Jul 16, 2019 4:08 AM
Jean is Tavia's Watcher
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"Ms Sofia," Tavia says, after a tiny skip, "this is Mr. Jean Dulac, who claims to be here representing the Watcher's Council. Mr. Dulac, Doctor Sofia Ilbert."

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Jean stands, and offers his hand. "Dr. Ilbert. It's a pleasure to meet you."

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Dr. Ilbert watches his as he approaches, and shakes his hand, a little uneasily. "Mr. Dulac. What is your business here?"

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"Tavia has inherited ancient mystical powers, and a destiny to go with them. As the active representative of the Watchers Council, my business is to educate, support, and protect her in her mission against the forces of evil."

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"You may need to explain that a bit more."

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"Of course." He gestures towards their little circle, and resumes his seat. "May I ask how much background you're working from, here?"

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"Do you want the short version or the long version?" she asks rhetorically, rolling her wheelchair over to join the circle. "The short version is -- I know there are powers out there that most people don't seem to know about. And many of them are deeply hostile to humanity."

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"I think the short version will do, for the moment. I'll spare you the 101, then. One of the less hostile powers is the Slayer -- one teenage girl, who inherits the role and its powers with the death of the previous Slayer, who fights to defend humanity from the more hostile powers. Tavia, as it happens, is it."

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She glances at Tavia, briefly, seems to draw some conclusion from that, looks back at Dulac. "Why a teenage girl?"

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"I didn't design the system. If anyone did, we have no record of it. There's various theories, but they're only that."

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"How would you have designed it?" she wonders, half-amused.

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"Not sufficiently stated. I don't know what my constraints are on the design. For instance, if I can, giving everyone superpowers sounds rather better than one girl."

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"I suppose that would even the playing field, at least."

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"Wouldn't stop human-on-human violence, but that's hardly my area. It would go a long way towards giving humans a fighting chance against intruders from other dimensions."

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"Precisely."

She sighs, combing her fingers through her hair and looking far away and sad for a moment. Then she focuses on him again. "So, what do you do when you're not..." She makes a vague gesture indicating the current situation.

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"I haven't specifically been Watcher to a Slayer before; there's only one Slayer at a time, most of us haven't, it's considered something of an honor. Watcher is -- less a full-time job than a vocation, though, so that is what I do. Sometimes it's fieldwork, sometimes it's paperwork, sometimes it's politics, sometimes it's research, but it's all Watching."

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Sofia makes a 'go on' gesture. "So what do you do?"

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"It's hard to give a brief answer to that -- it's rather like being in the army, you go where they send you, I've had all sorts of assignments. I was last stationed at the Library of Congress; I can tell you about that, if you like, but it doesn't bear a great deal of resemblance to what I'll be doing here."

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"...I admit to curiosity, but you are probably correct about the relevance. What do you see yourself doing here, then?"

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"I think it most reasonably comes under three headings -- support, training, protection. To run in reverse order: protection is more or less what it sounds like. Tavia has extraordinary gifts, but she is still young and mostly untrained. Even after she's a fully-fledged Slayer, she will still be facing extreme threats, by the nature of her calling. It's my job to guard her, especially when she is by necessity vulnerable: while she's still new, when she's sick or injured, when she has to rest, when her duties are demanding her attention and she can't devote much effort to her own safety. Sometimes the protection will be as straightforward as taking out demons that try to attack her. At other times, it might mean providing first aid, or reminding her when she needs to prioritize her own health, or helping her put up wards, or warning her when someone is trying to take advantage of her abilities."

"The second part is training. Her powers alone aren't going to be enough to take on the kind of threats the Slayer has to face. She needs to learn how to use them to the best effect. Besides, she deserves to understand what she's facing. And not everything is going to be as simple as staking vampires -- she will have to be able to make difficult calls, at times. Training can mean teaching her how to use a crossbow, or capitalize best on her strength, or what the vulnerabilities of different demons are; it can also mean teaching her the habits she'll need to keep herself safe, or how to prioritize between two apocalypses, or the diplomatic situation between two species of demon."

"Third, support. In the ideal world, this eventually becomes my primary role. There's far too much supernatural evil in the world for any one person to handle; it's the job of the Watchers to shift as much of that burden from the Slayer as possible. The Watchers handle supernatural crises too minor to call in the Slayer for; if the apocalypse rolls around again while the Slayer is out of commission, or when one has died and the new one hasn't yet been found, the Watchers deal with it as best they can. The Watchers maintain a repository of information about the supernatural for the Slayer's use. They provide funding for her, and for the weapons and other resources she needs. They have witches to do any magic she needs done. They have a wide network of contacts, in case she needs some organization to cooperate with her. They're an official presence to handle any difficulties she may have with law enforcement. And so forth.

"As the on-the-scene representative of the Watchers Council, it's my duty to provide her with whatever she needs in the way of immediate support. The Slayer is a specialist -- it's unreasonable to expect her to do everything involved with the business of fighting evil. If she sees a demon, I do the research to figure out what it is and how to fight it; she does the actual fighting. I and the Council keep track of prophecies, and warn her when the date of a prophesied evil is approaching; she defeats it. I maintain her weapons and make sure they're clean and sharp and to hand when she needs them. I provide first aid. I cast spells. I negotiate. Simply put, I handle all the work behind the scenes, so that all she has to do is what only she can do -- stand between humanity and the forces of darkness when no one else can."

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Over the course of this explanation, Lance's body language has upgraded from 'quietly wary' to an intense alert tightly coiled ball of tension.

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Tavia's reaction is less dramatic, but she is definitely more wary that before, now, too.

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Sofia looks at them, presses her lips together, and then says to Dulac, "Apocalypses? Plural?"

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"Things -- demons, humans, natural forces -- attempt to bring about the end of the world on a startlingly regular basis. The Slayer manages to avert it equally regularly. Much as we'd like to take credit for the latter, it's slightly statistically inexplicable. There's a variety of academic theories on the matter, but the fact remains that 'apocalypse' is very much a plural noun, in my line of work."

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