Lia watched in silence as the mage whipped up a breeze, forming a sphere of whirling air with her bare hands. Unimpressive and rather weak, but a mage nonetheless,
Lia thought as Araceli struggled to shape the air currents into a contained sphere. Training will be needed, and lots of it. Especially if she’s going to follow me out of this academy,
Lia concluded as the girl dissolved the ball of air. The human was clearly young and inexperienced, having only tampered briefly with her power, which seemed to be the norm for the mages around the vicinity since they all appeared to be just under or around twenty years of age. At least she’ll be easy to control,
Lia thought, frowning as she watched the girl deal with some internal turmoil that most likely involved addressing Lia. Inexperienced, young, and acknowledging of vampires’ status in this society. The latter is the only helpful one and the only one I’d even consider keeping around.
When mage finally made up her mind and voiced the question, Lia blinked, not understanding what the girl was going on about. Staying out in the courtyard a bit longer was fine by her — Lia didn’t want to have to deal with the girl for too long anyway — but decorating? The room?
As a vampire that lived outside the court, Lia was constantly on the move and never stayed long in one place. This also meant that what she owned, she carried with her or left with others for safekeeping. She only owned one location — a safe house she visited once every few months that held her most prized possessions. The small, run-of-the-mill flat housed Lia’s mementos from the past — mementos that she couldn’t bear to part with but also didn’t like dwelling on. To Lia, to be attached to something meant weakness, and she couldn’t have that. Aside from running through the mandatory actions to please the high court, Lia was at the academy to dull her most prominent one: a unquenchable and, when put off, relentless need for blood. Thus, she hadn’t brought much at all along — just a single suitcase of necessities and a few changes of clothes. She had not — and still did not — setting up for life in the academy dorms. They were just the highly recommended sleeping place for the duration of her stay at the academy.“Do what you want, but keep it simple. Keep everything on your side, and don’t put up too much,”
Lia said, listing off some basics so that the mage couldn’t go overboard with anything. “Just don’t clog the room up,”
she said in summary.
Aine nodded slowly, pasting on the smile again and nodding in response to Josie’s question. The vampire was already planning out the rest of her week, stuffing it full of things without a single piece of input from Aine. I guess there are worse things than being a dress-up doll for a vampire,
she thought, waiting patiently for Josie to finish her rant. Josie also seems quite nice,
Aine thought as the vampire finished her rant and moved on to questioning Aine. It might feel a little fake, but at least she’s nice when she’s faking it all.“I’m from a small village some distance from here,”
Aine said slowly — carefully — as to not let anything slip. “It’s one of those villages that try to live apart from civilization, so I don’t think it’s on any official maps. My family’s fine — two younger sisters and a younger brother,”
she continued, hesitating briefly before concluding that her siblings were safe no matter what she said. They weren’t mages and therefore were not and were never going to be taken and assigned to vampires. Aine had drawn the winning straw, and now she was collecting her prize “My affinity — well, I’m not quite sure,”
she admitted, lifting her hands up and concentrating so that a swirl of luminous gold light gathered in them, drifting around lazily. “I guess you could say that my affinity is life,”
Aine said, looking around for something she could to demonstrate her powers. Her eyes caught on a moth that was fluttering around the glass casing of a nearby lamppost, lost and confused by the comforting, bright light.
Pointing a hand in the direction of the moth, Aine reached out with her mind. Hey, it’s okay. I know it’s bright and scary, but you’re strong. You can get through it. Fly over here — I’ll show you where the moon is,
she told the moth. The furry bug gave the glass a last whack before drifting over to Aine, landing on her hair and crawling around. “This is my power,”
Aine said, looking at Josie. “I can communicate with living things, and I can share my energy with them.”
Having finished her little demonstration, Aine sent one last message to the moth to encourage it to be on its way, stating that the moon was in the sky and the night was beautiful before dispelling her magic. When the glow faded, Josie wrapped an arm around Aine’s shoulders and guided her out of the courtyard and towards the gardens, away from all the other mages and vampires. Aine felt a rising sense of panic as the voices faded away, but at the same time she knew that there was no point in protesting. “L—Lady Josie,”
Aine said, tripping up a bit when she finally mustered up the courage to speak her mind, “where are we going? Shouldn’t we head to the dorms once we’re a—acquainted with one another?”