[Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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Kokuten
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[Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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Safeholme
Osaka
A Week After the Descent into the Maw


Saturday at Safeholme was hit or miss for activity. Depending on the time of year, the school was either eerily quiet or wildly active depending on the presence of school events, or exams. The mages who attended Safeholme as a contracting office often funneled in during the evenings, to trade secrets, carouse, and offer services for contracting. Students looking to get ahead in their studies would use the library, or sit out in the courtyard to whisper questions to the fountain.

Drysi was one such student, somewhat caught up in the rumor of a spirit haunting the fountain that could answer difficult questions. She stood at the edge of the water feature, one of her hands playing with the finger on the other. The triclops gave a look over her shoulder: just a person standing at the gate, too far to hear her. Her master didn't seem to be wandering around the front yard. Willow was no where in sight to laugh at her. Her face reddened a bit, before nearly jumping at the sound of a pair of students going by. Sun Liu Wei and another student from Poland;she watched them go by.

Now, sure there were no witnesses. She started her questioning.

"At what temperature do you need to heat water in order to properly diffuse leaves from a crystal oak tree?"

No response, but her third eye caught the movement of a powerful entity within the water. Dissatisfied, she determined that perhaps the water either did not know, or knew when the answer was already known. She tried with a different question.

"... How does Ms. Smith's magic work? What's its basis?"

A head poked up out of the water of the fountain, a pair of large glasses staring at the triclops above the water line, bobbing as if it were swimming in a deep pool.

The Dragons of America, by Douglas Vespucci.

Drysi's mouth hung agape, a gasp cut short by her scientific mind racing. She fished up another question.

"How does Willow's magic work?"

The spirit's glasses seem to consider the surface of the water for a moment, before looking up again.

Of Ancient Arts: Magic Dangerously Forgotten, by Andrea Weiss.

Another title, Drysi wrote it down. Her heart pounding. She leaned in close, staring intently to the face.

"... Do you know if... How do you know if... Someone... If a girl... um..." Her face was becoming red, and she leaned down to whisper the question.

The spirit blinked, before plopping under the surface of the water.

"W-wait! W-...! Answer me! Bloody-- Argh!" Drysi wrung her fingers through her hair, before going to beg the fountain with another question. "Come back! What about Vrey's guardian? How does her magic work? Come now!"

"Stage magic."

A voice like honey dripped over Drysi's shoulder, and the scribe spun around. She found herself staring into a dark face with gold eyes, framed with smooth black hair with bangs restrained by spiraling strings of gold. "It's no secret, but not a lot is written about how it functions. You have to ask some practitioners directly, none of them too keen on writing things down. Even then. Hard to find."

It was a woman, and at her side was a small, bullish looking figure cloaked in iron. His burning red eyes stared into space dumbly.

"Did you--.... Did--..."

"Did I hear your other questions?" The woman smiled, at Drysi's heart started to pump like mad. She saw a couple of books under the visitor's arm, with a title that looked familiar.

The Dragons of America

"Yes," said Drysi, who started to stiffen. "It's um... It was quite...--"

The guest came to a squat in front of Drysi. A frost faerie was sitting on the woman's shoulder, a small bluish figure of cold.

"Personal? Sounded like it. Something along the lines of... How do I know if a girl likes me?"

Almost without a sound, the triclops fled, not even bothering to ask any questions. The stranger watched her flee through the gate, and she stood again, straightening her attire.

"Tabitha, that didn't look like a Ruarc Flynn," said the frost sprite, looking as though he couldn't divine the reason for the smile on the woman's face. "I'm not sure if you could even call it a Jane Smith."

"No, but I know where the waiting room is. From what I'm told, you just take an number and wait. These people tend to come to you with enough prompt," said Tabitha, walking over to the cottage, and taking a seat at a chair placed at the front of the building.

The frost sprite stared at the door, and then at Tabitha, who set her books on the outside table, making herself quite at home, or as home as one could be with a small iron-clad attendant staring through them. The little gate guardian hadn't strayed more than six feet away from her since she had entered the campus.

"You're not gunna knock?"

"No, this is more fun. I hear he enjoys this kind of thing."
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

The glorious day was made all the more brilliant as a lone woman strode from the academy proper to the caretaker's small cottage. Her presence was the fluorescent gleam of a rainbow and the glint of a lethal edge. When mundies googled professional, her picture was the first result. Her stride was both of a confident executive and a stalking predator. The few students milling about nearby shuffled away, as if repelled by some barrier, only to resettle where they had stood after she passed.

Lady Sumedha sat across from the stranger with elegant repose. The brevity of her glance suggested the casual analysis of a frequent flyer examining a neophyte. The smoulder in her dark eyes, however, suggested a rapacious consumption of knowledge by creature that thrived on it. She said nothing, and turned her attention to the beauty of the woods. When most people do such a thing, it is an evident act of meditation or wonder; when Lady did it, her piercing gaze seemed to dare the woods to challenge her.

Leaves shivered in a gentle gust.
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Kokuten
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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Tabitha stared at Lady as she approached, following the woman's eyes out into the woods in paired gazes of dark and gold. Her lips pulled together in a low pucker, as if she had found some inkling of an answer as to why the woman across from her was doing what she was doing.

"See, I told you that--... Zippo?" The frost sprite had slipped off the woman's shoulder in her moment of distraction.

"You're really pretty," said Zippo, hypnotized, the small fae was standing on the table. He was as about the same size as Mr. Caxton's own fire sprite, Jakku. Instead of bright golden eyes, the orbs that stared at Lady were a glassy black and with hair that was a wild mane of freezing shards. Having said his piece, Zippo looked uncertain, as if there was more to say, but he lacked the words for it.

He didn't need to worry for long, as he was plucked by one of his wings.

"Sorry about him," said Tabitha apologetically, almost overly so, "He's new to the middle realm. No manners, all fae. But! Where are my manners? I'm Tabitha Grimley, an investigator with the Kyoto Office of the Boston Consortium. Are you an employee here at the school?"
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

Lady smiled mutedly at the compliment, but made no move to answer. Once Tabitha addressed her, however, she turned to face the American. Hands that could turn any table into a conference table clasped one another and came to rest on the small surface that separated the two women. "Lady Sumedha, Guidance Counselor." Manners indeed. No hand had been offered to her, so Lady presented one of her own manicured and lithe hands to shake.
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Kokuten
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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"It's a pleasure, Ms. Sumedha, but I don't shake hands."

As if to mitigate any particular insult, Tabitha raised her palms. Being close enough, Lady could see the scoring of lightning scars centering from her palm, and running into the sleeve of her small jacket. "I want to. I really do. Lady, can I call you Lady? You're very pretty, but I'm a just kind of a...

Tabitha wiggled in a catlike manner, her hips going side to side in her chair as she thought of a word, before bringing her hands in and arcing them out gently, "... germophobe. Door knobs, hands, kids. Ugh. Thank goodness for portals. I don't know how the mundies are still alive, traveling on airliners."

Making a small expression of disgust, and a wiping motion with her hands, she pushed the topic behind her. A little more of a professional smile spread on her features after that, "Care to answer some questions? Particularly about some of your fellow instructors ah... Where did I put it..."

Zippo leaned over, diving in to help by burying his upper half under her jacket. Tabitha leaned back, appearing a bit annoyed with the fae. With a sharp jet of breath, Tabitha blew him off like a fly, patting him off. He went tumbling free with a crystal in his hands.

"There it is. Light it up."

The frost fairy closed his eyes, and the stone glowed, projecting notes hidden within, "Ah yes. Their names are: Mr. Ruarc Flynn, Ms. Miyuki Kagami, Ms. Riley Alstad, Ms. Jane Smith, Mr. Percival Caxton, and a Ms. Eryl Maelgwyn. Are those names familiar to you?"
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Kokuten
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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Lady's hands came together again as Ms. Grimley explained herself. She was patient as the newcomer prattled and then rummaged, and finally produced a list of names. With a perfect conference room smile, she redirected. "I find your presumptions fascinating, Ms. Grimley. No, you may call me Counselor Sumedha, or Ms. Sumedha, thank you.” She gave the investigator a moment. “Now, I have a couple questions: can you produce ID to verify your claims? Could you also explain the nature of the Consortium’s interest in the faculty, and the nature of your investigation?” Lady’s smoulder earlier was building into a proper fire behind her eyes; she loved these sorts of games.

“Fair, fair, Ms. Sumedha,” answered Tabitha, reaching into her coat before Zippo could dive in and ‘help’ again. From there she produced a small bronze discus, a ruddy crystal set in the center. The inlay of the item read the words:

FROM THE DARKEST TIL DAWN

With a finger, she touched the gem, and like the notes from before, her face was projected with the name TABITHA GRIMLEY, INVESTIGATOR-MAJOR. “One week ago, I received a call from Tennessee -- That’s a state in the U.S. -- From one of our offices that indicated unusual activity centered here in Osaka. Unusual activity in concern of a…”

Tabitha’s hands rolled on their wrists, “Bridge. I don’t know how much conjuration you know, but it was a realm bridge, felt from the other side of the world. Two hours later, my phone is ringing off the hook -- I keep my cell phone on a hook, you see -- from various divine-oriented offices that there’s been a disturbance. I call Ise. When you’ve got divine troubles you call Ise, and they pointed fingers here.

The investigator smiled, having not really told her entire story by the crook of her lips, “So I decided to drop by and say hey.

So much for games. The guidance counselor nodded along as the investigator spoke, presenting a picturesque audience.

"You're not the blunt instrument people like to claim Americans are," she noted. "And while your story is fascinating, business for the day is concluded. I would recommend returning tomorrow, or taking your cell phone off its hook and calling ahead to schedule an appointment."

“But, Mr. Flynn lives here, doesn’t he?” asked Zippo, finally opening his big, dark eyes and garnering furrowed frustrations from Grimley, “Isn’t that why you came, too?”

"An easy conclusion to reach, but mistaken. I came because I take my charge to these students very seriously." Without missing a beat, she pressed. "Miss Grimley, to what school of magic do you ascribe?"

Tabitha was putting her discus away when the question came. As she dunked the item into her coat pocket, she did a little shake, with a catty little smile. Her own energy seemed to bounce off the powerful aura Sumedha projected.

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

"Mm. I don't showboat, Miss Grimley." Her eyes briefly narrowed, as if studying something she had just noticed. "I don't flirt with business associates, either. Don't lose your focus, now." Her eyes sparkled with a hint of curiosity. That spark caused Tabitha to blink, as if the words had truly affected her. Whatever she was going to say next got lost in the moment.

Zippo hit her with a quick breath of ice, spitting out a get of misty cold on Tabitha’s face. The investigator wiped her cheek slowly, finally breaking eye contact to stare firmly at the sprite.

“You got a weird way of showing it, Miss Sumedha,” said Tabitha, resting her chin on her hand. She looked right back at the other woman, and Zippo looked as though he were about to blast her again. A swift, dark hand put him down on the table. His legs wiggled for a second, before giving up.

The American smiled again, not shifting her gaze, “But! This isn’t about the two of us. This is about a cast of mages who have garnered the attention of concerned neighbors who want some fears put to rest. Capiche? Now, I know you feel protective of the school, but if you don’t want to answer any questions, that’s perfectly fine.”

Grimley’s smile widened a little more, “We can just stare into each other’s eyes until someone comes by who will.”

Lady didn't flinch, not even a twitch. "Quite to the contrary, you're the Pontius Pilate of this story." She gave an assenting nod. "The analogy doesn't stretch far- not my best work- but the point remains: this is very much about you: an outsider prying into the business of academics who operate with the nominal blessing of the Occultus Magicka.

"And since you have contented yourself with silence, let me do some investigating. An Investigator-Major of the Boston Consortium, who undoubtedly researched the individuals in question, would know these things. But you avoided all official channels and strode through the front gate unannounced. A little illusion magic and some knowledge could reproduce your identification, leaving it suspect.

"Everything said, I'm rather disappointed and underwhelmed by the effort." Her dazzle was gone, and had long been replaced by a critical stare.
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Kokuten
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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Tabitha blinked her eyes rapidly as the enchantment broke off. It took her a moment to refocus, as if she had been staring quite deeply into a bright light. After a moment, she rubbed her eye, and settled back in her delighted posture.

"Exactly right," said the investigator with a prim smile, finally letting Zippo go. The faerie lay face down on the table, bringing his head up to see if it was okay for him to fly again. The Consortium official nodded, and up the faerie went. "You got me, I'm quite the hag, you see. Official channels are murky waters out here in Japan, but you don't call someone from the Consortium to deal with red-tape."

The somewhat shady woman looked at Sumedha warmly, "They call them to solve problems."

The small, iron-clad gateguard huffed a puff of flame, with a bullish growl. He had been standing there, like a statue, during the conversation. The mention of 'solving problems' seemed draw the warlike entity out of his stupor.
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Straken
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

Post by Straken »

Mr. Flynn, one of the parties in question and owner of the cottage that currently hosted two iguests on the patio, was sitting up in his study doing some leisurely reading. Beyond the background noise of the campus to which he had grown accustomed, there were voices coming from the aforementioned patio. Not unheard of. Many students, particularly his proteges and their friends enjoyed the shade of the pergola. The voices weren’t them, however, and only one of them did he recognize. Ms. Sumedha was one of them, which concerned the druid ever so slightly. Peeking out the second story window, he could see the small gathering through the slats of the pergola. Watching for a few moments, he wanted to just go back to reading, but as the conversation outside went on it sounded official, to a degree. Was Sumedha fielding this for him? Why? Just go back to reading, he told himself.

Sighing heavily, Ruarc snapped his book shut and sat it on an end table. Going outside like this is how people got the misconception that I’ll just show up for them, he thought.

Well, not really a misconception if it’s accurate…

Making his way to the kitchen, Ruarc heated his kettle, content to take his time and let the two converse. Once the water was hot, he steeped some tea. Grabbing a number of tea cups from his set, Ruarc made his way out to the patio. Swinging the door open, he didn’t interrupt, but sat the tea down on the table, distributed the cups, and poured himself one first as soon as he took his seat.
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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When the door opened, Tabitha's eyes opened widely, like a feline catching sight of its prey. The man she had expected was a bit different from the man that walked out. Across the campus, rumors circulated why the headmaster that owned the property had suddenly appeared as if he had survived living a war movie. For many people, Ruarc's grizzled grin, with pock-marks of cuts where the metal of a Fire God's armor had marred him were a mystery.

For Tabitha, it was worth the price of admission.

"From his hand came a dark secret that caused the beast to wound him terribly."

Those golden eyes stared intently at Ruarc. Then, as if snapping out of a trance, she started to speak with a more business-like smile.

"Mr. Flynn, I presume. I'm Tabitha Grimley, Boston Consortium," the words came out more honeyed than what Lady had gotten. Tabitha was being well-behaved for Ruarc. "I'm investigating a disturbance that may have occurred here a week ago. I have been told you may have been involved, and I'd like to ask you a few questions, if that's alright, and offer my services in helping clear up any potential accusations levied against the Safeholme estate."

All the while she poured herself a cup of tea, seeing as Ruarc was having some himself. Zippo picked up one of the five cups available, and carried it clumsily over to the teapot. He stared hopefully up at Tabitha, who seemed to be ignoring his silent request.

"I love your dog, by the way. He's very sweet," said Tabitha, gesturing to the small, iron-clad gate-guard, his red eyes still curled into a permanent scowl, fire puffing out of his nostrils in a huff.
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Straken
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Re: [Safeholme] The Boston Consortium

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Where Lady was poise and grace, Ruarc reserved strength. The Irishman held the thin handle of the tea cup carefully between his thumb and forefinger, seeming to exert a practiced force so as to not accidentally snap the delicate dishware. The lingering scarring that had yet to really fade only added to the odd image. Contenting himself in savoring the sip of earl grey, he sat the cup down and ran his finger over the silver vine pattern that ran around the meridian of the alabaster white ceramic. The faint texture barely registered against the rough skin of his hand. Seeming to contemplate the design, Ruarc considered the unannounced guest. He was unsure what to make of her, but from what he had heard about the Consortium over the years he decided to keep on his guard for the time being.

“You would be correct, Miss Grimley. I am Ruarc Flynn, keeper of these grounds and the school,” he said finally, introducing himself in turn. He glanced over Tabitha briefly before looking to Lady and the school’s newest guard. “If you like this one, just wait until the actual dog wakes up and realizes I’m not in my chair anymore.”

“I confess to being a little unsure of what exactly needs clearing up. I’ll apologize if my school has broken any standards, so what might these potential accusations be?”
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