[Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

The story unfolds around Osaka, Japan, with the unlocking of one girl's hidden potential, and a gathering of Young mages whom are destined to change the fate of the Earth.
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[Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Kai »

The time was a little before one in the afternoon, and Ruarc emerged from his cottage with Willow following; their lunch complete, the older Druid ushered the younger along to give some more information on the mansion and its grounds. The lawn was trimmed, and over the years Ruarc had fixed up and installed new walkways and a number of ornamental plantings. The day was warm with barely a cloud in the sky, and the air smelled fresh with the scent of new growth and budding flowers.

"Another week or two and these grounds will be quite the sight to see, if I do say so," Ruarc said, admiring his own work as he breathed deep. "So yeah, a lot of time is spent out here, with most practical magic lessons taking place out back, and with the gazebos providing a nice place to relax after a long day. So it is a good place to look around, and even meet some of the other sprouts around your age."

Willow glanced around, the view coming from the cottage providing a lot more to look at than when coming from the garage. It was well maintained and had the feeling of a private park to it, and while she could see a number of others near her age she suddenly felt a little shy. Normally she was pretty good with meeting others, but not only was she in new country, but she was at an institute of magic. This was about as out of place as she could ever remember feeling. Ruarc seemed to pick up on this somewhat, and pushed her forward somewhat with a firm hand on her back. "C'mon, folks're pretty nice around here, I'll introduce some of 'em."

The first young mage that Ruarc and Willow would come across was, apparently, helping out with the garden. She could be seen casting a minor spell, which was collecting water from the air into a small floating globule, which she was in turn using to spray on some of the plants in order to water them. She had dark blonde hair that went just past her shoulders, though her bangs were tied back to keep them out of her face, exposing blue, almond-shaped eyes, however, the hair and the eyes seemed to contend with the rest of her features, which were more typically Japanese than her western-looking crown might suggest. She wore what might have been an academy uniform, minus the jacket, although it simultaneously looked less formal than what one would have expected from an institution of learning that was housed within an old mansion.

"Afternoon Kat, always nice to see others taking an interest in helping out around the grounds," Ruarc called out as he and Willow drew closer. "And I know the plants appreciate it."

Katerina Michizaki, Or Michizaki Katerina, depending on if you were Western or Japanese, blinked a few times in what appeared to be surprise as she was called upon by the elder Druid groundskeeper. "Ah, Groundskeeper Flynn" She greeted, turning to the pair and bowing in a very practiced manner. "I see you have company." She nodded at Willow with a smile that was just a bit too big to be the traditional Japanese gesture of courtesy.

"Some of my instructors suggested that I attempt small tasks with my magic, to learn finer control," the young girl explained, motioning to a row of plants with glittering beads of moisture on their leaves, apparently having already been watered. "It seems that these small amounts are less of a drain on my magic, but can be just as difficult to control as larger ones." And, as if to prove her point, along with the broken concentration, the bubble of water burst and came crashing to the ground, splattering water and small bits of mud on Kat's shoes and stockings.

"Well, poo..." she muttered, looking at the miniature mess with some disappointment.

"You'll get the hang of it," Ruarc said as he waved his hand, making the mud on Katerina's shoes whisk away back onto the ground. "But once you get that down you'll be good for a lot of other spells that require fine concentration, so keep up the good work."

Willow had a look of minor wonder on her face as she got to see some magical demonstration. Even Katerina's magic was very impressive to her. Once the wonder passed, she bowed her head politely and curtsied. "My name is Willow Fairburn, although where I am from for you to introduce yourself first. OW!" Ruarc flicked her ear when she sounded like she was getting rude.

"Aye, Willow here is actually going to be joining us here, she's going to be my apprentice," Ruarc said as a follow up.

Katerina grinned, looking a bit excited at the prospect. "Ah! A Newbie!" She held out her hand for a handshake, and introduced herself to the newcomer. "My name is Michizaki Katerina, Though it's the other way around if you ask my mother," she introduced herself, seeming to find her own comments somewhat funny. "I'm of mixed heritage, Mother and father are in business, so I kind of grew up a little bit of everywhere, though I was born here in Japan, so it's kinda my homeland. I'm an Elementalist, meaning I deal with Elemental magic, such as Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind." Katerina counted off the four elements on her fingers as she listed them, before returning to those in front of her.

"So, WIllow Fairburn, Where exactly Are you from?" The girl asked.

"It's a pleasure, Ms. Katerina. I am from England, myself," Willow replied, shaking the other girl's hand while using her other hand to rub the ear that Ruarc had flicked. "I am pretty adept at using runes, though I am looking forward to branching out with my studies with Ruarc."

Ruarc rolled his eyes as he stood back a little bit. He took a moment to look around to see who all was outside today.

"So, Katerina, how long have you been... here?" Willow asked, realizing now that she didn't catch the name of this place.

"If by 'Here' You mean Safeholme manor, then I've been about a year," Katerina answered. "However I've known I was a mage for about five years now. So if you mean 'Here' as in part of the magical world, about that long." With the new line of questioning, Katerina seemed to have forgotten all about her small failure with the water, though having clean stockings and shoes certainly didn't hurt.

The wind blew slightly and a single, pure white leaf drifted from the sky to the ground - upon which it touched the dirt it burst into a bright flash of multi-coloured light! From seemingly all around trumpets blared a quick fanfare and the two girls suddenly found that each had a small cat perched on their shoulders.

The green eyes of a tabby-cat blinked slowly at Katerina while a tortoise shell that had its eyes perpetually closed bat a paw at Willow's cheek.

Up from the ground rose a ghostly figure covered almost completely by a large cloak and hood. As the visage came into view it was clear that one arm was stretched out and holding onto the jacket collar of a younger... person? The owner of the jacket held in the spectre's hand was hairless to the point of no eyebrows and cut a very androgynous figure - though they did have a skirt on over the pair of track pants that covered the rest of their legs.

"SPECIAL!" The word boomed out as the cloaked spectre came into full view and then floated a bit in the air. The figure and their captive spun around and then flung out their other hand and pointed in Ruarc's direction. "DELIVERY!"

The figure settled their feet against the ground and lost the semi-transparent quality that had covered them as they rose and floated from the ground. The sound of trumpets boomed once more as the young captive was unceremoniously to the ground.

Tilting her head up from where she had fallen and folding her gauntleted arms across her chest Vrey Hallinel nodded to the people around her. "Hello."

Ruarc looked on at the events unfolding. There was a nostalgia to it almost, and he cast about while looking for someone in particular. He did not recognize the figure that appeared, but given the fanfare that accompanied her, as well as the the spectre putting him on the spot, he walked over to Vrey to offer her a hand up.

"Uh, hello to you as well," Ruarc responded, before looking towards the spectre. "Want some jerky?"

Willow on the other hand was less composed. She stumbled out of surprise and landed on her butt, all the while the cat bat at her cheek.

Kat was taken somewhat aback by the arrival of a, well, a Cat, on her shoulder, though the small fuzzy creature soon won her over with the softness of its fur. It was summarily snatched off of its perch and then cradled in the mage's arms, while they both watched the somewhat unceremonious ceremony denoting the arrival of another two characters, for they were a bit odd even from the world of mages that Katerina was used to. However, the spectre seemed somewhat familiar...

Vrey stared at the hand proffered towards her and shook her head in a small, barely noticeable motion. A slight flash of green light highlighted a vein along her head as the girl pushed herself up on her own. "I would not be forward."

The druid was not left hanging long though as the spectre lunged forward and grabbed them by the forearm. Ruarc was quickly spun around to an incredulous cry of "Jerky?" and then both of the cloaked figures hands were clamped against the man's shoulders.

"This is no time for jerky Ruarc." The figure stated in a distorted, almost mechanical sounding voice. The figure shook its head vigourously and the motion combined with a gust of wind blowing by tugged the hood away from the spectre's head.

Revealed beneath was the very face of the druid who was clamped under the figure's grip - well if you added a large star-shaped scar above Ruarc's left eye and decked him out in grizzled post-apocalyspe heroic stubble.

"If we don't save time itself the whole world will be nothing but jerky." Ruarc's own face told him solemnly.

Meanwhile Vrey had simply turned on her heel and faced herself towards the other two girls. "The German branch of the Occultus Magicka has decided I am to be the problem of someone else." The strange girl delivered her words flatly and then bowed a shallow bow to the pair of students before straightening back up.

Ruarc let out a laugh as he found himself looking at at his own face. "Not bad, not bad, and I do suppose it has been some time since I have gone off and saved the world. Though, that said, this batch of jerky was particularly good, and is almost gone. I am sure by the time we get back, it will all have been eaten. Real shame, real shame."

"The German Branch of what?" Willow asked as she pushed herself up, and taking time to bat back at the cat on her shoulder to try and shoo it away.

Katerina, still playing with the kitty in her arms (though by now she had surmised that it was but a rather powerful illusion) decided to answer Willow, although she kept her eyes on the newcomer as she did so. "The Occultus Magicka, it is the governing body which was formed to protect the balance between the magical and nonmagical world, as well as to keep the magical world obscure to the nonmagical. They are also the ones to which the druid order answers, if I am not mistaken." Kat clarified, letting the cat go before proffering a hand to the gauntlet-clad new newcomer.

Ruarc's aged double shook its head sadly. "Ha! Do you think so little of myself you young dog!" The cloaked figure's hand flashed out holding a piece of jerky and then disappeared both the strip of meat and hand back beneath the tattered grey cloth. "Me and my compatriot already raided the ol' homefront when we got in - it's not like I expected to just find my own august self just out and about when we were in need of saving the world!"

Vrey, who upon standing up had placed her hands through holes in her skirt that led to the track suit's pockets below, stared at where the other girl was offering her hand to her. It was most likely in greeting the somewhat non-human teen decided.

"We do not know each other. We should allow time to exchange between us before we develop any closeness." Vrey nodded, mostly it seemed as to herself, as she finished speaking.

Ruarc's smiled dropped. "You raided my pantry? You little sneak." He reached forward and pinched the cheek of the older looking Ruarc. "You'd better not have taken the lot of it, or so help me, the world wont be the only thing needing saving, missy."

Willow just sort of nodded along as Kat spoke. There was a lot of weird going on all at once, and she couldn't quite take it all in. Between the cats, the spectre, the bald girl, and being here in the first place, the English girl felt a little overwhelmed. Looking over to Ruarc, she wondered if he would be able to help her out some, but he was preoccupied. So she just went on nodding.

The dirty blonde looked from Very, to Willow, to the two adults, and then back to her two peers. "Well, I promise I won't hurt you or anything... ummm... What was your name again? I'm Katerina and this is Willow if I'm not mistaken."

"Aa-te-te-te-te!" The Ruarc clone emoted out as the druid pulled at its cheek. "Laoise let me in! Blame your bird and the fact that you hadn't bought her anything Breakfast Bears brand to eat in.... probably ever!" The apocalyptic Ruarc grinned awkwardly at the angle its head was being forced and how the skin around its mouth was stretched. "Besides you gave me a key to the front door and I made copies of all the ones to the other locks in the place because of how forgetful you - er, I mean, how forgetful we always are."

The cat that Katarina had let go of had hung in the air before spinning around and looking at the blonde haired girl with a sorrowful look in its eye. The feline's mouth curved oddly - mouthing the word "betrayal" before rearing on its back legs and clutching at its heart before falling to the ground where it exploded in a shimmering rainbow of light and thunderous crashes.

The closed eyed cat that was on Willow's shoulder opened one single eye and glared at at the hand the girl had tried to shoo it away with. It too stood up on its hind legs but instead of falling off its perch it lifted one hand into the air where a beam of light appeared and a beautifully wrought, cat-sized sword began to descend from the heavens. The cat froze in its pose as the blade leisurely inched its way downward.

Vrey cocked her head to the side slightly and blinked once. The corner of the androgynous girl's mouth wavered slightly upwards. "I am known to the organization as Inhuman Experiment dash Magical Crimes Division dash zero-zero-five-eight-nine-one-seven."

Ruarc pulled on the other's cheek a little harder. "I don't seem to recall ever giving you a key, Riley. And, I don't buy Laoise a lot of junk food because I don't need her getting fat." In the back of Ruarc's mind he felt like Laoise had heard what he just said.

"Tell ya what, give me back the jerky, and I'll let go," he said as he held out his hand expectantly.

Back in the other group, Willow really was at a loss for words. Her hand batted a couple more times, each one slower than the last, until finally she stopped. Why did the cat summon a sword, or rather why did the cat summon a sword? Rather than batting, she reached up and gingerly picked the cat up to try and simply place it on the ground.

Kat looked down for a moment after the illusionary cat disappeared with a rainbow explosion, seeming to have an expression of sadness as she mouthed 'Sorry' back to the cat's vanishing essence. upon hearing the hairless girl's introduction, she made a bit of a face.

"You've gotta have a better name than that. Numbers and designations are for robots, and I don't think you are one. you certainly look too squishy and don't beep or whirr nearly enough."

The odd girl's head righted itself and then her mouth twitched imperceptibly downwards. The hairless girl's posture straightened as she brought her legs together and stiffly bowed. "Caradoc and I apologize. Our humour was mis-delivered." Pulling herself out of the bow Vrey's head turned again, this time as if she was listening to something in the distance before nodding to herself in a very satisfied manner.

"I am named Vrey Hallinel." The girl moved her eyes as if she was going to glance over her shoulder to where Ruarc was still fighting with his dark universe self, but kept her head still and moved her gaze back towards her fellow conversationalists. "I do not know the calling or name of the other. But." Vrey stated the word and paused as if she was listening again. Four or five seconds passed and the girl spoke again. "I do not believe I was kidnapped."

As Ruarc stretched the skin of his clone further and further the cloaked figure before him began to dance its feet and arms - scrambling and flailing a bit before there was a loud POP and the spectres face was flooded by a cloud of smoke that exploded into being.

A bout of very theatric coughing and more arm waving followed. When the smoke cleared the face of the war-scarred druid was gone and replaced by the lean, angular face of a young woman. Green eyes and a grin sparkled mischeviously as they were framed by an unruly growth of chin length brown hair that was very clearly self-cut and arguable on whether or not it had been done so by scissors or just a knife.

"Aaaaaah." Riley Erin Alstad breathed out casually. "My poor cloak forgotten cloak-kin - of course you gave me a key, otherwise I wouldn't have it, no?" Without waiting for a response the woman's face became stricken by an almost comical level of affected grief.

"In reference to the jerky though I don't think I can comply in a manner that'd be gracious to your hospitality." The one piece of jerky the Stage Magician had flashed earlier appeared again - this time held cradled in the palms of two upturned hands. "Y'see this fellow is a lone survivor of what will be a much sung tragedy!" The jerky was quickly disappeared as Riley's hands pulled back under her cloak momentarily before her right arm re-emerged and jerk a thumb in Vrey's direction.

Riley's voice was flat and blunt, missing the grandstanding of her earlier speech. "My new ward ate all of it."

As Willow made to put her hands on the cat the tortoise shell'd feline spring boarded off an invisible spring and the slowly moving sword streaked down from the sky as a bolt of lightning - the searing nimbus fading until it became a flashing strobe that was vaguely sword-like that the cat held in hand. Mist began to lazily form spirals in the air below the cat and coalesced first into a cloud and then the cloud shifted until it was undeniably some form of grand masted ship-of-the-line. The cat blade-maestro proudly straddled the prow of his ship and gestured in a 'come-hither' manner towards Willow.

Ruarc cocked an eyebrow as Riley's guise finally dropped, and the edges of his mouth tensed. Once Riley made the supposed last piece of jerky appear, he snatched it from her hands. After that he visibly relaxed and reached his free hand up to ruffle Riley's hair.

"Ask, next time, I'm happy to share," Ruarc told her, before tearing the jerky in half and giving one side to her. Looking off to the side, he did a quick inspection of Vrey. "Your ward? You don't hit as being the type. Sure you didn't just kidnap her?"

Willow seemed to be the only one who was having a hard time with this situation. Her mind, that had once been preoccupied with getting homework completed and what would be for dinner, was at a complete loss. Desperately she cast about for a sane person to help explain things, but no one seemed bothered. Then, just as she was about to snap, she did. She started to belt out laughing, hard to the point of hurting her sides and her cheeks. While holding her sides, she found a stick on the ground and picked it up, and with her newfound weapon squared off with the feline muscateer.

"En garde!"

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Vrey," Kat answered, nodding cordially before being distracted by willow and the cat, whom suddenly burst into combat. Katerina had seen this brand of illusionary, stageworthy magic a few times before, but it never ceased to amaze and slash or amuse her. Getting into the swing of things, Kat held an open hand toward the ground and concentrated, pulling out a bunch of minerals which she coalesced into a sword shape, before summoning a bit of fire and forging a crude sword, which she quenched with a sudden miniature downpour, before holding the weapon out for Willow.

"This may serve you better!" she announced. Willow readily accepted it.

Riley shrugged before walking through Ruarc, turning on her heel and turning solid again before throwing an arm across his shoulders. Her other arm went out straight and gestured in a long arc. "So there I was deep within Germany with none the wiser. My luck was quick to desert me though - as after only a single, but most impressive, night of quite magical fireworks for the benefit of the bored the Occultus managed to hound me down in mere minutes."

The Stage Magician pulled a face at the admission that she had been caught but quickly worked her energy back up with a single sigh and a series of energetic nods. "Anywho! After that it was all the normal of questions of 'Why can't you just enter the country legally when you are a respected member of the Occultus?' and 'We've sent more letters of complaint, but no one can ever seem to find who exactly your superior is so they've all gone to waste!' and the always promptly on time 'When are you going to leave?'" Riley's eyes twinkled and she recounted her time in Germany and she pulled her hand down and poke Ruarc in the cheek with it.

"Well I had felt Laoise's Breakfast Bear bereft psychic cry for help some time before and I just knew you'd love to see me come by so I let them know that I had only intended to be in country for a day trip." Riley scratched at her chin in a thoughtful manner. "They got quite excited about that and started talking faster than even I do at times and next thing I know I've signed two whole reifs of paperwork and they're wishing me an' my 'ward' a good-bye on the next train out."

The young woman stepped back and shrugged again. "You know I'm not much of one for wasting time so we took a lil' dip from the bottom of the train into the earth and with a couple of pops up to get my bearings we floated up through the floor of your bathroom."

Riley cocked her head to the side and looked as if she was going to say more, but then her eyes glued themselves to the passing sight of the combination of illusory and real combat going between the muscateer and the children.

Ruarc would hear a small, but haunting, chuckle bubble up next to him that evolved into what was most definitely a muffled but evil laughter.

The muscateer was on the cusp of motioning his ship to advance when another crack of lightning sounded out - this one crashing itself through his boat and shearing it in half. The cat wobbled on the prow and then staggered. Tumbling to the ground the swordmaestro meow'ed loudly as he hit the dirt. Rolling onto his back the muscateer grabbed for his sword but then froze with fear in his eyes as he looked skyward.

The first thing the group heard was flapping wings, but the rhythmic sound was quickly blown away by the roar of what the human bodily instinctively knew was a dragon.

The wyrm hovering in the sky was the size of a dozen men and its scales gleamed a brilliant blue. Its mouth opened, showing off gleaming fangs. The winged king of lizards had a very disgruntled look on his face and a a long scar ran across its right eye. The creature snorted a jet of flame that let off a blistering aura of most definitely non-illusionary heat.

Ruarc nodded slowly in understanding as Riley recanted the story of her recent adventures, wondering why, since she can phase, she would feel the need to grift his keys. "Well, that does sound interesting."

Before he could say anything further there was another small interruption. Craning his neck upward he checked out the newest entry into the show. "A dragon? That's a little much Riley, don't you think?"

Willow, prepared for her own fight, seemed to be in the right state of mind now, and gave an "Oooh" and an "Aaah" as she gazed at the dragon. She even clapped a little in appreciation.

Katerina's eyes widened in a bit of shock as the Dragon appeared out of literally nowhere. While some small part of her mind comprehended that is was mostly a conjured illusion, she still instinctively summoned up a wall of water between She, Vrey, and Willow, and the dragon.

"Is it?" Riley asked as she rubbed at her chin again. "I can make him even bigger these days you know?" Looking at Ruarc for a few seconds the young woman sighed before waving her hands in a 'you win' motion.

On the other side of the wall of water (and the other side of the dragon) a noticeable more battered and injured muscateer drew strength from Willow's appreciation and pushed himself to one knee while leaning upon the hilt of sword - which was now driven blade first into the ground.

Shaking off the wounds that hadn't been plaguing the cat after it had first fallen the blade-maestro snapped his fingers and all of a sudden was wearing a deep purple and silver cape. Looking up towards Willow the cat's hand reached forward and glowed with magic as it formed a golden rose out of the ether. With a sparkle in its eyes the muscateer stood and threw the flower in the blonde's direction.

First taking a few haltering steps forward the tortoise shell'd hero broke into a run - his blade trailing along the ground after him and kicking up sparks.

Right before hitting the wall of water summoned by Katerina the edge of the muscateer's pure white blade sliced through the obstacle. The material of the blade ate away at the mana holding the wall together and created a scar through the water in which the dragon could be seen hovering on the other side.

Leaping forward the cat let a single tear fall from its eye before the feline hero himself transformed into a crackling shard of lightning flying towards its foe. Where the muscateer's tear had fallen a small gravestone formed of intertwining vines and flowers sprung up.

When the streak of lightning struck its foe the dragon cried out in pain and was eclipsed by the light produced in the explosion of power. As the light began to fade a second series of explosions broke out as the area where the dragon had been was filled with fireworks.

Vrey, craning her head over her shoulder, watched the show through the slice cut into the wall of water. Looking down to the small gravestone the bald girl then looked back to where the dragon had been slain.

"Ah. What a hero." The girl emotionlessly stated her eulogy for the muscateer.

Willow had put her own weapon down in order to catch the thrown rose and was now applauding the show with a smile on her face, well over the feeling of weirdness; if only due to over-saturation. Ruarc's response was much more blase'.

"Started out alright, but I feel like the climax was a bit of a let down," Ruarc critiqued as he spoke sideways to Riley.

"Anyway, you gonna be sticking around any, or was the girl your ward up until you got her here?"

With the Grand Finale of Riley's stagecraft performance over, Katerina once again blinked, realizing that she was still casting a spell that had never actually been necessary, and sheepishly dispelled her own shield wall, the water evaporating into the atmosphere, leaving a slight shimmer in the air for a few moments as the elementalist wondered how her water shield had been cut through so easily. Though, to be fair, the girl reasoned, she was a mere amateur compared to the skills of the Stage Magician and Druid whom were having a domestic dispute nearby.

"W-Well, perhaps we should go inside?" Katerina suggested to Vrey and Willow. "I'm sure there must be some official business to go along with your arrivals..."

Overhearing a bit of the other conversation, Ruarc sidetracked. "Oi, Willow, come over here for a second."

Willow excused herself temporarily from the group of girls and sauntered over to Ruarc.

"Willow, this is Riley," the Druid started the introductions, "Riley, this is Willow. I just took her on as my Druid apprentice."

Riley grabbed at one edge of her cloak and twirled it before bowing elaborately. "Riley Erin Alstad - the only touring Stage Magician on anyside of the world." The introduction was a bit reduced in elegance when the woman's motions with the cloak revealed she was wearing only a pair of cargo shorts and a striped t-shirt beneath her mantle.

Leaning in closer to the girl Riley jerked a finger back towards Ruarc before cupping one hand towards her mouth and mock whispering. "Now Willow that old crust behind me thought the show wasn't very good at all - but he's only a stick and a slab of mud into being a person - so what did you think about it? Good for a slap job, yeah? The romance could have been better - I'll admit that."

Vrey, now standing alone with Katerina, shook her head as she watched the last of the illusionary constructs fade away into motes of light. "I do not think we are to seek shelter in the current moment."

The girl stood quietly for a count of five seconds before her head swiveled and her eyes locked onto Kat with a sudden intensity. The hairless girl's fingers began to twitch as they tapped against her thighs.

The baleful gaze, veins around Vrey's eyes pulsing up against her skin and glowing with green light, was accompanied by a single question. "What is your favourite food?"

Katerina sort of stared at Vrey as she made several odd motions and asked her question. Even though she actually knew her favorite food, it escaped her mind at the moment, so she just said the first thing that popped into her mind. "Uhhh... Udon..." she announced, looking off to the side to see what the others were up to.

"Well, I for one thought it was great!" Willow remarked as she showed her awe at the show.

"That's because it was magic, and the most magic ye seen before today was a light rune," Ruarc responded. Willow stuck her nose up at him in response. "Anyway, Riley, as I was saying, or rather asking, should I expect to make enough food for guests, or are you heading out?"

Riley bowed in thanks to Willow's kind words. "It is always worth time to make a first showing a memorable one - I only wish Ruarc hadn't vetoed having the dragon set anything around here on fire. A show is always a pleasure for me!"

"I got business for the Occultus over in Alaska sometime tomorrow - not sure how it really works with all the time zones but I'm always on time -" Riley flicked her eyebrows up playfully. "- wizards always are after all. But, I'll be dropping by a lot more frequently; it wasn't said in quite so many words, but keeping my eye and writing up on the kid's progress seems to be something that I could actually get in trouble for taking as un-seriously as I do most things."

Riley's eyebrows went up again and a wicked grin settled across her face. "Worried that you missed out on the harem route when we were younger and seeing a new chance in front of you, you ol' dog?" The Stage Magician's eyebrows somehow waggled in the directions of all the girls standing around the druid.

"Oo. Don." Vrey repeated the word Kat had supplied back. "Udon. Do you know it?" While earlier the girl had seemed to listen from time to time to words that weren't there, she was now speaking to someone that was obviously not there. "You do not. Neither of us are sufficient in knowledge."

Vrey's gaze was locked back on Kat and the hairless girl cocked her head to the side and held it there as her she brought her arms up and crossed them over her chest. "Description."

Turning her gaze back, as what little snippets of conversation she heard turned out to be somewhat boring (She had missed the comment about the Harem) Katerina had to think about it for a moment before she could describe Udon.

"Well, you see, it's kinda like, soup? I guess? it's got long noodles and broth and tends to have seafood mixed in along with other spices and flavorings... Ummm... I can't remember what else, I just eat it a lot."

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Straken »

Ruarc gave Riley a piercing glare. "Not. Funny. Either way, both would be considered rather disappointing harems," he said to her after dropping his voice. "Besides, as I keep telling you I prefer older women, or at least women who fit the rule of Half of your age, Plus seven." Cautiously he looked at the kids present to see if they had heard Riley spouting off, but thankfully for his reputation it seems even the nearby Willow hadn't caught it; and the other two seemed to be discussing soup. He had started off his experience here in Japan with a bad reputation, and the last thing he wanted was for his new pupil to see him as some lecherous old man.

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Kalshion »

Sakura watched the spectacle from afar, sitting cross-legged on the roof of the building, just in the shadow of a chimney. He always has it, she said with a smile and stood up, brushed off her clothing, then looked around for a moment before vanishing. A few moments later she reappeared beside a tree nearest the group, placing a hand on the tree she watched and observed; unlike those that she knew who looked like adults now, her vampire powers allowed her to make herself appear younger the rest, although she knew that Coco most likely beat them all in that department. Of course, I could always make myself younger if I really wanted to, but there is no need for that, she smiled.

As she walked, she gave a wave toward Ruarc and the others; attempting to get their attention.

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Gwathdraug »

The intensity in Vrey's gaze faded, along with the glowing energy shining against her veins, as the strange girl's face attempted its best to appear glum - one eyebrow dropping down and her lips drooping before twitching back to an expression of neutrality. A giant murmuring that didn't sound as if it was made of any words drifted out and the bald teenager shook her head as if she had been just dropped in the middle of an argument that hadn't existed before. The girl crossed and unfolded her gauntled arms multiple times and continued to shake her head until she finally drifted into silence.

Snapping her eyes back to where Katerina stood, Vrey kept her vision centered on the other girl's knees. The androgynous teen's arms relaxed to her sides and her fingers immediately began to tap chaotically against her legs. "I am to create an excuse. A considered pardon would bring the pleasure from the current distaste." Vrey's pronunciation of her final word twisted her flat voice into a grindingly violent declaration.

Vrey made a small bow, more of a flex of the shoulders and a nod than anything else, towards Kat before turning on her heel to face the approaching Sakura without a single misplaced motion. The teen cocked her head to take in the newcomer as a the veins in her left hands fingers lit up and began sending flashes of green energy up her arm, across her face and down her right arm.

Vrey bared her teeth as her head righted itself.

"If you have come for consumption become aware that my hunger is large enough for you."
Riley nodded in response to Ruarc's scolding. "Some jokes do only work in syndication." The admission sounded more as if it had been said to the woman herself than the druid she was speaking with. A needle-esque grin painted across the Stage Magician's face as her friend listed off his rule. "If you ever want to switch rules mines; loves cartoons, cute butt."

Seeing Sakura approach Riley stretched one arm up and waved energetically. Ruarc would find himself suddenly in a chummy position with an arm thrown across his shoulders as Riley nudged the druid's head with her own. "Did Sakura ever go on vacation to Germany?"

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by CadetNewb »

As the group talked, their ears soon heard a sound that was unmistakable as it was unforgettable.

Footsteps could be heard gently paddling across the grass at a slow pace as the owner of this noise became apparent. They saw a young girl, barely ten years old, crying as she blindly walked along. Lost and confused, she sobbed as one hand rubbed at her eyes, smearing wet tears all over her face while the other clung onto a Breakfast Bears Breakfast Bar backpack. The Breakfast Bear Beanie she wore was askew, while her pink shirt was wet with tears. She looked lost, having wandered for quite some time through the grounds on her own. With shoes dirty with bits of grass and mud, it was hard to think anything else. With the way she was crying, the little girl hadn't even noticed them as she meandered her way through the estate.

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Kai »

Katerina blinked a bit in confusion as more people started showing up, and the moods of the ones currently around began to change, some drastically, others only mildly. The girl attempted to process all this information, especially since the one whom she had been speaking with, Vrey, had changed the most, taking her attention from their own conversation and speaking in a very aggressive manner toward one of the newcomers.

"Umm, Guys, we're all friends here, no need to worry about any-" She was cut off by yet another figure approaching, this one very small and very crying. She seemed lost, but for whatever reason she also seemed vaguely familiar, as if Kat had seen the exact same person, looking almost exactly the same, several years ago when she had first discovered that she was a Mage and had first come to the Academy.

With so much going on around her, especially this suddenly (the previous illusionary display notwithstanding) Katerina began to feel a little bit of social pressure, and her polite disposition was slowly turning into one of worry, an inner shyness being brought out as her outer facade was eroding from too many different things going on at once.

"Can we all just calm down?" she asked, in a voice much too small for most people to hear her.

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Straken »

Ruarc had become accustomed to Riley's jokes, and so any reaction he gave quickly faded. Now he didn't react one way or another when Riley put her arm around his neck and waved at someone. Looking to see who was here now, he chuckled a bit; today was a day filled will coincidental arrivals. Giving a wave of his own to the approaching Sakura, he turned his head to Riley. "I'unno, how should I know if she has ever been to Germany? Try asking her."

Briefly, he considered why Sakura seemed determined to stay looking like a kid, when her abilities could let her look older if she so chose; she could likely avoid a lot of hassle if she made herself at least look eighteen. Just before he could wave back to her himself though, the sound of sobbing caught his attention. "Geh," Ruarc sighed slightly, his face dropping a bit. "What's the saying? Coincidences are rare?" Rather than saying something to the walking Breakfast Bear advertisement, he decided to leave her to the younger mages; see if they had any amusing reactions or not.

"Ummmmmm," Willow said, once again unsure of what all was going on. Seeking some sense of normalcy, especially with the advent of a mysterious crying girl, she looked around to see who she could go to. Ruarc seemed busy being chummy with Riley, Vrey didn't seem the supportive type, so she edged closer to Katerina. "Hey, hey, does this usually happen around here?"

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by CadetNewb »

Meanwhile, the little girl kept on crying as she blindly walked across the manor grounds. Naturally, this meant she tripped, fell on her face, and cried some more.

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Kai »

Katerina looked back at Willow, somewaht astonished that someone actually spoke to her. She watched in horror as the familiar seeming little girl fell and began crying even harder. Katerina just didn't know what to do anymore, though she did at least have the good sense to respond to the young druid acolyte. "Ummm, Not entirely. I mean some of it is but... not that...." She gestured to everything that was going on- aside from Riley and Ruarc- and seemed to be reaching a breaking point, or at least a point where her suspension of disbelief was about ready to kick in. While she had been a mage for several years now, here formative years were in nonmagical society, and some of this still came as a shock to her.

"Willow, could you go and help that little girl, I don't think I can handle.. things... right now..." Katerina then began to take a few steps backward, stopping only when she bumped into one of the thick hedges that lined the garden area.

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Re: [Episode 0] Safeholme Manor

Post by Straken »

Upon observing Katerina's somewhat panicked look, Ruarc felt it was just about time to put his foot down some. He stuck his left hand thumb and middle finger between his lips and whistled. It was a brief, punctuated noise, but it carried authority behind it and called for attention. "Alright guys and gals... actually I guess it is just gals aside from me... lets reel it in some on the razzle and dazzle. This may be a magic institution, but we can have conversations like regular folk just as well," the Irishman said bluntly, sounding like a tired parent as he shook off Riley's arm and walked over towards the crying girl on the ground before Willow could get the chance. Upon reaching her, he unceremoniously picked her up and slung her over his shoulder like a sack of flour before returning to main group.

"Willow, that's Kat and... Vrey? Kat, meet Willow and...Vrey? Vrey?... meet everyone. Everyone, this is Riley, that is Sakura, I am Ruarc, and this crying child could be one of many aberrations, but my money is on it being a wild Coco. Everyone, say hi, curtsy if ya have a skirt, bow if ya got pants, play nice, and don't break any of the furniture," Ruarc began, gesturing to everyone in kind, and maintaining a very deadpan gaze as he did; finally taking a deep breath at the end, sounding as though he had said the entire thing in one go. "And Kat, take deep breaths, count to ten, and think how you focus mana to make a cube of water; that should help ya calm down. Everyone good? Good."

From Willow's standpoint, she felt like applauding lightly as Ruarc went about in a manner that reminded her of some old British comedies, but instead used the break to collect herself. With the bizarre crying girl taken care of, she instead went over to Kat to make sure she was okay. "I guess somethings'll probably be easier to acclimatize to, huh?" the British girl said with a quaint smile as she began to gently rub Kat's back between the shoulders to help calm her.

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