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Phantom had debated strongly about whether or not to go in costume or civvies. While she was less recognizable in her civvies, and would be able to avoid a great deal more of the inevitable small talk, it really was the Master Mage that Callie wanted to see and unlike some of the other famous heroes, Phantom actually did hold onto her secret identity. So, she was there, floating over the fountain in front of the school in her full costume. The ghostly folds of her cloak floated out, blowing in astral winds. It was a very dramatic pose, one that most people would certainly chalk up to being a spooky spell caster. Only some of them would recognize that it was dread of such a large social gathering that had her hovering over the fountain to provide some sort of buffer. 

 

Hell, she hadn't talked to some of these people since JJ was little...

 

Shying away from those memories, Phantom finally bit the bullet and drifted down to the pathway, buried deep in the shadows of her cloak. With a small nod towards the schools headmistress, she floated through the walls of the school proper and towards the classroom that she'd occasionally taught a lecture or two in for the more magically inclined to await the first student appointment. 

 

Inside the classroom, she relaxed at the familiar surroundings. Crowds had never been comfortable but classrooms... Really, what was a Master Mage but a very, very gifted nerd. With a slight smile, Phantom gestured, lighting up the room with a soft purple glow that filled the runes and ward lines etched in the walls with the fire of her magic. 

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He was gonna meet the freaking Phantom! Truth was, the young man would have probably been bouncing around at the idea, if he hadn't spent half of the night close to the unconscious form of his friend in the school infirmary. Still, this mentoring thing was an important step if he wanted to become a superhero and besides, well, Phantom was a master magician, perhaps her talents could somehow help. He wouldn't have missed this for anything in the world.

 

Before stepping inside, Luke gave glance at his figure reflected in a trophy case nearby, this wasn't one of his best days, his eyes were tired, a pretty abundant shade of the evening had grown on his cheeks and his hair unkempt. Although, admittedly for the latter, it was not that different from every other day. 

 

"Hello." He stepped inside.  "Luke here, I mean Nightscale."


His eyes darted to the purple rainbow of runes. Cool. 

 

"I'm here for the mentor program.

Edited by Nerdzul
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"Hello, Nightscale. Or would you prefer Luke?" Her voice echoed oddly, hollow as she floated through the desk at the center of the room before turning a bit more human as she solidified entirely into this dimension. Folding up her legs, tailor style, Phantom floated above the desk as she gestured for Luke to find a comfortable seat himself. Even with the eerie quality of her voice, it was oddly kind from under the shadows of her hood. She reached up with gloved hands to pull it back enough to reveal her masked features and the glowing whites of her eyes. She examined him, and Luke had the distinct feeling that she was examining him with more than just the normal senses before her head tipped to the side. "Something's wrong. Would you like to talk about that first? Mentorship can take many forms and one of the first pieces of advice I'll give you is magic is best done with a clear mind and steady nerves."

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"Luke." The young man smiled. "nks." There was perhaps a hint of relief in his eyes when he found out that, despite being part of the Big League of superheroes and the eldritch spectacle in front of him, Phantom seemed quite approachable.

 

Can I call you Phantom?” It was only fair to ask.

 

As her magic washed over him, he shifted uneasily the balance on his feet, hands in the pockets of his worn sweatpants. His mom had told him that at the eyes of a sorcerer his true form would be evident. But then again, Luke hadn’t yet grown accustomed to the fact that it did not mean the seventeen years old green 5’11’ tall, green eyed boy, in sweatpants and sleeveless t-shirt, but the black-scaled twelve feet tall, golden eyed winged creature of myth.

 

I…” He was surprised, pleasantly so, when she asked him if there was something he wanted to talk about. Truth was, Luke hated talking about his problems almost as much as he despised having to ask for help, but with one of his best friends, almost a brother actually, unwillingly turned into a cyborg and no longer the master of his own body, well, even a dragon-sized pride could not get in the way. 

 

His gaze raised to meet her glowing white eyes. “Well… It’s my friend, Matt. He is- Well, he is hurt, badly. Ms. Summers is helping out, but… They say they can’t wake him up.” He slumped his shoulders, it went unsaid, but it was clear that Luke considered this to be his fault. If he hadn’t wasted his gift playing gangster, Matt wouldn’t have been shot and much likely he wouldn’t have fallen into the hands of whoever had tried to turn him into a puppet. 

Edited by Nerdzul
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"Phantom is just fine," the master mage assured the teenager with a small smile. "Mystics tend to pick up additional titles as one progresses along the path. Which isn't to say that they don't have their place. They're a tool, like anything else, really, but in an informal setting, Phantom is perfect. As to your friend..."

 

Phantom turned her head, looking away and perhaps through the school for a moment, "I can certainly ask although if Ms. Summers felt that my help was needed, I would have been called in before now. Unfortunately, sometimes the only cure is time. Still, I can check in on the subject. Callie - Ms. Summer's - contacts are some of the most expansive in the entire community."

 

She went quiet for a long moment, and it seemed that might be the end before she finally said quietly, "You know, though, that even when he wakes, the guilt you're carrying. That remains, I'm afraid. The suffering of a friend has been the fire that has forged many a future hero. It can feel a heavy burden at times."

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Luke nodded. "Yeah dragons do that too." He smiled, but it didn't fully reach his eyes. "I mean, not that I have met that many yet." He ruffled the hair on the back of his neck. Truth was, with the exclusion of the weird meeting with Lawfyr, his alternate self, who was pretty much as clueless as he was, Luke had met exactly one other member of his species and they were too busy fighting some sort of nightmare creature to exchange Dragon trivia. 

 

He lowered his eyes again when the conversation shifted back to Matt. "Yeah, she is pretty formidable..." And yet, his friend hadn't recovered yet. Truth was though, it was not Ms. Summers fault not being able to miraculously help him, though. 

 

The young man nodded again. "Well it's that... I... It's just I wish I can do something." He clenched his fists. "And... It's all pretty much my fault. He is my friend and not only I failed to save him, he wouldn't be in troubles if it wasn't for me." Now it was his turn to remain quiet for a little while. 

 

"He was the first one that told me I should use my powers to help people, you know?" Yeah and he had been quite blunt at that, even if Matt had been a petty criminal himself he has been capable to see what Luke couldn't at the time. Who knew, perhaps without him, Luke would have been a villain. I was doing a way better job at that, than being a hero

 

"Sorry by the way... I mean, it's not like it's your job to listen to this or somethin..." He shook his head. "I... I mean, you must have planned something for our first mentoring session already and..."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"It's sometimes my job," Phantom said, her smile faint and more heard in her voice than seen. "A good teacher makes time to listen. Sometimes the lesson needs to change to suit the pupil."

 

Phantom waved one hand slightly, sending a flicker of power with an absentminded air towards the walls where the runes flared to life. Keen senses might pick up the soft pop of the room sealing to prying eyes. "There, now whatever you say stays in this room and travels no further."

 

She tilted her head to the side then, "I have sons; one older than you, and one younger. Neither are human. It's difficult to be a teenager. Even more so when there's no one quite like you. Even Claremont, in all its variety, can be lonely. Most teenagers feel alone but it's harder when you feel like the only one of your kind." Phantom paused and then added, circuling back to his early statement. "I've met dragons; several of them. There's one adjacent to the Freedom League. Has anyone introduced you? It's alright, you know, if you meet dragons and don't feel like you belong their either. You'll have one foot in one world, and one foot in another. I suspect that's the reason you were suggested to me as a student."

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Luke nodded. "nks..." He muttered again between breaths. 

 

The young man looked intently as Phantom wove her spell, curiosity burning into his young eyes. Now Luke could do some magic, but in truth, he had little understanding about how even his own power worked, relying on instinct rather than skill. Phantom on the other side, seemed so confident in her work.

 

"Yeah it's kinda weird right? I mean, I don't feel like I'm a dragon... F- I don't even know how one is supposed to behave." He shook his head. "In stories they are the bad guys, most of the time... So I guess it's better that way." He smiled, in truth, he had his adoptive parents to thank for that. Although, from time to time, the young man did worry that his instinct would prevail and turn him into one of those monsters he had read about.

 

"Tiamat right? We met while on patrol. Didn't have much time to talk, though. She seemed cool.

 

"It's not just that I am lonely." He objected, although admittedly Phantom was right about that, he had felt like he was alone in the world, right after he had ran from home when he had discovered his true nature. Still Luke considered himself lucky on that front, his family was close, even despite what he had done or said to them the first time he left their home, he had his old friends and the new one he made at Claremont and yet... 

 

"It's just that... well... I feel like that with this new life here, my old one is like... slipping away." He lowered his eyes, in truth, this was probably the first time he had ever bared his feelings about it and it felt weird perhaps doing so with a stranger, yet, at the same time it was somewhat liberating. "Like I am not around enough for my friends, for my family. Even when they need me."  

 

"Especially when they need me." Like Matt. Maybe things would have been different if he had been with him more. "How do you? I mean, you have a family right..."

Edited by Nerdzul
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"First," Phantom said, holding up one fingertip, "Most, if not all, the stories that you read are written by humans. Humanity has a bad habit of turning creatures that they don't fully understand into cautionary tales. I promise you, stories written by dragons will read very differently. It's good to remember that any point of view is going to have its own bias. My family is largely comprised of creatures that tend to be the monster in traditional movies; ghosts, zombies... vampires. There are certainly evil ones of all three but in almost no situation does one's nature dictate one's morality. You might have instincts, certainly, and some of those instincts might not be very... 'human', but in the end, it is your mind that is in control. In the end, that's the heart of magic. Willpower."

 

Phantom's gaze cut over towards the books scattered about and with a single raised eyebrow, they floated into the air, neatly organizing themselves in the air before slotting into the bookshelf in one corner. 

 

Her gaze turned back towards Luke and a ghost of sorrow flickered across her features. "It's hard," Phantom said simply. "And sometimes, you do lose those connections. What I do - it takes time, it dictates a lot of my day to day and with that, certain sacrifices become necessary. When I took on the Master Mage mantle, I gave up on my former career; my mortal career. I've lost contact with a lot of friends over the years because I focused so much on my children, my..." Phantom trailed off and gave a little shake of her head, shaking off whatever she was going to say. "I'm very close to both of my boys although the older is growing into his adult life, and I see him less. Some of that you would experience anyway; being a teenager. That you've discovered you're adopted, that's going to cause some stress. That you're another species, that's just going to add layers to it but you just put the effort in. You make the time to do all the things that you can with your family. The bonds there are strong. They'll hold even as you grow and when you grow up. Every parent deals with their teenager stretching their wings; whether those are metaphorical or literal."

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