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Paint the Town (IC)


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July 9th, 2012

7:48 PM

Claremont Academy

Tona Baudin had only been at Claremont Academy for a few days, but even by now she was falling into a pattern. She rose before dawn to run around the interior of the walls (she'd tried running along the crenelated top, but even with her agility that had been forbidden) and when she was ready to drop from that she switched over to studying and classes. Then after the day's learning was done more exercising, and training in the Doom Room, and scoping out the lay of the land. Apparently that had attracted the attention of her peers, who were insisting that she take some time off to go into the city itself. After a little thought, she'd capitulated: she had never been in such a large, built-up place so it made sense to tour it, along with some people who were more confident in the surroundings.

After dinner, Tona had showered quickly and dressed in a tight-fitting, navy-blue top that left her arms bare, a pair of loose, multi-pocketed cargo pants, combat boots, a wide belt, and a small backpack that rather neatly held her armor, bow, and enough arrows for a brief engagement. The pockets of her pants were stuffed with an array of useful goodies, like energy bars and duct tape and bandages and little plastic handcuffs that Tona had lost most of an afternoon playing with. They were truly useful things. The whole outfit might have passed without comment on another girl, but the mixed metal-and-wood studs in the girl's lips, nose, eyebrow, ears, and, just visible when she talked, dead center in her tongue lent it an edge of punk that would have any high-strung authority figure condemning her.

Now she was just waiting outside of the dorm rooms, cutting and recutting a deck of cards with one hand. Cards were another thing they didn't have in her world. Like the cat's cradle, the tricks pushed her manual dexterity, but here her small hands were a hindrance as she had to grip the entire deck with only a couple of fingers. But she persevered, moving slowly for now but confident that soon she'd be blazing. One day she might even try a deck in either hand.

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Samantha 'Kit' Vance, former apprentice to the legendary thief, the Phantom Fox, ex-aide to a demon bent on world domination, the girl from Hell herself rises to take another day by the horns! Or maybe just hit the snooze button. Then hit the snooze button. Then hit it eight more times. But it's alright; she set her alarm so that she'd have time to hit the snooze button for an hour and still have plenty of time.

But when she finally wakes up, she rises, ready and eager to... lie there staring at the ceiling for ten minutes. Then get up to stare at the wall for five minutes.

Then, she actually hits the ground running, hopping off her top bunk to ambush her unsuspecting Cheerios! With orange juice, since she forgot to pick up milk. Toss the dishes in the sink, get 'em wet, and done! Totally not a problem sitting there all day.

Clothes! To the closet! She darts in, and pulls out the outfit of the day. She'd been a bit disappointed that the school didn't have the classic school girl outfit, so she bought her own that she wears whenever she feels like it and has in four different styles. Because that's how uniforms work. She went for the sailor suit, since she can cut a hole in the back and cover it with the cape, so she won't set herself on fire if she uses her powers too much. That would be bad.

And of course, her night shirt's just left on the ground.

So, she makes her way to class, making her usual game of it. If no one in her class notices she's in until the bell rings, she wins! Helps her when she's actually late. She can just claim she won. It's not an easy game, with so many people so close together- even a master has limits when she isn't using her powers- but it's fun to try.

Class, class, class. Though she actually pays more attention than usual today! The sailor suit usually helps. Maybe the clothes really do make the woman?

Then at day's end, it's time to be someone else! Right after dinner. Clean off the only set of dishes, have a peanut butter sandwich and orange juice, toss the dishes right back in the sink.

Now, someone else! And when she's done, a step through the dark and shadowy closet, and she steps out a cluster of trees where the group's meeting.

"Hey, Tona!" she waves to the new girl, walking up in her own outfit. Her top's a loose black-and-white horizontal striped number, collar hanging off her left shoulder, sleeves hanging loose just below the elbow, leading to a row of bangles that clink as she moves. Her skirt is bright red, with a matching hat that looks like she stole it off a flapper, and around her neck is a nice, cream scarf. Not the perfect touch, but it keeps random onlookers from getting a headache from viewing the alien geometry etched on her back.

And so, she joins the wait. "Poker while we wait?" she asks when she gets close, and immediately begs the question; why isn't this tiny girl looking up at Tona? And a quick look down answers that. Platform shoes.

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At the other girl's appearance Tona's head snapped up from its intense monitoring of the card tricks. That hand froze and she was already working through how to turn it into a weapon in case this was an enemy. Go for an overhand throw -- no, too much time lost, underhand throw. Less power and accuracy, but there's fifty-two, fifty-four, fifty-six cards. Spread will cover it. Aim for the neck and chest. Aim will drift up because of the angle, so into face. Even if it doesn't hurt, it'll distract and give me a second to go for the bow. If they're too fast or have a weapon drawn, just use the grapnel to get up high.

But it wasn't an enemy; it was another student from the school. Tona nodded slightly as she came up. She took in the blouse with the too-wide collar, the scarf wrapped around her neck, the bangles and the platform shoes. Too easy to choke or yank the shirt down and pin her arms. Shoes put her off balance. Not a threat. "Bonsoir. Ah, poker?" There had been instructions for a game called 'poker' with the deck, but the whole thing seemed overly elaborate. "Perhaps instead... mm." She shuffled the deck of cards back together and handed them to Kit. "Pick a card," she insisted. "Any card."

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Kit... no, they're going out on the town. It's Sam right now. Sam cocks an eyebrow as Tona looks about ready to flip out at the greeting, though she doesn't realize just how close she was to being caught in a mildly annoying card shotgun.

"Card tricks, huh? Alright, then." She reaches out for a card, and then suddenly stops. "Oh! Be right back." She walks into the shadow of a lamp post, and not thirty seconds later steps right back out with a handbag, matching her skirt and hat. Going out on the town without money? Bad idea. "Okay, card trick. I pick the ace of spades!" she announces loudly and proudly, then before the joke can fully die, she behaves herself and actually picks a card for real this time, and sneaks a peak at it. Ironically, the instructions for poker.

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Most people wouldn’t plan out a night out like a military operation. Then again Blodeuwedd wasn’t like most people. By the time she’s finish her morning run she’d decided on something casual, by the end of the first period she’d decided on a simple summer dress and a leather jacket. Them by lunch she’d decided on flats, especially as she would be the tallest of the group, she’d settled on boots both practical and comfortable. The rest of the day was spent spend deciding on what equipment she was going to take. The suit was a given, it was providing her clothes after all, and the goggles easily fitted in the bag. She’d considered bringing Dyrnwyn hidden like her last big night out but decided not to, after all she wasn’t expecting trouble, she settled for a couple of throwing knives in the bag. They were ceramic so shouldn’t cause any trouble.

After all that she was early but decided to hide for a while. She’d watch the pair arrived and waited for the right moment to appear. She knew better than to just appear to Tona that tended to hurt, but Kit on the other hand.

“I’d be careful with those cards; she can cut a fly on half if she puts her mind to it.†She whispered into Kit’s ear.

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People coming out of nowhere are always a jolt, but from Blod- no, it's Cerys now. Not work, not work, not work. Anyways, appearing like that is not particularly surprising. More of a given, really, with this group. Instead, she plays it cool and shows Claremont's resident British ninja her card.

"Hey, Cerys. Glad I'm not a fly." She looks her friend up and down, always sparing an eye on Tona to spot the trick. "Love the jacket. Now we're just waiting on Mali, right?" She pulls the card out of Cerys' view, holding it tight to her chest, then starts working a mirage, turning her card to a joker. An image in her friends' heads, rather than the piece of paper itself.

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“Yeah we’re just waiting on Mali, she’s normal fairly…â€

As part of her combat training they had concentrated on teaching her to reading body language, a skill set that could be very useful in many other situations including social ones. She couldn’t always read Kit, her body language could be quite inhuman sometimes, but right now she was broadcasting her intentions load and clear.

“Kit you not cheating are you? You are cheating! Give me that card right now!†she went to grab the card from her classmate “If you’re going to do it, do it properly or not at all.â€

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"Hey! Hey! Hey!" Sam squirms when Cerys starts getting grabby, almost falling over in her shoes, but she's quick to make the obvious move; drop the illusion. That done, she's free to pass her traitorous 'friend' the exact same card she'd shown her earlier. The rules to poker.

"Paranoid, much?" she asks, doing her best to sound hurt, donning her well-practiced puppy dog eyes. She's really good at puppy dog eyes. And then she loosens her scarf a bit, so she doesn't accidentally set herself on fire if she works some more magic soon. Thankfully, Cerys doesn't know about how her brand works, or that would be an obvious tell.

She looks for Mali; a distraction would be welcome right now. But then- "Oh! Oh! Great idea for when Mali shows up!" She's already forgotten all about the card. "Just relax for a sec. This one's fragile." She takes a couple steps back, to take a good look at Tona and Cerys, taking in all the details. Then, she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and focuses.

Other than a very slight charge in the air, neither of the other girls feel any different. However, they can see Sam's form shift, growing to match Cerys, complete with clothes, while Tona takes on Sam's form and Cerys takes on Tona's. Just an illusion, but a good one.

It's bizarre to see Sam's devious smile and sinister hand-wringing coming out of Cerys, but there it is. And then, she straightens out. She loosens her now-unseen scarf once more, and tries to adopt Cerys' usually-stoic visage, leaving her friends to figure out what just happened.

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Tona nodded companionably to Cerys, shuffling the deck of cards while the other girls fought over the one. She looked up when Kit began to do... whatever it was. A pressure in the air, a charge in the atmosphere, alerted the warrior's senses and she looked around as her companions stretched and changed. The new girl had turned into Cerys, and Cerys had turned into... Tona? The archer glanced down at herself and took in the tall boots, the loose sleeves, the scarf, and frowned. She went to adjust the clothes and her hand went right through it. Okay, so she looked like she was dressed impractically, but in fact she was still in her chosen outfit? That had some applications. "Just how big of an area can you affect," she asked Kit.

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The young Miss Vance is left with a choice. Reveal some of her secrets, giving up tactical advantage, or gloat. The choice is obvious.

She buffs her nails as she begins speaking, actually working with the illusion quite well- no clipping- and speaks as if her incredible mastery of the arcane is no big deal. "Well, I wouldn't call it a matter of area, for starters. It can reach as far and as wide as the mind can reach. Should work even if you're on the other side of the city, long as I maintain the spell. I don't even have to know where you are. It's more like..." She taps the image of Cerys' chin as she decides how to explain.

"Like I've planted a seed on you, of what people should expect to see when they look at you, so wherever you go, that's what they see. I can even force it on someone, if they're particularly absent-minded." She looks off into the distance, redoubling her efforts to look nonchalant. "I can maintain a couple dozen of those 'seeds' at once." Of all her spells, this is the one she put the most work into, and out of the corner of her eye, she's looking at Tona-with-her-own-face for that impressed look that she finds oh-so-satisfying.

"Of course..." she adds, reaching into the biggest problem with her disguise, her handbag, and pulling out her phone. "There is the obvious problem." She snaps a picture of Tona and shows it to her. She appears as herself, perfectly normal.

That done, Sam puts her phone away and hands her bag to Tona. "Hold this."

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"That wasn't exactly what I meant," Tona said as she took the handbag. "How big of an item could you change? Obviously you can change a whole person, but what about, say, a building?" Her fingers starting cutting and recutting the deck of cards again, almost absently as she talked. "And can you make it look like anything? Could I hand you a, a penny." She had been briefed on the economy of this world, but it was still something that she had trouble wrapping her head around. "Could you make it look like a stick or a brick or even, even a car?"

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Blodeuwedd!Tona couldn’t help but frown, she wasn’t quite sure quite sure about this. She knew they were meant to be having fun but this just felt wrong to try and trick Mali.

“I can see this being suitable for fooling your enemies or gathering intel, I do something similar often mysef. But should we really being trying to trick a friend? I don’t want to sound like a killjoy, but it just doesn’t seem well right.â€

She stared down at her, well Tona’s, feet feeling a little self-conscious for even voicing her concerns.

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Sam is taking in Tona's real question, sorting out her answer in her head when Cerys goes off questioning the morality of practical jokes. But first, she deals with Tona.

"Okay, short version? That would be something else. Like, I could make an image of a brick, and put it where the penny is, but you can't really disguise a penny as a brick. And yeah, I can project a building. That's about my limit. But this is starting to sound like class. We can talk about the finer points of illusions another time."

That done, she turns to Cerys. "Just lighten up. It's just a harmless little joke, and nobody's getting hurt." It's bizarre to see Cerys' face, hear her voice, and have them express Sam's carefree manner. "Besides, it's not like we're-" Her eyes go wide and her face lights up. "Ohmygod, it would be so hilarious if we could pull this all night, see how long it takes Mali to figure it out! But I'd have to wear something else. Think I have time to go get ch-" She cuts herself short.

"Um... yeah. Like I was saying. It's just a couple minutes for a quick laugh, then it's over." She offers a guilty chuckle, though she does regret not giving Cerys her own face instead of Tona. That way, if she tried to blow their cover, it would be that much easier to frame her for pulling some stupid prank and stringing the joke along for way too long. Tempting...

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“I can see this being suitable for fooling your enemies or gathering intel, I do something similar often mysef. But should we really being trying to trick a friend? I don’t want to sound like a killjoy, but it just doesn’t seem well right.â€

"Consider it a test, yes?" Tona's fingers kept cutting away at the deck, even as she felt fatigue setting in. "We might not do this except as a joke, but an enemy might try to disguise themselves as one of us. Mali should learn to tell when something's off and we are not in our right skin." An edge of one card caught another and suddenly the entire deck sprayed into the air, before floating down to the grass. The archer swore and began snatching them out of the air, assembling the deck again.

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“I suppose there is some logic in that. I’m still not 100% convinced about this, but if it keep you two happy. But this is a onetime deal, at least when we dealing with our friends.†She gave them both a scowl giving particular effort to Kit, but didn’t do anything that would give the act away.

Instead she leaned against a tree trying to act as nonchalant as possible. She then relaxed giving a fairly accurate version of Tona’s stance. Not that bad considering they’d know each other for only a short amount of time.

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"Entirely reasonable," Kit says amicably, though her tone has changed markedly. Instead of her high-speed, energetic barrage of words, she's slowed down, become calmer, as if weighing her words more carefully, and bearing herself more like Cerys, to boot. "I shall simply need to sell a different plan next time." There is no sly grin, no maniacal giggling, just a calm turn of the head.

"Would you please your purse?" She asks, now giving her Cerys act an exaggerated monotone to poke fun. "It is a rather large tell otherwise."

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She tossed her bag over to Kit, with perhaps a little more force than necessary. But first she slipped out her goggles, she wanted to know if Kit was about to use anymore of her magical abilities.

“Please be careful with that it’s got some of the devices in there that I use to fight crime, some of us don’t have magic to rely on. You’re lucky I don’t have Dyrnwyn, my sword, on me it has a habit of burning the unworthy…†She gave a little sigh “Okay that was a little uncalled for; I’ve said my piece I’ll shut up about it now. But I hope Mali arrives soon so we can get this over with.â€

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It was at that exact moment that Mali popped out, almost literally. She appeared in mid air suddenly, then landed. She dropped one hand to slow her slide and came to a stop.

"Hey guys." She said, straightening back up and dusting off her hands. She seemed to be making a mental note of her jump distance, and then smiled to herself in satisfaction. Apparently, her jump had been a good one.

She looked at the girls and immediately seemed to notice something was off, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it.

"Something is...off." She said, glancing between the three other girls.

"So, I was thinking we take my car. I've got plenty of room for everyone, and it's a lot better than trying to take in the sights and sounds on foot."

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Sam catches the purse, though the glare she's giving Cerys when Mali pops in is positively frigid. Even with that apology... 'unworthy?' Really? She'd seen her work before; she's obviously just another thief, so what right does she have getting so high-and-mighty?

With Mali here, it's time to bury that and try to have some fun, but there will be words later. "It was just a small disagreement, Mali, I'm sorry. That sounds like an excellent plan. Shall we?" The last part is directed towards the entire group as she begins moving towards the parking lot. Her tone and voice match Cerys, if not her words, and she can imitate her gait admirably, even despite her own shoes. Of course, as she looks back, she hopes the real joke will be the other two fumbling their respective roles. Though she does feel a bit bad; she left Tona with the hardest act.

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“Yeah I was just saying that I thought that purse just didn’t go with that outfit, but you know how stubborn Cerys can be sometimes.â€

The voice was a perfect match for Tona’s own as was her walk and stance as she moved. She was a students of people she could with time fit in with almost every group, she also knew that her and Kit would have to clear the air at some point tonight. She guessed her normal method of sparing it out wouldn’t be an option.

She followed the rest, falling in line with Tona. “How long do you plan to keep up with this masquerade?â€

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Tona stood, feeling the weight of the backpack, wondering how Kit's illusion was handling it. On the other hand, taking it off to look would be a dead giveaway, so she simply trusted in the other girl's magic. "Mali!" She shouted and threw her arms around her friend, crushing her into a hug. She wasn't as confident in her ability to imitate voices as Cerys obviously was, so after that she hung back. "I don't know," she replied to the actual Cerys as they walked along. "When Mali wonders why 'Kit' is speaking with a French accent?"

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The entire arrangement has Sam looking at her accomplices, trying to keep the frustration off her face. They're horrible at this! The accent is bad enough, but the whispering, to boot? That's way suspicious! And that hug... they're about the same size, but if Mali noticed the clothes? And that hug looked a lot harder than she could manage, puny little thing that she is.

And... French? Really? Just stay calm, Sam. Don't let it show. This is normal banter, and... screw it.

"Five seconds at this rate," Kit sighs softly, on the off chance Mali won't notice, but she doesn't particularly care as she visibly deflates.

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Mali hugged the girl back and smiled. Mali was wearing a loose-fitting, but stylish t-shirt, slightly too big so that it covered all of her upper arms. She also wore a pair of stylish jeans and her favorite non-athletic shoes. Her hair was actually styled, carefully done in a cascade of black down to her neck.

"Let's see here...something is off. Accents, body language, all sorts of messed up." Her eyes shifted from girl to girl as she turned around.

"Sorry Tona, you can't completely get rid of your accent." She said to the girl right in front of her. "So, if Tona is Sam, then Sam probably isn't Tona, but Cerys. That, and with all the whispering. Tona's good, but she doesn't have powers, and Cerys probably can't do it either. I'm betting Sam put you guys up to this. It worked for a minute, but, not very long."

She wasn't upset, it was a harmless prank. Her friendly smile didn't even flicker as she grinned.

"See, I wanted a car, but my parents didn't want me driving anything fast, or new. So I shopped around, and got this..." She said, pointing to her car. It was black, with red interior and a convertible top. "Had to do a partial restoration, but, man was it worth it."

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Sam passes Cerys' bag back, then reclaims her own before finally dropping the veil. "Dang. I'd wanted to get on the road first, at least." She shifts her pout towards Cerys, the look growing far more judgmental. "You kinda suck at this." The words carry considerably more venom than she'd intended. At least, one should hope, because that was a lot of venom. "You'd think you'd do better on your own plan."

She puts her hands behind her head, reaching one further down to get near her brand, just to gauge how hot it is. Certainly enough to blister; best to cut down on the magic for a bit.

"Anyways, Tona, we're not on the job. No need to keep using the supername; please, call me Sam."

When Mali introduces her ride, Sam doesn't really know much about it, but she fakes being suitably impressed, circling the vehicle to look like she's appreciating anything of importance. "Wow... Nice. What kind of shape was it in when you got it?"

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Tona smiled under her disguise. "You saw through it more quickly than I would have," she admitted. "But then, a lot of things around here that are weird to me." the young woman felt the air pressure normalizing and looked over at Cerys and Kit, noticing the illusion dissolving, and nodded curtly. There wasn't any point to it anymore, after all.

The car was... a car. Long and low-bodied compared to the coups Tona had driven around in, with a rather appealing coloration. That was about the extent of Tona's car know-how, but she did know one thing backwards and forwards. "I like that the roof isn't there," she said. "It was a good idea to take it off." She planted one hand on the car's rear quarter and vaulted over the side, into the backseat. "It's a wide field of fire," she said. "Very sensible."

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