(1941-05-01) A Fortuitous Meeting
Details for A Fortuitous Meeting
Summary: Grayson and Andara meet by coincidence, forging a bond of shared interests.
Date: 1941-05-01
Location: Entry Courtyard, Hogwarts

The weather is crisp, clear, with stars limning the night sky. It's a bit chilly; the Clock Tower looms above, and the entry hall. A man of average height stands in the middle of the Courtyard, staring upward at something which flits and dodges through the night sky. An owl? Perhaps.

Andara sat along one of the outer benches of the courtyard, practicing her wand-lighting charm to read through the latest assigned chapter of Hogwarts: A History. It was only by chance that she saw the man enter, and her hazel green eyes looked up from her studies to watch him curiously. She didn't recognize him - was it possible he was one of the teachers of the older students? With her concentration taken away from it, suddenly the light from her wand fizzled out, and she huffed slightly under her breath before giving it a shake and muttering "Lumos!". The darn thing.

Looking down and away from whatever creature drew his fancy, the man's attention drops to Andara. He considers her thoughtfully for a moment before stepping over, stopping some distance away. He's dressed in fine robes, but there is no school insignia upon them, no indication that he is a teacher. When he speaks, however, his voice is crisp upper-class gentry. "Try again. Change the emphasis to hang heavier on the first syllable, and straighten your wrist."

"Huh?" Andara looks up when the man addresses her, and she flushes slightly and nods. "L-.. LUmos!" The flick of her wand is more firm this time, and a pale light grows slowly from its tip. Not the strongest, but she was nervous! "Erm, thank you," she says to the strange man, eyeing him quietly. "Are you a professor here?" She may as well ask, though he didn't /seem/ like one.

"No, young lady, I am not. I am, however, an alumnus. I spent my day perusing the library. Hogwarts has a fascinating collection of tomes on dragon-breeding." That posh upper-class accent grows even more crisp, if possible, as though he is deliberately putting it on. The man glances back up to the sky, then down to the young woman. "Your wand demands confidence. It wants to obey you. But it must be sure it knows what you want."

"Dragon breeding," Andara breathed, her eyes growing wide in wonder. "Dragons have always fascinated me, sir," she adds on quickly, her cheeks becoming a bit rosy with excitement. "My mam always told the most intriguing stories of dragons, and knights, and Merlin.. A lot of times the men-heroes tried to slay the dragons, but she and I both always rooted for the dragons.." Her quirky smile lights up a bit, then, before she glances down at her wand a bit sadly. "Aye, sir," she says, her Scottish country accent showing through clearly. "I'm more confident when I don't have an audience, promise.." She didn't mention that the man's very manner is what made her nervous! He was so intense, she hardly knew what to do with herself in his presence.

"I tend to root for the dragons, myself." And for the first time, the intense man smiles, teeth bright in the moonlight. "Dragon breeding itself is, of course, illegal. But I have been researching the causes of cross-breeding between the species." He considers the girl for a few moments, the smile fading a touch. "You must not allow others to disturb you. What effect have I upon your magic? It's yours, young lady. I cannot touch it. Nor can anyone else."

Andara smiled warmly, happy that she had met another dragon lover. "I didn't know that there were laws against dragon breeding," she says, laying her book down on the bench beside her. "To be honest, there's a lot I don't know about.. everything.." Her cheeks flush again, this time in slight embarrassment. She didn't want to just come out and say she was muggle-born to a stranger, but there it was. "I'm trying my best to learn everything I can, though! That's why I study this book so much." She smiles with a small shrug, her gaze indicating the textbook beside her. "I'm actually quite good with charms," she says, her spine straightening a bit proudly. "I just need to be more confident in myself.. You're right, I know.." She laughed a little bit nervously, clutching her wand a bit tighter. "Maybe I can just pretend no one is looking. What do you think?"

If one were looking closely, they might see Grayson's features soften a touch as he listens to the child. His hazel eyes glint briefly as he cants his head. "I did not know much when I first came here either, young lady. But I learned. And I did not let the others defeat me. I looked them in the eye and simply made myself…better. It is what a Muggleborn must be, you know. Better than the rest." The words themselves are stern, but his tone is rather gentle. Reaching into his robes, he produces a long wand of English oak and murmurs, softly, "Flagrate." Flame lingers in the air where the wand touches, burning bright. He sketches quickly with the wand's tip, forming a Chinese Fireball from the floating flames. "Do you know what this is? A rather exotic breed of dragon."

Andara's eyes flicked up with shock when she heard the man mention the word 'muggle-born'. Was he..? She listened to his words like they were an anchor. If /this/ was what a muggle-born could become, then she had a lot of hope yet! Eagerly, she watched as he drew the flaming dragon form, and she shook her head quickly, though her bright eyes absorbed evey detail. "No, I don't know, sir," she said, but not in a sullen way. The way she spoke carried more of an excitement to learn than anything else, and her face was alight with a growing smile. "But it sure is gorgeous.."

"It is, isn't it?" The man's voice is whimsical. He sketches in the odd ruff of scales along the back, the sinuous winding of the dragon's frame. "Many scholars have written about the collar, and what purpose it serves. Muggles in China recognize the dragon, you know. It is a part of their rituals. I have watched them carry an effigy through the streets. Shockingly accurate."

Andara's eyes widen slightly, and her grin spreads. "The muggles there have seen real dragons? Wow.. Where I come from, the only dragons are in old legends.." She sighs dreamily, clutching her arms around herself. ".. I wish I could see a real dragon.."

"Then you shall. When you are older, come and work for me at the RCMC. I intend to be there for some years." Another quick smile, and gone. "My name is Grayson Loring. As for the Muggles — I think that, sometime in the past, they knew dragons. And it has remained a part of their culture. China is an odd place - a very long memory for things like this." He trails off, looking momentarily wistful.

"Can I really?" Andara's eyes shimmer with hopefulness. "Work with you, I mean. Can I really study dragons?" The thought was all at once exhilerating and a bit frightening. When he introduced his name, Andara smiled shyly. "Pleasure to meet you, Mister Loring. My name is Andara - Andara O'Farrell." When he spoke of China, she closed her eyes briefly to try and imagine a land like that. Then she smiled, and nodded. "I sort of understand. You see, old Scotland is similar.. Celtic traditions still live on, in some places.. I love learning all about those, as well.. We have our own sort of magical history," she adds on with a giggle and a wink.

"Certainly, you can. If you work hard and rise above the rest. There are very few -bad- dragonologists. The field tends to be rather self-policing." Grayson's eyes twinkle with sudden mischief, and he nods to the woman. "Yes, it's very similar. And a good thing for you to remember, when the others torture you about your birth. Magic is in your blood, Miss O'Farrell."

Mister Loring's words filled Andara with a sort of warmth, which showed itself in the prideful glow of her cheeks and barely contained grin, and she nodded in understanding. "Thank you, Mister Loring," she says, with utmost sincerity. "I am very glad to have met you."

"And I am pleased to have made your acquaintance, young lady." Grayson offers a grave bow, not a hint of irony on his face, heels clicking together. "I hope that, in your years here at Hogwarts, you apply yourself well. I shall be looking forward to seeing your application in seven years." His smile returns. He turns to face the flaming dragon sketched in the air, and, with a flick of his wrist, makes it vanish.

Andara nods, smiling as she gets up and performs an awkward curtsy in return, eliciting a small giggle. "I promise," she says. "I will do my best to outshine even the most esteemed pure-blood wizards here. And when I have, I will come find you."

"Very well, then." Grayson accepts this as though it were a fact, rather than hopes. "I suppose you should be getting on with your studies. And I had best find rooms in Hogsmeade, hmm?" His smile fades again as he glances up at the sky. "I don't think I shall fly tonight. There is a north wind coming in that I do not like at all."

Andara smiles and nods quietly, picking up her book and hugging it against her chest. "If I see you around in the future, I will be sure to say hello," she says, slinging her bookbag over her shoulder. "Until then.. Have a safe stay, and pleasant dreams." With a small wave, the first year turns to make her way back inside, rubbing her arms a bit against the incoming breeze. She had a lot to work up to, now, but she was certainly up for the challenge.

Grayson watches the young woman go, shaking his head faintly. There is a glimmer of sympathy on his face that had been lacking during their conversation. "Poor brat," he mutters to himself. Alone, his voice slips into a lower cant, almost cockney. He turns to walk away, humming softly.

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