05.31.3013: Falling Into Risk
Summary: Elspeth gives Sophie and Ravat a tour of the Academ, before subjecting Sophie to Awakened research.
Date: 31 May 2013
Related: Fit for a Sauveur
Elspeth Sophie Ravat 

The Quad - The Academ, Landing
This is just one of the many quads scattered throughout the Academ — even if it is one of the largest. It is truly nothing more than a stretched of neatly manicured lawn that is divided up with concrete pathways that strategically lead toward little clusters of stone benches. At the center of the quad is a magificent, hectagonal basin with a tall enough rim to allow people to sit and relax before the water. This quad lays before the grand tower of the Imperius Library — a tall, looming spire with a stained-glass crown. There are various buildings also attached to this quad that host a variety of scholarly schools and classrooms.
31 May 3013

Sophie sent a messenger to relay that she intended to have that promised tour of the Academ in a mere hour before the present. Now, striding through the streets of the way at high noon, she approaches the well kept lawn of one of the quads, amber eyes flickering about in order to catch sight of her guide. As always, her guard stands ever watchful behind her, but Sophie has decided to wear something quite differently colored and tailored than the day before. She chose to adorn herself in a wine red dress with white flowing sleeves, elegant yet made of the much more sturdy linen fabric. To shield her from the glaring rays of the sun, she holds a white handled faded red umbrella in both hands, twirling the object idly as she waits.

Cue the frantic calls from the main office to a certain Scholar who hadn't mentioned to anyone that such a visit might be on the docket. Possibly because she didn't want to get their hopes, and just as possibly because she might have been hoping that it'd been forgotten about. Attempting to duck this, though, instead has her walking down the quad in her best Scholar's robes, complete with little velvet cap, and an equally well-adorned Scholar to her left - an older man with purple robes with gold trim, signifying a higher ranking Scholar. He seems to be whispering to her with some degree of concern as she closes in on Sophie, to which she just nods and makes short responses. "Lady Sophie," she calls as they get into conversational distance, "it's so nice to see you again." She and her companion bow. "I hope you're doing well?"

They're close enough that the older man's mutter might drift over, although he clearly doesn't mean for it to. "Adeyemi, are you sure you don't want us to supply another guide?"

"I'll be fine. I don't /bite/. And I don't think she does, either," she says, in tones just as soft. He looks disgruntled, but takes his leave with another bow and a hasty, "Please, Lady Sophie, feel free to let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Anything at all."

Ravat is right over there, a few meters to the left of a statue of someone naked, on a path. He, too, is in the company of someone wearing Academ robes. Their conversation appears to be rather more congenial. That is to say, the scholar is animated while Ravat appears equal parts polite, pleased, and skeptical. "Okay! Okay!" He affects a deep sigh. "I will look this over, at the very least. But I only do it because I can't very well have you following me all the way to the Crescent, doctor." He claps the man on the arm in a familiar fashion.

"Marvelous! Simply marvelous! Thank you, my lord. And I assure you, the students were thrilled. Simply thrilled." The doctor has the voice and inflections of a man who could either rivet an audience or put them to sleep in record time.

Sophie smiles and nods her head lightly, "I am doing quite well, Miss Adeyemi. I must say, you appear much different from yesterday, wearing those scholarly robes. Much more…majestic." She gently cants her head to the side, "I hope you have had a pleasant morning? I have to apologize for sending the message so recently before arriving. On an impulse, I thought to make good on our agreement." She smiles widely at the old man's words, waving a hand in his direction in a placatory manner, "I am fine, thank you. I am certain Miss Adeyemi will be a guide worthy of praise…if you must though, I would welcome a drink of some kind. My throat is mildly parched…" Amber eyes flicker towards the animated discussion not so far away at all, clasping her hands together at her front as she unabashedly listens in on the conversation.

"Majestic? You are too kind, although if you ever have the opportunity, you should attend one of the formal events. A few dozen of us all enrobed does look rather dignified," Elspeth says, in return, her smile pleased. "And I hope I can say that I love that dress. It suits your coloring quite well. As for a drink, we're not far from a fountain," she says, offering to lead the way. As it happens, the way to the fountain will bring them closer to that conversation. Elspeth pauses, her eyebrows going up. "Lord Ravat, Dr. Vaughn. Good day to you both."

"You are the expert on students, Dr. Vaughn. I have no choice but to consider myself convinced that my lecture was so well received. It appears I now have company to which I must tend," Ravat smiles at the scholar. The scholar stands there, looking rather like an owl. And he stands there some more. "Good day, doctor," Ravat prompts.

"Oh! Yes. Yes, of course." Proving that he is at least a part-time subscriber to one stereotype, the professor shuffles off without taking his leave.

"Woo," Ravat exhales. "No good deed goes unpunished," he smiles at Elspeth and then Sophie. The other Men in Black receive a nod. "I am also reminded of my student days. As soon as one bit of work was done the next was already on its way."

Sophie nods her head, "well, once I know my way around this massive place, I will be able to attend such formal events at will." She smiles brightly at the compliment, one hand lowering to pick at idly pick at her skirt, "why thank you, Miss Adeyemi. It is an older dress, though certainly one of my favorites as well." She steps in beside the other woman as she is guided slowly towards the doctor and the Lord, offering lightly, "ah, how novel. It will be the first time in a while since I have drunk from a fountain." She licks her lips, "I have to admit, Miss Adeyemi. I am very curious to see what I might do to assist you in your research. I hope I can help further your progress." Her guard follows closely behind the pair, though he steps before them when they halt to greet the men. He bows low at the waist, an arm curved against his stomach, "may I present Lady Sophie Alexandra Sauveur." He rises and shifts to the back once more, while Sophie laughs lightly and declares, "thank you, Sir Barrow." She arches a brow and asks, "noble work in the Academ? Whatever might that be?"

"Novel? The fountain?" Elspeth's expression is perfectly blank with confusion for a moment, before she shakes herself. "Oh, of course. We can also go to one of the faculty lounges, if you'd prefer. I swear that we do drink out of glasses. A-and my research, well, typically I would ask a subject to undergo a series of test to ascertain where their strengths were, and sensors to record both their brain activity and the energy output of their aura therein. If we can isolate the structures of the brain which correlate to the individual abilities, then there may be ways to stimulate such centers, or even develop ways to help them interface with modern technology. It's a fascinatine field of study, really," she stops, realizing that she's about to launch into full-on ramble mode. "Oh! Ah, my apologies, Lady Sophie. This is Lord Ravat Khournas. Lord Ravat, Lady Sophie requested a tour of the Academ, and I have the honor of her company for it." And isn't quietly panicking at all. Really. Just look how calm she is!

"At your service," Ravat bows to Sophie when he is introduced, though not near so deep as Sir Barrow's. "I was asked to hold a lecture, here. The attendance was quite modest, to judge by the number of seats that were taken. I dare say that you are in luck, Lady Sophie. I also received a short tour of some of the premises from Elspeth. She is becoming quite the expert," he grins at her. "Might I join you for the refreshment? For my part, I can claim to occasionally drink from bottles. Although I have had a drink from one or two fountains, most of my experience there revolves about falling into them. Ah, I should perhaps add that the drinking and the falling were not necessarily related."

Sophie smirks, "I have rarely drunk from a fountain, Miss Adeyemi, but I would be perfectly fine in doing so, I should think. Besides, it gives us more time for the research." Her golden eyes glimmer with excitement the moment the topic is broached, bobbing her head enthusiastically, "amazing. If successful, your research will completely alter the face of the Fifth Worlds. Just think, Miss Adeyemi, if you were to be known as the one to save us from the Hostiles, by inventing a means of substantially increasing the powers of the Awakened." She blinks, "technology? You intend to combine technology with such powers? Incredible. I am eager to assist." She looks to the man and offers, "greetings, Lord Ravat. It is curious that I met Nitrim only last night, and am introduced to yet another of my father's family the morning after." She laughs lightly, "ah, but if the falling and the drinking were indeed related, it would be all the more comical, Lord Ravat." She glances to Elspeth, "our tour has only just begun, and she has managed to make me even more intrigued than before. Might I ask what lecture you held here, Lord Ravat? I would be vastly too frightened to speak so publicly myself, I am sure. I envy those with such an ability." She twirls her fingers along the handle of her umbrella, "well, shall we be off?"

Elspeth rubs the back of her neck, absently. She seems more than a little startled by the enthusiasm. "It's all very theoretical at present. And the theory is only in development - I regretfully doubt that anything will come to fruition in such a way as to change the course of the System War. But," she laughs a little, "it /is/ nice to have someone see it so optimistically. It may be as you say, Lady Sophie." She glances at Ravat. "I'm interested, as well. In the lecture, not my lords adventures with falling into fountains…although I imagine those are also fascinating." Relaxation and amusement returns to her voice as she addresses Ravat, even as she gestures and leads the way to a fountain nestled against one of the buildings. Like most everything in the quad, it is clean, new, and artistic. In this case, the fountain is sculpted stone, in the shape of dolphins leaping from the sea. The button for the water is on the back of the dolphins, each at different levels, and the water is cool, clean, and refreshing. "Also, Lady Sophie, is there something you'd particularly like to see? I could show you the Awakened training areas, the Library, the art departments, or just about anywhere you like."

Ravat fall in beside Sophie. "I believe the tales of my adventures with fountains will have to remain conjecture, for now. If I share such stories now I may risk Elspeth helping me to another incident of falling into a fountain." He straigtens farther, which requires an almost exaggerated posture. "She'd do it, too!" His quick grin suggests that the accusation is, perhaps, not as serious as it sounded. "Ah, the lecture. The subject was industrial processes, which is entirely too broad to make it particularly interesting. I covered such highlights as I could in the time I had. It was, according to Dr. Vaughn, well received. I am not entirely certain, myself. He did give me the impression that he can be prone to slight exaggeration." Ravat smiles again and lifts his shoulders. "I admit that I have some experience with performing in public. Nonetheless, this new format was somewhat intimidating for me, as well."

Sophie shakes her head cheerfully, "oh, I'm sure you'll manage to help even a little, Miss Adeyemi. Besides, as you say, it truly is a fascinating field of study. If nothing else, you will assist in its progress. Of that, at least, I am certain." She gasps softly as they approach the fountain, gazing at the display in wonder, "what a beautiful sculpture, Miss Adeyemi. I am almost hesitant to mark it with my touch." Nevertheless, she strides to close the distance, holding her umbrella above her with one hand while the other presses a lower button. She drinks serenely, swallowing down the cold fluid with a pleasant look in her amber eyes. She rises, and her guard provides a white handkerchief. She cleans her mouth gently, "that was delicious. The best fountain one could ever dream for." She chuckles softly at the suggestions for the guided tour, "in truth, your end of the arrangement was simply an excuse to subject myself to your research, Miss Adeyemi. Though…the Awakened training areas do certainly sound intriguing. And you did mention visiting the libraries for artistic inspiration…" She hands the handkerchief back to her guard and laughs lightly, "oh, but if only I could view such an adventure for myself, Lord Ravat." She nods her head, "well, I congratulate you on a lecture well done, either way. Though I am certain the topic would be beyond my own scant knowledge of industrial processes." She smirks at mention of past experience with performance, "yes, falling into fountains would offer good experience with maintaining ones dignity in public, I am sure."

"I would not." Elspeth's indignant response is rather ruined when she adds, "Not in /public/, certainly." Then she can't help but grin at Sophie's response. "On the other hand, if I have royal sanction to push Lord Ravat into a fountain, I am /certain/ one can be found." She pointedly doesn't look at the large fountain in the center of the Quad. "More seriously, I'm certain that Lord Ravat's presentation went well, and the students enjoyed it. Why don't we visit the library briefly, then we can visit the Awakened classrooms on the way to the labs? I certainly want you to feel comfortable making your way around, should you choose to visit us again."

"Thank you," Ravat bows his head to Sophie. "A part of the reason I was giving the honor of holding the lecture is that of those of us who were familiar enough with industrial processes, mine was the most easily spent. It was felt that someone directly related to the house should hold the talk," he explains, turning his hands up. To Elspeth's pronouncement he answers, "She says that because I have not taunted her. Much, I fear my honesty compels me to add," he adds a heartbeat later. "As far as my humble, personal experience has taught me, falling into fountains yields two lessons in the main: one, to learn to laugh at yourself or two, stop falling into fountains. I have a suspicion I may not have the sense for lesson two." Last but not least, Ravat puts in an interested, "Awakened classrooms?"

Sophie giggles gently, "if it provides us with an entertaining performance, then you shall have your royal sanction, Miss Adeyemi…" After a hesitant moment of consideration, she nods her head, "very well. The library first. Though the palace has libraries of its own, I am intrigued as to how they might compare. And I assure you, Miss Adeyemi, I am already more than comfortable. As Lord Ravat has said, you are an excellent guide." She glances at Ravat and replies, "indeed, I should think they picked appropriately, at least because it sounds as though your lecture was recieved well." She smirks, "I empathize with you, Lord Ravat. Some days, I wonder if I have failed lesson two myself. I can be quite clumsy, moreso when I was younger."

Elspeth bows to Sophie. "I'll keep an eye out for the time when there is the greatest entertainment value for you, Lady Sophie. I think he should get a pass for today, though, due to having successfully navigated a lecture." But she gives Ravat a smug look. Some day. Some time. When he leaaast expects it. But for now, "Lord Ravat, you haven't seen the Awakened classrooms either, have you? If Lady Sophie does not mind, you could accompany us? For now, the library." She nods to the tall tower at the end of the Quad, capped by the magnificent, stained-glass crown that glows in the noon sun. "The Imperius Library is the largest in all of Haven, containing the most extensive repository of knowledge in the system. While other libraries," a dip to acknowledge Sophie's mention of the palace, "may contain rarer tomes, or a more in-depth exploration of the research in some /particular/ area, the Imperius Library remains unrivaled in its breadth." She starts in that direction. "It's also quite beautiful."

"You may doing yourself a disservice, Lady Sophie. The likes of falling into fountains has a certain… Let me say a certain willful element. There is a courting of risk. All of which is to say that if I claimed clumsiness I would be being at least somewhat dishonest. Yes, the lecture," Ravat grimaces at Elspeth, since it wouldn't do to do so at Sophie. "While I'm pleased that it went well, it will be all the more reason to be invited back. Fortunately my field really is not so interested that I run the risk of being a regular guest speaker. If Lady Sophie is willing, I am quite content to be a guest and to follow you wherever the tour leads."

Sophie chuckles, "oh, I suppose he has deserved some mercy. For today, anyway." She shakes her head, "I do not mind at all if Lord Ravat joins us. He can provide us with stories of his adventures along the way. And perhaps he would be interested in subjecting himself to your research as well, Lady Adeyemi?" She follows the other woman throughout the guided tour, glancing towards the colored windows and commenting, "I can see already how beautiful the libraries will be. If there are tomes on past artists and their productions, I would be delighted to glance over a few, if I may." She smiles at the man, "well, I would wager the willful element would be ever more profound, if one knows what risks such an act might entail."

Elspeth leads the way along the quad - there's no doubt that the little entourage gets more than a few curious looks from students, but most of them are hurrying to lunch or their next class, and don't have time to gawk. Elspeth smiles at Ravat, a touch sympathetic. "Would it help for me to say that it does get easier and more enjoyable as you continue?" When they reach the doors, they slide silently open, and a wash of cool air flows out. The library is an immense, hollow tower with an exquisitely crafted compass rose on the marble floor, and no ceiling but the stained glass far above. Every floor is filled with thousands of holo books, and students and Scholars alike move among the shelves. Her voice goes hushed and respectful of the library's quiet. "There are certainly records on past artists and their works. All of the holo tapes can provide full color recreations of their content, of course, so you can see what you like. Normally, lending would be restricted to Scholars and students, but I expect that if you /wished/ to borrow a record or two, some wiggle room could be found." It's an observation with a hint of dryness. She gestures at the silent, glass lifts to either side. "From here, you can visit any floor, as well as the study rooms."

Ravat shakes his head, smiling. "While I am quite lively and active, and perhaps even clever, I am not Awakened. I fear I am entirely useless to the good professor." He is quiet for the time he takes to look about the library. "Profound. That is a weighty word. Most of those things we do have a heavy dose of foolishness. If I concern myself with the potential risks, it is after the fact. While in the midst of it, it's all fun and games. Sometimes even when someone is hurt." He lifts his shoulders and smiles again. "Well! This would be the intellectual fountain. What say you, Lady Sophie. Would you like to risk falling into it?"

Sophie nods casually to the few students that are actually brave enough to look her in the eyes, following along beside Elspeth. Once they step into the library, she gasps in delight, "this library is massive. It may very well be even larger than those in the Matthias Towers." When the cool air washes across her, she smiles pleasantly, folding up her umbrella and handing the object back to her guard, "I must say. I am quite impressed." She flushes lightly once she notices how quietly the other woman speaks, whispering back now that she understands the expectation, "I wouldn't want to remove tomes from this prestigious place, just for my own amusement…besides, enjoying them here another time will give me the perfect excuse to return." She glances towards the glass lifts, "how many floors does this library have?" She smiles to the noble that joined her on the tour, "nonsense, Lord Ravat. I am certain she has plenty of uses for you." She smirks, "you must have the most terrible time extracting yourself from the gambling tables." She nods her head firmly, "no matter. I feel as though I am prepared to all but drown myself in such a fountain as this. Alas, for the greater intrigue which comes from more current research…"

Elspeth seems to be pondering something. "Maybe. Maybe not. It might be worthwhile to collect control data under various forms of stress and effort, actually. To compare with the experimental, and see if perhaps Awakened process such activities in different ways beyond just the activation of whatever structures control our abilities." She gives Ravat a thoughtful look. "It might be worth attempting, yes. Also, you are hardly useless, even if I don't stick electrodes to your skull." She chuckles quietly at Sophie's suggestion. "There are quite a few floors - I don't know right off hand how many," she says, ducking her head in apology. "But should you wish to return to find something, please let me know if I can be of help. Shall we continue to the classrooms, and then the labs?"

"Do be a dear and warn me before you volunteer me for any such procedure. By preference, let's explore the uses I have that don't involve sticking things to my skull. That kind of talk can make a man nervous." Ravat rubs his hands together. He may be a bit chilly. "Yes, absolutely. I am prepared to move on. Lady Sophie, may I inquire to the manner of research in which you're involved? Not that I profess to understand anything on Awakened matters."

Sophie just frowns in confusion at Elspeth as she becomes so intensely technical, peering at her in the hopes of comprehending such pondered words, "you will forgive me for failing to understand the mind of a scholar, but if he might join us, it will be good to retain such pleasant company." She waves a hand in the air, "it is not to worry, Miss Adeyemi. I suspect you are more focused on your research than counting floor numbers, besides." She shrugs her shoulders lightly to the man, "I do not precisely understand it myself, Lord Ravat. But I believe I am to subject myself to Awakened research, so that such powers and their uses can better be understood. She…at least told me that it was safe. And I should hope it will indeed." She nods her head firmly, "to the classrooms, and then the labs."

"Oh, of course, Lord Ravat. I require informed consent from all of my subjects," Elspeth assures him, cheerfully. And Sophie, too. "It's perfectly safe, my lady. Today, all I want to do is assess your abilities - I'll just be asking you to play with a particular, ah, toy, while I monitor your brain activity and energy output. It doesn't hurt at all," she adds, before turning them about and out of the library. She sets a brisk pace towards the classrooms.

"Oh! I see. How fortunate for you. To the extent that Elspeth has been able to explain her research to me, I would have been fascinated to participate as an Awakened. Much as it fascinates me, I may leave you at the labs," Ravat says. He takes a deep breath when they are outside, exhibiting some relief at being away from the conditioned air. "Especially these days my time is not my own. In any event, I suspect that watching the professor at her work would not be very interesting for a layman. Rather like watching people look through microscopes."

Sophie smiles and nods her head, "ah, that should be easy enough to manage. I played with toys longer than most of my sisters, so I should be the perfect subject." She laughs a bit harshly, "I wouldn't be surprised if some even thought my artistic talents were elementary when compared to war and politics." She sighs for another reason entirely when subjected to the hot heat of the noon day sun, taking up and unfolding her umbrella once more as soon as she is outside, "if you wish, Lord Ravat. Though we shall miss your company. Give your family my regards when next you see them. I regret being raised secluded from so many good people."

Elspeth smiles at Ravat. "I would like to disagree with that, but I really can't. It's mostly just monitoring screens and ocassionally asking for specific actions. The machines do all the recording, and then I analyze the data in aggregate, and even I find that boring." Her look to Sophie is more thoughtful. "I think it would be a mistake if they did. One might as well say that the chantry priest is inferior to the soldier, or the academic," a rueful smile, "to the knight. Without the artists, the engineers, the manufacturers, and so forth, the warriors couldn't wage much of a war…and there wouldn't be much of a culture or homeland to protect." Her hand moves, then stops and falls, almost as if she'd planned to give the younger woman a comforting pat on the shoulder before thinking better of it. Instead, once they reach the classrooms, she beckons them inside. These classrooms are large, white-walled, and rather clinical. They also, many of them, have scorch marks, cracked windows marked for repair, and show other signs of damage. "This is where we train young Awakened. Since they can lose control of their abilities, these are very well shielded, and they always have instructors who can deflect or take control of manifestations. They use those," she points to piles of toys, "to practice on, developing both power and skill."

"Of course, Lady Sophie," Ravat bows his head in acknowledgement. "If I may be so free, it is never too late to try to make up for lost time. In this, as in many other things, the attempt can be as rewarding, and more fun, than success. There are exceptions, of course. Such as when Elspeth attempted to invite me to a drink and succeeded." He winks at Elspeth and speaks to her. "If it's any comfort, you're not the only one who has such days. You should try your hand at working through a pile of safety audits." Fortunately the classroom provides a distraction from such unhappy thoughts. "Fascinating. I don't know what I expected but… Yes, I suppose this does it justice. What does it feel like, to be able to do such a thing?" He runs his finger over the wall, close to a scorch mark.

Sophie smiles brightly, nodding her head, "I am glad to hear such words, Miss Adeyemi. It is always heartwarming to know I am not the only one that values artistry, especially in times such as these. Thankfully, if push comes to shove, I have a modicum of skill in war as well." Once they reach the classrooms, her eyes widen in bewilderment, "my, these rooms look more like battlegrounds than places of study and learning." She nods slowly, "I can understand however. When I learned to use my powers, I stood in a large field of sand with my instructor, so that the forests might not become aglow in fire." She looks to Ravat and smiles, "I agree. As I have just recently learned, meeting people I failed to speak with when younger is very rewarding indeed." She glances up thoughtfully, "truly? It is frightening to have such power. But it is also…empowering. Especially when I grew up sickly and without a hint of ever Awakening."

Elspeth only barely holds back her laughter at Ravat's wink. She says, "I can't imagine that's any more fun." To both of their comments about the classrooms, she nods. "It may seem somewhat clinical, but it's efficient, and allows us to teach greater numbers than many of the traditional master/apprentice relationships. And for those who are students in residence, teaching them control /quickly/ is vital." She nods to Sophie's explanation, but adds to Ravat, "One day, if you like, I can attempt to share the sensation with you. It wouldn't be exact, but it might be enlightening." It's an off-hand, almost tentative suggestion.

"Hmm. In a way that reminds me of gliding. I suppose human emotions will be much the same, no matter the cause." Ravat's eyes widen at when Elspeth makes her proposal. "You can do that? I… Yes. I don't think I could turn down such an offer. I'll have to thoroughly gird my loins before I accept, so 'one day' has just the right ring of vagueness to it. Lady Sophie. Elspeth." He bows to the women in turn. "I must leave you as duty will have me elsewhere. It was a pleasure."

Sophie chuckles at the comment about students in residence, "yes, you would not want the Academ burned down by an inexperienced Awakened student." She arches a brow, "gliding? I have never tried, though I can only imagine it as similar…" She smiles pleasantly at the man, bowing her head in return, "thank you for joining us, I enjoyed your company, if brief. Please, when you have the time, consider visiting the palace? For now, farewell, Lord Ravat."

Elspeth bows back. "Whenever you'd like. Be well, Lord Ravat, and it was good to see you, again." She offers a smile of parting, before turning to Sophie. "Yes, exactly. Things can escalate quickly among children and teens, and doubly so when the children can /also/ throw fireballs. For now, shall we move on to the research?" She can't help the honest enthusiasm there. She gets to do SCIENCE to someone.

Sophie watches the man go, before slowly turning towards her tour guide. Her eyes are filled with joy and she simply cannot keep her lips down from spreading across her face in a wide, gleeful smile, "research it is, Miss Adeyemi. Lead on." She giddily follows the other woman elsewhere, her steps light and animated with excitement.

Elspeth grins back as she leads the way. The labs are actually in the Academ Arcology, which is a bit of a hike, but with two eager women, it goes quickly. The labs bear some resemblence to the classrooms: large, clinical, and there are 'toys' of various sort neatly filed in cabinets. There are also chairs, LOTS of holoscreens, and various other equipment that looks like things out of torture chambers. As Elspeth uses her handprint to open one of the secure labs, she says, "Please, Lady Sophie, call me Elspeth. Especially if we're going to be working together, it's more efficient. She gestures towards a chair in the center of the room. "We'll use that. Before we begin, though, may I ask a question?" She turns and gives the young woman a serious once-over. "You seem more enthusiastic about this research than most I've seen. I'm not /complaining/, but I'm just curious if there's a specific reason, or just a general love of research."

Sophie reveals one of her greatest weaknesses during the long hike over towards the Academ Arcology, panting softly and holding onto the sleeve of her guard's shirt by the time they reach their destination. She breathes out a sigh of relief once they enter within the air conditioned environs of the lab, patting a new handkerchief against her brow and handing it back to her guard. Still, she can hardly help but look on in wonder, admiring all the foreign implements of science. She eagerly shuffles towards the chair at the center of the room once the door is opened, collapsing tiredly into the seat. She hands her guard her umbrella once within, she smiles lightly, "if you wish. Just don't let my mother hear me call you by your first name…Elspeth." She nods her head at the question, curious what it might be. When she hears of it, she sits back in the chair and replies, "I admit I am more enthusiastic about this research than most might be. While Lord Ravat is not Awakened at all, I Awakened late. And my family is known for acquiring such powers early. I grew up sick and coddled, Elspeth. And I wish to overcome my…disadvantages, if at all possible. I understand this might not truly make my wish come true, but I am glad to at least fancy the prospect and assist in the possibility."

Elspeth makes a brief detour once they're in the lab. There are a few small fridges for staff, and from this, she retrieves a juice bottle and something which soon resolves itself into a small plate of cheese and crackers. The drink and snack are set down on a movable table, which is then positioned by Sophie's chair in a wordless, casual offer. "I don't think that's ever going to be a problem," she says, with a grin. Despite the light teasing, she listens carefully. "It's difficult for those who Awaken late at any time. Doubly so under those circumstances. But you still are young; your powers will continue to grow naturally as you practice, and…if I might be so bold as to offer advice, raw power is most useful in tournament duels. If you're /thoughtful/ about your abilities, you can outthink the flashy folk." She winks, then moves to a console. With a few button touches, what look like a hundred laser beams come to life orienting on Sophie's scalp. They're not warm; there's no sensation to them at all. "Now. What I want to do is assess some of your basic abilities, and record your brain function while you use them. It won't hurt, and although some of it will be, ah, vigorous, if anything gets beyond where you can /comfortably/ manifest, let me know immediately."

Sophie glances towards the other woman, only to notice her carrying a juice bottle and a plate of snacks over to her. If allowed, the guard helps move the table until it is positioned beside his ward's chair, who smiles up at the both of them, "thank you, Elspeth, Sir Barrow. I am glad to be amongst caring friends." She takes up the bottle of juice and lightly sips on it, smirking mildly at the teasing comment, "perhaps for a Royal, it would not be. But I do not want to live on my fortunate birth and use it as a crutch in life. I wish to overcome my…frailties and feel proud at my success." She blinks however at the suggestion that being thoughtful of her abilities might help, "indeed…I had not considered that. My instructor was always more interested in teaching me about the forest than of means to better utilize my…more unusual talents." Suddenly she is assaulted by numerous red beams, eyes widening in surprise. She laughs nervously, "v-very good…just tell me what to do, a-and I will…attempt to complete it."

Elspeth grins. She has no problem accepting the knight's help, and offers him a bow and a murmur of thanks for it. "That's a good attitude to have, Lady Sophia. Feeling that way will help you immensely - as long as you don't judge yourself /too/ harshly. But, yes, a little thoughtfulness can go a long way." A quick check of the monitor has her nodding with satisfaction. "Sorry, I should have warned you about those. But really, you should feel lucky - long ago, scientists used to have to cover electrodes with slimy goop and stick it to your head." She lifts a hand and her own aura flares - it's electric blue, shot through with silver lines that are at once like lightning and circuitboards. Her eyes go white as she psychokinetically retrieves a 'toy' from one of the cabinets. It's about the size and shape of a basketball, but made of a light metal and covered with various odd panels and holes. She floats it before Sophie. "Take it from me without touching it, please? Once you have it in your mental grip, a sequence will begin to activate. See those panels? They will all turn red. Each panel will activate a particular function, and your job is to disable the functions and turn the panels green." She doesn't elaborate on 'functions'.

Sophie nods her head, swiping a few crackers from the platter and sandwiching them about a small square of cheese. She takes a bite, and finishes the snack off with a second, before replying between her munching, "that sounds as though it must have been a nightmare. I simply cannot imagine anyone willingly subjecting themselves to slimy gloop and open physical wires." She observes with obvious interest as the other woman's power flares up, a metallic basketball wafting through the air. Once it arrives inches from her lap, she swallows her meal, places the juice box on the table, and prepares to begin. Her hands rise up, encompassing the ball at a distance when her aura finalyl flares. A solar golden light materializes along the palms of her hands, ethereal wisps of energy curling about one another in electrical fashion. She mentally holds the object up in the air, eyes turning white as she waits uncertainly for the ball to turn red.

Sophie doesn't have to wait long. Elspeth touches a spot on her monitor, and all of the panels on the ball flare into baleful, red light. At the same time, various other functions activate. One spot on the ball begins to spit a small 'volcano' of flame - this does not extend far enough to reach Sophie's skin, but it's clear why she was told to grab the ball with her abilities. Another spot spits cold steam that begins to condense into an icicle. At the same time, small jets on the ball activate, attempting to pull it out of her mental 'grip'.

Sophie watches with rising awe when the ball turns red in her mental grasp, keeping the device hovering atop her lap. When one spot becomes a geyser of flames and another transforms into a cold manifestation of an icicle, she smiles widely and comments, "this is incredible, Elspeth. I could see these being used to train students in their powers." The shadow of one hand falls across the flame, while the other arrives atop the icicle. With a moment of obvious effort and concentration, the palm of one hand perspires cold air upon the fiery display beneath it, attempting to slowly and carefully cool it into nonexistence. Nearly simultaneously, a reddened glow appears along the palm of her other hand, intent on slowing melting the ice below.

"This actually is a variation of what we use," Elspeth murmurs. Her voice falls into an odd, almost emotionless cadence as her attention is focused on both the monitors and what Sophie is actually doing. "Or one of the tools. Although there, things usually activate in sequences to gradually push someone to using more and more of their power. Right now, we're just going to gain a baseline reading for you." The flame and ice seem to resist her abilities, but it's not a huge problem. Eventually, she can winnow them down, and when she can stabilize the temperature on those two spots, two of the red panels become a bright, victorious green. Then, of course, more jets start up, and the ball begins to make strong, directed attempts to break free of her aura and go rocketing around the room.

Sophie smirks lightly at the explanation, nodding her head distractedly as she tries to keep the ball stable throughout the test. Slowly but surely, the icicle and the fiery geyser dissipate, until she notices the satisfying green light where they previously were red, "it seems I have succeeded in part, so far…" She looks mildly startled when more jets appear, which makes keeping the metallic orb from escaping all the more difficult to manage. Her fingers curl lightly inwards, though the distance between them widens. Her aura flares brighter, bright enough to reveal the orange edges to those wispy goldens threads, which flicker in a matter akin to excited fire.

Her power works against those jets, stabilizing the struggles of the orb, while Elspeth monitors the affair. Gradually, the orb goes still, held firmly and confidently once again. The jets cut off, and two more panels turn bright green. Only two panels remain. Beside one, a piece of the orb's skin flips over, and reveals a key pad. Beside the other, a panel dilates open and has a…blank photoreceptor, it seems. Elspeth taps her temple. "The key for the one panel is up here. The other one responds to strong, focused light."

Sophie smiles proudly when she finds herself capable of keeping the metallic orb steady in her mental grasp. She lets out a sigh of relief when the jets cut off and she easily holds the ball in the air, beaming at the attractive glow of two more green lights. The last two challenges make themselves known however, when first a key pad is revealed and then a photoreceptor. The latter is easiest by far, taking hardly a second of concentration to manifest a ball of light. The globe slips from the flesh of her palm as though traveling through a Waygate, hovering between her hand and the waiting photoreceptor. She furrows her brow and frowns uncertainly when it comes to the key pad however. After a brief period of consideration, she brings her free hand up towards the keep pad and points a single slender index finger in the direction of its surface. Abruptly, a bolt of electricity arcs from her digit, zapping the key pad in a hesitant gamble for success.

Spark! Zap! Instead of going green, that last panel, and then all the others, go completely dark, the orb making a distressed wheezing sound. Elspeth blinks. "I…ah, oh. I see. It registered an unexpected energy and shut down. Here, let me reboot." She taps a few places on the screen, and the ball returns to life. Sadly, the keypad panel is still red, a lonely little crimson square in a sea of happy green. "You can receive the pad combination by telepathically contacting me," she says, with a smile. "Or, if you'd rather not, I can give it to you. That panel's meant to provoke use of telepathy, though."

Sophie blinks in surprise when the globe wheezes and goes turn, pursing her lips in worry. When the device reboots, she giggles lightly and flushes with embarrassment, "it would seem that I have watched far too many holo vids." Another a brief moment of silence, she glances up carefully from the hovering ball, splitting her concentration to telepathically ask, *what password might be required for the keypad?*

"No, not at all. It's a good idea! We can't actually muster the right kind of power to short out any live devices, generally speaking, but that's a clever use of your abilities. The failure was ours, for not anticipating it in the programming. We'll fix it in the next iteration," Elspeth promises. Then she quiets, and she lets the answer surface in her mind, freely offered: 8159. She holds it there for as long as Sophie needs, her other emotional impressions coming through - mostly interest and concentration - although her actual thoughts are clearly controlled with no little discipline so that they don't leak over the connection.

Sophie nods her head slowly, "I am not the most talented when it comes to electronics, but I am glad to know that I have at least helped further your research in one way…" For her own telepathic transference of emotions, she is both completely elated and very curious, though a tinge of personal disappointment at her failure naturally comes through as well. She is also not nearly as capable of disciplining her thoughts from leaking past the link, her mind a flurry of artistic possibilities for later. Either way, once the password has been provided, she releases the telepathic connection and telekinetically presses the proper buttons on the keypad, awaiting the product of her second attempt.

Immediately, the keypad sinks into the orb, rotating around again to have blank metal once more. At the same time, the final panel changes from crimson to bright green. The ball begins to flash…and it plays music, too. Just a light little triumphant ditty. Then it goes dark. "Very good. We got some great data. If you're interested in having further sessions, we can expand that in each of the areas. However," she grins, "I generally recommend people come from those sessions in clothes they don't mind getting a bit grimy. Trousers, if possible, and nothing that you're going to miss. We have changing rooms and showers here, so, you can easily shower afterwards and change back into your preferred outfit." She taps a few more places on the screen, and the lasers wink out of existence. "Thank you, Lady Sophie. You really are providing invaluable help."

Sophie watches at the globe reverts to how it was when first turned on, smiling with pride at her success despite the small bump only a few moments earlier. She giggles as the ball plays music, nodding her head happily to the other woman's words, "I would welcome the chance for further sesssions, I should think." She smirks, "you do realize that you only make me more intrigued by mention of wearing such clothes the next time?" Either way, she slowly eases out of her power, letting the ball drop gently into her lap. Her irises shift into their natural amber tint once more, looking to Elspeth with glee, "thank you, Elspeth, for giving me this chance to help. You are welcome to tell your colleagues that a Royal decided to assist in your research. I doubt you will be lacking in subjects thereafter…though I do hope you always leave one spot open for me."

As Sophie releases the ball, Elspeth's aura flares again, and her own eyes go white as she scoops it up with her abilities, and returns it back to its place in the cabinet. "Not at all, Lady Sophie. Instead, I thank you for participating. I hope that it was at least a little enjoyable." To the latter suggestion, she just chuckles. "This is an ongoing project, so there will always be a spot left open for you. Now," she sighs, closes out her monitors. "Shall I escort you out? I imagine that you have other things you'd like to do with the rest of your afternoon than kick around this dusty old place," she says, with a grin.

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