(1937-11-29) Private Lesson
Details for Private Lesson
Summary: Lucian gives Josie some personal tutoring on dueling.
Date: November 29, 1937
Location: Club Room
Related:
Characters
LucianJosieDumbledore

Lucian is running a little late, thanks to a brawl in the dungeon corridors he had to break up. His robe is torn at the sleeve, which he is just noticing as he enters the Club Room. He sighs in frustration. That'll need to be stitched up. He glances up, scanning the room, "Davies? You here?"

And Josie arrived early. Either someone had left out a balance beam from athletics club meeting or she pulled it out to fill the wait, but she's walking along it, her robes messing up her balance just enough to make it somewhat difficult where she usually has little problem. She hops down as Lucian comes in, though, and says, "Hi. I'm here."

Lucian slips his robe off to hang it up, keeping his eyes on her with a smirk. "You're pretty spry. Sorry I'm late. I had to play Prefect for a bit. You still up for this?"

Josie smiles and says, "Thanks." Then she nods quickly, stepping a little further away from the balance beam, as if it's very presence is tempting. "I'm up for it. I wanna learn."

Lucian nods, "Good. Then you're on the right track. We can get started as soon as-…" He glances back toward the door, and blinks in surprise to find that Professor Dumbledore is already in the room, seated quietly in the corner and observing. When the heck did he get here. "Ah…right. Professor." Lucian gives a nod of greeting, a little disturbed at Dumbledore's stealthy entrance. "Alright, then let's get started. First of all, there's the robe. You've basically got two choices. The robe can slow you down, but it can also help conceal your movements. Whether you wear it or not is really up to you, but the dueling style you use should dictate your choice."

Josie, too, blinks at Dumbledore's sudden appearance, but gives him a wave with a smile. Then she looks back to Lucian, thinking for just a moment, before she pulls off her robe as well, tossing it aside so it'll be out of the way. "I don't like being slow," she adds with a grin.

Lucian looks to where she tossed the robe. "Respect your environment, especially in here. Hang up the robe. Remember, this is a place of honour. Treat it with respect, and it becomes yours. Then you always have the home advantage."

Josie blinks again, but then is a quick to say, "Sorry." She runs to pick up the robe, and moves to hang it up like she was instructed, only then returning to her old position. She says, "Honour's kinda a new thing for me. Everything's always been about staying alive before I came here."

Lucian nods, "I get that. But believe it or not, honour can help you stay alive, too. It gives you strength, and helps you keep a cool head when your heart starts pounding. That's important whether you're in a sporting duel, or life-or-death. I hope I'm not disappointing you. These are the kinds of things I teach. You can learn all about wand technique during club meetings. But skill alone isn't why I'm as good as I am." Modesty? What's that? "It's because I take it seriously, and I make it my own. You're a survivor, so I think you'll get this: Honour is the one thing that nobody can ever take from you."

Josie looks just a little skeptical at the thought of honour being helpful in life-and-death, but she doesn't argue. The last statement does seem to get through, though, and she looks thoughtful, nodding after a few moments. "Think I understand."

Lucian nods firmly. "Good. I know it's hard to swallow at first. Took me a few years to figure it out. But you'll see. Here's the thing, it's important to recognize the difference between real honour, and bravado. Bravado is all talk, and showing off. That's nothing but an illusion. Real honour is inside you. It doesn't matter if other people see it. There are a lot of people at this school that like to strut around like they've got it…but when they are tested, they show their real weakness." He pauses, biting his tongue before he says Gryffindor. "But you're not like them. I don't think you're weak. You're fearless, and I get the impression that you know how hard and uncaring the world really is. I think you've got the makings of a great duelist, and the lessons you learn here are going to help make you stronger in everything you do. Trust me on this."

Josie nods seriously at the description of bravado. "Yeah, there's lots of people like that. Not just in this school, either." She smiles at the compliments, then nods quickly, "I trust you."

Lucian gets a genuinely warm smile. "I'm glad. Look, I should level with you. Your friend, Camilla Fawley? She's my friend, too, and she asked me to look out for you. But that isn't the only reason I offered to do this. I really do think you've got potential, even if…" he fumbles as his words get ahead of his thought. "I mean to say that I don't get along with many Gryffindors. But I think you're different."

Josie brightens immediately, "You know Camilla?" She nods to what Lucian says, though glances to Dumbledore to see his reaction. She says, "That whole thing where we're supposed to hate Slytherins is stupid. I mean, I know there's some bullies in Slytherin, but bet there are in every other House too."

Dumbledore, for his part, is a quiet observer. Naturally, he takes note of the mention of his house, but as Lucian hasn't overstepped his bounds, he keeps his tongue.

Lucian gives Josie a proud nod. "Sure, exactly." Though Dumbledore is silent, Lucian doesn't especially want to provoke the man, in spite of his real opinion of which house is full of bullies. "You're a smart kid. That'll be useful, too. So, back to dueling. Something else that will help you a lot is learning to anticipate your opponent's next move. If you can see what's coming, you can counter it. With your reflexes, you can probably even beat them to the punch on occasion."

Josie shrugs a little sheepishly as she's called smart, "I just don't like people telling me who I can be friends with. And seen enough bullies to know they can be brave, smart, or hard workers too." She brightens a bit again as the topic moves back to dueling, and she listens, and finally asks, "How do you tell what they're gonna do next?"

"The Three Esses: Stance, Strategy, and Spellwork." Lucian counts off the points on his fingers. "It'll take some learning, but the more you know, the more you'll be able to recognize when it's coming. For instance," he steps back, adopting a particular stance, planting one foot firmly behind him, his wand hand in front of him. "This is a strong defensive stance. If you see someone like this, they're very unlikely to be about to attack you. It would slow them down. But this," he shifts position, adjusting his footwork and moving his wand to his side, "Is a more balanced stance. From here, a duelist can easily shift to a wide variety of offensive and defensive spells. The key is knowing which spells they are likely to use from a given stance, and be ready to counter them. Of course, that means learning plenty of spells of your own. You want to develop a lot of different ones, so your foes can't predict you just by watching one duel."

Josie imitates each of the stances Lucian shows her. Not perfectly, of course, but not too far off either. She's pretty good at copying stances and movements. "Is there ever a reason you'd want to use that first stance? If it makes you slow, isn't that a bad thing? And learning spells, learn them mainly in the club and D.A.D.A., right?"

"I use it all the time. It only makes you slow to attack. But watch." He takes the defensive stance again, and without a wand in hand, makes a sudden parrying motion, incanting, "Protego! You see, with your wand already in front of you, it makes most defensive spells faster. Shield Charms, Hex Deflection, and so on. But most offensive spells require some sort of forward motion, which is awkward from that position. But you'll get more of a sense of that as you learn more spells, like in Defense class or here. But pay attention in Charm and Transfiguration, too. There are a lot of useful spells they don't teach in Defense Against the Dark Arts that can be applied really creatively in a duel."

Josie smiles as she sees how fast the shield charm would go off, "So, you use that if you know your opponent's going on the attack?" The part about Charms and Transfiguration gets her thinking a moment, then says, "Oh, yeah, like when Professor Dumbledore undid all of Mr. Bates' clothes in their duel."

Off in the corner, Dumbledore cannot help a little titter. Ahh, good times.

Even Lucian gives a chuckle, "Right, like that. Or even turning him into a bird. Though don't go trying anything like that right off. On-the-fly transfiguration is tough. But…well, for instance, in my first duel of the tournament, Arevan Van Dragor nearly Spongified my shoes. Pretty simple transfiguration, but clever. It would have made walking a real problem. Might have sent me right off the dueling stage."

Josie nods quickly and says, "Seen the weird things that happen in class when we transfigure stuff wrong. Wouldn't wanna do that to a person. Well, maybe if they were trying to kill me, but not in a duel." She brightens, though, at the example with the shoes, nodding.

Lucian smirks, "Aye. Don't hold back if it's life-or-death. Just remember to keep a cool head. If you lose your temper, or get cocky, you've lost. Even Van Dragor could have beat me, and she's a Second Year. If I'd gone into the duel thinking I could just wipe the floor with her, she probably would have. Alright, let's go over stances again. I have a few more I want to show you. Remember, footwork means a lot. When you've got these down, we'll talk about evasion, which I think you'd be good at, with your balance. But stances first." He stands beside her, demonstrating a variety of stances, explaining how each is useful for a different set of circumstances. "And don't be afraid to change up your stance. It's actually a good technique to keep your opponent guessing."

Josie nods seriously to Lucian's advice to keep a cool head, "I'll try. Sometimes it's hard," she admits, though not saying whether it's temper or cockiness she has trouble with. As each of the stances is demonstrated, she does her best to copy them, sometimes echoing the advice Lucian gives as she struggles to memorize it all.

Lucian adjusts her stance now and then, sometimes physically gripping her ankle to move it. But overall, he is smiling and praising her. "Excellent. You've got good instincts. Well, let's stop on that for now. I want you to practice your stances as much as possible. They're the foundation of everything else you'll learn. And remember…respect the art, and respect yourself." He bends down to meet her gaze directly, repeating his mantra, "Honour is the only thing that nobody can take away from you." He puts a hand on her shoulder, giving her an encouraging squeeze. There might be hope for this young Gryffindor!

Josie smiles back to Lucian and nods quickly, saying, "I'll remember. And I'll practice as much as I can, I promise," she adds emphatically. She knows the value of practice, even if there was a flash of 'more homework?' in her eyes when he mentioned doing so.

"Good. You're going to go far, Davies. I've got a good feeling about you. Hey, I'm gonna be seeing Camilla next Hogsmeade weekend. Let me know if you need anything. Send a letter along or something." Lucian moves to fetch his robe from its hook, blinking in confusion when he realizes Dumbledore has vanished. How does the man do that? "Take care of yourself, kid. I'll see you next meeting."

Josie brightens again, "You are? Thanks, I'll write a letter!" She too moves to get her robe, a slight bounce to her step. She pulls it on and then waves to Lucian with a smile, "Bye."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License