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Magic Mentoring and Muffins (Ka'Ri, Thimb, [OPEN to others])

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On the periphery of the Riptide estate, Ka'Ri stood indecisively. In her hand was a bag of fresh warm muffins of various combinations including some of the more unlikely kinds that seemed to her to be of a type Thimb might like. She was dressed in her usual breeches, tunic and cloak, but clearly recently done up a little bit, washing and mending any tears so it would look her best. The bags under her eyes betrayed how long that had taken after the already long night and her evening duties with the Sleepers.

If a person was close by they'd hear her mumbling to herself as she looked up the pathway to the door.

"I don't know, is it bad form to show up somewhere unannounced? What if I'm interrupting something important? I know she's been working so hard on the diary, is it really even worth to ask for some of her time for something so minimal... Ah, I wish I knew what to do."

She pauses a long time, hands shaking a little as she makes up her mind to stride forward. As she knocks, she lets herself adopt the soft small smile that has become naturally affixed to her face more and more in Thimb's presence.
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There was a series of strange creaks and whines of wheels as the door opened for Ka'Ri to be greeted by...



That was probably Hamish. They looked up at Ka'Ri for a long moment, tail wagging and letting out a loud noise that is best transcribed as 'wark' before jerking their head, indicating that Ka'Ri should follow them and trotting happily up the stairs to the main floor, and then a second set of stairs to the second story, down the hall to one door, and using their head to bash it open with another, more enthusiastic 'wark!'.

Thimb was sitting at a desk, her hair piled atop her head and skewered in place with a pencil, wearing one of her brother's shirts as a dress, lazily belted. It was too small for him these days, and kept slipping off her shoulder, but it was the softest tunic she had thefted and perfect for when she was just holing up and working. This was her "office" the walls lined with shelves, heavy with books that she had saved up her allowances for her whole life. When she was younger she went for the more straight forward science books, not branching off into trashy romance until she was a little older. The desk was surprisingly tidy, the diary next to her, and her working notes in paired stacks. In one hand she held a pencil, and with her mage hand hovered another, letting her make copies to share more easily.

Her feet were tucked beneath her as she sat, but her head snapped up as Hamish burst in, blinked once, twice.

"Oh! Ka'Ri!" she sprung to her feet, revealing that one: While the shirt went down below her knees, she wasn't wearing pants and two: she was wearing bunny slippers (her grandmother had knitted them for her birthday). "I- was I expecting you?" her brow furrowed, "I mean- not that you're not welcome! I always like seeing you! Just, I, uh, would feel like a bit of a jerk for not being more prepared if I was?" her tilted to the side.

She was more worried about a lack of snacks than the fact that she was not dressed for company. Hamish however was very pleased with the situation.

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Ka'Ri gave Hamish a welcome scritch at the door before following them.

"So are you taking me to... Thimb..."

As Hamish bumped open the door, their eyes fell across Thimb and those adorable slippers and long shirt. Her face became one giant red flush and she could feel her eyes warm as she couldn't help letting her eyes wander down Thimb's body before she silently reproached herself and willed herself to stare only at Thimb's eyes. It was hard, her eyes wanted to drift and she ended up fighting an internal war with herself.

"I... um... er... I just... wow... I mean, yes, hello, I muffin?"

Ka'Ri went bright red with embarrassment this time as she offered the bag full of muffins down to Thimb. Inside were some classical faves as well as some of the odder choices on the menu as that seemed like something Thimb might be interested in.
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Thimb looked confused, and then looked down at herself, and blushed realizing she was barely not in pajamas. She gave the shirt a self conscious tug, further down her legs, but further off her shoulder. Shit. She didn't have any leggings in here.

"Muffin!" she said, glad for the distraction, "yes, please," she peeked into the offered bag, "ooh! They're trying the goodberry ones again!" she said, happily picking one, "they don't have the whole healing magic thing, the berries they use aren't fresh enough for that, but they really get to play around with the flavor profile!" she said excitedly before Hamish was up on their hind legs, front paws pressed against her own bare leg, eyes big and hopeful.

She sighed, and tossed a chunk of muffin down to them which they happily began to devour, "Hamish could you go grab me some leggings please?" she asked, trying to make this seem like a normal question. After devouring the muffin, Hamish warked something back at Thimb who sighed, "yes you can have more muffin after." Having secured their real prize, Hamish scampered off, but not without a strangely knowing look to Ka'Ri.

"So, uhm," oh, shoot, now she was very close because she had moved in for muffins. And still pantless. If she backed away was it weird? Was it weird if she didn't? What are you supposed to do with your arms when you're not wearing pants? "T-to what do I owe this pleasure?" her voice went up a little too high at the end.
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"I...I.." she stammered for a second, her body on overdrive from Thimb's dress and closeness, but finally she was able to shock herself out of it with an internal blast of self-criticism for acting like a horny teenager.

Clearing her throat, she nervously began. "I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to startle you unexpectedly when you were working and um..." Her eyes flickered for a second "not expecting visitors".

"I er... wanted to ask you..." her eyes lingered on Thimb's with a soft and warm reverence. In them there was a tense mental battle for a split second. "I've been really impressed with you and all the super smart wizarding you've been doing and just... I..."

"Iwaswonderingifyoucouldmentormeand-" she exclaims before the speed of her voice makes the words almost impossibleto hear.

As such her immediate follow-up sounds vaguely like a mortified "-andasloyorpretty"

She clamped her hands of her mouth and took a deep breath. "Sorry, that was inappropriate of me. I was just wondering if you could maybe mentor me in some of the basics of magic if you ever have some free time in the future... maybe?"
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She blinked once, twice. As an after thought she swallowed the mouthful of muffin she had. H-had Ka'Ri, literal pirate queen (ok, not literal pirate queen, Thimb was pretty sure) just called her pretty? While she was in bunny slippers and one of her brother's old worn shirts? That wasn't just a friend calling a friend pretty, trying to reassure her about looking like mess, right?

"M-magic- right. Yes. I could- sure. Yes. I, um, was just... the diary- and I could use a break if-" she stopped stammering and blurted out "I'm sorry did I hear that right did you call me pretty?" her voice went up nearly an octave and her ears were bright red.

Hamish had managed to go and fetch the pants, but decided to wait outside the small study looking very pleased with themselves.
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Honesty, Ka'Ri

Ka'Ri takes a deep breath as if shrugging off a great burden of stress.

"Yeah... yeah I do. You're really cute and smart and nice and um... yeah, very very pretty."

Ka'Ri looks down earnestly with an almost apologetic expression. "I... I don't want you to think I just value that though or that I was only getting close to you because of that. You... you saw through me immediately, validated me when I was at my lowest, even faced down Luther the terrifying for me. You've become in a shirt time someone who's opinion and friendship are very valuable to me."

"So yes, I do find you pretty, beautiful even but I know you're straight so don't worry, I'm not trying to pick you up or anything. And I'm so so sorry for being all stammery this morning. I value you, deeply as a friend, Thimb and I would be honored if you could show me the ropes of magic."
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There was a lot to process in what Ka'Ri had just said, but there was the automatic response that came first and without thought of "I'm not straight. I'm..." there was a wavy hand gesture, a futile attempt to express the complexities of how Thimb felt attraction. "Gender isn't really a factor for me?" she rubbed the back of her head, "I mean! I'm happy to teach you the basics of magic!" she interrupted herself with earnestly, "But..." she had not gone less red, but her voice was a bit of a shy mumble, "yeah. notstraight."

Hamish was sitting outside the door, eavesdropping like a little creep, wiggling, pleased with themselves.
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Ka'Ri felt like her brain was melting, but first of all she felt embarrassed. "I'm really sorry," she said apologetically. "I didn't mean to assume. That was rude of me."

"I'm a lesbian myself," she replied back feeling like it was called for after accidentally forcing Thimb to come out to her.
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"Ah, I guess that's why I never saw you at the meetings, different parts of the guild... and all..." she said with an awkward laugh. "I, um, just, I think you're really great and pretty and stuff too, for the record."
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Ka'Ri face couldn't help bursting into a grin. "Wow, that's um... thank you. Would you at all be interested in um... like doing a date thing sometime? Like after we're done saving Gwynn or something? Or when you need a break from work or... uh..."

She trails off in a giant blush.
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"T-that would be nice," she stammered with a shy smile. "Um," her voice returned to its normal volume and seeing that there was nothing else to wait for, Hamish trotted in with the asked for leggings. "There you are, did you fall into a drawer again?" she asked, stepping out of the slippers to shimmy into the leggings and then stepping back into the slippers. "They're real cozy," she said, slightly defensively, "my Grams made them for me," she added on.

"Right! Magic. Yes. I can teach you the basics, and to be honest, I could use a break from code breaking. It's not my specialty, as much as trying to translate most old scrolls is exactly that... I mean- if you're free now, we could do this... some other time? If that was better?"
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Ka'Ri beams excitedly. "Whenever is most convenient for you. I'm definitely free now for magic stuff if you're sure that's okay. And if there are any skills of mine you'd like to learn, just let me know. I'm very good at rope work and the like," she adds in genuine innocence.

She begins to sit down fully, adopting the role of eager potential student and starts scritching Hamish with one hand as she pulls out a blank ledger looking book with the other and pushing her long hair out of her eyes as she stares up trustingly at Thimb, a soft appreciative smile on her lips.
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Pants were on. Ok. Magic. Right. Time to be less awkward and more academic. This lasted about three seconds before the rope trick comment and Thimb got flustered again, which she hid by pawing through her books as if looking for something. In her haste, this led her to the shelf of smutty romance. She quickly jumped to a different shelf, this one, thankfully, having some of her early magic books, and took a moment to compose herself with her back to Ka'Ri as she picked a few out.

Hamish had happily climbed into Ka'Ri's lap for petting and they hoped a muffin.

"Ok, if you like, these are some good basic theory books, nothing too complicated, but they might help explain this stuff better than I can. I've never tried to teach someone else before," she admitted bashfully. "So there are a few different ways to cast magic, things like sigils and runes, which are usually inscribed in something to carry a longer effect, or something to be triggered later, and then there is the more immediate things," she said, gesturing with her mage hand out of habit. "So with runes and their ilk there are a few basic shapes that the others are all built off of..." she said, starting to scribble on the chalk board on one side of the cramped room, drawing out what (to her) were basic shapes, and writing down names and a few common uses for them underneath.

"Just drawing a rune isn't enough for them to be empowered, it's usually a whole... ritual, but the shapes themselves do carry power as well. It turns into a sort of feedback loop..."

She went on to explain the basic rune shapes, although not in much detail, and, realizing Ka'Ri probably wasn't looking to enchant or summon anything, moved onto spell components as the basics of immediate casting, and how the caster was channeling or summoning a larger power, not necessarily using their own. Except sorcerers. She did not understand sorcerers, they were a bunch of cheaters. Well, technically that would be warlocks, skipping all the study or communing with gods and just making a deal and BAM magic, but, at least she understood how they worked? Not that there was anything wrong with warlocks! Nothing at all! She just wished she had known that was an option before spending decades studying, you know?
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Ka'Ri tried to follow along as best she could while skritching Hamish's chin and giving them a full lemon poppyseed muffin. For a second she tried her usual method of mental additions, but there was quickly too much that was too foreign to her for that to work. She began making her own flavor of thieves cant skritches into her book before confusing herself and crossing bits out.

There was a tension surrounding her and a frustration but in an oddly controlled sense and there was a larger air of determination, when things that were more practical were shown either by Thimb or the book, she tried to replicate the motions before writing anything down

Insight>=10:
Ka'Ri seems to struggle somewhat with more visual learning, especially the more text heavy and writing down stuff and seems to thrive more with kinesthetic and auditory learning (tactile learning/learning by doing and learning by listening). She is nonetheless clearly trying her best and very eager to be the best pupil she can for Thimb even when she gets lost.

When she gets to the runes she watches closely for a while and then draws a map of various shapes, connecting elements along themes of emotion and purpose. She stares at this for awhile in deep thought as she fills in her details and tries to keep up.

"So let me see if I understand the runes, right? If I wanted to create an effect like that," she says gesturing to the Mage Hand Thimb used with such casual abandon. "I would want to look for elements of reproduction, fidelity, projection, calmness, stillness, and connection and then..."

Ka'Ri tried matching the runes around each other like the spokes of a wheel, but nothing seems to be happening. "Or is there a better way to organize?"

She looks up brightly at Thimb, eyes full of trust and gently grabs her hand. "Can you show me?"
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Thimb was jarred out of SCIENCE mode when Ka'Ri took her hand. Could she..? Well, mage hand was a cantrip.

"Actually, mage hand is a pretty good starting spell," not the classic, which was prestidigitation, but she had skipped that one herself. "So, the basis of this one is you're giving physical form to a thought..." she began, sketching out where the runes connected "Less a wheel, more one of those pictures made up by layering slides that changes but still makes sense when you take slides out? They can work together, but they can also work on their own."

The hard part about mage hand wasn't the summoning of it, it was actually using it. "It's like if your dominant hand was about as good as your non dominant hand, this would be whatever the non dominant hand was to that," she tried to explain. "Ah, here," she grabbed a few sheets from her desk. One was written in a neat but loopy font, the other was awkwardly slanted and a bit more erratic. "My actual hand, and mage hand," she said suddenly very self conscious about her mage hand's writing.

"So, to cast it, first you want to visualize it," she said, gesturing at the ghostly hand, "Where it will be, what it will look like, all that. Then you'll speak the incantation, which snobs will tell you should be in primordial or some ancient language- I will admit I've had varying results with different languages, but common elven works just fine. The incantation is pretty simple, just 'I summon a hand of spectral forces' but once you're more comfortable, you can usually just shorten it to 'hand'. Real dramatic to just yell 'hand' sometimes when you're trying to reach something," she said with an embarrassed smile.
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"Wait... dominant hand?" She looks quizzically at Thimb for a second and Thimb notices that Ka'Ri has seemed to switch between the left and the right hand when writing, just following whichever has been closest to the pen. "Ah, like with swordfighting. I tend to use my left for that because my right shoulder doesn't carry the same speed!"

"Okay, let me see," she pauses for a long time, disappearing into that internal place she goes when she seems to be working on a plan. Her brow starts twitching and sweat pours down her brow as she bellows out in elvish "I SUMMON A HAND OF SPECTRAL FORCES".

A hand appears, spectral and occasionally dipping out of reality, its tears appearing on the outside like a sketch before they disappear in a puff.

Ka'Ri's eyes flutter open as she beholds nothing. "Oh shoot, I must have done something wrong, nothing appeared."

She turns again to Thimb smiling gently for guidance.
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"No that was really good!" said Thimb with obvious and sincere enthusiasm. "You didn't quite get it, but there was something there. Took me weeks to get that much!" this was said with no bitterness, only pride and excitement at Ka'Ri's potential. "Try picturing it as having a third hand with no arm, you don't really, well, feel it, when they're summoned, but, try to anyways, it helps with the whole visualizing part," she made a vague gesture with her hand that her mage hand copied. "Take a little longer to picture it first, really focus, and give it another go when you're ready!"
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Ka'Ri flushes with genuine excitement and joy. She throws herself into repeating it as often as she can, making the mage hand last a little longer with each push and elating at Thimb's encouragement. After a half-hour, her cloak off and her shirt dampened somewhat with sweat, she makes a hand appear with more form, though it kept flickering in and out of sight.

Ka'Ri's eyes fluttered open as she looked at it. "Oh my word, it feels just like my hand..." Her temple throbbed as she moved the hand, drifting it over to the muffin bag, removing a muffin, ripping off a piece, and tossing it to Hamish."

She breathed slowly out her mouth as she tried to return the hand to its original position. "This is... I'm doing magic, Thimb. You are the most amazing woman I've ever met."
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"I'm the most amazing woman you've ever met? You're the one managing a functional spell in less than an hour of starting with magic!" cried Thimb in earnest excitement, "you're a natural!"

Hamish cared less for their encouragements and compliments of each other, and more about the muffin they were now devouring.
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"Only because of your teaching," Ka'Ri responded, her face still flush with her exertion of focus, "so thank you. Like the last time I tried anything like this, I couldn't manage to even understand half of what Karl said. You were the one that helped it make sense."

"Now if I could just manage to make it stop flickering in and out like that. Do you have any idea what I'm doing wrong?"
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Thimb studied it, "Can you still... use it, while it flickers like that?" she asked, a bit curiously. "I mean, my guess is you just need more practice with establishing a flow of magic. Honestly the fact that you managed to physically manipulate an object on your first day of trying it is super impressive, but some sort of prodigy or not, this stuff still takes practice."
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She tries the spell again, carefully guiding it to Hamish and petting them. It fades out of sight while petting, but then flickers in and out when brought back up.

"It seems to feel the same no matter what, so I assume that's a good sign," Ka'Ri said through gritted teeth before dropping the spell again. "This... this is exhilirating. I feel like I did when Captain Caroline first taught me the wheel. I was awful, nearly beached us on a shoal, but now I can navigate a pass better than most navy."

She seemed slightly different, expressing in this memory a confidence that has not often surrounded her.

She smiled sweetly at Thimb, looking up at her from her position on the ground, books strewn around her, her tunic drenched and laying across her chest.

"I know I need to buy a boat later today, but um... I got something else for you this morning if you want."

Digging into her sidebag she pulls out one of Guilty Pleasures' books, one centering a gnome pirate and her adventures. The fact that the love interest was an elven wizard, Ka'Ri was sure to tell herself, had nothing to do with why she was drawn to it as a potential gift.
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"You'll be manning the wheel with your mage hand in no time at this rate! Just takes a bit more practice to get used to it- well, not, you know, no time, but, uh, soon?" Thimb rubbed the back of her head, "you're doing really well, is what I'm trying to say."

She looked confused at first at the offered book, but took it, and then her face split into a grin. "This is- I mean- thank you! S-should I be worried at how quickly you've figured out my tastes?" she asked, half a joke, half seriously, and very aware of the shelf of similar books behind her.
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"I... uh... may have asked the owner for some recommendations," Ka'Ri said shyly, rubbing her own head.
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