Mary Brooding
What makes you stronger makes you dangerous.
Sat Oct 20, 2018 00:51

Mary wore black.

Her cascading hair had been braided and twisted and wrapped into the nearest approximation of a bun that it could achieve. Her regularly ruffled dresses and layers had been traded for a black riding dress, with a length of skirt in the back and cropping in at the hips to allow her legs to move freely in the front, exposed in their fitted black pants and boots. Her collared shirt was soft and slim, hugging her arms, and her vest was thick and stiff, protection for her torso. An array of simple leather pouches were strapped to her side. One was a holster for her wand, one was empty, ready to be filled with the potions she would mentally summon upon entering the Mirage Chamber, and one was full of very real health potions, just in case. And dittany. And a bezoar. And some bandages.

Better safe than sorry.

Mary was greeted by the night sky and a dark forest when she stepped into the Mirage Chamber several minutes after Tabitha entered, long enough that the Potions professor was sure the woman was not nearby. She stooped to retrieve potions from the crate at her feet, not entirely sure why that's the form her brain had provided, and then stood again, pulling out her wand to face the dangers ahead.

Although it wasn't totally fair to jump in and force changes on Tabitha's room, she thought the effort would be appreciated. The woman's restlessness was evident and there was nothing dangerous about the depths of her own mind. Mary was dangerous. If there was anything that she felt confident in, it was that she and Tabitha were equals. They completed each other in many ways and if anyone was likely to pose a real threat to either of them, it would be the other. Not to say that there weren't others who could do so-- Mary was sure that Deputy Headmistress Skies could very effectively hex her face off and Tarquin would probably beat her with a book if they got into a fight.

Regardless, Mary knew that if she and Tabitha were going to work long-term, a goal she was sure they shared, then Mary needed to be interesting. Not because Tabitha was shallow, but because Tabitha was exciting. They were a match and a proper duel would make that quite clear.

There was, of course, the risk of actually being hurt herself in this case. While she wouldn't aim to do real damage to Tabitha whilst dueling, and doubted the room would allow it anyway, there was always the chance that Tabitha might not be so hesitant to cause real harm to a seemingly imaginary opponent. Beyond that, there was only one way to actually prove that Mary was not a figment of the room's imagination.

The thought brought a deadly smile to Mary's face. It was the one area she actually had the edge in a duel, as she certainly wasn't as quick on her feet or knowledgeable about these things as Tabitha was. The competitive edge that wanted a challenge and some excitement just as bad as Tabitha did was only brought out by the Defense professor's contagious attitude and Mary was eager to begin.

She stepped forward, embracing the night air with a gentle breath, and forcing herself to think like a fighter. Dressed in black, Mary was obscured by the inky shadows that wrapped around her when the first brushes of forest licked at her arms and legs.

When she heard the rustles of various hidden creatures in the night, Mary was once again grateful that this wasn't real. Tabitha would likely be able to identify these creatures by the sounds they were making but Mary was only sure of which ones had hooves, claws, or something else by the sounds she heard. She only hoped that the room recognized their goals: if Tabitha was aiming to fight off creatures, they would attack her, not Mary.

She wasn't exactly quiet. As much as she might blend visually into the environment, she was unused to any such activities where silence might be important. However, she was fairly stealthy. Small as she was and used to the limits of much wider garments, Mary felt positively lithe as she crept through the woods. Her eyes were adjusting well, although she kept her hands in front of her to ensure she didn't run into anything directly, whether it be a tree or an acromantula (she shuddered at the thought and tried desperately not to think it), and was surprised to find a light ahead of her in the woods.

It wasn't particularly bright, which made her more confident that it wasn't a hinkypunk or something equally dangerous to her directly, and she smiled again. Tabitha wasn't expecting an actual person and had lit a light for herself. Mary crept forward until she was sure she wouldn't be able to get any closer without giving away her position directly.

For a moment, she simply considered. Tabitha was walking in the woods just as dense as anywhere, providing adequate cover. As a result, more pointed spells would probably be an effective way to start an engagement without actually hitting their mark. Anything that would catch the forest on fire was a bad idea for a number of reasons, although the fact that it would destroy the advantage Mary had by wearing black was not the primary concern in that case. It would also be unfair to use a binding spell or something that would immobilize Tabitha when she didn't expect an attack.

But she does expect an attack.

Mary remembered then how dangerous Tabitha was.

This was a dueling master, entering the woods in anticipation of fighting a creature or imaginary wizard. Whatever Tabitha was at that moment, including surprised or caught-off-guard, she was not unprepared. Mary hardened her expression and allowed herself to sink into the adrenaline that made her heart beat faster. Even if something went awry and one of them did end up injured, the room could be dissipated at a moment's notice. Even if something went awry and one of them did end up injured, this was for Tabitha. Tabitha would certainly be excited (she hoped) to face some real danger and that it was from her partner. Hopefully she'd also be a little excited later on that evening all because of it.

Mary raised her wand and focused her mind at the same time, prepared to lunge with both.

"Expulso," Mary shouted, aiming at the branches and leaves above Tabitha, showering the woman with natural projectiles and the satisfaction of a very loud sound. She hadn't put enough force into it to be concerned that anything larger than a few small sticks would land on Tabitha and didn't waste time with concern for this before lunging forward with her mind.

"Legilimens," she muttered through gritted teeth, forcing her thoughts to move like an arrow before reaching for Tabitha's mind. She grasped at the woman's thoughts, allowing enough of herself to leak through that it was clear who was attacking and that it was benign.

Then, she screamed. Her voice lurched from her throat and she felt like her mind's work might've looked like large stone shattering the surface of otherwise still waters as it erupted with her thoughts, her personality, and her warning.

"On guard!" she screamed.

Then, she ran.

  • What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.Tabitha Hawthorne, Fri Oct 19 21:41
    Tabitha was struggling with being back at Sonora more than she cared to admit. Her body hummed with energy and adrenaline that needed to be used, seeking a challenge to conquer. She could barely sit... more
    • What makes you stronger makes you dangerous. — Mary Brooding, Sat Oct 20 00:51
      • You're about to see just how dangerous...Tabitha Hawthorne, Sat Oct 20 07:32
        Tabitha was surprised, automatically dropping into a crouch and pulling all her long limbs inwards and dropping her head down in order to shield it from the assault - it wouldn't do to get knocked... more
        • Finally!Mary Brooding, Sat Oct 20 10:15
          Mary laughed, a wild sound that bubbled from her lips as she dodged the first of Tabitha's responding spells and cast a few of her own back. She was excited for the opportunity to play with Tabitha... more
          • Are you playing tricks on me?Tabitha Hawthorne, Sat Oct 20 10:51
            It wasn't the potion that affected Tabitha first but rather, the spell. It hit in her in the stomach while she'd been distracted with guarding her nose and mouth against the potion fumes. This, in... more
            • Me? Never!Mary Brooding, Wed Oct 24 22:49
              For a moment, Mary felt pretty clever. Her narrowed garments meant ducking out of the way of the first spell that Tabitha shot off at her fairly straightforward, particularly considering that Tabitha ... more
              • You'll tell me anything. Tabitha Hawthorne, Sun Oct 28 17:10
                Tabitha had made a mistake. The mistake being that she was becoming complacent and wasn't taking the duel too seriously. It was one thing to duel in the real world, when it was a matter of life or... more
                • Oh, you think so? Mary Brooding, Sun Nov 4 20:03
                  Mary gasped as the very real sharp of an arrow nicked her bicep. She'd done well to avoid the others but her stomach knotted when she heard her sleeve tear and looked down to find hot blood on her... more
                  • Oh, absolutely. Or I can always make you tell me.Tabitha Hawthorne, Sun Nov 4 20:36
                    Tabitha was both confused and alarmed at the sudden appearance of a lot of things that definitely hadnít been programmed into the room - including the small rabbit that seemed intent on hopping... more
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