Foreign Exchange Chapter 5
A Trip Through Uagadou
Henry awoke the next morning to the sunlight beaming through the skylight. He checked his watch and saw he still had time before he had to get ready for class. Looking around the common room, he saw that some of the students were still asleep, others just beginning to stir. He looked to his side and saw Kingsley still snoring, oblivious to the noise he was making. How Henry had managed to sleep through it all he hadn’t the foggiest idea. He sat up and looked to his nightstand, grabbed a glass for water and saw what looked to be a paper origami bird perched on the rim of the glass. It chirped before fluttering into his hand. Curious, he opened the note and began to quietly read.
I hope you’ve managed to settle in at your new dorm room, hopefully it’s up to Hogwarts standards! After going through your transcripts I’ve selected the classes I think will best serve you as a beginner in wandless magic. Attached are the books you’ll need for class as well as your class schedule, As time goes on you’ll be able to pick a more specific field of magic you wish to study and tailor your schedule to those classes. As you arrived on such short notice, I don’t expect you to have your textbooks, so show this letter to the Librarian and she’ll check out what you need. We’ll discuss the possibility of you working at the school as a way to earn some income. I hope your first day at Uagadou is a productive one!
Henry checked the second sheet of parchment and continued to read.
Breakfast in the Great Hall 9:00am-9:45am
Adv. Defence against the Dark Arts Room 112 10:00am-11pm
Mon. Wed. Fri.
Beginners Alchemy Room 207 11:15am-12:30pm
Mon. Tues. Thurs. Fri.
Adv. Transfiguration Room 307 12:45pm-2:30pm
Mon. Wed. Fri.
Lunch in the Great Hall 2:30pm-3:15pm
An Introduction To Magical Theory Room 511 3:30pm-4:30pm
Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri.
Adv. Charms Room 415 4:45pm-6:00pm
Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri.
Astrology Room 700 9:30pm-10:30pm
Curfew for the students is as follows:
1st years- 8:30pm
2nd years- 9:00pm
3rd years- 9:30pm
4th and 5th years- 10pm
6th and higher- 11:30pm
Anyone caught out of bed past curfew will be punished by their head of house.
Henry read his schedule twice. First day and he already had an eleven hour day ahead of him. Dumbledore was not kidding about the workload.
He checked his watch and it read 7:30. He had some time to get ready, grab his books, and find his way to breakfast. Unfortunately, Kingsley was still asleep and Henry doubted the school provided maps. He got dressed quietly, swung his bag over his shoulder, grabbed his glyph and swiftly exited the tent.
He made his way to the portrait entrance. He could see the occasional student passing through and as he walked through he was met once more with the sensation of walking through water. On the other side of the portrait, Henry tried to retrace his steps from yesterday. He and Kingsley had been walking and talking and Henry had been too enamored with the scenery to ask what floor they were on. Henry saw a couple of students approaching, two boys who looked to be around Henry’s age and a young girl with long braids in a bright pink and white checkered robe. One boy was tall, had strong features and had a well bred air upon him, almost as if he were royalty. The other boy was shorter, more muscular and had features that reminded Henry hilariously of a gorilla, though he thought it best to not vocalize this.
He gave a wave. “Hello! Can you help me? I’m a bit lost.”
He stood nervously as the trio turned toward him, the tall boy seemed to be sizing him up. They approached him and Henry gave a smile and held out his hand, hoping it would break the tension. The tall boy eyed his hand suspiciously.
“Do you wish to curse me, boy?” his voice heavy with an African accent that Henry could only guess was Swahili.
Alarmed, Henry withdrew his hand. “Oh, no! I’m sorry, I’m new here and I’m not aware of the customs and一” His apology was stopped short when he realized that the two boys were laughing at him! His face grew hot, he’d dealt with this type at Hogwarts. Just another Malfoy. He turned to walk away and hopefully find someone better suited to help him.
“Please, don’t mind my brother or his idiot friend. They’re harmless, really.” The girl in the pink robe had stepped forward and given him a smile filled with more confidence than Henry had ever felt at that young age, “I’m Shuri.” she introduced herself, she indicated the taller boy who threw him a sheepish grin, “this is my brother T’Challa,” she pointed to the short muscular boy, “and that’s his friend M’Baku. You said you’re new?” The two boys gave a wave and the one called T’Challa stuck his hand out and after a beat Henry shook it.
“Henry Fogg, transfer student from Hogwarts,” he explained. “I’m trying to find the library to get my books, you wouldn’t mind helping me would you?”
Shuri nodded and from her pocket she pulled out her glyph stone. “Nioneshe Nija,” she recited. The rock glowed and a three dimensional projection appeared. It looked like a maze of sorts with a red dot in the center of it. “Ok so we’re here on the fifth floor.” She indicated the red dot. “The library is waaay over here, on the third. Luckily it’s on your way down so it won’t be too much of a trek. Can we see your schedule?”
Henry mutely gave his schedule, silently impressed at the map Shuri had created. Did that mean this place was plotable? Shuri, T’Challa, and M’Baku silently read down the list, giving either groans of disapproval or cheers of excitement.
Shuri gave back his list as T’challa said, “I take it from your lesson plan you’re a beginner of wandless magic?”
Henry nodded, “I did it yesterday, Accio’d a rock a few times and then banished it a few more. I know it’s beginner stuff but hopefully the theory is the same. I know I have a long way to go, they didn’t teach this stuff at Hogwarts.”
Shuri nodded sagely, “Yes, it’s harder to learn it when you’ve become accustomed to your wand. No one here uses wands really, you may see a teacher or two but—”
“Wait, you’ve seen teachers with wands here?” Henry interjected quickly. “I thought we weren’t allowed a wand here. Headmistress Oba made me snap mine and told me no one here was allowed to have one!” He stated angrily.
“Well…” Shuri began hesitantly, “It’s possible that she just wants to break your dependence on it. Wands are useful for a number of things, but ultimately if you’re caught without one, you’re a sitting duck. I think whatever she made you do, she did for your own good.”
She, T’Challa, and M’Baku stood awkwardly while Henry absorbed her words. After a moment he gathered his thoughts and cleared his throat.
“So, third floor? Say, do all of our glyphs do that map thing you just did?” Henry asked, pulling out his own stone from his pocket and handing it to Shuri who turned it over in her palm and gave a small gasp.
She showed it to her brother and exclaimed, “Nyumba ya watembezaji wa ndoto. Why are there two of them?”
“I’m sorry?” Henry asked, but T’Challa interrupted.
“You said you’re a foreign exchange student from Hogwarts right? How is it you came across this stone? It’s only for students here.” He asked Henry.
“It was in my pocket when I finished my testing. I thought everyone got one to get in their common rooms? Is that not the case?” Henry asked, very confused.
T’Challa shook his head, “No, the stones only appear to the students Uagadou chose at birth. If you have this, that means you were supposed to be here to begin with. At some point, you lived here in Africa.” He checked his watch and tapped Shuri on the shoulder, “Dada mdogo lazima tuende! We must go.” He translated to Henry who looked confused. “Shuri will be late for her classes.”
Henry nodded and began to walk with them, “So, about that map spell?” he asked, hoping they had time to teach it to him.
Shuri nodded, “The spell is Nioneshe Nija. It means ‘show me the way.’Just speak it into your stone and it should work. It’s less a spell and more a command. Your stone has multiple uses but you have to figure them out. I gave you one piece of the puzzle, you have to find the others.” She ended with a cryptic smile.
They came to a stop at a wooden door where the occasional bang could be heard behind it. “This is my class, it was a pleasure to meet you, Henry Fogg.” She held out her hand and Henry shook it, glad to have made a few new friends. “I’m sure we’ll cross paths again soon! I’m in House Horus, along with T’Challa.” She held out her stone and showed the rune on the other side. Like his, it looked like a constellation, but instead of a scarab, a cat’s eye was carved into it, it glowed an emerald green color. “M’Baku is in House Osiris.”
“How many Houses are there?” Henry asked.
“Four. House Horus, House Osiris, House Isis…and House Scarab.” Shuri’s odd pause before listing his house was not missed by Henry, nor was the subtle eye flicker she gave to T’Challa, who cleared his throat.
“Ahem, Shuri must get going now. Her class is about to start and you still need to get your books right?” T’Challa asked Henry, reminding him why he had stopped them in the first place.
“You’re right, I better go! Thanks again!” He shook both T’Challa and M’Baku’s hand, took his stone out of Shuri’s outstretched palm, and took off down the hall, muttering “nioneshe njia” to it and he did so.
Like Shuri’s, his stone glowed and from the stars on his rune emerged the map. “Erm. Can you show me to the library?” he asked hesitantly.
The map was still for a moment and then the red indicator began to trace its way through the projected maze, leaving a red line behind it. Henry began to follow, mimicking its movements as it turned left, and led him down a flight of stairs. He recognized this area. This was where he’d seen those Animagi students hanging out through the window.
Two flights of steps later and Henry found himself on the third floor. The red line traced a path down the corridor before stopping at a wall and blinking, signaling Henry’s arrival. Henry followed the path, looking around. It seemed that his common room wasn’t the only mural painted on the walls. Everywhere he looked he saw paintings of animals as they rushed across, their feet silently thudding through the painted landscape. Henry wondered if he could walk into those paintings with his stone too but decided he’d rather not risk getting trampled by elephants this early into his school career. His thoughts were interrupted as he came to a halt outside a large wooden door. He yanked it open, excited to see if Uagadou’s library stacked up to Hogwarts’. He was disappointed, however, as he entered a small, claustrophobia-inducing room, with one very messy desk, and a singular young witch reading a copy of Witch Weekly. Henry guessed she couldn’t be older than twenty-five. Her appearance, much like Shuri’s, seemed rather unconventional for a member of the school. With her shaved head, her gold bangle hoop earrings that hung from her earlobes, ruby red lipstick, and matching robe she was, Henry admitted to himself, very pretty.
“Ndio?” she asked, hardly glancing up as Henry walked in.
“I’m sorry?” Henry responded, confused.
She looked up and gave a small gasp. “Oh, you’re the transfer, the English one, yes? Henry Fogg I believe. Headmistress Oba told me you’d be coming today. My apologies. I’m Seshat.” She gave him a smile which threw Henry off. Madam Pince was never this nice to the students.
Henry shook her hand, “Nice to meet you ma’am. Erm. Is this the library? My stone led me here.”
She nodded. “Yes, it is. And don’t look so disappointed. May I see your list?” She held out her hand and read Henry’s class schedule. “Ah ok, the wandless magic beginners course. Right this way please.”
She stood up from her desk and led Henry to a blank patch of wall, she held up her right index finger. “You may want to step back.” She warned him before tracing her finger down the wall in an invisible line, as if unzipping the wall. Henry hastily took a few steps back as advised — and he was glad he did as a male student with piercingly blue eyes and a white turban came rushing out just as Seshat had opened it.
“Angalia unakokwenda!” He said as he pushed Henry out of the way, dropping some of his books.
“Erm, sorry?” Henry stammered as he moved to the side.
“You should be, wand-bearer.” The young man with blue eyes exclaimed angrily as he waved his hand and his books soared neatly back into his outstretched hands. “It’s common knowledge to clear the ー Oh! Hello, Ms. Seshat.” The man suddenly noticed Seshat standing behind Henry and Henry could see his demeanor change almost instantly. The anger on his face vanished and was replaced by a cool smile as he pushed his way past Henry.
“Hello, Shadi.” Seshat answered wearily. Clearly she was used to his behavior.
“Finally 18! Officially an adult! So, will you finally let me take you out?” Shadi asked smoothly, his piercing blue eyes bore into her.
“Shadi, I’m at least twice your age. Why can’t you find a nice young student to harass? It’s getting a littleーENOUGH!” With a flick of her finger Shadi was flung back and fell into a pile of pillows that seemed to appear out of nowhere. “I’ve told you about trying to read my mind. This will be reported to the Headmistress, now LEAVE!” her voice thundered through the small room.
Shadi picked himself up and scrambled to pick up his books before hastily leaving the library. The door slammed loudly behind him.
“Erm, what was that about? Who is he?” Henry inquired to Seshat, who was now furiously scribbling a note on a piece of parchment. With a final glance over it and seeming satisfied with its contents, Seshat silently waved her hand over the note, which folded itself into a bird before fluttering into the air and hovered in front of the door Shadi had just exited. Henry opened it and the letter zoomed out of sight.
“I’m sorry you had to see that. That’s Shadi, he’s a Legilimens of prodigious skill. He’s had a crush on me since he walked through these doors at 11. It was cute as a kid but now it’s evolved into full blown harassment and today was the last straw. I’ve told him time and time again to respect the minds of others but he won’t listen. Hopefully Headmistress Oba will do something. She doesn’t tolerate anything like that. Now, back to your books.”
She got up from her desk and walked back to the empty patch of wall she’d stood next to before. Once again she lifted a finger and traced it down an invisible seam. The wall parted and Henry was greeted to the largest repository of books he’d ever seen. Bigger than Hogwarts’ library, the room reminded Henry of the Ravenclaw common room; large, circular, and airy. The path from the wall they’d entered through lead to a large statue of what Henry could only describe as a type of bird-man. Large and imposing, he stood at least 15 feet tall and looked down his sharp beak upon Henry with stone eyes that seemed too realistic for his liking. The statue held a book in one hand, which he seemed to be reading, and what appeared to be a cross in the other, which he held behind him. From his arms protruded stone feathers. Attached to the platform he stood on was a golden plaque. Embroidered on it read, “Thoth, First Librarian and First Generation Uagadou Alumni.” The overall impression was very intimidating.
“Thoth…That’s another Egyption god, isn’t it?” Henry asked, confused.
Seshat gave a noncommittal nod of her head. “Yes and no. Many early African witches and wizards were referred to as such as there was no other name for them. He’s my grandfather you know. Well, great-great-great-great grandfather, I may have missed a great or two. Geb may have built the school but this library was Thoth’s love child. Everything you see here was designed by him. Thoth made it his life’s mission to amass as much knowledge as he could for the next generation of students and commissioned his daughter, Seshat, to continue his mission. Thanks to this, Uagadou has the largest library of all the wizarding schools. Now, may I see your class list again please?” Seshat finished as they reached a desk with a chair that she promptly sat at. Only then did Henry notice the plaque that laid in front of it that read Seshat I, Head Librarian. But there was no way…was there?
Henry handed her his list and watched silently as she disappeared behind a bookshelf. Henry took this time to really look at the library, marveling at the high walls and the glass ceiling, which filled the room with natural sunlight. Counting inwardly, Henry noted that the library was three floors high. He couldn’t see them but he assumed there were stairs nearby. He’d come back later and explore more thoroughly. Tables filled the room in neat rows seating ten to a table. In some of the more remote corners Henry could see soft squishy bean bag chairs where some students were already curled, reading a chapter or two before going to class.
“Henry, look out!” A familiar voice called out behind him.
Henry ducked and narrowly avoided being hit by a book, which flew past his head. Henry turned to see his savior and was met with the face of Kingsley, his bald head freshly shaven and a wide white smile plastered on his face.
“Glad to see the school hasn’t swallowed you whole! I woke up and you had gone! How did you manage to find the library?” Kingsley asked.
“I got lucky and found some students who told me that the stone works as a map of the school. It would’ve been nice to know that earlier.” Henry replied, ending in a mock stern voice before breaking into a smile a moment later.
“Well then how would you have made new friends? I can’t tell you all the secrets of the school, I’m sure no one has told you all the secrets of Hogwarts have they?” Kingsley asked as he sat down next to Henry. “Getting your school books?”
Henry nodded “Yeah, Ms. Seshat went off to find them, which was nice of her.” he mused thoughtfully as he watched a tiny booklet streak across the ceiling, its pages flapping hard giving it the appearance of a small bat as it struggled to stay aloft before finally finding its spot on a shelf and nestling in before becoming still once more.
“Do we have the same classes?” He asked, hoping he’d see a familiar face in class.
“No,” Kingsley shook his head. “You’re getting a complete course overhaul. This first year will be about teaching you what you don’t know and reteaching what you thought you knew. Next year will be your elective courses, sort of give you a feel for the extracurriculars we offer, which will give you an idea of what field of magic you wish to concentrate on. Finally your last year will be yourー”
Kingsley, however, did not get a chance to explain what the final year was as he was interrupted by the sight of Ms. Seshat coming around a corner, a small stack of books floating in her stead. With a wave of her hand the books made a soft thud as they landed on the table Henry sat at.
“Alright, here you are Henry,” she said, giving him a sympathetic smile as Henry eyed the pile of books incredulously. Inwardly he wondered how he was going to carry all of those around the castle. There was no way the students carried all these books everyday, was there? As Henry read the titles he saw with relief that it was a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar textbooks. Some he’d owned: The Essential Defense Against the Dark Arts, Advanced Potion Making, Advanced Transfiguration: A Guide But Not a Solution. Others he’d never seen, not even in the Hogwarts library: The Cosmos and You: A Journey Through the Stars by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, The Fundamentals of Spirit and Self: Applying Alchemy to Your Everyday Life by Felicia Burnett, Magicks of The Dead: How to Empower Your Soul Without Sacrificing Your Life by Kahnine Anu-Bis , A Trip Down the Cauldron: How, When, and Where to Brew — the author’s name was illegible on that one — and Earth, Wind, and Fire, More than a Band: Elemental Magic for Beginners. Finally Henry’s eyes fell on a book that read, much to his annoyance, So, You’ve Accidentally Broken Your Wand: a Beginners Guide To Wandless Magic by Miranda Goshawk.
“Right, accidentally,” he thought bitterly as he read the title, watching as a picture of a bumbling wizard played across the book cover. He’d walk to his couch and plop himself down only to hurriedly stand a second later and grab his now broken “wand” off the couch cushion with a silent scream in a show of dramatics. The scene would then restart itself, the bumbling wizard unaware of his impending fate. If it wasn’t so comical, Henry would have almost felt bad for the guy. He felt a heavy weight clap his shoulder and looked around to see Kingsley giving him a reassuring smile. He must have seen the look on Henry’s face. He had always been bad at hiding his emotions.
“It’s going to be fine. I know you’re still missing your wand, but that book got me through the rough patches of wandless magic. From what you told me, it sounds like you’ve already gotten over the worst bit! Come on, let’s go eat.” With a bright smile, Kingsley stepped aside and let Henry get up.
Henry grabbed the unfamiliar books, stating as he did so, “Thank you so much for your help Ms. Seshat, I’ve got those books already upstairs in my dorm, so is it ok if i just leave these here?” he asked tentatively, indicating the separate pile of books.
Ms. Seshat nodded, gave a lazy wave of her hand, and watched as the books lifted themselves off the table, flew around the corner, and vanished from sight. Henry picked up the now smaller pile of books and was thankful that they weren’t terribly heavy. He placed them in his bag and with a final smile to Ms. Seshat — who gave a small wave back — followed Kingsley out of the library, the heavy door slamming behind them as they entered the hallway, echoing loudly through the halls as it did so.