Originally serving as an interim school while Hogwarts was closed in spring of 2009, this beautifully designed manor now serves as a safe haven for fugitives from Trevor Williams as well as the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix. It is heavily defended, and its location at any point can change as the entire manor is capable of moving.
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Saturday, 26 May 2012
3 p.m.
Tutaminis Manor, Grounds

Sleep, they told her. But she wasn’t tired.

Stana didn’t feel much like resting, she felt like she’d do better on the grounds, maybe over at those targets that were frequented by the archers and blade-throwers as of late. Stana wasn’t allowed—or rather she preferred—not to be around Brenna Fox for a little while since they were still on rough terms since she, well, stabbed her through the hand to get her wand back, so she knew she had to wait until the grounds were empty of Fox’s squadron before heading out. Shadow smirked at her when she told her where she would run off to, 1) because they could trace her by scent even if she hadn’t announced where she was heading, and 2) there was a flicker of admiration for her eagerness to keep moving. The pack had been working on drills, formation, tactics for this upcoming run, a battle that Jace and the 7 were reeled into thanks to Ms. O’Donnell.

And speaking of, Stana pondered the whispers in their camp about Ms. O’Donnell. Kara, the leader of the Order was incapacitated? Stana was frustrated by her human hearing, because she couldn’t clearly hear when Rafe and Shadow decided to talk about things, almost behind Jace’s back. It put Stana in a tough position. Did they think she wouldn’t listen in? Should she be reporting this to Jace? And what exactly was he doing anyway? He spent the night away from the camp, the night Shadow and Rafe went into London and returned in the twilight hours. She saw Shadow at the laundry too. There was a lot of blood on Jace’s jacket. Kara's blood?

What happened that night?

She could never ask these questions. Stana had been disciplined far too many times, and told on several occasions that she needed to keep in line and she wanted to, but this confused her. What exactly were Shadow and Rafe talking about? The way Shadow looked too, it seemed to bother her a lot.

Setting her sketch book on a stone nearby, Stana readied the fang Jace had given her, and started to warm up. Her first task was to practice a couple of swipes and cuts. She needed to solidify her form, strengthen her core. Shadow had already kicked her ass a couple of times this morning, and if she made her way back out here after rest, Stana would get her ass kicked again if she didn’t make this right.
Over a month. It had been over a month since she had left her job in the muggle world, left her apartment in the muggle world, and had moved here to join in to lord knows what chaos was in store for her and the future. And yet nothing had happened yet. It couldn't really. She was young. She was untrained. She had been out of practicing magic for almost two full years now. Even here at the school she had limits on wand use because of the trace the government had on her- on all magical children. Seven more months. Seven months and one day and she could pull her weight like everyone else around here. She could fight. She could use magic. She could do more than grind herbs under careful supervision and brew a few potions. She wanted to fight. She wanted to work and be a part of things not just fetch and learn spells that she couldn't do. Every day it seemed like the seven months wasn't going any faster either. At least when she had been on the outside she had been working on something. It had been more dangerous. She had no family. The day Jon found her she had been in mortal danger, but at least she had been almost dead and alive rather than alive and dying to do something.

So here she was, walking around in the little bit of area she had to walk around in. They had to stay on the ground- for safety purposes. They had to stay safe so they could fight and die a different way she supposed- a way that was for the greater purpose of the cause. Still, it was driving Maddie crazy. She wished she had a broom. Something that didn't require a spell or magic outside the norm that the trace couldn't get to. She missed magic. She missed the feeling of it, and the feeling of being a full fledged member of a community- not just the kid sister. So all she could do was grind herbs, practice magic with a stick instead of a wand and walking. God she wished she was flying.

Looking around her she spotted someone near the path with a knife or a dagger. Maddie had to admit, that was pretty bad ass. If nothing else it looked killer cool. With each swipe and jab it became more and more apparent that the other person, a younger person from the looks of it, clearly knew what she was doing. Nodding appreciatively Maddie sauntered a little closer and leaned into a nearby tree. Watching her cut through the air it was almost like a dance. It was beautiful in a way. Beautiful and dangerous and sophisticated and determined. It was almost like flying. She had to learn how to do that- in any case it was better than making random motions with a useless stick.
Swirl and twist, and turn and lunge and-- No, that's not right.
Cut and kick and swirl and lunge and...
Or was it...

Bloody hell. Stana wasn't really that good of a dancer to begin with but she sure appreciated the motions regardless of her own grace. Shadow always made this routine look so god damn easy, but Stana looked like a bull with two left feet trying to get this right, at least that's what Shadow called her. She'd practiced this before, and she wasn't sure why it wasn't locking in. It was a good thing she thought to do this before doing any throws or other tactics because knowing Jace and Shadow, this would be the first thing they called her out on, and she couldn't bullshit her way out of a choreographed routine like she could blame the trajectory of a thrown knife on the wind or other elements.

"Shit." She cursed. Well, she didn't have to watch her mouth when she was alone. Stana was working on centering herself, concentrating all of her energy into her balance, when she realized she wasn't alone anymore. She felt the eyes coming from behind her, a presence she couldn't scent--because she didn't have the same sort of senses as her mentors. She relied on her hearing more than scent, but she didn't recognize the footsteps. Light. Uneven. They stopped. Therefore, Stana stopped. She pivoted around, working carefully not to dig her boots too deep into the earth and she'd stumble and fall--much like the earlier training days with Shadow and Carver. She'd learned a lot since then, but she just wished she had a better handle on this exercise than she did now, because then she'd work on the important stuff.

When she looked over at the nearby tree, she noticed a girl sitting there, observing her. One of the new recruits she recognized from the Order. Stana had stayed away from most of those recruits because Kara had once required her to, based on how things got off when she arrived...on a bad foot. Stana weighed the pros and cons of approaching the girl. Pro? She'd gain an acquaintance at best. Even with things going the way they were with Kara and Jace professionally speaking? Shadow and the rest might not want her mingling with the Order personnel where it wasn't necessary. Cons? well...if this girl was new, then she might not have heard about what happened to Brenna Fox when she wouldn't let Stana have her wand, so perhaps a demonstration was in order? No, Stana told herself. Jace ordered no blood against the Order. She'd keep to that promise, because she didn't want to catch any of his wrath over breaking the deal they had setup with Kara and her father.

She sighed. Maybe the girl was just curious and would just disappear in a minute. Stana took a breath, and went to try the routine all over again. If the girl wanted to talk, she could approach. Until then, Stana had work to do.
So practicing it was then. The young woman was being very careful. And Maddie's being there clearly had got her hackles up. The girl had stopped for a moment and was trying to stay light- all the things Maddie used to do when she was trying to assess a situation. And the other girl was looking at her. Weighing her one way or another it seemed. Maybe it was just Maddie, but the moment needed to last longer than necessary. The other girl was just staring and staring at her as if by staring she could make up her mind what to do or say. Maddie did what she knew how to best- stare right back. She wasn't about to show any weakness to someone she didn't know- particularly someone she was impressed by; that was the best way to loose out. Besides, she was going to keep watching invited or not because that knife stuff looked cool and Maddie was pretty sure she would be good at it.

Soon enough, as predicted, the other girl went back to her practice. Maddie peered a little closer and watched the girl's footfalls. The way she used her lower body to stabilize while her upper body and core controlled the direction and thrust of the knife. Who knew that one little blade required that much control and concentration. Maddie supposed anything did, but still, it was impressive to watch. The precision especially. Maddie furrowed her brows and repeated the sequence in her head as she watched it over and over again. Swirl, twist, turn lunge, cut, kick, swirl, lunge. It was changing up every so often but the same moves remained over and over. Nodding in understanding Maddie finally decided it was time to get a closer look- if she could that was.

She sauntered quietly down the path to where the girl was working and popped herself on top of a tall rock. Using her knees as a platform for her arms and her arms as a platform for her head Maddie tilted her head in contemplation as she watched even more closely for just a minute longer- taking it all in. "Are you using the balls of your foot on the turn or are you forcing from the heel. I can't quite tell."
In the middle of a high-reaching pose, Stana heard someone talking to her in the distance. The footsteps were heard early on, and she thought that the girl would just keep walking after a moment of gawking at the bladedance. However, the voice made her stop since it was aimed and addressed to her. Stana held the knife up and it gleamed in the afternoon sun.

Stana closed her eyes, tightened her grip on the fang and heard the leather-binding on the handle creak under the pressure of her closed fist. She sighed. Another Order member she had to shoo off because they weren't allowed to interact really, even though it seemed the Alphas of both her old crew and the new one were getting along just fine. It was more of a precaution, a need to distance herself from humanity to better understand the garou. At least, that's what Shadow and Jace told her. The little she saw in the Black Spiral Dancers was intermingled with their ferocity and cunning that came from the beasts inside of them. It was a neat balance of two powers, one she'd been so intrigued by from the first day she met Jace and the Lucky 7.

But when it was clear that the girl wasn't showing any signs of leaving her alone anytime soon, Stana dropped her pose, but kept the knife held at her side. She pivoted to turn and face her. A stranger. Stana arched an eyebrow. "Who are you?" Before she'd humor her with any answers about her training regime, Stana thought to vet her first. It was something she knew Shadow would do, so she echoed that sentiment.
Irritating or not Maddie was going to get her answer. One thing that she had going for her in life was that she was persistant. It may be a quality that had gotten her in trouble in the past. One thing that could be said about Maddie was that she just did not know when to quit. By the same token though, that tenacious quality had gotten her out of some bad situations, it had persevered her when anyone else would have given up and taken what the world threw without a fight, and it had kept her alive. So despite the fact that most people would disagree with her, Maddie was going to take it as a positive- big sigh from the girl in front of her or not. Deal with it.

Still, annoying or not, resolute or not, Maddie could at least soften the blow with a tinge of friendliness. As her grandmother always said- you catch more nifflers with gold than force. Putting on her most winning and charming smile Maddie shrugged off the introduction with a wave of her hand. "Someone who admires your form and wants to know how to do that. So. Balls or your feet or heels of your feet?"
Stana narrowed her eyes. As much as she wanted to give in to her aggression for now and maybe get into a little scuffle with this girl until she submitted her name, she held back, and remained still. Consequences would be dire. Another ferocious reprimand from both the Alpha Jace and Kara Viridian were not on her list of things to experience today, not to mention what sort of ass beating she'd get from Shadow too...nope. None of that was going to be worth the ten seconds of thrills she'd get from the one moment of intimidating her spectator. Carver might have too much to say about that too, and she'd rather not deal with his obnoxious face today.

The knife was in Stana's hand and she had no intentions of putting it away, either in the sheath or hilt-deep into the target across from her. She working on her form and practicing in some peace and quiet until she'd been interrupted. "Hm." She huffed. She really didn't want to be bothered right now.

"What you want lessons or something? Because I don't teach." She was wrong about that one and maybe the girl could see through that lie. Stana had a few tricks she'd shown Mia and Carver and they had their own wicked little team combo forged from the skills they shared. It was fun and all, but she didn't intend on bringing anyone else on as a pupil of sorts, much less a girl who was a couple years younger than her. "Shouldn't you be off with the others doing...whatever it is they're supposed to be doing?" She pointed using the blade at the Corporum building, off yonder. It was a vaguely posed question, since she didn't pay too much attention to whatever the hell the Order was making kids her age do for now, as Stana was busy living in the den and training with the garou. It was far more interesting, her life with them now, and she knew she'd keep to Jace's first rule of keeping garou tactics and operations under wraps because in his words he would hate to tear off that pretty little face of hers if word got out. Or was it Shadow who said that?

Yep. Probably Shadow.
Hit a nerve did she? It was clear to see the other girl was upset. Maddie could practically see the vein pulsing in the girl's neck. She could read it plain enough on the face of the knife dancer that she would love to stick one of those in Maddie's throat any minute now. Yet something was holding her back. What? If Maddie had knife skills like that no one was going to tell her what to do and who she could or couldn't beat, or at least scare a little. Wouldn't that be nice. As it stood Maddie was ok with her fists- she had enough school yard experience to hold her own. Still, not fighting this one would be better. Maddie thought her face was pretty as it was thank you very much and wasn't looking to get it rearranged. Just wanted to learn a bit that's all. Too bad whoever this was was so rude. Huffy. Sniffy. Downright pissy.

Rolling her eyes at the declaration. Maddie jumped down from where she had been sitting and drew a little closer. Kara had told her everyone here had their own specific set of skills and learned from everyone else. She was even valuable...supposedly. Still, if that statement was true this less than kind individual should be able to show her a thing or six- for the good of the group of course. Maddie sure as hell wasn't going to sod off just because she was asked. When had she ever followed instructions after all. Even in school she had tested the rules a bit, bent them now and again out of curiosity. "I could do that but I'm not. I'm here and I'm going to learn what you were doing one way or another. Might as well teach me so you can get back to it or i'm just going to keep talking- something that, by the looks of it you are really enjoying. So teach me or never enjoy silence again- your choice!" Maddie crossed her arms and leaned jauntily against a nearby tree, a wide smirk plastered across her face and an eyebrow quirked. Once she had her mind set on something it was hard to shake her- this girl was going to learn that the hard way.
Who the hell is this girl?

So she wasn't going to scurry off and be a good little housekeeper like the rest of the girls her age. With the exception of maybe Fox, who was around Stana's age, most of them were given tasks around the compound like cleaning, farming, organizing, laundry, tidying up and all of that fun stuff. Stuff Bree brushed off like some old world traditions, but none of that sat well with Shadow. In all honesty, it didn't sit well with Stana at all; she was always doing stuff like that for her step-mother before... Ugh. Thinking about it was just going to aggravate her, so she stopped it right there before any of it even started up. The girl was already using up what few nerves she had left, so she thought it wise to keep her composure for a bit.

Did she just...threaten to eat up the silence? Dammit, Stana just wanted to use this sliver of a window of time for her own personal training, so she wasn't breaking any God damn rules! Was that so difficult to ask for? Well, considering the presence of this unknown, yes. Yes it was.

Stana wanted to be furious but it was just exhausting, wasting all of that energy on someone, a stranger, who meant very little to her. She relaxed her grip on the fang, only to turn it inward and put it into her belt loop where she stored it temporarily and she walked over to the girl. "If you're going to be shown anything, you're gonna tell me your name." If this strange girl wanted to be mysterious, she could pull that with the others...just not Stana. One of the first things Shadow taught her was how to be straightforward. Less words, more action, and also to be up front. Well, Stana wanted a name. She wanted it now.
Was she ever going to get a response? The other girl just seemed to be staring at her. Weighing her. Measuring her worth or whether or not it would be worth the trouble to beat her down Maddie supposed. Given that the girl was was practicing and Maddie had, pretty rudely, interrupted Maddie would understand it. Still, a good fight might be fun. It had been a while since she had someone to beat on, or at least try. The physical activity might give her something to focus on other than the feeling of uselessness that she felt during housework or lazing around the manor or taking orders from Jon. The very thought of it almost was enough to make Maddie roll her eyes. She had given up a little bit of her freedom for family and safety and as much as she had gained from it she honestly did miss being treated like an adult- or at least a free agent if nothing else. All this mothering and concern and nurturing was almost too much for her. A good fight would remind her that she could still do some things herself- even if it was get her ass handed to her.

Finally the silence ended, not in a fight, as Maddie was expecting but acceptance. Wow. That was....wow. Maddie rose her eyebrows in surprise and nodded her head slowly. She thought that would be a lot harder than it was. Still, she had to be a little bit wary. Maddie had seen, what she had assumed, was just a fraction of what this person could do and she knew without a doubt she would lose in a fight. She would hold her own for a minute or two but still lose. Best show a little deference even if it was just for show. Maybe then she would learn something. Maddie. Maddie Jamison. You?"
Finally! Was that so God damn difficult? Stana was starting to hear her inner monologues as read by Jace, and that was both humorous to her and terrifying all at once. She smirked, basking in the victory that she'd gotten what she wanted. It took a lot longer than she anticipated, but that just revealed a lot more about his girl, Maddie, because of her efforts. What. Was she supposed to shake her hand or something? Nah. She wouldn't go in for one unless Maddie initiated, but she nodded to her and rewarded her with an answer in return. "Stana. Chastaine." It was somewhat strange to say her full name aloud. For one, she didn't say it much to anyone after her imprisonment. In all honesty, she thought she forgot her name at some point during that time alone, so it was a good thing they'd recognized her when turned up topside. Secondly, the pack rarely 'full named' each other. It was all nicknames, first or last name, or insults like hey you, bitch, brat, asshole, and the like.

The girl looked a few years younger than her, she could confirm that now that she'd gotten up close, so Stana wondered if she recognized her name from the papers. Wizarding world and muggle papers both covered the story of her disappearance and murder, but she'd been snatched up by the Order so fast that no one was able to focus on her unexpected return. The less publicity, the better, she knew. Stirring up all the hubbub around her coming back to life would just confuse everyone and surround her with all of the attention she didn't want. She wanted freedom and the power to lay low if and when she wanted. Even though joining up with the Lucky 7 kept her in the Order's compound, she didn't mind their company and at least she had her wand and a weapon and means to protect herself in and out of these walls.

"To answer your question? Ball of your foot. Stay light on your feet." Stana did a spin move and brought her leg up to show the girl a kick that would have hit her right in the jaw if she really tried, but her foot stopped just short of the girl's face. She pulled back, and stood firmly in place, watching the girl's reaction to the near hit, an impressive kick Shadow taught her on one of her first training days. It was a kick Stana favored but Shadow helped her perfect it. "Why do you wanna learn from me? Fox teaches this stuff at normal times. I just come out here because..." Stana trailed off. She didn't quite know Maddie well enough to give her the full story.
Stana. Cool name. A little weird, but cool. It sounded familiar, but frankly Maddie couldn't place her name on why. It wasn't school. Maddie was pretty good about names and faces from happier times. She had recognized one or two on the streets even if they hadn't noticed her and she was confident enough in her memory that she would have placed such a unique person if they had met face to face before. Still, there was something there. No matter, Maddie would figure it out eventually. Something she had learned over the past two years was that if you give any puzzle enough time your brain would figure it out on its own. The information may not come right when you want it or need it but tidbits like that had a funny way of popping up in your head sometimes. Besides, did it matter whoever this was as long as she got to learn how to take care of herself? And that was precisely what she would learn to do. Starting with what she had asked.

Ball of the foot then. Maddie watched carefully as Stanna gracefully flowed through a spin and the minute that leg came up Maddie dropped down low immediately thinking how to defend herself. Normally she would have tackled the girl, but the knives where in the way. She was getting ready to sweep her leg out when Maddie realized that Stanna was relaxing and stepping back. Maddie stood up and nodded with a little smirk on her face. So intimidation games it was then. This girl wasn't going to kick her ass but she was going to try to scare it away. Fat chance. If Maddie could outrun government agents and fight her way through the streets on her own, one fancy high kick was not going to chase her away. She would just have to be a little more careful. Next time that kick came she would put up a block.

"I want to learn from you because you look like you know what you're doing and your not one of them." Maddie jerked her head back in the direction of the manor. If this Stanna was anything like Maddie thought she was that would be enough. The other girl would get it and they could just move onto training.
This girl was strange. She seemed a little nosier than Stana liked, but if she didn't acknowledge her, she was sure Maddie would have kept on until she did. They were acquainted now, and she seemed more interested in learning how to fight from her than from Brenna and the others, which was fine and flattering, but still struck her as odd. Stana wasn't a professional but she was a fast learner, quick on her feet, and had her ass beat by Shadow and Bree, and had enough spats with Carver to say she'd learned a thing or two about a how to defend herself.

"First thing's first. I'm not one of them. But you won't be one of us." It was a little blunt, but after running with the pack, Stana knew that blunt cut the unnecessary fluff of idle chatter and she was quite alright with that. It would also give the girl absolutely zero delusions or hopes of becoming part of the 7--even though Stana herself wasn't a garou either. The 7 would always be that. 7. No additions, no subtractions, just Jace Bryden and his merry men. Stana was just lucky to have stumbled upon the Alpha at the right time, and by some miracle, or rather, some diabolical scheme Jace once had to screw with Kara before, she was able to earn a minor role with them as a pack lackey. A month had passed since her release from the Order's 'hold' into the custody of the garou, but those days have been the freest she's ever felt. "I earned my place with them. I answer to Jace and Shadow and they'll tell you there's no more room on this ride."

As long as that was established and at the very least, understood, Stana would humor the girl and play into her interest of learning a thing or two about self-defense. There was no way in hell she'd give away actual fight tactics, though. Jace made it clear he didn't want any of that out in the open. She'd do well to listen to him, too.

"You got your own?" She meant knife, and she assumed the girl didn't. Most weapons were kept in the armory, some members were allowed to be armed on premises...just in case.
Winner winner chicken dinner. It seemed that once again Maddie's annoying habit of keeping on until she got what she wanted had won the day. Maybe it was because she was an only child. Maybe it had been the doting of her grandparents, her tenacity, her charm or even her winning personality but Maddie was used to getting her own way from people. Call her spoiled. Call her irritating but at least she was effective. Good to know that she still had her powers of persuasion even in this dump of a place and if only on limited members of it. Still, it seemed that he victory had come with a lecture.

Great. The last thing she needed was more lectures. She had gotten enough of them lately. 'You'll find your place Maddie.' 'We'll get you sorted soon Maddie.' 'Every little bit helps kid.' Ugh. She was sick of it all. Maybe that's why she wanted to fight so badly, just prove she could- if not to them than to herself. It wasn't be be part of the group or part of the pack it was just so that she could hold her own when the time came. Jace, Shadow, whoever these people were Maddie frankly didn't care as long as she was holding a knife in her hands and she got to move a little bit. Breath the open air and focus on something other than menial household chores and all the damn rules and hierarchies of being in a formal organization.

"I don't want to be part of your weird love triangle I just want to learn how to use one of those things well enough that I can do some damage without hurting myself."

Still, it seemed like Maddie should have brought a knife if she wanted to learn how to use one. Then again, how was she supposed to know that she was going to come across some weird little blade savant on her walk today, much less that she would be learning from her? Maddie shook her head with a little snort. "Like they let me anywhere near any of that."
Stana narrowed her eyes as she likened the grouping of her, Jace and Shadow into a 'love triangle', a sarcastic blow that she knew not to take to heart--but also this girl was mousy, nosy and a little bit grating on her nerves. She decided it wasn't worth the energy to get irritated at the comment, as she was clearly just trying to match the same level of snark that Stana was dishing out so that was fair.

Well, there's no way in hell I'm giving you this fang... Stana thought, as she heard the stern voice of Jace and or Shadow in her head, blatantly stating she'd get her ass whooped for handing off her only means of protection, other than her wand, that is. Jace gave her that as a gift and it never left her possession since. She found a branch that had fallen nearby, and in one smooth motion, picked it up and tossed it at ther. "Here."

Stana smirked and waited a beat for a reaction. Based on her attitude thus far, she could only assume she would complain she didn't have something with a blade to practice with, so after one quick look around, Stana flicked her wand at the piece of wood she'd offered and turned it into a knife. It was nothing like the fang but still a convincing weapon that held the right weight and contour as if Maddie had this one specially forged for her handling. Black leather bindings around the hilt, a shiny chrome pommel to match the bright and shiny finish on the 10" blade. The charm could easily be reversed anyway, in case someone came along. Stana wasn't going to get her ass into trouble on behalf of some meddling girl, since she'd barely met her after all. That sort of respect needed to be earned.


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