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The Adventures of Brea and Tara

Posted on Fri Jun 14th, 2024 @ 13:44 by Sarah Bright & Claire Cavendish

Chapter: Winter's Crest Festival
Location: Avalon Institute
Timeline: Friday, December 18th
4365 words - 8.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Brea took a drag off of her cigarette, the first in what had to be months. She savored the shitty taste, and exhaled without a care in the world, for there was no one around to stop her... not even in Avalon Institute. Or at least, not in the boys bathroom. She was surprised to not find any smoke detectors there, which were scattered about every other part of the school she'd seen so far. They must not have a problem with kids smoking cigarettes in there. Not until today.

"This place is fucking unreal." Brea said between drags as she looked around. Even the bathrooms were done up in neo-retro-medieval style, or whatever the hell an architect would call it. Certainly a lot nicer than the public schools. Definitely nicer than the boarding school-slash-prison she'd been temporarily released from. The thought reminded her that she ought to be feeling at least a bit of urgency. "We've probably got ten minutes tops, before my Da's done schmoozing and realizes I'm gone. After that, shit's gonna get real." Brea didn't think she needed to remind her best friend that, but they hadn't seen each other in months... enough time to perhaps forget just how high profile a friend she could be.

Brea Balfour was the daughter of the mayor of New Cresthill. She also felt like she was the town's public enemy number one. She'd always thought she was alright, nothing special compared to the other kids her age, but the authorities seemed to disagree. In an effort to maintain public order (and popular opinion) her father had decided to banish her to the shittiest boarding school experience money could buy. Because apparently being mayor didn't pay all that well. She thought she'd come back on winter holiday to find that maybe things had changed, but nope. Cars and shop fronts were being smashed up in acts of violent political mayhem, yet it felt like half the fucking police force was out to get her just because they feared she was out to have a good time. Well, they weren't wrong. They just had their priorities out of whack.

Tara took the cigarette from Brea and sucked the burnt tabacco into her lungs. She didn't smoke, not really at least. But when on a night out with Brea she parttook. It had been enough months, at least to have made the first drag trigger a bit of a coughing fit, but old habits meant that she was back bumming smokes with renewed enthusiasm. "Better make the best o' it, then, aye? What are we thinking?" Her accent was quite heavy, also something of a result from being separated from Brea, the one friend that actually spoke something resembling RP, in town.

Brea leaned toward Tara and took the cigarette back, taking one final drag from it before flicking it across the bathroom, where it landed in one of the urinals on the far wall. Score! She hopped off of the countertop and rinsed her hands in the sink she'd been seated next to. Her clothes and breath would probably smell like cigarettes no matter what she did, but she saw no need to advertise more than necessary with reeking hands.

"Let's find the music room. I'd kill to shred on one of Temple's guitars.. I bet he's got a sweet backup amp in there too." Rumor had it he'd be performing later, and Brea was hoping that a door would be left unlocked after the stage was set up. "I can't believe he's working here. That's so rad. I thought that dude was dead." Contrary to what she'd said, Brea didn't actually know how to play guitar, but that didn't stop her from pretending that she could, if she happened to get one in her hands. It did, after all, look super easy on MTV.

"Who knows, maybe we'll find some other cool shit along the way." Brea said as she spun a slow, careflee loop as she ambled toward the bathroom door. "Ladies first." She said, holding it open for her friend.

"Don't you think he'd keep that under lock and key? Especially with all these strangers around? They cannae be that naive, can they?" Tara slid herself off the sink and made her way over to the door. Her parents both smoked like a blacksmith's chimney and would never find out about her partaking in that particular vice. She stepped from the bathroom and immediately scanned their environment to see if nobody spotted them in their comings and goings.

"Ever wondered what it'd be like?" She started in direction of the large stairway leading to the first floor. Signage on the wall indicated several classrooms that way, perhaps they'd get lucky. "I dinnae kin what power I'd want. Mindreading, perhaps flying."

"I mean... they've got superpowers. The teachers, and most of the kids here could probably wipe the floor with us without breaking a sweat, then send us off none the wiser. We might as well be worms in their eyes." Brea shrugged. She had no issue with mutants. A bunch of the kids here would probably be cool to hang with. But she'd be lying if she said she wasn't afraid of them. She wasn't bigoted, but she was used to seeing how people acted with power at their disposal. Her father, the people he associated with, the police, and the teachers and administrators at her boarding school. They all had power, and they were all assholes. Granted, those traits were not mutually inclusive, but Brea knew for a fact that power had turned her dad into a jerk. A jerk towards her, anyways.

"I wouldn't mind being invisible. Or able to blend in." Brea added without much thought. She wasn't super pretty, and she didn't dress flashy, which was evidenced by her plain knit sweater, relaxed fit jeans, and Adidas sneakers. She already tried to blend in, but she just had this way of doing whatever she wanted, that made that hard, if not imposslbe; only reining in her impulsivity seemed anywhere near so difficult. So basically she wanted action without consequence. But how would that make her any better than folks with power?

"We can go somewhere else if you'd like." Brea suggested, trying to be mindful of the fact that sometimes she could be a bossy, controlling friend. Tara was the most loyal friend she had, and sometimes Brea took that for granted and pulled her into shit, because she assumed that Tara would be on board, and that the consequences for her wouldn't be as severe.

Tara couldn't help but appreciate the irony of Brea wanting to be invisible. While her words were usually along the lines of what she just expressed she couldn't seem to help being rebellious enough to always draw attention. "Let's just see what we find around here." The corridors had high ceilings, and the stairs they took to the first floor seemed to have been part of the interior for as long as the outside walls. To the point where certain parts of the steps were starting to sag and round off due to the use. "You'd just use yer invisibility to check out what Gail is hiding in his rugby shorts"

As they came to the top of the staircase Tara startled as she came nearly face to face with a medieval set of armour. "Feckin' 'ell!"

Brea had been about to comment on Tara's remark on how she'd use her power of invisibility, but was quickly distracted by the startled exclamation. She bounded up the last few steps to see what the fuss was about.

"Fuckin' minted is more like it..." Brea said under her breath, as if expecting heightened security measures, like microphones in addition to security cameras. "They've got treasure just lyin' around." She said as she looked around surreptitiously before approaching the stand holding the suit of plate mail. She didn't so much look at the armor itself as she did around it, half expecting to find wires to hold the armor in place, or cords powering sensors. She saw neither.

Brea stepped back toward her friend and looked around one more time, her eyes widening. She nudged Tara, and pointed down the hall, where there was another stand of similar looking armor set up across from one of the classrooms. She didn't say anything, and only flashed the very beginnings of one of her trademarked 'fuck it' grins.

It was one of those smiles Tara recognised, a smile that had gotten them in a heap load of trouble. More than once. Any normal person, it would tell them to turn around and walk away. Tara just got excited, it had been far too long since she had gotten into Brea's particular brand of trouble. "So, what are we thinking?"

Brea let out a laugh, biting and acerbic. Like there was any thinking behind anything they did. She wasn't sure she even wanted to admit that out loud. It was hard trying to have fun in a town like New Cresthill. She'd lived in most every corner of the UK at one point or another growing up, due to her father's time in the military, but she'd quickly discovered that the Scottish highlands were far from her favorite. But her parents had agreed on wanting someplace quiet after he left the service, and oh had they picked the spot. The locals' idea of fun was hurling tree trunks for sport.

Needless to say, Brea had never stood any chance at fitting in.

"Simple, really. We armour up, Go find Gail, and nab him away from his wanker mates. No one will recognize us, certainly not my da. And if anyone from the school asks what we're up to, we just pretend to be students goin to act out some Shakespeare crap." It was a bad plan, but then again they all were. But Brea was the best bullshitter in this bog for miles around, and these Avalon folks had yet to build up any defenses to it.

"Feck it. Why not." It wasn’t that Tara wanted to impress Brea or anyone else, and she wasn't so dumb as to think the plan would work. But nothing ever happened in Snooze Cresthill and this was an opportunity to waltz around in what could very well be genuine medieval armour. She was not going to say no to that. "I'm takin' that un."

: : Minutes Later

Their decision to start donning the armor was met with almost immediate regret. That was how Brea felt, anyway. But of course she wouldn't say anything. If there was one thing her da had taught her that had stuck, it was to never give up, or at least, to never give up without a fight.

Getting into the suit of plate mail had certainly been a fight.

Brea was taller than most girls, and some boys, and for the most part the armor fit like it'd been made just for her. Except for the hips. God, the hips. The armored skirt plates, or faulds (yes, she knew what they were called, but would never admit it aloud), rubbed hard against her hip bones and chafed on her thighs with each waddling step. But other than that, She had a much fuller range of motion than she would've expected. She demonstrated this by stretching her arms above her head as she decided whether to finish donning her helm, or wait, in case her friend needed more help. She looked up and around again, still paranoid about cameras, as she moved down the hallway to test the armor. Then she saw them.

"Oi! Fucking legend!" Brea called out, louder than she would've liked, but what she saw warranted the reaction. At the far end of the hallway, mounted above the arching entryway, was a decorative shield, with two claymore swords crossed behind it.

Tara slapped her chest with the gauntlet, it made an awful racket. She was significantly smaller than Brea in every way, which meant the armour didn't pinch her in any area, but also it was far too big in most places. "Cheers." After taking what she thought was a compliment she followed her friend's gaze up to the swords and shield. She wished they had spotted that sooner because in their current getup there was no way either of them could reach it easily.

Brea returned the mock salute, wincing not at the racket, but at a slight stab of pain in her chest as a strap holding the breastplate on rubbed the wrong way. Part of her wanted to approach Tara so they could gawk over how awesome they both looked, but of course her attention had shifted to hyper-focus on arming themselves, like proper knights. She looked around, but there was nothing in the hallway that would help them. There might be a step ladder in a storage closet, but those would most likely be locked, assuming they could even find one. The classrooms, however, were all around them and would be full of desks and chairs. There was no way every teacher locked their classroom.

"Check the classrooms!" Brea said aloud as she turned and strutted to the nearest door. Her armor, snug was it was around her hips, gave her a thuggish swagger that was both menacing and comical to watch. She tested the first door, but of course it was locked. She peered through the window in the door and did see many sturdy-looking desks and chairs, but thought better of breaking the pane. Brea might be prone to criminal idiocy, but needless vandalism wasn't really her style.

"What are we checking for?" Tara walked up to the door nearest to her. It was locked. So she lumbered on to the next one. It was odd how she just completely blindly followed Brea's instructions, but it wasn't something she considered too deeply. "Do we actually need a sword? Isn't this impressive enough?" She called back when another door was locked.

Brea sighed heavily, realizing she was doing it again. As soon as she'd seen the swords there, hanging just out of reach, of course she'd had to play with them. After all, whacking each other with swords sounded like good fun while wearing full plate. But it was too much. Brea always tried to take things one step too far, which was why they usually got caught. Tara wasn't always successful in being the voice of relative reason.

"Fuck it, you're right." Brea admitted, deciding to forget the search for something to retrieve the swords, and focus on stowing her hair so she could try and put the armored helmet on. She tucked the helmet under her armpit and for a moment it seemed secure there, the rim of the helmet locking in between the edges of overlapping plates. But it came loose the moment Brea finished tying back her hair. Chasing a loose strand for the perfect ponytail caused her to lift her arm just a bit higher, enough for the helmet to come loose.


The noise seemed deafening as the helmet struck the hardwood floor, and the clatter echoed up and down the hallway. For a moment Brea froze like a deer in headlights. Fuuuuccckkk. Here we go again.

: : Meanwhile...

Sarah sat on one of the toilets in the girls bathroom, not really using the bathroom, but just taking a moment to relax, reorganize, and reset. She'd volunteered for guard duty, sparing herself from the hubbub of the winter festivities going on outside and elsewhere in the school. There was nothing to report though, as everything unplanned seemed to be happening outside, so no one was talking to her over the walkie talkie. It sat there on the ground by her feet, along with her coffee thermos as she rummaged through her messenger bag for a new tape to put into her walkman. She'd been playing it on loud with the headphones around her neck, just for some background noise to listen to as she wandered through the quiet hallways, but after sitting on the toilet she'd raised them to her ears to avoid them getting tangled in the crossbody strap as she pulled the bag around onto her lap to root through its contents. Of course a simple purse or handbag wasn't large enough for her needs.

A song she really liked came on toward the end of the mixtape, followed by another. She'd forgotten that they were on there. Before Sarah knew it, she was doing the exact opposite of what she was supposed to be doing.

With her headphones on Sarah didn't hear the clatter of the helmet dropping outside, but she felt it, reverberating through the floorboards and soles of her Converse chucks, as well was the toilet she was seated on.

Fuuccckkk. Here we go.... Sarah thought as she shut off her walkman and threw her stuff into her bag. She knew that whatever that noise had been, it was not from something planned. As she stood in haste the edge of her shoe caught the coffee thermos she'd forgotten to stow, and it toppled with a loud *PANG*.

So much for the element of surprise.

: :

This was something Tara was familiar with at least. The inevitable moment that one of Brea's hairbrained schemes went pearshaped felt like a warm bath. She saw Brea freeze up, also no surprise. The sensible thing to do was to find a secluded spot and get out of the armour, leaving them wherever they may fall and then returning to the hub-hub of the festivities pretending they'd never left. The smoke on their breath was probably going to be enough of an excuse for their absence. She rushed towards her friend, knowing she needed a jolt to be spurred into action. As she passed her she slapped her on the shoulder. Another loud metal on metal clang that could reverberate through the halls of the old castle.

A split second was spent wondering when the last time was fully armoured up people roamed the halls. Regardless of the impracticality of suiting up on the second storey of the place rather than near the stables where one could mount one's steed.

"Bathroom, now." She grabbed onto Brea and jerked her into the right direction, kicking the helmet aside to make way for themselves.

The slap to Brea's shoulder was enough to bring her back into action. She rushed after Tara, and after a few moments managed to overtake her. Her armor might not fit as comfortably around her hips, but she was taller and had a longer stride. They were rushing as fast was they could, and making an awful lot of noise it seemed, but Tara's plan was a good one. Hopefully they would have enough time to abort mission and pretend like nothing had ever happened.

Brea reached for the door to the girl's bathroom as they approached, noticing that it pushed open like the boy's bathroom just down the hall. She was going pretty fast--as fast as she could manage in the armor--and was thus thrown completely off balance when the door opened, just as her gauntleted hand reached forward to stiff-arm it open.

"OOOPH." Brea said loudly as her armored knees smacked the floorboards in the open doorway. She still had forward momentum, and flailed out with her arms and hands, which thankfully found something to hold on to before she could headbutt some girl right in her gut.

"Oh... Fuck... Hey..." Brea looked up, her twisted mind immediately coming up with some bollocks excuse. "When you gotta go, you gotta go!" She smiled sheepishly at the girl in front of her, who was dressed sort of like a student in her sweater and pleated, plaid skirt, but definitely not a student at this school. The colors were wrong. Maybe she was not supposed to be there too Realizing her gauntleted hands were clutching the girls thighs, Brea let go and winced as the rough leather and mail gloves caught on the girl's black tights like velcro and instantly shredded them into spiderwebs. Oops.

"Fuck. Sorry luv..." Brea defaulted to the term of endearment, hoping it would placate the girl into not clawing her to pieces right then and there. She looked up at the girl and squinted... oh no. Probably not a girl. The youngish woman, who looked like a wannabe librarian, was smiling, but it was an expression born from nervous uncertainty. And from Brea's angle looking up, it was toothy and somewhat menacing.

Then the woman raised a walkie talkie.

"Fuuuck! Run!" Brea shrieked, not knowing how far behind her Tara was. She tried her best to shoot back to her feet and bolt back the way she'd come, but that was of course an incredibly difficult feat in her present attire. She groaned, even her seventeen--year-old knees groaned as she tried to push to her feet. Her hands instinctively reached back out for support... for a springboard to launch from. Brea barely registered pushing the woman the ground as she finally found the impetus to flee.

"Tosser!" Brea called out to the woman who'd been about to narc them out as she took off, clanging down the hallway.

Tara really didn't need Brea's call to be set in motion, but the sudden change of direction really threw her for a moment which meant that as Brea came bouldering down the hallway in her direction she didn't have time to skid to a halt or warn her friend of the impending staircase. Instead she half slid - clearly these boots weren't made for walking - to a halt right at the top of the staircase.

The two young women collided, hard. Even the metal shells didn't stop the impact from hurting. Both of them lost their footing at the top of the stairs and the racket they caused as they tumbled down towards the ground floor would've done a fine job calling in reinforcements even if the walkie-talkie wielding chaperone hadn't.

"NOOO! Stop!" Sarah yelled out in vain from the bathroom floor as she saw the armored girl stomping off toward her accomplice. She didn't really expect them to stop, given the trouble that she assumed was awaiting them, but what else could she do? Her butt and tailbone hurt from the sudden push and fall, and despite her best efforts at scrambling to her feet, the pair had gone around the corner... to the Stairway of Doom.

Sarah's eyes and mouth widened in horror as she heard the clattering metal and screams. It sounded like a dozen different car crashes, all one after the other, and Sarah's first steps toward the unimaginable scene were at first leaden down with extreme trepidation. She fully expected to see two corpses, pools of blood and limbs splayed at unnatural angles, and that was almost exactly what she saw.

The two armored bodies were unmoving, but Sarah saw no blood or extreme body contortions. Still, something propelled her to get to them as fast as she possibly could, fast beyond any sense of reason, And she gave even Cameron's chart-topping, split-second intervention a run for its money with a God-tier parkour, hurdling the hardwood dividing handrail and sliding down it on the edge of her hip. She tucked her foot in just in time to aim her sneakered heel at the rapidly approaching landing post, and kicked off the instant her heel connected, knee extending like an uncoiling spring. Sarah caught air and easily cleared the pile of armored bodies at the foot of the stairs, landing semi-awkwardly beside them on bended knee, like she was about to propose. Inertia didn't keep her there for long though, and she was forced into a tight roll across her back, where she came still in the same position, like a ninja master. It would've been action-movie epic, except for all of the shit in her messenger bag, which all spilled out and skidded down the hallway with even more clatter. Fuck.... this time the Stairway of Doom maybe had claimed her Walkman.

Thank God for figure skating and ballet. Sarah thought as she realized what she'd just done. Why the fuck had she done that? And how had she pulled it off without a scratch? And for what, the five seconds it would've taken hustling down the steps? She found herself raising the walkie-talkie in her hands, not even registering that she hadn't dropped it. "Code yellow, ground floor south stairway. Two in need of medical attention." She said in the most cool and collected voice she could manage. Her powers had flared the moment she landed the move, and she could tell from the tendriled connections her body formed with theirs that the pair of armored idiots were alive, and for the most part miraculously unharmed. Otherwise she would've issued a code red based on what she'd just seen.

"Dude. We're fuckin' dead. We're in skate park heaven, and some angel chick just popped a sick railslide over us on an invisible board. You see that shit? So fucking thrash..." Brea said with a groan as she raised a hand and flashed devil horns to her accomplice.

Tara had felt every step along the path to the ground floor. Her muscles ached and she definitely pulled something on her ribs. Breathing was slightly laboured but all in all she'd been in worse positions following one of Brea's bright ideas. As she saw the hand raised she raised her own and bumped against hers. "Will o' Wisps" she groaned with a sense of jubilation masked by the pain in her side, which grew more prominent now. Perhaps it was more than just a pulled muscle. Everyone always told kids they should enjoy their time, but then had all these opinions on how they choose to enjoy it.

There were no regrets for Tara as she lay on the flagstones at the base of a very old, very dangerous, set of stairs. Regrets were for Sunday mornings.


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