Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yensid's Founders

Ryder Grizcom was born to Scottish immigrant parents in 1838. He became a hippogryph rancher in Oklahoma until his family was killed in a raid by W'nahawka Warriors in 1859.

Grizcom lived in isolation for a time, wandering the wilderness for years until eventually joining the Shadow Riders First Battalion. It was with the Shadow Riders that he fought in the legendary Unicorn Wars (1867 - 1871) against the infamous N'ahtaehalla tribe, otherwise known as The Mounted Phantoms. Grizcom sustained so many injurious curses during the Unicorn Wars that he was forced to retire from the military, and utilized his notoriety and wartime valor to launch a career in local governance.

It was on a tour of the Golden State that Grizcom met R. S. Yensid, who proposed to him the prospect of a school of magical learning that would fill the void of formal magical education in the United States.

The agrarian prosperity of the Southland owes its efflorescence to Grizcom's contribution: the orange. Shortly after Yensid altered the topography and climate of California, Grizcom was quoted as having said "Professor Yensid has said to me that a new land carries with it new dreams, new hopes, and must flower in a new color. I have therefore bestowed upon this newly hallowed ground the gift of citrus, that this golden state may flower with golden fields forever more." Grizcom thereby fostered the state's first orange groves in a veritable forest surrounding Yensid's campus.

Grizcom remained an instructor at Yensid's until his death in 1913.

Phoebe Jane Willowdell (ca. 1860 - 1920) was born in North Star, Ohio. Her family was killed when her village was plagued by an outbreak of malignalitaloptereosis. Phoebe survived by taking any work she could find until finally becoming a scout for the Third Battalion Shadow Riders Brigade. During this time she became the ward of Lieutenant Colonel Dartolomus Darke, who fostered her magical education and taught her the art of precision wand marksmanship. Willowdell petitioned to join but was denied enlistment in the Shadow Riders, and never fought during the Unicorn Wars.

Willowdell began working as a magician's assistant to a Muggle by the name of "Professor" Emelius Browne. Willowdell used her magical abilities to simulate the effects that performance conjurors created by illusion, such as levitation and vanishing. Browne in fact had neither magical ability nor slight of hand skills, and belabored under the inebriated impression that he was a talented conjuror. This ended when Browne, a notorious sot, accepted a barroom challenge to demonstrate his ability to catch a bullet with his teeth. Willowdell was not present; Browne was killed.

Willowdell joined the traveling caravan of a snake oil salesman named Tobias Pirelli, using her modest talent with Potions to improve the quality of Pirelli's elixirs, which had previously consisted mostly of waste water and ink. She also used her marksmanship skills on stage after joining Pachyderm Perry's Magnificent Exhibition. It was during a tour in San Francisco that she was approached by R. S. Yensid, who offered her a teaching position at his still-developing school. She taught Potions and Defensive Arts for 28 years.

Takeri Rickett is the anglicized form of a name lost to a dialect not known to have been spoken in nearly a century, and had no written codification.

Less is known about Rickett than any other Yensid's founder.

Franklin Dashwood is known to have been Headmaster Pro Tem from 1892 to 1894, at which time Yensid's movements are unknown but likely include visitation to New Mexico, where the magical tribe of the W'nakeh Etamosa (They Who Walk Between Winds) were held on a reservation, and from whose tribe Rickett belonged.

When Yensid returned in 1894 he brought with him the fourth and final House Founder. Rickett held a long-standing animosity towards Ryder Grizcom, whose Shadow Riders were responsible for slaughtering half of her tribe and displacing the survivors. Grizcom maintained personal innocence as neither his battalion nor he was involved in any campain against They Who Walk Between Winds. It fell repeatedly to Phoebe Jane Willowdell to foster reconciliation between the two founders and convince Rickett to remain at Yensid's.

Takeri Rickett is the last documented practitioner and instructor in the now-lost art of Wind Walking (as it is sometimes codified), a form of trance magic practiced by the W'nakeh Etamosa. The continuity of Wind Walking's oral tradition as an academic practice reaches terminus at Rickett's departure from Yensid's (owing not to diminishing interest but lack of qualified instructors). Takeri Rickett is also best known as one of the legendary "Three Feathers," the oftentimes apocryphal tales about whom have become woven into the fabric of western lore. 

Takeri Rickett was the first founder to leave the school in 1908.

Sir Franklin Dashwood (May 1708 - ca. 1993) was an English aristocrat, rake, alchemist, and one-time Grand Master of the Order of Five Angels.

Dashwood joined the Order in 1735. It was within the ranks of the order that he met Nicholas Flamel, creator of the Philosopher's Stone and pioneer of the Elixir of Life; Flamel was already 405 years old when he accepted Dashwood as an apprentice. It was under Flamel's tutelage that Dashwood learned the secrets of abnormally long life and vitality, and their continued collaboration and correspondence allowed the two to remain alive until (circa) 1993, shortly after the Philosopher's Stone had been destroyed.

Dashwood ascended to the rank of Grand Master of the Order in 1745. Former Grand Masters have included Pythagoras of Samos, Galileo Galilei, and Aleister Crowley. Many of the Order's studies included mathematics, philosophy, alchemy and haberdashery, but the secret society remains most notoriously associated with their revelries, which ranged in degree from bacchanalian to heretical. Much of the Order's infamous reputation is owed to allegations laid by the clergy, such as demonology, which was patently untrue and absent even from the most aberrant of the Order's practices; nevertheless, some of the Order's notorious reputation is founded in fact and practices which are unsuitable for printing in scholastic materials.

The headquarters of the Order of Five Angels in West Wycombe was purged and burned in 1762 by the Knights of Walpurgis at the order of King George IV. The Order went underground, its members scattered, splintered into factions, and Dashwood fled to the Americas, assuming the pseudonym Phinneus Pogue.

Dashwood became an author and printer, continually changing identities, residences and association so as to not bring attention to his abnormally long lifespan and conspicuous lack of decrepitude.

His association with R.S. Yensid began in 1860, which eventually lead to the creation of Yensid's School of Sorcery and Necromancy, at which he taught arithmancy and alchemy for the better part of the next century.

Much of R. S. Yensid's past is either elusive or now considered apocryphal, and some elements of his past cannot actually be conveyed or recorded; everlasting spells cast by the legendary wizard are still known to render certain sections of his past into recipes for hors d'oevres and physical depictions of his appearance into images of his favorite foods. Magical scholars do agree, however, on the plausibility of many elements of his reputed history.

Yensid, along with the nobility and clergy of England, was summoned to court by Henry I in 1110 to discuss the appearance of John Uskglass and his fairy host northwest of Newcastle. Yensid and the King's army were defeated by the Daoine Sidhe during the short battle that occurred at Newark on the Trent River. King Henry was suffered to retain rule over the southern half of England. Yensid was banished from the realm, but whether by the northern or southern King is unclear.

Several centuries of ambiguous activity later, in which time it is speculated Yensid may have been residing on the dwarf planet of Pluto, he reappears in Ireland, believed to have been his country of origin. Yensid was the most favored subject of King Brian of Knocknasheega up until the King's ongoing tete-a-tete with a Muggle by the name of Darby O'Gill, the only mortal known to have ridden thCóiste Bodhar twice. Yensid openly criticized Brian for divesting so much time in an amicable feud, which lead to their well-documented quarrel, which lead to Yensid departing Knocknasheega in 1845, casting a blighting curse on King Brian's favorite vegetable, the potato.

Yensid appeared in California three years later seeking resources by which to test his theories of reverse alchemy, in which gold is transformed into baser materials, such as lead. Gold was, of course, in much shorter supply than popularly reputed, leading to a period where Yensid, despondent, wandered the Southland until his contemporary Ratavericus the Terrible introduced him to émigré and fellow alchemist Franklin Dashwood, former Grand Master of the Order of Five Angels.

In 1890, Yensid and Dashwood minced four ounces of salmon fillet combined with olive oil, lemon oil, chives, shallots and kosher salt. Sprinkle black sesame seeds over the rounds of batter and bake on a Silpat for four to six minutes. Shape the batter around the 4 1/2 inch cornet mold, arrange seam side down, and bake for three to four minutes. Fill the top 1/2 inch with red onion crème fraiche. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salmon tartare over the onion cream and lay a chive tip against one side to garnish.

R.S. Yensid is still considered the Headmaster of said eponymous institution, and although it is not known whether the span of his absence will be counted in decades or centuries, he is expected to return.