The day had gone by fairly normally. Ruarc had woken up around dawn, taken care of a number of groundskeeping projects early on before the students and faculty began to circulate, and had had a subsequently normal morning. With the noon hour upon him, the Druid had gone back to his cottage to prepre a light lunch before taking on a number of other chores. The kettle was on, and his skillet was warming as he sat down to browse the paper that had been delivered that morning to the gates of the manor grounds.
Just as he began to get comfortable, a knock rattled the door.
Tap Tap Tap.
Tap. As if forgotten in the sequence with the prior rapts.
"Hmm, wonder what's broken now," the Irishman grumbled to himself as he sat his paper down and went to the door. With a heavy clack the knob turned and he opened the solid oak door. Standing in the doorway was a woman a bit shorter than the towering druid. She seemed to have been staring at the bottom of the door, and as he opened it, her eyes went wide. Slowly, her gaze went up to his chest, and then to his full height.
"Ah... Mister... Flynn?" the words were a bit slow. Curious? She seemed to be a rather casually dressed woman, a pale green blouse over tight jeans. Under her shoulder was a purse, which seemed more like a satchel upon second glance. Unlike most of the visitors he got, she looked a bit unmagely.
"Aye, that's me," Ruarc responded as he looked down to the woman, "Can I help you with anything ma'am? I wasn't expecting company."
"O-oh," she seemed a bit dismayed, "I must have... My husband called you, didn't he? Or did he... It was... ah... A week ago."
With a confused expression, she began to rub her temple, "We're... I'm a bit late. Our appointment with the school's administration was on Monday, but we've been moving in still. Ah... but... Are you... busy?" She furrowed her brow, "Do we need to reschedule an appointment?"
"Uh, no, by all means, come on in," Ruarc offered as he stepped aside. Sweeping an arm inside, he offereed a vacant seat at the table. "I just put a kettle on, if you'd like, I'd be more than happy to discuss what ever you need."
"Oh," as the curly haired woman walked into Ruarc's cottage, her eyes went flitting about. "Yes, please, with milk if you have... if you... you don't mind." After a few moments admiring the quaint atmosphere she took the proffered seat, and smiled, albeit nervously. "Your office is lovely."
"Much appreciated ma'am, I have put a lot of time and effort into fixing the place up," he responded as he walked over to the now whistling kettle and prepared a couple of cups. After a short while of rummaging around in the kitchen space, he brought the two teas over to the table and sat them down; the one prepared with milk in front of his guest.
"Well," Ruarc started after a sip of tea. "What is it I can help you with?"
That garned a stare. For a moment, she looked at her tea, and then back at Ruarc.
"You don't...?" Those brown eyes of her squinted, she began to mumble, "No... it probably wasn't... on the phone... Er..." As if realizing she was drifting off, she snapped up straight. "I suppose if... if we're starting at... Well... Of course, this is only natural,-- Not to mean that--..."
Ruarc's visitor cleared her throat, "Um. I'm Wynne Maelgwyn... Er, Drysi's mother? I suppose... I suppose that doesn't mean much since school hasn't officially started. Ahm... You do handle the students... don't you? As in..."
Wynne looked confused, again, "In an... instructional capacity?"
Ruac took an extended drink of tea as he considered his answer. "Yes, of course, I handle a number of classes. A couple of rune workshops, as well as history and language classes. Though mostly I act as the general landlord of the property, keeping it running and such."
"So you are... the owner? Er... headmaster?" Wynne tried to make sense of Ruarc's rational sentences, it showed on her face. Her fingers drummed on the table a moment before she took a break to speak, but awkwardly held up a hand to indicate she wasn't done.
"Ehem, if that is the case... then I would like to, ah, discuss something-- uhm... someone," after straightening herself out, "Our daughter-- er... As in, ours... as in, mine and my husband's."
She chuckled nervously, before taking another sample of her tea, "Drysi. Ahm, Drysi Maelgwyn. She has been registered as a student here, and I... er... we- My husband and I, were hoping to discuss an issue?" That turned into a question at the end, and corrected herself, "A matter. With our daughter's education. Er, specifically the one... she is... er... seeking here."
"Yes, of course," he confirmed as he swirled his tea. "I remember seeing Drysi's name on the list of students. I work along side with administration on these matters, so, yeah, anything you need to discuss. I am more than happy to help. Is it about special consideration? Specific needs?"
The way her eyebrows seemed to pop into her curly bangs indicated that had likely been exactly what she was looking for. A small smile spread on her face as she settled into her chair, and set her purse down. The light mood didn't last long, as she flattened her lips.
"Mr. Flynn. Are you familiar with... Ah, I'm going to assume you're not... er Welsh? No?"
"No, I am Irish, in fact, but I am familiar with the Welsh language if that is the concern," the Irishman said, finishing the last part in Welsh, for effect. That effect was immediately recognized, apparently astonishing Ms. Maelgwyn.
"Then you must be familiar with the Library of Cardiff, no?"
The Druid's brow knit as he thought for a moment, running over the name in his mind. "I, am familiar, or rather, aware of it, yes. And the Library ties in with your daughter Drysi, somehow?" he asked, connecting conversational dots to try and get a feel for what was being discussed.
That hung in the air. "I mean... Yes."
Then, she pursed her lips, "Ah, but... no... It... It has something to do with her. Yes."
Wynne Maelgwyn was a fair lass, to be sure, but speaking was proving not to be her strong suit in the slightest. She took a long look at her tea, before trying to explain. "Do you know any mages from Cardiff? Er... The library... I mean. The Library in Cardiff. The famous one. Not... er a regular library."
The Library of Cardiff did in fact stick out in Ruarc's mind, but his recollection was not a particularily fond one. "Why yes," he said, his tone had sunken somewhat and was now more stern than it had been before. "I have happened across a mage of the Library before, which I suppose whould circle back around to my previous question. Does the Library tie in with your daughter?
I apologize if I seem rude on the subject. I am sure your daughter has little to do with the matter of which I am thinking, but it did leave a rather prominent memory for me."
"O-oh..." Wynne shrunk away from Ruarc, as if intimidated. Or rather, likely because she was legitimately intimidated. "I suppose... er... You understand the-... ah... You grasp the... concept... I'm trying..."
At that, she began to mumble, before clearing herself up. "Our daughter, Drysi. She grew up hearing... er being told... ah, no... Reading. Reading stories and tales of the Librarians, of how they're supposed to be Loremasters, and Greater Inscriptionists. You... er... seem to know the truth, but... she doesn't. No one does. And er... for good reason. Or rather... bad.
"Drysi wants to be an Inscriptionist, worse... She aspires to be a Librarian." The mother's mouth flattened at that, "We have been sheltering her... er, by just home-schooling her magic studies, but she's gotten to the age where she insists on learning in a school environment. That is... That is where you come in. Mr. Flynn. We want your help in steering Drysi into... more... er... positive directions."
"I... see," Ruarc agreed slowly as he followed along. Part of him was sceptical, but the other part reminded him that he frequently had a previous nemesis over for tea. "History can be a tricky thing. Unless viewed directly, it is almost always skewed, so one can hardly blame your girl for fancying such a storied goal. So, trying to get this straight, you would like for me to, oversee her studies? Or simply make sure she doesn't start delving into subjects best not delved into?"
"It's... a bit of everything... and... ah..." A bit of shame seemed to roll over head as much as a cloud would. "a warning. Our Drysi is... she's always been a sweet girl, but..."
The woman flicked up a long finger into the air, tracing it from her bag. A sheet of paper dutifully flew from the satchel, and followed her finger to the table. What Ruarc was presented with was what seemed to be an inscribed spell. A careful glance would reveal it was a levitate spell. "We found this... er... in her notes."
Shifting the paper for a better look, Ruarc looked it over. "She's quite the diligient one if she's begun this kind of work just from reading. But, hmm, a bit of everything..." he said, mumbling a bit as he began to repeat. "So, at the very least, keep n eye on her and her studies, right? If you'd like, once she has begun attending classes, I could oversee studying from time to time. Otherwise, if you have any suggestions or recommendations, well... You know your daughter best."
"We would like you to try and redirect her studies to something else... Ahm... Inscription magic isn't necessarily... Bad, but Drysi has proven she is further along," explained Wynne, as she tugged forther another piece of paper. This one flew with greater intensity and speed, before landing on the table, shaking it as it flattened. It was another levitate spell, both written in the same hand-writing, though the ink was a different color.
This new sheet caught Ruarc's eye almost immediately. Whereas the other spell had been inked, this one was done in a style commonly used among more dated mystics. Namely, lamb's blood. Which for Ruarc, brought up a number of memories, especially relating to the Library of Cardiff. "Well now, she is quite the industrious one, now isn't she? And how old did you say she was? Can't remember ever seeing a student using blood for note taking before."
The Mother flinched as the ink was mentioned, she chose not to looke directly at Ruarc, instead down at her lap. "She... she turned sixteen a couple of months ago, we found this among her belongings when we were unpacking."
As it had happened before, Ruarc's guest let that hang in the air, before clutching her fingers in at her chest. Very carefully, and almost mumbled, she said, "Drysi is... she's still a little girl, Mr. Flynn, p-please understand. We don't want to see her taken away as a... blo--... bl-..."
"A blood mage?" he said, seeking to complete the failed word. "She is young; and young minds are naturally curious, but lack the sense of reprecusions."
The Druid tipped his cup back and finished his cup of tea before gently setting the porceline down onto the chestnut table. "This school started because of an unorthodox group of mages, and so long as your daughter is enrolled here, I can promise you she will not be taken away. As for this inscription, since you have requested it, I will do what I can to make sure she understands the gravity of what it is she is learning. If nothing else, I am a Druid, and understand what it means to have a millenia worth of books filled with lore to learn from, not all of which have been good."
Doing his best to sound like a proper teacher, Ruarc had moved his cup off the the side and gripped his hands together on the table top.
"Thank you, Mr. Flynn." said Wynne hopefully, "I promise you, Drysi is an angel besides this horrible business. She will be a perfect student as long as ... as ah, as any of the teachers instruct her in a... professional manner." The woman put her hand over the paper inscribed in blood, in reaction, the paper folded up neatly into a origami swan shape. What evidence of Drysi's studies flapped away and and onto the still hot stove, where it caught fire, quickly ashing.
"Mr. Caxton was right about you all, Mr. Flynn, we were worried about having to move here from Wales, but..." A thin hand rested on her chest, and she smiled warmly, "But it is comforting to know that you... you ah... understand. Er... Empathize? We're hoping that you will all be the good influence Mr. Caxton promised."
"I appreciate the vote of confidence," Ruarc said as he gave a smile. "And yes, I am familiar with being a Celt in a very foreign land, and I believe that is part of why Safeholme was founded. Drysi will be in good hands here."
"Ah, that's... good."
Another pause, an awkward one, "I mean that... um... Seriously? It is a good thing. Very much a relief. We were worried about sending Drysi of without some sort of guarding influence. Her father and I will come to check on her every now and then, but at least we can sleep at night now."
"But of course," he said, nodding in agreement. "You are more than welcome here anytime. I personally wont have many classes this year, so I will be able to plan some manner of lesson to help her understand her magic in better detail. Now, are there any other concerns?"
"Oh... Other concerns?" Wynne put her hand to her mouth, as if trying to think of other things to say. She didn't seem to understand Ruarc's formal, polite way of saying 'are we finished?'. "No, I don't think there's anything else."
She tilted her head, curious, "Why?"
"Simply curious as to whether there were any other bits I should know about, you know, other than the blood magic bit," the Irishman said, looking down at the watch on his wrist. "Otherwise, if there's nothing else, I should probably be getting back to work."
"Other things... Ah no... Allergies? No... Those are on file... Distastes? Ah... That's a bit personal... Peeves? Oh, I don't think so." Wynne's brow furrowed, probably looking a little concerned she appeared to not be able to come up with anything. "Besides a fervent dislike of cold weather, I'm not sure of anything pertinent, Mr. Flynn. Drysi is... well... She's an angel. We've never had a single... Ah... well... Until recently she has always been an angel. I am sure she will have nothing but... er... the highest respect for your arts as as Druid."
"Marvelous, Ms. Maelgwyn, I look forward to meeting Drysi then," Ruarc chimed as he stood up from his seat and began to clean up his stove top, which now had ash on it. "I'm sure once the school year starts, she'll make plenty of friends, and thankfully the winters are relativey mild around here."
"Ah, that's good, Drysi has always had trouble making connections with people... ah, you know. Outside her family," Wynne picked up her purse, while the other paper on the table fluttered into the air, and neatly sorted itself away. "Again, thank you, Mr. Flynn."
"Of course, and do have a safe trip home."
"Well, yes. I imagine it will be... Unless it's ahm... Dangerous," said Ms. Maelgwyn at the door. It took her a moment to realize how silly that response was, before she opened the latch and let herself out, quite embarassed. "Er... Nevermind, you too. I mean... Haveagoodday."
Slam! The hinges rattled, as did a bit of the cottage, followed by a yelping "Sorry!" on the other end.
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