[Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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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Kokuten
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[Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Kokuten »

"How's Rirk's outbox come to be so full? I thought he was on holiday."

Brenya Lilibloom, the Mystic Societies and Speech instructor, remarked this on her first day back from maternity leave.

"He came for a short time; looked quite stressed," answered Kano Masanobu, the Introduction to Arcanobiology course instructor. He had the desk across from Brenya, whose comment caused her to look up with a curiosity that lit her blue eyes brightly.

"Stressed, about what?"

"I've been told he got engaged while he was in Ireland; to that woman who's around him all the time," Ogata Kana, the teacher for Advanced Incantations and the rumor mill for the school.

"He got engaged to Jane?"

"No, Jane would never marry anyone, she's not the type."

The door to the teacher's room opened and closed as the two went on. Brenya pressed Kana further, a little out of the loop, "How is Jane these days?"

"Doing work with the Menagerie again. There was some serious buzz the other day."

"There's serious buzz every day now," Kano sighed in exasperation, flicking his pen a couple of times before writing on, "First the realm-gate incident, that alchemist gets hired on along suddenly with his security-constructs, and the school gets attacked. It's no wonder the Menagerie is moving again. The world is getting dangerous again."

Brenya seemed more than alarmed at all of this new information coming at once. A small blonde mop of hair rose in Ruarc's chair, and with it a hand reached up to grab all the papers in his inbox.

"The school was attacked? By who?"

Kano shrugged in a fit of melodrama, and Brenya clenched her eyes tight as he tossed his emptied pen across the room, barely missing the rubbish bin.

"Who knows," the man began to search for another pen, "something happened out in the forest, and something punched through the wards. We got an e-mail about it the day after assuring the staff and students that everything was under control and that measures were in place to prevent it from happening again."

"We have the Menagerie here, what are we worried about?"

"Gone as well," Kana revealed, causing Brenya to gape.

"On holiday?"

"Probably, most of them look like they've been working long hours."

"Perfect time for a holiday," chipped Kano, finally smiling when he found a fresh pen. "With the viking walking around and the horned imp that's shadowing the gate."

"Not holiday."

The three of them stopped, finally noticing the mop of blonde hair sitting in Ruarc's chair. A small white-robed creature with a fair face and coke-bottle glasses looked up at them. She arranged the person-sized paperwork in her hands with a curt tap on the table too high for her. While her face seemed neutral, her eyes seemed reproachful as she spoke again.

"Field trip."
Haleiwa, Hawaii
Kamehameha Highway
Summer Break


"Ms. Tanaka do not go running off, sight-seeing will be tomorrow," warned Percival Caxton, instructor of the majority of the Alchemy courses at Safeholme. To the students, Mr. Casson was an unflappable, cold and strangely untiring individual and one of the few teachers at Safeholme that did study hours before and after school hours. He was a strict, by-the-book teacher who was made dryer by his choice of subject. Alchemy. Which was what made the sudden opportunity to take a field trip to Hawaii all the more strange.

"But I want to get a sandwich from the food truck!" protested Chinami, her mouth watering at the colorful stalls that decorated the edge of Kamehameha Highway, a small tourist trap street on the island of Oahu.

"Lunch is at 1:00PM, after the visit to the plantation," reminded Mr. Caxton, in what the students found to be his normal frigidness. This manner was somewhat comical as the man was dressed in a purple, silken shirt with flowering plumeria and hibiscus. "Please keep the schedule in mind for any future questions."

The most heavily dressed of the students reached into her bag, pulling out a small folded schedule with inking she could appreciate. Her three eyes scanned the events, two of which were only visible thanks to some subtle inscription magic on her forehead. The field-trip group had already made the inter-island transit from Kilokilokula on Kuai, the academy that was hosting the students and chaperones from Safeholme. The mages there were more akin to Druids than most other types, and Drysi Maelgwyn had found interacting with the native Hawaiian mages an enlightening start to her training in the new Celtic arts she had engrossed herself in.

She pushed her wide-brimmed sun hat up, her shoulders wreathed in a lacy shawl to obfuscate her new fangs, which were more difficult to hide.

"I never knew the plantations on Hawaii were so diverse," Drysi said idly, looking over at Willow over the plan, speaking of the trip to the Alchemist's Plantation which sat at the heart of the fields on the northern shore. Kilokilokula Alchemists were going to host an exclusive class for the Safeholme group, identifying and mixing some of the unique herbs and fruits of Hawaii into potions.

Despite this, there was an anxious air above Mr. Casson's drone and the whining of the students who were more interesting in seeing the sights. Mixed in with the group of students were several teachers, some of which Drysi recognized as the 'heavy-hitters' of the faculty, with some who weren't even faculty.

It had been a few weeks since the fight in the woods. Everyone who had been there was on the trip, among with some of the other students she didn't recognize. As they walked past tourists, mostly Americans and Japanese, the triclops anxiously grabbed Willow's hand.

"Don't get lost," said Drysi curtly.
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Straken
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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The normally bombastic Brit was now currently lost in thought amid the tropical paradise. Sporting a comfortable pair of cool grey wide legged linen pants, and a navy cut-out shoulder top with the front tucked into her waistline, Willow was brought back to the moment by Drysi taking her hand. While she had been, and for the most part still was, excited to come to Hawaii; Willow was trying to commit herself to her studies. Specifically alchemy. Amid her training with allomancy, she had ingested a not insignificant amount of the dreaded cod liver oil; and if Mr. Chanterelle was to be believed, alchemy could save her from drinking more. It would also provide other benefits as well, she supposed. As such, she'd been trying to commit the information they'd been learning from the plantations, but data retention remained her weakness.

"Thanks, Dryce," Willow replied to her roommate. Switching her brain off of memorization, she tucked a loose lock of her flaxen hair behind her ear and her sunglasses. One of the side effects of her cod liver oil flasks of magic was a drastic increase in how much Omega-3 she was consuming, so her skin was pristine and her hair was silken majesty.

"When do you think we'll be able to go to the beach?" Willow asked, her typical pep returning as she raised her volume a bit to speak to her friends in general. "I want to try surfing! Drysi, you should try surfing with me."

Near the back of the group, the rather dour Ruarc Flynn towered like a shepherd over his flock of students. Despite Percy's assurances to Ruarc following the Irishman's return home from his vacation that everything was fine, he still hadn't forgiven himself for being absent during the incursion on Safeholme. As such, he hadn't even wanted to come on this trip due to his renewed drive to overhaul the wards of Safeholme. It wasn't until Caoranach had convinced him that staying behind was the equivalent of being the one of vacation while the students stayed behind. Coming along meant the ability to keep an eye on the kids; and for Carrie it meant a tropical vacation with Ruarc, which she had never thought would happen. Sadly for Carrie, Ruarc had committed himself to playing watch dog, and thus she appeared similarly unhappy.

He in a button up Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, and velcro sandals; Ruarc had relented so far as to let Carrie pick his shirts. Carrie wore a single shoulder irregular dress that hung loose and flowed around her frame like mist. Even with their soured looks, Carrie was drawing looks from passersby, and a couple guys had already tried to approach her. This prompted a severe glare from Ruarc, quickly dissuading the advance. Laoise on the other hand looked quite happy near the front of the pack. Dressed in a simple two piece white maxi dress that matched her snow white hair.
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

Lingering silently near Willow and Drysi was unmistakable black-clad Johann. Except, he wasn't wearing all black for a change. He'd swapped his usual black turban for a sky blue wrap. A plain gray t-shirt exposed pasty arms slick with smears of unabsorbed sunscreen. Hairless white legs similarly blinded anyone foolish enough to look that way. It was the first time since his arrival that anyone had seen him expose his legs (one terrible evening excluded) outside. His shorts were khaki and cargo, and it was clear he was utilizing that capacity to great effect.

The biggest change was the empty space beneath his fidgeting right hand, where normally there would be a dog. An undead dog, he had been reminded by Mr. Caxton, to which he had reminded him that they were mages in a school of magic and somebody should be able to charm him to look normal.

Yes, someone could have, but to maintain a fully tactile illusion for the whole trip would have been costly- and that mage hadn't come on the trip to ensure its maintenance. So there he was, alone for the first time in years. Hiding his anxiety was impossible, but he tried his hardest to put on a good face.

And Hawaii was beautiful. It was easy to find distractions from his weak inner monologue. I'm not weak, he reminded himself. I captured a dangerous soul and saved my friends. He found it hard to convince himself of that truth, sometimes. Had he really done that?

This of course reminded him that everyone he liked had seen his disfiguration. He tried to console himself: it was dark, they weren't paying attention, and so on. But none of it helped. They all knew how messed up he was. They tried not to think about it, but he could see it in their eyes every time they glanced at his turban. Disgust.

"You were a kid once," Jane reminded Percy quietly, so the kids wouldn't hear. She dressed nearly the same as always, though the colors were lighter. Her button-up shirt was a blue-white checkered pattern. The sleeves were rolled up to the elbows and the top two buttons were undone, occasionally exposing a white tank top. Faded jeans were tucked into short boots, and her iconic hat sat where it always did. Her hair was in a single thick braid. The most unusual change was the addition of sunglasses.

She wasn't quite sure why she was there. It felt wrong to leave Safeholme so defenseless, but she felt she needed to be here. It was probably Ruarc's fault. Her last "vacation" had started out much the same way, calm and relaxed, and nearly ended with the two of them dead. Jane had higher hopes for this trip.
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Kokuten
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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"If only I could remember."

Percival said this as they turned off the main drag and towards the layered fields that built into the hills. While some of the signs and stall menus had Japanese on them, most of the written language was in English. Because of this, and because it was an international trip for everyone involved, most of the students that struggled with English followed Mr. Casson dutifully.

"Surfing is the primary reason people are eaten by sharks, Willow," said Drysi, tugging on the girl's hand to emphasize her point, "You are quite literally riding a plate into their mouths."

The triclops made not so subtle glances at their interlocked fingers and at Willow. A small thumping began to knock at the door of her chest.

"You two are getting along better." Dorothy spooked the girl, in a classical fashion, causing Drysi nearly to leap out of her skin.

"Nn-no! Yes. NO." flubbered Drysi, shaking her arm to loose herself from Willow. "She's just worried about being in a foreign country."

Dorothy frowned at this, "We all live in a foreign country."

"Ha. Ha ha. You see," Drysi began to sweat, partially as the humidity rose as they walked the fields. "Its all about perspective."

With no more explanation, she made an about face from the confrontation, her loose garments flowing in a twirl, and gracelessly ran into Johann. Flustered, Drysi snarled at the boy as if it were his fault, "Johann! Ugh! Why are you so..."

The slow cadence of her mind to generate insults frustrated her further, as well as how much she had to crane her neck to look up at him, "so... tall!?"

Mr. Caxton had led the group away from the tourist traps and into a produce field. The stalks of fruit and vegetation rose higher and higher until it felt like they had descended into a jungle rather than climbed a hill. He seemed to be following small markings left on stones at certain parts of the trail. A stone in his hand glowed as he approached them.

Flowers and creeping leaves filled their left and right, with an empty glade marking near the end of their short journey. There was a cauldron of water, several bowls and a box of bags that smelled strongly of herbs. More tools were arrayed, showing thorough preparation for the demonstration.

Percival's face soured, and he put the stone away in favor of his phone. After some tapping and swiping he put the device up to his ear, and nodded his head to the bowls. "Alright everyone, grab a bowl and a bag, and find a spot. The instructors will be here shortly."

A pair of small heads popped up from Mr. Caxton's shirt, one orange and one silver. He whispered something to them, and they went flying off to the back of the group.

"Mr. Flynn!" Jakku flew up to Ruarc, with Zippo close behind, "Percy wants to know if you got any... letters?

"Texts." Zippo corrected.

"From... Kale?"

"Keo."

"He says that he told Percy that he was here already."

Jane, at the front with Percy, wasn't quite so distracted as the others. Some of the students were slowly complying and grabbing bowls, while others were still breaking out of vacation mode. Between the talking, laughing, and rattling, she could hear a phone ringing, or perhaps a radio playing a sudden song.

The sound was coming from beyond the glade.
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Straken
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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“Feeling okay, Drysi?” Willow asked as she touched the back of her hand against the triclops’ cheek. Drysi had been opening up recently as she was getting used to the friend group, but was still prone to her occasional sporadic bouts; usually she doesn’t sweat this much though. Flushed cheeks, rapid breathing, altered behavior; it never hurt to check. “If you feel like you are overheating I can check with Professor Percival about letting you rest in some shade. Heat stroke is no joke.”


“Ah yes, Percy back when he had boyish charm,” Laoise chided as she moved over and matched her pace with Percival and Jane. Her movements were light and jaunty as she laced her fingers together behind her back. “To be fair, Jane, you should see Percy when he and Ruarc are watching their clubs down at the pub. Easy to forget the mob rumors.”


At the back of the pack, Ruarc regarded the small sprites as they ran their routine. Shifting only his eyes to follow their movement, the Irishman held his stoney demeanor. “I don’t recall getting any messages,” Ruarc said, a thick Hungarian accent coloring his words; Caoranach hit his arm, but it looked like she was trying to keep a smile from growing in response to some inside joke.

Reaching into a fanny pack that Caoranach had tried desperately to keep Ruarc from wearing, the Irishman pulled out his fairly vintage phone to check for texts.

“Perhaps if you actually kept your phone in one of your many cargo pockets you would notice it vibrate,” Caoranach said as she used a Hungarian accent as well; hers was silky and flawless, and nuanced enough that her derision was easily noticed. The fey extended her slender arm, and upturned her palm and delicate fingers as an invite for Zippo and Jakku to sit while they wait for Ruarc to navigate his phone menu.
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Kokuten
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Kokuten »

Ruarc flipped open his phone and surveyed the messages he had received in the last couple of days.
Drysi Maelgwyn wrote:"Hello Mr. Flynn, I am working on my runecrafting assignment, and my etchings...
It seems Drysi had taken the time to send a picture of a rune she was working on prior to their walk on to Kamehameha Highway. Another message down came shortly before.
Perce wrote:"Just so you know, I can feel your brooding from here."
And then, a few minutes before that.
Keo wrote:"ruark, can you let me knowbwhen your group makes it tonhaleiwa. just finished setting out the items for the alche"
The two sprites took a bit of respite on the faerie queens palm. Intense energies seemed to course through the bedrock there, and most spirits of the islands felt more comfort at their edges. Jakku rested her wings, staring expectantly up at Ruarc. Zippo pretended not to be bashful.

In the encroaching, green glade, the heat let on more firmly. Drysi felt that the sun, while shaded by the thick, tropical trees, was burning too hotly. Feeling a hand on her face, she jumped, and twice again out of her skin when she saw it was Willow.

"Heatstroke? Me? No." Drysi stared helplessly as she shrank from the girl, "I mean yes. Yes. Oh no. You're right. Heatstroke."

The thorn-named triclops reached into her large, fabric shoulder purse and withdrew a water bottle than had more girth than her delicate arms. With one hand she popped off the cap, and then with both she up turned the cylindrical reservior. One, two, them three gulps went by before she gave a slight inhale. Her throat protested and she began to hack up a watery cough.

"See?" Drysi mewled, wheezed and coughed, lowering the bottle without spilling too much of it, "Better already."
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Straken
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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Sifting through his messages, Ruarc took time to pull his glasses out of his shirt pocket so he could properly squint at the small picture on his phone; causing Caoranach to rub her forehead in aggravation while giving an exasperated look to Zippo and Jakku. "Father have mercy; what have I got myself into? Ruarc, watching you can be painful sometimes. Why won't you just get a new phone?"

"I don't need one," Ruarc said back, his tone distant and distracted as he read his messages.

"Clearly you do," Caoranach's retort was prompt.

"And why's that?"

"You could look at texts and pictures without squinting like you are sixty." Ruarc simply shot Carrie a pointed look.

Once the Irishman reached the text from Keo he tensed his jaw and emitted a low grumble. Thumbing a quick response, Ruarc updated Keo on the group's status. "Yeah, he just finished setting out the items for the... class?"


Following Drysi's manic burst of water chugging, Willow smiled. In contrast to her usual grin, the Brit's face seemed to droop and the smile seemed sad and distant. Letting it linger for only a moment, Willow widened the smile and seemed back to her usual self. "Alright... just, don't push yourself to hard. Lot's of fun things planned, so we need to expend our energy wisely!"
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