May 27, 2022 9:44 PM
scene-setting for Friday morning classes
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"Aw, that's adorable. He definitely likes you. If you like him alright, let him keep it up! It's good to have someone to watch your back." She grins. "Just don't let him distract you past curfew."

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"- Oh, come on. He wouldn't. He's....um, I mean this as a compliment - mostly - but he's kind of a goody-two-shoes? He's definitely going to be, like, responsible about sleep and doing his homework." 

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"Sounds like a keeper. Are you guys on the same track or no?

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"I don't think so? I'm doing alchemy - healing affinity - and I, uh, I think he said he was languages?" 

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"Oh damn, you lucked out in the affinity department. I'm language track too, maybe I'll see him around. What was his name?"

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"Raleigh! I...his last name started with a B, maybe - Beck? I'm really sorry, I'm bad a names. He has - short fluffy brown hair - he's really friendly and sweet...?" 

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"If I run into a Raleigh from Sacramento I'll know it's him." She should probably be getting to know the other California enclavers anyway. She might be supposed to do political coalitions or something with them, if they get out of here alive.

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"—oop, looks like it's starting," she says, as a long, sinuous snake with a head at each end begins to peel itself off the mural and prowl around the front of the classroom, hunting illusory agglos.

She opens her textbook and flips to "Amphisbaena".

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By the time she had made a supply run the actual notebooks had mostly been cleared out, as had the regular paper, but for some reason the supplies had restocked with three-ring binders, so she has a bunch of sheets of graph paper stuck together in a binder in the hopes that this will actually work. She quietly tears one of the pieces of paper into rectangles -- index cards weren't worth their weight, not here -- and prints AMPHISBAENA on one side, with her best attempt at a drawing, and lists off their vulnerabilities on the other.

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Ellen and Mari come in. Mari takes a seat two rows back, Ellen takes the seat next to it. Both of them are staring at the model. Mari is the first to speak.

"I've seen pictures, but it's still impressive. We are going to need a very good alliance."

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Ellen nodded.

"Is there any reason I can't run a wall of mortal flame all the way we have to go, assuming we have the mana?"

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"Do you have the spell?"

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Ellen nods.

"I can't do it yet, even with my affinity, but Apa taught it to me. He said it would be useful."

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"It would be. We would have to worry about groups ahead of us unless we were the first in, and about mals coming in from behind or the sides. But we might get other groups to cover that in exchange for our burning a path. How wide can you make it?"

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"That depends on how much mana we have. I've never done it so I don't know how much it takes."

A vipersac drifts to the front of the display, fully inflated, the blowdart tubes beginning to puff out.

"Am I allowed to kill it?"

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Mari shakes her head.

"It's there for everyone to see, so unless it starts actually attacking someone, which sometimes happens, we aren't supposed to. Besides, if you hit it with fire it would explode and that might kill people."

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"Apa says if you burn off one of the tubes and ignite the gas coming out you get a jet of flame like a blow torch, so unless someone is really close ... I've never tried it."

The vipersac fades back into the crowd, to be replaced by another mal.

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