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by: Casey Winslow
March 17, 2012
8:45 a.m.

Casey was exhausted when he rolled out of bed at 8:00 a.m., but the burst of adrenaline at seeing the time on the clock was enough to get him out of bed quickly. He scarcely allowed himself more than a sponge bath because he didn't want Evie to hear him. He apparated from his room and bought breakfast off a street vendor for much the same reason. Passably dressed in a plain white tee and regular jeans with a blue hoodie, he arrived in the lot to the building Tabby had said they were at last night and leaned against the building as he began to take a bite of his breakfast sandwich and observed the activity around him.

Clearly they would have to relocate, but Casey had anticipated that. There was no use to breaking any Statute America had. Too much drama, and it might actually draw attention if it managed to sneak into the papers overseas that Casey Winslow had been taken into America's Ministry (or whatever they called it). The question would be why? Why was a known resistance member overseas? Was he on the run? Was something going on over here? He didn't need that. Isis didn't need that.

The only other dilemma he was having was how much he was willing to scare the kid today. He knew he wanted to essentially jump her once they were situated, to force her to react quickly and test her abilities to assess where she was at and formulate a plan. Perhaps it wasn't a teaching method he could have used at Hogwarts, but it was sure to be an affective one. It would give him a proper feel for Tabby, and it would also reveal how quickly and wisely her sister would leap to her help. He had no qualms about disabling a child. Not physically or anything permanent, but a petrifying spell would be enough to get the point across that she was dead for choosing that avenue of attack.

But for now, he awaited signs of Tabby and this kid sister of hers. It was still early enough they could be inside getting something or on their way.
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by: Tabora
Stupid sisters...Tabby lounged on the roof of the butcher's shop. She had spent most of the night looking for Cali, then returned to the roof for a catnap. It was here they had specified, and here she was waiting. Sure, she may have been better off on one of the nearby taller rooftops, but when she scouted them, she couldn't get a clear view of this roof. So, she stayed in the mid canopy of this concrete jungle.

Cali had not wanted to come despite the promises of training and passage to America. She was off doing her thing and Tabby didn't want to force her into obedience. Sometimes a Nagual had to walk alone, and the elder sister respected that.

Below her, there was minimal early morning traffic. Someone had approached and stopped near the shop. Was this Casey? She rolled to her stomach and crept to the edge. Whoever it was was wearing their hoodie in a manner that she couldn't see then clearly, but a Nagual didn't hunt on sight alone. She breathed in sharply, scenting the man and his breakfast sandwich. Delicious smelling breakfast sandwich. And Casey. But that sandwich though...Tabora considered stealing it; after all, law of the jungle dictated that if she managed to get it it was hers. But this wasn't the jungle and she wasn't an animal.

Tabora looked up and down the street. Empty. Good. She pounced down from the rooftop, landing heavily on her feet right beside the man.


She gave him a Devil-may-care grin, still braced from her impact.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey jumped, startled by the sound of impact and the sudden appearance of a girl beside him. Merlin, he hadn't been snuck up on like that in quite some time. The older he got, the less pleasant the feeling of his heart shooting to his throat and palpitating became. He stared at Tabby wide-eyed as he took a brief moment to catch his breath. "You're certainly a morning person, aren't you?" he replied when he finally felt able to do so without his voice shaking. His tone was guarded and neutral, the only remaining sign of his scare.

Casey took a bite of his breakfast sandwich then. He was nearly finished, but he was determined to finish it now. Never mind his stomach was still recovering from the in-knots feeling she had been so kind to provide him with. He was sure she'd aged him another twenty years, but at least he knew one of her strengths was stealth. That counted for something. It provided an avenue of use for him to look into for her if she truly wanted to help and if he found she could truly be trusted enough not to go rogue or be overcome by the many spells Death Eaters wouldn't be afraid to use to break her down.

"Where's your sister?" he asked after he swallowed a bite then took another as he waited for her answer.
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by: Tabora
Tabora had eyes for that sandwich. She watched Casey eat bite into it, hungry. Sure, she could go get her own. Probably should even, since it had been awhile since she'd eaten, but he asked her a question, so she couldn't just dash off. She shrugged, then elaborated.

"Cali didn't feel the spirits wanted humans to help us on our quest. I feel differently about that, but I couldn't convince her to trust you. Nothing personal, but you're not Nagual, you're not Maya, and so she's wary. Rightfully, so I wasn't gonna force her into a situation that she didn't want to be in."

Their parents had been big on respect. Respect your elders, respect the spirits, respect your peers, respect your prey...it had been enough to tempt the teen to rebel. Temptation never led to rebellion, however. As long a a child was unnamed, any adult could discipline them as they felt was needed. So, rebellion led to parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and elders all descending upon the rebel to teach them the error of their ways. The Mayan culture was very secretive and to took discipline to maintain that.

Tabby cast her nose about to the wind, trying to determine where Casey had gotten that mouthwatering sandwich. Maybe she could convince him to walk back past that way so she could get one, legally or not.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey nodded. Well, he could respect wariness and he would much rather the sister come because she wanted to and not simply because she felt she had to. Standoffishness and complete distrust would not lead to quick progress. Yet in this day and age, it was a given that trust should not come easily, and he had no doubt even this girl before him didn't trust him entirely. He was a stranger yet, though he held something she wanted badly enough she was taking a risk. This would be interesting, and it would be good to teach again. No, not quite again. He had never been free to teach the way he had wanted, even in the dueling club. Rules and regulations had been too strict at Hogwarts to teach the children what they had truly needed to know to protect themselves or to speak freely of what the Ministry had denied for so many years.

Casey took one last bite of his sandwich, chewed, then swallowed. "Fair enough." He would be a bit surprised, however, if the girl wasn't nearby watching over her sister in case of danger. It would be the smart way to set things up. Lucy knew where he was and what he was doing, but that was it. At least he'd be missed if something happened, and there would be somewhere to begin searching. Not that he thought this girl was that dangerous. She certainly was not the sort Death Eaters would send after him and certainly seemed genuine enough in her desire to learn. Her motivation matched up well enough, and the way she had defended her views seemed to prove she really thought that way. Besides, why would they search for him in America?

"So, where's a good place to go from here?" he asked. They couldn't rightly duel here or talk freely about everything. He needed to learn a little about her and this culture she was part of before they began, and he didn't think she would want to simply discuss it here where people could overhear. The majority would simply think she was crazy or were too crazy to care themselves, but who knew if any of the wolves from the night before were here or what dangers.
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by: Tabora
A good place depended on what you wanted. A good place to get money was a crowded area where pickpockets could work unnoticed. A good place to hide had high areas and easily observed entrances where you couldn't be surrounded. A good pace to train was where outsiders couldn't watch you. Was this a test to see if she knew this information? Could be. So if they were going to train, she'd need to take the edge off her hunger so she didn't take training too far.

"From here, wee go get food. You ate, sure, but I didn't yet. So I'm gonna get food, and on the way to get that, I wanna case some of these warehouses nearby. If there ain't a lot of traffic, we could spell 'em quiet and use them. If there IS a lot of humans, we can go dockside. There's shipping containers in a warehouse that doesn't get a lot of guards around it. We could do the same there. I want a warehouse for training because we won't get seen, but it also has ins and outs so we can't get surrounded easily."

She normally wouldn't have explained herself, but she felt the need to justify what she was thinking and feeling. Her stomach clenched in a protest and she felt her world brighten slightly. The Hunger was starting to make itself known. Something moved in the corner of her eye, so she looked. Just a shadow...yeah, she was getting the edge of the Hunger cutting into her mind for sure if that made her jumpy...
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by: Casey Winslow
The girl at least thought things through. And she still had plenty of time, so he couldn't be upset with her for wanting to eat while they were on their way to the warehouses or whatever that she wanted to train in. According to her, these were easy to get out of and easy to avoid getting surrounded due to the size. That made sense enough to him, and some spells to keep their echoing voices from being heard by those outside would certainly help prevent any potential obstacles that might stop their training. A few other protective spells could be put in place so they weren't caught off guard and had some warning. Breaking whatever Statute America had in place would surely result in as much hassle as it would in the UK.

"Sounds good. How far are we talking?" He could walk. He was in good enough shape, but he wanted to know simply to prevent it from feeling as though it were taking forever to get to where they were going. There was something about not knowing that made travel seem to take longer than it did when you had a rough estimate of how many miles one had to walk.
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by: Tabora
Her stomach growled and she nearly growled back at it. Sausage and egg. Cheese. Those were what she wanted right now. She didn't want to be talking or pretending to be human. Still, she had sworn to herself that she'd be a good student and that meant answering questions when asked.

"More than ten minutes, less than an hour...including proper spellwork, probably an hour and a half tops before you can try to blast my face off."

She gave that as an over the top answer. Her dueling teacher had not been so joking when she'd told that to Tabora at their first lesson. The old Nagual witch was confident that every corner hid someone trying to kill you and the only way to survive was to kill them first, faster, and meaner.

The street vendor spotted them coming. Tabora had her money out and shoved into the man's face before he could even greet them.

"Three sandwiches and an o.j. and you can have the change."

He gave her an odd look, but the woman didn't relent until he handed her a paper sack containing the meaty, greasy goodness she was craving. If Casey was talking, she wasn't hearing because she was too engrossed in the loving first bite of her first sandwich.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey nodded. Apparently there were variables, but at least he had a general idea. Perhaps not as much as he wanted, but he was ok with that. Some things were probabilities and not givens. Casey didn't take off toward the street vendor as quickly as Tabora nor did he bother to quicken his pace other than enough to get out of the way of any potential oncoming traffic. He stood a couple feet off to the side as Tabora practically demanded her food, clearly impatient. Thankfully the man seemed to have some premade.

Casey's eyes widened slightly as he watched the man hand Tabora three sandwiches and then the orange juice after bagging the sandwiches. Three sandwiches? He'd never seen a girl down so much food. Well, maybe on one occasion when Evie was ravenously hungry, but she'd been pregnant. He hoped to Merlin's sacred beard that a girl this young wasn't pregnant. Then again, Evie was only nineteen when she got pregnant with Julian. Wow. Were they ever really this young?

His eyes had returned to normal as Tabora stepped away to take a bite. He didn't want her to feel self-conscious. If she needed that food, then so be it. Hopefully it didn't make her so full that moving about quickly wasn't going to be easy or comfortable for a couple hours.

"We walking while you eat or standing here?"
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by: Tabora
Tabora had already taken her first bite of the delectable, artery-clogging, greasy sandwich. With her mouth full, she couldn't answer Casey properly, so she merely started walking, beckoning at the same time. She set a quick pace so that she could get to showing off sooner. After all, she was Nagual, ambassador of her kin and culture, and eager to show off.

Her eyes lightened to a honeyed brown as she considered the training to come. How would he test her? How would SHE test her? The fastest way to assess someone's abilities was to try and kill them, but that was counter the point of making allies. What would impress the man? Well, he was a wizard. They were obsessed with their wands, right? A smile snuck onto Tabby's face as she chewed. The double entendre was amusing, but the simple exercise of "retrieve the wand" was also impressive for a human who wasn't used to Nagual athletics and determination. She swallowed her food and shared her idea with her new mentor.

"So I was thinking about training...the best way for us to train is for me to show you what I can do so's you know what kind of foundation you're building on, right? It would be a waste of both our time to cover what I already know. "

She took another bite and swallowed it quickly.

"We do a training exercise...wand retrieval. We're taught to not depend on the wand in a fight and to be able to get it back if disarmed. I think it would even the playing field and let you see what I can do. We duel, you start with both wands, and I do my best to get it back. First duel ends when I get my wand back, first blood is drawn, or I'm unable to keep fighting. We can debrief afterwards for critique and then set the ground rules for the second round. Sound okay to you?"

Kid rules, really...should be easy enough...

Adult Nagual went until one of them was unable to fight, however that looked. Some honor fights were to the death, and honor fights could be issued from the time a cub first shifted. Such events were rare since mediation from the elders and spirits was preferred to death, but the option was always open. Because of that, a Nagual was always prepared for the just-in-case.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey, being a wizard from England and a former defense and dueling professor, had had a much different fight in mind. Well, at least the beginning parameters had been different. He had figured they would both begin armed and then go from there. Perhaps some pain, a little blood, but nothing damaging enough to kill. It seemed the end goals had been at least the same in both their minds. "We can try it your way," Casey replied. "But I want to see your wand work, too, and how quick you are to think on your feet when magic and quick thinking are all you have at your disposal. The duel ends when I'm satisfied or you are unable to fight--whichever happens first." It was well and good to Casey to know someone could move quickly and mentally be able to handle a barrage of spells long enough to get a wand back. Resourcefulness in that way was good, but it was also quite possible with enough willpower to use a simple bit of wandless magic to simply call the wand back, as it were, that Casey believed everyone should know. It was the times when you were outnumbered or outranked in some way, in small spaces where speed and physical ability didn't always matter, that meant more.

"So, the first bit, we have reign of the entire warehouse, but once you have retrieved your wand, don't be surprised." If they weren't already in a room or the warehouse had no former office spaces, he would simply magically barricade the area around them and go for it. "Understood?"
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by: Tabora
Her eyes gleamed. What the man was proposing would prolong the duel. Sure, she could start out at the disadvantage he needed, but then after she got her wand back? Gringo wouldn't know what hit him.

"Sure, sure. Start off no wand, get the wand, show you what I can do while you try to bust me down a peg. Loud and clear, understood for sure, ese."

She grinned at him, getting hyped up. Fighting was what Naguals did best. The excitement piqued her Hunger despite the food she'd consumed. The other sandwiches and the juice were enough to keep her from going completely feral, but odds were she'd need to eat again after their training session. This man would want to see her wordless spells along with the complex stuff that she could do. She needed to prove herself useful. If it were the new moon, she'd not have to do anything other than shift. Too bad the man would have to wait to see her real form.

It took fifteen minutes for her to find the perfect warehouse. It was derelict, but not in so bad of shape that it was structurally dangerous. The inside was cluttered with stacks of pallets, abandoned machinery, and stairs leading to catwalks and offices on the second floor. Perfect.

She grinned and began setting up spells. The standard muggle repelling charms, noise cancelling charms, and perimeter-breach-alarm spells went up not only on the building they'd be using, but she also spellled several nearby buildings similarly so that any witches or wizards who could detect magic would not be able to pinpoint them so easily.

"There...muggle and wizard protection. We're good here for another oh.....three hours? If it takes me that long to impress you, I'll head home, yeah?"

She grinned and presented her wand, grip first, to the man. She'd be seeing the odd purple wood instrument again shortly.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey let the girl do the work of putting up protection spells to see how knowledgeable she was as much as to see how well her magic could hold up. Another test for different types of abilities so far as he figured. Casey in the meantime had scouted out the place looking for obstacles, things to use to keep her from him or to corner her depending on what his needs were at a given time. Tabby, however, would not be given that luxury. After all, it was rare you had full knowledge going into a place what was going on. Besides, for all he knew, she'd frequented this place. As soon as he saw her winding down with her spell work, Casey returned to Tabby and nodded his agreement. If she held out for three hours, that would definitely be more than ample. However, he had figured on calling it at one, maybe one and a half. He still would if he saw enough in that time. But at least there was a cap so they both could mentally prepare as much as was possible in a few moments' time.

Casey drew his own wand from the arm holster he had used for years and took Tabora's wand in his own hand, quickly putting it away. He wasn't going to make it so easy that she could sneak up behind or get within arms reach and merely yank it from his jeans pocket or belt loop. Ready, he gripped his own wand. Years of fighting within actual life or death situations had trained away the bowing he had taught children in his times teaching and had been taught himself as a school boy. Even those times teaching seemed so much longer away than only four years. He wondered what strange things he could expect from this child in front of him, yet with what he had encountered, he knew better than to presume someone wasn't skilled. Even Zeke's slug vomit charm had taught Casey that during his first year teaching.

It felt momentarily awkward as he held his wand. He hadn't been the first to fire shots in so many of the battles he had participated in except while undercover, yet he supposed he should initiate before she did and the wand retrieval portion came to far too quick a resolution. "Impedimenta!" he said as he quickly worked his way away from Tabby. It was child's play really at this point. He would up the ante as needed, but to start, simply tripping should work.
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by: Tabora
Tabora laughed in her heart when the man's spell passed through the figure that had been standing before him. She'd locked eyes with him when she handed him her wand and cast it the moment she released her grip. It was so simple to perform her first nonverbal, wandless spell. It was called a Shade. The teachers of Dark magic said that the projection was useful for misdirection and confusion of foes. It allowed a wizard or witch to gain a tactical advantage, and they were right.

Tabby silently scaled a tower of shipping crates, keeping her eye on the man. He was good, but he'd need to do better than announcing his spells. She mentally prepared herself for her next move. In the darkness of the warehouse, she felt she had an advantage. Mayan spells focused on confusing a foe and hiding oneself. Many spells were able to be used offensively or defensively, but many of her offensive spells were potentially lethal. Tabby decided to stick with the illusions. The next time she could see his eyes, she'd project a memory at him and see how he handled that.
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by: Casey Winslow
Well, that was certainly unexpected. Casey didn't let himself focus on the feeling of confusion that wanted to overwhelm him. Instead, he forced his focus to spotting the girl, his eyes narrowed to see further away. He moved to get his back closer to a wall as he began to move. At least he knew invisibility was not the potential reason he wasn't seeing her at present. Such magic was far too complicated to perform and was the reason so few invisibility cloaks actually existed in this world.

Casey kept his center low, finally spotting her near the top of the crates. Her eyes seemed strange, but he took no time to figure that out. Such things were distractions, and while right now he wasn't one hundred percent sure this was her and not another decoy, he had to take a chance then adapt his tactics if it did end up being such. Quietly, he cast levicorpus, a bright, white light emitting from his wand as he cast it. So long as Tabby hadn't realized he had spotted her, she would end up hanging mid-air upside down, seemingly by her ankle.
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