Lesson 1) ANCR O.W.L. (Theory)
The hustle and bustle in the castle is focused on the main floor as students mill outside of the large wooden doors of the Great Hall, spilling into the Entrance Hall and part way up the first stair of the grand staircase. It’s not quite as big as the crowd that formed for Charms, nor will it match the eventual size of the crowd for Defense Against the Dark Arts, but it is formidable all the same. First and Second Years on their way to the grounds for a chat or a stroll around the lake attempt in vain to weave through the tightly-packed crowd.
Only once the clock strikes ten does the hall finally clear as the eager (or anxious) Fifth Years finally push through the doors and into the examination hall. The students take their seats, and glance up to see Professor Wessex peering down at them from the front of the room. As she waits and watches with a slightly predatory gaze, the examiner enters, looking quite odd in comparison to the austere professor.
The woman is wearing busy, paisley robes with an explosion of color that would make even Professor Rosenquist blush. Her greying dreadlocks are artfully arranged in a gravity-defying display. Wasting no time in her walk to the front of the room, Professor Wessex gives her a gracious nod of welcome and takes a seat in an ornate-looking chair that looks suspiciously like it was modeled after the headmistress’s. Upon reaching the front of the classroom, the examiner deposits a few odds and ends from her robes, takes out her wand, and points it at her throat. “Welcome, Fifth Years. This morning, you will be sitting for the theory portion of your Ancient Runes Ordinary Wizarding Level examination! If you’re here at the wrong time, please take a moment now to reassess and see yourselves out. Otherwise the next three hours might be a little uncomfortable!” The woman chuckles a little, highlighting the minute wrinkles around her eyes and mouth.
“As I hinted, you will have three hours to complete your examination. The desks, quills, and parchment have all been enchanted to thwart any attempts at… less honorable behavior.” Clapping her hands together, she looks to Professor Wessex. “Anything else to add?” The blonde woman shakes her head dismissively. She merely takes a long look out over the crowd of her students and gives them a pointed, and rather uncharacteristic sign of encouragement, “Good luck.”
The older woman nods, satisfied. “Well then, you may begin!”