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 How Not to Train Your Dragon, @open
Viktoria Agrippina Waldschutz
 Posted: Jan 30 2017, 06:31 PM
Viktoria Agrippina Waldschutz
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@Cody Stephen Carter

It was a crisp winter's day and Viktoria was down by her cottage, teaching the afternoon's lesson to the seventh years. Even though there was a lot of difference between Viktoria's teaching style and the previous professor of Care of Magical Creatures, there were a couple of things they did have in common. According to Mason, they both had a penchant for hands-on learning rather than lectures and essays, and classes were always held outdoors, by the hut at the edge of the forest, near the menagerie.

Due to the weather, Viktoria had conjured up a large tent around the teaching area, heated with large braziers. The handmade rough wood tables and benches were arranged in semicircle around a central teaching pit, where everyone had a good view of what was occurring, either the professor giving her occasional lecture or the current magical creature they were to interact with during the lesson. The pit itself was walled with stone with a ramp and a sturdy metal gate allowing easy access for any creature to enter the pit. Today she stood before them with a large wooden chest that was currently closed.

Viktoria also tended not to teach in the traditional professor's robe, opting for a more practical set of clothing: a pair of sturdy boots, warm woolen sock, thick dungaree pants, a warm flannel shirt, and her dragonhide bomber jacket. She had lost too many robes dealing with the claws, teeth, acids, secretions, and fireballs given off by the magical creatures she tended to. Naturally, she extended the same expectation of dress to her students. She permitted the students to wear their "muggle clothes" as long as they were clothes they did not mind getting them dirty or damaged from the practical lessons.

Today, however, she was dressed quite differently. She wore a dragonhide jacket much thicker than usual, with a protective plate at her neck. Her pants were thick and padded with extra plates on her thighs, knees, and shins as they extended down and covered most of her boots. Unbeknownst to her students, those pants were more like overalls, extending up her abdomen for extra protection. Her gloves were also thick and jointed with individual plates on each phalange. Viktoria knew that today she was going to get knocked around a bit, and dressed appropriately.

Viktoria paced across the dirt floor of the teaching pit, addressing the class in one of her rare lectures, being as dragons are not something that she could safely have students interact with. Sleipnir was up above the pit at the back of the tent, also pacing back and forth, keeping an eye on the students as much as Viktoria was. She had paused to collect her thoughts and now continued her lesson. "Now dragons as a species are especially resilient creatures, impervious to most things. You probably have used dragonhide gloves during your potion classes, as dragonhide is very durable. I myself, wear a jacket of dragonhide for when I go flying, it keeps me safe from the elements."

"It takes a lot to kill a dragon, as most bladed weapons and projectiles will be turned aside by its tough hide, and dragonhide is also proof against quite a number of magical spells. Only one weapon is known to be a dragon killer, and that is the Zauberklinge sword." Here she unsheathed the weapon that hung at her side and took up a neutral stance, holding the weapon in her right hand, in front of her with the point forward, slightly raised. Her left hand she held behind her back, out of the way. "Drachentöt is an ancient German art of dragon slaying that melds sword fighting with magic. Now the art of Drachentöt has been all but lost to time, but I retrieved this very sword, as well as the master folio of Drachentöt, from a dragon's horde. As such, I am quite probably the only person in the world who knows how to use one of these swords."

"How I came into possession of this sword is a story in itself. I was charged by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures with the task of determining if a dragon still lived inside of a mountain near a village in the Ukraine. It had been rumored that the dragon inside had perished, and if it had, the dragon's horde needed to be secured. I had left Sleipnir down at the foot of the mountain to act as a lookout," Here Sleipnir nodded in the back of the classroom in agreement, "and I continued up the loose rocks that made up the slippery slope of the mountain."

"As I climbed, the rocks themselves seemed to emit smoke, like the mountain itself was breathing. As I stopped to take a rest, the loose stones gave way and I fell inside a cave that had formed inside the mountain. As I came to after the fall, I realized that I was trapped inside the mountain. I used my wand for light and I was forced to spelunk further into the cave. As I entered into cavern after cavern, I was soon faced with what experienced spelunkers would call a 'squeeze'. This is a passage that narrowed considerably, so much that I barely fit between the gap in the rock when I entered it with my wand outstretched."

Here she paused, not only for effect, but to calm her own nerves. Forcing herself to recall her worst nightmare was not something she relished, especially in front of a class. "Now at the time, I wore a sheath for my wand in the small of my back so it was out of the way, but still handy. I forgot that I was wearing it as I sidled into the squeeze. As I pressed on, my sheath got stuck and I was trapped literally between a rock and a hard place. I could not move. I tried kicking, and thrashing at the stone but I could not get loose. To this day, I still don’t know how I got free. One moment, I was thrashing against the rock, the next; my leather belt had torn and allowed me to progress through the narrow passage and out into the chamber beyond. If I hadn't been gasping for air after my ordeal, the sight would have taken my breath away."

"Gold. A mountain of gold stretched upwards and outwards as it faded into the darkness. My mind reeled as I tried to calculate the wealth of the massive pile before me. As large as the pile of gold was, the chamber it was in was even larger. This mountain was entirely hollow, and, miles up, a tiny spot of blue sky was visible. I aimed my wand at the spot of blue and I cast a spell that would lead Sleipnir back to me. If all went well, all I had to do was wait."

"Amid all the glittering, an object stood out like a sore thumb. There, among the sea of yellow, was a dark matte rectangle, a chest made of wood. Intrigued, I climbed up the loose pile of gold and opened it. This was the chest the Zauberklinge was stored in, as well as the folio. It was then that I could have sworn I could feel the coins move beneath my feet. As I paused to confirm my suspicion, that insecurity left my mind. The mountain was moving. Not desiring being in a second landslide today, I slid down the pile of coins as, from out of the gold, the dragon emerged."

"Only one word could properly describe the metallic grey monster, erupting from horde like Vesuvius: Huge. It reared up on its hind legs and practically filled the chamber, stretching its wings like one stretches their arms after a long nap. My eyes flitted from one threat to another. Long slashing talons on its feet. Large sharp teeth as it its gaping maw opened in a yawn. As small as I felt beside this massive dragon, I felt even smaller when I felt the gaze of a massive ruby eye fall upon me. So I did the only thing I could think of to keep a Ukranian Ironbelly from attacking me. I used the sword I just picked up to mesmerize the dragon and give Sleipnir time to get to me."

"Incendio" Viktoria incanted, and the entire length of the blade began to burst into flame. Viktoria let a grin spread across her face as she watched some of the students gawp in fascination, or give a start at the sudden appearance of flame before them. "As you no doubt have read in your pre-class assignment, she said as she began whirling the blade about her body in a succession of cuts that would no doubt take down an opponent standing before her, Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them states that most dragons not only breathe fire, but are entranced by it, usually their pyromania of the surrounding countryside is merely an excuse for them to watch the flames that they have made. It was this trait that I took advantage of to give Sleipnir enough time to come and retrieve me. Mind you, that took me swinging this sword for what felt like forever, but in the end, it saved my life."

"Today, I will be diverting from our usual lesson of caring for magical creatures, and instead I will be focusing on their destruction. Or rather, we will be acting out the historic martial art of destroying them." Here Viktoria whispered "Finite" and sheathed her weapon, then opened the chest with a flourish. Inside the large chest were a number of blunt wooden swords, a near replica of the metal one Viktoria proudly owned. The edges were notched from blows against one another. There were also fencing helmets and heavy padded leather gloves.

"Everyone grab a pair of gloves, a helmet, and a sword and follow me out into the field. There you will pair up and we will do some drills. Now as you all are novices, I promise that you will get a few bumps or bruises, but nothing serious. You can either wear the bruise as a reminder to improve, or if you can't deal with a little pain," here she paused for sardonic effect, "I can heal you up before your final class in the day." Viktoria pulled on her personal fencing helm that had a hood that protected the sides of her head as well as the back, and waited as students filed in to collect their gear. She then led the students out of the tent into an empty paddock, with Sleipnir bringing up the rear.

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