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Date: January 25, 2016


It wasn't until after winter break that Raina could round up a small cluster of fellow students to come along to extra curricular training. On the bright side, it meant she'd had several weeks of one on one classes to be confident with both the workings of the school and the general format of the training. Always nice to be the expert in the group, after all. 


With a large enough group, Claremont sent the teenagers to their extra credit activity in one of the few vans for such purposes rather than letting the students make their own way. The unmarked school van pulled up to let the students unload directly in front of a well kept building in the middle of the West End. A sign proclaimed 'The Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship!' (Exclamation mark included), and through the front doors was a small lobby and receptionist desk before the dojo itself. 


As they had forewarning that there was going to be more than just the one student, Talya had come down early to straighten things in the lobby and keep an eye out just in case the school van had trouble finding a good drop off point. Rather than standing behind the desk, the attractive blonde was perched on top of it, seated on the surface as she sorted through papers. Lately, Talya had taken to wearing a loose cut tanktop over her formfitting practice wear and today was no different. As the students disembarked she shifted the paperwork to one side to welcome the knot of teenagers.


"Come on in and pick a cubby for your shoes and anything else you want to put away," Talya invited in a clipped, British accent. She flashed Raina a smile as the young woman stepped in, "Hullo, Raina." She added before raising her voice slightly, "Erik, the students are here."

Edited by alderwitch
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"Hi Talya!" Raina said cheerfully, leading the way into the dojo with the ease of familiarity. She was already dressed to work out, and quickly kicked her shoes and dropped her purse into one of the provided cubbies. She was a little disappointed that Talya had decided to wear a baggy shirt today, with all the stories she'd been telling Cathy about her hot teachers, but it wasn't that bad. Once everyone was inside, she made introductions.


"These are my friends, they wanted to see what I've been doing instead of going to gym class. This is my roommate Cathy," she began, giving Cathy a nudge forward with her shoulder. "She's got cold powers and is the reason my nose has been stuffed up since like Thanksgiving. And this is Sarah, she's new," Raina went on, waving a hand in Sarah's direction. "She's a magic-type too, maybe she could use some self-defense more than running laps. Over there is Huang, he's magical too, and he lives in a haunted house.  And this," she added, with the air of somebody who was saving the best for last, "is my boyfriend Anibal. I told you about him." 

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"Is'at Dora and her friends?" a male voice called in response to Talya before Erik appeared around the corner in time to catch most of Raina's introductions. Where Talya had chosen some forgiving clothing of late the way the sword instructor's white tank top hugged muscles flexing as he balanced a set of practice staves on his shoulders suggested that the garment was perfunctory at best. "Hey kid, assorted youths. Come on in. You bring Boots? Vince wanted him to look at some wiring."


Tossing the wooden lengths into one corner of the room he took stock of the teenagers, recognizing the familial resemblance of the one who 'lived in a haunted house'. "Broodmini! You're looking shorter than I remember. Still making your old man feel long in the tooth?" The lopsided grin was just charming enough to err on the better side of infuriating; Erik had to admit he was curious to see which of his parents the time-traveling version of JJ took after when he wasn't actively cosplaying as his father.

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Huang hadn't payed much attention to where they were headed as they wound through the streets of the west end, his family wasn't big on traditional transport so he didn't recognize most of the landmarks anyway.  When they arrived he crawled out of hte van behind several of the others and stared at the ostentatious sign over their destination.  He pinched the bridge of his nose and lowered his sunglasses over his eyes once more, "Espadas?"  he asked mostly to himself, "She said hot teachers not my parents weird friends."  he grumbled quietly but followed the others in maybe it was a guest instructor after all. 


He stood back as Raina introduced them all and winced slightly at the nicknames, "Yea and lookachu still with the nicknames and all that..."  he schooled his features remembering that his parents were technically currently still trying to make nice with the order of the triad and their brood and let out a short breath, "Hi Mr. Espadas, Mrs. Espadas, How're Eden, Mia, and the twins?"  he asked putting forth his better, if a bit rote, manners as he shucked his ever present trenchcoat to roll it and stuff it into a cubby as well.  He slowly turned back to face the instructors and flashed his, and his father's, signature toothy grin, "Place looks great, Raina's had nothing but good things to say."  he complemented and didn't even look that pained to do so.

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There was a shy wave coming from the glasses-wearing, ever so slightly hunched over Sarah. "H-Hello. I've got a little self-defense training. Mostly I rely on my powers and being able to run really fast if I have to. I," she stops, grunting as a twinge went through her back. "I can do whatever kind of training you guys think I need. I'm sort of new to this whole 'group of people thing' though, so I'll probably be less than spectacular."

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“I’m said I’m sorry! No one knew that I was so linked to the weather back home, at leasts it’s not so cold now...”  when upset or nervous her Scottish burr became much stronger


The pale girl was dressed as normal for the cold weather with a knitted jumper of someone working out, though she’d discarded her normal green Parka. She’d at first resisted coming her to train until Raina had pointed out other reason to come and train here and right now she could see what she was talking about.

“Thank you for having us here, you have a nice place here.”

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Talya slipped off the desk with limber grace and offered Anibal her attention first since he was clearly of great import to her protege. "It's a pleasure to meet you - I've heard so much about you," she agreed, going to offer her hand as the conversation between the teenager and Erik caught her attention - at least the matter of confused identity.


"Oh, I'm not - we're not -" Talya paused and pursed her lips as before she gave a small short shake of her head as she directed the next statement to the entire group of teenagers. "Just 'Talya' will suffice... I'm sorry, wait, what did you just say?"

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While Talya seemed mildly nonplussed by Huang's comments Erik froze with his mouth open, about to say something to Sarah and Cathy. He turned back to the dhampir with an expression that said he wanted to ask for clarification as well but knew he'd heard correctly the first time. With a soft groan, the self defence instructor placed one palm to his face. "Kid, this is some textbook Michael J. Fox stuff, you're killing me."


He realized he wasn't sure if the other teens were supposed to know that their toothy friend was from their future - a possible future anyway; Eli had explained something along those lines to him once but he hadn't really been paying attention to the speedster - and he was pretty confident Talya didn't want to discuss her pregnancy in front of a bunch of baby heroes. Twins, though. Twins! "Oy. Alright, Faretti, start stretching, you just volunteered to go first." He looked to Talya and turned his hands upward helplessly.

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"Pleasure's all mine.", Aníbal accepted the handshake with practiced grace, He idly wondered what she heard about him, or rather, what Raina had told her. It was probably good, judging by her demeanor. He, on the other hand, knew very little about Raina's mysterious advisor. Raina had mentioned she was taking classes here, and mentioned Talya a few times, but the sultry woman was still very much a mystery. Before he could say anything else, attention was diverted to Huang's faux pas, which occasioned quite a bit of awkward, evasive talk from the two trainers. Aníbal looked on in silent puzzlement. Clearly, something was going on between those two, but he had no clue what it was. Poor Huang, he thought. The kid seemed to be a magnet for awkwardness.


"Huh... So... What kind of torments do you have in store for us today, Miss... Talya?", he asked, trying to get things back on track. It felt a little weird to call someone that old by what was apparently a nickname, but he'd probably get used to it.

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Sarah remained mostly at the back o the group, a shy young thing looking as scared as she could. Huang looked the most confident of them all, and she wound up turtling behind him. Her eyes peeked out from behind her bangs as she soaked up all the new sighs and sounds... And the smells! The smells were nothing short of amazing to a girl who'd spent most of her life in a clean, sanitized environment and barely gone outside. She starts to walk around a little...

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Huang froze a long moment at Talyas comment quickly counting back the years and realizing he'd missed his target time frame by about a year.  He stared at the buxom blonde and shook his head, "What?  No nothing." he lied, badly.  Stepping out to the center of the room he went through a big show of stretching that mostly showed he'd not undergone anything like traditional physical conditioning in his short time on this earth, "Alright so like we learn to sweep the leg or something now right?"  He asked trying to move on from his time displaced gaffe.


He turned to glance at his fellow students over his shoulder and shrugged, "Or,"  he paused and glanced to Erik, "Not swords right?"  he asked uncertainly as there were few tasks he looked forward too less than being a master's example of how not to perform their craft.  

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Talya cast a quizzical glance to Erik at his groan only to turn distressingly pale as she caught the reference. "Oh, no. No, no, no," she told Erik in a tone that certainly made it sound that she both blamed him, and expected some sort of solution. After giving the squirming teenager a look of betrayed disbelief, she rallied - at least - relatively quickly. 


"Stretching is a good idea for all of you. Come on in once you've gotten things put away and we'll see what Erik has in store," Talya finally managed in clipped, cultured tones, turning to the students. The smile she aimed at Anibal and Sarah, in contrast with her brief displeasure, was warm and friendly, "I think you'll find the day enjoyable - although likely tiring. We usually find someway to keep things interesting, don't we, Raina?"


She pivoted to lead the way into the large open space with perhaps more flair that was strictly necessary.

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Cathy had some trouble keeping track of everything that was going on, probably something mystical that despite her best effort she’d never been able to follow whenever the subject came up. It didn't help that Talya was quite a pleasant distract, all that Raina had told her hadn’t done her justice.


“Is that who you were telling me about? I can see what you like about the place.”


She could've quite happily worked out in her normal sensible jumper combination, she came with her own built in cooling and hadn’t sweated since she’d changed, but to fit in a little better she shed her customary jumper for something a little more suitable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sarah quietly put her things away and went to join the rest of the group. Standing a ways away, she remained, as has been typical for her so far, shy and withdrawn. Part of the group, but not exactly part of the GROUP. The young woman had changed into a thick set of grey sweats, about as unflattering as one could get without just dragging down the drapes. She pushed her glasses up, nervously looking around at the others she'll be doing this with. It's not exactly her favorite sort of activity, but given her status as the 'new girl', she felt the need to at least TRY to participate.

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Erik exchanged a glum, apologetic look with Talya that promised a conversation to be had later but for the time being it looked as thought they were going ahead with the lesson as planned. "Alright, baby heroes, I get that you're all special snowflakes - not a shot at you specifically, Snowflake, just an expression - but sooner or later some asshat who's fireproof or bite-proof or whatever and you'll be happy to actually know how to throw a real punch." It wasn't the most original nickname for Cathy but he didn't have much to work with besides Raina's frequent complaints about the temperature of their shared dormitory and he was after all a little distracted. Squaring off against Huang he rolled his shoulders easily and focused on the present. "Alright, Jay, they have you working hand to hand or with weapons?" Besides his annoyance he had another motive for singling out the dhampir; he knew the young man was at least reasonably competent in a fight. It remained to be seen if that was true without relying on shadows and magic tricks.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Huang settled on the balls of his feet into a loose stance showing some basic understanding of how not to fall down when hit at the least and shook his head, "Mostly they have me working on the cuban missile crisis."  he replied with a sigh, "Oh and some lovely rounds of staple pulling," he added with a snort, "I'm sure it's all very Mr. Myagi and will come together at the end of the training montage."  he joked lightly but kept his eyes on jack the whole time not trusting the nimble swordsman for a moment.


"I've picked up a few things from my great uncle and dad gave me a few pointers."  he agreed with a small frown, "Something about a maniac with a magic stealing whip and a death wish."  Huang offered with a shrug, "But you know Dad,"  he suggested with a toothy grin, "If they see you coming you're doing it wrong."  Huang maintained his loose imperfect stance as he focused on his heartbeat and the blood surging through his veins drawing on the strength of his inhuman ancestry as he prepared for whatever came next.  After all when your father was the thing that went bump in the night you learned vigilance if nothing else.

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Aníbal shrugged in grudging agreement as the head trainer explained the purpose of their visit. Although his powers had served him well, there would undoubtedly be situations where he couldn't make use of them. He would find himself in close quarters with no room to maneuver or take to the air, or faced with a foe that couldn't be beaten by gusts of wind, or he'd be out of his costume and forced to keep his powers a secret, so as not to blow his cover. Most of his training, so to speak, was ranged: learning to control the air currents and direct them where he pleased, to shape and compress the air and launch it precisely against distant targets. Señor Gutierrez had taught him some rudimentary hand-to-hand self-defense techniques, but he was no match for a trained opponent. Perhaps this would be a valuable learning experience?


He watched with interest as Huang stepped in, the first of the students to be tested. There was tension in the air as instructor and pupil chatted away. Clearly the man knew Huang and his family, though he'd probably not go easy on the kid. He didn't know precisely what Huang could do, but given his supposed ancestry it would surely be an impressive sight. This should be quite the spectacle.  


"This should be fun.", he whispered to Raina, "You'll get to watch me embarrass myself in front of everybody."

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Cathy wasn’t particularly bother by the snowflake joke, she’d been called every cold related joke under the sun. Especially after Frozen came out, which was fine as she was a big fan of the film and quite like the cold related puns. And Erik did have a presence about him that made him quite interesting to watch, there was a glamour about the dojo that was nothing like the Claremont.

It took quite a bit of her concentration not to low the temperature around her with the excitement of everything going on. So she stood looking attentive at the demonstration that would soon start.

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