Boorworms Academy of Magic

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

The following short story was written as a universe background to support a Live Action Role Play game called Boorworms Academy of Magic. It is not Harry Potter, but aspects of the universe were heavily influenced by the JK Rowling Universe. The first game was debuted at Intercon-F in Chelmsford, MA, March 2006. The game generated immense Kudos and Buzz. By popular player demand we wrote and produced a second much larger Boorworms game that was presented at Intercon-H in Alexandra, VA in November 2008. Why didn’t we write more Boorworms games? At the time we were still working in our professional careers and the time demand to write these games was tremendous. The 2008 game consumed eight months’ worth of intense weekends to write the ten detailed plot threads to support thirty players. At about 4422 words this background history is a Short Story.

Wizard Training in North America

The Great Fire of London

On Sunday morning, 2 September 1666, the destruction of medieval London began. Within five days, the city which Shakespeare had known was destroyed by fire. An area one ½ mile by half a mile lay in ashes; 373 acres inside the city walls and sixty-three acres outside, eighty-seven churches destroyed, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and 13,200 houses. In all this destruction, it is remarkable that only six people are known to have been killed.

History records that the destroying of tightly packed houses and other buildings most likely helped put the fire out. As well it is credited with ending the great plague that had devastated the city in the previous year – killing 17,440 of the population of 93,000.

History records that the fire started in a house in the shop of Thomas Farynor of Baker to King Charles II on Pudding Lane. The story goes that Farynor forgot to douse the fire in his oven the previous night and an ember set alight to a nearby stack of firewood. By 1 o’clock in the morning, three hours after Farynor had gone to bed, the house and shop were involved in flames. Farynor, his wife, and daughter in one servant escaped by climbing through an upstairs window and along the rooftops. The maid was too frightened to climb along the roof and stayed in the house-becoming the first victim of the fire

Sparks from the burning house fell on hay and straw in the yard of the Star Inn at 1st Street Hill.

The London of 1666 was a city of half-timbered and pitch covered medieval buildings, mostly with thatched roofs. These buildings were in extreme fire risk and ignited very easily. In the high winds that blew that morning, the sparks spread quickly, setting fire to roofs and houses as they fell. From the Star Inn, the fire engulfed St. Margaret’s church and then entered Thames Street. Here, there were warehouses and wharfs packed with flammable materials – oil, spirits, tallow, hemp, straw, and coal.

By now, the fire was far too fierce to be fought with crude hand-operated devices that were all that was available. By 8am, seven hours after the fire had started, the flames were halfway across the old London Bridge. Only the gap left by the previous fire in 1633 prevented the fire from crossing the bridge and starting new fires in Southwark on the south bank of the river. This is the non-wizarding folk historical account.

What non-wizarding history does not record is the fact that the trouble started on Thames Street in the workshop of wizard silversmith Thaddeus Tinker. Tinker had a dozen goblins in his employ as silversmiths. The goblins worked in deplorable conditions in the basement of Tinker’s workshop. By all accounts, the situation had hit a breaking point with the goblins who had had enough with the ill-treatment from Mr. Tinker. The goblins began raising hell trashing the street level workshop and showroom of their master. When Tinker returned to his establishment. There was severe trouble and harsh words, resulting in the goblins walking out and marching up Thames Street in full view of non-wizarding folk.

In a statement to the King’s sheriff of magic, Mr. Tinker recalls that he ran after the goblins in an attempt to render them invisible to the non-wizarding folk. Tinker stated he got into a spellcasting fight with the goblins. During the ensuing fracas, the house of the Baker Farynor and the Star Inn at Fish Street Hill were set ablaze by missing spell sparks. From that point forward, the fire got out of hand, and mass panic and pandemonium ensued.

Magical action on the part of the King’s wizards (Brights) was credited with saving Wizard, and non-wizarding folk lives alike. The King’s wizards cast a broad area protection spell that protected all but six who had already perished. Of course, the blanket of protection charms intended to protect London citizens from the fire also had the good fortune to end the Great Plague of London and the surrounding area. The incident became known in wizard circles as the Thames Street Goblin Riot of 1666.

 

Three Witches come to the New World

Tired of Plagues, Politics in England, Goblin rebellions, and now the Great Fire of London, a handful of wizards and witches decided to try something new and challenging. A hardy group of magical folk, both young and old, chose to travel to the New World.

Among the earliest known persons from the wizarding world to travel from England to the New World were witches: Allison Smith, Esther Hazard, and Elaina Brice.

Smith and Hazard were trained at the famed magical school in England. Bryce was trained at the renowned magical school in France. All three were qualified in the magical arts.

An examination of historical records indicates that Esther Hazard was an average student while at the English Magical School. The headmaster’s evaluation report suggested that while Esther was generally an unremarkable student, he felt she was very industrious. He further suggested that in his opinion, her talents in herbology deserved the focus and attention that an enthusiastic vocation would endow.

Allison Smith made her mark in potions and charms while in school. She won several school awards for excellence in potions. Although it was her work in charms and talisman crafting that one her significant glowing verbiage from her teachers. Her school records host scroll after scroll from her teachers who gushed with praise of her skills.

Elaina Brice was the adventurous sort. While studying in her native France at the French magical school, her specialty was defensive and protection spells as well as manifestation and conjuring. There are few records still available from that era that talk about Elaina as a student. Although scholars have uncovered papers to suggest she was offered court Mage status by Louie XIV.

Niantic, Connecticut

They settled in a tiny coastal settlement in southern Connecticut on the shore of the Long Island sound near the mouth of the Nehantic (Niantic) River. Since there were so few settlers and for the survival of the community depended upon the arduous work of all of its citizens. The three from the wizarding world lived and worked like non-wizarding folk to help establish the struggling colonial village.

In England, this sort of living arrangement would have seriously been frowned upon. The records tell us that their small colonial community flourished, even when other colonial settlements were decimated by disease and famine. Of course, this was undoubtedly due to their magical stealth presence. It was during this period in Connecticut that the three English magical adepts met and became deep friends with a female Pequot, Indian adept, named Otter about 1673. In the years that followed. Otter adopted a European first name and became known as Sarah Otter.

Schooling of Witches in the New World

A curious point about the colonial wizarding community was that the colonial families were hard-pressed to just survive. The wizard families had to work side-by-side with the non-wizarding folk families to just make ends meet in terms of basic survival.

When young wizards came of age and were invited to the English magical school. The colonial wizard families found a way to send the young boy back to England. Not so for young witches. Sadly, young witches with talent were considered not worth investing the time and money for shipping them back to England for training.

As the years went by, the quartet of magical adepts observed and became slowly appalled by the treatment of young and budding magical talent in colonial America. They watched in frustration as colonial born non-wizarding folk with magical talent and without wizard connections in England went undiscovered. Furthermore, they watched in disbelief as young witches from the colonial wizard families were denied access to proper training.

Eventually, the four women hit upon the idea of establishing a Colonial School of Witchcraft in 1678 for the training of colonial witches. At first, the effort was a simple, humble and unpretentious collection of log cabins in the central Connecticut area.

Although after the hysteria of 1692 and the so-called witch trials in the village of Salem in neighboring Massachusetts. The four founders moved their venture to the central part of the New York colony. The new school was established on the Peninsula Bluff of Keuka Lake and what would later become one of New York’s Finger Lakes. Over the years, the small wizarding community of Mystic Point, New York, sprang up near the fledgling Magical establishment as more immigrant adepts came to the New World.

In 1695, a watershed event occurred that would firmly cement the formation of the school. In the spring of that year, and Inca Indian adept visited the fledgling establishment. The founding four women welcomed the Incan named Chaska from the Temple of Quetzalcoatl.

Legend has it that Chaska had the gift of prophecy. Chaska shared a foretelling about the predicted future of the New World and the two possible destinies of teaching wizards and witches in the new land. It is said that on the night of 23 April 1695, the five adepts made a magical pack that would seal the fate of the more promising path. Casting powerful magical spells. They established “The Boorworms Academy for the Magical Arts” and its five houses

Smith house: Mascot gator: attributes ambition

Bryce house: Mascot wolf: attributes, loyalty

Otter house: Mascot otter: attributes, industrious

Hazard house: Mascot Eagle: attributes wit, learning

Chaska house: Mascot feathered serpent: attributes compassion and individuality

 

The Lost Boorworms Class of 1795

Non-magical historians and archaeologists simply call it the Bluff Point Stone Works (Web search it)

The Bluff point stone works are a prehistoric structure located at the crux of Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. The stone works are also located on the far southern perimeter of the Boorworms Academy property.

Although the stone works were studied many times throughout the 20th century. Most of the men who researched the stone works were not professional archaeologists, but instead, they were amateurs. For this reason, their conclusions lead to even more significant uncertainty as to the nature of the structure. Today the structures have been mostly destroyed, and currently it is still uncertain who built the structures.

The Aboriginal Work on Bluff Point, Yates County, New York. Included in the 35th annual report of the New York State Museum of Natural History – S. Hart Wright describes the stone works as he saw them in 1879 and 1880.

They were located on seven acres of land, he said, from the top of the bluff point ridge westward. Wright describes graded ways, 3 to 8 feet wide and 1 foot high. He went on to state that the rectilinear the divisions were made, almost mathematically accurate, and indicate a skill we can hardly attribute to the Native Americans. Later, Wright noted that the stone works were “One of the strangest structures in the state. I find nothing similar to it. Figured in any work in archaeology.”

A Chronicle article on Sunday, 31, July 1966 written by Daniel C. Riker, was titled “Did Norse Explore the Finger Lakes Before Columbus?” Riker tells of an Indian legend of a great canoe, manned by men and women with flowing hair, and caring shining shields on its side. Indeed, the Seneca Indians who lived on the land had many legends, such as “stone men” and “dark people.” Still, Riker claims that the tale of these Norse-sounding men is evidence that the stonework were built by these Nordic visitors.

Yet another article claims that the engravings at the stone works of human and animal heads arranged in unique patterns that were similar to those made by the Etruscan. A different article indicated that an engraving of a face of a veiled woman, like Isis, may have appeared on the rocks.

Of course, all of this is a simple non-magical view of the archaeological site. Within North American wizard culture, the origin of the prehistoric stone works is clearly known and the topic of great sadness to the staff and alumni of Boorworms Academy

It all began in the fall of 1793 in the wizard history class of Prof. Jacob Finkelpuff. The Class was studying the founding of the Boorworms Academy in 1695. Several students pointed out that the school was coming up on its founding Centennial in 1795. An idea was suggested by the students of the Class. That it would be a wonderful thing if the Class could use magical means to retrieve historical artifacts from the solemn founding event.

As an extracurricular project, a handful of class members pursued a research project in the school’s library. They researched what kinds of spells and charms had been developed over the centuries that might penetrate the veil of time. Of course, the project was under the very intrigued and watchful eye of their advisor, Prof. Finkelpuff.

It took over a year for the students to find a small inventory of spells and charms that would be needed, and for them to make the proposal to their advisor and headmistress. Of course, the U.S. Department of Magic was consulted. Since there were strict rules on the use of magic for temporal expeditions.

Ultimately, what the students proposed was a full-blown observation mission to witness the ritual event that founded the school. They suggested that the Class and the professor be allowed to enchant a vessel, in this case, a large open boat, to travel through time and observe from a short distance, the founding moments of the first enchantment of the grounds in 1695.

Since none of the occupants would be leaving the vessel, the U.S. Department of Magic was satisfied that there would not be any temporal contamination. The agency’s other requirements were that the vessel would be given a cloaking enchantment so the visitors from the future presence would not be observed. Finally, the whole excursion was to take no more than two hours in duration. The students and the professor all agreed to the conditions. With that, all the administrating parties gave their blessing and signed off on the class project.

Chickenhawks were sent from the school to all the parents of students involved. In the end, all the students’ parents gave their permission, save one set of parents. The parents of Lucille Duke had a bad feeling about the whole thing and did not give their consent.

On 1 April 1795 at 2 PM, Prof. Finkelpuff loaded his history class of seventh years into the enchanted boat, which was fashioned like a Viking vessel. After a few minutes to work the incantation, the magical Viking ship seemed to blur and evaporate from everyone’s view and then vanished.

Two hours came and went. The vessel did not return, but Prof. Finkelpuff was not known for his punctuality, so no one was particularly upset. Six hours later, the vessel had still not returned as it was supposed to; genuinely concerned at the turn of events, the Headmistress Isadora Smith sent a chicken hawk to the US Department of Magic.

By morning Boorworms Academy was crawling with Postal Inspectors from the Dept of Magic. They were tasked to conduct a magical investigation. After reviewing all the charms and enchantments used, the event scene postal inspector attempted a retrieval incantation that was designed to be used as a last resort, but nothing happened. For the next three days, postal inspectors tried spell after spell and incantation after incantation, but to no avail.

Parents who by now were all at the school were distraught as anyone would expect under such circumstances. At the end of the week, the magical rescue effort was stopped. The Class of 1795, students, and their professors were declared “lost temporal castaways.”

A pall of grief overtook the families and the school. Boorworms Academy was in mourning for the rest of the school year.

Then in the fall of 1796, the herbology class was wandering on the edges of the sprawling Boorworms campus grounds. The students came upon some Paleolithic stonework. This was puzzling because the herbology students and their professor knew the campus property like the back of their hands. Nevertheless, there were these ancient stone works that had recently appeared on the grounds. The headmistress was immediately summoned, followed by chickenhawks to the Department of Magic.

After an inspection of the stone-works site, there was the discovery of many significant artifacts. The artifacts pointed to a controversial truth that the stone works had been constructed by the lost Boorworms Class of 1795 in some ancient point of time.

It was apparent to all concerned that the 1795 class had landed centuries before 1695. Again, magical inspectors attempted efforts to reach into the deep past to retrieve the students from the newly estimated prehistoric landing site. But to no avail. It was evident that something was blocking the temporal retrieval spell.

In the school’s lore and Alumni history, the whole incident has been referred to as “The Lost Class of 1795.” It is a tradition at the Boorworms Homecoming Festivities that the headmistress leads a toast to The Lost Class of 1795.

As a footnote, the lone surviving student and sole Boorworms graduate in 1795, Lucille Duke, went on to become the Magical History professor of Boorworms in 1805 until she died in 1853. During her lifetime, she spent many hours of personal time exploring and excavating the bluff point stone works.

In 1846, fifty years after the Class of 1795 disappeared, Boorworms Professor Lucille Duke presented a research paper to the Boorworms faculty, the Boorworms faculty emeritus, and Dept. of Magic Inspectors.

Her research and assertions were as follows:

What could not be known to the 1795 class or Prof. Finkelpuff were the exact details and dynamics of the initial protection spell installed upon the grounds. Examination of founder Inca Priestess Chaska private journals suggested. That an enormously powerful incantation that was crafted using Inca methods known only to Founder Priestess Chaska.

Professor Duke postulated that when the enchanted vessel attempted to enter the 1695 era. The vessel encountered the effects of the initial Incan protection enchantment. As the Class’s vessel traveled backward in time. Duke suggested that they hit a “temporal bump,” which made their magical time vessel skip several times on the waves of time and space.

The result of their temporal skipping caused them to travel back about 10,000 years, as evidenced by the age of the Ancient Stone works on the Boorworms Campus grounds

Professor Duke further hypothesized that a cloaking spell applied to the vessel to prevent the travelers from being seen, not only made their craft invisible. It also made them undetectable by the Postal Inspectors of the Department of Magic in 1795, making retrieval attempts impossible.

Professor Duke also suggested that while the vessel and its group of occupants cannot be retrieved collectively. She hinted that it might be possible to recover several or perhaps an individual occupant. Since it’s obvious, they left the vessel enchantments at some point in the deep past to establish the stone-work village.

As a cautionary note, she warned that there was a hitch to this thinking. The hitch was what would be the effects on the group’s survival if one person were retrieved.

The concern was that the overall survival of the Class as a whole living in the past. She pointed out that the difference of just one person’s skills and contribution might be the difference in survival or not of that ancient colony.

Professor Lucille Duke’s presentation was indeed controversial. Still, it was generally accepted as the best hypothesis to date on what has gone wrong with the Class of 1795’s attempt to witness the founding of the Boorworms Academy.

Within days of Professor Duke’s presentation, the U.S. Department of Magic issued special regulations forbidding temporal travel to periods within 50 years either side of 1695.

In the weeks following Professor Duke’s presentation. The Headmistress, Miss Esther Cohen directed a small team of Boorworms professors to examine the problem for perhaps retrieving the class members one student at a time, until all were extracted. This study has been ongoing for over a century.

A few years ago, the 21st-century team hit on a proposed method of retrieving individual 1795 students on a one-by-one basis. What would be needed is an ancient personal artifact. Unfortunately, many of the old personal artifacts were taken by the families of the lost children. It would be a delicate negotiation with descendants of each of the 1795, seventh years to attempt this feat.

To date, this proposed effort has NOT been formally proposed by the Boorworms Research team, or sanctioned by the U.S. Dept of Magic, nor agreed to by the current headmistress since 2008, Ms. Holly T. Edwards.

Goblins in the New World

In the Wizarding world. It is a well-known fact that where you find metalworking you find goblins. Ancient sites of iron ore bloomeriers have been discovered in Rome, China, and Africa, dating from 200 – 600 BC. In all cases, and in each of these cultures. The common factor in the business of metal mining, refining, and melting was goblins.

In the context of the New World. It’s conceivable that goblins were among the first hardy settlers; it is suspected that they came over with the Vikings. Archaeological evidence indicates that there were bloomeriers (simple iron furnaces) in the Jamestown settlement area, which was founded in 1607. Although the first goblin run ironworks in the New World was not firmly documented until the 1640s.

The early Non-wizarding Puritan settlers of Massachusetts Bay colony undeniably needed an iron making factory. For those colonists, the first order of business was to build houses and plant crops. Essentials of those tests were iron tools and utensils: axes, saws, nails, pots, and kettles.

While most colonists brought some needed tools and utensils with them. As the colonial population grew! So did the considerable need for iron products. For more than 20 years. This need was met by the Saugus ironworks in Saugus, Massachusetts. The first integrated ironworks in North America from 1646 – 1668.

In the 1640s, Iron Masters recruited skilled and unskilled workers from the iron making regions all over England. Goblins and Non-wizarding iron workers were well acquainted with the white heat of the blast furnace, the clanging noise of the great hammer, the demanding work, and the need for constant alertness in this dangerous workplace. They knew how to endure the grueling motions that tore at their muscles, the suffocating smell of the molten metal, and the deafening atmosphere. For humans it was hard industrious work to fill a need. For the goblins it was a profitable venture out of the watchful eye of regulating oppressive wizards back in England and Europe in general. For like there Non-wizarding human counterparts. The goblins who came to the New World came for personal freedom as well as profit.

By the late 1660s, the natural resources of iron making were being exhausted in Massachusetts. As that happened, the now wealthy goblins who worked the Saugus iron works. Moved on to other locations in the colonies were natural resources for making iron were plentiful.

The Cumberland Valley in Central Pennsylvania was rich with all of the natural resources – iron ore, limestone, forest, (wood to make carbon,) and the running water needed to produce iron.

It was the ideal place for the establishment of numerous ironworks in the 18th and 19th century. An ironworks complex, such as Mont alto ironworks might have included an iron master’s mansion, cottages for employees, gardens and working farms, livestock, including horses and mules, one or two iron furnaces, coal pits, chafery, finery forges, foundry, rolling mill, and later a nail factory. The ironworks were the largest single employers in their time. At the Mont alto furnace alone, five hundred workers were employed. In 1840, Franklin County, Pennsylvania had eight operating furnaces, eleven forges, chaferies, and the rolling mills. Four are known to have been goblin owned and operated.

Needless to say, the early iron work efforts paid off. The goblins got extraordinarily rich and many of them began to diversify. Goblins in the New Jersey colony were credited with supporting the Revolutionary war. Manufacturing had been prohibited by the British and these new and vital industries were started by goblins. With no love for the oppressive British. The colony goblins made important contributions of war materials such as raw iron and worked iron including field pieces, muskets, and the shot, salt, gunpowder, and cloth.

As the new country of America grew, goblin families grew richer and invested in mining and metal production wherever the resources presented themselves. They helped build the railroads knitting the young country together. By the 20th century, goblins were significantly represented and entrenched in all major hard industries driving the American economy: iron, steel, copper, gold, silver and even oil.

In the 1920s, the United States Department of Magic (A branch of the Postal Service) became concerned for the apparent unfair advantage that the goblin community had in Non-wizarding affairs, most especially in the American Non-wizarding economy.

In 1928, the US Department of Magic issued a regulation placing restrictive measures; on all new capital investments and acquisitions from goblin owned corporations and cartels. The goblins retaliated and pulled key financial backing on certain key funds on Wall Street and within the banking community. The goblin financial demands were made in gold. This demand for precious metals sent ripples through the financial markets and within months there was a catastrophic collapse of the American stock market that triggered the Great Depression.

As a historical footnote, it was at the recommendation of the US Department of Magic that President FDR made ownership of gold illegal with the Executive Order 6102, in 1933. This allowed the government to buy back goal for $35 an ounce. This was Non-wizarding pay back to the goblin community for the stunt they played in 1928.

In addition, Congress passed banking laws in 1933, effectively confiscating all outstanding gold coin in the United States and made illegal the individual possession of gold bullion. These executive and legislative actions endeavored to greatly reduce the tremendous and seemingly uncontrolled financial influence that the goblin community had in the United States economy.

But rest assured that goblins are still major players in the big game called business and still very much powerbrokers in both the Wizard in and Non-wizarding economies.


Submitted: August 13, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Cheryl Costa. All rights reserved.

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