Name: Hrothbert "Bob" Bainbridge
Canon series: The Dresden Files (TV)
Former House: Slytherin
Position: Professor, Ancient Runes
Bob is tall, thin, and translucent, with a gimlet stare that is all the more chilling in monochrome, though he is a secret romantic and suffers badly from the detachment forced by his incorporeality. He is a keen scholar, relishing the opportunity to display the vast fruits of his centuries of study. An impatient, peremptory teacher in life, he's now much given to kibbitzing in lieu of being able to actually do things, and his years as a tool have left him with a cynical distrust of people in general. Although certainly proficient in Ancient Runes, he was in life a master of many perilous and arcane branches of magic, including Life Transfiguration, soul magic, and the Dark Arts.
Hrothbert of Bainbridge, a powerful Slytherin wizard, attempted to use horrific Dark magic to resurrect the woman he loved. For this crime, the Wizengamut sentenced him to death, and his ghost was forever bound to within fifty feet of his own disembodied skull. Several hundred years later, after being passed down among a long succession of rather nasty wizards, he was offered the chance to teach at Hogwarts in exchange for a modicum of independence. He took the job at once, and -- save for the Spring 2009 session, during which he was trapped in Chicago by the Ministry's anti-ghost legislation -- has been here ever since.
Bob teaches Ancient Runes, a second- to seventh-year class focused on languages and written magic. Students learn to translate spells into and out of several languages, study different materials -- magical and mundane -- used in spell transcription and preservation, and bind magic into written characters and designs for use as seals, wards, and charms. His classroom is off a second-floor corridor, its desks and floor much stained by corrosive fluids. Shelves near the back hold everything from parchment to granite slabs and a dizzying array of inks, and there's a sink ready in case something spills that really, really shouldn't. The blackboard in the front is only used by students, as Bob does all his classroom writing in glowing letters in the air.
Ancient Runes is mandatory for second-years and optional for upper years.
Textbooks used in the class:
Wright's White Rites Rightly Writ (with a workbook for each year), by Wright: all years
Ancient Runes Made Easy (a canonical reference for this class): second year
Symbols of Power: Linguistic Secrets Revealed by Angela Cove: third year
Deciphering Ancient Runes by Smedly Lurge: third and fourth years
25 Magical Languages by Ufar Haldah: fourth year
Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms, found in the library: fifth year
Advanced Rune Translation, sixth and seventh years
Spellman's Syllabary (a canonical reference for this class), fifth through seventh years
Reference books, found in the library:
Practical Coptic Transliterations by Lubella, containing Coptic translations
The Polyglot Peril, on problems arising from mixing languages in spells and wards
Wielding Words by Speakeasy; a complicated theoretical volume on magical intent while reading, at least nine volumes
Squiggle Me This: Adventures in Modern Alchemical Notation, by Ironfoundersson
Lex's Hexes by Alexis the Vexatious: tables/numerology of spell/hex/jinx combos
General class topics for the year:
Second-years: Elder Futhark; pronunciation and translation; drawing simple wards on parchment.
Third-years: other Norse rune systems; use of drafting tools to draw and letter more complex wards on parchment and wood.
Fourth-years: runes at spellcrafting level; syllabic interpretation; acid etching of runes on stone.
Fifth-years: OWL-level, so it will be hard. Translating spells into Elder, Younger, and Anglo-Saxon runes and back again; creating multilinguistic ward stones; use of materials to imbue words with different magical effects than they would normally have.
Sixth-years: working with their chosen NEWTs language track (Semitic abjads, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Celtic runes, or the Chinese Oracle Bone alphabet and its descendants); translating freely between English letters, ancient runes, and their new language characters; art as a supplement to lettering when symbology is uncertain.
Seventh-years: NEWT-level; translating simple spells into and out of their chosen language; use of all standard materials for runework and wardcrafting; imbuing written words with trigger-spells; preserving written material without destroying its magical components.
Office and environs Edit
As a ghost, Bob needs no living quarters. His office, little more than a converted broom closet with a few shelves and a desk jammed inside, is on the first floor near the Great Hall; its door is warded with a password, but since he can walk right through it, it's usually kept locked (and also warded against other ghosts and poltergeists). There's room for a student to come in -- just barely. The desk is mostly taken up by parchment, candles, and Bob's journal, which is enchanted to take dictation and follow him around. There isn't much to see on the shelves -- mostly research material and more candles, though the highest shelf holds his skull (and, jammed way in the back, several steamy romance novels).
Bob's classroom is on the second floor, tangientally above his office. A large, open space with no outside windows, it is kept well-lit by candles and enchanted lanterns, the better for his students to read the tiny writing on the ink bottles. Cabinets along the walls hold textbooks; several types of parchment; sheets of wood, stone, and metal; hundreds of small ink-bottles, many with differing magical properties; styluses, brushes, compasses, rune-charts, spare dragonhide gloves, solvents, and other tools of the subject he teaches. There is a blackboard at the front of the room; though Bob cannot write on it himself, his students can, and he's fond of drawing glowing runes in the air in front of it, where they show up nicely. An alcove in the back of the room holds a small sink for cleaning jars and brushes, and also for washing dangerous inks off the skin. Most of the desks are stained with various substances, and at least one has been deeply scored by acid; there are also burn marks where various wards have exploded now and then. Runes are srs business.
Bob also frequently haunts the secondary staff room (which is also a favorite hangout for Marco, his cat). It's a small, cosy room with a carpet, fireplace, and overstuffed chairs.
Marks, scars, and other attributes Edit
As a ghost, Bob is semi-translucent, exists in shades of blue and grey, and glows in the dark when he chooses to be visible. He can alter his appearance to a certain extent, but that's usually limited to changing his costume, preferring a portmanteau of archaic garb and several spectral rings of power on his fingers. A pair of heavy-looking manacles, rune-printed and as ghostly as himself, weigh down his wrists as the only visible sign of his imprisonment.
He is unable to physically affect the outer world, and can pass through solid surfaces -- and also through people, resulting in a cold, shivery, unpleasant sensation for both parties. He cannot taste or smell, but his sight and hearing are good and his singing voice excellent. He is also able to draw glowing streaks in the air, a talent which he uses in the classroom in lieu of blackboard and chalk.
Physically, all that remains of him is his skull. Since he cannot move it himself, he depends on others to handle it when he needs to travel further than fifty feet from his office: though he trusts few with this information, having been thrown in the lake with it once by an irate friend. It is dark with age and carved all over with rune patterns, but otherwise shows no sign of being a powerfully enchanted magical object. He also has a hairless, tattooed cat, Marco, whom he and another professor rescued after an Acromantula attack. Marco has no particular magical attributes, but enjoys roaming the castle and interrupting everyone's work with his earsplitting meow.