A Learning Experience: Chapter 1, Turn 6 (Part 1)

As school begins on Friday morning, the sky is a pale blue color. In the east, a bank of dark clouds is gathering, but so far the sky above the school is still blue. Students file into the building, some of them talking about the events of the previous day.

In the school's entranceway, a sign that says, "Fencing Team Tryouts" is posted on the bulletin board. It notes that tryouts will be Monday and Tuesday, that the fencing team practices for two hours every Wednesday after school and that competitions are about every other month from September until the end of May, and that people wishing to try out for the team should see Miss Kapatelis or Mr. Ravenscroft to sign up. There is also a sign for the Gryphon, the school newspaper. It seems that the Gryphon is accepting poetry and short stories, even from non-staffers – "Interested parties should see Ms. Ohara."

Sally Harper finishes pulling some books out of her locker and shuts the door, flipping a stray curl of hair out of her face with her free hand. Below her walking shorts, there is an elastic bandage wrapped around her ankle. To fae eyes, her ankle seems to be healing well, though her leg pelt still bears the marks of her recent injury.

Those passing by Room 107 will notice Mr. Ravenscroft standing beside his desk, frowning as he stares intently at a number of small, ivory-colored objects lying on the worn desk blotter. Visible only to kithain eyes, an eerie, cold light glimmers in the eye sockets of the skull on his desk.

Niko walks into the school, and looks at the flyers. 'Fencing cold be helpful." He says to himself. He stops by Sally, "Hey Sal, how's your leg?"

Trevor arrives in school. Not surprising for him, he fails to notice any of the flyers or other things posted. However, he does notice Niko and Sally, and comes over and joins them. "Hi Niko, Hi Sally. How's the leg?" He grins at Niko. "Or did she just get through telling you about it?"

"Not too bad," Sally returns, brushing her hair out of her face again. "I still have to wear the bandage a few more days, though -- Ms. K told my folks it's a strain, so they're not wondering, like, how come I came home limping?" She giggles a little. "Saved me a lot of trouble."

A slender blond, dressed in a burgundy silk blouse and gray skirt with designer labels, the heels of her black leather sandals clicking on the floor, enters the building on the arm of a large youth in a Larry K. Dixon Gryphons jacket. He's dark-haired, with hazel eyes and a prominent jaw line.

To kithain eyes, the young lady is even more radiant, with silvery eyes and hair that shimmers from the palest blonde to golden to reddish blonde. She also displays the pointed ears and angular features common to the sidhe, and is clad in flowing burgundy and gray silks that seem to flow along her slender form.

The young man with her is even more large and impressive to fae eyes, with icy blue skin and a pair of small ivory horns curving into his thick blue-black hair. He wears a suit of leather armor, with an empty scabbard at his belt. The look he's giving the young lady can only be described as devoted.

The pair sweep grandly down the hall, pointedly ignoring Niko, Sally and Trevor.

Trevor's head turns as he looks in the direction of the pair and follows their progress until they pass Niko, Sally and Trevor. As the pair passes and pointedly ignores the three, Trevor's expression darkens. His normally amiable mein is replaced by an air of terrible majesty as he starts to step after the pair.

Niko grabs Trevor lightly by the arm, as not to upset him even further, and scoots closer. Leaning in he whispers, "Let them go, by acting upon their ignorance your proving that they are better than us." He turns back to Sally, "That's good at least your not in any trouble."

Trevor looks at Niko and the fire seems to go out of him. "I was going to make them apologize to you, um, us." He makes no move to escape Niko's grip.

Niko loosens his grip and after a moment he drops his arms to his sides. "I hate ignorant people,"

"We all start out ignorant. The ones I hate are the ones determined to stay that way." Trevor touches Niko on the arm in a spot roughly equivalent to where Niko grabbed Trevor. "Thanks for giving a rat's ass about me."

Bela follows Dr. Summers out into the hall where everyone is rushing to lockers and homerooms. She tucks a lock of her thick coarse jet-black hair behind her ear. Her blue jeans are painted with images of exotic birds, tigers, elephants, and lemurs. Her emerald green short sleeved button-down is painted in the same manner.

The first change to fae eyes is the gracefully pointed ears, then the stardust in the eyes. Her Voile consists of a tight embroidered blouse and traditional sari with beads and tiny mirrors worked into the hems. She favors dark rich jewel tone colors. From each ear hangs a silver crescent turned like an umbrella with 3 perfectly tear shaped moonstones. A matching pendant hangs at her collarbone. A anklet of silver bells adorns her left ankle, while silver bracelets grace each wrist. If one is really paying attention they might smell jasmine and sandalwood.

Trevor notices Bela, and like mercury, his serious expression disappears. He smiles and waves at Bela and then turns back to his companions, grinning from ear to ear. "Though my favorite lessons aren't what they're trying to teach us in the classroom."

Sally giggles as she follows Trevor's gaze. "You know, maybe I should introduce you to some friends of mine who feel the same way sometime."

She shifts her books to a more comfortable position on her hip. "I'm going to go talk to Miss Ohara -- I was on the Gryphon last year, and it was a lot of fun. See you later?" She flashes a bright smile at Niko and Trevor before heading down the hall. Valeria enters the building, and waves to Niko and Trevor before going to her locker to collect her books.

As she notices the blonde sidhe and her troll escort down at the end of the hall, her normally pleasant features twist into an expression of obvious distaste as she seems to concentrate very hard on stuffing a notebook into her locker.

"No problem." Niko says to Trevor, then waves hi to Val. "You want to hit my locker with me?"

"Sure. I just need to stop at mine afterwards." Trevor walks along with Niko. "So did you finish your notes from our adventure? Oh, and how did you and Layla make out last night?" A momentary expression of sadness flickers across his face. "I wish I could have been there."

Dr. Summers strides purposefully down the hall, pointing out various things to Bela along the way. After consulting one of the sheets in her hand, she stops at a locker near the one where Valeria is putting away her books.

"This is your locker, Bela." Dr. Summers gestures to the combination lock she handed Bela in the office. "The combination is on the back of the lock."

As Dr. Summers finishes speaking, Val finishes with her books and shuts the locker door. Looking a little startled, she says, "Oh! Good morning, Dr. Summers."

"Good morning, Miss McSkeath," the headmistress says pleasantly. "This is Bela Katwaroo, a new student. Bela, this is Valerie McSkeath -- a classmate of yours."

Val smiles, the expression transforming her features into something extraordinary. "Hi, Bela. Call me Val." She sticks out a hand for Bela to shake.

Bela gives Trevor a slight smile and nod, somewhat hesitant. Her eyes dart from Trevor to Niko and her smile to them is a little more friendly. Stopping at her locker Bela smiles at Dr. Summers, "Thank you." as she pulls the sticker with the combination off the lock and opens it and puts her backpack inside before fishing around in it for notebooks, pens and other things. The she puts the necessary stuff in a small shoulder bag and carries the notebook. Bela shifts her notebook and offers her hand to Val, "Hello." Bela's eyes lingering on the pendant before looking back at the other sidhe for other such devices. She smiles more as the sluagh boy waves to the sidhe girl. "Who are the boys and who is the i... the girl in burgundy?"

Niko starts towards his locker, "Well I didn't find crap on the tribe, the pictures are done, and the tribe name sounds like Dixon. Other then that not much." Assuming they pass the girls, he then says "Hey Val, good morning Dr. Summers, and hi my name's Niko and this is Trevor" He poin ts to Trevor.

Val seems to consider the headmistress' proximity before answering, "That was Crystal Logan and her boyfriend Brandon McKane -- they're both seniors." It seems like she'd like to say more, but looks at Dr. Summers' formidable figure and appears to think better of it.

Bela bites her lip as she notices Val's looks. "Oh, it looks like there is going to be a lot of people to meet."

Closing her locker, Bela turns and overs her hands first to Niko then Trevor. "Bela Katwaroo. Its only the third day of school and everyone seems so busy. I guess I have missed some adventure?"

Dr. Summers nods pleasantly to Niko and Trevor. "Good morning, Mr. Rayne, Mr. Hamilton. Bela is a new student, and, I believe, a classmate of yours."

"Good morning Dr. Summers, Val." Trevor glances at Niko before replying to Bela. "You could say that. Niko and I had some," Trevor hesitates slightly, "interesting experiences yesterday." Trevor will follow Niko to his locker, unless Niko stops.

"Interesting to say the least." Niko let's out a slight chuckle and then bids everyone a good day and goes to his locker.

Emmet and his companion approach the front doors engrossed in conversation. They pause just inside the entrance as the girl laughs, and moves off. Emmet reads the notices on the bulletin board, then takes a flyer of his own from his backpack and staples it to the board in a way that covers just enough of the fencing team announcement to draw attention to his notice without obscuring any meaningful text on the school's poster. His small vandalism complete, Emmet goes to his locker, then to homeroom.

He pauses outside of Mr. Ravenscroft's door, as if gathering the moxy to approach the sidhe instructor before classes begin. After a moment he takes a deep breath and walks in.

"Mr. Ravenscroft? I'd like to talk to you about the fencing tryouts on Monday."


Emmet's companion seems dressed for impact today. Her babydoll t-shirt seems at least a half-size smaller than usual and is made barely acceptable by the black leather jacket she wears. A bright white box stretches interestingly across her breasts, as though inviting (daring?) someone to stare, and a small emerald twinkles in her exposed navel. Her painted-on low-rider jeans are ripped in fascinating places, black fishnet stockings obvious beneath them. A hint of black undergarment peeks over the waistband. She wears high black boots in place of her usual battered Converse All-Stars. Her hair - in a mass of tight narrow braids - covers most of the right side of her face. The back of her jacket is painted with an exquisite black and white portrait of her face in profile, chin up, lips parted. Her long-nailed hand hovers above her open mouth, a brilliant drop of crimson blood about to drip.

She moves through the crowded hallway as though on a mission, intently ignoring the stares of the faerie students and faculty she passes.

A slim youth with thick black hair and startling green eyes nearly falls over as Emmet's companion passes him, an expression of utter astonishment on his features.

Then he catches the wall for a moment as if to steady himself, shaking his head a little as if to clear it.

A dark-haired girl in a battered black leather motorcycle jacket, a T-shirt with a wolf on it, black jeans and sneakers walks beside him. Noticing his distress, she takes his arm, looking concerned as she murmurs to him solicitously.

After a few minutes, the youth appears to steady himself and the two continue on their way down the hall and up the stairs, the girl looking over her shoulder once in puzzlement.


Back in room 107, Mr. Ravenscroft 's face breaks into a rare smile at Emmet's question. "Of course, Mr. McDonald. It's always a pleasure to find individuals who are interested in learning the art of the blade." He seems genuinely pleased. "Have you any prior experience with the sport?"

"A little during my Sain - shit, summer camp a few years ago. I enjoyed it and would like to get back into it."

Mr. Ravenscroft nods. "Well, then, I'll see you after school on Monday in the gym."

"Sounds good. What sort of time commitment do you require?" Emmet smiles lopsidedly. "I need to make sure there I don't over-schedule..."

"Practice is for two hours after school on Wednesdays; should you make the team, competitions are about every other month from September until the end of May. Alternates attend practice, but only compete in the event a regular team member is unable to do so." Mr. Ravenscroft pauses. "There is also the option to schedule an impromptu practice session with myself or Miss Kapatelis, should you wish for some extra practice."

"That's not bad... I'll be there."

Emmet takes his seat.


At Trevor's locker, Trevor takes out what he needs for his first class. He takes some folded plaid fabric out of his bag and puts it in his locker, along with his bag. "We need access to something better than a bolt of fabric," he says to Niko. "Like swords or something." He closes his locker. "Meet you for lunch? I could catch Layla in homeroom and ask her to join us. Though I probably won't understand her answer." A smile, tinged with a hint of sadness, crosses his face.

"If I could fight with a sword, they might be of better use." He rolls his eyes. "Yeah go ahead and invite her." He pats Trevor on the shoulder,"Don't worry, she'll see what a charming man you are and she'll come around." He smiles and waves good bye to his friend as he goes to first hour.

Before the boys leave Bela smiles, "Perhaps we could trade stories." She turns towards Val, "Do you have homeroom in 107? What have I really missed."

Trevor waves goodbye to his friend and heads for homeroom. Trevor will stop and invite Layla to lunch with him and Niko. If she's not there yet, he'll catch her either whenever she comes in or just after homeroom.

Val smiles. "Yes, I'm in 107. You haven't missed that much, actually. The teachers handed out course outlines and went over them, and sort of introduced what we're going to be covering this year." She looks up at Dr. Summers questioningly. When the headmistress gives a barely perceptible nod, Val looks around to make sure no one is within earshot and lowers her voice to a near-whisper. "As to the rest of the stuff that's gone on, if you have Lunch 2, I can tell you then."

Bela refers quickly to her class schedule and flashes Val and Dr. Summers a smile, "I do." She checks tht her locker is locked and looks around the hallway and at any clock. "I guess I'll go to homeroom, and see you at lunch." Bela smiles at Dr. Summers, "Thank you for showing me the way."

Dr. Summers looks up at the clock on the wall and frowns. "It's nearly time for homeroom. Bela, I'd best introduce you to Mr. Ravenscroft now. And you had best be on your way there as well, Valerie." She leads the two young women to room 107, where she taps lightly on the door. "Mr. Ravenscroft, a word?"

Mr. Ravenscroft turns to face the group in the doorway from where he stands beside his desk. "Yes, of course, Dr. Summers."

Dr. Summers moves over to allow Val to enter the room, and then guides Bela inside. "Bela, I would like you to meet Mr. Darian Ravenscroft, your English 11 instructor and homeroom teacher. Mr. Ravenscroft, this is Bela Katwaroo, the new student I informed you was arriving."

Mr. Ravenscroft gives Bela a pleasant nod. "Ah, yes. Welcome to Junior Three, Miss Katwaroo."

With a smile, Dr. Summers moves toward the door. "If you are all set, Bela, I shall leave you in Mr. Ravenscroft's capable hands -- I have to get back to the office."

Bela smiles, "I think I'm fine Dr. Summers." After the headmistress leaves Bela shifts her books to her left arm and offers her right hand to Mr. Ravenscroft. Her eyes lingering on the objects on his desk. "I'm sorry that I missed the first few days."

"Mr. Ravenscroft, is there any thing I missed, books, homework?"

Once she has her missed work and course books Bela takes a seat in the center of the back row.


As the students of Junior 4 enter Room 323 for homeroom period, Mr. Douglas sits at his desk, going over some last-minute paperwork. He's on the tall side of average, with a thin build. His hair is dark and somewhat shaggy-looking, worn with long sideburns, and his dark eyes are partly hidden behind tinted glasses.

A slender young man with thick black hair and startling green eyes, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a man in white on a white horse that says, For Companionship, Choose Valdemar, jeans and sneakers, sits talking to a pair of girls – a pretty redhead in a green top and walking shorts, with blue-green eyes and a dazzling smile; and a lithe brunette in jeans and a T-shirt with a black wolf on it, with cool green eyes and a confident manner. Noticing Niko, the young man looks at him briefly and starts a little. He blinks, a look of consternation flashing across his face for a moment.

Niko walks in and takes his seat. To mortal eyes, he's wearing a pair of semi-baggy black jeans with about 10 pockets and a loose black shirt.

To Fae Eyes, he's wearing an elegant poet's shirt that is not tucked in to his leather pants. His eyes are a brighter emerald then usual today and as the light hits his hairs streaks of dark blue can be seen.

He makes notice of the guy that looked at him and starts on a new sketch until the teacher calls for attention.

After the rest of the students have filed in and taken their seats, Mr. Douglas goes to the lectern at the front of the room and says, "Show of hands, please, folks -- who's buying the full lunch today?"

A number of students raise their hands; Mr. Douglas notes something on the sheet on the lectern and then asks, "All right, how many for just the entree?"

Some other students raise their hands; Mr. Douglas notes these as well.

Shortly thereafter, the bell rings, and Dr. Summers' voice comes over the public address system....


The homeroom bell rings, and Dr. Summers' voice comes over the P.A. system.

"Good morning, teachers and students. Today, we will follow a regular 'A' day schedule. Physical education and swim classes will meet today as scheduled; students in those classes, please be prepared.

Tryouts for the fencing team will be held Monday and Tuesday after school; those students who are interested, please see Mr. Ravenscroft or Miss Kapatelis to sign up.

Monday is the last day that monthly tuition payments for October can be made; any payments made after that date will incur a 10 percent late fee.

There is a change in the lunch menu for today -- instead of hamburgers, the cafeteria will be serving tacos.

Thank you, and have a good day."

After the announcements are over, the students recite the Pledge of Allegiance, then Mr. Douglas puts the sheet with the lunch count in a manila envelope and catches the attention of the dark-haired young man in the Valdemar T-shirt. "Aidan, would you take this to the office?"

Aidan gets up from his seat and accepts the envelope, sticking it on top of his binder and textbooks. Shortly thereafter the bell rings, signaling the end of homeroom. As the students all head for first period, Aidan is walking with the dark-haired girl; the redheaded one seems to have gone on ahead.

Niko packs up his stuff and heads to first hour.

Bela checks her schedule and sighs, she was never one for organized sports...

At the end of homeroom she goes to the bulletin board to see what is going on, then on to her first class.

After homeroom and talking to Layla, Trevor heads to his first class. His progress is uneven, as his attention is easily diverted by a pretty face (or other anatomical features). He says hi to people he knows, flirting with some. If he catches the eye of someone he doesn't know when he's looking at them, he'll give them a smile and perhaps a wink too. For some reason, Trevor barely makes it to class on time.


As the students enter Room 107 for English class, Val steals a few moments before class begins to confer with the rest of the group. "Why don't we get together at lunch and talk about what's been going on?" she asks in a low voice.

Trevor's eyes skim over Val from head to toe, as if he'd really never noticed her before. Trevor gives her a bit of a smile and says in a similar tone to Val, "Sure. I'm meeting Niko and Layla for lunch, but I don't think they'll mind."

Bela enters the room and nods as she decides on her course of action, she walks over to Val and Trevor. "Can I join or do I need to know the secret handshake?" She offers the pair a smile.

Trevor's gaze turns to Bela. He examines her for a moment before replying, though not long enough for his gaze to be considered rude. "I'd be happy to have you... Um, we're just making plans to meet at lunch. You could join us then, if you wanted." Trevor glances at Val. "I'd planned to talk to Niko and Layla then about the strange things that have been going on around here."

Emmet's eyes narrow slightly as Trevor gives Val the once-over, but his expression remains its usual nocker glower.

"Sounds good to me. This place has some furking odd history I think you should all know about."

Trevor misses Emmet's disapproval - perhaps his attention was on Bela at the time. Apparently just noticing Emmet, Trevor says, "I'm sure it'll be interesting."

Bela stops smiling at Trevor's words, she turns from him, and greets the nocker, "Hello, I'm Bela, but a guess you heard that this morning, I would truly enjoy learning the history of this school."

Emmet stares at Bela for a long moment before responding.

"Sucking up will get you nowhere with me, Sister," he says, shaking his head as though explaining a simple concept to a child for the nth time.

Bela smiles, "Who said I wanted to get anywhere with you? I like stories, history included. Now if you thought that was sucking up, you will learn, I don't suck up, to anyone. I won't deny being curious, or liking a good story, but I don't need to suck up." Her tone isn't scolding or angry, but then it changes - chills, "And I'm not your sister."

Trevor leans over and whispers to Niko, "Well, it looks like this is going to be interesting..."

"Miss Katwaroo...Mr. McDonald," Mr. Ravenscroft's voice, while not much different in volume, seems to have cooled a few degrees. "Are you ready to join us now?"

Emmet grins and murmurs, "Feisty. That's good," as he takes a seat and turns to face the front of the class. He is unfazed by the teacher's admonition.

Bela ignores the boys, and takes a seat away from Trevor, "Yes, sir."

As class begins, a slender young man with thick black hair and startling green eyes, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a man in white on a white horse that says, For Companionship, Choose Valdemar, looks up at Mr. Ravenscroft and utters a little gasp, staring at the English teacher as if he's never seen him before. Then he blinks, shakes his head a little, and becomes very interested in his desk.

"Mr. Ryan?" Mr. Ravenscroft looks at the youth with concern. "Are you all right?"

"Yes, sir," the young man returns quietly, looking up at him briefly; the expression on his features can only be described as relieved. "I'm OK."

Mr. Ravenscroft doesn't appear totally convinced. "Are you quite sure? If you need a pass to the nurse's office...."

The boy shakes his head. "I'm OK, really." He seems decidedly uncomfortable with the attention.

Bela places her notebook on her desk as the teacher talks to the other student, and with focus on them she idly sketches on the left-hand page, details that caught her eye, the fall of his hair, the shape of his eyes.

Mr. Ravenscroft frowns. "Very well." He turns back to the chalkboard. "Now, let's continue our discussion of the short story..."

When Mr. Ravenscroft addresses the class Bela jots down on the right-hand side of the notebook, the date and 'short stories' and then phrase in Sanskrit.


The morning passes without incident. At lunchtime, the group gathers at one of the tables.

Val gives Bela a meaningful look. "OK, you wanted to know what was going on." She looks around the cafeteria at the other students, making sure that her voice carries no further than the group's table. Then she looks around at the rest of the group. "Who wants to start?"

Bela gets out her lunch and a notepad, prepared to listen and eat at the same time. "I'll wait until everyone has told their tale before interrupting..."

Bela's homemade lunch is a far cry from the school's taco's, a mixture of almonds, Pistachios, raisins and spices... Kesari Bhath.

When no one else speaks, Trevor shrugs and says, ""I know some people are a lot more organized than I." Trevor glances at Niko. "So I'm just going to try and give an outline and let everyone else fill it in. First, there was the incident in the assembly at the end of the first day of classes where the ceiling crawling creature with smoking eye sockets attacked Sally - a satyr, for those of you who don't know her. Niko and I scared it off. Second, at the start of school the next morning, there were the shadow-like images of people on the wall near the door that only us fae could see." Trevor looks at Bella. "The rest of us were asked by the Headmistress yesterday after school to keep our eyes open, as we might be able to find out things the teachers won't." Trevor eyes roam around the table. "Emmet and Val can tell their own adventures, as can Layla. I went with Niko to the auditorium where the creature had been. When we went in it looked like the place had gone through a war. We met some ladies of the Dhy'zhonn tribe, who were very generous, especially considering how little they had. They said they'd lived there since the Time Before and that the place had been given to them by the Dreaming One. Niko figured out that the tribe name sounds like Dixon. And that's pretty much it." Trevor pauses then adds, "Unless you wanted to count the guy in English class getting freaked out by Sir Dariun."

As Trevor tells his story, the Emmet's redheaded companion joins the group. She whispers something in Emmet's ear, nods a greeting to Val, and favors Bela with a curious look as she takes a seat near the nocker. The girl listens to Trevor's summary, occasionally sipping from the straw in Emmet's large mug of iced tea in a manner suggesting close friendship rather than romantic involvement. Once Trevor finishes, Emmet takes a long pull from the mug and begins.

"I don't know if anyone else thought to actually look at the critter in the auditorium the other day, but I did." He shows his sketch to Bela. "The little bastard was a nightmare chimera, and stank of fear of nuclear war. The figures on the hall the other day?" He flips his notebook to the smeared drawings for Bela's benefit. "Also dreams of nuclear fears. Layla discovered that the school once had a bomb shelter in the basement, so Val, Andromeda, and I went on a little explore the other day. We didn't get far before we were attacked by rats. Vicious little fuckers the size of dogs. One clipped me pretty good, so we opted to leave things alone for the time being.

"Now, here's where things get interesting. A friend of mine said he's heard stories that a freehold used to stand on this site before the Shattering. It's third-hand information at best, but Gwifgyr's an honest pisher and wouldn't be talking shit if he didn't think there was at least some truth to the stories. Andromeda turned up a Japanese website dealing with phenomena of haunted houses - and the little nippers just might have something. Seems haunted houses occasionally have things appear on the walls. So - if there is something to this old freehold story, there could be some sort of residual Glamour leeching into the school. Hell, it could be why the school was built here in the first place. That same Glamour could also be amplifying someone's nightmares of nuclear disaster. But who has nightmares of nuclear war these days?

"Oh - one last thing. Seems everyone's favorite English prof has been publishing papers on folklore and mythology in various academic journals for the last twenty years. I haven't read his work yet," he quickly writes something on a fresh page of his notebook and shows it to his companion, "but I think it might be a good idea. Might be a good idea to ask Sir Dariun and the Headmistress if they know anything about the history of this location dating from, say, 600 years before the school was built."

Emmet takes another drink from his mug, only find it empty. His expression darkens as he looks sideways at his companion, who seems unnecessarily interested in the condition of her black-polished fingernails. After a moment she looks up. "What?"

Valeria has appeared to be considering Trevor and Emmet's reports up until now. She closes her eyes, apparently turning things over in her mind. When she opens them again, a slight pucker appears between her finely-drawn ebony brows. "Thinking of what Trevor said about Aidan -- the guy in English class today -- I've known him since freshman year, when we both tried out for the fencing team, and as far as I know, he's never acted this way before." The pucker between her brows deepens. "Maybe I ought to talk to him next practice." She pauses. "And as for Sir Dariun, maybe I should talk to my Aunt Janna -- she's the ranking member of our House in these parts, so she might know something about him."

While speaking, Trevor's attention had been more or less divided evenly among those around the table - until the appearance of Andromeda. While he does keep speaking and even manages to nod a greeting to her, it's fairly obvious that Trevor finds her even more intriguing than usual. With her outfit, even those unfamiliar with Trevor can guess why.

Trevor apparently pays some attention to Emmet's speech though, for not that long afterwards he say, "Um, Emmet, 600 years would be before Columbus came to America."

Emmet turns toward Trevor with dark anger flashing in his eyes. His voice is even and low, but full of danger. Andromeda whispers, "Dumb bastard," to no one in particular and suddenly becomes very interested in the dust motes playing in a nearby sunbeam.

"I am aware of the timeline, Skirtboy, and that cuck-sucking pretender Columbus has bubkis to do with this discussion. If you'd pay as much attention to your history instructors as you do to your dick, you'd recall that the Shattering took place about 600 years ago. You do know what happened during the Shattering, don't you? Trods to Arcadia were falling left and right, and you tight-assed bastards ran like little girls, forsaking your oaths of protection and leaving the "common" kiths to swing in the cold wind. Or does the furking ‘nobility' teach a different version to its fledges?"

A vein on the young nocker's temple throbs. His usually dark eyes have turned a startling emerald green. Emmet holds Trevor's gaze for several long seconds, obviously torn between regaining his self control and letting the full force of his kith's notorious attitude loose on Trevor.

Trevor's voice remains even, though there is a note of coldness to it. "When I was sained last month in Scotland, I was told that not all of the Sidhe left. Practically all of House Scathach remained, as did a number of those from my House." Trevor's mouth forms a smile, though his eyes have no mirth or warmth in them. "For some reason my instructor in Scotland made no mention of any Fae in the New World at the time of the Shattering." The smile disappears. "I do not remember Shattering, nor do I know if my 'ancestors' left or stayed. In any case I cannot change what happened." Trevor looks around the table at everyone. "Change cannot be stopped. I may be dead by the end of the day, so why should I wallow in misery? But whatever happens, I will NOT," Trevor's fist slams on the table and his eyes blaze, "desert my friends!" Trevor glances at Niko and then looks back at Emmet.

"And what about those who aren't your friends, Skirtboy? I'm not talking about abandoning your friends. I'm talking about damn near an entire kith breaking an oath of guardianship: running for the safety of Arcadia, leaving those you swore to protect to fend for themselves for SIX HUNDRED YEARS, then having the balls to swing back into town and demand we all welcome you back like long-lost lovers. Like NOTHING HAPPENED. Just because you don't remember the Shattering doesn't mean you weren't there. Assuming you're not lying to cover your ass, consider yourself lucky. Some of us would give our left nut to be able to forget."

Emmet falls silent for a moment. When he continues his tone has lost some of its edge, but his eyes haven't darkened at all.

"You CAN'T change what happened, Trevor. But you CAN stop making excuses, pony up to your responsibilities, and do every damn thing you possibly can to make it right."

He turns to the rest of the table, an oddly haunted expression on his face, and reflexively drinks from his mug. Swearing darkly under his breath, Emmet makes his way to the front of the cafeteria to refill his drink. As he gets up he manages to casually put an elbow in Andromeda's ribs, knocking her from the edge of the table to the floor. She watches his back for a moment, then bursts out laughing.

Niko sits quietly up until Trevor and Emmet start arguing. He then says as loud as anyone's ever probably herd him spoke, "Look will you two fucking shut up? We aren't going to solve anything with you two constantly at each others throats. " He shakes his head, "Now that we know all the facts, we should probably start trying to solve this."

Trevor shrugs when Emmet asks, "And what about those who aren't your friends, Skirtboy?"

Bela writes, in a mix of symbols and letters as she listens, pausing to eat. When the talk turns to fae history and Emmet's righteous anger, she hides her smile with a quick bite of food.

"Well when you only learn from your own history, you miss the whole story, my aunt told me that, not to focus only on the stories of our people. So if you want to know about something 600 years ago, find the stories of the people that where here 600 years ago. I'll be happy to research Cherokee lore, or any other tribes from the area."

After Emmet knocks Andromeda down, Trevor gets up and offers a his hand to Andromeda. Apparently realizing that his help might not be wanted, he says, "I'll help you up if you want, or can just go ahead and slap me too. After all, it's obvious chivalry is long dead." He leaves his hand extended toward Andromeda, but looks after Emmet and says softly. "There are some things I'd rather forget too." If Andromeda takes Trevor's hand he will help her up. If, or if not, he will return to his seat.

Still laughing, Andromeda takes Trevor's hand ... and pulls hard as she kicks his feet from under him. He tumbles to the floor and lands the girl's lap. The pair struggles for a moment as Andromeda extracts herself. Eyes full of mirth, she gently kisses Trevor on his cheek as she helps him off the floor.

"I'm sorry, Trevor," she snickers as she brushes some imaginary dust from the rear of his kilt. "It was such a perfect opportunity, I just couldn't pass it up. It's nice to know that chivalry is alive and well and attending Larry K. Dixon." She gives Trevor's behind a slight squeeze as resumes her seat at the end of the table.

"Try not to take his ranting personally, Trevor. Emmet has nigh - um ..." she pauses for a moment, reconsidering her words. "Well, let's just say he's a nocker to the core. They're a hard lot to get to know and a thick skin definitely helps. Every nocker I've ever met - and I've spent more than my fair share of time around the vile little bastards" - the last is said with affection - "Every one is exactly the same way. It's their way of getting to know you. Ignoring it helps you to get to know them. Giving as good as you get will help earn their respect. He'll probably kill me if he hears me say this Trevor, but he doesn't dislike you nearly as much as it appears. You're really the only sidhe he has regular contact with and I think he's using you - rightly or wrongly - as a way to test his own theories about your kith. Pressure's on ... Big Guy."

Trevor seems rather surprised at his tumble, but ends up grinning as he accepts Andromeda's hand.

Trevor takes his seat. After Andromeda is done speaking he replies, "I'll try to keep your advice in mind." Trevor looks around the table and ends up looking directly at Niko when he says, "Sorry about that, everyone." Trevor addresses the group, "So Emmet and Bella had some ideas. What else does everyone think?"

Bela enjoys Emmet's outburst, and Andromeda's trick, and she literally bites her tongue before adding more gas to the fire. "We are talking times long past, why limit us to the stories of the European? I would be happy to research local stories."

Valeria has been intently watching the interplay between Emmet and Trevor. Now, with the crisis apparently averted, the tension leaves her body and she casts a grateful look at Andromeda, flashing the redhead a small, secret smile.

After Emmet returns, she says, "So, now that we're all friends again -- how do we want to do this?" She flips her long raven braid back over her shoulder. "I assume Bela's going to look into Native American lore about this place," she looks at the eshu for confirmation, "but we still have Lady Janelle and Sir Dariun to talk to." She pauses. "And like I said before, I'm willing to go talk with Aidan and find out what's going on with him, in addition to going with anyone who'd like me along with them."

Val leans over to Bela and says, "I don't know if anyone told you this or not, but you can go to the library or the computer lab at half-bell. If you want to hit the books a little before next period, we can show you where the library is."

"Val, perhaps you and I can bend Ravenscroft's ear after school today?" says Emmet.

Valeria nods. "He should be in 107 until about three-thirty or four; I'll meet you there after I get out of eighth period."

Emmet jots a note on his pad and shows it to Andromeda. She smiles and says, "Bela, I'd be happy to help you with your research. I have a knack for finding things on the internet."

"It sounds like a good start." Bela smiles and finishes up her meal. She wipes her hands and does her best to look at the notes and drawings of the others. "These events are new, but well the history, the shelter, nuclear war, those would be old fears, why now? What has changed? What is different this year? If this was India, the fears of nuclear war would make more sense, but, well, most Americans are numb to it now."

"If you want, I can talk to Aidan. He's in my homeroom." says Niko.

Valeria nods to Niko. "Maybe he'll open up to you." She pauses to take a sip of juice. "Just watch out for Shakti -- the brunette in the leather jacket. She's kind of protective of him." She winks at the others. "Of course, they've been an item since last December, so that's not too surprising."

Bela suddenly focuses her attention on Val, "Shakti? Is she Indian?"

"I don't know; her last name's Ravenwood." Val replies. "I know her mom's family came from Greece originally, but that's it."

"I was thinking, perhaps it would be a good idea to start our own club. That would give us a reason to stay after school and get together with school approval." Trevor looks at Emmet, "And before you say anything I've no interest in being in charge of it either."

"A club sounds like a good idea. Parents like it when you 'get involved'." Bela smiles for a moment, "Afraid to be a leader? Or scared of the responsibility?"

Trevor laughs. "It's not often you hear a Fiona being accused of being afraid." His face grows a bit more serious. "No, I'm not scared. I just thought it'd be a lot more fun for all of us if I wasn't in charge." He grins. "So unless everyone enjoys listening to Emmet and me 'discuss' things, it'd probably work better with someone else in charge." He shrugs, "I admit to being curious how Emmet would be as president."

" A club's a great idea assuming we can get the okay for it." Niko sits quietly for a moment before looking up again, "I think that Val should be in charge. I trust her leadership."

Trevor looks at Niko with fairly serious expression. "I think you'd make a good leader. And I trust your judgement. After all, you kept me from trying to make that snotty sidhe and her troll apologized - which looking back on it, was probably the smart thing to do." Trevor laughs suddenly. "Of course if I'm trusting your judgement, I should back Val then!" Trevor shrugs. "I'm easy. Niko or Val would be fine with me."

Val looks a little startled at Niko's pronouncement. "Me?" She takes a deep breath. "I'd be willing to try, anyway."

She seems to consider a few things before she continues, " Regardless of who's in charge, we're going to need a faculty advisor. Any ideas?" She looks around at the others.

Emmet allows himself a small smile at Bela's dig as he takes a PDA from his vest pocket. He pops the stylus from the case and taps the screen a few times.

"I'm not sure I have the time in my schedule to do anything but participate," he says seriously, ignoring Trevor's comment. "Though I do appreciate the vote of confidence.

"However, I'm more concerned with the specifics of this 'club' than who gets to play president. What sort of school-related activities will we be using as a front? If the school is going to sponsor it, they'll probably want a charter - and membership will have to be open to the entire student body. If the idea is to use this club as a cover for our little investigation, we'll spend as much time trying to keep the real purpose from other fae as we will actually researching. And let's not even consider the furking shitstorm we'd have on our hands if a mortal signed up.... "

He turns to Trevor.

"I'm not saying it's a bad idea. We just need to work out the details before getting all fired up.

"That said, I suggest we take Trevor's suggestion to the headmistress. She was the one who asked us to look into this. I would think she would be willing to help us."

A few more taps on the PDA. He looks at Valerie. "When do you think you can get some time with the boss lady?"

"I've got a study hall on Monday," Val says thoughtfully. "I could get a pass to the office then." She seems to consider a few things. "Or, if we want to all go together, we could see if she'll see us before or after school in the next few days."

Emmet chews his sandwich thoughtfully.

"She might appreciate an update. I'll stop by the office on my way to next period and see if I can get us an appointment."

Bela lets the others talk as she thinks and scribbles, "Well it should be something people would think we are interested in, but sound rather boring, tedious, time consuming, and totally unlike things kids join because it looks good on a college application. My step-sister joins anything that would look good on her college application. Then once we know what the club is, I bet one of the teachers would seem a natural match."

"If the club idea isn't feasible, what if we called it a 'study group?'" Val asks thoughtfully. "That way, we wouldn't have to worry about other people joining up -- at least, not as much."

Layla scurries up to the table giving everyone a kind of hopelessly rushed glance and sets her bottle of water and a beautifully embroidered messenger bag on the table (for anyone interested, it's a highly detailed "Water Fairy")

"Okay folks sorry I missed a bunch I was walking slowly here from my locker and didn't get sidetracked, no, not one bit. Anyhow, Marius," -- she gestures to Niko, "can update me in a bit. I'm sure he or somelsbody has brought this up already but..." She pulls the reading material out of her bag, "I brought what I could with me. Any interesting new developments?"

"Hi, Layla," Valeria says with a friendly smile. "We were just filling Bela here in on what's been going on." She turns to Bela. "Bela, this is Layla Grimson; you probably saw her in English class. Layla, this is Bela Katwaroo. She just started here today."

"A study group would work," says Niko. Noticing Layla, he says, "I'll update you after school, if you can stay."

"Well, it would avoid the disadvantages Emmet pointed out. Though either way I think we should talk to the headmistress so we have permission to use school facilities." Trevor grimaces. "Also with school sanction, my folks won't mind me staying here after school ends." Trevor turns to Layla and says, "I'm glad you made it. If you and Niko didn't mind I'd like to tag along for your update after school. My Mom said she'd be late picking me up anyway."

The lunchtime half-bell rings, sending students scurrying to pick up their books or head out of the cafeteria on various errands.

Val turns to Bela. "If you want, I can show you where the library is now."

Bela finishes up eating and puts her stuff away, "A study group sounds good. And I'm ready to explore the realms of books."

Val nods. "Okay; shall we go then?"

Val and Bela head out of the cafeteria and toward the library.

Time: 12:21 pm, Friday, September 6, 2002
Current weather: Partly cloudy. Expected weather: Partly cloudy
This web site copyright 2001 by Midori Hirtzel-Church.
This page first posted -- January 6, 2003
First uploaded to mirror site -- January 10, 2003

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This website copyright © 2000 by Midori Hirtzel-Church. All characters © 2000 their respective creators. Changeling: The Dreaming is copyright ©1997 White Wolf Game Studios. No copyright infringement is intended.