August 29, 2014 by Lyn
Year Four of the Addergoole School – May
It would have been pretty to say the unimaginable had happened, except that, elbow-deep in blood, it suddenly became very easy to imagine. It would have been poetic to speak of horror, except that there was no time for speaking at all, or even of thinking. There was only the job, and everything else would have to take care of itself later.
It was hours before Caitrin had time to think about anything but the job in front of her, hours before she had any time for anything but long strings of Greek and Old Tongue that all started with Jasfe.
Another student – another Ellehemaei, forget student – would probably have died. Eris nearly had died, and might still, her too-strong healing factor acting against her in more ways than one.
It took almost an hour for Caitrin put the girl back together, and then three more to combat infection and fever; her body had healed around obstructions without regard for the difficulties that might cause.
When she was certain that Eris would survive, when she was confident that the girl would not be disturbed, and when she was sure that Maria Mendosa was waiting there, calm and ready, for the girl to wake, only then did Caitrin find the couch in her office and collapse.
When she woke up, the first thing that Caitrin did was knock on Regine’s door.
“Something has to change and it has to change now.” She had washed her hands and changed her jacket, but she had not cleaned all the blood off herself. She watched as Regine noticed this and came to the obvious conclusion.
“Luca has spoken to Shadrach…”
“I don’t mean talking.” Caitrin plowed right over Regine’s beginning. “I mean one, getting Eris out of that situation, with binding promises that she will not be touched for the rest of the year, and two, punishing the boys.” She met Regine’s eyes, too angry to worry about the old myths. “I mean that we monitor situations so that this doesn’t happen again.”
“We already have monitoring in place…”
“Clearly is it not enough!” It was a roar. It needed to be more. Caitrin dropped her voice to a very quiet, calm, analytic tone. “This cannot happen again. The boys need to be punished, and Eris needs to be released.”
“Are you dictating terms to me, Caitrin?”
“Yes.” That could be a challenge, and Regine was a more powerful fae than she, with the backing of a rather powerful crew. “Those are my terms.”
“Then how would you suggest we punish Shadrach? And how do we dissolve a bond that, in the real world, is not subject to outside interference?”
Tempting to say you’re the administrator, you deal with that. Instead, Caitrin plowed ahead. “We both know that there’s always outside interference – in the real world, down here, everywhere. And that outside interference could easily be used in this situation.”
“Convince the boys it’s in their best interests to release Eris.”
Regine raised her eyebrows. “Convince?”
“Convince.” Caitrin pressed her lips together tightly over the word.
“Well. Those are your terms?”
Regine probably wasn’t laughing at her. The Grigori did not laugh, Regine less than most of her kind.
“That is what needs to happen, Director. Or the next situation like this might not be someone with a healing factor. And we’ll end up with another murder on our hands – and none of us want that.”
“No, we do not.” Regine pursed her own lips. “We could adjust the wards and the mind-control…”
“No!” Caitrin quickly modified her tone. “No. The wards are already harsh enough – maybe too harsh. And if you keep laying more wards, what happens when they’re outside the mind control, mmm?” Caitrin shook her head. “No, you need consequences.”
“Then I’ll punish Shadrach, and ‘convince’ him to release Eris. Will that please you?”
Caitrin pushed her lips together. “It will suffice.”
“Then I suggest you clean up and get some more rest. When we’ve dealt with Shadrach, I’ll send someone to let you know.”
Caitrin took the victory she was going to get, and left.
After Chapter 183c: Jamian – Year 5 of the Addergoole School
“What the hell, Regine?” The door had barely shut on their little meeting of students. Ty had just, for the first time in the kid’s four years here, waved around a power that could have taken down the whole school if the desire had been there. Jamian had broken their Workings and revealed a hole in their plans they hadn’t even anticipated.
Luke hadn’t anticipated it. He wouldn’t put it back Regine to have thought of it years ago.
On the other hand, today’s mess was ninety percent human emotions, so…
“The situation has been handled.” She sounded so placid. Of course she always did.
Luke indulged in a wing-flap of irritation. “Because Ty interfered. And the thing that we didn’t want happening – Ty swinging around that overpowered… power of his – now that’s going to be the talk of the school.”
“The situation would have been fine had Ty not interfered.”
“Fine? Fine?“ This flap was far less tame. Papers on Regine’s desk scattered. “Listen, we should have dealt with the situation when it first came up. And for you to tell poor Kendra that she’d have to go back…”
“Considering that the Working was dissolved, rather than the ‘bond’ breaking, I doubt Kendra had to deal with the emotional whiplash of a Keeping bond ending.”
“That doesn’t mean she should have to go back to it!” Luke was roaring, and knew it. “Damnit, Regine. You said after the fuckup with Shadrach last year that you’d work out a way to monitor this shit better!”
“Why are you working under the assumption that there was ‘shit’ to monitor?”
“Because of the look on her face when she was free. Because of the panic when you told her you were going to send her back.”
“And if that was your first indication, Luca, why do you think that I should have known sooner?”
Luke felt a cold chill wash through him. His wings stilled. He met his crew-mate’s gaze and answered in a tone as measured as hers. “If we monitored Keepings more thoroughly, Regine, we would have seen this sooner. And, if you recall, I’ve told you three times over the year that Ofir was going to be trouble.”
He thought about leaving it there, but given the look on Regine’s face – the one that said she was about to close the conversation if he didn’t plow through her – he pushed forward. “The problem is, you don’t want to admit that Ofir could be an issue, because you can’t admit that Agatha is an issue.”
“I have agreed that her behavior is problematic.”
“Only under duress.” Luke shook his head. “You – we – need to be more consistent in our interference. If we’re going to be hands-off when a Keeper is making his Kept miserable, then we have to be hands-off when the Kept gets free. If we’re going to interfere when students do something we don’t like – well, we can’t.” He pulled up a chair and flopped into it. “And departed gods, Regine, what were you thinking, letting Jamian figure out Fro – that Word – on his own?”
“I believe you know what I was thinking, Luca.”
“I know we’d planned on having Kairos teach those words. But we can’t keep ignoring her absence. She’s not coming back, and we’re going to need to find a solution.”
He thought he’d get stonewalled again, but, to his surprise, he found her nodding. “You’re correct. We can discuss it at the next meeting, but, clearly, he can’t be allowed to continue studying this on his own.”
Shit. “Are you insane? Of course he needs adult supervision, but Regine, look at what the kid did. He managed to break part of one of the school’s wards, with only rudimentary training-”
“Although that wasn’t exactly without adult supervision, was it? He’d been working with Manira.”
Luke glared at her, to find her smiling back at him. She must’ve been taking lessons from Mike in verbal gymnastics.
He took several quiet, measured breaths and reminded himself why he’d come here. “You’ll find proper instruction for Jamian on his lost Word.”
“As proper as Addergoole can provide, yes.”
“And what about our interference? What about being consistent?”
“You can’t really want to encourage a Student to go around breaking all of our hard work here, can you?”
“Regine, if a teenaged Daeva can break it, you might want to consider how well it was done.” That was low and he knew it. “And that’s not the point, blast it.”
“Then please tell me what the point is?”
Deep breaths. Calm thoughts. Focus on the target and don’t let yourself get distracted. Steady aim. Deep breaths.
“Consistency. We need to draw a line where we will interfere, and we need to stick to it.”
“Every individual relationship is unique. Would you try to apply concrete guidelines to changeable circumstances?”
She’d definitely been talking to Mike. “We do in some cases. We need to do so in all.” Luke twitched his wings. “Starting now. We get Mike in here, and the three of us determine what, exactly, we’re looking for – and then we look for it. Every case. Every time. And we stop it.”
“Despite extenuating circumstances?”
Now she was baiting him. “Yes.”
Her smile worried him, but he was committed. “Very well. Shall I call Michael, or will you?”
This was written in response to Kuro-Neko’s commission, requesting staff yelling at Regine (they actually do a lot of that).
Stay tuned! The Addergoole: Book One Kickstarter will be showing up soon!