September 9, 2012 by Lyn
Sunday, August 31, 2003
Having delivered Wylie and Reese, the one relieved and the other looking far too innocent to actually be innocent, into the confines of the school, Luke stalked the halls, doing a head count and wondering what else he’d missed.
The Working to hide Wylie’s absence had been good, very good. It wouldn’t have caught Luke, but it had clouded the students’ minds well enough that he hadn’t suspected anything until he got back to the school. Reese wasn’t normally that good at mind-Workings, which meant he probably had a partner in crime.
That wasn’t the part that bothered Luke the most, however. Students pulled pranks, and cheated, and did everything they could to get ahead. The school encouraged it, if not directly, then in what Luke wasn’t allowed to punish, and what he was. Murder was against the rules, although Luke had not had to enforce that one more than once so far. Murder, and skipping classes, and leaving school grounds without permission (and there were, on very rare occasion, exceptions made for skipping classes). Everything else had a lot more grey area. Luke would not be punishing Reese – directly – for this little prank.
But he hadn’t been the only one pulling pranks. Luke pulled the tracking device out of his pocket and studied it. Someone had left it on the hem of a new student’s shirt, where it would not, normally, have been found. And, indeed, Lemon, the student, had suspected nothing, as far as he could tell. He’d have to ask Reid to check her for tampering.
He could check the tracking device himself. Tiny, non-metallic, and infused with a series of Workings, it was designed to be missed by anything but the most intense searches, the sort normally used around the Council’s meetings.
Addergoole’s wards and Workings could give the Council’s strongest protections a run for their money. If there was one thing Luke, Regine, Mike, and Reid were in complete agreement on, it was the protection of their little enclave. They knew what was coming – and they knew what was out there now. One Dragon had gotten through. It was Luke’s job, and oath, to make certain another one never did.
“You blame yourself.” Will had said it like an accusation, the last time she visited. “Still, four years later.”
“They still have the scars. I’m going to blame myself as long as they have those scars, Will.”
“You weren’t the one who left the hole in the Wards.”
“I was the one who didn’t catch him!” It had been a roar. It was still a roar, in the back of his mind, a shout of accusation. A Dragon had hurt his students, and he hadn’t caught him. Never mind that the students had been rescued, that the Dragon had paid. It hadn’t been him doing it. And it had been his fault in the first place.
He stared at the tracker again. He didn’t recognize the manufacture, but it was clearly Ellehemaei in origin. Somebody was stalking Lemon.
Luke was going to catch this one.
Tuesday, September 2, 2003
They all did it. Some of them liked to pretend they didn’t. Some tried to say it was all the students’ choice, and they mustn’t do anything at all to influence it, even think about it. Some said let nature take its course.
Shira had been a hunter, a trapper, long before she’d been a teacher, and she was a precognitive psychic. It was twice second nature for her to try to guess.
She studied the Ninth Cohort coming through her classes, the way they acted around older students, the way they spoke to her, and to other teachers, the way they acted around the members of her cy’ree. She listened to what her extra senses were telling her, too; they weren’t a crystal ball, but they often gave her the proper impression.
Æowyn was not her sort; her sharp-edged tongue and the snake in her ancestry wouldn’t meld well with the cy’ree. She wouldn’t take on one of Mike’s kids if they paid her twice her salary, so belle Belfreja was out. Something about Ciara told her she had a different road.
The rest… Shira spent the lunch hour hiding in her office, drinking tea and willing the visions away. Her cy’ree was composed half of those who had powers similar to Shira’s – the Sight, in one form or another – and half of those who, as an older Student had once said, “need a support group.” The damaged. The badly Kept, no matter how hard they tried to stop the abuse. The badly parented, and how could they deal with that?
Sometimes Shira wondered why she did it to herself. Then she remembered the six-armed hugs she’d gotten after the worst-off of her Students had been freed, and she remembered. If she didn’t stop the abuses, no one would.
With that in mind again, she stepped back out into the halls, looking at her students, at those who could be potential Students. She sifted them through her mind, feeling where they were going, feeling what they would need.
Ceinwen. The girl glowed bright in Shira’s mind, a shining light the likes of which she hadn’t seen in years. Was she…? She spent a few moments between classes studying genealogies, and, her suspicions confirmed, made a note to ask the girl to consider her, when the Masks had all been dropped.
Llew? She might see if Luke would take him, but fast, before things got bad. And the darkness was there around him, hanging in a thick black cloud. Like Ceinwen’s light, she hadn’t seen anything that dark in a while. What was going on in the halls of Addergoole this year? How could she slow it, or stop it? She penciled in a couple notes about Llew, but he would be someone else’s to teach, no matter what she could do for him.
Eluned, Kheper, they both had other routes to walk. Noam – Noam was a strong possibility. She’d ask him, too, when the Masks had dropped and she didn’t have to dance around the questions. Lemon, now, that was another kettle of fish.
She looked back at Llew, and at Kay, and worried. The last time things had gotten this bad, it had taken the blood and flesh of one of Shira’s Students to get Regine’s attention. If it took that again…
No. Shira thumped her fist on the desk. It would not take that again. They were paying more attention now. They would stop it. She would catch it, this time.
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
“Good hunting?” Rory didn’t even look up from the TV, but he somehow saw Kees sneaking into their shared suite.
“Meh.” Kees flopped down next to the older boy. “They’re all so…”
“Girly?” Rory smirked. “They do that. What about the guys?”
“I told Vi I’d try.” He couldn’t quite look at his crew-mate as he said that; Rory was Yngvi’s younger brother, and sometimes they looked far too much alike, especially with Rory’s red hair sun-bleached almost blonde. “I promised him I’d make an honest try at finding a girl.”
“It’s not that bad, you know.” Rory passed him a beer, the fruity stuff he knew he preferred. “Girls, I mean. I did it, the last three years.”
“I know. It’s just…” He popped the cap on the bottle with a claw and drank down half of it in one gulp. “Thanks.”
“You miss him. I get it. I still miss Callie. Look, you’ve got your time here. Three more years. You get through it, you do what you need to do to graduate, and you try not to make a mess of anyone while you’re here.”
“You think that’s possible?”
“Anything’s possible.” Rory smirked at him. “We’re magical fairies. Look.” He took a drink of his own beer. “You figure out who you want, and we’ll help you get her. Or him.”
“We’re your crew, kid, and not just because you were with our brother last year. Besides.” His grin turned wild and feral, the way he got sometimes. The way they all got sometimes. “You’ll do the same for us, if we’re looking.”
“Of course I would.” Adelheid and Rory had claimed they weren’t, but that could change. Efrosin, on the other hand, was hunting much more intently than Kees was.
“And, on top of all the family reasons, if you get a Kept, they’re going to be safe an happy. Now, anyone catch your eye?”
“Shang?” He finished his beer while Rory laughed at him. “Okay, okay. I kinda like Cody. And, ah… well, Belfreja. But everyone likes Belfreja.”
Rory didn’t look like he was going to stop laughing any time soon. “Stay away from the Norse names. You know what they say about our family.”
“Yeah, and I know Adelheid Kept Anwell. So it can’t be all true.” He shrugged uncomfortably. “She’s pretty, but I don’t really have a chance.”
“You might. I just think if you’re going for girls you should go for girls who have a chance of liking guys. Cody, you said? We could get her for you.”
Kees squirmed. “I don’t like doing it that way. I want to…. Do it right, like Vi did it with me.”
“Yngvi had a couple advantages. He knew what to say, he knew how to say it, and he was a fourth-year student. Nobody was going to mess with him. You… have us.”
Stung, Kees stood up. He could angst about girls just fine on his own without being insulted.
“Siddown. Come on, you know it’s true. Vi was your first and you weren’t sure you liked boys or girls before you came here.”
He stayed on his feet, still flushing angrily. “That doesn’t mean I don’t know how things work here.”
“It means you might need help, and that’s what your crew is for. Do you think me or Heidi were any better, when we got here? Look, I thought girls had cooties.”
He found a smile trying to touch his lips, and settled back onto the couch. “They don’t?”
“The awesome ones don’t. Look, take a look around, and, like I said, we’ll help you. You can do it right, with our help.”
Do it right. He thought of some of the things he’d seen over the last year, and nodded. He could do this, and he could do it right.
Addergoole: Year Nine updates every Wednesday evening EST.
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