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Raveled

Teacher Review (IC)

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The campus of Freedom City University was surprisingly green and free of snow. Several days of unseasonably warm temperatures had melted most of the powder lying on the ground, and a sharp rainstorm had whittled down the mounded snowbanks until they were barely speed-bumps. With so much green in evidence it felt much closer to spring than it was, and with the view of Liberty Park across the way the student body was considerably chattier than might otherwise be expected, after coming off Christmas break.

Freedom City being the home of so many superheroes (and villains_ most of the students didn't spore more than a glance for the short, bespectacled man in the long maroon robe, striding across the commons. The staff he was carrying got a lot more looks; six feet long an apparently made of solid gold, it was covered in swirling patterns along its length. At the base was a short, wickedly pointed spike, and the head was a bulbous setting for four gems, green, red, blue, and crystal clear.

The man stomped up the stairs to the campus' Fine Arts Center, a low building made mostly of red brick. He set himself before the doors and pointed the staff at the wide, double doors. There was a sudden crack of expanding air and a bright fireball, which caught the doors and blew them into the building, scattering safety glass down the hallway. The staff-wielder didn't seem too bothered by the fact that he had just destroyed two unlocked doors, striding into the building with a manic grin fixed on his face. "Professor Schmidt," he called out in a sing-song voice. "I've got a new work to show you!"

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Siobhan sighed at her desk, as she added one more marked paper to the pile on her right. Then took another unmarked paper from the much bigger pile on her left. Dammit. She sipped from her mug of coffee, and rubbed at her eyes with one hand. Should have done these closer to the start than to the end of break...

That was when she felt the blast. This is not my day. Calmly, she got up, and slid her window wide open to look like someone could potential have gained entrance through it. Pulling open a desk drawer, she pulled out a slender length of wood, and pointed it at herself.

Instantly, her hair turned to black, her blouse and pants turned into plain white sweats with a symbol on the chest much like a yin-yang symbol. As her eyes glowed a brilliant white, and a black trenchcoat tumbled down her shoulders to the floor, Equinox turned and pointed her wand at her door. And used a telekinesis spell to hurl it wide open, the wood around the handle cracking ever so slightly from the sudden force.

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The maroon-robed sorcerer hunted through the halls of the building, banging open doors and smashing display cases in a vulgar display of power. He didn't know exactly where he was going, but he knew what he wanted, and in no short order he found it in one of the drawing rooms on the upper level of the building. The room itself was a wide, open space, with drawing easels set up around a central, raised platform; Most of the students had evacuated at the first sign of super-powered trouble, but an old, gangly man with a fringe of white hair was still there, throwing a protective cover over a set of geometric shapes on display. He looked up with the staff-wielder banged open the door with a blast of air and strode into the room. "Remember me, Professor Schmidt? Does this look amateurish and not worth your time?" He swung the staff in an arc and released a thump of power through the floor, making the tiles rise in a spreading wave that caught the art teacher and knocked him down. "What do you think of me now, hm?"

The old man scooted away from the mad sorcerer, staring at him in terror. "What do I think of... Do I know you? Who are you?"

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Equinox felt more magic being thrown around as she floated through the corridors, trying hurriedly to locate and stop the source of it. This doesn't feel weak by any means. Maybe it's time to try and lure it out.

She stood, holding her wand like a microphone, then spoke into the tip. The words reverberated around the entire building, her voice echoing through every room, every corridor, even up and out of the urinals. Every surface spat her booming words forth.

"I SENSE EVERY SPELL YOU CAST, INTERLOPER. IF THEE THINKS THINE POWER IS GREAT, THEN STAND. FIGHT ME. OR ART THOU A COWARD?"

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The white witch's words reverberated through every building on the campus, and the maroon sorcerer's head jerked up and around, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. He moved away from the teacher he was terrorizing, retreating back into the hallway. "I am the great Bearer of the Primordial Staff," he yelled, clutching the device in both hands. "Show yourself, ghost, and face my power!" He gave a scream and struck the ground with the staff; there was a flash of particolored light and when it cleared, the robed sorcerer was standing in front of Equinox.

He took a look at the heroine and his eyes widened. "That's all," he sneered. "I was hoping they'd send a real hero, not some girl in a coat."

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"And I was hoping we could talk about this civilly, my earlier words were merely an attempt to find you quickly," said Equinox, not letting the man's words bother her. "Put down the staff," she said, pointing her wand to the floor. "We can talk about this, without causing further damage and wantonly throwing around magic. What do you say?"

She held her hand out, palm down, to indicate that she didn't intend to harm the man. Nonetheless, she didn't relinquish her wand despite pointing it away from the man.

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The staff wielder eyed Equinox warily, then took a step back and spun his staff around to point at her. "You can't really expect me to just hand this sort of power over, can you? You must be some kind of fool if you really thought that would work!" There was a swift build-up of power along the length of the staff, and then a sudden roiling ball of orange-red light burst from the end of it and streaked towards the heroine. It missed he by a handsbreath though, digging a long furrow into the large bricks of the wall. The sorcerer looked shocked for a moment, but he recovered quickly enough and struck the staff on the ground again. A slow wave moved through the earth, ripping up the tiled floor and moving swiftly towards the heroine. In moments it had grown to her shin-level, and it was still rising!

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Equinox effortlessly spread her arms, white wings of blazing force lifting her clear off the ground as the rippling floor swept underneath her feet. Hovering in place, she pointed her wand at the staff wielder. "I warned you," she said, shaking her head gently.

She flicked the tip of her wand at her opponent, and white force exploded forth into long whirling chains, which lunged and converged upon the man and his staff, seeking to pin them in place and restrain them from causing further harm. "I think you should hand yourself into the authorities."

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The white bands of force spun through the air and wrapped around the sorcerer, pinning his arms and the staff to his side. He teetered for a moment, then overbalanced and fell to the ground, air escaping him in a little whuff. He struggled against the chains, but there was no way he could overcome Equinox's magic physically. "This can't be happening," he screamed. "I am almighty! I am ever-powerful! I wield the Primordial Powers! And I will not be hogtied by some b^@!" There was a flash of blinding red light, and power surged back through the chains into Equinox. The heroine felt it coming, a moment before the great psychic weight smashed into her mind. When the light cleared, the sorcerer was standing upright, the bonds of force gone and the staff clenched tight in one hand.

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Equinox reeled back for a second as the mental assault hit her. But she redoubled her formidable willpower, stiffening it into a mental block that repelled the worst of the attack. "you know, once you physically assault me, I have no qualms about ceasing to restrain you," explained the witch, as she thrust her wand forward in one hard motion, white light shimmering around the robed figure. "But I think you're a rookie who needs a break, so I'm going to keep going easy."

And with that, she pointed the wand upwards, and correspondingly, the staff wielder was raised up too in a vise-like telekinetic grip. Equinox flew over to him, until she was eye level with the man. "Emphasis on the word rookie. I can help you train, put your powers to good ends. But you need to help me to help you."

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The maroon sorcerer squirmed helplessly in the witch's telekinetic grip. "I don't need your help," he spat. "I don't need anyone's help! I wield the power of the Prime Elements! The world is mine for the taking." There was a flash of light and Equinox's summoned fist was gripping air. The sorcerer reappeared at the end of the hallway, staff raised in triumph. "You can't stop me, hero," he crowed. "I'll have my vengeance!" With that he turned and sprinted up the stairs as fast as his stocky legs could carry him.

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Equinox wasted no time, immediately spreading the huge white wings on her back and soaring up the stairs, already twirling and flicking her wand as she prepared a spell. Magical energy spiraled around her, focusing and building up in the tip of her wand. As she reached the top of the stairs, she thrust it towards the staff wielder, seeking to focus the freezing elements upon him, and slow his movements enough to apprehend him.

Frost crystallized on the walls, floor and ceiling as the potent blast rocketed at him.

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Equinox's chilly magic rocketed down the hallway caught the errant sorcerer full in the back. He fell to the ground and froze in place -- literally, as ice crystals formed over the man's skin and clothes. He tried to move, to summon energy and direct it at the closing witch, but all he could do was discharge it as a random shower of sparks and bright flashes. He ground his teeth in frustration. With his entire body frozen, he couldn't even yell and scream his defiance at the heroine.

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Equinox strode casually up to the wannabe mage, and wrenched the staff out of his hands, frost cracking as she did so. "Don't worry, it's magical frost. You should cool down with few ill effects." She rolled the staff in her hands. "But you won't be getting this back. Magic isn't to be abused."

She walked round, staff in one hand, wand in the other hand, and looked the kid dead in the face. "Why would you attack a college facility, anyway?" She tilted her head to one side to try and look sympathetic.

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As she was disarming the sorcerer, she noticed a gold band decorated in a similar style to the staff secured around his wrist. The witch could sense the similarity between the two objects, and to be safe and grabbed them both.

Thus disarmed, the maroon-robed man seemed to shrink in on himself. Without the awesome force of the staff to reinforce him he was little more than a pudgy geek in a bathrobe; he certainly whined like one as he saw the heroine carrying the magical device out of his reach. As the frost melted off him he slowly sat up and leaned against the wall, his hands in his lap. "I deserve me revenge," he said. "I was getting a 4.0 GPA! I was perfect! I was gonna graduate with my engineering degree, get a big job, and be an important person!" He glanced down the hall, where the old, frazzled-looking professor was sticking his head out of the class room. "And he ruined it!" A touch of his earlier fire came back as the -- engineering student? Really? -- surged to his feet and pointed an angry finger. "Those drawings were in perfect geometric proportion! Who cares if I used a T-square or traced a few over? You didn't have to fail me!"

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Equinox looked confused for a moment. "Wait... you decided, upon getting a bad grade, to assault your teacher? I'm sorry, but how did you think that would help your academic qualifications?" She hefted the staff experimentally in one hand.

"But more importantly, you don't look the sorcerous type. Where did you get this staff and bracelet?" She tried to look sympathetic to the kid. "I'm going to have to turn you in, regardless of what you say, but I can try to get a more lenient sentence if you help me with this." I hope he just found something, rather than someone handing out powerful magical artifacts. That'd be a nightmare.

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"I was gonna graduate," he whined. "Now I'm gonna be taking all of one class in a semester!" He sniffled and squirmed a little bit before answering the heroine's question. "It was my grand-dad's. He was an explorer and had all sorts of weird stuff. When he died, my parents inherited boxes of stuff. I just kinda... found it one day." He gave an indifferent shrug and kept staring down the hallway, refusing to meet the witch's gaze. "I started messing around with it, figuring out how it worked. When I need revenge, I already knew how it worked."

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"Hmmm," pondered Equinox, "What else was there? Sorry, but I think you've demonstrated that you're not responsible enough to use any of this stuff properly."

She turned to the professor. "Would you do me a favour and call the police for me. Iim afraid we're going to have to bring this young man in for now." such a waste... She shook her head sadly.

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"There... There was a lot of stuff," he said. "I don't know if anything else did anything. Just the staff." He perked up, looking directly at Equinox for the first time since the witch disarmed him. "If I show you where it all is, you'll tell the police? Maybe I won't have to go to jail? "

The professor ducked back into his classroom and Equinox heard feet on the stairs. A half dozen members of campus security burst onto the scene, wearing reflective vests and wielding flubs. They took in the scene quickly and the leader said to Equinox, "Do you need any help, HERO?"

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"Um... yes, thank you," said Equinox to the security team. "Could you please escort this man somewhere safe until the police can arrive? Thank you very much. He'll be with you in a second." Best investigate these artifacts while he is being processed.

"Now, kid, could you give me your name, and the address of where all these artifacts are? I'm going to need to look through them to remove anything else potentially unsafe."

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