« on: January 20, 2015, 09:38:55 PM »
Harker's Academy was down the street from the Old Temple Baronial Manor. The building was stone and two large windows on either side of the entrance. Passersby might be able to get a look at some of the activities going on inside the school. It had a basement where some of the weapons and alchemy work were done. While the building was one of the older structures in the district, the place was well kept and clean inside.
Rhiannon Harker was in the front office attending to paperwork. Maggie, her eight year old, was peering out one of the window as she waited for the expected visitors.
The small party made their way down that street, three small figures flanked by two larger ones, and a sixth that glided along behind them, ominously quiet. As they came up to the building, everyone stopped to look up and around at everything. Toby turned to the quiet figure, and gestured with his head. "We'll be fine, Max. Hang out here. Keep out of sight. Don't scare anyone."
As always, there was no audible reply from the burnt-red armored machine. Its single red eye pulsed once, and it drifted away into the shadows beyond to await the family's return. Toby turned back to his wife Tabitha, and then gestured to the three little girls. "Ok, who wants to ring the bell?" He expected a cacaphony of "me! me!", and was surely not disappointed. Little Selene was the one who got to toddle up and (with an assist from her big sister Maurin), pushed the button for the doorbell.
The ringing of the doorbell was followed by a rushing of small feet and a call of, "Mama! They're here!" Maggie waited for her mother to answer the door. Friendly folk or not, she had been taught to wait.
Rhi opened the door and gestured for the family to come inside out of the chilly winter weather. "Welcome! How are you all today?"
Maggie was excited about this visit. She would get to share the art room and other things with the St. Germain girls. "We're having hot chocolate and banana bread for snacks today. Do you like those?"
Rhi grinned and gestured to Maggie. "You have now met our social director. The rest of the tour will follow shortly." She opened the coat closet so any outerwear could be hung up for the time being. "To add to what Maggie said, snacks are being served in the lunch room at the rear of the building. Maybe the girls would like to start there. My first question for parents and guardians is always "do you have any questions or concerns that I can address for you?"
The girls were quite pleased about the snack situation, and managed to talk over each other as a result, until Maurin settled her younger siblings down and answered in her best 'I'm the big sister' mode. "Yes, please!"
Maggie directed the girls to lunch room so the adults could talk.
With that settled, Toby and Tabitha were able to talk to Rhi while the girls were otherwise occupied. "Oof, wow.. where do we begin," Toby chuckled. "Well, I guess to recap what I was telling Miz Colleen at the snow event.. our three little whirling dervishes there are pretty close in age, and we've been doing a little bit of home schooling up until now. But we both want them to have a proper school education, with other kids, and not be as isolated. And that's something of a complicated issue, because they're all three, um, gifted. Which we'll talk about in more detail."
He glanced over at Tabitha, with a smile. "And it's going to be four rather shortly, as well." Then he turned back again to Rhi. "I guess for myself I''d like to know more about the school, you know?" And a questioning look to Tabi to see what she thought.
With one hand resting on her ever-growing belly, Tabitha looked around the entryway, taking note of where the little ladies had gone. Usually, new places set her on edge, but there was no such feeling here. In fact, Tabitha felt nearly as relaxed as she did at home - which Toby would know the minute she brushed his arm, threading hers through his. "It seems more like a family, rather than the schools I've read about and seem ads for all over Rhydin - you know, the ones with the robed professors and funny hats."
"Please sit down." She gestured to a few chairs and a small sofa in what might have been called a waiting room. "I remember my last few weeks waiting on my children. Standing was not something I wanted to do for long periods!" She smiled gently and took a seat herself.
"All of the students here are gifted in some way or other. A few have more than one talent and we try to work with their abilities and teach them, primarily, to not be afraid of what they were born with. Unfortunately, not all children in Rhydin are blessed with parents that are accepting of those innate gifts. It was one of the reasons I started the school. My cousin, Jacen, who teaches here, is good example. He had to learn the hard way and on his own to cope with what he could do."
A pot of tea with plate of cinnamon rolls and slices of banana bread were brought out from the lunch room and set on a low table. Pearl left three mugs on the table as well. She give Rhi a wink and went on her way back to the lunch room. She was one of people in charge of the chattering bunch of children at least for the time being.
"Thank you, Pearl." Rhi smiled. "She's one of our teacher's aides." She offered to pour for Tabi and Toby. "This is a family run school. I'm careful of who I invite as guest instructors. There are plenty of people in Rhydin that are willing to help within their scope of knowledge. Shylah, for instance, gave a wonderful presentation on navigating by the night sky." She poured the tea and slid the condiments tray toward the couple. "Open minds tend to make life easier for people. The kids seem to enjoy field trips from time to time." She chuckled softly. "Matt Simon has gained a few young admirers after he spoke on zero-g travel and such." Rhi took a long drink from her tea. "What I'm trying to get at is we try to keep things educational and fun. Bored children or children that aren't being challenged enough often feel out of place and lose interest."