A Learning Experience: Chapter 1, Turn 3

The next morning, the trip to school is punctuated by mist and drizzling rain that drips down into collars, obscures glasses, and generally puts a damper on people's moods.

On the walls of the school's entranceway, visible only to changeling eyes, are a number of black silhouettes shaped like people trapped in fear – splayed arms and legs, limbs in odd positions – the effect is most similar to the shadows of people burned into buildings at the blast sites of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The silhouettes do not move or speak; they simply seem to keep a silent vigil on the walls.

Niko smiles at the weather, as he arrives to school. He puts his cd player into the pocket of his blue jeans and wipes his hair from his eyes. Upon seeing the shadows on the building, he goes to inspect it by gently feathering his figures across one of the shadows.

Trevor, with his backpack and an outfit suitable for "kilt boy", walks over to where Niko is inspecting the shadows. Trevor studies the silhouettes, his expression growing somber. Glancing at Niko, Trevor takes his backpack from his shoulder, unzips it partway and pulls something out. "Hey Niko," says Trevor, offering a hand-sized furry black stuffed-animal spider. "Would you like him?" A slight blush appears on Trevor's cheeks and he adds, "I mean, um, you might know a girl who'd like it."

Niko accepts the stuffed spider and smiles as Trevor blushes. "Thanks, I'll make sure it has a good home."

As Layla arrives (no top hat this time, but a hooded black velvet cape with a red satin lining to protect her from the weather) she stops and kinda stammers a bit looking at the silhouettes. She walks to a spot away from Lestat and Kilt Boy and starts trying to figure out what it is.

Niko's smile seems to banish Trevor's somber mood. "Cool," he says with a grin. Trevor indicates the black silhouettes, "Looks to me like a reminder to enjoy life while you can." He looks thoughtfully at Niko, "I wonder why we seem to be the only ones who can see them though?"

Trevor turns to look at the wall and finally notices Layla. He says to Niko, "She's been acting odd ever since the photo in English class yesterday. Do you think she'll run off if I go over to say hi to her?"

Mr. Wethersfield appears in the doorway to his office, his mouth pursed as if he's swallowed something bitter. He glares over his high-bridged nose at Trevor, Niko and Layla. "No loitering in the halls -- move along!"

Hearing he has to move on, Niko gets up and puts the spider in the top of his bookbag. "Go talk to her, I think she just thinks you're cute. Well, I better go drop this stuff off in my locker. See you in third and ask Layla to take a picture of the ‘drawings on the wall' if you could. And good luck."

With that, Niko waves and goes off to his locker, saying good morning to Mr.Wethersfield as he passes.

Emmet arrives in a foul mood, muttering darkly to himself about rain, electronic devices, and missing umbrellas. He is soaked to the skin. Water follows lazy circles down his hair, which hangs in loose curls to his shoulders - it's far longer than what it appears when dry. His red haired companion, on the other hand, seems dry enough in her black and green cloak. Fae passing the duo might hear her teasing Emmet.

Emmet notices the last moments of the exchange between Niko and Trevor, and follows Trevor's gaze to Layla. Needing a good photographer to take the base shots for a new website, Emmet moves toward the pooka. He stops short when he sees the images on the walls, and exchanges a meaningful look with his companion. A complicated expression plays across his face as he mouths a curse. He stares at the images for several moments, then takes his notepad from his vest - cursing aloud at the dampness of the paper - and does his best to quickly copy the figures, jotting notes as he does so. Then he continues on to his locker, business with Layla forgotten for the nonce.

(Maintainer's note: Those interested can follow the link to see the shirt worn today by Emmet's companion.)

Taking pictures in the rain is not Layla's favorite hobby but she would do so anyway. noting anything unusual, hoping her pics will pick up something in the mortal world her fae eyes may have missed.

Just for fun, the nocker and his companion would be caught in the pics as well.

Trevor watches the retreating figure of Niko for a moment before returning his bag to his shoulder. Trevor turns to Layla and discovers she's busy with her camera. He glances at Mr. Wethersfield and calls, "Hi Layla! See you in homeroom!"

Trevor turns to leave and almost collides with Emmet. Not wanting to disturb the cranky note-taker, he steps around Emmet, going behind him so not to block his view. Trevor, after making sure no mundanes notice him, says to Emmet's red haired companion, "You can tell your wet friend that if he's interested, I've got some dry clothes in my locker." Trevor also gives her his locker number.

The redhead's eyes flick over Trevor's frame, giving the young sidhe the distinct impression he's being evaluated in some fashion on many levels - some of which are not entirely appropriate to a casual encounter. She smiles (sneers?) briefly, glancing to the odd pattern on her shirt then back to Trevor.

"A generous offer, Majesty," she says softly. Her voice is a rich alto, velvet smooth but laced with mockery. "You're a head taller than my friend, with broader shoulders. I'm sure your clothes would look as good on him as they do on you..."

Her eyes travel from Trevor's face to toes and back before she returns her attention to the shapes on the wall. She ignores any further communication. Emmet shows no sign that he is aware of the interaction. When Emmet completes his note-taking, the girl follows to his (their?) locker without so much as a backward glance.

Trevor seems surprised when she calls him "Majesty," but doesn't seem to notice the mockery in her voice. He doesn't seem to mind her eyeing him and, if anything, seems a bit more pleased with the world as he leaves.

Trevor stops by Mr. Wethersfield and pulls a stuffed yellow smiley face out of his bag and offers it. "Perhaps you could use a smile?" he asks Mr. Wethersfield.

Mr. Wethersfield's mouth works a few times at Trevor's comment and offering. "Young man, talking back to an administrator is a detentionable offense." He pulls his notebook from his suit jacket. "We shall see what the headmistress has to say about this. Now move along!"

Valerie enters the building, closing her dark blue "Maryland Renaissance Festival" umbrella. On her way to Room 107, she pauses at the shadows on the wall, her mouth forming a little "o" of astonishment.

Shaken out of her momentary reverie by Mr. Wethersfield's conversation with Trevor, she shoots Trevor a sympathetic look as she passes him on her way to homeroom.


Over the course of the day, the shapes on the walls slowly fade away.

Many of the school's kithain teachers seem distracted by the shadows on the wall as well -- even Mr. Ravenscroft seems to have less of his usual stoicism today.

At the end of the school day, Dr. Summers' voice comes over the PA system: "Will the following students please report to the headmistress' office immediately after school today -- Mercedes Ashford; Elizabeth Drummond; Lissa Marie Grim; Trevor Hamilton; Emerson McDonald; Valerie McSkeath; and Nickoli Rayne?"

She then goes on with more general announcements and announces which buses have arrived. Some of the students look curiously at the ones called to Dr. Summers' office, but most of them simply scatter, eager to be on their way home.

Niko heads to the office, not bothering to stop at his locker first. To students he seems distracted, barely watching were he's going.

Emmet and his companion fall into step a few feet behind Niko. The pair are engaged in an animated discussion on the pros and cons of leveraging Kerberos authentication methods over SSL for distributed web services.

They continue this discussion - apparently oblivious to anyone around them - until Dr. Summers arrives.

On his way to the office, Trevor spots the little group and falls in beside Niko. After Niko attempts to find out from him what's up, Trevor replies, "Got me. I didn't do anything today should of got me sent to the Headmistress' office." He twists his head around to look at Emmet and his companion and then turns back to Niko. "I don't think they know either - they're talking about Greek dogs on web sites." Trevor looks thoughtful. "I wonder if it's because I tried to give Mr. Wethersfield the stuffed smiley face?" Trevor starts to look upset. "I try to be nice to him, and he does this? And pulls you guys into it simply because you were around? How unfair!" Trevor seems to grow more majestic - and frightening - as he becomes more angry. "Well they can lock me up but I'm not going to let him blame you guys for this!"

"Mister Hamilton!" Dr. Summers' voice cuts through the room like a sword as she arrives. "No one is blaming any of you for anything -- there is no need for this kind of display."

Dr. Summers shuts the door to the office. As she and the eight (OOC -- the PCs plus Emmet's lovely companion) are alone, she draws herself up to her full height and lets her sidhe self take over.

Trevor seems rather chagrined after Dr. Summers' admonishment, though he seems to recover fairly quickly.

Lady Janelle smooths the skirt of her cotehardie with one graceful hand as she fastens her anxious verdant gaze on the young kithain before her. Her voice drops so that only those in the room can hear it. "As you know, there have been a number of odd things happening here of late. We need to find out what is going on -- /without/ letting the mortal students or teachers know about this... 'Never reveal yourself to humanity...' after all."

She swallows. "Unfortunately, we in the faculty and administration have numerous duties to attend to, both in and out of school." She gives the eight a meaningful look and makes a gesture that takes in her faerie mien. "Also, the students might be more willing to divulge information to peers rather than teachers." She paces back and forth, then turns back to the group, her skirts settling into a deep blue pool around her feet. She looks hopefully at the young kithain before her. "Will you help us discover what is going on?"

Layla skitters in, and finds a place to stand near the back of the room listening carefully, She shoots Dr. Summers an apologetic look and is very quiet as she enters. Then she says, " I guess i could try, i mean after all, how much harm can one little pooka do!?" She pauses a second with a puzzled look. "Ummm, yea... Dr. Summersbody do i know anything else about whats happening, i mean details would probably be useless but helpful after all."

Niko steps forward and looks around the room. "I'm game." He gives that neat sluagh smile, "I mean, if I can't find out what's going on who can." He turns toward Trevor, "You in?"

Trevor's first reaction to Niko's question is to mutter something to himself. Then he grins at Niko and says, "Yes, I'm in too. Who knows - this might even be fun."

Emmet casts a critical eye around the room, as though weighing his classmates' ability to contribute to such an endeavor. It's difficult to read his face - his expression seems to teeter between distaste and resignation. After a moment he mutters something under his breath, then addresses Dr. Summers.

"I'll help. We all seem to be involved, anyway." He faces the others. "Anyone have any information to share?"

Valerie draws herself up to her full height, her head held proudly erect. "I'll help too." Her blue eyes shine. "After all, a true daughter of the Black Unicorn could do no less." Then the majesty of her kith fades, and the human girl flushes a little. "I mean -- I'll try."

Niko smiles at what Trevor mutters and the fact that everyone seems to volunteer. He waits till Dr. Summers is done speaking and for everyone to leave before asking her questions.

Trevor seems pleased at Niko's smile - or perhaps at what Trevor's just come up with: "I volunteer to go talk to Sally Harper and find out what she knows." He pauses for a moment and adds, "Sally is the satyr who got bit by that thing yesterday."

Niko says, "With your permission Dr. Summers, I would like to search around the auditorium. The creature could reside there and if so any fae who goes in there might not be safe." Niko looks at Trevor and gives him one of those "we need to talk later" looks before returning his attention to Dr. Summers. " I also believe that anyone who can talk to the walls that had the figures on them should. It could be helpful."

Trevor looks concerned at Niko's speech. He mutters something to Niko and then turns to Dr. Summers. "Um, Dr. Summers, would you consider relaxing certain rules, perhaps?" He taps the empty (chimerical) sheath strapped to his leg meaningfully. He looks Dr. Summers in the eyes. "I am willing to swear to use my weapon only in defense of my comrades, if you think it necessary."

"I think searching the auditorium is a good place to begin," says Emmet. "As our friend in the skirt suggests, this thing is potentially dangerous. The satyr who was injured yesterday thinks it came out of the floor, burned her leg, and was in the rafters before she could react. While the rest of you were dancing around like fools and accosting it with writing implements, I took a moment to actually look at it. It seems born of nightmares of nuclear war. So were the figures on the wall when we arrived this morning.

"Given the toasted tart's version of how she was hurt, I'd say we should also take a look around the basement."

Lady Janelle nods. "Your information is most appreciated, Mr. MacDougal. I too think it prudent to search both the auditorium and the basement."

Then her gaze moves to Trevor. "I will...consider your request, Laird Leon. However, people waving around "invisible" weapons might attract more attention than is good for us."

"Well, Skirtboy - are you going to stand here all afternoon bemoaning the deficiency of your scabbard..."

Emmet's companion emphasizes the nocker's double entendre with a derisive giggle and a fast glance toward Trevor's crotch.

Emmet doesn't miss a beat. "Or are you coming with us to the basement?"

"That scabbard's just for my knife - my sword is to big to fit in it." Trevor looks at Niko and then back at the pair. "I was going to talk to Niko after we finished here. I could swing by my locker afterwards."

Lady Janelle holds up a hand. "Before everyone scatters throughout the building, let me remind you all that your parents will be wondering where you are. Right now, you need to go home. Or, if you are determined to search now, I will call your parents and let them know you'll be staying late."

"Ummm... mr. summersby I'll go and look near the walls, i mean, i cant do a thing but look but maybe the walls can give me a hint all on their own. I mean they talk so loud anyone could hear them, why do you think everyone in their right mind gets headaches, i mean after all..." Layla goes on a rant about the walls talking too loud and how distracting it gets as she leaves the room.

"Thank you for calling my parents for me. If you could, call my mom, that would probably be easier." When dismissed, Niko goes into the hall to speak with Trevor, and then proceeds to the auditorium stopping at his locker first to drop off books and grab his sketch pad and pencils.

"I can handle the phone call home. Receiving a call from the headmistress will worry them more than me having them think I'm meeting with a prospective client."

Emmet turns to Val. "What about you, Walker? Skirtboy seems to have plans. Tromping through a dark cellar looking for a nuclear-inspired nightmare sound like a good first date?" He grins, showing two rows of even, sharply pointed teeth.

Valeria returns the grin, but there's something almost predatory about the gleam of her even, white teeth. "Since Niko and Trevor seem to have the auditorium covered, I'm in." Then she turns to Lady Janelle. "Milady, would you inform my mother where I am? That way, she and my father won't worry."

"Would you please call my parents too? And if you told them I wasn't in trouble that'd be great. Like I'm in a club." Trevor pauses and then add, "Lady Janelle, would you as Headmistress let us start a club? It'd be great cover for our investigations."

Lady Janelle gives Trevor a smile. "An excellent idea, Laird Leon. I'm pleased to see that at least one of the house of the Silver Lion is capable of subtlety." She winks at him to show she means no offense, then proceeds to call the homes of those who requested it.

Trevor leaves the headmistress' office, and waits in the hall for Niko. Then he goes with Niko to the auditorium.

Meanwhile, Emmet, his companion, and Valeria head for the basement.

Time: 3:15 pm, Thursday, September 5, 2002
Current weather: Rain. Expected weather: Rain

This web page copyright 2002 by Midori Hirtzel-Church.
This page first posted -- November 2, 2002
This page last updated -- December 31, 2002
First uploaded to mirror site -- January 10, 2003

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