Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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The office Drysi Maelgwyn stepped into was one she had passed often enough during her first semester at Safeholme. She had probably glanced at it and given it no thought, like everyone does when they bypass portals to realms outside their own. Until this day, of course, that had been true. It would remain true for her peers a short while longer, but not much.

The office was impressive.The desk was heavy, dark, and ornate. Its surface was tidy: only a closed laptop, a single stack of collated papers, a lamp, and a photo frame facing away from her. The chair was likewise dark and ornate- and leatherbound. The wall beyond these things was three floor-to-ceiling shelves. The overwhelming majority were occupied by the kinds of books one assumed were more for posturing and posterity than reading. On the central column of shelves, on the middle shelf, were three objects: a metallic, silver globe of some kind that could fit into Drysi's hand comfortably; a silver-framed, oval mirror about the size of a person's face; and a gilded knife in a bejeweled sheath resting upon a smartly lacquered wood display piece. The music that had been playing since she entered emanated from a small speaker on the far left shelf.

Between the desk and the door were two matching couches, a coffee table between them, and a plush fabric chair, facing toward the desk. Just as Drysi processed all these things, the door clicked gently shut behind her.

"Ah, Maelgwyn-san." The tone was neutrally pleasant, much like the dark-skinned face of the woman who now shared the room with her. One elegant, thin-fingered hand reached out, gesturing toward the various seats. "Please, make yourself comfortable."

The speaker on the shelf chimed softly and ceased its playing as she made her way around the desk. There was no trace of magic that Drysi could see- no gesture or fluctuating aura, and yet she had not touched the device either. Nor did Drysi immediately recognize this fact: she was distracted by this avatar of professional grace and elegance striding around the room. Her black hair was in a tight bun, bangs framing her left cheek. Bright eyes shone behind red-rimmed spectacles. Her blouse and pencil skirt did everything a woman hoped they would, and her heels were fashionable and sensible. She draped a matching blazer over the back of her chair, then smiled again at Drysi. "Shall we get started?"

The young triclops had very recently learned who this woman was. She was Dr. Lady Sumedha, the Guidance Counselor for Junior Students.

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Kokuten
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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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Drysi's three eyes quietly scanned the room, her face puckered into a sour look as if she had just inhaled a lemon before she walked in. Her third eye seemed intently looking, her other two eyes just lazily tracking along. In a young triclops it was easy to tell when they were using normal sight or their mystic, third eye by which one seemed more focused. More than once her eyes were drawn to the little orb on the shelves.

There were various thoughts in her mind that seemed to crop up. A curiosity bubbled within her of how mundane everything was, untouched by magic. A small jealousy was rapidly sparking in her chest at how pretty this woman was, flaring under little insecurities. Smoldering pride overwhelmed it all, as the girl kept asking herself why she was even here in the depths of her mind, which gave way to a restrained irritation. As her emotions began to build, something secondary in her mind suppressed it.

When offered a seat, she stood where she was.

"Dr. Sumedha, I want to assure you," said Drysi as officially as she could, "that this sort of thing is entirely unnecessary. If you ask any of the teachers at this school, I am a model student. Counseling is for people with problems, I don't have any problems. There must be some sort of mistake."

As she said that, she cycled through her mind through many possible instances she may have been recommended to come here for. Drawing rather desperate conclusions and suspicions, which she confidently buried behind a swell smile.

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

The doctor offered a reassuring smile. "Miss Maelgwyn, there is no mistake, and that is a common misconception. You schedule regular checkups with a physician do you not? Even when you are not ill?" She gave that a moment before elaborating. "Should Safeholme wait for the roof to collapse before taking action? Or should we, instead, perform regular maintenance and inspections? My position is much like those: this is just a regular inspection. As the first, it will be more detailed than those in the future. Now please, sit."

Regardless of whether or not Drysi took a seat, Lady sat in her own behind the desk. Her posture was perfect. As she laced her fingers together on the desk, the student would be able to note her immaculately manicured nails. French, of course, for it was like the rest of her ensemble: simple and elegant.

"So, let's start with you, Miss Maelgwyn: do you have any questions for me regarding your education plan? Any concerns regarding classes, or conflicts developing with teachers or fellow students?"

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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Lady's explanation seemed to work for Drysi as she gently became more at ease with her surroundings. Instead of defiance she was working on acceptance, and walked over to the plush chair that sat at the desk across from the doctor.

Well. If it's just regular, then there's nothing wrong with me.

With that, Drysi gently sat herself down, flattening out her skirt and sitting up prim and proper, feeling slightly pressured by Sumehda's appearance and behavior. She moved slowly, and fidgeting helped her think of an answer to the question she had been asked. It was difficult to read adults, especially the teachers at Safeholme.

She was getting distracted.

"Let's start with me," Drysi repeated, buying herself a little more time, "Well. I think there's a lot to unpack there."

Her mind was drawing a blank, just like on the first day of school when she had to produce her name. Panic was starting to set in, and she could feel her choler rising in a frothing cocktail of frustration and embarrassment. It worked the cogs in her mind, but in the wrong direction. With a smile, she took a deep breath, as if about to speak.

Don't get angry. Don't get angry. Don't get angry.

"I think some of the courses here are stupid," spat the small triclops, already angry, but relegating it to a simmer. The smile on her face faded as she spoke. "Some of the teachers don't know what they're doing most of the time, and my classmates? Some of them can't even use magic. Some of them aren't even mages. I came here all the way from Wales to learn magic, for the first time, in a classical setting, and they assign me a druid master. For what?. My first class was a thought exercise. The teacher said it was to use the quiet part of our mind, but what good is that? I'm a mage that writes spells out. I need to use an actual part of my mind."

Her face was getting red, but it didn't stop her from continuing her witless tirade.

"Everyone else just seems to be okay with this; every time I try to point it out to people, they look at me like I'm the idiot. They all argue with me, the one person who is more qualified to be called a mage than all of them. I spend all my time studying, and every time I come out of my room, they look at me like I'm some sort of rabid fox. It. Is. Ridiculous. I hate it here."

Finished spitting fire, the girl crossed her arms, and began to brood, staring at the wall to her right.

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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"Let's start with me," Drysi repeated, buying herself a little more time, "Well. I think there's a lot to unpack there."

"There's no rush, Miss Maelgwyn, we'll work through it." Her voice was encouraging and kind, accepting. As the dam finally burst within Drysi, Sumedha nodded along and began a mental checklist of topics so they could break each one down and attack it head on.

"You're right, that is a lot to unpack. Let's see, we have: one, your disdain for some of the courses; two, your distaste for some of the teachers; three, your peers' lack of magehood; four, your social anxieties. Let's start from the top, hm?" Lady reached into a drawer and brought out a notebook and pen. Many students responded to an active participant, and Drysi was clearly not one to be ignored. Nor would Lady pretend. She began to organize the items, one per page so she had room for additional notes.

"Which particular classes do you feel are holding you back, or failing to meet your potential? And try to be as objective as possible with your reasons. Emotional responses are normal, but I need to know what's eliciting that response to be efficient." As she spoke, Drysi's flood of emotions would abate, like a bonfire settling to embers: still hot, but reduced.

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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Drysi refused to look at Lady, still embarrassed even as her temper began drop. Still brooding. Now that she was a bit more calm, she was able to think about all the things she had mentioned. It took her a moment to remember what she had said, exactly, as she had been frothing at the mouth when she had begun her tantrum.

Objective...

"First of all. Mr. Fodier's Communing with Spirits course is a joke. He just sits there each day and unleashes a box of evil spirits at us. I'm not learning anything, I've started taking fireball spells with me each day. Ms. Smith's Intuitive Scholastics has no coursework, she just comes in with her horse and demands us to make something up. It's just show-and tell. I don't know what to do. I keep giving the right answers, but she keeps telling me I'm wrong. I keep getting encouraged to try using my paper magic, but paper magic isn't real magic. It's just hand-motions and gestures."

Her ire flared again, but it bounced against a metaphysical ceiling. Sumehda could see her eyes light up now, as Drysi had stopped brooding and was speaking directly to her again, "And! Mr. Flynn's live exercises keep taking us into the forest. I hate the forest."

She stopped, catching herself, her mind seemed to flash a shot of a friend.

"Well. I don't hate the forest... It's just... Full of animals. Dangerous creatures. Spirits. Dirt. Mud. It's not a learning environment, it's just a field trip. It's not a classroom. We're not supposed to be having fun, we're supposed to be learning magic," some energy came back to her voice, "And! And! There's Mr. Caxton's Totality of Alchemy course. It's the one class that's actually a class, but it's so hard that half of the students have to show up to a guided study hour in the morning and the afternoon just to consume enough material to pass! There's no middle ground."

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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The counselor nodding along as the list grew:
-Communing with Spirits
-Intuitive Scholastics
-Practical Exercises
-Totality of Alchemy


When Drysi was done, Lady felt she had enough information to begin her dive. "So the ideal class for you is something with coursework of average difficulty; a classical teaching method, with oration and notetaking; something with material you know some, but not all of; material you respect." She let those words settle. "Miss Maelgwyn, I'm afraid the class you want is not the class you need. What you clearly desire is a class that makes you feel comfortable, that feels familiar. Something that doesn't challenge you, but reaffirms you."

Lady sighed. "I need you to listen very carefully Miss Maelgwyn." As those words left her lips, the tension that was undoubtedly building in the young triclops was assuaged, and her focus returned. "Safeholme is a safe place to study and practice magic- as safe as possible for magic, that is- but it is also designed to challenge you. You cannot rest on the laurels of your past academic successes here- which are numerous, according to my records."

She rose slowly from her seat and stepped around the desk to sit across from Drysi. She crossed one leg primly over the other, and leaned forward, fully engaging herself in the conversation. "Give me just a moment to address these concerns from another perspective."

One slim finger rose. "Mr. Fodier's class, while unengaging, has taught you that some problems can categorically be resolved with the same solution. If you truly feel he's taught all you have to learn, finish all the course work as quickly as you can, request the final test and be done.

"BUT, if there is still more knowledge to be acquired, stick it out. Responsibility is something we must shoulder, whether we like it or not. This is doubly true for heroic mages. If you want people to see you the part, you must play the part. Even the parts you don't like." She raised her eyebrows as if to ask, "You understand, don't you?"

"Next, Intuitive Scholastics, while atypical, is taught by an incredibly powerful mage. But what truly sets Miss Smith apart is her lightning intuition. Upon entering a room," she snapped her fingers to emphasize the point, "she has tallied everyone and everything before you can even say hello. She can tell a ghoul from a thrall faster than you can blink and she knows how to weaponize that information. Some problems in life require quick thinking. Miss Smith has found a way to drill that sort of intuition into those of us who weren't born with it.

"It also forces us to face our weaknesses, like when you had to scribble that spell quickly. It wasn't your usual clean handwriting, so Miss Michizaki read it wrong." She inclined her head as if to say, "Isn't that right?"

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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The triclops had been bristling a bit under the these vast PRESUMPTIONS of Dr. Sumedha. There were some things that made sense. Sure. Perhaps she wasn't seeing these classes for what they really were, and perhaps she was just a bit too impatient with them, and herself. That didn't mean she was trying to rest on her laurels!

Did it?

No, of course not. Look at those stupid, wordless expressions. The sneaking smile she knew was there. All the time, her little voice in the back of her mind kept whispering how ridiculous this whole farce was. This was just another session of Pick-at-Drysi.

"It also forces us to face our weaknesses, like when you had to scribble that spell quickly. It wasn't your usual clean handwriting, so Miss Michizaki read it wrong."

Three, brilliant emerald-eyes grew wide. There was a deep fear, not in Drysi but in the little voice, and it shrunk away. It was just the Triclops now, her mind wheeling into a more practical evolution of deducing how Dr. Sumedha even knew about that. Ms. Smith hadn't inspected her spell. The evaluations at the end hadn't covered the specifics. The scroll had been consumed in the casting.

Yet, more than deducing the truth of the matter, Drysi began squirming in her chair, as her pride rose in her chest and eventually rose in her throat.

"That's not true, my handwriting was -- "

A mess, the horse frightened me.

"-- immaculate! I had the situation under control. If Michizaki --"

Had used her own magic, it would've had the same effect.

"-- hadn't been bumbling around so much, she would have read the entire spell first, and then touched the creature, then it --"

Wouldn't really have mattered.

"-- would have gone on without a single problem!"

Feeling like she had gotten the last word, she nodded her head, as if to say "Good day". Her posture was prim, albeit defensive. "I'll have you know, Doctor, that it was me who saved the day. I don't know who is feeding you this misinformation, but the horse departed because of my spell. However it ended, I was the difference-maker. My only weakness was relying on small-minded fools who can't keep up."

Not really having the guts to look at Lady and verbally duel her, Drysi looked aside again, "I believe I am playing the part perfectly well, because I succeed perfectly fine. I mean... Look at Willow--..."

She froze, uncomfortable at using Willow's name to sound derisive. A little pang of regret planted itself in her chest, but she pressed her proud statement anyway.

"--... Look at the other students. The grades speak for themselves."

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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Dr. Sumedha raised a reassuring hand, as if to calm her. "You're a perfectionist, so I understand why you're upset. It's okay to be upset, and it's perfectly alright to make mistakes. Perfectionism, while an admirable trait, has a tendency of getting in our own way sometimes, like tripping on a beautiful kimono that's just a couple inches too long. It tells us that nothing but absolute, confident, certitude is acceptable, and that's simply not true."

She paused so that Drysi could have a moment of silence to reflect on that, and bring her temper down just a couple notches. "Trust me, I understand what it's like to be a perfectionist." She gestured to her attire as if that were proof enough. "Things need to be just right. But we have to come to terms with a simple truth: things can't always be just right. We can't always be just right. It's true, your spell did accomplish the task, but it didn't accomplish what you had intended: No Name ran off instead of falling asleep. That makes you uncomfortable, but rather than engaging that feeling you deflect it onto your peers. You project your internal problems, which is something we will have to discuss regularly as you've been doing this for years-- but I'm digressing.

"Miss Maelgwyn," she said, "I have looked at the grades. It's my job and joy as counselor to have a care for all of my students. Which is interesting you mention, because despite your complaints you are currently acing all of those classes. This is another case of projecting your problems: no teacher and no class will always hold your avid attention, but these are very significant charges you've made. But they all stem from problems you are grappling within yourself. I know I just said quite a lot, but does that make sense?"

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Re: Session 1: Drysi Maelgwyn

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Drysi's iron defense began to chip apart as Dr. Sumedha started making sense again from the first word out of her mouth. There was a way that the counselor spoke. The triclops began to realize a careful pattern of compliments and then stabbing criticisms, or at least that's how she perceived it. The woman was trying to help her, but Drysi knew the truth. Every time that she would act unhappy about something, there'd be a compliment, and then a little spear to 'fix' one of her problems.

The counselor was just pretending to listen, was her thought, rattling off little half-truths because Lady didn't understand her. Humans were like that, all presumption, no salt. No ability to truly understand people. Drysi was a perfect student, that much was just said, yet there was the gall to say that she was projecting! This woman hated her, just like everyone else. Drysi's temper rose sharply as the realization hit her, and then it bounced just as sharply in the other direction when the cogs of her rational mind spun its own arguement.

She's right. I'm doing it right now.

Three brilliant, emerald eyes widened in horror; Sumedha got to observe what was a very visceral reaction in her student. Drysi started shivering, and tears began to bud at the edge of her eyes. The surge of emotion lasted for a moment, before the girl gathered herself, trying to swing her mind back in the other way.

She wiped her tears, and looked away.

"No," she lied through her teeth, gritting them, "It sounds like a load of-- ... That... It doesn't apply to me. None of that applies to me."

The girl shifted in her chair, struggling to drive a counterpoint. She started spitting whatever came to her mind in a panic, "My grades are good. Just like you said. Who cares how I think of people? It's not my fault they aren't smart. They're all just living some school fantasy, while I'm living in the real world. If you're stupid, you struggle, and if you struggle, you're stupid; anything else is the quibbling of the weak. My Gram told me that, and she was much smarter than any of the so-called teachers here."

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