Margaret Peregrine is a high school sophomore. Most of the time, she's either at school, at the school robotics club, at the school chess club, or doing schoolwork. Today, she's cleaning out her late great-grandmother's attic.
"Well, that's a relief to actually know instead of vaguely suspect."
"And I don't want the war to start again and I don't mean you or anybody any harm, and I found out you're a sphinx. And I promise not to tell anybody without your permission."
"Well, good, I don't want to start a war either. - I think I'm the only one."
This is exactly what she was hoping for when she decided to go with truth and the assumption of good faith over secrets and lies. "It's just me and my mom, for dragons. I don't know if there are any other sphinxes, I could check but it would have felt like stalking, doing it before I told you."
"I didn't actually check but I think it was my mom."
"Well, if you want I can find the location of the nearest sphinx who isn't you. Oh, that reminds me, feel free to ask me for any potentially unsafe runecasting you want done, dragons can suppress the side effects of botched spells."
"Well, if it was my dad, I think he's nearer to you than I am."
"Probably not him, then. Do you think there might be any others, ones you've never met?"
"I can't rule it out but that side of the family isn't branchy as far back as I'm aware."
"Okay. So, can you in fact do healing magic without using a diagram or an artifact or anything?"
"Yes but if it's big or complicated - like more than a papercut - I pass out doing it."
"Oh, yikes. So which do you mostly use for your superheroics, then?"
"I have a spell that wakes me on a time delay."
"Clever. Did you put it in artifact form or . . . Wait a minute, can you recharge diagrams, is that why the tattoos?"
"Yes. I apologize for all the tracing you've had to do for lack of this information."
Giggle. "Apology accepted. My healing rock has held off repetitive stress injury, at least. Though it sounds like if I start producing medallions your help would be awesome in several different ways; some of the diagrams involved are room-sized."
"Wow, yeah, I can do you some recharges when those start coming off the assembly line."
"Great. I can get a batch of them up to the point where it needs some healing magic added, then you can come by and do them all in fifteen minutes or so. I'm thinking a couple Tikbalang ones plus a couple from more common species. I'm still thinking through the logistics of making sure the first ones are safe, though."
"Tikbalang because that's the example you're working from? Also you should do the incantations, I think I experience normal side effects if I fuck up an incantation and on a diagram that huge it'd probably choke me to death, plus you translated it into non-Spanish."
"Yes, that's why. And I'm definitely doing all the incantations, it'd make no sense for anybody else to do it when it's so much safer for me. . . . Have you ever messed up an incantation? There's no reason I know of why you wouldn't get the normal effects, I'm just wondering."
"Yeah, I flubbed a little one once. Hiccupped. I was coughing for a while, though I think if it'd been worse than that but not fatal my healing would've kicked in."
"Ouch. It's good that our species stuff is automatic. I had a fire alarm go off on me mid-incantation once; if not for the spell not happening I would have thought I'd only imagined stuttering."
"That sounds pretty scary, yikes."
"Yeah. . ." She's reluctant to bring up the "if you're reading this I'm dead" letter she used to have on hand. "I have a way to tell, now, if I'm suppressing something. But I don't know how to turn that into figuring out if a medallion is safe for someone else to use without them trying it. It might need to be its own spell."
"Yeah, you can't exactly test a medallion, not even one for your own species. Unless you wanna come up with a way to nuke somebody's link to their medallion, which would get the amateur IRB over there all up in your business."