Blessed Isis Temple of Spells
Blessed Isis Temple of Spells has been a place for folks to learn magic since the early days of the Egyptian Gods, but was only made an official school of magic in the past 900 years or so. Isis was the ancient goddess of magic; and though she is not revered as so important in modern times, she is the reason the school was developed, so that students may practice their talents in testament to the goddess herself.
Like most schools, students at Blessed Isis begin schooling at age 11, however the term does not start until September 11, the first day of the month of Thout, which coincides with the season of Akhet. Students spend the fourth month of Akhet (Koaik) on break, from December 10 to January 8, and resume lessons on the first day of the month of Tobi, which is the first month of the season Peret. School lets out for a summer break over the season of Shemu, beginning on June 9, which is the season of the harvest.
Location and History
Founding the School
Ages ago in the sands of Egypt, magic was much more widely practiced than it is today. The first temples were not intended to be institutions of learning, but were created a homage to the greatness of the gods and goddesses who blessed the Egyptians with their talents. The goddess Isis was believed to be responsible for bestowing magic upon a privileged few, and the temple that eventually evolved to be the school we see today was created also to provide safe stead for children with magical powers, as the Great Lady was also said to be a protector of children.
Although no one is certain to the exact details of the founding of the Temple, it is said that the ancient ancestors of today's wizards interacted freely with muggles in these times, and that muggles were welcome in the Temple as well if they were simply stopping in to pay tribute. It wasn't until later years, when a group of leaders decided to incorporate as an official place of learning, that the elders put protective charms around the area to keep out the prying eyes of mortals. In later years, with the rise of tourism to the Nile area, it became obvious that just attempting to shuffle muggles away from the temple would not work for long. The elders of the school and Egyptian magical government took great care in disguising the temple much in the way that Hogwarts is disguised - though witches and wizards see a great, glimmering temple, passing tourists may stop to photograph only a pile of ruins and are required to stay at a distance so as to "protect the relics."
Temple and Grounds
Above Ground Campus
The school is situated on a fairly small plot of land, as most of the academic areas are located underground. High stone walls border the campus, with a large wooden gate at the front for entry. Sand pits lie just inside the walls, allowing for traveling caravans to visit the campus and stay overnight to allow students to shop and enjoy gypsy festivals. Some students also camp out in tents on weekends or on cool days.
The temple itself is elevated, large stairs leading up to a raised rectangular platform that borders a vast courtyard, which can be reached by descending a second set of large stairs. Each side of the temple faces a cardinal direction, the main entrance lying to the southernmost side. To the east and west are enclosed stone halls that serve as common areas for the houses - the House of the Sea lying to the east, and the House of the Desert to the west. The north side is extended further out into the sands of the desert, as it is built upon a square dais that is raised higher than the rest of the temple platform and serves as an open air dining space, with lush wine colored curtains hanging from the columns to separate the dining area from the rest of the temple. A yet further elevated portion in the center of the dining area is roped off for professors and students of the House of the Sun.
In the center of the sandy courtyard lies a welcoming oasis; a sizable body of crystal blue water bordered by lush palms and greenery. Students are welcome to swim in the oasis on their off hours, and many choose to picnic on the small beach during mealtimes. High above the oasis, gleaming goal posts stand for quidditch matches, allowing players who are knocked off their brooms to fall into the cool water as a refreshing break from the blistering heat.
Above the columns that make up the temple, a stone patio and walkway allow students to relax in the sun or watch Quidditch matches from eye level. The northernmost part of the patio provides a portion of shade for the dining area, though the majority of the dining area is exposed, and is home to the greenhouses for herbology courses, with many potions ingredients and exotic magical woods being grown there as well. The southernmost part is a partially enclosed study area for students in the House of the Sun, although a small walkway is left open to the elements for students attempting to pass to the other side of the temple. Stairs to reach the patio can be found at each corner of the temple.
Inside The Labyrinth
The main labyrinth entrance lies on the southern end of the temple, once going up the main staircase one must descend a second staircase that leads underground. Two other entrances are accessible through the house common areas, but lead directly to the respective house dormitories.
Once inside the labyrinth, the only light comes from ever-burning torches every few meters, and the occasional enchanted rune or glyph etched into the wall. The main corridor follows the path of the above ground temple, forming a rectangular shape as it passes underneath the raised platform. Doors to the left and right sides of the halls lead to various classrooms, some leading to staircases that go even further underground. The most basic classes are held at the highest level, with more advanced courses being held further underground. The east and west sides of the labyrinth are home to the Desert and Sea dormitories, while the southern side is home to the dormitories of the House of the Sun. Professors living quarters and offices lie to the northern side.
Beneath the oasis lies a magical corridor, though stone walls protect students from the elements, the corridor passes directly beneath the pond and allows students to see what is going on in the water above them. The enchantments are created with glyphs, which glow in a light golden color from the unseen walls. The labyrinth is also home to an extensive library, filled with all manner of ancient texts and scrolls and can be found at the end of the underwater corridor.
The school, built with ancient magic rather than the modern magic used at most institutions, is also home to a number of Rune Circles. The circles are located at the temple center, the four corners of the labyrinth's main corridor, the four corners of the outdoor walkways, and the four corners of the upper level patio. These work similar to floo powder and require students to step into the center of the circle and announce where they wish to go, whereafter they are instantly transported to their destination - being, one of the other rune circles in the temple. Dormitories are accessed by using rune circles as well - they can only be accessed by taking a circle to the common area. To prevent students from entering dormitories and common areas that they are not welcome in, such as those of opposing houses or professor's quarters, a student must possess the proper cartouche to enter. A student attempting to enter a dormitory who does not have sufficient permission will be thrown to the ground and unable to use the circles for fifteen minutes.
Many of the students attending Blessed Isis come from a long line of magical relatives who also attended the school. Students enroll at age 11 and may attend only if a member of their family tree had been enrolled in the past. Each year, a limited number of students from outside the usual family lines are accepted on application only if they can exhibit sufficient magical prowess. A select number of sixth and seventh year students are also accepted on transfer each year if they wish to pursue an apprenticeship or focus studies in crafting or rune/glyph work.
Arrival at the school happens by way of caravan from the nearby city of Cairo - boarding into carriages and on camelback where they will ride out to the temple in the cover of night. This trip is referred to as the Journey of a Thousand Stars, and while upper-grade students are given the option of arriving by broom or apparation to the front gate, many choose to take the Journey due to the excitement of it all.
Students are placed in one of two houses upon their arrival at the school, the House of the Sea or the House of the Desert. While no one is entirely positive what the values are for each house, due to the ancient nature of their founding, they are selected at midnight following the Journey of a Thousand Stars, as new students are led to the grand staircase before their peers - at least, those who choose to watch a ritual held so late at night. Students are requested to put their hands on either side of a sun dial engraved with runes, that in the dark of night will illuminate in either a shade of blue with the shadow pointing towards the east, or a shade of green with the shadow pointing towards the west.
After achieving an exemplary score on their exams in the fifth year, students are invited to the sun dial once more. As the exam results arrive during harvest season, those students who scored high enough may be invited back to the school in mid-July for the Sun Ceremony, at which point they place their hands on the dial once more at the height of the sun's movement for the day. If the runes on the dial begin to glow, the student has been accepted by the gods and may continue their studies into more advanced magic in the House of the Sun. If not, they must continue at intermediate level in their original houses. Students who do not make it prior to their sixth year may try again at the Sun Ceremony preceding their seventh year.
Students uniforms consist of loose white or ivory robes, wrapped similar to togas, secured by a navy colored silk cord at the waist. Houses are denoted by a pure silver cartouche pin above the left breast, and are tinted an earthy green for Desert students, wtih a sky blue for those of the house of the Sea. Each cartouche pin also has the name of the house engraved in heiroglyphics. Hats are not permitted during lessons, but students are welcome to wear jewelry and other adornments if they so choose.
Those who are accepted into the House of the Sun are given a cartouche pin that is golden instead of the silvery-green or silvery-blue of the other houses. Seventh year students, who have senority over the rest, are given a golden cord in their final year at the school to denote their status.
Sandals are required only in the dining area, greenhouses, and while playing Quidditch, with bare feet being acceptable elsewhere. Professors may choose to require footwear in their classrooms if they so desire.
Professors uniforms are identical to students, except that they are required to wear wine colored robes instead of white or ivory. Professors are traditionally given a silver cord, however those that are alumni of Blessed Isis are permitted to wear their golden cord given to them in their seventh year. Professors who were previously in the House of the Sun are also permitted to wear their golden cartouche pin, as it is considered a great honor to have studied in that house.
Students are divided into years by age, with the youngest students starting their first term at age eleven, and graduating at age seventeen or eighteen after completing seven full years of education.
The lessons taught in the temple focus on more ancient magic, although some traditional courses are also offered. Students are allowed to study any combination of eight classes through fifth year, and may choose to focus on only four more intensive courses in their sixth and seventh year. Students who are accepted into the House of the Sun in their final years may instead pick a single course of study to focus on, attending lessons, an apprenticeship, and up to two optional elective courses.
- Basic Crafting (Wands, Staves)
- Basic Runes & Glyphs
- Defense Against the Dark Arts
- History of Magic
- Pantheon Studies
Intermediate courses are available to 6th and 7th year students only. Each of the courses listed as intermediate can also be taken at Advanced level for those students in House of the Sun.
- Intermediate Wandcrafting
- Intermediate Carving (Staves)
- Intermediate Runes
- Intermediate Glyphs
- Intermediate Potions
- Intermediate Transfiguration
- Quidditch Club - This club gathers to practice their skills and play against each other, and occasionally play against other schools.
- Crafter's Allegiance - Students in higher years of schooling may participate in this club for aspiring crafters of magical artifacts, such as wands and staves.
- Keepers of the Oasis - An elite club comprising of students with exemplary grades in year three and above. These students are prospective members of House of the Sun, and in exchange for helping to keep the oasis area clean and patrolling the area at night (similar to prefect patrols at Hogwarts,) they are permitted to have an extra study session each day instead of taking a full roster of classes, in order to focus more on their studies and not be overloaded with coursework.