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Is this a dagger which I see before me

Posted on Wed Jan 24th, 2024 @ 9:45 by Claire Cavendish & Jonathan Monroe

Chapter: Winter's Crest Festival
Location: English classroom
Timeline: Wednesday, December 9th, 1992
1281 words - 2.6 OF Standard Post Measure

"How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world." The words from the Head Mistress' lips rang across the empty English classroom as she picked up a crumpled up piece of paper and flung it into the nearby waste basket. The sounds cascaded around the room until they reached the ears of the teacher bent over his desk. "Good morning, Mister Monroe, how are you doing?" She walked into the room and sat on a nearby table.

"Bracing myself for yet another request from our magnanimous leader," Jon replied, his eyebrow raised and mouth curled up slightly. "Although bonus points for the entrance. It was suitably dramatic."

"I felt like I needed to, seeing that I live in a castle after all." Claire hadn't so much come with a request as a double check to make sure that the main English teacher had everything he needed for the upcoming week of non-standard lessons and the festival that would follow. "Did you ever settle on what Shakespeare scenes you'll be staging? Or did you decide on another playwright in the end? Dickens perhaps? More in keeping with the times."

"I'll have you know the Bard never goes out of fashion, Claire," he smirked. "You know me well enough to never doubt my taste in tragedies..." He pushed himself upright. "But I figure it'd be better to pick out some more of the comedic stuff. You know, Midsummer Night's Dream...Twelfth Night. That sort of thing. Does that fit your theme?"

"It's an end of year celebration, centred around Christmas, there's no particular theme other than unity and hospitality." It was a good note for next years Winter's Crest Festival, themes always seemed to do well with things like these. "There's only one week for the students to prepare, so best to keep it simple." It was a harsh lesson she'd learned herself in getting way overenthusiastic about staging a musical. "We still have some of the period costumes from summer."

"Well, there you go then," he nodded. "We'll keep them small. Maybe some soliloquies. And in costume, too. Should be lots of fun and educational at the same time. What's everyone else bringing?"

"I've asked for some help on a big musical ensemble number, Rebecca is opening an art gallery and will lead an auction, Valjeans is cooking with the kids, Phoebe is doing two or three historical things, Alastair is helping one or two more bands with performing a song," There was a moment of pause as she said that, "which reminds me, do you play any instruments? Drums by any chance?"

"I wish!" Jon chuckled. "I'm probably the least rhythmic person in this entire castle. And I include the centuries-old knight in the basement in that number." He shook his head. "The most musical I get is iambic pentameter."

"Ah." Had Claire been able to think of an appropriate iambic pentameter off the top of her head she would've slung it back at the English teacher. "Oh, Kaylee also mentioned something about trying to create an ice skating rink. Anyways. For the performance, what do you need in regards to audio and other things? We're looking to make some upgrades for the musical numbers and band performance already anyway, might as well take that into consideration."

"Whatever you can provide. We can improvise, I'm sure," he nodded. "I can help with general lighting, if you need? I'm sure it would be atmospheric to have real fire without the risk of it burning the house down. least not this time, anyway."

Claire knew it was a sore subject, "Sometimes the best thing that can happen is for the past to be burnt down." If she were totally honest she would've probably wanted to be there to see the study in flames. Perhaps it would've been good for closure. The legal fall out would've been easier to handle, her father perhaps more willing to sweep it all under the rug. "Cameron is doing light and sound, you might want to check with him on that. Al is doing the bands, perhaps they want some pyrotechnics."

"Easily done. As much as I'd love to sit here and say I would love to do more to help, it would be a lie. I'm not your man when it comes to organising social events and activities. Unless you want me to pull out that magic act again..." Jon smirked.

Claire couldn't help but laugh at that, "Let's say that's plan B." She gave a wink at the English teacher. The magic act wasn't all bad, but people seemed less impressed with those things nowadays. Accusations of mutation were always an easy way to call out magicians and have them reveal their tricks. The art of magicians was basically on its arse overnight when knowledge of mutants became more mainstream. It was somewhat ironic that someone like Jonathan still practised it. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Me?" he echoed. His eyes glanced at the pile of books on his desk. But then, he knew Claire's tone better than most. She wasn't asking about work. He turned back to her, making momentary eye contact. "I'm fine. If you're worried about me after that whole incident with the Sherwood Rangers, that's in the past now. I can deal with that. I suspect there are a few folks that aren't quite as used to fighting. Especially the ones that aren't Knights."

That was an issue Claire had been breaking her head over. Some of the people seemed so fragile, or even unstable. Should they be invited down into the undercroft? Jonathan did raise a good point though, they weren't experienced and even if they wouldn't join the Knights it would be good to get them some experience. Kaylee had expressed as much as well. They just needed to find the time and energy in between classes and everything else the world seemed to throw at them. Perhaps a good new years resolution. "It's kind of you to always look out for the others, but there's no shame in asking for help, or a hug, or a shoulder to cry on."

He looked over at her. "I know. We all have our coping mechanisms. Mine are a little less..." he looked down at his hands momentarily. "Touchy-feely?" It was a slightly self-depreciating comment, but a factual one anyway. He'd been even less tactile with people since the event had occurred.

"Everyone copes in their own way." Claire agreed with that sentiment. Simply ignoring it, hoping it would go away, wasn't a very helpful one. "If you want to get rid of some of that pent up energy, let me know. I'm looking for a squash partner that can't predict the future or move at the speed of sound."

He chuckled, nodding his understanding. "I see what you're getting at, but you're the one with the teleporting powers..." An affirming nod followed. "Sounds good to me, though. We've not had much of a chance to spend that downtime together recently."

"We'll screw in some UV bulbs." Claire didn't overly share her 'weakness' with people but someone like Jonathan was close enough to her that he already knew things like these, just like she knew about him and how he controlled his abilities. "Did you ever get around to getting your own racket or do I need to restring my backup?"

"Too busy," Jon answered with an apologetic wave of his hands. "Borrow your spare?" he suggested with a faint pleading look.

The head teacher pushed herself free from the table, "I'll bring the rackets, you bring your a-game."


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