Rue was born in South Australia on a bush property an hour or so outside of Ceduna. Her family consisted of a single father raising her along with two other sisters and his elderly mother. Her grandma took care of the children while her father worked in town.
She was a solitary child and more than a little odd. Out of all the children in her class, she consistently caused the most trouble. Frogs in the fishtank, a baby wallaby in the lost property basket, odd writing all over the classroom walls, children crying about curses and bunyips. Her father was at a loss.
It only got worse once she entered primary school. Finally her grandma took her aside and had a long conversation during which her father was not allowed in the kitchen. After that every weekend and Friday afternoon they would pack a lunch and go walking in the bush. Her dad wasn't sure what they did, but Rue was much calmer in school.
Then when she turned eleven, her father woke at midnight to smell burning. Fearing the worst, he entered her bedroom and discovered the incense, the small animal bones and dried plants strewn everywhere with his youngest daughter sitting in the middle, smeared with charcoal.
He was furious. Her grandma only scolded her for attempting such an advanced spell. An explanation was due. Her father and grandma had a long conversation and Rue could understand very little of it from listening at the keyhole. But in the morning her father seemed calm and her grandma was writing a letter. The letter was addressed to the Principal of Tallygarunga.
'Sorry, but could you accept a late student?'
It wasn't the old magic. It wasn't traditional. They wouldn't teach her how to find a hagstone, or charm a faerie knight. But her grandma was too old to teach her, too frail to keep up with her energy.
Rue attended Tally the following year and became quite notorious for her pranks. Fortunately she grew a sense of responsibility and no one was ever seriously hurt.