Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Achronum
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In the dark of the night, the open courtyard glowed with light dancing on every surface. Moon and lantern light spilled across the large fountain and the numerous windows, giving the wide space a fairytale feel. A pleasant breeze wound through the murmuring guests and classical music drifted in its wake from somewhere unseen. Servants bearing a variety of refreshments made their way through the crowd, unaffected by the evening’s excitement, and dutily passed mage and vampire alike, even those actively avoiding the main crowd. Many chattered excitedly with acquaintances old and new while others struggled with their new surroundings, clutching the magically sealed envelope they were handed when they entered the Academy’s gate.

Outside the Academy courtyard, the entire town was decorated in festive lighting and colors to welcome the new arrivals. Noila Academy comprised not just the school but the town attached to it as well. The Noila family built the Academy shortly after signing the treaty between humans and vampires as a physical testimony to peace between the races. Known for its extravagance, the royal line funded it directly. Money was of no concern to the Academy and everything provided was of the utmost luxury. Such was the privilege of Noila Academy students.

The Academy’s vast grounds and opportunities provide much in the way of social interaction between students while maintaining nook and crannies for when it got overwhelming. Change was difficult, when you factor in a vampire’s age and human stubbornness, but Princess Reyner hoped the social balance and respite from the stresses of the world were enough to allow bonds grow naturally over time.

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As the night wore on and the newly arrived seemed to all relax, conversation quieting down into a muted hum, and less hovered on the outskirts of the event, two men in black suits took position in front of the fountain. They looked over the crowd and one murmured into a piece on his wrist before standing back at attention.The gesture, harmless as it was, went overlooked by the group as they looked away from the men shortly after their arrival. A few moments later and a lull fell over the assembly as barely audible taps could be heard on the cobblestone. A woman strode across the courtyard with the grace and ease of a person assured in their authority. A man with dark skin and a scar riddled face trailed closely behind her with another woman, blonde hair tied tightly back and eyes darting everywhere as the woman stepped up onto the fountains edge. The pair took their places next to her, just a step down.

For a moment,the woman merely observed the faces that turned her way and watched as confusion and curiosity transformed into shock and wonder. The scarred man made a sharp gesture and the lanterns all dimmed until only the full moon’s light illuminated the space. It glinted off her silver accessories, all set with obsidian stones, and the opulent black silk of her dress highlighted the paleness of her skin. Yet, it all was designed to drag the eye to the rubies set into her silver tiara and the ruby pendant clashed around her neck.

“It is a pleasure to welcome you personally to your first night at the Noila Academy. I am Ryner Noila, eldest daughter of Queen Noila, and the founder of this esteemed university.”
A collective gasp ran through the crowd, mainly mages, and the murmuring began. An inevitability that she allowed for a few moments as a familiar breeze slithered through the crowd. Princess Ryner glanced at her female mage and saw the usual far away look as the mage probed the crowd. The Princess clapped her hands together once sharply and the noise died down once again.

“I am well aware many of you have several pressing questions. Many of you never submitted an application to this Academy. And yet here you are. I want to assure each and everyone of you that your invitation was no accident. Every single one of you was meant to attend our Academy. Each and everyone of you are here to learn and to grow. Over the years that you will attend, you will find that you will meet and exceed your wildest expectations. You will discover things both good and bad about yourself, and others, that you could not have fathomed before.” The Princess’s voice carried a certain finalty in the statement. Everyone discovered something about themselves and it was up to them to overcome it. It was the one guarantee about this Academy she had. As they interacted in class and out of it, wills would be tested and boundaries would be pushed. Inevitably they would change and she would see, as she always had, it be for the better. She caught the female mage mutter something into her wrist and other two men slipped away.

“I believe that as society continues to grow, so will we and the peace we’ve created. Every bond created, either of friendship, romance, or the fragile trust between feeders and the fed, reaffirms and strengthens that which we’ve enjoyed for centuries and will continue to enjoy for many more to come.” The Princess spoke decisively and smiled again at the crowd. “However those are thoughts for another time. Now is time to explore our grounds and acquaint yourselves with the individual in the sealed envelopes you were given upon arrival. These people will be your partner for your duration of your stay here. Each pair, one vampire and one mage, have been chosen only by myself and your partner’s name and photo as well as the address of your new home have been provided to you in the envelopes. Please be advised there will be no reconsiderations and swapping partners in expressly forbidden. And so I will hold you no longer. William, Sariel if you would please do the honors.” The mages at her right both spoke under their breath and snapped their fingers. The dimly glowing seal on the back of each envelope vanished.

The lanterns glowed once again as the energetic chatter of earlier returned. Many mages hesitantly pulled their partner’s picture out of the envelope and started glancing around while most vampires homed in on their partners. The Princess stepped down from the fountain and the trio left, pausing at another exit to watch. “Remember, do not interfere tonight unless life may be lost. Once they’ve dispersed, meet me at home. I will likely be out the rest of the evening. I have an unwelcome guest to greet.” With that, she strode off and three other vampires slunk out of the shadows to follow her.

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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Jade Blades
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Joryldin Nailo

The Widow Nailo and her son were out on the road by late afternoon, and arrived first thing in the evening. Joryldin cherished being able to watch the sunset through the screen of their light-sealed car. It was one of the few things that brought him comfort after he was turned. Said comfort was short lived however, as they arrived in the bustling town of Nolia Academy. Joryldin stepped out of the car in a grey two-piece, the best they could find on such short notice. He adjusted the duffel bag on his shoulder as to not wrinkle his suit as his mother exited the vehicle.

"Oh come now dear, look at your hair!"
She wasted no time attacking him with a comb until he was in acceptable condition.
"Mom, don't! I'm trying to keep my eyes covered."
"But they're perfectly lovely eyes! Just look at how they glow! Did you make sure to brush your fangs? Open your mouth, let me see."

Any protests Joryldin had fell on deaf ears. Widow Nailo spent more than 20 minutes checking and double checking that he looked his best, until finally she had to let him go. It was quite the tearful goodbye. For her, it was like sending away an infant; for him, it was like his first step as an adult... into a dark new world that terrified him to his core.

The festivities were surprisingly upbeat. He expected something far more grim; it was quite jarring to see everyone excited and getting along. Throughout it all, Joryldin remained a wallflower. Once his mother had driven away, he immediately sweept his hair back in front of his eyes out of fear of accidentally mesmerizing someone. Passerby's and peers who tried to introduce themselves were brushed off with a hasty greeting as he promptly relocated. He especially avoided the human students, too ashamed to face any of them. Why shouldn't he be? He had abandoned his humanity and would soon be forced to take one of them away from everything they cared about just to extend his own undeath...

These were the thoughts that plagued Joryldin's mind up until the moment Princess Nolia called everyone to attention. It was the first and only time he was glad his heart couldn't beat any more, because if it could, he would have gone into cardiac arrest. It wasn't adoration that her confidence, beauty, and charisma stirred in him; it was fear. Here stood one of the most powerful beings in existence. As far as he knew, everything in the world served no purpose but to entertain her whims and fancy. He barely payed any attention to what she said, and when his envelope was unsealed, his hands shook as they drew out the picture. "Dakota Brookes", he couldn't help but feel sorry for her. When he was alive, his biggest fear was becoming a mage and getting stripped of all purpose but to serve some vampire. Now here he was forcing this girl who looks like she had all the confidence and purpose in the world to be reduced to his food. Joryldin started wandering the grounds, looking for her. Might as well get introduced and start things on the right foot if she would be stuck with him for the rest of her life.
@WeepingLiberty
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Achronum
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Varis Sinnenodel



Varis arrived just after the gates opened. Lady Sinnenodel thoroughly instilled punctuality into him, reminding him time and time again that being early was on time and on time was late. He watched as the servers made their rounds and a particular aroma caught his attention. He licked his lips and made his way through the rapidly growing crowd,pausing here and there to greet those he had met at other affairs. He plucked a chilled champagne flute off the end of a server’s tray, ignoring the woman’s slight fumble as he unexpectedly unbalanced her tray, and swirled the vicious red liquid. He brought it to his lips and forced back a groan at the flavor. Vitae Felix, a specialty brand of blood that specializes in bottling pure, unadulterated joy a variety of mages or a Life mage in this case. The flavor of bananas and oranges burst across his tongue, leaving a slight tingling sensation in his mouth as he finished the drink. He picked up another and made his way from the dangerous tray. If the Noilas already started that brand, they obviously spared no expense for the event.

He settled down with a few vampires and a curious mage, content with listening while he let his eyes wander the yard. Most mages meshed easily with their new lives, lambs among the wolves. More than a few of them would come out for the worse despite the Princess’s attempts to shorten the gaps between the races. Varis twiddled the key around his neck absently as the volume of the crowd rose.

It went silent as Princess Ryner stood on the fountain and gave her speech. The centuries had refined her silver tongue and at the end Varis dutifully clapped. Such optimism. It was no wonder so many of these mortals wished to believe. With little in the way if rights or protections, many of these mages had to buy into Princess Ryner’s passion for unity. But, it was of no matter to him.

He slipped the photo and name of his mage out from the envelope. The crowd had since burst into a flurry of activity, nerves goading them on. Varis looked over the photo. Aaron Starag. His eyebrows shot up in surprise and a pleased chuckle made it's way past his lips. He had heard rumors but he’d dismissed them as just that. The Noilas giving away their precious Starag keepsakes. He cocked his head thoughtfully, a small smile spreading across his lips.

“So this is the game.” He murmured to himself as he stood and made his way to the fountain, sitting in the exact spot the Princess stood. His mage would find him eventually. He spent the time running have hand through his hair and brushing wrinkles out of his vest and shirt and sipping on another glass of blood.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Gisk
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Gisk

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Ever since moving to the town surrounding the Noila Academy, Cassandra's mother had been prone to melancholy. She was in one of her "episodes" tonight, and Cassandra was glad she had gone to bed early. Her father at least tried to feign excitement and pride. He stayed up with her, braided her hair and helped her with her beauty routine. Makeup was garbage, when you could change the color of your skin with the application of heat. True, all she could do with that was black and gray, but she leaned into it, doing a winged eyeliner and blackening her lips. She looked grim, but that seemed appropriate.

Her father wouldn't accompany her all night, sadly. Her vampire tutor and his mage picked her up, inspecting her garb before allowing her into his car. She had not been allowed to choose her attire for this evening, but Master Valius had consented to let her pick from a short list of outfits. She picked one of the more "exotic" choices, rather than a traditional dress. Silk harem pants, and a top that showed her midriff, but covered her neck with a high collar. She thought Valius had actually included this option knowing she would pick it. He was always doing things like that, maintaining strict control, while occasionally allowing her to find loopholes. He was okay, better than his mage, Edward Bell. All of that was over with now. Valius and Edward were leaving her life for good, to be replaced with new tutors, and a new companion. She had high hopes.

Their car pulled up to the gates at precisely the time listed on the invitation.

"It's every bit as rude," Valius said, "To be early, as to be late. A host should be ready in advance, but you must give them the opportunity to pretend everything went smoothly, in case it doesn't. If you ignore glaring issues, you look patronizing. Better to orchestrate not to see them at all."

"Yes sir," Cassandra said, looking through the window for a moment before opening the car door. That was the last instruction he would give her, and it was the first time it had ever been relevant. She had never been to anything that might be called an event before. She looked back at her tutors as she closed the door behind her, not sure what to feel. She turned away silently, and entered the courtyard.

She listened to the princess's speech hungrily. Yes, that is why she was here. No more "yes sir" just because someone drank blood. She would be a partner, an equal to the person in this envelope. She was staring at it as the speech ended, waiting for the moment the spell was released, and then ripped it open.

Cassandra didn't know what to expect, really. It felt strange to see her partner, even in photograph, after years of knowing she would be paired. He must have known too, had he waited for the day? What was he thinking as he looked at her picture? She would find out soon enough.

The photograph showed a young man, tired looking, she hoped he would be more lively. But who isn't more lively in real life than a photo? Dominique Astorio. A noble, that was prestigious. That annoyed her. She would have preferred a nobody, so she could raise them both up, and say it was because of their own skill and intelligence, not because of his blood. It was to be expected of this academy, though, wasn't it?

Cassandra ignored the refreshment that began circulating. She had a monster in her pocket(precisely why she had chosen these pants) and would open it when she started to feel tired. There was no sense drinking before that.

Instead, she stood on her tiptoes, having trouble looking over the crowd. It didn't matter in the end, though. Dominique towered over many, she never would have guessed at how tall he was from the picture. Just looking at shoulders and up made him look slight. She started toward him immediately, pushing when she had to(nobody had introduced her to anyone, manners were out the window now).
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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by HecateProxy
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Morrigan Cade


There was a niggle at the back of his mind, a persistent reminder that things were off. Morrigan knew how his body should be reacting—still hung up on the phantom memories that lurked within the recesses of his mind. There should be a buzzing beneath his skin, fingers twitching in tune with an anxiety riddled heartbeat. But instead he felt an unnerving calm to his form. The feel of ice and peace that lavished every movement while his mind raked over the event to come.

Annabelle, the mere thought of her name sent a trill of excitement down his spine. Emotions weren’t cut off, not like most humans had speculated, but thrust unto a peak of a high. While his body didn’t react to the anxiety his mind bathed in—it still felt the pangs of joy at his sister’s name. It was his silver lining, the bright spot in his now darkened world.

He would be at the same academy she had been sent to all those years ago. And hopefully it would be there that he could find all the missing pieces about her whereabouts. Annabelle Cade, his memory sparked to life, she shared the same unnerving blue eyes he had. But favored their mother with her coppery tresses forever pulled back into a hasty pony tail. How he wondered how much she had changed.

And how she would take the news.

He felt the corners of his mouth twist up into a small smile, his nerves now being overrun with excitement. This was an adventure, he would remind himself. To enter the world he always was so curious about. It wasn’t exactly the way he wanted to learn about the relationship between the mages and the vampires—but by this point he didn’t have the luxury of complaining.

The car began to lull as it slowed down, he could feel the subtle lurch as the driver stepped on the breaks. It wasn’t particularly interesting sitting in the back of a blacked out car, missing the opportunity to stare out the windows. But Morrigan wasn’t going to complain—especially not after his first-hand experience with ambient sunlight. The burn had taken a solid week to heal. He didn’t want to know what full on sunlight would do to him. So instead he tempered his boredom by playing over scenarios in his mind's eye while they has drove.

He could hear the lofty chatter before the car pulled to a full stop. The sounds and smells spilling into the backseat as he pushed open the door. Morrigan slid out of the car and into the cool night, his hand reaching up to adjust the knot of his tie before stepping away.

The academy was more impressive in person than any photo showed. Had he been a man who breathed he would have been stuck gasping at the craftsmanship as it loomed over him. Part of him wanted to walk over and touch the stone, feel its solidness beneath his own fingertips. But instead his feet turned on their own accord and moved him into the main hall.

Vampires and mages mingled together, a sense of joy and excitement was only soured by the faint lingering of fear wafting off of a few select humans. Morrigan threaded his way through the masses. Everyone was dressed to impress—shining bright enough to put the stars to shame.

As he went he looked for the boy in the photograph he had been given. A sullen looking teen with muddy brown hair and what looked like a permanent scowl etched across his face. Morrigan wasn’t sure how well the pairing would be, but he was optimistic that the photo was just taken at a bad time.

A voice broke out over the din, a sound so soft that it brushed against his fraying mind and commanded attention with the authority laced within her words. The princess. He looked up at her practically glowing face. Her words sweeping through the crowd, bringing with it new invigoration.

For Morrigan, he clung to every syllable that dripped from her painted mouth. She was the visage that would start his new journey. And a genuine smile split across his face as her speech came to an end.

As the party began to stir back to its previous conversations, he pressed himself over to one of the entrance walls. His eyes scanning over the mass as he waited for his partner to arrive.


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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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Maxwell Alderman


Max tugged at his collar distastefully. This tie was killing him, and it wasn't making him look particularly classy tonight either. He was dressed up in the expected suit and tie, of course - it's a formal occasion - but his hair was still as uncombed as ever and the bags under his eyes hadn't faded a bit. Not to mention his posture; he swore he'd heard some gossiping vampire mumble "abysmal" as he walked past, and to be fair, it was an apt description. He barely managed to resist the urge to shove his hands in his pockets as he slunk around the courtyard, crafting a deliberate scowl to ward off any avid minglers.

While he knew, in theory, no one would dare disrupt such a prestigious event, Max remained guarded. He still wasn't too comfortable with being promoted from "Worthless Insect" to "Tasty Insect" in the eyes of vampirekind. Unfortunately, as the night wore on and his stomach started betraying him, lurking about the outskirts of the party grew tiresome. He knew he should've shown up fashionably late. Or rather, unfashionably late - right at the very end.

He crept closer to a wandering servant with a tray of food and started plucking off tasty looking morsels without so much as a "Thanks", narrowly dodging some friendly-looking blond that seemed to be itching for a chat. The guy's face reminded Max of an annoying golden retriever - he'd never get out of that conversation. Maybe if he stayed near the vampires he'd be less bothered; their socializing was usually only done with political or social purpose rather than genuine amiability. Although that does bring him a bit out of his comfort zone.

His dilemma was interrupted as the princess began her welcoming speech, with Max leveling a sharp glare in her direction only briefly before reigning his expression into one of thinly-veiled disdain. About halfway through, the glare returned. Were Her Highness not so ancient, Max would've accused the woman standing on the fountain to be some naive idealist. But no, a vampire of her age and caliber had to be worldly enough to know better, not to mention crafty enough to see the need for such a facade of empty platitudes regarding cooperation and bonding.

At the speech's conclusion, he refused to even politely clap, instead turning his attention to the now-unsealed envelope in his hand. He was back on his guard, and needed a target to redirect his anger to now that the princess was no longer in sight.

"Morrigan Cade. Sounds pretentious." He mumbled as he flipped to the included picture. He immediately began to glare daggers at the photographed boy, as if it would somehow reach the real Morrigan through association. Once he had sufficiently seared every facet of his new captor's visage into his mind, he perked his head upward and did a quick scan of the immediate area. No sign of him. Good. More time to bore holes into the papers in his hand with his eyes.

With the sheer intensity of his gaze, it's a minor miracle the poor photo hadn't burst into flames yet. Undeterred, Max improvised; crumpling up the photo in his hand with a scornful grimace before nursing his expression back into one of ambient discontent.

"Whatever. Let him waste his time looking for me."
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Hidden 10 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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The mage's quarters of the Noila castle had abuzz with anticipation all evening, some of its residents having gotten up early to make any last-minute preparations for the occasion ahead.

Aaron had been up since before sunset, running through mental checklists, making doubly and triply sure nothing had been forgotten. He'd sharpened and polished his sword to a mirror shine and conditioned the leather grip to a velvety softness; his suit had been thoroughly pressed and steamed, and now there he was, meticulously groomed, repeatedly smoothing the lapel of his black suit jacket, straightening his mustard yellow tie and making sure his slacks hung nicely with the scabbard on his hip.

Naturally, he was ready before he needed to be, and now was stuck, abuzz with excitement and nervous anticipation, sitting on a bench in the mage's foyer and waiting for the moment he'd be called out to the car. Elbows on his knees, his whole body bounced as his one leg tapped a feverish rhythm on the marble floor. He could see his expression of tense energy in the toes of his mirror-polished shoes. His hands ceaselessly fiddled, spinning the crystal ring on his finger.

Gentle footsteps cascaded down the foyer staircase, announcing the arrival of Aaron's mother, gliding down the stairs and taking a seat next to her son on the bench. Her eyes, the same cerulean blue as Aaron's, shone wetly with unshed tears; however, her lips were stretched in a bittersweet smile across her gently lined face.

"Look at my boy," she cooed, a slight shake in her voice, "all grown up and leaving the nest." She reached out a pale hand in motherly fashion to swipe a stray hair into place, and settled it on Aaron's lapel, flattening it. Aaron hadn't left much undone by way of preening, but a mother could always find something to fix.

Aaron smiled at his mother's words, eyes stinging and threatening to tear at the tone of her voice. "Don't say that Mom," he reasoned, taking her hand in his and settling them on his leg, "You know I'll be back."

His mother nodded, flicking her gaze away to search for something in the pocket of her cardigan. "I know," she said, producing a small object.

It was a pair of little gold cufflinks, barely the size of a fingertip, shaped like little shields and embossed with the symbol of a rampant stag. A very small rendition of the Starag family crest. Aaron's mother busied herself with fastening them to his sleeves.

Aaron felt a lump form in his throat, but he firmly swallowed it. The little crests shone against the black of his jacket, catching the warm light of the room. When he looked up from them, his mother's welled-up tears had dried. Just then, a horn sounded outside; it was time to go.

The two stood. "I know you'll make us proud, my sweet." His mother's voice no longer shook, but it was soft and gentle as ever.

Aaron pulled her into a hug, her face barely reaching his collarbone. "I will, Mom." He said, looking down at her. From this angle, he could see how the silver in her hair was starting to overwhelm the gold. "I'm going to make you all proud."

His mother broke away as the horn outside sounded again, and Aaron bent to give her a kiss on the cheek before she ushered him out to the car.

~ / / / ~

The two hour car ride it took to reach the Academy was the longest of Aaron's life. He'd spent it fiddling with his ring and clothes, spending close to twenty minutes making absolutely sure the crisp white collar laid properly and another five staring at his cufflinks. Periodically he drew out his phone, but there was nothing to say to anyone, so he settled for cleaning the screen.

When the ride mercifully ended at the gates of the Academy, it took a good chunk of Aaron's self-control not to burst out immediately and instead wait for the driver to open his door. A lot of formality for a mage perhaps, but there was nothing the royal family did that they didn't do in style. For a second, Aaron was mildly amused by the fact that he would probably be the one opening doors from now on.

The moment the door opened, amusement turned to awe. Aaron's heart fluttered with excitement, and he took a deep breath to steady its beating. He glanced down at the heart rate meter on his smartwatch. 78. Good.

"Thank you Max," Aaron nodded to the driver as he stepped into the moonlight. The driver nodded back and got back into the car to take his luggage to his new lodging; an address Aaron had yet to learn.

The crisp nighttime air was a welcome change from the stuffiness of the car, and Aaron took another breath. He was a touch early, as he should be, but the opulent courtyard already had people milling about. He was handed an envelope and tucked it into the inside pocket of his jacket. Back straight, Aaron walked through the crowd (careful not to hit anyone with the scabbard on his left hip), greeting people with a genuine smile and the occasional handshake. He introduced himself to a few mages and made small talk (even got rudely brushed off by a brown-haired one who looked to be sulking), but made sure not to address any vampires unless they addressed him first; one of many etiquette lessons he'd learned and adhered to that some might find a little stiff.

At some point he accepted a glass of champagne from a server's tray - it was rude to refuse refreshment when offered - but sipped it sparingly. It certainly wouldn't be enough to get him drunk, but he had made it a general rule to avoid alcohol with the interest of preserving his blood quality. He could see a couple of mages in the crowd who might not have adhered to such principles.

Suddenly, the crowd parted, and a regal figure strutted through and onto the lip of the spectacular fountain in the centre of the courtyard. Aaron's face split into a wide smile. It was Princess Ryner, flanked on either side by her mages William and Sariel, both of whom Aaron was very familiar with. Turbulent as the situation was for Aaron, it was nice to see some familiar faces.

He listened intently to the princess' speech, depositing his champagne glass with a server so he could applaud when she finished. He had always loved hearing her speak; her silver tongue had been sharpened by centuries of practice and she was a pleasure to listen to. When the applause died down and the princess made her leave, he finally pulled out his envelope and deftly tore into it.

The picture was of a red-haired young vampire, a male, with a strange expression - something like smugness, but something else too. The name, however, dropped a cannonball into Aaron's stomach: Varis Sinnenodel.

A noble, yes, but not a Noila. Not a member of the family the Starags had served for hundreds of years. The family Aaron loved, the one he had always dreamed of dutifully serving until the day he died. In fact, he was a member of the family who had made a sport out of antagonizing the Moonlight Court.

The name rung a bell in Aaron's mind, however. Chatter from some of the Queen's advisors. Varis Sinnenodel... Lady Sinnenodel's protege?

Okay, so maybe he wasn't being thrown away by the royal family after all. Maybe he was a gesture of good faith - albeit the first one so close to the royals - to the Sinnenodel clan. To foster good will. That must be it. If so, he had to make a good impression.

Aaron nodded down at the photograph, flicking it absently with his ring finger before tucking it back into his pocket and taking off searching.

He weaved through the crowd, not sure where to start, and decided on checking the open bars in each corner of the courtyard. The first two turned up nothing, and it was getting harder by the minute to make his way through the crowd as people searched for their own respective charges. As he made his way to the next one, eyes searching over the heads of the crowd for a red spot, he bumped right into someone.

Aaron jumped back, inwardly cursing himself for being so irresponsibly inattentive. "Oh my goodness," he blurted out before even looking up, "I am so-"

His words caught in his throat when he finally looked down at the person he'd nearly bowled over, and for a second his eyes went wide.

She was... beautiful.

Long white hair tumbling in spiral waves, jewel-toned blue eyes, and radiant pale skin that practically glowed in the moonlight. She was stunning, and for a second, Aaron didn't know what to do.

He blinked once, and quickly recovered, clearing his throat and straightening himself, suddenly remembering his manners. "...Aaron," he finished as he stuck out his hand in greeting, a grin splitting across his face. "I'm Aaron, and so sorry for bumping into you." Genuine concern bloomed in his eyes. "Are you alright?"

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Hidden 10 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Hero
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Everyone is entitled to their own sorrow, for the heart has no metrics or forms of measure. And all of it... irreplaceable.





People watching had always been a rather fascinating way to pass the time. The way they spoke to one another, how they moved and laughed among themselves, and listening to the conversations they held. If it were up to her, Lillie Dionne would have gone into sociology or anything that would let her study the behaviors of people. Despite the differences in biology, the way vampires and humans behaved weren't all that different. Those who were proud still flaunted what they had, the humble remained just that, and the jovial still spew out some clever wit. The contrast seemed to come solely from the way they poised themselves; the vampires were full of an air of superiority while the mages kept themselves modest.

Lightly pulling at her sleeve, Lilie let out a small sigh. Despite knowing there was a dress code to uphold, she felt somewhat out of place. Her hardworking parents had come together to get her the dress she wore, but really, it felt like a bit much. The glittering dress had color gradation of blue to pale blue towards the hem, a sweetheart neckline, and a white, tulle petticoat. It was long, easily sweeping the ground, though a split on her left thigh was there to make movement easier. Despite her mother's encouragement, she was too modest and wanted more coverage, and so her mother gave her a slightly sheer long-sleeved blue shrug fastened at the collar with a sapphire broach that matched the drop earrings she wore. Her very long hair hung loose; a first, but she had decided it would get her less attention.

Then again, she was modest compared to the extravagance of some others. Lilie watched the crowd at a distance, opened envelope in hand. The princess' speech mostly flew over her head if she was being honest. Her primary concern was learning more about her abilities. But that came in exchange for having to interact with a crowd she had tried to avoid for some time. Her lot in life had deemed her inferior from the moment she was born into a low class family, but that had been a blessing in disguise as it made sure she never interacted with their kind. But the first interaction with them had shaken her, coming closely after an explosion of magic on her doing. They terrified her, there was no pretending otherwise, but she was partnered with one, and she would need to get over her fear if she was to continue at the academy.

Not privy to the world of mages and vampires--with the exception of a clear understanding of their mutual relationship, of course--she didn't know anyone there. A few names popped out, sure, but as a whole she was clueless. For the better, maybe, it was easier to hide among the unknown. The only name and face she knew was the vampire she was partnered with: Arianna Eve. She had absolutely no idea what she would be like, but tried to stay positive. The urge to run was strong, but her desire to learn was stronger. For now, anyway.

As she tried to match the face in the picture with one in the crowd, she was bumped into. The unexpected movement made her jump in surprise, her body shrinking back slightly in fear. Her blue eyes looked at the equally surprised blond man, and she realized that he wasn't angry. Visibly relaxing, the man introduced himself as Aaron. Another mage? It shouldn't have come off as a surprise, but she wasn't really expecting to socialize.

"Oh, it's okay," She assured him, gladly taking his hand as she returned his smile with one of her own. A friendly face was always welcome. "I'm Lilie. It's nice to meet you."

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Joryldin Nailo


It was all just too much. The music, the people, the alcohol, the blood... Joryldin's senses were being assaulted from every angle. He'd never seen such a proud display of luxury and debauchery, neither when he was on his own nor after the widow took him in. It was nauseating. To make matters worse, all the other vampires were so welcoming! He expected most to scoff at a newly turned, or just refuse to interact with him entirely, and he would have preferred it that way! Instead, most welcomed the young man with open arms. They invited him to join in on their drinking, dancing, and merrymaking, but he politely declined. This was wrong, everything about him being here was so wrong! Why was everyone celebrating slavery? Why was everyone so damn happy about spending eternity without anything to fight for?
It might have sounded silly, or even downright treasonous to some, but those were the questions plaguing Joryldin. They were... until the hunger set in. Unbeknownst to his mother, Joryldin hadn't fed in two days. The mere act of sustaining this new form of his disgusted Joryldin, so he had made the terrible habit of waiting until the last moment to satiate his needs. Right now, the revelry was calling to every fiber of his being. The smell of blood hit his nose like sweet honey. It was intoxicating, and Joryldin shuddered in ecstasy at the mere olfactory sensation.

"Oh god... I've got to get out of here!" He thought to himself.

It took all his strength to turn around, dash to somewhere private, and calm down. Joryldin had no choice. He needed something or he was going to lose his mind. Of course, he was resourceful if nothing else, and came prepared. The young man set down his duffel bag behind a statue near the edge of the courtyard and opened up one of the side pockets. A set of vials sparkled in the darkness, each filled to the top with the red nectar he needed. They were from Miss Theresa, his mother's current partner. After his transformation, he was never able to gather the courage to bite her, even with both the widow's encouragement and her own. To keep him fed, they simply kept bottles. These vials were for emergencies only, but for Joryldin this was most certainly an emergency. He pinched the bridge of his nose and tipped his head back, trying to ensure he tasted as little of it as possible. Out of the corner of his eye, Joryldin noticed someone else had already claimed this hiding spot, an intimidating human with messy hair and a crumpled up letter. This momentary distraction was enough for him to lower his head a bit just as the blood poured out into his mouth, making full contact with his tongue.
Joryldin violently shivered as the mind-shattering pleasure hit him in waves. He stumbled back, then simply sat down on the ground. Why did it have to taste so good? Why did it have to feel so good? It was the worst ecstasy, the most miserable satisfaction. He felt vile and wonderful all at the same time, and somebody saw the whole thing!

"I'm s-sorry you had to see that."
Joryldin got to his feet and slapped on a ballcap hidden in his bag to cover his eyes.
"I didn't think there would be anybody back here... I'm Joryldin. Nice to meet you."
It was most certainly not nice. He felt ashamed of himself, and the dim grey glow in his eyes betrayed him completely.

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Max hardly seemed to notice the vampire approach, and by the time he did, he was committed to politely ignoring the boy as he writhed against the wall in pleasure like some kind of hemoglobin junkie getting his latest fix. Well, it wasn't really "like" that. As far as Max could tell, that's exactly what it was.

"I'm s-sorry you had to see that."

Likewise. Max wondered why this vampire didn't drink his blood from a wine glass like all the other monsters playing at high society here.

"I didn't think there would be anybody back here... I'm Joryldin. Nice to meet you."

Max finally turned at this, regarding the vampire with a cold dismissiveness. Joryldin. Not Morrigan. Irrelevant.

"And I didn't ask," he quipped. This vampire wasn't composed enough, he was too willing to compromise his status here. A social faux pas at a party like this would be the talk of the upper echelons of society for days, if not weeks depending on the blunder; judging by the gossiping he heard while he meandered about the courtyard earlier. This had to be some newly-turned fledgling. Or someone insanely eccentric and likely prone to violent outbursts. Quite the dangerous line to toe. Nevertheless, Maxwell Alderman was no coward and as such, he pressed on regardless.

"You really should check your surroundings before you let yourself go like that. It's... unbecoming of your status." Max continued, voice dripping with sardonicism, "Although if you want to suck down blood in the corner like a starving animal, I guess that's your perogative."

He quirked his head toward the vial in Jorildyn's hand casually. Preying on his embarrassment might get him to leave.

"That stuff must be like sex for you guys, huh?"


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Joryldin Nailo


"You really should check your surroundings before you let yourself go like that. It's... unbecoming of your status. Although if you want to suck down blood in the corner like a starving animal, I guess that's your perogative... That stuff must be like sex for you guys, huh?"

A nervous laugh was the most the fledgling could manage. He deserved the insult, that much was for sure; but even if he was a monster now, he felt at least some need to defend himself.

"L-let myself go? Tell that to everybody gorging themselves out there. I'd sooner sit outside and watch the sunrise than have any part in that."

Burning to ashes was starting to sound like a better and better idea with every passing second.

"It's insane, what this stuff does to you... It's like the strongest drug ever, and I don't want the addiction to go any further than it has to... I know I'm not gonna make any friends going against the grain, and you're right, I'm probably gonna be a laughing stock.. but I won't let them change me more than they already have. I'm not gonna be another number in their system."

A modicum of confidence could be heard in Joryldin's voice. It was faint, but it was there.

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Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: No one in particular


The rhythmic clicking of heels filled the night air, echoing melodically off the stone walls shifting by. It wasn’t the sound of fragile dressiness but rather strength and confidence; a gait of purpose behind every audible step. Not so far behind trailed another two sets of subtle shuffling, a quick but muted sound as they followed the one that set their pace. A slow inhale of swelling air was released as an audible sigh as the young woman closed her eyes and spun around. The sudden motion caused the hem of the raven haired woman’s jackets to sway, bouncing gracefully around her ankles before settling back into place. Crystal violet eyes fell upon the two men that shadowed her every move, shifting calmly between the pair as they ceased moving as well.

While I appreciate your… vigilance… your presence is not needed here.” The woman spoke calmly and respectfully, choosing each word with precision and care. She knew the men that escorted her were only doing their jobs, but she was no fledgling and quite capable of defending herself if the need arose. Considering the event she was attending, not to mention the types of people who would also be attending, there was little need for concern. The men exchanged glances between one another before turning back to their charge, the one bowing his head dutifully before speaking.

Yes, m’lady. But we are here as instructed by his lordship Salazar-” The man fell silent as she raised her arm, holding her palm out to signify that she had heard enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not ungrateful for your efforts. The two of you have done an amazing job in making sure my trip has occurred according to plan, but look around. We are at the heart of Noila territory. Everything here belongs to the royal family and I’m sure they thoroughly vet each person allowed to work and live around the academy.” Gesturing to the buildings around the small group, the woman smiled reassuringly at the men who shuffled with uncertainty under her gaze.

This is no ordinary school orientation. Each and every person, mage or vampire, have been hand selected for attendance. The staff know exactly what sorts of people are going to be here, and I doubt they would allow their reputation to be sullied by an attack on their students. Besides, I hear the princess herself tends to make an appearance… There couldn’t be anywhere safer.” She stated confidently, glancing between the two men once again. They seemed slightly more at ease to the eye, but she could still sense their hesitance. Hiding a mischievous smile behind her eyes, the woman sighed again and held her arms up in a suspended shrug.

That is unless you doubt the Royal’s ability to hire competent security for their events?

No! I-I mean, no… Of course we do not doubt the royal house. If you are certain you have no further need of us, m’lady, we will take our leave.” She felt a little bad for messing with her guards in such a manner but her words were not untrue. Noila Academy was ranked among the most fortified locations in all the country. The woman had to admit, though, that she had not spoken the full truth.

The biggest reason for sending the men off had more to do with appearances than anything else. While there were likely to be others from noble houses in attendance, there were likely to be more guests from lower classes. Noila was famous for the opportunities it granted, an illusion of perfect equality regardless of status. She didn’t want to come across as being above anyone else, especially not as a first impression to the person she was to be paired with for the entirety of the curriculum.

It was a long trip and I’m sure you two are tired. Try to relax on your way home, and safe travels.” She bid the men a farewell before she turned back around and made her way to where the rest of the guests had gathered to.

~~~


Upon reaching the main entrance to the festivities, a sharply dressed woman halted her progress and asked for her invitation while her partner stared her down. Glancing back at the male she was quick to note the subtle shifting of his lips as he looked her over head to toe. If she had to guess, he was most likely using a spell of some sort in order to detect threatening weapons, or perhaps a lie detection magic. Turning her full attention back to the female security guard, the woman handed over her invitation without fuss.

This is the orientation party for Noila Academy, correct? My name is Amaris Marivaldi, I will be attending this year.” She stated, her posture held high as was customary for her when attending official events. After a quick glance between each other, and a nod from the man standing off to the side, the guards ushered her through the gate toward the rest of the group. On her way by, Amaris was handed an envelope that seemed to be sealed using magic.

Inspecting the seal curiously, she could faintly make out the runes that bound it, laughing to herself with amusement as she tucked the note away. Even if she managed to open the envelope before the allotted time, Amaris doubted that she would find anything written inside. After all, it wouldn’t be a good show without a little over-the-top theatrics.

Amaris took a quick opportunity to look over her outfit, smoothing out any imperfections so as to make the best first impression possible. She had opted for an intentionally messy updo, relaxed hair pinned back to keep it up off her neck. Two free strands had been allowed to fall on either side of her face, curled ever so slightly to give it a bounce with every step. For her clothes, Amaris had been reluctant to go all out but knew that she had to at least put some effort into looking her part. She wore a plain white blouse underneath a dark red corset vest with tight, black leather pants, and heeled knee-high boots that laced up the front. For the most part, her ensemble was elegant in its simplicity, but what really tied it all together was her coat. It was a full length piece that hugged her figure until about her hips, where it flared out and draped like a skirt. Its sleeves were short and puffed to give the top more dimension and bore a stiff collar that stood on its own with little aid.

She slipped a pendant from her pocket and draped it around her neck, a thin silver chain attached to an oval crest bearing her family’s sigil. Corrections made, Amaris took a deep breath and assumed her posture before entering the scene. Expertly plucking a crystal wine glass from a passing tray, the young woman carried the viscous fluid more for show than her own benefit. She wasn’t one to partake in blood tasting unless necessary, but she had to admit that she’d been feeling rather drained following her journey. She sipped at it slowly, almost immediately feeling the revitalizing effects.

While she had yet to develop a particular craving to blood, Amaris did find herself wishing the glass contained something a little sweeter. Fruitier tones had a tendency to sit better with her, but the traces of coconut in her current drink was enough to placate her thirst. Slowly, but methodically, Amaris wandered the courtyard, milling about to watch and listen to those around her. On occasion she would insert herself into a conversation, introduce herself or show recognition for another. It was all apart of the political game that her kind played… a game no one played better than the nobles.

Between the mood set by the lights and the quality service, the Marivaldi child was no less than impressed. On the surface, everything appeared to be running smoothly and without fault. WIth so many moving parts, details were easy to overlook and forget, but everyone involved had worked their routine out to perfection. A truly impressive feat for a school event.

Movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention, eyes sliding across the space to settle on two men taking positions by the main fountain. She caught him speaking into a piece on his wrist, no doubt another security guard for the event. Until now, the guards had remained toward the outskirts, causing her to wonder what brought them in. Nothing had seemed particularly out of place…

Ah, I thought as much.

Amaris made her way in closer to the fountain, maintaining a respectful distance but ensuring a good view for what was to come. A few moments later the lights had been dimmed making a spotlight out of the natural moonlight. Stepping up before the crowd was a woman of mesmerizing beauty. Her poise, the grace the filled even the tiniest of motions… Everything about the woman standing before her screamed regal. Amaris had been very young when she had met Princess Ryner, but even now she was just as entranced as she had been as a child. There was just something about her that Amaris just couldn’t look away. Had she a beating heart, it would have skipped.

Maintaining her grip on her glass, Amaris pulled her right arm in closer to her chest while tucking the left one behind her back. It was a posture her father had taught her as a subtle way to salute those of higher standing than herself whilst keeping her position above those who were not as high as she.

She was a little sad to not be able to spend more time in the presence of the princess, but the feeling was quickly replaced by excitement as she fished the envelope back out. Amaris finished her glass and placed it on another passing tray with care so as not to tip the balance so that she could use the freed hand to slip the envelope open. There were no remnants of the magical seal left, having been completely lifted at the princess’ command, which made opening the piece easy. Unfolding the enclosed letter, Amaris gingerly took the photo of the girl that was to be her partner between her index finger and her thumb.

Even from a photograph, Amaris could tell her partner was a beauty. Golden hair and crystal blue eyes were a striking combination, a vast contrast to Amaris’ own black and violet.

Minfillia.” She spoke softly, testing the name out on her tongue. It flowed naturally, a good sign in her mind. Amaris tucked the photo back into the envelope along with the address to their new home, turning her eyes to the crowd around her.



@Leslie Hall
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Max hummed contemplatively as the vampire spoke, though his gaze grew no less derisive. It was pathetic, in a way. To be on top of the food chain and yet yearning to be weaker. He didn't know whether to be thankful that the vampires had a weak link or disgusted by this boy's self-pity complex. He was expecting a hasty apology and a quick departure, not a sob story. He shouldn't have hedged the question at the end. That encouraged further discussion.

"And yet here you are, squirming in glee over a few sips while they're all calm and composed. You're the one who seems like he's gorging, they're just maintaining the norm."

He clicked his tongue, evidently unmoved by the display. This was likely another incoming student. Everything he said here was ammunition that could be used against him later, if need be. Max was unsure how cutthroat things got around here, but with vampires involved, one can't really be too careful.

"You're a student here, yeah? Shouldn't you be hunting for your little pet right now?" He asked, as dismissively as he could muster. Hopefully he'd take the hint.


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Joryldin Nailo


What the mage said stung like fire, but he was right. Joryldin had no clue how to fit in, and if he didn't, all he would do is make things harder for himself.

"I see your point... Thanks for the advice." The fledgling closed up his bag and hid the evidence. Of course, like the mage said, everybody probably saw him anyway.

"You're a student here, yeah? Shouldn't you be hunting your little pet right now?"

Joryldin froze. Ever so slowly, the glow of his eyes shifted from grey to a dim red. Here he was, trying to hold on to his humanity and getting belittled for it. That, he could take. The mage's blatant disregard for his own kind, that crossed a line.

"You want to say that again? Because I heard you say that I should be treating the person who's being forced to spend their life keeping me breathing like nothing more... than a pet. You can't be serious, right!? You actually want me to walk all over someone who's giving me everything they have!?"

He was furious, to the point where he had half a mind to break this guy's nose. Joryldin slung the bag over his shoulder, his nails dug into the nylon as he grit his teeth and turned away.

"You've got something seriously wrong with your head if you think you're gonna give me lessons on how to be a monster when you don't even know how to use your own beating heart."

Without another word, the fledgling stormed off. The party didn't matter, the blood didn't matter. All he cared about was finding his partner and making sure they were ok.
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Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Joryldin @Jade Blades


Standing off alone in the night’s crisp air was a young figure, neck craned up to stare at something in the inky darkness. The youth seemed out of place in their surroundings, goofing off outside despite being dressed to the nines. It was clear that this person was expected at an event of some sort, gauging from the suit they were wearing, but it didn’t seem like they were in any particular hurry. A dress jacket had been haphazardly draped over the back of a nearby bench, all but forgotten by its owner as they continued to focus on the sky.

Dakota’s eyes narrowed to a strained squint as they made a few adjustment with a device in their hands. At first glance it might have seemed like a run of the mill RC helicopter remote, but a closer inspection would have revealed tampering of the design. After a few moments of fiddling, a small green LED lit up near the top of the device, static buzzing in an earpiece that was placed on the left ear. A triumphant grin lit up Dakota’s face as specs were read off in an electronic voice in their ear, listing off height and geological location before tapering off into even tones.

Seems like my range of motion has been increased, but the rest can’t quite keep up with the distance yet. I’ll have to see if I can fix that…” The words weren’t really meant for anyone, simply observations rattled off to the empty universe. It was a habit they had picked up after spending days on end around machine projects instead of people. Keeping eyes on the skies, Dakota locked onto a small drone buzzing around above the area. There were a few smaller lights on the device but they weren’t nearly bright enough for what Dakota needed, another note for modification made to the silent night.

Too preoccupied with the drone, Dakota failed to notice that the start time for the party had come and gone. There was just so much to do still; more tests to run, notes to be made… Dakota could feel the excited twitching of their fingertips, the sensation that drove them to tinker with their toys. Driving the drone back down with their left hand, Dakota extended their right arm out so the device had somewhere soft to land. A quick flick of the pinky shut the controller off, the small lights blinking out one by one as the drone came to a complete stop in the palm of their hand.

Not too bad. Still a lot of adjustments to make, but I think we’re making good progress.

Well that’s good, but aren’t you forgetting about something deary?” Dakota spun around to face the voice, locking eyes on an amused looking elder woman. Eyes widening, Dakota flipped their right wrist around to face them, staring at the tiny lines ticking along the watchface.

Oh crap!” Dakota blurted out, taking off down the street with electronics in hand. They made it a few yards away before halting and turning back, zipping by and snagging the suit jacket before running off once again; the elder woman watching all the while.

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late…” The youth stuffed the electronics into whatever pockets they would fit into, slipping the jacket on as they ran toward the main event. By the time they made it to the guards, the lights had dimmed and a voice could be heard addressing the group of students. Red faced and very out of breath, Dakota wheezed their way through an introduction and ‘inspection’, pulling their hair back into a clip but keeping most of the front loose. Accepting an envelope from the dissatisfied looking guards, Dakota straightened their bowtie and shrugged off the jitters before setting a swift walking pace toward the festivities.

By the time Dakota arrived, the woman on display was already saying something about a growing society and the peace they had created. It didn’t seem like they had missed anything important just yet, allowing Dakota a moment to sit back and catch their breath. Looking around the darkened courtyard, it was almost as if their tardiness had gone completely unnoticed. Each and every person around them seemed entranced by the presenter. There was something familiar about the woman, something right on the tip of their tongue...

A hand slipped around Dakota’s mouth before they were able to blurt out the name of the princess, the sound muted by the cupped appendage. Standing behind the excitable youth was a tall figure dressed similarly to them, eyes locked on the princess as if what they were doing hadn’t taken a single shred of focus. Inhaling deeply through their nose, Dakota tapped the hand lightly to signal that they were now in control of themselves, the grip releasing their face before stepping away.

Dakota was still finding it difficult to sit still, ears tuning in to the rest of the welcome speech while their eyes roamed the crowds around them. Having grown up in a non-magical household, Dakota had never really been heavily exposed to vampires. Obviously they had known about them growing up, it was difficult not to, but regular humans and vampires had very little reason to interact per the treaty that protected them. On occasion, schools would bring in Mages as guest speakers to talk about the importance of various things… Dakota had never really paid much attention to what they were actually saying, mind always wandering off on random tangents.

Here, however, every other figure was a vampire… A real, sharp toothed, blood sucking vampire. The thought shot an instinctive shiver down the youth’s spine, though not so much out of fear as it was anticipation. One couldn’t help but to wonder at whether or not being fed from actually hurt. Interviews with paired mages were usually toned, skewed in the vampire’s favor. It was theorized that different people had different tolerances to the bite of a vampire, dependent on bonds and personal threshold for pain. Dakota wasn’t sure how much of the data had been meddled with, and personally couldn’t wait to gather information of their own.
Shaking their head to clear the jumbled thoughts away, the mage felt a subtle shift in energy coming from the long forgotten envelope in their hand. Upon receiving the paper, Dakota had tried to peel the seal from the paper but had been met with resistance beyond immediate comprehension. Now, however, it seemed as if the contents within were attempting to escape their confinements. The envelope had been torn open before the princess had taken her leave.

Inside was photograph and a letter containing several important details. The most important to Dakota was the address of where all of their belongings had been sent to. Going so long without certain tools had begun eating away at their patience, the anxiety building up within them over the short amount of time. Alongside the housing information was also a name, presumably belonging to the photograph that had been attached.

Joryldin? What the hell kind of name is that?” Dakota mused aloud, stumbling through the name of the one that was to be their partner. The name interested them less than the picture however, something about the image capturing the attention of the mage. There was something about him that was rather cute, in a dark sullen sort of a way. His hair was the dark grey of impending storm clouds, his expression giving him the appearance of staring longingly at something far in the distance. It was an expression that tugged at a deep corner of the youth’s heart.

Could have been worse I guess… Now, where is he? I need to go make sure my stuff all made it in one piece.” The ambient noise raised in volume now that the presentation was over, the voices of students returning to conversations they had been in the middle of previously mixing with those belonging to newfound partners. Already the pairs were forming leaving Dakota on their own near the back of the crowd. Glancing around the now enlightened space, Dakota caught sight of someone who looked slightly familiar.

It had only been a brief moment, but it had been a flash of grey just like the kid in the photograph. A long shot for sure, but it didn’t hurt to follow it just in case. The ever shifting crowd delayed the mage’s approach, throwing them off course several times in their attempt to track down the vampire they were charged with keeping alive. Using a small burst of stored up energy, Dakota made a final push to force their way through the crowd in what was hopefully the right direction. Unfortunately for Dakota, the coast had not been as clear as was previously assumed. Upon escaping the masses, Dakota ended up running head first into another body.

The impact sent Dakota reeling, the young mage tripping over their own feet in an attempt to balance. Managing to avoid a total wipeout, Dakota caught themselves on their hands and knees, just relieved they hadn’t fallen in a way that jeopardize the electronics in their pocket. After a moment, as if just remembering where they were, Dakota’s eyes snapped up to meet the person they had run into trying to escape.

I am so sorry, I didn’t see you… Oh hey! You’re Joryldin aren’t you? I’m Dakota!” Scrambling to their feet, Dakota lunged in and wrapped their arms around the pale boy in an uninvited embrace.

Nice to meet you at last. I was worried you had wandered off without me.
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Joryldin Nailo

Interacting with: Dakota Brookes @WeepingLiberty


Joryldin dived headfirst back into the haze of the party. He covered his nose and mouth with his hands in an attempt to block out the smell of perpetual indulgence around him, but after a moment or two, the mage's words rung in his ears again. Being a black sheep was just going to make him look incompetent and get him in trouble. He didn't have to prove anything to anyone but himself, and even if he had to play the part of a good little monster, he wasn't going to let this place break him.

There were whole trays of wineglasses filled to the brim with blood or alcohol, and maybe even both. Wasn't this supposed to be a school? Whether or not it was legal, he grabbed one and started walking with it. There was no need to actually drink it, just keep up appearances. The scent attacked him at once, and as he wandered, hunting for his partner, it became harder and harder to resist. He was still thirsty, that one little bottle wasn't going to make up for days worth of fasting.

Eventually he caved. In one go, Joryldin downed the whole thing without spilling a drop. It was like a taste of heaven, but he mustered all his will and ignored the horrid enjoyment. It was a lot easier after the first taste, he was starting to get used to sustenance after his period of withdrawal. Without a single twitch, it was gone. He placed the glass down on a tray for used dishes, and just in time too.

"It's not a crime, you're just doing what you need to do to survive, and ... alright where is she? I swear its been like an hour."

WHAM! Joryldin spoke of the devil, and just like that she appeared. In an instant, the girl in the photo had bowled him over. The only thing stopping him from landing firmly on his ass were supernatural reflexes. The girl, he noticed, was not so lucky.

I am so sorry, I didn’t see you… Oh hey! You’re Joryldin aren’t you? I’m Dakota!

He tried to play it cool, act all gentlemanly...

"No need to appologize, I should have been paying more attention to-"

No amount of vampiric reflexes or rehearsed lines could have prepared him for what happened next. The sudden hug caught him completely off guard.

Nice to meet you at last. I was worried you had wandered off without me.

Again, he put on his best suave and seductive voice in an attempt to save face. While the shock of surprise physical affection drove him to stammer, he did manage to keep his tone rather confident.

"G-good to meet you too, Dakota! And here I was s-starting to think that you didn't show up!"

Joryldin's smile was warm, and his eyes shone with a cheerful yellow light. He was genuinely happy to see her. it was someone he would be able to trust, and someone who he could count on to keep him rooted in his humanity.

"We can get set up in our dorm and chat later. For now, what do you want to do first? The party's still going strong."
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by WeepingLiberty
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Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Joryldin @Jade Blades


G-good to meet you too, Dakota! And here I was s-starting to think that you didn't show up!” Dakota flashed a sheepish grin, scratching at the back of their skull in an apologetic display.

Yeah, I kind of got a little distracted so I ended up being a bit late. But hey, I’m here now, and that’s what counts.” The statement had a finality to it, a decisiveness that could only be decided by the person saying it. It spoke to a disregard to the opinion of those around them, caring little for whether they thought tardiness was some social sin or not. In the case of the young looking vampire standing less than a foot away, it seemed the arrival was a source of relief for the boy.

His eyes lit up despite the heaviness behind them, a smile contrasting the depressive cloud that clung to his aura. Dakota might not have known Joryldin’s full story, but such a reaction was enough to kick the older sibling mode into high gear. For as much care as they put into the twins back home, what was a little more for someone who needed it.

We can get set up in our dorm and chat later. For now, what do you want to do first? The party’s still going strong.” Dakota was quick to pick up a few mannerisms right out of the gate. The way Joryldin spoke, the words he chose to use, were far from the overly sophisticated patterns Dakota had come to expect from vampire kind. A small feeling pulled at their gut, whispering a single thought in the back of their mind.

You used to be human… didn’t you?

The thought was pushed away as it was none of Dakota’s business, if Joryldin wanted to share then he would. If there came a time where the information became important, there was no force that could keep Dakota from learning what they needed to know… But now was not one of those times. Instead, the mage’s nose drifted higher into the air, sniffing in short incriments.

I don’t know, but something smells delicious and I am starved. Suppose it wouldn’t be a good party without some decent food, let’s go find some.” Dakota’s excitement shifted once again, moving away from their partner to pull them back in the direction of the crowd. It was difficult to say what it was exactly that Dakota smelled, but it was enough to get their mouth watering like a Pavlovian dog.
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Arianna Dracul Eve





The gathering had been interesting upon arrival, keeping a quietness as she had hung about the middle of the crowd of vampires, mages, and families. Of course her own father hadn't been able to make it to this occasion, though she hadn't been phased by the lack of his presence. Actually, it had become rather refreshing for her personally, and the smells of mage blood for her seemed to enrich the air a bit in the delicious sense. Ah, what would humans compare this to, standing near a kitchen cooking food for them and smelling the scents upon the air? That much she could say they probably had in common, in some manner. Haha.

But more enchanting was the visage of Princess Ryner standing there at her pulpit, silver accessories glinting in the moonlight, the bloody red rubies set into her tiara and pendant glistening like a fresh cup of blood. Mmm, to this Arianna had only to grin devilishly at the sight, to imagine how she herself would look one day donning such attire for occasions. Even though not a mage, she felt the minor compulsion to flirt with the princess, to flirt essentially in the face of danger for the sake of a forbidden tryst. Ah......but not tonight. No, as much as it felt disappointing to not grace the ears of such a cute one with soft words of sweet nothings and passionate caressing, she was here for the entrance ceremony....and to finally meet her mage. She had put in a request to the school upon learning she had been invited to enter its hallowed halls, you see, and hoped personally that the request had been met.

As the seals on their handed-out envelopes opened up finally, a glint could be seen in Arianna's eyes as her smile became more subtle and she opened her envelope up. Much to her delight and pleasure, the picture and name seemed to strike a chord with her. "Lilie Dionne", a truly adorable water mage (a good blood favor by the way) who had cute white hair and blue eyes like little oceans lie within. And that hair as white as snow, how it seemed like it could be as soft as the expensive silk garments Arianna herself owned! Mhmm, this was definitely an answer to her request, and lovely answer that plucked at her heartstrings....and excited the blood within her. Yes, she could virtually smell the blood of the water mage from here, that intoxicating aroma that sang like a siren's song.

Arianna, as smooth as a vampire could glind underneath the pale light of the moon, made her way through the crowd looking for her darling little partner. Some turned their heads among the seemingly "faceless" members of the crowd, the regal air about the blue-haired vampiress seeming to draw their eyes to her like a radiant jewel. One could even say, with a solid level of certainty, she had the same sort of bearings and atmosphere as the princess who had just spoken to them all not long ago. Eventually, however, Arianna found herself locked in on her darling little target, but....oh? What was this?

Had her darling little Lilie already found a friend? Mmm, no, the boy's look seemed to say "deer caught in the headlights", perhaps stunned at her darling mage's beautiful appearance? Ah, she could not blame him, not one bit, but all the same....she had to assert that this was hers, her beautiful, pale-skinned partner. It was nothing personal, at least.

"Ah! There you are, my darling!" Arianna said as she approached the duo, addressing Lilie as she almost seemed to snake about behind her and then to the girl's right side, the vampiress' left hand running over a few locks of the mage's lovely white hair before she continued on, "Ooh, you are even prettier than you looked in the picture! I'm Arianna, and i do feel we will get along splendidly, my dear partner. You will not have to worry in my care~"

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Morrigan Cade

Interacting with: @Scribe of Thoth


Tsk, Morrigan sucked in his teeth as yet another face didn’t match with the sullen looking boy from the photograph. How difficult should this be? He shifted impatiently on the balls of his feet, lacing his fingers together on the nape of his neck. All around him pairs mingled and began to split off. While here he stood off to the side, occasionally bouncing onto the tips of his toes as he watched new bodies come through the entrance.

”This isn’t going to work,” he came to the conclusion while springing from his spot. Morrigan wound through the milling crowd with haste, uttering apologies to those who those he occasionally bumped into. There were several brunette haired mages in the crowd; a few vampires as well but he could easily spot the difference between the two. The races truly were worlds apart it seemed.

Drinks circulated, blood for vampires and some sort of drink for the mages—alcohol he would assume. Something to help ease the tension between the races. The temptation burned in the back of his throat—to snatch a glass and gulp it down greedily but as he watched his fellow vampires nurse and sip with decorum he put his desire on the back burner.

A vampire stalked angrily past him, dark hair rippling with his rushed movements. Morrigan paused to watch him for a moment. Guess someone isn’t happy with his pairing. It was bound to happen, not all pairs were going to mesh. A new wave of apprehension washed over him before he looked back down at the photograph—what if they didn’t get along?

Morrigan pushed away the thought before setting forward once more. His eyes darting over every face that came into his field of vision. That was until a sliver of a familiar face peeked out from between two bodies. He took a faltering step backwards, aiming to get a better look.

Dark hair? Check.
Fair complexion? Check.
Sullen appearance? Double check.

So it wasn’t just an off day, Maxwell looked just as broody as he did in the photo if not more so. It was as if he had placed a wall between the party and himself with the way he stood. Is there a way to trade partners? the thought sat bitterly in his mind. He didn’t foresee this going well.

With eager fingers Morrigan straightened his coat and brushed his messy locks from his eyes. He schooled his face into what he hoped was a non-intimidating look and put on his best polite smile. With steps more certain than he felt he approached the boy, stopping about a foot away from him.

”Maxwell Alderman? I’m Morrigan Cade, pleasure to meet you,” he said while extending his hand.


Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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The girl accepted his hand, to Aaron's great relief, and returned his smile. Good then, she wasn't upset. He would have hated for his first impression on this campus to be a bad one.

"Oh, it's quite alright," She assured him, "I am Lilie. It's a pleasure to meet you."

Aaron shook her hand gently, noting the softness of her skin, then released it before anyone looking on would have the chance to mistake the gesture for something inappropriate. He gave a curt bow as he did so, more of a nod really, briefly tousling his hair.

"Lovely to meet you too, Lilie," Aaron replied, regaining his composure at last. Lilie, a gentle name. He wondered what kind of mage she was. Ice, perhaps? Did she even know at this point?

He was just inhaling for further pleasantries when a commanding presence came onto the scene, a blue-haired woman with a sing-song voice and a posture like she owned the place.

"Ah! There you are, my darling! Ooh, you are even prettier than you looked in the picture! I'm Arianna, and I do feel we will get along splendidly, my dear partner. You will not have to worry in my care~"

Aaron's breath caught in his throat. Her partner! Of course! That was the whole point of this gathering, and here he was gawking at a girl while his partner stood alone somewhere!

Suddenly very self-conscious, Aaron's smile shrunk to an expression of polite horror. As much as he would have liked to stay and chat a tad more with Lilie, it was not his place to take up her time while her partner was waiting, let alone making his own partner wait because his mage happened upon a pretty face.

"...Please excuse me," he said, tossing an apologetic glance at Lilie, "I should be going, surely my partner is waiting for me." He gave Lilie and her partner a smile and another nod-bow and turned back into the crowd, chastising himself with every step.

Oh well done Aaron, he scolded in his head, you train all your life for this just to get derailed by the first girl you see...

Taking a deep breath and straightening his jacket, Aaron wove his way through the crowd with renewed vigour, searching ever harder for the mop of red hair that would give away his charge. This time, he cut through the middle of the crowd instead of the outskirts, and found his efforts this time to be far more fruitful.

There, in the very spot where Princess Ryner had stood on the fountain's edge, sat a pale gentleman with a glass of blood swirling in one hand, the other weaving through his shock-red hair. A few people separated him and Aaron, and the mage quickly drew out his envelope for a last-minute comparison. Yes, this looked like his partner.

Aaron tucked the envelope neatly back into the folds of his jacket, gave himself a final mental once-over, and took a deep breath.

This is it...

With that, he politely nudged through the last few remaining people and stepped in front of the fountain, in full view of the vampire. He remained as far away as the crowd would allow him, which gave him a few feet. A respectable distance. On his face he wore an expression of polite contentedness; not straight-faced, but not jovial. He clasped his hands behind his back and bowed, bending at the waist and keeping his head steady, but his eyes down. It was a formal bow, but nothing less would be expected when greeting vampiric nobility.

"Count Sinnenodel," he greeted cordially, loud enough to hear over the rising din of the crowd, "My name is Aaron Starag. I'll be serving as your attendant."

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