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World of Darkness: The Academy - How do you work this crazy thing?


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Everett stepped forward and made his way toward Brahn. The man...or whatever he was had a forceful presence. He and his sister both did. Everett couldn't help but feel near insignificant next to them. He fought back the exteraneous thoughts and emotion as best he could and continued his approach.

"I'm Everett Erasmus. If I'm going to defend this door and these people I'm going to need to know what it is, how it works, so forth" he looked Brahn over and noted the sword he carried. "also, I'd like you to teach me to use one of those" Everett said with a somber look on his face as he pointed to Brahn's weapon.

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Brahn smiled. "I doubt you'd like one like her," he said, "but I will teach you nonetheless. When I go home tonight, I'll find a sword for you to use, until you find yours. In the meantime, let me show you how to use the Doors. Give me a few moments to let anyone who wants to learn to come with us."

There was a moment of silence, and then Brahn asked, "Was one of your parents involved in the previous alcercation here?"

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Jason staggers in the door, supported by Thomas, fresh from his surgery at the hospital. He still looks pale, perhaps even more so to those few who saw him before he went, but still as determined as ever.

"Well Brahn, you said your sister could sort me out, and Thomas tells me you know something about these Doors between places?"

He winces as Thomas tries to help he onto the sofa, and shakes his head as Thomas makes his excuses and leaves.

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Zack came in next, passing Thomas without a word and nodding to Jason and the others.

He looks to Brihn and Brahn. "For what it's worth, I apologize for how my father acted and spoke to both of you the other night. I do not know everything from the Incident, but He is known to overreact when it comes to protecting his family form any threat, perceived, or real."

"I'd like you to teach me how to work the gates as well."

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Brihn left her brother's side and knelt before Jason. "This will be... unpleasant for a moment," she told him, slipping between his legs so that she could put her hands on his chest. It was an oddly intimate position, made creepy by her intently watching brother.

Jason started to make an awkward joke, anything to relieve the tension he felt, but sudden fire roared through his body. He gasped at the sensation, as Brihn’s hands pulled something from him. Before he could do more than react, her hands moved on him, her fingers bracing the wound on his gut. The terrible pain there faded, or maybe just changed. Whatever she did, he felt both stronger and weaker; the dehabilitating agony in his gut was gone, but he felt drained.

Click to reveal..
Your lethal wounds are now bruised.

Brahn helped his sister stand after she removed her hands from Jason, and she sagged into the seat he lead her to without complaint. Zack’s remarks brought a nod from Brahn. “I understand Alex’s anger. He suffered, and we are more convenient to blame than the Caramine, simply due to proximity. He lost love once; it has shaped him, and I feel the same love for my sister. I can’t blame him.

“However, let’s move on, to our lesson,” Brahn said. He glanced at Brihn, who shook off her weariness and began to speak. “The Ways are places where the barriers between the worlds are weak. They can be pierced and crossed unintentionally, but they can be intentionally used as well. To use them intentionally, you need a marker for the boundary, and you need a place for the Key. Once you have built a marker and defined the entrance, you have a Door. The Key for a realm isn't a piece of metal such as you think. Rather, it is a thing or set of things that mystically empowers a Door to open to a given realm. If you know a Realm's Key, you can access that Realm. If you open a Door without assigning the Key, you'll end up someplace random."

She paused and cleared her throat. “The rest should be done at the door upstairs. Can we all make the walk upstairs?” Her gray skin made her look a little closer to silver, and her eyelids drooped tiredly. But she seemed ready to push on.

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Everett looked on in silence as Brihn worked her magic on Jason. He raised an eyebrow as he observed the somewhat...compromising visual nature of the act. She was displaying real talent. He snapped from his reverie as the others trickled in and realized he'd been talking to Brahn. What did he mean by "until you find yours?".

Originally Posted By: DawnOOC
She paused and cleared her throat. “The rest should be done at the door upstairs. Can we all make the walk upstairs?” Her gray skin made her look a little closer to silver, and her eyelids drooped tiredly. But she seemed ready to push on.

He turned his attention back to Brahn but not before acknowledging Jason. "You good to walk?"

As he gave Jason a visual once over he spoke again to Brahn, "Were you asking about my parents? I don't think either of them was involved that I'm aware of"

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Jason barely managed to keep the scream his body demanded to let out in, and panted openly when it was done.

"Thanks, Brihn. We could have done with some of that in Afghanistan, although I'm not sure how well it would have gone down."

He listened intently to her description of the preliminaries, then struggled wearily to his feet when she mentioned going upstairs. He looked the young student over as he asked Jason how he was, "Just about, although I might need a hand from time to time."

Jason turned at the question about the boy's parents, "How about my grandparents? They both worked here at the time."

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Brahn nodded. "We've had several other parents involved, by all accounts," he said to Everett. "I was curious if yours were in attendance, or at least your mother, since I don't remember an Erasmus. I didn't met all the students involved, however, and I don't remember all those I met. It was thirty-three years ago, after all."

At Jason's question, he nodded. "I assume you mean Zebediah Beckett. I remember him well - quite the adept at the magical arts. Brihn was teaching him some of the basics of magic; none of our sacred powers, but those that she could share. Has he passed? I assumed he would be involved in this where he alive."

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Zack nodded, taking in the lesson easily, it was something he was fairly good at, learning. He'd watched with an impressed look as Brihn healed Jason, not completely, but his wounds looked much less serious now.

"I think everyone has at least one family member involved in some fashion."

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Jason stares at Brahn incredulously for a while, "Old Zeb was a magician?!" but quuickly recovers himself, "Well, after the niight I've had so far why should that surprise me? Yes, I'm afraid he died a couple of months ago. His heart gave out eventually, although I had been helping him for the last year or so since my Grandmother died."

He turns to Brihn, "Would you be willing to teach me what you taught my grandfather? It seems I have a tradition to follow."

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Was his mother involved. It was all he vould do to listen as his head reeled from the possibilities. He was aware of the others talking, but he heard or processed little of it. It did seem that everyone had at least one relative involved. Was his mother a Dalton Alum? It had been her idea to send him here after all. If so, it would seem that all their parents had sent them here with purpose. Purpose other than college prep.

"Elaine, my mother's name is Elaine. Her maiden name is Carmer...I don't know if she attended school here. She never said" he related to Brahn mid conversation as he walked toward Jason.

'If they knew why would they all send us here?' he thought to himself as he strided to the recently healed soldier, doing his best to look casual. Yet another question.

"Come on, Jason is it? I'll stick close to you" Everett offered his hand.

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Zack nodded to them. "Zack Hunter, Vice President of the Student council, since we're making formal introductions." He smiled to the others and nodded, steeling himself for whatever was about to happen. "Let's get started."

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Sylvia stepped back into the room at that moment. "Hope I'm not too late; I had some business to finish...."

The look on her face shifted from a careful smile to confusion, her eyes no longer focused on her guests but instead seeming to gaze off into nothing. The house-mother sniffed for a moment, and the confused look turned to a frown; another series of sniffs, and the confusion spread from face to voice.

"What... what on earth is that smell?"

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"Welcome, Sylvia. Perhaps you smell the herbs my sister carries; some are quite pungent," Brahn said, his manner different than the irritation he'd displayed at her earlier. "We were about to head upstairs and learn how to work the Doors. Would you like to come?"

After Sylvia nodded her ascent, Brihn and Brahn went up the stairs, leading their way past the slumbering and oddly laconic students. In the storage area, they found that the fake cabinet was still open, revealing the door. It looked like any other door in the school, save that it was set in a dormer window - and it was carved with Lancaster's snowflake. It had been made by someone who lacked proper tools or talent, and had been stained reddish-brown. Underneath the door was a small, brass drawer, as if it were an overnight video return drop-box.

The Lhesk paused for a moment, then Brihn pulled out a pouch of white granular powder and a lock of blonde hair. Holding both of them in one hand, she said, “This is the key for the Neri, to go to their world, Indicar. This is sugar and some blonde hair. The amount of sugar needs to be at least a half-cup,” she explained. “Every door will have something on it for the Key to be placed in.”

She pulled out the brass drawer and put the hair in, then tipped some of the sugar inside. Smiling, she closed the drawer and opened the door. Darkness instead of a window was beyond the door, and the group could hear the distant rush of fast-moving water. Brihn smiled. “Would you like to step through?”

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Zack smiled, it was awesome in that it was actually real. Without really thinking things through, he moved forward first. "I'll go, anything I should know first?" He said as he stepped up to the dark door.

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"About the Neri?" Brahn asked, a smile creeping over his features. "Only that they are exactly as they seem."

"Jason," Brihn suddenly called out, "would you stay behind? I'd like to talk about your grandfather, if you wouldn't mind. You should probably rest anyway."

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The weary, wounded Jason sounded a little disappointed, "Very well Brihn, but I have a question before any more of the others go through. Would this Door lead to other places with different materials for the Key?"

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Everett looked from Jason to Brihn as he processed the question. It was a good question, one he'd been wondering about himself.

"Also, how long do the doors stay open for? When you cross over do you have a set amount of time in which to handle your business, or is it simply a matter of opening the door with the key from the other side?" he stared at the door as he asked, eventually turning his gaze to Brihn but not until he'd finished speaking.

Shifting lightly under Jason's weight Everett repositioned himself before the growing ache in his shoulder could grow further. Before he could proceed through the door he needed more answers.

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"Hold up, Za...." But she was too late; the impulsive young man was already through the door into elsewhere.

A deeply protective urge welled up in her, wanting to race after Zack and make sure he was safe. It took a distinct effort of will to keep from dashing off pell-mell through the portal between worlds.

But both Jason and Everett were right; they needed know more. And while Brihn and his sister had been true to their word in healing wounded students, Sylvia knew now that what they'd gained in return was of value to them, perhaps more value than the effort expended and with an uncertain price for the children. Wariness won over trust, and she clutched tight to the list of keys in her pocket.

"Considering the list that Heja left behind, I'd say that different keys result in different locations. In fact, if I put a silver coin and a cup of salt into that tray, I'd wind up in Lhesk, wouldn't I? Where is Zack now: does this thing step instantly through, or is there a sort of corridor or in-between space? And what should we expect of the Neri; what sort of people are these, aside from short-lived and agrarian?"

All the while, she tried to figure out what these strange smells were that assaulted her. Brihn had said something about herbs and the like, but this wasn't just coming from her. It seemed to come from everywhere, and on further surreptitious sniffs seemed comprised of an overwhelming array of different mingled smells. Had someone set off a stink bomb up here? Had there been a food fight? Was she losing her mind? What the hell is happening to me?!?

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Brihn and Brahn's expressions became suddenly closed. "There is a short between-space," Brihn said softly, her voice as stiff as her lithe frame. "But unless Zack has tarried, he's already through." She glanced at Everrett. "The door only goes one way. Once you pass completely over the threshold, you cannot go back without the Key home. Doors remain active on the side that you start from for a time - no more than an hour or so."

"It is as I said to Zack - they are exactly what they seem," Brahn said to Sylvia, his manner also stiff. "They are a gentle people, fierce when angered, but generous and kind." He smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "I will be going with you, in case you need introduction or assistance. We shouldn't keep Zack waiting."

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I have the key to your world, and you don't like that worth a damn, do you? The hint of a grin pulled at the corners of Sylvia's mouth, but she kept it from spreading to a full and unpleasant smile. She'd been in enough academic sparring matches to know when she'd struck at someone's heart. The two Lheskians were on notice now; their world could be reached, and they would have to presume that copies had been made of the list by now. Suddenly, the "Daltonites" had a new-found position of strength.

"Fair enough. Indicar* Indicar, I suppose," she said, and stepped through the door.

-------

OOC: "indicar" is Spanish for "show me"; Sylvia's drawing on a smattering of "tourist Spanish" for the sake of a bad pun.

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"Whoa Dorn!" Jason tried to stop her before she went through but was too slow.

"Shit! Everrett, you wait right there, you to Brahn, until you tell us what the Key is for Dalton and give enough of it to Everett to make sure they can get back if they get separated from you two." He finishes staring at the two Lheskians.

"Or is the Key specific to this Door and there are different ones for the other Doors that come here?"

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"The Key is specific to the world," Brahn said. "All you need for your home is a white feather and a piece of paper with thoughts written on them. And Jason? You should be more careful when giving me an order." With that, the alien walked backwards through the door, the unnatural glint from his eyes fading from sight last.

Next to Jason, Brihn sighed a little.

Nothing could have prepared Zack for the paradise he'd stepped into, save perhaps an umbrella and a machete. The sound of water that had gotten louder was revealed; a twenty-foot fall cascaded over the cliff that the Door was built into, splashing into a deep pool at his feet. Strange cries echoed in the thick foliage - he was sure they were trees, but he wasn't having much luck spotting the trunks.

A soft giggle caught his gaze, and Zack looked up to see two children leaning over the cliff of the waterfall. They called something in a strange language and he shook his head helplessly. They were thin, wearing loose garments of some light fabric. They giggled again and with wide grins hopped off the cliff, disappearing into the pool below. After a moment, two golden heads resurfaced and they came out of the pool, using natural stones as hand holds.

It was only after they'd come out of the water that Zack realized that they weren't children, but young women. They were finely built, smaller and frailer in appearance than humans, which is why he'd thought they were children. But their soaked clothes clung to the curves of their bodies, showing them to be slim, young women.

Sylvia came through just as the boldest of the two nymphs reached out and touched Zack on the arm, her green eyes filled with curiosity.

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"I'm with you Jason, but it sounds like Ms. Dorn has the key to get back" Everett said, his jaw set.

He watched warily as Brahn backed through the portal exuding menace. The Lehskians were not to be taken lightly. Their desire to help the Daltonites was born of their need to help themselves and it would do them all well not to forget that.

"Are you alright to stand?" Everett asked as he moved to a wall against which he could position the injured soldier. "I'm going through now" the young man said with resolve. Whether it was feigned or not not even he knew for certain.

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Jason sighed and rubbed his face, it hard been a long and unusually hard day. It was the first such one since he left Afghanistan, but it looked like there were more to come.

"You go on then Everrett. I'd be happier if I kknew you had the feather adn paper with you, but I suppose we'll just have to trust that you can find them over there."

He continues as the kid props him against a wall, "Don't worry about me, I can make it. It was just quicker to get up here with your help."

As Everett moves towards the Door, he glimpses Jason turn to Brihn, "I will apologise to your brother when I see him next. I didn't mean to sound like I was ordering him about. It's just that things were moving too quickly without people thinking about things very much."

He pushes himself away from the wall and walks back toward her, "And now you wanted to discuss my grandfather?"

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"Not here," she said as Everett disappeared. She firmly shut the door and, subtly blocking his vision of what she was doing, she put something else in the drawer. Then she opened the door and said, "I didn't want to discuss as much as show you. Will you trust me?"

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Jason shrugs tiredly, "I've already trusted you and your brother with my life twice tonight, so I guess I won't stop now."

With that he made his way over to the Door, and asks as he steps through, "Do you need to close it from the inside for the others to get back, or doesn't it matter?"

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Through the portal, Sylvia stepped into her very first other world... and found it not so different from the Amazon Basin where she had cut her academic teeth. Oh, the colours were off a bit, and some of the animal cries were different in pitch or cant, but overall the impression was very much of the rain forest.

Only two things stood very much out as different.

The first was an assault upon her olfactory senses so intense and varied that she literally reeled, her meager dinner threatening to return with violent force.

The second was a pair of incredibly slight women who were most assuredly not human, one of whom was already reaching out for Zack.

Clearing her throat (and emitting another unfortunate growl), Sylvia stepped quickly forward to her student's side, somehow making herself seem to loom taller than her scant five-and-a-half foot frame would merit. For lack of any better option, she asked the perennial question of Americans taken anywhere from their home shores: "Do you speak English?"

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"It won't matter; if the Door needs to shut, it will shut," Brihn said, nodding. She was right behind him as they walked through, into the dark place between. Then there was a flash of light, followed by the rumble of thunder. Jason followed it, not sure what he'd see-

The stone room spread before them, and above them. But of more interest were the Lhesk guards who snapped to attention. They wore simple dark leather and unamused expressions. Brihn quickly stepped forward and hurriedly addressed them in another language. The men slowly relaxed, standing back but never taking their eyes off Jason. Brihn waved for him to follow her and walked out of the massive room into a corridor...

To be moved to another post...

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Brahn appeared behind Sylvia, just as she asked her question. He watched as the two strangers looked at each other; then one said, "Eng List?"

"English! Dalton!" the other exclaimed. Then they caught sight of Brahn and began to gab excitedly. One turned and hurried to a rope bridge that crossed the outlet for the deep pool. She bounced nimbly over the swaying bridge and disappeared into the jungle beyond.

The one that had connected English and Dalton walked over to a vine with deep purple berries. She collected three, then a fourth when Everett appeared in the door, too. Smiling, she offered a berry to each of them, murmuring something that sounded rote with each offering.

"It's a traditional welcome," Brahn replied as he took a berry. "Just eat it and smile." He popped it in his mouth and smiled widely.

Those who took it found that the berry was very sweet, almost too sweet to enjoy. Thirty seconds after eating it, it caused a short sugar high.

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The new world they'd stepped into was something else indeed. It was like hallucinating in a rainforest. Everett took the offering from the waifish women on Brahn's authority. However, he didn't eat it until after he'd seen Brahn and the others partake.

The juice from the berry rolled down his throat sickeningly sweet the whole way. He took in the sights, sounds, and smells with renewed vigor. After having been taxed mentally he now felt the need to do...something.

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Zack smiled his own sweet, fairl innocent smile, putting his best foot forward when meeting new people as always. "Hello, my name is Zachary, it's a pleasure to meet you." When Brahn said eating the berry was the proper response he did so, and rode the sugar high afterwards with an impressed look on his face.

It was sweeter than anything his mother had ever cooked or baked or anthing he'd ever had before.

He looked to the others and to Sylvia, the first look of concern crossing his face. She'd practically growled at the girls when she came up. There was something there, something to that, and It worried him, because she'd always been the quiet reserved teacher.

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For her part, Sylvia took the offered berry into her hand, holding it carefully between her fingers as she looked the small oblong over with a skeptical eye. For all the world, it looked as though someone had stretched a blueberry and somehow bumped it up the colour spectrum several notches well into violet territory. Even as she relented to local custom and put the berry in her mouth, the anthropologist was considering the hand that had given her the treat. Slender fingers had been very warm when they had brushed lightly against her own, the soft skin encasing digits that she belatedly realized were equipped with an extra joint, each segment of shorter length than that of her own but resulting in fingers that were much more flexible.

The sudden rush of sugar was a surprise, both to her palate and the poor woman's overwhelmed sense of smell. Her stomach lurched, but held, and she even managed a careful smile as the last of the fruit slid down.

"I am Sylvia, from Dalton, and am pleased to meet you," she said in carefully clear tones.

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The slim alien nodded at Sylvia's words, but showed no comprehension. Sylvia's face must have looked just as blank as the girl's just had, because she giggled a little.

Sudden voices heralded the return of more of them, and a small welcoming party jogged over the foot bridge. "Hello!" one called, a small slim male wearing only a sarong. "Welcome back, people of Dalton! Welcome!" There were several more with him, and slim and smiling and feyishly adorable.

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Now this was a positive sign. At least communication would be possible with a select few. Of course, Sylvia mused, recalling her expeditions to indigenous tribes back home, that means that they drive the deals and decide how much truth gets through; it hadn't passed her notice that at times, native translators lived better than their own chieftains.

Still, her polite smile held, and she called out to the young man - no, young male Neri, she corrected herself; these people were not technically human. "Hello! I am Sylvia, and am pleased to meet you. May I have your name?" Long experience on trips back home taught her not to give her last name at the start; some people formed strong first impressions on names, and would use the full name from that point on, regardless of explaining how given and surnames were different.

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"I am named Itau," the young man said, still smiling widely. "Welcome, travelers from Dalton! For many generations, we have awaited your return. Come, rest and eat with us. We would be honored to have your company at our table."

Meanwhile, another Neri had stepped forward and was speaking with Brahn in another tongue. Brahn answered easily, smiling. He glanced at the students and Sylvia and asked, "Are we going to join them? They're very hospitable."

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It would seem they were expected. Everett looked on in quiet amusement at what had quickly become a throng of people. At the dinner invitation all he could think to himself was "and will we eat neverfood?", he laughed off the notion. His head was absolutely swimming.

He looked from Brahn to Ms. Dorn. Of course they would join them...wouldn't they? What other purpose had there been in coming here. Judging from their guide's familiarity with the locals it would appear that had been his intention all along.

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