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World of Darkness: The Academy - Chapter 1a: Preparation


Dawn OOC

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This occurs concurrent with Chapter 1b, and happens the day before classes begin, around 6: p.m.

Mandatory faculty meetings were as thrilling as drinking antifreeze, but they were a necessary part of the school structure. In particular, the opening faculty meeting was important to set the tone and the mood for the year, and Headmaster Rogers knew it was particularly important with new faculty. It gave them a chance to settle in, to understand the school a little, and it gave him a chance to test their mettle.

He let them talk and munch on the finger sandwiches that had been provided. Rogers watched them interact and move around the room, quietly taking a moment to study each of them, even Mr. Bracks. Normally, he tried not to even think about Mr. Bracks, but today was a special day. “Excuse me,” he called after a moment, lightly clapping his hands together for attention. “Please find a seat and we’ll begin.”

He waited until everyone was settled before he started. “Welcome to Trevor Dalton’s 2008-2009 school year. I trust that you all had a good summer, and I hope you’re eager and excited for a new year. And speaking of new, we have two new faculty, as you’re all aware. Mr. Thomas Burke is here to replace poor old Harry, God rest his soul. And Ms. Rachel Morning will be our new second-position history teacher, as Mrs. Landry retired to care for her new twins. Ms. Morning, you’ll find that Ms. Dorn – please wave Sylvia, yes thank you – to be an invaluable resource during your adjustment period. Thomas, Rachel, please feel free to come to the other faculty for help.”

He paused and took a drink of water, then plowed onward. “As of right now, the Deacon Knight Alert is set at Red,” he said. As most of the staff mumbled and grumbled, he added, “He’s been too quiet lately, which means he’s planning something or we haven’t caught him at it yet. So stay alert and eyes peeled, ladies and gentlemen. And as if that weren’t enough, we already had a student in trouble: Ryan Jackson has been climbing places he shouldn’t be. Not only does this encourage less-talented students to attempt his stunts, it opens the academy to a possible liability should someone get hurt. Should you see Mr. Jackson attempting such a stunt again, please remind him that Trevor Dalton Academy is not his personal jungle gym. Does anyone have anything else to add before we move away from the possible student troublemakers?”

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Burke stands up,

"Headmaster Rogers, I witnesses Mr. Jackson's stunt in the company of some students. No one wanted to emmulate him, though they did admire his physical ability. I would think encouraging some exercise in an intelligent manner would be good and free expression does the mind good."

"I know I'm new to this teaching thing, but my education was nurtured on such beliefs."

And he sits back down.

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Faculty meetings were just that; meetings. Everyone was polite and chatted, some were even friends, but with the doomsday clock at five minutes til twelve, they all had other things they would rather be doing, and it showed in the distracted attitudes of the faculty.

Not Brad though, he winged most of his syllabus on the fly barring final projects, and that damn Art History. That class used the same plan every boring year. He had briefly thought about changing it up sometime during the summer when he had had some free time, but had been distracted by the lump of clay he had found left over from last year. The same lump of clay that now sat on his desk cleverly disguised as a garden gnome version of the Headmaster. It seemed to be doing a wonderful job of holding his pencils.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Burke
Burke stands up,

"Headmaster Rogers, I witnesses Mr. Jackson's stunt in the company of some students. No one wanted to emmulate him, though they did admire his physical ability. I would think encouraging some exercise in an intelligent manner would be good and free expression does the mind good."

"I know I'm new to this teaching thing, but my education was nurtured on such beliefs."

And he sits back down.

Kiss-ass and sticking up for bad behavior...he won't last long. Brad thought as he munched on another sandwich from his improvised plate of an unfolded napkin, giving Thomas a sidelong glance as he grinned at him.

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Quote:
Fac. meeting notes
Welcome Tom and me!
Sylvia Dorn -- possible help with SS?
Discipline problems
Deacon Knight -- who???
Eye out for climbing? o.O

As the subject begins to linger on Zack and the climbing problems, Rachel finds her attention wandering. She adds a few small, detailed sketches of birds to brighten her neatly written notes.
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As usual, Sylvia kept more or less to herself. Whether by accident or intent, Dalton Academy's senior history teacher simply found herself without others sitting terribly nearby. By and large, this suited her just fine; academic exile was wearing on her after five long years, and she simply wasn't in the mood to socialize overly much with a group of high-school teachers.

Still, she'd dutifully raised her hand when requested by the Headmaster. She even summoned up a smile for her new co-worker; after all, some sort of semi-friendly initial standing would be helpful if she was expected to bring the young woman up to speed here. And it wasn't as though she could pick up and leave; a month before, a rejection letter from the Anthropology Department at the University of Idaho made brutally clear that her exile from collegiate academia was still actively in force.

Mention of Deacon Knight did nothing to help her mood. A solid week had been spent a few years before with a black tongue, courtesy of one of the overpriviledged little bastard's stunts. The Headmaster referred to the latest state of quiet as a "Red Alert", but Sylvia knew better: every week was a Red Alert where Deacon Knight was concerned.

With the slightest hint of a grimace, Sylvia waited for the interminable staff meeting to move on.

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She was just there. None of them heard the door open; no one had seen her until she was literally standing next to Headmaster Rogers, looking down at him. Her skin was white, not human-white, but moon-white. Hair as black as a raven’s wing spilled around her face and shoulders. Disturbingly , her eyes were black onyxes, without sclera. Her clothing was simple and black, and seemed more a uniform, though from no known country’s military. Obscure insignia glittered with dark beauty at her throat. A black-hilted sword at her side seemed to collaborate this impression.

Rogers didn’t even see her at first; when he did, he leapt from his chair with none of his usual dignity, a real treat for his detractors. “Who-?!” he thundered, becoming pale.

“I have come in accordance with the covenant with the Dalton,” she said, and her voice was triple-echoed. It was oddly lovely, but distressing at the same time. “The harvest approaches, and even now the Reaper makes his choices. I have come to say so to those who followed the Dalton. And in doing so, I have fulfilled half of my bargain to the Dalton.”

Eyes as black as night swept around the room. “Now, for the other half – I will allow two questions, and only two. Choose well.”

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Sylvia had no idea what this was about, or how on earth something like what was standing beside Rogers could even exist. But the anthropologist in her - and perhaps something else besides - desperately wanted to know. As the question formed in her mind, she felt for the first time in five years something resembling truly useful.

The stunned silence was broken by a voice so level as to be almost creepy in its own right. "What," the anthropologist and historian asked, "is the complete statement of this covenant, including the historical context?"

Click to reveal..
Wits + Composure to hold it together and ask a decent question on the fly:

(08:26:26) ChatBot: (Sylvia) rolls 5d10 and gets 8,10,10,5,2.

(08:26:46) ChatBot: (Sylvia) rolls 2d10 and gets 8,10.

(08:26:56) ChatBot: (Sylvia) rolls 1d10 and gets 4

Five successes! Woot!

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His first reaction was that this had to be some weird hazing ritual for the newbies. No one reacted that way, so this could be either some weird reality show, these teachers being great actors but really be teachers ... or this could be real. Dorn spoke up, giving Thomas some time.

Good question, Professor he thought, still not quite accepting this was real.

Now he studied the lady who had come before them. It made him wish he had gone to Ren-Faires for more than chicks. She looked sort of legit, but in reality he knew most mideviel woman had bad breath, bad teeth, and hunched postures.

Click to reveal..

Wits+Investigation(Enigmas) to think of something.

(13:46:50) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 5d10 and gets 10,4,8,1,4.

(13:47:05) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 1d10 and gets 7 = 2successes

Wits+Composure to remain calm.

(13:47:22) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 6d10 and gets 7,1,2,1,9,10.

(13:47:31) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 1d10 and gets 6 = 2 successes

Second question: How do we get out of this?

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The woman turned easily and reached behind her. An ornate black scroll tube was unhooked from her belt and opened, and she pulled out a large piece of parchment. Strange markings could be seen on it, as well as painted illuminations around the edges. In a lyrical voice, she began to read from the scroll in a language that none of them understood. “Wait,” Rogers said, interrupting her flow. “We don’t understand. In English, please.” For all that he was a pompous ass, the man at least remembered not to phrase his response as a question.

The woman sighed. “On this day, in the Summer One Hundred and Ninety-three years after Liberation, Supreme Commander Yaren of the Camarine Army doth swear to a cease-fire with the General Wilbur Dalton of the Hold of the Academy. General Dalton does henceforth swear to cease all activities in the Kingdom of Hope in exchange for thirty-three years mercy from the Harvest. Supreme Commander Yaren doth swear to cease sending the Reaper to the Hold of the Academy for the Harvest for thirty-three years. Additionally, Supreme Commander Yaren doth swear to send warning no less than one month in advance of the Harvest to General Dalton or his successor.”

She rolled up her scroll and returned it to the case. “One question left.”

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Well, that was a whole bunch of gobbily-goop that meant nothing. Whose scripting this?

Still, the game needed to be played out, and since this was all a game, he felt compelled to act his role - assuming his role was that of the brash newcomer ... who usually came close to death, if not actually die, at the end. Again, who scripted this thing?

Thomas knew he was smart. He was also smart enough to realize there were people out there smarter than him ... like Dorn. Her frontal lobes must have been trobing. Since he had no good questions to ad lib, he might as well give others the chance to remember their roles. Thomas stood up and approached the Lady. He couldn't help but admire the make up, props, and special effects that went into creating her whole "alien" air.

"Hello," he began, being as charming as possible, "I'm Thomas Burke and I am NOT asking you the final question."

Well, that was quite smart.

He extended his hand to her, not yet sure if he would kiss it, or shake it. Kissing, he decided would look better in the replay.

She stood there and looked at his hand. She didn't look at it as if he was offering up tumorous ham. She looked at it as if the custom was totally alien to her. Thomas leaned forward and whispered,

"You are supposed to shake it. It's a form of greetings that implies a small amount of civility and trust."

All the while he tried to remain as charming as possible. He was sure he would get good air time.

Click to reveal..

Presence+Persuasion+Striking Looks: (18:06:28) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 9d10 and gets 4,4,10,1,1,8,8,1,4.

(18:06:39) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 1d10 and gets 2 = 3 successes

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Chester raced down the hall, heart pounding. Who were those folks? Their attitude, manner of speech, and sudden, unknown appearance had him on edge, as was certainly many others back in the Social. In any case, they didn't belong, and the teachers had to know.

He saw the door to the lounge, stopped, and pulled it open. "Headmaster, I'm sorry to intrude but-" Chester froze. Next to one of the teachers and Headmaster Rogers was another of the same weird people, though this time a woman. He stared at her. "How many of you people are there?"

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She pulled back from Thomas, her face twisted in anger. "Trust? Between our people? After the atrocities you have committed?" Her hand had come to rest on her sword's hilt and her knuckles were whiter than bone.

Chester's sudden appearance behind her impelled her into motion. She hopped to the side and pulled her sword. The blade was white but clearly some kind of metal. Chester found himself staring at a sword point. "What trick is this?" she roared. "Are you still so dishonorable as to attack one fulfilling your own contract?"

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What the hell was going on! Chester froze. "Uh, ma'm, I just wanted to speak to the teachers. Now would you move that somewhere where no one is in danger of injury, please?" There was something crazy going on for sure.

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Okay, this was more than a bit wacked. It looked like a real sword and unless the kid was in on it, and by the look on his face he wasn't, it shouldn't be pointed at him.

"Point that at me, if you don't mind. I'm responsible for him. He's just a child."

Click to reveal..

Getting her to remove the sword from Chester: (19:29:19) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 9d10 and gets 10,7,1,8,6,8,9,1,4.

(19:30:21) ChatBot: (Thomas) rolls 1d10 and gets 9 = 5 successes

This actress was crazy and someone had given her a real blade. Talk about method acting.

"Now, this war was thirty-three years ago. I'm twenty two and know NOTHING about his war, or any atrocities committed. I do know what a Herald is and we do not attack Heralds. It is a crime amongst our people."

Her sword flicked away from the kid's chest and come to rest ... on Burke's throat! Ow.

I hope she's buying my act.

With the sword firmly on him.

"As for fighting you," can someone please yell cut now,"I don't even know you. In my country, the one we are in, here is how we do it. Hello, I'm Thomas Burke. Who are you?"

He paused for as second,

"This is the part were you tell me the name you wish us to call you by. It doesn't have to be a real name, just something you can remember."

Man that thing looks sharp, and its starting to really hurt. Why couldn't I have been an historian? They would probalby known that a blade hurts like this.

Only with the kid safe did Thomas really begin to feel totally stupid. Why was he the one risking his life? He wasn't the headmaster. He wasn't even the athletics coach. Well, everyone had their Psycho-Girlfriend stories, now he had his.

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Anger passed over her face, anger directed at Thomas. "I am First Wing Relana of House Iron Moon, stationed with the Raven Division of the Camarine Army," Relana said through gritted teeth, snapping her sword back into its sheath with a practiced motion. "I am called Rwen.

"We are done," she said, still seething with anger. Shooting Thomas a dark look, she turned to leave.

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First Wing Relana jerked to a stop when the PA system clicked to life, and a familiar voice could be heard. "Students... faculty... off campus guests... I'd like to welcome you all to Dalton's... what ever annual ice cream social this is. Now, I know a lot of you are first year students out there, and I want you all to know that there is nothing to be afraid of here at Dalton, we strive for academic excellence.

"Oh, who am I kidding? We're here for the parties, premarital sex, and the prescription and non-prescription drugs! Look people! Learning is what you're going to be spending the rest of your adult life doing! Why waste your youth? So welcome all of you for another year of the most expensive party you're parents willingly paid for you to be sent too! As a wise man once said: 'Let us be lazy in everything, except in loving and drinking.' I'm Deacon Knight, and I'm here, for you. Deuces!

"Oh, and uh Dean Rogers keeps videos of scantily, or unclad, women singing dirty songs and spanking each other on his lap top. I highly recommend that any with some free time tap up his IP and check em' out. You know I did! Thanks Dean Rogers, for keeping it real, you're my idol." The PA system went quiet again, but far, far too late for the comfort of anyone in the faculty lounge.

"Deacon Knight," Hudley Rogers seethed, his face going a brilliant red. The embarrasment had snapped him out of his shock, and he turned to their guest. "He put you up to this, didn't he?"

"You do not get a third ques-"

"Shove your fucking questions!" the Headmaster roared, putting bull elephants to shame. As Chester became one of the few students to directly witness Rogers in a full-on Deacon-inspired breakdown, Rogers snarled, "Who are you really? Do you realize how much trouble you're in?"

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The view of the headmaster was spectacular. But, honestly, Chester didn't want Deacon Knight to be responsible for negligent homicide, if that was possible. And, he had enough of those folks. Their unwelcome presence in the Social was upsetting everyone, plus the sword at his throat was upsetting. He decided to speak.

"Listen lady, before Deacon is responsible for the Headmaster's untimely demise, think and pay attention here. Whoever you are, whatever this is about, you seem to have with the belief that we know exactly everything that you're talking about. Drop it, we understand nothing! Now please clearly explain things, or you and those goons intruding in the Social can go."

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Stupid, stupid, stupid! I blew the last question.

Thankfully, Rwen moves her sword away BEFORE Deacon pulls his stunt and the sword weilding would-be alien jumps - nutjob. Deacon has a certain flair and by the Headmaster's reaction, good intel, but this game is getting old. The kid is sputtering at the door and maybe pushing psycho-bitch too far. Can't the kid see that's his job.

He turns to the Headmaster and calmly,

"Dean Rogers, I'm going to look into this hooligan business at the Student's Social. If I spot Deacon I'll send him back here," in front of witnesses. Inadvertantly he also shows the sword shaped hickey he's been gifted with.

Looking back to Relana, he glares right back.

"Rwen I feel" Thomas touches the wounded portion of his throat, sure that as Heralds were sacrosanct, so were the people that hosted them, "you have overstayed your welcome," psycho cunt bitch, "and it is time for you and yours to go. Come with me and help round up your miscreants ... NOW."

Take your dumb-ass camera and sound crews with you, he almost added. Still, it wasn't everyone's fault that one actress couldn't keep her brains in a hat, much less her head. Best to get this reality crap done for the night before someone started punching someone else. Not understand what this was would just leave people looking stupid.

"Kid, what's you name?," he asked Chester. "You must be a first year like me. I'm Thomas, or Mr. Burke if you prefer. Maybe Rwen will answer your questions as we go back, pro bono. She's not in an overly talkative mood though. She's the kind of Herald who" isn't clever enough," isn't much into communicating."

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"Your inability to retain important knowledge for a scant thirty-three years is not my concern," First Wing Relana snapped at Chester. Any further rant was cut off by Thomas' order. If he thought he'd been subject to a glare before, he was mistaken; had Relana's glare had power behind it, his headless body would have toppled to the ground. Turning, she shoved past Chester, giving him a sense of the strength in her body. As an actress, she was buff.

Relana seemed to know her way around the school; there was no hesitation in her step as she walked toward the stairs. She also didn't appear to be waiting for any of the Daltonites.

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At the beginning, Sylvia honestly didn't know what to think. Even as she had asked her question, it had been in part out of curiosity to see just how far a ruse might be taken... even if part of it was the genuine question of a person who yearned to be a researcher in the field.

But as Relena reacted to the faculty statements - and to the sudden appearance of Chester, and nearly jumped out of her boots at the PA system, and stared at Thomas' hand like it carried bubonic plague - Sylvia came to realize that whatever this was, it wasn't a ruse. This girl's reactions were not those of someone putting on a show, or even passingly familiar with near-universal customs. And the voice that came from her wasn't anything that could be produced outside of a sound studio, especially not when she clearly wasn't operating from a script after her initial carefully composed address.

"When you have eliminated the impossible," Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had famously said, "whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Those were words that Sylvia's mother had drilled into her from an early age, words she had taken to heart. Watching the events of the past few minutes unfold, she was forced to at least consider the very unpalatable possibility that Relena really was a First Wing (whatever that was) of the Camarine Army (wherever that was).

Even as her stomach lurched at the implications, Sylvia found herself rising from her chair to follow the visitor out toward the stairs. Entwined with the shock of the whole situation was a thread of excitement - perhaps her exile would wind up giving her the anthropological experience of a lifetime.

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Thomas went storming after her, dashing to catch up. While not looking at her,

"Raised in a cave, I see."

He does try to pass her and only rarely falls behind (he's an ass man after all) Burke makes it to the social at the same time as "The Herald". He really hopes Ms. Wacked Out Actress doesnt' start waving her sword around here because some hyper-active student might think it's just a prop and rush her. Thomas has seen how jumpy she is when just surprised. If actually attacked, she might just kill someone and then they would all be in the soup.

"Try to not kill anybody First Wing Relana of House Iron Moon. They are just kids, this is their party, and you weren't invited down here."

She was technically invited some thirty-three years ago to come upstairs and put a blister on the Headmaster's ass, but not here with the kids.

When the hell was someone going to yell 'Cut', or did someone really have toget stabbed?

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Chester rushed after Relena and the teachers. He didn't like her insinuation, and he still didn't know what was going on. She was of the so-called Camarine Army... what does some fantasy place and army have to do with the academy?

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"Deacon Knight has gone too far!" the headmaster growled, his voice strident. His face is still red and his eyes blaze with anger.

"Is anyone else wondering what that was all about?" Professor Eisely, one of the literature teachers asked. His too-long white mane bounced as he looked around the room.

"It was Deacon," Rogers growled. "That little punk is dead! I don't care who his father is!"

"Now Hudley, calm down," Randall Joyner, the other science teacher said. "He'll just win if you react."

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"Of course it was Deacon," Rachel says. "I'm a little surprised that he was brazen enough to, but he announced that much proudly. Still, he'll probably claim it was someone else impersonating him... Anyway, don't you think expulsion seems a little extreme?"

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Finally having received confirmation that the place was haunted, Brad shrugged and went back to his sandwiches, finishing them off and then using the 'plate' to clean himself off and brush the crumbs onto the floor. A couple swipes at a yellow spot on his pants confirms it to be paint and not mustard.

So much drama at this place. Hope those guys don't have all three pieces of the crown, that would suck ass.

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"Rogers, dude, chill before you stroke out. This isn't Deek's style and you know it. If you weren't about to have an aneurysm. Just calm down and go talk to him, he's probably more focused on the ICS." He explained matter-of-factly.

"Oh..." Brad started, grinning as he stood up, "I assume this means the meeting is over?"

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"Calm down?" Rogers did look on the verge of a stroke. "As far as I'm concerned, this night is all the work of Deacon Knight!" As Brad asked about adjurnment, Rogers snorted and waved his hand. "Yes, yes, whatever."

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Rachel picks up her stuff and leaves after Brad, trying not to conspicuously flee from the simultaneously boring and scary meeting.

Quick on her feet, she falls into step behind him.

"Brad, right? Did I miss something in there? What the hell's going on?"

Edit: Oops, Brad left for the other thread. I'll plunge into the fray in 1b a little later this evening, then.

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