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 Dog Days [Azalea]

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Andrei Kessler
Head of Ravenclaw
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Birthday : 1976-12-22
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PostSubject: Dog Days [Azalea]   Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:20 pm

Andrei wore authority well.

With the departure of Adelaide, he dropped the 'deputy' part of his job title and simply became the latest in the line of esteemed Hogwarts headmasters. Much like his predecessors, Andrei took it all in stride and never once showed the giddy excitement that overcame him in his more private moments as a result of the promotion. Unlike his immediate predecessor, however, the aging man's vision for Hogwarts did not stem from a cutthroat business savvy. Instead, and rather predictability, he took more of an academic's approach to bettering the school. Sure, finding Quidditch sponsors as Adelaide had was all well and good for the bottom line, but a school—in Andrei's more than biased opinion—dereived its prestige from the caliber of its teachers. So, while Adelaide made Hogwarts profitable, Andrei hoped to make it academically prestigious.

He simply couldn't conscience the idea that Hogwarts could be thought of as anything less than the greatest school of magic in the world.

Today—one of the hottest days in July—would serve as the first step of many the man planned to make. Sitting behind his desk in robes of blue, Andrei looked healthier than he had in weeks. Though he still walked with a limp and the wrinkles of tomb sickness had not quite left him, he felt alive once more. Yes, Hogwarts needed better teachers and with the coming interview, he hoped to add an influential potions masters to his collection.

The large grandfather clock on the opposite side of his office chimed thrice, Azalea had five minutes.

Tardiness would not reflect well.

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:21 pm

She had applied in secret.

So much secret that she hadn't told anyone. Not Dad, not Josh, not even Victoria. Azalea Harrington knew perfectly well that of the three, the latter two would be nothing but supportive of her decision to come work at Hogwarts. Kit too would come around after a little convincing. She was getting so much better now after all. Slowly but surely, her independence had returned, she had relearned self sufficiency, she only needed her sleep medication sparingly and it only took a glance to see how she now looked as well as anyone on the streets, sometime better than most.

And with each day spent on the company of Ethan, the thirty two year old grew more resolute in her decision. She had a child she needed to see. Just as being around Ethan hand't been detrimental to her fragile mental state, being near her daughter would work out too. At least in her head. Of course, she had also known if she discuses it with Dad, he would believe otherwise. Clara would be the same.

It had ever occurred to Azalea to reach out to Mimosa's other parent for help. That door had shut itself off months ago.

So the witch had gathered up her documents, made copies, obtained an application form, added a personal note, attached her resume and sent off an owl to the school. From her research, the Headmistress was about to retire but responded well to both donations and a famous name. But just in case "Harrington" would not be enough, the brunette had submitted additional proof of her work in the school some ten years ago as well as the research she had been conducting before her "hiatus". The gap in her resume explained away by "unfortunate and prolonged illness" from which she was now nearly recovered.

Uncertain why she had commenced such a runabout measure to do so, Azalea had not used a family bird but rather chosen to employ the post office services of Hogsmeade where she had hand delivered the packet on one of her shopping trips. Why she needed the recipient to think the return address was the post office even she could not explain to herself but perhaps she would really go that are to avoid embarrassment in case she was turned down? There would probably be better candidates, she would never hear back.

The witch had temporarily forgotten about her application when an email from the post office's new digitized services arrived, denoting a letter for her. And upon picking it up, the American felt slightly dizzy with euphoria when she recognized it for what it was - a callback.

Over the next week or so it was almost impossible to keep her secret. luckily Josh was away to Wales on business and Victoria didn't know all of her tells to suspect a secret. Dad might have known but with Victoria visiting, he largely left the two females alone to explore Furz Croft. On the day of her interview, Victoria conveniently decided to spend the day with her family and Azalea therefore had to make no excuses to leave.

Making her way to Hogwarts was another story altogether. Since apperation and floo and brooms were out of the question, the witch decided to borrow Josh's car. He had been kind enough to leave it for her even though at the time she could not imagine a use for the classic vehicle, which just showed how times could easily change. the portals to Hogsmeade were easy and clearly marked, and the village now had a decent hidden away parking lot for muggle transportation devices. Leaving the car there, Azalea walked the rest of the way to the castle, constantly checking the timepiece that hung like a charm from her handbag.

The witch entered the school gates, getting directions from a helpful groundskeeper and avoided the temptation of stopping by the large greenhouses she had once known so well. Making her way into the Entrance Hall, she found the stairs that would lead her into Ms. Goshawk's office.

Reaching the office three minutes ahead of schedule, the witch stopped to take a breath. Patting straight the only dress she had found in her closet that would do for a professional setting such as this, the witch reminded herself that this was only attempt number one. That if it didn't go well, she had other options.

It didn't work, her nerves still stood on edge. But there was no time to give herself a pep talk. So with only a minute to spare, Azalea took hold of the ornate knocker and knocked against the heavy wooden door.

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Andrei Kessler
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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:00 pm

The woman's hand would never reach the knocker. Rather, she would find that the door swung inwards as she rose her hand to the door. The never-knock charm had only one use, but it did its job well and for that Andrei was grateful. One of the lasting side effects of his recent sickness was a sensitivity to certain sharp noises and the resonation of knocker on door was one such sound. In theory, this too would pass or so his doctors told him.

In theory...

The office that around the aging headmaster spoke of transition. The walls were bare save for the dignified portraits of headmasters and mistresses behind where Andrei sat, a few boxes of what amounted to rocks sat in the corner, and the whole room had the smell of something freshly cleaned. Indeed, the only real evidence that Andrei had taken up residence in the office was that he now sat in it at a desk littered with carefully organized stacks of paper. Time had not been on the man's side and he had yet to add his own flair to the room, but that would come in time.

In the meantime, he had work to do.

Rising with some effort as Azalea entered the room, Andrei greeted her with a well-worn smile. Truth be told, he was skeptical of this woman's credentials and she did not seem all there last he'd met her. However, the name Harrington carried weight and, as much as Andrei hated 'political appointments' as he scornfully referred to them in private, Hogwarts needed weight.

"Good afternoon, Ms. Harrington, I trust you had no trouble getting here," he waved to the chair across from him which moved of its own accord to accommodate the headmaster's new guest. "Please, take a seat."

If the woman took him on the offer, then he too would settle into his own seat as the papers on his desk cleared themselves off from the surface and into a nearby filing cabinet until the only paper that remained on the desk was the woman's resume.

"So," the man's tone shifted into a relaxed seriousness as he gazed across at the woman. "Why should I hire you?"

He never saw much sense in all the frills and ceremony that one often went through in interviews. In Andrei's opinion, it was much better to get right down to it. And, so, he did just that. Plus, it would be rather telling to see how the woman responded.

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:28 pm

The door moving of it's own accord only slightly startled the witch, giving her adequate time to compose herself before the swinging barer revealed her to the room within. Whatever Azalea had expected inside, this was not it. Granted she had never met Adelaide Goshawk but even so, she could tell the haggard looking man behind the desk was not the redhead she assumed her appointment would be with.

"I apologize, I was told I would be seeing Headmistress Goshawk?" she began, entering as quietly as she could and taking her place opposite the gentleman who may as well have had "professor" written all over him. The witch herself cut quite an adequate figure but looked nowhere near as school worn as he did. If the brunette had to guess, she would assume he'd been teaching for quite some time.

"Good afternoon, Ms. Harrington, I trust you had no trouble getting here,"

"No, no trouble at all," the witch smiled just as hesitantly back, taking a seat when she felt the chair drew nearer. Whether the action was supposed to make her more comfortable or intimidate her,she couldn't say. And now was not the time to ponder it over either. "I parked in Hogsmeade and walked up from the village, it was invigorating truthfully. I'd frostbitten how good the fresh mountain air could be."

Not a fan of wasting time, the man opposite got right to the point, a rather abrupt and unceremonious point. Azalea had expected a few minutes of chit chat, some questions about her father, maybe even about Clara. But then again, that would have been from Adelaide who knew Kit well. Perhaps it was best this way, now she needn't skate around the fact that she was here without her father's knowledge or consent.

"Because I'll keep applying and reapplying until you do," the witch stated simply, unsure if he was serous or simply trying to break the ice. Regardless of his attention, the witch gave an honest answer. "I've been very attached to this school in the past and now that I'm able to work again, I'd like to do it here. At any capacity. I feel there's still a lot I can contribute to the education of the students here."

A generic answer but he had asked a general question. It was probably how the game would begin, general questions leading to more intricate queries of her skill set - of which she still wasn't sure she had any. But she would at last try.

"I hope perseverance is valued here, because I have that in heaps."

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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:04 am

"Adelaide resigned from the post of headmistress rather recently to devote more time to her newfound station in life," the man explained—strange the businesswoman had not informed the witch in front of him of this change, perhaps the harpy was indeed human after all? "And while tenacity is admirable it alone does not qualify one to teach at Hogwarts."

Andrei paused, glanced down at the resume on his desk, and then back at the woman with a hardened gaze.

"Do you know Anneke Blackwood?"

Not fifteen years ago such a question would have elicited confusion from even the most dedicated potions historians. In the subsequent years, however, the name Anneke Blackwood had taken the potions community by storm. The small white-haired youth was hailed as a potions prodigy from the age of ten. As an American, the woman was scorned by the 'old world' wizarding society until her brilliant invention of the never-nod potion put the world on notice. From there, her research into the controversial field of aging—and anti-aging—potions broke new ground and cemented the still youthfully woman in the pantheon of potions making at the age of twenty-five.

Her twenty-sixth year would see her named Hogwarts' newest potions master.

Andrei Kessler was the first to learn this last fact about Anneke.

Azalea Harrington would be the second.

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:12 pm

The information of Adelaide's resignation did come as a surprise, though whether it was a pleasant or unpleasant one remained to be seen. Never having met the woman, Azalea wasn't sure if she was better or worse off with this man. Although until now he seemed to be keeping things professional and not going out of his way to make her feel uncomfortable so that was a good sign.

"I agree," she concurred when the new Headmaster spoke of tenacity not being enough. "And I have more than tenacity to offer. I chose to apply at Hogwarts when there are more lucrative and more opportune prospects. I've always felt my best in an academic setting and I've always tried to.... nurture the same spirit in students if I have been lucky enough to gleam it in any of mine."

Her work was not the best but the resume included every effort she was making to bridge the gap in her research. Hopefully it would be enough.

"Do you know Anneke Blackwood?"

"Not well," the witch admitted honestly. "I believe some of her work is required reading for my post grad program. I have yet to start on it though but from my limited knowledge, her field of expertise lie in medical potions?" Azalea's own research from over a decade ago was in medical herbology, more specifically growing cultures in a lab that would combat genetic or otherwise incurable maladies.

"And I believe she hails from America like I do. California born and bred."

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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:41 pm

"Correct on both counts," Andrei nodded. "She is an incredibly accomplished witch with an extensive body of research and countless publications."

Steeling himself, the man took a raspy breath.

"And, not but a few hours ago, she accepted the post of potions master and head of Slytherin house here at Hogwarts," the man's eyes watched carefully for how Azalea took the news."Now, I am not one to mince words, Ms. Harrington. Your lack of recent research and publications did not play well in your application. I hope you can understand that it would be a dereliction of duty on my part to hire someone who has been out of the academic sphere for so long."

His tone softened.

"That said, I can appreciate your position," Andrei's brow furrowed in commiseration. "Academia is not a friendly place in the slightest, especially to those trying to break back in like you are. So, I'd like to give you a helping hand in that regard by offering you the chance to continue your research here at Hogwarts. I'll admit, I'm not much taken with medical herbology, but I did enjoy reading your papers, dated though they may be. And, if nothing else, you have a clear passion for the field, which I feel should be rewarded more often than it is."

"Officially, you'd be an assistant to Ms. Blackwood," he continued. "You'd help her grade exams, teach classes, and the like. Unofficially, you would be free to continue your research and get yourself back up on your feet. Naturally, I can't promise as extensive a compensation package as I would to a full-time professor, but you would not be wanting."

He paused ever so slightly, prodded his glasses back into place, and took a breath—less raspy than before.

"So, what do you think?"

Andrei's eyes were expectant. He was blessed with a career that had minimal bumps and a very clear path forward. However, he was an exception, not the rule, in academia. He'd seen many colleagues fall by the wayside or simply fade into obscurity. And now, in a position of relative power, he felt it his duty to soften the stony hide of academia as best he could. This would be a good first step, helping someone who would—even with her family name—be ridiculed by academics if she were to attempt to re-launch her career without first building a reputable body of work.

Baby steps.

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:09 pm

The news that such a prestigious potioneer had accepted the opening at Hogwarts didn't make Azalea feel as dejected as she thought it would, probably because the rejection was clouded over for the moment by curiosity. If the vacancy had been filled, why was she here? A few hours was enough time to get an owl or an email across.

Which only meant her interviewer had more to say. So Azalea waited patiently, her features composed. A slight glumness in her rich brown eyes betrayed ehr feelings as the new Headmaster begin to give his reasons for why she was not suited for the position of Potion Mistress.

Only to reach the conclusion that she qualified as an assistant to the new Potion Mistress.

"Oh," the surprise in her voice was clear, but it was soon replaced by genuine gratitude for the opportunity. "Thank you very much, I'm truly glad Hogwarts can accommodate me somewhere while I continue to work on my research." The job description sounded standard enough, and having worked as a Student Tutor before at Hogwarts, the witch had a feeling this time around won't be any different. Last time it was because she was too young to be technically called a Professor, now it was because she was too uneducated.

But it was a chance, a chance to come here every day and see the little girl she hand't seen in over ten years.

"I assure you, I'll make the most of this opportunity, and maybe in a few years time, I could reapply for the actual position if Ms. Blackwood finds teaching too taxing." From her own experience - limited as it was - excellent researchers made poor educates.

The package on offer was one the witch didn't even consider, there was no need and even if she had tried, she wouldn't have gotten for. Finances would never be her strong suit and a healthy pay packet was not her reason for applying at the school.

"Is there anything else I should know before I sign on the dotted line?"

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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:46 am

Andrei could not help the thin smile that slipped across his face.

The woman across from him was in for a surprise when it came to Anneke Blackwood. She would undoubtedly find the potions prodigy something far different than what she expected. After all, Andrei himself had expected to be meeting an academic much like himself when first interviewing Ms. Blackwood, but she was something rather different. Yes, it would be interesting to watch how the women people worked together with one, Azalea, seemingly the consummate professional and Anneke the unbridled spirit.

"No, I do believe that is everything," the door to the headmaster's office swung open behind Azalea of its own accord. "I will have our legal team send over the official offer. Naturally, it will include regular benchmarks for research progress and the like. If you should have any questions feel free to send an owl my way."

The aging man gave a polite pause indicating the end of official business unless of course if the woman had any more questions or concerns.

"Oh, and Ms. Harrington," the man would call after her once she moved to leave. "Give my best to your husband, it was very kind of both of you to indulge my curiosity despite it coming to naught."

It really was a shame that he'd been unable to uncover anything groundbreaking when he'd last seen Ms.Harrington. He'd found nothing more than trinkets and a few animal bones on her family's estate. Normally, dumping grounds such as these would provide wonderful insights, but not in this case, unfortunately.

Next time.

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: Re: Dog Days [Azalea]   Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:20 pm

"Thank you Professor," the witch rose to her feet, her smile as sincere as it was full of gratitude. She was going to be at Hogwarts no matter what the semantics. And she would make sure to meet all the research benchmarks outlined in her contract. Azalea simply knew that this was the right move. Her life had been going smoothly these last few months but this would make it perfect, being close to the one person she knew she needed to feel complete. "I'll look over the paperwork and send it back ASAP," she declared before biding him a polite farewell.

It was as she had almost made it to the door that she heard him speak once more, startled at first by the fact that he had forgotten something (he seemed very through upon first impression) and then by the actual words emoting from the aging wizard.

"Give my best to your husband, it was very kind of both of you to indulge my curiosity despite it coming to naught."

The brunette turned, startled at the comment, her eyes searching the man siting at his huge desk. The first words that came to mind were "I'm sorry, you smut be mistaken, I'm unmarried." but then those words vanished to be replaced with the realization that he had probably put her name together with that of one of the school's star pupils.... In which case, he must know of Jake. the witch tried once again, the words "Oh no, Jake and I are just friends" at the tip of her tongue before those vanished too. Azalea didn't wan to start her career here with a lie, and whatever she and Jake Newbury were, they were certainly not friends.

Ultimately, the witch chose not to risk her tentative appointment in the face of drama, merely settling into a smile and nodding before turning to leave.

It wasn't until she was back in Hogsmeade and unlocking Josh's car that she realized the professor had insinuated he had visited Azalea and the so called husband at some point.

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