Tag Archive | character: drake

An Educational Visit, Part VI- The End

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s and Kuro-Neko’s request/commission after I Should Visit, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V; 2500 words

“…you might consider, in due time, why some people’s children seem to know so much more, coming to Addergoole, than others’.”

Regine watched the woman walk down the stairs, her mink tail bobbing. She watched her open the back door and head out into the back yard, where Feu Drake was telling the toddler some convoluted story.

It was a question she had not given too much thought, she was forced to admit, if only to herself. Some students came in with basic or no educational background; some came in nearly college-educated. Some knew what a Kept was, what a promise was, what hawthorn was. Some learned those things the hard was during the course of their time at Addergoole.

It did make it harder to shock them into Changing, but the tight, Ellehemaei-full environment did what surprise did not.

She realized Cynara was looking at her. She could ask, of course. She raised her eyebrows; that often sufficed.

Cynara smiled back at her, a small thing and enigmatic. “I’ll tell you the half I don’t think even you will think to forbid. The rest you’ll have to figure out for yourself, I’m afraid. I won’t do future generations that disservice.”

Regine coughed politely. “You would say that the oaths are a disservice?”

“To keep our children intentionally in the dark about any part of their heritage? To set them up to be targets to predators like Tethys, like Alika, like Delaney?

Regine noted the names she chose with interest. The Keepers of her son and her grandson, that made sense. But – “Not Eriko?”

“Eriko is a childish, spiteful, blind person.” Cynara listed the words as if she was passing sentence. Regine was suddenly struck by a recollection of a young Sigruko speaking of her “Aunt Cya.” “But she is not a predator. As I was saying – yes. Yes, the oaths are a disservice, especially to those without the wherewithal to get around them. And as for how – we make friends, Director, simple as that – something you instilled in us, if we didn’t come with the skill. We make friends.” Her smile was suddenly very bright. “Someday, perhaps, I’ll introduce you to Bambi the Impaler, speaking of friends.”

Regine found herself raising her eyebrows yet again. “That sounds… not so friendly.”

“It’s a long story, like all of the best stories are. Now, where were we?”

“I think it’s best we were leaving.” Regine had been given a number of things to think about. She wanted to retreat to the quiet of her office to consider them all in the proper context.

“Oh, but you haven’t seen the dojo yet!” It was very hard to tell with Cynara, but Regine thought it possible that the woman was sincere. “It’s not going to be a complete tour without that.”

“Perhaps another time,” Regine murmured. She doubted she would return here for many years, but it was the polite excuse.

“I would quite like to see this dojo. Sa’Hunting Hawk has spoken very well of it.”

Once again, Feu Drake foiled her. Regine wondered, in some irritation, why she had hired him after all.

“Well, then, I suppose go we shall,” Regine allowed with poor grace.

“Oh, good.” She was either a supremely good actress – which Regine would not put past her – or Cynara was genuinely relieved. “I’m sure Inuzama will be glad to see you. This way. Upsie, Kovi, that’s a boy.” She swung the boy up onto her hip and led through the back yard of her cy’ree house. Watching her tail sway again, the little blonde child riding happily on her hip, Regine was struck with an unfamiliar thought. She was watching a stranger, a woman entirely at home in her own skin and entirely a cypher to Regine.

“Have you visited here before?” She pitched her question quietly, for Feu Drake alone, but was not naive enough to believe she would not be overheard.

He raised his eyebrows at her. “Oh, no, I haven’t been to Cloverleaf since it was nothing but a couple of walls and three houses. But Cya and I have kept in touch over the years. She writes letters,” he explained, and then, with a little smirk, continued. “Of course, she sends them via teleporter, but that should surprise no-one.”

It struck Regine, finally, what sounded wrong about his discussions of his former student. “You’re not fond of informality. As a matter of fact, I believe you said this situation called for formality.”

“And so it does. We are guests in another Ellehemaei’s territory. Why would you – ah.” The surprised realization had to be feigned. “Perhaps you speak of me referring to jae’Doomsday as ‘Cya.’“

“It’s a nickname. I’ve never heard you use a nickname before.”

“No.” Cynara’s voice came from in front of them; she didn’t bother turning around. “You were there at my naming ceremony, the graduation, sa’Lady of the Lake.”

“I attend very many naming ceremonies. Seventy-five or so since yours. But I certainly would not forget your Name; not with it being so explosive.”

Cynara and Feu Drake laughed as if they were sharing a joke – and, it seemed, they were. Cynara turned this time, smiling. “Sa’Hunting Hawk said much the same thing. I think our crew name just causes everyone to think everything we do is explosive. Bulldozer. Lightning Blade. …Taste the Rainbow. Red Doomsday. My Name isn’t about explosions, Director.” She shifted her child on her hip in a way that somehow drew one’s eyes directly to his puckish face. “It’s about preparations. And what we’re discussing isn’t my Name – it’s just that trick Professor Drake pulled with my given name.”

“Names connect a child to their father. Given some of the…” Feu Drake looked at a loss for a moment, a situation Regine had seen only a few times in all the years she had known him. “Some of the issues surrounding this particular father – Cya’s, that is–”

“There are issues surrounding him?” Regine found her eyebrows shooting up.

“As several of my students were once fond of saying, ‘volumes.’ The issues around Enion Dayton are too many to list out here, but let us simply say that I thought it best to provide a bit of distance. I believe it’s worked.”

“Haven’t heard from him in decades.” Cynara sounded particularly cheerful. Regine was finding herself just a little bit lost.

“I don’t see what that has to do with…” It hit her. “Ah. You gave her a Name and, at the same time, you changed her name. From Cynara to Cya.”

“Exactly.” Drake smiled, looking far too pleased with himself. Regine found she could not fault him for that.

“Very interesting. I should ask Ambrus how that has worked for him throughout the years.”

“Oh, is he still with you? How interesting.” Cynara gestured across the green. “Here we are. The dojo.”

Like all the other buildings here, the dojo gave the appearance of being a suburban house. This one had a bit more of Japan in the lines and the color choices, but it was, after all, called the dojo and the domain of one professor Inazuma. Regine expected no less.

“There are going to be children underfoot, of course. There are always children here.” Cynara’s – Cya’s – smile was quite wide and pleased with herself. “Mind your step and stay off the mats, and you should be fine.”

Inside, a classroom of pre-teens were going through some basic kata. Cya set down her son; he made a quick bow to the mat and hurried around the class towards the instructor.

Regine brought her gaze away from a small gathering of children with the Aelfgar familiar features to look at this Professor Inazuma.

She had to look twice. Many of Aelfgar’s descendants bore a resemblance – but this one was rather distinctive in many ways. The scar on his left cheek was new, however.

“Daddy!” The child ran up to Inzauma – Leofric, no matter what he was calling himself, that was Leofric Lightning-Blade – and held his arms up. Laughing, Leofric scooped the boy up into a hug.

Regine realized she was staring. More, she realized Cya was watching her and smiling.

“Mags – Professor Sweetflower – is fascinated by them. Viddie and Mai and Kovi, I mean. And then Tilden and Sweetbriar and Tangle. I imagine you have some children like that at Addergoole, too?”

Regine nodded, not truly paying attention to her answer. Three children, over something like sixty years, from the same two parents. She had read theories…

…and Cya was suggesting that Ce’Rilla and Viðrou also had three? Regine’s fingers were itching to study that data.

She smiled, instead. “So this is the dojo.”

“And Professor Inazuma.”

Leofric was making his way over to them, somewhat hampered by his son attempting to wrap around both of Leo’s legs. “I see.”

Cya was smiling. “It’s not as if, say ‘Mike VanderLinden’ is the Professor’s original name. Or ‘Laurel Valerian?’ Feu Drake? Some of our teachers took on pseudonyms.”

“Professor Aegislaw,” Professor Drake offered.

“Him, too. Kheper,” she explained for Regine’s benefit. “They’ve seen the dorms and the dining hall, but the classrooms are all full. I hope you don’t mind being interrupted, Leo.”

“Of course not,” he replied cheerfully. “Class, this is Feu Drake and Director Avonmorea of Addergoole.”

The students all bowed, very properly. Regine nodded politely back to them while Feu Drake executed a lovely Japanese-style bow.

Regine was, she had to admit, reeling. She sought refuge in manners older than the world they were currently living in. “You seem to be doing very well for yourself here, Leofric, jae’Lightning Blade.”

“We are.” He smiled back at her, seemingly unfazed. She wondered if he was doing as Cya had seemingly done, and hiding his fury behind a smile. She wondered what his fury would look like.

“It’s a lovely school. And I’m sure Luke is pleased to see you’re teaching combat?” She did not wish to start another argument, not today. Luckily, Leo seemed to have no interest in arguing at the moment, unlike his crew-mate.

“Oh, that’s just secondary. I’m the math and science teacher.” His smile was entirely disarming.

“Ah.” Her eyebrows shot up. “Very good indeed. Do you, ah, do you find it challenging?”

He shook his head. “Nah, not at all. I love working with kids, and it’s nice to use my ancient PhD for something.”

Regine coughed. “You – ah. I believe I’d forgotten you had a PhD. What in?”

He shrugged dismissively, still cheerful. “Physics with a focus on electromagnetism. Not a lot of reason to remember, the way the world is now. “

“Well…” Regine rallied with effort. ”In this city, here, it seems like it might apply?”

“More than most places. It’s a great city, isn’t it?”

“It’s an amazing city,” Feu Drake agreed. Of course he did. You’d thought he’d thought of the whole thing himself – which was a train of thought to consider.

Regine glanced over at him, then returned her attention to Leo. “It’s been very impressive so far.”

“That’s Cya for you.” Leofric was practically dripping with pride. Regine found her gaze drawn down to the toddler currently attempting to climb “Inazuma’s” leg, then back up to Leofric. What else had she missed?

She smiled politely. “I could only wish all Addergoole’s graduates were this accomplished.”

“That would definitely be interesting.” He smiled affectionately at the child. “I hope you’re being good for the visitors, Kou-kun.”

Sigruko suddenly made a great deal more sense. Regine found herself smiling at the clear parental love. Then the rest of what Leofric had said sank in. “Ah.” She considered every single Addergoole graduate achieving at this level. “Ah.“ She coughed. “Interesting indeed.”

“That reminds me, while you’re here, Director. I was thinking it might be educational for some of our students to visit Addergoole for a couple days. What do you think?”

Regine sputtered, her only consolation that Cynara was sputtering too, and, appearing to think it was a fun noise, so was Kovi. Leofric looked damnably innocent.

“I am… certain it would be educational, and that we could arrange something. I’ll, ah, make certain to send a note.” She nodded to Leofric. “It’s been a pleasure to see you again.” She found she meant it.

“Enjoy the rest of your visit.” He smiled and turned back to the class. Regine turned back to Cynara, uncomfortably on uncertain footing.

“It’s a busy school,” Cynara commented mildly. She gestured out of the dojo and led the way she’d gestured, bringing them back out into a sunny afternoon.

“Your children – your students – seem quite happy and well-adjusted,” Regine was forced to admit. “It would be difficult to realize, standing here, that the world had fallen to pieces out there.”

Just then, three of the children in question darted past. One was wearing kimono and hakama, the obi in a blue-and-yellow plaid that looked quite fetching. Another was in a grey-black-and-white plaid kilt with a grey sweater vest; he was wearing purple knee socks and tie.

The third, Regine noted, was in addition to the grey and pale blue accessories and the long black pants, wearing a collar that was, firstly, very much a collar, and secondly, stripped with the same purples of the kilted student.

“You allow Keepings here? I’m quite surprised.”

“This is me we’re talking about here. I can’t believe someone hasn’t mentioned my penchants to you.”

“You mean your, ah, Kept-of-the-Year?” It had taken a disturbingly long time for Luke and Mike to explain that to her, but they had, indeed, explained it. “It’s a bit surprising, considering how vociferous you are about the Keepings your crew endured.”

Cynara raised her eyebrows. She turned to look Regine flat in the face and her expression blanked. “Howard had a lovely Keeping. I had endurable Keeping. Zita had a necessary Keeping. And we all learned quite a few things from those Keepings, including that it is not the institution that is bad.”

The blankness vanished, replaced by another smile, this one dry and unamused. “Our older students explore mutually-agreed-upon Keepings under the supervision of both students’ Mentors. Cases of abuse are nipped in the bud, and we monitor the physical and emotional health of all involved for every step along the way. We take care of our students, Director.”

There was not so much of an implication as a clear accusation there. Regine studied the woman in front of her, ignoring the smile, crooked and fake. There had never been any warning signs in that Keeping – and, two years after Eris, they had all been looking. Of course, they’d missed the signs in Leofric, searching for violent abuse and overlooking emotional suffocation.

Regine nodded, very carefully. You left us to pick up the pieces.

She had done this woman a disservice. She had, as Feu Drake had suggested, quite a bit to consider.

We take care of our students.

“It is good,” she answered carefully, “Principal Red Doomsday, that you do. There is much to learn from here.”


“Well, that went quite well.” Feu Drake seemed quite perky as they left the city.

Regine eyed him sidelong. “You truly believe so?”

The smile faded from his face. “Yes.” He was the more serious Drake she had come to know. “Sometimes, she needs to remember that it is acceptable to be angry. And sometimes, you need to be reminded that you have done things worthy of that anger.”

Regine did not answer, lost in her own considerations of the trip. She had much to consider, indeed.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/961728.html. You can comment here or there.

An Educational Visit, Part V/?

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s request/commission after I Should Visit, Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV; 1,425 words

Regine’s eyebrows went up. “You have an Addergoole student here?”

Cynara, curse her, smirked. “We have several. However, Deimos was conceived and born outside of Addergoole.”

Regine twisted her lips. Definitely a student of Feu Drake, this one. “He is on our rolls to attend Addergoole next year.”

“His mother didn’t contact you?” Cynara raised her eyebrows. “Perhaps she was waiting until her first two children graduated.”

Regine held Cynara’s gaze. “Why do you think she would do something like that?”

The woman’s smile was sickenly sweet and innocent. “To avoid retribution against her children, of course.”

“And I suppose you told her that I would do such.” She would wipe this insolent speck off the face of the planet, but Luke would be irritated with her.

“If I had, who could blame me? You have threatened my own grandchildren.”

“I did no such thing!” Even as Regine protested, some small, honest part of herself reminded her that she had certainly considered it.

“Director, I was a student of Drake in my youth. I can certainly read into the words spoken. However, I said nothing like that to Eulalia; when we have third-children here, we normally suggest the mother inform Addergoole as soon as possible.”

“So this is common?” Regine gestured around the shabby little dorm room. “You often steal away Addergoole students for your school? No,” she interrupted Drake, “don’t explain for her. I want to know what she thinks she’s doing.”

“I steal no-one.” Cynara’s voice was calm and smug. “I invite parents to send their children here. Some of them, as I do, have children we have borne outside of the confines of Addergoole.” She gestured to her toddler, who was opening and closing the door to the “cottage” with glee.

“If they don’t want to want to send them to Addergoole, they’re under absolutely no obligation to do so. And if they have children who will be going to Addergoole, well, there’s absolutely nothing that says they cannot come here until then. We have several of those in attendance.”

“How dare you?” Regine stepped closer to Cynara. ”The sheer unmitigated gall of you, you insufferable mistake of a child!”

Cynara kept smiling, despite the insults. “If I am a ‘mistake,’ it wasn’t me that made it.” She pulled up a chair and sat down. “Professor Drake, maybe Kovi can show you our garden?”

“I would like that,” Drake agreed solemnly. He murmured Words that Regine was certain he did not mean to be secret, a Working that would allow him to monitor the conversation. She found it irritating – but she had far bigger fish to fry right now.

They waited, in seething silence, while Drake coaxed the toddler out of the room. Regine had several Workings ready; if it came to battle, she did not intend to lose. But she would wait, patiently, rather than have it be said that she put a child at risk.

“So.” Cynara steepled her fingers and looked over them at Regine. “I think we have some misconceptions here. You seem to have come here to judge me or my school. And while that may be your intent, you are in no position to do so.”

Regine opened her mouth. The git did not give her a chance to speak before continuing.

“You are the Director of a school I once attended, and a revered member of a dead society.” She at least did not look pleased at that. “More than that – we are not friends, and we are not allies. If we are careful, we can end today not being enemies, and for all of those others involved, that would be a good thing. However.”

Regine had been accused of not recognizing emotions when they bit her in the face – Mike’s words. However, even she could see the hatred in the face in front of her.

The voice remained entirely calm and stable. As angry as she was, Regine could not help but notice that.

“It is likely,” she began, and it was clear she was beginning something, “that I will forgive you for Dysmas, for the fact that he believed treating me like a thing was the way it was supposed to go. After all, it might not have directly been your fault; Agatha and Delaney taught him that.”

She took a breath. Regine heard something in that breath, and stopped her response.

“It is possible,” Cynara continued, “that I will forgive you for the time my son brought his rapist home for dinner. Or the time my grandsons brought a boy to me so broken, I cannot believe that the administration missed it. Trenton,” she added, before Regine could either ask or place the possibilities. Cynara had two grandsons – that she knew of, she added to herself – two years apart.

She remembered this boy. She nodded slowly, and did not interrupt.

“I may someday forgive you for the disservice you did to Boom as a whole, for years of dismissing us as unstable, as volatile.“ The words were nails the way she said them, hammered home with accuracy and strength. “For cursing us with your derision for being insane, when it was actions you condoned that sent us there.”

She had shifted as she spoke, small movements, animated ones. Now she froze, her gaze pinning Regine.

“I will never forgive you for what was done to Leofric. For watching his insanity for decades. For the fact that you let that bitch shatter him, and left us – broken ourselves, and children – to pick up the pieces.”

She leaned back in her chair. Regine was watching for it this time, waiting for the attack. Instead, she saw the moment that Cynara chose to put the anger away, carefully, as if in a box.

She had a momentary, incongruous memory: the chests Cynara had brought to school, large, clunky, and her only luggage. The sleeker, better-made ones Yoshi and Vidrou had brought, and then the carved boxes their children had pulled behind them like wagons, their wheels forged of steel.

The great-grandchildren had come to school with boxes, too, she realized, so elaborately carved that they looked like works of art.

That was worth considering at another moment. She waited, to see if Cynara was done.

“I spend fifty years–” Her voice was rough, as if she, too, was not sure if she was done or not– “carefully instructing twelve- and thirteen-year olds how to survive emotional abuse and rape without shattering. Teaching them how to lose just enough self to survive, without–”

Regine was certain that if she had not been there, Cynara’s voice would have broken. The woman lifted her chin, paused, and continued. “—without breaking, as their forebears did. I should hope you’ll forgive me, sa’Lady of the Lake, if I built a place with the hope of avoiding that in the future.”

“Your descendants still come to Addergoole.”

They were unwise words, stupid words, but they were the first thing that came to her lips. Why build the school, when all those great-grandchildren would not benefit from it?

“Well,” Cynara’s smile was tired, “if you recall, I did ask to be part of the Addergoole system initially. Since you turned that down – something about volatility, if I recall correctly? – I suppose I’ll just have to make sure as many children get the chance as possible. And besides, they get their first few years here. It’s an 8 to 18 program; that’s a good number of years to establish habits before they go to Addergoole, even if you call them at fourteen.”

Regine didn’t like it, but there was very little she could say to that. Except, she supposed – “And the oaths you swore?”

“Those ridiculous promises you make us all agree to, so that we can leave your place? They’re stupid, you know.” Cynara shook her head. “In this day and age, no child fails to know that fae exist. If you were seeking a level playing field – and what fun would that be, mm? – there are better ways to do it.” She stood up and tilted her head towards the door. “Professor Drake has been tormented by my little demon long enough. Why don’t we go rescue him?”

Regine nodded, rather than argue something where she had no polite way to do so. As they made her way down the stairs, however, Cynara continued, casually. “We don’t break our vows here, stupid though they may be. But you might consider, in due time, why some people’s children seem to know so much more, coming to Addergoole, than others’.”

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/961728.html

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An Educational Visit, Part IV/?

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s request/commission after I Should Visit, Part I, Part II and Part III; 1,676 words

Kurt bowed low, with an overdone flourish. “Welcome to Doomsday, lady and gentleman.” Never had those words been spoken so cheerfully. “I do hope you enjoy your stay.”

He sounded like a movie. Regine raised her eyebrows at him in the gesture that had quelled so many Addergoole students. This child, however, had no common sense, and was unconcerned. He winked at her playfully and turned back to the sidewalk, moving forward with a hop and a skip.

“First up is the dining hall and otherwise gathering-around place.” Kurt gestured negligently at the building.

“A church?” Regine was honestly shocked, enough that it showed in her voice. The building was tall, pale, and had a steeple — every bit like an old country church.

Kurt had the temerity to laugh at her. “Nooo.” He drew the word out. “I mean, there are churches and temples and such all over Cloverleaf. But not in the school. It’s more protective coloration. See, no crosses?” He pushed open a door so that Regine and Feu Drake could enter. “We eat in here most of the time, and then we do movie night and other sleepovers and things here.”

Inside, the dining hall spoke to Regine more of summer camps than churches: twelve trestle tables were spaced along half the large, vaulted room, with big chimneys at either side. “Movie night?” She can’t have heard correctly.

“Oh, yeah, and sometimes we do talent shows and the theatre club puts on plays, and the fighters will put on demonstrations and there was a fashion show last year.” Kurt flapped his hand negligently. “And at Christmastime, there’s a really big tree and we all get together for presents.”

“So you celebrate Christmas?”

“Well, or Yule or Chanukah or… whatever. But mostly Christmas. We give each other presents and stuff.” Kurt shrugged, un-concerned with the nuances of post-apocalypse religion. “But I mean, mostly, we eat in here. They serve three meals a day, but I generally eat dinner with my crew, my cy’ree, or sometimes both.”

“Ah,” Drake interjected. “You have a crew?”

“Yeah.” Kurt’s smile stretched into a wide, fond grin. “They’re pretty awesome, and pretty fierce. I dunno what we’ll do when Tamora and Brocce graduate — they’re a year ahead of me and Halston, but they might stick around the town, or come back.” He shrugged. “Next are the classroom buildings. This way.” He headed through the center of the dining hall, jumped up on one of the long benches and hopped from it to the next one until they reached a second exit.

“Ah, there you are.” Cynara walked up to them, carrying a young boy on her hip. “I’m sorry to wander off, but this one’s father has a class to teach, and I thought Professor Drake would enjoy meeting him.”

Regine had an eye for the Aelfgar look, which seemed to linger for generations. This toddler looked much like that, and much like Cynara, with a wicked smile that reminded Regine of and entirely non-Aelfgar child, Dirk. She raised her eyebrows.

Feu Drake stepped forward. “Ah, is this Kouveig? Yes, I would love to meet him.” Very solemnly, he held out a hand to the child.

In return, the toddler — Kouveig, Kouveig, she didn’t recognize the name nor the style — held out a hand to Drake. “Sa’Feu Drake… sa’Lady of the Lake, this is my son, Kouveig sh’Cya. Kovi, this is my former Mentor, Feu Drake, and Director Regine Lady of the Lake.”

The child took that all in with wide eyes, as if he understood it all. “Hi,” he said cheerfully, as he grabbed a couple of Drake’s fingers.

“His father is a professor here, then?” It was not the most delicate question, but Regine was always interested in genealogies.

“Of course.” Cynara’s smile was sharp-edged. “He’s crew, after all.”

Cynara’s crew had included two blonde descendants of Aelfgar. Regine cursed inwardly and smiled outwardly. “Of course.”

“Well, let’s not delay the tour, shall we? I’m missing teaching for this, after all.” Cya’s smile was no more friendly.

“You teach?” Feu Drake managed to make it sound inquisitive and curious. Regine was fairly certain it would have come off as incredulous from her right now.

Cynara laughed; clearly she had taken no offense. “Of course I teach. It’s my school, after all.” She smirked sideways at Regine.

Feu Drake stepped in yet again. “What classes do you teach?”

“Survival.” The smile dropped off of her face. “It’s what I’m best at, and in this world, it’s a required subject. Here, why don’t we show you the dormitories? Kurt, if you want to try to make some of your class, I’m sure your Mentor would be pleased with you.”

“Yes, ma’am!” He saluted sharply and bounced off. Regine managed another smile while she seethed. She hadn’t come here just to be insulted!

“It’s very kind of you to show us around personally when we’ve dropped in without an invitation,” Drake mentioned casually. “It’s quite an imposition, I know.”

Imposition? Regine raised her eyebrows. They were this woman’s teachers.

“Oh, I’ve been expecting you for a while. The staff of Addergoole did always want to see what I was up to.” Cynara shrugged languidly, as if she couldn’t understand why that would be. “I’m sure you visit hard cases like Ardell and Agatha too, or the nasty petty people like Dysmas and Eriko. Tell me, how is my former Keeper doing? Mags we keep an eye on, and Shiva… well, I’m sure we all know what happened to Shiva. We raised her children, after all. But we weren’t so keen on being friends with the other two…”

“They haven’t had quite such an interesting life as you.” Regine looked around the schoolyard by punctuation, then back at the small boy on Cynara’s hip. “Should you be talking about such things…?”

“Kovi isn’t bound to Addergoole. Very few of the children here are.” Cynara met Regine’s eyes, nothing but ice and anger in her expression or her voice. “And no more of my children will ever step foot inside that school if I can help it.”

The moment was gone as quickly as it had come, leaving Regine shivering. Cynara was smiling again, gesturing down the lane. “These are all classroom buildings here, these three. We don’t have a very large school, nowhere near as big of class years as Addergoole, but we start and end earlier, too. We’re starting to work on a University soon, if only so this tiny genius will have a place to go to make trouble when he’s done making trouble at Doomsday.” She bounced the child on her hip affectionately. “So here is the youngest-children’s dorm, what we call the cy’Ascha or cy’younglings.” She gestured at the cheerful-looking large house. “They stay here for their first three or four years, until they Change or pick a Mentor.”

She made no move to go inside; Regine, distracted by a detail, didn’t push the mater. “Ascha? Aceline sh’Magnolia?”

“You know, I’m told that Luke said exactly the same thing, and the student giving him the tour said ‘we call her Miss Ascha or sa’Water under the Bridge.’“ Cynara smirked. “Aceline is a very good teacher, and far more patient with ten-year-olds than I will ever be.”

“I imagine she would be.” Regine could not shake the feeling that she had been scolded. Again. This child was taking her to task for–

“It’s easy to forget,” Drake murmured thoughtfully, “that children we saw conceived are adults now. Still, we did see them through their Naming ceremonies — see you through, I should say.” He nodded his head at Cynara. “Aceline is a very calm, thoughtful woman. She reminds me of her father; it’s sad she never got to meet him.”

“That happens far too often, I think.” Cynara set down her squirming child. “Even fathers interested in their children’s lives lose touch. Ah, here’s the cy’Red dorm, come on in.”

The house had red trim, darker red over that, with bright white clapboarding. It looked a bit like a candy cane and quite a bit like a Victorian confection.

Regine noticed first that it had a very nice foyer, comfortable enough for three people, jutting slightly onto its broad front porch. A small lap loom had been left out on the porch, as well as three bowls for cat food. “You practice handicrafts here?”

“Of course.” Cynara smiled brightly. “Cy’Red believes in being prepared for anything. And the fiber arts club — which isn’t part of cy’Red — often meets out here on the porch.” She held the door for them. “This is where my cy’ree lives, at least for their first couple years after they chose a mentor.”

Inside, the building looked much like a house – an open living room which fed into a dining room and, from there, into a kitchen, all of it bright and relatively tidy, a stairwell leading upstairs, which Cynara headed up, scooping up her son again as he struggled with the climb. “Most of the bedrooms are up here…” She knocked on a door and then opened it. “This one is pretty similar to the rest. Kelvin, Deimos, and Paul live in here right now.”

Inside, three loft beds sat over what appeared to be small cottages, complete with their own doors and windows. The rooms were looked lived-in, but far tidier than any child’s room Regine had ever seen.

She wasn’t paying attention to the room, however. She was repeating that name over and over again in her mind. It was not that uncommon a name — but on the bed in the middle sat a pillow, embroidered in a style Regine recognized. “Deimos sh’Eulalia?” she asked slowly.

“Deimos cy’Doomsday,” Cynara answered. Feu Drake coughed, and, for the first time, Cynara looked a tiny bit embarrassed. “Deimos’ mother is Eulalia, who was cy’Valerian and who is Named Slow Talker. I think that’s what you meant?”

Regine’s eyebrows went up. “You have an Addergoole student here?”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/957451.html. You can comment here or there.

An Educational Visit, Part III/?

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s request/commission after I Should Visit, Part I, and Part II; 1,785 words

“…we will see you to the gate and bar your entrance.”

Regine raised her eyebrows. “You think you can?”

Cynara smiled back at her. “I think it would be a very interesting exercise for all of us. I also remember, very clearly, something that Luke taught us a long time ago: individually, a single fae may be stronger than another. In a group… it is rare that you will find a single fae stronger than fifty fae.” She folded her hands and smiled. “You can sign the paper. Or you can leave.”

Regine a second look at the paper. It was a short contract, agreeing to much the same items that Drake had sworn — that she would came in with no desire to seek military knowledge or advantage, that she would do no harm to the staff or to the children, that she would leave if asked to leave. “Do you seriously believe that I am a danger to students?”

“Do you forget I went to Addergoole when Eris was still attending?” Cynara’s voice was sharp, short. “That I was there when the basement opened up? That I was Kept by a vampire? The question is not whether you are a danger to students, sa’Lady of the Lake. The question is whether or not you will be able to restrain yourself from hurting mine.”

Regine drew herself up in her seat. “I was not the one–”

Cynara cut her off. “You were in charge of those children. And you allowed them to be hurt. Tortured. Raped. Killed. Yes. I will hold you responsible. I will assume you will hurt children if it will serve your purposes. I will assume you will allow the basest urges of incomplete adults with magic powers to run rampant. And you will sign the paper or you will leave my city.” She slammed both hands down on her desk and looked at Regine. No, glared. There was fury in her eyes that highlighted both her own Name and the name of her crew.

Feu Drake cleared his throat. “sa’Lady of the Lake–”

Regine gestured shortly, cutting him off. She might need to back down on this particular matter, but she would do so on her terms. She looked Cynara in her eyes. “Jae’Doomsday, I never had any intention of hurting any child. But what I have done, I have done with the highest of purposes. Your own existence — the existence of this city — proves my goals were correct. Fae and humans continue to live and thrive after the return of the gods, in part because of my work.”

“How many did Luca lose in the war?” Cynara’s voice was soft, no longer angry. “No, don’t count. I know why we didn’t lose Leo, and it’s because we used everything in our power to remind him of his other responsibilities.”

Regine looked back down at the paper. Of all the sacrifices that had been made over the years, the defeated look in Luke’s eyes had hurt her the most. “Did Luke sign such a paper, when he visited you?”

“I didn’t ask him to.” Cynara’s voice was level, easy. “I trust Luke to never do anything to harm a child. And if he wanted military knowledge, there’s nothing I could do to stop him gaining it.”

Regine was startled into a snort. She reached for the pen — a dip pen, with ink, how had the children thought to do that? — and signed the paper. “I so swear, as written here,” she murmured, and waited until the oath settled around them. She cleared her throat and shifted in her seat. “May I see your school, jae’Red Doomsday?”

“Right this way.” Cynara pushed her seat back and stood up, smiling as if she had not been furious a moment ago. Volatile, Regine had called them. It was certainly the reputation Boom had. She began to wonder if it was a strong enough word.

Cynara led them out of her office, where Kurt cy’Inazuma was still waiting for them. “Ready to go, Pricipal Dee?”

“Quite so, Kurt. If you could start the tour, I’ll join you in a moment.”

Kurt bowed. “Right this way, please.” He started heading down the stairs they’d come up. Regine raised her eyebrows at Drake, who raised his right back at her, and followed the boy.

When they reached the second floor and kept going, she cleared her throat. “Where are we going?”

“To Doomsday Academy.” He turned and hopped backwards down the next three steps, grinning insouciantly at them. “What, you didn’t think that the school was in the giant ‘attack here’ sign, did you? That would be pretty dumb.”

Regine coughed. “Are you this rude to all your elders?”

“Pretty much.” He hopped back around, his back to them now. “Why? Are you the sort that will challenge my Mentor over my mouth?”

Before Regine could answer that — it sounded like he wanted her to challenge this Inazuma — Drake cleared his throat.

“Is that common, for you?”

“What, people challenging my Mentor over my mouth? Nah. I mean, it happened once, but that was three of us, and, to be fair, we were heckling him.” Kurt chuckled unkindly. “It was kind of fun. And he really thought he was all that and a barrel of pickles, so it was even more fun when he challenged Professor Inazuma.” His voice lost all humor for a moment. “I mean. We don’t normally taunt people into challenges. It’s dangerous, for one.” He turned around and shot an oddly humorless grin at the two of them. “You never know what the idiot you’re talking to might have up his sleeve.”

Regine was fairly certain the child was not threatening her — even with his Mentor’s supposed might. “That is wisdom indeed,” she answered calmly. “It is always safer to overestimate your opponent than underestimate them.”

Feu Drake appeared to have a brief coughing fit; he paused, leaning on the railing, looking down the few feet to the central atrium of the tower. “Well spoken,” he managed after a moment. “Pardon me; just a bit of unfamiliar dust in my lungs.”

Regine had a feeling he was putting her on, but, since she couldn’t imagine why, she kept on as if he was being entirely sincere. “Do be careful. We’d hate for you to fall ill on this visit. Lead on, young Kurt?”

“Yes, ma’am!” He saluted smartly, then jumped down the last five steps in an outrageous leap. From the bottom of the stairs, he grinned at them. “You can take those stairs one at a time, if you want.”

“Nonsense.” She murmured a brief Kaana Working and floated down the stairs; Feu Drake did similarly, but without any audible Workings. “Now, where is this school?”

“This way.” The doorway he led them out of looked very similar to the one they had come in; Regine noted a Greek Alpha set in gold above the exit and again above the gate.

“Alpha?” she asked.

Kurt laughed. “Alpha, A, and азъ. The three circles of the Cloverleaf.”

“Very clever. Who did the naming scheme, do you know?”

“Principal Doomsday, of course.”

“Of course.” She shook her head. “Sometimes it is a blessing that the women don’t name the children.”

“If I recall, Cynara’s first two children were named Yoshi and Viðrou. I’m not certain they’d agree with you on that. Or, hrrm, there was Viðrou’s partner, Ce’Rilla?”

Regine frowned. “Well, I suppose some of the men are just as bad at naming – pardon me, did you say first two?

“This way, please,” Kurt interrupted cheerfully. “We’re heading through neighborhoods for a couple blocks, people’s houses and markets and things. We could cut through, but sometimes people get a little antsy about strangers showing up in the middle of the block.”

“I can’t imagine why,” Drake murmured quietly. Kurt shot them a brief grin before taking off at a pace Regine found herself hard-tasked to keep up with – at least with any modicum of grace.

They were on a narrow road now, or perhaps a very wide sidewalk. To either side of them were houses, brightly colored, cheerful, with grassy lawns and kitchen gardens full of herbs. A couple times, they passed people outside, handing laundry, chatting with their neighbors, working in their gardens. They would wave, cheerful and friendly, and Kurt would wave back. His uniform, Regine supposed, was like a flag, declaring that he belonged.

“It reminds one a bit of a Norman Rockwell painting, doesn’t it?” Feu Drake’s murmur was quiet, thoughtful, but Regine could not help but wonder if he had some deeper meaning in mind.

“Rockwell lived in a later era than she’s imitating,” she replied, a bit sharply. “This is frankly medieval.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Indoor plumbing, glazed windows, that hardly seems quite that out-of-date. And, of course, for the era we live in now, that’s positively luxurious.”

Regine pursed her lips. It was easy to overlook, living as they did. She struggled with her pride for a moment: She rarely left the confines of the school and the Village, and when she did, it was usually in the company of a teleporter. “How bad is it, out there?”

“Young Kurt?” Drake raised his voice. The student in question turned gracefully, if a bit exaggeratedly, and half-bowed to them.

“How may I serve?”

“Where you grew up, was running water common?”

“Oh, yeah.” He grinned. “We weren’t one of those throwback places. Every house has a pump out front. And there’s a bathhouse in the center of town where the water comes out of spigots, like it does in the bath-rooms here.”

“And electricity?”

“What, like the lights? The town hall — that’s connected to the bathhouse — had that, run by a windmill out back. I never really got the point. Gaslights are nice, you know?” He turned on his heel and gestured in front of them. “And here we are.”

Drake raised an eyebrow at Regine, as if to say see? “And here we are, indeed.”

The gate to Doomsday arched over the path. It was wide enough for two people to stand abreast, made of ornate ironwork painted white. The words “Doomsday Academy” were picked out in a clear, grammar-school font among the curlicues. The actual gates were open, swinging inwards.

As far as Regine could tell, the gate was the only delineator. On the other side of the arch, the houses continued, brightly-colored and cheerful.

Kurt bowed low, with an overdone flourish. “Welcome to Doomsday, lady and gentleman.” Never had those words been spoken so cheerfully. “I do hope you enjoy your stay.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/952869.html. You can comment here or there.

An Educational Visit, Part II/?

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s request/commission after I Should Visit and Part I; 1,431 words

The buildings were almost entirely stone, or, at least, things that would qualify as Eperu; according to Regine’s records, that was one of Cynara’s best Words, although Meentik had not been one of her Words at all. They were made with skill and grace, not generally more than three stories tall, and their architecture echoed both Hopi buildings and northeastern brownstones. Bright banners and signs hung from many walls, and the shops lining Main Street seemed to be doing a brisk business. Regine noticed three clothing vendors, each with their own specific niche market; a yarn-and-thread-and-cloth store with three people spinning in the center of the store and one weaving in the back; a baker, a butcher, a candlestick-maker; a cheese store with the fragrant odors of ripe cheese wafting out. The list went on. Nothing was particularly high-tech, but everything that one needed to live somewhat comfortably seemed represented.

“It seems to be a thriving town,” Regine allowed carefully. “I do, ah, see some people who appear poor.”

“I imagine that is a side effect of being a city.” Drake nodded at the woman Regine had been thinking of, a thinnish woman with four small children close to her, all of them dressed in worn but clean clothing. “They do not appear starving, however.”

“You’re quite proud of this little town, aren’t you?” Regine could not remember the last time Drake had spoken so glowingly of anything.

“Cya was my Student. And considering how dark some of my Students have chosen to go with their understanding of the Law, it is pleasing to see one being productive. Ah, lemon ice. I wonder if they do that with Workings, or if they have refrigeration? We should stop on the way back.”

Regine ignored him. He was clearly biased about Cynara and everything involving her. “And here are the gates to the Tower. Another wall. Lovely.” The Tower was a Reuleaux triangle in base, encased in a larger Reuleaux triangle of walls. Wide, open, unguarded gates admitted them from Main Street into the Tower’s courtyard; the Tower itself had doors tall enough to admit a giant, also propped open.

A short teenaged boy was leaning insolently against the door. He had feathers growing from his flame-red curls, a nose like a beak, and more freckles than Regine had seen on any five people. He was wearing a grey and black plaid kilt with a white dress shirt and sky-blue and yellow tie and socks, and his smile was cocky and self-satisfied.

When he pushed off the door, Regine noticed he had tailfeathers as well, in red and iridescent green-blue. “You must be the vee-eye-pees.” He drawled out the word like he found it amusing.

“Let me see. You must be Director Regine, sa’Lady of the Lake, and Professor Drake, sa’Firedrake.” His bow was low enough to be comical. “I’m Kurt cy’Inazuma, and I will be your guide today. First, we need to go to the Principal’s Office. Right this way.”

Regine followed obediently, as did Drake, although he was making a thoughtful face. “‘Inazuma’ means lightning,” he murmured. “But I don’t remember anyone with a Japanese Name.”

Kurt turned around and grinned at them. “Tall guy? Blonde? Awesome swordsman? Anyway, Professor Inazuma is awesome. Here’s the first floor of the Tower, it’s mostly city offices and the giant assembly hall, that’s that point of the tower and, ah, most of that one.” He gestured casually around the marble-lined-and-floored foyer. “And we’re going up a few flights.”

The stairs – marble as well – coiled up the center of the tower in a wide, showy Reuleaux triangle of curved flights, up until they reached the third floor, where the stairs narrowed and straightened to something more staid. And up they continued. Regine was not out-of-shape, but she thought perhaps five stories was a bit high for a Principal’s office. The child, on the other hand, had seemingly no problem bouncing up the stairs.

“Principal, not Director?”

“Oh, well Principal Doomsday is Principal. Director Cyndequil runs all the day-to-day stuff, and then sa’Doomsday runs the school.” Kurt grinned brightly. “And cy’Red, of course.”

“Of course,” Regine answered dryly. She recognized Cyndequil’s name, too. He’d been a very clever student, and had turned down her job offer. She wondered if Cynara had given him a choice.

“And okay, here we go. I’ll be waiting outside when you’re done, and then I’ll show you the school.” The boy bowed again, so deep that his kilt flew up in the back, and gestured them into the office with a flourish.

It said “Principal Doomsday” on the frosted glass door. The door itself was open a crack, and when Regine went to knock, it swung open.

Inside, Cynara sat behind a heavy oak desk. She was smiling, which Regine found she immediately distrusted. “Director Regine. Professor Drake.” She did not stand, but nodded her head at them. “Please, take a seat. I wondered how long it would take you to deign to visit, Director.”

Because she was aware of it, Regine noticed immediately that the chairs were both uncomfortable and lower in seat than Cynara’s chair. Subtle pettiness and nothing more, and yet she shifted in her seat. “I didn’t believe I would be welcome, and it seems I was accurate. What are you hiding while you stall, Cynara?”

“Hiding?” She had not changed her Mask since she left Addergoole; she still had the same ridiculous dyed-red hair and the same just-finished face of a teenager. Her eyebrow raise, she’d clearly learned from Drake. “I’m hiding nothing. If anything, I’m showing more.” She gestured out the window behind her at the city. “Did you enjoy your walk?”

“This pettiness does not suit you, Cynara.” Regine frowned repressively.

“Pettiness?” Cynara smirked. “Oh, no. Pettiness would have been turning you away at the front gate. Or attacking you as an invader. No, this is how we greet people in my city.”

“Not all people.”

“Not all people are threats. Speaking of — will you be wanting to see the school?”

“Is that then a threat?”

“No. It’s an assessment of the threat you provide. Will you?” She was so smug. Regine did not remember her having ever been this arrogant before.

Feu Drake leaned forward. “We would be interested in seeing the facilities, Cya. I give you my word that I do not come with any military or tactical interest in mind, nor do I come wishing the students of Doomsday Academy or their parents any ill-will.”

Regine raised her eyebrows. “Is all that really necessary?”

“Have you ever known me to swear an oath when it was not absolutely necessary, sa’Lady of the Lake? We are not here as her teachers; that would be ridiculous. Cya jae’Doomsday has been an Adult for over fifty years. I gave her the Name she carries before the gods returned. We are not her teachers.”

“I do get the point, yes. But we raised and taught her, and thus have the right to–”

Feu Drake cleared his throat loudly. “Excuse me, sa’Lady of the Lake, but I believe you will wish to reconsider your phrasing. We are not on the Council, we are very notably not part of the Council, if you recall, and even the Council exists next to and not within the Law. We have absolutely no right within the Law and no human rights other than those given by the laws of Cloverleaf in regards to Cya Red Doomsday.”

Regine cleared her throat. “There are, of course, implied rights…” Such as her implied right to blast this irritant where he stood. He had the absolute worst timing when it came to his more pedantic moments.

“You brought me here to advise you. Sa’Lady of the Lake, I am advising you that at this moment, it would do us much better not to lean on implied, suggested, or potential anything.”

Regine found her heartbeat was speeding up and her fingers were drumming on the desk. She stilled herself. “I accept your advice.” She nodded at Cynara. “Please, you were saying?”

The girl smirked at her, insouciant and unrepentant. “There’s a form to be signed, if you’re going to be going near the students. Which a tour of the school would, of course, necessitate.” She passed the paper across the desk. “Profesor Drake’s oath covers all the necessary points, but I still need a signature from you.”

Regine spared the paper a brief glance. “And if I don’t sign?”

“Then we will see you to the gate and bar your entrance.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/949288.html. You can comment here or there.

An Educational Visit, Part I/?

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s request/commission after I Should Visit; 1,447 words

“I’m impressed.” Regine snorted dryly. “She’s managed to reinvent bureaucracy.”

“Just a few more forms, ma’am, sir.” The guard – human, Regine was nearly certain – smiled a tight, efficient bureaucrat’s smile and brought forth another ream of paper. Where had Cynara even found a papermill? “Now, are you bringing any animals into the city?”

“This is a short visit to see an old student. We’re not immigrating.” Next to her, Feu Drake said nothing, only smirked inscrutably as he’d been doing for hours. “No, there are no animals with us. Tempero Intinn Rodger–”

She had quite a bit of practice sliding Workings such as this into conversation, but utterly none at doing so when a klaxon started blaring. She faltered, frowning; the door to the tiny waiting room thumped open.

This guard was openly displaying her Change: sharp, short horns and very large wings. She was also wearing Captain’s stripes and a frown. She hit a button, and the klaxon silenced.

“Ma’am, you may not have been aware — being a visitor to our city — but use of mind control in Cloverleaf is strongly discouraged, and use of such powers on an officer of the law is illegal and punishable by exile. This will be your only warning.”

She left while Regine was still formulating a response. The guard still remaining smiled very tightly at her, squared his papers, and started again. “Are you bringing any plants into the city?”

Three excruciating pages of inane questions later, the guard stood up. “All right.” He opened the door for them. “Head down Main Street here until you reach the large tower at the center of the city. A guide will meet you there.”

“Finally.” Regine stood and brushed off her skirt. Next to her, Feu Drake had risen, still wearing the same implacable expression.

“By ‘tower,’” he asked dryly, “I assume you mean that giant edifice stabbing into the sky?”

“Yep, that’s the one. Ah, sir, one question first. I’ve got – well, I’ve only got one but I’m holding onto it, would you mine signing it for me?”

“Signing… what?” Drake raised his eyebrows. Regine tried not to chafe at the wait. It would not hurt them to wait a few more moments.

“Oh, the five-hundred Clover bill. It’s a really good likeness, sir, I recognized you right away.” The guard carefully pulled a small, flat box from his sleeve, and from it he rifled through a couple bills until he came on the five-hundred clover.

It was made, Regine noted, much like an old Canadian bill, before the Collapse. And it was definitely a very nicely-etched likeness of Feu Drake, complete with trademark sneer. It was in mint condition, crisp and new.

“Some are harder to track down than others. You, I never figured we’d see you here, it’s been so long.”

“I see. Well, certainly I can autograph it. If you have a pen?”

“Right here.” The guard produced a very nice fountain pen.

While Feu Drake was signing, Regine cleared her throat. “What is the buying power of this bill?”

“Buying — oh, like, what’ll it get you? Um. I dunno, it’s the only one I’ve ever gotten and I saved up for it for a while for the collection. But, oh! That’s starting guards’ salary for a week.”

“Interesting. Thank you. Feu Drake…”

“Very interesting. And a nice likeness. I remember when that picture was taken.” He straightened up. “Ah. Yes, let’s continue.”

“Just down Main Street,” the guard pointed. “Like you said, you can’t miss it.”

The tower rose up over the rest of the city, a twisting edifice. Regine wondered how it had been built; with pre-collapse tools and equipment it might have been easy, but there had been nothing like this here before the catastrophe. From the guard station, it was very clearly visible, and, as the guard had said, the main street pointed, straight and wide, directly towards it.

The sidewalks were nearly as wide as the street; considering there was much more foot traffic than wagon or car, this made sense; considering both sidewalks were also full of small tents of street vendors, tables for cafes, musicians with hats out, and children playing, Regine wondered if maybe the sidewalks should not have been wider still.

“It’s quite active here,” she commented. “And the buildings look quite intact.” They were walking past an inn, according to the sign, and coming up on a small cafe, its tables full of people taking in the late-spring sunshine.

“Well, it is a city, with walls and safety, electricity and plumbing.” Feu Drake pointed at the streetlights which, in the bright sun of midday weren’t on. “Those are still rare, so I imagine even if the immigration requirements are as onerous as our visiting paperwork was–”

“I can’t imagine it would be less onerous!”

“You, sa’Lady of the Lake, have often suffered from quite a lack of imagination.” He delivered it so calmly that it took Regine a moment to realize she’d been insulted. “They recognized me on sight; they knew your name. And there, settled in for lunch and already on dessert,” he gestured at the cafe, “is a family that was three behind us in line entering the city. ‘Do you have any plants,’ indeed.”

“You are saying we were deliberately stalled?”

“I am saying that they reached for the form Ess-Tee-four-one-one and decided instead on Ess-Aitch-One-Seven, which was twice as thick as their first choice and four times as thick as the form they had picked for the couple in front of us. Yes, sa’Lady of the Lake–” It was not Regine’s imagination, she was sure, that Feu Drake was smirking, “–they wished to make us irritable and impatient. And you, uncharacteristically I might add, took the bait.”

Regine twisted her lips. “She was trying to make me angry.”

“I don’t think it was aimed specifically at you, but, yes, I believe she was attempting to irk us. Are you going to walk into this situation angry, sa’Lady of the Lake?”

She looked at the man thoughtfully. “I have a name as well as a Name.” Unlike him, who chose only to be the Fire-Drake. She could have researched him deeply enough to find his given name. She had respected his wishes and not done so.

“I believe this situation calls for formality. You are irked, and when you are irked, you often resort to full formality. And, in this case, that would not be a bad choice. They were your students, but this is their home.”

There was a warning there, one even Regine could hear. But, as she chose not to be lectured like a student herself, she ignored it, instead returning to looking around the street and the city.

“You said you imagined that, even with the oddities of paperwork, there would…”

She had interrupted him. He was correct; it was the time for formality, if she had been shaken enough to be rude.

He was not the sort of man to bring it up directly. “Yes. It seems like the sort of place that one might want to immigrate. True, there are still a few enclaves, and those have more obvious higher technology–” He held up a finger, and Regine tolerated this, because she had interrupted him. “–I say more obvious, because although there are no signs of pre-collapse or higher levels of such things visible, we do not know what lies beneath the city or behind walls. Even so, if Addergoole and the Village or an Enclave were not an option, this would be a very lovely place to live, indeed. And the walls seem to provide a bit of safety.”

Regine mulled over that. “It’s quite real-seeming. Genuine and proper looking, like a city ought to appear.”

“My dear Regine.” And now, the Fire-Drake smiled. It was not, Regine mused, a particularly pleasant expression. “You allow great feats from those students with whom you get along. I would suggest you believe the same from those that disagree with you.”

Regine frowned. “You’re certainly not suggesting that I’m underestimating these children because they were difficult students.”

“I’m suggesting exactly that. Rather than arguing with me, why don’t you look around the city? We’ve got, it seems, perhaps a quarter-mile before we reach the Tower.”

“You want me to sight-see.” She pursed her lips tightly.

“You came here to look at what Cya and Boom had wrought. I’m suggesting you look.”

He was much less obnoxious within the confines of Addergoole. But she had brought him along to advise her, and, thus, Regine took Drake’s advice and looked around.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/948562.html. You can comment here or there.

Balancing Odds

For [profile] kunama_wolf‘s prompt to my December Bingo Card – it fills the “evening the odds” square.

Addergoole has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ; the original series lives here.

1800, somewhere in England

Feu Drake eyed the woman in front of him over his tea. “You are an interesting woman.”

“Thank you.” She sipped her tea in turn, decorous despite the shackles on her wrists. “And you are an interesting young man… Ignazio, was it?”

“That’s as good a name as any.”

“‘Fire,’ jae’Fire-Drake. You are not interested in subtlety, are you?”

“I am not certain jae is appropriate here, Miss… Attwater, was it?”


“Ah, yes. Maya Attwater, named the Nicor. You liked that better than knucker, or you were Named when the word was still nicor?

“You’re a well-educated young man, aren’t you?”

“I endeavor to be. Although I would argue the young in any company but yours.” He sipped his tea again – it was a very nice blend – and smirked at the woman.

“Are you calling me old, Ignazio?”

“Far be it from me to impugn my elders.”

“At this rate, I’m going to believe you don’t actually like me.” Her shackles clattered as she sipped her tea. “You do get such good tea. however do you do it?”

“I own a tea room, Miss Attwater. It comes with the territory.”

“And such an interesting occupation that is for one of your lineage…”

“But you presume again.”

“I am known to be presumptuous. Now, tell me, are these silly shackles really necessary?”

“Miss Attwater, you are known to be several things. One of them is, indeed, presumptuous. Another is that you are almost universally fatal to the men you spend time with. And, as you have expressed some interest in spending some time with me, in, I believe you said, seeing what there was to see when you got this suit off of me, well, yes. I believe they are necessary.”

“They wouldn’t stop me, you know.”

“I am simply evening the odds, Miss Attwater.”

“Do you really have to call me that?” She set her tea down with a thump.

Finally, Feu Drake smiled. “Miss Attwater, there are any number of things I could call you. considering your situation, I think, if I were you, I would be satisfied with the niceties.”

Her shackled hand raised halfway to the collar around her neck – like the rest of the chains holding her, it was made of wood – and then dropped back to her lap as her chains pulled her short. “You are quite unfair.”

“That, my lovely Maya, is the point.”

See wiki here, for Nicor/knucker, and wiki here for tearoom.

Feu Drake teaches Law at Addergoole.

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Lost in Translation, Orig-Fic, Addergoole

To Rix_Scaedu‘s prompt to my orig-fic card. This fills, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Lost in Translation square.

Summer, Between Years 9 & 10 of the Addergoole School

“You’d think this would be easy.” Shira Pelletier stared at the document in front of her.

“No.” Feu Drake shook his head. “No. Some might think this is easy, but I would not be one of them again.”

“You’re doing it again.” She glanced up at him, not yet irritated but willing to sound it.

“Of course I am ‘doing it again.’ I am not certain you would ever be reasonable to expect something else of me, j-“

“If the next sound out of your mouth is a jae, you’re doing this on your own, Drake.” Now, now she was becoming actually irate.

“You are rather younger than I am.” He managed to make the statement of fact sound like a reproach. Shira was un-reproached.

“And does that mean that I am your junior?”

She caught the faintest twitch that meant she’d either amused the man or caught him by surprise. “You posit a curious question… Shira.”

“See? I knew you could use my use-name if you tried hard enough.” She allowed herself to be mollified, because if she kept this up much longer, it would no longer be sparring and be something far more like flirtation. (Maybe. With Feu Drake, it was hard to tell even when he was naked. Clothed and poring over ancient papers, there was almost no option short of a Working to get a certain answer). “This part of this piece makes no sense.”

“Are you sure it’s not you?”

“I am certain it’s not me, Feu Drake.” She pushed the sheet over to him – a piece of gold pressed thin as paper and inlaid with the ancient script of Old Tongue, Idu a’Iduþin. “This part here, the prophecy. ‘The mother who cares not?'”

Drake frowned. “‘The mother who…’ yes, ‘who gives no caring for her children but simply births them as the mice do.’ An odd way to phrase that.”

As the mice do. Shira sighed. “Oh. Well, it can’t be one of ours, can it?”

“I don’t see why not. Addergoole was prophesied in at least three different texts.”

Shira looked back at the words. “‘Shall…’ but something is missing, isn’t it?”

“Lost.” Drake picked up a leather-bound book and passed it to Shira. “But here’s a Greek translation. You think it’s one of your Students?”

As the mice do. “Let’s just say, I’m hoping it’s a mistake of translation.”

“jae” is a diminutive honorific; the prefix for those who outrank you is sa’, and for equals you simply skip the honorific.

Shira Pelletier and Feu Drake are professors in the Addergoole School.

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Visit from School

First of two I want to write for [personal profile] inventrix‘s prompt “Pellinore.”

This Pellinore has appeared in June Again,, Boom, and referenced in Legacy.

As first referenced in Loose Ends and Tying Off (these two stories reference slavery and mistreatment), the Addergoole staff make visits to graduated students to check up on them.

Cynara wasn’t surprised when Professors Drake and Pelletier showed up at her doorstep. By now the staff had to have noticed what she was doing, and, while she had gotten good marks for being one of the more level-headed students in her year, she was, after all, part of Boom. If anyone merited looking-in-on, it was her and her crew.

Pellinore, on the other hand, seemed both startled and upset when he opened the door. “Profe…” He stopped, as if unsure if saying that was giving away some secret. “What?”

“May we come in?” Trust Professor Drake to look over Pellinore’s shoulder like he wasn’t even there and ask Cya. She was glad the kids were with Leo today. She wasn’t sure this wouldn’t get unpleasant.

“Professor Drake, Professor Pelletier. Come on in. Pellinore, take their coats, would you? Can I get you something to drink, Professors?” Pretend everything is normal. Pretend there’s nothing to see here.

The Professors were less interested in pretend than they had been when Cya had been in school. “No drink, thank you. Pellinore, how are you doing?”

He glanced at Cya, then back at the Professor. Cya managed not to roll her eyes. A basic precaution could cover most of what the Professors were looking for. But she had nothing to hide. “Be honest with the Professors, but don’t feel the need to tell them anything you don’t want to.” She headed into the kitchen to get water anyway, giving him the pretense of privacy.

She could still hear them. She listened over the sound of the faucet as Pellinore coughed. “I’m all right. I don’t… I didn’t like getting caught. She trapped me,” he added, more quietly. “Like I was back in school.”

Professor Drake chuckled dryly. “That is what school is supposed to teach you to avoid.”

“Feu Drake.” Professor Pelletier was far less amused. “Does she treat you well, Pellinore?”

“Well, I’m Kept.” She could picture his shrug. “But she’s not a bad sort. Her kids are kinda wild.” He hesitated, and then continued more slowly, “but, ya know, if I was gonna be Kept again… I can live with this.”

“Is that because you believe you have no choice in the matter?”

Cya chose her Mentor’s question as a cue to re-enter, carrying four glasses of water on a tray. It was an interesting question, but she didn’t want them to get comfortable quizzing him.

Pellinore looked at her over his water glass, then glanced back at their former professors. She smiled, but didn’t try to send him any messages.

He coughed. “Way I see it, sir, ma’am, there’s been nothing we’ve done since we were conceived we had much choice in. Cya might be another trap, but she’s a nice one, at least.” He looked over Cya’s shoulder at the adults. “If you see JohnWayne or Pepper-Potts in your ‘visits,’ tell them their daddy says hello.”

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