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The Dueler'S Handbook

Chapter 1 of 6

Introduction




The phrase “better watch out for
your Flobberworms” is now commonly used to point out when a person is being
absurdly paranoid. The expression originated from the story of Arthur
Stevenson, the wizard who became so afraid that he would be murdered by Dark Magic
that he locked himself within his home, discarded of all of his furniture, and
cut off from contact from all other living beings, excluding his pet
Flobberworm. The story says that Stevenson lived in this manner for three
years, until his Flobberworm bit him. Stevenson then procured a disease (it is
unclear whether this disease was airborne or transmitted by the Flobberworm),
which led to his death three months later. I advise you not follow in
Stevenson's path, and instead learn to accept the reality of danger. Over the
course of your studies, is likely that you will be on the receiving end of at
least five spells (this figure may vary depending on your luck and how annoying
your classmates find you to be), and receive at least three physical injuries
at the hands of magical creatures or plants. While this textbook will outline
some ways to avoid such dangers, we will also discuss how to respond to
dangerous situations. By learning defensive techniques, you can greatly reduce
your risk of such mishaps.



A common misconception amongst new
students is that defensive magic is all about loud dueling. However, we will
present a variety of defensive strategies. The fact of the matter is that
Protective Charms will be of little use to you if you've swallowed a harmful
potion, or are confronting a large beast or herb. Thus, we have included a wide
range of possible responses that you may apply in dangerous situations.



One must also note that, unlike
most other magical fields, defensive magic does not allow for drawn-out
contemplation of which method will yield the most desirable results. Rather,
these techniques must often by applied quite quickly, under stressful
conditions. While you may attempt to simulate such situations, it is impossible
to anticipate how and when you will actually be using these methods. Thus, I
encourage you to attempt to make them into instincts. The amount of time that
it takes you to raise your wand could be the difference between life and death
(not to sound melodramatic). Take, for example, Douglas Wetstone, a medieval
wizard known for his dueling skills. Wetstone met his demise at the hands of
another wizard, whom he challenged to duel, when Wetstone’s wand got caught in
his thick dueling armor, and he could not fight back. Therefore, you must
always prepare yourself for the worst, and know how to react in such
situations.



Following major wars such as those
of the past century, new Dark Magic develops, thus new defensive techniques
must also be created. Therefore, while we have included most of this textbook’s
original material, we have had to modify certain entries, and add others. All
of this is meant as an attempt to prepare you for whatever you may face in the
future. On the other hand, as I’ve stated before, there’s no real way of knowing
what obstacles you may come across. This is not meant to discourage you.
Rather, I hope that you will take the initiative to learn the basics of
defensive magic and experiment with them. Unlike other magical arts, such as
potion-making and Transfiguration¸ there are far less “rules” for
Self-Protection. Those of you who have read the Harry Potter biographies may
remember Mr. Potter’s quick thinking when he suddenly ended up in a graveyard
at the other end of Lord Voldemort’s wand. Some have criticized Mr. Potter’s
decision to respond with the Disarming Curse “cruel” and “remarkably childish.”
Still, he made it out alive, and, in Defense Against the Dark Arts, success is
merely in escaping unscathed.



Best wishes—



Mallory H.