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RAVENHURST
Ravenhurst ST

RAVENHURST 1ST YEAR CHAPTER ONE: ORIENTATION

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Kaitlin was clearly impressed by the arcane eye-thing Safyre and Siobhan had created, it wasn't a magic she had every done or attempted. But her broad shoulders slumped a little in disappointment too when its gaze revealed... nothing. No four-eyed frog, no nothing. Whatever had groped her in the lake hadn't felt frog-like, but who knew?

"Doesn't look like there's anything here," Kaitlin agreed with 3J, taking another quick glance around before settling her amber-eyed gaze on Safyre and Siobhan. "How'd you guys know how to do that? It wasn't anything they showed us in any of the classes I've been in."

At Cheshire's question, Kaitlin sniffed the air, catching the scent of charcoal and the steaks Matt had set down on the grill just before all the anticlimactic excitement. "Steaks soon, at any rate. Cheshire, right? I'm Kaitlin, most people call me Kat." Kaitlin nodded at the new girl in greeting. "I can take of the grilling the steaks Matt, if you have to look after things here."

She started to move towards the patio before looking back over her shoulder at Matthew. "Hey, Matt, what with the thing Safyre thought she saw and warnings about the grounds around Ravenhurst, are there any stories about anything weird living in the lake, like the Loch Nest monsters or mermaids or something?"

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"Yeah that's a good idea Kat. Why don't you  all  go on out on the deck and me and Maria will finish up in the kitchen." Said Matt

"Nothing in the lake but fish. We'll be out in a little bit" Chimed in Maria answering Kat's question as she and her brother went into the kitchen.

Spoiler

if anyone want's to eavesdrop on the twins make a fitness roll TN 6,  2 sux needed if you stay in the house 3 if you are on the deck trying to listen through the window

 

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Warren was easy to ignore, he wasn't part of their anime magical girl clique.  He slipped away to his room to get his charging cable for his lap top (because Matt couldn't be right), and stopped suddenly as he heard the twins talking in the kitchen.  Years of sneaking and prowling around the streets had left him quite adept at remaining undetected.  Quietly, he listened, because eavesdropping was the least of the sins the boy had acquired so far in his life.
 

Spoiler

 

Die 1 yielded 1 - a failure
Die 2 yielded 8 - a success
Die 3 yielded 2 - a failure
Die 4 yielded 7 - a success
Die 5 yielded 1 - a failure
Die 6 yielded 7 - a success
Die 7 yielded 5 - a failure

3 Successes.

 

 

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Cheshire filed out with anyone else headed steak-wise, but she managed to slip over to the open window of the kitchen for some eavesdropping. Seems like a good idea, since Barbie and Ken are bad at being nonchalant about any of this. She leaned up against the wall of the building, looking simultaneously bored and absolutely not looking for company. A small grey ball of fur climbed out of her shirt while she was leaning, taking up residence on her shoulder and peering into the kitchen; after a few moments, a white and black cat too large to be domesticated slinked up from the direction of the lake and took up a spot leaning against Cheshire's leg. 

Fitness Roll

Roll(8d10)+0:
7,4,7,4,4,1,10,7,+0
Total:44

5 successes

 

After a moment of listening, she blew the breath she'd been holding out of her cheeks. Leaning down, she ran her fingertips over the Blue's fur and sighed. "Apparently I'm lucky number six, guys," she told her only friends softly. "Guess we shouldn't plan on unpacking. Not that we have anything to unpack anyways."

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Siobhan opened her eyes and looked at Safyre with a broad smile. 

"Look at what we did together! See? Friendship IS magic!" she said with a bright smile am unbridled happiness in her voice as she continued to hold her hands, giving them a small squeeze.

Siobhan was almost infectiously happy at what the pair had accomplished, nearly bouncing in place. 

 

When the all made their way out, mostly to the deck, Siobahn's eyes went wide as she though about her plant again and nearly ran over to it, checking the small, flowering plant sitting on the shelf, making sure it was unharmed.

And if her plant just so happened to be near-ish the window and she just so happened to hear Matt and Maria talking inside, well, that was not her fault now, was it?


 

Spoiler

 

Totally not eavesdropping roll...

9D10 => (8 +10 +6 +2 +1 +6 +9 +8 +5) = 55

 

 

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For a moment Safyre felt a glowing sort of pride at Matt's reaction to the spell. She'd done it. She'd really done it.

Then Siobhan opened her mouth, and it all collapsed on itself.

Did it together? Together?! Friendship is what?!

The worst of it was that she wasn't entirely wrong. Safyre wouldn't have been able to do it by herself. For all she knew about magic, for all the focus she wore, her light wasn't bright enough to make the spell work.

God she hated them for it. It wasn't fair.

Safyre yanked her hands back from Siobhan's, her face going stony and cold.

To Kaitlin she said, without turning to look at her, "The spells they show us in class are for beginners. I'm a Starr."

She didn't move immediately when folks started moving out onto the deck for food. It wasn't her intention to listen in on the twins' conversation. She just wasn't quite ready to be with the others. Her hands tingled a little where the power from Siobhan had gone into them. She went towards the kitchen to wash up, then paused when she heard the taking within...

fitness: 8D10 = [7, 2, 6, 1, 3, 7, 1, 3] = 30

2 successes

Unsure what to make of it, she quickly retreated to the bathroom before Matt or his sister came out. A couple of minutes later she flushed and came out to join the others. There was a lot going on she didn't understand yet, but she meant to find out.

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Siobhan caught sight of the cat out of the corner of her eye and her head snapped to look at it, eyes widening and a smile playing across hr lips as what she had just accidentally overheard faded from thought for a moment.

"OMG! Kitty!" she squealed and nearly bounced over to Cheshire, squatting with her legs together in front of her, getting closer to the cat.

She then looked up to Cheshire and asked, "Can I pet'em?" and then looked to the kitty and asked, "Can I pet you? I give really good pettings, I promise. Scritches too."

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Kaitlin shot Safyre's back a pair of middle fingers before tromping out to the deck and taking command of the grill. Warming up the corn on the cob and baked potatoes, she cooked everyone's steak to order, which meant medium rare, maybe medium, any other way was wrong and they lose their steak. Humming contentedly to herself, she glanced suspiciously at the lake, then rolled her eyes at the other girls loitering on the deck.

They were trying to be casual, but they were obviously eavesdropping. She didn't blame them, she was curious what their group monitors were saying. "Hey!" Kaitlin said, pitching her voice so it wouldn't be overheard inside the lakehouse. "What are they saying in there?"

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The look leveled at Sioban by the cat was certainly expressive. A low sound someone overly optimistic might have mistaken for a purr emanated from the beautiful feline; Cheshire shook her leg, breaking the cat's predatory start.

"Blue, cut it out. She doesn't mean anything by it and you do have fur. Humans are weird about it." She gave a nod to Sioban, "The day Blue lets you pet her, I'll eat my own shoe. She's, uh, not a housecat, if you couldn't tell. Now Grey, on the other hand," Cheshire pulled the large, soft-furred rat into her hands and held him out for the other girl to see, "is an absolute little slut for being petted or cooed at. He'll even braid your hair if you leave him on your shoulder long enough. He might also nibble at your ear, so fair warning." 

She lofted the rat a little higher and the small creature tilted its head at Sioban curiously. To Kaitlin, she called out in the same short-carry tone, "I'm a sixth wheel, something about a council and a prophecy and apparently we 'Brown Group' people are all going to cause the end of the world." She shrugged and went back to seeing if Sioban would freak out over a rat or let Grey climb all over her. Either way would be at least mildly amusing. 

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Warren walked past the two of them, casually, like he'd just been coming from down the hall.  "We got steak sauce?" He asked.  Heading to the fridge to collect condiments for the table outside.  The plates were gathered, the utensils, all that was missing was steak sauce.  "Oh, grab another plate for Cheshire, could ya Matt?  You're by the cabinet."

Before the twins had the opportunity to recover, he was already on his way, sliding open the door with the toe of his boot.  He glared at Kaitlin as he moved to the table to set his contribution to the festivities.  He shook his head as he heard her mumble for the D-L.  "Not now, Hippie.  We talk later."  He didn't seem happy, but then again, when was he ever happy.  "All of us."

Warren quirked a brow at her cooking and made a strange confiession.  "Cook mine medium well, I don't like blood."

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Maria clutched Matts arm, horror written all over her face as she stared at the open window. "Oh my God they heard us."

Matt just looked at his twin sister and kept his mouth shut.

 

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"Well I do give good pettings and scritches. You can find out for yourself any time you want." she said to Blue, almost hurt at his reaction to her.

Siobhan then stood up and looked over her shoulder to Kaitlin and called out,

"I want mine just past the point a really good vet could save it."

She then turned back to Cheshire and smiled, holding her hands out and cupped together toward the rat, showing her total willingness to hold the rat.

"Hi there Grey. It's nice to meet you." she said with a smile.

"I'm Siobhan, by the way. It's nice to meet you too! I doubt Safyre will want to share her room, so we can be roommates! We're going to have so much fun this year!"

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"Uh, sure, okay," Cheshire answered, obviously a little taken aback both by the offer to share a room and by Grey's unusual willingness to just run right over to the stranger and start pawing at her clothes and sniffing around neck. "There's more than one room for the girls?"

While Grey continued his traitorous fawning over Sioban, Cheshire took the chance to grab her (rare) steak and some sides and find a chair at the table on the deck. She motioned for Sioban to join her, but Blue stole the chair she was gesturing to the moment Cheshire moved it out from under the table. The brunette rolled her eyes at the cat, but a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. At least someone has some loyalty, she thought a little smugly. Cheshire pulled out another chair for Sioban and Grey did follow the smell of food over to Cheshire's plate. The two, human and rat, ate quietly for a moment before Cheshire asked the group, "So, what's Hogwarts like?"

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Kaitlin turned from the grill to give the girls an 'are you kidding me?' and snorted. "Old people are always saying that about the youngest generation. The old world ends all the time when someone grows up and starts making their own place it."

Warren got a very puzzled look when he called Kaitlin a hippie - he might as well have accused her of being a vegan for all the sense it made to her - then a surprised one when he asked for his steak medium well. Her brow furrowed as she wondered if he had said that just to be contrary and ruin a perfectly good steak, but it seemed he was being completely honest. Weird! She'd never have thought he had anything against the sight of blood. It was just blood, everyone had, like a gallon and a half of the stuff inside them, and yeah, sometimes it leaked out. Big deal.

"Uh, yeah, sure, if that's what you want, Warren. Everyone is allowed to be wrong," Kaitlin replied, resolving to cook the steak to the barest edge of medium-well. She nodded in approval at the way Cheshire and Siobhan asked for their steaks, though privately, Kaitlin still though Siobhan was some sort of vegetarian who would won day preach that animals were people and to eat them was totally not cool or something. She smirked at Warren. "Must be a boy thing."

Kaitlin got her own rare steak - the biggest one due to the simple expedient of being the one who cooked them and took a seat closest to the lake, looking over the placid waters and wondering what hide below the surface. It seemed that was the case with a lot of Ravenhurst.

"It's a lot like any other fancy, private school, I guess," Kaitlin claimed. "I mean, I never went to one before, so I don't really know, but judging by TV and movies. Only, one seen in a funhouse mirror. It seems normal, but there are things that just throw it off a little. Like having Alchemy class instead of chemistry. Or the janitors being animated brooms like in Fantasia, minus the arms." She looked at others who had been in Brown group for the week. "You guys saw them too, right? Someone wasn't just trying to pull a prank or something?"

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Siobhan let out a high pitched giggle as the rat ran up her arm and started sniffing around her neck, scarf and hair.

"He's so fluffy!" she giggled and then nodded to Cheshire's question.

"Kaitlin and 3J share a room, and then Safyre and I each have our own rooms. I didn't demand my own room or anything. It just worked out that way. So you will have to room with one of us..." she explained and then leaned closer, to say more softly, "...aaaand I just do not see Safyre being the 'roomie' type just yet, if ever."

Siobhan collected her plate, utensils, stake and sides and rolled er eyes at Blue when he stole the chair Cheshire was offering. She took the other offered seat, letting at a giggle at a little nibble from Grey. 

"Ravenhurst?" she asked rhetorically and then nodded to Kaitlin's description, simply adding her own view,  

"It's really just a school, just with some magic. For us it is mostly magic theory and beginner stuff, so more academic for the moment. We have classes there and some classes at the school in town a few days each week, for the more mundane stuff. I think they said that we did not have to take the classes in town, but they encouraged it."

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"I ain't seen shit," Warren said, calmly.  "I just do my work, and pretend this place is almost normal.  Until they kick me out.  Beats behind a dumpster for now.  Besides, the ladies are pretty, the weather is nice, and the WiFi is kick ass, so, can't complain."

...was that just a compliment thrown somewhere in there?

"Disney's got the right of it," Warren pointed at Siobhan.  "Easy stuff, basic, practical application stuff."  He was being modest.  Warren was a jerk, sure, but the kid was, without a doubt a bonafied genius.  He'd never had to actually work at being intelligent, it just came naturally to him.  Unlike the others, who could do magic already, Warren understood, grasped and could recall anything they'd studied so far.  Magic was lie a programming language, and he'd already effortlessly aced a majority of the written assignments.  They could do the magic, but were now faced with the daunting task of learning what all that actually meant.  According to the school's policy, all of them had have worked magic at least once, despite Warren's claim of never knowing what any of them were talking about... it made one wonder what the boy was hiding.

His housemates were far from stupid, in fact they were all incredibly brilliant, in their own ways (not that he would tell them that).  What they had to study for hours though, Warren just read once and wrote the paper.  When it came to books, and memorizing, and learning he 'got it'.  Much to their irritation sometimes.  When it came to actually doing it... yeah, he was an utter failure.  "Gotta talk to them about the magic stuff though, I don't believe in that stuff."

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It was at that point Safyre stepped out onto the deck and closed the sliding glass door behind her. Wordlessly she picked up a plate and took it to the grill, then poked at the steaks to see if any were ready to eat.

A moment later she picked an empty chair to take a seat in.

She wasn't even trying to be antisocial at the moment, she was just thinking of what books she might check out to learn what she was after. It definitely came off that way though.

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Cheshire cocked a brow at Warren and asked incredulously, "You let some people you think are crazy haul your ass off to some secret school in the middle of nowhere and you think the reason for all of it is bullshit?" She shook her head, "I mean, I get it. It's nice to have somewhere to stay for winter, but seriously. Your brain should be in Cirque du Solei or something."

Her tone was teasing, not cruel, and she briefly contemplated using her most common talent to play with him and his food. That seemed like a dick move on multiple fronts, though, and she sorta liked him. Much as you could anyone you'ld only just met and was a guy. "Well, if it's all crap, at least it's well-funded crap. Any idea what they want us all here for then, if magic or whatever weirdness is all bunk?"

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"Eh, prolly some Waco level shit at some point," He smiled.  The guy was constantly cynical.  "Milk it for what it's worth, run as fast I can if things get to the sacrifices and Kool-Aid part... if I need to I can trip Safyre up on our way out to save myself."

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Cheshire laughed and added, "Just don't get in Blue's way. She'll cut your face if she thinks you're getting out of danger faster than her." 

Said cat lifted her head from her curl up on the seat and gave a long yawn in Warren's direction that showed off both fangs and claws as she kneaded at the air. 

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Matthew and Maria came out bearing the rest of the meal on trays. Maria immediately forgot all about everything else when she saw Blue. and rushed to the table to deposit before turning to the cat filled chair.

"Oh my such a pretty pretty kitty." she cooed and knelt down by the cat and proceeded to talk baby gibberish at it making what Siobhan had gushed at he cat earlier seem like cold-hearted indifference.

In short she was embarrassing.

Matthew looked on embarrassed by his twin sisters antics but shook it off.

"This isn't like Waco. no one is going to make anyone do anything and we don't do sacrifices here that's what wytches and warlockes do. This school and the others like it are here to help us lean to control and use our abilities to use sorcery. They don't ask for anything in return and you aren't made to  come here each of you made that decision on your own."

He looks at Warren.

"You should at least try to honor that decision with an attempt at learning what is offered instead of belittling it, the school, and those around you."

 

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"Tell you what, Matt," Warren delivered with all the indignant tone one could muster.  Gods did he hate rich people.  "I'll try and 'give it a shot' when the day you stop sounding like a damn brochure, how's that?"

Matt knew Warren was doing well, hell more than well, if you didn't include the practical application classes, but Warren was who he was and could let a simple bit of decent words pass his lips.  "If you can manage to get those lips off the school's ass long enough, how bout you honor those baked potatoes and toss me one."

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Blue watched Maria coo at her with lazy, cold eyes. Any attempt to touch her would be met with a warning growl, a hiss, and a swipe at her hand if Maria tried to insist. "Careful," Cheshire murmured. "She's not a housecat. I'm pretty sure she broke out of a zoo. She's not really a pet , she just likes me and Grey and so she sticks around."

To prove her point, Cheshire poked at Blue's tail, which twitched and then poked back . She laughed and offered, "If you share some food and find something for her to play with, she might let go of some of the Ice Queen attitudes. Turns out sharing and being honest with others goes a long way in the animal kingdom, too." Her tone was mild, but her words were anything but innocent.

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Matt glared at Warren then at the rest of the group then set the tray he was carrying down.

"Come along Maria we will get something to eat later. We have things to do."

Without another word he spins and stalks back into the house. Maria looks after him sort of perplexed, shrugs, coo's at the cat and follows her brother.

 

3J shakes her head "Dude you really need to stop being such an asshole. They can get us expelled you know."

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Warren looked to 3J as he buttered his baked potato.  "For what?  Treating him with the same level of smug patronization that he walks around treating us with?  3J, no offense, but you're a follower.  People say, and you do, and there's nothing wrong with that, live your life, girl, more power to ya.  I'm not like that though, people come at me the way he does, I come back at them just as hard.  Notice he chose to leave instead of standing his ground, I would have respected him more if he told me what I could go do with myself."

"Sweetheart, dealing with people is easy.  Basic psychology.  Take for example the first day we got here, I used one word in a room full of strangers and your reactions to that word told me everything I needed to know about all of you.  It helped me gauge personality types, speaking patterns, education levels, emotional responses.  You'd be surprised what you can learn from people when they are quick to play White Knight instead of thinking of what, or how, they are speaking."  This was, honestly the most Warren had spoken, to any of them, not just 3J since they'd arrived at Ravenhurst.  "You just have to be willing to be the pariah, test the waters, or chum them, and once you've gauged those people, you can manipulate them.  Seems shitty, I know, but when you haven't eaten in ten days and you're living under a porch in he middle of winter... you learn not to care what you're doing to people if it'll let you get your grub on.  Hustle a store clerk?  They might get fired, but at least you eat... yadda, yadda, I'll not bore you with the rest."

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Siobhan watched the exchange and was about to speak when Matt left and Warren responded to 3J. As he spoke she tightened her grip on her knife and fork as an anger bubbled inside her. Matt had done nothing to warrant that kind of response from Warren, and people just let him keep doing it.. keep getting away with it. That wasn't right.

"He didn't 'come at you' though, Warren. Your response was totally out of line. It was rude, vulgar and insulting to somebody who has only been nice, polite and helpful to you and us. Maybe that is what you needed to do on 'the street', but you are not there anymore. All he said was to show some common courtesy and respect, you know, like is being shown to you by the school, staff and all of us." she said as she put her knife and fork on the plate.

"Ravenhurst did not force you to attend. They did not trick you to come here. They offered and you made a choice to attend. They do not charge anything. They house and feed you, treat you with respect and consideration, offer you an education and literally all you have done since you got here is insult the school, it's foundation and the people attending, even all of us. At best you call us delusional or a cult or whatever. At worst you call us liars." she reminded as she stood up, viably shaking in anger and irritation for the first time any of them had seen, her normal smile gone now, overridden by her irritation.

She got up, walked over to Warren, and continued...

"Matt left because he was was being mature. And if sinking down to your level is what it takes garner respect from you, then you have a horrible idea of what it takes to be respected. Matt was being the bigger man. He said what I, and others at this table, think or have tried to say in other ways in an honest, polite and mature way, and you reacted like an infantile child lashing out with rudeness, insult and vulgar obscenities."

"In short, show some common courtesy and grow up." she snarled then turned and stalked off into the house, visibly shaking, likely leaving the others more than a bit stunned.

Siobhan went upstairs to her room, closed the door and sat on her bed, sobbing, trying to wipe the tear from her eyes and save her makeup. She was angry and more upset than she has been in a very long time. Warren's constant dismissals, rudeness and insults had worn her down, with his response to Matt being the last straw. She did not mean to lash out like that, but she could only take so much. She would have to apologize to the others later.

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Cheshire sighed at the continued outburst. Mentally she didn't take any sides - honestly she didn't care enough yet to want to take sides - but her new roommate had just left shaking and headed towards what looked like a total breakdown. She scooped Grey up off the table and settled him on her shoulder, then gave Blue a light stroke down her back. "We're going upstairs to the room. You're welcome to come, but if you stay down here please don't claw or bite anyone." With that, she headed into the house. 

Once upstairs she knocked politely on Soibhan's door. "Hey, you okay with some company?" She stepped in without completely waiting for an answer and held out some toilet paper she'd swiped from the bathroom. "Y'know, we could just prank Warren with spells until he wises up or looks like an idiot. Either way, we have some fun."

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"See, someone is always ready to White Knight."  He smirked and took a bit of his potato.  "Quickly, someone needs to run after her and consoled her, to reaffirm that I was the one at fault and her outburst was completely justified.  It's a classic cry for attention.  A well adjusted person would not have stormed away in a huff, she would have stood her ground and attempted to understand or accept all sides of an argument or opinion."

Unphased, he continued to eat his meal.  All be damned if something was going to stand in the way of him enjoying a steak.

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Siobhan looked up from her hands and took the tissue. She dabbed at the bottoms and corners of her eyes, trying to compose herself as she sniffled and could not help but let out a small chuckle at the unexpected humor from her new roommate. She did not know Cheshire all that well yet, but she certainly seemed to be decent enough, if a bit quiet.

"Thank you." she said with another sniffle, smiling faintly for a moment before dabbing at her eyes again.

"I'm sorry about that... and to the others too. I'm not normally like that. I'm never like that, really, but Warren just.... ugh! Everybody, all of us, the staff, the school, have been nothing put polite and helpful to him and in response we all get berated and insulted. It just... It wears on you, you know?" she said, looking to her roomie, hoping she understood her.

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"For someone saying they should look at all sides of an argument or situation, you sure aren't giving Ravenhurt a chance, Warren," Kaitlin countered. She though Matt should have held his ground too, instead of caving and leaving, but she wasn't going to tell Warren that. She gestured at the steak he was eating with her fork. "You're getting a little from Ravenhurst, maybe you should give a little too instead of just taking, then cutting and run?"

She rolled her shoulders, speared a piece of her steak with her knife, then stood up and walked over to the standoffish ocelot. Watchful for any swipes, she slid the piece of steak off her knife with a fork on the chair in front of Blue. Kaitlin hadn't even had a pet, but she liked cats. She seen cougars in the mountains around her home three times and felines were independent and could take care of themselves in the wild, even housecats could make the adjustment. She just couldn't see needy domestic dogs doing the same. Plus, for whatever reason, dogs seemed to dislike her. Fuck dogs.

"I know you find all the written stuff here easy - you don't even study, bastard - but you seem to spend all your extra time working at debunking everything in front of your eyes. Aren't you exhausted yet? As far as I've seen, they haven't been trying to, you know, indoctrinate us or anything, just giving us some guidelines, no different then going to Karate or whatever and the sensei saying don't go around and pick fights. We can do fantastic things, fantastic things that can be super dangerous - don't be an asshole about it." Kaitlin gave Warren a very pointed glance. "By the way, from all I've seen, being a perpetual asshole or douchebag is more often than not a cry for attention too."

Kaitlin took her seat again, though shifted around so she was facing Warren instead of looking towards the lake. "And there isn't always a knight around if you need one or not, whether you agree with what they say or not. Of anyone here, I'd think you'd know that." Her jaw was tight, but her gaze was distant in memory. She flexed an arm, bicep bulging, forearm rippling with muscle. "Because way more often then someone going White Knight or Social Justice Warrior, people just don't give a shit." Kaitlin blinked and shook her head, dispelling the memory. "But wouldn't it be nice if people did care, at least a little?" She nodded the way Siobhan, Matt, and Maria had gone. "They care, some any way, which is probably why you being an asshole to them bothers them so much."

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"I do my work, I do it well, I turn it in,"  Warren ate a piece of his steak.  "What more of a chance does a school need?  They teach, I learn, that's what schools do.  The day the school tries to convince, instead of teach, it stops being a place of learning.  And why should I give anything to Ravenhurst?  They invited me.  They are a center of learning, this place is put here for one thing: to teach.  I don't owe the place anything.  Again, the moment the institution expects or insists on anything from me but my continued learning, which I am doing, then ceases being a school.  Their place is to teach, my place is to learn and to question."

He was actually talking to them, this was a first.  Although no one particularly cared for him, he tended to keep his anger check, only 'defending' himself when people spoke directly to him, he didn't feel the need to chide or berate others around him like Safyre.  He was brutally honest though, to the point of full-on rude, and it could cut like a knife.  He stood up from the table and wiped his hands... on his pants leg.  "Don't be an asshole about it?  Kaitlin, that's like asking a bear not to be a bear.  I'm an asshole, I'm a poor, underprivileged kid, with zero money, zero future, and nothing going for me,"  Kaitlin was about to cut in but he raised a finger.  "You had your moment Hippie, give me mine."

"I don't say those things for pity, or to say that it's not possible to turn my future around.  IT's what the world will see, and the world, is where I need to make my living."  He picked up Siobahn's and for a moment angry eyes watched him as they all expected him to swipe her food and claim it by right of victory or whatever passed for claiming spoils in his code of honor.  He didn't though, he walked back into the kitchen and spoke through the patio door he left open.  "I am an asshole, ladies.  I-,we, are all still strangers.  It's been a week, one week.  In that time you ladies have gotten quite cozy.  I hear you up there at night, laughing, giggling, sharing stories, ideas, doing homework.  I sit, down here, in my room and work on my stuff."  He wrapped Siobhan's plate in plastic wrap and slid it in the microwave to keep it warm.  He licked some steak juices off his thumb as he closed the door, but he continued.  "I can't go up there but you're welcome down here anytime.  Sometimes, all it takes is one person brave enough to knock on the bears den and throw him a fish.  Instead you all treat me like I'm some sort of leering pervert who is going to creep into your rooms at night.  Although implied, instead of spoken, it's still monumentally insulting to both my integrity and my delicate mental state as I transition from the streets to a facility of learning."  He smirked.  "Okay, a part of that was humor, but you ladies are smart enough to get my point.  Look, if you think I'm going to be buddy-buddy with you after a week, you're all out of your mind.  I don't trust you, any of you.  I don't know you.  I don't feel welcome among you, mostly because it appears I have the wrong parts in order to be a part of your gigglefests."  He sat back down and began mashing up his potato with his fork.  "And don't get me wrong, I don't fault any of you for any of what I just pointed out.  Just know that I'm not some leering pervert, or sociopath who is going to choke you out just saying good morning to me.  All I ask is that if you're going to dislike me, do it honestly."

"I'm not used to... this.  I'm used to days or weeks without taking to anyone.  I don't have friends.  I don't have family who cares or people who love me." 3J this time tried to speak, but Warren just shook his head.  "Don't please, I don't say these things to get a reply or pity, and you guys are raised in a society where you are conditioned to 'say something'.  Don't.  It's not a cry for attention, nor is my attitude.  It's simple self-awareness.  This is how I am, I'm a scared, angry, sixteen year old kid that when he leaves here is going back to something he'd rather not,"  His deep voice paused momentarily as he sighed, collecting his thoughts.  "We're strangers Kaitlin.  You ladies will probably never like me or be my friends, and I don't blame you and nor do I care because you have this preconceived notion that I'm things I'm not.  The only truth you have is twofold: one, I'm an asshole.  Two, I can carry a rational conversation without losing my shit.  See?  We're talking.  Ain't this fun?"

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"It's something, I dunno if I'd call it fun," Kaitlin admitted with a grunt and wry twist to her lips. She eyed him directly for a long moment then gave him a sharp nod. "But fair 'nough, all that you said. Even if in my experience most boys are some percentage of leering pervert..." Her wry smile was vaguely teasing, but her glittering amber eyes suggested 'or worse', "... I shouldn't've presumed, and I'm sorry. For that at least. And for all of me, if you wanna go upstairs and chat or do homework or whatever and we ain't sleeping or changing, feel free. Doesn't bother me any. Seems to me you can't be worse than Safyre when I ask about explaining some point of theory anyway. I learn better doing than reading myself."

She finished her steak and another baked potato that had gone unclaimed, then started picking up any cleared dishes. "Now I have two things I want to mention. One - Why do you keep callin' me Hippie? My Dad is - was - an Army Ranger and I don't smoke weed. Most of them are scrawny and vegetarians and seem about as athletic as wet pasta despite supposedly having an outdoorsy lifestyle. I'm none of those things.

And two - as you said, we aren't friends. I'm not giving you any of my fish unless I've got so much I can't eat it all." She nodded towards the lake, her expression relenting. "But I know what's it like to be hungry. I'll show how to catch and clean fish, if you want. That whole give a man a fish, feed him for an hour; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime thing... well, if you can find a river or lake that actually has fish in it."

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Safyre picked up her plate, with half-eaten steak and veggies on it.

"Excuse me. I think I'm going to finish this somewhere there's a little peace and quiet compared to here. Syria comes to mind. Tah."

She took her plate inside, but just to the living room, and...yes, she could think again. That was nice. It was good that Warren seemed determined to be the bad guy. Maybe she even owed him some thanks for that. And certainly his...diatribe? Plural? ...it had certainly put a light on why he was so stubborn about staying here. Not a very flattering one, but that seemed like it was kind of his thing.

Whatever. Everyone had a thing.

The food was actually pretty good.

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Cheshire shrugged. "I get him. It's weird, this place, and..." she wiggled her fingers, "...everything else. I think he just doesn't know how to do things. How to make it all make sense. And that's scary. And the easiest way to deal with scary is to be scarier . He's got like, boy scruff, so being scarier mostly means being more of an asshole. And Matt's not totally innocent here either. Him, the girl, the school, they're hiding something from all of us, remember? I think they might be scared of us , some, and that makes it all just one more level of effed up weirdness."

She gave the girl an encouraging smile. "Next time, just chuck something at him. Food, school supplies, hell, Grey might find it fun." The rat looked up from where he'd been inspecting Siobhan's knee and twitched his whiskers at the mention of his name. Nothing seeming too amiss, though, he went back to playing with a stray bit of lint he'd found clinging to the fabric there. 

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"See ya," Warren said.  He was in chill mode and honestly not looking to fight with anyone.  Obviously when you give people as shit as he had over the week, he expected them to be on edge.  He preferred them that way.  Angry people were the most honest people one could ever meet.  People were real when they were angry, like Safyre.  She was pissed at everything and everyone and she had no idea why half the time.  It was beautiful.

Warren then laughed.  It was an honest laugh and truth be told he had a handsome smile, in fact he was actually cute when he was quiet... and not dressed like a bum, and... okay, there was work to be done.  The guy had issues.  "Seriously?  Teach me to fish?  That's what you got from that?  Wow... just... wow."  He was still chuckling and shaking his head.  "Thanks, I... I needed that.  I call you 'Hippie' because you're all, I don't know... outdoorsy and... stuff."  Warren was a man of the city.  Get him out in the wild and he wouldn't last ten minutes.  "I know Siobhan is all about animals and plants... but she got 'Disney' so you got 'Hippie'.

"How come you don't have a name?" 3J asked, not so intimidated by him now that he was actually talking.

"I do,"  He smirked at her.  "You think I don't hear you guys calling me 'Asshole'?"

Dismissively 3j shrugged and continued chewing her steak.  There was nothing to deny and she had zero cares to offer.  "Fair."  She finally said, savoring the deliciousness of both the food and Warren knowing exactly what she thought of him... without him yelling at her or calling her names.

Spoiler

Further proof that steak is a peace food.  No one can be mad when a properly cooked steak is in front of them.

 

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"Well, they made us Brown Group, not us. We could have been, like, Vermilion Group or Aubergine Group or Chartreuse Group something. So if there is some big deal about Brown Group, then that is on them, not us." Siobhan said as she lightly petted Grey with a lone finger.

"But Warren. .. He just.. Ugh. As much as I hate to say it, something my father applies here. 'You cannot let fear of losses keep you from gains.' He was talking about business or investing in the stock market or something, but it;s true here too, because that is exactly what Warren does. He's so afraid of being hurt or taken advantage of or something, that he does all he can to make sure that never happens, but in the process he misses out on actual friendships." she sighed.

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"Sometimes," Cheshire started, then stopped, then started again, "sometimes it's because people that should have been friends, that you thought would look out for you, were really just figuring out how to hurt you. Othertimes, it's even worse because the people are nice or good, but they....they don't know how to be nice or good to you without messing everything up and getting you shoved back in the system or something. This place, it's weird. I mean, everyone knows it's weird, but it's super weird for...for people like Warren. And me. So, he'll be super prickly for a while and see if he can push everyone's buttons because that makes him feel in control." She shrugged self-conciously and gestured over to the extra bed that had been wedged into the room, "And I won't take up much space because somewhere along the line here someone's going to decide they know what's best for me in a way I won't accept and I'll have to go." She shrugged again, "It's just how it is, until it isn't, and you don't know which is which until it's too late."

She bit her lip. "Your father's right when what you fear losing is stuff , but when all you have left to lose is yourself, you're a hell of a lot more cautious."

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Kaitlin's face reddened faintly as Safyre left, but she gave Warren a sour glare for his laughter even as her lips twitched in keeping back a grin. "Yeah, well, you are such a city boy, I thought I'd start you off with something easy like fishing before moving up to hunting. Minnows and trout are easy." Kaitlin finished her plate and started stacking dishes and collecting the grilling tools. "Deer and boar are assholes and bears are dangerous."

She nodded at Warren's plate and when he nodded back, added it to the stack in her hand. "I prefer Kaitlin or Kat to 'Hippie'. So I won't call you asshole unless you are being one, and will try to stick to Warren or whatever nickname you like, if you do the same and use my name. Fair?"

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"Holy shit," Warren looked around but there wasn't many people.  "And you people are calling me messed up?  No, 'Kat', they aren't 'assholes' they're animals.  At least by definition, and bears aren't dangerous unless you fuck with them.  Christ, I'd expect the nature girl to have a little more respect for... I dunno... nature."

"I'll pass on the invite,"  Warren raised his hands up, palms out.  "There is no reason to hunt, because we have plenty of food here.  Why go and kill something when are already have more than we need, seems a little careless for the ecosystem and a bit savage and uncivilized.  But you do you, Kat, you do you."

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The weekend passed.

Kaitlin took the opportunity to go home to visit her father, while the rest of the kids stayed closer although some of them did go on a day trip to New York,

Monday morning rolled around and all but two of them, 3J and Cheshire who had opted out, were meeting with Spenser for their first trip to the local high school.

“The Portal is enchanted it will give each of you an aura which will glamour those you meet into believing pretty much anything you tell them. They will recognize each of you as people they have known and basically not question who you are or why you are there. The Aura works at the school and the immediate area around the school.”

Siobhan raised her hand “What if we run into someone from school when we are going to the store or on the weekend?”

“Nothing they won't even recognize or have any memory of ever having met you. Now if you do meet someone outside of school not under the influence of the aura and befriend them or otherwise tell them who you really are, and you later meet that person at school again the aura won't effect them.”

 

Eventually the little briefing was done and the brown group along with kids of each of the other groups went to school.

 

Cheshire and 3J along with four other kids from other groups were given various tasks during the day, such as working as messengers, or Teachers aids, arranging books in the libraries. Over all it work menat to keep them busy and out of mischief but they did manage to learn a thing or two while at it.

 

The regular days all the kids went about their normal Ravenhurst classes and living their live. For the Brown group things were still tense in the lake house and out side of a few tentative friendships trying to bud th kids stayed mostly to them selves.

That week went by fast and then it was the second weekend at Ravenhurst when things started to get interesting again.

 

Twos weeks since the kids had arrived and the cupboard was growing a bit thin so Saturday morning Safyre, Warren, and Kaitlin made a grocery trip.

 

Safyre was putting some nice looking pork cutlets in the basket, the three had decided to shop separately to keep the arguing to a minimum. Suddenly the Sorceress stiffened as someone called her name.

“Hey Safyre!” a fair haired boy of sixteen, good looking and well dressed for a commoner was standing at the end of an aisle, his hand casually shoved in his pockets. “How are things going?” He asked.

It was a boy from school.

 

Spoiler

The boys name is Jayce and has several classes with Safyre and is not a ravenhurst student.

Siobhn and Cheshire you are still at campus on Saturday morning you may make a post about your morning if you wish but you need to remain on campus. I will be making a post which involves the two of you just not right at the moment.

 

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