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KINEALLE
SCHOOL OF MAGECRAFT


Dear Miss Ellie-Mai,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Kinealle School of Magecraft. Please find enclosed a list of necessary equipment.

We request that you present yourself outside the southern gate of the city of Whitecrest, Asnye by eleven o'clock in the morning on the first of September for transport to Kinealle. Please dress warmly. Luggage should not exceed forty pounds.

If required, reimbursement for the cost of equipment and travel will be available upon your departure, up to the amount of five gold nobles.

Yours sincerely,
Whilma Hare
Whilma Hare
Mage of Kinealle;
Assistant to the Head Mage


KINEALLE
SCHOOL OF MAGECRAFT


UNIFORM

Incoming students will require:

1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (leather)
4. One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)
5. One pair of boots (black leather)

Students are also expected to bring eight days worth of appropriate undergarments, as servants will wash students' clothes only once per week. All clothes should carry name tags.

EQUIPMENT

1 magical focus (wand, athame, or similar)
1 cauldron (pewter, 12-inch diameter)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 set glass stirrers
1 set brass scales
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Ellie-Mai Cochran

Whitecrest, Asnye

14

"When you're in the darkness, you only sink deeper into it. Keep the light shining."
- Kenzo Tenma (Naoki Urasawa's Monster)



Dear Miss Ellie-Mai,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Kinealle School of Magecraft. Please find enclosed a list of necessary equipment.
We request that you present yourself outside the southern gate of the city of Whitecrest, Asnye by eleven o'clock in the morning on the first of September for transport to Kinealle. Please dress warmly. Luggage should not exceed forty pounds.
If required, reimbursement for the cost of equipment and travel will be available upon your departure, up to the amount of five gold nobles.
Yours sincerely,
Whilma Hare
Mage of Kinealle;
Assistant to the Head Mage

Ellie couldn't believe it.
Parchment in hand, seal gleaming in the sunlight, her heart swelling as porcelain blue eyes skidded over every word, her mind was too busy buzzing around to comprehend the situation. Such an arcane school, Kinealle of all the schools in White Asnye, invited her. To roam its candle-lit halls, to learn and teach others, to care for her dragon friend for years to come. It's everything the fourteen-year old ever hoped for, ever wished. Ever since she was born, she yearned to fly, to meld herself with magic, light, hope and adventure. She wasn't the happiest teenager in the world, and only seeing snow for a lifetime was like a nightmare to her. That's why she latched onto this opportunity, the fancy words written on paper, and held it close to her heart, tears of joy forming in her eyes. Nothing ever felt as exciting, and her heart began to thump in her chest, childishly squealing before she descended the stairs to the kitchen, dress almost making her trip on her way down before she told her sisters, her youngest brother and her mother. And as she had already guessed, her mother had that hunch.

Days passed, and soon came the morn of the first of September. It was 9 in the morning, 2 hours prior to where she had to be in Central Whitecrest. She lived in the neighborhood, so the ride to the southern gate wouldn't take too long of her precious time. Once outside her door, Ellie-Mai skipped over to the stables and grabbed Osla, her lifelong horse and friend. If it hadn't been for the slight change of weather, there would have been heavy snow gracing the land in its entirety, but thankfully the snow was low enough for a horse to gallop through. Giving her a small treat for the ride, she wasted no time in mounting her, eventually taking off. 15 minutes, as she'd calculated, and two boys and one girl bumped into her when she dismounted. Fairly close to giving them a piece of her mind, Ellie decided against it. She had other things to worry about. "Okay.." she hummed to herself, bringing out the letter and reading aloud:

Incoming students will require:

Three sets of plain work robes (black)
One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
One pair of protective gloves (leather)
One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)
One pair of boots (black leather)
1 magical focus (wand, athame, or similar)
1 cauldron (pewter, 12-inch diameter)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 set glass stirrers
1 set brass scales

As she read, the crowds beside her in the bustling city didn't make her flinch for a second. She'd gotten quite to this. The people of Asnye barely let the cold stop them, and 300 years ago people used to battle dragons on this very land. This land of snow and ice, with one color on the spectrum; white. They were usually the loud kind of people, people nobody would love being surrounded by when awoken at five in the morning, yet it never stopped them. Ellie used to hate this about her people, but soon she grew warmer to it. It made her feel less alone. So, with the guidance of the children, women and men's voices outside at the moment, the blonde moved through the snow in her skirt, her brown stockings doing little to warm her up as she ventured through. Her eyes came across the first shop she met in the marketplace, and she wasted no time in pushing the door open, eyes curiously looking inside.

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She was met by the sound of a tinkling bell above the door and a comfortable warmth, radiating gently from every corner despite the lack of hearth and fire. Poignant scents wafted toward her with the warm air—a hint of smoke from burning white sage, a medley of dried herbs and flowers, and just a trace of dust.

The variety of items for sale was astonishing; though spacious, the front room was cramped with shelves and displays of arcane books, assorted crystals and stones, mysterious figurines and symbols, an unusual selection of jewelry, mirrors of all sizes, sticks of incense, and even more objects she couldn't yet see from this angle. The shopkeeper's counter was currently abandoned, but a shout of "One moment!" from the back alerted her to his presence.

There was an answering kraa and the flapping of wings, and a curious bird alighted atop a nearby shelf, peering at her with one of its bright red eyes. From its shape and size it seemed to be a raven, but its feathers were white as the snow that blanketed Asnye. Apparently approving of the customer, it croaked once more and flapped over to the jewelry, where it playfully pecked at a particularly shiny bauble.

"I see that, Master Frostwing," came a chiding voice. A man, presumably the shopkeeper, stepped out from the backroom, wiping his hands on his robe and raising an eyebrow at the bird. "I know where you keep your nest. I'll just restock whatever you pilfer, so don't bother."

The bird merely cocked its head at the man and resettled its wings.

The shopkeeper then turned his attention to his newest customer. His pale gray eyes were crinkled at the corners in amusement, and laugh lines creased his face. He appeared to be in his late fifties, wearing work robes of somber gray and navy. His hair, though still golden-brown in places, had gone mostly gray and wispy.

"Good morning, dear. What can I...ah. But of course. You'll be needing your equipment for Kinealle." He nodded knowingly and tapped his temple. "You're the right age for it, and it's September first today. I had two of you'n come in yesterday. I suppose I'll be getting a fourth within the hour. Come, then. The name's Reed Lindhall. What shall we start with, then?" He spoke quickly but clearly, those pale eyes of his piercing as he observed the girl.
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As soon as she entered the shop, her nose took in the delicate yet still remarkably strong scents filling this cozy place. There were books everywhere, shelves reflecting off tall mirrors. She only slightly leaned against the door when she heard the clink of the bell dissipate from loud to something akin to a faint whisper, and felt strongly nostalgic to the way her home feels in Christmas, once they gather round the fire with hot chocolate in their mugs, telling stories and spreading rumors. She was growing up much too quickly, but one thing remained the same to her; the warmth of home, and she knew instantly that whenever she felt that feeling somewhere, it meant good things were about to happen. Silly, she knew, but she could care less. It was her own mind, her own innocent thoughts, and that same mind was what dragged her eyes over to the raven.

She stared at him with a slight excited grin that took seconds to completely form, and she analyzed the raven as much as it analyzed her. It looked absolutely beautiful, mysterious yet still giving off the vibe of a wise, old man who had lots of stories to tell. If only he could speak, Ellie-Mai would grill him, know anything and everything of his voyages over cities and buildings, but alas, this raven was a mute unlike the ones in the books she read. A boom of a voice startled her out of her fascination, and she jumped lightly in place, instinctively tugging locks of long, blonde hair behind a pale ear. It was probably the shopkeeper, she said to herself, cursing at her jittery personality.

Though Ellie did not plan on stopping her analysis of this bird until the man came out, and she shyly approached, the golden gleam of light the jewelry reflected only succeeding in catching her eye for seconds before she yearned to touch his wing, softly stroke it. But she snapped her hand back immediately upon seeing the grey-haired old man come out of the backroom, and she stood in place, parchment held to heart. "Frostwing.." She mumbled to herself in amusement, the wordplay serving to stimulate her ever active brain, before she let out quiet giggles to herself. That was a nice one. Belonged to a raven in Asnye, anyway.

"I thought I was going to be the first one," she playfully frowned, before her expression became neutral once more. As neutral as her mischievous face could look. "I'm Elle-Mai. Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lindhall." She said with a soft smile before looking down at the list in hand. "We can start with the uniform first.. erm, I'll need three sets of black plain work robes," she began counting on her fingers so they could both keep track. "One black plain pointed hat..for day wear," she almost forgot that last part as she read, raising a second finger. "One pair of protective leather gloves, one black winter cloak with silver fastenings and a pair of black leather boots." With a tone of finality, she stared up at the man again, hoping that wasn't too much information at once. She was a fast reader.
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Lindhall merely smiled at the girl's rapid list, his eyes crinkling at the corners once more. "Excellent," he proclaimed. "We have robes and such over this way. I don't carry much in the way of gloves or boots, just a few standard styles. But I have spells I can use to resize and recolor them as needed, for no extra charge. The robes, hat, and cloak will all be simple enough, of course. I recommend wool—Kinnealle is a far cry from Asnye, but it's in the mountains. It'll get right cold there, mark my words, and I've no idea when you'll learn warming charms. Ah, here we are!"

As he spoke, he led Ellie through the warren of objects for sale. The passed brightly-dyed pouches of suede and felt, clusters of staves and walking sticks, and a vast collection of candles—both large and small, plain and shaped, in every color and scent a person could wish for. Finally, they emerged into a somewhat more open section of the store against one wall. Here one could find hats, gloves, belts, scarves, sashes, cloaks, and robes. Especially robes. They came in wool, cotton, linen, suede, leather, silk, velvet, and more. Under-robes, over-robes, simple robes, robes with intricate embroidery, and even a few that appeared to be normal bathrobes.

The man went straight for a row of black robes, made of wool as he'd recommended, and held one of the garments out for her. "Would you care to try this one on for size? You can just pull it on over your dress. It can be worn over everyday clothes, or we have under-robes you can choose from. You see, regular robes open in front, so it's best to wear something underneath, even if you plan to wear it closed."

The garment offered to Ellie was plain, just as the uniform dictated. The fit was loose, the sleeves wide, and the front had no buttons, clasps, or laces. Apparently, it was meant to be tied closed with the belt of black wool that Lindhall also grabbed and held out to her.
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The young girl felt relief that this man could even catch her reading speed, a habit everyone chastised her for and told her to slow down, and it made her give a soft smile as she listened to Mr. Lindhall. Though when mentioned, Ellie's jaw could have dropped down to the floor. Spells for resizing objects and changing colors? She'd only heard passing whispers of magic, consider it being a quite feared subject of conversation, so she only knew about the existence of mundane spells like light spells and such. But this, although a simple detail thrown inbetween the conversation, it only made her heart thump in excitement and anticipation for what's to come. And, warming charms?!

Of course, Ellie silently agreed to taking the wool instead of leather, a shiver coursing through her at the mere thought of there being a place colder than White Asnye, a nickname it won for the most obvious reasons, and let herself be led through the warren of products the man sold in his cozy shop. Such pretty things, big and small, and the sight appealed to her hoarding nature. She didn't even need candles at home or at the school, but the sight of them still attracted her. She had a child's fascination, she did, and she reprimanded herself for it so many times after seeing poised adults who didn't go wide-eyed at the mere sight of baby white wolves playing in the snow.

She let her eyes now trail over the various pieces of attire being sold, admiring the embroidery on one and the way the cotton felt between her fingers on the other, half-listening to the man and half-lost in her own thoughts, but she still followed as he walked, and stopped in her tracks when he stopped, taking the garment from his hand and nodding when she took the accompanying black wool belt that came with it. She slipped it over her snowy dress, having no problem with that at all, but wondered if it would feel like a weight over her chest when closed. She decided to test this hypothesis, tying it closed with her belt. She sprinted over to the nearest mirror, brushing any dust off it, twirling left and right. Very comfortable.

"It's a perfect fit. Three sets of this size then please," she said, glancing at the man through the mirror before she turned, facing him. "And I'd like to try on one of your under-robes too."
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The shopkeeper was smiling softly at his customer as she spun to see the robe. "A perfect fit indeed," he agreed, already picking out two more of the robes and belts. He gave her the price of the robes—a more than reasonable sum—to ensure they were her final choice. Then he led her to the racks of under-robes. Most boasted long, fitted sleeves, meant to peek out from under the more billowy sleeves of the outer robe. Though some were also fitted at the shoulders and collar, all were quite loose from the collarbone down. A tailor's mannequin was dressed to illustrate how a belt or sash tied about the middle could be used to give the loose clothing some shape. All of the necklines were very conservative, some round and others square, and still more had curious collars which buttoned up to a band around the neck. ((Google image search band collars or mandarin collars for clarification.))

The bell above the shop door indicated another customer had arrived. Lindhall turned and called out to the new arrival that he'd be along in just a moment. The customer, a boy or young man from the sound of his voice, called back for the shopkeeper to take his time.

Lindhall returned his attention to Ellie. "Will you be alright browsing on your own for a few minutes?" he asked politely. "The curtained areas there and there," he said, pointing, "are for changing should you wish to try any of these on. And if you finish here before I come back, the boots and gloves are in that corner, there." He pointed once more and waited to see if she needed anything else before attending to the newcomer.
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Once she felt that she gazed at herself in the clean mirror enough, Ellie knew she made a choice and she glanced at the shopkeeper, taking the prices from him. Thankfully, she'd packed enough wramoras for the reasonable price that turned out to be her total until she picked out the rest of her requirements. A currency exclusive to only Asnye citizens, she made sure to bring enough for her shopping spree, and for any extra objects she found particularly fascinating. A hoarder by nature.

"Thank you, Mr. Lindhall. I'll take things from here," she smiled at him with a curt nod, and waited for him to leave her to herself before she began to look around the way she usually would on her own. That meant staring at the mannequin before her, cocking her head to the side as she turned, attempting to tie her belt around the middle and give it a stylish shape. When she felt she was quite done with that, still unable to master them perfectly by just looking, she began to stand on her tiptoes to inspect the collars, still not quite tall enough to see them clearly.

These were certainly new, unmatched styles of clothing, and not many of them existed in Asnye. Only the usual collar filled the stores since clothing was, although a necessity, not really important in terms of style. Which made Ellie-Mai long to go somewhere else, treat her eyes to a change after spending 14 years in the same country. But those had a new touch. She enjoyed that. It felt unique to be wearing something like this, and she made a mental note to learn these styles if she ever got free time at the school. For now, though, she settled with looking for something similar in the racks, until she found what easily caught her eyes. Remembering where Mr Lindhall pointed out the changing 'rooms', she walked over to one and closed the curtain behind her.

As soon as she entered the closed off space, she already began to feel suffocated as if she entered an entirely new realm, and she realized she had a new fear after all. Closed spaces. Even if it wasn't that closed off, she began to rush her changing, taking off her dress and wearing her under-robe of choice with her black wool robe over it. It wasn't too tight nor too big for her, and once again it was a perfect fit, almost like magic was attached to these clothes, easily detecting the wearer's size as soon as they wear it. She felt amused at the thought, grinning lightly, before she flipped her hair to the side to adjust her collar. Perfect.

Ready to finally leave the changing space, she changed back to her dress, the three sets of black wool robes and three sets of under-robes to accompany them over her arm. Afterwards, she turned her constantly divided attention to the gloves and boots. Picking out the black ones that felt more like wool than leather, she tried them on. Once again, perfect size, and warmed her up to the point of sweating. So, she took them on her other free hand, walking out to the counter where she came at the start, eyes immediately catching the familiar Mr Lindhall.. and someone new? She raised a brow, tentatively approaching with her items still in hand.
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