Squaring a Debt

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Asterion Khryseos
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:57 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Male
Race: Faunus (Bull Horns)
Aura Color: Gold - CFB53B
Occupation: Student
Semblance Name: Dynamo
Weapon Name: Lustrous Chimera

The recommendation that Deegan had sent to Wednesday - through the Wild Hunt, no less, rather than the official channels - read about as formally as most would expect. It was more or less a formal document, after all, and he wagered that she probably wasn't going to be the only one reading it. As far as letters went, it was surprisingly formal, given the person that had written it. The other envelope he'd sent to Beacon, however, contained a letter that was a lot more true to form for the swarthy, salt-stained old sailor. Even the paper itself seemed to have the faint whiff of cheap rum to it.

"Dear Wednesday," it read, in that familiar old scrawl of his, "I'm sure you're a busy woman, and writing that stuffy piece of crap in the other envelope’s made writing any more letters today seem like torture, so I'll skip the formalities and get right to the point. I'm sending a boy called Asterion Khryseos your way. He's a pupil of mine, one I've been teaching him everything I know since he could walk. He's a good kid, and he's got potential, but there was only so much that these old bones could do for him. I'd consider it a personal favour if you could take him on and teach him yourself. It's not that I don't trust your friends in Beacon, but I want to know for sure that he's in good hands."

From the bit scribbled out between that paragraph and the next, it was clear that he'd initially thought to end the letter there, but decided to add something extra before signing off.

"And if you do manage to find some time between whipping those kids into shape, you and me need to get a drink together. Morgan's set up shop in Vale, and if he's half as good at brewing booze as he is at ripping Grimm some new ones, then we owe him a visit."

---

The letter Aster had received from Deegan was - besides the usual congratulatory statements and pieces of advice - uncharacteristically cryptic. He'd told Aster to meet Professor Haptasnytrir, though he'd not specified why beyond saying that she'd be able to train him, instead just telling him that either she'd tell him or he'd figure it out. He'd read it over time and time again, even taking the time to glance at it while he was making his way to her office, but there was nothing in the letter that gave him much of a clue about who she was, or why specifically he had to ask her to train with him.

Ultimately, however, he trusted Deegan's judgement, and rapped on the door with all due haste. "Professor Haptasnytrir?" He asked, calling out to her past the door. "Do you have a minute? Deegan wanted me to talk to you." He paused a moment, before realising that perhaps he should've clarified that he didn't mean a student. Chances were, there was going to be at least one other person with that name in the student body, or at least something similar. "Deegan Darkwater. He said you'd be expecting me?" His usual confidence was gone, but more because he was a little confused about the matter than anything else.
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:04 pm
Age: 39
Gender Identity: Female*
Race: Human
Aura Color: Grey
Occupation: Professor, Huntress
Semblance Name: Hliðskjálf
Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

Deegan Darkwater... Now that was a name she hadn't heard from in a while, least of all expected for it to appear in the manner that it did. Wednesday's old PMC was hardly the place she would think to hear from an old friend like him, but the fellow must have been intent on making sure his letter was received. It did make sense given their shared connection to it. Still... reading the formal tone of that one threw her for a loop. Even by the second reading, she was unsure whether he had actually written it if it hadn't been for the penmanship. That, and the smell was what sealed the deal about its authenticity. After all this time, the old Huntsman still drank the same gut rot, ha-ha! Deegan needn't have bothered telling her that he was sending his pupil to Beacon when she could have just sniff him out!

This Asterion Khryseos... Wednesday contemplated the kind of person he was to receive such accolade from the man. Deegan had gone through the trouble of writing at least two letters. That second one sounded much more like the weathered man she knew. Wednesday couldn't very well turn down this particular favor, especially considering how much Deegan had done for her and her family. Speaking of which, her daughters had been delighted to hear from him. Well, half of them had been delighted. The older bunch made an effort to seem indifferent. She didn't miss how they'd been preparing gifts along with the rest of their siblings to send as thanks when she would write him back. Her daughters were simply the cutest~. Given Remnant's mailing system, it'd be a while before Deegan would see just what little goodies her daughters had sent him. Such as it was for when she received his letters. Maybe this pupil of his had already arrived and she just didn't know it? Beacon had a liberal acceptance period considering the influx of students they received year-round. Transfers too, now that she thought about it. Wednesday hadn't had the time recently to go over the rosters, but she was sure she had heard the name somewhere. Deegan hadn't exactly gone into detail about Asterion Khryseos either.

Then came the knocking on her door.

"If that is who I think it to be, then I suppose so." A small grin stretched across Wednesday's face propped up by an elbow. Some girded anticipation riled her up for the occasion. Well, well. Speak of the name and be answered in kind. Guess she wouldn't have to wait long at all to see for herself the type of person her old friend's pupil turned out to be.

It really had been a while ago that a part of her had been hoping that Deegan would have forgotten about the favor or died before calling it in. As cruel as that might have sounded, owing someone even the smallest of debts was an uncomfortable position for her to be in. Letting one stand for so long came as a point of anxiety. Fortunate that it was as innocuous as it was. The opportunity to interact amicably with a part of her past was a welcome feeling. Is this how it felt like to grow old? Maybe Deegan had felt the same way when penning her. She might ask him about it when they met for that drink. Another old face would be waiting for her. Today seemed a fateful one.

"Well? Don't just stand out there in the hallway; the door's open! Let me see the kind of student my old friend has been teaching." Straightening up in her seat, Wednesday waited for her door to open and reveal Asterion Khryseos.
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Asterion Khryseos
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:57 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Male
Race: Faunus (Bull Horns)
Aura Color: Gold - CFB53B
Occupation: Student
Semblance Name: Dynamo
Weapon Name: Lustrous Chimera

Confident as he was, there was something about Deegan's letter and the sheer lack of detail in it that was shaking it somewhat. It wasn't obvious to anyone that wasn't looking specifically for signs of it - at first glance, he just seemed to be conducting himself with the usual stiffness that came with a student interacting with a teacher in a formal capacity. But without much more than Deegan hinting vaguely at the possibility that Wednesday was a trusted friend to go off of, Aster couldn't help but feel like he was walking into a situation basically blind.

Preoccupied with trying to settle himself and present a confident front to the teacher, he only just about managed to recognise that she was calling him in, and he hurried in past the threshold. After closing the door gently shut behind him, Aster faced Wednesday, taking a second to take stock of her. Looking at her, he couldn't tell what it was that had Deegan acting so mysterious all of a sudden, but even so, he was plagued by the vague sense that she was familiar. Had he seen her somewhere before? been told of her? It was difficult to say, but he couldn't stand there forever, trying to figure it out.

He stepped forward and handed the letter over, though given how she'd recognised him so quickly, he figured that it was more just a formality than anything else. He wasn't entirely certain on how to proceed afterwards, however. He had no doubt that she knew who he was, and that Deegan had written up an introduction for him - albeit a brief one, given how little love he had for writing letters in general - but it was still good manners to introduce himself, right? "I'm Aster. Deegan talked about you in the letter?" He said, about as warmly as he could manage, and gestured towards the sheet of paper on the desk. "He said that you're an old friend of his, and that you'd be able to train me since you're good with axes."

There were other things on the letter besides, but that much was all he felt was relevant. He stood, waiting for a response, hoping to the Brothers that he'd made as good a first impression as his mentor had been hoping for. Disappointing the old man was something he didn't think he'd take too well.
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:04 pm
Age: 39
Gender Identity: Female*
Race: Human
Aura Color: Grey
Occupation: Professor, Huntress
Semblance Name: Hliðskjálf
Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

"He did, hm. He say anything else about me?" Wednesday could see through her quick perusal of the letter that it was another penned by Deegan addressing one Asterion Khryseos. Her blue eye left the paper to glance over its messenger. The lad definitely had the kind of presence one would associate with a Huntsman lugging around that imposing physique. She estimated he had a few inches on her own impressive height at least. The outward physical condition the young man possessed also spoke of the rigors of his training not easily concealed by the clothes he was wearing. Deegan hadn't let age encroach on his judgment sending him here to Beacon. Khryseos' presence at Beacon alone as a student was a testament to that potential. Deegan's words were put aside, both the letter his pupil had handed Wednesday and the ones she received directly from him. It was time to see for herself the kind of mettle Asterion Khryseos was made of.

"Well? Sit. We can't have a proper conversation if you're just standing there stiff as a corpse. We can get to the matter of your training later when I'm satisfied with our chat. Tell me, how did you end up under the Darkwater's teaching? He never came off as the nurturing type." Between the maurauding lifestyle of warriors like them and the advancing years of her past companion, there wasn't much room she could see where Deegan could have decided to settle down in any way beyond finding a watering hole to frequent. Then again, it had been a good span of time since last they spoke. People came onto change in scopes less than that. It had been a long while... "How has he been doing? Last we met, he was still hunkering around Atlas or thereabouts. Aren't many places outside of that fortress city anyone could be when living in Solitas."
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Asterion Khryseos
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:57 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Male
Race: Faunus (Bull Horns)
Aura Color: Gold - CFB53B
Occupation: Student
Semblance Name: Dynamo
Weapon Name: Lustrous Chimera

Aster was unsure about how to answer her question. On the one hand, he was certain he knew her from somewhere - one of Deegan's stories, perhaps. She was an old friend of his, it seemed, so he figured that he must have mentioned her at some point in his tales. But on the other hand, he couldn't quite place where exactly he knew her from. Deegan had spent most of his life at sea, there was no shortage of people missing an eye, and he'd not mentioned anyone becoming a teacher until recently. Her speaking again snapped him out of his reverie, however, and he hurriedly took a seat as ordered.

"He's doing well." Aster said, once he'd managed to gather himself enough to speak with some degree of confidence. "He's retired now, if that's what you're asking. He's been living in Menagerie for..." He trailed off, and looked away to the side, the gears turning in his head as he tried to remember exactly what he was supposed to say. "...Twenty years? I think? Something like that. He said he likes the peace and quiet there." Aster looked back at her, and was visibly starting to get more comfortable as he talked more on a familiar subject, his expression softening and his stance loosening little by little.

"Deegan took care of me when I was a kid, since my mum was always working, and he was always telling me stories about when he was a hunter, so I guess he just rubbed off on me." He gave Wednesday a sheepish smile, even shrugging a little - though whether it was to keep the mood light, or to reassure himself, was uncertain. "One of his favourites was about a pen pal he had when he was hunting around the coast of Vale. They'd send each other messages about Grimm movements with ravens she'd trained - but since he never told me her name, I just ended up calling her Bird Lady."
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:04 pm
Age: 39
Gender Identity: Female*
Race: Human
Aura Color: Grey
Occupation: Professor, Huntress
Semblance Name: Hliðskjálf
Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

That little dry heart of the sea was where he's been? Menagerie wasn't the worst place for retirement in comparison to what was adjacent to it, to be fair. A more appealing choice than staying in Solitas for him at least when age was pressing ever more intensely on him. The Faunus continent was much too hot for a woman of northern descent to entertain the notion of permanent residence. Fjords and ice flows ran strong through Wednesday's veins and anything around even temperate climates was enough to get her sweating up a deluge. Thinking about living on a tropical island of all places was considerably nightmarish to someone used to sub-zero temperatures. Managing to hop around so many different biomes impressed how spry he was for his advanced years and made thinking of him as anything other than capable feel ill-fit.

"Bird lady? Has he truly never related my name to you despite sending you my way? Letting you call me that all these years when my back's been turned and my ears too distant for words to reach... Hardly makes me sound anything other than one of those spinsters who occupy their homes with herds of cats or spend their days on a park bench peddling crumbs to pigeons." Not the worst thing she's been called over the years, and she could appreciate the straight-to-the-point nature he'd spun it out of. Still made her rub her temple a little at the lack of imagination and the consistent lack of effort Deegan expended in not telling Khryseos her damn name over the whole endeavor of taking care of the youth.

"Never mind that. My name; "Bird Lady" as you once called me, is Wednesday. You'll be calling me Professor Wednesday or Professor Haptasnytrir for the entirety of your stay under my tutelage at Beacon Academy. Do remember that." She'd have to come by for a visit soon to have a lengthy and thorough chat woman to man with Deegan. Maybe smack him upside the head while she was there. Sending a kid halfway across Remnant without so much as a name to look for was irresponsible in this day and age. A vague letter was the best he could do? Hmph. Irresponsible.

"I must say how full glad am I to hear how Darkwater found somewhere to call home all these years. Better still that he's had the blessing of company to spend it all with. I balk at the idea that he's been dabbling in child-rearing as well when one could hardly think of him as the parenting sort. You seem to have turned out in fair shape, besides." The annoyance wasn't kept entirely out of her voice when talking of Deegan. Genuine barbs mixed together masterfully amidst the jests. How he met the young bull Faunus was less so a mystery when Menagerie was involved. Faunus across the land had claim to it as their country, no matter the sordid situations behind its engineering.
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Asterion Khryseos
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:57 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Male
Race: Faunus (Bull Horns)
Aura Color: Gold - CFB53B
Occupation: Student
Semblance Name: Dynamo
Weapon Name: Lustrous Chimera

At first, Aster was a little confused. The professor was talking as if she knew Bird Lady personally, and that this person he suspected he'd never meet should have been someone he knew the name of too. Then, as she spoke more, and the gears kept turning, the pieces began to fall into place, and Aster began to realise exactly what was going on with her. His expression went through a variety of different changes, first shifting from something polite to one of realisation, then to one more embarrassed when he processed who exactly he was speaking to, then finally softening to one of vague sheepishness as he tried to recover from that faux pas.

He nodded firmly at her making sure he knew her name. Chances were, he figured, he'd be calling her Professor Wednesday for quite a while. Pronouncing her second name, while not impossible for him to pull off, would take some practise - and he'd already been getting it wrong more than he'd have liked in the first place. Her changing the topic to Deegan's choice to take up being a babysitter in his old age at least gave him a chance to move on, though, and try to shift the look he gave her back to that calm, neutral, smile. A far cry from the one he’d taken on earlier, the colour having all but drained from his face, while his eyes looked away from her in embarrassment.

"You think so?" He asked, tilting his head a little at what she said regarding Deegan. "Mum always said that he was happy when she asked him to look after me, and everyone always said that he was a natural with me too." Chamomile Hill was hardly the largest settlement in the world, and gossip travelled fast regardless of what it was about. Deegan taking care of Aster, and having a nigh-preternatural affinity with him since he was a baby, was something that more or less everyone knew about, and had never been given any reason to doubt.

He paused for a moment, thinking back on something, then continued. "Then again, I guess he's got experience. If you can keep a whole ship of people in line for as long as he has, you can probably manage a kid.” He gave a smile, and then a slight laugh. He had no idea how to manage ships, teams, or children, but Deegan always seemed like he could handle all three - perhaps at the same time. He certainly had enough stories about the first two to prove it.
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