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The Salem Witches' Institute

Welcome to the Salem Witches' Institute, the premiere American school of magic located within the World of Harry Potter. An original role play for creative minds.

SWI is officially open. Registration is ongoing for all incoming 1st Years.
Current Role Play Date: 14 October, 2011. Day: Friday. Time: 9:00 AM. Weather: Mid 50's with a slight breeze from the east.
Orientation is set up in the Atrium. Please visit to participate.

    Astronomy Class Proper

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    Harpreet Bashagwani
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    Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Mon May 30, 2011 11:47 pm

    The classroom is Now Unlocked.


    As class runs until midnight, students may want to nap before attending. The temperature in the tower becomes quite chilly at night, so everyone wear your jacket and girls should wear their tights.

    Professor Harpreet.


    This thread is for the actual class. Set up before/after class is in the "Astronomy Class RP" thread. Thank you.


    Last edited by Harpreet Bashagwani on Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Astromony Class Begins

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:49 am

    Harpreet entered the telescope chamber and gave a silent blessing before crossing the room and exiting to the outside viewing gallery. The air already possessed a crispness that belay the arrival of fall, and fall in Maine is the same as saying winter is soon upon us, she thought.

    She checked the stands the students would use tonight. She watched the sky, seeing only a few high clouds as the first stars began to appear. After yesterday's storm she was surprised to see that today turned out so nicely. She looked for the large tree that had fallen yesterday near the tower, and realized the elves had already replanted it. "So busy, those creatures," she said aloud.

    She nodded and returned to the chamber; she needed to open the dome and allow the scope to stabilize. Tonight I'll see how their eager mind behave. She knew most students found astronomy boring, but this mattered not to Harpreet. Her life was with the stars, and her destiny lay there.

    What others found there did not interest her. It was, however, her hope those who studied with her found their journey to the stars as fulfilling as hers.



    OOC communiqué--


    Though class is opening at the same time as Transfiguration, they are not happening at the same time. Astronomy class begins at 9:30 that evening, so if you want to post anything that happened between Transfiguration and Astronomy, please do. The postings are running at the same time; the classes are not. Such is time travel in the Wizarding World.

    Class may be entered now. Keep in mind it is chilly outside; dress appropriately.


    Below is the thumbnail for the view of the night sky you will see tonight, looking north (click for full sized view):



    This is a view of the sky from the school, looking north. The same view can be found by using the Sky View Cafe page found here. You can click on the link using the Interactive Planetarium, and by entering the date and time (found in the upper left hand of the display) and the location (on the right hand side. The planetarium uses Java, so make certain you have it activated on your computer if you want to use the interactive version.

    Class will run, in Real Time, today (Thursday), tomorrow (Friday) and finish up Saturday. There will be questions at the end. Grading will be subjective based upon the answers given, and whether Harpreet feels you learned anything. In the most extreme cases she will turn into a nagah and eat a student who displeases her, in which case the coven will be docked 50 points, but, hey, no need to worry about your O.W.L.s after, right?

    Enter and enjoy!
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    Harpreet Bashagwani
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:05 pm

    She positioned herself before the students, looking them over carefully. They seemed eager... she would see.

    She began:



    "Astronomy is more than just the observation of the heavens; it is a love of science. For one must want to come out into the open, every night, when it is hot and cold, windy and humid, and gaze upon the heavens. This is not something for the faint of heart who tire quickly. This requires perseverance. It takes more than your mind; you must put into this your soul as well.

    "This is a class that you will undertake for the next five years. Once a week we will met, here, and study. Some nights we will look at the sky with our naked eyes. Some night, we will scan them with binoculars. Other times, we will view objects through the main telescope--" She indicated the gargantuan telescope in the middle of the room, "our 250 centimeter treasure I am proud to call ours... some nights we will look through it. And there are some nights where magic will allow us to access telescopes in other countries, so we may see their skies as if they were ours.

    "One of the requirements of this class is that you will purchase your own telescope. For this year, and the following years, that will be your own private astronomical tool, and you will be expected to treat it will, for without it, you will not pass. I will help you with picking out the right scope... but that will not come tonight. Tonight--we have other things."

    She looked from student to student, slowly, gauging their reaction in the darkness. "Do you have questions, my eager young minds?"
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    Annie Krum
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:33 pm

    "Excuse me, Professor," Annie raised her hand halfway up. "I was wondering if we are going to study the moon phases and, if we are, if we will be permitted to use a lunascope?"
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:50 pm

    Harpreet was nearly beside herself. "A most excellent question, my dear!" She nodded as she added, "During your first year you will come to understand the basics of astronomy, and that included the constellations, major stars, the planets, and, of course, the moon. And since we will study the phases of the moon, a lunascope will be required for a part of that study.

    "Are there other questions?"
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Kerry Malibey on Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:56 pm

    Kerry suddenly had a new appreciation for Annie. She knew what a lunascope was! It was a rare girl who knew her astronomical devices.

    But he had his own questions. "Would buying a 20 centimeter Dobsonian reflector be out of line?" he asked.
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:24 pm

    “That would be a fine scope,” Harpreet said, smiling, “but I would advise going any bigger. After all, you will not have elves to help you move it around. Any more questions? No? We will continue.

    “Tonight we will look upon the most recognizable objects in the, the stars, and the patterns they make, the constellations. When we look into the sky, we see the past, for there is the limitation of speed with light, and so, the light we are viewing this very evening has taken, for some, a dozen or more years, or perhaps 50 years, or, with some stars before us, thousands of years. The first great astronomers were the Egyptians, Babylonians and Chinese, followed by the Persians and Indians, and there is light before us now that began traveling to Earth at the same moment those scientists were looking into the sky and assigning names that, for many stars, are still used.

    “The sky is a time machine, and all that is before us is the past. Even our daylight comes from our past, for the sun is far enough distant that light takes 8 minutes to reach the Earth. It is a marvelous thing, the sky. It is history moving constantly; very slowly, yes, but the planets and stars and the galaxy and all other galaxies are in constant movement, all performing a ballet throughout the universe.

    “And we are witness to this performance.

    “The constellations are nothing more than stars forming an asterism, or a visible sky pattern. The mind of man saw these patterns and gave them name, and those names we still know today. Many of the asterisms are very well known. Come—“ She walked out onto the viewing gallery and pointed north. “The Big Dipper is probably the most well known asterism, form within the body of the constellation Ursa Major. The Little Dipper is also another well known asterism, though not as visible. But there are so many others. Some, like Cassiopeia and Lyra, make up nearly the full constellation. There are some, like the Belt of Orion, that are very well known, and yet make up a very small portion of the whole formation.

    “And then, there are some asterisms that are made up of stars from many different constellations. There are two very well known ones in the sky this evening—“ She pointed nearly straight overhead as she spoke. “The Summer Triangle, and—“ Lower in the sky this time. “The Great Square. You will see these in the sky, and, tonight, you will find and identify them on our star charts.

    “Are there any questions, my children?”
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:39 pm

    Annie followed the professor's hand as she pointed up at the sky, but all she could make out were tiny stars. Triangles and squares were going to be tough.

    She shook her head no when the professor asked for questions.
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:15 pm

    Harpreet let them all back into the observatory and over to a set of tables near a number of wooden cabinets. She removed her wand and tapped the support to a wooden bar stretched over one of the tables. “Lumos mollis rutila,” she spoke, and the bar began to suddenly glow a soft, deep red. “Remember this,” she said. “Always use red light as this to preserve your night vision. If you tap out a white light, you will lose your acclimation to the dark and not regain it for many, many minutes. And,” she looked to each student seriously, “you will also ruin the night vision of your fellow scientist.”

    She opened one of the cabinets and reviled a collection of charts hanging from swivel pegs. She found the charts labeled “1 to 14 September” and removed them. She put the bound charts on the table and opened the portfolio to 6 September, the date of the class. “These are some of the star charts of the Institute,” Harpreet said. “These are among some of the oldest documents in the school, being over 300 years old.” She slowly ran her fingers along the parchment, in an almost loving gesture. “These were created by Astria Blomqvist of Coven Cernunnos, all copies drawn by her hand from 1683 to 1692.” She turned to Kerry and Annie. “Your Founder, the first Institute Astronomer, created these out of her love for science and the sky. This is in your blood…”

    She asked the students to touch the charts. “They’ve been charmed and enchanted so they can not be damaged in any way. They will not wear out; they cannot be stained; they cannot be torn. They are a relic of the Institute, and you may consider yourselves lucky to be able to have them for your studies—for these are works of art, as were all charts made then—“

    Harpreet then began to explained how the charts were used, how one located the directions relating to where one looked upon the horizon; the stars inside the drawings of the mythical creature, and how they were connected; some of the more interesting and important asterisms; the overlays that were done later so one could determine how close to the horizon, and therefore the approximate position, of the constellations in the sky. She showed them the enchantment that, with a very simple incantation, one could see the location of the Sun, the Moon and the planets throughout the sky.

    Harpreet stepped back from the table. “This is the way astronomy is done, and has been done, for literally thousands of years. And, even with inventions like computers and plotting software, charts like these will continue to be used for hundreds more years. And not just by us, but even by Muggles, for astronomy is one of the few things we—the Wizarding World and the Muggle World—share together. And do not thing we have an advantage over them! Though we might have better instruments, they have their probes, and they find things we have missed. And they make advances into astrophysics, seeing things that we have not discovered, coming up with ideas we have not considered!

    “This is an exciting vocation, and a calling that can make you understand the enormity of the universe—and how you, such small but powerful wizards and witches, fit into it. This is the song of the stars, children. It is a powerful song, and I hope what you start here tonight, and for the next five years, you will carry with you gladly.

    “Now, before we start, are there any further questions?”
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    The Test

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:33 pm

    The questions below will need to be answered and turned in for a grade. The questions, and answers, must be posted in the class thread under the student’s name by (real time) 6 PM local time Sunday. Questions can be cut and pasted into the student’s post. The thread will be locked not long after, and incompletes will count as -20 Coven Points.

    The sky chart displayed at the top of the class can be used for reference. One will also use the sky charts (AKA, Wikipedia) to find the other answers. At any time during class one may role play if they are in the mood. Note: leaping off the tower and diving downward into the sweet, sweet embrace of death will only get you netted by an enchantment and sent you on a quick trip to the hospital. It will also not get you points.

    Grading:

    8 Correct Answers—25 Coven Points—GRADE O (Outstanding)

    7 Correct Answers—20 Coven Points—GRADE E (Exceeds Expectations)

    6 Correct Answers—15 Coven Points—GRADE A (Acceptable)

    5 Correct Answers —10 Coven Points—GRADE P (Passing)

    4 Correct Answers—5 Coven Points GRADE D (Dreadful)

    3 Correct Answers—0 Coven Points—GRADE T (Troll)

    2 Correct Answers—Minus 10 Coven Points—GRADE M (Morloc)

    1 Correct Answers—Minus 15 Coven Points—GRADE U (UberMorloc)

    0 Correct Answers—Minus 20 Coven Points—See me.




    Here are the questions.


    Constellations are also known as:

    Why is the universe like a time machine?

    When were the current Institute Star Charts created?

    The Summer Triangle is primarily located in what three constellations?

    Which three stars make up the points of the Summer Triangle?

    The Great Square is found in what two constellations?

    Who created the current Institute Star Charts?

    Which civilizations were home to the first great astronomers?


    Last edited by Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:48 pm; edited 3 times in total
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:38 pm

    Harpreet set the students about on their tasks, showing them the locations of the writing within the dome and outside along the rail of the viewing gallery. She showed them where the hot chocolate was located, and instructed them on where they could drink safely. She also had them run through the red light charm a few times to get it right in case they wanted to try it.

    With everyone getting into position, she decided it was time for some music. She put a music disk in her player and flicked it on. As she walked about, overseeing the students, the first faint guitar strains of Jimi Thing floated throughout the observatory and into the night--
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    Annie Krum
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:06 pm

    "Excuse me again, Professor," Annie said. "Would it be alright to collaborate with one another while we work on our questions--or is this assignment supposed to be worked out alone?"
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Harpreet Bashagwani on Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:11 pm

    Speaking in a voice she hoped would carry, Harpreet called out, "Students, attention please!" When she had everyone's attention, she said, "Our Annie has asked if this assignment is to be worked on alone, or may you collaborate?

    "Science is, first and foremost, a doctrine that encourages collaboration. While there are assignments you will most definitely be required to work on alone, tonight's assignment is not one. You may seek assistance from your fellow scientists if you like." She patted Annie's shoulder. "You may return to your studies, dear."




    OOC: If possible you can do this in RP.
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    Annie Krum
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:26 pm

    Annie was thrilled they would be able to actually move around and relax in this class. Compared to their other experiences, this one seemed much more laid back, and Annie loved the vibe.

    She looked over at Kerry and batted her eyelashes. "Care to help a lady out?" She giggled, fanning herself with the page of questions.
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Kerry Malibey on Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:48 pm

    After what was, truthfully, a very uncomfortable class, Kerry was in his own with Astronomy. He'd had a scope since he was 7, and even though he couldn't use it much, and it was really what got him heavy into science and science fiction.

    Most of what Professor Bashagwani had told him he already knew, but to hear her say with with such conviction and . . . love, it was one of the first times he felt inspired by a teacher. Now if only all the classes were like this, he thought. Potions and Dark Arts were coming up, and though he'd started to get a good understanding of Potions, something about this new Potions Mistress made him uneasy. Sure, she was friends with Helena, and they were both Slytherin at the same time, and they were both potions experts, and . . . it seemed like they both knew the Dark Arts pretty well, and they were taught by someone--he'd found out at The 'Wart--who was heavy into the Dark Arts . . . yeah, nothing to be worried about.

    It didn't help that even though Helena was always nice to him and Annie, he still felt a little uneasy around her--

    Annie approached him, all big eyes and batting lashes, asking for help. The more they were together, the more they opened up for each other, and seeing her like that made his stomach do flip-flops. "Sure, Pumpkin," he said, not really caring if he was heard. "Come on over and I'll give you a hand--"
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:36 pm

    Annie took his hand and led them to a pair of reclining viewing chairs. She took a seat and leaned as far back as the chair would allow. “I really need a chair like this in Pamporovo,” she sighed, snuggling into the comfortable seat.

    She took out her wand. “Lumos mollis rutila,” she whispered and the tip began to glow a soft red. She looked over at Kerry and smiled. “That is almost as cool as the table in the dining hall.”

    She leaned her head back on the seat and stared up at the cloudless sky. “Ok, where do we begin?”
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Kerry Malibey on Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:49 pm

    Softly, Kerry began to point out things in the sky. He showed Annie the Summer Triangle, pointing to the star that anchored it. He pointed to one very bright star. "That's 25 light years away," he said, "so what we're looking at started towards us in 1986--" He looked to Annie and smiled. "That's like around the time Helena told us she graduated from The 'Warts, remember?"

    He added something else: "That's a very big, hot star--an A Class." He thought for a second, then told Annie, "Every star is classed with a letter: O Classes are big and hot, M Classes are small and red and almost impossible to see. The Sun is a G Class--" He reached out and held her hand. "There's a mnemonic astrophysicist use to remember the classification of the hottest to the coolest stars: Oh Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me." Kerry almost giggled. "You can always substitute 'Guy' for 'Girl', though, if you like." He gazed deeply into Annie's eyes. "I thought you might like that."
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:15 pm

    Annie watched Kerry while he spoke of the stars. His passion spoke volumes as to what he thought of the subject, and she smiled as she listened. When he finished, his eyes were bright from the excitement. When he looked at her, she felt her heart leap.

    She looked away before she did something foolish to earn them both a detention.

    “Yes,” she breathed. “I do like it.” She stayed quiet for a few moments, and finally looked at him again. “How do you know so much about the stars, Kerry?”
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Kerry Malibey on Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:35 pm

    He didn't need to think about what to say; Kerry knew the answer very well. "I started getting into science and reading science fiction when I was like 7 or 8, and one of the things I loved was the stars."

    He leaned back further in his chair and looked up and out. "So my dad, he bought me a telescope for my 8th birthday. I used to take it out in the backyard--this was back when I lived in California--and even though there was a lot of light pollution, I could still look at a lot of stuff."

    He grew quiet and shrugged. "'Course, a few months later we up and move to Cardiff, and it was impossible to use it there, so it just sits in my room now--" Kerry sighed deeply. "When I get the chance I'm going to bring it here. I know I can buy a really good scope, but . . ." He hadn't moved his hand from Annie's, and he gave her's a good squeeze. "I wanna use it here, because it'll be fun."

    He looked embarrassed for a moment, then said, "Oh, and I also wanted to be an astronaut, so I thought it would be good to know the stars." There was another light squeeze. "I'm way beyond that now, I suppose."
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:08 pm

    Annie sat up and leaned over the arm of her chair. “Let your heart guide you,” she said. “It whispers, so listen closely…” She gazed down at him, bathed in the warm red glow of her wand and sprawled out on his reclining chair. “I think both of us desired something else…before we met.” She adjusted her chair so that she was sitting upright.

    Staring down at her sheet of unanswered questions, Annie tilted her head so her hair hid the side of her face. “But now, everything is different. If I had not been in that bookstore on that day, you might still have that dream.”
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Kerry Malibey on Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:16 pm

    Smirking just a tad, Kerry said, "Well, this is probably a lot better than being an astronaut," he said. "I flew on a broom and changed a bean into a beetle. Tomorrow I might . . . I don't know, brew up a love potion and open a portal to hell."

    He laughed softly. "Now, compared to flying around in the ISS for months on end doing nothing, this is pretty great. And who's to say--" he looked back at Professor Bashagwani, "she sort of hinted about this sort of being hand-in-hand with the science I know. And did you notice--she's playing music out of a CD player." He grinned broadly. "Remember when Conor told us that 'Muggle tech' doesn't work? What's that then?"

    He leaned back and continued staring at the stars. "There's something bigger here I can get into." He glanced in Annie's direction. "Oh, and I met my wife, remember?" he said very softly. "That counts for a lot, doesn't it?"
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:00 pm

    Annie felt her face turn six shades of red when Kerry said the word ‘wife’. She sat very still, unsure if she would be able to look at him without suffering the same fate as their first meeting in the commons. She settled for holding his hand, caressing his left hand within both of hers.

    “Vie mozhe da darzhi rakata mi za izvestno vreme, no darzhi sartseto mi zavinagi.” Annie closed her eyes and saw him there, fast asleep; his hands resting just below his navel, a band of intricately carved silver circled his left ring finger…

    She opened her eyes and swallowed hard, turning in her seat. She needed to look at him. “You may hold my hand for a while, but you hold my heart forever.”


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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Kerry Malibey on Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:26 pm

    Kerry was a bit surprised by Annie's deceleration. Since they'd had their moment on the shores of Lovecraft Lake they'd sort of toned things back just a bit. Hand holding and the such, yes, and even a loving hug and a kiss, but here was Annie again telling him he was hers forever.

    And Kerry, for his part, was able to say, yes, and you are as well.

    He'd given her his declaration and his pledge, and he knew he'd stand by them because . . . because he knew he would. Because there was something that told him he would. That he should.

    And he would make it happen.

    He leaned over and whispered in Annie's ear, "You'll always have me, because there is nothing for me any more without you, Annie." He quickly kissed her cheek. "You can always know that, every night and every morning, and it's not gonna change."
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Evangelina Cromwell on Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:48 pm

    Evangelina got lost trying to find the the astronomy tower. She went down the wrong tunnel and instead of going straight down the tunnel from the great hall to the tower, she somehow made it to the history building. It took her an hour to figure out how to get to the tower, and another 10 or so minutes to run up the stairs. By the time she made it to the classroom door, she had to pause to catch her breath.

    Opening the door, she tried her best to sneak into the back, however, it was unsuccessful. Noticing the professor saw her coming in, in her mousy voice, she said, "Sorry Professor, I got lost."
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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

    Post  Annie Krum on Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:10 pm

    “I’ll hold you to that,” she said, smiling at him. She briefly touched Kerry’s cheek with her fingers. “I can’t wait to see you with stubble…in real life,” she giggled.

    She shifted in her reclining chair and noticed the girl from history and transfiguration class walk in—late. “I think we should finish our assignment before we get into trouble.” Annie tilted her chin toward the new arrival. She held her paper closer to the wands light and began writing her answers.

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    Re: Astronomy Class Proper

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