Squaring a Debt

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Asterion Khryseos
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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
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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
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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
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"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
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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
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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
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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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'Bird lady'. Hmph. Wednesday was still stuck turning the debacle over in her head and working herself into a huff because of it. Even while she was getting her rant off, she hadn't missed how Asterion's expression changed from one to another. The boy was much too wound up and seeing the emotions play out across his face was the first real look into his normal way of being. It was tempting to put on the guise of actually being Professor Haptasnytrir's assistant for Asterion's benefit if it would mean putting a stop to how restrained he was acting. Students didn't normally speak candidly with authority figures, that was she familiar with. Pretending to be someone else wouldn't be anything new for her when she'd pull the wool over fresh initiatives in a similar fashion to circumvent social barriers. Wednesday discarded the fleeting desire and decided to keep this meeting simple. She'd more than satisfied herself hearing how Deegan had been doing and what he was up to. Now was the time for Wednesday to circle back to the person this whole series of events revolved around and focus her attentions on him in full. Starting by looking into the roots.

"Mm. A blessing that you took to his care about as well as ship hands take to the sea, going by your presence here." Her leather-backed chair creaked at the weight returning comfortably on it alongside a cooler head on her shoulders. "Speaking of that, I would like to bring the focus back to my old friend's pupil. For instance, is there any other reason you decided to enroll in Beacon? An underlying personal motivation pushing you forward or some goal you're trying to reach, perhaps?"

Wednesday wanted to understand the kind of person Asterion Khryseos was and his answer would offer some means to that end. Failing that, she'd learn more than enough when it came down to crossing blades with him. She had the foresight to place a reservation in advance for one of the training room today which meant plenty of time to peel back the layers indulging in some hearty clean violence. Maybe some physical exercise would be the way to break through with Asterion. Gungnir and Valföðr would have been freshly sharpened for nothing otherwise.
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Asterion Khryseos
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Weapon Name: Lustrous Chimera

Aster was all too happy to talk about anything that wasn't his initial social misstep. The less that was said about the 'Bird Lady' ordeal, the better. However, it moved to a topic that he wasn't entirely comfortable with either. Himself, and the personal matters contained therein. He supposed that it was a question he should've been ready for - making the choice to be a hunter wasn't something done lightly, so it was only natural that others would be curious. He vaguely remembered it being a part of the psychological examination too, though given how long ago it was, he supposed that he could just have been misremembering a question another prospective student asked him. Either way, it wasn't worth thinking about. She was expecting an answer, and he couldn't sit around all day navel-gazing.

"Being a hunter's the only thing I ever wanted." He said, a gentle smile on his lips. "Deegan always told me stories about hunting when I was young, and they all just stuck." He spoke confidently, without much hesitation beyond that which would've been natural when speaking to an authority figure about something personal. As benign and unremarkable an answer as it may have been, it was the truth. Perhaps not the whole truth, though. There were things Aster left out, things he didn't dare to tell the professor - or anyone else, for that matter. Feelings he intended to bury, keeping secret until the end of his days.

He looked towards her, keeping that smile plastered across his face, twiddling his thumbs as he awaited an answer. By no means was he a particularly good actor, but what he'd been telling her wasn't a lie. He'd had no need to pretend, so hopefully, she wouldn't pick up that he was hiding something from her. He'd rather just get on with the teaching part of things. Sparring, a lecture, anything but diving deep into his motivations and his character. The psychological evaluation had been stressful enough, and he'd had time to prepare himself for that.
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Semblance Name: Hliðskjálf
Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

"Hoh? Must be the wonderous tales if they infatuated you so."

Well, if that was the justification young Khryseos was willing to share...

Wednesday glinted something shying below the surface. Close to breaking into the open where the disturbance sent ripples teasing at the tension; blurring what it could have been. It was a veil even her Semblance couldn't pierce. Turning this particular answer around in her head only brought up a sense of dissatisfaction. While it certainly wasn't a wrong one, it did leave a lot to be desired solely from how little it actually gave her to work with. Hollow was the word Wednesday would apply to it. Perhaps lackluster too? Hearing that justification many students claimed as their motivation in all its variations over the years gave a certain perspective to the whole thing she feared leaned towards bitterness. It was an exercise in appreciating nuance to those answers. Half the enjoyment of teaching came from helping her students understand their personal drives and why it was that fairy tales appealed to them so. She wasn't quite there with Khryseos having met him a spare handful of minutes prior to this interaction. Hardly enough time at all. The clock ticking away on the wall was another reminder of daylight burning.

"Hmm. I believe I've gathered enough for an initial impression of you. I also sense that carrying on with this conversation will only provide me an inadequate measure of you. But please, we can continue on the way to the sparring ring. Why don't you tell me more of these stories that inspire you?" Staying seated for any more length of time would be counterproductive. Better to let young blood flow before spilling it, but she was getting ahead of herself. Gungnir or Valföðr as her starter? She had time to decide on the way over.

Old wood creaked as Wednesday rose from her office chair. A sign of tensions rising beneath the seams all in anticipation of coming conflict. Ominous caws called out from outside as she worked her way towards the entrance.
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Asterion Khryseos
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Aster wasn't quite sure what to make of her response. Was it disapproving? Ominous? Resigned? He'd been so focussed on attempting to conceal what lay beneath, that he'd neglected to pay full attention to what she was saying to him - and how it had been said. However, there was little that could be done about it. While he had no doubt that the topic would be a point of contention another day, it was a concern for another day. They were to begin sparring, and he could tell her a tale of Deegan's while they went on. Perhaps that would help distract them both from his motives.

"One of the ones that inspired me..." He muttered to himself, thinking through the veritable library of stories Deegan had recounted to him over the years. His hesitation didn't come from having too few to pick from - Deegan's career had been a long and storied one, after all. Rather, it was the opposite. With so many having been told to him, Aster was spoilt for choice, and ended up hesitating for longer than perhaps was appropriate. However, his face eventually lit up as he recalled one, his vaguely sombre look giving way to something that was altogether more eager.

"Did he ever tell you about the time his beard caught fire when he was fighting some raiders?" He paused a moment, looking out past the window at the sounds of the birds beyond it. He wasn't sure why those calls in particular caught his attention, but gave it no more thought. He had other matters to attend to. Telling a tale and deciding how best to open the fight, for starters. He returned his gaze to the path ahead and started speaking once again, making sure to keep pace with her while he did his best to do Deegan's tale justice.

"...Anyway, the pirates. There was a crew of them that had been stealing enough Dust that some important people in Atlas put out a bounty on them, so Deegan decides to go after them. Him and his team had tracked them to the Mistralian coast, and were keeping an eye on the port, when they saw someone boarding a merchant vessel. And that someone was a match for someone that had been shown on the bounty listing, so of course, Deegan got suspicious of them getting onto what was supposed to be a regular civilian ship."

Aster seemed focussed - far more than he had been before. Whether it was genuine excitement or just admiration for his teacher's exploits, what tension had been in him before seemed to have lifted. "Him and Morgan decide to sneak on, and see if they can figure out whether anything suspicious is going on in there. They got on and hid, and it turned out that the place was swarming with pirates! It turned out they'd been using their black market contacts to help smuggle the Dust out of the region, leaving them free to keep attacking Atlesian ships. Once they'd recorded enough to put the pirates and their friends in hot water, they tried to sneak off again, but the captain spotted them before they could make it off - and of course, he decided to take them down where they stood."

He'd stopped even looking at Wednesday by that point, his focus fully on the story at hand. "Deegan, Morgan, and the crew all started fighting, with steel and shrapnel going everywhere, and some of it must've caught a crate of fire Dust, because he was knocked flat on his back by an explosion off to his side. It must've been a hell of a blast, because it went straight past his Aura and set fire to his beard - but it actually worked out better for him! When he stood up, the sight of him with his face in flames and fire behind him scared half the crew into standing still - and the other half went running when he started screaming at them!" Aster paused to grin, seemingly on the verge of laughing out loud, before deciding to finally wrap things up.

"After that, him and Morgan cleaned up whoever hadn't run off, while his team and some other hunters nearby caught the runners before they could get too far. Deegan said that the worst thing about the whole thing wasn't getting burnt or fighting a whole crew of people out to kill him, though. Apparently, it was that his beard wouldn't grow right for months after it!"
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
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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

Resting comfortably on a coat rack, but never unready, was the leather belt containing two of her great prides. Each from another life away. Companions through the age and neither she would carelessly discard. Save one. At the same instance, its creation and sponsor were why she could never bring herself to rid it from her person. Barbs that tangled too tightly around Wednesday to ever be freed fully. Old wounds.

Slinging them off the hook was a practiced motion liberated of wasted energy. One fluid action brought it up and over to clasp around her waist. A sheathe long and straight to a blunted point kept the weapon within largely a mystery while the other was little more than a hook to hold an exposed axhead broad and curved along its gleaming edge. A muzzle visible where it joined the handle. Each weapon was bound at either of the professor's sides easily within reach for the respective hand.

A pointed jerk of her head was all the invitation Wednesday gave to continue their talk on the way to the sparring ring as she opened the door and began the walk there.

Hums followed behind Wednesday who paid half a mind to her charge. It wasn't until Khryseos made mention of his mentor's story that warmth of familiarity broadened her small smile. Alight with renewed nostalgia for an old acquaintance, Wednesday nodded once in affirmation to his question. "Blackbeard" was the nickname she associated with the man ever since she first caught wind of the incident where his beard was sundered in a fiery blaze. Soot would have caked the bottom half of his face and there would have hardly been a difference to her compared to the mangled mass that resided there before like tangled seaweed dark from brine. Deegan may have mourned the loss of his manly pride, but Wednesday lamented that she hadn't been there to take a picture. A lost opportunity.

"One can hope he takes better care of it this time around and has learned to appreciate it more. I scarce believe a comb has ever approached his thoughts, let alone his hair." Did she gift him one before? There was no single memory Wednesday brought to mind that said either way. It would most assuredly have been a lost cause. She spoke no more along the way. Simple nods to show she was listening were the most she offered.

Glow of sunlight and recollecting filled her breast passing by the tall windows flashing from bright to dim as if still taken in sequence. Flashes of moments in time fleeting softly by with every step advancing as she did.

Yes, Wednesday would be holding Deegan to that meeting. It had been far too long since they last shared a drink and conversation. Adding Morgan into them mix guaranteed a most raucus evening. Dare she say, she missed their rough demeanor. For now, that remained as action for the future. A charge had need of testing and she to make good on a favor. Settling from the memories Khryseos had dusted off with his story, Wednesday released a calming breath as the metal door to the sparring room, very similar to a gaping maw, came upon them. Casting a sidelong glance to the young Huntsman in training, Wednesday once again spoke.

"Have you need of anything before we begin? The chance to make a first impression comes only the once." Another probing test she set in Khryseos' path mere steps from what she'd been dangling in front of him since their first meeting. All she wanted to know was what he would do now.
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Asterion Khryseos
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Aster just chuckled at her reply, and waved his hand dismissively, before returning it to his side.There was a smirk on his face as he spoke, and a light, friendly tone to match.
"Ha, are you sure we're talking about the same Deegan? I don't think I've seen anyone take better care of their beard than him. Hell, he'll probably crack you across the head if you look at his chin the wrong way." It was interesting to hear his teacher's side of things. He'd not seen Deegan in his prime, and the only references he had were the stories he was told by the man himself - which likely left out the more embarrassing bits.

Swapping stories about Deegan would have to wait, however. Before he'd even realised it, they'd come upon the sparring room. It hadn't ever seemed intimidating before - empty as it was, it was just an open expanse of metal, ready for whatever havoc students and teachers were to wreak upon it. But standing there, with Professor Haptasnytrir waiting for him, he couldn't help but feel a little uneasy. The space - and indeed, the prospect of the fight itself - grew more intimidating the longer that he thought about it. So, in an effort to keep himself from losing his grip, he grabbed a handful of slugs and buckshot, before stashing them away.

"I've got everything I need." He said flatly, not even looking at her, instead keeping his gaze on Chimera while he slotted round after round slowly into it. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't at least a little nervous about clashing against her. Even though he relished the thrill of a good fight, there was a certain atmosphere to the arena that thickened the longer the two of them stood there. Like the air itself was trying to warn him of her strength. He ignored it, of course, pushing those feelings down as best he could, until the final shell was pressed in.

The steady ka-chak of his shotgun racking a round echoed into the still air, and he turned back to Wednesday, a focussed look taking hold in his gaze. "Alright. I'm ready."
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
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Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

"Heh. We shall see, won't we?" Bit of a dramatic lad, really, loading his weapon right then and there. Wednesday was partial to chastising him for entering a fight with an unloaded weapon, but that lesson paled in comparison to her desire for the very same fight about to unfold. It was in the midst of this rare occassion when acting in her role as professor was a secondary concern to mentoring Khryseos. Taking up arms and entering combat against a student was something that wouldn't fly under most academic circumstances, and probably an overreach of her position at Beacon, but calling this a "private tutoring session" usually kept the record clean enough to keep parents below class action. Which suited Wednesday just fine if it meant she could continue implementing austere methods of education. Interacting with the young man and seeing his personality slowly reveal more of itself made her own culture's way of training the increasingly favorable option to nurture Khryseos' potential.

Or maybe Wednesday was looking for every justification to make sure she could engage in a fight and not a simple spar. She was here to test the upper limits and gauge what kind of guidance Khryseos would need under her watch. If Wednesday was to accurately assess all he had in his repertoire, then there needed to be plausible threats to draw out all of his effort. Deegan did ask her for a favor. How could she turn down a request from an old friend?

Light streamed in through the widening gap as the door slid open to reveal the sparring ring awaiting them in the middle of the room. Waving the boy in, Wednesday's steps were the only noise pervading an otherwise unoccupied. An echoing din soon to be replaced by the whirring of gears lowering the light array to illuminate the ring. A few more passes on her scroll locked the door behind them and brought the shutters down for the windows above. The only source of light shone from above exactly where it needed to and went no further. Not even the monitor normally used to monitor Aura levels in sparring sessions was active.

Wednesday waited at the center of it all looking as relaxed as she was in her office. The weapons at her side were lazily drawn and hung in her hands positioned not even remotely in a stance meant for battle. Yet the air clung heavily around the ring, dangerous in a way that the point of a spear against ones throat was. There was an energy building, or maybe leaking out from being bottled up. Khryseos was gazing into the eye of the gale about to blow through.

"I'm waiting."
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In those few moments before he was about to strike, time seemed to slow around him, and Aster began to focus. A long, slow, breath filled him as he blinked, and his grip tightened on the gun, shifting and realigning as he tried to make himself more comfortable on it. But no matter where his hands put themselves, there was no getting away from the tension that lingered in the air - tension that hung so thick in it that he felt as though he could cut into it with a knife. Aster grit his teeth, and redoubled his focus. He couldn't spare any thoughts to it - not right now.

He didn't give any warning - they were both ready, after all. Swiftly, he brought the scattergun up with a fluid and practised motion, levelling it against Wednesday's torso. A thunderous crack filled the air, and shrapnel surged forward, Aster following shortly after. The buckshot had merely been a distraction, something to keep her attention in the split second before he lunged forward, his heavy and rapid footfalls accompanied by the clanking of Chimera shifting into its melee form. With both heads unfolded, it might have seemed slow and unwieldy - but he'd had a running start, and could strike like lightning.

A bellowing roar filled the arena, and Aster swung towards her, the axe cutting a clean line through the air as he swung it against Wednesday's side. There were fancy tricks, no clever manoeuvrers. He was a simple man, and had a simple strategy - hit the target until they stopped hitting him.
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
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Semblance Name: Hliðskjálf
Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

The stationary state of the environ effected a tenuous calm betraying none of the shifts and sways Wednesday could feel filtering into a singular moment promising all in the wake of it a most momentous occasion. Its arrival promised her much and indulging its beckoning flirtations even perched on its coalescing edge as she was hardly amounted to any real threat. This was but breath moving through her lungs and beating in her veins. Raw exhilaration murmured at the heels of Khryseos' opening volley as she made her own advance directly challenging the full brunt of his attack.

Wednesday was all too glad to receive his gift of battle with a downward cleave, scarring the air with a purple arc as its gravitational power separated the swarm of shrapnel in two halves. Fluttering the trails of her cloak was all the deadly blast was reduced to; that of a stiff breeze ruffling at the folds as it passed by to harmlessly impact the far-off barrier. The tip of the Dust-infused weapon continued on in its trajectory to meet the young man's charge head on, the hold on it catching the strike so clearly aimed to bite off flesh from the flank as her opponent desired.

Up, then down. Aura pulsed the length of her arm to the tips of her fingers in a flash of grey before purple overtook the dagger as it swung. Channeling performed at the speed of thought an instance before the collision. Within moments of being within the offending opposition’s reach, Wednesday reversed the grip on her dagger, sinking it where the ax curved inward and pulled, leveraging the force he was applying behind it as a means to redirect it down and away. Rather than allow him to simply take the engineered tumble, Wednesday brought the blunt side of her own ax down at his upper back to capitalize on the opening she created. Dancing around Khryseos blow to deliver a hard smack. It would have been just as easy to lop at the exposed nape of his neck or even the back of his head, but then where would that leave him? The message would have been better received if Khryseos was aware of the ease at which she could have struck a potentially deadly blow. This was his first lesson with her as his teacher.

“That all you got, lad?”
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Asterion Khryseos
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The pellets not finding their mark didn't bother Aster - he'd only intended them as a distraction. Something to force her to react while he barrelled forward, hopefully creating an opening for him to exploit. It was her parrying the blow like it was nothing that had him clenching his teeth in frustration - and the thump against his back only added insult to injury. For a second, his grip tightened, and his stance twitched towards her, as if to try and level another savage blow at her. His nostrils flared, and his teeth clenched - but he steadied himself, and regained his stance, staring her down while she taunted him.

"I'm just getting started!" He said, still bearing a smile. Something wasn't the same with it, however. Whether it could be noticed in the heat of battle was uncertain, but it had begun to shift downwards, curling so very slightly into a frown - or perhaps even a snarl. He didn't give her time to ponder the point, in the event that she did somehow notice that miniscule shift in his expression. Once more, he bore down on her, his axe striking down towards her, cleaving through the air itself like a bolt of lightning.

Despite its appearances, it wasn't simply a brainless charge. He'd shifted his hands further up the haft, reducing his range, but swinging faster. As basic a technique as it was, even Aster wasn't bullheaded enough to think that mindlessly swinging around a lump of steel would get him anywhere. Deegan had taught him better than that.
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
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Semblance Name: Hliðskjálf
Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

Oho? The boy had a fire in him. Good. It made fighting him less of a chore and more of a gift. A quick recovery and already stomping to continue the melee. Yes. She could see the attentions Deegan imparted in his subtle influences working the limbs to where they needed to be. To be sure of their quality, because she had to be for this assessment, his attack was invited with arms spread wide.

The great black cloak billowed from about her shoulders, adding on to Wednesday's already imposing presence and emphasizing the bright gleam cast by her ax cutting through to Asterion like a star falling ablaze from the night sky. Its sudden and violent impact against the rival arm illicited glee rather than concern even as it was driven back by the greater force he had employed. Or rather, it was allowed to. A small hit to take. Falling behind its advancing master, Wednesday pushed herself full tilt within Asterion's proximity and behind the reach of his weapon. The failure to overpower him in the brief exchange acting as a ploy to circumvent the danger in order to mount her counterattack. Valföðr ricocheting off afforded her to reverse the hold, allowing it to tumble axhead over handle to where the end of it was now pointed up whereas the blade acted more like a handguard. A smack at the weapon in his hand after bleeding its momentum to push it further from a threat to her as she swept the dagger in quick succession at his abdomen.

"Show me then!" Each word punctuated by a carving stab or horizontal rend. Violence unabashedly on display, but measured strikes in the grand scheme. Wednesday remained within reach of the boy, waiting to see how he would capatilize on the opportunity.
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Semblance Name: Dynamo
Weapon Name: Lustrous Chimera

The reaction to his strike was not the one he expected - though he didn't dare to stop and consider it. Even if he thought it a trap, and deigned to pull his attack away, it was too late to do so. His axe was in full swing, and reeling it in would simply leave him more open than if he swung and pivoted using the momentum. To his surprise, however, the blow landed, albeit perhaps not cleanly. He didn't stop to think on if there was any deeper meaning behind it. He'd landed a blow, and he had to press whatever advantage he could glean from it, if he was to stand any chance of putting up a fight.

His celebrations were short-lived, though. He found himself uncomfortably close to his teacher - far too close for his axe to do much more than jab at her. it was okay though, he'd trained for it. Images of Grimm getting too close for comfort flashed into his mind, and as if on instinct, his body moved in response. The haft was slammed into her forearm as the blow launched towards him, and though his reflexes weren't nearly as fast as ones honed by many years of experience - nor as precise - he shifted his weapon just in time to let it glance off his side. With his Aura taking the brunt of the attack, and his Semblance letting him keep his stance, his leg swung up towards her.

She was too close for the axehead, but Chimera wasn't his only weapon. His savage strength lent staggering force to the knee that rose sharply into her torso, and to the haft slamming into the same as he turned it on its side. The strikes sacrificed power for speed, but they weren't intended for strength. Like with the Grimm he'd fought before, they were just to throw her off-balance, and buy him breathing space so he could attack again - as was the small backstep he took, before swinging again, this time slicing up. He moved with savage speed and power both, striking as if to cut through her, not into her - as if he wish to cleave into her heart through her abdomen.
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Professor Wednesday Haptasnytrir
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:04 pm
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Race: Human
Aura Color: Grey
Occupation: Professor, Huntress
Semblance Name: Hliðskjálf
Weapon Name: Gungnir and Valföðr

A thought arose for Wednesday as she loosed the ax from her grip following the well struck knee to her gut. A memory of when she visited Mistral and heard tell of esoteric spear techniques centered around a tassel, of all things. Small tufts dangling underneath glinting metal appeared more of a reflection of the wielder's excessive vanity than practicality. It seemed a ridiculous thing to fixate on and lacked any reasonable application when seeing them twirling around, but learning its uses was truly enlightening. A means to distract an opponent and obscure the danger of the weapon's point until it was too late. Lethality hidden in the subterfuge of elegance. Adapting those lessons for use in her own style was an appreciable exertion and appealed to her martial sensibilities. The motions emerged from their place in memory and exerted themselves to brandish the refined barbarism of war.

Khryseos' blow landed true, buffeting and pushing her back at a pace requiring her backfoot to crunch against the tiles to halt any further give. It was not enough incentive to so much as shake Wednesday beyond the grunt she made at the moment of impact. A momentary burst of air that hissed through gleaming teeth. Her lone eye shone with a hint of approval. Furthermore, she gleamed a sliver of something in the all too brief exchange. Sparingly used, or an ace best kept for a critical moment? The truth did not matter. She would rip it out into the open and make him use it. The real challenge for the young lad began.

Valföðr parried the blunt assault of the student's weapon using its very handle and fractions later was hurtled with devastating speed at his grounded foot.

Gungnir grew to its full length as it changed positions. A spear now born in one hand and guided b the now free one lancing at him in a tight burst of peerless strikes. A downward dip that snapped at his heels swooped in close and caught the fallen ax by its wings. Flicking her wrist freed it from the ground and pitched at his chin from below in parallel to the spear that again was seeking to impale him in the same instance. As masterfully swift as the maneuver was, the follow-up was matched in cold ferocity when the ax was visited once again by the spear in its withdrawal; gravitational manipulation flinging it as the herald to the next barrage of vicious stabs.

A straight swing flung the wicked ax that would split his face in two if it were to land. Aura would surely deny this consequence, of that she was more than certain. Chipping away at is as the few hits that landed did was far from depleting the lad's reserves enough to break it. Wednesday doubted even the lack of it would have ensured the grisly fate when contested against his training. Respecting that skill meant overcoming with that of her own. Twisting the axis that was her spear altered the starting trajectory to a steep cleave through the air towards Khryseos now positioned to endanger whatever action he would have responded with initially.
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Asterion Khryseos
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Aura Color: Gold - CFB53B
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Semblance Name: Dynamo
Weapon Name: Lustrous Chimera

For a moment, Aster thought that he'd managed to gain the upper hand, to however slight a degree. He thought that he'd managed to pry apart her defences - even if just a little - enough that he'd be able to find something to exploit. Emboldened by this perceived turn of events, he swung hard, but it was for naught. Even with all the strength that his Semblance afforded him, she managed to push the blade out of the way, and create an opening to strike down at him. Aster grit his teeth, and grunted as he tried to move his foot away from that strike - he'd gotten overconfident again, and he was paying for it.

The spear dipping downwards might have been a prime opening for a quicker fighter, or a lighter weapon. But Aster, as fast as he was, focussed his efforts on brute forcing his way past any defences his opponent put up. Though he swung hard, he was forced to pull Chimera back into a defensive position. His stance already shaken by Wednesday swinging down at his feet, and with him lacking any proper shield, he relied almost entirely on his Semblance to keep from being forced away. But it wouldn't last forever - each blow that slipped past his defences shaved off yet another portion of his Aura, and he had precious little of it to spare.

He had to think on his feet. He couldn't turtle up - he didn't have anything to shield himself with properly, and there was nothing in the environment nearby to use instead. Range wouldn't afford him an advantage either - her spear was faster and longer than his axe, and his shotgun was too slow to do much against her, if his opening salvo was anything to go by. The way he saw it, that left him with only one option. If he couldn't put up a defence that'd keep her strikes from doing anything against him, he'd just have to go for an all-out assault.

A brutal roar ripped through the air as Aster worked himself into a fever pitch, and he barrelled forwards, closing the gap between them with blinding speed. Wednesday's blows landed, but he'd been building power throughout the fight. It wasn't enough to trigger a blast, but she'd need a lot more power to have him on the backfoot again. As bullheaded as he was, however, Aster wasn't stupid enough to ignore the looming threat of the axe crashing down towards him. He had a plan for it - a stupid and harebrained one that no sensible person would think to try and pull off, but he wasn't renowned for being sensible. Besides, it was just crazy enough that it might have just worked.

Shifting his stance ever so slightly as he moved in, Aster gripped the haft near the middle, and swung with all his might. Another great shout bellowed out into the air - but this time, it was two words: "BATTER UP!" In that split second, it was clear that he wasn't aiming for Wednesday. He was aiming for the axe. Whether it simply knocked the weapon off-course, or the strength of his swing was enough to send it flying, he didn't care. As long as it didn't hit him, it was fine. No matter whether it worked or not, he used the momentum of that swing to turn Chimera back towards Wednesday. Then, like she had done with him, he sent the weapon hurting down.
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