fun, was he? But it was time to do her best, so she gave the cauldron a determined look.

Oh boy. Dead rats. And it isn't even dinner time yet! Nessa seems relatively unperturbed, if a bit curious, when a dead rat lands on the back of her hand; she merely extracts her hand from beneath it, and seizes it fingerly around the limp throat. Lifting it slowly, she tilts her head, eyeing it.

The Murtlaps, strange rat-like creatures with sea anemone growths on their backs, lay very much dead on the bench as Snape continues the instruction.

“Remove the tail and the legs.” He’ll let them decide if they’re going to use their knives or try different, more brutal methods.

Carefully picking up his knife, Tommy begins to follow the instructions - precisely - removing first the tail, as close to the base as he can, and then each of the legs, though he seems a bit green after getting a good look at the thing, and he's sweating as he works, the sort of 'trying not to be ill' sweat you get. The anemone growths on the back seem to be what's doing it; though he manages not to pollute his cauldron with his lunch, he does swallow several times before the grizzly process is complete.

Melissa steels her nerves and cuts into the dead creature as the professor asks.

Nessa stares at the dead animal for several moments before she picks up a nearby knife — cutting time! Her fingers hold the tool delicately, but her cutting motion is anything but delicately.. she, perhaps a bit too overly eagerly for safety, begins to saw off the poor thing's tail and legs. Messes are of no concern!

"Finish slicing the murtlap into sevenths before depositing each piece into the cauldron, stirring counter clockwise the entire time."

As Snape gives his instructions, he lurks up and down the rows of tables - apparently unperturbed by the blood and gore that results from dissecting dead murtlaps. Filch can handle that.

'Sevenths', Tommy mouths, stretching the murtlap out on his desk and carefully measuring, then, closing his eyes, he makes the first slice, swallowing *hard* as his knife encounters something squishy inside the murtlap. Eventually, he steels himself and continues slicing the murtlap into seven more-or-less equal-length pieces.

Nessa certainly does make /quite/ a mess. She hacks and saws, occasionally slipping her fingers forward to delicately snap obstinant bones before continuing. She stares down impassively all the while, until she's finally finished goring the poor creature into seven parts; she soon moves on to the next part after wiping off her gorey fingers.

Melissa measures, making her cuts calmly. This was the sort of thing she was here for, so she couldn't very well make a fuss about it. Finally she begins to stir the pieces into the cauldron… glad to have gloves.

The instructions given, all Snape does now is stand back and wait for the results - the instructions in the book, if anyone has gone so far as to look, dictate that the potion should ferment within a few minutes.

As soon as he's made the last slice, Tommy, grimacing, begins - following the directions - to put his potions ingredients into the pot with one hand, while stirring it with the appropriate implement in the other… half a swish clockwise before freezing and then starting to stir the other way.

Plonk plonk plonk! Nessa dumps the pieces of cleaved animal into her cauldron and begins to stir — counter clockwise, was it? She seems momentarily unsure, but then — after figuring that she has a 50% chance of being correct — she continues on with the counterclockwise stirring.

Melissa looks in the cauldron… it seems to be going well, for now…

"If your potions have been brewed correctly," Snape begins after a while, hands folded across his chest again, "Then they should turn green when a sprig of parsley is added. If they do not then you have made an error."

At the mention of a sprig of parsley, Tommy almost giggles, but swallows it before it can come out as more than a quiet snort. But he drops the parsley in… and watches.

Nessa's eyes dart over toward Tommy, and she slowly quirks an eyebrow at the strange reaction. Huh. A short pause, and then she follows suit, dropping the parsley into the cauldron of rodent-tastic liquid.

Melissa puts in the parsley and watches… smiling as the liquid turns green! She gives a triumphant fist-pump to herself.

Snape cranes his neck to look into the cauldrons of the students, emotionless for the most part. He does not react to any of the bubbling, off-colored ones but nor does he congratulate or celebrate those who have brewed the mixture perfectly. It was a mere exercise and it has been completed, prompting him to step back towards the head of the class, "Your homework before our next class is to complete one foot of parchment explaining - in detail - the twelve uses for dragon's blood."

He then waves a hand, symbolizing a class dismissed.

Melissa gets up with her things, satisfied with her job even though it didn't make up for Sorrel's loss of points.

Nessa quickly forgets Tommy, it seems — when the class is dismissed, she too simply slowly gathers her things, and then steps out. She doesn't look at or talk to anyone, for she is.. not exactly a social butterfly.

As the students file towards the doors, Snape stares after them - his brow furrowed and a menacing frown upon his face. He waits until they've neared the door, almost out into the relative 'safety' of the corridor before he flicks his wand sharply and all the lit braziers against the wall extinguish at once.

Welcome to Potions Class at Hogwarts.


This is the First to Third Year potions class for the fourth week of April, 2008.


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