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Avenger Assembled

Which Long Time Had Gone Astray

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October 22, 2015 

Heyzel's years among the mortal had taught him many things - that the Angel of Freedom preferred to be active at a global level rather than a local one, that he preferred the work of peace to the work of violence, and that there was indeed more in Heaven and Earth than had been written in his philosophy. It had also taught him, among other things, a love for the dramatic. So it was that when he brought his sister-daughter Phaedra to Freedom City to begin her time with at Claremont Academy, he chose to arrive in the style of his people. 

Not in a vision - but from the sky. From a height above the clouds, he gave Ardent a reassuring smile. "Come. Let us introduce you to your friends." He worried for the young celestial, as did all those of his kind who did not condemn her for the circumstances of her birth. Angels have this greater than mortals. We need not pray for mercy - we can BE mercy. Convincing his fellows of that had proven a difficult task; which was why he was here to begin with. 

-

Claremont students saw their headmaster walk into the middle of the quad and look up - and a moment later, like a bolt from above, two figures came down out of the sky like twin bolts from the blue and the distant but unmistakable sound of thunder! The first was instantly recognizable for who he was; Heyzel, the Angel of Freedom, reserve member of the Freedom League. The other was entirely new. 

"Callie Summers," said Heyzel, bowing his head low to her, his great white wings spreading wide behind him and his flaming sword at his belt. "It is a pleasure to visit your campus again." 

"You certainly are as subtle as ever, Freedom Angel," commented Summers dryly, looking him up and down. 

"The Lord will provide for your security," he told her with perfect faith. "Come, meet my niece." 

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The young woman at Heyzel's side smiled and inclined her head in greeting to the headmaster, saying something in a language few mortals have ever heard.  She waited a few moments, the smile slowly sliding off her face replaced by a look of worry, before her cheeks flushed.  "Sorry, English.  Uh, Hello," the embarrassed young woman said with a nervous chuckle, "I am Phaedra.  Phaedra Morningstar."

"I am here to live, and to learn, if it pleases you Headmaster."

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"I am pleased you've arrived safely, Phaedra," said Summers with a white smile, reaching out to shake the young woman's hand with a firm grip. "Welcome to Earth." 

"You will be proud of this young woman," said Heyzel with his usual unshakable confidence. "She has come further to be here than miles, and traveled longer than years." He turned to Phaedra and for a moment felt that odd, almost human regret that she was not his child by blood, only by choice. But then all children were his child by choice. "Your mother and father will be proud of you too," he told her with that same confidence. "You have broken the chains that bind others to their fate."

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"That remains to be seen, Uncle," Phae carefully stated.  "Certain things will always be denied to me, that is something I can not change.  But yes, I hope they will be proud of me one day."

She brushed a strand of red hair behind her ear and looked around the campus, grey eyes taking note of the few students that were around.  Some had stopped to look at the new arrival, others had simply shrugged at the flashy entrance and moved on.

"I have brought all I possess," Phaedra indicated the duffel slung over her shoulder.  "I am eager to find my lodgings."

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A trio of students was just passing by on the quad - they'd stopped to look at the unusual sight of an angel dropping off another student, but had resumed their conversation as they went. "Naw, Fred, black powder's fine for a flashbang, but you're just not gonna get the penetration with-" When he caught sight of the smoking hottie the angel was in the process of dropping off, Riley, a little guiltily, put his arm around Robin and made sure to pay attention to her as he finished talking to the diminutive scientist in their company. "with, uh, that old stuff. What you really need is-"

"Ah, Mr. Quinn, Ms. Wei, Ms. Chevalier," said the headmaster, waving them over with that smile that brooked no argument. "I don't know if you've met Heyzel, from the Freedom League - and our new student, Ms. Morningstar." 

 

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Robin glanced up as their names were called out in all too familiar tones. The sigh she heaved shifted Riley's arm around her shoulder but didn't displace it. She was of average height and African American descent although her light-grey eyes spoke of some mixed ancestry. Her dark corkscrew curls were pulled back from her face with a faded bandana and the clothing she wore was of similar wear. The shirt and jacket were too large and the jeans she wore were ripped but from use rather than fashion. Robin had gone quiet as her companions debated the various merits of this or that concoction but as Riley turned his attention fully towards his girlfriend, she mistook the reason behind it. Robin gave him one of those small, rare smiles, "I wasn't feeling left out," she promised before turning her attention towards the new student.

Robin's smile was friendly and she offered one hand to the new girl. "Hey, I'm Robin. Welcome to crazy-town," the last was added with wry humor. The hand Robin offered had still healing scrapes across the knuckles and fading bruises.

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"We're all quite familiar with your fixation on pene-- Good Lord." The rejoinder died in Winifred's throat as she stared at the literal angel speaking with the Headmistress. Eyes blinking rapidly the young Victorian looked between her classmates and the new arrivals, trying to assess what she was looking at. Certainly she's seen other students with additional limbs or other growths since coming to the Academy and wings didn't seem outside the realm of the possible but the serene-faced man's aesthetic certainly proposed a less scientific explanation. Keeping her voice low while Robin introduced herself she murmured to Riley, "It seems as though visitations by physical representations of the Heavenly Host might have perhaps been worth mentioning in the orientation class."

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When Robin spoke, Riley winced, his light embrace around Robin's waist tightening for a moment. Jeez, how long were we talking about that stuff? I'm the worst boyfriend ever! "Naw, just him. Hey, Heyzel," he said with a polite nod to the angel. "Heyzel stopped by the Goodman Building while I was there to see if he could get me home. Didn't work." 

"I am glad you have found a new place for yourself, You will find great wealth in this house of the righteous," the angel told the boy reassuringly. 

"Uh, yeah, sure," said Riley, sounding unaccountably nervous for a moment, before shaking Phaedra's hand too, his grip strong and callused for a sixteen year old boy's. Crap, does he have a sin sensor? Does he know about the still? "Riley Quinn," he said, his short stature and contralto voice a contrast with his wiry build and the aware look in his eye. He was consciously not wearing his crossbow today, instead with just a hatchet fastened at his left hip. "You'll like it here. Even if certain so-called chem experts still think they're fightin' in the Dark Ages," he teased Fred. 

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Even after seeing all the strangeness that Freedom City had to offer an honest to God Angel was still a sight to behold. Even though Cathy had been rushing to class, she was late after an eventful night, she screeched to a halt at the quad to look at the strange scene unfolding before her. She would admit that there was some staring and gawking involved.

“Now that something you don’t see everyday, it’ll definitely be something to mention to Minister Jamison when I get home.” for a few second she didn’t realize she was speaking out loud, and when she did Cathy blushed a very obvious red.

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"Phaedra," the redhead said, her face splitting into a warm smile.  "It is a pleasure, Riley."  She made a vague gesture which took in their surroundings.  "I can not speak to whether this is, as you said, crazy-town," she continued turning her attention to Robin.  "But it seems safe enough."

Phaedra glanced at the hatchet on Riley's hip.

"Unless I should arm myself?"  She looked at the Headmaster and Heyzel, eyebrow raised in question.

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"Safe, sure. Sane, that's always more in doubt," Robin said with a good natured grin and slipped her hands in her pockets once more as others offered their hands and greetings. She took in Heyzel with a brief curious look. She was familiar with the Freedom League, after all, she was born and raised in Freedom City but whether she believed was more in question. Still, she was polite as she nodded respectfully to the angelic super hero before turning to Fred with another small smile, "He's a super hero. He's on the League," she explained to Fred. 

Turning back towards the new student, "Nice to meet you, Phaedra. No, you probably don't need to arm yourself. You get lots of warning when its time for more athletic sorts of training and activities. Riley's actually less armed today. The hatchet is more of a tool, really." Robin offered, the words a little phlegmatic about her boyfriends weaponry, "And for emergencies."

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"Coming from one who considers 'pack in more explosives' to be the pinnacle of reasoned innovation," Winifred groused at Riley's ribbing, her desire to debate the finer points of applied chemistry outweighing the theological concerns raised by this Heyzel's appearance. She definitely had some fairly pointed questions but there didn't seem to be any polite way to ask them right in front of the angel.

And speaking of politeness... "Forgive my rudeness," she asked, bending her knees briefly in a gesture that suggested a curtsy in the way her long white coat spread outward around her ankles. "Winifred Wei, quite glad to make your acquaintence, Miss Phaedra. 'Crazy Town' does seem apropos, admittedly."

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Phaedra looked around the campus and gave a small shrug

"There are worse places," she offered, her smile faltering for a heartbeat as she thought of home.  Though it was a hell dimension the young half-breed missed Throne, and she missed it even more since she could not speak of it.  Not here, not on this world.

"Please," she continued, recovering.  "I am to live and learn here at this Academy, so in all likelihood I will be seeing you often.  I would prefer if you called me Phae, for that is the name my friends use."

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"Yeah, yeah, there are," agreed Riley, giving the very pretty girl an odd look. He'd heard other students say that in the weeks since their time at Claremont had begun - but Phaedra was the first person who sounded like she actually believed it. "You can see the hatchet if you want," he offered, reaching down to unstrap the weapon and present it to her with the blade pointing down. It was a common steel camping hatchet, without any magic or other arcane marks on it. 

"I should return to my duties," said Freedom Angel, a look of satisfaction on his face as his charge so easily found a place among her fellow young people. "I am sure the Headmaster will help you with the earthly details of this place." He bent his head and kissed Phaedra on the forehead in a gesture of benediction. With the perfect faith that Phaedra knew made him a rarity even among his kind, Heyzel told her, "Remember always, sister-daughter, that you are His child." He pointed to the skies above. "You are worthy of Him." With that, he was gone, taking off with a rush of air and vanishing into the impossibly blue sky above. 

"Come along," said Headmaster Summers, looking from Phae to the others. "Why don't we see you to your rooms, Ms. Morningstar, and we can discuss your class schedule after that?" 

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Robin gave the angel a dubious look as he went to make his exit. Her father had always been fairly devout but... let's just say faith wasn't something that Robin had in high supply anymore. Stuffing her hands into her pockets a little deeper, her attention shifted back to Riley and the very attractive new girl as he went to show her the hatchet. A faint frown flickered across Robin's features for a brief moment before she shook it off quickly. "It takes a little bit to get used to the rhythm of things around here but kids come from all sorts of backgrounds so..." Robin gave a slight shrug of her shoulders, "I'm sure you'll have loads of friends in no time. We'll introduce you around once Ms. Summers has got you settled if you'd like. I'm sure Fred and Riley don't mind pausing their argument on what the fastest way to blow us all up is."

The last was added with a sidelong grin for Robin's roommate. 

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Winifred gave the new student a polite nod as she indicated her preferred form of address. "I'm sure we can accommodate you there, then, Phae. The student body are quite fond of assigning diminutives, that should simply expedite the matter." The dry observation might have held more heat had the time-displaced alchemist even once objected to her roommate's familiar shortening of her name. "And my entire point, Robin, is that 'blowing us all up' is only one option. Incendiaries, acids, transmu-- Oh, very well, consider the discussion on hiatus, then." With a huff she made a broad gesture to indicate that they should follow after the Headmistress to find out where in the dormitory Phaedra was being assigned.

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One thing that Cathy couldn't often be accused of was being subtle and normally she would have just slink away as a bundle of nerves. But she was fascinated enough by the whole thing to work up the confidence to try and join in with what ever happening.

"Hi guys what's going on?" she tried to sound casual, then slightly shock when she saw headmistress, not that and Summers would fall for an obvious lie.

"Good morning Headmistress. And I guess you must be new here?" she gave a friendly smile at Phae

 

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"Phaedra," the new arrival said offering her hand to Cathy.  The redhead cocked her head to the side to regard Cathy; albinism was unheard of in Throne so Phae was curious but she reasoned it'd be impolite to comment (or stare), especially in public.  Instead, she smiled and gestured to the Headmistress.

"I was about to be shown my rooms, and receive my class schedule."  She nodded at Robin and added, "After I was hoping to get to know all of you."

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Cathy was for a moment a little reluctant to shake the other girl's hands, not because of anything that Phae has said of done but because her skin was as normal cold to the touch. But that was unfair so she took the other girl's hand and shook it warmly, even if her skin temperature wasn’t

 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Phaedra. I’m Cathy, Cathy Clouston. Would it be a problem if I tagged along with you on the tour?” she looked over at the Headmistress “If that’s okay Headmistress?”


It was a toss up between going to study or spending more time with the new girl, but dramatic arrival had peeked her interest.

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