As she pushed open the broad doors which led into the lecture hall, Professor Lyell felt whatever nervousness migth've still been inside of her all morning slip away, vanishing like distant ghosts in the slips of time. She walked down towards the lectern table with a purposeful, no-nonsense stride, her flats echoing faintly on the tile floor as she scarlet-and-gold professorial robe flowed around her like a eagle protecting its' nest from attack from afar, while atop her head her fedora, the Springbok feather pointing straight up from the brim like a sentinel.
Looking around a little, she counted over 20 students - most looking as though they were in the middle forms - and looking eager to learn; although she had the list of students by name in her hand, rolled up so that she could use it as a pointer, she always used the first one or two class days to get to know her students. It was one thing to know them on paper; it was quite another to tie the name to the face. Walking up onto the broad stage, the professor walked straight over to the table, atop which sat three rune stones, each as large as the textbooks the students had with them. Each one had ancient languages written upon them; it was Professor Lyell's way of introducing them to the study of ancient runes.
After a few moments, she coughed quietly, took off her fedora and set it down on the table next to the runes. "Before you, on the lectern table before you here, are three stones. Ancient runes with a couple ancient languages on them; my question to you this first day is....which of these stones is real and which are fake?" she asked. For several minutes, the students - invited up to the lectern table by Professor Lyell - studied all three runes, examining them with sharp, quizzical eyes and bated breaths. Professor Lyell watched, noting which students took their time examining each of the three rune stones and which didn't...eventually, she called the students back to their seats. "Okay, which of you think its' the first rune stone?" After counting the number of students who answered, she repeated the question for the second and third rune stones, again writing down how many students answered for each of them.
When she had the numbers tallied up, Professor Lyell spoke again. "For those who answered the second rune stone, congratulations! That stone was found near Bunratty Castle in southern Ireland almost two centuries ago and contains both Celtic and Pict language on it, both of which we'll study in this class. The other two....both are fakes; my question to you, ladies and gentlemen, is how do we know their fakes?" Pointing towards one student with her rolled-up paper, she said, "Yes?"
"The languages," he replied.
"And...?" Professor Lyell prompted.
"The lack of languages on the other stones," the student asked, seemingly half-afraid.
"That's right," Professor Lyell explained. "The forgeries contained symbology not regularly used by wizards and witches; the first one contained Egyptian hieroglyphics lifted from the Rosetta Stone, while the third stone contained Cambodian symbology found at the site of Angkor Kol Ker in northwest Cambodia. If these had been legit, they would've both had languages, scripts and symbols on them, not just symbols. But for those who answered one or three, don't fret; we've got all year to learn," bringing a light chuckle to the lecture hall.
After a few moments, Professor Lyell continued. "Since I am new here to Tallygarunga, let me introduce myself. I'm Professor Tamara Lyell and I'll be your instructor in the study of ancient runes; by the end of this year, all of you here today will know just about everything there is to know about runes and their relationship to the wizarding world. But its' not just a classroom study; we'll do plenty of library work and - conditions permitting and permissions granted ahead of time - we may even go out into the field and search for runes for a couple days. The textbooks you have will provide the baseline for passing the course; how much you learn or choose to learn is up to you." After a few moments, she unfurled the rolled-up papers and began asking which students were which, the year having begun in earnest....