See the beginning Here.
Lorna inspected the room the house elf had led her too. With a gesture of one hand she miniaturized all the furniture and set it to one side, rolling up her sleeves she got to work warding the suite.
Four hours later she brushed a lock of hair out of her eyes as she stood eyeing the changed room. What had been a modest bedroom and bath now contained a study, bath, workroom and a side room she could use as a weapons practice area. The castle had been sluggish to respond to her requests, as if it was slowly waking from a forced slumber, but it had woke enough to change the room to what she wished and even to add the study and lab area which she had not asked for. Now she could feel the thrumming hum of the waking castle under her feet. She had a feeling that it would be making quite a few changes now that it was once again aware. She doubted it would last long, the castle had been asleep for much too long and would need a proper reminder of why it served its occupants. She would have to see if she could oblige it.
Touching the wall she gave her last request. Enlarging the portrait of her Great Aunt Maria, she set and warded it in to place as her door guardian. A house elf popped in and grabbed the old guardian, taking it to another hallway to hang. She eyed the house elf with a frown. Sighing, she snapped “House elf.”
A moment later there was a pop and a house elf wearing a pillow case embroidered with the Hogwarts crest appeared.
“You called, misses?”
“I did. Please inform all the elves that my rooms will be warded against them. I have nothing against house elves but I know that Dumbledore may ask you to watch me. I want you to know that each time my wards are tested the punishment intensifies. I do not want to see the Hogwarts house elves injured because the headmaster cannot keep his nose out of other people’s business. Also please inform the Elder that I mean no disrespect by my actions but I will be bringing in my own house elf to assist me during my stay.”
“Yes, misses.” The house elf stammered, eyes huge, with a pop it was gone and she finished sealing the rooms against intruders of any kind, house elf or other.
“I wonder how long it will take the Headmaster to try and pull rank on me.” she murmured.
The portrait snorted at this. “I give it less than a day, that man has never been one to think anyone would ever refuse him anything.”
“True.” Lorna said with a sigh. It was going to be a long year. “Shall we start planning?” she asked briskly, pulling out her shrunken planners and activating them with a wave of her wand.
Classes had started and she was stationed in the back of the potions classroom at a long table by herself. After a gruelling potion making test both oral and practical, combined that lasted almost 16 hours the professor had grudgingly declared her proficient. Striding into the classroom he had introduced her as Apprentice McCray and warned that she was to not be disturbed while she was working in the back of the room but in the future she would be assisting with classes. He then when straight into stalking about the room as the students prepared the ingredients for the potion. Points were liberally removed.
Shaking her head, Lorna continued with her own work. She had been given a list of potions to brew and bottle for the infirmary. She currently had four cauldrons going and was grading essays in the breaks she had. So far the worst class of the day had been the Slytherin/Griffindor class. The slytherins were competent and showed basic potions safety training but the griffindors mostly showed utterly no skill or training and many made sloppy mistakes that basic training should have prevented. By the end of the class she was fuming.
“Granger, a word if you wouldn’t mind?” She asked once most of the students had left the room. The frizzy headed girl looked shocked to be addressed and abandoned her things to approach the Lorna’s work area.
“Was the Griffindor class ever given the basic safety training class?” she asked simply, continuing to bottle and seal potions.
“No, Apprentice McCray. We have only been given instruction in class.”
“But you show knowledge of the safety restrictions and rule used in potions as do all the slytherins. I am sure most of them were taught at home,” she added with a glance at Snape “but the others in your house are making basic potions mistakes and ignoring safety practices that they should have learned on their first day of class. I take it your class received no such instruction?”
“No, mame.” Hermione said, nervously eying Snape who was glaring their way.
“Please inform your house that there will be a remedial potions safety class held tomorrow afternoon. I will have the house elves post a flyer in all the houses common rooms. I would suggest that Griffindor tries to attend since they seem to be the house with the most issues.”
“Thank you, Apprentice, I will let them know.” The girl hovered for a few more moments watching as Lorna continued to decant potion.
“You will be late for class if you do not leave soon.” Lorna murmured as she quickly warded and sealed the vials and moved on to the next cauldron she had to decant. The girl gave a gasp and bolted to gather her things and scurry out the door.
“Do you have an issue with my teaching methods, Apprentice?” Snape asked in a silky tone. Continuing her brewing, Lorna waited till she was able to pause and look his way.
“I refuse to work in a classroom where the basic safety measures are not being used. If the students were too stupid to understand the need for such things the first time then I will not waste your time with asking you to teach it again, but I will not assist in a classroom where half the cauldrons could blow at any time because the students are lazy. They will be instructed and after the class tomorrow and infraction I find will have points removed. It that satisfactory, Master Snape?” she asked turning back to her cauldron and beginning the final stirs.
“Very well, it would be nice to have fewer explosions to have to deal with. You may proceed with the class.”
“Thank you, Master Snape.”
“Thank you everyone for coming. The books you see on each desk are yours to keep and study. The contain the basic safety methods to be followed in potions. I suggest your review them. Any infractions of these regulations seen in potions class will now earn you lost points for your house. I will also be setting up study sessions with those students who would like help in potions or in other areas of course work. While I am Master Snape’s Apprentice, I will also be assisting the other professors in their classes when needed. If you are not willing to approach your professor or head of house with a course work issue, I may be able to help. I will be posting the hours available next to my rooms and once I have received permission next to a classroom I will be using.” She surveyed the room. Two Slytherins hovered together in the back of the room, the rest of the space was taken up by a handful of Ravenclaws, and a large number of Hufflepuffs and Griffindors. The Griffindors were her worry, they alternated with chatting with each other and glaring at the slytherins.
“Let me make one thing clear. I may be Apprenticed to Master Snape, but that does not mean I will continue with his prejudices in my own time. I do not care what house you are from or who your parents are. I do not care if you are pure-blooded or not, male or female, Griffindor or Slytherin. While you are a student of mine you will earn respect only by showing respect. I do not judge people on rumors or speculation. This is your chance to show me who you are.” She said casting her eyes across the students assembled. “This is your chance to earn My Respect, spend it wisely, because once you lose my respect, it will not be given again.”
“This is my time I am spending to ensure that you do not kill yourselves or each other while in Potions. A potions mistake can maim and kill. Period. I do not know how most of you have made it through three years of classes without knowing basic material but I will not stand by and watch you be a danger to the other students around you because you refuse to learn it. This is your one chance to show me that you are ignorant of the safety protocols. Anyone that willingly disobeys these protocols in my sight after this class will be reported to the his or her head of house and the Headmaster as an attempted murderer. For deliberately tampering with someone elses potion with intent to cause harm is just that. Am I understood?”
A ragged wave of “Yes, mame.” answered her.
“Now, Let us begin. Before you are the basic equipment you should be using during the brewing process…”
A week into the year and Dumbledore had sent enough house elves to spy on her rooms that she had to modify the wards so they would not outright kill the elves. Hefting the bag she continued down the stairs and headed toward the kitchens. Tickling the pear, she stepped into the center of the room.
“How may be help you Apprentice?” an ancient looking Elf said from one side of the room.
“I need to see all the elves that my wards have injured, please Elder.” she said. Kneeling she began pulling out supplies, burn balm and bandages. As each elf stepped froward she asked to see its injuries and treated them as best she could. Once she was finished, she approached the Elder.
“May I speak with you, Elder?” she asked in Elfish, the elves chattered in shock behind her.
“Yes, my child. What do you wish of me?” he responded in the same language.
“I was taught many of the ways of the house elves by an elder who was my nanny. I wish you to know that I do not deny you part of your household willingly, Dumbledore has forced this upon me. I will go and speak to him and see if I can at least get him to stop using you to test my wards. I will be bringing an elf here from the actions soon to assist me. She will be bound to my Family and Estates.” Soft gasps greeted this statement, it was the highest honor to be bound to a household by blood and magic. They would draw magic from all the members of the family and the land the homes sat upon. They would be more powerful than the average elf and be trusted to defend the house should there be an attack.
“Also, I am a member of the Road and any who wish to travel it may approach me. I will see them to loving homes where they are part of the family and allowed to clean as much as they wish. Those who go will be bonded to the household should they wish it.” she said meeting the eyes of the closest elves. “Also if there is anything I may do for you that will assist in the protection of your home, please let me know. Thank you for allowing me to speak with you Elder.”
“You are a puzzle child, one I think we shall enjoy having at Hogwarts, for if nothing else, changes and chaos mean more things to repair and clean.”
“That is true, Elder. As my nanny Tula used to say, nothing brings more work than change and uncovering that long forgotten. I hope I can add to your labor in my own small way, Elder, goodnight.”
“Well, the first week of classes is completed. Does anyone have any issues?”
Sprout said happily, “Neville Longbottom has gotten permission to become a part-time apprentice with me. I have assigned him the care of Greenhouse 1 and 2. I have had one spat already with Malfoy and another student, but none of the first years are having any problems beyond one or two cases of homesickness.”
The other professors gave similar reports. One or two Slytherins or Griffindors causing problems. A ravenclaw caught trying to sneak into the restricted section. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“And how is our new Apprentice doing, Servius?” Dumbledore asked.
“Adequate. I have had her restocking the infirmary which she should complete sometime next week. She is also assisting with grading essays and will be beginning a research project of her own next week. She will give me twice weekly updates on the project along with her other work. She held a review class on Tuesday for students who wished to review potions safety.”
McGonagall chimed in, “She has been assisting me with essays as well after classes and has asked permission to use a classroom on the first floor as a study area, which I granted. She plans to use the room to hold study sessions with any students who wish to attend.”
“Wonderful!” Dumbledore beamed.
“One more thing, Albus. Are you aware that she has removed the portrait guarding her rooms and replaced it with one of her own?”
“I am aware of it.” he said with a small wince, “I have already spoken to Miss McCray about it however, the Hogwarts bylaws that concern Apprenticeships allow her to do so, they also allow her to restrict access to her rooms and ward them as she wishes. The only one who is allowed unlimited access to her rooms are her Master and the school Nurse because of her health issues. I must ask if you send a house elf to collect her from her rooms, instruct it to ask the portrait if she is within and not to pop straight to her rooms. She was warded her rooms against house elves and attempting to pop into the rooms can be painful for them.” he said with an outright frown. That had not been a good conversation. He had not know that the wards were even injuring the elves, he just assumed they were unable to hear anything or that she was not within the rooms at that moment. As head master he was supposed to know everything that went on in Hogwarts but the constant false alarms and feedback that he got from the wards had meant that he simply turned the warnings off. Now a days it would take a large amount of pain, magic or blood to alert the wards that something was wrong. He mainly relied on the portraits and ghosts to report events back to him around the castle and they could be unreliable at time.
“Finius, are you still doing your class on charmed magical instruments this month?”
“Yes, I was planning to, why?”
“You may wish to include Apprentice McCray on your lesson plan for that day. Her family has a history of Song Mistresses and she herself went through the two-year apprenticeship at a young age to see if she had the gift.”
“I take it she does not have the ability?” “She does but not in a major way and was counseled to not continue the training.Still it might prove an interesting discussion or she may have family heirlooms that she could bring in.”
“Thank you, Albus. I will see about discussing it with her.”
“Now, anything else? Wonderful, let us adjourn this weeks meeting and we will meet again on Friday. Have a good night everyone.”