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Headmistresses Office, Claremont

The office of Headmistress Summers was quite a stark and bare affair, just a simple desk and a monitor, with no really nicks nacks to suggest the owner of the offices. The only real decoration in the room was a portrait of Duncan Summers,  which had survived several destructions of the office. Rumour had it was that the picture was as indestructible as the former headmaster himself.

 

Even with the starkness, it wasn’t a place you’d want to be summoned to without good reason. So for those of you summoned it was good to know that it was to meet the newest arrival to Claremont Academy...

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With no one around to impress, Ashley was leaning casually against the wall outside Summers's office, tweaking one of her belt sensors. As perfectly coiffed as her own considerable talents could manage, Judy Smith was sitting in one of the big wooden chairs outside the office, legs folded neatly in front of her. This sort of thing was something she could do in her sleep, even if she didn't know who exactly they were going to be showing around campus just yet. She let her eyes unfocus for a moment, listening to the sounds of the datasphere all around her, and lost herself in the patterns of heat and light that no one else could see. It was good, if only for a moment, to relax. 

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Claremont's newest student, Davyd Palahniuk, was already in the Headmistress's office.  He appeared to be sitting in a chair, bouncing one leg up and down.  His hands were clasped together in front of him, and he was twiddling his thumbs.  His fingers were slowly morphing into boneless tentacles that twined about each other -- he did not seem to be aware of this, as his attention was focused on everything else in the room, and thoughts of who he’d soon be meeting.

 

Be cool, be cool.  Remember, you’ve wanted this.  You never dreamed you’d get it, but you did!  And now you’ll get the chance to prove that you can be a great hero, alongside the rest of the latest generation of heroes!  No pressure!

 

At least he'd stopped pacing across the floor... and walls... and ceiling.

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Corinne showed up, as she did, all brightness and light.

 

Or something.

She wore he studded leather bomber jacket over what looked like workout clothes, all black and reds with silver accents and loose straight legged pants.  Though she had on a funny pair of sneakers, that were high ankled, but it was probably something to do with the dancing.  Her hands and face smudged with bits of paint that she hadn't cleaned off yet, or something similar.  Her hair more asymmetrical today, the blonde locks that ran down on the right side, much longer going to her jawline, bobbing as she as danced the hallway, complete with the massive headphones over her ears to really sink into the music.

Drawing to a stop in front of the door she kept bopping along, though it was more complicated than that.  For her it was movement, a thing she needed to do.  In the middle of it she lifted her brows to ask the question as she gestured to the door to the office.  Then she leaned towards it to grab the doorknob, bouncing her shoulders as she made incremental dips to the beat of what she was listening to as she looked at Ash and Judes.

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"Ah think we're supposed to wait for the headmistress," said Judy. "This new guy must be pretty special," she opined, "if he's gettin' all three of us for his tour!" Ashley had not been informed of the full details, which she knew had unsettled her bodyguard a bit. 

 

"Another brick in Summers' wall, huh?" said Ashley with a dismissive shrug. She took a moment to snap her sensor back together, then hooked it to her belt. So many people at the school complained about her habit of scanning them, but nobody'd ever complained about it. Attitude or not, she hung back, the better to let Judy actually have the conversation. 

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Leroy stepped out from one of the other doors, sighing as he glanced down at the ragged ruins of a beautiful red, black and green robe hanging forlornly off his shoulders. Catching sight of the others his face lit up, and a few steps had him across from the three women. He bowed a little to the blonde "That is a lovely shade of red, Corinne, reminds me of a sunset, or the blood my wolf-sister sheds. Both wondrous natural sights."

 

"And good evening to you, Judy darling, commander, who is this new victim I hear has come to join us?" He grinned eagerly, pupils wide enough to almost swallow up the outer ring of gold and their field of white. In the lights, his scars looked almost raw and fresh. His hair was shaggy now, long black ringlets cascading a few inches above his broad shoulders. Through the rents in the fabric he glittered with drying black blood. "Dio and I were out hunting, but I simply had to return when I heard of the occasion. I am sure he will not mind, the thing was wounded already."

 

Arching his arms above his head, the boy leaned against the wall, smiling fondly at Judy. "I am glad they have you for a guide, Dee. How are you?"

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Ashley pursed her lips disapprovingly, but didn't say anything as Judy smiled at Leroy. "Leroy, that is...look at you!" She blushed and looked around, as if they were about to be scolded by someone for how Leroy was dressed. "You're hardly wearing anything." Biting her lip, she was about to say something else before Ashley handed her leather jacket to Leroy, shooting her sister a look that was hard to read. Ashley had made sure to take her gear out before she'd handed over the jacket, and resumed the process of fastening it to her belt. She was wearing a heavy T-shirt with the logo of a snarling wolf on the front, the bulk in her torso suggesting she was wearing body armor as usual. With a little sigh, Judy patted Leroy's arm and said, "Ah'm doing just fine. We're gonna make sure we give this new guy a show he won't forget." 

 

"Right," said Ashley laconically. "So what was in your sights tonight?" she asked Leroy brusquely. "Anything tough?" 

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Monica was somewhat surprised that the Headmistress had asked her personally to be part of the introduction tour for the new student. Unless they needed to know about quiet study spots Monica wasn't sure how much she'd be able to contribute. Maybe that was why the Headmistress made her tag along? It'd also serve to get her involved with her classmates, and the new person. It felt like something Summers would do, if nothing else.

 

Monica walked into the hallway, her bag slung over one shoulder. It was a normal school day for the most part so there was no reason to go extravagant with clothing, her usual hoodie and jeans combo worked just fine. At first she was quite relaxed about the whole thing, and then she spotted her classmates.

 

She picked up her pace somewhat as she approached them, her eyes scanning the room. "Just what did I miss just now?"

 

Judging from how everybody was simply standing around, whatever it was had probably passed already. Apart from Leroy's clothes everybody seemed to be their usual selves. From the few interactions Monica had had with Leroy she could tell that she couldn't really figure him out just yet, this was just something to add onto that list, probably.

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The head mistress serious demeanor cracked just slightly with a wry smile, as they caught just some of the chaos that was going on just outside the door.

 

“Ah it seems the other students have arrived to show you around, I think you’ll find they’re a diverse group of people.”

 

Obviously as Headmistress she’d had a pretty good idea of what each of the students she’d invited to  show him round.

 

“Would you be so kind as to get the door Mr. Palahniuk?”

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"Oh, uh, yes, yes, of course!" Davyd responded, rising up and moving towards the door.  Halfway there he realized, with some minor embarrassment, that he still had his 'chair' growing out of him, like a turtle's shell.  He absorbed the bone and chitin structure back into himself, then noticed his finger-tentacles and sorted those out, too.  Once has was satisfied with his appearance, he opened the door.

 

The assembled students saw a rather plain white teen open the door. He was of average height, a bit pudgy, with a round face and long limbs.  His hair was short, somewhere between dark blonde and light brown, and his gray eyes darted quickly around as he looked at everyone.  He wore a red-and-white striped shirt, blue jeans, and black shoes.  "Hello!  I guess you are here to show me around, yes?" he said, with a slight vaguely Eastern European accent.  "My name is- ah... hold on a moment."  He turned back to the office and called out to the Headmistress, "which name do I tell them again?"

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The dancer stopped at her attempt to open it and then she pulled her hand away.  "Hello LeRoy, just got out of an extracarricular, hence the outfit."  She gestured to herself, before she moved to give Judy a platonic sidehug™.  She nodded to Monica and Ashley, not pushing socialness on Ms. Reticent and Surly (respectively). 

 

And the door opened, and she pounced on it like the friendly California girl you might expect her to be, and you were right.

 

"Corinne Conrad!  Senior, dance student, and resident bad example.  I am occasionally the Judd Nelson in this messed up Breakfast Club."   She stopped her shimmying and dancing in place, to extend her hand to Davyd.  "Go with whatever you want us to call you."  She flashed her smile, and turned up the wattage an exponential, even as she loomed over him, and well everyone else here, and holding his hand, once he took it, or she just took it, because she had that American aggressive friendliness down pat, she half turned and swept her arm to rope in everyone else.  "And this is everyone, who shall introduce themselves in turn.  Except probably Ash, who will glare, possibly grunt.  And now will likely shoot me a dirty look."  She turned her head and flashed Ash an insouciant grin and a wink before she looked back to the new guy.

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Ashley shot Corinne a look as black as her eyebrows. "Charmed," she growled through gritted teeth at Davyd. 

 

"Hello!" said her sister warmly, her eyes seeming to light up at the sight of Davyd. "Ah'm Judy Smith, risin' sophomore, and this is mah sister Ashley. She's a little older than me," she added with a bright smile, "but we're in the same class, hah-hah!" She introduced Davyd to Monica and Leroy, reaching down to take the second boy's hand as she said, "Welcome to Claremont! It gets a little crazy around here sometimes but we're all good friends. Ah think you'll like it here." 

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The new student smiled broadly as he shook Connie's hand (or, perhaps more accurately, was shaken by Corinne), and flashed a smile at Ashley & Judy & Monica & Leroy as well.  "You can all me Davyd!  Davyd Palahniuk!  Ah, so you are all sophomores?  We'll all be in the same classes!"  He clapped his hands together, "that's perfect!  Oh, uh, except..." his eyes darted back and forth nervously, "I'm not sure if I'm going to finish out my sophmore year here or at my old school.  There's just three months to go, so I'm not sure how that would all work out."  He paused, nodded, and smiled again, "but even if I don't finish out my school year here, I'm sure there would still be things I can do after school with you all!"

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Apparently whatever had happened was not worth commenting on much. That said quite a bit about Claremont and its students, but right now Monica didn't mind too much. Leroy seemed to be entirely fine despite the blood and how he looked. So, the focus would lie fully on the new student. A good thing, all things considered, even if Monica wasn't sure if that actually portrayed what things were like at Claremont.

 

Then again, the tour would probably take some time, so who knew. After exchanging the most basic of pleasantries with her classmates, she leaned against the wall and watched the door. So, what would it be? A werewolf from another dimension? A humanoid bird?

 

Or just … a normal guy. First impressions wise, the new guy stepping through the door was relatively unspectacular. Monica looked at the others, Corinne primarily. She immediately sprung to action with the greeting, as she'd expected. She let the others do their entire introductory procedures, all the while watching Davyd.

 

"Hey Davyd. They already told you my name so I guess I can't do that now."

 

"So, apart from introductions, what do you actually wanna see on this tour?"

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Leroy bowed graciously and shook Davyd's hand, the shapeshifter's practically engulfed. This close the boy in rags and a leather jacket smelled metallic and cold, covered over in something that could only be described as "dry", though his skin was soft and warm over steely tendons and bones. His golden eyes shone with delight as he beamed down at the newly-minted Claremonter. There was something almost hungry about the smile, like the tattered teenager was a collector examining a new addition to the hoard. 

 

Releasing him, Leroy said brightly "Oh no, Mr. Davyd Palahniuk, that would be a dreadful idea! You must find your own ground and form your own circle, to hew to any of us because we happened to meet you first, that would thwart your growth!" His grin hid his eyes from sight "But in any event, be welcome to the Academy!" 

 

Stepping back, with another swift bow, Leroy paused to nod and smile at Monica, "Hullo, Lightbearer, radiant as always." before removing to stand beside Judy and Ashley. 

 

"We found some sort of tiger-dragon in the hills, with a tail like a steel whip thick as Mr. Lancaster's leg," he explained to her with a careless toss of his hair "it fights as fierce as though God saw fit to grant Prince Janus a match in the flesh to their spirit. When it is dead, we will bring it here for examination."

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Davyd did a double-take at Monica, "wait, you- you're Lady Liberty!  Wow!  Oh my goodness, I did not think I would meet someone like you here!  I mean, I had heard you were a student here, but I did not think you would do the meet-and-greet of new people!  Wow!"  It took a moment for her words to reach his mind, "oh, I would love to see all of it!  I mean, as much of the campus as you can show me.  I know there may not be time to show it all off... unless one of you is a speedster who is strong enough to carry us?"  He looked around at the group, hopeful curiosity plastered across his face.

 

"Wait, a tiger-dragon?  What?"  A heady wave of excitement and fear washed over him, "is it still out there?  Should we tell someone?  Should... should we go and see?"

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She did release Davyd's hand as she stepped back, and others surged in.  And then the weirdness of Claremont settled in.  Corinne rocked back, and placed her hands on her hips.  "Nice to meet you Davyd.  I can translate for Ashley, 'It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, even as I shoot daggers at Corinne.  Metaphorically.' Did I get that right Ash?"  That smile still plastered to her face and going crooked as she looked back to Ash.  Her tone, and her mannerisms challenging, though playful.

Whether she liked it or not, she made a great ambassador, because she was 'normal,' or at least was able to hide away most of her issues.

 

Probably.


"Food, food is good, I already did a quarter marathon today.  I need food. Come, let us show him the grounds, towards the Cafeteria.  Maybe later there are dinosaurs, and lasers."

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Leroy's explanation was … well, perhaps acceptable was the right word. It about reflected what Monica had come to expect from her classmate, from the few interactions the two of them had had so far. Did it make complete sense? Nope. Did it probably happen? Somehow, yes.

 

"Certainly sounds like you've had more going on than me today." She tapped her backpack. "I'm a bit behind on the essay."

 

Then, she turned her attention back towards the new guy.

 

…Oh. Perhaps that was why Summers had decided to have her tag along. Meeting Lady Liberty on the first day at a new school? That was bound to be memorable. She'd kinda forgotten about that aspect up until now, and it brought up some recent memories she wasn't too happy about. Something to deal with later, maybe.

 

Maybe.

 

She did her best to lock away those thoughts for now, and to focus on the situation at hand. Putting on an actually fairly genuine smile, she replied to Davyd's mix of excitement and confusion the only proper way:

 

"Yep. Welcome to Claremont. You'll get used to some of it. Probably."

 

"No objections there, Corinne. Well, maybe let's avoid the dinosaurs until his second day. "

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"Yes, she's Lady Liberty all right!" Judy laughed nervously. "We're all American here, except those of us who aren't from America like Leroy here." Outside the building, Judy took the lead, falling into the role of tour guide with practiced ease. Her accent put her home somewhere to Freedom City's south and west. "The cafeteria is very nahce," she said with a faint air of disinterest, "but Ah personally prefer the library." Her sister didn't seem inclined to say anything, just following one step behind the group, her eyes hidden behind sunglasses and her face behind a scowl. "They've got lots of new books, and they've got some old stuff too; even an Gutenberg Bible." Worried that she was starting to sound like a nerd, and definitely not wanting to talk about the cafeteria, Judy changed the subject. "So where are you from, Davyd?" 

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"Ooh, food is good, I have not eaten since breakfast.  And laser-dinosaurs sounds even better!," he added with a laugh and a broad smile.  Just a bit too broad.

 

Davyd listened with rapt attention to Judy's guide.  "Oh, how is the library's media collection?  Do they have many movies?  Is there a film appreciation class here?  Oh!" he exclaimed, and was practically bouncing, "is there a theatre arts class here?!  I am - er, was - er am? - in the one at Roosevelt High.  We did Dracula last semester -- I did all the makeup and special effects! -- and are working on Much Ado About Murder now.  Not as much fun stuff there, though there is a lot of neat costume work, especially for the twins."

 

He answered the actual question posed to him with equal enthusiasm.  "Oh, I'm from Freedom, grew up in an apartment in Riverside, with my parents and babusya and uncle."  He definitely had the accent of a native Freedonian, though with a hint of something else.  "They came over here from the Ukraine," (ah, that's it) "in the eighties, back when that meltdown happened at Chernobyl.  I've still got grandparents over there, though.  Well, not in Chernobyl, obviously, they moved to the eastern part of the country."

Edited by Dr Archeville

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She marched ahead, thrusting hands into the pockets of her leather jacket.  "The performing arts stuff is so-so.  But this is a big city, so it's easy to get into a program, well... the programs are available."  She turned to face the rest as she backpedaled effortlessly.  Corinne had that hatable 'everything comes so damned easy to her' sort of vibe, and being tall, nay statuesque, and Pretty.  Yes it was capitalized.  Hell she came from Hollywood.


"It's kinda hard to have extra curricular activities plotted when we're expected to be able to save the world at the drop of a hat.  Or at least, the city, or block.  Even though, we're tech- er, nevermind the rest of that.  No one really believes me anyway.  But, yeah, still have regular classes, in addition to Matter Reformation by Thought 101.  I mean, I do stuff, it just means I probably don't sleep enough."  Another elegant roll of her shoulders, and a laugh.

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"Plays, huh? That sounds fun; Ah'm organizing a chapel quartet for our youth group, but we could always put plays on in there too,  Ah guess..." At the door to the cafeteria, Judy paused, her hand on the metal doorhandle for just a second. She closed her eyes, took a breath, then smilingly led them all inside. A high school cafeteria was different than a college cafeteria, of course, but many of the students between classes were grabbing snacks from one of several snack bars or just and watching television. The cafeteria had a bigger television than any of the dorm rooms, and could fit more people into it. With a bright beauty queen smile on her face that didn't quite reach her eyes, she walked Davyd through the cafeteria, waving at friends and pointing out amenities,  occasionally reaching up to fiddle with the gold cross around her neck. 

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Lulu was standing in front of one of the vending machines, trying to figure out what she wanted to eat, sweet or salty. After coming to the only sane conclusion (both, duh!), she reached down and grabbed her Snickers and a bag of Hot Fries. Looking up, she noticed Judy, Corrine and several other students leading around someone new. Not wanting to be inhospitable, she approached the group with a friendly smile and a wave.

 

"Hey, y'all!" The pale redhead wore a blue denim vest over a black Lynryd Skynyrd T-shirt, jeans and a pair of red Hi-Tops. "Showin' a newbie around? Hi, ah'm Lulu, pleased to meet you!" 

Edited by Heritage

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"Oh, I had not even considered that!" he exclaimed at Corrine's words.  "Oof, yes, I imagine our life would be difficult to plan around.  But that does not mean we should not try, right?"

 

"There is a chapel on campus?," he aid, spinning to face Judy as they entered the cafeteria.  "Is it open to all faiths?  My family has their fingers in several religion's pies, so I couldn't go with just one faith's place of worship.  Not that there's anything wrong with a place being dedicated to one particular faith!," he quickly added, not wanting to alienate anyone.

 

And then his attention was on the food, a greater variety than he'd ever encountered before.  His eyes grew wide -- literally, a bit -- at the sight and smell of it all, but the greeting from the pale redhead cut through.  "Oh, hello!," he extended a hand, "I am Davyd!  I'm delighted to meet you!"

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"Open to all, yes. Like the meditation space there is no barrier. My dragon, Dio, refuses to go in, but he believes all temples are to false gods and the only true worship is a libation of one's blood onto stone. A novice always exaggerates." 

 

"Hello, Ms. Beaumont!" Leroy indicated the blocky boy the gang was escorting "This is Davyd Palahniuk, he is as you guessed! Davyd, this is Louise Beaumont, a dear friend to many in the Academy," as he talked, he glanced over at the kitchens, a longing in his eyes, "her talents for understanding and persuading others cannot be understated. As well, she is acquainted with a vast spectrum of delicacies, and the places to acquire them." He shrugged "Sadly, I will soon no longer need food or drink, so learning how to make them for such a discerning palate is vital."

 

"Ms. Beaumont, would you like to accompany us? I know Mr. Skylar has it out for you, but do you have a spare few minutes?" 

 

Catching Judy's fiddling, the wild-haired boy slowed his pace so as the party walked on the two drew together. "Something wrong?" he murmured out the corner of his habitual bright, genuine grin.

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