Despite being at Rocky Mountain International teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts for several years, Cindra Embers had not been asked to do much. They wanted her to focus on teaching. She did that, of course, and she thought she did it well. Practically none of the other professors went to seminars or professional development or did any of the self-improvement activities she did over the school year and during breaks. Was anyone else trained in restorative justice practices and equitable classroom management? She didn’t think so.
When she was asked to take over for Professor Aaron McKindy - just to do the Cetus Head of House speeches for firsties, not like take over his actual Head of House duties - the former Draco practically jumped at the chance. She could prove herself! Finally, someone believed in her abilities to do more. She’d asked and asked for more responsibility at the school. Maybe this was how she finally got it!
When everyone seemed to be wrapping up at the Opening Feast and the other Heads of Houses were on the move, Cindra also stood. Knowing how much rested on her shoulders that evening, she’d left her daughter, Ruby, with a babysitter. She’d smoothed her robes to look perfect and pristine. Her pale yellow dress with tye dyed lace trimming peaked from underneath, and her blonde hair was pulled up into a braided bun. Her giant blue eyes sparkled as she took in the scene. Here we go.
She summoned the Cetus first years over with a whistle and a wave. “Cetus, come with me!”
Once they arrived, she introduced herself. “Welcome to Rocky Mountain International! I’m Professor Cindra Embers. I teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. I’m not actually your Head of House - that’s Professor Aaron McKindy, Spellwork - but he’s currently busy. I’m happy to show you to your rooms.”
At first, she thought she was doing a pretty great job. She pointed out landmarks, greeted portraits by name, said hello to the wrackspurts that were definitely there, and kept up the chit chat all at the same time. However, when she turned the corner to where she thought the entrance was and nearly ran into Estelle, she realized her muscle memory from being a student nearly led all the new Ceti to the Draco common room!
Big ol’ yikes.
“And nothing to see here, don’t mind us, I took you the long way,” she blurted before turning the corner really fast. This time, they all went the right direction and ended up outside the Cetus common rooms. Phew. Outside was the portrait of a young woman, sitting serenely on a rock and gazing into a pool of water while painted birds flew past on the canvas.
“This is how you get into Cetus,” she instructed with her most serious voice (so, really, it was only slightly less bubbly than usual). “Only people who live in Cetus should know what the password is. And the password changes all the time. Don’t go giving it to people. That would be bad. You’d probably have to spend time with the Deputy Head, and no one wants that, least of all the Deputy Head. Anyway, I picked out the current password in honor of your actual Head of House, but I’m sure he’ll change it eventually. When it changes, it’ll be written down inside your common room for a couple of days so you can write it down or memorize it.”
She turned and faced the portrait before she exclaimed, “Bubble Hats!”
The young woman smiled and the portrait swung open and the wall morphed, revealing a door that was large enough for even the tallest of students or professors to go through without ducking. “Come on in!”