Senior and Support Staff
The Helgram Academy is run by Duchess Athena Helgram, a younger sister of Duchess Clarissa, ably assisted by the Academy Council, which is made up of the Senior Staff, both academic and administrative. In addition, there is a core teaching staff of about forty people, who deal with the day-to-day subjects which the House believes its scions will need to live, love and survive within the House, and in the wider Courts.
Up until the age of eighteen, classes are usually made up of eight to ten students (with three forms in each year), and largely cover the more academic subjects. However, for those students who decide to stay on to take their studies further, the system is more tutorial based. Tutor groups are smaller, usually comprising less than five students, who are working at improving compatible subjects.
However, the staff can’t always cover everything, so when training needs to be specialised, for the more unusual subjects, House experts are brought in to assist and will usually only teach one or two students at a time.
The Academy also provides central lectures on subjects important to the student body as a whole: for example, the House poisons mistress coming in to take a three or five lecture course on the identification and treatment of poisons; or the Medical Officer talking about basic first aid and emergency treatment.
Duchess Athena is a highly competent magic user. She runs the Helgram Academy, as Headmistress and Chair of the Academy Council. She is a no-nonsense individual, with a rather stern exterior; underneath she is honest and fair but also very pragmatic. If she decides a student has done something warranting chastisement, she will usually devise a punishment aimed at encouraging practical and good behaviour in the future, rather than discomfort in the present.
She stays out of Helgram Family politics but stays up to date on it as a sensible step. One of her daughters, Anne, was recently named as a Maid of Honour to Marquesa Morgana, which is proving something of a challenge.
Athena is owned by dozen cats, who have the run of the Academy Ways.
Alwyn is a younger son of Duke Daveth, although the name of his mother isn’t recorded in the House records. He certainly inherited his father’s knack for the arcane, with a particular speciality in conjuration. He was educated at the Academy, then worked with the Helgram Institute for Magic and Science for some years, before being given the opportunity to walk the Logrus. He travelled in Shadow for a while after that, but after one close shave too many, he returned to the safety of the House. He applied to teach at the Academy, and has been there ever since.
He is the main teacher of conjuration, but recently also took on responsibility as the Master of the Lower House. He also still consults with the HIMS, and enjoys coming up with unusual gadgets – both for fun, and for the House.
Breda is the daughter of Duke John (senior), and is one of the best artists in the House. She was initially educated in the Academy, but eventually gained a place in the Thelbane College of Arts, where she excelled, and got to know a lot of people outside the House. She spent a while as a commercial artist in Thelbane and Shadow, before returning to the House and working with her father for a while. She was invited to teach Art and Trump Artistry at the Academy about thirty years ago.
Liam is a son of Duke Brand and Anne, daughter of Athena, who was born before Brand had his ‘difficulties’. He was brought up in the safety of the House and studied at the Academy, where it was discovered that he had an innate ability for spotting if things are out of place or feel wrong, or there is magic where there shouldn’t be (and vice versa). He trained with Warmistress Joan and her people, to develop general situation awareness, at which he excelled, and then spent some time working as a general observer for Helgram trade and diplomatic delegations, keeping an eye out for trouble.
He was one of the first members of the House to have an innate ability developed, but nowadays it is becoming more common. He joined the Academy staff to start training others about forty years ago, and became Master of the Upper House a few years later. He also still sometimes goes out with a House delegation on important business, or if there is some likelihood of risk.
Uilliam is the son of the Helgram Keeper of the Ways, Duke William and his long-term mistress, Marienne Delacroix. William acknowledged him as his son, but they were never particularly close as he was growing up, although this has changed in later life. Uilliam was schooled as a border at the Academy, showing particular aptitude at shape shifting, and was allowed to walk the Logrus at a somewhat early age. He then travelled in Shadow for a while, before returning to Helgram to study with Duke Daveth, showing a natural flair for Waysmaking.
Arguably, he has the most important job in the Academy behind Duchess Athena, in that he keeps the whole Ways linked together, with the correct connections and pathways, and fixes problems when they go wrong: for example, a serious magical accident in one of the Shadow pocket labs. He is also one of the shape shift teachers on staff.
He is very close to his full sister, Jenna.
Like her brothers Roddy and Robby, Maeve loves books and knowledge. She spent a while working in the Helgram bureaucracy, and then studied with the House Historian for over a decade, and gained a good knowledge of antiquarian and other books. She was out in Shadow looking for a particularly choice volume, when she nearly came a cropper courtesy of Caine Rilgason. She managed to get away, but was seriously injured, leaving her with a broken form of shape shift – just enough for her to use the Logrus, but she can only consciously take one other form (that of a long-armed, red/orange-furred primate with opposible thumbs and toes).
The experience shook her so much that she returned to Chaos at the first opportunity, where her mother, Florence, cared for her until she was well enough to re-enter Helgram life. When a vacancy came up for the position of Librarian at the Academy, Duke Richard recommended her for the position, and she was happy to accept. As Librarian she also supervises the Academy History and Geneaology departments, run by Ivan and Myron Helgram, respectively.
Jackin Helgram, Chief Groundsman
Jackin was lucky to survive after his mother, Josephine, died in childbirth because of complications with chaos cancer. His father’s name isn’t mentioned in the House records. He was brought up in the Household of Duchess Clarissa, and then sent to the Academy as a boarder when he was eleven. He was a quiet child, who was prone to illness, despite the fact that it became apparent early on that he had the ability to shape shift. He studied when he could, and was particularly good at botany and biology, and during the summer he spent a lot of time out in the gardens.
He stayed on to improve his shape shifting, but his main area of skill and interest was plants and nature. After he graduated, he remained at the Academy, rather than return to the Duchess’s household, and apprenticed himself to the College Groundskeeper. On the latter’s retirement, he took over the position, and has been there ever since. Mainly he keeps himself to himself, but he does sometimes teach interested students about botany and the properties of plants. He is usually accompanied by a grey-furred husky/wolf cross named Cailean, which occasionally enjoys chasing the Headmistresses cats, although they usually outsmart it.
Susan Eleanor-Helgram, Medical Officer
Susan is the daughter of Marquesa Gwenith, the Helgram House Infirmarer. After graduating from the Middle House of the Academy, she went to train with her mother, and quickly proved that she had a natural empathy and a good bedside manner, as well has having some ability as a shape shift healer. Her mother sent her out into Shadow to train as a doctor in a variety of tech levels, which she thoroughly enjoyed, although she eventually decided to return home in the run-up to the War Between the Powers.
She offered her services to the Helgram forces as a battle medic and nurse, and saw action with Bleys’s army, although he left her behind in camp before the attack on Kolvir. When he didn’t return, she made her own way back to the House and kept her head down, and the Academy seemed like a good place to do that. She came out of retirement for the battle at the gates of Chaos, helping Bleys’s forces and patching up the survivors. However, once things calmed down, she returned to the Academy. She helps teach some of the healing classes, and also the emergency medicine and first aid courses.
There are about fifty staff in all, including the department heads and the Masters/Mistresses of the individual School Sections. It is these department heads who usually work with the SCR students, unless they have chosen a very unusual speciality, the PCs will probably have been taught by one or more of the following.
Jennifer Harrison-Helgram, Shape Shifting
The only acknowledged daughter of the late Duke Henry, Jennifer was an exceedingly early developer as a shape shifter, much to her parents’ dismay. In the end, they asked Duke Daveth to take her in hand, and he settled down to teach her how to control her skill. She came on very quickly, and by the time she went to the Academy, she was a fully functional shifter, with the potential to take her skill a lot further.
In the end, she had to be sent to study with Lord Suhuy, and stayed with him for some time, forming a close friendship with his daughter Jasra. In return for her training, she was employed as an agent by King Swayville, and developed the fine arts of sneaking into places and learning information. Eventually, however, she made too many enemies, and it became prudent to retire from active duty. At that point, she returned to the House, and began sharing her knowledge with both the Academy, and the Helgram intelligence agency.
Rory Daveth-Helgram, Head of the Department of Magic
Rory is the grandson of Duke Daveth, although when he was young, he didn’t really show that much flair for the arcane. He was sent to study within House Hendrake, as his father Mikel wondered if that was more his son’s forte, and indeed, Rory did very well there. He was on a training exercise with his Hendrake cousins when the squad he was with was at ground zero of an attack. The stress triggered his innate magical abilities, and in his panic he protected his compatriots. At that point, his commanding officer suggested that perhaps it was time he went back to his own House.
He returned to study with his grandfather – getting to know his cousin Jennifer very well in the process – and quickly became well versed in sorcery. He even developed a whole new version of Power Words from the original single word versions. In addition, he developed a working knowledge of ritual magic and conjuration, but as far as teaching those areas is concerned, he employs experts.
Ritual magic is one of the less commonly taught subjects at the Academy. However, it is available for those students who wish to study it, or demonstrate a flair for such things. The main teacher is Duchess Marguerita, helped by Archduke Ian, who is one of the best ritual mages in the House, when he has the chance. For conjuration, the main teacher is Master Alwyn.
Alexandra Helgram, Animal and Veterinary Studies
Alexandra, daughter of Duchess Juanita, has always been an animal person, even in the days when she was at the Academy herself, and delighted in smuggling in creatures from the various of the Ways Pocket Shadows. Her personal collection includes horses, cats and dogs, and other rare exotic chaos creatures including griffins, lions with wings, pegasii etc.
She is an accomplished sorceress, with a speciality in veterinary medicine in all its forms: magical, shape shifting and mundane. As such, she is the premier House expert in the subject, and splits her time between teaching at the Academy and general practice in the wider House. She is highly capable and responsible, and has always been something of a moral pillar within the Family, although she can be stubborn.
Kalle Hendrake, Chief of Security; Lecturer in Investigative Magic and Procedures
Kalle is one of only three non-Helgrams on the Academy staff. He is the son of Tomas Hendrake and Sinead, daughter of Duchess Matilda, and was initially brought up in his father’s House. However, while he did show the usual inclination towards matters military, from a young age, he also demonstrated a flair for investigation, and getting to the truth of things. His Hendrake tutors realised that this was something innate, rather than taught, and he was sent to the Helgram Academy at the age of 20, as it was known that they developed such things.
Once there, he found that he preferred life in House Helgram to House Hendrake, and after he graduated – his tutors also having taught him forensic and investigative magics, which complemented his innate skill – he decided to stay in his mother’s House. He spent a while in the Helgram military, and then worked closely with Finn Harrison-Helgram in the early days of the House police force. He is still on the books as Chief Medical Examiner for the House.
He returned to the Academy when one of the students died in mysterious circumstances, and was responsible for bringing the culprit – an embittered JCR student, who had been passed up for further study – to justice. As a result, Duchess Athena asked him to undertake a security review of Academy procedures, which he did and on which he continues to consult. Since then, he has been a guest lecturer in security and investigative procedure.
Jacob Hendrake, Strategy and Tactics
Jacob is the second non-Helgram on the staff. He was initially trained in Hendrake, his mother’s House (she did not record the name of his father in the Hendrake records) then went to the Royal War College in Thelbane, where he showed a natural flair for strategy and tactics. This was his first major exposure to non-Hendrakes, and when people kept telling him he looked more like a Helgram, he decided to find out if that was true. He ended up discovering that his father was Henry Helgram, and set about trying to find out more about the Helgram side of his family.
He has served with both Hendrake and Helgram forces, often acting as a liaison between the two and gaining respect from both sides. He was one of Grand Duke Bleys’s senior generals during the War Between the Powers, and thereaft was invited to teach strategy and tactics at the Academy, after his predecessor was killed in the final battle of the War.
Shea Stephens-Helgram, Personal Combat and Battle Magic
Shea is the younger sister of Llewelyn, the House Master at Arms. Like her brother, she was trained by her father from an early age, as soon as it became apparent that she had taken after her Hendrake ancestors. After Stephen died, Warmistress Joan took Shea under her wing – after all, not that many Helgram women end up as warriors – and taught her a great deal about both personal combat and the uses of magic in combat. She’s been teaching at the Academy for several decades, and she and Joan remain close.
Aina Hendrake, Warding and Self-Defence
Aina is the third Hendrake on the Academy staff, a daughter of Johanna Hendrake, who returned to her own House after the death of her Helgram husband Henry. However, she remained close to the friends she had made in Helgram. Aina grew up as a Hendrake, and showed particular flair for self-defence and hand-to-hand combat. She was also identified as a potential mage, and therefore her mother arranged with Duchess Athena for her to be allowed into the Academy. She learned fast, and decided to specialise in combat magic and warding, both ritual and sorcerous. By the time she was graduating, it was well-known that Helgrams out in Shadow were being hunted and killed, and so she decided to stay on and help try to teach these Helgram amateurs to defend themselves.
Sheila Helgram, Healing
Sheila was delivered to the doors of House Helgram in a basket, aged about a month old. Her mother, Adrianne, was a Hendrake, who was known to Bleys and had worked with him in the past. No reason was given as to why Adrianne abandoned her child, but Sheila was adopted into Duchess Clarissa’s household, much as Jackin was. She grew up as a Helgram, and was sent to the Academy, where she proved to have a flair with plants, potions and poisons, and especially their healing properties. She also learned magic, with a bias in that same direction. After graduation, she spent some time working with Duchess Gwenith in the House Infirmary, but eventually came to the conclusion that she would be a better teacher than doctor. She applied to the Academy, where she remains. She works closely with the Academy medical officer, Susan, who has also taught her how to heal others using shifting.
Finnegan Williamson-Helgram, Head of Physical Education
Finnegan is the grandson of Duke William. His father, Ruaidhrí, is one of the Helgram Lions’ star Chaos Rules Football players, and his mother is of Hendrake descent. Finnegan wasn’t one of the more academically gifted students – mainly through lack of application, rather than lack of ability. As a child he hated being in class, preferring to be out in the open air, and he learned to shape shift at a very early age. He stayed on at the Academy into the JCR, both because he played CRF, like his father, and also because he proved to be a highly gifted shape shifter. Sufficiently so that he eventually learned to take forms which would allow him to travel in Shadow.
After graduating, he gained a reputation as a daredevil and adventurer. When he was in his fifties, he had a bad encounter with agents of Caine Rilgason, but managed to do them considerably more damage than he did to him. He returned to the House, and eventually applied to the Academy to run the PE department. He also assists in teaching both personal combat and shape shifting. He still travels the Black Zone, and knows it better than the vast majority of Helgrams.
Fidelma Johns-Helgram, Mind Magic
Fidelma is the younger sister of Breda, the Mistress of the JRC. She inherited her father’s strength of will, but not his artistic talent, and decided that she would set about to study the mysteries of the mind. She went to the Academy, where she studied sorcery with a healing specialisation, then worked in the Helgram Infirmary for a while, before walking the Logrus. She had a serious bout of Logrus Madness, and after she eventually recovered, she decided she wanted to study the mind, and why it reacts differently in different people.
She travelled extensively, learning many psychiatric, psychological and analytical techniques, before she eventually returned to the House. Mind magic is something of a catch-all term which encompasses a variety of disciplines, including using magic to affect someone’s thoughts and feelings, as well as mental healing, telepathic communication and psychometry (reading past impressions of a person from an item). She also helps those students who have an affinity for Power Words to develop their abilities.