[Safeholme] Red-Handed

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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[Safeholme] Red-Handed

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Thump thump. By this point it was a certainty that Ruarc Flynn was accustomed to all manner of racket at his cabin at all hours of the day and night. As he roused himself, however, he could not have expected the impatient voice in his mind.

Quickly, Mr. Flynn, we have a serious problem that requires our immediate attention.

Standing on his stoop at one in the morning was Dr. Sumedha, dressed in khakis, a maroon button-up, and flats. Her hair was in its perfect, tight bun, and her glasses sat pristine upon her elegant nose. Her lithe arms were folded, the only outward sign of her irritation. The expression on her face: dire.
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Straken
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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Ruarc was already swinging his feet out of bed when Sumedha beckoned him. Picking up the pace, the Irishman quickly dressed and hurried down the stairs and to the front door. When he swung the door open he was in the process buttoning the last button on a grey and blue flannel shirt, and heavy denim pants and well worn work boots made up the rest of his attire. From the chest pocket he pulled his own glasses and slipped them on, drawing attention to his own hair which was decidedly unkempt hair. It actually made him look like the lanky, nerdy teenager he used to be.

"What's the situation?" Ruarc asked as he ran some fingers through his hair, his voice rumbled as he continued to shake off sleep.
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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"A lot, given the fact that none of the alarm wards ever alerted you to a thief trespassing within the school." She gave him a moment to process this before turning and walking toward the street- not the school.

"A young girl from what I can tell. Native, Japanese, and an appropriate age to begin tutelage at our school. She slipped through every ward without disturbing them, even the ones I added." While possibly not surprising to Ruarc, he had not known for certain about the psychic fields until just then.

"By pure happenstance I caught her during a quiet moment as she was breaking into my office. No doubt she's looted it."

As they hit the sidewalk from their side path, she turned toward the main gate and gestured. "Mr. Flynn, this is... Tanuki Issei."

Tanuki froze, two hands on the gate she had just relocked. Coffee brown eyes stared up at them in alarm. Her hair was held back in the world's shortest ponytail. Her form was small, frail and tensed in preparation for flight. She certainly looked like a Tanuki caught red-handed. The child was dressed in imitation of a ninja with soft-soled tabis on her feet, baggy midnight blue pants, and a matching stiff-collared blouse.

Her instincts screamed run, but something compelled her to stay. How had the woman known her name? There was a brief spark of pride. She was gaining infamy.
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Straken
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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A kid had made her way past not only the wards he had set up, but also the ones Sumedha had added? Ruarc was almost more impressed than he was concerned. Nodding, he stepped towards Sumedha and closed the door behind him. Stretching as he walked, the Irishman limbered up as he shook off the last of the sleep. He needed to be ready for an intensive search. Just about to dig for a few more details, they rounded on to the main path and the thief was revealed. Ruarc froze much the same way Tanuki did, and was about to rush forward when he registered how young the kid was.

"It's alright, lass," Ruarc called as lifted his hands up to show he meant no harm, and looking to the side to see what Sumedha wasgoing to do. The kid's body language reminded him of a barn cat; half feral and ready to bolt at the slightest provocation. "We'd like to have a word with you."
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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Tanuki stood taller in her pride and scowled at Ruarc. "The Lady said my name is Tanuki Issei and don't you forget it!"

"How long have you been practicing wards?" Sumedha asked, throwing her off balance.

The tiny scowl fixed her. "What's a ward?"

Lady sensed no attempt at deception and nodded to Ruarc to indicate she was being truthful. That was even more alarming. Lady began to search the girl's body for signs of tampering. While she detected mana, there was nothing nefarious.

She's a mage, she silently reassured Ruarc. What a strange situation.
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Straken
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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A groggy mind taking stock, Ruarc considered the situation. This young girl was a prodigy. Quite young and yet naturally adept at working with wards; it was impressive, and the girl knew it. In fact, her cocksure demeanor in the face of being confronted red handed simply because she was recognized reminded him of someone. A little birdy that used to chirp incessantly in the back of his mind.

She reminds me a bit of Laoise when she was younger, Ruarc thought. So what's the play? Are we apprehending her or recruiting her?

Either way, a holding action seemed in order, and hopefully his experience dealing with young Laoise would give him a hand.

"You'll have ta forgive me, Miss Tanuki Issei, Ah meant no disrespect," Ruarc called out, his tone humble but with effort make to ensure it didn't come across as patronizing. "Are you familiar with the specific nature of this building, Miss? You have an impressive eye for targets, but I can't help but wonder if you actually found the real treasure of this place. After all, it's hidden pretty well."
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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Ruarc took Tanuki on a rollercoaster of emotions. She beamed at his deference, and practically glowed at his praise, but became supremely wary when he mentioned treasure. it's a trap! her mind shouted. He wants me to reveal my treasures!

Taking a step back, poised once more for flight, she scowled again. "I'm twelve, I'm not stupid," she shot back. "It's a boring old school with boring old stuff in it."

We can't leave her on the street, and she has items i am eager to reacquire. "Unfortunately, it seems you have taken some boring old stuff from my office. You will go return them now." Let's see how she slipped in, Lady suggested.

"Finders Keepers!" The mage-thief shouted and stuck out her tongue.

A cold countenance settled over Lady Sumedha, an icy glare pierced the young girl. Sudden fear and alarm were amplified subtly and bent toward compliance. This was not a woman Tanuki wanted to cross.

"O-o-okay! I'll put em back."

Lady watched studiously as the girl made short work if the gate lock, despite the wards on it, and then simply slipped into the grounds through yet more wards set against intrusion.

Both counselor and groundsman could see with their experienced sight that she twisted the lock into shape by gentle application of mana. The ground wards, though, simply stretched around her as if she were fitting into a snug sweater. As soon as she was beyond them, they were back to their original condition.

"She's a weaver," Lady murmured, a subdued hint of surprise in her voice. It was rare for her to be surprised. "And someone has enchanted the girl's body with impeccable skill to weave through wards. All she had to do was touch her mana and it happened on its own. She's not a master warder, she's someone's Magnum Opus." And whoever it was had misplaced her. If they were still alive, they would be wanting her back.

"We have stumbled into something much bigger, Mr. Flynn."
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Straken
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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Ruarc gave Sumedha a similar look. Namely one of surprise, and distinct deference. Any approach he had in mind was immediately shelved, and he mentally back away to give his associate the right of way. Sure enough Tanuki caved, whereas she seemed to take offense to parts of Ruarc's approach. Hooking his thumbs into his front belt loops, Ruarc leaned back on his heel and watched as Tanuki easily reentered the campus; to say nothin of her bypassing the sleeping Aurus for a second time. It was both impressive an terrifying. Impressive that a kid so young was capable of such things. Terrifying that it wasn't her doing, and terrifying that it was apparently by design. The thought that she had been made this way left him feeling uneasy, as most things involving magical works on children did.

"So it would seem," Ruarc said slowly in response to Sumedha.

"Ah was gonna make a joke about the friends we made along the way were the real treasure, But that seems moot," he said now to the young girl. "As it happens, this is a magic boarding school. And, for what it's worth, you've peaked both of our interests."
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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The mage-thief froze and turned back when Ruarc spoke to her. "Magic?" she scoffed. "Magic isn't real. I told you, I'm twelve, I'm not stupid." Her childish scorn poisoned each word. "I bet you still believe in Saint Nick too, old man."

Lady outwardly didn't flinch, but inwardly she was subduing a tinkle of laughter. The guidance counselor remained the embodiment of poise as she reached out with her mind and spoke into Tanuki's. Magic is very real. We can teach you to use yours. She offered a sly smile to the girl's wide-eyed shock.

Invisible fingers gently pushed Tanuki back out the gate to stand before Ruarc and Lady. "Count yourself fortunate, Miss Issei. Most students have no clue what my powers are."

Tanuki was glancing between the two of them, awed. Eventually she settled her scrutiny on Ruarc and pointed. "What can you do?"

This was a lot to think about, but Tanuki prided herself on being flexible and adaptable to anything- anything. Even the sudden existence of magic. Though, if these two strange adults were to believed, she'd been living with magic her entire life. A lot a lot a lot.
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Straken
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Re: [Safeholme] Red-Handed

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Giving a sideways smirk to Sumedha, Ruarc considered the question directed towards him. He had never really been one for showing off, so his initial response was towards the more humble side of things. Given observation, he could assume Sumedha had given the younger girl a taste of her own magic, thus prompting Tanuki's inquiry into his. As it was late, he wasn't particularly geared towards any distinct amount of razzle or dazzle. And, as it so happened, he was feeling somewhat bashful as his powers were a bit more overt than Lady's. That said, his abilities were distinctly more overt. Telepathy could be reasoned away with lengthy grasps of the mind, whilst visual abilities were harder to reason away. Sumedha brought the razzle, he could bring the dazzle.

"Me? Well, I'm more elemental based. Nothing spectacular," even as Ruarc spoke, he was considering a spell to show off. With an effort, he hid a toothy grin and chanted a spell. It still wasn't combat ready, but he'd been practicing regularly to ensure his new spell was adequate. The chant for his Dragon Fire spell. Altered here and there, with changes to the chant and its delivery. Rather than a roaring dragon's head soaring into the sky, a wreath of flame encircled Ruarc's hand with pin points above each finger. Wiggling his fingers to move each point of light, the Druid eventually waved away the flame.

"A simple chat, and who knows how many doors could open for you," he offered simply.
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