This is set a little over a decade before Cya Keeps Leo. Well, the end bit is a decade-plus; the ‘finding’ parts are earlier.
There were things Cya looked for when doing student recruitment.
She looked for slaves she could justifiably rescue, children born into slavery that would Change if given the right environment and would thrive or at least survive at Doomsday. She looked for children that would need rescue, kids that were living in fae-unfriendly places that risked being slaughtered when – or if – they Changed.
She looked for post-Addergoole conceived children born to Addergoole students, “third kids”, they called them.
She looked for children with unusual powers – her own power, which showed up immensely rarely; teleportation, which was uncommon and very useful in this post-collapse world; mind control, which was thankfully rare and required careful handling; telepathy, although she had only found one of those in all the years she’d been doing this.
She also looked for kids who were the right age, whose parents were fae or Faded, who could make it to Doomsday or who could accept her help moving to Doomsday.
And in all cases, she started looking for kids who were much younger than Doomsday age. She wanted to be sure that the parents knew about the school in time to make a decision.
Sometimes she found them early. Sometimes she didn’t find them until it was almost too late. She hadn’t figured out the patterns yet.
Sunny, she found when she was five, running around the family ranch doing child-sized errands while carting three kittens in the kangaroo-pouch of her jacket.
Kerr, she found three days before school, working in a landfill mine on a chain gang with twenty other children. She set her jaw and made a note to come back soon to deal with the slave-owner.
And Aron she had to keep finding; his family-group kept moving around. But she convinced his mother the same way she’d convinced Sunny’s family – with shameless bribery.
There were others that year, children from as far as her teleporter could reach, and one she’d made him make three jumps to reach. It was a full year of twelve, and, considering the mix, Cya quietly gave Ascha a raise.
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